Skip to main content
Select Source:

eagle

eagle, common name for large predatory birds of the family Falconidae (hawk family), found in all parts of the world. Eagles are similar to the buteos, or buzzard hawks, but are larger both in length and in wingspread (up to 71/2 ft/228 cm) and have beaks nearly as long as their heads. They are solitary birds, said to mate for life. The nest, or aerie, of twigs and sticks is built at a vantage point high in a tree or on a cliff in a permanent feeding territory and is added to year after year, the refuse of the previous nests decomposing beneath the new additions. Nests can become enormous, measuring up to ten feet across and weighing well over 1,000 pounds. The eaglets (usually two) do not develop adult markings until their third year, when they leave parental protection and seek their own mates and territories.

The American bald (in the sense of white, as in piebald), or white-headed, eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus) is found in all parts of North America near water and feeds chiefly on dead fish (sometimes robbing the osprey's catch) and rodents. It is dark brown with white head, neck, and tail plumage. The northern species (found chiefly in Canada) is slightly larger than the southern, which ranges throughout the United States. With only 417 known breeding pairs in the 48 contiguous states in 1963, the bald eagle population was dwindling alarmingly; a decade later they were placed on the endangered species list. In one of the greatest success stories in species recovery, conservation methods such as the banning of DDT and the prohibition against eagle hunting had by the beginning of the 21st cent. increased the breeding population in the lower 48 states to some 5,000 pairs. In 1995 the bald eagle was removed from endangered status, and in 2007, when there were nearly 10,000 breeding pairs in the lower 48, it was removed from threatened status. The bald eagle (and golden eagle) continue to be protected by federal law.

The golden, or mountain, eagle (genus Aquila—whence aquiline, meaning eaglelike) is widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, in the United States found mostly in the West. Unlike the bald eagle, it is an aggressive predator. In Asia it is trained to hunt small game (see falconry). The adult is sooty brown with tawny head and neck feathers; unlike those of the bald eagle, its legs are feathered to the toes. The gray and Steller's sea eagles (also in the genus Haliaetus) are native to colder areas of the Northern Hemisphere; the king or imperial eagle to S Europe and Asia; and the rare monkey-eating eagle to the Philippines. The harpy, or harpy eagle (Thrasyaetus harpyia), of Central and South America, the largest (38 in./95 cm long) of the hawks, eats macaws and sloths. It was named for the winged monsters of Greek myth and was called "winged wolf" by the Aztecs. New Zealand's extinct Haast's eagle, which had a 10-ft (3-m) wingspan and weighed 30% to 40% more than the harpy, was the top predator in the archipelago's ecosystem prior to the arrival of humans.

Eagles—impressive both in size and for their fearsome beauty—have long been symbols of royal power and have appeared on coins, seals, flags, and standards since ancient times. The eagle was the emblem of one of the Ptolemies of Egypt and was borne on the standards of the Roman armies and of Napoleon's troops. The American bald eagle became the national emblem of the United States by act of Congress in 1782. In folklore the eagle's ability to carry off prey, including children (e.g., the legend of Ganymede), has been exaggerated; even the powerful golden eagle can lift no more than 8 lb (3.6 kg).

Eagles are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Falconiformes, family Accipitridae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"eagle." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"eagle." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/eagle

"eagle." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/eagle

eagle

eagle this large bird of prey, renowned for its keen sight and powerful soaring flight, is traditionally regarded as the king of birds. In the 15th-century Boke of St Albans, the eagle is listed in falconry as the bird for an emperor.

An eagle is the emblem of St John the Evangelist.

The figure of an eagle was used as an ensign in the Roman and French imperial armies; a figure of a bald eagle is the emblem of the United States, from which the Eagle may mean the US.
eagles don't catch flies great or important persons do not concern themselves with trifling matters. The saying is recorded from the mid 16th century, but the Latin aquila non captat muscas ‘the eagle does not catch flies’ is found in the Adages of the Dutch Christian humanist Erasmus (c. 1469–1536).
keep an eagle eye on keep a keen and close watch on.
two-headed eagle the emblem of the empires of Austria and Russia.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"eagle." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"eagle." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle

"eagle." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle

eagle

eagle Strong, carnivorous diurnal bird of prey. Sea and fishing eagles, such as the American bald eagle, are large birds found on sea coasts and inland bodies of water, where they feed on fish, small animals, and carrion. Serpent eagles are stocky reptile-eating birds. Large, harpy eagles inhabit tropical forests. Some eagles indigenous to Asia and Africa are open-country predators. True (booted) eagles (Aquila) have long hooked bills, broad wings, powerful toes with long curved talons and fully feathered legs. They are usually brownish, black or grey with light or white markings. They nest high on sea coasts or island mountains, building massive stick nests (eyries) lined with grass and leaves. One or two light-brown or spotted eggs are laid. Length: 40–100cm (16–40in). Family Accipitridae. See also falcon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"eagle." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"eagle." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/eagle

"eagle." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/eagle

eagle

eagle.
1. Pediment of a temple, or, more especially, tympanum from the Greek ὰητόσ, ὰήτωμα.

2. Gable.

3. Reading-desk or lectern in a church, often in the form of an eagle, symbol of the Word and St John the Evangelist. The eagle was believed to be the only bird that could fly directly into the sun without closing its eyes: thus it became a symbol of Holy Scripture, leading us with open eyes to God.

Bibliography

James Douglas

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"eagle." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"eagle." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle

"eagle." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle

eagle

ea·gle / ˈēgəl/ • n. 1. a large bird of prey (family Accipitridae, esp. the genus Aquila) with a massive hooked bill and long broad wings, renowned for its keen sight and powerful soaring flight. ∎  one of a pair of officer's insignia in the shape of an eagle. 2. Golf a score of two strokes under par at a hole. • v. [tr.] Golf play (a hole) in two strokes under par.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"eagle." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"eagle." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle-1

"eagle." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle-1

eagle

eagle XIV. — AN. egle, (O)F. aigle, replacing †aille, refash. after Pr. aigla, etc. :- L. aquila, perh. rel. to aquilus dark-brown.
So eaglet young eagle. XVI. See -ET; after F. aiglette, †eglette.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"eagle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"eagle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle-2

"eagle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle-2

eagle

eagledraggle, gaggle, haggle, raggle-taggle, straggle, waggle •algal •angle, bangle, bespangle, dangle, entangle, fandangle, jangle, mangel, mangle, spangle, strangle, tangle, wangle, wide-angle, wrangle •triangle • quadrangle • rectangle •pentangle • right angle • gargle •bagel, finagle, Hegel, inveigle, Schlegel •beagle, eagle, illegal, legal, paralegal, regal, spread eagle, viceregal •porbeagle •giggle, higgle, jiggle, niggle, sniggle, squiggle, wiggle, wriggle •commingle, cringle, dingle, Fingal, intermingle, jingle, mingle, shingle, single, swingle, tingle •prodigal • madrigal • warrigal •surcingle • Christingle •boggle, goggle, joggle, synagogal, toggle, woggle •diphthongal, Mongol, pongal •hornswoggle •bogle, mogul, ogle •Bruegel •bugle, frugal, fugal, google •Dougal, Mughal •Portugal • conjugal •juggle, smuggle, snuggle, struggle •bungle, fungal, jungle •McGonagall • astragal •burghal, burgle, Fergal, gurgle

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"eagle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"eagle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle-0

"eagle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/eagle-0