Korax Korakiskos

(Kopa , KopaKiCKo G, (1) cor axc, coruus, (2) coruus aquaticus L) Two birds share the name Korax (1) Mainly the Common Raven (Corvus corax), the largest of the corvids (54-67cm), but ancient Greek and (particularly) Roman writers sometimes confused it with the Hooded Crow and other corvids (see on KORONE). Its name comes from its hoarse unmusical call (e.g. Pindar Olympians 2.87-8, Aeschylus Agamemnon 1472-4, Aristophanes Birds 860-1, Aelian NH2.51 cf. Varro De Latina Lingua 5.75), a repeated...

Herodotus In Aristophanes Birds

(ifre G, ibis L) Greek and Roman writers were able to distinguish only two of the three species of Ibis presumably then seen in the lands around the Mediterranean. Its name (identical in Greek, Latin and English) is derived originally from old Egyptian hb(j), cf. Coptic hip (Bohairic) and hiboi (Sahidic). (1) One species was the Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus), which remained common in Egypt until the end of the eighteenth century but totally disappeared from there by 1930. Today it...

Kopsichos Kottyphos Kossyphos

KocCTD o , KocCTDKo G, merula, merulus, cottifos L) This name (1) Most commonly the (Common) Blackbird, Turdus merula, where Kopsichos (in comedy Aristophanes Acharnians 970, Birds 305, 806, 1081, Anaxilas fr. 22.21 K.-A., Antiphanes fr. 295.3 K.-A., Aristophon fr. 10.5 K.-A., Nicostratus fr. 4 also K.-A.) and Kottyphos (in Aristotle) are the forms used in Attic Greek, Kossyphos outside Attica (cf. Moeris k 11 Hansen, Hesychius k 3893), with Kossykos also once cited in an...

Kitta Kissa

(Kixxa, Kicca G, pica L) Kitta was the spelling in Attic Greek, Kissa in Ionic and the Koine the latter form survives to this day in Greece as the name for the Eurasian Jay, Garrulus glandarius, still a common resident there. Aristotle's descriptions of this bird are concise and accurate it has a great variety of calls, a different one virtually every day, lines its nest in a tree with hair and wool, lays about nine eggs (cf. Pliny NH 10.165 the correct range is 5-7 3-10 ), and makes a hidden...

Alkyon yonis

( Xkvwv, -t)ovi< G, alcedo, alcyon L) Specifically the Eurasian Kingfisher (Alceo atthis), about which our ancient sources provide a medley of information, combining accurate observation with wild lunacy and unsolved mystery. Aristotle notes that (HA 616a14-18) the bird is little bigger than a House Sparrow, in colour a mixture of blue, green and reddish, with a long, slim beak (allegedly greenish-yellow, but in reality the male's is all black, the female's black with a touch of red on the...

Koloios

(koXoio G, graculus, gragulus, monedula L) (1) Aristotle (HA 617b16-19) claims that three land birds and one water bird all shared the name Koloios (a) the Korakias (q.v.), the size of a Hooded Crow, with a red bill Red-billed Chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, and perhaps also Alpine Chough, P. graculus (b) the so-called Lykos (q.v.) not certainly identifiable, but see section (3) below (c) the little Bomolochos (q.v.) primarily Western Jackdaw, Corvus monedula), but perhaps including the...

Korydos Korydalos allos allis

(KopuSo , KopuSoQ KopuSaXoc , -aloe , -alloc , -alli< G, alauda, galerita, -tus, cassita L) Korydos and Korydalos are the synonymous (cf. the scholia to Theocritus 7.141) forms most commonly in use for Larks of four of the five species found in Greece today Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla a common and widespread summer visitor and passage migrant), Crested Lark (Galerida cristata a common and widespread resident), Woodlark (Lullula arborea a fairly common and widespread resident),...

