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LORD LILFORD, F.Z.S., etc., 





1885— 1897. 








March, 1896. 





* — 



Dedication iii 

Contents v 

Preface vii 

Note xxiii 

Collation of Editions xxv 

List of Subscribers xxvii 

List of Plates xxxvii 

Plates I. -LI. 

Text 1-112 


Being honoured by a request, from a quarter which 
made compliance a duty as irresistible as it was 
gratifying, that I should write a Preface to this work, 
I feel I cannot do better than give some account of its 
originator, who was for nearly forty-five years — though 
with occasional breaks — one of my most constant, and, 
I may add, most valued correspondents. Born in 
Stanhope Street, Mayfair, on the 18th of March, 1833, 
Thomas Littleton Powys was the eldest son of 
Thomas Atherton Powys, third Lord Lilford, and Mary 
Elizabeth, only surviving daughter of Henry Richard 
Fox, third Lord Holland, and Elizabeth Vassall his 
wife — a couple sufficiently well known to all readers of 
social or political history. On his father's side I need 
not trace his ancient ancestry further back than to Sir 
Thomas Powys, who in 1686 was Solicitor-General to 
James II., and in 1713 under Anne a Judge of the 
Queen's Bench, an office froai which he was removed 
on the accession of the House of Hanover. He then 
retired to Lilford in Northamptonshire, an estate which, 
with its fine Hall (one of the best examples of Jacobean 


architecture that this country can shew), he had bought 
a few years before, and there ended his days in 1719. 

At a very early age Mr. Powts manifested that 
affection for animals which intensified as time went on, 
and this shewed itself in the way usual among school- 
boys, so that at Harrow, whither he was sent, he was 
not only a keen collector of zoological specimens, but 
even kept a small menagerie, which (as he himself 
told me) brought hira more than once into trouble with 
his masters. From Harrow was written his earliest 
published note [Zoolopst, page 2775), and there he 
stayed until 1850, in which year he was placed with a 
tutor at Geneva, with the result that he was the first 
Englishman to give any information {oj). cit. page 2968) 
as to the breeding of the Rose-coloured Starling, though, 
from what we now know, the instances of which he was 
told by the Curator of the Museum at that place were 
certainly abnormal. Early in May 1851 he left 
Switzerland, and was entered at Christchurch, where he 
speedily established a larger menagerie, which a few 
months later comprised examples of nearly a dozen 
species of Birds of Prey, beside other animals. He 
continued contributing notes to ' The Zoologist,' and it 
Avas one of these that, in 1852, led to our correspond- 
ence, which, though slackening at times, was kept up 
until his death. As became his youtli, he was sanguine, 
and, as became his nature, unsuspicious; it must there- 
fore not be imputed as a fault to him, that then, and 
even later, he accepted without hesitation much that 


was told Ilim as true but afterwards proved to be ficti- 
tious. Indeed he, for many years, stoutly defended, 
against my declared incredulity, .the statement of a friend 
who professed, with some circumstance, to have taken a 
Shore-Lark on its nest near Exmouth *, and it was not 
until toward the close of his life that he mournfully 
owned that he had been deceived by his informant. I 
record this incident not only because it was the be- 
ginning of our intercourse, but because it was an early 
instance of his characteristic fidelity to his friends. 
During 1853 I had nearly a score of letters from him, 
but though each shews his devotion to the field-study of 
Bird and Beast, I am bound to say that not one contains 
matter of general interest, for he usually wrote in haste, 
and did not stay to describe his doings in Scilly, Wales, 
or Ireland, all of which he visited for the purpose of 
making personal acquaintance with their animals. In 
the same year too he first met the late Edward Clough 
Newcome, the best falconer of his day, whose example 
W'as not lost upon Mr. Powts, for he subsequently 
became a staunch member of the Old Hawking Club, 
beside keeping a falconer and many Hawks of his own. 
In 1854 he again passed some time in Ireland, but 
soon after, on the outbreak of war with Russia, the 
Militia was embodied, and he joined that of his county. 
However a barrack-life, whether in Dublin or at 

* So certain was he about it, that iu 1S53 mj' late brother 
Edward went specially to the spot, where, it is needless to saj-, he 
did not find any Shore-Larks ; but there were Eock-Pipits. 


Devoiiport, in which places he was chiefly quartered, 
was hateful to hiui ; and as leave of absence could be 
often obtained, he availed himself of every opportunity 
thereby afforded of visiting the wilder parts, and espe- 
cially the coasts, of England, Wales, and Ireland. To 
his regret circumstances hindered him from accom- 
panying his regiment to the Mediterranean, whither it 
was sent in 1855, and toward the end of that year he 
gave up his commission. 

In February 1856 I first met Mr. Powys, to the 
equal gratification, I think I may say, of each of us, as 
well as of our friend Mr. Newcome, then living at 
Hockwold Hall, where we were guests together; and 
in the summer of that year Mr. Powys was able to put 
into execution the idea he had long cherished of an 
extended yacht-voyage to Southern Europe. Embark- 
ing with a friend * on the ' Claymore,' they touched at 
various ports on the coast of Spain, making some stay 
in the Balearic Islands, and visited Corsica and Sardinia. 
He wrote to me in October of that year from Cagliari, 
giving a long list of the birds he had seen alive or dead 
during the cruise. They thence sailed for Sicily, but 
encountering a violent gale of wind, in which the yacht 
received some damage, they had to put into Malta for 
repairs. As the execution of these needed some time, 
Mr. Powys betook himself to Tunis, where he passed 
two months, enchanted with the zoological wealth of 
the country and enjoying very fair sport. Thence he 
* The Honourable Hercules Rowley. 


proceeded to the Ionian Islands, reacliing Corfu on 
Christmas Day 1856, and there he stayed "off and on" 
until July 1858, making frequent excursions for sport 
or natural history to the o[)positc coast of E()irus or 
iEtolia, going even so far to the northward as Monte- 
negro. The results of this prolonged residence in those 
parts were communicated by him to 'The Ibis' for 
18G0 — the establishment of which journal he cordially 
approved, joining the British Ornithologists' Union so 
soon as he heard of its intended formation — and while 
they shew with what earnestness he entered into his 
pursuits, undeterred by bad weather, fatigue, or sickness, 
the same series of papers reveals in many a passage that 
delicate and admirable humour which so markedly 
distinguished him. 

Leaving the Ionian Islands he proceeded to the 
Sardinian dominions, being very desirous of shooting 
an Ibex ; but herein his hopes were mortified, for on 
reaching Savoy he found that but a short time before 
the chase of that animal had been forbidden to all but 
the King (Victor Emmanuel), and leave even to look at 
one was not to be obtained. He consequently had to 
content himself with Chamois, whose acquaintance he 
had already made in Thessaly, and subsequently with 
the Moufflon in Sardinia. However he was not mean- 
while without compensation ; for, by the beginning of 
1859, he had become engaged to marry Emma Elizabeth, 
the very beautiful daughter of Mr. Robert William 
Brandling, of Low Gosforth in Northumberland, to 


vvhou) he had long been attached, and returning to 
England shortly after, their wedding was celebrated in 
the following June. 

The next twelve months were passed quietly, if not 
at home at least not in foreign travel ; but in little 
more than a year his hereditary enemy, the gout — 
which had shewn itself even while he was a schoolboy 
at Harrow — laid hold upon him, and confining him to 
the house for a time incapacitated him from the enjoy- 
ment of field-sports. Meanwhile the aviary at Lilford 
continued to grow, and at the end of October, 1860, he 
was able to write to me : — 

" I have taken to hawking, not yet with any striking 
result except allowing a fine Goshawk to escape. 
The Zoologist will probably present its readers with — 

' On the keeper of Esq. of 

Northamptonshire, shot a fine specimen of that rare 
bird the Golden Eagle. Its tail is long, its eyes are 

yellow. Mr. the well-known taxidermist of 

pronounces it to be an adult male, etc. etc. etc! — and 
this will be my female Goshawk." 

Again at intervals he suffered from the same disease, 
which was destined to mar the remainder of his life : 
and a very severe attack supervening in the autumn of 
1861, soon after the death of his father, when he suc- 
ceeded to the family honours and estates, temporarily 
disabled him from walking. Yet he was able to attend 
the General Meeting of the British Ornithologists' 
Union in London on the 11th of December, as well as 
that of 1862, which was held at Cambridge on the 7th 


of October, during the Annual Meeting of tlie British 
Association for the Advancement of Science. The 
few survivors of those who were present can hardly 
forget the spirit with whicli he entered into the pro- 
ceedings of the 'Thorough' dinner at the Red Lion 
Hotel in this town, under the presidency of Professor 
Huxley, with Professor Kingsley as Vice-Chairman. It 
would be ont of place here to enter into details ; but 
the dinner was to celebrate the victory won, after a 
hard-fought struggle, by the adherents of the principle 
of Evolution over their opponents, who had manfully 
disputed what now proved to be an untenable 

At the meeting of the British Ornithologists' Union 
held in London on the 20th of May, 1864, Lord 
LiLFORD not only proposed that a New Series of 
' The Ibis ' should be begun in the following year, but 
undertook, on its being continued in its existing form, 
to defray the cost of a plate in each number — a promise 
that "was more than literally fulfilled for the rest of his 
life ; and to that journal for 1865 he contributed an 
excellent sketch of the ornithology of Spain, as observed 
by himself in two visits, the first (as before mentioned) 
in 1856, and the second in the early spring in 1864, 
which confirmed the favourable impression he had 
already formed as to the country and all that belonged 
to it. To Englishmen Spanish Ornithology was a field 
almost untrodden, and its fertility came to many as a 
surprise ; yet on the former of these visits only a few 


ports had been touched, and his notes on the latter refer 
to little more than Andalusia and the neighbourhood of 
Valencia, though these districts are among the richest 
in the peninsula. Spain, as he subsequently wrote, had 
been the subject of his youthful dreams by day and 
night, and, after his previous agreeable experience, it 
was only natural that he should renew his attempt to 
become better acquainted with it — indeed it may be 
truly said that, to the end of his days, his interest in 
cosas de Espana, and especially its ornithology, never 
slackened. Accordingly in the spring of 1865 he 
returned thither, accompanied by Lady Lilford, and this 
time obtained leave to carry on his observations in the 
grounds of the Casa del Campo and of El Pardo — royal 
domains near Madrid, — as well as subsequently at 
Aranjuez and Sotomayor. Thence he proceeded to 
San Ildefouso and Segovia ; but his hereditary enemy 
pursued him, and for a great part of the time he was 
unable to walk. The admirable narrative of his doings 
may be read, and always with delight, in ' The Ibis ' 
for 1865 and 1866, and not a little contributed to 
his election — by acclamation it may be said — to the 
Presidency of the British Ornithologists' Union, when, 
on the 27th of March, 1867, it was resigned by Colonel 

It has seemed advisable to dwell on these earlier days 
of Lord Lilford's career, since they must be little 
known to the ornithologists of the present time, and 
in his efforts and example he was second to none in 
obtaining for ' The Ibis ' that high reputation which it 


SO speedily acquired and has so long sustained. His 
enthusiasm never flagged, as his frequent communications 
in later years testify ; but his subsequent cruises in the 
Mediterranean Sea (including three more visits to his 
beloved Spain betvi^een 1860 and 1875), v^'hich made 
him familiar with almost all the parts of its coast and 
islands that were interesting to the ornithologist, and 
extended to the shores if not the interior of Cyprus, 
produced fewer novelties — the discovery in April 1879 
of the most westerly breeding-place of Audouin's Gull 
being perhaps the chief of them. 

These cruises did not, however, occupy the whole of 
his time. Each recurring shooting-season found him 
in this country, exercising hospitality either in his 
Northamptonshire home or in Scotland, where he for 
several years hired one of the finest deer-forests ; and, 
though often incapacitated by gout from taking to the 
hills, he would listen with pleasure to his guests as they 
recounted the varied events of the day's work with gun, 
rifle, or rod ; while, whenever his own condition per- 
mitted, he proved himself as "game" a stalker, and as 
successful, as if he had been in possession of the full use 
of his limbs. 

With all this devotion to sport he never allowed it to 
interfere with the duties to which he was called by his 
position, and of those duties he had an exalted idea. 
Though he had little taste for politics, he did not neglect 
duly to appear in his place in Parliament, and it was 
with satisfaction that he used to recall his successful 
addition of "Owl" to the Schedule of Birds to be 


protected by law in the Bill of 1880, which subsequently 
passed into an Act, especially as he was put to no little 
personal inconvenience by attending the House of Lords 
at that particular time. With him the protection then 
first accorded to Owls, a fact overlooked by many recent 
writers or speakers on the subject, was no question of 
sentiment only. He knew, and no one better, how 
beneficial Owls are to the farmer and the game- 
preserver — though tlie latter will hardly ever admit it. 

The course of life hitherto led had been only inter- 
rupted occasionally by the malady to which he was 
subject, but it was rudely broken in the autumn of 1882, 
by the death, after a short illness, of his eldest son, who 
had but recently attained his majority. This loss was 
greatly taken to heart, and was followed within little 
more than a year by a still heavier blow in the death of 
Lady Lilford — a loss more felt now that he himself was 
becoming a permanent invalid, some three or four acute 
attacks of his insidious disease having begun to cripple 
his hands and feet. In all this time and under all these 
afflictions neither his kindliness nor his cheerfulness 
forsook him. Both his letters and his conversation, 
tinged as they were with grief, evinced his natural wit 
and humour, brought perhaps into greater prominence 
than before by their contrast with words, occasionally 
let drop, that shewed how deeply his feelings had been 
stirred. Yet there was no forced pleasantry, for a 
man more free from affectation can scarcely have lived. 
The real consolation was found when some time after 


he married a dear and intimate friend of his deceased 
wife, Clementina, daughter of the late Mr. Baillie- 
Hamilton, whose intense devotion to her husband for 
the rest of his life can be only reverently recorded and 
not recounted. 

In his own county was organized a Natural History 
Society, of which he was not only the President, but the 
mainstay, and to its 'Journal' he began, in 1880, to 
contribute a series of papers on the Birds of North- 
amptonshire, which were finally republished, with many 
additions, in two volumes mider that title only a short 
time before his death. The generosity with which he 
supported almost every scheme that made for the pro- 
gress of Zoology might have been called lavish had it 
not been tempered by discretion. Enough to say that 
on a good case being made out his pecuniary help was 
always forthcoming, and never stinted in amount. But 
often he did not wait for a case to be brought to his 
notice, and of himself would find opportunity and the 
man for it. A notable instance of this subsequently 
happened in regard to the zoology of Cyprus, which he 
commissioned Dr. Henry Guillemard to investigate, with 
results well known to readers of ' The Ibis.' 

As before said. Lord Lilford's interest in all that 
concerned Spain never relaxed, and next to his own 
country his sympathies lay with that whose language he 
loved to study and speak. He hailed with pleasure the 
appearance in 1887 of the ' Aves deEspana' by Don 
Jose Arevalo, published in the IMemoirs of the Royal 

VOL. I. b 


Academy of Sciences of Madrid. Indeed he himself 
had at one time planned a work on the subject, and 
went so far as to have some plates executed for its 
illustration, which (on finding that he was never likely 
to carry out the idea) he gave to Colonel Irby, his 
old friend and companion in many an expedition, that 
they might embellish the second and revised edition of 
his useful ' Ornithology of the Straits of Gibraltar,' in 
which they were published in 1895. 

Long before this time, however, the scheme of the 
present work occurred to Lord Lilford. He had, 
hanging on his walls or stored in portfolios, a number 
of pictures of Birds by various artists, the contemplation 
of which always afforded him pleasure, and even relief 
when racked by pain. That pleasure he thought should 
not be confined to himself, and he was willing to put it 
into the power of other lovers of Birds to possess, at a 
comparatively moderate cost to themselves, whatever 
might be the expense to him, portraits of their favourites. 
The help of Mr. Wolf, whose works he justly held 
in the highest admiration, was unhappily no longer 
available, but with the services of Mr. Keulemans he 
thought that most people might be content. Accordingly 
arrangements were made with that artist for a series 
of drawings, and the first part of the work appeared 
towards the end of the year 1885 — the plates being 
chroaiolithographed in Berlin. As the distance of that 
city caused a good deal of inconvenience, trial was made 


in several quarters to have tliem executed nearer home ; 
but the result was not on the whole satisfaetory, so that 
eventually recourse was again had for the most part to 
the Prussian capital, and certainly there is little fault to 
be found with the work latterly turned out from Herr 
Greve's establishment. Gradually the artistic assist- 
ance of Mr. Lodge, Mr. Neale, and Mr. Thorburn was 
invoked, and the later portion of the work has been 
illustrated wholly by a faithful reproduction of beautifully 
finished pictures — hardly one of which is not a joy to 
gaze on — by the accomplished gentleman last named. 
As the plates were intended to be the main feature of 
the work, the accompanying letterpress was at first of 
the briefest. By degrees, however, the natural impulse 
to dwell upon the interesting subjects depicted grew 
irresistible, and in some instances particulars of the 
several species figured were given at considerable length, 
and generally from the writer's own experience. 

