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They say, also, that the screech-owl does the same thing: for it is said that they also are caught by dancing. And Homer mentions them. And there is a kind of dance, [p. 616] which is called σκὼψ, or the screech-owl, from them; deriving its name from the variety of motion displayed by this animal. And the screech-owls also delight in imitation, and it is from their name that we say that those men σκώπτουσι, who keep looking at the person whom they wish to turn into ridicule, and mock all his conduct by an exact imitation, copying the conduct of those birds. But all the birds whose tongues are properly formed, and who are capable of uttering articulate sounds, imitate the voices of men and of other birds; as the parrot and the jay. The screech-owl, as Alexander the Myndian says, is smaller than the common owl, and he has whitish spots on a leaden-coloured plumage; and he puts out two tufts of feathers from his eyebrows on each temple. Now Callimachus says that there are two kinds of screech-owls, and that one kind does screech, and the other does not—on which account one kind is called σκῶπες, and the other kind is called ἀείσκωπες, and these last are of a grey colour. But Alexander the Myndian says that the name is written in Homer, κῶπες without the ς, and that that was the name which Aristotle gave them; and that they are constantly seen, and that they are not eatable; but that those which are only seen about the end of autumn for a day or two are eatable. And they differ from the ἀείσκωπες in their speed, and they are something like the turtle-dove and the pigeon in pace. And Speusippus, in the second book of his treatise on Things Resembling one another, also calls them κῶπες without the ς. But Epicharmus writes σκῶπας, epopses and owls. And Metrodorus, in his treatise on Custom and Habituation, says, that the screech-owl is caught by dancing opposite to it.
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