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Cornell University 

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tine Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 

American, or Bald, Eagle, 
(Haliaetii-s Lciicocephalus) . 

' rontispiece 













Copyright, 1909, by 

All Rights Reser'ved 

Nwember, 1909 


The object in the present volume has been to give 
a brief description of such birds of the world as are 
usually to be seen in zoological collections and in 
museums, together with some of the most significant 
and striking facts in their life-histories. To include 
even a very short accoimt of each of the fourteen thou- 
sand species known to exist, was clearly impracticable 
within the limits of a book of this size. It has been 
thought desirable, therefore, to give special attention 
to the birds of America, to corresponding species and 
allied forms found in Great Britain and on the Con- 
tinent of Europe, and to certain of the more remarka- 
ble and interesting birds of other countries. 
, This work is based upon one by W. P. Pycraft, 
well known among ornithologists as a systematist and 
bird anatomist, and now in charge of the Department 
of Birds in the British Museum. Use has been made 
of a large part of his admirable Introduction, dealing 
with the evolution and structure of the bird. Portions 
of it that were considered too technical to be readily 
understood by young readers were simplified as much 
as possible, other portions were omitted as being of 
comparatively little value, and a few additions were 


made. The general arrangement has been adhered 
to throughout. 

The interest in birds is widespread and constantly 
groAving, and it is hoped that the use of this volume 
as a reference-book will lead young readers to further 
study of this most fascinating subject. 





PUBLISHERS' NOTE ...... xliv 


Ostrich-like Birds i 

{Orders — Casuarii, Struthlones, Apteryges, 

Carinate, or Keel-breasted Birds ... lo 


Diving-birds, Petrels, and Penguins . . 14 
{Orders — Pygopodes, Tubinares, and Im- 



Flamingoes 23 

{Orders — Steganopodes, Ardes, CIconje, and 


Ducks, Geese, and Swans 44 

( Order — Anseres. ) 





Birds of Prey: Secretary-bird, Eagles, 
Buzzards, Hawks, Kites, Vultures, and 

Falcons 56 

( Order — Accipitres. ) 


Fowl-like Birds 78 

( Order — Gallif ormes. ) 


Cranes, Rails, and Bustards .... 93 
(Order — Gruiformes.) 


Plovers, Gulls, and Auks 10 1 

( Order — ^Charadrilf ormes. ) 


Pigeons 124 

( Order — Columbas. ) 


Parrots and Cuckoos 133 

(Orders — Psittaci and Cuculi.) 


Rollers, Motmots, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, 

Hoopoes, and Hornbills 142 

( Order — Coracias. ) 



Nightjars, Swifts, and Humming-birds . . 148 
{Orders — Caprimulgl, Cypseli.) 


Owls . « 156 

( Order — Striges. ) 


Trogons, Toucans, and Woodpeckers . . 164 
{Orders — Trogones and PIcI.) 


Passerine Birds 172 

{Order — Passeriformes.) 

Index 233 



Bald Eagle Frontispiece 

Plate i Facing page 74 

Plate 2 Facing page 70 

Plate -3 Facing page 64 

Plate 4 Facing page 60 

Plate 5 Facing page 1 60 

Plate 6 Facing page 168 

Plate 7 Facing page 134 

Plate 8 Facing page 138 

Plate 9 Facing page 144 

Plate 10 Facing page 182 

Plate ii Facing page 196 

Plate 12 Facing page 200 

Plate 13 Facing page 206 

Plate 14 Facing page 212 

Plate 15 Facing page 186 

Plate 16 Facing page 220 

Plate 17 Facing page 226 

Plate 18 Facing page 216 

Plate 19 Facing page 176 

Plate 20 Facing page 230 

Plate 21 Facing page 152 

Plate 22 Facing page 126 

Plate 23 Facing page 130 



Plate 24 Facing page 88 

Plate 25 Facing page 86 

Plate 26 Facing page 84 

Plate 27 Facing page 80 

Plate 28 Facing page 4 

Plate 29 Facing page 96 

Plate 30 Facing page 104 

Plate 31 Facing page 108 

Plate 32 Facing page 112 

Plate 33 Facing page 30 

Plate 34 Facing page 36 

Plate 35 Facing page 50 

Plate 36 Facing page 46 

Plate 37 Facing page 26 

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Plate 39 Facing page 16 

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Plate 41 Facing page 92 

Plate 42 Facing page 98 


THE study of birds, or Ornithology, began long 
before the dawn of civilisation. At first, to 
primitive man the bird represented only a kind 
of food, and the study of birds' habits and peculiari- 
ties must have had its beginning after pursuit had 
made birds wary and only to be caught by some 
knowledge of their character and haunts. With bet- 
ter knowledge of birds, as of other animals, it was 
found that some species might be kept and bred in 
captivity, thus giving a regular and certain kind of 
food. With the keeping of fowls, of dogs, of cattle, 
sheep, and horses, began the pastoral or shepherd 
stage of civilisation, which came earliest in man's up- 
ward progress toward a settled life. All the complex 
communities of to-day may be traced back to such 
simple beginnings, and the domestication of animals 
was by no means a small factor in man's progress. 
The freedom of birds, their mastery of the regions of 
the air, their mysterious goings and comings — some, 
or all, of these gave them a peculiar fascination and 
caused them from the earliest times to be regarded 
with religious awe as being closely allied to the gods, 
or with superstitious fear and reverence as partaking 
of the strange powers of the air, No doubt they 
seemed to be in some sense dwellers in lands of the 



gods. Whatever the reason, birds have been in every 
land connected with religious observances or super- 
stitious rites, and even chosen as symbols of power, 
authority, or wisdom. No doubt their expressive cries 
contributed much to this result. The folk-lore in 
every nation gives evidence of this feeling. It is found 
among the Hindus, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the 
Romans, and the European nations alike. 

But the scientific study of birds cannot be said to 
have begun imtil very recent times. The foundations 
of ornithology were laid by two Englishmen, Francis 
Willughby (1635-1672) and John Ray (1628-1705), 
to whom we owe the first attempts to classify birds 
upon right principles. Their good work was based 
upon practical observation combined with the ability 
to rightly weigh and analyse. Though to-day other 
ideas prevail in regard to the relationship and classify- 
ing of species, yet Willughby and Ray are still re- 
garded as pioneers in ornithology. In this chapter 
our purpose is to give a brief summary of the state 
of our knowledge of birds at this time, rather than 
to trace even in outline the progress of the science 
during the last two or three centuries. 

Let us begin with the question: What is a bird? 
Briefly, a bird is distinguished from all other living 
creatures by its covering of feathers. Not thus alone, 
however, are birds distinguished, since they differ 
almost as markedly in the matter of their skeletons. 
But it is not enough that we should be able to quote 
the "hall-mark," so to speak, by which our favorites 
are to be recognised. At least it is not enough for 
those of us who are not content with mere facts. 



Thus, then, we ask. How have the birds come by 
these distinguishing characters? The answer to this 
question has been supplied partly by the anatomist 
and partly by those who have spent their lives in read- 
ing the riddles of the rocks. Let us take the anato- 
mist's evidence first. According to him, the peculiari- 
ties which distinguish the bird have been derived from 
reptiles, and this is nowhere more evident than in the 
skull. As in the reptile, it joins the neck by a single, 
rounded boss of bone; while in the mammals (the 
great class to which we ourselves belong, the class dis- 
tinguished by the body covering of hair, and the fact 
that the yoimg are suckled) the skull joins the neck 
by two such bosses. In the form of the backbone 
and of the hip-girdle, and in the structure of the legs, 
birds also agree with the reptiles. To state in full 
the evidence on which these conclusions are founded 



2"-'' KoiA/ opflNKce. 3o/i/£S 

SoHCi ofi Trte fooT 

Fig. I. — Bones of the foot and ankle of a young fowl, show- 


might be wearisome to those who are not partictilarly 
interested, but we may indicate the nature of the argu- 
ment by a comparison of the hind limb of the bird and 
reptile. This limb, in both, is peculiar in that the 
ankle-joint is formed in such a tvay that when the 
foot is bent the joint turns on a hinge formed between 
two rows of ankle-bones, while in mammals the 
joint is formed by the hinging of the shank of the 
leg upon the uppermost row of ankle-bones. But the 
bird's leg is peculiar in that these two rows of ankle- 
bones have undergone great modifications, and can be 
seen in their originally separate condition only by ex- 
amining the chick some time before hatching, though 
traces yet remain in a young fowl of, say, three months 
old (see Fig. 1). It is owing to the fact that these 
peculiarities are not generally known, that most books 
on birds are inaccurate when they describe the "legs 
and toes" of a bird, the legs being the long "cannon- 
bones," which are clad in scales and often brightly 

A reference to the accompanying diagram should 
make this clear. Here we have the leg of a fowl. 
The first joint is formed by the hinging of the femur, 
or thigh-bone, with the tibia, thus forming the "knee- 
joint." At the end of the tibia is the joint with the 
ankle-bone ; but in the birds, as we have said, the two 
rows which these small bones make up disappear be- 
fore adult life is reached. One row (shown in 
Fig. 1), composed in the half-grown bird of a mallet- 
like piece, the handle of which runs up the front of 
the tibia or shank, becomes welded to the "shank"; 
while the other ("2nd Row," Fig. 1), composed of 




several small pieces originally, but now forming a 
thin plate, becomes welded on to the top of the bones 
of the foot. It it these last which are always, but 
wrongly, described as the "leg-bones." Really, they 
answer to the bones of our own feet which lie be- 
tween the ankle and the 
toes. Finally, we have 
the toes, about which 
there can be no mistake. 
The great lengthen- 
ing of the foot-bones 
has been brought about 
by the evolution of the 
bird from a climbing 
to a walking animal. 
Originally they were 
five in number, but are 
now, like the toes, re- 
duced to four. Of 
these four, three are 
now welded together — 
Nos. I, II, III— to 
form a single "cannon- 
bone," answering to 
that of the horse; but 
in the young bird their 
originally separate con- 
dition can still be traced 
(see Fig. 1). The first 
of these foot-bones answering to the hind-toe is now 
reduced to a mere "button" of bone slung by liga- 
ments on to the cannon-bone." The leg of the old 



Fig.. 2. — Diagram of the leg of 
an adult bird, ' showing the 
condition of the limb after 
the separate elements have 
become welded. 



giant reptiles known as the Dinosaurs corresponds 
marvellously well with that of a modern bird, only 
in the reptiles the foot-bones had not become welded 
to form a cannon-bone. So much, then, for the 
evidence from the skeleton, for the present. 
The arrangement of the blood-vessels, the struc- 
ture of the eye, ear, organ of smell, and brains, are all 
on the reptile plan, and so also are the organs of re- 
production. Similarly, the microscopic structure of 
the growing feather in the embryo, or unhatched chick, 
shows that it is really an extremely elaborate reptile 
scale, and is formed on a plan quite different from 
the hairs of mammals. 

But, it may be urged, it is all very well, and it may 
be quite true, to say that because the reptiles and the 

birds have so much 
in common, there- 
fore they must be 
related. But why 
should we assume 
this? One of two 
courses is open to 
u s. Either w e 
must believe that 
birds were, as used 
to be held, special- 
ly created, or that 
they have in- 
herited the char- 
acters which they 
hold in common with reptiles from a common ancestor 
which had the characteristics which distinguish rep- 

FiG. 3. — The first known bird. 


tiles to-day. And in support of the reasonableness 
of this latter view we may appeal to the evidence 
which the rocks have preserved for us in the shape of 
the fossil remains of ancestral birds. In these we 
have still further and more striking proof of the 
descent of birds from reptiles, and the gradual change 
from the reptile to the bird type. 

The earliest fossil bird yet discovered is that known 
as Archaeopteryx, and this differed from all other 
birds in one or two very important particulars. In 
each case these differences serve to bridge the gap be- 
tween the reptiles and the birds, though it must be 
admitted many other links are necessary to make the 
chain complete. In the first place, instead of the 
horny sheaths which cover the beak of living birds, 
we find the jaws were provided with teeth, set in 
sockets like those of the crocodile; in the second, the 
tail was of great length and made up of a long row 
of bones, as in the tail of reptiles. Each bone sup- 
ported a pair of feathers, as may be seen in our illus- 
tration, so that in this respect it was neither like that 
of the reptile nor of the typical bird. In the latter, 
the tail is apparently fashioned after a very different 

When we come to examine the arrangement of the 
tail-feathers in a bird, we find that they are set fan- 
wise about a plate of bone, the last of a series of the 
eight separate tail-bones which form the termination 
of the backbone. But it must be remembered that 
what is commonly called the "tail" is really only the 
outward sign of this appendage, for feathers, alone, 


no more make the tail of a bird than hair makes the 
tail of a dog. Now if we examine this bony plate in 
the embryo, say, of a duck, we shall find that it is 
really made up of six or seven separate vertebrae, 
which have become, as it were, telescoped. Each of 
these represents one of the feather-bearing vertebras 
in the tail of Archsopteryx ; but by the process of 
telescoping — this process of shrinking — they have 
brought the bases of the feathers they supported close 
together in the fan-wise shape we have just described. 

Here, then, we have a lesson in the evolution of 
birds — a transformation that will go far to help realise 
how similar changes could bring about the evolution 
of the ancient reptile into the modern bird. Some 
day, without doubt, a yet older form of bird mil be 
discovered, which will show even more reptilian char- 

Another strong proof of the identity of the two 
forms in origin is found in the study of the develop- 
ment of the egg into the chick. It is well known that 
the gradual changes which may be studied here re- 
peat to some extent the history of the species from the 
earliest to the latest form, and the fact that the early 
embryonic development of birds agrees with the be- 
lief that they are descended from the same ancestral 
form as the reptiles, is supported by the conclusion 
arrived at by embryologists. 

Birds, then, in the possession of feathers, are tmique 
in the scheme of nature; so that by this character 
alone they are distinguished from all other backboned 
animals. There can be no doubt that they owe their 
descent to some reptilian ancestor. Let us now pass 


on to consider one or two other peculiarities of birds — 
peculiarities which have gone on developing and per- 
fecting since the time when birds branched off from 
the reptile stock. 

Surely the most important of these is to be found 
in the fore-limb. This we know as the "wing." When 
stripped of its feathers, we could trace the wing- 
structure of the bird in the fore-leg of any other 
animal. Yet it cannot be used as an absolutely dis- 
tinctive character, since in some of the Ostrich tribe, 
for example, it has become degenerate and so reduced 
in size as to be hardly recognised; while, if we take 
fossil forms into consideration, we shall find that it 
becomes still more dwarfed, until, as in the Moas, it 
is lost altogether. 

The principal features in which the wing differs 
from the fore-limb of other animals are found in the 
bones of the "wrist" and "hand." In the wrist only 
two separate bones appear, though in the embryo the 
rudiments of several can be made out ; these disappear, 
however, before hatching. The bones of the hand and 
fingers are reduced to three in number — the thumb 
and first and second fingers. The first portion of 
these finger-bones, which answer to the bones that ex- 
tend between the wrist and the bases of the fingers 
and make up the palms of our hands, are firmly 
welded together, the base of the thumb being hardly 
traceable. The second and third are welded together 
at each end, enclosing a space, while the finger- joints 
are represented, in the second finger by two or some- 
times three bones, and the third by one bone only. 

The remarkable wrist and hand have reached this 


unique stage of development as a response to the 
peculiar need of the bird's flight, the hand being 
drawn out into a long rod, across which the bases of 
the quill-feathers are securely lashed by ligaments. 
The wing, no less than the rest of the skeleton, fur- 
nishes convincing evidence to show that the bird, as 
we see it to-day, has acquired this form by a slow 
transformation. In many birds, as in the Duck, the 
Water-hen, or any of the Hawks, there will be found 
on the thumb and the tip of the second finger a small 
claw — the vestige of a claw that once was useful. In 
some other birds, as in the common Fowl, similar 
claws will be found in the embryo — in the chick be- 
fore it leaves the shell — though quite conamonly the 
thumb-claws persist throughout life. Examine the 
wing of the next Fowl you come across, and likely 
enough you will find it. 

Now, if we go back to Archasopteryx, we shall find 
that the wing possessed a large claw on each of its 
three fingers; and also, in this ancient bird we find 
that the second row of wrist-bones — those at the base 
of the fingers— though welded together to form a half- 
moon-shaped bone, yet remained distinct from the 
fingers. They, in fact, retained throughout life the 
condition which is met with to-day only in very young 
birds. When a yet more ancient bird than Archse- 
opteryx is discovered, it is safe to predict that a still 
more complex series of wrist-bones will be found. We 
expect, indeed, to find all the links from the reptile 
to the bird of the present time. 

In one particular the bird and the reptile are very 
different, inasmuch as while reptiles are cold-blooded, 


birds are hot-blooded creatures; indeed, their 
blood is much warmer than that of mammals, the 
temperature ranging from 100° to 112°. The highest 
figure is attained by the smaller perching birds, such 
as Finches; Hawks do not maintain a temperature 
above 109°, and Gulls only a little above 104°. 

This rise in the temperature of the blood is due to 
several causes too technical to be here discussed. But 
chief among them is the fact that the heart of the bird, 
like that of the mammal, is a four-chambered heart, 
whereby a more perfect oxidation of the blood is pos- 
sible than is the case with reptiles, in which the 
heart has but three chambers. And for this reason: 
When passed through a four-chambered heart, the 
impure blood brought back from the body to the right 
side of the heart is driven through the lungs to be 
thoroughly purified by the air drawn in during breath- 
ing; it is then received by the left side of the heart, 
thence to be sent over the body without any mingling 
of the two streams. In the reptile this mingling takes 
place, and consequently a smaller relative quantity 
of the heat-giving oxygen is brought into the system. 
But, strangely enough, the blood of reptiles and 
birds agree in this, that the little red bodies, or "cor- 
puscles," whose duty it is to absorb the air from the 
lungs and the carbonic acid from the tissues of the 
body, have each a central "kernel," or nucleus, whereas 
the blood-corpuscles of mammals h3,ve no such nu- 

To expand further this matter of the temperature 
of the blood a somewhat intimate knowledge of physi- 
ology and chemistry would be required in the reader. 


It is, indeed, a question for the physiologist, rather 
than for the ornithologist. 

It may seem that this attempt to answer the ques- 
tion, "What is a bird?" has taken us rather far afield. 
And on this account it may be well briefly to simi- 
marise the facts which have been gleaned on the jour- 

In few words, then, a bird is a warm-blooded, egg- 
laying feathered biped, having the fore-limbs modified 
to form wings, and the hip-girdle so adapted as to 
bring the hind-limbs far forward, to balance the body 
in walking on them alone. These characters, there 
can be no reasonable doubt, have gradually come into 
being by the slow transformations in a long chain of 
creatures, which, as we trace them back, are less and 
less bird-like, and more and more like reptiles. 
Though many links in this chain are yet missing, some 
day they will almost surely be found. 

The evidence for this reptilian descent is abundant. 
Every bird, in the course of its growth from the, 
passes through more or fewer of the ancestral stages ; 
and while some of these carry us back to phases of de- 
velopment which belong to ancient types of birds long 
since extinct, others carry us yet further, and show 
that modern birds and reptiles have descended from a 
common stock. 

Feathers. — Though feathers are so common, few 
realise what marvels of structural beauty they are. 
Nor is the peculiar fashion of their distribution over 
the body even now generally recognised. Those who 
have spent their lives in the study of living birds need 
not be told that the feathers of a bird are not, as a 


rule, generally or evenly distributed over the body, 
after the fashion of hairs on a dog, for instance, but, 
on the contrary, are arranged in long and generally 
narrow bands, or "tracts," separated by wide, bare, 
or sometimes down-clad spaces. 

The fact that these bands vary greatly in shape 
among birds was first realised by a German naturalist 
named Nitzsch, who made a long and careful study 
of the feather-tracts of birds. As a result of his pa- 
tient work, he was able to show that the variations in 
this arrangement followed certain definite lines, each 
group of birds possessing a type peculiar to itself; 
and, for the purposes of convenient description, he 
gave these tracts distinctive names, which, in the main, 
are followed to this day. 

Briefly, as a result of his work, he distinguished: 
( 1 ) a head tract, formed by the feathers clothing the 
head; (2) a spinal tract, extending from the head 
down the back of the neck, and along the back to the 
tail ; ( 3 ) a ventral tract, running from the throat down 
to the base of the neck, where it branches at the shoul- 
ders, to run down over the breast and abdomen in the 
form of two bands, a broad outer and a narrow inner 
band; (4) a pair of humeral tracts, which, crossing 
the upper arm, form the feathers known as the scapu- 
lars; (5) the wing tract, including the quills and wing- 
coverts; (6) the tail tract; (7) the femoral tracts, 
which run across the thighs; (8) the leg tracts, which 
cover the legs below the knee. 

The most important of the variations which these 
tracts present are to be found in the spinal and head 
tracts. Thus, in the first-named, the spinal tract in 


the Swifts encloses a bare space over the middle of 
the back ; while in the Swallows it divides into a fork 
in this region, leaving the hinder portion of the tract 
in the form of the usual straight band. In the Finch 
tribe the middle region of this tract is diamond- 
shaped. The head tract, again, often encloses a 
space; as, for example, in the Himnuning-birds and 
Mouse-birds of Africa. The ventral tract similarly 
presents very marked differences when a number of 
different kinds of birds come to be examined. 

Those who may be interested in this question should 
take, say, a Sparrow, Starling, Thrush, Pigeon, and 
Fowl, cut off the feathers with a pair of scissors, close 
to the body, and compare the differences between 
them. Since these differences are constant, and since 
each group presents a type of its own, it has been 
found that the "pterylosis," as this arrangement of 
the feathers is called, affords a valuable aid to the 
classification of birds. For example, the very wide 
difference in the pterylosis of the Swifts and Swallows 
was the first indication of the fact that these birds 
were not related, as they had always been supposed to 
be, and later anatomical investigations have given 
further proof that these birds belong to quite different 

In the Penguins and the Ostriches the bare spaces 
found in other birds are hardly traceable, in so far as 
the trunk is concerned, the feathers covering almost 
every inch of the body. * 

In describing the external appearance of a bird 
these tracts are commonly ignored, the body being 




mapped out into certain areas such as are indicated 
in Fig. 4. 

So far we have spoken only of the feathers which 
form the outer surface-covering of the bird, the "con- 
tour" feathers, as they 
are called because they 
form the contour or out- 
line of the body. But 
besides these there are no 
less than three other dis- 
tinct kinds of feathers 
— d own feathers, filo- 
pliunes, and powder- 

Down feathers in, 
many birds are conspicu- 
ous by their absence, 
and are developed most 
abundantly in water- 
birds, such as Ducks, for 
example, growing not 
only between the feathers, but over the otherwise bare 
spaces as well, so as to form a thick undergrowth, 
answering to the under-fur of seals, for instance. 

Filo-plimies appear to be present in all birds. They 
are the long, hair-like growths so conspicuous in the 
common Fowl when plucked. In some birds they at- 
tain such a length as to extend beyond the contour 
feathers, forming, as in some Cormorants, long, white, 
delipate plumes. 

The powder-down feathers are foiind only in a few 
groups, such as the Herons and Bitterns, and some 

Fig. 4. — Diagram of a bird, 
showing the different 
areas of the body. 


Hawks and Parrots. In the Herons and Bitterns 
they form large patches, a pair on the breast, and a 
patch over each thigh. Of a pecuhar woolly appear- 
ance, they are remarkable for the fact that they break 
up, when touched, into a fine powder, which, when 
rubbed between the fingers, gives an indescribably 
smooth feeling. It is the powder from these remark- 
able feathers which gives the peculiar bloom to the 
beak of many parrots, as well as to the plumage. As 
to the real purpose of the powder, however, we know 

This brief survey of feathers would not be complete 
without a few words as to their structural characters. 
In the typical feather (say, a quill-feather) , two main 
parts are to be distinguished — the stiff stem, and the 
broad, flexible blade known as the vane, or vexillum. 
The stem may further be divided into the quill, or 
calamus, the hollow part below the vane, and the shaft 
or rhachis, which is flattened in section and filled 
with a white pith-like substance. The vane runs 
along on either side of the rhachis in the form of a 
series of tapering, flattened rods, the "barbs." They 
are set so closely together that they must be carefully 
sought for; and give to the vane that finely grooved 
appearance, or, rather, the appearance of a series of 
fine lines running obliquely outwards from the shaft. 
If an attempt be made to pull these apart, it will be 
found that considerable force must be used, and 
this is owing to the fact that they are locked together 
by a second series of flattened rods, known as barbules, 
so small as to require the microscope to reveal them. 


But the mechanism by which this vane is held together 
is so wonderful that it must be explained. 

If you examine the blade of a feather with a mag- 
nifier, you will see that the vane is made up of small 
barbed feathery portions, which interlock one into 
another so as to be flexible without separating. In 
Fig. 5 a portion of this magnified area is shown as it 
appears when seen in a section still further mag- 

When the structure of a feather is examined under 
a microscope of high power it is seen that the barbs 
are themselves sub-divided along the edges into a 
marvellously constructed system of branches which are 
most wonderfully shaped so as to hook one into the 
other and to support one another under the great 
pressure of the air coming upon them during the 
motion of the wing in flight. Only a complicated set 
of diagrams and a long technical description could 
give the reader any adequate idea of its surprising 
mechanism. We can say here only that it is of almost 
unimaginable delicacy and strength. We earnestly 
recommend that the subject be studied in more techni- 
cal books, as it will prove most fascinating. 

Thus, then, this marvellous interlocking is the rea- 
son why it is so difficult to pull the barbs of a feather 
apart. In the vane of a Crane's quill, in a piece of web 
15 inches long, no less than 650 of these barbs were 
counted, each of which bore about 600 pairs of bar- 
bules — that is* about 800,000 for the inner web alone, 
and more than a million for the whole feather: and 
all these are necessary to hold the vane together. 

This system of interlocking is most perfect in the 



wing and tail quills. In some feathers, such as have 
a loose, hairy texture, as in the body feathers of many 
birds, these booklets are but feebly, if at aU, developed. 
The loose feathers of the Ostrich tribe also lack them, 
but even here they were at one period aU perfectly 


Fig. 5. — Section through two rows parallel to the distal 


developed; when the birds ceased to fly, the feathers 
degenerated, and the interlocking was lost. 

What are known as semi-plumous feathers are im- 
perfectly developed or changed feathers. 

Down feathers differ considerably from "contour 
feathers" in structure, having little or no shaft, all the 
barbs arising from a common base. These barbs are, 
further, very long, and have only very minute barb- 
ules. In the Ducks and some other birds these 
barbules take the form of triangular nodules ; while in 
other birds again they are knot-like. 

The filo-plmnes have a long, slender shaft with a 
minute vane at the tip. They are, apparently, a de- 
generate form of contour feather, judging from the 
fact tha;t during the earlier part of their development 


many more barbs are present than are to be found in 
the fully grown filo-plume. 

Yet another form of feather is that which is found 
fringing the mouths of birds like Flycatchers and 
Nightjars. Bristle-like, there will yet be found about 
the bases of many a few weak barbs ; the eyelashes of 
many birds, like the Ostrich, the Ground-Hornbill, 
and some other birds, are similarly fringed with these 
peculiar bristle-like feathers. 

The down which covers the nestlings of many birds, 
such as Fowls and Ducks, answers to the contour 
feathers of the adult, but is of a simpler structure; 
indeed, it differs in character among different species 
of the same group. In its most completely developed 
form it recalls the contour feathers, having a shaft 
and barbs with weak barbules, but these last have no 
distinct booklets, hence the general loose character of 
down plumage; while in its more degenerate form the 
shaft is absent, as in a true down feather. 

Where down is present in the adult, it will be found 
in the nestling just before the feathers begin to ap- 
pear. In some birds, as in the Ducks, indeed, and 
young Hawks, these early down-feathers, or "pre- 
plumulas," attain so large a size that they eventually 
play a more prominent part than the typical nestling- 
doAvn, or "pre-pennae," so-called because preceding the 
pennse, or feathers. In young Cormorants the nest- 
ling-down is wholly made up of these pre-plumulae, 
which are succeeded later, not by contour feathers, but 
by down feathers. 

Nestling-down in its most degenerate form may be 
seen in you»g Pigeons, and the young of most of the 



Song-birds; while in others it is altogether wanting, 
as in young Sparrows, and those of the Crow tribe. 

Only in the nestling-down of the Game-birds, 
Ducks, and the Ostrich tribe is there found a forma- 
tion of feathers known as the "after-shaft." This, by 
the way, is a conspicuous feature in the adult feathers 
of the Emu and Cassowary, where it forms a sort of 
duplicate of the main-shaft, equalling it in size ; while 
among the higher birds it is never very large, except 
in the Game-birds (Fig. 6) , but even here it is downy 
in texture, and is always shorter than the main- 

As touching the growth of feathers, but little can 
be profitably said here. The earliest traces of feathers 
must be sought for in the embryo, where the first rudi- 
ments of the coming nestling-doAvn appear in the form 
of tiny bead-like bodies, which soon sink down into a 
pit. Next an outer pro- ^f/ve 
tecting sheath is devel- 
oped around this feather 
rudiment, and within 
this the mass of pulp 
which it contains pro- 
ceeds to form first the 
main axis, and next the 
barbs and barbules. 
What will prove the tip 
of the feather is the first 
to be formed, and as this 
forces its way up, the 
lower parts are added, 

Mlif^ S/tfifT 



Qu/LL. -•'■ 

Fig. 6. 

till at hatching-time the 

whole of the down feather is completed. 


At the base of this down feather hes the germ of the 
contour feather which is to follow. As this grows the 
down feather is thrust out upon the tip of the new 
contour feather, and here it may be attached for a 
very considerable time, as in the case of young 
Herons, for example. On its first appearance, the 
new feather is ensheathed in a thin, delicate blue wrap- 
per, the first-formed portion of the vane bursting its 
way through while the lowerrnost portion of the 
feather is yet forming. 

Moulting. — In most birds the feathers are renewed 
annually, by the process known as moulting — a criti- 
cal time in a bird's life. When there is a lack of suit- 
able nourishment, or when the bird is low in vigour 
at the moulting-season, the feathers become curiously 
indented with fine grooves known as "hunger-marks." 

The annual moult takes place generally after the 
breeding-season; but some birds moult again in 
spring, when a new and more resplendent livery is put 
on, as in the case of many of the Plover tribe; But 
the quills in such cases are not renewed. In some of 
the Ducks, as in the drake of the common Wild Duck, 
a dull livery, resembling that of his mate, is assumed — 
the so-called "eclipse" dress — during the month of 
Jime, and this is worn for some weeks. By the 
middle of August the new and characteristic "breed- 
ing-dress" is well in evidence, and by October is com- 
pleted. This "eclipse" dress, then, answers to the 
dull dress put on after the breeding-season by the 
Plovers, and is simply moulted again in a month or 
two instead of being worn till the following spring. 
Some of the Game-birds undergo a partial "eclipse" 


plumage, but this change is confined to the feathers 
of the head and neck. 

While some birds put on a new and brightly 
coloured dress in spring, others brighten up their 
plumage quite as conspicuously by simply shedding 
the tips of the feathers assumed at the autumn moult. 
No better instance of this can be found than that of 
the Linnet, which, by this shedding process, gains the 
beautiful rich brown back, and rose-pink breast, that 
make these birds so much prized. For some as yet 
unexplained reason, however, captive birds, if taken 
in July, before the autumn moult, develop yellow in 
the place of red — ^which colour is never regained; if 
taken in the autumn, the red breast appears ih the 
following spring, but never again. The beautiful 
plumage of the Starling is similarly attained by this 
method of shedding the outer edges of the feathers, 
and the Chaffinch gains its blue head in the spring by 
this same process. 

Whether birds can gain an access of colour to the 
feathers without a moult is still a disputed point. 
Some hold that there can be no doubt about the mat- 
ter; while others, apparently as well qualified to speak 
on the subject, deny the possibility of such a change 

That the colour of feathers can be influenced by 
feeding is a fact too well known to need further com- 
ment; but it may be interesting to remark that this 
fact is well known to the savage people of Brazil, who 
feed a species of green Parrot on the fat of Siluroid 
fishes ; the feathers, as a consequence, becoming beau- 
tifully variegated with red and yellow. Another race 


of South Americans change the colours of Parrots by 
plucking out such feathers as they propose shall be 
altered, and inoculating the spot from which the 
feather was taken with the milky juice obtained from 
certain glands of a small toad. The new feathers 
now appear of a brilliant yellow colour, and on being 
plucked out, it is said, grow again of the same colour 
without any fresh inoculation. It taxes human in- 
genuity to account for savages making such a dis- 

Beak and Feet. — Finally, let us consider the 
covering of the beak and feet. The jaws of a bird, 
as we have already remarked, no longer bear teeth, 
but are ensheathed in horny cases. In many species, 
as in the Petrels, for example, the beak-sheaths, in- 
stead of being entire, one for the upper and one for 
the lower jaw, are made up of a number of separate 
pieces; while in the Puflfin, and one of the Pelicans, 
ornamental plates are developed during the breeding- 
season and shed immediately after. In the Pelican 
this plate is square in shape, and borne on the ridge 
of the beak near its middle; in the Puffin it is tri- 
angular, and is attached to the base of the beak at 
each side. 

The legs, to use the common term, as a rule are 
covered, as in the reptile, by horny scales ; but in some 
birds, as in Grouse, and Sand-grouse, and the Golden 
Eagle, and many Owls, the shank of the legs, and 
often the toes also, are covered by long feathers not 
unlike long, silky hairs, and quite different in char- 
acter from the quill-like feathers on the legs of the 


domesticated races of Pigeons and Fowls. In some 
birds a delicate skin takes the place of scales. 

The claws of birds vary greatly in shape, according 
to whether they play any part or not in the capture 
of the food. Thus they may attain a relatively enor- 
mous size in Birds of Prey, where the claw of the 
hind- toe is especially large; here the feet are used to 
hold living prey securely. Some species, indeed, as 
the Goshawk, for instance, kill their prey by means 
of the feet and claws. In the Jacanas, birds of the 
Plover tribe, the claws attain an enormous length, 
forming long, pointed rods, which with their tremen- 
dously long toes serve to enable them to walk on the 
delicate floating weeds of the rivers which these birds 
haunt. In some other birds, as for example in the 
Cassowary, the claws may be used as a weapon of 
offence. In this bird the inner claw is of great size 
and strength and is capable of inflicting a very dan- 
gerous wound. 