Ever since Lilford came into his possession, its 
owner's love of live animals kept on developing itself. 
The stable-yard and adjoining courts and outhouses of 
the old Hall were, one after another, brought into 
requisition, and made to accommodate a vast assemblage 
of beasts, birds, and reptiles, especial care being taken 
to adapt their several quarters to the comfort of the 
inhabitants. This consideration, too often neglected by 
those who have the control of vivaria, was constantly 
borne in mind by Richard Cosgrave, a faithful and assi- 
duous attendant, whose morning report on the condition 



of his charges was daily expected by his master. Place 
was found, though at some distance from the house, 
for the erection of large and commodious aviaries, the 
tenants of which frequently testified to the suitability 
of their lodging by matrimonial alliances, and possibly 
there have been few establishments of the kind in which 
the captives have to such an extent been tempted to 
solace their impiisonment by indulging in the tender 
passion. After a time, too, a large piece of water in 
the park, with a wide border of shrubbery and turf, was 
securely fenced in, and in this enclosure was maintained, 
safe from the depredations of the well-known foxes of 
Northamptonshire, one of the finest collections of living 
Water-fowl — and especially of the Crane-family — that 
has ever been formed. But this was not all : round 
the house might be seen no small number of Birds 
enjoying almost absolute freedom, from the mighty 
Laramergeyer to the Little Owl, dear to Pallas Athena, 
of which last several pairs nested in the hollow trees of 
the gardens and park. Indoors were a few especial 
favourites, of constitution too delicate to be exposed to 
the weather, and among them the Torillo, whose deep 
note in the silent hours of the night would surprise the 
unwary visitor, who had not thought the somewhat 
meek-looking " Button-Quail " capable of uttering such 
a terrible sound. Of late years the aviaries at Lilford, 
with its beautiful gardens, became an object of great 
public attraction, and access to them being readily 
given, on at least one day in the week, the population of 


the neighbouring towns und vilUigcs availed itself largely 
of this privilege — a privilege that year by year, through 
the increase of his bodily infirmities, the owner of all 
became less and less capable of enjoying. Yet when- 
ever, and as often as, he could, he would be drawn in 
his wheeled chair to one after the other of the cages or 
pens, taking the closest interest in the individual 
history of each denizen, and shewing that personal 
knowledge of each that only belongs to those who have 
a natural love of living animals. 

In the earlier years of his presiding over the British 
Ornithologists' Union, and when that body was com- 
paratively small in number, not only was Lord Lilford 
the friend of almost each member, but all were welcome 
at " The Den," as he termed some rooms he occupied 
in London, and especially on the evenings of the Scientific 
Meetings of the Zoological Society, when most of the 
ornithologists present would adjourn to No. 6 Tenterden 
Street, and there talk over their achievements and 
their prospects, and generally cultivate one another's 
friendship. That these gatherings greatly promoted 
the harmonious feeling which then prevailed among 
British ornithologists is unquestionable, and their dis- 
continuance, owing chiefly to his inability to be present, 
was much to be regretted. Por several years he was 
compelled to pass the winter at Bournemouth, and after 
that he was never able to leave Lilford ; but wherever 
he was he exhibited the same patience under his afflic- 
tion and the same kindly consideration for his friends 


and all about bim. In 1894' the marriage of liis elder 
surviving son, John, the present Lord Lilford, gave him 
great pleasure, vi'hich was increased in due time by the 
birth of a grandson. During the spring of 1896 he 
had several repeated attacks of his old malady, though 
none of uncommon severity; but on the 17th of June, 
in that year, an unexpected collapse closed the useful 
and blameless life of which this is a very imperfect 

Though so long suffering from a painful hereditary 
disease, he had the compensation of a genial hereditary 
disposition. On the one side he was endowed with 
social charms like those which won for his mother's 
great-uncle, Charles James Fox, the love of so many 
friends; while on the other side to him clearly de- 
scended the characteristic, expressed by the pen of 
Matthew Prior, and stUl to be read on the monument 
of his paternal ancestor (the first Sir Thomas Powys 
of Lilford) in the transept of Thorpe Achurch, of being 
" possessed by a natural happiness." 

Cambridge, A. N. 

Christmas 1897. 


A FEW words seem necessary to explain my small share 
in bringing this work to a conclusion. 

When, on the lamented death of its originator, this 
task was entrusted to me, I found that nearly the whole 
of the Plates of the birds remaining to be figured were 
in a more or less advanced state of preparation, some 
finished, some with the lithographers, and on some the 
artist was enffao-ed. Moreover a list of the fio;ures of 
species as yet unissued was in the Publisher's hands, 
but no portion of the letterpress had been written. To 
this list, which seems to have been mainly derived from 
Col. Irby's ' Key List of British Birds,' I have adhered 
very closely, concluding that the birds not named in it 
were not intended to be figured. The only additions I 
have ventured to make are the two Willow- Warblers 
Phi/Uoscopus viridanus and P. proregulus, which ap- 
peared in England in the autumn of 1S96, and Pro- 
cellaria cryptoleucura , and no bird recorded since the 
close of 1896 has been added. 

Regarding the letterpress, it was obvious that to 
attempt to compile any notes of the species on the 


lines adopted by Lord Lilfoid himself in the later 
parts of his work could not be satisfactory, and it 
also seemed unadvisable to revert to the short notes of 
the earlier parts. I therefore took a somewhat middle 
course and confined my notes in each case to a brief 
statement of the claims of each species to be considered 
a British Bird and to a short summary of its external 
geographical distribution. 

Regarding the final systematic arrangement of the 
work, I may add that in June 1895 Lord Lilford drew 
up a rough list of the groups of British Birds placed in 
the order in which he considered they ought to stand. 
This list was submitted to me and a few suggested 
alterations were accepted. The order of this list has 
now been adopted, very slightly adjusted to admit 
species that had been overlooked. It is, in many 
respects, the order of the Pourth Edition of ' Yarrell's 
British Birds.' 

In an Appendix to Volume VIL I have given a 
List of Birds said to have occurred in the British 
Islands, but of which no further mention will be 
found iu this work. No attempt is made to investigate 
their respective claims to be included in the British 

0. s. 


Christmas 1897. 


This Work was issued in two Editions : the First commenced 
October 1885^ and the Second April 1891, both Editions ending simul- 
taneously ; the Plates in Volume I. appeared as follows : — 


1st Edition. 

Golden Eagle X. Mar. 1889. 

XXV. Oct. 1893. 

Spotted Eagle XXXI. June 1895. 

, XXV. Oct. 1893. 

I) )» )) J) 

White-tailed or Sea- XVI. Sept. 1890. 

XIII. Mar. 1890. 

OsPBEY XXXI. June 1895. 

Common Buzzard XVII. Feb. 1891. 

EouGH-LEGGED BtJzzABD. XIV. May 1890. 

Honey-Buzzard XXVII. Dec. 1893. 

Kite XI. Sept. 1889. 

Black Kite XIX. July 1891. 

GxR Falcon XXX. Feb. 1895. 

Iceland Falcon XXIX. Nov. 1894. 

Greenland Falcon . . XVII. Feb. 1891. 

Peregrine Falcon .... XII. Jan. 1890. 

2nd Edition. 



Dec. 1891. 


Oct. 1893. 


June 1895. 


Oct. 1893. 




Nov. 1892. 


June 1892. 


June 1895. 


June 1893. 


Nov. 1892. 


Dec. 1893. 

XI. Feb. 1892. 

Xn. May 1892. 

XXX. Feb. 1895. 

XXIX. Nov. 1894. 

XXII. June 1893. 

XXVII. Aug. 1894. 



1st Edition. 




Aug. 1886. 

Hobby III. 

„ II. May 1886. 

Eed-footbd Falcon . . XXVII. Dec. 1893. 

Mbelin XVI. Sept. 1890. 

, XIX. July 1891. 

Kestbbl XVI. Sept. 1890. 

Lessek Kestbei, XXII. Dec. 1892. 

G-os-Hawk XIX. July 1891. 

>i i> »» )» 

Spaeeow-Hawk V. June 1887. 

IV. Jan. 1887. 

1» J) »t )» 

if )i )» J> 

Maesh-Hakbiee XIV. May 1890. 

>i »» »» )> 

Hbn-Habeieb XXI. Aug. 1892. 

MoNTAGTfs Haeeiee . . XXVII. Dec. 1893. 

„ . . XXIX. Nov. 1894. 

Geiffon Vulttteb XXIII. Mar. 1893. 

Nbophbon or Egyptian „ „ 


Tawnt, Beown, or XI. Sept. 1889. 








Apr. 1891. 

Dec. 1893. 

Nov. 1892. 
May 1892. 
Nov. 1892. 
Dec. 1892. 
May 1892. 


June 1891. 
Apr. 1891. 

XVI. Nov. 1892. 

Aug. 1892. 


XXVI. Dec. 1893 

XXIX. Nov. 1894 

XX. Mar. 1893 

XL Feb. 1892. 


jj )> 


Oct. 1893. 


Oct. 1893 


Tengmalm's Owl . . 


Feb. 1895. 


Feb. 1895 




Mar. 1893. 


Mar. 1893 


Shobt-habed Owl . . 


Sept. 1889. 


Feb. 1892 








Scops Owl 


Aug. 1886. 


Apr. 1891 


Little Owl 

• • )5 







Mar. 1890. 


June 1892 


Snowy Owl 


Apr. 1891. 


Feb. 1893 




May 1890. 


Nov. 1892 



Prof. T. Clifford Allbut, LL.D.^ 

W. C. Allen, Esq. 
The Rev. H. P. Allison, M.A. 
Victor Ames, Esq. 
Sir Percy Anderson, K.C.M.G. 

(the late) . 
The Earl of Antrim. 
Pred. C. Aplin, Esq. 
R. D. Archer-Hind, Esq. 
The Duke op Argyll. 
Mrs. Mark Ashton. 
The Rev. Hubert D.Astley,M. A. 
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To face 

Portrait of Lord Lilford. (Frontispiece.^ 

1. Golden Eagle. Aquila chrysaetus (Linn.). 

Adult V 2 

2. Do. Do. Immature 

3. Spotted Eagle. Aquila ncevia (J. F. Gmelin). 

Adult 3 

4. Do. Do. Immature , 




5. Do. Do. Do. 

6. White-tailed or Sea-Eagle. Aquila ha/inefvs 

(Linn.). Adult 8 

7. Do. Do. Immature 10 

8. OsPREY. Pandion haliaetus (Linn.) 11 

9. Common Buzzard. Buieo vulgaris, Leach ... 16 

10. Koitgh-legged Buzzard. Buieo lagopus (J. P. 

Gmelin) 19 

11. HoNEY-BuzzARD. Pemis apivorus IJAqw.) . . •"( „, 


12. Do. Do 

13. Kite. Milvus regalis (Pall.) 25 

14. Black Kite. Milvus migrans (Boddaert) ... 27 

15. Gyr Falcon. Falco gyrfalco, Linn 29 

16. Iceland Falcon. Falco islandus, J. F. Gmelin. 

Adult female 31 

17. Do. Do. Immature female 32 


To face 

18. Greenland Falcon. Falcocandicans, J. F.Gmelin. 36 

19. Peregrine Falcon. Falco peregrinus, Tunstall."^ 

Female, fourth year > 40 

20. Do. Do. Male, first year 3 

21. Hobby. Falco subbuteo, Linu. Adult . . . . , , , 

' 44 


22. Do. Do. Immature , 

23. Red-footed Falcon. Falco vespertinus, Linn. . 45 

24. Merlin. Falco cesalon, Tunstall. Adult male . , 


25. Do. Do. Adult female and immature male 

26. Kestrel. Falco tinnunculus, Linn 53 

27. Lesser Kestrel. Falco cenchris, Naum. ... 55 

28. Gos-Hawk. Astur palumbarius (Linn.). Adult 

female 59 

29. Do. Do. Plumage of first year 60 

30. Sparrow-Hawk. Accipiter nisus {Linn.) . Male. >. 

31. Do. Do. Female / 

32. Do. Do. Immature male I 

33. Do. Do. Immature female -' 

34. Marsh -Harrier. Circus ceruginosus (Linn.). 

Very old male 67 

35. Do. Do. Plumage of first year 68 

36. Hen-Harrier. Circus cyaneus (Linn.). ... 69 

37. Montagu's Harrier. Circus cineraceus QAoni&gn).^ 

Adult and immature males >■ 73 

38. Do. Do. Female and dark form of male . . . > 

39. Griffon Vulture. Gyps fulvus, J. F. Gmelin . 77 

40. Neophron or Egyptian Vulture. Neophron 

percnopterus (Linn.) 83 

41. Tawny, Brown, or Wood-Owl. Syrnium aluco 

(Linn.) 87 

42. Do. Do. (Grey race) 88 

43. Tengmalm's Owl. Nyctala tengmalmi (J. F. 

Gmelin) 89 

44. Long-eared Owl. Asio otus (Linn.) .... 91 

45. Short-eared Owl. Asio brachyotus (Forster) . 95 

46. Eagle-Owl. 

47. Scops Owl. 

48. Little Owl. 

49. Hawk-Owl. 

50. Snowy Owl. 

51. Baun-Owl. 


To fftce 
Bubo maximus, Fleming .... 97 

Scops giu (Scop.) 100 

Athene noctua (Scop.) .... 102 

Surnia funerea (Linn.) .... 103 

Nyctea scandiaca (Linn.) . . . 105 

Strix flammea, Linn 109 



Falco chrj'saetos, Linn. S. N. i. p. 125 (1766). 

Falco fulvus, Naum. i. p. 208. 

Aquila chrysaetus, Macg. iii. p. 204; Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 11 ; 

Dresser, v. p. 533. 
Aquila chrysaetos, Hewitson, i. p. 8. 

Grand Aigle, Aiyle dore, French ; Stein-Adler, German ; 
Affuila real, Aguila negra, Aguila serrana, Spanish. 

This fine species, owing to the enUghtened protection 
of a few landed proprietors and lessees of deer-forests, 
still breeds in the Highlands of Scotland, and, 1 believe, 
in some of the mountain -ranges of Ireland ; but its 
numbers have been greatly curtailed by the high price 
set upon its eggs by collectors, and the persecution of 
game-preservers. It is recorded to have bred formerly 
in various parts of England and in North Wales, but 
has long ceased to do so, and is now a very rare visitor 
to any part of Great Britain south of the border. The 
nest is usually situated on a ledge of rock, in some cases 
easily accessible, not infrequently in high trees, and the 
same site is annually used. The eggs are generally 
three in number, but it is seldom that more than two 
are hatched. In Scotland, as far as my own experience 
goes, the principal food of this Eagle consists of Blue 
or Alpine Hares, and Rabbits, very young Larabs, and 

Some gamekeepers declare that the Eagles are very 
destructive to Grouse ; but I only once, in Scotland, saw 
one of this species in actual pursuit of any bird, in this 
case a Ptarmigan was the object. 

The drawing for the accompanying Plate was taken 
in 1888 from a pair of birds in the aviary at Lilford, 
which were taken from a nest in Scotland in 1877, and 
kid eggs for the first time in the year first mentioned. 


Aquila chrysaetus (Liim.) 

Ulho. W. Greve. Berlin 

Z .-? 

c < 


Lithoi W. Greve, Berlin. 


Aquila naevia (J- F. emtlin). 
Drawn from a living specimen captured near Colchester, Oct. agtl^ 1891. 



AQUILA NjEVIA [J. F. Gmelin). 

Falco nsevius, Gmelin, Syst. Nat. i. p. 258 (1788). 
Aquila nseviaj Heivitson, i. p. 18 ; Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 20. 
Falco clanga, Nauru, xiii. p. 40. 
Aquila clanga, Dresser, v. p. 499. 

Aigle tachete, Aigle criard, French ; Schrei-Adler, German ; 
Aguila pintada, Valencia. 

Few European birds have caused more discussion and 
confusion amongst ornithologists than the Spotted 
Eagle and its close congeners ; I have no wish to add 
any elements for argument on this well-worn subject, 
and will therefore only state that, in my own opinion, 
we have in Europe only one true species of the Eagle 
that is called " Spotted," although I am perfectly ready 
to admit that this species may be fairly divided into 
two separate forms or races. 

My business here is to give representations of Spotted 
Eagles obtained in this country, and with this object I 
have chosen two specimens of (probably) about the same 
age, obtained in October and November 1S91, in Essex 
and Suffolk respectively, and differing widely in plumage. 

Mr. H. Saunders, in his most useful ' Manual,' 

records six occurrences of the Spotted Eagle in our 
Islands ; to these I can add one killed at Somerley, 
Hants, on December 28, 1861, and three obtained in 
the late autumn of 1891 in East Anglia. My Plates 
are taken from two of these last three birds, the dark- 
coloured one from a living specimen captured near 
Colchester in October 1891 ; for the opportunity of 
giving the portrait of this specimen from life, I am in- 
debted to the courtesy of the Hon. Walter Rothschild. 

The bird represented in the other Plate was killed 
near Wickham Market in November 1891, stuffed by 
Messrs. Pratt, of Brighton, and very kindly lent to me 
by its owner, Mr. J. J. Hornby, for the purposes of 
this work ; this is one of the finest specimens of this 
Eagle in the spotted stage of plumage that I have ever 
seen, but a third specimen killed at Leigh Court, Essex, 
early in November 1891, of which Mr. Thorburn was, 
at my request, allowed to make a drawing, is very nearly 
as beautiful. I became well acquainted with this species 
during my constant shooting expeditions in Epirus and 
Albania in 1856, 1857, and 1858. I believe that it 
breeds in the former province, as it certainly does, or 
did, in Acarnania, but I never found an occupied nest 
near the coast. 

In the winter months we found this species very 
abundantly, in fact it might fairly be called the Eagle of 
Epirus, although by no means the only representative of 
the genus Aquila therein. The favourite resorts of the 
Spotted Eagle are marshy but well wooded plains, and 
in my experience almost every clump of high trees on 
our favourite shooting-grounds was tenanted by one or 










•3 . 

Littio. W Greve, Berlin. 


Aquila naevia (J. F. Qmelin). 

Drawn from life at Lilford. Plumage of fourth year. 


more of these birds IVom Octol)cr till Marcii oi' April. 
Ill general habits I could perceive but little difference 
between this Eagle and the Common Buzzard, except 
that the former birds very frequently followed us, or 
kept flying from tree to tree upon our flanks, as we 
tramped the country with our guns, but I must admit 
that I never saw a Spotted Eagle in pursuit of any bird, 
even of a wounded one. My impression is that during 
the winter months these Eagles feed principally upon 
small mammalia and marsh-frequenting birds that they 
can take upon the groimd, such as Waterhens and Rails, 
and I can vouch for the fact that in spring, at all events 
in European Turkey, frogs and small snakes form their 
staple diet. The usual cry of this Eagle is a shrill 
frequently repeated double note, but I have occasionally 
heard them utter a long scream. To those who are 
not well acquainted with this species, I may state, 
roughly speaking, that the spots are lost with advancing 
years, and that the plumage of adults is of a more or 
less uniform dark brown. I have kept several Spotted 
Eagles in captivity at Lilford and find them very peace- 
able and friendly inter se. It will be noticed that I 
have treated both races of this Eagle as constituting one 
species, one of my principal reasons for so doing being 
that their cries are absolutely identical. I have never 
seen the Spotted Eagle alive in Spain, but have received 
specimens from Andalucia and Valencia, and noticed one 
making a stoop at something on the ground within a 
mile of the Bidasoa on the French side of that famous 
river. I have a very beautiful specimen of this Eagle 
obtained near Nice in 1858. 

