FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM
ORNITHOLOGICAL SERIES Vol. i, No. i.
ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO
GEORGE K. CHERRIE,
Assistant Curator of Ornithology.
CHARLES B. CORY, Curator of Department.
CHICAGO, U. S. A.
PUBLICATIONS OF THE MUSEUM.
For the convenience of scientific workers it has been deemed
expedient to issue the publications of the Museum in separate series
for each of the sciences represented. The following series thus far
have been established : Historical, Geological, Botanical, Zoological,
Ornithological and Anthropological.
A consecutive number has been given the entire set of pub-
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however, has its own volume number and individual consecutive
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independent and complete for separate binding; or they may be
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ings, memoirs, monographs, bulletins, and hand-books and catalogues
of collections, are included within the scope of the publications.
Full lists of the publications of the Museum may be found in the
Annual Report of the Director.
Publications are sent to societies and institutions of a public
character that reciprocate with their own literature, and to a limited
number of scientists who are able to exchange.
FREDERICK J. V. SKIFF,
CONTRIBUTION TO THE ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO.*
BY GEORGE K. CHERRIE
Under instructions to make a collecting trip to San Domingo
during the winter of 1894-95, I embarked from New York, Decem-
ber 22, on a Clyde boat for the tedious voyage to Santo Domingo
City, off which port I arrived January 8, 1895.
. Steaming slowly into the mouth of the Ozama River we pass
close under the historic frowning walls of the old fort built to guard
and protect the "new city" and where in 1500 Columbus and his
brother Bartholomew ^ere imprisoned. Following the river front
and joined to the fort is the old wall of the city almost intact. Then
loom up, desolate and forsaken, the gray walls of the one time palace
of luxury, the seat of elegance, of oriental ease and refinement, the
home of Diego Columbus today overgrown with moss and lichens.
Small trees and shrubs have found a foot-hold in the crevices of roof
and wall; pigeons find a nesting place and hoards of bats a safe
retreat from the light of day.
Custom inspection of my outfit was rather tedious and annoying
but I was finally safely on the island with my belongings. Prepara-
tions for the interior journey began. Coffee, sugar, rice and beans
constituted the bulk of the provisions. Once outside of the city, there
are no roads and everything must be transported by pack animals or on
men's backs. I purchased two horses. I secured the services of an
old negro as guide and servant. On the morning of the igth of Janu-
ary I was off for the hills. My guide walked behind driving the ani-
mal loaded with the provisions, cooking utensils, blankets and ham-
mock. I rode ahead seated between two small trunks containing
light wooden trays for the bird skins with cotton, skinning tools and
gun supplies, which were strapped to my own animal. I followed a
northwesterly direction, on leaving San Domingo, over the hills and
through the little old historic town of San Carlos, just beyond the
walls of the capital, and then over a smooth road without hills but
* I would wish here to express my sincere thanks for many favors received at the hands
of Archibald H. Grimke, American Consul in San Domingo, a gentleman who holds America and
Americans' interests paramount, who seems to feel he represents a great nation and a great people
and sustains the dignity of that people by a manly self-respect and dignity commanding the highest
esteem from his own countrymen and from those among whom he is thrown.
4 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
that gradually yet steadily carried me to a higher altitude. For seven
hours under a burning sun along the divide between the rivers Jaina
and Izabel and in that distance and time not one drop of water is
All along the road all through this part of the country there is
a considerable population, yet just where to find a. house one can
never tell. The road we followed is merely a well-worn path there
are no carts or wagon roads in San Domingo; all freighting is done
by pack mules, and here and there you see paths, only a little less
well worn, leading to this side or that. If one of these paths be fol-
lowed it will usually be found to terminate at some sort of human
A good many people were passed along the road but the only
thing characteristic about those I met was the huge pipe the women
all carry. It is here the women seem to be the inveterate smokers
and a pipe is preferred.
After the first seven hours' ride I crossed a small stream, a tribu-
tary of the Izabel. After that the country becomes more broken and
one climbs faster. Up to this point there had been no forest and
trees were only seen in scattering clusters, far to the right or left in
direction of either the Jaina or the Izabel. Now the clumps of trees
marking the water course became more common and soon we entered
the forest, fringing the foothills of the mountains.
I made Catare my head-quarters from January 21 to February 6
and later from March 2 to March 7. It is at an altitude of about
1,500 feet, just in the foothill of the central mountain range, north-
west of San Domingo City.
During the years spent in Central America I constantly wondered
why any one could ever speak of the birds of the tropics as being
voiceless or songless ; but my experience at Catare and in San
Domingo in general gave me abundant solution of the problem, and
if the popular notion of the songlessness of birds of the tropics comes
from observations made in the West Indies, I can easily understand
how well it was founded. At Catare, where I did my first collecting,
the most striking peculiarity to me about the region was the utter
silence of the forest. I would walk for hours and scarce hear a bird
note. Birds were common enough, but in the semi-twilight of the
forest they flitted noiselessly from branch to branch, restless and
active, searching for their insect prey; but all the time not a note or
piping sound broke their silence. In the open savannas and along the
edges of the forest the mocking birds are almost always singing, but
the forest itself is silent save on those rare occasions when that
MAR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. 5
wood-spirit, the Myiadestes, sets every nerve a-tingling with pleasure,
but the Myiadestes are rare as their songs.
It may not be without interest to present a few notes from my
journal regarding one of my excursions from Catare, which pretty
well illustrates the difficulties one encounters in traveling through the
Leaving Catare early in the morning I took my way in the direc-
tion of Yuna. The road shortly after passing the Jaina River became
something awful it never could have been very good, but the storm
of the previous September (1894) blew a great many trees across the
path, and these had not been cleared away. Frequently I would
have to assist my guide and the two of us would cut a path with our
" machetes " for the pack animals. What shiftlessness one sees every-
where. Wherever the road leads through the forest one wades in
mud to the knees and in places the poor horses with the packs
plunged and pitched terribly as they struggled up some bank out of
the many small streams that we crossed. Yet only a very little
work would be required to make good roads.