In many of the Grouse tribe the claws are shed each 
spring; though in some, as in the Black Grouse, the 
shedding is confined to the ragged fringe along the 
inner side of the claws. This fringe, by-the-bye, re- 
calls the fact that the middle claw in many birds, as 
the Bam Owl, Nightjar, and Herons, for instance, 
has a curious series of little teeth running along its 
outer edge ; but so far no one has been able to tender 
any suggestion as to what purpose it may serve. 

Finally we must find space for a brief reference to 
the formidable weapons which many birds possess in 
the shape of spurs. These are generally confined to 
the legs, and may be represented by a pair only, as 


in the Game-cock, or by several, as in the Peacock- 
pheasant. But, beside these, a few birds have a simi- 
lar, and equally powerful, armature in the wings. In 
some, as on the "Screamers" (Palamedea and 
Chauna) , two spurs are developed, one at each end of 
the fused metacarpal bones — the bones which form 
the "palm" of the hand ; in all other birds but one spur 
is developed, and this may spring from one of the 
wrist-bones, as in the Spur-winged Goose, or from 
the base of the thumb, as in the Jacanas. 

Flight and its Mechanism. — While, in the posses- 
sion of feathers, birds are unique in the animal king- 
dom, they are not to be so distinguished in the matter 
of flight, for many creatures even far below them in 
the scale of life have this most enviable form of loco- 
motion; while the Bats, which belong to man's own 
class — the Mammalia — on the other side of the scale, 
are also adepts in the art. In the manner of their 
flight, at any rate, the birds are peculiar. 

In the study of "the way of the bird in the air," it 
is difiicult to know where to begin, and having made 
a beginning, it is by no means easy to tell a plain, 
straightforward tale. Though birds are essentially 
flying animals, and though to attain this power they 
have become profoundly modified as to their bodily 
shape, they have yet, in some respects, not gone so 
far as, say, the Bats. The latter have almost com- 
pletely sacrificed the power of walking, while birds 
have, with some few exceptions, preserved this. Let 
us come to closer terms with our subject by a study 
of the bony framework of the body in its relation to 


The whole body is brought into harmony with the 
requirements of flying. The long neck, passing in- 
sensibly into the body, which tapers again into the 
tail; and the beautifully smooth, rounded surface 
formed by the close-fitting overlapping feathers, offer 
the least possible resistance to the air; while the large 
mass of the breast-muscles attached to the under sur- 
face of the body — which during flight is, as it were, 
slung between the wings — contribute toward the right 
ordering of that all-important matter, balance. In 
many birds special means have been adopted to secure 
extreme rigidity, as may be seen by the fact that the 
separate vertebrae of the back have become welded 
together to form a stiff, unyielding beam. But it is 
not until we come to examine the bones of the shoul- 
der-girdle and sternum, and of the wings, that we find 
the modifications of the skeleton which flight has 
brought about. 

By the shoulder-girdle is meant those bones which 
make up the shoulder-blade, or scapula; the long, 
straight pillars known as "coracoids," and the furcula, 
or "merry-thought." These form a sort of cage fixed 
on to the front of the sternum, or breast-bone. This 
bears, as everybody knows, a rough resemblance to 
the hull of a ship, with an extremely deep keel. A 
reference to the figure her.e should make this clear. 
The deep keel and the broad, flat plate of the breast- 
bone serve for the attachment of the breast-muscles, 
which in the bird are of enormous size, equalling or 
exceeding in weight all other muscles of the body. 

These muscles, which constitute the large mass of 
flesh familiar to every one as the "breast-meat" of a 


bird as served at table, are arranged in two layers. 
The outermost runs forward, to be inserted into a 
shelf of bone which projects from the upper surface 
of the humerus, or upper arm ; while the lower runs 

Fig. 7.- — Trunk of a bird, showing bones of shoulder and hip- 

beneath it, along the coracoid, and finally passing into 
a round tendon, rims through a pulley formed by the 
meeting of the coracoid, blade-bone, and merry- 
thought, and into the head of the humerus. These 
two muscles play the most important part in raising 
the body and keeping it in motion, for these, by their 
contraction, bring about the downward wing-beat. 
The other muscles which aid in this work, and those 
which raise the wings at the end of the stroke, need 
not be studied here. How intimately the keel is as- 
sociated with flight may be seen by an examination 
of birds which fly but little. In them the keel is 
always shallow, while in. those which have lost the 
power of flight altogether it is reduced to a mere ridge 
of bones, as in the Owl Parrot (Stringops), or has 
vanished altogether, as in the flightless Ostrich tribe. 




The wing itself is no less profoundly modified, as 
we pointed out in an earlier part of this chapter. 
Suffice it to say here, that of the original five fingers 
but three "remain. Of these the thumb and third 
finger are reduced, and little more than stumps ; while 
the second finger has been elongated to form a long, 
rigid rod, strengthened at the base by that portion of 
the third finger which in ourselves contributes to form 
the "palm" of the hand. In the bird's palm there 
are but two bones, forming the base of the second and 
third fingers respectively. 

The bird's wing folds in a peculiar manner, so as to 
form a more or less Z-shaped rod, the humerus, or 
,CC. upper arm, form- 

ing the top of the 
Z, the fore-arm the 
%A,ft, downstroke, and 
the hand the base 
of the Z. 

When extended, 
each of these divi- 
sions or segments, 
will be found to 
support a series of 
long, broad feath- 

FiG. 8— Wing of a bird, showing the ^^^' Those on the 
COVERTS. -jjig primaries, and 

those on the fore-arm as the secondaries, while 
those on the upper arm are sometimes described 
as the tertiaries. These last form a double se- 
ries, one attached to the upper and one to the under 


surface of the humerus, or upper arm-bone, and their 
purpose is to close the gap which would otherwise be 
left between the wing and the body during flight — a 
gap which, indeed, would make flight well-nigh, if not 
quite, impossible in birds which, like the Albatross, 
have a long humerus. Above the "quill" or "flight" 
feathers — the primaries and secondaries — will be 
found a number of rows of smaller feathers, which 
can be divided into several distinct series. These are 
the "coverts," and are known respectively as the 
major, median, minor, and marginal coverts. Of the 
first and second series — the major and median coverts 
— there is but a single series; while the minor coverts 
and marginal coverts number several rows each. 
Some of these smaller coverts have, for clearness's 
sake, been removed in the accompanying diagram. 
The row marked t. m. is formed by the major coverts, 
or tectrices ma j ores. 

The manner in which the feathers of the wing over- 
lap one another is a matter of some importance to 
those who are engaged in the work of classifying 
birds, and in the mechanism of flight is even more im- 
portant. If the wing of any bird be examined, it will 
be found that the free edges of the "quill" feathers and 
of the major coverts are turned outwards — 'towards 
the tip of the wing; while more or fewer of the other 
coverts have the free edges turned towards the body. 
Consequently, when the wing is raised the wind forces 
its way easily between the feathers, and so offers the 
least possible resistance to the upstroke; but during 
the downstroke the wing affords an unyielding sur- 
face, and so forces the body upwards and forwards 


at each stroke. Compared with the Bat's wing, the 
wing of the bird is a vastly superior organ, and for 
this reason : The wing of the Bat is formed by a mem- 
brane stretched between long, slender fingers, so that 
any serious injury to this membrane permanently dis- 
ables the creature. The bird's wing, on the other 
hand, has its flying membrane formed of a number of 
overlapping, elastic, ribbon-like structures — the quills 
' — which are periodically renewed, and can be replaced 
if injured. 

Organs of Digestion and Air-sacs. — Though once 
upon a time birds had teeth, they long ago solved the 
problem of doing without them. Like the Tortoise 
and the Turtle among the reptiles, birds have re- 
placed their teeth by horny sheaths which encase the 
jaws, and these sheaths take many forms. As a rule, 
that of the upper differs but little from that of the 
under jaw; but in many birds this is not so. In the 
Birds of Prey, for example, which tear their food in 
pieces, the sheath of the upper jaw is hook-shaped; 
and this is true also of the Parrots. Birds which 
seize rapidly moving and slippery prey, such as fish, 
have spear-shaped beaks, as in Herons and King- 
fishers; and a similar weapon is developed where a 
rapid succession of blows is rained upon hard, unyield- 
ing surfaces, as in the beaks of Woodpeckers, which, 
moreover, have the density of the horn immensely in- 
creased. On the other hand, these sheaths are often 
of great delicacy, as in the case of the Snipe and 
Woodcock, the fragile, upturned beak of the Avocet, 
or the long, rod-like probe of many Humming-birds. 

In the so-called soft-billed birds, the jaws serve 



Fig. 9. — Head of a Hawk, showing 
the hook-shaped beak used for 
tearing prey. 

merely as light forceps, and, consequently, they and 
their sheaths offer no very striking characters ; while 
in Swifts, Swallows, and Nightjars the beak has be- 
come reduced to the 
smallest possible lim- 
its because the jaws 
perform but little 
work in seizing the 
food. When slip- 
pery victims have to 
be held, such as fish, 
the edges of these 
horny sheaths are 
armed with saw-like 
teeth, as in the Mer- 
gansers among the Ducks ; or these teeth may take the 
form of needle-like spines, as in the Darters. In the 
Ducks and certain Petrels, horny plates, resembling 
the baleen-plates of "whalebone" Whales, are devel- 
oped, and these serve as sieves, or strainers, allowing 
the water taken into the mouth with the food to escape, 
leaving the solid matter behind. 

This horn-encased region of the jaws forms the 
"beak," and the shape of this is determined by the 
nature of the bird's food. 

From the mouth the food is passed down the gullet, 
or oesophagus, until, in many birds, such as Pigeons 
and Fowls, it reaches a special dilatation of the gullet 
known as the "crop." This is a thin-walled bag, 
wherein the food is stored and softened, preparatory 
to being passed on to the stomach. This, in birds, 
consists of two parts, one lying in front of the other. 


The first, which is superficially hardly distinguishable 
from the gullet, is known as the "proventriculus." 
Its walls are richly supplied with digestive glands. 
From this first stomach the food passes into the sec- 
ond, which, in birds such as Fowls and Pigeons, for 
example, has extremely thick and muscular walls, 
while its cavity is lined with a more or less dense skin, 
thrown into a series of folds. A stomach of this kind 
is known as a "gizzard"; but in birds which feed on 
animal food, such as Hawks and Gulls, there is no 
gizzard, the walls of this region of the stomach being 
thin and soft. Where a true gizzard is developed, 
sharp stones and sand are swallowed by the bird, and 
these are stored in the gizzard to aid in the work of 
grinding up the grain and other hard matter, which 
form the bird's food. Even flesh-eating birds appear 
to find it necessary to swallow indigestible matter with 
their food, and this matter is furnished by the hair 
and feathers of their victims. Digestion completed, 
the indigestible residue becomes welded together into 
a mass, and is ejected from the mouth in the form of 
a "pellet." From the second stomach the food passes 
on into the intestine, and here all the nourishing por- 
tions are absorbed. 

The air-sacs are found in all birds. They take the 
form of a number of thin-walled chambers lying on 
the sides of the body, and in front of the merry- 
thought. During life these chambers are filled with 
air drawn from the lungs. They are really a part of 
the lungs; but their precise structure need not be 
described here. At one time it was thought these 
great air-chambers served the purpose of decreasing 


the weight of the bird during flight; but this is now 
known to be an incorrect view. They serve to assist 
respiration, and also, probably, to regulate the tem- 
perature of the body. 

Concerning Eggs. — Birds, like their cousins the 
reptiles, and certain low forms of mammals, lay eggs. 
In birds these are always invested in a hard shell, 
which is commonly coloured, often very beautifully. 
How this colouring is formed, and how deposited on 
the shell, we do not yet know, or at least only in part. 

The number of eggs laid by different species of 
birds varies greatly. Thus some species lay but one 
egg, as the Guillemot; some two, as the Pigeon. 
Plovers lay four, Game-birds from twelve to twenty. 

When first formed the egg of a bird is extremely 
small, but during its development there is added to 
the germ, which is to grow into the chick, a great quan- 
tity of yolk, to serve as food for the developing bird, 
and outside this food-yolk there is deposited a quan- 
tity of "white" of egg, and, finally, the whole mass 
is enclosed within the shell. 

Although certain stages of development are passed 
before the egg is laid, this development is soon sus- 
pended, and is only resumed as a consequence of the 
heat generated by the body of the brooding bird. 

When hatched, the young birds are in many species 
extremely active, following their parents and finding 
food for themselves soon after leaving the shell; in 
other species the young leave the shell in a singularly 
helpless condition — blind and naked — and these have 
to be very carefully attended by the parents until they 
are strong enough to fly and take care of themselves. 


The color-plates for this work have been engraved 
after designs by a German artist. Since they were 
printed, with the accompaniment of the common and 
scientific names, careful verification of these names 
has been made, in consultation with some of the lead- 
ing zoological authorities. As a result, the attention 
of the reader is called to the names of the birds men- 
tioned in this note. This list contains names correct- 
ing typographical errors in the same names as they 
appear under the pictures to which they belong. 



































Gypagus papa. 
European Sparrow Hawk. 
European Red Kite. 
Blue-fronted Amazon. 
Chasmorhynchus nudicollis. 
European Blackbird. 
White-throat {Sylvia cinerea), 
Pine Grosbeak. 
Paradise Whydah-bird. 
Sporceginthus amandava. 
Red-legged Rock Partridge. 




The Ostrich-like Birds 


ALTHOUGH lowest in the matter of intelli- 
gence, the Ostrich tribe are among the most 
interesting of birds. In the first place, they 
are the survivors of a much more ancient type, extinct 
long before the advent of man upon the earth ; and in 
the second, they have undergone most profound 
changes in their anatomical structure. 

To begin with, all save the Tinamous of South 
America have absolutely lost the power of flight, and 
at so remote a period that the great keel of the breast- 
bone, to which we have already referred, has entirely 
disappeared. But, besides this, the wings have de- 
generated to an extent met with in no other living 
birds; and this is true also of the feathers. 

The first member of this Order to be considered is 
the Emu, of Australia, the home of so many strange 
forms of animal life. Next to the African Ostrich, 
the largest of living birds, the Emu has little to dis- 
tinguish it in the matter of beauty, its coarse-looking 


plumage being dull-greyish in colour. The wings are 
extremely small, and can be found only by diligent 
search among the feathers of the sides of the body. It 
is a singular-appearing bird, owing to the long, hair- 
like feathers, and when viewed from the front the eye- 
lashes sticking out on each side of the head give it a 
very fierce expression. 

Two species of Emu are generally recognised, both 
inhabitants of Australia and neighbouring islands. 
The bird is easily acclimated in England, and is quite 
common in many of the parks of that country, where 
it is allowed to run at large. It breeds remarkably 
well. The eggs are solidly coloured, a deep bluish- 
green at first, which gradually changes to black. The 
young are prettily striped little creatures, looldng 
quite unlike the parent birds. The Emu has three 
toes, and, like other members of the Ostrich famUy, is 
able to deliver a very powerful kick. 

The sober-coloured Emu has some very handsome 
relatives in the Cassowaries of New Guinea and the 
neighbouring islands — though one species occurs on 
the mainland of Australia. But little is known about 
these birds, however, in the wild state. When first 
feathered they are like the Emu in colour of plum- 
age, but when adult life is fully attained they have 
a rich shining black coat, much resembling hair. At 
maturity they shed the feathers of the head and neck, 
the bare skin then assuming the most brilliant hues — 
combinations of blue, green, violet, red and yellow, ac- 
cording to the species. From the crown of the head 
there arises a large casque, or helmet, which, though 
it looks solid, is really a very frail structjire, consist- 


ing of a mass of delicate laeework of bone encased in 
a thin sheath of horn. 

The general appearance of the Cassowary is well 
seen in the illustration. The curious spikes project- 
ing from the sides of the body are all that remain of 
wing- feathers, while the wing as a whole, is like that of 
the Emu, extremely small and degenerate. The 
"hand" is so reduced that it cannot be bent back at 
the wrist, as in birds that have the power of flight, 
and the thumb is quite lost, as in the Emu. The only 
finger that is left is provided with a long claw. Casso- 
waries are further remarkable for the fact that the 
inner toe bears an enormous claw, which is used in 
fighting — forming indeed a very formidable weapon. 
The legs are short and thick. The sexes are coloured 
alike, and the neck is adorned with brilliantly coloured 
wattles, or excrescences. Altogether, fifteen species 
of Cassowaries are known, one of which almost equals 
the Emu in size, standing as much as six feet in 
height. See Plate 28, Fig. 159. 

The Emu and the Cassowary differ from all other 
birds in that the feathers are double — that is to say, 
each has two shafts, of equal size. 

In Australia and Tasmania many remains of gigan- 
tic fossil birds are found, related to the Cassowary, 
one of which, the Moa, stood ten or twelve feet in 
height, dwarfing in size the largest Ostrich. Remains 
of these birds in a perfect state of preservation have 
been found. A fossilised egg of the Moa, of enor- 
mous size, has also been discovered. Another great 
bird, ^pyornis, closely allied to the Cassowary, prob- 
ably lived at the same time as the Moa, and, judging 


from the condition of the fossil remains, these birds 
must have existed until comparatively recent times. 
The egg of ^pyornis was the largest ever known, 
being several times the bulk of an Ostrich egg. 

The Rhea, or South American Ostrich, though 
smaller than either the Emu or Cassowary, is yet a 
very large bird. It is remarkable, among other 
things, for the relatively large size of the wings, which 
are extended when running to act as sails, though they 
are far too feeble to raise the body off the ground. 
The loose structure of the feathers of this bird forms 
another bar to flight. The sexes are nearly alike in 
colour, both being a light purplish-grey, and there is 
little difference in the plumage of the young and the 
fully adult bird. Like its relatives, the Emu and 
the Cassowary, the Rhea has three toes, all placed 
at the front of the foot. As in the case of the former 
birds also, the male undertakes the duties of incuba- 
tion and the care of the chicks. Several hens combine 
and lay their eggs in one nest, so that the male is at 
last left to brood about twenty eggs. These are 
golden yellow in colour, in contrast to the eggs of the 
Emu and the Cassowary, which are a beautiful green. 
Some specimens of this bird in the Zoological Park, 
at Washington, had the curious habit, when angry or 
excited, of crouching upon the ground and spreading' 
out their wings to the fullest extent. 

The natives of South America pursue the Rhea on 
horseback and capture it by hurling the bolas — stones 
fastened to the ends of lines which are hurled by the 
hunter and twine around the legs of the birds, quickly 
bringing them to the ground. See Plate 28, Fig. 158. 

159. Helmeted Cassowary 
(C'astuiriu.i galeahui). 

157. Ostrich 

fStrut/iio camelus). 

160 Kiwi {Aptenjr mantelli). 


The voices of all the Ostrich-like birds are rather 
singular, consisting of a deep booming note uttered 
with the mouth apparently closed, and seeming to 
come from the chest. 

The African Ostrich is the giant among living 
birds, the male standing some eight feet high, and 
exceeding the female in size, wherein he differs from 
the other Ostrich-like birds so far described. The 
African Ostrich is also unlike all his relatives in that 
he is conspicuously different from his mate in coloura- 
tion, having the body clothed in a livery of glossy 
black, relieved by the pure white of the wing- and tail- 
feathers, which are the plumes so highly prized for 
millinery purposes. The head and neck are almost 
bare of feathers, while the massive legs are absolutely 
naked. The plumage of the female is of a sober 
brown hue. In the possession of a tail the African 
Ostrich is also peculiar among his tribe. As in the 
Rhea, the wings are of relatively large size, and, 
though useless for flight, they are of much assistance 
when running, being made to serve as sails. 

The Ostrich stands alone among birds in the struc- 
ture of the foot, which has the toes reduced to two in 
number ; and of these one is so small as to play but a 
slight part in supporting the body. It runs with 
great swiftness, and is able to kick with terrible effect. 

Like the Emu, the Ostrich has very long eyelashes, 
a singular character and one not often found in birds. 
The eyes are extremely large and bright, but stupid 
in expression, and indeed the bird is of a low order of 
intelligence. The Ostrich's habit of swallowing all 
sorts of indigestible substances is well known, and in 


the stomachs of dead birds have been found such 
strange objects as a china doll, a horn comb, pieces of 
glass, and small tools. For the same reason our 
domestic poultry swallow pebbles — in order to grind 
their food. 

The Ostrich further differs from his relatives in that 
both sexes share the work of incubation ; and here the 
difference in plumage plays an important part. The 
female, with her dull, sandy-coloured dress, sits by 
day, so that she is practically invisible when seen 
against the arid wastes chosen for the nesting-site. 
The male sits by night, when his dark plumage renders 
him invisible also. Like the Rhea, the Ostrich is 
polygamous, and several hens lay their eggs together 
in the same nest. See Plate 28, Fig. 157. 

Though four distinct species of Ostrich are recog- 
nised by ornithologists, they do not differ greatly in 
appearance one from another, except in the colour of 
the legs, one of the South African forms having skin 
of a reddish hue, while the species found in Somali- 
land has dark bluish-grey thighs. These great birds 
are often found in company with herds of antelopes 
and zebras. 

In all the Ostrich-like birds so far described, the 
nestlings are striped with broad bands of white and 
black, or brown, which run from head to tail. This 
striping is, however, not equally well marked in all 
the species. It is most clearly seen in the young of 
the Emu and of the Cassowary. In the young Ostrich 
the neck is striped, but the down of the body shows 
no stripes, these being obscured by the tips of the 


down feathers, which are transformed into little, horny 
curls, resembling dark, narrow shavings. 

Ostriches are now raised on farms in various parts 
of the world. The largest of these farms are in South 
Africa, but in recent years some have been started in 
Arizona and California, where the birds thrive well. 
The feathers are clipped regularly at certain seasons 
of the year, the birds, which are blindfolded, suffering 
no injury in the process and offering no resistance. 

Of the Apteryx, or Kiwi, of New Zealand, there 
are several species, that figured being known as Man- 
tell's Apteryx. All agree in being soberly coloured, 
some having a freckled or mottled appearance like 
that of Plymouth Rock Fowls. The legs are short 
and stout, and the bird is able to run with great swift- 
ness, depending, indeed, upon its speed for safety, 
since it is flightless. It can also deliver a strong blow 
with its feet, like other members of its tribe. The 
Apteryx is the smallest of the Old World Ostrich- 
like birds, not exceeding a large Domestic Fowl in 
size, and the female is said to be somewhat larger than 
the male. See Plate 28, Fig. 160. 

Nocturnal in habits, the eyes of the Apteryx are 
exceedingly small; but deficient sight is amply com- 
pensated by a wonderfully developed sense of smell, 
in which it is believed to excel all other birds. Be- 
sides this, the region of the face in front of the eyes 
is provided with long hair-like feathers, which, like 
the "whiskers" of the cat, probably serve the purpose 
of feelers. This bird is also remarkable for the fact 
that its nostrils are placed at the extreme tip of its 


beak — a unique character. This curious position 
enables the bird to find its prey, which consists of 
worms and grubs. They are discovered by thrusting 
the beak down into the soil and sniffing for the odour 
of the desired dainties. 

While the wings of the Apteryx are reduced to 
the merest vestiges, yet, as in the case of its relatives, 
a large claw is retained on the tip of the only finger 
that remains. 

Though silent by day, the Apteryx is by no means 
so by night, giving forth piercing squeals that can 
be heard for long distances. In this way, doubtless, 
it finds its mate. The list of the peculiarities of the 
Apteryx is not yet exhausted ; for it is remarkable for 
its enormously large egg, only one of which is laid 
in a season, and which, in proportion to the size of 
the bird, exceeds all other eggs in bulk. Within a 
very few years the Apteryx will probably be as ex- 
tinct as the Dodo, owing to its destruction by stoats 
and weasels, which have, most unwisely, been intro- 
duced into New Zealand. 

Sometimes placed in a separate Order, but often 
included in the Ostrich-like birds, is the Tinamou, 
foimd only in South America. Unlike the other birds 
described in this chapter, the Tinamou has a keeled 
sternum, but in very many other characters it agrees 
with them. It is Partridge-like in form, and for a 
long time was classed among the Game-birds, whose 
place it takes in South American countries. Sixty- 
five species of Tinamou are recognised, varying con- 
siderably in size. The head is small, the bill rather 
long, the wings short and rounded, as in the Quail 


and Grouse, the tail-feathers short. In colour they 
are inconspicuous, usually greyish-brown above- and 
mottled below. The nest is made in hollows in the 
ground, the eggs vary in number and in colour, and 
arc incubated by the male. The eggs are remarkable 
for their very high polish, looking like burnished 
metal, or porcelain. Like other ground-birds, Tina- 
mous are difficult to flush, but when well on the wing 
are powerful and SAvift flyers. Mr. W- D. Hudson 
says "the whir of their Avings can only be compared 
to the rattling of a vehicle driven at great speed over 
a stony road." See Plate 41, Fig. 240. 


The Caeinate or Keel-breasted BiudSj and Their 
Chief Peculiarities 

THE birds to which the rest of this volume is to 
be devoted all differ from the Ostrich tribe, not 
only in the formation of the skull, but also in 
that the breast-bone bears a deep plate, or "keel," 
which runs down the middle of its under surface. In 

t^HOUL DER-StyipB. 


, Bf?e^sT So/f£ 


FiG. 10. — The shoItlder-girdle of a Carinate Bird 


addition to this, the bones which are charged with the 
support of the wings are different, not in kind, but 
in degree. With the loss of the power of flight which 
Ave remarked in the Ostrich tribe, these "shoulder- 



girdle" bones, as they are called, degenerated. As a 
consequence, the blade-bone became immovably fixed 
to its supporting pillar, the "coracoid"; and the fur- 
cula, or "merry-thought," disappeared altogether, or 
left, at most, but slight traces of its former existence 
in the Emus. But with the flying birds the blade- 
bone is joined to the coracoid by elastic ligaments, 
and the furcula, or "merry-thought," is well devel- 

There are certain exceptions to this rule, however; 
and these occur in the case of some species which have, 
like the Ostriches, lost the power of flight. Herein the 
keel of the breast-bone has become greatly reduced, 
while some birds which yet retain the power of flight 
have either a very imperfect merrythought or none 
at all. 

Flying-birds further differ from the Ostrich tribe 
in that their feathers are more perfectly developed — 
they only, in short, possess typical feathers. The dis- 
tinctive characters of these have already been de- 
scribed in the introductory chapter. 

Birds, like all other living creatures, compete one 
with another for food; and hence a given area of 
ground can support only a limited number of birds. 
All above the number which can find support in this 
area must either stai've or seek fresh feeding-grounds, 
or contrive to find other kinds of food in the con- 
gested area. And it is this struggle to live which has 
brought about the marvellous variety in the forms of 
birds. For as new kinds of food and new methods 
of feeding were adopted, slow changes of shape in 
body, beak, wings, and feet ceme about through the 


process known as selection. That is to say, birds 
which, by some peculiarity in their structure, found 
themselves able to capture and thrive upon the flesh 
of other animals, including other birds, went on com- 
peting among themselves for this particular kind of 
food, and those which were best endowed — that is to 
say, those which by their longer wings or sharper beak 
and claws, or by their ability to swim and to dive — 
gradually crowded out their less fortunate fellows. 
As time passed, the peculiar characters and qualities, 
which originally gained for them superiority over their 
neighbours went on increasing, because the competi- 
tion continued, being rendered, indeed, the more 
severe because carried on between fewer rivals — ^but 
rivals almost equally well fitted for the struggle. And 
thus, in course of time, by slow degrees, the various 
forms of birds have come to be. To-day, as a result, 
we find such differing types as Diving-birds and Tree- 
climbers, Hawks and long-legged Waders, and so on. 

These different kinds of birds we group together 
in assemblages which are known as "Orders," and 
these are further sub-divided into Sub-orders, 
Families, and Genera, until finally we come to the 
division into species. In this way we can sort out and 
bracket together all kinds of birds according to their 
relationship one to another. 

While some Orders are made up of birds which 
have retained a relatively large number of characters 
that are certainly survivals of very ancient times, and 
are hence said to be primitive, others have undergone 
great changes in structure and show many signs of 
descent from the less modified, less changed forms, and 


these are accordingly to be regarded as higher in the 
scale of evolution. The natural order, therefore, is 
to work upwards from the lowest, or more primitive, 
types to the highest, or latest evolved forms. The 
lowest of all, the Ostrich tribe, have already been con- 
sidered, and we proceed now to a brief study of the 
higher forms of bird life. 


Diving-birds, Petrels, and Penguins 


The birds which form the subject of this chapter 
are all aquatic in their habits, and feed upon fish. 


THESE are divided into two groups: Sea Divers, 
or Loons, and Fresh-water Divers, or Grebes. 
The largest of the Sea Divers is the Black- 
throated Diver, or Loon. This bird breeds in Ice- 
land, Greenland, and the Fur Countries of North 
America, as far west as the Great Slave Lake. It 
lays two eggs, olive-brown in colour, spotted with 
black, any convenient place on the ground near the 
water's edge serving for a nest. See Plate 39, Fig. 

Though these birds are commonly called Sea 
Divers, they show great preference for fresh water, 
breeding and passing the summer months in inland 
waters. During the winter, however, they retreat to 
the sea, and there disperse along the coast. This 
migration is probably due to the necessity of keeping 
to open water, for, being entirely dependent upon 
fish for their subsistence, severe frosts immediately cut . 


LOON 15 

off the supply of fresh-water fishes in their chosen 

The Loon is so called on account of the strange cry 
it utters, suggesting the laugh of a maniac; at other 
times its voice has a piping, resonant sound. When 
swimming under water, the wings are not used, the 
Loon depending for progression entirely upon the 
strokes of the feet — in which it differs from the Pen- 
guins, to be described later. 

The adult male is very beautiful in summer plimi- 
age. The head and upper part of the body are a deep 
greenish-black, velvety in texture, and the breast is 
silvery white. Over the back and around the neck are 
numerous spots and lines of pure white, giving much 
the effect of lace over the dark green; the eye is a deep 

An individual of the Common Loon, caught in a 
fish-trap off the coast of Massachusetts, was kept for 
some months in a pool belonging to the Fish Com- 
mission Station at Woods Hole. Extremely shy at 
first, for several days it would come to the surface of 
the water at intervals, remaining only long enough 
to breathe before diving again. Within a week, how- 
ever, this Loon became ridiculously tame, and would 
allow itself to be lifted from the water with as little 
resistance as a wooden decoy. Although the pool was 
more than a hundred feet in length, there was not 
sufiicient distance for the bird to rise in the air and 
fly over the low stone wall surrounding it, since these 
birds require a long "start" in order to get on the 
wing. Once fairly launched, however, they are 
powerful and swift flyers; but on land they are ex- 


tremely awkward, owing to the position of the legs 
at the back of the body. The Loon referred to was 
supphed with hving fish from the aquariums at the 
Station, and it was most interesting to watch it pur- 
suing them under water. It would catch the smallest 
fry with remarkable quickness and dexterity, never 
seeming to miss one of its finny prey. When given 
a fish too large to swallow with ease, the Loon would 
pound and thresh it about, gradually softening it until 
in condition to be devoured. The amount of food 
required by this captive bird was extraordinary ; after 
despatching twenty-five or thirty minnows in quick 
succession, after a very short interval it would be 
ready for as many more. 

The Red-throated Loon is a smaller species hav- 
ing much the same range, breeding in the far north 
and migrating southward in winter. 

Fresh-water Divers, or Grebes, are found in nearly 
every part of the world, although they are most com- 
mon in temperate regions. While the Sea Divers 
have fully webbed feet, the Grebes simply have the 
toes provided with broad lobes. But both Grebes and 
Divers are experts at swimming under water. So 
completely have the Sea Divers become modified by 
this mode of life, that the legs have become shifted 
to the extreme hinder end of the body, and, as a con- 
sequence, they cannot walk. The Grebes, however, 
can do so, although awkwardly. 

Two species of Grebe are figured here, the 
Great Crested Grebe and the Little Grebe, or 
Dabchick. The former is a very handsome bird, 
and was at one time much hunted for the sake 


233. Puffin 
(Fratercula cwclicaj. 


of its breast feathers, which were made up into 
muffs and other ornamental articles of dress. This 
bird is remarkable for the wonderful frill which 
surrounds the head. This is a rich dark chestnut in 
colour, shading at the edges into a very dark brown, 
and can be raised or depressed. In addition, long 
"horns," or tufts of feathers, spring from the crown 
of the head. The sexes are similarly adorned, but in 
the males these ornaments are more developed than 
in the females. A curious thing about the Grebes is 
the fact that they build floating nests of weeds, some- 
times attaching them to rushes and reeds growing in 
the water. The eggs vary in number from three to 
six, and are white at first, but gradually change to 
brown. See Plate 39, Fig. 232. 

The Dabchick, or Little Grebe, is a much smaller 
bird, which in summer has the cheeks, throat, and 
sides of the neck a rich chestnut colour, giving place 
to a silvery white in winter. It ranges over Europe, 
Africa, and Asia, extending from the Malay coun- 
tries into North Australia. See Plate 40, Fig. 

Two species common in America and frequently 
confused are the Horned Grebe and the Pied-billed 
Grebe. The former is distinguished by large tufts of 
feathers which stand out on each side of the head. It is 
seen along our coasts during the spring and fall 
months but is not so common as the other species 
mentioned. The breast is glistening white, and in 
flight the white patch on the wings is a conspicuous 
mark. This bird winters throughout the United 
States, breeding northward. 


The Pied-billed Grebe, commonly called Hell-diver, 
has also a very extensive range, being found at differ- 
ent seasons of the year in both North and South 
America. It swims and dives with the greatest ease, 
often swimming under water with only the tip of the 
bill exposed. In summer this bird is dark greyish- 
brown above, lighter below, and has a black band 
across the bill. In the fall the upper parts are darker, 
the breast and sides are brown, and the rest of the 
under parts silver-white. 

Peteels, or Tube-nosed Birds. 

The Petrels are strictly sea-birds, having webbed 
feet, and all are peculiar in that the nostrils open, 
either in the form of a pair of tubes, one on each side 
of the beak, or into a cavity on the top of the beak: 
hence the name, "tube-nosed" birds. The wings of 
the Petrels are long and pointed, and their powers of 
flight are remarkable. They practically live at sea, 
seldom coming to land except during the breeding 

Of the many different kinds of Petrels, three species 
are figured; and of these by far the most interesting 
is the Albatross, one of the largest birds that fly. The 
Black-browed Albatross is found in Europe and 
Western America, though its real home is in the 
southern oceans. Albatrosses commonly breed in 
large colonies. In the island of Laysan, in the 
Pacific Ocean, thousands of these birds can be 
seen, each brooding its single white egg. The nest- 
ling is covered with white down of extraordinary 
length, and it is remarkable for the great length of 


time it remains in the nest. The wings of the Alba- 
tross spread as much as ten feet, but though so long, 
they are very narrow, not more than a foot in width 
at the widest point. In rising from the water it has 
some difficulty in getting under way, but once on the 
wing the flight is unexcelled by that of any other bird. 
These birds often follow ships at sea for days at a 
time, and there is a superstition among sailors that it 
is bad luck to shoot or otherwise injure one of them. 
This sentiment has been made use of by Coleridge in 
his "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," in which he tells 
of the sufferings of a ship's crew after the shooting of 
one of these birds. See Plate 38, Fig. 221. 

