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1 Cuvier remarks, that this passage is borrowed, with some changes, from Aristotle's "History of Animals," B. ix. c. 32, but that the account given by Pliny is not very easily explained, from the fact that the word eagle is not used by him in a rigorous acceptation of the word. Indeed it is only at the present day that any accurate knowledge has been obtained as to the different species of eagles, and the changes of colour to which they are subject with the advance of age; circumstances which have caused the species of them to be multiplied by naturalists. It is very doubtful, he says, whether Aristotle has distinguished the various kinds any better than Pliny; although Buffon, who himself was not very successful in distinguishing them, says that Aristotle understood more on the subject than the moderns.
2 μελαναετὸς, or the "black eagle." Cuvier says, that this description is copied exactly from Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. ix. c. 32. This eagle, he says, cannot be, as is commonly supposed, the "common eagle." It can only be, he thinks, the "small" eagle, the female of which, according to Nauman and Savigny, when it is old is almost all black, and without spots; only the young being spotted.
3 From the Greek πυγὴ ἀργὴ, "white tail." Cuvier remarks, that this is copied exactly from Aristotle, except that he says nothing about the whiteness of the tail, which is an interpolation. The feathers as described agree with those of the common eagle, the Falco fulvus, which is strong enough to seize a fawn. As regards its habit, he says, of dwelling on plains, that would agree better with the Jean le blanc of the French, the Falco Gallicus; while the name of pygargus is commonly applied, at the present day, to the great sea-eagle, the Falco albicilla; which frequents lakes and the sea-shore, and therefore corresponds more nearly with the haliætus of Pliny.
4 Cuvier says, that he is almost tempted to believe that it is the balbusard, the Falco haliætus, that is here meant, as it has a black back, and lives in the vicinity of lakes. But then, he remarks, it lives on fish and not aquatic birds; while, on the other hand, the little eagle of Buffon, the Falco nævio, often seizes ducks and other aquatic animals. He is inclined then, notwithstanding the apparent confusion, to take this morphnos for the modern small eagle. The words μορφνὸς and περκνὸς signify "black."
5 From the Greek, meaning "black wing.
6 "Mountain stork." Buffon thinks that this is the great brown vulture; Cuvier, the great white-headed eagle.
8 The great sea-eagle, according to Cuvier, the varieties of which (in age) are called by Linnæus "Falco albicaudus," and "Falco ossifraga."
9 See Lucan, B. ix. 1. 902.
10 He contradicts himself, for he has already stated that it is the sixth species.
11 "Barbata," Cuvier takes it to be the læmmer-geyer, or Gypaëtus, the only bird of prey that has a beard.
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