The road follows up the course of one of the tributaries of the
Jaina (the Guananito), crossing and recrossing. In the way several
savannas are crossed bits of grass-grown prairies that would afford
pasturage for a great many cattle. The timber lands would all prove
good for farming when cleared. There are many splendid woods, and
as we climbed higher in the mountains, after leaving the direct course
of the river, we found that pines multiplied rapidly and formed the
greater part of the trees of the forest.
On this excursion I secured the type specimen of Elainea cherriei
and my first examples of Corvus leucognaphalus, Amazona scilicet, Blaci-
cus hispaniolensis, Tyrannus dominicensis, Spindalis multicolor and Eue-
February 6, my supplies of all kinds being about exhausted and
my packing cases for skins full, I began my first return trip to San
After a short rest and a little collecting about San Domingo City,
I again took the road for the interior, back through Catare, up and
across the central mountain range and down to the head waters of the
Vuerto River, a tributary of the Maimon, which latter empties into the
Yuna. Here at a point called Aguacate I stopped from February 20
to February 28. It is just at the foot of the mountain divide on the
northern slope of the range separating the high plains and prairie
table lands of the interior from the Caribbean slope.
My guide and servant became now only a burden to me, being so
6 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
sick with fever that he could not walk. I started back toward Santo
Domingo City, but on the morning of March 2, arriving at Catare, I
found it would be impossible to continue without giving him a rest.
On March 7 my packing cases were overflowing with bird skins and
the guide being a little better I made another start cityward.
A few days' collecting about San Domingo City, a laying in of
a fresh supply of provisions and materials, the securing of my third
guide and servant, and I was once more ready for the road.
A day's travel westward from the capital through a rather barren
region, but one pretty well populated, carried me to the busiest, or
least somnolent, of the inland towns on the Caribbean slope. San
Cristobal is located on the Nigua River at the foot of Mount Barbacoa
rather pleasantly situated, comparatively a clean place and a light-
Excursions were made in various directions about San Cristobal,
to the summit of Mount Barbacoa about 7,000 feet altitude where
is to be found the crumbling remains of the walls of an old fort, and
to the caves in the sides of the mountain called El Calabosa.
I would scarcely know how to describe these caves. There is no
grandeur about them and little of beauty. They are only " immense. "
In going through them, one moment the passage narrows until you
can barely squeeze through; again one must get down on hands and
knees and crawl, then farther on the passage may widen into an
immense vaulted chamber.
In only one of the many caves or series of chambers entered were
bats at all common. This chamber called Cuervo de los Murcielagos
(cave of the bats) was inhabited by thousands upon thousands of
these symbols of the diabolical. When they were disturbed by our
entrance, and by my firing several shots, the noise made by the count-
less wings gave one as a first sensation the peculiar feeling attendant
on a slight earthquake shock. The floor of this chamber was covered
with a thick layer of manure. Two species of bats were found inhab-
iting these caves, and a Roof Rat was shot far from the entrance in
I spent a night on Mount Barbacoa at the rancho of a "peon" and
here met with hospitality for the first time in the island. When I
offered tp pay for my night's lodging I was surprised at being told I
owed only su buena voluntad de U! (only your good wishes!)
At this point my guide was taken sick and I was delayed for a
few days, but securing another man I was again on the road March
*A list of the mammals collected on the expedition will be published by Prof. D, G, Elliot, of
the Field Col. Mus,
MAR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. 7
28, moving farther westward in the road to Maniel and Loma Tina,
the latter the highest mountain peak in the West Indies.
After leaving San Cristobal, the road as far as the crossing of the
Nisao River and a little beyond, winds through a very pleasant coun-
try, pretty well populated, splendid land and all fairly well cultivated.
Then commences a barren stretch of country, with no vegetation
except scrub timber, and a very scanty population until one reaches
the little town of Bani. Beyond this point the country becomes even
more barren and cheerless. The road is hemmed in with giant cacti,
while other and smaller species are scattered on all sides in greatest
profusion. The road itself is very stony and rough, but not very
steep. There is absolutely no water along this road and one travels
for .near an entire day over a dry, sandy, cacti-covered desert. We
passed one little village called Calabasa a collection of half a dozen
houses the occupants of which bring their water for miles.
At Honduras, where I arrived late one evening, there is water.
The little creek Arroyo Bahia here shows itself for a short distance
and is then again lost in the sand of the desert.
I collected at Honduras from March 29 to April 2. Here I
secured the two first specimens of Hyetornis fieldi Cory, and later at
Maniel the type specimen. Also the first examples of Euphonia musica
I met with were secured here. Five days at Honduras and my record
for the time was 210 bird skins.
On the morning of April 3 I started northwestward through the
hills toward Maniel, far up in the mountains near the head of the
river Ocoa. It is a very rough road one must come pver, not so
much for the hills as for the stones and boulders that one must get over
somehow. For the greater part of the distance the road follows the
bed of the river, walled in almost as a canon. I crossed the river
thirty-two times in reaching Maniel. While here I made an effort
to reach Loma Tina but was unable to find a competent guide,
and this coupled with the fact that I found all paths up the mountain
completely blocked caused me to abandon the idea. I remained at
this point for six days and then having my packing cases full started
for San Domingo City. My trip to Maniel was the last excursion
made to any considerable distance from San Domingo City.
From the localities above referred to, short excursions were made
into the surrounding country on all sides. But always and every-
where I went I found travel and moving from one point to another
exceedingly difficult, attended with much labor and inconvenience.