Albatrosses are very plentiful in the islands of the 
Pacific Ocean. A writer who has studied them there 
says they behave very strangely at the mating season. 
Standing face to face, they begin nodding and bow- 
ing vigorously, and then rub their bills together with 
a whistling cry. After this they begin shaking their 
heads and snapping their bills with marvellous rapid- 
ity, occasionally lifting one wing, straightening them- 
selves out, and blowing out their breasts. Then they 
put their bill under their wings or toss it in the air, 
with a groaning scream, and walk round each other, 
often for fifteen minutes at a time. 

The largest and perhaps best known species is the 
Wandering Albatross. Its plumage is, in general, 
white, with some black markings, the feet are pinkish, 
and the bill is yellow. Another well-defined, much 
smaller species is the Sooty Albatross, so called from 
its very dark colour. 


While the food of these birds consists chiefly of liv- 
ing fish, they also act as scavengers on the ocean. 

The Manx Shearwater may be regarded as a 
typical Petrel. This bird breeds in considerable 
numbers in the Hebrides, though in some of the 
islands, curiously enough, it has been ousted by the 
Puffins, a much smaller but very pugnacious bird. 
About a hundred years ago the Puffins began to in- 
crease rapidly, and drove the Shearwaters from the 
holes which they occupied in the cliffs, so that now 
comparatively few remain. The young of this bird 
remain in the nest-burrow until long after they are 
fully fledged, becoming, in consequence, enormously 
fat. See Plate 37, Fig. 215. 

Leach's Fork-tailed Petrel is met with quite com- 
monly in both American and European waters, hav- 
ing quite an extensive range in Atlantic and Pacific 
waters. See Plate 37, Fig. 214. 

Perhaps the most interesting of all the Petrels is 
the little Stormy Petrel, known to sailors as "Mother 
Carey's Chicken," whose appearance is supposed to 
indicate a coming storm. Against the vast bulk of 
the ocean it looks extremely small, seen through the 
driving spray. Although, like the other members of 
this family, the Stormy Petrel spends most of its time 
on the ocean, it nests in holes in the ground. Many of 
them are to be seen during the breeding season at the 
mouth of the St. Lawrence River on the Perce Rocks. 

As a rule, Petrels are dark-coloured above, and 
lighter below; but one species, the beautiful Snow 
Petrel of the icy regions of the Antartic, is all pure 


234. Great King Penguin 
(Aptenodytes patagonica). 

237. Little Grebe 
fColyTnbus fluviatUis). 




(Uria /omviaj. 

235. Little Penguin 
(Aptmwdyies pwmmj. 



(Alle aUeJ. 

239. Razor-billed Auk 
(Al(M tarda). 


white ; and the Great, or Giant Petrel, when it wanders 
to the far south, also becomes white. 

Petrels were supposed by the older naturalists to be 
nearly related to the Seagulls, which they closely re- 
semble. But the resemblance may be purely super- 
ficial, and due to their similar modes of life. 


The Penguins are perhaps the most remarkable of 
all the carinate birds. No other family has become so 
profoundly modified and adapted for an aquatic life. 
Though the bird-like shape is retained, the wings have 
become transformed into paddles, resembling those of 
whales, and with these paddles Penguins propel them- 
selves through the water after the fashion of a bird 
flying through the air. When on land Penguins 
stand almost perfectly erect, with their wings, or flip- 
pers, hanging at their sides, in an attitude unlike that 
taken by any other bird. When seen in this position 
and from a distance they look not unlike a band of 
small men, as they waddle along in single file across 
the ice. In captivity they seldom live long, but are 
very intelligent, soon learning to recognise their keep- 
ers. Their food consists exclusively of fish. 

These birds are confined absolutely to the southern 
hemisphere. In size they vary enormously, the 
largest species being represented by the King Penguin 
and the Emperor Penguin, which stand about four 
feet high; while the smallest is the Little Penguin of 
New Zealand, no larger than a small Duck. See 
Plate 40, Fig. 235. 


The King and Emperor Penguins are found only 
in the inhospitable regions of the Antarctic, a land of 
perpetual ice and snow. They lay but one egg dur- 
ing the year, and this is most carefully guarded. To 
protect it from the cold, it is placed as soon as laid, 
upon the back of the feet and covered by the feathers 
of the lower part of the abdomen. It is brooded by 
each parent in turn until hatched, when the young 
bird is cared for in the same way. The young of these 
two species are very unlike, the young King Penguin 
being covered with long, hair-like, tawny-coloured 
down, while the young Emperor is clad in down that 
is pure white except for black markings on the head. 
Certain other species of Penguins build nests either 
on the open ground or under ledges of rock. 

Owing to the complete transformation of their 
wings into flippers, Penguins are quite unable to fly. 
They are also unable to breathe through their nostrils, 
these having become completely closed. 

Penguins have no very near relatives among living 
birds, but they stand nearest to the Diving-birds, 
which, however, they far surpass, both in their ability 
to walk when on^and, and in their wonderful swim- 
ming and diving powers. 'Fossilised forms of Pen- 
guins have b&n found in New Zealand, one exceeding 
in height an average man. See Plate 40, Fig. 234. 


The Totipalmate Birds : Heeons, Storks, and 


THE birds which form the subject of this chapter 
comprise a number of distinct groups which, at 
first sight, seem to have little in common, for, 
in the first place, while some are web-footed, others 
are not. As a matter of fact, however, a study of 
their anatomy shows that they are all closely related. 

The Totipaemate Birds 
The birds which are known as the Totipalmate, or 

Steganopodous, birds were grouped together by the 

older naturalists 
because they dif- 
f e r e d from all 
other web - footed 
birds in that all 
the four toes are 
united by a-contin- 
uous web, whereas 
in the other web- 
footed birds the 

Fig. II. — Foot of a Cormorant, to h i n d - t O e, when 



WEB. The labours o f 



later workers have shown that this association was 

The best known of these Totipalmate birds are the 
Cormorants and Gannets. 

The Common Cormorant is a bird which enjoys 
a very wide distribution over the earth's surface, being 
common in Europe and Asia, and in America along 
the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. It is a rather 
large bird, being about three feet long, of a wonderful 
dark-green colour, and having emerald-green eyes. 
The neck is long, the bill heavy a,nd furnished with a 
very sharp recurved hook, useful in seizing fish. The 
feathers of this bird are velvety and scale-like in ap- 
pearance, very thick, and they lie close to the body. 
Although such an expert swimmer and diver, the Cor- 
morant is also strong in flight, once well on the wing, 
and in Florida numbers of them are seen soaring high 
in the air, or flying in a straight line like that taken 
by Wild Ducks. The feathers of the Cormorant, like 
those of the Snake-bird (hereafter described) , become 
saturated with water, so that the bird is obliged to 
dry them by sitting in the sun on exposed branches of 
trees. During the breeding season, the sides of the 
neck are marked by long hair-like white feathers, while 
a similar white patch occurs on the thighs. The head, 
with its remarkable eyes, is quite reptile-like in char- 
acter, as are also the actions of the bird. On the 
Pacific coast and adjacent islands they congregate in 
thousands, and may be seen, together with Murres and 
Guillemots, seated on the rocks. In captivity they 
are very quarrelsome, squabbling and fighting almost 
continually, and unless kept in a large enclosure are 


apt to kill each other, the sharp and heavy beak deal- 
ing terrible blows. 

The nestlings are ugly little creatures, covered with 
short black down, which gives place to a brown plum- 
age. The eyes of the young are brown, also. Not 
until they are fully grown is the dark-green dress 
assumed. See Plate 37, Fig. 218. 

The wonderful skill displayed by the Cormorant in 
its pursuit of fish is turned to good account by the 
Chinese and Japanese, who domesticate these birds 
and train them to catch fish. By the ingenious device 
of placing a ring around the neck, their masters pre- 
vent the birds from swallowing their captures, and 
compel them to bring each fish as it is caught to the 
raft from which the fishing is carried on. 

There are many species of Cormorants, the smallest 
being but twenty-two inches long. This species is 
found in Central and South Europe, North Africa, 
and Central and Southwest Asia. The largest species, 
known as Harris's Cormorant, is nearly extinct, and 
is found only in one of the Galapagos Islands, off the 
coast of South America. It is much larger than the 
common Cormorant, but has quite lost the power of 
flight, and so does not have the keel of the breast-bone. 

Very nearly related to the Cormorant is a remark- 
able bird known as the Darter, Snake-bird, or Water 
Turkey, differing chiefly in the great length and slen- 
derness of the neck, from which character it derives its 
common name. The beak of the Snake-bird is quite 
unlike that of the Cormorant, being very sharply 
pointed, while its edges are armed with fine needle-like 
spines. When fishing, the Darter spears its victim, 


and brings it wriggling to the surface, when it is 
tossed up and swallowed. See Plate 38, Fig. 222. 

The subject illustrated here is a native of tropical 
and sub-tropical America, ranging northwards to 
West Mexico and South Carolina; but different 
species are met with in other parts of the world. Like 
the Cormorants, the Darters, in summer, have the 
neck adorned with long, white, hair-like feathers, 
known as filo-plumes. They are further remarkable 
for the fact that the tail-feathers are curiously corru- 
gated. Though occurring on the sea-coasts, the 
Darter is more strictly a river bird. 

One of the best known species of Snake-bird nests 
in the swamps and lagoons of Florida, and these birds 
may often be seen sitting on branches of trees in the 
bright sunlight, drying themselves after the manner 
of the Cormorants. While in this position, although 
the body and wings remain stationary, the head is con- 
tinually turning round on the snake-like neck. Dar- 
ters are extremely wary and difficult to approach. 
They are strong and graceful in flight, soaring high 
above their nests, much like the Eagle. The male 
bird is a rich dark bottle-green colour, with very soft 
and shining feathers. The upper feathers on the 
wing and back are covered with a curious chalk-like 
substance, forming a pattern which looks not unlike 
lace overlying the dark green. This substance is only 
on the surface of the feathers, however, and can easily 
be rubbed off. During the breeding season, the eyelids 
and the bare skin around the base of the beak become 
very brilliant' in colour, an emerald-green, with outer 
edges shading into deep cerulean blue, while the eye 


218. Cormorant 
(Phalacroc&rax curbu). 

European Pelican 
(Felecanua onoarutalua). 


itself is bright red. The mouth and inside of the 
throat are deep purple. The female is much more 
soberly coloured, and is a lightish-brown over most of 
the body. 

When shot at on the wing, the Darter drops im- 
mediately to the water and dives beneath it, holding 
to the weeds at the bottom with its bill. If wounded, 
it will continue to hold on until drowned, and cannot 
be recovered. Owing to the extreme toughness and 
solidity of its muscles, the Darter is very difficult to 
kill. If startled when swimming on the surface of 
the water, it quickly dives beneath, and swims with 
only the tip of the head and bill projecting. 

The eggs of both Darters and Cormorants are cov- 
ered with a thin layer of chalk, which may be scraped 
away, revealing a shell of a very delicate greenish-blue 

The Common Gannet, also knoAvn as the Solan 
Goose, is found along the Atlantic coasts of America 
and Europe. During the breeding season they con- 
gregate in large numbers on rocky ledges, and, al- 
though strong flyers, they are never found far from 
land. Though closely related to the Cormorants and 
Darters, they differ from them, not only in shape and 
colouration, but in their method of fishing. Their 
prey is captured, not by pursuit under water, but by 
pouncing upon it from a great height in the air. 

The adult bird in both sexes is pure white, except 
for the primaries, which are black, and a light buflF 
tinge over the head and neck. The young birds are 
a blackish ash colour, flecked with white, but, year by 


year, at each successive moult, they grow paler, until, 
at the sixth year, they assume the fully adult dress. 

Large numbers of Gannets breed on the rocks at 
the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, in company with 
many other forms of sea-birds. As many as nine 
species are known, and all are remarkable for the fact 
that under the skin is a wonderful system of air-cells, 
which serve to break the force of the impact with the 
water when the birds dive for their food. Like the 
Cormorants, Darters, and Penguins, the Gannets 
have no external nostrils, but breathe only through 
the mouth. See Plate 37, Fig. 217. 

Pelicans, Teopic Birds, and Frigate Birds 

These birds are very remarkable types, nearly re- 
lated to one another, and to the Cormorants and 

Pelicans are found in all the continents of the world. 
The European White Pelican, which is figured, is a 
native of Southern Europe and Africa, ranging east- 
ward into Northern India. The American White 
Pelican closely resembles it, and breeds extensively 
in the northwestern parts of the United States, nota- 
bly on lakes in California and Oregon, and on islands 
in Lake Utah, Utah. These are the largest of the 
Pelicans, having a wing-spread of eight and a half 
feet. A curious thing about these birds is that al- 
though the feathers are pure white, after immersion 
in the water they have a delicate pink hue, which 
slowly fades as they become dry. All Pelicans are 
provided with a pouch of skin which hangs down from 


the lower mandible and is capable of being enor- 
mously distended. When not in use, this pouch is 
drawn up so as to be hardly noticeable. During the 
breeding season the upper part of the bill of the male 
is ornamented by a horny knob, which is afterwards 
shed. See Plate 37, Fig. 220. 

The Brown Pelican of Florida and the Pacific 
coasts is not more than half the size of the White 
Pelican, and has somewhat different feeding habits. 
When in search of food, they fly slowly along, in 
single file, twenty or thirty feet apart and fifteen or 
twenty feet above the water, alternately flapping and 
sailing for short distances. Catching sight of a fish, 
a Pelican suddenly drops, after the manner of the 
Gannet, opens the mouth to the widest extent, the 
pouch automatically rounding into a scoop at the same 
time, and seizes its prey. Pelicans not only swim with 
great facility, but on the wing are almost unrivalled. 

One of the principal breeding places of the Brown 
Pelican is Pelican Island, in the Indian River. For 
years these birds wei*e much hunted and were in 
danger of extinction, but owing to the efforts of the 
Audubon Society they are now strictly protected and 
a permanent warden is stationed on the adjoining 
mainland to see that the laws are enforced. They 
are consequently rapidly increasing in numbers, as 
many as six or eight thousand birds nesting on that 
island alone. It is low and boggy, scarcely rising 
above the surface of the water, and at times is prac- 
tically inundated. The few thinly scattered man- 
grove bushes are occupied to the fullest capacity by 
the nesting Pelicans, and others build upon the 


ground. The nest consists of a few twigs and branches 
of the mangrove loosely woven together, and is rather 
an insecure affair. When hatched, the young are 
naked, and purplish-black in colour, with eyes tightly 
closed. ' They gradually become covered with a soft 
white down, which is succeeded by soft greyish feath- 
ers, and the adult plumage is not attained until the 
bird is several years old. At maturity, the top of the 
head is white, with a yellowish tinge, the neck seal- 
brown and having much the character of a piece of old 
sealskin. The pouch is purplish-black, and the gen- 
eral colour of the bird is a mixture of grey, white and 
brown. The general effect, however, is far from 
brown, but is rather a purplish-grey. 

When at rest, the head of the bird is bent down, 
with the bill pressed closely against the breast. This 
attitude seems to be simply a matter of balance, as the 
legs of the Brown Pelican are so far back on the body 
that when the bill is stretched forward horizontally it 
overbalances the bird. 

These Pelicans are not at all shy, and may be ap- 
proached closely while on their nests, although at such 
times they strike at the intruder with their bill. Be- 
fore the young are able to fly, they jump down from 
their nests and congregate in large numbers on the 
shore. When alarmed, they take to the water. 

It is interesting to see the old birds coming home 
to their young after a day's fishing. On approaching 
the nest, the young ones awake from the seeming 
lethargy in which they have been during the day, and 
stretching their necks upward, thrust their heads into 
the pouches of the parents, which are opened widely 


^^fe^, „,.,«!«««?S^.TO'; 

189. European 



1 nseus). 

i^' > 191. European Stork 
■•^j0 (t'mjnia ciconiaK 


European Spoonbill 
('Platalm leucerodia). 

European Bittern 
(Botaurus iteliarisj. 

193. European Egret 
(Herodias alba). 

192. European 

(Ardea cinereaj. 


to receive them. The adults travel many miles a day 
in search of food, leaving the nests early in the morn- 
ing and sometimes not returning until dusk. Occa- 
sionally an Eagle will attack the young birds during 
the parents' absence, but as a rule they are not mo- 

The Brown Pelican does not at any season of the 
year develop the brilliant colours of beak and pouch 
displayed by its white relative, nor does the homy 
excrescence on the bill of the latter ever make its ap- 

The Frigate, or Man-of-war Bird, is met with 
throughout the tropical regions of the world, and has 
even strayed so far north as Nova Scotia. It is a re- 
markable bird in many ways. Spending the greater 
part of its life on the wing, it has but little use for 
legs, and as a consequence has acquired the distinction 
of having the smallest feet, for its size, of any living 
bird. Feeding upon squids, small crabs, flying-fish, 
and young turtles when they come in their way. Frig- 
ate Birds nevertheless derive no small part of their 
food by robbing others. Their victims are chiefly 
Terns and Gannets, which, returning home with full 
crops, are chased and made to disgorge their captures. 
Before the coveted morsel has reached the sea again, 
it is caught up by these unscrupulous highwaymen 
and promptly swallowed. See Plate 37, Fig. 219. 

During the nesting-season the males develop be- 
neath the beak a great pouch of a brilliant red colour. 
This can be inflated, at the will of the bird, until it 
rivals the rest of the body in size. "A dozen or more 
of these birds sitting in a tree," says Dr. Andrews, 


of the British Museum, "with outstretched, drooping 
wings, and this great scarlet bladder under their heads, 
is a most remarkable sight. When a hen bird," 
he continues, "approaches the tree, the males utter a 
peculiar cry, a sort of 'wow- wow- wow-wow,' and clat- 
ter their beaks like castanets, at the same time shaking 
the wings." The Frigate Bird is probably the strong- 
est flyer of any bird in the world. It is able to ride 
out the fiercest storms, and has been seen during 
heavy gales soaring quietly in the air, without any 
flapping of the wings. In shape it is peculiar, having 
extremely long, pointed wings, a long, forked tail, a 
strong, hooked bill, with a pouch like the Pelican. 
The East Indians make use of this bird as a Carrier 

The Tropic Bird, or Boatswain Bird, is a native 
of the tropical portions of the Pacific and Atlantic 
Oceans, and measures about 40 inches in length; but 
this includes the long tail, which has a length of about 
26 inches. See Plate 37, Fig. 216. 

Altogether six species are known, of which three are 
American. Tropic Birds are true denizens of the 
ocean, often being met with many hundreds of miles 
from the land. Their flight is rapid and sweeping. 
Like the Gannet, they procure their prey by diving, 
often from an immense height, in the air. On land, 
as might be expected, they are greatly at a disadvan- 
tage, and walk with a shuffling gait. Though the 
majority of the species are white, with black pencil- 
lings, one is remarkable for the exquisite orange colour 
of its plumage. 


The Heeon Tribe 

While the birds which we have just described are 
all remarkable for the shortness of their legs, the types 
now to be considered are distinguished by the great 
length of their legs. This difPerence is due to the fact 
that the Herons and their near relations catch their 
prey by wading in shallow water, whereas the birds 
just described either procure their prey under water, 
or capture it by plunging from a height. 

The Common European Heron is still found on 
the streams and mud flats of secluded neighbourhoods ; 
but it is a very wary bird, and must be approached 
with great caution. In the days of feudal England 
it was strictly protected, on account of the sport it 
afforded in falconry, but the wonderful sight of a 
"heronry," as a nesting-colony of these birds is called, 
is becoming more and more rare. Their food con- 
sists largely of small mammals and fish. 

The nests of these birds, constructed of sticks, are 
usually placed in the tops of trees, but they will also 
build upon the ground. See Plate 33, Fig. 192. 

The Common European Heron enjoys a wide 
range, occurring over the greater part of Europe and 
Asia, and in most parts of Africa and Madagascar. 
It is also found in Australia. This bird's place is 
taken in America by the Great Blue Heron, one of 
the largest of the species. It has a very extensive 
range, being found throughout most of the eastern 
and southern States, and a particularly large variety, 
called Ward's Heron, occurs in Florida. Standing 
about four feet in height, when fully adult, this is a 


magnificent and imposing bird in appearance. When 
in full plumage, from the back of the head there run 
two long black plumes, and these, together with 
shorter ones, form a crest which the bird raises when 
excited or alarmed. The bill is long, and sharply 
pointed, and with it the Heron can deal a terrible 
thrust. It is semi-nocturnal in habits, and, like all 
other Herons, procures its food by wading in shallow 
water and quickly darting out the long neck, seizing 
its prey with the sharp bill. It is shy and wary, and 
very difficult to approach. When disturbed, it rises 
heavily in the air, flapping its broad wings slowly, and 
uttering harsh guttural croaks. The Great Blue 
Heron chooses widely varying sites for its nest, but 
in Florida usually builds in the top of tall pine trees, 
some distance from the water. 

The Great White Heron, rivalling, or even exceed- 
ing in size the Great Blue, is now comparatively rare 
in its former haunts. The plumage of this bird is 
entirely white. The feathers of all the Herons are 
loose on the body, and powder-down feathers are al- 
ways present. It is thought by some naturalists that 
the powder from them makes the feathers of the bird 

The Little Green Heron is the smallest of the 
American species, as well as the commonest. It is 
popularly called the Shitepoke. The general effect 
of colouration is not green, as one would think from 
the name, the neck and head being a delicate brownish 
hue, while the rest of the plumage is exquisitely 
coloured in delicate shades of grey and green. The 
Little Green Heron is more solitary in habits than 


most other members of this family, though it some- 
times builds in heronries. The nests are roughly 
made, usually placed in branches of trees, or in bushes, 
and the eggs vary from three to six in number. The 
young are covered with hair-like feathers, and are 
helpless for some time. 

The Louisiana Heron is a common form in Florida, 
and is very beautiful in plumage, being a delicate 
bluish-grey on the back and yellowish-brown on the 

There are two species of Night Herons in Amdrica, 
the Black-crowned and the Yellow-crowned. These 
birds are entirely nocturnal in habits, and are com- 
monly known as "Quawks," from the cry they utter 
when sailing through the air. When fully adult, the 
male Black-crowned Heron is very beautiful in colour. 
The head and back are greenish-black, the wings and 
tail greyish-black, and two long white plumes depend 
from the back of the head, except just after the breed- 
ing season, when they are shed. The eye is very 
large, and of a deep blood-red. Large colonies of 
these birds nest in the swamps of Florida, sitting si- 
lent by day, brooding in quiet spots among the trees, 
but at night they rouse and fly forth, uttering their 
peculiar cry, to their feeding grounds in neighbouring 

Among the Heron tribe are certain species which 
possess in a remarkable degree the "fatal gift of 
beauty." These are known as Egrets, chief among 
them being the Great White Egret, found in many 
parts of Europe and Asia, and the Snowy Egret and 
Little Egret of America. The Snowy Egret is pure 


white in colour of plumage, has a golden yellow eye 
and yellow bill, black legs, and yellow feet. During 
the breeding season, both males and females develop 
exceedingly fine recurved plumes growing from the 
back and falling over the wings. These are known 
to commerce as "aigrettes," and in consequence of 
their popularity among ladies of fashion this beauti- 
ful bird is rapidly becoming extinct. See Plate 33, 
Fig. 193. 

The American Egret is also white, but has black 
legs ►and feet. Its plumes grow from the back, like 
those of the Snowy Egret, but are straight instead of 
recurved. In habits the Herons are a very homogene- 
ous family. All secure their prey by stealth, or stalk- 
ing, standing quietly in the water until a fish ap- 
proaches, when they quickly dart out the long neck 
and transfix it with the powerful beak. All are 
strong flyers, though their feathers are rather loosely 
set on the body. The vertebrse of the neck are joined 
so as to form the letter S in the resting attitude of the 
bird, the spring giving added power to the forward 
stroke of the neck when thrust suddenly out. These 
birds are determined fighters, and when wounded 
must be approached with care in order to avoid the 
rapid thrusts of the sharp bill, which can inflict ter- 
rible injury. They seem to strike preferably at the 
eyes, and many a dog has been blinded by a Heron 
that had been partly disabled by a shot from his 
master's gun. 

In the feudal days of England, hunting Herons 
by means of the Peregrine Falcon was a favourite 
sport with lords and ladies. A party would set forth 


on horseback, with Falcons attached to the wrists of 
attendants, and when a Heron was sighted flying high 
in the air the Falcons were released. The Heron 
would double and twist in every direction, in order to 
avoid the terrible claws of the pursuing Falcon, and 
often gave a good account of itself, but was usually no 
match for its more active adversary. 

From the Herons we pass to the Bitterns. This 
bird is remarkable for the wonderful way in which its 
plumage harmonises with its surroundings, and, as if 
aware of this, the Bittern seeks safety in moments of 
danger, not by flight, but by sitting close, with up- 
stretched neck and beak, among the reeds. When in 
this attitude, with the bill pointing skywards, the eyes, 
curiously enough, may be directed forward over its 
base and toward the observer. The American Bit- 
tern is similar to the Common European Bittern. 
Like the Herons, it is a bird that delights in desolate 
places, in secluded swamps and marshes, from which 
the curious booming noise it makes is heard at fre- 
quent intervals during the evening hours. See Plate 
33, Fig. 194. 

An unusual feature about the Bittern is the wide 
fringe of long feathers which runs along the throat, 
and which, when extended, gives the neck a very wide 
appearance. When depressed, these feathers meet at 
the back of the neck, which is clothed only in short 

In both Herons and Bitterns the middle claw bears 
along its inner edge a comb-like fringe, while on the 
breast and thighs are patches of the remarkable feath- 
ers known as powder-down. These feathers break up 


in the form of an exceedingly fine powder, but it is 
not known what purpose this powder serves, although 
there are many theories in regard to it. 

Storks, Spoonbills, and Ibises 

Though very like the Herons in habits and general 
shape, the Storks differ from them in many anatomical 
characters. There are a number of species, perhaps 
the best known being the White Stork of Europe. In 
colour it is rather striking, the plmnage being white 
over the body, the wings tipped with black, the bill 
and legs a bright red. Although so large a bird, stand- 
ing four feet in height, this Stork is a powerful flyer, 
making yearly trips to Africa across the Mediter- 
ranean during the migrating season. Unlike the 
Herons, which have long, spreading toes, enabling 
them to wade in shallow streams, the Stork has com- 
paratively short toes, although it frequents marshy 
places, seeking the snakes, frogs and lizards which 
form its principal food. See Plate 33, Fig. 191. 

For generations the Stork has been held in great 
esteem by the natives of Holland and Germany, where 
it has been rigidly protected, and in consequence has 
become very tame, building nests upon the tops of 
chimneys even in thickly populated towns. 

The Adjutant Storks, which occur in India and 
Africa, are of enormous size, standing five or six feet 
in height. Hanging down in front of the neck is a 
bag which can be filled and emptied of air at the will 
of the bird. These Storks are sometimes called Mara- 
bous, and furnish the ornamental feathers known to 


commerce as marabou plumes. The African Adjutant 
Stork has a heavy, sharply pointed bill, and the top 
of the head and neck has a curious bald and shrivelled 
appearance. From this scaly skin projects a few 
sparse feathers resembling hairs, and as the bird 
stands with its head sunken between its shoulders in 
a dejected attitude, it looks not unlike some weak and 
tottering old man. See Plate 34, Fig. 195. 

This Stork is extremely voracious, and can swallow 
very large objects at a gulp. It is a scavenger, and 
in some places is protected by law. Although so im- 
gainly when at rest, this bird is very majestic in flight, 
the wings being long and powerful. 

In Central Africa is found a species known as the 
Whale-headed Stork, from the enormous development 
of its bill. 

The Jabiru is a Stork-like bird found in South and 
Central America. The bill is long and heavy and 
slightly recurved at the tip. The plumage is almost 
entirely white ; the feet, bUl and bare skin on the neck 
are black. 

The European Spoonbill is a bird which a few cen- 
turies ago bred commonly in marshy districts through- 
out Europe, but is now, largely owing to drainage, 
only an accidental visitor. The bird derives its name 
from the curious spoon-like shape of the bUl. See 
Plate 33, Fig. 190. 

The Roseate Spoonbill of America, closely allied 
to the European species, is remarkable for the ex- 
quisite reddish tint of its plumage, which is particu- 
larly bright on the under portions of the body and 
wings. The Spoonbill uses its bill very dexterously 


in securing its food as it wades about in the water, 
scooping up the fish and frogs that come in its way. 

The Ibises, though they bear a superficial resem- 
blance to the Curlews, really belong to the Stork tribe, 
and are most nearly related to the Spoonbills. These 
birds, like the preceding, are limited to the warmer 
regions of the earth. The Sacred Ibis of Egypt was 
an object of worship, and after death was embalmed 
by the ancient Egyptians. The veneration in which 
it was held may be seen from the various representa- 
tions of it upon the obelisks and other remains of a 
former civilisation. In form the Sacred Ibis is not 
prepossessing. The long, downward curving bill, bare 
head and neck are black in colour, the skin of the 
legs is also blackish. These birds are extremely in- 
quisitive and bold, but are rather difficult to approach 
on account of their remarkably keen sight. The long 
bill is used as a probe, and the bird is continually 
inserting it into holes and crevices, either in search 
of food or simply to satisfy its curiosity. See Plate 
34, Fig. 196. 

The Scarlet Ibis of our Southern States is the most 
brilliantly coloured species known, and is probably 
the brightest in hue of all living birds. For some 
reason, however, the bird soon loses its glorious colour 
in confinement, though it has been recently found that 
by the use of certain kinds of food the colour can be 
to some extent retained. In form this species is more 
delicate and smaller than the Sacred Ibis. It is being 
rapidly exterminated by plume-hunters. 

The Wood Ibis, which is really a Stork, is a larger 
bird than those already described, but is coloured 


somewhat like the Sacred Ibis, the plumage being 
white, the wings and tail tipped with black, the bare 
skin of the head and feet dark in colour. These birds 
nest in thick swamps in the interior of Florida, and 
may be seen standing idly about in the blazing sun, 
extending their wings as if enjoying the great heat, 
or possibly to cool their bodies. 

The Glossy Ibis is another American form that is 
yearly becoming more rare. It is dark brown, almost 
black, in colour, over which runs a brilliant greenish 

The White Ibis is the commonest species found in 
this country. The plumage is pure white, except for 
the tips of the primaries, which are dark green, irides- 
cent, and in striking contrast to the rest of the plum- 
age. The naked skin of the face is orange-red. These 
birds are seen in Florida flying in long lines to their 
feeding-grounds in the swamps, and adding much in- 
terest to what would otherwise be a most monotonous 


As to the exact relationships of the Flamingoes 
there are many opinions among naturalists. Some 
authorities regard them as long-legged Geese, others 
as Storks with goose-like beaks; and probably the 
latter view is nearer the truth. The beak of the Fla- 
mingo is unique in shape, being bent downwards in 
the middle; but it is provided with ridges, or "gutters," 
like those found in Ducks and Geese. Hence the sup- 
posed relationship to these birds. Their common name 
is derived from their flaming colour. 


The European Flamingo is still quite common 
about the salt-water lagoons of France and Spain, 
and is occasionally found in Great Britain. See Plate 
33, Fig. 189. 

Of the seven or eight species known, four are 
American. One of the principal species breeds in 
Florida and in certain of the Bahama Islands, which 
are little more than low coral reefs covered with scant 
vegetation and mud-flats. Here they congregate in 
vast numbers, scraping up the mud to make their won- 
derful nests, from eighteen inches to two feet in height. 
The young are unlike the parent birds, having short 
legs, and looking not unlike young geese. The beak, 
too, is almost straight and does not assume the re- 
curved form until the bird is fully adult. The use of 
the peculiar shaped bill is seen when the Flamingo is 
feeding. Owing to its extremely long legs, the head 
is turned upside down as the creature dabbles about 
in the water in search of its food, the lower part of 
the beak becoming uppermost. 

Mr. Chapman, in his "Camps and Cruises of an 
Ornithologist," says: "Flamingoes in flight resemble 
no other bird known to me. With legs and neck 
fully outstretched, and the comparatively small wings 
set half way between bill and toes, they look as if 
they might fly backward or forward with equal ease. 
They progress more rapidly than a Heron, and, when 
hurried, fly with a singular serpentine motion of the 
neck and body, as if crawling in the air." 

The plumage is dense, like that of a Duck, and lies 
close to the body. The primaries and secondaries of 
the wings are black, and form a striking contrast to 


the rest of the plumage. For some unknown reason 
the brilhant colour of the Flamingo, like that of the 
Ibis, fades in captivity, possibly owing to the diffi- 
culty of obtaining the proper food. When at rest, 
this bird usually stands upon one leg, the other being 
drawn up against the body, with the long foot and 
toes projecting at right angles to the supporting limb. 
The voice of the Flamingo is a harsh croak, and when 
on their feeding-grounds these birds are extremely 
noisy, their combined voices making an uproar that 
may be heard for a great distance. 


The Ducks, Geese and Swans 

^"^HE Ducks, Geese and Swans form a well- 
defined order of birds, which appear to be 
related on the one hand to the Totipalmate 
birds and Storks, and on the other to the birds of prey. 

All are aquatic in their habits, short-legged and 
web-footed, and all have very large, thick, fleshy 

Unlike the Totipalmate birds and Storks, their nest- 
lings leave the egg in a very forward state, so that they 
can run and swim almost immediately after hatching. 

The Saw-billed or Fishing Ducks are remarkable 
for the fact that the edges of the beak are armed with 
sharp, conical, homy, tooth-like spines, admirably 
adapted for the capture of the slippery fish on which 
these birds live. 

