Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Eagle: (Heb. nesher , i.e. a tearer with the beak). At least four distinct kinds of eagles have been observed in Palestine, viz., the golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos , the spotted eagle, Aquila naevia , the imperial eagle, Aquila heliaca , and the very common Circaetos gallicus . The Hebrew nesher may stand for any of these different species, though perhaps more particular reference to the golden and imperial eagles and the griffon vulture may be intended. The passage in Micah, (Micah 1:16) "enlarge thy baldness as the eagle," may refer to the griffon vulture, Vultur fulvus , in which case the simile is peculiarly appropriate, for the whole head and neck of this bird are destitute of true feathers. The "eagles" of (Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37) may include the Vultur fulvus and Neophron percnopterus ; though, as eagles frequently prey upon dead bodies, there is no necessity to restrict the Greek word to the Vulturidae . The figure of an eagle is now and has long been a favorite military ensign. The Persians so employed it; a fact which illustrates the passage in (Isaiah 46:11) The same bird was similarly employed by the Assyrians and the Romans.