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Noble Bird of Prey

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"The Last Goodbye" by Ivan Cavini. Used with permission.
"While I fly, follow me in the shadow of my wings."
Jatayu, The Ramayana

Few animals radiate the strength and majesty of birds of prey. They're fast, powerful, intelligent 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 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 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, this portrayal being commonly attributed to falcons.

If they appear in a Funny Animals 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 Warrior Prince. Two-headed eagles, historically the symbol of several historical empires, are particularly associated with heraldry, empires and royalty.

Compare Divine Birds. Contrast Feathered Fiend and Brutal Bird of Prey for more atrocious avians. See Giant Flyer for enormous birds. It should also be noted that, while owls and vultures are also considered birds of prey, they usually have different connotations in fiction. Only add examples pertaining to them here if they fit the "noble, majestic, badass hero" stereotype. See American Eagle for a specific kind of bird often portrayed this way. For owls with positive connotations, see Cute Owl and The Owl-Knowing One. Compare Doves Mean Peace.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Washimi from Aggretsuko is a secretary bird who is the company's president's secretary and one of Retsuko's best friends. Sure, she (like anyone else at the office) can get on Retsuko's nerves at times, but when all is said and done, the two are great friends. It's also implied that since the president is so incompetent, she's running the show for him, meaning that the most powerful person in the company is on Retsuko's side!
  • Berserk: Griffith, "The White Hawk", is the legendary commander of the mercenary band known as The Band of the Hawk — a Long-Haired Pretty Boy who wears a masked helmet shaped like a bird's beak, he has an almost supernatural air of nobility about him which inspires his men to Undying Loyalty. Later in the series he picks up a Feather Motif, and his charisma grows to the point where the Church starts to consider that he may be their Messiah figure, the Hawk of Light. Unfortunately for them, he's actually the other guy.
    • While most translations of the series render it as "hawk", the Japanese word taka also includes falcons. Taka is increasingly replaced by the English word "falcon" as Griffith shows more of his true self, including his cruelty and desire to reach greater heights (both traits associated with falcons over hawks). By contrast Guts, one of the last survivors of the Band of the Hawk, is a tough, scrappy fighter whose Brand of Sacrifice forces him to become increasingly vigilant against danger (both traits associated with hawks over falcons).
  • Hawkmon from Digimon Adventure 02 qualifies as this, being a heroic, well-mannered hawk Digimon who is a partner of the heroic digi-destined.
  • Generally, all Bird-type Pokemon Ash and his companions manage to capture in Pokémon: The Series. Pidgeotto is a obvious case. It introduced itself trying to eat Caterpie (as expected from a hungry bird), though as soon as it was captured, it became a loyal battler and friend for Ash's group.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. All five members of the team represent a different type of bird.
  • Pell the Falcon from One Piece is one of the two head guards of the kingdom of Alabasta. He's a stern, noble protector who acts as a parental figure for Princess Vivi, and is willing to selflessly sacrifice himself without a hint of hesitation to protect his home from those who desire to harm it. His epithet comes from the fact he ate the Tori Tori no Mi: Model Falcon Devil Fruit, thus allowing him to transform from human form into either a anthropomorphic falcon-man or a man-sized falcon at will.
  • In Yaiba, Kotaro Fuuma's true form is that of a Hawk-Man. Yaiba is almost killed by him.

  • In The Apotheosis of Washington, a fierce eagle accompanies Lady Freedom in deposing the regal representation of Tyranny for the sake of their almighty god, George Washington.
  • Subverted by painting Hyökkäys (The Attack) by Finnish artist Edvard Isto. The two-headed eagle has attacked Maiden Finland, attempting to wrench the Book of Laws from her hands. The painting was made in protest of the Czar bypassing both the Finnish and Russian laws and stating illicit ukases on Russification policy in Finland.

    Comic Books 
  • There is an exclusively female superhero group in the DCU named the Birds of Prey
  • Judge Dredd: Judges have a massive eagle for 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.
  • King Skyglider from The Others (1995), a Many descended from an eagle, who serves the Enclave as The Good King.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Eagles are the emblem of the Amazons, and they are furious and heartbroken when an invader kills one that nests just off their shore. Later a troop of Amazons are mentally enthralled using a captured golden eagle as a focus, and freeing the bird to its majestic and noble flight frees their minds as well.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Rodan is quite snarky, hot-headed and unpleasant and he's subservient to the true King of the Monsters, but despite his personality he's a competent combatant and a Blood Knight, who is firmly on the heroes' side.