Ducks are distinguished, as a rule, by elaborately 
coloured plimiage. Some species are very brilliantly 
marked, but many of them are principally black and 
white, with spots and stripes arranged in various deli- 
cate patterns over the body, giving a most charming 

All the members of this family are strong and rapid 



flyers, rising from the water instantly and flying 
straight ahead at very great speed. When migrating, 
they rise to a great height above the earth, and travel 
for many hours without resting. The wing-beat is 
so fast as to be almost invisible, and it is difficult to 
imagine how such speed can be kept up for so long 
a time without the birds becoming exhausted. They 
are gregarious, flying in large flocks, and are usually 
very noisy, quacking and calling almost continuously. 
Many species are common to both the Old and the 
New World, and seem to travel with ease between the 
northern parts of the two continents, such forms as 
the Scoters, Pintails, Widgeons, in particular, being 
found in both countries. In fact, Ducks are spread 
over almost the entire surface of the earth, some spe- 
cies living in the far North, while others inhabit tropi- 
cal and subtropical regions. Some are confined to 
fresh water, others seem to prefer the shores of the 
ocean. The latter may be distinguished by the lobe 
on the hind toe. See Plate 35, Figs. 204, 205. 

One species, known as the Labrador Duck, of which 
only a few skins are preserved in museums, has be- 
come exterminated within recent times. In the early 
part of this century it was common in the Arctic re- 
gions, but for some unexplained reason these birds 
suddenly disappeared, so far as is known not one ex- 
isting at the present time. 

The Goosander, found in the northern parts of both 
continents, and the Smew, are typical examples of the 
Saw-bill Duck. In them the bill is rounded, instead 
of flattened, as in most other species, and is provided 
with tooth-like spines. It also has a hook at the tip. 


The feet and bill of the Goosander are a bright red, 
the head is dark green, the upper part of the body 
black and white, and the lower part white washed with 
pink. The Hooded Merganser, a smaller bird, is 
also black and white in general colouring, and has a 
beautiful crest, from which it takes its name. See 
Plate 36, Fig. 207. 

The Smew is a small Fishing Duck found only in 
the more northerly parts of the Old World, The col- 
ouring of the adult male is white, varied with black, the 
head crested and dark green. The general colour of 
the female is reddish-brown. See Plate 36, Fig. 210. 

The Velvet Scoter, or Coot as it is commonly called 
in America, is a large Sea Duck, frequently met with 
along the coast in fall and winter. It feeds largely 
on shellfish, which it obtains by diving. In colour it 
is a rich velvety black, relieved only by a small white 
patch on the head and wing and the brilliant orange 
of beak and legs. Several species of this Duck are 
foimd in both America and Europe. See Plate 36^ 
Fig. 212. 

The Eider-Duck is one of the best known of the 
Duck tribe, on accoimt of the fact that its down is so 
much in demand for domestic purposes. This doAvn 
is obtained by robbing the nest-material of the breed- 
ing birds. It is plucked by the female from her 
breast to serve as a lining for the nest and a covering 
for the eggs. In Greenland and in various parts of 
Iceland and Labrador many people make their living 
by gathering this beautiful down and selling it. The 
male plumage is black and white over most of the 
body, the head greenish, and the female, as is the case 




(Tadorna tadorna). 

fj. 207. Goosander 
MergartM&r vi&rtjimis&r) 

208. Old Squaw fHareldn hyenialis). 

210, Smew 
(Mergm albeUm). 

212. Velvet Scoter "" 

(Oidemia. fusea)- 211. Tufted Duck (Nyroca ftdiyula). 

213. Golden-eye (Clangula clangula). 


in so many of the Ducks, is much more soberly clad — 
in brown, with overlying patterns of reddish and grey- 
ish colour. Like the preceding species, the Eider- 
Duck is a large form, and has a gibbous, or humped, 
beak. See Plate 35, Fig. 206. 

The Long-tailed Duck is a relative of the Eider, 
though perhaps not so handsome sL bird. The white 
plumage of the male is relieved by black and washes 
of dark brown and buff. This bird breeds as far 
north as the Arctic Ocean, and winters as far south 
as Virginia. There is considerably more white in the 
winter colouration than in that of summer In this 
country the Long-tailed Duck is usually called the 
Old- Squaw, possibly on account of its noisiness when 
a large number are gathered together. The long tail- 
feathers of. this Duck make it easy to distinguish. 
See Plate 36, Fig. 208. 

The Tufted Duck, although well known in Europe, 
is not found in America. See Plate 36, Fig. 211. 

The Golden Eye is common to both countries, the 
American variety, sometimes also called Garrot, being 
much larger than the European. This bird is remark- 
able for the fact that, like a very few of its kind, it 
lays its eggs in the holes of trees. The colouration 
is black and white, a distinguishing mark being the 
round, or crescent-shaped, white spot in front of the 
eye. See Plate 36, Fig. 213. 

Of the Fresh-water Ducks some of the species illus- 
trated are the Mallard, the Teal, the Widgeon, and 
the Pintail, all of which are conspicuous for their 
beauty, although, as with the species already de- 


scribed, the brilliant plumage is confined to the males, 
the females being very dull-coloured. 

The Mallard is probably the best known of our 
American Ducks, and is the bird from which our 
domestic variety is derived. The male is rather 
brightly coloured, with a beautiful dark-green, velvety 
head, and a white ring around the neck, the rest of 
the body being various shades of brown and grey. 
The eyes are dark, the legs and feet a bright orange 
colour. The flesh is excellent, and is much prized for 
food. The domestic variety is larger than the wild 
form, and flies with difficulty, owing to the fact that 
the breast muscles are less developed. See Plate 35, 
Fig. 203. 

The Black Duck seems to be nearly related to the 
Mallard, but differs from it in that the male and 
female are almost exactly alike in colour, both being 
a brownish-black, with a patch of deep iridescent blue 
on the wings. 

Several varieties of Teal are found in this country, 
the principal forms being the Blue-winged, the Green- 
winged, which most nearly resembles the European 
form, and the Cinnamon. All are most beautiful 
little Ducks, with very delicate shades of colour in 
their plumage. See Plate 35, Fig. 202. 

Two species of Duck justly celebrated for the deli- 
cious flavour of their flesh are the Canvasback and the 
Redhead, or Pochard. These are near relatives, and 
are often confused, since the general colour is much 
the same in both species. The head and part of the 
neck are reddish-brown, the body a rather warm grey 
and black, with very fine black lines, or rows of spots. 


on certain feathers. They may at once be distin- 
guished, however, by the differently shaped head and 
bills. In the Canvasback, the head is pointed at the 
top, the bill also being sharply pointed and forming 
a continuous line from the top of the head. The Red- 
head has the usual roimded head and short, broad bill 
of most of the family. 

Perhaps the most brilliantly coloured of all the 
Ducks is the Mandarin, a native of China. The male 
of this species, particularly in the breeding season, has 
most gorgeously coloured plumage, almost impossible 
to describe. The bird seems to be cut into sections of 
colour, some being brown, some blue, some red, white, 
and so on. The crest is purple and green. These 
Ducks are rather small, and have the ability to perch 
well on the branches of trees. 

The Wood Duck, or Summer Duck, of America is 
closely related to the Mandarin, which it somewhat re- 
sembles in colouring. It also perches in trees, and, 
indeed, lays its eggs in the holes of trees, imlike most 
Ducks, which make their nests on the ground. The 
female of both the Mandarin and the Wood Duck is 
dull brown in colour, and almost invisible as she stands 
by the side of her brilliantly attired mate. 

The Aylesburys and the Pekin Ducks are large, 
white domestic varieties that have practically lost the 
power of flight. Muscovys, on the other hand, which 
are descended from the South American Wild Duck, 
although larger than the two preceding species, have 
retained the ability to fly. These Ducks are curiously 
mottled in places with dark green and white, and have 


a knob-like excrescence at the base of the bill. The 
naked skin around the eye is red. 

The Common Scaup is a Duck found in many parts 
of the world. Three species are known in America, 
under a great many different names. In some parts 
of the country it is called the "Raft Duck," from the 
fact that they swim in large, compact bodies on the 
surface of the water. When alarmed, they rise in a 
mass, fly for some distance, and alight in the same 
compact form. In general colour they resemble the 
Canvasback and Redhead, except that the head of the 
male is black instead of red. The flesh is fishy in 
flavour, and is not particularly esteemed. 

In hunting Ducks, different methods are employed, 
chief among them being the use of decoys — pieces of 
wood carved and painted to resemble any particular 
species of Duck. These are placed on the surface of 
the water, in the neighbourhood of reeds and rushes, 
the sportsman concealing himself a short distance 
away under a blind made of bushes. As the wild 
Ducks fly overhead, they see the decoys, and mistak- 
ing them for living birds, drop to the water and at- 
tempt to mingle with them. This is the himter's op- 
portunity to shoot into the flock before it can rise. 
Owing to their great speed. Ducks are difficult to 
shoot on the wing, and good judgment is required not 
to place the charge behind them. They are also able 
to carry away a considerable amount of shot without 

The Sheldrake, or Sheld-duck, is a large, somewhat 
Goose-like bird found in many parts of Europe, Asia, 
and Africa, but not represented in America. In 



(Cygmts olor) 

202. European Tea! 
(Nettwn crecca). 

,/^ 203. 

(Anas boschas). 

204. European Widgeon (MareiM penelope) 

205. Pintail (Dafila acuta). 

206. Eider 
(Smiuitei-'m moUudma). 



many ways it is remarkable. The sexes are coloured 
alike, although the female is not quite so vivid in hue 
as the male. The colours are strongly contrasted — 
pure white relieved by broad bands of bright chestnut, 
and rich metallic blue-blacks and greens. The beak 
is a wonderful cherry-colour, the legs and feet are a 
delicate pink. The Sheldrake is also called "Burrow 
Duck," from its habit of nesting in burrows under- 
ground. These they usually make for themselves, but 
they will also make use of rabbit-burrows. See Plate 
36, Fig. 209. 

The Sheldrakes are further remarkable in that they 
never assume the "eclipse" dress, as it is called. In 
most other species of Ducks, it will be remembered, 
the female is a dull brownish hue, and this for a time is 
assumed by the males, just after the young are 
hatched. It is at this time that the moult, or annual 
renewal of the quills, takes place, the Ducks shedding 
their quills all at once, and not in pairs, as do most 
other birds, which thus retain the power of flight. 
Hence they are compelled to seek safety by hiding, 
which they do very successfully, the sober hues of the 
female dress harmonising perfectly with the bird's sur- 
roundings. But the male Sheldrake, instead of 
adapting himself in this way to his environment, seeks 
safety at sea, or crouches among the vegetation near 
his mate, brooding her eggs in her burrow. 

In this country, the Mergansers, or Fishing Ducks, 
are called Sheldrakes. The Sheldrakes serve as a 
connecting link between the Ducks and the Geese. 

In the true Geese, as in the true Sheldrakes, the 
sexes are coloured alike — as a rule very soberly, al- 


though in some species the plumage is rather conspicu- 
ous. The neck and legs are longer than in Ducks, 
the bill is thicker, and the hind toe has no lobe. They 
are also less aquatic than Ducks, spending much time 
on land and feeding on grass and cereals. The call 
of the Goose is known as honking'; they also give ut- 
terance to a hissing sound. 

What we may call a typical Goose is represented by 
the Grey-lag, or common wUd Goose of Europe, from 
which our domestic Goose is supposed to be derived, 
although other species may be included in the ancestral 
forms. See Plate 34, Fig. 198. 

The Brant Goose breeds in the Arctic regions, and 
winters southward. It is very generally distributed 
throughout the northern hemisphere. It is distin- 
guished by white markings on the sides of the neck. 
The Black Brant, which breeds in Western North 
America, has a white ring around the neck. See 
Plate 34, Fig. 199. 

A very handsome form is the Snow Goose, in which 
the plumage is snow-white, relieved by the black quill- 
feathers of the wings, while the legs and feet are 
bright red. It breeds in the Arctic regions, and win- 
ters from the Chesapeake Bay southward to Cuba. 
A considerably smaller, but similar, form is called 
the Lesser Snow Goose. In this the head is some- 
times reddish. See Plate 34, Fig. 200. 

Perhaps the best known American species is the 
Canada Goose. It has a white patch on the side of 
the head, the throat is white, the rest of the neck black. 
The back and wings are mostly greyish-brown. Like 
the other wild Geese, this bird breeds in the far North, 


migrating southward in the winter in vast numbers, 
in a V-shaped wedge, the lead being always taken, it 
is said, by an old male bird. When one tires he falls 
back, and another takes his place as leader of the flock. 

The White-fronted Goose is represented in both 
European countries and in America, the American 
variety being somewhat the larger. 

The Chinese were among the first peoples to domes- 
ticate Geese, Ducks, and Chickens, and they have bred 
many singular varieties in the course of the centuries. 
The so-called Chinese Goose has huge excrescences on 
top of the bill and curious wattle-like appendages 
under the throat. Geese have figured for centuries in 
the history of mankind. They were venerated by the 
Romans from the fact that they were supposed to have 
saved the city by their cackling when it was threatened 
by the Gauls under Brennus. 

The domestic Goose is a fierce and aggressive bird, 
and a blow from its powerful wings has been known 
to inflict serious injury. The attitude of the Goose 
when alarmed or angry — lowering its head, hissing, 
and running after its enemy — is very singular. In 
Holland and England for many years the Goose- 
girl has been a well-known figure in literature and in 
painting. In those countries Geese are taken regu- 
larly out to graze in the fields, like sheep or cattle, 
the birds progressing in a solid body and feeding as 
they go. 

Swans are very large birds, with long sinuous necks, 
found in most parts of the world except in Africa. 
On land they are clumsy, owing to the backward posi- 
tion of their legs, waddling along and using their neck 


as a balance ; but once in the water, they are different- 
looking creatures, gliding smoothly along with the 
beautiful neck carried in a graceful curve. Although 
such large birds, when fairly on the wing they have 
a very powerful flight. Like the Flamingoes, they 
fly with the neck stretched forward to the fullest ex- 
tent, with their feet spread out behind them to act as 
a rudder. From ancient times these birds have been 
domesticated in Europe and kept as an ornament to 
streams and lakes. 

When nesting. Swans are very savage and coura- 
geous, defending their nests to the last extremity. One 
has been known to break a man's leg by a blow from 
the powerful wing, and there is an instance of a Swan 
and a fox having been found dead together, the fox 
having attacked the young, and killed the parent bird, 
but losing its own life as well. 

When alarmed or excited, the Swan has a curious 
habit of raising its wings over its back, and the effect 
of these beautiful feathers falling gracefully back- 
ward and reflected in the water is most charming. 

Swans are extremely voracious, and when in the 
same pond with Ducks and Geese will invariably drive 
them away at feeding-time, if possible. 

The best-known species is the European Mute 
Swan, the one usually seen in public parks and col- 
lections. The plumage is white, the bill red, with a 
curious bulbous place, or knob, at the base. See Plate 
35, Fig. 201. 

The Australian Black Swan has a neck consider- 
ably longer, in proportion, than that of other Swans, 
and the feathers of the upper part of the body, es- 


pecially over the back, have a curled or ruffled appear- 
ance, instead of lying smoothly against the body. It 
is entirely black except for certain white wing-feath- 
ers, and the bill and eyes are red. 

Two species of Swan are found in North America, 
the Trumpeter, so called from its loud, sonorous call, 
and the Whistling Swan. The former species is now 
exceedingly rare. Both species breed in the Arctic 
regions and migrate southward to the Gulf coast. 
For some reason they have never thriven in confine- 
ment. In both forms the plumage is white; the bill 
and feet are black; and the Whistling Swan is dis- 
tinguished by a small yellow spot on each side of the 
bill. The young of all white Swans are greyish or 
brownish in tone until maturity. 

In South America is found the Black-necked Swan, 
a striking-looking bird with pure white plumage, ex- 
cept for the black neck. The beak in this species is 
provided with a conspicuous scarlet wattle- — a charac- 
ter lacking in the North American Swans, but found 
in the European forms. 


Birds of Prey — Secretary-bird, Eagles, Buz- 
zards, Hawks, Kites, Vultures 
AND Falcons 


AMONG the Birds of Prey the older naturalists 
included Owls, which they distinguished as 
Nocturnal, or Night-flying, Birds of Prey. 
But it is now known that Owls, though in many re- 
spects closely resemhling the birds to be described in 
this chapter, are members of a very different group. 
They are, in short, nearly related to the Nightjars. 

The purpose of classification, it must be remem- 
bered, is not so much to bring together those birds 
which are externally similar, as those which are struc- 
turally related one to another. Unrelated birds may, 
and often do, resemble one another, because they lead 
similar lives, and thus have become slowly changed till 
they assume a common likeness; while birds, on the 
other hand, which are really closely related, come to 
assume very different shapes, because their mode of 
life is different. 

The relationship of birds one to another is to-day 
determined rather by anatomical structure than by ex- 



ternal form. And it is on these grounds that anato- 
mists have separated the Owls from the Eagle tribe. 

The hooked beaks, sharp claws, and upright car- 
riage of the body, which distinguish both the Owls 
and the Day-flying Birds of Prey, or Accipitres, owe 
their being to the Same causes. That is to say, when 
the ancestors of these birds began preying on their 
neighbours, they did it because they were stronger, 
and had heavier, sharper beaks, and longer, sharper 
claws than their victims. As time went on, the de- 
scendants of these marauders gradually improved 
these weapons, and this improvement is still taking 

Birds of Prey are noted for certain striking char- 
acteristics, among them their great powers of flight, 
their fierce and keen eyes, recurved beaks, and sharply 
curved and pointed claws. In character they differ 
considerably, some species being bold and aggressive, 
while others are comparatively shy and retiring. 
Many of them are very large birds. All are flesh- 
eaters, some confining themselves almost entirely to 
the flesh of animals and birds, while others feed upon 
small snakes, lizards, and even insects. All, except- 
ing possibly the Caracara, seize their prey with the 
feet, and not with the bill, driving the pointed talons 
deep into the flesh and tearing off pieces with their 
sharp, hooked beaks. 

The nests are always flimsy-looking affairs, loosely 
constructed of sticks placed together. They make 
most devoted parents, however, both male and female 
working together to supply the nestlings with food. 
The young remain in the nests for a considerable time 


before learning to fly, and having voracious appetites, 
consume enormous quantities of game or carrion dur- 
ing that time. 

Birds of Prey are found in all regions of the world, 
from the tropics to extremely cold countries. In most 
cases they live in barren, rocky districts, although 
some species, particularly in South America, are for- 
est-loving, building their nests in the tops of tall trees, 
from which they are able to see for enormous dis- 
tances. Some species, such as the Bald Eagle of our 
own country and the Fish Hawks and the White- 
tailed Eagle of Europe, feed almost entirely on fish; 
others, such as the Golden Eagle, prefer animal diet. 
Nothing can surpass the energy and dash with which 
many of the smaller Falcons and Hawks pursue their 
prey, and an instance has been cited of a Sparrow 
Hawk impetuously crashing through the glass of a 
greenhouse in order to get at a bird hanging in a cage 

The voice of almost all Birds of Prey is a harsh and 
rasping scream, and a few species, among them the 
African Sea Eagles, are extremely noisy, uttering 
their calls at regular intervals. As a general rule, 
however, they are silent. They are not particularly 
intelligent, and most of them are shy in captivity. 
Indeed, it is impossible to keep some species in con- 
finement, as they batter themselves to death against 
the bars of their cage. The Vultures, however, be- 
come remarkably tame, showing no fear of human 
beings. They are very Crow-like in general actions 
and demeanour, being inquisitive and easily ap- 
proached without taking alarm, even in the wild state, 


and without exception they do well in captivity. Al- 
though having enormous wings, they take the greatest 
care of them in order not to injure their feathers. The 
Eagles, on the contrary, batter themselves about, 
breaking their feathers, and not infrequently the 
wings themselves. 

All these birds normally attain a great age, though 
just how long they live is not known. They are sup- 
posed to have but a single mate, and instances have 
been recorded of birds that remained alone for the rest 
of their lives, after having been deprived of their 
mates. Year after year they return to the same nest, 
adding to it each season until it becomes an enormous 
mass of trash and sticks. When possible, they build 
in inaccessible places, along the sides of steep preci- 
pices or in the tops of high trees. 

The Eagle has been taken from time immemorial 
as a symbol of strength, and is used emblematically 
by nearly all civilised nations. The North American 
Indians paid great reverence to this bird, the braves 
when going to war wearing bonnets with Eagle 
feathers stuck in them and otherwise decorating them- 
selves with the plumage. 

One of the most remarkable of the Accipitres is the 
Secretary-bird, because of the very great length of 
legs, the long tail, and the long feathers which spring 
from the back of the head and neck. These last, from 
their fancied resemblance to a quill pen behind the ear 
of a secretary, or scribe, have given the bird its name. 
A native of South Africa, this bird is held in high re- 
gard there from the fact that its favourite food is 
snakes, many of which are poisonous, and conse- 


quently dreaded by all who have to live in that region 
of the world. The bird attacks and kills these rep- 
tiles by pounding them with its feet, using its wings 
as a shield against bites. On account of its valuable 
services it is often domesticated by the colonists of 
Africa. The Secretary-bird builds a huge nest of 
sticks, in which the nestlings remain for six months. 
See Plate 3, Fig. 13. 

One of the most interesting Birds of Prey is the 
common Red Kite of Europe. It was once extremely 
common, and was nowhere more plentiful than in 
London, where its numbers excited the comment of all 
foreign visitors. But that was several hundred years 
ago, when it was unmolested, being highly valued as 
a scavenger. It was also held in great esteem by the 
falconer, who hunted it with trained Falcons. No bird 
has a more beautiful flight than the Kite. See Plate 
4, Fig. 17. 

The Swallow-tailed Kite of this country is a very 
handsome bird, purplish-black on the back and wings, 
with head, neck, and under-parts pure white. The 
tail is extremely long and forked. Its flight is re- 
markably swift and graceful. 

Other American species are the White-tailed Kite, 
distinguished by its black shoulders, greyish back and 
white tail, and the Mississippi Kite, by its slate- 
coloured back, black tail, and buff \mder-parts 
streaked with reddish and blackish colour. 

The Harriers are peculiar in that the feathers of the 
face are arranged somewhat after the fashion that ob- 
tains among the Owls. The female differs remark- 
ably from the male in colour, being brown above and 

14. European Goshawk 
(Astur paluvibariusj. 

15. Hen Harrier fOireiia cyaneus). 

16. European Buzzard 
(Buleo luteo). 


n. European Kite 
(Milviut milmis). 


having the tail banded M'ith five dark bars, and on 
this account was at one time regarded as a distinct 
species, known as the Ring-tail. The males are bluish 
above, white below, with reddish spots. These birds 
are distinguished by the unusual length of their legs, 
wings, and tail. There are perhaps a dozen species 
distributed throughout the world. 

The American Harrier, or Marsh Hawk, is almost 
identical with the European species figured. It is 
common throughout North America, and is one of our 
beneficial Hawks, feeding upon reptiles, mice, locusts 
and grasshoppers. In flight the females may be 
recognised by the reddish colour of the under-parts, 
spotted with darker; the males by the white spotted 
under-surface. See Plate 4, Fig. 15. 

The Goshawk is an exceedingly powerful bird, hav- 
ing hind toes remarkable for their size and strength. 
In the old days it was much esteemed by falconers, the 
female, which is considerably larger than the male (as 
in all Birds of Prey) , being flown at such large game 
as Geese and Herons, while the male was allowed to 
take smaller birds, such as Quails and Partridges. 
On account of its relatively short wings and long tail, 
it is able to turn and twist with wonderful dexterity. 
The American Goshawk is larger than the European, 
but resembles it in general colouration, differing 
chiefly in that the under-parts are freckled rather than 
barred. The plumage' of the sexes is much alike. 
See Plate 4, Fig. 14. 

The European Sparrow Hawk is a near relative 
of the Goshawk, but is a much smaller bird. Dis- 
parity of size in the sexes is nowhere more marked 


than in the Sparrow Hawks ; they also diif er greatly 
in colour, the female lacking the beautiful chestnut 
colour that is on the breast of the male. See Plate 
3, Fig. 12. , 

Here, the place of the European Sparrow Hawk is 
taken by two quite distinct species — the Sharp-shinned 
and Cooper's Hawk, both, however, bearing a very 
close resemblance to the Old World form. The bird 
known as Sparrow Hawk in this country belongs to 
a different section of the Hawk tribe. The two 
American species mentioned are similar in colour — - 
greyish above, white barred with reddish below, with 
the shafts of the feathers blackish, and tail crossed 
with black bars. The tail of the Sharp-shinned Hawk 
is square at the end, while that of Cooper's Hawk is 
rounded. Both of these varieties are very destructive 
to poultry. Cooper's Hawk is considerably larger 
than the other species. 

Among other common American Hawks are the 
Red-shouldered, so called from the rich reddish color 
of the lesser wing-coverts; the Red-tailed, from its 
reddish-brown tail, a larger species, but similar in 
habits; the Broad- winged, and the Zone-tailed. 

We pass now to the Buzzards and Eagles, which 
blend one into the other. 

The Common European Buzzard is still met with, 
although it is now a misnomer to call it "common." 
Sixty years ago it bred throughout Great Britain in 
considerable numbers, but to-day it is only occasion- 
ally seen. In the matter of plumage this species 
varies greatly, especially in the character of the mark- 
ings. Some birds are a mixture of very dark and 


light brown, others are almost cream-coloured, while 
the markings on the breast often form a T-shaped 

The Buzzard feeds on field-mice, reptiles, frogs, and 
occasionally earthworms, varying this diet with small 
birds. See Plate 4, Fig. 16. 

Perhaps the best Imown of the true Eagles is the 
Golden Eagle, the original species to which the name 
Eagle was given, a native of Europe and also of the 
western part of the United States. The name is de- 
rived from the supposedly golden colour of the plum- 
age, but, as a matter of fact, this is a rich dark brown 
in tone. The legs are a brilliant yellow, and the eyes 
are dark brown and mild in expression. The bird it- 
self, however, is one of the fiercest and most rapacious 
of the Order to which it belongs. It feeds upon hares 
and small mammals. Grouse and other birds; and 
when pressed to hunger it will even eat carrion. Of 
the numerous stories told of these birds carrying away 
children in their claws, none has ever been authenti- 
cated. The eggs of the Golden Eagle, two or three 
in number, vary greatly in colouration. See Plate 2, 
Fig. 8. 

The Spotted Eagle is a bird which can be easily 
recognised by the white patch on the shoulders. It is 
a southern form, occurring in Southeast Europe, and 
ranging thence through Palestine to India and China. 
While some travellers describe it as displaying great 
beauty and majesty in its movements, and dauntless 
courage when foraging for food, others tell a different 
story. One writer assures us that it is a dull and 
stupid bird. "I have driven," he- says, "the female off 


her eggs, and plundered the nest before the eyes of 
the pair, without either of them flapping a pinion 
to defend what even a little Shrike will stoop at once 
to save." Another writer says that he generally 
found these birds gorged with carrion, sitting stupidly 
around, when they would allow one to come within 
a few yards of them. See Plate 3, Fig. 10. 

The White-tailed Eagle, or Sea Eagle, is found in 
the more northern parts of Europe and America. In 
general colour it somewhat resembles the Golden 
Eagle, but whereas in that species the legs are feath- 
ered to the toes, in the Sea Eagle the tarsus, or shank, 
is covered with small yellow scales. Very old birds 
have the head and neck almost white. The white tail 
is not acquired until the bird is several years old. 

This bird lives, for the most part, on fish and offal 
cast up by the sea. Occasionally it preys upon hares 
and rabbits, and when much pressed by hunger it has 
been known to attack lambs. See Plate 3, Fig. 9. 

A somewhat smaller bird than the preceding, but 
resembling it in character and in appearance, is the 
Bald Eagle of America, which figures as our national 
emblem. The female is larger than the male, but both 
have white heads and tails, the rest of the plimiage 
being a dark chocolate-brown. The white-feathered 
head has probably led to the name bald. The bill is yel- 
lowish, the feet are a brighter golden yellow, the claws 
black. While extremely fond of fish, the Bald Eagle 
is not a particularly good fisherman, and does not 
scruple to take advantage of the Fish Hawk's greater 
skill. Watching its opportunity, the Eagle pounces 
upon the Fish Hawk as it rises from the water with 


the finny prey struggling in its claws, and worries 
the smaller bird until it drops the fish, whereupon the 
Eagle, making a sudden downward dart, dexterously 
catches it, and carries it off to his nest to be eaten at 
leisure. In Florida one is treated to daily exhibitions 
of these contests between Bald Eagles and Fish 
Hawks. See Frontispiece. 

The nest is usually placed in the top of some tall 
pine or other tree, in an exposed position, and consists 
of a mass of twigs and sticks roughly interwoven. 
It is occupied by the same pair of birds for a number 
of years; indeed, it is thought that Eagles mate but 
once, a pair continuing to live together until the death 
of one or the other of the birds. In Florida these 
birds are seen wheeling and screaming overhead at 
almost any time of the day. Strange as it may seem, 
the immature bird is at one period larger than the 
adult of either sex, being more loosely jointed and 
bulkier, and becoming more compact in form as it 
reaches maturity. 

Audubon, in his "North American Birds," has given 
a thrilling account of the pursuit and capture of a 
Swan by a pair of Bald Eagles. When living prey 
is not available, this bird does not disdain carrion, and 
may often be seen, like the Sea Eagle of Europe, pick- 
ing up the remains of dead fish and other offal cast 
up by the waves. 

Probably the largest of the Eagles in actual meas- 
urement, although not in weight, is the great Kam- 
chatka Sea Eagle, certainly one of the finest repre- 
sentatives of the genus. This great bird lives, as its 
name implies, along the shores of Siberia, and also in 


neighbouring portions of the United States, Alaska 
and the Behring Sea. It is particularly striking in 
appearance, having an enormous yellow bill, bright 
yellow feet, and rich dark brown plumage with cer- 
tain of the wing-feathers snow-white. The tail is also 
pure white. The sight of one of these grand birds 
flying over the deep blue water of the ocean must be 
most inspiring. Owing to the inaccessibility of the 
region in which it is found, the life-history of this bird 
is comparatively little known, although it is safe to 
presume that in habits it resembles Eagles in general. 
One of the most extraordinary of the Eagles, in- 
deed of all Birds of Prey, is the great Harpy Eagle 
of South America, which inhabits, as a rule, the forests 
of the Amazon, although its range extends into 
Mexico and through Central America. The Harpy 
Eagle is short- winged and does not soar into the air 
to such a height as some of the other Eagles, though 
its power of flight is considerable. The primary 
feathers of the wing do not extend below the second- 
aries, so that when the wings are folded we do not 
see the sharp projecting points of the long wing- 
feathers extending across the tail, as in the Bald and 
Golden Eagles. In colour the adult is a deep bluish- 
green on the back and pure white on the breast. The 
head is a delicate pearl-grey, and the neck is almost 
surrounded by a greenish band, the same colour as the 
back. The thighs are white, with small spots and 
lines of black upon them, and the under side of the 
wings is coloured in the same way, being pure white 
with numerous fine lines. The under side of the long 
tail is also white, but is banded by broad black marks. 


The most striking thing about the Harpy Eagle 
is the enormous size and strength of the feet and 
claws, the latter being some three inches in length.. 
The legs are as thick as the wrist of a man, and the 
claws may be driven through the thick and tough hides 
of sloths and monkeys, which are its principal prey. 
Sailing over the dense forests of the Amazon country, 
it drops lightly upon an unwary sloth or monkey that 
approaches the tops of the trees. It is also said to 
attack larger game, such as deer. The head of this 
splendid bird is adorned by a crest of dark greyish- 
brown feathers which it can raise and lower at will. 
The eye is a beautiful deep grey, and the bill is of an 
ashy hue. Its whole appearance is martial in the 
extreme, and onelmight easily credit to this bird such 
stories of strength and courage as are wrongly at- 
tributed to the Bald Eagle. A magnificent specimen 
of the Harpy Eagle is now in the Washington Zoo- 
logical Garden. Brought by steamer from South 
America to New York, it was carried through the 
streets of the city in an open cage, but instead of bat- 
tering itself to death from fright, as would have been 
the case with most wild birds, it remained quietly 
seated on its perch, gazing fearlessly at the throngs 
of people passing. Since its confinement in Wash- 
ington, it has exhibited the same indomitable char- 
acter. It always seems greatly interested in visitors 
that pass by, and seated upright on its perch will turn 
its head quite upside down as it gazes at some particu- 
larly interesting individual. At times the Harpy 
Eagle utters a curious faint squeak, quite out of pro- 


portion to the great size of the bird. Little is known 
of its habits in the wild state, but it is said to nest in 
.the tops of tall trees, like most members of the Eagle 
family. Individuals of this species are rarely seen in 
captivity, and still more rarely in good condition, 
being usually either wing-broken or injured so that 
they do not appear to good advantage. See Plate 
42, Fig. 241. 

The Caracara is a singular Bird of Prey found only 
in America, one species being somewhat common in 
our Southern States. The legs and wings are long, 
and the plumage is brown and white. Though nearly 
related to the Vultures, in appearance the Caracara 
is more like the Falcons, while in disposition and gen- 
eral habits it somewhat resembles the Crows, being 
both inquisitive and offensive in its demeanour toward 
other birds. It exhibits much intelligence and is 
easily tamed. A captive Caracara in the same cage 
with a Griffon Vulture, in a zoological park, was ob- 
served one day suddenly to sail over the larger bird, 
grasp it by the top of the head, and lift it completely 
from its perch. Apparently before the astonished 
Vulture could realise what had happened, the Cara- 
cara was skipping proudly about in a distant part of 
the cage. This bird exhibited great curiosity, and was 
continually pecking at the artificial-rock formation in 
its enclosure, moving about from place to place with 
a strange hopping gait. While extremely restless, 
it was entirely fearless. See Plate 42, Fig. 242. 

It has been said that, unlike all other Birds of Prey 
of this class, the Caracara is unable to lift anything 
from the ground with its claws, the beak being always 


used instead, although when well clear of the ground 
the prey is dropped and dexterously caught in the 
talons. When a smaller bird is pursued and captured 
in the air, however, the claws are used, as with other 

The cry of the Caracara, uttered at frequent inter- 
vals, is quite unlike that of any other bird, having a 
peculiar clattering sound. The position assumed in 
giving utterance to it is also unusual, the head being 
thrown sharply backward until the crown touches the 
middle of the back. 

The Falcons form a group by themselves, more or 
less distinct from the rest of the Birds of Prey, though 
the characters which give them this distinction are 
mainly anatomical. Their two most conspicuous ex- 
ternal features are the long, pointed form of the wings, 
and the notch, or tooth, near the tip of the upper jaw, 
or mandible. 

The Osprey, or Fish Hawk, is by some naturalists 
regarded as a connecting link between the true Hawks 
and Eagles and the Owls, because, as in the Owls, the 
hind toe of the Osprey is reversible ; that is, it can be 
turned either outwards or backwards. See Plate 2, 
Fig. 6. 

