[[quoteright:330:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/falcon_with_shank_7014.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:330:[[AwesomeButImpractical It is even more dangerous without the knife.]]]]
->''"While I fly, follow me in the shadow of my wings."''
-->-- '''Jatayu''', ''[[Literature/{{Ramayana}} The Ramayana]]''

Few animals radiate the strength and majesty of birds of prey. They're fast, powerful and look intense, netting them a spot right at the top of both the food chain and the minds of people worldwide. From Roman symbols through medieval heraldry right to the forefront of [[{{Eagleland}} American cultural symbols]], they have almost always had a proud and noble reputation. Whether a character in their own right or a symbol of the strength of another, raptors are not to be sneered at.

Though always considered powerful and usually majestic, certain birds have their own special attributes as well. Eagles, for instance, are associated with power, royalty and empire while hawks represent aggression even in [[WarHawk the English language itself.]] Of course, being symbols of pride and power is not always a positive thing: They can also be portrayed as cruel or merciless.

If they appear in a {{Funny Animal}}s setting you can expect them to be among the most {{Badass}} members of the cast and with a fearsome reputation. In a world with only humans, they may appear with the real world usage of heraldry or perhaps utilized by a WarriorPrince or TheHunter.

See FeatheredFiend for more atrocious avians and GiantFlyer for enormous birds.