The third Plate represents an adult bird, and was 
taken from a living specimen at Liiford ; this bird was 
purchased from a London dealer, who assured me that 
he had received it from N. Germany. 



Vultur albiuUa (misprint), Linn. S. N. i. p. 123 (1766). 

Falco albicilla, Naum. i. p. 224. 

Haliaetiis albicilla, Macg. iii. p. 231; Dresser, v. p. 551. 

Aquila albicilla, Hewitson, i. p. 15. 

Haliseetus albicilla, Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 25. 

Pijgargue ordinaire, French; See-Adler, German; Aguila 
de Mar, Spanish. 

This bird, which is perhaps more commonly known 
as Sea-Eagle, formerly bred in many parts of Scotland 
and Ireland, but its numbers have been so greatly 
reduced by the persecution of gamekeepers and shep- 
herds, that I believe that I am justified in saying that 
very few pairs, probably not a dozen altogether, now 
nest regularly in the United Kingdom ; and as I should 
be very unwilling to be the cause of the further moles- 
tation or destruction of this fine species, I refrain from 
publishing the very little that I know concerning its 
nesting-localities in our country. The nest of this Eagle 
in our islands is generally, but by no means invariably, 
placed on a ledge of sea-cliff, and is usually more or less 
difficult of access; but, in localities where the bird is 




Litho. W. Greve. BertiD. 

Haliaetus albicilla (Lmu.). 


comparatively unmolested, the nest is often to be met 

with on trees, sometimes on bushes, and occasionally 
even on the ground ; it is built of sticks, piled on year 
after year as the exigencies of time and weather may 
require, and lined with grasses, moss, and fern. John 
Wolley, as quoted in the 4tli edition of Yarrell, says 
that, in the many nests of this species found by him in 
Scotland, Luzula sylvatica was always made use of, but 
I never had the good fortune to see a nest at close 
quarters in that country. The eggs are generally laid 
in March, two in number, and are pure white. Imma- 
ture birds of this species are very frequently met with 
in autumn and winter on the east coast of England, and 
not very uncommonly inland, and are easily shot or 
trapped ; in a great many instances these occurrences 
are recorded in the local newspapers as those of 
" Magnificent Golden Eagles which have been devas- 
tating &c. &c." These wandering Eagles, as a matter 
of fact, subsist principally upon rabbits and any dead 
animal substances that they can find. I have seen this 
bird several times in Scotland, more frequently on the 
west coast of Ireland, and often on the Turkish shores 
of the Adriatic ; in the latter localities it seemed to prey 
principally upon white mullet and bass captured in the 
shallow bays and lagoons, and also to a great extent on 
the carcases of cattle left to rot on the plains. I have 
also, on several occasions, seen a White-tailed Eagle 
stoop at swimming water-fowl, but only once witnessed 
a capture of this kind ; the old Eagles were generally 
observed either sitting motionless on a dead bough of 
some lofty tree in the marshes, or soaring high in the 

air playing with one another and uttering from time to 
time a sharp yelp or bark. The first Plate represents a 
specimen in the plumage of the first or second year ; 
the second, in adult plumage, was taken from a sketch 
of an old female sent to me from a nest in Ireland in 
1854, and still alive in good health and plumage at 
Lilford, February 1890. 

The Highland shepherds accuse the White-tailed 
Eagle of destroying many lambs, and there is, I fear, no 
doubt that the accusation is well founded ; but in Epirus 
I was begged by some of the pastoral and more or less 
brigand fraternity to spare the old birds at a nest on the 
shores of the Gulf of Arta, on account of their services 
in driving away other birds of prey ; these individuals, 
however, were Greeks, and probably lied, and, although 
I scrupulously attended to their request, I am inclined 
to think that it was based on some superstition rather 
than on the reason alleged. 

pr^C-ir-'^^^ r> 


Haliaetus albicilla {Linn,.]. 

LitUo. W. (Jreve, Berlin, 

Pandion haliaetus (Linn.). 



Falco haliajtus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 129 (1766). 

Falco haliaetos^ Naum. i. p. 211. 

Pandion haliaetus, Macg. iii. p. 339; Dresser, vi. p. 139. 

Pandion haliseetus, Hewitson, i. p. 19 ; Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 30. 

Balbusard, French ; Fluss-Adler, Fisch-Adler, German ; 
Aguila pescaddr, Spanish. 

These beautiful birds visit Great Britaiu in March, 
and are too often massacred during their short stay 
on the Enghsh estuaries on their way to their nesting- 
haunts in Scotland and Northern Europe. In 183.3 
Sir William Jardine, as quoted in Yarrell's ' British 
Birds/ wrote that a pair or two might be found about 
most of the Highland Lochs, where they built either 
on ruined towers or aged trees. Between 1849 and 
1857 Mr. Wolley found that so many Ospreys had 
been destroyed in the Scottish Highlands that most 
of their recorded breeding-places were deserted, . and 
at the present day a very few pairs only annually 
breed there under strict and most laudable protection. 

The Osprey returns southwards about the beginning 
of September, and on both passages frequently follows 
the course of rivers to a considerable distance from 

the sea. I am acquainted with several occurrences 
in our county — Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, and, 
if my memory serves me correctly, more than one 
in Warwickshire, and on one occasion had the great 
delight of watching an Osprey fishing at his ease, 
though without success, on a broad reach of our 
principal river, the Nen. My earliest acquaintance 
with this species was made upon the shores of the 
Lake of Geneva, near Lausanne, where, in March 
and early April, one or two were constantly to be seen 
sailing at no great height above the water, and 
occasionally dashing at the fishes that frequented it; 
so far as I could then make out, small perch were 
the most frequent victims. I have subsequently met 
with Ospreys throughout the Mediterranean, from 
Gibraltar to the Ionian Islands and the adjacent 
Turkish mainland. A pair of these birds nested 
regularly, and may, for all that I know to the contrary, 
do so still, on the Mediterranean side of the Rock of 
Gibraltar ; Colonel Irby showed me this nest in June 
18G9, when it contained young, and he has published 
some interesting details with reference to the Osprey 
and its habits in that part of the world in his exhaustive 
work on the ' Ornithology of the Straits of Gibraltar.' 
I know of several nesting-places of the Osprey on 
certain Mediterranean islands, and feel no doubt that 
a pair constantly observed by us in May 1876 about 
the harbour of Santander had a nest in that neigh- 
bourhood, although we failed to discover it. From 
my experience I think that the Osprey prefers the 
bare limb of a high tree, or the top of a post or 

fishing-stake, to a rock, for taking its meals upon ; 
but, of course, wlicn the captured fish is heavy tlic 
birds avail themselves of the first convenient dinner- 
table, and I have more than once seen them alight 
with their prey on the bare sandy shore. In the 
case of large fishes I think that the Osprey seldom 
touches the head, and certainly avoids the larger bones. 
I have found the almost entire skeletons of large 
mullets with heads and tails intact, but with every 
scrap of flesh and skin devoured by our birds. 

The appearance of the Osprey on wing is most 
singularly graceful, the long and, comparatively speaking, 
narrow wings, and the peculiar angle at which they 
are spread whilst the bird is hunting for its prey, 
distinguish it at any distance from any other European 
species. Although this bird very frequently hovers 
for a second or two before making its stoop, it generally 
dashes at its ' quarry ' from a certain height, and often 
seems simply to hft it from the water in its talons. 
On the other hand, it is common to see the Osprey 
plunge headlong below the surface for an instant ; 
I need hardly say that it does not pursue fishes under 
water. The method of the Osprey differs from that 
of the Falcons in this particular, that whereas the latter 
birds on missing their quarry at the first stoop almost 
invariably mount before making a second, the present 
bird, if its intended victim moves during the stoop, 
checks its flight for a moment and makes another 
attempt from the lower " pitch." I trust that my 
readers will pardon my use of the technical terms of 
falconry in treating of a fish-eating bird, but I can 

find no others equally expressive, and 1 flatter myself 
that my meaning in this instance must be clear enough. 
For obvious reasons the Osprey prefers shallow 
waters for its operations, and the great lagoons of 
Sardinia, Corsica, and Tunis are especially favourite 
resorts. This bird generally builds a huge nest of 
sticks : I have never looked into one except when 
crowded with young birds, but I am inclined to think 
that the few that I have seen were capped or lined with 
fragments of sea-weed. The eggs are usually three in 
number, and are certainly amongst the most beautiful 
of those of British birds. I have found it impossible to 
keep this species alive in captivity for any length of 
time. It is perhaps unnecessary, but will not occupy 
much space, to inform my fair readers that the " Osprey" 
of the plumassiers and hat and bonnet makers has 
nothing to do with the present bird, but is applied to 
the plumes of various species of the Egret-family, used 
by unreasoning womankind too frequently as aids to 
natural attraction. 



Buteo vulgaris, Leach, Syst. Cat. Mamm. & Birds in Brit. 

Mus. p. 10 (1816) ; Hewitson, i. p. 38; Yarr. ed. 4, i. 

p. 109 ; Dresser, v. p. 449. 
Falco buteo, Linn. S. N. i. p. 127; Naum. i. p. 346. 
Buteo fuscuSj Macg. iii. p. 183. 

B^lse, French ; Bussard, Mduse-Bussard, German ; Arpella, 

The Buzzard was formerly common and well known 
throughout England, Wales, and Scotland, and in 
Thompson's time was also to be met with in certain 
localities in Ireland ; but although it still holds its own 
in some of the wilder districts of our country, its 
numbers have been very greatly reduced by trapping 
and shooting, and in the agricultural parts of England 
it may fairly now be called a rare bird. I am personally 
acquainted with several nesting-places of this species in 
England and Scotland ; the nest is generally built on 
cliffs, or tall trees, and is composed of sticks and twigs, 
with wool and dried grass as lining ; the eggs, generally 
three in number, are white, with spots and streaks of 
rusty red-brown. 


Litho. W. Grcvc, Berlin, 

Buteo vulg-aris, Leach. 

In general habits tlie Buzzard iiiucli resembles tlie 
Eagles, especially in its conmion habit of soarinf^ at a 
great height in fine weather, and in the wilder parts of 
Scotland this bird is constantly pointed out to toiu'ists 
as an Eagle. I believe that the Buzzard feeds prin- 
cipally upon moles, rats, mice, voles, and young 
rabbits ; no doubt a young or sickly chicken may be 
occasionally taken by these birds, but on the whole 
they should in my opinion be strictly preserved and 
encouraged, as not only very useful but most orna- 
mental. The cry of the Buzzard is a plaintive wail, and 
is constantly uttered by the parent birds as they sail 
over their nests when disturbed. 

This species ranges over the greater part of Europe ; 
I met with it constantly during the winter on the shores 
of the Lake of Geneva, where, for some reason of which 
I could not obtain any satisfactory explanation, it was 
generally known to the country people under the name 
of " Bon Oiseau " ; as many of my readers are doubtless 
aware, the word " bon " is occasionally used to imply 
simple, or stupid, but in this instance I am disposed to 
think that the thrifty Swiss recognized the utility of the 
bird and applied the adjective in its primary sense, 
though the Buzzard certainly is in a measure compara- 
tively simple-minded about traps, and in allowing the 
near approach of human enemies. In captivity the 
Buzzard becomes perfectly tame, and if well fed may 
safely be trusted in the company of almost any other 

This species is subject to many variations of plumage ; 
the subject selected for the Plate is a very remarkably 

dark-coloured specimen, which was taken in Cornwall 
more than twenty years ago and is still alive at Lilford ; 
this bird has altered very slightly in plumage since it 
came into my possession, and has a peculiar purple 
bloom upon its feathers which Mr. Thorburn has done 
his best to render faithfully, and, in my opinion, has 
succeeded admirably in treating what must have been 
an exceptionally difficult detail. 

Litho. \V. Greve, Berlin. 


Buteo lagopus i-f- t\ (imcUn). 


BUTEO LAGOPUS [J. F. Gmelin). 

Falco lagopus, Gmelin, Syst. Nat. i. p. 260 (1788) ; Naum. i. 

p. 359. 
Buteo lagopus, Macg. iii. p. 193; Hewitson, i. p. 39; Yarr. 

ed. 4, i. p. 115. 
Archibuteo lagopus. Dresser, v. p. 471. 

Archibuse pattue, French ; Rauchfuss-Bussard, German. 

This is a species about which I am unable to give any 
information from personal observation of its habits in a 
wild state, as I have not seen more than perhaps four or 
five individuals at various times sweeping over the open 
country of West Norfolk in late autumn and winter. 

The Rough-legged Buzzard breed^s commonly in the 
north of continental Europe, and is by no means an 
infrequent autumnal visitor to Great Britain, where it is 
generally destroyed very soon after its first appearance ; 
it certainly prefers open to wooded country during its 
visits, and has a very natural predilection for rabbit- 
warrens ; otherwise, in general habits, it seems to 
resemble the Common Buzzard, but it is a larger and 
much more powerful bird, and may be distinguished 

from that species even at a considerable distance by its 
lighter colour. The few reports of this bird's having 
bred in our country are open to very considerable 

The figure here given was taken from a bird now 
alive at Lilford, where it has been for several years ; it 
is a very silent bird, and lives in perfect amity with 
various other raptorial species. 

Litho. W. Grave, Berlin. 

Pernis apivorus (linn.). 

a: 1 

< s, 

D 5 



1 1 



Falco apivorus, Linn. S. N.i. p. 130 (1766) ; Nati7n. i. p. 3G7, 

xiii. p. 28. 
Pernis apivora^ Macg. iii. p. 254. 
Pernis apivorus, Hewitson, i. p. 40; Yrnr. ed. 4, i. p. 121 ; 

Dresser, vi. p. 3. 

Buse bondree, French ; Wespen-Bussard, German ; AguUa 
de Moras, Abejero, Abispera, Spanish. 

This bird, wliose common English name should be 
summarily changed to " Wasp-Buzzard," is locally well 
known as a summer visitor to the forest-districts of 
most parts of Europe. My friend Mr. H. E. Dresser, 
in his grand work ' The Birds of Europe,' records it as 
breeding in Finland ; it is exceedingly common on 
passage in Sicily, it occurs in Palestine, and we found 
it nesting on the frontiers of Santander and Asturias. 
In this country there are many records of the finding 
of occupied nests of the Honey-Buzzard ; I am glad 
to be able, on good authority, to add to those 
recorded in the 4th ed. of ' Yarrell,' two instances 
in the county of Bucks ; and I have every reason to 
believe that if unmolested these birds would breed in 
some abundance throughout our British woodlands. In 

Nortliamptonsbire I have very good traditional evidence 
that it was by no means uncommon in the summer 
during the early decades of the present century, and I 
have a specimen that was shot with its mate from a 
nest that contained four eggs, in the summer of 1848 
or 1844. The old gamekeeper who shot these birds 
declared that in his early days he had shot " scores of 
Buzzards of two kinds," besides Kites and Harriers. 

My personal acquaintance with the subject of this 
article in freedom is somewhat limited, being confined 
almost exclusively to Switzerland and Spain. I seldom, 
if ever, observed a lioney-Buzzard soaring in the 
manner of the Common Buzzard or Kite ; it always 
seemed to me to be a somewhat sluggish bird, by no 
means remarkably shy of man, delighting in " taking 
the sun " on the topmost boughs of lofty trees, and 
evincing a very marked preference for beeches. It is 
very frequently to be seen on the ground in open glades 
under the forest trees, in search of wasp-grubs and 
other food, and runs with great ease and rapidity. The 
only note that I have heard from a wild bird of this 
species is a shrill monosyllabic squeal rapidly repeated, 
and very distinct from the long-drawn shriek of the 
Kite or the wail of the Common Buzzard. The nest is 
usually placed in a tall beech or oak tree, at a con- 
siderable height from the ground, and is usually com- 
posed of dead sticks, and lined with twigs and root-fibres, 
and carpeted with fresh beech-leaves that are constantly 
renewed till the eggs are hatched out. The story of 
the leafy screen that is recorded in ' Yarrell,' 4th ed. 
vol. i. p. 123, on the authority of the late Mr. E. Cloiigh 

Ncwcoinc, was told to iiic by that gentleman many 
years ago ; liis idea was that it was intended either as a 
means of concealing the nestlings from the sharp eyes 
of the Gos-Hawl<s that frequent the forest in which he 
observed this habit, or as a screen from the sun ; be 
this as it may, it is not an invariable custom, and, so 
far as the latter hypothesis is concerned, the Honey- 
Buzzard's nests are generally well shaded from tlie sun. 

Besides the grubs of wasps and bees that constitute 
the favourite food of this bird, worms, caterpillars, frogs, 
field-mice, and other " small deer," to my knowledge, 
come frequently into its bill of fare. It is somewhat 
remarkable that having failed in several instances to 
keep this species alive through the winter upon the 
ordinary food of '' Raptor es," I was induced, in the 
case of two young birds received from France in 
August 1892, to try them with an exclusive diet of 
bread and milk, and found that they did perfectly well 
upon this very unnatural provend, preferring it even to 
wasp-comb full of grubs. 

I have this year (1893) received a nestling of this 
species (also from France) of the very beautiful variety 
with white head and upper breast, figured in Dresser's 
' Birds of Europe ' and Borrer's ' Birds of Sussex.' 
Having been informed in 1891 of the capture of 
a Honey-Buzzard many years before that date in Salcey 
Forest, Northamptonshire, 1 wrote to the person named 
to me as the captor, and received the following reply : — ■ 
"Salcey Forest, March 25, 1891. I beg to say, in 
answer to your letter, that the Honey-Buzzard was 
pulled out by me in the Crown Woods near Silverstone 

in this county in September 18G1. On seeing the 
wasps unusually busy one morning about 8 o'clock, I 
went near the nest to ascertain the cause. Tlie whole 
of the combs were scratched out, and there was a hole 
nearly the size of a bee-hive. On seeing the tail of a 
bird, I put my arm in and drew out vvhat proved to be 
a very fine specimen of the Honey-Buzzard. I sent 
the bird for preservation ; but after about ten years it 
crumbled to pieces. To prove the date, I enclose I'eceipt 
for stuffing. — Thomas Gulliver, Crown Woodman." 