There is but one species of Osprey, and it has an 
almost world-wide distribution. It lives entirely on 
fish, which it captures by a sudden dive from a height, 
sending up a shower of spray as it plunges into the 
water to seize its victim. Occasionally it will drive 
its talons into a fish too large to be lifted, in which case 
the Osprey, unable to release itself, is dragged be- 
neath the water and drowned. On order to hold the 


slippery prey more easily, the soles of the feet are 
provided with numerous rough spines. 

It is a large bird, about two feet in length, with 
a wing-spread of more than twice as much. The gen- 
eral colour is greyish, or brownish, above, the under 
surface white, with dark spots. The colour, however, 
varies considerably in different individuals. 

Living as it does exclusively upon fish, the nest of 
the Osprey is usually built near the water, in the top 
of a tall tree or an old building, and is used for many 
years in succession. Two or three white eggs 
blotched with brown are laid, and the young are much 
darker in colour than the adult birds. The Osprey 
is a most devoted mate and parent. This bird is par- 
ticularly beautiful and graceful in flight. 

The Kestrel is a little Falcon that is still quite com- 
mon in many parts of Europe. It is easily recog- 
nised from its habits of hovering in the air on quiver- 
ing wings, always facing the wind, and examining the 
ground with keen eyes in search of the mice and insects 
upon which it feeds. As with the Falcons generally, 
it builds no nest, but uses those that have been deserted 
by Crows and Magpies, or deposits its eggs on the 
ground, in cliffs or in hollow trees. See Plate 3, Fig. 

The male Kestrel when fully adult is a very hand- 
some bird; the female is duller in hue, with back and 
tail closely barred. The young, as is so often the 
case when the parents differ in colour, resemble the 
female. The eggs, as with all the Falcons, are very 
richly coloured. 

The place of the European Kestrel is taken in this 

5. King Vulture 
fSareorhamphus papa). 

6. Osprey 

(Pandion haliailus). 

7. WBite Gyrfalcon (Falco iilandus). 



jg^^^gl^fMJi-.^'^«'-y- -^ 




8. Golden Eagle ^^ 



fAqtdla ohryga^tun). 




country by the American Sparrow Hawk. As has 
been said, the Sparrow Hawk of Europe is quite a 
different species, and more nearly corresponds to our 
Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk. 

The American Sparrow Hawk is about eleven 
inches in length, and the sexes are quite different in 
colouration, the male being reddish brown above, with 
a few black marks, wings bluish and spotted, with 
a single broad black band across the tail, while the 
female is barred over the whole of the back, streaked 
with black on the breast, and has the tail crossed with 
numerous black bars. The bill is dark blue, the feet 
and legs are yellow. 

This beautiful little Hawk is found in many parts 
of North America. It has the same habit as the 
European Kestrel mentioned above, of hovering on 
swiftly moving wings while seeking its prey of mice 
and smaller birds. It builds no nest, but frequently 
usurps that of the Woodpecker. 

The Greenland Falcon, or Gyrfalcon, is one of the 
largest of this group, and is native to the Arctic 
regions, though occasionally found further south. In 
the old days when the sport of falconry was at its 
height, this bird was the most highly prized of all the 
Falcons. The general tone of the plumage is pure 
white relieved by black markings. Nearly allied to 
this bird, if not of the same species, is the Labrador 
Falcon, but it is at once distinguishable by the very 
dark colouring. The food of these Falcons consists 
of Ptarmigan and Willow Grouse, varied by lem- 
mings and other small mammals. See Plate 2, Fig. 7. 

The American Duck Hawk, or Peregrine Falcon, 


in many ways resembles the Gyrfalcon' It has a wide 
range throughout North America and a large part of 
South America. The sexes are coloured alike — ^blu- 
ish-slate above, a somewhat lighter tint below, the 
lower part of the breast and upper part of the legs 
barred with dark colour. The under-surface of the 
wings is also barred. 

The Duck Hawk is very strong and swift in flight, 
and very fierce and aggressive in character. It 
pounces upon its prey from an elevation, easily cap- 
turing such fast-flying birds as Wild Ducks, and even 
attacking Geese when pressed by hunger. 

From the Falcons we pass to the Vultures, a group 
which possesses many interesting points for considera- 
tion. Vulture-like birds taken as a whole are by no 
means all closely related one to another. Divided into 
Old and New World Vultures, the latter constitute a 
very ancient family, standing apart from the Hawks, 
Buzzards, Eagles, and Falcons. If we take these last 
as representing so many branches of a common stem, 
then the Vultures may be regarded as forming a simi- 
lar independent stem, both arising, however, from a 
single trunk. The letter Y may well represent this. 
The different kinds of Old World Vultures may be 
pictured as forming so many branches from the left- 
hand, and the Hawks, Buzzards, Eagles, and Falcons 
as so many branches from the right-hand branch of 
the Y, the stem of which indicates that both main 
branches with their ramifications came from the same 

The New World Vultures, however, form a group 
by themselves; they are the terminal branches of a 


separate trunk, which we may suppose grew out from 
the very root of the Y-shaped tree. They may at 
once be distinguished from all other birds of prey by 
the fact that the nostrils are pierced quite through, 
whereas in the rest of the birds of prey they are divided 
by a partition ; further, the feet and claws of the New 
World forms are less Hawk-like. 

Of the Old World Vultures, three very interesting 
species are figured. 

The smallest members of this family are the 
Egyptian Vultures, found in considerable abundance 
in the Mediterranian countries and in Africa. Though 
it has the reputation of being an exceptionally foul 
feeder, this bird is most useful in removing offensive 
matter which in such hot climates would breed disease. 
The Egyptian Scavenger also preys upon rats and 
mice, snakes, lizards and even insects. See Plate 1, 
Fig. 2. 

The Griffon Vulture is a large bird, having an ex- 
treme length of about three feet six inches. It is 
common in the southern part of Europe, particularly 
in the neighbourhood of Gibraltar, nesting in colonies 
in the cHffs. See Plate 1, Fig. 3. 

Probably the most interesting of all this family is 
the Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture, whose range 
extends through Southern Europe, Central Asia, the 
north of Africa, and into China. Though at one time 
frequently met with in Switzerland, it is now almost 
unknown in that country. It is the largest of the 
Old World birds of prey. See Plate 1, Fig. 4. 

One of the most striking features about this bird 
is the brilliant vermilion colour of the outer coat of 


the eye — the part corresponding to the whites of 
human eyes ; the rest of the eye is golden yellow with 
a black pupil. There are curious tufts of stiff feathers 
like bristles at the base of the bill. The plumage is 
brown streaked with white. 

The Lammergeier is very powerful in flight, 
traversing great distances in search of its food, which 
consists of small mammals and carrion. Bones ap- 
peal to be a great delicacy, and to smash these the 
bird is said to drop them from a great height upon 
rocks below. 

The King Vulture of the New World is a wonder- 
ful bird that is by no means well known. It receives 
its name from the fact that it drives away from a 
carcass the smaller birds of prey until its own appetite 
is sated. It is found in the higher mountain regions 
of South and Central America, and occasionally comes 
as far north as Texas and Florida. One of the most 
remarkable features of the male is the curious fleshy 
wattle which surrounds the beak, while the bare skin 
of the head is most brilliantly coloured with varying 
shades of orange, purple, crimson, and black. The 
upper parts of the body are creamy white, the long 
wing- and tail-feathers black. The plumage of the 
female is much less conspicuous, the upper parts being 
dark instead of white, and lacking the brilliant colours 
on the head. See Plate 2, Fig. 5, 

The South American Condor is a near relative of 
the King Vulture, but greatly its superior in size. 
With the possible exception of the succeeding species, 
it is the largest of all Birds of Prey. See Plate 1, 
Fig. 1. 

1. Condor 



2. Egyptian Vulture 
(Neophron percnopterutj 

3. Griifon Vulture 
(Gyps fulvusj. 



4. Lammergeier 

(OypaHlus bar- 



The general colour is ashy grey, with considerable 
white in the wings; there is a ruff of soft white 
feathers, or down, about the neck, except in front, and 
the head of the male is adorned with a great fleshy 
wattle at the base of the beak. Condors feed upon 
carrion mostly, but show a marked liking for fresh 
meat when obtainable. Apparently, however, they 
never kill for themselves. Like other Vultures, they 
gorge themselves when food is plentiful, and at such 
times are often taken by the natives of the country 
by means of lassos. 

The California Condor equals, if, indeed, it does not 
exceed in size the South American species. In gen- 
eral form they are not unlike, but the more northern 
bird lacks the white collar about the neck, having in- 
stead a ruif of dark, pointed feathers. It also is with- 
out the curious wattle that grows from the top of the 
head in the other species. The plumage is generally 
ashy grey in colour, with a kind of bloom over it. 
The feet are very large. These birds nest in high 
cliffs along the coast of California. The young birds 
are clothed in pure white down, which gradually 
deepens to grey as they grow older. 

Owing to their destruction by hunters, and to 
poison set out by sheep-herders as protection against 
wolves, these birds are becoming rare in the regions 
where they were formerly common. The Condor is 
absurdly tame, allowing itself to be approached by 
man even when at large. Fortunately, it thrives in 
confinement, largely owing to its lack of fear, and it 
is a remarkable fact that such great birds, accustomed 
to flying over vast mountain regions, should do so 


well and keep themselves in such perfect condition in 
small cages often not more than six feet square. It 
is with much satisfaction that one looks at this mag- 
nificent bird, seated on a rock or tree in its enclosure, 
absolutely at ease, and with every feather lying 
smoothly like metal plates on its back. 

The Turkey Vulture, or Turkey Buzzard, as it is 
commonly called, has rather an extensive range in 
America, but as a rule it is not found farther north 
than Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is quite com- 
mon in the region of the city of Washington and 
farther south. In general appearance it somewhat 
resembles a hen Turkey, the skin of the head and neck 
being of a reddish colour blotched with white. The 
plumage is rusty black in colour, the under-surface 
of the wings a light grey, the bill whitish. The feet 
and legs are red. The eye is bright and piercing and 
quite intelligent in expression. See Plate 41, Fig. 

These birds are extremely useful in ridding the 
ground of fetid matter that would otherwise pollute 
the air, and consequently they are rigidly protected. 
They are almost exclusively carrion-eaters, although 
like other Vultures they will eat fresh meat when ob- 
tainable. Their sight is remarkably keen, and they 
are often seen flying over wooded or marshy country, 
seeking with their sharp eyes for the carcasses of 
animals. After these birds have eaten heavily, they 
sit, like the Old World Vultures, in a drooping atti- 
tude, with wings hanging listlessly at their sides. 
The object of this is probably to air and cleanse the 
feathers, but when in this position they have a most 
depressing effect upon the observer. 


These birds are strong and beautiful flyers, soaring 
in the air for hours at a time without flapping their 
wings. When rising from the ground, however, or 
starting from a tree, they flap heavily several times 
in order to gain momentum for flight, but once on 
the wing they rise and fall without perceptible motion 
of the wings. Owing to the rather flimsy character 
of the feathers, the Turkey Buzzard has a wobbly or 
teetering appearance when a puff of wind strikes it. 
But this effect is of course more apparent tha;n real, 
as by a single stroke of the wings the bird regains 
its equilibrium and sails gracefully on in an undu- 
lating course. Although living in the vicinity of 
human habitations, it is always a shy and wary bird. 

In the far Southern States the Turkey Vulture's 
reign is disputed by that of the Black Vulture, some- 
times called Carrion Crow by the natives of that 
region. In form it is somewhat similar, but is more 
compact, and the feathers are richer and more glossy 
in tone. The colour is a deep black, almost blue, and 
slightly iridescent like that of the Crow. It is a 
stronger flyer than the Turkey Vulture, the primaries 
of the wings being much stiffer, and on occasions it 
rises so high as to become a mere speck in the air, 
wheeling in great circles over the region it inhabits. 
It is more common in the Southern States than the 
other species, and in the streets of Charleston, South 
Carolina, may be seen in great numbers gathered 
about the slaughter-houses and greedily devouring the 
offal thrown out from them. Unlike the Turkey Viil- 
ture, it is extremely tame, allowing itself to be closely 
approached without taking alarm. 


The Fowl-liice Birds 

THIS Order includes an enormous number of 
birds, more or less nearly related to each other. 
In certain groups, common anatomical char- 
acters are apparent externally in the form of beak and 
legs, and in the general shape of wings and body. In 
all, the upper portion of the beak is curved and com- 
pletely overlaps the lower; while the legs have strong 
toes and short, blunt claws, forming admirable dig- 
ging and scratching tools. As a rule, the Gallina- 
ceous or Fowl-like birds have legs completely covered 
with scales and armed with a pair of powerful spurs ; 
but some have very short legs, feather-clad, and with- 
out spurs. 

These birds are divided into two great groups — 
one in which the hind-toe is on a level with the other 
toes,. and the other in which the hind-toe is at a higher 
level than the rest. To the former belong the curious 
Mound-birds, or Megapodes, of Australia, and the 
equally curious Curassows and Guans of America, all 
others belonging to the group which has the hind-toe 
at a higher level than the other toes. In both sections , 

78 ' 


the young are hatched clothed in down, and are able 
to run about immediately after leaving the shell. 

The Mound-birds have very large, strong feet, and 
with them they throw up huge mounds of earth and 
decaying vegetable matter, in which they deposit their 
eggs, digging holes for their reception a number of 
feet below the surface of the ground. The male bird 
is said to assist the female in maldng these mounds, 
but after the eggs are laid, apparently no further at- 
tention is paid to them by the parents, and they are 
hatched by the heat generated in the decaying vegeta- 
tion. But little appears to be known about the habits 
of these strange birds. 

The Curassows are somewhat Turkey-like in form. 
They are forest-loving birds, nesting in trees, and are 
found in the tropical portions of America. There are 
many species. Perhaps the commonest is the Globose 
Curassow, which is frequently seen in captivity. It 
is almost black in colour, with greenish iridescence on 
the back and breast, and has a large crest. These 
birds go about in flocks, and perch high up in the 
branches of trees, where they build their roughly- 
shaped nests. See Plate 41, Fig. 244, 

The only species of Guan known in North Amer- 
ica is the Chacalacca, so called from its cry. In the 
Guans the bill is longer and wider than in the true 
Curassows. The two forms are closely related, but 
the Guans are more solitary in habits. They are dis- 
tinguished by the bare, bright red skin of the throat, 
which may be expanded at will. 

The largest of the Gallinaceous birds is the Turkey, 
native to North and South America. It is one of the 


oldest types of the Order to which it belongs. The 
Mexican Wild Turkey is the species from which our 
domestic Turkeys are descended. Among the many 
remarkable features of the male Turkey are the curi- 
ous tuft of hair-like feathers attached to the breast, 
the bare and brilliantly coloured head and neck, and 
the long, fleshy, finger-like appendage, or wattle, 
hanging down over the beak, that can be increased in 
size at will. This bird is very large, individuals some- 
times weighing as much as thirty-five pounds. See 
Plate 27, Fig. 155. 

The actions of the Turkey-cock when "strutting" 
are very remarkable. The head is drawn sharply 
backward, the wings dropped, the tail spread like a 
great wheel, a deep reddish colour suffusing the naked 
skin of the neck and head, and the stiff primaries of 
the wings drawn along the ground with a sovmd like 
distant thunder. 

The male Turkey is irascible in disposition, easily 
excited to anger, and very aggressive. There are 
many instances of children having been injured by 
these great birds, whose size and weight render them 

The hen Turkey is not so large as her mate, and is 
not so brilliantly coloured. She is extremely wary 
and suspicious, especially when she has to protect her 
young — ungainly-looking little creatures, with long 
necks and long legs. They are able to walk for many 
miles, the mother seeming to delight in taking long 
pilgrimages in search of new feeding-grounds. 

When wild, the Mexican Turkey is extremely shy 
and ever on the alert, and the sportsman who can add 
one of these great birds to his game-bag may justly 

154. Guinea-fowl 

(Numida melewpxa) 


feel proud of his achievement, for it is only hy the 
shrewdest strategy that he can approach within shoot- 
ing distance. 

Closely related to the preceding form, although dif- 
fering in some minor particulars, is the Eastern Wild 
Turkey, which, in consequence of much hunting, is be- 
coming very rare. The colour of this bird is some- 
what darker, in general, than that of the Mexican 
variety, and it lacks the light colour on the upper sur- 
face of the tail. It is a finer and trimmer bird than 
the domesticated species, but in captivity would no 
doubt soon acquire the over-developed and heavy form 
of the other. Another very beautiful variety is the 
Honduras Turkey. 

The Guinea-fowl is a native of Africa. It is 
easily domesticated, and is commonly seen in our 
farmyards. This bird is almost reptilian in certain 
characters. In walking, the back is much arched, the 
head dropped low, almost touching the ground, and 
at a distance a flock of them looks not unlike quickly 
moving tortoises. See Plate 27, 'Fig. 154. 

The colour pattern of the plumage is quite wonder- 
ful. The body tone is a delicate grey, and each 
feather is covered with numerous pure white dots, 
making a most complete and intricate design. The 
naked skin around the eye is white, and the wattle at 
the base of the bill and the under-throat are a bright 
red. The Guinea-fowl is a very restless bird, con- 
tinually moving about and uttering its monotonous 
cry — one that is apt to "get on the nerves" when 
listened to for hours at a time. On account of their 
alertness. Guineas are often kept by farmers as guar- 


dians of their poultry; at the shghtest sound they raise 
their voices and often give warning of the approach of 
a Hawk. The flesh is dark in colour, and has a strong, 
gamey taste. 

Besides the species represented, there are numerous 
others known to science. Perhaps the most beautiful 
is the Vulturine Guinea-fowl, in which the grey colour 
is replaced by a delicate blue, and the feathers are 
very long. 

The Pheasant tribe include some of the most bril- 
liantly coloured birds in existence. They are natives 
of China and India, some species extending into the 
islands of the Indian Ocean. 

The best-known Pheasants to the Western world 
are the Common and Ring-necked Pheasants of 
Europe. Fossil remains show that they at one time 
lived wild in Europe, and the present species may 
have descended from these; but it is more likely that 
they were introduced into England by the Romans. 
The so-called Common Pheasant, the species figured, 
is now very rare, because it has interbred with other 
species which have been allowed to run wild. But 
the Ring-necked Pheasant is the principal game-bird 
of England and the continent of Europe, being kept 
in large parks, or preserves, and shot at certain seasons 
of the year. The eggs are usually placed under 
domestic hens, as they are considered better mothers 
than the female Pheasants. Great care is taken of 
the young birds in order to bring them to maturity. 
See Plate 26, Fig. 150. 

The male Ring-necked Pheasant is rich and pleas- 
ing in colour, a splendid golden tone covering the 


whole body, the feathers arranged hke scales. Around 
the neck is a pure white ring, and the skin about the 
eye is a brilliant red. The females are much duller in 
hue, although they have some beautiful feathers. 

These birds have been introduced into the United 
States, and ia certain parts of the country, notably in 
Oregon, they have multiplied to an extraordinary ex- 
tent. The flesh is highly prized. The Pheasant is 
not a satisfactory bird to keep in close confinement, 
as it never loses its extreme shyness, and is apt to in- 
jure itself by flying against the bars of its cage. 

The most brilliantly coloured member of this family 
is the Golden Pheasant, a native of China. On ac- 
count of its resplendent plumage it is usually seen in 
collections. It is impossible to give any adequate idea 
of the brilliance of the feathers, which glisten as if 
illuminated from beneath, and the various plates, bars, 
and scales arranged over the body of the bird make 
it seem as if clothed in armour. A study of the figure 
of the Golden Pheasant will do more than words to 
indicate this remarkable colouration. The male has 
the ability to spread out the long neck-feathers into 
a wide, circular cape. See Plate 25, Fig. 146. 

The Silver Pheasant is another form commonly seen 
in aviaries. It is now rare in a wild state, and little 
is known of its habits, except in confinement. The 
upper surface of the body is white, covered with fine 
black lines; the breast is dark, and the long tail- 
feathers are white. See Plate 26, Fig. 151. 

The Impeyan Pheasant is probably the most bril- 
liant of all iridescent birds, the colours ranging 
through the spectrum from orange to yellow. The 


head and neck are greenish, the back a shining purp- 
hsh-blue, with red and green iridescence. Across the 
tail is a wide band of pure white, the tail itself being 
brownish, barred with darker colour. 

Other well-known species of Pheasant are the 
Reeves and the Lady Amherst. 

But the largest, and in some respects the most con- 
spicuous, of this family is the Argus Pheasant, a 
native of the Indo-Malay Peninsula. It is remark- 
able for the enormous length of the inner flight- 
feathers of the wings, while the tail-feathers are also 
extremely long. But it is not so much the great 
length as the wonderful and complicated pattern on 
them that makes them so extraordinary. Large eye- 
like marks are placed at regular intervals along the 
main shafts, so wonderfully shaded as to look like balls 
lying loose within sockets, with a wonderful network 
of spots and lines about them. The colours are rich 
brown and white. When the male bird displays, he 
raises and spreads his wings so that they form a great 
circle over his back, the wings being raised at the same 
time. See Plate 26, Figs. 152, 153. 

Perhaps the crowning glory of this family is the 
Peacock, a native of India, and one of the most mar- 
vellously coloured of all the feathered tribe. It is dis- 
tinguished at once by its long train of feathers, which 
drag on the ground when the bird is walking. Each 
of these is a gem in itself, being finished at the tip by 
a large expanded web, in the centre of which is a 
huge eye-like form. In a mass they seem to shimmer 
and glow with all the prismatic colours — red in some 
lights, green and gold in others. The "eyes" are a 


^^^^-3^:' -^^..^,;,^^ 

150. European Pheasant 
(Pkasiamis eolehicus). 


beautiful blue. The Peacock is a very graceful bird, 
the neck long and slender, the head surmounted by a 
most beautiful and delicate crown, or crest, of fine 
lace-like feathers. Most of the body is a deep rich 
blue, in texture like the finest velvet, and shading 
almost to black upon the breast and upper parts of 
the legs. The upper feathers are a delicate grey, 
covered with fine dark lines, while the stiff and long 
flight-feathers are a light reddish-brown, and not 
iridescent as are the other feathers. It is only when the 
Peacock flies, or stretches its wings, that these red 
feathers become visible ; at other times they are folded 
closely against the back. See Plate 25, Figs. 148, 

When displaying, the Peacock raises its gorgeous 
train — which, of course are not the true tail-feathers — 
over its back in a half circle, and spreads it to the 
fullest extent. 

Although so magnificent in plumage, the Peacock 
is not a singer, its voice being extremely harsh and 
disagreeable, and sounding not unlike the magnified 
"meow" of a cat. 

These birds are easily domesticated, and become 
very tame, and it is only because they are so common 
that their beauty is not more appreciated. 

The nearly related Javan Peacock differs from the 
common species chiefly in having neck-feathers of 
enormous size, so that the neck has the appearance of 
being clothed in large, overlapping scales. 

Our domesticated Fowls are really near relations 
of the Pheasants. They are supposed to have de- 
scended from the wild Jungle-fowls of India, and by 


careful breeding for centuries man has produced from 
this bird many remarkable varieties. Indeed, the 
Leghorn and the Game-fowls retain much of the 
original character of the Jungle-foVl, although in 
them, as well as in most other domestic breeds, the 
comb and wattles are much more developed. The 
cocks of the Game-fowls are used for fighting, and 
for many years, in England and in other countries, 
they were regularly bred and trained for this pur- 
pose. The largest of the domestic Fowls are the 
Brahmins and the Cochin Chinas. The latter breed 
was introduced into England about 1850, and soon 
was in great demand, the eggs bringing very high 
prices. Perhaps the best-known breed in this country 
is the Plymouth Rock, a large, heavily made fowl, 
curiously mottled with grey and white. Among the 
most beautiful are the silver-speckled and golden- 
speckled Hamburgs. Polish-fowls are distinguished 
by their large topknot of long feathers, which fall 
down over the eyes like the hair of a sky-terrier, in 
some cases almost blinding them. In Japan for many 
hundreds of years has been bred a curious species 
called the Long-tailed Fowl, in which the abnormally 
lengthened tail-feathers sometimes measure as much 
as twenty feet. These feathers are sometimes kept 
carefully wrapped in paper to protect them from in- 
jury. See Plate 27, Fig. 156. 

Domestic Fowls have a great variety of calls, or 
notes, which any one may soon learn to interpret. 
The cluck of the mother hen when she takes her chicks 
out to hunt for food; the peculiar sound known as 
"singing," in which she indulges after having been 


J'^ 146. Golden Pheasant, Male 
j^ (Ckryeoloplius pictvsj. 


;4 ^ 

149. Peahen. 


fed and in fine weather, the "cackle" that follows the 
laying of an egg; the cry of warning that instantly 
brings her chicks to cover under her wings when a 
Hawk appears overhead — are all familiar sounds of 
the poultry-yard. The "crow" of the cock, usually 
given when he goes to roost at night, early in the 
morning, and after he has gained a victory over an- 
other cock, is also well known. 

Although originally from warm climates, domestic 
Fowls are able to withstand very low temperature, 
especially if protected from severe winds and from 

Between the Pheasant tribe and the Partridges and 
Quails of the Old World there is no very sharp 
division. True Partridges and Quails are not met 
with in America, but they are represented by birds 
that closely resemble them in many particulars. 

The Common Partridge of Europe is also some- 
times called the Horse-shoe Partridge, from a horse- 
shoe-like mark on the breast in both sexes. The 
female may always be distinguished by the buff cross- 
bars on the smaller wing-coverts. In eastern Siberia 
this bird is replaced by the Bearded Partridge, in 
which the throat is decorated with long beard-like 
feathers. See Plate 24, Fig. 144. 

The Common Red-legged Partridge ranges over 
southwestern and western Europe and Great Britain. 

The Red-legged Rock Partridge is a native of the 
mountains of southern Europe, from the Pyrenees 
to the Balkans, and differs from the Common Euro- 
pean Partridge in the absence of white on the flanks 


and of black spots on the chest. See Plate 25, Fig. 

Quails are frequently described as miniature Par- 
tridges, and the two families are very closely related. 
The Common European Quail is found in many parts 
of Europe and northern Asia, These birds migrate 
in the spring in vast numbers from Africa to various 
parts of Europe, and this is the season for hunting 
them. The European Quail has been imported into 
the United States, but has failed to thrive in this 
country. See Plate 24, Fig. 141. 

Their place here is taken by the Grouse and the Bob 
White, of which there are many varieties. In the 
northern States the Grouse is called "Partridge"; in 
the southern States the same bird is called a "Pheas- 
ant." The Bob White of the North is known as 
"Quail," while in the South it is termed "Partridge." 
But, as has been said, there are no true Partridges 
and Quails in America. 

The Ruffed Grouse is a large bird, measuring 
nearly eighteen inches in length, and its plumage is 
a mixture of greys, browns, and buffs. On the neck 
of the male are long, purplish-black feathers capable 
of being erected. This is the principal Game-bird of 
our Eastern States. Its home is in the dense coverts 
of the woods, and so closely does it resemble the 
ground colour and dead leaves that it is impossible 
to see a flock until it takes flight. The suddenness 
with which they start from the ground is very starthng 
and disconcerting to a novice at shooting. They 
spring into the air with a loud whirring sound and 
fly so rapidly that they are almost instantly lost to 


143. Alpine Ptarmigan (Lagopua muhis) 

'erdh: ■perdix). 


view. In winter scales grow out from the sides of 
the toes, enabling the bird to walk on soft snow. 

In the spring the male Ruffed Grouse goes through 
with the curious performance known as "drumming." 
Standing upon some convenient log, he raises his tail 
to the fullest extent and spreads out the ruffs at the 
sides of his neck, at the same time beating the air with 
his wings, quickening the strokes until they move with 
lightning-like rapidity, producing a curious rumbling 
sound much like that of a drum. This is done for 
the edification of his mate, who stands watching the 
performance with apparent indifference. 

The Pinnated and the Sharp-tailed Grouse are 
found in many parts of the Middle West, and the 
name "Prairie Chicken" is somewhat vaguely ap- 
plied to both in different sections. These birds, too, 
have singular actions at the mating season, at such 
times inflating and exhausting the large orange- 
coloured sacs at the sides of the throat and raising the 
tail high over the back. 

Other well-known species are the Sage Grouse, a 
very large form, but one whose flesh is not especially 
prized, the Canada Grouse, and the Dusky Grouse, 
found in various parts of the coimtry. 

The Ptarmigan is another species of the Grouse 
family found in the northern parts of America and 
Europe. This bird has a most remarkable system of 
protective colouration adapted to each season of the 
year. In winter, when the ground is covered with 
snow, the plumage is white ; as spring approaches, this 
is gradually replaced by a brownish coat, which is 
worn until the autumn, when the moult again takes 


place and the bird becomes a mixture of brown and 
white, this gradually giving place to the winter coat 
of snow-white. Thus the Ptarmigan is at all seasons 
practically invisible in its environment. This and 
other species are remarkable for their extreme tame- 
ness, allowing themselves to be closely approached and 
actually touched without taking flight. Whether this 
character is due to lack of fear or stupidity it is diffi- 
cult to say, but it is one that is certainly not shared by 
its near relative, the Ruffed Grouse. See Plate 24, 
Fig. 143. 

The Willow Ptarmigan is also found in the north- 
ern parts of both continents. 

Largest of the Game-birds of Europe is the Caper- 
cailzie, or Cock of the Woods, also belonging to the 
Grouse family. At one time common in Great 
Britain, it became extinct, but of late years has been 
reintroduced into Scotland, where it is found in con- 
siderable numbers. It is nc^ an inhabitant of Amer- 
ica. This is a woodland bird, living in trees, and in 
this respect unlike most other Game-birds, which seem 
to prefer the ground. The males go through with 
many curious performances during the breeding sea- 
son, when they are so engrossed as to be unconscious 
of the approach of enemies, and are often shot down. 
The female is smaller than her mate, and quite dull in 
colour. See Plate 24, Figs. 138, 139. 

The Black Grouse is a particularly handsome bird, 
remarkable for the curious shape of its tail, which is 
divided in the middle, the feathers curving to right 
and left, like hooks. There is a brilliant red skin 


around the eye, as in some of the Pheasants. See 
Plate 24, Fig. 142. 

The Hazel-hen is a native of Europe and northern 
and central Asia, and its flesh is much esteemed for 
food. It bears some resemblance to our own Ruffed 
Grouse. See Plate 24, Fig. 140. 

The Bob White has well been called the king of our 
American Game-birds. It is small, about ten inches in 
length, and the plumage renders it extremely incon- 
spicuous, when on the ground. The male has a white 
throat and a white stripe over the eye ; the top of the 
head is reddish, varied with black and white ; the back 
and wings are a mixture of delicate greys and browns ; 
the lower parts are yellowish-white, crossed with deli- 
cate lines of black ; a black mark encircles the white of 
the throat; the flanks are reddish, barred with black; 
the upper part of the tail is bluish-grey. The sexes 
are similarly coloured, except that the female has more 
yellow in the plumage. 

Bob Whites live more in open country than the 
Grouse, run in large flocks, and when flushed fly in 
different directions. Their speed is not so great as 
that of the larger Game-bird. When alarmed. Bob 
Whites "lie close" on the ground, instead of rising in 
the air, trusting to their colouring to remain invisible. 
Setters and pointers, dogs having remarkably keen 
scent, are trained to hunt these birds, advancing slowly 
upon a covey until it rises with a great whirring of the 
short, rounded wings. These dogs are trained to drop 
at the sound of a gun, and then to retrieve, or bring 
back to their master in such a way as not to injure 
them, the birds that have been shot. 


In the West are found several species of "Par- 
tridge," some of great beauty. One called Gambel's 
Partridge has the upper parts of the neck and back 
a delicate fawn colour, the breast being somewhat 
lighter. In the middle of the breast is a large, irregu- 
lar blackish patch of feathers. The sides are a rich 
reddish-brown, streaked with pure white. The most 
striking feature of this bird is the long, forward pro- 
jecting crest of black feathers, normally drooping 
over the bill. The top of the head is reddish, and the 
feathers are very soft and velvety in texture. The 
face and under part of the throat are deep black, the 
eyes very dark brown, and around the face is a narrow 
line of pure white. The feathers of the body are 
rounded, and have much the appearance of scales. 
See Plate 41, Fig. 245. 

The California Partridge is quite similar in colour- 
ing to the Gambel, and has also a forward curving 
crest of black feathers. Other Western species are 
the Scaled Partridge, the Mountain Partridge, and 
the Plumed Partridge. 


248. Hermit^thrush 
{Hylocichla guttata patia^l}. 

241. Harpy-eagle 
{Tfirasaetus harpyia). 

247. Mocking-bird 
{.Mimus pohjQlotluH), 

242. Audubon's Caracara 
{Polyhorus cherivay). 


Cranes, Rails, and Bustards 

CRANES, Rails, and Bustards, though very dif- 
ferent in external appearance, are really 
closely related. Cranes and Rails are marsh 
birds, while Bustards frequent sandy wastes; Cranes 
are wading birds, but Rails swim and dive with ease. 
All are vegetable feeders, and the diet of Cranes and 
Rails is varied by insects and molluscs, such as snails, 
slugs, and worms, and Bustards also eat small mam- 
mals, such as mice, and reptiles. 

The Common European Crane is a large and very 
beautiful bird, measuring about four feet in length. 
In Cranes the windpipe, instead of running straight 
down the neck to the lungs, passes first into a large 
chamber in the keel of the breast-bone. After form- 
ing a coil or loop there, it emerges and passes back- 
wards to the lungs. By the increase in length thus 
gained, an extremely loud and resonant voice is pro- 
duced. See Plate 29, Fig. 161. 

These birds have long legs and long necks, and are 
not unlike Herons in general appearance, although 
the form of the head, as" well as the colouration, differs 
in different species. But three out of the fifteen or 
more existing species of Cranes are found in America. 



The Whooping Crane winters in the Gulf States, 
but breeds farther north. It is a large white bird, 
with primaries, bill, and legs, black, top of head and 
sides of throat red. 

The Sandhill Crane is a smaller form also found 
in the Southern States, especially in the pine barrens 
of Florida, some distance inland from the coast. The 
body colour is a beautiful bluish-grey, the top of the 
head a soft, deep red. The bill of Cranes is used both 
as a digging instrument and a weapon of defence, and 
with it they also make a strange clattering noise, when 
excited. The Sandhill digs enormous holes in the 
ground in search of food. Its voice is very loud and 
resonant, and may be heard at a great distance as 
the bird flies from place to place. 