  • The Urthblood Saga: Urthblood, the warlord and titular character, employs several of these as personal fighters, spies and messengers.
  • Parvarotti, Blaine's Dragon Hawk in Solar Winds 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 The Lion King Adventures, the 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 A Growing Affection, Iruka has a hawk summoning contract. And his familiars are all named after fighter jets.
  • The Fairy Tail fanfic "The Eagle in the Oak Tree" introduces Aquila the Eagle, a Celestial Spirit that appears as a golden eagle and uses lightning magic. Aquila refuses to serve a Celestial mage who is afraid of lightning, so he throws lightning from his perch in a towering oak tree until Lucy passes his test of bravery by climbing up the tree to grab his gate key.
  • The Ace Attorney fanfic Observations on Humans is narrated from the perspective of Taka, a character's pet hawk. Naturally, Taka is a loyal and observant friend who's grateful when Juniper forgives him for scratching her, and happily consumes the bugs preying on her garden. However, he is so proud that he often has difficulty admitting affection.
    I puff out with pride when she praises me. But that is only because I like the taste of the bugs, not because I enjoy Little Flower's gentle digits and sweet coos of happiness. Bugs taste very nice. Little Flower's sweetness does not impact me in the slightest.
  • Prehistoric Park Reimagined: Whilst many birds of prey appear, Hannibal and Imilce the argentavis pair, in a rare vulture example, are the straightest examples of this trope - whilst they are fierce and menacing, they are portrayed in a sympathetic light, with Hannibal bonding with Collete Dubois and playing a heroic role in the Phase One finale.