On one occasion in September 1856 I witnessed a 
passage of great numbers of this species from Spain to 
Africa. Our vessel was becalmed off Europa Point, and 
from about noon till dusk the Honey-Biizzards kept 
passing over and on both sides of us in flocks of from 
half a dozen to eighty or more, at intervals of a few 
minutes, at no very great height above the water, 
although for the most part out of gunshot from our 
ship. Colonel Irby states that the vernal passage of 
this species to the northward, as observed by him at 
Gibraltar, generally occurs during the last days of 
April and first fortnight of May, and extends over some 
twenty days. 



Litho. W. Greve, Berlin. 

Milvus reg-alis (Pall). 




Accipitei' regalis, Pall. Zoogr. Rosso- As. i. p. 356 (1811). 
Falco milvus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 126 (1766) ; Naum. i. p. 333. 
Milvus ictinus, Savigny, Syst. Ois. de I'Egypte, p. 28 ; Yarr. 

ed. 4j i. p. 92 ; Dresser, v. p. 643. 
Milvus regalis, Macg. iii. p. 265. 
Milvus vulgaris, Hewitson, i. p. 36. 

Milan royal, French ; rothe Milan, Gabelweihe, German ; 
Milano real, Spanish. 

This beautiful bird, which, within my recollection, was 
by no means uncommon about our home in North- 
amptonshire, and abundant in some of the great wood- 
lands of Huntingdonshire, as in many other parts of 
England, is now very rare in Great Britain. Certain 
districts of South and North Wales are still ornamented 
by the occasional visits of the Kite, and I feel sure that 
all lovers of birds must have shared my disgust at a 
recent announcement in the ' Field ' that no less than 
five of this species had been slaughtered within a small 
area of the Principality since the beginning of this year 
(1889). T believe that a few Kites still annually visit the 
Highlands of Scotland, and can only hope that the pro- 
tection afforded in one praiseworthy instance that has 

come to my knowledge may be extended far and wide. 
I cannot believe, from my acquaintance with the habits 
of this bird, that it would ever be likely to inflict serious 
loss upon game-preservers, though, fi"om its habit of 
hanging around villages, small chickens are occasionally 
taken by it. In many parts of the continent our bird is 
still common, especially so in Spain, in which country 
many Kites may often be seen soaring in wide circles 
over hill and plain, and their shrill plaintive cry is 
constantly to be heard. No refuse or garbage comes 
amiss to these birds, and they are certainly most efficient 
inspectors of nuisances. The nest of the Kite is usually 
built in a high tree with a strong foundation and walls 
of dead sticks, and a curious assortment of various 
" unconsidered trifles " as lining. Mr. John Hancock 
has informed me that a Kite's nest, taken many years 
ago in Northamptonshire, contained a bit of saddle-girth, 
a bit of red worsted binding, a harvester's glove, and 
many pieces of paper and linen, and I am acquainted 
with more than one instance of purses containing money 
having been found in nests of this bird. The eggs are 
usually three in number, white, with rust-coloured spots 
and streaks. 

Litho. W. Grcve, Berlin. 

Milvus migrans (Boddaert). 




Falco migrans, Boddaert, Table des Planches Enl. p. 28. 

no. 472 (1783). 
Falco ater, Naum. i. p. 310. 
Milvus migrans, Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 97; Dresser, v. p. 651. 

Milan noir, French ; Schwarser Milan, German ; Milano 
negro, Spanish. 

I only use the ordinary English name for this species 
for want of a better, as the bird is certainly not 
"black," and to call it "migratory" would not distin- 
guish it from other members of its family. The only 
recorded occurrence of this Kite in this country is that 
'of a specimen taken in a trap at Alnwick, Northumber- 
land, and brought in a fresh state to tlie late Mr. John 
Hancock on May 11, 1866; this bird, an adult male, is 
now in the Museum of Newcastle-on-Tyne. This bird 
is a common summer visitor to the plains of Central 
Europe, Southern France, Spain, and North Africa ; in 
all these countries I have observed it, but my principal 
acquaintance with it vs^as formed in Central and Southern 
Spain ; in Andalucia it arrives early in March, and from 
that period till the end of September may be met with 

more or less abundantly in almost all parts of the 
Spanish Peninsula. I have very seldom found the 
Black Kite in mountainous or even hilly districts, it 
seems to affect especially the woods on the marshy 
plains or the banks of large rivers. In general habits 
this bird much resembles the Common Kite, but, as far 
as my own experience goes, is more addicted to a diet of 
reptiles, fishes, and insects than that species. In Spain 
the present species generally nests in pine-trees, poplars, 
or willows, at a considerable height from the ground : 
several pairs are often to be found breeding in close 
vicinity. I never noticed such a variety of rubbish in 
the materials of the nests of the Black Kite as in those 
of the " Forky-tail," as the Common Kite was frequently 
called at the time when it really was " common " in this 
country ; the eggs are white, with speckles and streaks 
of rusty brown. In Central Spain we generally met 
with large colonies of the so-called "Spanish" Sparrow 
{Passer salicicolus) nesting in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of both species of Kite, and in more than one 
instance actually found nests of these Sparrows amongst 
the foundations of those of the Kites. 


■T. 1/V o If, 


G Y R • F A 1. C O N . 
Faico gyrfaico, Linn. 




Falco gyrfalco, Linn. S. N. i. p. 130 (1766) ; Naum. xiii. 
p. 22; Yarr. ed. 4, i. pp. 36, 46; Dressei-, vi. p. 15. 

Gei'faiit de Norvege, French ; Gierfaike, German ; Gerifdlte, 

I can only discover two records of the occurrence of 
this Scandinavian Falcon in our country, viz. one 
killed in Sussex in 1845, now in the collection of 
Mr. W. Borrer, who tells us in his ' Birds of Sussex ' 
(1891) that his specimen, which he at first considered 
as an Iceland Falcon, was identified as an adult of the 
present species by the late Mr. John Henry Gurney. 
Mr. Borrer, in the work to which I have just referred, 
gives an excellent figure of this Falcon, which proves, 
were any proof needed, the coiTectness of Mr. Gurney's 
identification. The other occurrence to which I have 
alluded is recorded by Mr. H. Seebohm, ' British Bu-ds,' 
vol. i. p. 19 (1883), who states that an immature 
example of the " Norwegian form of Jer-Falcon " was 
shot at Orford, in Suffolk, in the act of devouring a 
hen, on October 14th, 1867, and was, at the time of 
Mr. Seebohm's writing, in the possession of Mr. Ed. 
Hunt, of Pimlico, the brother of its destroyer. 

I will not go into the much disputed question of 
specific distinction between the Gyr and Iceland Falcons 
fiu'ther than by saying that although the immature 

birds are very closely alike in plumage, there is a 
constant difference of " make " and character between 
them that would, I think, at once strike the eye of a 
falconer ; about the adult birds there can hardly be 
any mistake. 

The Gyr-Ealcon is from all accounts resident in many 
parts of Scandinavia, where it nests in cliffs and high 
trees, and preys principally upon Ptarmigan and Water- 
fowl. It must be locally abundant, as John WoUey 
found upwards of twenty nests in West Finmark ; and 
the well-known falconer John Barr (who was sent to 
Norway by Captain Dugmore and me some years ago 
for the express purpose) succeeded in catching sixteen 
fully fledged young birds of the year during a few 
weeks' stay in that country. This Falcon was held in 
high repute by ancient falconers ; but my small expe- 
rience with it goes to prove that it evidently requires a 
large expanse of open country to enable it to put forth 
its best qualities, and that it is practically useless 
amongst enclosures. The flight of the few of this 
species that I have seen on wing under the disad- 
vantages just mentioned, though strong and vigorous, 
could not compare in speed with that of the Greenland 
Falcon in the same circumstance ; but I have never 
seen the Gyr-Falcon in a wild state. One of these 
birds was taken at Valkenswaard, in South Brabant, 
many years ago to my certain knowledge, and is not, I 
think, the only one that has been caught at the Hawk- 
huts in that district ; but its range of migration appears 
to be far more limited than those of the Iceland and 
Greenland Falcons. 



■V5-,- .r 


ICELAND FALTON. adu/t Femah. 
Faloo islandus, J . F. Gmchn 




Falco islanclus, Gmelin, Syst. Nat. i. p. 271 (1788) ; Naum, 

xiii. p. 22; Yarr. eel. 4, i. p. 46 ; Dresser, vi. p. 25, 
Falco gyrfalco, Macg. iii. p. 284. 
Falco islandicusj Hewitson, i. p. 22. 

Gerfault Islandais, French ; Isldndischer Falke, Germaa. 

This Talcon, although it breeds in Iceland, and is by 
no means uncommon there, is, from all accounts, a less 
frequent visitor to our Islands than the " Grecnlander ; " 
but it is more than probable that there may be some 
confusion of these two species in the published records 
of occurrences, and the fact that there are two well- 
marked and distinct races of the present species, apart 
from the Gyr- Falcon of Scandinavia, F. gyrfalco, has no 
doubt tended to complicate correct identification. From 
having kept some of all the three northern Falcons in 
captivity, I am convinced that the Icelander, and the 
true Gyr-Falcon to which I have just alluded, are suffi- 
ciently distinct to be entitled to rank as separate species, 
although I am quite willing to admit that the immature 
birds are so much alike that no falconer, however expe- 
rienced, could pronounce a decisive opinion upon their 

specific identity. As I have never visited Iceland, I 
can say notliing from personal experience of the habits 
of this Falcon in a vrild state, but I have heard much 
about them from various persons who have observed 
them closely in their home, especially from the late 
Mr. Proctor, of Durham, who, if I recollect rightly, paid 
several visits to Iceland for bird-collecting purposes. 
Prom these accounts it seems that the " Icelander " 
closely resembles the Peregrine in its breeding-habits 
and general manner of life. The nest is placed on the 
ledges of cliffs and is more bulky than an average 
Peregrine's nursery, being composed of twigs of willow 
and dead sticks, and lined with wool. Sea-fowl and 
Waders form the principal diet of this Falcon, but a 
friend who visited Iceland many years ago, and presented 
me with a very fine skin of the present species, told me 
that the Ptarmigan also suffer severely from the atten- 
tions of our bird, who picks them up from the ground 
more often than she takes them on wing. I do not 
gather from my informant that the Falcon is by any 
means specially addicted to the coasts for breeding or 
other purposes, but this inference is probably due to 
the fact that my information is derived from summer 
visitors to Iceland. From a falconer's point of view, I 
have had but very slight acquaintance with the Iceland 
Falcon, and am not inclined to rate her highly, but it 
must be borne in mind that all the birds of this species 
trained in this country have necessarily had the great 
disadvantage of a sea-passage, and in many instances 
have arrived so much damaged in plumage that they 
could not be put on wing till after the first moult; 


ICELAND FALCON, Female immature. 

Falco islandus, J. F. Omelin. 

Litho. W. Gr«Te, Berlin. 


all falconers know how much Hawks suffer from a 
lengthened period of inactivity. Our ancestors seem, 
however, to have esteemed the " Icelanders " highly ; 
there are traditions of their being trained to take the 
Kite, and in more recent days a few of these Falcons 
were flown at Herons with success in the Netherlands. 

The late Mr. E. Clough Newcome, certainly the first 
amateur falconer of his day, owned several of these 
Falcons, and spoke highly of the performance of one or 
two of them, but on the whole did not care very much 
about them, and infinitely preferred the "passage" 
Peregrine for practical purposes. The late Maharajah 
Duleep Singh flew " Icelanders " with some success at 
Hares in Suffolk, but I could not get an " Icelander " 
of mine to look at a live rabbit, and, indeed, I hold that 
this sort of work is altogether beneath the hereditary 
dignity of a true Falcon. In my experience I have 
found the " Icelander " difficult to keep in health for 
any length of time, even when the bird is constantly 
exercised ; the feet especially generally go wrong sooner 
or later, and are exceedingly difficult to treat success- 
fully. In disposition this Falcon seems to be tameable 
enough, but by no means remarkable for docility, of a 
somewhat sluggish temperament, and it is by no means 
so hardy as might be expected from the climatic con- 
ditions of the country of its origin. 




Falco candicans, Gmelin, Syst. Nat. i. p. 275 (1788) ; Naum. 

i. p. 269, xiii. p. 16; Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 36; Dresser, vi. 

p. 21. 
Falco gyrfalco, Macg. iii. p. 284. 

Jagd-Falke, Edel-Falke, Griinlandischer-Falke, German. 

This beautiful Falcon is a scarce and irregular winter 
visitor to the United Kingdom. Prom the fact that 
two, or perhaps three, species, of which the present 
bird is one, were formerly lumped together under the 
name of " Jer " (properly " Gyr ") Falcons, a good deal 
of confusion has arisen as to the identification in several 
instances of the occurrence of the northern Falcons in 
our Islands; but this species is to be distinguished at 
all ages from the Iceland and Norway Falcons by the 
fact (first made known by Mr. John Hancock) that the 
ground-colour of its plumage is always white, whereas 
the two birds last named have a generally darker 
plumage, marked with white or light grey ; to the eye 
of a falconer there is a peculiar " make " and character 
about the Greenland Falcon that arc quite sufficient to 



■ / 'i/ 



Falco candicans, J. F. Gmdin. 


Litho. W. Greve, Bcrliy 

enable him to identify lier, even if she were jet-black. 
An old gamekeeper, native of Rannoch, Perthshire, and 
formerly in my employment in Inverness-shire, assured 
me that the " White Falcons " very frequently visited 
Loch Rannoch and Loch Tnmmel during the winter 
months, and that he had at various times shot and 
trapped four or five, and seen many others ; one of 
these victims I discovered in the shop of Mr. Paton, the 
well-known gunmaker at Perth ; it was a young male, 
killed near Foss, on Loch Tummel, in the early spring 
of 1862. I had the pleasure of presenting this speci- 
men to the late E. Clough Newcome, of Feltwell, 
Brandon, Norfolk, an old and valued friend, and in 
his day without a rival in this country as a practical 

John Campbell, the gamekeeper to whom I have 
above alluded, told me that these " White Falcons ". 
seemed to prefer Rooks to any other quarry, but that 
they made the wild fowl very " uneasy " ; he never saw 
one in pursuit of a Red Grouse, but once saw one make 
an ineffectual stoop at an old Blackcock ; on the whole, 
from his pi'ofessional point of view, he did not look 
upon the Greenlander as such " a bad vermin " ! as the 
" Hunting Hawk," /. e. Peregrine. 

My experience of this bird in captivity is to the 
effect that it is extremely docile, and a very fine and 
powerful flyer and stooper, but what we call in falconry 
a poor " footer," that is, it is not able, or more pro- 
bably not disposed, to bind to and grasp its quarry 
firmly ; it is also by no means hardy of constitution, 
and is difficult to keep in good condition for field 

purposes. This bird is known to breed in Greenland 
and the arctic regions of continental North America; 
it has been met with in Northern Asia and Spitzbergen, 
and seems to be a more or less regular autumnal visitor 
to Iceland. 

I must refer my readers to the fourth edition of 
Yarrell's ' British Birds ' for details relating to the high 
value formerly set upon the Greenlanders by falconers, 
who are said to have trained them successfully at 
Cranes, Herons, Wild Geese, and ground-game ; there 
is also a tradition that they took Kites, but I do not 
think that in this case the species of the captor is clearly 

The Plate that accompanies this article was taken 
from a very fine adult living female at Lilford, one of 
the tamest Falcons that I ever knew ; she has, I grieve 
to say, departed this life since her portrait was taken. 




Falco peregrinuSj Tunstall, Ornith. Brit. p. 1 (1771) ; Naum. 
i. p. 285; Macg. iii. p. 294; Hewitson, i. p. 24; Yarr. 
ed. 4j i. p. 53; Dresser, vi. p. 31. 

Faucon commun, Faitcon pelerin, French ; Wanderfalke, 
German; Halcdn, Halcdn real, Spanish. 

This most noble of birds, although ruthlessly per- 
I secTited by game-preservers in many districts, still 

breeds annually on various parts of the coasts of the 
three kingdoms and their adjacent islands, as well as 
in some inland localities, but in most of our English 
counties is best known as an autumnal visitor, generally 
following the annual southward migration of Wild-fowl 
and Wood-Pigeons, and frequently, if not molested, 
remaining during the winter and late into the spring 
in places that afford a sufficiency of prey and facilities 
for the capture thereof. 

I suppose that it would be a hopeless task to attempt 

to explain to any but those few who love sport in its 

higher sense for its own sake, the feeling that falconers 

entertain for the Peregrine, hallowed to them as she is 

I by tradition of ages, and their most " generous " and 


&.E Lodge del. J Smit Uth 

P K U 1', G^ li 1 X 1-. I- . \ 1 . 1 ( ) X . 
raleo pei-t'grin»is. Tan-,st(tU 


Mirit-err. Brite . imp. 