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%%% When adding examples, keep in mind that this trope is not "bird plus badass" "big birds" or any general depiction of birds.
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!!Examples:
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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman''. All 5 members of the team represent a different type of bird.
* In ''{{Yaiba}}'', Kotaro Fuuma's [[OneWingedAngel true form]] is that of a Hawk-Man. Yaiba is almost killed by him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* There is an [[AmazonBrigade exclusively female]] superhero group in the DCU named the ComicBook/BirdsOfPrey
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'': Judges have a massive eagle for [[FashionableAsymmetry one shoulder pad]], and eagles are a prominent symbol in all parts of the Judge System. Carlos Ezquerra says he chose the eagle because it was heavily associated with both American freedom and fascist Spain and Nazi Germany; thus, it serves as a reminder of how something good can be perverted into evil by good intentions.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fairy Tales]]
* In ''Literature/TheFeatherOfFinistTheFalcon'', the handsome prince Finist turns into a falcon.
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[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* ''TheUrthbloodSaga'': Urthblood, the warlord and titular character, employs several of these as personal fighters, spies and messengers.
* Parvarotti, [[Series/{{Glee}} Blain'se]] [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender Dragon Hawk]] in ''Fanfic/SolarWinds'' instills fear in all who dare come near--except for Blaine, who treats him like one of his best friends. Parvarotti is a messenger hawk and is fiercely protective of Blaine.
* In ''Fanfic/TheLionKingAdventures'', the [[HermitGuru Hermit of Hekima]] is a ''giant golden eagle'' with telepathic abilities and insight into the future. He acts as a guide for Simba, Nala and Haiba in Series Five.
* In ''FanFic/AGrowingAffection'', Iruka has a hawk summoning contract. And his familiars are all named after fighter jets.
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[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'': Shan-Yu has a hawk for a pet. It's the perfect accessory for a nomadic warlord on the warpath.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiritStallionOfTheCimarron'' has a bald eagle; he symbolises the title character's freedom and homeland.
* ''Disney/TheRescuersDownUnder'' has a wedge-tailed eagle that's [[GiantFlyer big enough for a small boy to ride on]]. Wedge-tails are among the largest flying birds in the world, but real ones still aren't ''that'' big.
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[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheNativityStory'' uses a hawk to symbolize the Holy Spirit. Quite a step up from the usual dove.
* In ''Film/OurManFlint'', the Galaxy organization has an anti-American eagle guarding its headquarters: it's trained to detect and attack Americans. After Flint destroys the IslandBase, the last scene in the movie is the eagle soaring over it.
* In ''Film/TheMummyTrilogy'', Ardeth Bey has a [[InstantMessengerPigeon messenger-falcon]] named ''[[Myth/EgyptianMythology Horus]]''.
* In ''AfterEarth'', there is an eagle. A [[GiantFlyer gigantic eagle.]] It is large enough to [[KidnappingBirdOfPrey carry off a teenage boy,]] and is [[MamaBear incredibly protective of its offspring]].
* In ''Series/The10thKingdom'', the [[ImplacableMan Huntsman tracking the protagonists]] sports a magical crossbow with a falcon's head that issues corresponding calls when "ready to go" and shoots ''homing''' arrows.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* The ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' use these morphs as their primary means of travel. Then of course there is Tobias who is now a red-tailed hawk in his [[ShapeshifterModeLock natural form]].
** Further played with in the David Trilogy, when new SixthRanger David chooses a golden eagle as his first morph, a bird easily larger and more dangerous than any other the kids have morphed so far.
* Creator/MercedesLackey is very fond of birds in general, but particularly raptors. She even has a whole culture of people with avian BondCreatures called the [[Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar Hawkbrothers]], although some of them have [[CleverCrows corvids]] or something more exotic.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies'': Lady Jane takes down one of TheFairFolk. The elf in question ordered her to kill Hodgesaargh, the falconer, without realising just how vicious and badly trained she was. She immediately went for the elf's throat.
-->'''Hodgesaargh:''' She's does that to me too. Sorry about that. She's very intelligent...
* ''Literature/TheProphecyOfTheStones'' has a group of them that guard Oonagh's cave, and in addition to being big scary birds they [[EmotionEater feed on fear]].
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Rowena Ravenclaw is one of the four founders of Hogwarts and valued wisdom above all things. Her signature animal is an eagle.
* ''Ice Falcon'' by Rita Ritchie, about a falconer's apprentice who travels to Iceland to capture a white gyrfalcon and ransom his father with it.
* The blue hawk in Creator/PeterDickinson's novel ''The Blue Hawk''. The the novel describes the process of taming and training a large bird of prey with realism.
* In ''Literature/{{A Song Of Ice and Fire}}'', the falcon is the sigil of the House of Arryn (whose words are "As High As Honor"), founded by "the Falcon Knight." [[UnreliableNarrator Allegedly,]] he could fly.
* In ''Franchise/TolkiensLegendarium'', the eagles are the messengers of Manwe. Being possibly Maiar would make them immortal, and at least one of them (Gwaihir) was listed as being alive in both the First and Third Ages, thousands of years apart.
** At the end of ''Literature/TheHobbit'', the Lord of the Eagles (who may or may not be Gwaihir) was described as being given a crown to wear.
* Creator/HenrikWergeland Inverted this in his poem ''follow the call'', as the eagle also is the symbol of a poet:
-->Royal Eagle, chained and bound
-->by the leg, with broken wing,
-->who, for over twenty years -
-->since the shot that crippled him
-->has served as fettered guard
-->in a poor smallholder`s yard.
-->Despite his wounded limb he has
-->less of sadness than the poet
-->Born into a wilderness
-->unheeding as this dreary land...
* Ythrians in ''Literature/TechnicHistory'' are not raptors biologically and are not even avian. But they are intelligent predators capable of flight and they have the [[WarriorPoet personality]] attributed to raptors and a culture appropriate to it.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Quite a few seasons of ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' and ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' have bird-themed Rangers or at least AnimalMecha. Notably ''Series/ChoujinSentaiJetman'' uses birds as its entire theme, in tribute to ''Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman''.
** In any SuperSentai team with AnimalMotifs, [[TheLeader the red ranger]] will always be either a bird of prey or a big cat.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' : Both the Romulans and [[ProudWarriorRace Klingons]] in have warships referred to as Birds of Prey. The Klingon one is pretty small but the Romulan one is massive. The Romulans are also associated with eagles, likely due to the parallels with the Roman Empire.
* In an episode of ''Series/TheTudors'', Anne Boleyn and her father handle a Harris's hawk. As the Harris's hawk is native to the Americas, it's MisplacedWildlife, but [[RuleOfCool it looks cool.]]
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[[folder:Music]]
* Eluveitie, a folk metal band, has lots of songs about the historic struggles between the Gauls and the Roman empire. Eagles are sometimes used to represent the Roman enemy.
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[[folder:Pinball]]
* Earlier releases of Creator/SternPinball's ''Pinball/HarleyDavidson'' games feature numerous eagles on the backglass and playfield. The "3rd Edition" replaces them all with a single gold eagle right above the flippers.
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[[folder:Religion]]
* The ''Literature/{{Ramayana}}'' has two ''vultures'' that otherwise fit this role.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* High Elves and Wood Elves in WarhammerFantasy have access to Giant Eagles, both as their own unit and as mounts for their Lords and Heroes. They later get an upgrade to flying chariot pulled by a giant eagle.
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' has Clan Jade Falcon, one of the most aggressive Clans in the Inner Sphere, they later have bird themed mechs like the Jade Hawk.
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[[folder:Theatre]]
* The Greek play ''Theatre/{{Agamemnon}}'' makes use of quite a bit of bird symbolism.
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[[folder:Video Game]]
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'': There's a ''reason'' why the Global Defense Initiative uses a swooping hawk as their emblem: power, authority, majesty.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''
** Hunters can tame eagles as pets. They come with the racial ability Snatch, which damages and disarms targets for six seconds, very handy for fighting humanoids and other weapon-wielding foes, and even some raid bosses.
** Druids have the ability to turn into Storm Crows (except Trolls, who turn into bats instead).
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', birds of prey are a prevalent feature of Kirkwall architecture and many nobles favour them in their coat of arms. For instance, the Viscount uses a Falcon as his symbol, while the Amell family crest is adorned with two Eagles, later adopted by their scion, Hawke.
* ''FireEmblemTellius:'' The [[LittleBitBeastly laguz]] include a Hawk tribe who [[{{Animorphism}} shapeshift]] between birds of prey and {{Winged Humanoid}}s.
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/NahastLandsOfStrife'' contains the Hawk's Talon fighting style, the Hawk Maidens fighting order [[FunnyAnimal and the hawkfolk, a.k.a the Skrii'qek.]] The hawk is also the sacred animal of Zuze'en, the goddess of the dawn.
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[[folder:Web Video]]
* ''WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesOfHistory'': The match between UsefulNotes/BarackObama and UsefulNotes/MittRomney features a massive bald eagle, the symbol of the United States Of America. Is it on Obama's side? Romney's? [[spoiler:Nope! It's airlifting UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln, looking like he's fresh out of his match with Chuck Norris in Season One, dropping in to give both competitors a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Lincoln:''' [[LargeHam By the power invested in me by this giant bald bird!]] ]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender: The Fire Nation uses hawks as messenger birds. Sokka buys one because he thinks it makes him look impressive.
* In ''Disney/BrotherBear'', Sitka's totem is the Eagle of Guidance. He later takes the form of a bald eagle as a spirit guide.
* A few {{Transformers}} have bird of prey alt modes. It's more prevalent in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin for obvious reasons]]. Silverbolt stands out as being equal parts eagle and [[NobleWolf wolf]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011'' episode "The Forest of Magi Oar" GiantFlyer Viragor is atypically depicted as an ignoble, territorial monster, haunting the [[TheLostWoods titular forest]], antagonizing travellers and the forest's protectors the Wood Forgers. [[spoiler:Later it's revealed that ''he'' is the forests' ancient protector, while the wood forgers are opportunistic industrialists.]]
* In ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic]]'', Rainbow Dash is looking for the coolest pet, i.e. the best, most majestic, most awesome etc. She is presented with the possibility of having a falcon or an eagle as her pet, and indeed both make it to the final competition - a race through Ghastly Gorge. [[spoiler: The falcon wins the race, but Rainbow's ExactWords dictated that whichever one crossed the finish line WITH HER would become her pet. Since Tank the tortoise was the only one to stop and help her after she was trapped by an avalanche, the falcon concedes defeat.]]

