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In the Hercynian Forest, in Germany, we hear of a singular1 kind of bird, the feathers of which shine at night like fire; the other birds there have nothing remarkable beyond the celebrity which generally attaches to objects situate at a distance.

(48.) The phalerides,2 the most esteemed of all the aquatic birds, are found at Seleucia, the city of the Parthians of that name, and in Asia as well; and again, in Colchis, there is the pheasant,3 a bird with two tufts of feathers like ears, which it drops and raises every now and then. The numidicæ4 come from Numidia, a part of Africa: all these varieties are now to be found in Italy.

1 Dalechamps thinks that this story bears reference to the chatterer (the Ampelis garrulus of Linnæus), the ends of certain feathers of the wings being extended, and of a vermilion colour: but Cuvier looks upon Pliny's account as almost nothing more than a poetical exaggeration.

2 A species of duck, Cuvier thinks. From Aristophanes we learn that they were common in the markets of Athens. Cuvier suggests that it may have been the Anas galericulata of Linneus, the Chinese teal, which the Parthians may have received from the countries lying to the east of them.

3 "Phasiana," so called from the river Phasis.

4 A variety of the guinea fowl; probably the Numida Meleagris of Linnæus.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PHASIS
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