Histoire Naturelle - Birds - Plate 2 - White Elanoide, Young Eagle ~ The bird to the left is the juvenile form of the eagle in plate 1. (See Histoire Naturelle - Birds - Plate 1) The bird to the right is the Lesser Spotted Eagle. Neither bird was named specifically by the ancient Egyptians; however, many birds of prey may have been interchanged with the falcon.
Sacred to Horus, the falcon (or hawk) was thought to be the guardian of the ruler, and is frequently found spreading its wings protectively behind the head of the pharaoh. The falcon was a bird that had protective powers, and was frequently linked with royalty. The falcon was sacred to Montu, god of war, and Sokar, god of the Memphite necropolis. The human headed ba-bird was sometimes given the body of a falcon.