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Eagle common name for a number of diurnal birds of prey some of which are the largest members of their family which also includes kites hawks buzzards and certain vultures The name eagle is somewhat loosely applied as several of the groups are not particularly closely related to one another and some birds called hawks are larger than some called eagles The golden eagle is distributed through most of the northern hemisphere This is the eagle that has been regarded from ancient times as a symbol of courage and power because of its large size superb aerial skills and the inaccessibility of many of its nest sites in wild and mountainous country In Roman myths this eagle is associated with the principal deity Jupiter It was the emblem of certain Roman legions of France under the Bonapartes of Germany and of the Russian In North America the golden eagle occurs as far south as Mexico but it is most common in the mountainous areas of the western United States and Canada east of the Mississippi it is relatively rare Females attain a length of about 1 m about 3 ft from the tip of the beak to the tip of the tail and have a wingspread of about 2 m about 7 ft Males are smaller as is true for most of the birds of prey A characteristic of the genus is the feathering of the legs down to the toes in other eagles the lower part of the leg is bare and scaled as in most birds The body plumage is dark brown with a distinct golden wash over the back of the head and neck giving the species its name The tail of adults is brown with several indistinct pale bands that of immature birds is white with a dark brown terminal band Most golden
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