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We find no less than sixteen1 kinds of hawks mentioned; among these are the ægithus, which is lame2 of one leg, and is looked upon as the most favourable omen for the augurs on the occasion of a marriage, or in matters connected with property in the shape of cattle: the triorchis also, so called from the number of its testicles,3 and to which Phemonoë has assigned the first rank in augury. This last is by the Romans known as the "buteo;" indeed there is a family4 that has taken its surname from it, from the circumstance of this bird having given a favourable omen by settling upon the ship of one of them when he held a command. The Greeks call one kind5 "epileus;" the only one, indeed, that is seen at all seasons of the year, the others taking their departure in the winter.

The various kinds are distinguished by the avidity with which they seize their prey; for while some will only pounce on a bird while on the ground, others will only seize it while hovering round the trees, others, again, while it is perched aloft, and others while it is flying in mid air. Hence it is that pigeons, on seeing them, are aware of the nature of the danger to which they are exposed, and either settle on the ground or else fly upwards, instinctively protecting themselves by taking due precautions against their natural propensities. The hawks of the whole of Massæsylia, breed in Cerne,6 an island of Africa, lying in the ocean; and none of the kinds that are accustomed to those parts will breed anywhere else.

1 Aristotle says ten.

2 A mere fable. Cuvier says that the ægithus of Aristotle was probably a kind of sparrow.

3 Said to be three in number; a mere fable. The buzzard probably is meant.

4 The family of the Buteones belonged to the gens Fabia.

5 Cuvier thinks that he means to identify this kind with the triorchis, of which Aristotle says that it is to be seen at all seasons.

6 See B. vi. c. 36.

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