History of Animals
head is big, and composed of gristle; it is a little smaller than
the thrush; its beak is strong, small, and round; it is ashen-coloured
all over; is fleet of foot, but slow of wing. The bird-catcher usually
catches it by help of the owl.
There is also the pardalus. As a rule, it is seen in flocks and
not singly; it is ashen-coloured all over, and about the size of the
birds last described; it is fleet of foot and strong of wing, and
its pipe is loud and high-pitched. The collyrion (or fieldfare)
feeds on the same food as the owsel; is of the same size as the
above mentioned birds; and is trapped usually in the winter. All these
birds are found at all times. Further, there are the birds that live
as a rule in towns, the raven and the crow. These also are visible
at all seasons, never shift their place of abode, and never go into
Of daws there are three species. One is the chough; it is as large
as the crow, but has a red beak. There is another, called the
'wolf'; and further there is the little daw, called the 'railer'.
There is another kind of daw found in Lybia and Phrygia, which is
Of larks there are two kinds. One lives on the ground and has a
crest on its head; the other is gregarious, and not sporadic like
the first; it is, however, of the same coloured plumage, but is
smaller, and has no crest; it is an article of human food.
The woodcock is caught with nets in gardens. It is about the
size of a barn-door hen; it has a long beak, and in plumage is like
the francolin-partridge. It runs quickly, and is pretty easily
domesticated. The starling is speckled; it is of the same size as
Of the Egyptian ibis there are two kinds, the white and the black.
The white ones are found over Egypt, excepting in Pelusium; the
black ones are found in Pelusium, and nowhere else in Egypt.
Of the little horned owls there are two kinds, and one is
visible at all seasons, and for that reason has the nickname of
'all-the-year-round owl'; it is not sufficiently palatable to come
to table; another species makes its appearance sometimes in the
autumn, is seen for a single day or at the most for two days, and is
regarded as a table delicacy; it scarcely differs from the first
species save only in being fatter; it has no note, but the other
species has. With regard to their origin, nothing is known from ocular
observation; the only fact known for certain is that they are first
seen when a west wind is blowing.
The cuckoo, as has been said elsewhere, makes no nest, but
deposits its eggs in an alien nest, generally in the nest of the
ring-dove, or on the ground in the nest of the hypolais or lark, or on
a tree in the nest of the green linnet. it lays only one egg and
does not hatch it itself, but the mother-bird in whose nest it has
deposited it hatches and rears it; and, as they say, this mother bird,
when the young cuckoo has grown big, thrusts her own brood out of
the nest and lets them perish; others say that this mother-bird
kills her own brood and gives them to the alien to devour, despising