Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Aristotle
Pages of History of Animals



Previous | Next
                  

History of Animals   


the case of some birds it is difficult to detect the fact from the
minute size of the creature.
The pigeon, as a rule, lays a male and a female egg, and generally
lays the male egg first; after laying it allows a day's interval to
ensue and then lays the second egg. The male takes its turn of sitting
during the daytime; the female sits during the night. The first-laid
egg is hatched and brought to birth within twenty days; and the mother
bird pecks a hole in the egg the day before she hatches it out. The
two parent birds brood for some time over the chicks in the way in
which they brooded previously over the eggs. In all connected with the
rearing of the young the female parent is more cross-tempered than the
male, as is the case with most animals after parturition. The hens lay
as many as ten times in the year; occasional instances have been known
of their laying eleven times, and in Egypt they actually lay twelve
times. The pigeon, male and female, couples within the year; in
fact, it couples when only six months old. Some assert that
ringdoves and turtle-doves pair and procreate when only three months
old, and instance their superabundant numbers by way of proof of the
assertion. The hen-pigeon carries her eggs fourteen days; for as
many more days the parent birds hatch the eggs; by the end of
another fourteen days the chicks are so far capable of flight as to be
overtaken with difficulty. (The ring-dove, according to all
accounts, lives up to forty years. The partridge lives over
sixteen.) (After one brood the pigeon is ready for another within
thirty days.)
5

The vulture builds its nest on inaccessible cliffs; for which
reason its nest and young are rarely seen. And therefore Herodorus,
father of Bryson the Sophist, declares that vultures belong to some
foreign country unknown to us, stating as a proof of the assertion
that no one has ever seen a vulture's nest, and also that vultures
in great numbers make a sudden appearance in the rear of armies.
However, difficult as it is to get a sight of it, a vulture's nest has
been seen. The vulture lays two eggs.
(Carnivorous birds in general are observed to lay but once a
year. The swallow is the only carnivorous bird that builds a nest
twice. If you prick out the eyes of swallow chicks while they are
yet young, the birds will get well again and will see by and by.)
6

The eagle lays three eggs and hatches two of them, as it is said
in the verses ascribed to Musaeus:

That lays three, hatches two, and cares for one.

This is the case in most instances, though occasionally a brood of
three has been observed. As the young ones grow, the mother becomes
wearied with feeding them and extrudes one of the pair from the
nest. At the same time the bird is said to abstain from food, to avoid
harrying the young of wild animals. That is to say, its wings blanch,
and for some days its talons get turned awry. It is in consequence
about this time cross-tempered to its own young. The phene is said
to rear the young one that has been expelled the nest. The eagle
broods for about thirty days.
The hatching period is about the same for the larger birds, such
as the goose and the great bustard; for the middle-sized birds it
extends over about twenty days, as in the case of the kite and the
hawk. The kite in general lays two eggs, but occasionally rears
three young ones. The so-called aegolius at times rears four. It is
not true that, as some aver, the raven lays only two eggs; it lays a
larger number. It broods for about twenty days and then extrudes its
young. Other birds perform the same operation; at all events mother
birds that lay several eggs often extrude one of their young.

Previous | Next
Site Search