In life, however, its appearance must be wholly unlike, for it rarely flies, hops actively on the ground or among bushes, with its tail erect or turned towards its head, and continually utters various and strange notes, - some, says Darwin, are "like the cooing of doves, others like the bubbling of water, and many defy all similes."
But that name properly belongs to the Redshank, from the cry of warning to other animals that it utters on the approach of danger.
The last reference to him, as living, is in 1208, when an order for payment to him is on record, but Giraldus Cambrensis, in the second edition of his Hibernica, redacted in 1210, utters a prayer for his soul, "cujus animae propitietur Deus," a proof that he was no longer alive.
There is a little bird, the size of a starling, with brown back striped with black, and white breast, which the Indians call yncahualpa; it utters a monotonous sound at each hour of the night.
Of the various other genera allied to Mimus, the best known are the thrashers (genus Harporhynchus) of which six or eight species are found in North America, which are thrush-like and shy in their habits and do not mimic; and the cat-bird (Galeoscoptes carolinensis), which in addition to having an attractive song, utters clucks, whistles and mewing sounds.