1-. L:)d^e del J. Simt Uth 

Falco pex^egi'inna. IvcntStcdJ 


!fiivl-p-rr. Bros . iiTir. 

efficient ally in the most interesting of tlie many 

branches of field-sports. I do not pretend to claim for 
my favourite bird the unquestioning attachment to its 
master or the sagacity of the dog, or to compare its 
merits and value with those of the horse ; but I do 
most strongly urge its claims to protection as affording 
opportunities for most wholesome exercise of mental 
and physical powers in training, flying, and following. 
Some of my enthusiastic fellow-falconers have gone so 
far as to deny altogether that our Falcon is prejudicial 
to game ; but this is an over-statement of the case 
which in my opinion is detrimental to our cause ; the 
Peregrine can and does take Grouse and Partridges 
when she gets a fair chance and is hungry, but it 
must be remembered that as a riile she captures her 
" quarry " in the air, and that our common game-birds 
just mentioned are of terrestrial habits and certainly by 
no means willing to take wing when a Falcon is in 
sight, but do their utmost to squat close and conceal 
themselves, so that they are by no means the habitual 
or even (in my opinion) a particularly favourite prey of 
the Peregrine. From my own experience in this country 
and in other parts of Europe I am convinced that 
Pigeons, the smaller species of the Duck family, espe- 
cially Teal, and wading-birds of all kinds are the most 
usual and most natural food of the Falcon, and I do 
not think that the most ardent lover of the gun should 
grudge her a due share of these. Personally I would 
rather see one fine stoop of a wild or trained Falcon 
than shoot and kill any bird that ever flew ; but, of 
course, I cannot expect many to agree with me on this 

subject, and have written the above rhapsody simply as 
an appeal to the few who can sympathize in the chief 
delight of a still smaller portion of the community. 

The nest of the Peregrine is generally situated on a 
ledge or in a cavity of sea-cliffs or inland crags, and has 
been occasionally found on elevated buildings. The 
eggs are generally three, not uncommonly four, in 

In treating of this bird as above, from a falconer's 
point of view, I have advisedly used the feminine article, 
as from that standpoint the word Falcon is applied 
exclusively to the female bird, which is very much larger 
and more powerful than the male, and consequently held 
in higher estimation for sporting-purposes ; the latter, 
in the language of falconry, is known as Tiercel. The 
progress of cultivation and consequent enclosure have 
virtually circumscribed the available area for falconry in 
our country to a very great extent, an open treeless 
district being the first essential to its successful prac- 
tice ; but in spite of every difficulty the noble art is still 
kept up in our islands, and by many of the officers of 
our army in India, where it can be carried out in the 
most favourable circumstances, with results quite unat- 
tainable at home. 

The Peregrine ranges over the whole of Europe and 
Asia, and is represented by very closely allied forms in 
Africa, Australia, and the New World. 



Falco Subbuteo, Linn. S. N. i. p. 127; Naum. i. p. 296; 
Macg. iii. p. 309 ; Hewitson, i. p. 26 ; Yarr. ed. 4<, i. 
p. 65 ; Dresser, vi. p. 69. 

Le Hobereau, French ; Baum-Falke, Lerchen-Falke, Ger- 
man; Alcotan, Spanish. 

One of the latest summer visitors to England, in 
which country it is never abundant. 

Breeds irregularly in several of the midland, eastern, 
and southern counties. 

It rarely visits Scotland or Ireland. 

The Plates represent an adult male in full summer 
plumage, and a bird in that of the first year. 

I.itho. W. Greve, Berlia-London 

HOBBY ( adult ) . 
Falco subbuteo. Linn. 

f r t J * » i 
• ft ''^ 2 i 

icjisirt Cnromo-Ittn 

HOBBY ii?>u>/aiu7'£-) 
Falco subbuteo, Lmn 













Falco vespertinus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 129 (1766) ; Macg. iii. 

p. 313; Heivitson, i. p. 28; Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 69; 

Dresser, vi. p. 93. 
Falco rufipes, Naum. i. p. 311. 

Faucon Kobez, French; Rothfuss-Falke, German. 

This very beautiful little Falcon is an irregular and 
uncommon visitor to the British Islands, in all proba- 
bility for the good reason that these Islands lie far to 
the westward of its breeding-haunts and its accustomed 
routes of migration. To the Ionian Islands, where I 
first made the acquaintance of this species, it is a 
regular and, in some years, a very abundant vernal 
visitor ; but, so so far as I was able to ascertain, in 
Corfu it only remains for a few days. I once fell in 
with a small flock of Red-footed Falcons on the shores 
of the Lake of Geneva in May 1851 ; I saw one on 
wing in Andalucia in the early summer of 1884, and 
found it in considerable numbers on one occasion only 
in Cyprus, near Limasol, on May 6th, 1875. 

This bird is eminently gregarious in habits, and in 

this respect, as in many others, closely resembles the 
Kestrels, especially the Lesser (Fr//co ccncliris). It is, 
however, more crepuscular than the Common Kestrel, 
and, in my experience, is not very often to be seen on 
wing hunting for food till late in the afternoon ; and it 
certainly frequently carries on its hunting long after the 
sun has set. During the stay of these Falcons in Corfu 
they seemed to spend the hot hours of the day perched in 
small clusters on the tall cypresses and few poplars that 
diversify the lovely scenery of the island ; as the day 
waned these birds might be observed hovering and 
circling in every direction at a moderate height over 
the fields and olive-groves, showing a decided predi- 
lection for the neighbourhood of streams or ponds of 
freshwater. They had no fear whatever of human 
beings, and frequently flew past or hovered within 
half a gun-shot of us as we sat or stood perfectly 

I believe that this Palcon takes its prey principally 
on wing, but also not infrequently from the ground, 
upon which it runs with remarkable ease and speed. 
The stomach of a specimen killed in Corfu contained 
portions of the remains of large moths, whilst the crop 
of the only one that I cared to shoot for identification 
in Cyprus was crammed with small dung-beetles. 

Of the breeding-habits of this Falcon I know nothing 
from personal observation. For a most interesting 
account of the habits of this bird in Southern Russia I 
will refer my readers to a translation given at length by 
my friend Mr. H. E. Dresser in his great work, tiie 
' Birds of Europe,' vol. 6. The Red-footed Falcon 

breeds in small societies in irmigary and oilier parts of 

South-eastern Europe ; it generally occupies the aban- 
doned nests of Crows or Magpies, aiul lays from four 
to six eggs in May. Willi regard to the gregarious 
breeding-habits of this species I well remember to have 
heard a story many years ago from the late E. Clongh 
Newcome to the effect that some Rooks being requii'ed 
alive for the training of Peregrine Falcons at Vienna, 
an emissary was despatched thence to a reported 
" rookery " at some distance down the Danube, and 
that on his arrival at the indicated locality he found 
that the Rooks' nests were entirely deserted by their 
builders, and most of them occupied by Red-footed 

The cry of this Falcon closely resembles those of the 
Hobby and the Lesser Kestrel, but is quite distin- 
guishable from either by any one conversant with the 
smaller FalconidtiB. 

In my experience the present species very seldom 
comes alive into the hands of bird-dealers in this 
country, and is difficult to keep in captivity through the 
cold months, although I have not a doubt that during 
the summer it would thrive at "hack," i.e. at liberty, 
if taken from the nest, and " reclaimed," or broken to 
the fist, before it could fly. I consider the name 
" Orange-legged Hobby," that has frequently been 
applied by English writers to this Falcon, as quite a 
misnomer, and 1 look upon it in almost every respect as 
being essentially of the Kestrel family. 



FALCO JESALON, Tuns tall. 

Falco sesaloiij TunstaU, Ornith. Brit. p. 1 (1771) ; Naum. i. 
p. 303; Macg. iii. p. 317; Hewitson, i. p. 30 ; Yarr. 
ed. 4, i. p. 74 ; Dresser, vi. p. 83. 

Faucon Emerillon, French; Zwerg-Faike, German; Esme- 
rejon, Spanish. 

This beautiful little Falcon breeds on moorlands 
throughout the British Isles, and several instances of 
its nesting in trees in parts of our country where no 
moors exist are on record ; but as a rule in the culti- 
vated and woodland districts of Central and Southern 
England it is best known as a bird of double passage, 
closely attending the migratory hordes of Finches and 
Larks on their autumnal migration, and reappearing 
casually in early spring. On many parts of our coasts 
the Merlin remains throughout the winter months, and 
plays havoc amongst the smaller Waders and other 
shore-frequenting birds. 

The nest of this bird is generally situated on a 
tussock on the open moor, the bank of a moorland 
burn or "scaur," and occasionally in rocks; it consists 



Idtho. W. Grevie, Berlin. 

MERLIN, adult male. 
Falco sesalon, Tunstali. 


Litho. W. Grove B«rllu. 

MERLIN, adult fetnale <fe t'mmature male. 
Falco aesalon, Tunstail. 


of a few twigs loosely laid together. The eggs, seldom 
more than four in number, do not vary nearly so much 
infer se as those of the Kestrel, but are generally more 
uniformly coloured, smaller, and not so rounded as 
those of that well-known bird. The Merlin is, for its 
size, a very powerful bird, and a beautiful flyer, very 
persistent in pursuit. I have seen but very little of its 
performances as a trained bird ; but it has been, and 
still is occasionally, used to take Larks, Blackbirds, and 
Thrushes ; and I have seen a trained female take a 
House-Pigeon after a long and difficult flight. When 
a Merlin's nest is approached the old birds show con- 
siderable courage in flying at human beings, dogs, or 
large predatory birds ; but my experience does not 
lead me to credit them with the pluck and dash that is 
generally attributed to them. Inquisitiveness seems to 
be a prominent trait in this species, for I have re- 
peatedly seen wild Merlins come to observe the pro- 
ceedings of trained Peregrines on the wing, and more 
than once noticed one hovering over hooded Hawks on 
their " cadge." The Merlin seldom flies at any great 
height, except, of course, when in pursuit of any 
soaring quarry, or bound on a lengthy journey. In 
our district of Northamptonshire, where this species is 
by no means rare on passage, we generally notice it 
flying low along the course of our river or tributary 
brooks, or along the fence-sides, in search or piu-suit 
of small birds. An old Wagtail or Pipit cuts out 
a Merlin's work for her ; and I have often witnessed 
beautiful and prolonged flights at these birds, which 
generally, in the winter season, terminated in favour of 

the intended victim. On the high moorlands, however, 
I believe that young Meadow-Pipits form the principal 
diet of the Merlin during the summer months, Many 
gamekeepers consider our bird as very destructive 
amongst young Grouse ; but although I am well aware 
that the Merlin vi'ill take its prey on the ground more 
readily perhaps than any European Falcon except the 
Kestrel, I do not think that any serious amount of harm 
can be caused by it amongst game-birds, as, whilst they 
are small enough to be liable to attack from the Merlin, 
they are jealously tended and protected by their parents. 
In captivity the Merlin is remarkably docile, but re- 
quires great care and skilful management to keep it for 
any length of time in good flying condition. 

J- &,lietiip.marv.'3 dtii. et. hth. 

Faico tirinunculus ,iimTy. 

Min±-ern. Bros , imp . 




Falco tinnimculus, Litm. S. N. i. p. 127 (1766) ; Naum. i. 
p. 323 ; Macg. iii. p. 325 ; Hewitson, i. p. 32 ; Yarr. 
ed. 4, i. p. 78 ; Dresser, vi. p. 113. 

Faucon-Ci-esserelle, Frencli; Thurm-Falke, Riittel-Falke , 
German; Primilla, Cernicalo, Spanish. 

In spite of the senseless persecution to which it is 
exposed, this beautiful and interesting bird is still 
tolerably common in many parts of our country, and 
its habits are probably too well known to those who 
take any interest in birds to render any lengthened 
notice necessary at my hands. In the part of England 
with which I am best acquainted I consider the Kestrel 
to be a regular migrant, appearing in force in March ; 
these birds pair shortly after their arrival, and generally 
take possession of an old nest of Crow, Magpie, or 
Rook. Throughout the early summer a hovering 
Kestrel or two may be seen daily in our neighbourhood, 
and as soon as our meadows are cleared of their crops 
we often see five or six of these very ornamental birds 
on wing together diligently exaiminng the ground for 
the various animals that constitute their usual diet, r.y. 

voles, field-mice, frogs, grasshoppers, beetles, and earth- 

Most of our Kestrels leave us towards the end of 
October, and during really severe weather we seldom 
see one ; but in mild winters a few remain after the 
main body has passed to the south. In Northamp- 
tonshire the country-people generally call this bird 
" Sparrow-Hawk ; " but gamekeepers have good reason 
to know the very obvious differences of habit and 
appearance between the present species and the bird 
that properly bears the latter designation. The Kestrel 
will now and then take a young game-bird on the 
ground ; but the good service done by this species in 
the destruction of noxious animals, to say nothing of 
the beauty of its flight, ought to ensure it from 
slaughter in the supposed interests of sport. I know 
that it is almost useless to protest against the perse- 
cution of this, as any other species, by the emissaries of 
bird-stuffers and plume-dealers, the only hope that one 
may reasonably entertain in this connexion is for an 
improvement in taste and sense of decency. 

The Kestrel is more or less common throughout 
Europe, and is exceedingly abundant in Spain, where 
it is to be found nesting in almost every church-tower 
or ruin in town and country in company with its very 
close congener — the Lesser or White-clawed Kestrel 
(F. cenchis). I need hardly say that the present 
species is useless for the purposes of falconry ; but it is 
an interesting pet, and may be kept quite tame in 
perfect liberty. 



,Xl ,,. 




Lllho. W. Greve, Berlin 

Falco cenchris, 2faum. 



Falco ceuchris, Naum. Vog. Deiitscli. i. p. 318 (1822) ; 
Yarr. ed. 4^ i. p. 82 ; Dresser, vi. p. 125. 

CrecereUe crecerellette, French; Rothel-Falke, German; 
Primilla, Primiia, wrongly Cernicalo, Spanish. 

This beautiful little falcon is a " Southerner," and its 
visits to the British Islands, and, indeed, to any part of 
Northern Europe, are exceptional and irregular. Mr. 
Howard Saunders, in his ' Manual,' records two occur- 
rences of the Lesser Kestrel in England, one in Yorkshire 
in November 1867, and another near Dover in 1877 ; to 
these may be added that of an adult male killed near 
Shankill, Co. Dublin, on February 17, 1891, and another, 
of the same sex, shot during the first week of March 
1891, in Tresco, Scilly; these two latter occurrences 
are recorded in the ' Zoologist ' for 1891, pp. 153, 
153, by Mr. A. G. More and Mr. J. H. Jeukinsou 
respectively. The Tresco specimen was most obhgingly 
lent for the purposes of the present work by Mr. Dorrien 
Smith (to whom I am indebted for many valuable loans), 
and is the bird represented in the accompanying Plate. 

I may mention that the female of this species so closely 
resembles the Common Kestrel that I do not consider 
it necessary to give a representation of her, the only 
constant differences between females of these two species 
being the smaller size and the white claws of the present 
bird. . The Lesser Kestrel abounds in Andalucia, and 
is also common in many districts of Central Spain ; 
in general habits, flight, and cry it is barely to be dis- 
tinguished from the larger species, but it is perhaps more 
exclusively insectivorous than the Common Kestrel, and 
rarely, in my experience, nests in trees. It is of course 
difficult to compute the numerical proportion of two very 
similar species when seen in the air together, but I am 
disposed to consider the Lesser Kestrel as more abundant 
in Andalucia during the summer months than its larger 


My kindly readers will, I trust, pardon me for sum- 
ming up my remarks on the Little Kestrel by quoting 
from my own " Notes on the Ornithology of Spain " 
published in the ' Ibis ' for 1865 : — " The two species of 
Kestrel are, I think, in April and May, the commonest 
birds in Andalucia, with perhaps the exception of the 
Bee-eater. Every church- steeple, belfry, and tower, 
every town and village, every ruin swarms with them; I 
believe I am not at all beyond the mark in saying that 
I have seen three or four hundred on wing at the same 
moment on more than one occasion, notably at Castro 
del Rio in April 1864. Both species of Kestrel continue 
on wing long after dark." I would amend the last 
sentence by substituting the word sunset for " dark." 
The eggs of this species are of a lighter colour than the 

average productions of the Common Kestrel, and, 
naturally, considerably smaller ; tlicy arc generally laid 
in holes of stone- or brick-work without any attempt at 
a nest, and I have several times found them within rcacli 
from the ground without any necessity for climbing to 
obtain them. A few Little Kestrels remain in Southern 
Spain through the winter months, but the great majority 
arrive in February or early in March, and leave tlie 
country about the end of September. The principal food 
of the Lesser Kestrel consists of beetles, locusts, and 
grasshoppers ; to the best of my belief their prey is 
invariably taken on the ground. 









K ! 





Falco palumbarius, Linn. S. N. i. p. 130 (1766) ; Naum. i. 

p. 249. 
Accipiter palumbarius^ Macg. iii. p. 340. 
Astur palumbarius, Heioitson, i. p. 34; Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 83 ; 

Dresser, v. p. 587. 

Autour, French ; Hahicht, German ; Azor, Guvilun, 

Although this fine Hawk is by no means uncoraniou 
in Germany and certain districts of Northern France, 
and there is good evidence of its having formerly bred in 
Scotland, it is now only known as a rare and irregular 
visitor to Great Britain, and I have only once seen a 
freshly-killed British Gos-Hawk; this bird I found on 
the counter of the shop of the well-known Mr. B. Lead- 
beater, of Brewer Street, about the end of March 1864, 
and was informed by him that he had just received it 
for preservation from Sir Robert Sheffield, Bart., of 
Normanby Park : several years after this the late Lord 
Kesteven mentioned this occurrence to me, and informed 
me that another Gos-Hawk was noticed at the same 

time about the same locality as that in which the bird 
above referred to was killed, and that an empty nest, 
supposed to have been built by these Hawks, was 
discovered by Sir Robert's gamekeeper. In November 
1888 the present Lord Kesteven was good enough, at 
my request, to make further inquiry into this matter, 
with the following result : — Firstly, a letter signed 
"Frank Sheffield," to the effect that "A Gos-Hawk was 
killed some 25 years ago, in the spring, on Sir Robert 
Sheffield's property by the head-keeper. A pair of 
Gos-Hawks frequented a large larcli-plantation for some 
time, and the specimen shot, and stuffed by Leadbeater, 
was the female ; a large nest was found near the place, 
and the male, though seen for a day or two following 
(the death of his mate), did not remain. The specimen 
is still at Normanby Park. Secondly, a letter addressed 
to Lord Kesteven by Mr. J. C. Sheffield, who, enclosing 
the letter just quoted from his brother, adds, " I also 
wrote to the gamekeeper at Normanby for information ; 
he says, ' My father shot the Gos-Hawk, but I cannot 
tell you the year, I i-emember it was the day before a 
Good Friday ; there was another about at the time, but 
they could not get it, and some little time afterward we 
found the nest they had built in the Warren plantation, 
about 20 yards from where my father shot the bird at 
roost in a larch-tree.' " This statement is unsigned, but ' 
Mr. J. Sheffield, in the same letter to Lord Kesteven, 
enclosed a note, dated Burton-on-Stather, Doncaster, 
November 15, 1888, which runs thus : — " Hon*^ Sir, The 
Gos-Hawk was killed March 27, 18G4. I am. Sir, your 
ob' servant, Jas. Coclthurst, Jan." I do not think 








it probable that the nest alhulcd to in the above letters 
was built by the Gos-Havvks ; but as this is the latest 
recorded instance within my knowledge of a pair of these 
birds having been observed in company in England, I 
have given the full details of the occurrence as commu- 
nicated to me. I may mention that Normanby is within 
a short distance of Brigg, in North Lincolnshire. 

