Bestiary The Aberdeen Bestiary

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Folio 50r Illustration detail

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f50r illustration detail f50r Text: Rolling in nettles saves St Benedict from lust. Bubo the Owl Illustration: This owl bubo is tawny brown and beige with a flat face and prominent ears like horns. Bubo, as described by Aristotle (buas or bruas in Greek) was as large as an eagle which must indicate the relatively rare eagle owl. It has prominent ear tufts as shown but it is tawny all over and does not have a flat face. The long eared owl has a flat face and ears but is also tawny all over. The barn owl is closest in colouring to the illustration and also has a flat face, but it does not have ears. As projecting ears or horns are not mentioned in the Bestiary text they may derive from a much earlier source which was still aware of the connection between bubo and the eagle owl. Owl's nests may occasionally be dirty and they are mobbed by other birds.

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Michael Arnott
m.arnott@aberdeen.ac.uk

University of Aberdeen