Although I was in San Domingo during the "dry season" it was not
8 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
(' dry," and I think it rained on an average of at least every third day
during my stay. The roads, if cattle paths through the forests over
the mountains and across the prairies are worthy of the name, were
Throughout the interior of the island hospitality is an almost un-
known virtue among the people, and no opportunity to impose upon
or take advantage of the traveler or foreigner is permitted to pass.
ANNOTATED LIST OF BIRDS COLLECTED,
1. Turdus aliciae, Baird. Single specimens were noted on
three occasions; twice high up in the mountains above Aguacate on
the 22d and 25th of February and one at San Domingo City, , on
the coast, May i. All were males and extremely fat.
2. Mimocichla ardesiaca (Vieill.*). RUISENOR DE CIERRA ;
CANELO Found everywhere on the coast and high up in the
interior. Not at all uncommon, but always and every-where
found it was very shy and difficult to approach. In freshly killed
specimens the eye is red-brown, eyelids, bill, feet and legs light
Indian Red, tip of bill and claws dusky. Thirty-five specimens were
secured. The song is quite similar to that of Merula migratorius and
in almost every action recalls to one's mind the American Robin.
3. Myadestes montanus ? Cory. JILGUERO This species
is evidently nowhere common, and is only found high up in the
mountains. It is very shy and retiring in its habits. The natives
are almost all acquainted with the song; but if my memory serves
me rightly I did not meet with one who was sure he had ever
seen the bird. It is held in superstitious fear by many, who believe
that to see this ''spirit of the wood" were surely the forerunner of
some great calamity, or death itself. Everyone was much surprised
that I could shoot the bird, they believing it could not be killed.
Where or how such strange beliefs could have originated I have no
idea, because as a singer the Jilguero, to me, stands without an equal.
Sweeter music I never listened to. It has an indescribable charm
notes so liquid clear as a bell, and drawn out with such a cadence
of melody. For a moment the sound seems to come from this way
and then from that, and ever the singer holds you spell-bound: Do
you seek the source of that wondrous voice, it ^s all in vain. There
is only the monotony of green leaves everywhere. There is no other
sound only the thrilling of every chord of the imagination by notes
so sweet they hold you enthralled. It is indeed a " spirit " of all
that is lovable, of all that is good. But I despair of writing any
description of a song so beautiful, or of the sensations or thoughts it
io FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
I have heard the song at early morning, at midday and in the
evening. At Aguacate where I secured seven of the ten specimens
collected, the mating season was evidently just beginning. On two
occasions I had opportunity of watching the birds while busy with
their love affairs. In every movement and action they brought to
mind our Bluebird, when in the same happy mood. There was a
like peculiar raising and flitting of the wings, evidently a joyousness
of spirit that would not be controlled.
In a freshly killed bird the eye is dark brown, legs and feet yel-
lowish, claws dusky, bill black. I found this species only in the
deep dark forest, never in the open. The food consists of both fruit
and insects. The latter are often taken on the wing.
Ten specimens were secured by me, three from Catare and seven
from Aguacate. In the series there is slight yet quite noticeable
individual variation in the shade of tawny chestnut on the under tail
coverts and crissum; and also in the extent of this color over the
lower parts. In one of the specimens from Catare the color is con-
fined almost entirely to the under tail coverts, while in another from
Aguacate the entire crissum is tawny with bits of color extending
over the breast almost to the chestnut of the throat. In all of the
speciments there is a faint olive shading in the back in some a few
olive-tipped feathers. These olive-tipped feathers I am much inclined
to think are remnants of the first plumage.
All of my San Domingo specimens differ considerably from the
type of M. montanus from Hayti, more in fact than they do from the
Lesser Antillian form M. sanctce-lucia. However the type and only
example of M. montanus is so badly mutilated that satisfactory com-
parison with other specimens is impossible, and while the differences
are apparently of such character as to warrant a separation, making an
eastern and a western form for the island, the absence of material for
adequate comparison from Hayti compels me to merely call attention
to the apparent and most obvious differences.
M. montanus has no white spot on the chin, and the rictal streak
is pale reddish-brown. In my specimens from San Domingo the chin
and the rictal streak are berth white.
4. Minus dominicus (Lmn.). RUISENOR One hundred and
five specimens of this mocking bird were collected. It was found at
almost all points visited, but was most abundant near the coast, and
apparently has a preference for inhabited neighborhoods.
Several broods are reared each season, as a"bout San Domingo
City I secured young birds just from the nest as early as March 18
and as late as May 2, while on the latter date a female was collected
MAR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. n
while in the act of carrying nesting material, and the condition of the
abdomen indicated that she had been brooding. In different locali-
ties the nesting season varies, and I imagine must be in great part
governed by the food supply which again is controlled by the rains.
At Honduras, during the last days of March and the first of April,
nesting had not yet begun. Honduras lying as it does in the sandy
cacti-covered arid belt probably depends, more than other localities,
on the rains for the awakening of its insect life.
Adult birds in life have the eye clay yellow, bill, claws, feet and
5. Mniotilta varia. (Linn.*) Only nine specimens were secured
.between the dates of January 22 and April 21. Not at any time
observed to be common.
6. Compsothlypis americana (Linn.} Eighteen specimens
were secured. Noted at all points visited except Maniel, but not
seen after April 2.
7. Dendroica tigrina (Gmel.*) Twenty-one specimens. Found
at all points visited, but none seen after April 6.
8. Dendroica caerulescens (Gmcl.*) Forty-nine examples
collected. Found at all points visited and decidedly the most com-
mon of the North American birds.
9. Dendroica coronata (Linn.) Not common, and none seen
after March 27.
10. Dendroica discolor. (Viei/l.) Noted between the dates
of February 13 and April 2, but not common at any time.
11. Dendroica palmarum (Gmel.) Tolerably common
between the i2th of February and the ist of April.
12. Seiurus aurocapillus (Linn.) Not uncommon. Found
at all points visited.
13. Seiurus noveboracensis (Gmel.) Rare. Seen on two
occasions only, February 24 and March 16. This is, I believe, the
first record from San Domingo.
