Bird dexter headdown displayed


The informal term "spread eagle" is derived from a heraldic depiction of an eagle displayed (i.e. upright with both wings, both legs, and tailfeathers all outstretched). The wings are usually depicted "expanded" or "elevated" (i.e., with the points upward); displayed inverted is when the wings are depicted points downward. According to Hugh Clark, An Introduction to Heraldry, the term spread eagle refers to "an eagle with two heads, displayed," but this distinction has apparently been lost in modern usage.


"The two birds are straining to look down on the mounted travellers and their frisky hunting dogs. But these birds are not free to move. With one wing cruelly snared by diagonals framing their compartments, these marginal creatures are just as bound as the hawk on Harold's wrist." - Bernstein


The lion's head is normally seen in agreement with the overall position, facing dexter (left) unless otherwise stated. If a lion's whole body is turned to face right, he is to sinister. If his whole body faces the viewer, he is affronté. If his head only faces the viewer he is guardant or gardant, and if he looks back over his shoulder he is regardant. These adjectives follow any other adjectives of position.

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