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Aquila chrysaetos
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Clade: Afroaves
Superorder: Accipitrimorphae
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Aquilinae
Genus: Aquila
Brisson, 1760

Hieraaetus Kaup, 1844
and see text

Aquila is the genus of true eagles. It is often united with the buteos, sea eagles and other more heavyset Accipitridae, but more recently it appears as if they are less distinct from the more slender accipitrine hawks than believed. Eagles are not a natural group but denote essentially any bird of prey large enough to hunt sizeable (about 50 cm long or more overall) vertebrate prey.


In other genera[]

Fossil record[]

Numerous fossil taxa of eagles have been described.[1] Many have been moved to other genera, but several appear correctly assigned to this genus:

  • Aquila bullockensis (Middle Miocene, Bullock Creek, Australia)[2]
  • ?Aquila delphinensis (Middle/Late Miocene of Grive-Saint-Alban, France)
  • ?Aquila pennatoides (Middle/Late Miocene of Grive-Saint-Alban, France)
  • Aquila sp. (Late Miocene - Late Pliocene of S Europe)[3]
  • Aquila sp. (Early Pliocene of Florida)
  • Aquila bivia (Late Pliocene of S USA)
  • Aquila sp. (Middle Pleistocene of Castiglione, Corsica)[4]
  • ?Aquila fossilis (Middle/Late Pleistocene of Monte Reale, Sardinia)
  • ?Aquila sp. (Late Quaternary, Madagascar)[5]

It is not clear whether "Hieraaetus" edwardsi (Middle -? Late Miocene of SW Europe) belongs into Aquila or the hawk-eagles (if the latter are indeed distinct). Its initial name, "Aquila" minuta Milne-Edwards, 1871, is preoccupied by a junior synonym of the Booted Eagle, Aquila minuta Brehm, 1831.

Not placed in Aquila anymore are:

  • "Aquila" gervaisii – now in Palaeohierax
  • "Aquila" borrasi, "A." sodalis – now in Buteogallus. B. borrasi was long placed in Titanohierax.
  • "Aquila" pliogryps – now in Spizaetus
  • "Aquila" corroyi, "A." depredator, "A." hypogaea and "A." prisca – now in Aquilavus
  • "Aquila" ferox, "A." lydekkeriprotostrigid owls, now in Minerva.

"Aquila" danana (Snake Creek Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Loup Fork, USA), occasionally placed in Geranoaetus or Buteo, was a bird of prey of unclear relationships.

For paleosubspecies of living Aquila, see the species accounts.


  1. ^ Brodkorb (1962), Mlíkovský (2002)
  2. ^ Gaff, P.; Boles, W.E. (2010). "A New Eagle (Aves: Accipitridae) from the Mid Miocene Bullock Creek Fauna of Northern Australia". Records of the Australian Museum. 62: 71–76. doi:10.3853/j.0067-1975.62.2010.1557. 
  3. ^ Mlíkovský (2002): p.194
  4. ^ Salotti et al. (2000)
  5. ^ [1]


  • Mlíkovský, Jirí (2002): Cenozoic Birds of the World, Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press, Prague. ISBN 80-901105-3-8 PDF fulltext
  • Brodkorb, Pierce (1964): Catalogue of Fossil Birds: Part 2 (Anseriformes through Galliformes). Bulletin of the Florida State Museum 8(3): 195-335. PDF or JPEG fulltext
  • Salotti, Michelle; Bellot-Gourlet, Ludovic; Courtois, Jean-Yves; Dubois, Jean-Noël; Louchart, Antoine; Mourer-Chauviré, Cécile; Oberlin, Christine; Pereira, Elisabeth; Poupeau, Gérard & Tramoni, Pascal (2000): La fin du Pléistocène supérieur et le début de l'Holocène en Corse: apports paléontologique et archéologique du site de Castiglione (Oletta, Haute-Corse) [The end of the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene in Corsica: New paleontological and archaeological data from Castiglione deposit (Oletta, Haute-Corse)]. Quaternaire 11: 219-230. [French with English abstract] HTML abstract

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