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American Eagle

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The Great Seal of the United States of America

The bald eagle, the national bird of the United States, is one of the most well-recognized national animals in the world. It was originally chosen by the nation's founders as a deliberate callback to The Roman Republic, whose symbol had been the eagle of Jupiter (this is why many European nations have used eagles as their symbols, as well), but with the recognizable and distinctly American bald eagle replacing the traditional golden eagle in order to set themselves apart as something new and distinct from Europe.

There are a number of ways this can be used in fiction. Generally, bald eagles can be used as visual symbols for the United States or expies thereof — expect a lot of eagle statuary, eagle iconography and pet eagles associated with American buildings, organizations and individuals in these cases. In settings where most or several characters are talking animals, American ones have a strong tendency to be depicted as bald eagles, and all bald eagles will be American. These characters are almost invariably depicted as outrageous American stereotypes, incredibly patriotic, utterly enamored with America and American values, and deeply distrustful anything deemed anti-American. Notably, however, it's rare to see such characters contrasted with the symbolic animals of other nations, such as the Russian bear.


Of note is that depictions of the bald eagle in pop culture often give it a bold, powerful screech that actually comes from the red-tailed hawk. The actual sounds made by the bald eagle are softer and chirpy, more akin to what one might expect from a sparrow than from the mighty, proud embodiment of Eagleland.

Subtrope of National Animal Stereotypes. See also Noble Bird of Prey and Eagleland.

Not to be confused with the clothing and accessories retailer or the regional subsidiary of American Airlines by the same name.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bakuten Shoot Beyblade: Michael of the American All-Starz team uses the beyblade Trygle, which has an eagle as its bit beast. Fittingly, he's also the team's leader.

  • The Apotheosis of Washington: Just below George Washington there's a mighty eagle nearly the size of Lady Liberty attacking a kingly knight, representing America's rebellion against Britain. It even holds arrows and a thunderbolt in hand, just like on the seal of the USA.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Our Man Flint: Inverted. The Galaxy organization has an anti-American eagle guarding its headquarters: it's trained to detect and attack Americans. After Flint destroys the Island Base, the last scene in the movie is the eagle soaring over it.

  • Illuminatus! ends on a scene where an all-American hunter is climbing a mountain somewhere in the Rockies on a mission that will make him a god among hunters and utterly reviled by liberals, commies, ecologists, hippies and limp-wristed pinkos. Specifically, his mission is to kill the last known American Eagle. As he lowers his rifle and screams "I did it! I killed the last eagle!" the strands of the story come together as a massive earthquake begins under his feet. The San Andreas Fault has just broken up and at this point, a combination of earthquakes and tsunamis destroy the Pacific seaboard of the USA. The implication is clear: America is so bound up with its symbolic eagles that killing the last one, rendering the species extinct, also destroys the USA. The ideal of America dies with the last eagle.
  • Legacy: The Tale of the American Eagle: The story is about an American Badass Normal superhero crimefighter who names himself "the American Eagle".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Miracle Workers: In an advertisement, a grizzled old timer sits on the wagon beside an excited young priest. The priest points up to the sky at a bald eagle, which the driver fires at with his six-gun. After an off-screen "thud", the priest indignantly says "You shot America!"
  • The Muppet Show: Sam the Eagle is a walking, talking stereotype of American patriotism and "family values". He's so American that when he plays a British character in The Muppet Christmas Carol, he starts talking about how business makes America great and has to be reminded by the narrator that he's British.
  • Sesame Street: One skit is about monsters trying to decide the national bird of America. Bejamin Franklin (played by Telly) suggests the turkey as turkeys were there to welcome the pilgrims (and because they're "nice"). Thomas Jefferson (played by Bert) suggests the pigeon because they enjoy the simple things that improve America (like curbs). Oscar suggests cockatoos since they can be taught rude sayings. John Adams (played by Ernie) suggests the eagle and wins offending Big Bird.

  • Sabaton: "Screaming Eagles" is a song about the US Army 101st Airborne Division holding the line at Bastogne against the German Army during the Battle of the Bulge.

  • Sam the Eagle (no relation to the Muppets' Sam) was the official mascot of the 1984 Summer Olympics hosted in Los Angeles... which followed the previous Olympics hosted by the Soviet Union and with a bear as their mascot. Both events were noteworthy and infamous for being highly politicized, because the U.S. had boycotted the Moscow games in response to the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, and the Soviets retaliated by boycotting the Los Angeles games.

    Theme Parks 
  • Six Flags Great America has a wooden roller coaster known as the American Eagle. The ride is painted in red, white, and blue and has a bald eagle in its logo.