    Films — Animation 
  • Brother Bear: Sitka's totem is the Eagle of Guidance. He later takes the form of a bald eagle as a spirit guide.
  • Like the books it's based on, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is unusual in that it has owls filling this trope.
  • Quest for Camelot: Has Ayden, a falcon with silver wings who typically acts as Garret's "seeing-eye bird". It's strongly implied that he's a familiar for Merlin.
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron has a bald eagle; he symbolises the title character's freedom and homeland.
  • The Rescuers Down Under has Marahute, a wedge-tailed eagle that's big enough for a small boy to ride on. She allows said boy to ride on her as thanks for saving her from a trap. She is an ally to the boy, as well as Bernard and Bianca, the titular rescuers, throughout the movie, as they face off against a poacher who wants to get his hands on the bird for money.
  • Wolfwalkers has Robyn's pet hunting falcon Merlyn, who's a brave and loyal companion to both her and Mebh.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Animorphs: The Animorphs use bird morphs as their primary means of travel, and favor raptorial birds for being better able to defend themselves — most notably, Rachel takes the form of a bald eagle. Then there's Tobias, who is now a red-tailed hawk in his natural form. Further played with in the David Trilogy, where the Sixth Ranger 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, with the exception of Rachel's bald eagle.
  • The blue hawk in Peter Dickinson's novel The Blue Hawk. The the novel describes the process of taming and training a large bird of prey with realism.
  • Discworld:
    • In Small Gods, the crowd at the Place of Lamentation in the Omnian Citadel believe in this, and get very excited when a particularly noble-looking eagle perches itself atop a statue; they discuss whether it is a sign (not a sign of anything, just a sign in general), or a messenger from the Great God Om, or possibly the god himself. Om, who is nearby, is not happy, as he's currently a tortoise and eagles are one of his few natural predators; he sneers that it's just a "better-looking turkey" with a brain the size of a walnut.
    • In Lords and Ladies, Lady Jane the gyrfalcon takes down one of The Fair Folk. The elf in question had ordered her to kill Hodgesaargh, the falconer, without realizing just how vicious and how prone to attacking the closest person available — including her would-be falconer — she was. She immediately went for the elf's throat.
      Hodgesaargh: She's done that to me too. Sorry about that. She's very intelligent...
    • Subverted in the same book with the wowhawk (like a goshawk, but less so) which is the most unassuming bird of prey in existence. It hates flying and has been known to faint at the sight of blood.
  • Fighting Fantasy has two adventures, Temple of Terror and Return to Firetop Mountain, involving the hero hitching a ride on the back of a noble giant eagle, which then carries them to their next adventure. But as the books take place in a world where Everything Is Trying to Kill You, both adventures have the eagles being attacked by airborne predators, respectively a Pterodactyl and a harpy, mid-journey.
  • Guardians of Ga'Hoole: Pops up all the time, since birds of prey make up almost the entire cast. In addition to the owl main characters (themselves a rare example of owls filling this trope as opposed to being scary or wise), we also have a couple of bald eagles who help Hortense the spotted owl rescue orphaned owlets from St. Aggie's.
  • In Harry Potter, Rowena Ravenclaw is one of the four founders of Hogwarts and valued wisdom above all things. Her signature animal is — contrary to what you might expect from her name — an eagle.
  • Mercedes Lackey is very fond of birds in general, but particularly raptors. In her Heralds of Valdemar novels she has a whole culture of people with avian Bond Creatures called the Hawkbrothers, although some of them have corvids or something more exotic.
  • 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.
  • Paradise Lost: The nobility of lady Victory, who sits on the right side of Christ's sun-chariot, is indicated by her eagle-wings that call to mind the Roman insignia.
  • The Prophecy of the Stones has a group of them that guard Oonagh's cave, and in addition to being big scary birds they feed on fear.
  • Birds of prey in Redwall are always on the side of good, though being predators they tend towards Creepy Awesome.
  • In 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 Ser Artys Arryn, the Falcon Knight, who led the Andal invasion of the Vale. In-universe, Ser Artys is often conflated with the Winged Knight, a legendary figure who the supposedly rode a huge falcon and had armies of eagles at this command, despite the fact that the Winged Knight would have lived thousands of years before Ser Artys.
  • Spellsinger: Gyrnaught in The Moment of the Magician is a dark version of this, being a powerful and arrogant black eagle. Who Jon-Tom realises is the living embodiment of a certain black eagle symbol from his own world's history.
  • Ythrians in Technic History are not raptors biologically and are not even avian. But they are intelligent predators capable of flight and they have the personality attributed to raptors and a culture appropriate to it.
  • In Tolkien's Legendarium, a flock of giant eagles are the messengers of Manwë. 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. In their appearance in The Hobbit, they apparently take great pleasure in messing with Goblins' and Worgs' evil plans and later join the Dwarves, Men, and Elves in fighting them at the Battle of the Five Armies. At the end, the Lord of the Eagles (who may or may not be Gwaihir) was described as becoming the King of All Birds and being given a share of Smaug's treasure, including a crown.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Eyrie Clans who live in Fantasyland's mountains are stated to raise hawks and eagles that live and fight alongside them, and which are apparently bred to be telepathic.
  • Les Voyageurs Sans Souci: Golden Eagle holds the position of Primer Minister in the Realm of Flying Creatures and is the Queen's best friend. Described as a magnificent, large eagle with golden-brown plumage and a penetrating gaze, Golden Eagle prides itself in paying its debts and keeping its promises.
  • Henrik Wergeland: 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...
  • Tales of the Magic Land feature a tribe of great eagles (resembling Tolkien's in scale and power), one of whom, the young and initially naive Carfax, is the most notable example of nobility. He even becomes their chief off-screen after his nemesis gets himself killed by his own hubris.

    Live-Action TV 

  • 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.
  • Sabaton often uses the eagle to represent Nazi Germany. In "Inmate 4859", the lyrics sung by the backing choir include the phrase "White eagle", a reference to the white eagle used as a symbol of Poland.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Ramayana has two vultures that otherwise fit this role.
  • Greek Mythology: The eagle is sacred to Zeus. Although the best-known example wasn't exactly noble, being sent to devour the captive Prometheus' liver everyday until Heracles put a stop to it.
  • In Native American mythology, the Thunderbird is typically conceived of as a noble, heroic or protective entity, often defending humanity from supernatural threats.
  • Aztec Mythology:
    • The Aztecs supposedly found the perfect place to build Tenochtitlan when they saw an eagle clutching a snake perched atop a cactus. The eagle was a symbol of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec war god and chief deity, so it was taken to mean that Huitzilopochtli had blessed them to settle the area.
    • According the creation story of the fifth sun, the poor and diseased god Nanahuatzin jumped into the sacrificial fire to become the Sun when the rich god Tecciztecatl refused out of fear. An eagle that was watching was so inspired by Nanahuatzin's bravery that it followed him into the fire, along with a jaguar, hence why two of the highest ranks in the Aztec military were the Eagle Knights and the Jaguar Knights.
  • One folktale from the Torres Strait Islands tells the tale of Kusa Kap, an eagle birthed from a standed woman who helps her and beings her home and defeats an evil spirit that has impersonated her and taken over her life.

