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Aquila, in the Bible
Aquila, in astronomy
Aquila(ă-kwil -ă) (Eagle) An equatorial constellation near Cygnus, lying in the Milky Way, the brightest stars being the 1st-magnitude Altair (α) and some of 2nd and 3rd magnitude. Eta (η) Aquilae is a bright Cepheid variable, period 7.177 days. Abbrev.: Aql; genitive form: Aquilae; approx. position: RA 19.5h, dec +3°; area: 652 sq deg.
(eagles), a genus of predatory birds of the family Falconiformes. The broad and long wings have a span of 2–2.4 m. The birds weigh up to 6 kg. The tarsometatarsus is feathered to the digits, and the talons are highly developed. Males and females have the same coloration.
There are nine species, distributed in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America, from the forest-tundra zone to the deserts and mountains. Eagles apparently mate for life. They build nests in trees, on cliffs, or on the ground. A clutch is one to three eggs, which are incubated by the male and the female for 40 to 45 days. The young leave the nest in eight to ten weeks. Eagles prey on small and medium-size vertebrates; less frequently, they feed on carrion. They look for their prey while soaring in the air, or they lie in wait on the ground.
In the USSR there are five species: the golden eagle (A. chrysaëtus), the largest species, is very widespread; the imperial eagle (A. heliaca) usually inhabits the steppes; A. nipalensis lives in steppes and semideserts; and the spotted eagle (A. clanga) and A. pomarina are found in the forest zone. A closely related genus, Hieraaetus, is represented by two species: the booted eagle (H. pennata), characteristic of the forest zone, and Bonelli’s eagle (H. fasciata), found in the mountains of southern Middle Asia.
Eagles are rapidly declining in number; they are all protected species. The golden eagle is used for hunting foxes, wolves, and hares in Middle Asia. Many other predatory birds of the family Falconiformes (ten or 11 genera) are called eagles.
REFERENCEPtilsy Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1951.
A. I. IVANOV