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Eagle

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Eagle
Closeup view of an Australian Wedge-tailed Eagle showing the hooked beak.
Closeup view of an
Australian Wedge-tailed Eagle
showing the hooked beak.
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes*
Family:Accipitridae
Genera

Several, see below.
 *see Accipitriformes for family list

Eagles are large birds of prey, which are found mainly in the Old World, with only two species (Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle) in North America, a few in South America and two, (White-bellied Sea Eagle and Wedge-tailed Eagle), in Australia. They are members of the bird order Falconiformes, family Accipitridae and belong to several different genera, not necessarily closely related to each other.

In Britain before 1678, Eagle referred specifically to the Golden Eagle, the other native species, the White-tailed Eagle, being known as the Erne. The modern name for Aquila chrysaetos was introduced by the naturalist John Ray.

Like all birds of prey, eagles have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs and powerful talons. They also have extremely keen eyesight to enable them to spot potential prey from a distance. This keen eyesight is primarily contributed by their extremely large pupils which cause minimal diffraction (spreading) of the incoming light.

Contents

Taxonomy

For many years there has been some scientistic debate as to whether the Accipitriformes are a separate order, or belong to the Falconiformes.

Major new research into eagle taxonomy suggests that the important genera Aquila and Hieraaetus are not composed of nearest relatives, and it is likely that a reclassification of these genera will soon take place, with some species being moved to Lophaetus or Ictinaetus.

Current species classification

Eagles appear prominently in myth and literature. In the Old World, such references are commonly to the Golden Eagle (or possibly closely related species found in warm climates).

Eagles as national birds

The eagle has been used by many nations as a national symbol, depicting power, beauty and independence.

External link

See also

de:Adler (Biologie) es:guila eo:Aglo fr:Aigle (oiseau) it:Aquila chrysaetos ms:Burung helang ja:鷲 nl:Adelaar nn:rn pt:guia simple:Eagle sv:rn zh:鹰

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