14. Seiurus motacilla (Vieill.') Rare. Only a single speci-
men taken January 22.
12 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
15. Geothlypis trichas (Linn.] None were noted during
January, and the first specimen secured was on February 2. There
was a steady increase in numbers until the middle of March when
the species might have been said to be common. There was no
appreciable diminution in numbers up to the time of my sailing,
16. Microligia palustris Cory. Rare and apparently not
found in the interior or on the higher altitudes of the coast district.
Frequents the dense thickets, preferably about the swamps, and feeds,
I believe, exclusively on insects, in its search for which the actions
much resemble those of a Vireo. If the bird has a song I did not
hear it, and the only voice is a short contented "cheep," as the
little hunter goes in and out among the leaves. It is not at all shy,
very readily approached. A breeding female was taken at San
Domingo City, April 30. Altogether eight specimens were secured,
five from San Domingo City and three from Honduras.
17. Setophaga ruticilla (Linn.} Tolerably common, and seen
at all points visited.
18. Coereba bananivora (Gmel.} Common, but rather shy
and not readily approached. Found on the coast and high up in the
mountains, deep in the forest and on the edges of clearings. Has a
short little song consisting of some half dozen notes, repeated over
and over in the same order.
I found this species nesting at San Domingo City, February 15.
Both male and female worked at carrying nesting material.
In the series of forty-four specimens before me all the variations
in color due to age are well shown. From young birds that are above
nearly uniform dusky gray-brown, with yellowish superciliary stripe,
and soiled olive yellowish below with a bit of bright yellow in center
of breast, we have every intergradation to the fully adult plumage, of
dull black above, white superciliary, dark slate-gray throat, bright
yellow center of breast and abdomen and grayish olive sides.
19. Petrochelidon fulva (Vieill). Quite abundant along
the coast but not noted in the interior. At San Domingo City
breeding birds were taken as early as April 24, and during the same
week nesting seemed to be at its height. The nests were all being
lined with the soft cottony-like material (called in Spanish America
"Balsamo"), that grows in catkins and surrounds the minute seeds
of one of the native trees of the country. The birds were going and
MAR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. 13
coming after this material in a continuous stream. Ordinarily a
mouthful was snatched while on the wing, but sometimes the birds
would alight and deliberately take all they could conveniently hold in
the bill and then fly away. The males accompanied the females, but
beyond this encouragement seemed to give no other aid in the work.
20. Vireo calidris (Linn.~). JULIAN CHIVI One of the most
abundant species met with. The song is somewhat like that of the
Red-eyed Vireo. One hundred and forty-five specimens were secured
and I believe all are typical calidris.
21. Dulus dominicus (Linn.]. SIGUA DE PALMA Gregarious
and abundant at almost all points visited. The nests are tremen-
dous affairs, invariably (?) placed in the tops of the Royal Palms,
built of relatively large sticks and twigs. A number of females use
the same nests, and there are many entrances to the interior. I did
not have opportunity to examine a nest closely, so do not know the
22. Euphonia musica (Gmel.} Rare. Eight specimens were
taken at Honduras and one at Maniel. Not seen at any other
points. Although quite conspicuous for its colors I did not meet
with any of the natives who had ever seen the bird. I did not hear
23. Spindalis multicolor (Vieill.} Rare, and apparently un-
known to the natives. Taken and observed only at Catare and
Aguacate. Four adult males, two adult females and four young
males, in transition plumage from that of the female to that of the
male, constitute the list of specimens collected. All the specimens
secured by me were taken in old overgrown clearings where the birds
were feeding on some sort of a berry that was ripe at the time (Janu-
ary and February).
Young males resemble the females, but are slightly grayer above
and lighter below, with a white chin and throat. In assuming the
plumage of the adult male the feathers of the crown first begin to
blacken, the white throat is gradually replaced by orange yellow,
while brownish-chestnut feathers appear on the gugulum, and the
dusky or olive grayish feathers, with black shaft streaks, of the breast
are crowded out by orange yellow ones. White feathers begin to
appear and form a superciliary streak, and the lores and auriculars
together with the patch on the side of the throat grows black. In
none of the four young males before me are the two outer pair of
rectrices marked with white as in the adult.
14 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
The adult female is dusky olive green above shading into rather
bright yellowish green on the rump and upper tail coverts this yel-
lowish green color is not perceptible on the nape as it is in females of
S. portoricensis. Below ashy, palest on lower breast and abdomen,
the under tail coverts whitish and all bathed with a yellowish olive
shading and indistinctly streaked with dusky brown. The outer pair
of rectrices are edged with white for the terminal third on the inner
webs, and the second pair are tipped with the same color on the inner
webs. There is no sign of dull yellow on the breast of my speci-
Birds freshly killed have the eye dark brown; feet and legs
dusky plumbeous; claws, maxilla and tip of the mandible, black; base
of mandible, plumbeous black.
24. Phoenicophilus palmarum (Linn.}. SIGUA MAIMONERA;
SIGUA AMARILLA Probably the most abundant species to be met
with in San Domingo. Two hundred and twenty-one specimens
were secured with representatives from all the localities visited.
However, after one ascends pretty well up into the mountains this
bird becomes comparatively rare. I found this species chiefly in the
forests where it may be looked for with equal success in the low
bushes or high up among the tree tops. It feeds both on fruit and
insects. It has, I believe, no song, but a somewhat Cat-bird-like
note of alarm.
Females resemble the males, and young birds are similar to the
adults, except that the black of the head is replaced by dusky grayish
or slate color, and the entire head, neck and breast washed with
A good many breeding birds were taken, but I was not fortunate
in finding either the nest or eggs, and nothing was learned of the
25. Calyptophilus frugivorus, Cory. Rare, seen only at Agua-
cate where three specimens were secured, two males and a female.