Phaps Phassa Phatta Phattion

( ay, acca, arca, araov G, palumbes, -is, -a, -bula, -us, teta, titus L) Phatta (with its diminutive form in -ion) is the common word in Attic Greek (cf. Lucian Judicium Vocalium 8) for Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus), the spelling Phassa replaces it in other ancient dialects, and is still the bird's name in modern Greece and (spelled fassa) in Sicily. Phaps is an alternative name for the same bird, except in one passage from a lost work by Aristotle (fr. 347 Rose, cited by Athenaeus 353f and...

Glaux Glaukos

(ykcui -, g, noctua, glauca L) (1) The Little Owl (Athene noctua), which was clearly distinguished by Alexander of Myndos (fr. 11 Wellmann) from the similar Skops (q.v.) as slightly bigger (21-23 cm 19-20 cm cf. also Aelian NA 15.28) and clearly bulkier, with large yellow eyes and a face dominated by a white fringe (cf. Cyranides 1.3, 3.10) and a frowning expression. It is still a common resident throughout Greece, and up to 1970 was easily seen in and around Athens, with one or more pairs...

Trygon Trygonin

(xpuyrav, xpuyravtv G, turtur, trygon, trygona L) Generally the Turtle Dove (now Streptopelia turtur), although the slightly smaller Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) may not have been distinguished from it in those areas (Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Nile delta, Bosporus and some other parts of Turkey) where the two birds co-exist. Both Trygon in Greek and turtur in Latin are named after the Turtle-Dove's call, as ancient writers recognised (tryz- Pollux 5.89, the scholia to Theocritus...

Peleia Peleias Peleias

(neXeia, neXeia , neX ic ) G, columba (sometimes with saxatilis), -bina, -bula, -bus L Both Peleia and Peleias ( 'Darkbird' cf. CGL 3.252, Eustathius 1262.60-62 on Homer Iliad 22.140) occur commonly in ancient Greek from Homer onwards as names for what at the time was generally believed to be one type of Pigeon. The bird that Homer describes as flying into a rock fissure to escape from a Kirkos (q.v. Peregrine Falcon) or Hierax (q.v. small raptor) in Iliad 21.493-94 (cf. 22.139-42, Odyssey...

Ros

(nepicTepa, -piSeu , -piSiov, -piv, -piov, -pi , -po , columbay-binus, -bula, -bulus, -bus L) The spelling Peristera is normal and bisexual in various dialects from the fifth century BC onwards the other forms are (1) a solecistic creation specifying the male (-ros) (2) diminutives (-ridion, -ri o n) and (3) a term for a juvenile (-ideus). In common use (e.g. Athenaeus 393f-94a, Eustathius 1712.41-42 on Homer Odyssey 12.62) Peristera has two basic meanings (1) it is a general name for any...

Birds In The Ancient World From A To Z

Why did Aristotle claim that male Herons' eyes bleed during mating Do Cranes winter near the source of the Nile Was Lesbia's pet really a House Sparrow Ornithology was born in ancient Greece, when Aristotle and other writers studied and sought to identify birds. Birds in the Ancient World from A to Z gathers together the information available from classical sources, listing all the names that ancient Greeks gave their birds and all their descriptions and analyses. Arnott identifies (where...

Korone Koronideus

Raubvogel Klein

(Kopravn, KopraviSeu G, cornix L) Three birds share the name Korone (1) Most commonly the Hooded Crow (now Corvus cornix), the species of Crow with a light grey body that is now (and presumably always has been) found in Greece and Italy south of the Alps (where it is one of the two commonest corvids), along with some other areas known to ancient writers such as Egypt (hence not surprisingly Aristotle HA 606a24-5 says the Crows there are the same size as those in Greece ). On the eastern side of...

Psittakos Psittake Bittakos Byttakos Sittake Sittakos Sittas

(yvtxaKo , ymaKn, PmaKo , Puttoko , otTTaKq, oittoko , oItto G, psittacus, sittace L) Psittakos was the commonest name in ancient Greek for a Parakeet (i.e. small Parrot), although variant forms coexisted Byttakos (Ctesias 688F45 p.488 Jacobi) and Bittakos (Eubulus fr. 120.4 Kassel-Austin) before 335 BC, Psittake in Aristotle (HA 597b 27), in the post-classical period Sittakos (Philodemus On Poems 2.20.3 Hausrath, Aelian NA 16.2, Arrian Indica 15.8-9 citing Nearchos 133F9 Jacobi) and Sittake...