  • Earlier releases of Stern Pinball's Harley Davidson games feature numerous eagles on the backglass and playfield. The "3rd Edition" replaces them all with a single gold eagle right above the flippers.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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. They like to think of themselves as being noble, but they're one of the worst Clans when it comes to hypocrisy regarding honor (they're very prone to bending the rules every chance they get but throw a fit at the slightest appearance of impropriety from anyone else) and in the Dark Age they adopt the so-called Mongol Doctrine, which is basically "use overwhelming force against all opponents and make sure to kill civilians."
  • Magic: The Gathering: Zig-zagged. Birds of prey are usually aligned with White mana, the color of magic most often associated with law, light and morality. However, as White is not always good, they do get to also be major villains (such as Lieutenant Kirtar in the Mirari cycle) or mindless predators.
  • Middle-Earth Role Playing: In addition to the noble Great Eagles from the novels, there are also the Sea Eagles, smaller relatives of theirs that live on the eastern coasts of Middle-Earth's continent. They are enemies of the local dragons and seen as savior figures by the islander tribes that live near them.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Giant eagles are Neutral Good creatures who serve as guardians and protectors for their mountain homes and the creatures that live there.
    • Abadar, the Lawful Neutral god of law and civilization, is strongly associated with eagles and giant eagles, especially the two-headed kind, and with part-eagle creatures such as griffons and hippogriffs. He himself sometimes takes the form of a two-headed eagle to watch over his followers.
  • Warhammer: High Elves and Wood Elves 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. The Eagles themselves are proud, noble birds that nest in the high peaks of Ulthuan and the Old World and are stalwarts foes of Chaos and the Greenskins, in addition to appearing immune to Chaos corruption. There are also War Hawks, lesser but still great birds that nest in the mountains near Athel Loren as allies of the Wood Elves, sometimes consenting to carry Elven soldiers on their backs into battle.
  • Res Arcana: The Hawk has a noble-looking illustration and is mechanically tied to the Life and especially Calm essences. Moreover, its abilities are tied to knowledge and Psychic Powers.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The double-headed eagle is the symbol of the Imperium of Man. Whenever praying to the Emperor, worshippers and devotees are said to "make the sign of the Aquila" (Aquila meaning "eagle" in Latin/High Gothic). The Emperor of Mankind is known to be from central Anatolia (currently Turkey), very close to the areas where two-headed eagle symbols first arose and were codified in western culture.

  • 1776: This is the reason John Adams wants to make the eagle the symbol of America. Benjamin Franklin disagrees, seeing them more as a Brutal Bird of Prey, and would rather have the turkey, which he sees as the truly noble bird.
  • The Greek play Agamemnon makes use of quite a bit of bird symbolism.
  • In the National Theater musical The Light Princess, Prince Digby's falcon Zephyrus is among the more important characters in the show, and is often praised for his beauty

