[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
THE Accipiter of the Ancients, and the Epervier of the French, is a spirited well shaped bird, about as big as a large wood pigeon; his beak is short, crooked, and of a bluish tint, but very black towards the tip; the tongue black and a little cleft; the eyes of a mean size. The crown of the head is of a dark brown; above the eyes, in the hinder part of the head, sometimes are white feathers; the roots of the feathers of the head and neck are white; the rest of the upper side, back, shoulders, wings, and neck, of a dark brown. The wings, when closed, scarcely reach to the middle of the tail; the thighs are strong and fleshy, the legs long, slender, and yellow; the toes also long, and the talons black. The female, which is, as in other birds of prey, much bigger than the male, lays about five eggs, spotted near the blunt end with blood-red specks. When wild, they feed only upon birds, and possess a boldness and courage above their bigness; but in domesticity they do not refuse raw flesh and mice.