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Persian Eagles

Part 2



The steppe eagle or tawny eagle, Aquila rapax orientalis (?oq?b-e da?t?), mainly resides in breeding areas; the subspecies A. r. orientalis breeds east of the Black Sea through the high steppes of Central Asia to Mongolia; most winter in tropical Africa. It is resident in southern Baluchistan, a winter visitor in southwestern Persia, and a passage migrant or winter visitor in Afghanistan. Its habitat is dry regions in mountains or plains and rubbish dumps in desert towns. It nests on mounds, ruins, or small trees (Scott et al., pp. 89-90; Paz, p. 66; Hollom et al., p. 64).

The imperial eagle, Aquila heliaca heliaca (?oq?b-e ??h?), breeds from the Balkans to Central Asia; is a resident in the eastern Alborz Mountains and western Kopet Dag; is a partial migrant; winters in Afghanistan, Turkey, Persia, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Oman, Yemen, and central and eastern Saudi Arabia; and is a vagrant in Syria, Libya, and Morocco. Its habitat is parklike plains, steppes, and marshes; it builds substantial nests in large trees (Scott et al., pp. 91-92; Paz, pp. 66-67; Hollom et al., p. 65).

The golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos (?oq?b-e ?el???), ranges across the Holarctic. Found in Europe, Asia, and North America, its range in the Palearctic region extends from the Sahara and the shores of the Mediterranean to the tundra of northeastern Asia. A. c. homeyeri is distributed from Spain and North Africa east through Turkey and Persia; is a resident in mountainous and upland areas of western and northern Persia; and also breeds in highland Turkey, isolated areas of North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Israel, and possibly Afghanistan. Its habitat is barren mountainsides, and locally it can also be found in upland and lowland forests, and on plains and semideserts with trees. It nests on rocky ledges, sometimes in trees (Scott et al., p. 92; Paz, pp. 64-65; Hollom et al., p. 65).

The booted eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus (?oq?b-e parp?), breeds as a summer visitor in North Africa, Spain, southern Europe, Turkey, Iraq, northern Persia, southern Russia, and Mongolia, and probably in N?rest?n, Afghanistan. It winters in sub-Saharan Africa and India; a few winter in Yemen, and oc-casionally eastern Arabia, the eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa. Its habitat is deciduous and pine forests with clearings; it is seldom found far from trees. It usually nests in trees but also on cliffs; it breeds in broadleaf forests and in mixed woodland on the slopes of mountains (Scott et al., pp. 84, 89; Paz, p. 68; Hollom et al., p. 66; Plate LIII).

Bonelli’s eagle, Hieraaetus fasciatus fasciatus (?oq?b-e do-bar?dar?n), is a resident in North Africa, the Mediterranean basin, India, and southern China, but shows some dispersal. It is also a resident throughout Persia, except the northwest and the Caspian coast, and is a vagrant several places in eastern and northwestern Arabia. It breeds in scattered mountainous regions of Turkey, Persia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Arabia, and North Africa; it is recorded from Afghanistan (Paludan, 1959, p. 19). Its habitat is rocky, mountainous country, but seldom at great altitudes; it descends to the plains and semideserts in winter and nests on precipitous rock-faces, occasionally in trees (Scott et al., p. 89; Paz, pp. 67-68; Hollom et al., p. 66; Plate LIV).



William L. Hanaway, Jr.

The eagle (?oq?b) is used frequently by poets as an image of soaring flight, speed, power, nobility, and independence. ?ah?d of Bal? compares a horse (?) with an eagle because of its abilities to traverse mountains and heights (Lazard, I:65, II:30). Mas??d-e Sa?d-e Salm?n (D?v?n, p. 30) describes the pace of a horse as making an eagle seem slow. Mo?ezz? (D?v?n, p. 58) says his horse descends slopes as swiftly as an eagle. Another horse is as rebellious and independent (sarke?) as an eagle (ibid., p. 55). The eagle is the king of birds (ibid., p. 69), and like a ruler it is at the apex of a hierarchy of power: Neh?b-e ?alq ze m?r?n neh?b-e m?r?n z? / bal?-ye kabk?n b?z o bal?-ye b?z ?oq?b (Qa?r?n, D?v?n, p. 37). The eagle’s (and the ruler’s) power is emphasized by contrast with the weakness of its prey: ?avad be amn-e to ?h? bara nad?m-e ho?abr / ?avad be farr-e to t?h?-ba?a qar?n-e ?oq?b (Mo?ezz?, p. 61). These qualities of the eagle are summed up in P. N. ??nlar?’s poem “?Oq?b” (M?h dar mord?b, pp. 107-16). An aging eagle laments his approaching death and asks a crow why crows live many years while his life must be short. The crow attributes its longevity to keeping close to the ground and to eating carrion. Tempted by the crow to try these remedies, the eagle becomes disgusted by the carrion and disappears into the sky, declaring that if he must die in the skies, he cannot abide living in squalor and eating carrion (for ??nlar?’s "?Oq?b,” see also CROW).

With all its noble qualities, the eagle is also seen as arrogant and proud. N??er-e ?osrow’s version of an old fable (D?v?n, p. 499) beginning r?z? ze sar-e sang... portrays an eagle which is shot down by an arrow fletched with an eagle’s feather. The message of the poem is in the words, now a proverbial expression, az m?’st ke bar m?’st. (For earlier versions of this fable, see Aeschylus, II, p. 425; Aesop, p. 110). In the poem “Jo?d-e jang,” M.-T. Bah?r (q.v.; D?v?n, I, pp. 796-99) uses the ?oq?b-e ?han?n (“iron eagle”) as a powerful image of a Western bomber dropping bombs on Eastern peoples.

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com

Other Links:

Geography and Nature of Iran

Geography and History, Zanjan

Persian Eagles: Part 1

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