The Little Brown Crane is a smaller and rarer 
species than either of the preceding. It closely re- 
sembles the Sandhill Crane. 

Two very beautiful species found in Africa and fre- 
quently seen in captivity, are the Demoiselle, a small 
bluish-grey bird, with long feathers trailing from the 
tail, and the Crowned Crane, remarkable for the tuft 
of feathers on its head. See Plate 34, Fig. 197. 

Included among the Crane-like birds, although 
bearing a strong resemblance in both appearance and 
character to the Hawk tribe, is the Seriema, of South 
America. It is not unlike the Secretary-bird of 
Africa, and feeds upon snakes, killing them in much 
the same manner, by pounding them with its feet until 
they are reduced to a pulp. It also eats small mam- 
mals, such as mice and rats, and further varies its diet 
with fruits. Although able to fly well, it lives on 


the ground, in the grass of the pampas, and runs with 
great speed, having very long legs. See Plate 42, 
Fig. 245. 

In colour the Seriema is a dull brown over the 
greater part of the body, somewhat reddish on the 
back and the upper coverts of the wings. The 
feathers are thin and loosely attached, as in the 
Herons, and the long neck- feathers are so fine in text- 
ure as to have almost the appearance of a mane, fall- 
ing over the back and sides of the neck. The inner 
web, only, of the primaries is barred with dark colour. 
The bill and legs are a delicate reddish colour, and 
the eye, which is fierce and Hawk-like in expression, 
is a beautiful grey, and is shaded by long and delicate 
lashes. ,A curious character of this bird is the 
inner toe, which is carried free of the grovmd and bears 
a very long, sharply recurved claw like that of the 
Eagles, the other claws being much less pointed and 
straighter. Growing from the base of the bill, but 
not extending to the crown, are a number of sparse, 
hair-like feathers, giving the bird a very peculiar ap- 

The Seriema has a most remarkable call, or cry, 
the noise being extremely loud and piercing, and al- 
most deafening to one standing near the bird. In 
uttering it, the head is dropped back against the shoul- 
ders and the mouth is held widely open, the sound 
actually seeming to be pumped, or squeezed, from the 

The Common Trumpeter, or Golden-breasted 
Trumpeter, is another very interesting South Ameri- 
can bird, that has no very near relatives, and so con- 


stitutes a family by itself. Like the Seriama, how- 
ever, it is placed by ornithologists in the Order of 
Crane-like birds. Its power of flight is feeble, so that 
most of its time is spent upon the ground, and like the 
preceding form, it is a very swift runner. These birds 
are easily domesticated, becoming very much attached 
to people and living peaceably with domestic Fowls. 
Trumpeters are somewhat gregarious, being found in 
small flocks. Their call, uttered at night and by a 
number of birds at the same time, is loud and harsh. 

In form the Trumpeter is not unlike a small Emu, 
having a rounded back and long neck, but it partakes 
of the characters of other species as well. The head 
and neck are almost jet black, and on the breast is a 
patch of brilliant iridescent feathers which seem to 
differ in texture from the rest of the plumage, being 
much stiffer and harsher. This iridescence is entirely 
bluish-green, and has no suggestion of golden colour 
in it. The back and upper tail-coverts are a warm 
grey, and bill and legs greyish-black. The eye is very 
dark and shining, and looks not unlike a shoe-button 
sunken in the dense plumage of the face. The feet 
are large for the size of the bird, and are evidently 
formed for scratching. 

The Rail tribe are mostly small birds, of shy, skulk- 
ing habits and feeble flight, but with strong legs, and 
able to run with great speed through the marshes in 
which they live. One of the smallest is the Little 
Crake, a native of Africa, but occasionally seen in 
Great Britain. The Spotted Crake is common all 
over Europe during the summer, but returns to Africa 
to winter. See Plate 29, Figs. 164, 166. 


Little Crake 

(Zapuritia parva) 

161. European Coot (FuUca atra). 


A very near relative of the Spotted Crake is the 
Carolina Crake, or Sora, of this country, a pretty little 
bird of mottled plumage and black and white bars on 
the flanks. 

The Corncrake, or Land Rail as it is often called, 
is common in Great Britain, but only occasionally 
seen in the eastern part of this country. Unlike the 
Little Crake and the Spotted Crake, which love the 
marshes, this bird frequents dry meadows, clover 
fields, and fields of com. Though feeble in flight, 
when migrating this bird is able to travel many hun- 
dreds of miles without stopping, leaving the British 
Islands in the autumn to pass the winter in Africa, 
and returning in the spring. See Plate 30, Fig. 168. 

This bird makes a remarkable creaking sovind dur- 
ing the summer which can easily be imitated by pass- 
ing the thumb-nail over the teeth of a fine comb. In 
this way they can often be lured into sight. Like the 
other Rails, the Corncrake does not take wing readily, 
and it flies slowly, with the legs hanging down. When 
captured, it sometimes tries to effect its escape by 
feigning death — a device used by other members of 
this family also. 

Some well-known species of Rail in this country 
are the King Rail, one of the largest forms, with 
variegated plumage of brown, black and grey above, 
reddish-brown below, and sides barred with white, 
found in the eastern parts of the United States; the 
Virginia Rail, considerably smaller than the preced- 
ing, but resembling it in colour; the Clapper Rail, or 
Marsh Hen, with pale olive colouring above, greyish- 
brown on the wings, and, as with all the family, bars 


on the flanks; and the Little Black Rail, with rusty 
black plumage above, barred with white, nape of the 
neck reddish, and the under-parts slate colour. 

The Gallinules constitute another branch of this 
family, two species of which are found in our Southern 
States. The Purple Gallinule has the head, neck, 
and breast a deep bluish-purple, the rest of the plum- 
age shading to greenish, the under tail-coverts white. 
A distinguishing mark is the flat, waxy plate, red and 
blue in colour, on the top of the head. The bill is 
red, tipped with green, and the legs are yellow. In 
flying, the Purple Gallinule raises the short tail, dis- 
playing the pure white under-feathers, and the legs 
hang straight down. When a shot is fired, it is at 
once answered, like an echo, by hundreds of these 
birds. But, although heard, they are seldom seen, for 
their colouring harmonises so perfectly with the water- 
lily pads floating on the blue water that they are prac- 
tically invisible. Their toes are very long and deli- 
cately made, enabling the birds to walk with ease over 
the vegetation of lakes and ponds in search of their 
food. They are also good swimmers. 

The Florida Gallinule is about the same size as the 
preceding species, but differs in colouration, the back 
being brownish, the flanks streaked with white. The 
birds are often seen together in the fresh-water 
marshes of Florida, the more brilliant colouring of the 
first species mentioned making it easily distinguish- 
able from the other. 

The Water Rail is the commonest of European 
Rails. It is never found far from water, and, in spite 
of the fact that its feet are not webbed, it swims and 


t-W. ''^'*^r-- 

240. liufous Tinamnu 

244. Globose Curassow 


( Crax (jlobicera). 


245. Gambel Partridge 
\Lovhortvx oambetlm 

246. Road-runner 
{Oeococcyx calif ornianvs) . 


dives with remarkable ease. The toes are very long 
and slender. On account of its shy and retiring 
habits, this bird is rarely seen, even in localities where 
it is quite common. See Plate 29, Fig. 163. 

The Coot and the Water Hen, or Common Gal- 
linule, of Europe are also admirable divers. The toes 
of the Coot are provided with broad lobes along their 

The Moor Hen may be distinguished from the 
Coot not only by its smaller size, but also by the bright 
vermilion-red shield on the forehead and the white 
patches under the tail. Though an extremely timid 
bird in a wild state, it thrives well in captivity and is 
often seen in public collections. See Plate 29, Fig. 

The Coot is a larger bird than the Water Hen, or 
Gallinule, and is easily distinguished from it by the 
broad white bill. The European Coot has no white 
below the tail, and is also without the white markings 
on the wings that characterise the American species. 
Although very shy birds naturally, it is said that in 
certain localities in Florida where shooting is forbid- 
den they are as tame as domestic Ducks. Young 
Coots, while still in the nestling plumage, have the 
head ornamented by numerous little fleshy warts of a 
bright red colour, while the rest of the body, as in the 
young of the Rail tribe generally, is jet black in 
colour. See Plate 29, Fig. 167. 

The Little Bustard is common in certain parts of 
Europe, especially in the Spanish peninsula. It is 
abundant in Africa, north of the Sahara, also in north- 
western India. See Plate 29, Fig. 162. 


The Great Bustard is known as the largest of Euro- 
pean birds, male individuals often weighing as much 
as thirty pounds. It is now extinct in Great Britain, 
although at one time common there, but is still found 
on the Continent. The enclosures of waste land, 
planting of trees, and increase of population have 
driven it from many of its former breeding places. 
The males are much larger than the females and more 
brightly coloured; both sexes have long hair-like 
feathers back of the ears. During the breeding season 
the males go through with strange performances. 
The tail is thrown up over the back, showing the pure 
white under-tail coverts, the wings are drooped, and 
the bag, or pouch, which runs down the front of the 
neck, is inflated until it reaches enormous proportions, 
while the head is sunken between the shoulders, with 
the long ear-feathers standing up at the sides. See 
Plate 30, Fig. 169. 

Bustards are confined exclusively to the Old World, 
most of the species being found in Africa. 


Ploters, Gulls, and Auks 

THE birds which form the subject of the present 
chapter represent a varied assemblage, yet all 
are related. Besides the typical Plovers, they 
include the Pratincoles, Stilts, Curlews, Snipes, Pha- 
laropes, Gulls, Terns, and Auks. 

While some species frequent inland waters and 
marshy places, others keep more or less to the sea- 
coast. Though the majority are never found far from 
water, some find a living on dry, sandy wastes. All 
are remarkable for their great powers of flight, some, 
indeed, travelling thousands of miles when migrating. 

The young of the more typical of the Plover tribe 
are quite active from the moment they leave the shell, 
and are covered with short down more or less mottled 
with black; but the colouration of the down varies in 
different species, being very pale in those that breed 
in sandy wastes, and dark when the nesting-ground is 
in marshy places. 

One of the most aberrant — that is, one that differs 
most from the typical form — is the beautiful Pratin- 
cole, or Glareola, a bird which in many ways resembles 
the Swallow. The tail is long and forked, the wings 



long and pointed, and the form is slender and graceful. 
The Pratincole breeds in many parts of the continent 
of Europe, but is only occasionally seen in the British 
Islands. Like the Swallow, it catches much of its food 
on the wing — beetles, grasshoppers and locusts form- 
ing the principal prey — and it runs very nimbly along 
the ground. This bird is in many of its characters 
unlike the true Plovers, and is regarded as a descend- 
ant of a more ancient stock — as a side branch of the 
tree that gave rise to the typical Plovers. It has no 
representative in this country. See Plate 31, Fig. 

A good example of the true Plover is the Golden 
Plover, a bird widely distributed throughout both the 
Old World and the New, and known under many 
names. The American species is slightly smaller than 
the European, but resembles it in colouration. See 
Plate 30, Fig. 170. 

In the breeding season this bird dons a gorgeous 
plumage, greyish above, thickly spotted with black, 
and all black below, but in the autumn the jet-black 
feathers of the under-parts become replaced by white, 
while the upper loses some of the black markings and 
becomes more golden in tone. 

There are many species of Ringed Plover, the one 
figured being a common European and American 
shore-bird. This bird builds no nest, but deposits its 
eggs in a slight depression in the sand, and from their 
close resemblance to the surrounding stones, they are 
exceedingly difficult to locate. The nestlings are also 
very inconspicuous on the sand of the beach. See 
Plate 80, Fig. 178. 


One of the commonest of our Plovers is the Killdee, 
or Killdeer, so called from its notes, uttered loudly and 
rapidly when the bird is alarmed. It is greyish-brown 
above and white below, has a black band on the breast, 
and a black ring round the neck. Another distinguish- 
ing mark is a white line over the eye. The Killdeer 
resembles the preceding species, but is considerably 
larger. It feeds both by day and by night, on worms, 
beetles, grasshoppers, and so on, in marshes and, in 
winter, along the shore. 

The Little Kentish Plover is a tiny bird, easily 
recognisable by its incomplete chest-band. It is com- 
mon in many parts of Europe, but is somewhat rare 
in England, being met with most frequently in that 
country along the shingle beaches of Kent. See Plate 
30, Fig. 174. 

The Piping Plover is a small form found in eastern 
North America, ashy-brown above and white below. 

The Lapwing, or Peewit, is another bird of this 
tribe that is common in Europe, especially so in 
England, where its eggs are highly esteemed for food, 
many of them being sold in the markets of London 
under the name of Plovers' eggs — a practice that 
must result in reducing its numbers. See Plate 30, 
Fig. 171. 

The male bird is very beautiful in colour, iridescent 
green and purple, under-parts white, the long crest 
and top of the head black and the feet red. 

The eggs of the Lapwing vary greatly in colour. 
They are laid in slight hollows in the ground, little or 
no nest being made for their reception. On the ap- 
proach of winter these birds collect in large flocks, dis- 


persing again in the spring. They are among the 
most valuable of the farmer's allies, worms, slugs and 
insects forming their principal food. 

The Black-winged Stilt is one of the most remark- 
able of the Plover tribe, having extremely long legs 
(from which fact it receives its name), a long, sharp 
bill, long neck and long wings. The colour, in gen- 
eral, is blackish above and white below, and the feet 
and legs are brilliant red. This bird is met with abun- 
dantly in marshy places in the Old World. The great 
length of the Stilt's legs is due to the fact that the bird 
obtains its food by wading in shallow water and prob- 
ing in the mud for snails and other small creatures. 
See Plate 30, Fig. 172. 

Occasionally seen in the eastern parts of this coun- 
try, and quite common in certain sections of the West, 
is the Black-necked Stilt, which is all black above and 
white below. 

The Avocet is one of the strangest forms of Plover, 
having a very long, slender, upward-curving bill, long 
legs and webbed toes, in the latter respect differing 
from most of the Wading-birds, whose toes are free. 
The colour of the Avocet is chiefly black and white and 
the legs are bluish. The principal American species 
differs from the European in having a reddish-brown 
head and neck. See Plate 32, Fig. 184. 

The Snipe and the Woodcock are birds with which 
most people are somewhat ^amiliar. The long, slender 
bills and long legs whic^pjslinguish them show at once 
that they cannot live loiig'f ar away from water. They 
are, indeed, dwellers in marshes and swamps, living on 
worms and aquatic insects and small water-snails. 


174. Kentish Plover 
{JBijiatitis alexandrina). 


The worms are obtained by probing in the soft soil and 
are apparently detected by the tip of the beak, which 
is supplied with a pair of large nerves and is therefore 
extremely sensitive. 

The buff and black stripings and barrings on these 
birds play a very important part, since they serve to 
blend the body with the surrounding grasses when the 
bird is crouching to avoid its enemies. This it always 
does in preference to seeking safety by flight. 

In the spring both males and females spend much 
of their time in making extraordinary sounds known 
as "bleating." This curious, humming noise they pro- 
duce by mounting high in the air and then descending 
with tremendous rapidity, meanwhile spreading the 
wings so that the two outer feathers stand apart from 
the rest. The rush of air against these is now known 
to cause the sounds which have puzzled so many ob- 

The Common Snipe of Europe has fourteen tail- 
feathers, while the nearly related American species has 
sixteen. See Plate 31, Fig. 178. 

The Jack Snipe is a common British bird during the 
^winter season, leaving in the spring to breed in north- 
ern Europe. Smaller thara the Common Snipe, it is 
further distinguished from it by having but twelve 
tail-feathers. This bird also makes curious noises dur- 
ing the breeding season, but these are apparently vocal 
and not made by the wing-feathers. It is said that this 
noise resembles that made by a horse when galloping 
on a hard road. 

The real home of the Great, or Solitary, Snipe is in 
the marshy districts of Poland and in parts of Russia, 


but it is met with also in Africa and in Asia, It is a 
larger bird than the Common English Snipe, has rela- 
tively shorter beak and legs and more closely barred 
under-parts. See Plate 31, Fig. 179. 

The Willet is a common North' American bird of 
the Snipe family, with black-lined wings and other- 
wise varied plmnage. It is rather large, has a heavier 
bill than most of the Snipes, and bluish feet. 

A well-known marsh bird of this country is the Yel- 
lowlegs, named from its conspicuously bright yellow 
legs. This and the preceding species are members of 
a group called Tattlers, from their habit of giving 
shrill cries on the approach of sportsmen. Their flesh 
is highly prized for the table. These birds are found 
in summer throughout the temperate parts of North 
America, migrating in winter to Central and South 
America. Their plumage is, in general, a mixture of 
black and white, in spots and streaks. They are semi- 
palmated, or partly webbed, and can swim, fly and run 
with equal facility. The Greater Yellowlegs and the 
Lesser Yellowlegs are similar in colouring, but the 
second is considerably smaller than the first named 
and has relatively longer legs. 

The Woodcock is found in both the Old World and 
the New and differs but little in colour. The Euro- 
pean species is much larger than the American and has 
the breast barred, while that of our bird is whole- 
coloured. The plumage is a beautiful mixture of 
russet-brown and black and there is a transverse black 
bar across the top of the head. The Woodcock is 
closely allied to the true Snipe, having the long, 
straight, sensitive bill common to that family, the 


upper mandible being used much as a finger when 
probing in the mud for worms and larvae. 

The European Woodcock is occasionally seen on 
our shores as a straggler. In both countries the flesh 
of this bird is so highly esteemed for the table that it is 
in danger of extermination. It breeds chiefly in the 
higher latitudes, laying its eggs upon the ground in 
the woods, in nests of leaves. See Plate 31, Fig. 177. 

A curious anatomical character in the Woodcock is 
the position of the ear opening, which is in front of and 
beneath the level of the eye. In the Snipe it lies 
underneath the eye, while in all other birds it is found 
behind the eye. The eyes of this bird are large, dark 
brown in colour and set far at the back of the head and 
close to the top. 

The Woodcock is nocturnal in habits, starting for 
its feeding-grounds in the early evening. It makes 
remarkable spiral flights high up into the air, during 
which the wind rushes through the stiff outer primaries 
with a whistling or bleating sound. 

The species now to be described differ conspicuously 
from the Snipes and Woodcocks in that they have two 
distinct plumages during the year — a sober-coloured 
dress for autumn and winter and a more richly col- 
oured one for spring and summer. The latter being- 
assumed just before the nesting season, is known as 
the breeding dress. 

This difference is not very strikingly marked in the 
Greenshank, a somewhat common European bird, so 
called from the colour of its legs. It is rather large, 
measuring about fourteen inches in length, and has a 
slightly upturned bill. In summer the upper parts 


of the neck and wings are nearly black, relieved by 
pale grey edgings to the feathers ; the lower parts are 
flecked with ashy brown. In winter the upp'er parts 
are greyer and the under parts white. See Plate 31, 
Fig. 180. 

The eggs of the Greenshank are a warm stone col- 
our, blotched with purplish-grey and spots of brown. 
The nest, such as it is, is often placed at a distance 
from water and sometimes on dry ground amid scat- 
tered pine trees. 

In our country this bird is represented by the God- 
wits, or Marlins, found on the Pacific coast and also 
in the interior of the Western States, but seldom on 
the Atlantic coast. In colouring and in general char- 
acters they resemble the species figured. 

In the Dunlin the contrast between the summer and 
winter plumages is very striking. In winter the 
upper parts are ash-coloured, the under parts white; 
but towards the end of March the new livery begins to 
make its appearance. When complete the upper parts 
are a rich golden-brown, streaked and blotched with 
black, except the wings, which remain grey, while the 
breast becomes jet black. The females are somewhat 
larger and have longer beaks than the males, but in the 
length of beak there is great variation in both sexes. 

The Dunlin, like the Snipe and Woodcock and 
many other long and slender-beaked waders, has the 
power of curving the tip of the upper mandible up- 
wards for a considerable distance, enabling it to seize 
its prey when the beak is thrust downward into the 
mud of their feeding-grounds. See Plate 32, Fig. 


180. Greenshan 


This bird is widely distributed throughout the 
northern hemisphere, migrating at the beginning of 
winter to a warmer climate. It breeds chiefly in the 
Arctic regions. The variety found in this country is 
slightly larger than that of the Old World and has a 
longer bill, slightly recurved. 

In its winter dress the Little Stint looks like a mini- 
ature Dunlin, but in summer it assumes the coloura- 
tion of its larger relative only so far as the upper parts 
are concerned, the imder parts remaining white. Its 
breeding-ground is in the northern hemisphere, but 
it takes long journeys when migrating, and in the 
winter is found in many parts of the world. See Plate 
32, Fig. 183. 

Our American Stint is commonly called the Least 
Sandpiper and differs from the European species 
chiefly in that it is smaller and darker in colour at all 
seasons. This tiny wanderer, but six inches in length, 
sometimes strays as far as Great Britain and other 
parts of Europe. Its bill is straight. A larger spe- 
cies, the Semipalmated Sandpiper, is sometimes seen 
with the Least Sandpiper along our coasts. 

Many other species of Sandpiper are found in this 

The Curlew Sandpiper, which is only an occasional 
visitor to the United^ States, is very striking in the 
matter of plumage. In winter ash grey above and 
white below, this bird in the early spring assumes a 
richly coloured livery, the upper parts being beauti- 
fully barred and streaked with black and grey on a 
ground of rich chestnut, while the under parts are red- 
dish, slightly barred on the flanks with dark brown and 


grey. The females, as in the Plovers generally, re- 
semble the males and are slightly larger. See Plate 
32, Fig. 186. 

In the autumn these birds visit the eastern shores of 
Great Britain in great numbers, the immigration 
at that time consisting chiefly of young birds. 
Smaller numbers of adult birds arrive in the spring 
in their full breeding colours, on their way to their 
breeding-grounds within the Arctic Circle. 

Like the Curlew Sandpiper, the Knot and the San- 
derling have a red breeding plumage. 

The Knot, also called Robin Snipe and Grey Snipe, 
is the largest of these three species, measuring ten 
inches in length. In winter grey above and white 
below, it assumes in the spring a very handsome dress. 
The head and neck are reddish-brown, with dark 
streaks, the back-feathers are blackish, spotted with 
chestnut and margined with white, while the throat 
and breast are a rich dark chestnut. See Plate 32, 
Fig. 187. 

Until the year 1876 the breeding-place of the Knot 
was unknown. It was then discovered nesting in the 
snow of the Arctic regions, by Colonel Fielding, when 
on an Arctic expedition. On this occasion nestlings 
only were found, and the eggs were unknown until the 
year 1901, when specimens were found in the Taimyr 
Peninsula, Siberia. 

The Knot is well known in this country along the 
Atlantic seaboard, as well as on the Great Lakes and 
in the Mississippi Valley. 

The Sanderling differs from the other Sandpipers 
in that it lacks the hind-toe. In its autumn and win- 


ter dress this bird is grey above and white below, but 
during the summer months the feathers of the upper 
parts have dark brown or black centres, edged or spot- 
ted with rufous, while the face, neck and upper part 
of the breast are a pale chestnut, spotted with dark 
brown. This little bird breeds in the far north, but 
at other times is found along the beaches in almost 
every part of the world. See Plate 32, Fig, 188. 

In many ways the most remarkable of the Plover 
tribe is the Ruff, sometimes called the Fighting Sand- 
piper, a bird that is widely distributed in the Old 
World, though but rarely seen in America. The male 
takes its name from a wonderful frill of feathers about 
the neck, bearing a fancied resemblance to the Eliza- 
bethan ruff. The female is called a Reeve, but for 
what reason is not known. The colouration of the ruff 
varies in every individual. As if still further to 
heighten the effect of this ornament, the head is 
adorned with broad ear-tufts, while around the beak 
are brilliantly coloured, fleshy tubercles. In the illus- 
tration the ruff is black and the ear-tufts dark brown, 
but ruffs of white, buff and chestnut also occur, and 
they may be plain, banded, spotted or streaked with 
darker colours. In the autumn the various ornaments 
are discarded, and the male is distinguished from the 
female only by its larger size. These ruffs are made 
to play an important part during the courting season, 
for at this time their wearers meet together daily for 
the purpose of sparring with each other and fighting 
mimic battles. When a Ruff is in the presence of a 
Reeve he behaves very strangely, thrusting his beak 


down to the ground and spreading out his ruflf and 
ear-tufts to the fullest extent. And in this position 
he will stand for a minute or more, as if to give the 
female time to admire him, though, as often as not, she 
quietly walks oif as soon as she sees that he is too ab- 
sorbed in his ceremonial to notice whether she is look- 
ing or not. See Plate 31, Fig. 181. 

The Redshank brings us back to the more normal 
Wading-birds. The name is derived from the orange 
colour of the legs. This bird is common in many parts 
of the Old World, but is not known in America. Al- 
though it has distinct summer and winter plumage, 


these do not differ conspicuously. The lower part of 
the back is always white. See Plate 32, Fig. 182. 

The American Oyster-catcher is a strictly marine 
bird of this tribe, so called from its habit of feeding 
upon small oysters, clams and other mollusks found 
along beaches, using its strong beak to force open the 
shells. It breeds on the coast as far north as southern 
New Jersey and is fairly common. Three species are 
found in America, the Black Oyster-catcher having 
entirely black plumage, with red bill, feet and eyes. 

Several species of Curlew are native to this country, 
the largest of which is the Long-billed, found chiefly 
in the interior as far north as Manitoba, but also seen 
along the coast. The beak is long and curved like that 
of an Ibis. The colouration is black and buff above, 
the tail barred with the same colours, the under parts 
buff, streaked with darker colour. This is the largest 
of American shore-birds, measuring about two feet in 
length, the long, pointed wings spreading about forty t 


182. Redshank (Tvianus totamis) 


European Avocet 

(Recur oirostra 


186. Curlew Sandpiper 
(Eh'olia ferrujjinea) . 

187. Knot 
(Triiiga eonutut). 


fOalidria arenariaj. 


inches. Like that of the Snipe and Woodcock, this 
plumage is worn throughout the year. 

A commoner species along our coasts is the Hud- 
sonian Curlew, a smaller form than the preceding. 
The Eskimo Curlew is more frequently met with in 
the interior, being more of a field bird than either of 
the others mentioned. 

The species figured is the European Curlew, which 
closely resembles the American. See Plate 31, Fig. 

The Phalaropes are small birds, in general appear- 
ance resembling the Sandpipers, but having lobed 
toes. The wings are long and the tail rather short. 
They breed in the Arctic regions and migrate south- 
ward in winter. 

The largest and most beautiful species is Wilson's 
Phalarope, found only in America, chiefly in the in- 
terior of the country. The female exceeds the male 
in size and beauty, and he performs the duties of nest- 
building and brooding the eggs. The plumage is ash- 
colour above, varied with chestnut, and white below; 
the bill and feet are black. 

The Jacanas are related to the Plover tribe and are 
found in both America and Europe. These are small 
birds, having enormously long toes and claws that 
enable them to walk with ease over floating aquatic 
plants. The commonest species in this country is the 
Mexican Jacana. The tail is short and the wings are 
provided with spurs that are used in fighting, the birds 
being very quarrelsome. They are found along the 
banks of streams and ponds, but are imable to swim. 



At one time regarded as near relatives of the Pet- 
rels, it is now known that these birds are much more 
closely related to the Plovers, and this relationship is 
shown, curiously enough, most strikingly in the 
colouration of the eggs on the one hand and in the 
skeleton on the other, though many other common ana- 
tomical characters afford equally positive evidence of 
this fact. 

Like the Petrels and unlike the Plovers, they are 
web-footed. But they differ from the Petrels and 
resemble the Plovers in having slit-like instead of 
tubular nostrils. 

Such species as display a distinct summer dress 
have this change confined to the colouration of the 
head. Many species require several years to attain 
their fully adult plumage. 

Gulls fly with more deliberate flaps of the wings 
than Terns and Jaegers and are able to keep in the air 
even longer without coming to the water to rest. It 
is believed that individuals have followed vessels en- 
tirely across the Atlantic. Gulls are excellent swim- 
mers, exceedingly buoyant and floating high on the 
waves with the breast seeming just to touch. One 
alighting upon the water is a very pretty sight, indeed. 
Raising the wings high above the back as it nears 
the surface, with the delicate feet extended down- 
ward, the bird settles quietly to rest, folding its wings 
and carefully adjusting its plumage. They sleep or 
appear to sleep in the wildest sea, bobbing up and 
down on the waves like corks, and no amount of spray 

GULLS 115 

or wind seems to affect them. Strangely enough, they 
are able to accelerate their speed without flapping the 
wings, and a Gull hovering at the stem of a swiftly 
moving steamer will suddenly fly ahead of and around 
it, resuming its position at the stern without a single 
wing-beat. Gulls fly by night as well as by day and 
take very little, if any, sleep, for days at a time, resting 
on the water for some hours and then resuming their 

Gulls have long and rather narrow wings, particu- 
larly adapted for long-continued and powerful flight. 
They flap the wings apparently with considerable 
effort, but in spite of seeming exhaustion keep flap- 
ping for hours at a time on inland streams or rivers 
where the wind is hardly sufficient to buoy them up. 

All have powerful bills which serve in tearing their 
food. The legs are short and delicate, the feet small 
and webbed. Most species are white mixed with grey 
or black, though in one or two forms a reddish tint is 
visible on the feathenS. The plumage is exquisitely 
soft and smooth and always in immaculate condition. 

Gulls nest in many different sites, but usually on 
the ground, either among rocks or on the sandy shores. 
Occasionally they build in trees. They eat a great 
variety of food and are practically birds of prey, feed- 
ing on small animals and the eggs and young of other 
birds. This is particularly true of the Jaegers, who 
keep the Murres, Puffins and Auks which nest in the 
same localities constantly on the alert to protect their 
nurseries from these marauders. 

The voice of the Gull is peculiarly harsh, and the 


screams of these birds above a heavy storm are fre- 
quently heard on vessels far out at sea. 

The young are covered with a fluffy down, usually 
mottled with grey, light brown and white. They re- 
main in the nest for a considerable time and are so 
protectively coloured that they are with difficulty dis- 
tinguished from their surroundings. 

Besides living food. Gulls consume an immense 
amount of refuse matter found along shore in the 
neighbourhood of cities. For some years scows laden 
with refuse from the city of New York have, at regu- 
lar intervals, emptied their contents some miles out at 
sea. At the shriek of the whistle on one of these 
barges — the signal to dump the garbage into the sea — 
they begin to gather in thousands to feed upon it, and 
those who have seen it say it is a most remarkable spec- 
tacle to see these birds hurrying from all quarters to 
the feast. 

Great numbers of Gulls were formerly killed by 
feather hunters, but fortunately they are now pro- 
tected, and they have again become quite plentiful 
along our coasts. 

The Herring Gull affords a good instance of the 
Gulls which take several years to attain the character- 
istic adult dress. The back in this species is a delicate 
grey, the rest of the plumage pure white, set off by the 
yellow colour of the feet and beak. The beak is fur- 
ther decorated by a touch of bright red. The eye is 
a beautiful straw colour, set in a frame of vermilion 
formed by the rim of the eyelid. The sexes cannot be 
distinguished externally, and the summer and winter 
plumage is alike, except that in winter the head is 


225. Kittiwake {Riaaa tridaclyla). 


streaked with grey. The young birds are mottled 
with brown. See Plate 38, Fig. 223. 

The Herring Gull is common in both Europe and 
America and the two forms are practically alike in 
size and colour. This is the bird so commonly seen in 
our harbours and following in the track of vessels. 

Nearly allied to the Herring Gull is the Great 
Black-backed Gull, a rather larger bird than the for- 
mer and distinguished from it by having a dark, slaty 
black instead of pale grey back. The tips of the 
wings and rest of the plumage are pure white. It is a 
more northern species than the Herring Gull, but is 
frequently seen in company with them. 

The Common European Gull, or Mew Gull, as it 
is called in Great Britain, and the Kittiwake, have no 
decided difference of plumage, except that in winter 
the head and upper part of the neck become flecked 
with grey, as in the Herring Gull. In the Kittiwake 
the hind-toe has become reduced to the vanishing 
point., See Plate 38, Figs. 224, 225. 

There are several species of these birds in this coun- 
try, but they differ little in general appearance. 

The Black-headed Gull differs from those just de- 
scribed in that during the summer months the head 
assumes a dark brown colour, which, when the bird is^ 
flying, looks black; hence its name. Young birds in 
their first plumage may be readily distinguished by 
the fact that the small feathers of the wings are brown, 
while the tail has a black bar across the tip. But the 
fully adult characters are assumed on the comple- 
tion of the first year — in which it differs from the 


Herring and Black-backed Gulls, which require years 
to attain the adult plumage. See Plate 39, Fig. 228. 

During the winter months, for some years past, 
these birds have assembled in large numbers on the 
Thames and on the waters of the London parks. 

The Laughing Gull, which breeds in the eastern 
part of North America, has in summer dark grey 
wings and back, with black primaries, head and throat 
darker, under parts white, and bill a deep red; in 
winter, the head and throat become white, sometimes 
streaked with greyish colour. The name is taken from 
its curious cry, resembling laughter. 

The Black Skimmer or Scissor-bill is a remarkable 
member of the Gull family, having the lower mandible 
considerably longer than the upper. Both are thin 
and very flexible, and the bird skims the surface of the 
water in search of small aquatic creatures. These 
birds are quite common along our southern coasts, 
nesting in the sand and gravel of the beach.- The 
young harmonise so perfectly with their surro-undings 
as to be practically invisible. In them for some time 
the mandibles are of equal length. The plumage of 
the adult bird is black and white and the bill is red and 

The small, fork-tailed, short-legged birds known as 
Terns are very closely related to the Gulls, but have 
relatively longer wings and are much more graceful 
and swift in flight. They perform many strange evo- 
lutions in the air, large flocks flying round and round 
Ijin a huge circle, wheeling and swerving like one bird. 
They are extremely noisy, uttering their harsh calls 
almost continuously. Terns flap their wings much 


oftener than Gulls and may readily be distinguished 
from them by their smaller size and long, sharply 
pointed bills. They are not as good swimmers, having 
very small and delicate feet. On shore they patter 
about in a very pretty and graceful manner. Their 
food consists principally of living fish, which they 
procure by diving from a considerable height into the 

Their nesting habits are similar to those of Gulls, 
great colonies of them laying their eggs in hollows on 
the beach, usually on remote islands, but sometimes 
on the coast or along inland waters. Great numbers 
of the Common, or Wilson's, Tern breed on the island 
of Penikese, off the coast of Massachusetts, a favour- 
able site for them, since it has in recent years become 
Government property and the breeding-grounds of 
the birds will be protected. The yoimg are tiny, 
fluffy creatures, much like young Gulls for the first 
few months of their existence, and bear a close resem- 
blance to their surroundings. See Plate 39, Fig. 230= 

The Royal Tern is frequently seen along our south- 
ern coasts, particularly in Florida, where it is often 
seen, chasing the less active Pelicans and forcing them 
to disgorge their prey, when by a swift plunge they 
secure the prize before it reaches the water. Another 
interesting species is the Noddy Tern, found in sum- 
mer along the Gulf coast. In this the top of the head 
is white, instead of black, the rest of the plumage a 
very dark brown and the middle tail-feathers are long- 
est. In Terns the outer tail-feathers are longer than 
the others, as in Swallows, and hence they are often 


called Sea Swallows. When alarmed, these birds 
hover distractedly in the air above their nests. 