It may have been less rare than I suspected, because for some
time I confounded this with the preceding species. Early every
morning before it was fairly light I had the habit of going down to
the river, nearly a quarter of a mile from where I had my camp, and
I had remarked with some surprise that at this place (Aguacate)
Phoenicophilus palmarum seemed to have a pleasant early morning
song. In the gray of the morning I had noted the bird in the bushes
at the side of the path, but always mistook it for palmarum, until on
the morning of February 26 something prompted me to commence
MAR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. 15
my collecting earlier than usual. The result was that when I picked
up my specimen I recognized I had Calyptophilus. I had seen and
heard the bird every morning prior to that time, and three were taken
on that date, but none were seen afterward. The song from Calypto-
philus was the first sound to herald the approach of day (the mock-
ing bird did not begin his song for half or three-quarters of an hour
later), but once the sun was fairly up that song was hushed until
In none of the three specimens is there any sign of a yellow spot
in the center or on the sides of the breast.
26. Pyrrhulagra violacea (Linn.} CHICHIGUA; SIGUA NEGRA;
SIGUA PRIETA. Tolerably common at San Domingo City, Catare
and Aguacate, but not noted at the other localities visited. Seventy-
five specimens were taken, forty-seven of these were males, twenty-
seven were females and one in which the sex was not determined.
Referring to the females of this species, Professor Cory remarks
(Auk, Vol. VIII, 1891, p. 296), that they assume "a black plumage
similar to the males." And later, Mr. W. E. D. Scott in his
" Observations on the Birds of Jamaica " (Auk, Vol. X, 1893, p. 180),
says, "In a large series before me there are many females quite as
brightly colored as the more intense males, and indistinguishable
from that sex in its highest plumage by any external features of color
or appearance." With both of these statements I concur in the main,
but in my series there are thirty-two males and nine females in the
black dress. I do not think the brighest colored female compares on
the back with the least richly glossy back among the males. Neither
does the chestnut of the throat seem so extended in the females.
However, these are only very minor differences, and the birds in the
field are indistinguishable.
I have ten males and twelve females in mixed plumage, varying
from birds in an almost completely black dress to others having only
a few scattering black feathers about the head. There are five males
and six females not showing any black in plumage. Some of these
have a russet throat patch pretty well developed. In one of the
males in mixed plumage, the chestnut feathers of the throat are
all black tipped. The throat and under tail coverts in both males
and females in the black dress are a bright chestnut. Birds in mixed
dress usually have the throat a trifle paler, approaching nearer to a
russet, but becomes more chestnut and brighter in proportion as the
black extends through the plumage. The color of both the throat
(if the patch is yet at all developed) and the under tail coverts in
specimens without any black in the plumage is pale russet.
1 6 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i. .
The under tail coverts do not begin to become chestnut until the
general plumage is black. The russet supra loral streak and under
tail coverts, apparently are characters from the nestling plumage.
Two breeding females were taken April 21 and 29; one is in the
black dress and one in mixed plumage.
The Chichigua I found shy and retiring in habits, frequenting
low thick underbrush. Often noted feeding on fruits and again on
the ground scratching among the dead leaves after insects.
27. Loximitris dominicensis (Bryant^. Nine specimens of
this rare bird were secured at Aguacate and Catare. It was not
noted in other localities. Adult males and females, and immature of
both sexes, are represented in the nine examples before me.
The adult female has the head and back dull olive, lightly mot-
tled with dusky brownish, the rump and upper tail coverts are a little
brighter olive and without any mottling. The quills are all narrowly
margined with bright olive yellow. The greater, middle and lesser
coverts are margined with the dull olive of the back; but the greater
and middle coverts are also broadly tipped with light olive yellow,
forming two distinct wing bands. All the rectrices are blackish
brown, narrowly margined with yellowish on the inner webs.
Below the throat, upper breast and sides is dusky olive gray,
belly and crissum whitish, and all mottled with blackish brown shaft
streakings. Under tail coverts broadly marked with blackish shaft
Immature males and females are similar to adult females, but
brighter olive (yellow) above and decidedly yellowish, or yellowish
olive, in place of grayish or whitish below.
28. Euetheia lepida (Jacq.}. JUANA MARUCA Tolerably com-
mon, especially near the coast. Observed at all points visited except
29. Euetheia bicolor (Linn.}. JUANA MARUCA Common.
Seen and collected at all the localities that I passed through.
30. Icterus dominicensis (Linn.}. SIGUA CANARIA Quite
common, but not found in the forest districts except where there has
been considerable clearing, and is most abundant in the savannas.
Males and females are alike in plumage and both sing. One individ-
ual that I secured, while but slightly wounded, gave a splendid exhi-
bition of its power of song as a result of, or under the influence of,
MAR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. 17
excitement and pain. A native boy I had with me begged to have
the bird, and for several hours, while he was carrying it in his hand,
the little creature sang almost continuously.*
This species is frequently kept as a cage bird.
In the series of forty-eight skins secured there are twenty-seven
males and twenty-one females; twenty-eight are in the black plumage
of the fully adult bird, the remainder are in mixed plumage.
31. Quiscalus niger (Bodd.}. CHINCHILING Comparatively
few birds of this species were seen. Only thirteen specimens were
collected, all coming from three localities, Catare, Aguacate and San
Domingo City. None were seen at the other localities visited. The
eye is light straw yellow.
32. Corvus leucognaphalus Daud. CUERVO The rela-
tive scarcity or abundance of this species in any locality depends
chiefly on the season and on the ripening of certain fruits on which
they feed. Immense flocks are found together. They are very noisy,
but the call note is very different from anything I have heard before.
The flesh is good eating, having a' very pleasant flavor, much like
that of certain species of wild pigeons.
The eye in some examples I found to be light red brown, and in
others a bright orange red.