The Gos-Hawk is a forest-loving bird, and, in my 
experience, is especially addicted, though by no means 
exclusively confined, to coniferous districts in tlic breed- 
ing-season ; in most of its habits, as in general form 
and adult plumage, this bird closely resembles the 
Sparrow-Iiawk, but it has a very decided taste for 
mammalian " quarry," which is not apparently shared in 
by its smaller congener. A hungry Gos-Hawk vi'ill, as 
falconers say, "go at anything" that offers a chance, 
from a hare to a field-mouse, or from a Capercailzie to 
a Hedge-Sparrow, and, although its performances in a 
trained condition are, from a sporting point of view, 
hardly worthy of mention in comparison with those of 
the true Palcons, it cannot be denied that in very many 
parts of England a good Hawk of this species would 
keep the pot boiling for a family, who would starve if it 
had to depend upon captures made by the nobler bird. 
Failing a country adapted for Falconry in the restricted 
sense of the term, a good and well-trained " Gos " will 
afford a certain amount of sport and plenty of exercise 
to her owner; but the manners and customs of this 
species in a state of servitude to man have been so 
enthusiastically set forth by a far more able and expe- 
rienced " Licensed Hawker " than mvself in a most 

practical and excellent work, entitled ' Falconry, its 
Claims, History, and Practice' (London, 1859), that I 
should find it difficult to avoid " cribbing " in dilating 
upon this aspect of the Gos-Hawk's character. The 
nests of this bird that I have seen were large, rather 
shallow structures, placed on the lateral boughs of coni- 
ferous trees, at a considerable height from the ground, 
and composed of sticks and twigs ; the eggs, three or 
foiir in number, are of a greenish white. My friend 
Col. E. Delme Radcliffe, a past master in Falconry and 
all matters relating to the habits of raptorial birds, 
assures me that in Germany the Gos-Hawks take many 
Owls, and I have always found my trained birds ready 
and eager to fly at Barn-Owls when they had a chance 
of doing so ; on one occasion my falconer found a Tawny 
Owl in the clutches of one of the Gos-Hawks at her 
perch in our flower-garden, and was in time to liberate 
the incautious hooter almost uninjured ; but, as I have 
already said, hardly any flying or running animal that 
it can master comes amiss to this Hawk, and the list of 
captures at various times by trained Gos-Hawks in my 
possession includes hares, rabbits, rats, squirrels, stoats, 
weasels, a cat. Owls, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Wood-Pigeons, 
Pheasants, Waterhens, and Wild Ducks. In one nest 
of this species in Old Castile we found a skull of a young- 
Kestrel probably taken from its nursery, and I have 
heard of instances in which young Honey-Buzzards have 
suffered a similar fate. I have met with this species 
frequently in the Guadarramas, less often in Andalucia, 
and in Switzerland and Rhenish Prussia during the 
summer months, and in the island of Sardinia and 


European Turkey in the winter. In common with most 
of the raptorial birds that breed in Nortlicrn Europe, 
many Gos-Hawks migrate southwards in autumn, and 
the range of this speeies extends from Lapland and 
Siberia to N. India and Algeria, and from Portugal to 
China and Japan. 

Both the drawings for the accompanying Plates were 
taken from living birds at Lilford. 





Falco Nisus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 130 (17G6). 
Falco nisus, Nauni. i. p. 258. 

Accipiter nisus, Macg. iii. p. 346; Hewitson, i. p. 35; Yarr. 
ed. 4, i. p. 88; Dresser, v. p. 599. 

Epervier, French ; Finken-Habicht, German ; Gavilan, 
Milanojaspeado, Spanish. 

A very common resident in almost all parts of Great 
Britain and Ireland. 

The Sparrow-Hawk, in common with almost all the 
raptorial birds of Northern Europe, follows the irregular 
partial autumnal migrations southwards of the small 
birds upon which it preys. 

The four Plates represent an adult and a yearling 
female, and males of the same respective ages. 

I have not been able to procure a very old female, in 
which the plumage closely resembles that of tlie adult 


Accipit er msus Z;«7( ' 

IlaTikart Cnrcir.c 


Accipiter nisus [Linn.) 


/s\ ^'^ 

SPARROW-HAWK {viale immature) 
Accipiter nisus (Linn.) 

SPARROW-HAWK [female immature). P 
Accipiter nisus (Linn.) 

■ s 

S ?-! 

-oK '■SjIS 

J. S te- 




Falco sei'uginosus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 130 (1766). 

Falco rufus, Naum. i. p. 378. 

Circus seruginosus, Macg. iii. p. 382 ; Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 127 ; 

Dresser, v. p. 415. 
Circus rufus, Hewitson, i. p. 44. 

Rusard des marais, French ; Rohr- Weihe, German ; Agui- 
lucho, Rapina, Spanish. 

This bird, wiiich was formerly common and resident 
in most of the extensive fens and marshes of England 
and Ireland, is now comparatively seldom to be met 
with, owing, of course, to the reclamation of many of 
its ancient strongholds, and the sedulous attentions of 
gamekeepers and bird-collectors. It is still abundant in 
almost all the great mai'shes of Central and Southern 
Europe. I have seen twenty-six on wing together in 
Epirus, and in the lower marisma of the Guadalquivir 
more or less of this species are constantly to be seen 
searching for prey along the reeds that fringe the river, 
or skimming low over the vast muddy plains that extend 
to the horizon. The plumage depicted in the first of 
the two accompanying Plates is that of a very old male 

bird, and it seems that very few specimens have been 
obtained in this dress in our country. The other Plate 
represents a bird in its first year, and was taken from a 
living specimen at Lilford. 

The Marsh-Harrier is almost omnivorous, and par- 
ticularly addicted to devouring eggs ; most of niy readers 
who have pursued Snipes in the south or east of Europe 
will agree with me in considering the present birds as 
unmitigated nuisances, not only on account of their 
carrying off any wounded Snipes, but also because their 
continual harrying of the ground often renders the 
Snipes unapproachable, or drives them right away. In 
our fen-country this bird was generally known as the 
Moon-Buzzard, and I have heard marvellous stories of 
its former abundance and depredations in the neighbour- 
hood of Whittlesea Mere ; now I do not suppose that a 
Moon-Buzzard is to be seen in that district more than 
once perhaps in three years. I have myself seen several 
of this species in the " Broad " country of Norfolk, one 
in Cambridgeshire, one in Northamptonshire, and many 
years ago a good many in Ireland and Wales. 

_ I. 









Falco cyaueus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 126 (1700). 

Circus cyaneus, Macg. iii. p. 3GG ; Hewitson, i. p. 47; Yarr. 

ed. 4, i. p. 132; Dresser, v. p. 431. 
Falco pygarguSj Nauni. i. p. 391. 

Busard St.-Martin, French; Korn-Weilie, German; Ce- 
nizo, Spanish. 

This bird, which formerly was to be met with more 
or less frequently in all the uncultivated districts of any 
extent in the British Islands, is now, with the exception 
of a few localities, only known as a casual and by 
no means a common bird of passage. Every man's 
hand is against the Harrier, not only on account of its 
ravages amongst young poultry and game birds, but 
also because eggs of all sorts are a very favourite dainty 
with all the European members of this family ; to what 
extent the Hen-Harrier may atone for delinquencies of 
this kind by the destruction of mice and voles I am 
unable to say, as my acquaintance with this species in 
our country is very limited. I have, however, had 
ample opportunities for observation of the habits of the 
Hen-Harrier abroad, and it is from my foreign expe- 
riences that I mainly quote in the following remarks. 

This bird is essentially a frequenter of the o[)cn 
country, be it heath and furze-clad common, fen, or 
corn-land : the nest is usually, if not invariably, placed 
on the ground, on a bare spot amongst furze, heather, 
or sedge ; in certain localities a field of growing wheat, 
barley, oats, or rye is often selected as a secure nesting- 
place, the essentials being concealment and security 
from disturbance. The few nests of the llen-FIarrier 
that I have seen were composed entirely of dry sedge 
or coarse grass, very loosely put together. The eggs, 
three or four in number, are of a very pale blue-green, 
often freckled with specks of light rust-colour ; the 
young birds can generally fly about the end of June. 
During the sitting-time the female Harrier is fed by 
the male, who drops the prey to her as he hovers above 
her ; this is done so instantaneously that to any one 
watching from a distance the action is hardly percep- 
tible. Besides the localities to which I have referred 
the Hen-Harrier habitually nesta in undrained fen- 
lands amidst reeds and sedge ; but, as a rule, I consider 
this species, from my own acquaintance with it, as less 
of a marsh bird than either of the other two British 
Harriers. In quest of food the Hen-Harrier is most 
systematic, regularly frequenting the same spots day 
after day about the same hour, and quartering the 
" beat " in every direction in an apparently desultory 
but virtually most thorough-going fashion. The flight 
of this species is very Hght and buoyant, and as noise- 
less as that of the larger Owls. A friend, who is a 
most excellent observer and specially acquainted with 
raptorial birds, informs me that when a Hen-Harrier 

puts a covey of Partridges into a f'cacc for concealment 
it takes its " stand " hard by on some perch whence it 
can command the situation, and remains perfectly 
motionless till some movement on the part of one of 
the covey betrays its whereabouts, when the Harrier is 
down on it in a second, and the career of the game 
bird is at an end. All the Harriers are especially fond 
of frogs and lizards, and some of them often capture 
and devour small snakes. 

In captivity I have found this species wild, sulky, 
and by no means easy to keep in good health. In 
Devonshire this bird, and probably Montagu's Harrier 
also, are, or were, commonly known as " Vuzkits," 
i. e. Furze-Kites ; in Ireland they have been pointed out 
to me as " Gos-Hawks," no doubt properly Gorse- 
Hawks ; and in Scotland I have heard the male 
called "Blue Glead," and the female distinguished as 


Litho. W. Grevc. Berlin. 

MONTAGUS HARRIER. Adult and hnmafure males- 
Circus cineraceus {Montagu). 












Faloo cineraceus, Montagu, Orii. Diet. i. F. 2 (1802) ; Nuum. 

i. p. 402. 
Circus cineraceus, Macg. ill. p. 378; Hetvitson, i. p. 49; 

Ya7T. ed. 4, i. p. 138; Dresser, v. p. 423. 

Busard cendre, French ; Wiesen- fVeihe, German ; Cenizo, 
Rapilla, Spanish. 

This species was first distinguished and separated from 
the Hen-Harrier by the acute naturalist whose name it 
bears, in his ' Ornithological Dictionary/ published in 
1802, under the name of Ash-coloured Harrier, Faico 
cineraceus. No raptorial bird has now a chance of 
becoming common in this country, but I suspect that in 
the southern counties of England, at all events, this 
Harrier was formerly the most abundant of its ^enus 
during the summer months, as it most assuredly is at 
the present time, although it generally meets with 
" short shrift " from gamekeepers and collectors. I 
am, however, glad to say that I am personally acquainted 
with several recent instances in which nests of Montagu's 
Harrier have been carefully protected by those most 
nearly concerned, and the young birds allowed to grow 

and take wing witliout molestation. As no good cause 
is promoted by over-statement, I \vill not attempt to deny 
that all the Harriers are egg-stealers, but I would at the 
same time remind game-preservers and our unfortunate 
British agriculturists, that these birds are very active 
and sharp-eyed enemies to field-mice, moles, and voles. 
To the " British bird-collector," I fear that any appeal 
on behalf of a comparatively scarce bird is only a waste 
of time, and I can only say that these Harriers, in my 
opinion, add greatly to the beauty and interest of the 
moor-lands and mar.shes that still exist in our over- 
crowded country. Montagu's Harrier is a summer 
visitor to those parts of Europe in which it breeds, and, 
when allowed to live, leaves our Islands in October. 
A certain number of this species, however, visit this 
country from the Continent on the autumnal migration, 
and (I write under correction) most of the records of 
occurrence at that season refer to birds of the year. To 
those acquainted with the four European Harriers, the 
adult males of this species may easily be distinguished 
from those of the Hen-Harrier by their darker colouring, 
their greater comparative length of wing, and their more 
buoyant and irregular flight ; and having stated this, I 
can write positively of having seen old male Montagu's 
Harriers on several occasions in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, 
and Devonshire. I never had the good fortune to find, 
or even to see, an occupied nest of this bird in England, 
and it was in Southern Spain that I first became in- 
timately acquainted with it in its breeding-haunts. It 
arrives in Andalucia in April, and for some time after 
its arrival seemed (in my experience) to remain in 

suitable localities near the sea; as the season advances 
these birds continue their journey, generally singly or 
in pairs, up the valley of the Guadalcjnivir and nest 
abundantly in the great marshes and corn-lands below 
Seville. On one occasion, when posted in a pit in the open 
" marisma" for Great Bustard shooting, I noticed at least 
seventy of the present species passing steadily to the 
northward, evidently on migration, within shot of nie, 
besides many at various greater distances ; these birds, 
without exception, flew within a few feet of the ground, 
without pausing to hunt or reconnoitre the territory, 
and were, in my opinion, all bound for some special 
breeding-places already determined upon in what I must 
call their minds. This was the only instance in which 
I ever witnessed a numerous " passage " of these 
Harriers, but I have several times observed one or two 
crossing the open sea. Once established in their 
nesting-quarters, these birds are constantly to be seen 
scouring the country in all directions, now and then 
hovering for a few moments, and occasionally alighting 
to devour or to pick up some prey. They are easily 
attracted by an imitation of the call of the Quail, and 
no doubt catch many of those birds upon the ground ; 
but I do not remember ever to have seen one of these 
Harriers in pursuit of any flying fowl, and I know tlmt 
in Andalucia their diet consists chiefly of frogs, lizards, 
various insects, worms, small rodents, and the eggs of 
ground-breeding birds. Colonel Ii'by, in his ' Orni- 
thology of the Straits of Gibraltar,' mentions that lie 
found a regular "colony" of this species breeding on a salt 
marsh in Morocco, and 1 am assured of such cases in 

Spain, but personally I iiever knew of more than three 
nv four nests in close proximity : these nests are generally 
placed upon bare ground in small open spots amongst 
low vegetation in the dry marshes, or amongst the 
standing corn ; we never found one in the reed-beds that 
are so dear to the Marsh-Harrier. A few di'y twigs or 
pieces of reed-stem, with a lining of sedge, are the usual 
nesting-materials. Tlie eggs are white with a very slight 
greenish-blue tinge, and occasionally show a few pale 
rust-coloured spots ; four is the usual complement. I 
feel certain that the male bird occasionally takes his 
turn at incubation. 

The dark brown or black variety figured in one 
of my Plates is by no means uncommon : I have at 
this time of writing, November 1893, a very fine 
living specimen of this race received during the past 
summer from a nest in France ; in this individual 
the irides are very nearly as dark as the pupils, and 
exhibit a marked contrast in this respect to those of its 
companion of the same species but of the normal type 
of plumage, whose irides are pale yellow. 

This Harrier, according to Yarrell, has a wide range, 
and has been recorded as occurring in Caithness, Ceylon, 
the Canaries, and Cliina. I have frequently observed 
this bird from the train whilst travelling through France 
in the summer months. I was assured by the late 
John Barr that he took several Montagu's Harriers near 
Chalons-sur-Marne with the trained Falcons belonging 
to the Champagne Hawking Club, during his term of 
service as falconer to that society. A few of the present 
species spend the winter in Andalucia. 





D 1 

? 5 



GYPS FULVUS [J.F. Gmelln). 

Vultur fulvus, Gmelin, Syst. Nat. i. p. 249 (1788) ; Naum. i. 

p. 162; Hewitson, i. p. 3. 
Gyps fulvus, Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 1 ; Dresser, v. p. 373. 

Vautour Griffon, French; Weisskojjfiger Geier, German; 
Buitre, Pajaraco, Spanish. 

One capture owXj of this Vulture has hitherto been 
recorded as having occurred in our Islands ; the indi- 
vidual in question, now preserved in the Museum of 
Trinity College, Dublin, was caught alive near Cork 
Harbour in the spring of 1843. Although this specimen 
is undoubtedly, as Mr. H. Saunders says, in immature 
plumage, I here give a representation taken from life of a 
fully adult bird, for the reason that Gould, in his ' Birds 
of Europe,' figures an immature bird of this species, 
and, with all due deference to my friend Mr. Dresser, I 
cannot consider that the excellent first plate of this bird 
in his work was taken from a veri/ old specimen. It 
must, however, be remembered that "old" is, with 
regard to Vultures, a very indefinite term ; personally I 
should not consider a Griffon Vulture fully mature till 
it had attained the age of at least seven or eight years. 

