previous next


The instincts, also, of birds are no less varied, and more especially in relation to their food. "Caprimulgus1 is the name of a bird, which is to all appearance a large blackbird; it thieves by night, as it cannot see during the day. It enters the folds of the shepherds, and makes straight for the udder of the she-goat, to suck the milk. Through the injury thus inflicted the udder shrivels away, and the goat that has been thus deprived of its milk, is afflicted with incipient blindness.

"Platea"2 is the name of another, which pounces upon other birds when they have dived in the sea, and, seizing the head with its bill, makes them let go their prey. This bird also swallows and fills itself with shell-fish, shells and all; after the natural heat of its crop has softened them, it brings them up again, and then picking out the shells from the rest, selects the parts that are fit for food.

1 Or "goat-sucker." The Caprimulgus Europæus of Linnæus.

2 Cuvier says that this is the spoon—Bill, the Platalea leucorodea of Linnæus. Some suppose it to be the bittern.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (8 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: