Of the nocturnal birds found on this Island of Hispaniola.
Translated by Yuming Ren ’21
On this island there are some birds bigger than swifts; their wings and flight are the same, and they fly with as much speed and with that manner of turning, ascending and descending, and flipping in the air. These birds don’t go out nor are they seen except when the sun sets, and even sometimes when the sun is not visible because the sky is overcast. They appear a little after sundown, just like bats, and they fly all night; and sometimes they screech in such a way that they are heard from far away. I do not know what the Indians call them in this land; but I have seen many of these birds on the Mainland, but with a somewhat different plumage. In that brief summary that I wrote in Toledo about the Indies I called them nocturnal birds; but these are fierce enemies of bats, and they go around chasing and attacking them, and watching them clash is quite a sight to behold. But these others here on this island do not go after bats, nor are they as big as those of Castile, and they also differ in their plumage; but they too hunt mosquitos. The bats of this island are small and there are not many of them, and it seems to me that they go to roost early. There are also many barn-owls on this island, in the towns and the bohíos or straw huts; but these are much smaller than those of Castile, the size of a male kestrel or smaller. There are true owls, but very small ones and no bigger than the barn-owls I mentioned; they have those ears or horns raised on the head and have the typical plumage, and they have small eyes in proportion to the body; but they have very light plumage like the owls of Spain. There are little owls also, but small like the barn-owls and true owls I mentioned, some even smaller, and their eyes are like those of the owls of Castile.