    Video Games 
  • Angry Birds: Mighty Eagle, the strongest of all the birds, is described as the wise and valiant Big Good of the flock.
  • Assassin's Creed Gave the Player Character a trained pet eagle in Assassin's Creed Origins and Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. The franchise as whole, employs this theme as the assassins themselves are often compared to birds of prey and use eagles, falcons, and hawks in their themes as they try to use their skills for the noble purpose of keeping the world free from the dominion of the Templars.
  • Aviary Attorney: The only bird of prey, Jayjay Falcon, can be extremely noble, or not, depending on the choices the player has. As a predatory species he's expected to have a degree of ambition and bloodlust, as well as keen foresight.
  • Command & Conquer: There's a reason why the Global Defense Initiative uses a swooping hawk as their emblem: power, authority, majesty.
  • Darius has the Silver Hawk series as the central line of defense against robotic sea animals. Like the animals they're based on, the star-fighters have avian-inspired designs, such as a beak-like snout and protrusions that resemble tail-feathers.
  • In Dragon Age II, 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.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Auri-El is the Aldmeri (Elven) aspect of Akatosh, the draconic God of Time and chief deity of the Aedric Divine pantheon. As Auri-El, he takes the form of a majestic golden eagle and is referred to as the "King of Gods". As such, the eagle is the Animal Motif of the Aldmeri Dominion, showing up in everything from their sigils and banners to their very weapons and armor.
    • Similarly, Kyne, the old Nordic aspect of Kynareth, the Aedric Divine Goddess of the Air and Heavens, is associated with and often represented by a hawk.
  • Captain Falcon and his hovercar, the Blue Falcon, from the F-Zero series.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance: The laguz include a Hawk tribe who shapeshift between birds of prey and Winged Humanoids.
  • Game & Watch: The Condor of Climber that carries you to new areas should you reach it. Sometimes you have to catch a sword to chase away a dragon first.
  • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Sveta claims that the colossal, vulture-like Mountain Roc is a noble symbol of the kingdom of Morgal, and it would be sacrilege to pluck its feathers for a flying machine per the protagonists' mission. It's possible that Sveta is bluffing, as she knows the Roc's gizzard stone is the Magma Orb needed to power Luna Tower and so wants our heroes to stay away from it altogether.
  • Krut: The Mythic Wings: The Kruts, a group of eagle-headed humanoids, may be a warlike race who performed questionable deeds in the past but they're dedicated in defending their home kingdom of Himmaphan from evil. The player hero, Veera, even moreso being the most noble and honorable of his fellow Kruts, where he's The Chosen One to don the Mythical Wings.
  • Mass Effect: The Turians are meant to evoke this image, although in a subtle way, being "realistic" aliens in a hard sci-fi setting. They are also a Proud Warrior Race of Space Romans, and their homeworld is in the Aquila (Eagle) Nebula.
  • Pokémon:
    • Most of the final evolutions of the common regional birds, such as Pidgeot and Swellow, gain raptorial traits, as well as mentions in the Pokédex of their hunting prowess, majesty and flying abilities. Staraptor is the one that takes to this the most, with a great deal of emphasis being put on its fierce nature, strength and courage, and how it never stops fighting even if injured.
    • Braviary, an eagle Pokémon with feathers in the color of the American flag, takes to this trope more than any other Pokémon. 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.
    • The Fire/Flying-type Talonflame, based off of the peregrine falcon, is also an evolution of one of the early game birds, and its entries tend to focus on how passionate of a hunter and fighter it is.
    • Among the regional birds, there are Three notable aversions — Unova's Unfezant is based on a galliform rather than a raptor and, compared to birds like Pidgeot and Swellow, its claws and beak are diminished and pathetic. Instead, the Pokédex entries focus on its beauty and loyalty to its trainer, as opposed to its prowess as a predator (Unova's raptor niche belongs to the aforementioned Braviary and its counterpart Mandibuzz). Alola, meanwhile, has Toucannon, which as its name suggests is based on a toucan and explicitly stated to be a frugivore. There is also Galar's Corviknight, which is based on a corvid, more specifically, a raven.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • 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).


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Fire Nation uses hawks as messenger birds. Sokka buys one because he thinks it makes him look impressive.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse: Ben's Kickin' Hawk alien form is meant to invoke this image with his name, and his more eagle/hawk-like appearance in contrast to his criminal genetic source, the chicken-like Liam.
  • An episode of Ivanhoe: The King's Knight features the imprisoned Richard proving himself alive by sending the royal medallion to England via a big, badass eagle!
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Beaky Buzzard (who is usually a Harmless Villain) is depicted as this in "Ridiculous Journey", being a helper buzzard who rescues people/animals lost in the desert.
  • 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. The falcon wins the race, but Rainbow's Exact Words 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 rather gracefully concedes defeat, even shaking Tank's hand.
  • ThunderCats (2011): In "The Forest of Magi Oar", the Giant Flyer Viragor is atypically depicted as an ignoble, territorial monster, haunting the titular forest, antagonizing travellers and the forest's protectors the Wood Forgers. Later it's revealed that he is the forests' ancient protector, while the wood forgers are opportunistic industrialists.
  • A few Transformers have bird of prey alt modes. It's more prevalent in Beast Wars, for obvious reasons. Silverbolt stands out as being equal parts eagle and wolf.

