[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
IS about the bigness of a pigeon. His beak hooked at the end, is more than an inch and a half long. This bird has a circle or wreath of white, soft, and downy feathers, encompassed with yellow ones, beginning from the nostrils on each side, passing round the eye and under the chin somewhat resembling a hood, as women used to wear; so that the eyes appear to be sunk in the middle of the feathers. The breast, belly, and feathers, of the inside of the wings, are white, and marked with a few dark spots. The legs are coloured, with a thick down to the feet, but the toes have only thin set hairs around them.
In ancient mythology, this bird was consecrated to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom; in allusion to the lucubrations of wise men, who study in retirement and during the night, in order to improve their knowledge and communicate it to others. See Ovid’s Metam. B. II.