The Little, or Least, Tern in its general appearance 
resembles the Common Tern, from which, however, 
it may be readily distinguished by its much smaller 
size and by the yellow, black-tipped beak. The Least 
Tern of America is nearly related to the European 
species, but has less black on the back. It is said to 
vary its fish diet with insects. As may be inferred 
from its name, this is the smallest member of the Tern 
family. See Plate 39, Fig. 227. 

The Bridled and Sooty Terns are two species that 
closely resemble each other, found in tropical and 
subtropical regions of the western hemisphere. 

The Fulmar is remarkable for having two distinct 
phases of plumage — a light phase, in which the head, 
neck and under parts are white, with back, wings and 
tail grey, and a dark phase, in which the whole plum- 
age is much the same shade of dark, smoky grey. 
This bird is Gull-like in form, but has longer wings. 
These are occasionally flapped slowly in flight, but 
much of the time are held stiffly outstretched. 

The Sandwich Tern derives its name from the place 
where it was first observed — Sandwich, England. In 
this species the crown in summer is black and the beak 
is black tipped with yellow. The back,, as in the other 
Terns and many of the Gulls, is a beautiful pearl- 
grey, the under-parts white, but tinged with a salmon- 
pink colour, which rapidly fades after the death of the 
bird. The legs and feet are black, in this respect dif- 
fering from those of the other Terns described. See 
Plate 39, Fig. 229. 

AUKS 121 

Skuas and Jaegers are Gull-like birds found along 
the waters of the northern hemisphere. They differ 
from typical Gulls and Terns not only anatomically 
and in their more sombre colouration, but also in their 
habits. They are known as parasitic, from the fact 
that they chase Gulls and force them to disgorge the 
fish they have captured. So expert is the Skua that 
he will catch the fish dropped by his victim before it 
can reach the sea. Skuas also devour the eggs and 
young of any other birds which may have the misfor- 
tune to be breeding in their neighbourhood. 

The nestlings of the various species of Skuas differ 
from those of Gulls and Terns in being dark and 
whole-coloured, instead of grey and mottled with 

The Parasitic Jaeger and the Long-tailed Jaeger, 
as it is often called, are found the whole way round the 
northern hemisphere, having a wide range over the 
Arctic regions of America. See Plate 38, Fig. 226. 


The Auks — in other words, the Guillemots, Razor- 
bills and Puffins — are among the most interesting of 
living birds, for there can be little doubt that they are 
descended from some Plover-like ancestor and that 
their present peculiarities of shape and structure were 
slowly acquired as they became more and more aqua- 
tic until they have assumed a close resemblance to the 
far more ancient Diving-birds. As divers and in the 
skill they display in the capture of fish, which they 
chase under water, these birds have no rivals. They 
are never met with in fresh water, but frequent rocky 


coasts in the northern parts of both hemispheres, 
where they live in enormous colonies. 

The Guillemot and the Razor-bill breed on the 
edges of cliffs, laying, on the bare rock, but a single 
pear-shaped egg. The Puffin, on the other hand, 
chooses a burrow for its nest, seizing, as a rule, one 
dug either by a rabbit or a Petrel, and driving out the 
rightful occupants by the aid of its powerful beak. 
See Plate 40, Fig. 239. 

These birds are all compact in form, with short, 
rounded tails and webbed feet. Their wings, while 
short, are very powerful, and the birds fly with great 
speed, but they are not graceful on the wing and do 
not soar like the Gulls and some of their allies. 
Owing to their almost inaccessible breeding-grounds, 
these birds are still very plentiful. Their eggs are 
used for food by the Eskimos and the flesh of the birds 
as well. The eggs are collected during the warmer 
months of the year and stored for use during the long 
winter. See Plate 39, Fig. 233. 

The Murres are closely allied to the Guillemots and 
much like them in form. Two species — the California 
and Pallas's Murre — are extremely abimdant on the 
islands of the Bering Sea and are said "to outnumber 
all the other sea birds in that region fully ten to one." 
See Plate 40, Fig. 238. 

One writer who has studied these birds in their 
haunts on the islands of the Bering Sea, says : "Puf- 
fins are the most outlandish birds, trim in build, about 
a foot in length, with very short feet and webbed toes. 
When seated on the rocks they assume an erect pos- 
ture, and their small heads set close down upon their 


shoulders look ridiculously insignificant in comparison 
with their exaggerated beaks, which are much flat- 
tened sidewise and immensely spread out from top to 
bottom. . . , This great beak is largely an ap- 
pendage of the breeding season and is cast, like the 
antlers of a deer, at the end of that period." It is 
brilliantly coloured in red, yellow and green. 

In the Tufted Puffin, during the breeding season, 
two bunches of yellow feathers grow from the sides of 
the head just behind the eye, extending for some dis- 
tance behind the neck. It is brownish-black above and 
greyish-brown below, while the Horned Puffin, which 
takes its name from a small excrescence on the eyelid, 
is almost black above and white below, and the feet are 
brilliant red. 

The Great Auk, a larger bird than any of the pre- 
ceding species, standing more than two feet in height, 
has become extinct since the middle of the last century. 
Its wings were rudimentary, and being unable to fly it 
was quickly killed off by early travellers to the North 
for its feathers, flesh and oil, and a few skins, bones 
and eggs that have been preserved in museums and 
by collectors are all that remain of this interesting 
bird. In colouring, the Great Auk was all black above 
and pure white below, with a large white spot in front 
of the eyes. 

The Wings of the Little Auk, or Dovekie for- 
tunately unlike those of its great relative, are 
well developed and used in flight. This bird is com- 
mon along the rocky shores of the British Islands and 
many other favourable localities in the north Atlantic. 
See Plate 40, Fig. 236. 



PIGEONS are now generally believed to be very 
near relations of the Plover tribe, little as these 
two groups appear to have in common, judged 
by external characters alone. When, however, we 
compare them anatomically, we gain true insight into 
their relationships. 

Pigeons are, for the roost part, short-legged, ar- 
boreal birds. Certain forms, however, such as the 
Crowned Pigeons and a few others, have taken to liv- 
ing on the ground, and in these the legs are much 
longer than in the tree-living species. 

Two white eggs are laid in a season and the parents 
relieve each other in the task of incubating. The 
young are hatched naked and are for a long time help- 
less. Pigeons are remarkable from the fact that the 
inner walls of the crop, which is of great size, are richly 
provided with blood-vessels which during the breeding 
season secrete what is known as "Pigeon's milk," and 
on this the young are fed, the parent thrusting its bill 
into the mouth of the young and regurgitating this 

The Pigeon family is a very large one, consisting of 



about three hundred species, and is distributed over a 
large part of the warmer sections of the world. A 
great many are found in the East Indies, especially in 
the Malayan Archipelago. In form they resemble 
each other closely. They are, as a rule, fairly large 
birds, with strong feet and legs, and in walking have 
a singular jerky motion, the head bobbing backwards 
and forwards at each step. When rising from the 
ground, many beat the backs of their wings together, 
causing a loud flapping sound. The different domes- 
tic breeds are supposed to be descendants of the Rock 
Dove of Europe. The young are known as squabs, 
and are highly prized for food. 

Pigeons, as a rule, are gregarious, flying in large 
flocks, although some species are solitary in habits. In 
flight they do not seem to have any orderly arrange- 
ment like that of Ducks and Geese, but proceed in a 
compact mass. 

The attitude of Pigeons in perching is peculiar and 
very characteristic. The feet — that is, the portion 
from the toes to the heel — are placed in an almost hori- 
zontal position, the bird appearing to hang away from 
the branch or perch in an awkward manner. The 
grasping power of the toes must be considerable in 
order to maintain this position. Most birds perch with 
the feet directly under the body. 

The voice of Pigeons is a well-marked character, 
best described by the word "coo," which perhaps most 
closely resembles it. The sound is always accompa- 
nied by the curious bobbing motion of the head. 

As a rule. Pigeons of the western hemisphere re- 
semble each other somewhat in colouring, which is 


a fawn or greyish, variously mingled with spots of 
black and white, Nearly all have a slight iridescence 
about the neck and head and sometimes on the wings. 
A few species have long, sharp-pointed tails like that 
of the Passenger Pigeon and Mourning Dove, but 
most of them have short, square tails. 

The remarkable extinct bird known as the Dodo 
was long a puzzle to scientific men, but is now loiown 
to have belonged to the Pigeon tribe. It was an in- 
habitant of Mauritius and was discovered by the early 
sea captains who visited the iisland in search of water. 
The Dodo was as heavy or heavier than the Turkey- 
cock and round and ungainly in appearance. The 
head was enormously large, the bill long and sharply 
recurved. It was absolutely flightless, the wings 
being represented by a few small, fluffy, Ostrich-like 
plumes. The legs were short and stout, the feet heavy 
and armed with powerful claws. Being flightless and 
clumsy and so unable to escape from their enemies, 
these birds were very quickly exterminated, only a few 
scattered bones and feathers now carefully preserved 
in museums remaining of this gigantic Pigeon. 

The American Passenger Pigeon was remarkable 
for the enormous numbers in which it existed in the 
United States not more than fifty years ago. These 
birds literally swarmed over the country. A flock seen 
by the naturalist Wilson was estimated by him to con- 
sist of many millions, and in 1813 Audubon reported 
enormous hosts of them, so thickly packed that they 
obscured the light of the sun at noontime as effectively 
as an eclipse. See Plate 22, Fig. 133. 

Another naturalist, Brewster, describing the nest- 


131. Stock Dove 
(Colmnba mnaa). 

. 133. 



ing-place of these birds in Michigan so recently as 
1866, says: "The birds arrived in two separate bodies, 
the largest of which formed a compact mass of 
Pigeons at least five miles long by one mile wide. The 
nesting area extended for a distance of eight miles 
through hardwood timber, then crossed a river, . . . 
and thence stretched through pinewoods about twenty 

These birds were subjected to merciless persecu- 
tion, being shot by thousands and the flesh of the 
young used for food. They became enormously fat 
and were sometimes killed merely for the oil that was 
extracted from the fat. It is not easy to understand, 
however, why the Passenger Pigeon should have be- 
come completely exterminated in so short a time, as it 
would seem that a few straggling flocks or individuals 
might still be in existence. But although the entire 
country has been searched again and again by expert 
naturalists in search of these birds, none have been dis- 
covered in recent years, those purporting to be of this 
species usually proving to be specimens of the Mourn- 
ing Dove or Zenaida. 

There are many species of Turtle Doves, all inhabi- 
tants of the Old World. The one figured is frequently 
seen in collections. It is quite abundant in certain 
parts of the British Islands during the summer 
months. Another species commonly seen in captivity 
is cream-coloured* These birds are popularly sup- 
posed to have a strong affection for each other, prob- 
ably from their habit of nestling close together when 
perching. As a matter of fact. Pigeons in general are 
rather quarrelsome and disagreeable toward each 


other, the males in particular pecking at and annoying 
the females. See Plate 23, Fig. 137. 

The Ring, or Barbary Dove is a near relative 
of the Turtle Dove and is met with from Constanti- 
nople to India. The so-called "Turtle Dove," so com- 
monly kept in cages, is really the Barbary Dove, 
though the domesticated birds now form a race apart 
from the wild species. See Plate 22, Fig. 130. 

The Fruit Pigeons of the Old World constitute a 
very large family, divided into many sub-families. 
They are of considerable size, and, as their common 
name implies, feed almost exclusively upon fruit. It 
is quite probable, however, that they also feed upon 
seeds, roots and insects. 

The Nicobar Pigeon is an East Indian species, 
chiefly remarkable for the long, pointed, iridescent 
feathers growing from each side of the neck — a rich 
greenish blue in colour and very brilliant. 

Another common East Indian form is the Blood- 
breasted, a rather small species having a crown of 
feathers and a conspicuous red spot, closely resembling 
blood, in the centre of the breast. 

The largest of all living Pigeons is the Goura, or 
Crowned Pigeon, a native of New Guinea and some 
of the neighbouring islands, and a familiar bird in zoo- 
logical collections. This bird has a beautiful crest 
composed of soft, filmy feathers which rise stiffly in a 
fan shape over the head and back of the neck, and is 
always erect. The Goura is about the size of a small 
Goose, but is quite differently shaped from that bird 
and has a short, thick neck like the other members of 
its family. It has a curious habit of shaking its tail 


almost continuously. In colour it is a charming bluish- 
grey or purplish-grey, with darker shades of purplish- 
red upon the wings. The eye is a deep rich red. The 
legs are long and heavily scaled. An even more beau- 
tiful species, perhaps, is the Victoria Crowned Pigeon, 
but it does not thrive well in captivity. See Plate 23, 
Fig. 136. 

The Wood Pigeon, also called Ring Dove, is a 
European species, measuring about seventeen inches 
in length. The female is hardly distinguishable from 
the male, being very little smaller and rather duller in 
colour. The white patch on the neck is a conspicuous 
mark. Of late years this bird has become very com- 
mon in London parks, where it is said to show not the 
slightest fear of man, though in the open country very 
shy and wary. See Plate 22, Fig. 132. 

The Stock Dove is often confused with the follow- 
ing species — the Rock Dove — ^but it may always be 
distinguished from it by the absence of the patch of 
white above the tail. It has somewhat increased in 
Europe of late years, and shows a marked preference 
for wooded districts. Rabbit burrows, holes in trees, 
and matted ivy are chosen as nesting-sites by these 
birds. See Plate 22, Fig. 181. 

Perhaps the most interesting of the Pigeon family 
is the Rock Dove, since it is probably the ancestor of 
all our domesticated races. Readily distinguishable 
by the double black bar across the wings and the white 
patch on the lower part of the back, this bird is to be 
found only in a truly wild state where caves or deep 
fissures in rocks exist. It is a common bird in Scot- 
land and is met with abundantly on the west cdast of 


Ireland, where it finds suitable breeding-places in the 
rugged cliffs facing the Atlantic. See Plate 23, Fig. 

Though partial to grain, the Rock Dove feeds 
largely on the roots and seeds of various troublesome 
weeds. This and other Pigeons will occasionally, like 
Gulls, quench their thirst while floating on the water, 
always in going downstream. In drinking, they do 
not raise the head, but keep the bill immersed. 

The Pouter Pigeon represents one of the most pe- 
culiar of all the products of the breeder. By long and 
careful selection this bird has acquired an enormous 
crop, which, when the bird is excited, becomes greatly 
inflated. The long feathers of the legs have also been 
developed by care in selecting those birds which had 
legs most inclined to produce feathers. See Plate 23, 
Fig. 134. 

But the races of domesticated Pigeons are legion. 
Some of the most striking varieties are the Pouter, 
Fantail, Homing, Tumbler, Owl and Carrier, but in 
grace and beauty none compare with the wild species. 

The smallest species found in this coimtry is the 
Ground Dove, sometimes also called Mourning Dove, 
found in many of the Southern States, usually near 
the coast. Scarcely more than six inches in length, 
this beautiful little bird is a rosy fawn colour, deli- 
cately spotted with different shades of purple, and is 
almost invisible on the ground as it walks jauntily 
along, industriously feeding upon seeds and small 

The Mourning Dove, or Carolina Dove, has a wide 
range throughout North America. The name is de- 


134. Pouter Pigeon 

(C'olumha Uvia, var.J. 

136. Crowned Pigeon 
(Ooura conmata). 

137. Turtle Dove (Turttir turtur). 


rived from the mournful call of the male, which may 
be heard for a considerable distance. The Zenaida 
is a somewhat smaller form, closely resembling the 
foregoing, but has a square instead of pointed tail. 
It was formerly found in considerable numbers in 
summer off the coast of Florida. 

The White-winged Dove inhabits the southern part 
of the United States and ranges through the West 
Indies and Central America. It is distinguished by 
the white wing-coverts and a wide black mark below 
the ear. 

A large species found in the Western States is the 
Band-tailed Pigeon. It is greyish above, white below, 
has a white band at the back of the neck and a dark 
band across the tail. 

The Carrier is a species in which the natural power 
of flight and the homirlg instinct have been greatly 
developed. It is also sometimes called the Homing 
Pigeon, from the practical certainty with which it 
returns to its roosting-place after being carried away. 
The rate of speed attained by these birds has been 
closely determined, and it is known that the trip from 
London to Edinburgh has been made by them in con- 
siderably less time than is taken by the fastest express 
trains. But this speed, while very great, is doubtless 
excelled by that of many other species of wild birds 
whose habits are not so well known. As might be 
expected, the form of the Carrier Pigeon is long and 
trim, and the wing- and tail-feathers are greatly 
lengthened. A curious abnormal development is the 
bare skin above the beak and around the eyes. 

A well-known and graceful domestic variety is the 


Fantail, in which the tail spreads over the back in the 
manner of a strutting Turkey-cock. This character 
seems to be permane^, the birds maintaining it at all 
times. The Tumbler*are so called on account of their 
habit of tumbling or falling in the air during flight. 


Parrots and cuckoos 

PARROTS are quite distinct in many particu- 
lars from any of the birds so far described. 
They are a very ancient group and have under- 
gone such deep-seated structural changes, especially 
in regard to the skull, that it is not easy to discover 
what their nearest relatives are, though the Cuckoos 
are generally accorded this honour. 

Among the Parrot's many striking peculiarities the 
beak is most conspicuous. Not only is it a very pow- 
erful weapon, but it also plays an important part in 
climbing among the branches of trees. It is heavy, 
sharply pointed and recurved. Some species have the 
ability to hook the tip of the beak on a branch or the 
bar of a cage and remain suspended from it for hours 
at a time. 

The legs are very short and the toes are arranged 
in pairs, two in front and two behind ; hence these birds 
are called Zygodactyle, or yoke-footed. The use of the 
foot in holding food and conveying it to the mouth is 
not confined to Parrots, as certain other birds have 
this habit. In the true Parrots there is no crest, the 
tails are square and the upper mandible has tooth-like 
notches along the edge. 



Parrots are gregarious, flying in large flocks and 
feeding, roosting and nesting in numbers when pos- 
sible. They are remarkable tor their harsh and pierc- 
ing voices, and are extremely noisy, chattering and 
scolding and screaming when alarmed and also for 
pleasure. Their food consists principally of fruits 
and nuts, but they are also insect-eaters, and at least 
one species, the remarkable Kea of Australia, has 
developed the habit of feeding on the flesh, particu- 
larly the liver, of sheep, since their introduction into 
that country. The tongue of the Parrot is short, hard 
and round and has great mobility. It is of much as- 
sistance to the bird in eating, rolling the food about in 
the mouth and placing it in position for the beak to 
tear or break apart, and also in articulating. 

Parrots are among the most brilliantly coloured of 
birds, bright blue, scarlet, yellow and green being 
mingled in the most striking contrasts imaginable. 
Certain species, however, are quite dull-coloured. 

Many of them have short, square tails, but the 
Macaws, the largest members of the family, have very 
long, pointed tail-feathers. 

The beautiful bloom" which covers the feathers of 
some Parrots and the beak and face of the African 
Grey Parrot is due to a kind of powder formed by the 
breaking up of what are known as powder-down 

The Grey African Parrot may be taken as a typical 
representative of the tribe. It is a very beautiful bird 
of moderate size, with delicate grey plumage over the 
body and a scarlet tail. This bird has acquired first 
place among Parrots as a linguist, and well-trained 

29. Red-h6aded Woodpecker 
(Melanerpea erythrocy>fuilMj. 


European Cuckoo 
(Gueulus cauorus). 





Gray Parrot .f 

(PdUucus ery- 'f 

thacus). \f' 

31. Wryneck 
fjpvx torqh 


specimens bring very high prices. It ranges across 
equatorial Africa and is very famihar as a cage-bird. 
They live for many years, in captivity, and are very 
interesting, extremely alert and performing many 
droll and singular antics. The nestlings are naked 
when first hatched, but soon become covered with a 
dense, thick down. See Plate 7, Fig. 33. 

The Carolina Paroquet, or Conure, was imtil late 
years very common throughout the southern parts of 
the United States; now it is practically extinct, the 
only breeding-ground known to exist being in one 
or two covinties of Florida. The causes of its ex- 
termination are many, but probably the chief one 
was that it was destructive to crops and fruit-orchards. 
These birds were easily destroyed from the fact 
that when one of a flock was injured or killed, the 
others would assemble about it, and this would happen 
again and again, so that a hunter was able to shoot 
numbers of them before any would make their escape. 

The colour is a delicate green over most of the body, 
the head orange-yellow and the bill a rather light flesh- 
colour. These birds are said to have roosted in a 
peculiar manner, a number occupying the same hole 
in a decayed tree and hanging by their bills and feet 
to the edges. Whether, under the protection now ac- 
corded it, the Carolina Paroquet will ever again be- 
come common is a matter of doubt. This is the only 
species native to the United States. See Plate 7, 
Fig. 32. 

The gaudy Macaws, largest of the Parrot tribe, are 
found only in South America. There are many spe- 
cies. The best known is the Blue and Yellow, which 


is a delicate greenish-blue on the head and neck, shad- 
ing into deep purple as it nears the tail. The under- 
parts are a brilliant chrome yellow, in striking con- 
trast to the rest of the plumage. See Plate 8, Fig. 

Very little is known about the habits of the Macaws 
in the wild state, but they are said to possess great 
powers of flight, rising high in the air and travelling 
long distances in search of food, which consists of vari- 
ous kinds of fruits. The sexes are alike in colouring. 
In some species the skin below the eyes is bare and 

The Red and Blue is dazzling in the brightness of 
its scarlet and blue feathers, which, however, are not 
pleasing in texture, being thin and harsh to the touch. 
These birds are easily tamed and are commonly seen 
in captivity. See Plate 8, Fig. 35. 

The Hyacinthine Macaw is a rich deep blue over 
the entire body, the naked skin around the eye is a 
brilliant yellow and the tail is black. In all these 
birds the feathers are quite loosely set in the skin. 
The Macaws, like many others of the Parrot tribe, 
make their nests in tree-holes, which they adapt by 
means of their powerful beaks to suit their require- 

The Amazon Parrots are a South American family 
not foimd north of Brazil. They are quite small and 
are coloured in tones of brilliant green and yellow. 
Many species are known, but all have the same gen- 
eral colour disposed in varying proportions over the 
body. The species figured is the Blue-fronted Ama- 
zon. These birds fly in small flocks and feed on or- 


anges, plantains, berries and other fruit. See Plate 8, 
Fig. 37. 

Most notable among the Australian Parrots is the 
great Kea. Before the introduction of sheep into that 
island the food of this bird consisted chiefly of fruit 
and nuts, but it speedily developed a taste for animal 
food. These birds will seat themselves on the backs 
of living sheep and with their long, sharp-pointed bills 
tear through the wool and flesh in order to reach the 
liver or kidneys of their victims, inflicting wounds that 
usually result in the death of the animals. The Keas 
are large, heavily built Parrots, in colour a dull green- 
ish-broAvn over the whole body, with the feathers 
arranged like scales. 

Australia is also the home of the Cockatoos, most of 
which are a delicate cream-white or rosy colour. 
Some, however, are black. These birds vary greatly 
in size, some being very large, others among the small- 
est of the Parrots. 

In the .Great Sulphur-crested Cockatoo the body is 
a pure cream- white in tone, the crest a sulphur-yellow. 
The under-side of the wings is also a delicate sulphur 

The Great Black Cockatoo is a most striking-look- 
ing bird and the largest of this family. The upper 
mandible is very large, with strongly- toothed edges. 
The tongue is unlike that of most Parrots, being long, 
slender and capable of being extended beyond the 
beak. The colour of the plumage is jet black, with 
a purplish bloom over it, due to the white powder 
from powder-down feathers. The head is decorated 
with an enormous crest of long, loose black feathers 


and the bare skin around the eyes is red and finely 

One of the most remarkable of the Parrot tribe is 
the Kakapo, or Owl-Parrot, found only in the interior 
of New Zealand. It is one of the ground-living spe- 
cies and is unable to fly, except for very short dis- 
tances, although having fully developed wings. The 
colour, in general, is dark greenish. It is nocturnal 
in habits, hiding during the day and coming out at 
dusk to feed on grass-seeds, fruits, and so on. Its re- 
semblance to the Owl in form and habits has given it 
its common name. 

The Little Budgerigar, or Grass Parrakeet, is an- 
other of the Australian birds, rather more of a ground- 
feeder than most Parrots. It is an extremely common 
cage-bird, living and breeding readily in confinement. 
Its plumage is in general dark green, varied in the 
different species with patches and mottlings of brown, 
blue and yellow. The flight of this bird is strong and 
rapid, and while on the wing it is extremely noisy. 
See Plate 8, Fig. 38. 

The Helmet, or Ganga, Cockatoo, found in Aus- 
tralia, is the only representative of its family. The 
crest of the male, which covers the entire head, is 
red, the rest of the plumage a greyish colour. See 
Plate 8, Fig. 36. 


The Cuckoos are generally regarded as relatives of 
the Parrots, but rather on account of anatomical char- 
acters than likeness in external form. The only re- 
spect, indeed, in which these two groups resemble one 

34. Blue and 
Yellow Macaw 

(Ara ararauna). 

35. Red and 
Blue Macaw 


Helmet Cockatoo 




another externally is in the arrangement of the toes, 
two being directed backwards and two forwards. 
This division of the toes, however, is not confined to 
the Parrots and Cuckoos, being shared by many other 
groups of birds, quite unlike in other particulars. 

There are a very large number of species of Cuck- 
oos, showing a surprising range both in size and col- 
ouration. Some are wholly black, some resplendent 
in rich metallic emerald-green and copper, while oth- 
ers are clad in sober hues of grey. 

Although comparatively few species are found in 
America, among them are some of the most remark- 
able of the Order. Africa and India are particularly 
rich in Cuckoos. 

While the Cuckoos are somewhat solitary in habit, 
the Anis, an exclusively American branch of this fam- 
ily, are gregarious. A number of them combine in 
building a nest, in which several females lay and take 
turns in brooding the eggs. Their powers of flight 
are not strong, but they are good walkers and runners. 

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is common in the eastern 
part of North America, migrating in winter to Cen- 
tral and South America. It is greenish-grey above, 
white below, the outer tail-feathers black tipped with 
white, the under part of the bill yellow, the upper part 

The Black-billed Cuckoo resembles the preceding 
species, but in this the bill is wholly black and the tail 
is grey, very slightly tipped with white. Its range is 
much the same as that of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. 

One of the best known of all this family is the Com- 
mon European Cuckoo, a bird which is found over the 


greater part of the Old World. Its fame is due partly 
to its wonderful call, "Cuckoo, cuckoo!" and partly to 
its curious parasitic habits. For this bird, like the 
American Cowbird, thrusts the charge of its offspring 
upon other birds, choosing as its dupes such species as 
Robins, Hedge Sparrows, Wagtails, Thrushes, Larks 
and Red-back Shrikes. The young Cuckoo almost as 
soon as hatched ejects the offspring of its foster-par- 
ents from the nest, thereby securing an abundance of 
food for itself. See Plate 7, Fig. 30. 

The resemblance which the Common Cuckoo bears 
to the European Sparrow Hawk, both in flight and 
colouration, serves it in good stead when seeking vic- 
tims on whom to thrust its eggs. The male Cuckoo 
attracts the attention of the other birds and drawsf 
them away from their nest, in defending which they do 
not hesitate to attack even the Sparrow Hawk. The 
female Cuckoo watches this opportunity to steal up 
and deposit her egg with those of the absent birds, 
having first dropped it and then picked it up in her 
bill. When the infuriated pair return, they either do 
not notice the additional egg or are so thankful to find 
their nursery intact that they do not interfere with the 
egg that has been thus cleverly foisted upon them. 
The egg of the Cuckoo is extremely small compared to 
the size of the bird and closely imitates in colour those 
of the birds to whose care it is committed. 

The Ani is common in the Bahama Islands and 
occasionally seen in the southern parts of the United 
States. The Groove-billed Ani, another species hav- 
ing the upper mandible ridged, ranges north through 
Mexico into Lower California and some of the South- 


ern States. In both the plumage is bluish-black with 
a slight iridescence. 

The Road-runner, or Chapparal-cock, is one of the 
most striking members of the Cuckoo family of the 
southwestern parts of the United States and Mexico. 
It is a Ground Cuckoo — that is, it frequents the 
ground rather than trees — and consequently has long 
legs, all the other Cuckoos having conspicuously short 
legs. The plumage is in general olive-brown above, 
with considerable white and washes of reddish colour, 
the tail is long and rounded, the outer feathers black 
tipped with white. The bill is long and sharp and a 
strip of blue and red skin runs back from the eye. 
See Plate 41, Fig. 246. 


Rollers, Motmots, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters^ 
Hoopoes and Hornbills 


THE Order Coraciae comprises a remarkable as- 
semblage of birds, mostly of brilliant plumage, 
and, in the case of the Hornbills, of bizarre 

The Rollers, which look rather like gorgeously col- 
oured members of the Crow tribe, have representatives 
all over the temperate parts of Europe, the whole of 
Africa and central and southern Asia, but none in 
America. They are extremely beautiful birds, Avith 
long tail, long, pointed wings and rather weak feet. 
Their food consists mostly of insects, caught on the 
wing, but they also eat worms and grubs. The domi- 
nant colours in their plumage are intense blues and 
greens. See Plate 9, Fig. 43. 

During the mating season the males practise a verj'' 
curious flight, turning and twisting in the air, at the 
same time expanding and contracting the tail. But 
both sexes have the habit of "rolling" or turning 
somersaults in the air, which has given them their 
name. They breed in holes in walls, roofs of houses 
and tree-trunks, laying several glossy white eggs, for 

142 ' 


which they make Httle or no nest — at best but a mass 
of roots, grass, hair and feathers. 

The Motmots are South American birds about 
whose position there has been much controversy 
among naturaUsts, but which are now thought to be 
most nearly alUed to the Kingfishers. Their coloura- 
tion is mostly greenish and bluish. In appearance 
they somewhat resemble the European Bee-eater. 
Motmots have a peculiar habit, one that is unique 
among birds and the reason for which is not under- 
stood, of deliberately picking away a part of the web 
from the two middle tail-feathers, leaving a racket- 
shaped end to each. These feathers are two inches 
longer than the others, and it is said that even the 
youngest birds of both sexes begin to pick at them as 
soon as they have grown beyond the others. 

The Lesson Mexican Motmot has the crown of the 
head dark green, encircled with brilliant blue feathers. 
It is also known as the Blue-capped Motmot. 

Among the most beautiful of living birds are the 
Kingfishers. In size they present a wide range, the 
largest species, the Laughing Jackass, or Giant King- 
fisher of Australia, being about eighteen inches in 
length, while the smallest are not as big as Sparrows. 
In colouration also they are wonderfully varied. The 
species mentioned has head, throat and under-parts 
buff, wings brownish with the upper coverts spotted 
with blue, the tail brown, barred with black and tipped 
at the end with white. This bird receives its name 
from its strange cry, which it uttered thrice — morn- 
ing, noon and night. 

As a family, the Kingfishers have short bodies and 


long, sharp bills. In some species the toes are ar- 
ranged three in front and one behind; in others, two 
in front and two behind, as in the Parrots and certain 
other groups. 

Kingfishers breed in holes in banks, generally by 
the side of some stream. No nest is made, but the 
eggs, which are white and translucent, are laid on a 
bed of fishbones and the hard parts of Crustacea that 
has been ejected by the birds after the soft parts have 
been digested. The Common European Kingfisher 
is small, the upper parts are a brilliant blue and the 
lower parts buff and white. See Plate 9, Fig. 40. 

The Common American, or Belted Kingfisher, is 
much larger than the preceding and has a ypell-marked 
crest. The upper part of the body is blue, faintly 
streaked with darker colour; the throat and sides of 
the neck are white, as well as the under-parts; the 
wings are blackish, with white spots on the primaries, 
and across the breast is a wide band of blue. The tail 
is barred with white, except the two middle feathers, 
which are blue. The Belted Kingfisher, like many 
others of its tribe, has the habit of perching motionless 
on a small bough overlooking a stream and waiting 
imtil a fish comes to the surface, when it makes a 
quick dart, seizes the prey in its beak and returns with 
Jt to the perch, where it is devoured. The feet are 
very smalLin comparison to the size of the bird. Like 
the European species, the Belted Kingfisher nests in 
holes, digging a timnel in a bank and widening it at 
the end for the reception of the eggs. "yVhen invaded, 
the birds will defend their nests vigorously with their 
sharp bills. 

43. European Roller (CoraAu garmlua). 


While the Kingfishers present some species which 
are dull-coloured, their near relatives, the Bee-eaters, 
are all brilliantly coloured birds, green, blue and a 
wonderful rose-red being the principal types, and 
these colours are, in some, relieved by patches of red 
and yellow. They are confined to the temperate and 
tropical regions of the Old World. 

Bee-eaters, like Kingfishers, breed in holes in banks 
or even in tunnels bored almost vertically into the 
level ground and extending from three to ten feet. 
These birds have long, pointed wings and long, wide 
tails. In some species the two outer feathers of the 
tail are longer than the others. The bill is long and 
curved and the base of the bill is provided with short, 
hair-like feathers. Bee-eaters feed upon insects, show- 
ing a marked partiality for bees and wasps and ap- 
pearing to suffer no ill effects from their stings. 
These birds are common throughout the continent of 
Europe, and when seen in flocks afford a most beauti- 
ful spectacle. See Plate 9, Fig. 42. 

By many naturalists thought to be allied to the 
Bee-eaters and Kingfishers are the Jacamars of South 
America. In these birds the plumage is brilliantly 
coloured, the bill is long, slender and sharp and the 
comers of the mouth are protected by stiff bristles. 
The feet are small and extremely weak and the toes 
vary in number in different species. 

