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But above all, there are some birds that can imitate the human voice; the parrot, for instance, which can even converse. India sends us this bird, which it calls by the name of "sittaces;"1 the body is green all over, only it is marked with a ring of red around the neck. It will duly salute an emperor, and pronounce the words it has heard spoken; it is rendered especially frolicsome under the influence of wine. Its head is as hard as its beak; and this, when it is being taught to talk, is beaten with a rod of iron, for otherwise it is quite insensible to blows. When it lights on the ground it falls upon its beak, and by resting upon it makes itself all the lighter for its feet, which are naturally weak.

1 Hence the Latin name "psittacus." From this, Cuvier thinks that the first known among these birds to the Greeks and Romans, was the green perroquet with a ringed neck, the Psittacus Alexandri of Linnæus.

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