33. Corvus solitarius Wurt. CAO Seen only at Maniel,
where great noisy flocks were found together. The cry differs some-
what from that of the preceding species, and resembles more the
chattering of some species of parrots.
34. Elainia cherriei Cory\ Only three specimens of this new
flycatcher were secured. The type, a male, was taken at Catare
January 31, and two females, taken higher up in the mountains, at
Aguacate, on the 22d and 2yth of February respectively.
The female is exactly similar to the male.
No individuals were seen except the three that were collected.
35. Pitangus gabbii Lawr. Only one specimen collected.
Taken at Honduras, April 2. Not noted at other points.
Bill, legs and feet black; eye dusky.
36. Blacicus hispaniolensis (Bryant.'] Pound distributed
in all the localities visited by me, but far more common high up in
*Mr. Chapman, in his " Notes on Birds and Mammals, Observed near Trinidad, Cuba," gives a
similar instance of "song as a result of excitement" in the case of Icterus hypomelas. Bull.
Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., Vol. IV, No. i, p. 306.
tAuk, Vol. XII, 1895, p. 279.
18 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
the mountains than down near the coast. Frequents the low scrub
timber; seldom seen more than fifteen or twenty feet from the ground.
Sometimes found deep in the dark forest and again in the low trees
far out on the savannas.
37. Myiarchus dominicensis Bryant. MANUELITA; CABE-
SON Tolerably common. Observed in all the localities visited,
but most common near the coast. Fifty-three specimens were
38. Tyrannus dominicensis (Gmel.). PE-TIGRE Twenty-
three specimens were collected. Apparently not common.
39. Antrostomus carolinensis (Gm.~). QUIERO-BEBER; QUE-
RE-BE-BE. Only one specimen collected, Catare, February 3, but
often heard on clear evenings.
40. Chaetura zonaris (Shaw). One specimen was taken at
San Domingo City. Great flocks were often observed sailing about,
especially toward dusk, but ordinarily they were out of range. This
is, I believe, the first record of a specimen of this species having
been actually taken in San Domingo.
41. Lampornis dominicus (Linn.}. ZUMBADOR, DOCTOR BIRD
Tolerably common at all localities visited.
42. Mellisuga minima (Linn.}. ZUMBADORCITO Common
enough but very difficult to collect. In the first place, one is shoot-
ing at an exeedingly small mark, and next, if your bird does fall, the
chances are greatly against your finding the little bunch of feathers
amid the thicket of leaves in the dense undergrowth that everywhere
covers the ground. Both the male and female "sing," their favorite
resort for this performance seeming to be the topmost branch of some
dead leafless tree-top, where, for long intervals, the birds may be
seen and heard. The head seems to be thrown back and turned from
side to side, with a rather short, quick jerky movement as the sharp,
high-pitched "cheep-cheep-cheep" notes are uttered in quick suc-
43. Sporadinus elegans (Vieill.}. ZUMBADOR This species
of humming bird was not common, and was only observed in two
localities, Catare and Aguacate. I collected sixteen specimens. All
were taken in the darkest parts of the forest, low down, from six to
ten feet from the ground. The two foregoing species seem to like
^!AR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. 19
bright sunshine and high up at the edges of clearings or in the open.
But the present species was not once seen beyond the confines of
the endless shade of the thick forest.
44. Temnotrogon roseigaster (Vietll.). CALANDRE I only
found the San Domingo Trogon in one locality, Aguacate. These
eight specimens were collected high up in the mountains; all are adult.
45. Crotophaga ani Linn. JUDIO Common.
46. Saurothera dominicensis Lafr. BOBO. One of the
most abundant and conspicuous of the birds of San Domingo, found
everywhere from the coast to the tops of the mountains, and appar-
ently as common in one locality as in another. Eighty specimens
were collected, with examples from all the points visited.
47. Coccyzus americanus (Linn.) This is, I believe, the
first record of the finding of the yellow-billed Cuckoo in San Domingo.
It is probably not a permanent resident, as no individuals were seen or
heard until the first of May, when it suddenly became common at
Santo Domingo City. Here, in three days, the 2d, 3d and 4th of May,
I collected ten specimens, five males and five females. While I can
not consider the bird a resident, it is somewhat curious that in all of
the females collected the ovaries were considerably enlarged and the
oviduct more or less swollen, while in one example I took an egg
from the oviduct that would have been deposited in one or two days!
Evidently C. americanus breeds in San Domingo, but do birds that
breed here ever come as far north as the United States?
48. Coccyzus minor (Gmel.). MONTERO This bird is only
tolerably common in the coast district, while back in the interior I
did not meet with it above an altitude of between six and eight hun-
49. Hyetornis fieldi* Cory. Five specimens of this handsome
new cuckoo were collected; two came from Honduras and three
from Maniel. It was not observed in any other locality. I was unable
to make any notes in regard to the habits of the new bird, owing to
the fact that on the three occasions on which individuals were seen,
and when the five examples were secured, I was kept out of breath
tearing through the underbrush trying to keep my bird in sight. But
in manner of flight and in the peculiar way of running along the limbs
of the trees, where it alights, one is impressed with the similarity to
* Hyetornis fieldi sp. nov. Cory, Auk., Vol. XII, 1895, p. 278.
20 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
Piaya cayana mehleri of Central America, where the latter bird is
known as Pajaro Ardilla (squirrel bird). From my note book, under
date of March 29, being the first morning I had met with H. fieldi, I
take the following observation: The notes or call is very different
from that of any of the cuckoos with which I am familiar, and I can
only liken it to the croaking of some hoarse frog.
In fresh specimens the maxilla and point of the mandible is
black; eye dusky; feet, legs and basal part of mandible plumbeous.
The females seem to average a little larger than the males as
indicated by the measurements of the five specimens given here-
Maniel, S. D.
Honduras, S. D.
Maniel, S. D.
Maniel, S. D.
Honduras, S. D.
