[Fr., from L. aquila."\ A large vertebrate bird of prey of the Falcon family, with a short, sharp, hooked beak; short, strong feet; very strong, sharp, hooked claws (q.v.); and a long tail. It has keen vision, is solitary in its habits, and builds its nest usually on the top of a lofty tree in a swamp, or on some rocky peak, of large sticks and branches heaped together. It uses the same nest year after year. It feeds on birds, squirrels, hares and rabbits, and lambs from the flock, seizing its prey, not with the beak, but with the talons (q.v.), sometimes driving its breast-bone straight against what it wishes to kill. The most noted species are the golden eagle, the imperial eagle, the American white or bald eagle, and the European sea-eagle. The golden eagle is a fine large bird. Its nest is roughly made up, and often measures five feet square. The young eagles never number more than four, and are hatched in thirty days. This bird, on perceiving its game, circles in the air, and then slowly descends in decreasing circles till the prey is caught. The bald or white eagle is about the size of a small hen turkey. Its head is not really bald, but covered with thick, white feathers, which give it this appearance. Its feathers are of a brownish-black color. It loves fish, but doe9 not catch them itself. Instead, it watches the fish-hawk or osprey at its work, and when it sees that the hawk has caught a fish, it swoops downward and forces it to yield its prey.
The eagle was the emblem of ancient Rome, and is now the emblem of the Austrian and Russian empires, and of the United States. The
Austrian and Russian eagles are made with two heads, in imitation of the double-headed eagle first used by Constantine the Great, one of the heads of which meant the Western Empire, and the other the Eastern Empire. Eagle, a gold coin of the United States, whose value is ten dollars. It was first coined in 1795. The half eagle was first made in the same year, the quarter eagle in 1796, and the double eagle in 1849. These coins are not pure gold. The eagle was named from the emblem of the United States.