    Real Life 
  • Double-headed eagles show at numerous points in history:
    • The oldest archaeological artifact of the double-headed eagle is Sumerian, circa 20th century BC, and is thought to have been used as royal insignia.
    • 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. This symbolism was later used by a number of other nations, such as the Russian Empire, the Austrian Empire, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro, as the symbol of both royal houses and the state itself.
  • 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 not used anymore due the abuse made by the Fascist regime, and so Italy associates itself with the wolf instead (based on the story of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a she-wolf).
  • This was why the bald eagle was selected to be the national bird of the United States of America. The Founders were conscious of the Roman symbolism of eagles, and further believed that the eagle's fierce expression was a representation of power and nobility. As for why the bald eagle specifically, that species is distinctively American (it lives only in North America).note 
  • 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. Specifically, the mythical bird called the "turul" has long been a symbol of Hungary. It is theorized to be based on the saker falcon, but in almost all of its modern depictions it appears as a massive, hulking eagle-like bird, usually with a sword in its talons.
  • As noted in above, 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 Second Empire (1864-1867) and Porfirio Diaz's dictatorship (1881-1917). Interestingly, the species of eagle is the same as the Roman eagle: Both are the golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos, which (having a Holarctic distribution) was found in both Italy and Mexico even before the Columbian Exchange.
  • The art of falconry is all about using trained birds of prey for hunting. Falconry is almost Older Than Dirt, 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, peregrine falcons and gyrfalcons were considered appropriate for kings and emperors only, while kestrels were considered appropriate for common servants — thereby combining this trope with Rank Scales with Asskicking.
  • A lot of Cool Plane models are themselves named after this trope, fighters in particular.
    • Hawker Aircraft made a number of Cool Planes during World War II including the Hurricane which was the Royal Air Force's meat and potatoes and the Typhoon which was terrifying at close support and interdiction.
    • Rolls-Royce, who had been making piston aircraft engines since World War I, named all of their piston engine types after birds of prey by custom.note  The engine powering the Hurricane was the Merlin (not the wizard, but 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.
    • As would its stablemate, General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.
    • The F-15's intended replacement, the F-22 Raptor, is even more impressive. Like its predecessor, the Raptor has an impressive service record with no combat losses. With stealth, maneuverability, and supercruise advantages, the Raptor has become the ultimate bird of prey.
    • The Harrier Jump Jet, a British fighter jet capable of taking off vertically, is named after a type of hawk.
  • Several sports teams such as the Atlanta Hawks (basketball), the Philadelphia Eagles, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Seattle Seahawks (all football). Some European soccer teams also have eagles in their crests: examples include Benfica from Portugal, SS Lazio from Italy and Crystal Palace from England.
  • A white eagle is often used as a nationalist symbol of Poland. It's depicted with white feathers, gold claws, a gold beak, and wearing a gold crown.
  • The Kremlin uses goshawks and an owl to scare off crows.
  • European trainers have been teaching eagles to safely and efficiently take down consumer-grade drones, as a viable defense against the machines' use by smugglers, terrorists, and other criminals.
  • The Peregrine Falcon has been a success story in efforts to rebuild the species that had been devastated by DDT pesticide. The species special advantage is that for a large species of bird, they take to urban areas fairly easily considering it likes to build its nests on all cliff sides, and the standard apartment/office building design is close enough for them to use as such. Furthermore, prey is usually not a problem with plenty of pigeons to hunt.
  • When poet Robinson Jeffers was building a stone tower on his California estate, he noticed that a hawk frequently flew overhead. He named the structure Hawk Tower and added a stone sculpture of a hawk to it.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Big Badass Birds Of Prey, Big Badass Bird Of Prey


Eagly is Hardcore

While Peacemaker and Vigilante are trying to escape from the cops, Eagly helps them by swooping in and attacking the cops.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / NobleBirdOfPrey

Media sources: