The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 46v - the cranes, continued. De milvo; Of the kite. De psitaco; Of the parrot

Folio 47r - the parrot, continued. De ibice; Of the ibis.

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Commentary, Translation and Transcription

These sections are located below the image on each page, scroll down page and click on the tabs to view them. It is also possible to view the translation alongside the image by clicking the translation icon in the toolbar

It is not part of the project to provide a definitive edition of the text of the Bestiary, but to help readers by providing a transcription and translation of the text. Currently the following editorial conventions obtain:


  1. The original capitalisation is retained, but capitals have been added for personal and place names, excluding deus and diabolus.
  2. The original punctuation, including a point and inverted semi-colon (both serving as commas), and a point (serving as a full stop), is represented by comma, full stop and question-mark; a colon has been inserted before quotations.
  3. Suggested readings are in [ ].
  4. Variants from other Bestiary texts (eg Ashmole 1511 and Patrologia Latina 176) are added where they indicate a corruption, elucidate a meaning and replace excised text. They are represented as [A: PL:]


  1. Direct quotations from the Bible, where identified, are cited from the Authorised Version in ( ).
  2. Paraphrased quotations are identified where possible and indicated as: (see Job, 18:22).
  3. Suggested translations of corrupt words are in [ ].
  4. Capitalisation is sparing; additional punctuation has been used where necessary to give the sense. Paragraphs have been created to break up the text.



The kite a puny bird of prey. The parrot is green in colour with a deep red neck.


a portrait of the kite in a roundel. Both the Aberdeen and Ashmole Bestiaries have a good depiction of this bird whose forked tail suggests that it is a red kite. Initials type 2. Red initial guide ('s') in left margin.



The parrot has a hard beak and a tough skull. The ibis regurgitates snakes' eggs and carrion to feed its young.


the parrot is correctly painted in green and red, perched on a branch. The Indian rose-ringed parakeet was the only member of the parrot family known in Europe in the middle ages. The ibis regurgitates food to its young and holds a snake (not the snake's egg mentioned in the text) in its claw. The text refers to the sacred ibis which lives at the water's edge. However it eats insects, not carrion. Initial type 2.