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[[folder:Real Life]]
* The oldest archaeological artifact of the double-headed eagle is Sumerian, circa 20th century BC. The double-headed eagle was a symbol of The Byzantine Empire, with one head looking East (Constantinople) and one West (Rome). As symbol for the Holy Roman Empire, it represented Church and State. The Emperor of Mankind is known to be from central Anatolia (currently Turkey).
* The eagle was also famously used as a national symbol by Rome, countries that claimed to be the "Third Rome" (Russia, the Ottoman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, Fascist Italy), countries which inherited the symbolism from them in turn (Austria, Prussia, Germany), and even countries which have sought to emulate Rome's ''republic'' era (the United States). Italy's claim of being the heir of Imperial Rome is better than most, by virtue of being Rome's heartland. However, the symbol is forgotten due the abuse made by the [[UsefulNotes/FascistItaly Fascist regime]].
* This was why the bald eagle was selected to be the national bird of the United States of America; people believed that the eagle's fierce expression was a representation of power and nobility. If Benjamin Franklin had his way, America would have averted the trope by adopting the turkey instead.
* Played with by Hungary, every country that's invaded or otherwise subjugated them have used eagles as their symbol; in response Hungary uses a falcon.
* Mexico's eagle is of Aztec origin, hence it's preying on a snake over a cactus. It had a rather Romanesque pose during the time of the II Empire (1864-1867) and Porfirio Diaz's dictatorship (1881-1917).
* The art of falconry is all about using trained birds of prey for hunting. Falconry is almost OlderThanDirt, with evidence of falconry found in both Chinese and Assyrian records dating back to 7th~6th century BC.
** In Mongolia, there's a tradition of hunting with trained golden eagles.
** Falconry was once the favorite sport of European nobility.
** In medieval England, there was a hierarchy of "socially appropriate" birds one could use depending on their station, as described in manuscripts such as ''Booke of Hawkyng after Prince Edwarde Kyng of Englande''. Birds such as eagles were considered appropriate for emperors only, while kestrels were considered appropriate for common servants--thereby combining this trope with AsskickingEqualsAuthority.
* A lot of CoolPlane models are themselves named after this trope, fighters in particular.
** Hawker Aircraft made a number of [[CoolPlane Cool Planes]] during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII including the Hurricane which was the Royal Air Force's meat and potatoes and the Typhoon which was terrifying at [[DeathFromAbove close support and interdiction]].
** Rolls-Royce, who had been making piston aircraft engines since World War I, named all of their engine types after birds of prey by custom. The engine powering the Hurricane was the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Merlin Merlin]] (not the wizard, but [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_%28bird%29 a type of falcon]]).
** The [=McDonnell=] Douglas F-15 Eagle is famous for its worldwide service record of 104 kills to 0 losses in air-to-air combat (as of 2015). It's certainly done its namesake proud.
* Several sports teams such as the Atlanta Hawks (basketball), the Philadelphia Eagles, the Atlanta Falcons, the Seattle Seahawks (all football), and the Atlanta Thrashers (now knows as the Winnipeg Jets) (hockey).
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