All the species of cuckoos found in San Domingo are esteemed a
table delicacy by the natives, and for the sick the flesh of the " Bobo "
or " Mantero " is a sure cure.
50. Ceryle alcyon (Linn.) The Belted Kingfisher was fre-
quently seen along the water courses near the coast.
51. Todus angustirostris Lafr. PAJARO VERDE. Quite abun-
dant, especially at points visited in the interior.
52. Todus subulatus Gould. PAJARO VERDE This, the
larger of the two forms of Todies in San Domingo, is even more
abundant than the preceding species, and is more evenly distributed,
apparently being equally common both on the coast and in the
With both species the food appears to consist exclusively of in-
sects. The prey is usually, if not always, taken an the wing, after
the manner of a true flycatcher. Large insects are held in the bill,
and their little captor hammers its victims on the branch chosen for
a resting place until the legs are broken off and the hard parts of the
body are so broken up as to not interfere with swallowing.
53. Nesoctites micromegas (Sundev.). CARPINTERO Twenty-
five specimens of this little woodpecker were taken, but it is
far from being a common species. It was only observed at San
MAR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. 21
Domingo City, Catare and Aguacate. While not particularly watch-
ful and shy the inconspicuous colors and somewhat modest and retir-
ing habits and notes rarely heard render this one of the least noticeable
of San Domingo's woodland birds. In actions this species is often
very like some of the warblers, being also of about the same size. It
hops along the limbs and explores nooks and crevices between the
branches seemingly to prefer being right side up, yet when occasion
requires it will be seen diligently working away on the underside of
some limb. Sometimes this little "carpenter" would be seen at the
very tops of the forest trees, where I could only identify my bird by
the use of my field glasses, and again I would find him hopping about
in the brushwood a few inches from the ground.
In freshly killed specimens the eye is sometimes carmine, some-
times reddish brown; the feet and legs are olive plumbeous; bill dusky
with the lower mandible plumbeous at the base.
54. Chloronerpes striatus (Mull.]. CARPINTERO One of the
most abundant birds in San Domingo, equally distributed both in
the mountainous and coast districts. This species was the subject of
many complaints from the natives, from the country people, all de-
claring that it was impossible to have oranges and " carpinteros " at
the same time. As soon as the oranges show the least sign of ripen-
ing they are immediately attacked by the woodpeckers, and in a very
short time there is nothing remains but a shrivelling, "bloodless"
orange peel. This woodpecker is also very destructive to the Royal
Palm a fact adding greatly to his already bad name filling the
green growing trunk so full of holes as finally to cause its death.
This bird seems to make its nest by preference in the stems of the
Royal Palm, and, in fact, I do not now remember having seen a wood-
pecker hole in any other species of tree while in San Domingo. But
in addition to nesting in the Royal Palm, a great many holes are
drilled apparently without any view toward housekeeping, or cer-
tainly with no other object than filling the pantry. C. striatus is a
sap sucker and taps the Royal Palm for his beverage.
The eye in life is orange yellow.
55. Conurus chloropterus (Souance}. PERIQUITO While
from the accounts of the natives the San Domingo Paroquet must at
some seasons be very abundant, yet I saw very few, and only four
specimens were taken. It is gregarious and its presence or absence
at any particular time or place depends probably on the food sup-
ply, which is again controlled by the seasons which vary much in dif-
ferent parts of the island.
22 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
56. Amazona sallaei (Sc/.). COTORRO The presence or ab-
sence of this species, as with the preceding, in particular locality or
time must depend chiefly, if not wholly, on seasonal changes as influenc-
ing the food supply. It is gregarious and very noisy, but at the same
time very watchful and only approached with difficulty and extreme
caution. I saw several flocks that must have contained at least 500
This species is quite a good deal sought after by the natives for
57. Speotyto cunicularia dominicensis Cory. Tu-cu. Only
a single specimen of Burrowing Owl was secured. This was
taken in the barren, cacti-covered region aj^out Honduras. The in-
habitants informed me it was quite common, but I did not again meet
with the species.
58. Rupornis ridgwayi Cory. GUARAGUAO Although no
examples were secured I frequently saw this hawk sailing about
over the tree tops or perched on some inaccessible crag or dead
branch in the mountains or along the streams.
If the stories of the natives are to be relied upon this species is a
great chicken thief.
59. Accipiter fringilloides Vig. GUARAGUAO DE CIERRO;
SAN NICOLA; HARPON Among the natives I found as many names for
this handsome little hawk as I secured specimens. I learned nothing
regarding the habits save from the stomach contents of my three
specimens, which indicated a somewhat varied taste, parts of large
insects, small lizard's and bird's feet and feathers being mixed to-
My three skins include an adult male and female and a young
The bird described and figured by Professor Cory in his "Birds
of Hayti and San Domingo" and again described in the "Birds of the
West Indies," is a young female. The adult female is quite different
and as I believe no detailed description of the adult of this species
has appeared, at least not in English since that made by Mr. Law-
rence in May, 1860 (Annals of the New York Lyceum of Natural His-
tory) it may not be out of place to here append the descriptions of my
Adult female, No. 1843, Field Columbian Museum. Honduras,
San Domingo, W. I., April 2, 1895: Above bluish slate color, slightly
darker on the head. Concealed bases of feathers of the back not
MAR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. 23
marked with white. Tail brownish plumbeous crossed by four, not
very clearly denned, dusky bands (five showing on the outermost pair
of rectrices) and narrowly tipped with white. The primaries and
greater wing coverts are dusky brownish with a shading of slate or
plumbeous. The sides of the head (below the eye) and neck are
light chestnut brown without markings. Chin and throat whitish,
with a very light shading of brownish chestnut, and the shafts of the
feathers dusky brownish or blackish. The remaining lower parts are
white transversely marked with narrow wood brown bands on the
breast, belly, sides of body and tibias; thickest and most sharply de-
fined on the upper breast, becoming farther apart and less distinct
posteriorly, finally disappearing on the crissum and under tail coverts,
which are immaculate. The under surface of the wing is white barred
with dusky brown. In the fresh bird the bill is dusky at tip and
plumbeous at the base; cere, legs and feet olive green; eye lemon yel-
low; claws black.
