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ETYM Old Eng. egle, French aigle, from Latin aquila; prob. named from its color, from aquilus dark-colored, brown; cf. Lith. aklas blind. Related to Aquiline.
1. Any of various large keen-sighted diurnal birds of prey noted for their broad wings and strong soaring flight; SYN. bird of Jove.
2. An emblem representing power.
3. A former gold coin in US worth 10 dollars.
Any of several genera of large birds of prey of the family Accipitridae, order Falconiformes, including the golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos of Eurasia and North America, which has a 2 m/6 ft wingspan and is dark brown. Eagles occur worldwide, usually building eyries or nests in forests or mountains, and all are fierce and powerful birds of prey.
The white-headed bald eagle Haliaetus leukocephalus is the symbol of the US; rendered infertile through the ingestion of agricultural chemicals, it is now rare, except in Alaska.
Another endangered species is the Philippine eagle, sometimes called the Philippine monkey-eating eagle (although its main prey is flying lemurs). Loss of large tracts of forest, coupled with hunting by humans, have greatly reduced its numbers.
In North America the golden eagle is found throughout most of the US, Canada, and N Mexico, with the exception of the SE. The larger spotted eagle A. clanga lives in Central Europe and Asia. The sea eagles Haliaetus include Steller’s sea eagle H. pelagicus, mainly a carrion-feeder which breeds on sea cliffs.
The eagle has been adopted by various nations as a symbol of power. It was the military standard of the Romans and of Napoleon's armies. As exemplified in the Bible, it is an emblem of nobility and generosity. In Christian art it typifies contemplation and is the symbol of St John the Baptist.