Ziz

Mythical giant Bird of the Middle East.

Etymology: From the Hebrew (Semitic) zeh ("this") + zeh ("that"), from the variety of tastes its flesh has.

Variant names: Renanim, Sekwi. Physical description: As large as LEVIATHAN. Its head reaches the sky. Its wings darken the sun when unfurled.

Behavior: Protects smaller birds against eagles and vultures. The young break away from the egg without being hatched by the mother.

Present status: There were no dietary restrictions against eating a Ziz, thus, it is possible the bird had some basis in reality.

PP'ossible explanation: An adaptation of the Arabian Roc legend.

Sources: Bible, Old Testament (Pss. 50:11, 80:14); Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1909), vol. 1, pp. 4-5, 28.

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