Netta Nettarion Nettion Nessa Nessarion Nession Nassa

(i'fjtto1., vrjiTdpiov, vrjruov, vnotw vriooapiov, vt ggiov, vauoctG, anas, anaticula L) Netta (Attic Greek), Nessa (Ionic, Koine e.g. Herodotus 2.77, Aratus 918, 980) and Nassa (Boeotian Aristophanes Acharnians 875) are dialectal variants of the standard word for 'Duck' in ancient Greece, alongside diminutive forms in -arion (some manuscripts of Cyranides 3.31 used also as a term of personal endearment Aristophanes Plutus 1011, Menander fr. 652 K-A, cf. anaticula Plautus Asinaria 693) and in...

Boudytes Boukaios Boukoline

ouSuxn , ouKato , ouKoXivn G The Boudytes is once mentioned by Dionysius On Birds 3.2 simply as a bird that can be caught by bird-lime Boukaios occurs once in Posidippus 22.1-2 Austin-Bastiani , described as a bird that delights a farmer and is good round the plants Boukoline too is listed once in Hesychius P 905 and identified as a Kinklos q.v. Wagtail . All three names attest a relationship with cattle Cow-plunger, Cowherd, Cowbird respectively , thus supporting Hesychius' identification....

Iynx Iyngion

tvifij iityyiov G, iynx, iunx, fritilla L Aristotle's precise and accurate description of this bird HA 504a11-19, closely copied by Pliny NH11.256 , clearly identifies the Iynx as the Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla it has, he says, untypically two toes in front and two behind so also PA 695a23 , is little bigger than a House Sparrow 16-18 cm 14-16 cm , is mottled cf. Pindar Pythians 4.214 , has a protrusible tongue four fingers long, can turn its neck round while the rest of its body stays...

Aigothelas

fliyoOiflXiii g, caprimulgus L The European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus is correctly described by Aristotle HA 618b2-9 as a mountain bird in Greece, nocturnal and slightly bigger than a Blackbird, but he then claims that it flies up to she-goats and sucks the milk out of their udders, thus blinding them. This allegation, presumably based on a popular belief at the time which gave rise to its Greek, Latin and many modern European names e.g. Goatsucker, Ziegenmelker, succiacapre , was copied...

Ortygometra

optvijfom'liptt G, ortygometra L Aristotle HA 597bl9-23 tells us that the Ortygometra 'Quail-mother' acted as a 'leader' along with Glottis, Krex, Kychramos, qq.v. of the Quails Ortyx q.v. on their autumn migration from Greece cf. Pliny HN10.66, Isidorus Etymologies 7.12.65, Solinus 11.22 , and that its shape resembled that of marsh birds. Alexander of Myndos fr. 16 Wellmann in Athenaeus 393a says it was as big as a Turtle Dove Trygon, q.v. 26-28 cm , long-legged, puny and timid. According to...

Nossas Ornis Nossax Nossakion Nossos

VdOtTOttC pvtq, v cca , voccaiaov, voccoc G Nossas Ornis is a name for a Domestic Hen chick in Dioscorides 2.49, Nossax for a Domestic Hen in Panyassis quoted by Athenaeus 172d , Nossakion a diminutive of the latter form in P. Magica Leidensis 1.36 papyrus XII in PGM2 XII.I.36, and Nossos for an unspecified young creature in Aeschylus fr. 113 Radt and Sophocles fr. 219a80v.2 Radt. All these variant spellings, dropping the epsilon, of words originally derived from Neossos the common word in...

