A harpy is a vulture with the head and sometimes breasts of a woman. They were originally represented as beautiful winged maidens, then later as fierce creatures who lived in filth and contaminated everything they encountered.
They are also depicted as pale hungry bird-creatures with the claws of lions.
Names of harpies in mythology include Ocyp'eta (rapid), Cele'no (blackness), and Aell'o (storm).
Harpies are associated with whirlwinds and storms.
See Also: Creatures by Type » Birds, Hybrids
Brewer, Ebenezer Cobham. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company, 1898.
Turner, Patricia, & Coulter, Charles Russell. Dictionary of Ancient Deities. Oxford University Press US, 2001.
Image: Harpyca, 1650. Book illustration from Historiae Naturalis De Avibus Libri VI. by Joannes Jonstonus.