Wing, 7.10; tail, 6.50; tarsus, 2.00.
Adult male. No. 1842, Field Columbian Museum. Honduras,
San Domingo, W. I., April 2, 1895. Similar to the female, but col-
ors brighter, and the transverse banding below is in rather bright
chestnut instead of wood brown. The male is considerably smaller,
as shown by the following measurements:
Wing, 6.12; tail, 5.40; tarsus, j.8o.
Young male. No. 1841, Field Columbian Museum. Catare, San
Domingo, W. I., Feb. 6, 1895. Above, dusky brownish, the feathers
tipped and edged with russet. Feathers of the hind neck marked
with white basally; feathers of the back without concealed white mark-
ings. Sides of face and neck buffy brownish streaked with dusky
brownish or blackish shaft lines. Chin and upper throat whitish with
a slightly buffy shading marked with dusky brownish shaft lines.
Remaining lower parts white marked with irregular longitudinal shaft
streaks of a dark wood brown color, and that becoming narrower
and finally obsolete along the sides and lower breast. The crissum
and under tail coverts are pure white. The tibias are transversely
barred with dusky brownish.
Wing, 5.85; tail, 5.25; tarsus, 1.80.
60. Falco dominicensis Gmel. Individuals probably belong-
ing to this species were frequently seen while riding over the savan-
nas, but none were collected.
61. Columba leucocephala Linn. Immense numbers of the
White-headed Pigeon were being brought into the markets of San
Domingo City during the first week of May.
24 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
62. Columba corensis Gmel. This species is most abun-
dant in the mountainous districts, rarely, if ever, descending to the
coast. It is the largest of the pigeons found on the island, and is
much sought after for food; but from being constantly hunted it has
become very shy and difficult to approach.
In life the eyelids and eye are yellowish orange red; base of bill,
feet and legs maroon.
63. Zenaidura macroura (Linn.}. PALOMA COLITA The Mourn-
ing Dove was not at all uncommon in the vicinity of San Cristobal,
Honduras and Maniel.
64. Zenaida zenaida (Bonap.). ROLON This handsome species
is resident and quite common in San Domingo in the coast districts,
but I believe is never found in the high interior.
65. Melopelia leucoptera(Z//z.) I secured a single speci-
men of the White-winged Dove high up in the mountains at the top
of Mount "La Laguneta. " Several others were seen in the same
66. Columbigallina passerina (Linn.) Quite common, espe-
cially near the coast.
67. Geotrygon montana (Linn.) Tolerably common, but I
never met with "flocks," as is indicated by Professor Cory, in "Birds
of Hayti and San Domingo," p. 132. Very rarely did I find more
than two together, and ordinarily individuals were found singly.
It is more abundant in the higher altitudes and rarely met with near
68. Geotrygon martinica (Gmel.) I saw a single example
of this beautiful dove that had been killed by a native at Aguacate.
However, as the bird did not come under my observation until after
a good share of the feathers had been removed, I did not secure a
69. Colinus cubanensis (Gundl.) The Cuban Quail was
introduced into San Domingo by an American sugar planter by the
name of Bass, about six years ago. It has increased very rapidly,
and now for a good many miles around San Domingo City flocks of
from ten to twenty-five are frequently met with.
Unfortunately, the mongoose has been imported from Jamaica
and it is probable that in a short time the quail will succumb to this
MAR. 1896. ORNITHOLOGY OF SAN DOMINGO CHERRIE. 25
70. QEdicnemus dominicensis Cory. BOUKARA Frequently
met with in the houses of the natives, where they are kept to destroy
the scorpions, centipedes, cockroaches, etc.
71. /Egialitis vocifera (Linn.) During my stay in San
Domingo I found the Killdee fairly common along the water courses
near the coast, and indeed it is probably a resident breeding bird.
The ovaries and oviducts of specimens taken during March indicated
that the birds were breeding and I took a nearly fully developed egg
from the oviduct of one killed March 24.
72. Totanus solitarius (Wils.) Met with on two occasions
only, March 16 and April 27, near San Domingo City along the
73. Actitis macularia (Linn.) Noted at all the points vis-
ited, but not common.
74. Ardea herodias Linn. Individuals were frequently noted
along the shores of the Ozama River, near San Domingo City, but
none were collected.
75. Ardea cserulea Linn. Only one specimen was collected,
but it is not uncommon along many of the water courses, especially
near the coast.
76. Ardea virescens Linn. MARTINETE. Quite common in all
77. Nycticorax violacens (Linn.) Seen on several occasions
near San Domingo City on the Ozama River.
78. Jacana spinosa (Linn.) Quite common along the Ozama
River. Young downy birds were found with the parents April 26.
In freshly killed birds the shield, spurs and bill are orange yellow;
base of maxilla blue gray; eye dusky; feet and legs dusky olive.
79. Fulica americana Gmel. Frequently seen near the river
banks and along the lagoons.
80. Dendrocygna arborea (Linn.). YAGUASA This is a resi-
dent species and not uncommon in some localities.
26 FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM ORNITHOLOGY, VOL. i.
81. Pelecanus fuscus Linn. Quite a good many were seen
in the bay of Samana, but not noted at any other point along the
82. Phaethon flavirostris Brandt. Frequently seen along
the coast. It is resident. April 19 two young birds and an adult
female were brought to me at San Domingo City.
83. Podilymbus podiceps (Linn.} One specimen was taken
on the Ozama River, near San Domingo City, April 26, and quite
a number were seen. This is, I believe, the first record of this species
having been taken in San Domingo or Hayti.