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing: The villager Apollo is a bald eagle whose birthday is on July 4.
  • Azur Lane: A few of the Eagle Union aircraft carriers, particularly Enterprise, Yorktown, and Hornet, have bald eagles as pets, and these are often featured alongside their owners in official art, merchandise, and related material.
  • Pokémon: Braviary is an eagle Pokémon with feathers in the color of the American flag and a feathered crest reminiscent of a Cheyenne feathered headdress. It's referred to as "the hero of the sky", fights for its friends without any thought of its own safety, and the more scars it has, the more respect it gets from its peers. It was first introduced in Pokémon Black and White, whose Unova region is primarily based on NYC and eastern New Jersey.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Soldier, an extremely patriotic American, generally has an eagle motif, with many of his cosmetics being eagle-related and many of his lines referencing the bird of prey's status as America's symbol as well. One cosmetic has a a small bald eagle that perches on his shoulder, while another gives him an eagle's head.
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has an inversion in the Show Within a Show Blitzmensch (an electricity-themed Batman Nazi expy), who features an eagle-themed American villain called "Illegal Eagle" as one of the members of Blitzmensch's Rogues Gallery.
  • World of Warships: A few skins for American ships such as the Cleveland have American eagle-themed decorations, usually released as part of a July 4th promo.


    Web Original 
  • Crash Course: The US Government & Politics mini-series' host Wheezy Waiter has on his desk a rubber figure of a soaring bald eagle, which he occasionally strokes or punches clean off the table (depending on whether he especially likes or dislikes a particular aspect of the US political system, respectively).
  • Detective Heart of America is a series of films by FilmCow that are parodies of the Eagle Land trope in all its forms. The main character is a small plastic eagle statuette.
  • Epic Rap Battles of History: Matches between American political figures tend to be crashed by Abraham Lincoln being airlifted in by a giant bald eagle, and dropping in to give both competitors a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    Lincoln: By the power invested in me by this giant bald bird!
  • Extra Credits: In the Extra History retelling of the legend of Hiawatha, the Haudenosaunee united under the Great Law of Peace bury their weapons beneath the roots of a pine tree and an eagle comes to perch on the tree's highest branch. Centuries later, Ben Franklin and George Washington hear the legend from the Haudenosaunee's descendants, and adopt an eagle carrying a bundle of arrows in one of its talons as a symbol of their new nation in honor of the legend.
  • TheOdd1sOut: In "Boy, Were They Wrong!", which is about times people in the past have been wrong about things, the first thing James talks about is Christopher Columbus mistaking America for India. When the word "America" is first said, an eagle head is briefly shown and is heard screeching.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-50-AE-J is a Desert Eagle that shoots bald eagles which go absolutely berserk at "anyone who displays Communist beliefs, Russian ancestry, or unpatriotic leanings".
  • This Very Wiki: The trope for excessively patriotic/nativistic Americanism is called Eagleland; we also have Eagleland Osmosis.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: As one would guess from the title, Stan Smith is very patriotic. In "Kiss Kiss Cam Cam" Stan has a short Daydream Surprise where Francine gets him eighty-one bald eagles as an early birthday present, where he imagines soaring through the skies with them. Things take an even weirder turn when they drop him off in the room of an attractive-looking lady who has the head of a bald eagle (with hair), and proceeds to make out with her.
  • Danger Mouse: Establishing Shots of New York have the Statue of Liberty as an eagle. There's also a recurring Innocent Bystander who's an eagle Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist.
  • Family Guy: Peter and his friends perform a patriotic parody of HyunA's "Bubble Pop" in an effort to convince Quagmire to move back to America. One of the dancers in the music video is an anthropomorphic bald eagle wearing an U.S. flag speedo.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: The character Spirit has a bald eagle companion named "Freedom".
  • The Simpsons: In "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington" Lisa enters an essay writing contest with a theme of patriotism. She cycles into Springfield forest and calls out to nature to inspire her, and an eagle lands on a tree branch in front of her and spreads its wings, prompting her to write a brilliant essay that wins the first round of the competition.

  • Punch! often depicted the United States in the form of an eagle in its political cartoons; sometimes, the American eagle was shown interacting with other national eagles, such as an eagle depicting Germany.

    Real Life 
  • An — apocryphal and debunked — story claims that Benjamin Franklin opposed this trope, as he supposedly felt that the bald eagle was a thieving scavenger and thus unfit to symbolize the nation and instead wanted the symbol to be a turkey. Franklin did extoll the virtues of the turkey compared to the eagle in his private writings, but at no point did he ever propose it as a national symbol.
  • Chrysler's Eagle division is actually an inversion. Most of the brand's models were captive imports (imported models rebadged with American branding). The only Eagle model that wasn't a rebadged import was the Vision, a rebadged Dodge Intrepid/Chrysler Concorde.
  • Eagles were important to the first inhabitants of the Americas, the indigenous peoples. Ironically though, the bald eagle was seldomly the favoured species; that honour goes to the more impressive golden eagle, symbol of great empires like the Aztecs and the Tarascans. Golden Eagles became the national bird and animal of Mexico note  because of the Mexicas that went southward and built a city note  where they saw a golden eagle standing on a cactus.


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