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History of Animals   


unchanged-just as animals that respire are suffocated if they be
shut up with a scanty supply of air. The eel in some cases lives for
seven or eight years. The river-eel feeds on his own species, on
grass, or on roots, or on any chance food found in the mud. Their
usual feeding-time is at night, and during the day-time they retreat
into deep water. And so much for the food of fishes.
3

Of birds, such as have crooked talons are carnivorous without
exception, and cannot swallow corn or bread-food even if it be put
into their bills in tit-bits; as for instance, the eagle of every
variety, the kite, the two species of hawks, to wit, the dove-hawk and
the sparrow-hawk-and, by the way, these two hawks differ greatly in
size from one another-and the buzzard. The buzzard is of the same size
as the kite, and is visible at all seasons of the year. There is
also the phene (or lammergeier) and the vulture. The phene is larger
than the common eagle and is ashen in colour. Of the vulture there are
two varieties: one small and whitish, the other comparatively large
and rather more ashen-coloured than white. Further, of birds that
fly by night, some have crooked talons, such as the night-raven, the
owl, and the eagle-owl. The eagle-owl resembles the common owl in
shape, but it is quite as large as the eagle. Again, there is the
eleus, the Aegolian owl, and the little horned owl. Of these birds,
the eleus is somewhat larger than the barn-door cock, and the Aegolian
owl is of about the same size as the eleus, and both these birds
hunt the jay; the little horned owl is smaller than the common owl.
All these three birds are alike in appearance, and all three are
carnivorous.
Again, of birds that have not crooked talons some are carnivorous,
such as the swallow. Others feed on grubs, such as the chaffinch,
the sparrow, the 'batis', the green linnet, and the titmouse. Of the
titmouse there are three varieties. The largest is the
finch-titmouse--for it is about the size of a finch; the second has
a long tail, and from its habitat is called the hill-titmouse; the
third resembles the other two in appearance, but is less in size
than either of them. Then come the becca-fico, the black-cap, the
bull-finch, the robin, the epilais, the midget-bird, and the
golden-crested wren. This wren is little larger than a locust, has a
crest of bright red gold, and is in every way a beautiful and graceful
little bird. Then the anthus, a bird about the size of a finch; and
the mountain-finch, which resembles a finch and is of much the same
size, but its neck is blue, and it is named from its habitat; and
lastly the wren and the rook. The above-enumerated birds and the
like of them feed either wholly or for the most part on grubs, but the
following and the like feed on thistles; to wit, the linnet, the
thraupis, and the goldfinch. All these birds feed on thistles, but
never on grubs or any living thing whatever; they live and roost
also on the plants from which they derive their food.
There are other birds whose favourite food consists of insects
found beneath the bark of trees; as for instance, the great and the
small pie, which are nicknamed the woodpeckers. These two birds
resemble one another in plumage and in note, only that the note of the
larger bird is the louder of the two; they both frequent the trunks of
trees in quest of food. There is also the greenpie, a bird about the
size of a turtle-dove, green-coloured all over, that pecks at the bark
of trees with extraordinary vigour, lives generally on the branch of a
tree, has a loud note, and is mostly found in the Peloponnese. There
is another bird called the 'grub-picker' (or tree-creeper), about as
small as the penduline titmouse, with speckled plumage of an ashen
colour, and with a poor note; it is a variety of the woodpecker.
There are other birds that live on fruit and herbage, such as
the wild pigeon or ringdove, the common pigeon, the rock-dove, and the
turtle-dove. The ring-dove and the common pigeon are visible at all
seasons; the turtledove only in the summer, for in winter it lurks

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