Hierax Irex

iipoc , ipr , -with iiipinfi5ei gt i fledgling, -icKo lt as diminutive G, accipiter, falco L 1 Hierax replaced by Irex in the epic and Ionic dialects is the name given in Aristotle HA 620a17- b5 and ancient Greek generally to all diurnal raptors smaller than the larger Eagles and Vultures i.e. with a length less than about 60 cm but excepting Kites. In Greece today, these include one very small Eagle Booted, Hieraetus pennatus , 4 Buzzards, 3 Hawks, the Osprey Pandion haliaetus , 4 Harriers...

Kepphos Kemphos

Ken o , Kep o G The name in ancient Greek authors is normally given as Kepphos, but most of the manuscripts at Aristotle HA 620a13 spell it Kemphos. It is clearly a sea bird Aristotle HA 593b14-15 groups it with Aithyia and Laros, qq.v. cf. e.g. Hesychius k 2242, Suda k 1347 described by Aristotle elsewhere HA 620a13-16 and Dionysius On Birds 2.11 in greater detail. Both say that it pecks at sea foam and so hunters can catch these birds by splashing foam onto them cf. e.g. Nicander...

Boskas skis Baskas Phaskas

Pogko , -gk , PacKa , acKa G, boscas, boscis, querquedula L Two kinds of Duck, whose variations in spelling themselves cause problems. According to Hesychius P 842 , Phaskas is a foreign Libyan or Illyrian spelling of Boskas, which appears to be the standard Greek form, but Alexander of Myndos fr. 20 Wellmann Athenaeus 395c-f seems to use Boskas and Phaskas interchangeably, while Aristophanes Birds 885 has the spelling Baskas, and Columella 8.15.1 boscis, which presupposes a Greek form Boskis....

Iktinos Iktin Iktis

IKtTtoi , Ikttvo , itcriv, tini G miluus, -a L Iktinos means Kite, but to which of the two Kites that still figure on Greek and Italian lists Red Milvus milvus or Black M. migrans does the word apply Ancient descriptions of the Iktinos are plentiful and informative, and they confirm that it was well known to ordinary people. The bird was a migrant whose arrival was greeted as the harbinger of spring, telling farmers that it was now time to shear their sheep Aristophanes Birds 499-501, 713-14...

Alektor torideus toris tryon Ornis

iXiliTCOp, xopiosf C, -Topic , -xpixbv, G, gallus gallinaceus shortened to gallus when there is no possibility of confusion with Gallus meaning 'Gaul', gallina, pullus L 1 Virtually always the Domestic Fowl Alektor the cock bird poetic in Attic, but the normal word outside Attica and in later Greek , Alektryon in Attic down to the fourth century BC cf. Phrynichus 200 Fischer used for both cock and hen though Ornis often replaces it for the hen, sometimes along with defining adjectives such as...

Aeiskops

G A subspecies of the Eurasian Scops Owl Otus scops cycladum that is mainly or exclusively resident in many areas of Greece Peloponnese, Aegean Islands, Crete . Aristotle notes HA 617b31-618a7 that those Scops Owls that reside in Greece all year long are called MlOK lJ'ne 'Always-Scops Owls' and are inedible, contrasting with others that appear just for one or two days in the autumn he adds that these latter, however, make good eating, being identical in everything except their superior girth...

Apous

owcux g, apus L Ancient writers had as much difficulty as non-experts today in identifying the various species of Swift and Hirundine, but the information they provided about the Apous is less erratic than recent scholarship implies. Aristotle HA 487b24-31 says that 1 the bird's name literally 'Footless' means simply that it is bad on its feet while good in the air 2 it resembles the Chelidon Barn Swallow and other Hirundines and Drepanis Common Swift , with the latter a summer visitor and the...

Aetos Aietos

aeTOi Attic G from fourthcentury BC, earlier Attic and other dialects of G, aquila L Particularly the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos it is named Chrysaetos, q.v., in Aelian NA 2.39 , but the word was also loosely applied to other kinds of large raptor Eagles, Vultures, Kites, Buzzards, Harriers, large Hawks and Falcons cf. the scholion to Hesiod , Shield of Heracles 134 . At least eight species of Eagle Bonelli's, Booted, Golden, Greater Spotted, Imperial, Lesser Spotted, Short-toed,...