With regai'd to tlic probability of the Irish specimen 
having escaped from captivity, I can only say that there 
is nothing in any way impossible in its having found 
its way voluntarily from the north of Spain, where the 
species is locally very common ; a flight of three or 
four hundred miles would hardly overstrain the staying- 
powers of a Griffon, even on the supposition that it 
came to Ireland straight across the sea from the Can- 
tabrian Mountains. The reason of its visit is difficult 
to conjecture, as I imagine that unburied remains of 
animals must have always been more abundant in the 
neighbourhood of the bird's home (supposing him to 
have been of Spanish origin) than in the " distressful 
country," even in the worst of times. I may here say 
that the details of another occurrence of the Griffon, 
alluded to by Mr. Saunders in his ' Manual,' are well 
known to me, and that 1 have not the slightest doubt as 
to correct identification in this instance. I can claim an 
intimate acquaintance with the present species in Spain, 
Sardinia, North Africa, European Turkey, and Cyprus, 
and have also observed it rarely in Northern Italy, in 
Sicily, and in Crete. The Griffon Vulture and its habits 
in Spain, North Africa, and Palestine have been so fully 
and so ably described by Colonel Irby, Canon Tristram, 
Mr. 0. Salvin, and other waiters, that to give details of 
my own experience on the subject would be little more 
than vain repetition. I will therefore only summarize 
from my notes and journals on the subject with regard 
to the first-mentioned of these countries, — my well- 
beloved Spain. There is, I imagine, hardly a square mile 
of Andalucia from which it would not be possible to 


observe one or more of these Vultures on iuiy day of 
the year; in Central Spain also the Griffon is coinnion 
enough in all suitable localities, although perhaps not so 
abundant there as the Cinereous, or so-called " Black" 
Vulture {VuUtir cinereus). I have seen it in Galicia 
occasionally, and found it nesting in large colonies on 
the frontiers of Asturias and Sautander, as also in 
Guipuzcoa and Navarra, In Aragon, Cataluiia, and 
Valencia it did not appear to me to be so abundant as in 
the other provinces. The Griffon is naturally a bird of the 
Sierras, and, although constantly to be met with in the 
plains at all seasons, its visits thereunto are induced 
solely by " questions of supply." The ancient idea that 
Vultures find the carcases that furnish their almost 
exclusive diet by scent has long been exploded. Mr. 
Saunders has pithily summed up their system of tele- 
graphy in about three lines, for which I refer my readers 
to the oft-quoted ' Manual.' 

The Griffon Vulture makes a large nest of sticks and 
grass, and lays one or two white eggs, generally about 
the end of February. The nests are usually placed on 
the ledges or in the cavities of weather-worn ranges of 
cliffs, and as several, often many, pairs of these carrion- 
feeders nest in close proximity to each other, and there 
is almost always a gathering-place for the unemployed 
of their community in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the breeding-establishment, it will be readily believed 
that many wild and picturesque mountain-gorges in 
Spain lack the charm of fragrance during the season of 
flowers — in fact, these Vulture-haunted cliffs smell most 
abominably, in spite of the frequent abundance of 

aromatic shrubs at their bases. The young Griffons 
remain in their nests till June, and, although I am well 
aware that these birds can live without suffering from a 
want of food for almost incredible periods, it is a con- 
stant subject of wonder how the great numbers that 
inhabit Southern Spain can possibly find the means of 
subsistence. To those who have never visited a country 
where Vultures are virtually the only efficient inspectors 
of nuisances and scavengers, it will perhaps be difficult 
to believe that in Andalucia I have very frequently seen 
more of this species at the same time than I could pos- 
sibly count, soaring in concentric circles, tier above tier, 
if I may use the term, over the carcases of horned cattle 
and horses. A more disgusting sight than some twenty 
or more of these huge birds tearing at and quarrelling 
over the remains of a semi-putrid beast can hardly be 
imagined, but on wing, and high in air, the Griffon is 
a magnificent bird as he sails for hours at a time with 
hardly any perceptible motion in the splendid deep blue 
of an Andalucian summer sky. I have called the eggs 
of this species " white," but some specimens show 
blotches and spots of iron-rust colour. I am not aware 
that the Griffon in Europe ever nests in trees, or, 
indeed, in any other locality than cliffs ; but, although 
the nests are generally very difficult of access, this is by 
no means invariably the case. The subject of the Plate 
was taken from an isolated nest near Irun in May 1867 
by a shepherd-lad who clambered up to it from below, 
and to his and our own astonishment met us prepared 
for the capture of the nestling with ropes and a hired 
climber at the top of the cliff. We had started from 

San Sebastian under the guidance of an l-'iiiglisli friend, 
who liad discovered the nest some days previously, and 
had engaged mules, cliudjcr, and roj)cs at Iruu foi' the 
attack, having to make a considerable detour to reach 
the summit of the scrub-covered range of cliffs above 
the coveted object. On approaching the spot from 
vi^hich we intended to commence operations, we became 
aware of both the parent-birds in evident agitation, 
sailing about at a level with the top of the cliff, and 
we had hardly reached it, when a merry young Basque 
appeared singing and swinging the young Griffon in one 
hand. We added to his hilarity by giving him a small 
silver coin, a cup of wine, and a handful of tobacco in 
exchange for the young Vulture, which we carried back 
to San Sebastian. I was bound on an expedition 
through Navarra and into Aragon, and left our not very 
fascinating prize in charge of the daughters of our host 
of the 'Parador Real,' hardly expecting ever to see it 
again, as these damsels, although most obliging and 
attentive to their guests, could not be supposed to take 
much interest in a strong-smelling and ugly carrion- 
bird, belonging to a stranger. I crossed the frontier 
on my return to England by another route, sending a 
servant to enquire after my Vulture, and bring it on, if 
alive, to meet me at Bordeaux ; to my surprise and 
pleasure, he found the bird in perfect health, very 
much grown, and quite tame, and assured me that the 
" Sefioritas " had parted with their charge with tears 
and all manner of caresses, that might well have been 
bestowed on more appreciative objects. I, however, 
had, and still have, good reason to be grateful for the 

care bestowed upon " Carlista," as I called my Griffon, 
for it is still alive and well at Lilford as I write, — in 
Pebruary 1893. Tliis bird, since its arrival at Lilford, 
has shared a compartment with a Cinereous Vulture 
taken in Spain in 1865, and for many years past has 
annually assisted this bird in making a nest, in wliich 
the latter generally has deposited two or three eggs. I 
am convinced that the Griffon has no share in the pro- 
duction of these eggs, in fact, I am by no means certain 
that it is not a female, but, as the end of February 
approaches, it becomes quite as savage as its companion, 
and only within the last few days I have been obliged 
to remove a young Griffon received from Gibraltar last 
summer, with whom both the Vultures just mentioned 
have lived amicably hitherto. I believe, though I am 
not certain of the fact, that these Vultures occasionally 
carry off large bones to their haunts among the rocks, 
and, letting them fall from great heights, devour the 
fragments ; and I remember to have read a statement in 
the ' Field ' some years ago to the effect that the writer 
had watched some Griffons carrying on this performance 
with tortoises in European Turkey, in a locality with 
■which I am well acquainted. If it were not for the 
mention of the particular spot, and the number of birds 
said to have been engaged in this manner, I should have 
assumed that the writer was mistaken in his identifica- 
tion, and that the tortoise-smashers were really Bearded 
Vultures {Gijpaetus harbatus). 

c \ 











> j 

< : 











Vultur percnopterusj Linn. S. N. i. p. 123 {1706) ; HcwUson, 

i. p. 5. 
Catliartes percnopterus, Naum. i. p. 170. 
Neophron percnopterus, Macy. iii. p. 166 ; Yarr. etl. 4, i. 

p. 6; Dresser, v. p. 391. 

Vautor d'Egypte, French; Aas-Voyel, Aas-Geier, German; 
AUmoche, RejUero, Abanto, Quebrantahuesos, Grajo 
bianco, Spanish. 

This repulsive but most useful bird lias occurred at 
least on two occasions in England : in the first instance 
two were seen, and one of them shot, in Somersetshire 
in October 1825; the second occurrence is recorded by 
Doctor C. Bree in the 'Zoologist' for 1S68 as having 
taken place on the 28th of September of that year, near 
Peldon in Essex ; all three birds seem to have been in 
immature plumage. The Neophron is a summer visitor 
to many parts of Southern Europe, and breeds occasion- 
ally, to my personal knowledge, as far to the north as 
the neighbourhood of Aix les Bains in Savoy. In 
Spain, especially in Andalucia, this species is exceed- 
ingly common. Colonel Irby, in his ' Ornithology of 

the Straits of Gibraltar,' states tliat many pass north- 
wards at the end of February, but the greater number, 
almost always in pairs, during March. In the imme- 
diate neighbourhood of Seville I have only observed one 
during the month of February, but lower down the 
Gadalquivir have found these Vultures in considerable 
number early in March. I have been assured that a few 
Neophrons pass the winter in the plains of Andalucia, 
but I cannot affirm this as a fact, and believe that the 
great majority leave Spain at the approach of autumn. 
In very many localities in Southern and Central Spain, 
where a broken hillside from its steepness attains to the 
dignity of a cliff, and presents convenient ledges or 
clefts, a pair or two of the Neophron may be found 
breeding. The nests are composed of dead sticks, upon 
which the birds pile up a mass of every imaginable 
rubbish that they can pick up about their favourite 
resorts — heaps of excrement and refuse that abound in 
and about almost every village. In fact, whilst the 
larger Vultures are usually more or less shy of approach, 
and, for the most part, satisfy their appetites upon the 
remains of large animals in the open plains, the present 
species is ubiquitous, and seems to be as much at home 
in a village-street as when following the plough for grubs 
and worms, or watching for lizards and centipedes 
amongst the lofty limestone rocks of the mountain- 
ranges. I have generally found the Neophron in pairs, 
but a good many may occasionally be found congregated 
about any large skeleton from which the more powerful 
carrion-birds have removed the flesh and entrails, 
attracted, as I believe, not only by the chance of 

picking up any fragments ' of the banquet, but also by 
the beetles that arc in that line of business. Nothing 
comes amiss to this bird in the way of food, but I think 
that, although they readily devour small snakes, lizards, 
frogs, scorpions, centipedes, and beetles, they prefer the 
most disgusting filth and the most odoriferous decaying 
garbage to living animals of any sort. On one occasion 
I observed two of these birds, a White Stork, two or 
three cur-dogs, a sow and her pigs, a starving cat, and 
three young children apparently enjoying themselves on 
a heap of what I will call " refuse," in the main street 
of a Spanish village. I am assured that the Neophron 
frequently nests in trees, but all the occupied nests that 
I have seen have been in the hollows of cliffs, generally 
at no very great elevation. I must, however, mention 
that I am acquainted with one instance in which a pair 
of Neophrons took possession of a nest of the Common 
Kite, from which the original owners had been destroyed 
and their eggs taken. The eggs are laid in April, but 
I do not think that the young leave the nests before 
July. On wing, at some distance, the Neophron pre- 
sents a very remarkable appearance, giving (to me at 
least) the impression of a bird flying without a head ; 
but it is only when on wing that this species is not 
repulsive in the highest degree. Its aspect is in keep- 
ing with its habits and character — a coward and a bully 
of the lowest type, and withal a perfect instrument, as 
far as its capacities extend, for sanitary purposes in 
countries where the human inhabitants ignore the most 
obvious precautions against pestilence. 

The bird from which the principal figure in my Plate 

was taken is one of several that I liavc received at 
various times from Spain ; lie lives in a yard with a 
collection of other more or less raptorial birds, is per- 
fectly tame, sometimes impudent, cleanly in plumage, 
but sneaking and cowardly in disposition. 


'"« r,, 



Litbo. W. Greve, Berlin. 

Syrnium aluco (Linn.). 



Strix nluco, Linn. S. N. i. p. 1,32 (1766) ; Naum. i. p. 473; 

Yarr. cd. 4, i. p. 1 16. 
Ulula aluco, Macg. iii. p. 438. 
Syrnium stridula, Hcwitson, i. p. 63. 
Syrnium aluco, Dresser, v. p. 271 . 

Chat-huant, French ; Wald-Kantz, Wald-Eule, German ; 
Cdrabo, Spanish. 

The Brown Owl, as it is generally termed, is still 
tolerably common in the woodlands of England and 
Scotland, in spite of the constant and senseless perse- 
cution that it has suffered from in many places through 
the stupid want of discrimination on the part of greedy 
game-preservers and their servants. I have done my 
best through my life to protect and encourage Owls of 
all kinds, and have been rewarded not only by the 
consequent opportunities of close observation of their 
most interesting habits, but also by their keeping the 
numbers of mice, voles, and, in a lesser degree, of I'ats 
within nearly tolerable limits. This Owl especially loves 
the concealment of old hollow trees, and does not, to 
my knowledge, often frequent old buildings, unless, 
indeed, they are densely clad with ivy ; nor does it seem 

particularly to affect the dense plantations of conifers 
that form such favourite retreats for the Barn-Owl. 
The present bird is an early breeder, the young being 
often strong on the wing by the beginning of May : 
the usual site of its nursery is a spacious hollow in the 
trunk or large limb of an old tree, but I have known 
several instances of its laying in rabbit-burrows or 
amongst tree-roots above ground, and one or two of 
its having taken possession of an old nest of Crow or 
Wood-Pigeon. Shakespeare has rendered the hoot of 
the Tawny Owl famous for all time; and though I 
cannot quite agree with the bard in considering it as 
a "merry note," it is exceedingly pleasant to my ears, 
and brings back memories of the happy days when Owls 
were to me birds of mystery, now dispelled by years 
and diligent study of their habits, which have led me to 
a full appreciation of the beauty and infinite merits of 
these unpaid friends of man. 

chkomo-litmO asr studio. uoriSCv 

TAWNY, l^ R O W N , or W O D - O W L . Ony Ra<e. 
Syrnium alucoj^zyww.y. 




Strix tengmalmi, /. F. Gmelin, S. N. i. p. 291 (1788) ; 

Naum. i. p. 500. 
Ulula tengmalmi, Macg. iii. p. 445. 
Noctua tengmalmi, Hewitson, i. p. 66. 
Nyctala tengmalmi, Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 154; Dresser, v. p. 319. 

Chouette Tengmahn, Frencli; Tengmalm's Kautz, German. 

This Owl is an accidental and uncommon straggler 
to Great Britain from the forest countries of North- 
eastern Europe, where it is locally abundant. Of its 
habits in natural conditions of existence I can say 
nothing from personal experience, and I have been 
unfortunate with the few of this species that I have 
attempted to keep alive in captivity. I quote from the 
4th ed. of ' Yarrell ' to the effect that this Owl inhabits 
thick forests in Norway, Sweden, and Russia, even in 
very high northern latitudes. It is well known locally 
throughout the larger forests of Central Europe, occurs 
occasionally in Northern Greece, has been obtained in 
the Crimea, and inhabits the Alpine forests of Italy, 
Switzerland, and Savoy. 

Wolley announced to the Zoological Society in 1857 

that this bird lays its eggs in liolcs of trees, or in the 
nest-boxes set up by the inhabitants of Lapland for the 
accommodation of Goldeneye Ducks and other hole- 
breeding water-fowl. The number of eggs varies from 
four to seven. I received five of this species alive from 
Helsingfors in the summer of 1888. I did not notice 
that their habits differed from those of other Wood- 
Owls in captivity, except that they were much less active 
and savage than some Hawk-Owls received in the same 
consignment. They were voracious feeders and great 
bathers, and seemed to be in no way inconvenienced by 
bright sunlight. The chief peculiarity of these birds 
was their cry, which, as mentioned by Wheelwright, is 
a very musical, long-drawn whistle, quite unlike the 
note of any of the numerous Owls with whom I have 
the honour of personal acquaintance. Although these 
little Owls seemed to bear captivity well, and did not 
exhaust themselves by struggling to escape, I lost them 
all within two years, and vainly tried to discover any 
cause for their death. 


Litho. W. Grave, Berlin. 

Asio otus (Lir.n.). 



ASIO OTUS {Linn.). 

Strix otus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 133 (1766); Naum. i. p. 451. 
Asio otus, Macg. iii. p. 453 ; Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 158 ; Dresser, 

V. p. 251. 
Otus vulgaris, Hewitson, i. p. 55. 

Hibou vulgaire, French; Ohr-Eule, German; Carabo, 
JBu/io, Spanish. 

This handsome Owl is tolerably abundant, though 
extremely local, throughout the United Kingdom, but 
prefers, so far as my own experience goes, thick planta- 
tions of coniferous trees to any other localities. In 
West Norfolk and Suffolk the Long-eared Owl would 
be, if unmolested, exceedingly common ; I have fre- 
quently seen from ten to a dozen of these birds in the 
course of a day's shooting in those districts, but I grieve 
to add that on one occasion prominently in my memory, 
several members of our party, not imbued with that love 
for Owls that inspires me, were guilty of the blood of 
these very beautiful birds. The eggs of this species, 
generally four or five in number, are usually laid early 
in March in an old nest of Crow, Magpie, AVood-Pigeon, 

or Jay ; the only Novtbaraptonshire nest of Long-eared 
Owl that I have examined appeared to me to consist of 
the cup of the old nest of a Magpie with a liroad fringe 
or border of fir-twigs, apparently added by the Owls 
themselves. In the north of Ireland and in Norfolk the 
many nests occupied by this species that I have found 
appeared to me to be those of Wood-Pigeons, but I think 
that in almost every instance the Owls had added to the 
original structure. I have several times come upon a 
family of this species sitting close to each other in a row 
on the same bough of an old Scotch fir, and apparently 
as regardless of my presence at the foot of the tree as I 
was delighted at the opportunity of making their ac- 
quaintance under natural conditions. The attitudes and 
expressions of a group of these birds when not alarmed 
are inexpressibly comical. 

A considerable number of Lono;-eared Owls cross the 
North Sea to our eastern coasts annually in November 
and December ; I was assured by my friend the late 
Mr. G. E. Hunt that on one occasion in a large wood 
not far from the coast of Suffolk, when he was sent 
forward to deal with rocketting pheasants, some sixty 
or seventy at least of these Owls crossed the little valley 
in which he stood. This Owl does not, so far as I am 
aware, frequent buildings or hollow trees, but is fond of 
dense masses of ivy, and was often found in the almost 
impenetrable thickets of blackthorn which are, or perhaps 
I should say were, so characteristic of the forest-district 
of Northamptonshire. The cry of the Long-eared Owl 
at pairing-time is a prolonged and most disagreeable 
scream, at other seasons the only note that I have heard 

uttered by this species may best be described as a short 
yelp. In the ishiiid of Corfu we found tliis Owl tolerably 
common, and generally frequenting the thickest covert 
of arbutus, myrtle, and other evergreen shrubs ; I once 
disturbed one from a thick orange-tree. In captivity 
these birds become extremely tame and are most inter- 
esting pets, but do uot thrive so well as several other 
species of the family, although I have succeeded occa- 
sionally in keeping one of thein alive for three or four 
years. The Long-cared Owl is generally distributed in 
suitable localities throughout Europe. 








snoirr-EARED owl. 


