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History of Animals   


Birds of the eagle species are not alike in the treatment of their
young. The white-tailed eagle is cross, the black eagle is
affectionate in the feeding of the young; though, by the way, all
birds of prey, when their brood is rather forward in being able to
fly, beat and extrude them from the nest. The majority of birds
other than birds of prey, as has been said, also act in this manner,
and after feeding their young take no further care of them; but the
crow is an exception. This bird for a considerable time takes charge
of her young; for, even when her young can fly, she flies alongside of
them and supplies them with food.
7

The cuckoo is said by some to be a hawk transformed, because at
the time of the cuckoo's coming, the hawk, which it resembles, is
never seen; and indeed it is only for a few days that you will see
hawks about when the cuckoo's note sounds early in the season. The
cuckoo appears only for a short time in summer, and in winter
disappears. The hawk has crooked talons, which the cuckoo has not;
neither with regard to the head does the cuckoo resemble the hawk.
In point of fact, both as regards the head and the claws it more
resembles the pigeon. However, in colour and in colour alone it does
resemble the hawk, only that the markings of the hawk are striped, and
of the cuckoo mottled. And, by the way, in size and flight it
resembles the smallest of the hawk tribe, which bird disappears as a
rule about the time of the appearance of the cuckoo, though the two
have been seen simultaneously. The cuckoo has been seen to be preyed
on by the hawk; and this never happens between birds of the same
species. They say no one has ever seen the young of the cuckoo. The
bird eggs, but does not build a nest. Sometimes it lays its eggs in
the nest of a smaller bird after first devouring the eggs of this
bird; it lays by preference in the nest of the ringdove, after first
devouring the eggs of the pigeon. (It occasionally lays two, but
usually one.) It lays also in the nest of the hypolais, and the
hypolais hatches and rears the brood. It is about this time that the
bird becomes fat and palatable. (The young of hawks also get palatable
and fat. One species builds a nest in the wilderness and on sheer
and inaccessible cliffs.)
8

With most birds, as has been said of the pigeon, the hatching is
carried on by the male and the female in turns: with some birds,
however, the male only sits long enough to allow the female to provide
herself with food. In the goose tribe the female alone incubates,
and after once sitting on the eggs she continues brooding until they
are hatched.
The nests of all marsh-birds are built in districts fenny and well
supplied with grass; consequently, the mother-bird while sitting quiet
on her eggs can provide herself with food without having to submit
to absolute fasting.
With the crow also the female alone broods, and broods
throughout the whole period; the male bird supports the female,
bringing her food and feeding her. The female of the ring-dove
begins to brood in the afternoon and broods through the entire night
until breakfast-time of the following day; the male broods during
the rest of the time. Partridges build a nest in two compartments; the
male broods on the one and the female on the other. After hatching,
each of the parent birds rears its brood. But the male, when he
first takes his young out of the nest, treads them.
9

Peafowl live for about twenty-five years, breed about the third
year, and at the same time take on their spangled plumage. They
hatch their eggs within thirty days or rather more. The peahen lays
but once a year, and lays twelve eggs, or may be a slightly lesser

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