(Falco Ossifragus, Linn.—L'Ofraie, Buff.)
THIS bird is nearly us large us the Golden Eagle, measuring in length three feet and a half, but its expanded wings do not reach above seven feet. The bill is large, much hooked, and bluish: irides in some light hazel, in others yellow: a row of strong bristly feathers hangs down from its under mandible next to its throat, whence it has been termed the Bearded Eagle: the top of the head and back part of the neck are dark brown, inclining to black: the feathers on the back are variegated by a lighter brown, with dark edges; scapulars pale brown, the edges nearly white; breast and belly whitish, with irregular spots of brown; tail feathers dark brown, the outer edges of the exterior feathers whitish; quill feathers and thighs dusky; legs and feet yellow; the claws, which are large, and form a complete semicircle, are of a shining black.
It is found in various parts of Europe and America: is said to lay only two eggs during the whole year, and frequently produces only one bird; it is however widely dispersed, and was met with at Botany Island by Captain Cook. It lives chiefly on fish: its usual haunts are by the sea-shore; it also frequents the borders of large lakes and rivers; and is said to see so distinctly in the dark, as to be able to pursue and catch its prey during the night. The story of the Eagle, brought to the ground after a severe conflict with a cat, which it had seized and taken up into the air with its talons, is very remarkable. Mr Barlow, who was an eyewitness of the fact, made a drawing of it, which he afterwards engraved.
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