Strix bracliyotos, Forster, Phil. Trans. Isii. p. 384 (1772). 

Strix brachyotisj Naum. i. p. 459. 

Asio bracliyotus, Macg. iii. p. 461. 

Otos brachyotos, Hewitsoti, i. p. 58. 

Asio accipitritius, Yari: ed. 4, i. p. 163 j Dresser, v. p. 257. 

Hihou brachyote, French ; Sumpf-Ohreule , Icurzohrige 
Eule, German ; Cdrabo, Lechuza campestre, Spanish. 

Tlie Short-eared Owl is most generally known in 
England as an autumnal migrant ; but a few pairs still 
breed in certain fens and moorlands in our coiintr}', 
which, in the interest of the bird, I refrain from speci- 
fying ; in certain parts of Scotland and its adjacent 
islands it nests pretty commonly, and is very frequently 
met with in Ireland in winter. The habits of this Owl 
differ from those of almost all the other species of its 
family in the fact that the present bird is eminently 
terrestrial, seldom alighting on trees, and preferring open 
country with covert of heath, fern, or sedge. We often 
meet with this Owl in turnip-fields or rough pasture- 
lands in the midlands towards the end of October, 
sometimes in considerable numbers, but, as a rule, singly 
or in couples ; in West Norfolk, at the same season, I 

have more than once seen u dozen or more during a 
day's shooting. 

The Short-eared Owl is a very powerful flyer, and, as 
he often hunts not only by daylight, but in bright sunny 
weather, it is evident that his vision is better adapted 
for diurnal operations than is the case with our other 
British Owls. The nest of this bird when situated on 
dry heath-lands is merely a scraping of the earth, but in 
the fens the eggs are often laid upon a few pieces of 
broken reed-stems, with occasionally a few leaves of that 
plant, or blades of broad sedge ; the eggs are pure white, 
and vary in number from four to six. This is one of 
the most useful of birds, as its favourite prey are the 
noxious voles that infest our low-lying lands. 



Bubo maximus, Fleming. 

Utho. W. Greve, Berlin 




Bubo maximus, Flemhig, Brit. An. p. 57 (1828) ; Macy. iii. 

p. 428 ; Hewitson, i. p. 50. 
Strix hubo, Naum. i. p. 440. 
Bubo ignavus, YaiT. ed. 4, i. p. ]63; Dresser, v. p. 339. 

Hibou Grcmd due, French ; Uhu, Bcrgeule, Grossherzog, 
German; Buho grande, Buho real, Spanish. 

Several instances are on record of the occurrence of 
this grand bird in Great Britain, but it is very probable 
that some of these may refer to " escapes " from cap- 
tivity, though, indeed, many of the wilder parts of our 
country are eminently well suited to the habits of the 
Eagle-Owl, which is more or less common in mountainous 
and forest districts throughout the continent of Europe. 
In Epirus we frequently met with it during our shoot- 
ing-excursions, and still more often heard its sonorous 
call, which is well represented by its common German 
name above given. In the sierras of Spain, too, the 
present species may be called abundant, and may often 
be heard on the Rock of Gibraltar, whence I once 
obtained a living specimen. 

The Eagle-Owl, in common with most of its family, 
remains in concealment in the fissures and caves of 

cliffs, or in dense foliage, during the daytime, and sallies 
forth at dusk in qncst of its prey, which consists of 
birds, and, where they exist, hares and rabbits. In 
Epirns I am convinced that, during the autnmn and 
winter months, these Owls fed principally upon wild- 
fowl, which they seized as they were feeding on the 
open marshy lands by night. This bird is a very early 
breeder, usually commencing to lay early in February ; 
the eggs are pure white, much rounded in shape, and 
generally from two to four in number ; very little nest 
is made, the eggs being generally laid on a bare earthy 
ledge of cliff (I am, of course, only writing of my own 

The Eagle-Owl will live in confinement for a great 
number of years, if not over-fed and allowed to take 
a sun-bath when so inclined. We have reared several 
young of this species at Lilford from eggs laid in the 
aviaries, but from some hitherto unexplained cause have 
not of late years met with the success in this direction 
that has attended other English possessors of these Owls 
in captivity. 


SCOPS GIU {Scop.). 

Strix Scops, Limi. S. N. i. p. 132 (1766). 

Strix scops, Naum. i. p. 466. 

Scops aldrovandi, Macg. iii. p. 422 ; Hewitson, i. p. 54. 

Scops giu, Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 173; Dresser, v. p. 329. 

Le Petit Due, French; Zwerg-Ohreule, German; Corneja, 

A rare visitor to our islands ; abundant as a summer 
migrant in many parts of Southern Europe. 

Litho. W. Greve, Berliu-London. 


Scops gill. { Scop, t 



Strix noctua, Scopoli, Ann. I. Hist. -Nat. p. 22 (1769); Naum. 

i. p. 493. 
Syrnia psilodactyla, Macg. iii. p. 417. 
Noctua nudipes, Hewitson, i. p. Q7 . 
Carine noctua, Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 178. 
Athene noctua, Dresser, v. p. 357. 

Chouette cheveche, French; Stein-Kautz, German; Mochuelo, 
Cu-cu, Spanish. 

Common in most parts of Southern and Central 
Europe ; rarely visits our islands. 


Athene uoctua [Scoj).) 


<j -H 



S URN I A FUN ERE A [Linn.). 

Strix funerea, Linn. S. N. i. p. 133 (1766). 
Strix nisoria, Namn. i. p. 427. 
Syrnia funerea, Macg. iii. p. 404. 

Surnia funerea, Hewitson, i. p. 65 ; Ya7T. ed. 4, i. p. 183; 
Dresser, v. p. 309. 

Cliouette caparacoch, French; Habichtseule, German. 

The specimens of this bird that have occurred in the 
British Islands have been few and far between. I quote 
from Mr. Howard Saunders' recently published 'Manual' 
as to dates and localities : — One otf the coast of Corn- 
wall, March 1830. One near Yatton, in Somersetshire, 
August 1837. One on the island of Unst, Shetlands, 
in the winter of 1860-61. One near Glasgow, December 
1863. One near Greenock, November 1868. One near 
Amesbury, Wilts, for which no precise date is given. 
I find that Mr. J. E. Harting, in his ' Handbook of 
British Birds,' published in 1872, records two other 
occurrences — one at Shelf, near Bradford, without date, 
and another near Greenock, in December 1871. 

This Owl is an inhabitant of the pine-forests of 
Northern Europe, Asia, and America, and as I know 

nothing whatever of its natural habits in freedom from 
personal observation, I refrain from further quotations. 
I received eight of these Ovrls alive from Helsingfors in 
July 1888, one of which is represented in accompanying 
Plate. These birds are very fearless and savage, very 
quarrelsome amongst themselves, always wide-awake 
and ready for food, and constantly uttering a very 
melancholy and unpleasant cry. The N. American race 
of Hawk-Owl, which has been described as a distinct 
species by some ornithologists, differs principally from 
the European form in the broader and redder colour of 
the transverse bars on the underparts, but, in my humble 
opinion, is in no way worthy of specific separation there- 
from ; it appears that the majority of the Hawk-Owls 
that have been captured in Great Britain belong to this 
American race. 









Strix scandiaca, Linn. S. N. i. p. 132 (1766). 

Strix nyctea, Naum. i. p. 417. 

Syrnia nyctea, Macg. iii. p. 407. 

Surnia nyctea, Heiuitson, i. p. 6i. 

Nyctea scandiaca, Yarr. ed. 4, i. p. 187; Dresser, v. p. 287. 

Surnie Harfang,¥\:enc\i; Schnee-Eule, Germa.n. 

This fine Owl, whose true home is in the extreme 
north of the Old and New Worlds, is an occasional 
straggler to the British Islands, and fde Mr. Robert 
Gray, as qiioted in the 4th edition of ' Yarrell,' may be 
regarded as an almost regular spring visitant in the 
Outer Hebrides. 1 have never had the good fortune to 
meet with the Snowy Owl in a wild state, so that I can 
add nothing to the details already published concerning 
its habits and haunts in that condition, but I may 
mention that it is a bird of the open country, that it 
can see to hunt in the brightest sunlight as well as in 
the gloom of night, that it follows the migrations of the 
lemmings, and consequently is occasionally abundant in 
districts where perhaps it may previously have been 
barely known. Its food consists of hares and smaller 

Mammalia, birds, and fishes. I have kept many of this 
species in confinement, but have been singularly unfor- 
tunate with them, as for some unknovpn reason I have 
lost them all within three or four years of their arrival 
at Li 1 ford. 

After the death of Mr. Edward Fountaine, of Easton, 
near Norwich, whose success in rearing Owls in cap- 
tivity is well known to all British ornithologists, I 
purchased six of this species from his executor, and sent 
the keeper of my aviaries to fetch them from Easton ; 
they arrived safely at Lilford on August 29, 1889, but 
the person in whose charge they had been left in 
Norfolk could give my man no precise information as to 
their age or sex, nor, indeed, could she positively state 
which, if any, of the six birds had been bred at Easton ; 
two at least were adult males. On June 4, 1890, a 
pair of these Owls showed an inclination to nest by 
scratching a hole in the gravel of their aviary : we 
immediately removed the other birds and left this pair 
in sole possession of a roomy compartment, protecting 
them from outside observation by fastening garden 
matting all round the wired front and one side of the 
enclosure, which was further protected at the back and 
other side by a high stone wall. On June 7 the female 
bird was sitting, and we left her undisturbed till 
July 10 ; during this time she was regularly fed by the 
male, and, as far as we could ascertain, seldom, if ever, 
left her nest ; the male bird savagely attacked any one 
who even opened the door to throw in food, and both 
birds cried savagely at the mere sound of human foot- 
steps outside their abode. On the day last named my 


man succeeded, in spite of the furious onskiugiit of tlie 
male, in getting his hand into the nest, and extracted 
an egg containing a Uvely chick with its beak well 
through the shell. On July 12 we found that two 
young birds had been hatched out, and that four of the 
five remaining eggs were " chipping." On July 20 the 
nest contained three eggs only, two of which contained 
dead young birds, whilst the third was rotten ; we took 
this one away, and the next day the nest was empty and 
deserted, the old birds having certainly devoured the 
whole of their progeny, as Artemus Ward says " on foot 
and in the shell." For many days after the final catas- 
trophe the female took to perching, a habit to which she 
was by no means frequently addicted before she had 
laid, she now constantly uttered a mournful cry that 
we had not before heard, very different from her sharp 
angry bark of menace whilst she was sitting. I am 
strongly of opinion that in this atrocity the male bird 
was the chief, if not the sole culprit ; but I regret to 
say that it is now impossible to learn from any future 
experience how to allot the blame with i-egard to him, 
as both he and the only other bird of the six positively 
known to be a male have died since the events above 

Strix flammea, Linn. 


Litbo. W. Greve, Berlin. 




Strix flaramea, Linn. S. N. i. p. 133 (1766) ; Naiim. i, 
p. 483 ; Macg. iii. p. 473 ; Hewitson, i. p. 61 ; Dresser, 
V. p. 237. 

Aluco flammeuSj la?v. ed. 4, i. p. 194. 

Effraye commune, French ; Schleier-Eule, German; Le- 
chuza, Spanish. 

This most useful of birds is more or less common 
throughout the United Kingdom, and is perhaps better 
known as White or Screech-Owl, than by the designa- 
tion above given. I am glad to believe that the minds 
of game-preservers and game-keepers are gradually 
awakening to the fact that in destroying Owls in general, 
and this species in particular, they are committing acts 
of the most egregious folly, not only as regards the 
birds which are the special objects of their care and 
protection, but also from an agricultural point of view, 
for these Owls not only destroy enormous numbers of 
rats, mice, and voles, but also take many Sparrows and 
other seed-eating birds from their nocturnal resorts ; the 
stolid and unenlightened game-keeper may plead that 

Owls do eat birds, and, as I have just stated, so they do, 
but if he allows his young hand-reared game-birds to be 
out of their coops at the time that Owls are abroad in 
search of food, surely the blame for losing them attaches 
justly to him and not to the tempted Owl ; I need 
hardly say that wild-bred game-birds, whilst small enough 
to be attacked by the Barn-Owl, are carefully stowed 
away under their mother's wings at the time when the 
" bird of night " is on the quest of prey. I have 
examined hundreds of the pellets cast up by this species 
in and under their nesting-places, and never discovered 
either bones or feathers of any game-bird, the castings 
consisting mainly of the fur and bones of small mam- 
malia, with feathers and skulls of seed-eating birds, and 
occasionally a few bones and scales of small fishes. For 
many years past I have done my utmost to encourage 
and protect Owls on my own property, and to urge upon 
my neighboiu-s to do the same, and I am glad to say 
that at this time of writing (April 1890) I have authentic 
information of no less than eleven Owls' nests with their 
full complement of eggs within a radius of three miles 
from our home. 

The Barn-Owl generally begins to lay early in April, 
and, I think, begins to sit as soon as one or two eggs 
are laid, though the full complement of eggs is seldom 
less than six or seven : I am told that there are nine in 
one of the nests to which I have just alluded. Young 
Barn-Owls in all stages from newly-hatched down-clad 
infancy to full feathering may be found in one and the 
same nest at the same time, and there is good reason to 
believe that the juniors are hatched out by the warmth 

ril ■ 

of their elder hrctliren. I have once or twice scon u 
Barn-Owl flying apparently on liis own account in sun- 
shine, but when suddenly disturbed from their natural 
shady resorts in the daytime, they generally seem to be 
quite confused, and fly with a wavering and uncertain 
flight into the nearest leafy tree. As a rule the Barn- 
Owl sits during the hours of sunshine in a hollow tree, 
a dark recess in old masonry, a dense mass of ivy, or the 
gloom of conifers, and emerges from his home at dusk 
to scour over the fields and about farmsteads in search 
of food, but in dull winter weather these Owls may 
often be seen hunting before sunset ; their flight is per- 
fectly noiseless, and their quickness of vision in a dim 
hght quite marvellous ; they quarter their ground much 
in the same fashion as the Harriers, and go over the 
same beat pretty regularly night after night. A young 
Owl of this species that I kept as a pet in my school- 
days, on one occasion, when about half-grown, swallowed 
nine full-grown house-mice in rapid succession till the 
tail of the ninth stuck out of his mouth, and he could do 
no more, but within three hours he was hungry again, 
and was barely satisfied with four more of the little 
quadrupeds ; with this appetite and capacity for stowage 
the numbers of four-footed vermin supplied by a pair of 
Barn-Owls to a brood of six or seven ravening youngsters 
may well be imagined : I have seen an old pair bring 
food to their brood seventeen times in half an hour from 
a rick-yard near their nest. A great number of these 
and other Owls are massacred and sold to be made into 
fire-screens and plumes for ladies' hats, barbarities upon 
which I can hardly trust myself to enlarge ; the bird- 

maiiglers who devote themselves to this braiicli of art, 
ahnost invariably put glass eyes of the wrong colonr into 
the distorted faces of their victims, and in every vi^ay 
shock all the better feelings of onr human nature. 
When unmolested these Barn-Ovvls will permit very 
close observation of their ways and manners. 


PART I.] [OCTOBER 1885. 














TuRDUs viscivoRUSj Linn. 




TuRDUS iLiAcuSj Linn. 


TuRDUS piLARiSj Linn. 


TuRDus TORQXTATtrs, Linn. 


MoNTicoLA SAXATiLis {Linn.). 


Saxicola (enanthe {Linn.). 

Saxicola stapazina {Vieillot). 

. RuTiciLLA PHCENicuRus {Linn.). 




Sylvia cinerea, Bechst. 


Sylvia atricapilla {Linn.). 

I observe, too late for correctioa, that there are several errors 
in. the authorities given for the specific names in the present 
Part. The above list is correct. 

PART IL] ■. [MAY 1886. 











^ - -^ 



TuRDUs ATRiGULARis, Tenim. 


Saxicola desjerti, Temm. 


Pratincola rubetra {Linn.). 


Pratincola kubicola (lAnn.). 

Sylvia curruca {Linn.). 


Sylvia hortensis, Bechst. 


Acrocephalus turdoides 



Acrocephalus luscinioides 



Acrocephalus phragmitis 


HOBBY. (1 Pl^te*.) 

Falco subbuteo, Linn. 


Cyanbcula suecica {Linn.). 

Cyanecula leucocyana, Brehm. 

* The " adult male" figure will be issued in Part III. 












^ ' ^ 







Hypolais icterina [Vieillot). 






Phylloscopus sibilatrix 





Chelidon urbica [lAnn. 


CoTiLE RiPARiA {Linn.). 

Cypselus melba {Linn.). 


Scops giu {Scop.). 


Athene noctua {Scop.). 

HOBBY. (Adult.) 

Falco subbuteo, Linn. 



[JANUARY 1887. 
















REGrLus CRISTATU9 [Linn.). 


COAL TITMOUSE. (2 Plates.) 
Pabus ater, Linn. 


Troglodytes parvuluSj Koch. 


Certhia familiariSj Linn. 




Alattda arborea, Linn. 

SPARROW-HAWK. (3 Plates.) 





[JUNE 1887. 







r ^ \ 









Regulus ignicapillus 

[{C.L. Brehm). 


Phylloscoptjs superciliosus 

[(/. F. Gmelin). 


Phylloscopus minor {Forst.). 


Phylloscopus trochilus 



Accentor modularis {Linn.) . 

Lanius collurio, Linn. 


Emberiza miliaria, Linn. 


Emberiza hortulana, Linn. 


Emberiza pusillAj Pall. 


Emberiza schoeniclus, lAnn. 


Cypselps apus {Linn.) . 

AcciFiTER Nisus {Linn.). 






.■ \