The Hoopoes are singularly graceful birds, having 
long, curved and sharply pointed bills and very beau- 
tiful plumage. Their wings are short and rounded, 
legs short, the feet strong and armed with heavy claws. 
The Hoopoes have a wide range over the whole of 


Europe, northern Africa and parts of Asia. Con- 
spicuous though its colours appear to be, this bird, 
when alarmed, has the habit of throwing itself flat 
upon the ground and spreading its wings, when it 
becomes at once almost invisible. The most striking 
feature of the Common Hoopoe is its beautiful crest, 
which can be raised or depressed at will. 

Hoopoes breed in holes, and their nests — composed 
of sticks, straw and a few feathers — give forth an 
almost overpowering smell. This, however, is pro- 
duced by the oil-glands of the sitting birds and is not 
due to the birds feeding upon carrion, as was once 
thought to be the case. While sitting, the female, who 
rarely leaves the nest, is fed by her mate with insects 
and worms. The larger insects, when captured, are 
tossed in the air and caught again before being swal- 
lowed. See Plate 22, Fig. 129. 

Black Hoopoes, with red beaks and no crown of 
feathers, are also found in Africa. The black of the 
plumage is brightened by a metallic gloss of purple 
and green, relieved by a white wing-patch and white 
markings on the tail. 

The Hornbills are among the most remarkable of 
living birds, having bills of enormous size and often 
further exaggerated by a huge casque which extends 
backwards over the top of the head. 

These birds are natives of India and Africa and 
the Malay regions. The beaks of the Hornbills, in 
spite of their frequently very great size, are extremely 
light, being of the delicacy of filigree work, and cov- 
ered externally by the horny sheath. 

The nesting habits of the Hornbills are very 


strange. After the eggs have been laid and the female 
begins to sit, the male proceeds to plaster up with mud 
the hole by which she entered, leaving a small aperture 
out of which she thrusts her bill to receive the food 
dutifully brought by her lord and master. This is 
passed to her enclosed in the lining of his stomach, or 
gizzard, which peels off, enclosing the fruit or other 
food he has swallowed. She remains imprisoned until 
the young are fully fledged. 

The Homrai, or Indian, Hornbill, a Malayan 
species, is a good example of this curious group of 
birds. See Plate 9, Fig. 39. 

There is one extraordinary exception to the rule 
with regard to the lightness of the beak. In the Hel- 
met Hornbill, of the Malay countries, the forepart of 
the helmet, or casque, which surmounts the beak is of 
great hardness and density, and is used by Eastern 
artists for carving ornaments of various kinds, many 
of which are of remarkable beauty. 


NiGHTjAEs, Swifts and Humming-birds 

IT is now an established fact that the Nightjars are 
near relatives of the Owls. They may be re- 
garded, indeed, as representing the ancestral 
stock from which the Owls descended. 

The most striking feature of the Nightjars is the 
huge size of the mouth and the remarkably small beak, 
which is fringed on either side by long, stiff bristles. 
These birds also have large eyes and extremely small 
feet. The former are necessary because the food is 
largely sought during the twilight hours, while the 
smallness of the feet is due to the fact that all their 
food is procured while on the wing. When not flying 
they remain motionless, either squatting on the 
ground or along the bough of some tall tree, for these 
birds are peculiar in that they do not perch like other 
birds, with the body across the bough, but along it. 
This unusual method of perching is adopted for pro- 
tective purposes, for the plumage, which is always of 
some brown hue, pale or dark, is freckled or powdered 
with grey, thereby enabling the bird so closely to har- 
monise with its surroundings as to become well-nigh 

The Common European Nightjar is a representa- 



tive of the family popularly Imown as "Goatsuckers" 
from their supposed habit of sucking the milk of goats 
and cows — a ridiculous superstition, having no foun- 
dation in fact. These birds are widely distributed 
throughout Europe, Asia and the north of Africa. 
The Nightjar has a wonderful saiHng flight, during 
which it sometimes brings the wings sharply together 
over the back, producing a loud clapping. It also has 
a remarkable "churring" note, uttered during the 
evening hours and in the night. See Plate 19, Fig. 

Two creamy white eggs, marbled and veined with 
brown and lilac, are laid, and these are deposited on 
the bare grovmd. The young are hatched covered with 
down, but are cared for by the parents for some time 
before they are able to fly. 

The Nightjars, or Goatsuckers, of America are the 
Whippoorwill, the Nighthawk and Chuck-will's- 
widow. In all the plumage is mottled with black, 
brown and grey, and is soft like that of the Owls. 

The Whippoorwill is very similar in appearance to 
the European Nightjar, and, like it, is nocturnal in 
habits, setting forth at dusk in pursuit of its prey. 
The gape of the mouth is very large and the bill is very 

This species is found in the eastern part of North 
America. The male has a white band across the 
throat ; in the female it is buff. The inner web of the 
three outer tail-feathers is white in the male, buff in 
the female. This bird receives its popular name from 
its call, which is rapidly repeated with the accent on 
the last syllable. 


The Nighthawk has much the same range as the 
preceding and is frequently confused with it, although 
it is a distinct species. The colouring is, in general, 
the same, but the Nighthawk is darker. It has a white 
throat-patch and a white bar across the primaries. 
The wings are long and slender, the tail forked, and 
the bird is very beautiful in flight as it turns and 
twists in pursuit of insects. It is chiefly nocturnal in 
habit, but is frequently seen early in the evening as 
well as on cloudy days. It has a peculiar hoarse cry. 

The Chuck-will's-widow is a more southern species 
than the other two mentioned and is a larger form. 
In the male the inner vane of the outer tail-feathers is 
white, the outer vane barred with buff and black. It 
has a loud cry, from which it takes its name. 


The Swifts bear a close superficial resemblance to 
the Swallows, with which, indeed, they are always as- 
sociated in the popular mind. As a matter of fact, 
however, they are in no way related, the Swifts being 
near allies of the Nightjars. They are long- winged 
birds and have tremendous powers of flight. The legs 
are short, the feet extremely weak, and it is with great 
difficulty that they can rise from level ground. They 
are insect-feeders, catching their prey while on the 
wing. In the true Swifts the toes all turn forward, 
enabling the birds to cling with ease to vertical sur- 

The Common European Swift is very abundant 
throughout Europe during the summer months, leav- 


ing early in the autumn for their winter quarters in 
Africa. Their flight is marvellously rapid, as they 
chase each other about in the dusk of evening, some- 
times high in the air and sometimes near the ground, 
uttering their shrill cries. See Plate 18, Fig. 107. 

This bird, which is known also as the Deviling, 
occurs all over Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. 

The so-called "Chimney Swallow" of Eastern 
North America is really a Swift. These birds are gre- 
garious, usually being seen in large companies. Origi- 
nally their nests were built in the holes of decayed 
trees, but many of them now use the chimneys of 
houses for this purpose, building nests of small sticks 
glued together and attached to the walls of chimneys 
with saliva. In perching, they use the stiff and 
sharply pointed tail-feathers as a prop for the body 
while clinging to upright surfaces. 

There are seventy-five known species of Swifts in 
the world, only four of which are found in North 


That the Humming-birds and Swifts are very 
closely related no one now doubts, unlike though they 
be in external appearance. 

Confined to the American Continent, and ranging 
from the extreme south thereof as far north as 
Canada, these birds are by no means to be regarded 
as the jewelled darlings of the tropics, though it is in- 
deed in tropical America that they are to be met with 
in the greatest plenty. Numbering no less than four 
hundred species, they present a relatively great range 


in size, the largest measuring nine and a half inches, 
while the smallest is but little bigger than a bumble- 
bee. In the matter of the shape of the beak and 
tail they present hardly less variety. Thus the 
beak may be short and straight, curved upwards or 
downwards, or drawn out into a great probe, consid- 
erably longer than the whole body. The tail may be 
short and rounded or long and Swallow-like, and in 
some species these long tail-feathers cross one another 
in graceful curves, while in others these crossed feath- 
ers are drawn out into mere threads, terminating in 
oval expansions. 

But it is on account of the exquisite beauty of their 
plumage, resplendent in the most gorgeous metallic 
hues, that the Humming-birds have become so famous. 
No other birds can vie with these fairy-like creatures 
in this respect. 

One of the most elegant, though by no means the 
most gorgeous of all, is the Double-crested Hum- 
ming-bird, a native of Brazil. See Plate 21, Fig. 121. 

The Coquette Humming-bird is a native of Cen- 
tral America. Ten different species of Coquette 
Humming-birds are known, ranging from Mexico 
southwards. They are easily distinguished by their 
crested heads and the "ruff," which projects from the 
throat. See Plate 21, Fig. 122. 

Perhaps the most gorgeous birds in existence in so 
far as the colouring of the tail is concerned, are the 
Fire-tailed Humming-birds. Three species are 
known. They inhabit Peru, Bolivia and the Argen- 
tine Republic. See Plate 21, Fig. 128. 

126. Waller eeper 
flHc/i<)dr07ita muraria), 

128. European Nuthatch ^- 
(Sitta ctesiaj. 


The Topaz Humming-birds are hardly surpassed 
by any other members of this group in brilliancy of 
plumage. They are distinguished by the two long 
middle tail-feathers, which cross one another in grace- 
ful fashion. The species here figured is a native of 
the Rio Negro. See Plate 21, Fig. 124. 

Not the least remarkable of the many peculiarities 
which distinguish the Humming-bird is the curious 
way in which some develop a kind of "powder-puff" 
around the legs. This is well seen in the Racquet- 
tailed Humming-bird, of which six species are known, 
inhabiting South America from Venezuela and Co- 
lombia, through Ecuador and Peru, into Bolivia. 
See Plate 21, Fig. 125. 

As we have already remarked, these birds are by no 
means confined to the tropics. They have been seen 
flitting about the fuchsias of Terra del Fuego in a 
blinding snowstorm, and they are met with on the 
lofty mountains of Chimborazo as high up as 16,000 
feet, dwelling in a world of almost continuous hail, 
sleet and rain. 

These wonderful birds feed chiefly on insects which 
harbour amid the petals of honey-bearing flowers. To 
procure these they have developed a most remarkable 
tubular tongue of complex structure, which is so con- 
trived as to suck up the honey and insects at the same 

Beautiful as these birds appear in pictures, they 
are far more beautiful in life, for no picture can pos- 
sibly represent the superb play of colour which takes 
place with every movement of the body. Though 
stuffed specimens lose much of their beauty, they re- 


tain sufficient of their glory to dazzle us. At times 
these tiny bodies glow as with some internal fire, at 
others they appear dull. As the spectator changes his 
place, green turns to gold, and gold to black, and 
back again to gold and green, and a dozen other inter- 
mediate hues, according to the intensity and incidence 
of the light. One must see Humming-birds to realise 
their surpassing beauty ; no brush can depict them nor 
can words describe them. 

The Ruby-throated Humming-bird is a very beau- 
tiful species, about three and a half inches in length, 
found in the eastern part of North America, breeding 
from the southern border as far north as Labrador. 
The upper parts are brilliant green, wings and tail 
brownish-grey, and the throat and exquisite ruby-red. 
The female is similarly coloured, but lacks the red 
throat of the male. These birds are said to spend 
much of their time perched motionless in trees, going 
at intervals to certain places to feed. They are re- 
markably fearless and may be closely approached 
without taking alarm. The nests are beautiful little 
structures, lined with the softest down and sometimes 
with spider-webs, and the eggs are always white and 
two in number. The young are fed by the parents on 
small insects, which they regurgitate. 

In the Old World the place of the Humming-birds 
is taken by the Sun-birds, which resemble them in 
general appearance and in habits, but are not so bril- 
liant in plumage. Their wings are shorter and more 
rounded and their feet are stronger. Unlike Hum- 
ming-birds, which take their food from flowers while 


hovering on swiftly moving wings, the Sun-birds 
usually perch when feeding. The male bird assumes 
quite gorgeous raiment during the breeding season, 
but this is moulted afterwards and replaced by the 
more sober colours of his mate. 


BY the older naturalists Owls were regarded as 
near relatives of the Accipitrine birds, such as 
Hawks and Eagles. This was because of their 
similar beaks and claws and* their common habits in 
feeding. It has, however, been conclusively shown 
that Owls are very closely related to the Goatsuckers. 

These birds are spread over a very large portion of 
the globe, being found in all the continents and many 
of the islands. They vary greatly in size, some being 
but a few inches in height, while others measure sev- 
eral feet. Most species are nocturnal in habits, but 
certain others feed by day. The plumage of Owls is 
remarkably soft and fluffy, rendering their flight 
practically noiseless and enabling them to pounce 
upon their prey without giving alarm. 

The foot in most Owls is feathered to the toes; the 
claws are remarkably long and sharply pointed and 
the foot is used with great dexterity in seizing. The 
outer front toe and the hind toe are placed somewhat 
more closely together than in most other birds, but the 
toes are not divided into pairs, two in front and two 
behind, as in the Parrots and Cuckoos. Stiff bristles 
project- from the toes on each side. 


OWLS 157 

The beak of the Owl, although sharply hooked and 
used to tear the prey, is not nearly so powerful as in 
the true Birds of Prey, but more closely resembles 
that of the Nighthawk and Whippoorwill. The eyes 
are very large and are fixed in their sockets so that 
they cannot be turned, the bird being obliged to move 
its head in order to see at the side or behind it. The 
eyelids are heavy, and the nictitating membrane, or 
inner eyelid, is fully developed. Any one looking at 
an Owl in the daytime will see this thick membrane 
frequently sliding across the eyeball as the bird gazes 
sleepily about. 

Owls are fierce and aggressive in character. When 
disturbed, they fluff out their feathers, lower their 
heads, and give vent to a loud, hissing sound, at the 
same time clattering their mandibles together. When 
in this attitude, nothing in the bird world is more 
sinister in appearance. The voice of Owls is unlike 
that of any other bird, and while it differs in various 
species, is yet somewhat similar in all. The word 
"hoot" is used to describe it. Sometimes this note is 
uttered once and repeated at intervals, and again it 
will be given several times in quick succession. It is 
varied by strange coughs and hisses, and at times is 
very loud and far-reaching. 

Owls have always occupied a prominent place in the 
traditions and literature of the peoples of the world. 
They were practically worshipped by the ancient 
Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, -who looked with 
reverence upon this strange, usually silent, bird, and it 
is even now used as an emblem of wisdom, though by 
no means a very intelligent bird. 


The nocturnal Owls feed principally at dusk, when 
the small mammals upon which they prey are also 
abroad. Some species, such as the Great Horned Owl 
of North America and the Eagle-Owl of Europe, 
feed on quite large game, such as wild Turkeys and 
small deer, but the food of most Owls consists of such 
small creatures as mice, rats, frogs, lizards, and small 
reptiles. Most species have the remarkable habit of 
swallowing their food whole, when not too large, and 
afterwards ejecting the hair, bones, and feathers, in 
the form of small pellets. 

The nests are usually made in the hollows of trees, 
and the eggs are always white. The number varies in 
different species. The young are hatched covered 
with down, and are carefully tended by the parents 
until they are able to leave the nest. 

Owls are sombrely coloured, most of them being 
mottled in various shades of brown and buff inter- 
mingled with white and sometimes black, but in no 
case is there any really brilliant colour in the plumage. 
They have remarkable control over the form of their 
bodies, at times making themselves appear long and 
slender; at others, short and rounded. 

These birds are divided into two general classes, 
those that have ear-tufts, or horns, and those that lack 
them, the former embracing a large number of species. 

The largest and perhaps best laiown Owl in the 
United States is the Great Horned Owl, celebrated 
both for its ferocity and for its remarkable voice. It 
feeds on large game, when pressed by hunger attack- 
ing even the wild Turkey. This sagacious bird, how- 
ever, often eludes its enemy by waiting until the Owl 


is about to descend upon it, then spreading the tail 
feathers over its back so that the Owl slides off the 
slippery surface and the Turkey has time to escape 
before a second attack can be made. 

During the day this Owl flaps helplessly about in 
the cover of the woods, endeavouring to conceal itself 
from its enemies, but at dusk it emerges and stares 
about with its magnificent yellow eyes opened to the 
widest extent. Its sight then is remarkably keen, the 
tiniest mouse being seen at a great distance and 
silently pounced upon. The claws of the Great 
Horned Owl are extremely long and sharp, and the 
grasp of the foot very powerful. This Owl shows 
great preference for the flesh of the skunk, almost 
every specimen captured reeking with the nauseating 
odour of that animal. The long talons are driven into 
the vitals, and the victim is quickly despatched. 

In this species the ear-tufts are greatly developed, 
and are raised several inches above the side of the head, 
giving the singular horned appearance. In colour 
individuals vary considerably, but in general they are 
different shades of buff and brown, splotched and 
striped in a confused pattern. This intermingling of 
colours is of great service in concealing the bird from 
view, and when seated in an upright position on the 
stump of a dead tree, it is almost identical in tone and 
therefore practically invisible. 

The Great Eagle-Owl of Europe differs but little 
from the Great Horned Qwl of this country. See 
Plate 5, Fig. 18. 

The voice of the Great Horned Owl is loud and 
startling. Mr. Chapman describes it as "a loud, deep- 


toned whoo, hoo-hoo-hoo, tsohooo, 'whooo, the syllables 
all on one note, and bearing some resemblance to a 
bass-voiced dog barking in the distance. A much rarer 
call," he says, "is a loud, piercing scream, one of the 
most blood-curdling sounds I have ever heard in the 
woods." At other times hisses and groans come from 
the thi'oats of these birds — apparently a sort of con- 
versation with them. 

The Snowy Owl is an Arctic species of both the 
Old World and the New. In the winter it wanders as 
far south as the United States. It is a large and 
handsome form, differing considerably in colour in 
individuals. Some are almost pure white over the 
whole body, while others are thickly spotted with 
black. The eyes are extremely large and light yellow 
in colour, forming a striking contrast to the beautiful 
white of the feathers around them. See Plate 5, Fig. 

This bird sees with perfect ease in the daytime, and 
is very shy, keeping well out of the range of a gun. 
Its food consists of small mammals. Ptarmigan, 
Grouse, and Ducks, and it is said also to catch fish. 

The Little Owl is an Old World form, about eight 
inches in length. A native of the continent of Europe, 
it has of late years been introduced into the British 
Islands, where it now breeds well and is increasing in 
numbers. See Plate 5, Fig. 22. 

The Coquimbo, or Burrowing Owl, is found only in 
North America, and is the only species that lives and 
breeds underground. It is about ten inches in length, 
has no ear-tufts, and the feet are but slightly 
feathered. The legs are longer in proportion than 

21. Barn Owl 
(Strix fiammea ) 


are those of most Owls. The Western species lives 
in burrows made by prairie-dogs — although certainly 
not welcomed by them. But the Florida Burrowing 
Owl digs a hole for itself. They are day-feeding, 
being perfectly able to endure the fierce glare of the 
sun in the regions in which they live. 

The Tawny Owl is an interesting species, having 
two distinct phases of plumage, some individuals 
being very grey, while others are red in colour. This 
Owl is further peculiar in that the apertures of the 
ears are not alike in the two sides of the head, though 
both are covered by a large flap of skin. See Plate 5, 
Fig. 19. 

The European Long-eared Owl is another species 
in which the apertures of the ears are unlike. It is 
common in European countries, and is very beneficial, 
destroying large numbers of mice and other small 
rodents. The American Long-eared Owl is similar 
in appearance. See Plate 5, Fig. 20. 

The Long-eared Owls and the Short-eared Owls, 
though very much alike superficially, differ conspicu- 
ously in their nesting-habits. The former deposit 
their eggs in the deserted nests of Crows, Hawks, 
Herons, or squirrels, while the Short-eared species 
nests on the ground in hollows made in weeds dnd 
sedge. The eggs vary in number from six to twelve. 
During a great plague of voles which occurred in 
Scotland a few years ago, these Owls, finding food in 
abundance, reared broods twice in the year and double 
the normal in number. 

The Bam Owl, or Monkey- faced Owl, found in 
both the Old and the New World, is not only a beau- 


tiful species, but forms a group by itself apart from 
the rest of the Owls, differing from them in structure. 
The colouration differs in certain parts of its range. 
The eyes are almost black, as in the Tawny Owl, 
while in most Owls the colour of the iris is a bright 
orange-yellow. The Barn Owls are without ear-tufts, 
and the disks about the eyes, instead of being round, 
are irregular in shape. See Plate 5, Fig. 21. 

The yoimg Barn Owl is at first clothed in a downy 
coat of white, and this is replaced by plumage like that 
of the adult bird. In most, if not all, other Owls the 
doAvn- feathers of the nestlings are replaced by a plima- 
age that is intermediate between that and the adult 
feathers, and this is worn imtil autumn, when the true 
feathers appear. 

The Barred Owl, or Hoot Owl, is a common species 
in Eastern North America. The xmder parts are 
white, the breast barred with dark colour, and the 
sides streaked. The eyes are dark, and the toes are 

The Great Grey Owl is a northern species, occa- 
sionally seen in the United States. It is a very large 
form, having the upper parts dark irregularly marked 
with white, the under parts streaked, and the legs and 
toes feathered to the claws. 

The Little Screech Owl is perhaps the best known 
of our American Owls, being common in the woods 
throughout the Eastern States. Its voice has a low 
and tremulous quality, and is often heard in the even- 
ing hours. A peculiarity of this species is that it has 
two phases of colour, one reddish in tone, the other 
greyish, both varieties being found at the same time 


in the nest. The Screech Owl has well-marked ear- 

The American Hawk Owl, so called from its 
Hawk-like appearance and character, is another spe- 
cies found in the northern part of North America and 
occasionally seen in Europe. It is dark brown above, 
spotted with white, and has the under parts barred. 
The tail is longer than in most Owls. This bird is one 
of the most rapacious of the Order to which it belongs. 
As in all Owls, the female is larger than the male. 


Trogons, Toucans, ai^b Woodpeckees 

THE precise relationship of these birds has not 
yet been decided, though probably all are akin. 
The Toucans and Woodpeckers are certainly 
more nearly related one to another than to the 
Trogons, which form a rather isolated group. 

The Trogons are represented by many species, some 
of which are of surpassing beauty. Some are natives 
of tropical America ; others occur as resident species in 
Africa, a large part of India, and the Malayan coun- 
tries. In ancient times they occurred in Europe, 
fossil remains of Trogons having been found in 
France. The American species are distinguished by 
their barred tails. 

As their small, weak feet would indicate, these birds 
are tree-living, and feed while suspended in the air, 
their diet consisting of berries and insects. The sexes 
differ greatly in colouration, the males being much 
more brilliantly attired. The Trogons are "yoke- 
footed," like Cuckoos and Parrots, but they differ 
from them, as well as from all other known birds, in 
that it is the first and second, instead of the first and 
fourth, toes which are directed backwards. 

The Narina Trogon is an African species, ranging 



from northeast Africa to Cape Colony. It is a very- 
shy bird, hiding in the deep recesses of the forests, and 
is seldom seen. It has a curious wheezing call. See 
Plate 9, Fig. 44. 

The Resplendent Trogon is a large and beautiful 
species found in Central America. The upper parts 
of the body are golden-green, the breast and under 
parts a brilliant red, the middle tail-feathers are black, 
while the outer ones are white, barred with black. 

In the Cuban Trogon the upper parts are green, 
the top of the head washed with blue, the throat, 
breast, and under surface of the tail a delicate grey, 
the primaries black, spotted with white, and the bill 

But the most magnificent of all the Trogons is 
the Quetzel, of Central and South America. The 
upper parts of this bird are brilliant green and blue, 
the under parts a gorgeous crimson, and it has a long 
and gracefully flowing tail consisting of the length- 
ened coverts, which extend from one to two feet 
beyond the other tail-feathers. In olden times the 
native chiefs wore these plumes on days of high 


So far as outward appearance goes, the Toucans 
have many characters resembling the Hornbills, the 
most conspicuous among them being the enormous 
beaks. On this account they are frequently mistaken 
one for the other by those who are not very familiar 
with them, but, as a matter of fact, these birds are 
not closely related. 


There are several species of Toucans, some of which 
are sombrely attired, but many of them are quite 
richly coloured. They range in size from a rather 
large thrush to about two feet in length. 

As in the Hornbills, the beak is extremely light and 
porous, ensheathed in a very thin case of brightly 
coloured horn, which is serrated, or notched, along the 
cutting edges. They have the curious habit of sleep- 
ing with the head turned back and the tail brought 
forward, so that both rest on top of the back. 

Both Toucans and Hornbills are awkward on the 
ground, hopping about with the legs far apart. In 
the trees, they spring lightly from branch to branch. 
They stare about them with a curious slow movement 
of the head and beak from side to side, unlike that of 
most birds, which is quick and rather jerky. All these 
birds are fruit-eaters, but their diet is varied by in- 
sects, as well as small birds and mammals. 

One of the largest of the Toucans is the Toco, or 
Giant Toucan. It is widely distributed throughout 
South America, and is met with in rather large flocks. 

The Short-billed Toucan is a smaller species, found 
from Costa Rica to Northern Columbia. The plum- 
age is black and red, and the bill is varied with red, 
blue, green, and yellow. See Plate 9, Fig. 41. 


Woodpeckers are an extremely interesting group 
of birds that illustrate to a remarkable degree what 
is meant by "adaptation to environment." That is 
to say, they show, by their many singularities of struc- 
ture, that they have become changed, or "adapted," 


so as to fit them for their pecuhar mode of life. The 
most obvious of these changes are in the shape of the 
beak, the tail, and the feet. Their food consists of 
insects and grubs which they find concealed in the 
bark of trees. The beak is wedge-shaped and sharply 
pointed, and has a horny sheath of unusual hardness, 
enabling the bird to peck away the bark in search of 
its prey, and also to dig the holes in which it makes 
its nest. The toes are placed two in front and two 
behind, and are furnished with long claws, which serve 
the purpose of grappling-irons. Finally, the tail- 
feathers are of a curious spiny character, and these 
serve as supports when the bird, having firmly fixed 
itself by its claws, begins its work of excavation. The 
Woodpeckers are essentially tree-dwellers, and after a 
peculiar fashion, for they spend most of their lives, 
not in perching on the boughs, but in climbing up and 
down the trunk. The spiny tail-feathers are devel- 
oped in proportion to the amount of hammering which 
must be performed to gain a livelihood. They afford, 
in short, a very effective leverage during the time that 
the beak is being used as a "pick." 

But the peculiarities of the Woodpeckers do not 
end with these external characters. The tongue, for 
example, is of enormous length, and its roots, or sup- 
ports, are excessively developed, so that they curve 
round and over the skull, to be finally stowed away in a 
channel above the beak. This tongue is used as a trap 
for the capture of ants and other insects. Thickly 
covered with a sticky saliva, which has been compared 
to bird-lime, this wonderful and worm-like organ is 
suddenly thrust out amid swarms of ants, which are 


borne back into the mouth, struggling helplessly. 
The saliva is secreted by a pair of enormous glands 
on each side of the head. The head of Woodpeckers 
is set in a peculiar manner, being at right angles with 
the body — a natural position, considering that the 
bird must remain upright in feeding, when the head 
is used as a hammer. 

Nearly all Woodpeckers have a crest at the back 
of the head, which may be slightly raised or lowered. 
This crest is usually a brilliant red, and in many 
species it is the only spot of bright colour on the bird. 

America is peculiarly rich in Woodpeckers, about 
one half of the three hundred and fifty known species 
occurring in this continent and displaying a wonderful 
diversity of plumage. These birds, however, are 
found all over the world, except in "the Australian 
region, Madagascar, and Egypt. 

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is the largest of the 
American species, measuring twenty inches in length. 
The general colouring is black and white, and there 
is a large scarlet crest. Running from the eye down 
the neck and half way down the back on each side is 
a conspicuous white stripe. The lower half of the 
primaries is white, and the imder parts are a glossy 
black. The bill is ivory white. This handsome bird 
is extremely shy, and is found only in the forests of 
the Gulf States and in the Lower Mississippi Valley. 
See Plate 6, Fig. 25. 

The Great Black Woodpecker is a large European 
species, in which the plumage is entirely black except 
for the red crest. Attempts have been made to 
acclimatise these birds in the British Islands, but with- 

24. Gray-headed Lesser Spotted 

Green Woodpecker Woodpecker 

,-.-, ■ , (Dryobates 

{ Lrectnue canity). minor). 

( Campephilus principalUJ. 

26. Green Woodpecker 
fOecintis viridisj. 

28. *.1EF Black 

(Piews Tiiortius). 


out success. This bird corresponds to our Pileated 
Woodpecker, being about the same size. See Plate 6, 
Fig. 28. 

The Red-headed Woodpecker is found in the 
eastern part of the United States. The whole head, 
neck, and throat in this species is red ; the upper part 
of the back is black, as well as the primaries and tail ; 
the rest of the plumage is white. The combination 
of colours makes this bird quite conspicuous when on 
the wing. See Plate 7, Fig. 29. 

The Green Woodpecker is very common in Great 
Britain, where it is also known as the Yaffle, as well as 
by many other provincial names. The female has 
black upon the cheeks where the male has red. See 
Plate 6, Fig. 26. 

The Grey-headed Green Woodpecker is a near rela- 
tive of the preceding species, and is cormnon through- 
out Europe and Asia. See Plate 6, Fig. 24. 

The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is a very small 
form found in Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. Its 
plumage is mingled black and white, and there is a 
red crest at the back of the head. Owing to its small 
size and its partiality for tall trees, such as elms and 
poplars, this bird is not often seen. Its near relative, 
the Great Spotted Woodpecker, is a much larger bird, 
and corresponds to the Hairy Woodpecker of this 
country; while the smaller form more nearly resembles 
our Downy Woodpecker. See Plate 6, Fig. 27. 

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is common in the 
eastern part of North America. It feeds on the juice 
of trees, which it extracts by boring holes in the bark. 
The tongue in the Sapsuckers is not extensile, as in 


the true Woodpeckers. In this species the crown 
and throat are red, the back is irregularly marked 
with black and white, with a yellowish tinge, there is 
a black patch on the breast, and the under parts are 
pale yellow. 

The Common Flicker, or Golden-winged Wood- 
pecker of the United States, is a very beautiful bird, 
differing in habits from the other members of its fam- 
ily. In colour it is very charming, a delicate pinkish 
grey over most of the body, the under surface of wings 
and tail a bright golden yellow, the under parts white, 
washed with yellow and thickly spotted with black. 
There is a band of red across the back of the neck, a 
black crescent on the breast, and a black patch on each 
side of the throat. This bird has many popular names. 
High-hole being one of the most common. 

Unlike other Woodpeckers, the Flicker spends much 
time on the ground. It nests in holes in trees, how- 
ever, like other members of the group, and lays from 
five to nine white eggs. 

Though in its colouration unlike the typical Wood- 
peckers, the Wryneck, or Cuckoo's-mate, nevertheless 
is of the Woodpecker tribe. In the soft, mottled grey 
and brown colours of its plumage, this bird more 
closely resembles the Goatsuckers. The tail-feathers, 
too, as may be seen in the figure, are not stiff and 
pointed, as in the typical Woodpeckers, but are soft 
and rounded. These birds never use their beak, which 
is small and delicate, as a pick; hence they have no 
need of support from spiny tail-feathers. But the 
Wryneck is undoubtedly a Woodpecker, in spite of 
these differences, as is shown by the structure of the 


tongue, as well as by other common characters. See 
Plate 7, Fig. 31. 

Like all the other Woodpeckers, the Wryneck lays 
several glossy white eggs in the hollow of some decay- 
ing tree, making no nest, but using the rotten wood 
at the bottom* of the hole. When disturbed, the 
sitting-bird makes a loud hissing noise, which induces 
one to suppose that the hole is occupied by a snake, 
and this usually secures freedom from further "inter- 
ference. On this account, as well as from the remark- 
able way in which the bird twists its neck, the name 
Snake-bird has been bestowed upon it. When taken 
in the hand, the Wryneck, like some other birds, 
feigns death so successfully that it often escapes. 


The Passerine Birds 

IN this chapter we shall describe some families of 
what are known as the Passerine, or Perching- 
birds. These, though preserving a remarkable 
:miformity in so far as their anatomical characters are 
concerned, present an amazing variety superficially, 
as in colouration and in the form of beak, so much 
so that nearly six thousand distinct species are known 
to science. 

Though all are essentially tree-dwellers, many 
species have come to pass much of their time in low 
scrub or in the open country. Some possess remark- 
able powers of flight, while others are practically 
unable to fly. 

This great series may be divided into two more 
or less sharply defined groups, based partly upon the 
structure of the syrinx, or voice-organ, and partly 
upon other anatomical characters. 

The first of these groups may be sub-divided so as 
to form three smaller groups, distinguishable partly 
by means of characters afforded by the voice-organ, 
and partly by other anatomical characters; all of 
which are too complicated to come within the scope 
and purpose of this volume. 



The first of the two large groups just referred to 
form the 

Sub-order — Clamatores 

The birds herein placed, though regarded as non- 
singing birds, yet include a few species with melodi- 
ous voices; though none have a song comparable to 
that of such songsters as the Nightingale or the 
Thrush or the Mocking-bird. But it is not, as has 
been said, the quality of the song so much as the 
number of song-muscles and their arrangement that 
is considered in this connection. 

Included among the Clamatores are the birds 
known as the Broadbills, or Eurylasmidee, of East 
India, some of which are very beautiful. Very 
closely allied to some of these are the Cotingas, of 
which the most gorgeous is the Cock-of-the-Rock, a 
native of South America. This bird is shy and 
solitary in habits, living among the rocks along the 
river-banks. The whole plumage is brilliant orange- 
red, with the exception of the primaries, which are 
brown with yellow tips. A thick crest of feathers runs 
from beak to the back of the head, and long, soft 
plumes fall from the upper wing- and tail-coverts. 

During the mating season, the birds gather in small 
companies and the males go through With a weird 
kind of dance, in which they droop their wings, wave 
their crests from side to side, and hop along in a 
peculiar manner. See Plate 19, Fig. 112. 

Closely related to the Cock-of-the-Rock are the 
Bell-birds, also of South America, of which four 
species are known. The Naked-throated Bell-bird, 


the one illustrated, is pure white in colour. Another 
species has a long, fleshy wattle hanging from the 
base of the beak like the wattle of a Turkey. It stands 
straight up when the bird is excited. The home of 
the Naked-throated Bell-bird is in Brazil, where the 
gloomy forests resound with its wonderful notes. 
These resemble the sounds made by a clear ringing 
bell, or, according to some travellers, the sound pro- 
duced by a blacksmith when he strikes a piece of steel 
on an anvil. The song is heard at all hours of the day, 
and when, as often happens, several of these birds are 
in the same neighbourhood and answer one another's 
calls, a wonderful concert is the result. See Plate 10, 
Fig. 48. 

American Flycatchers 

Among the non-singing Passerine birds are classed 
the American Flycatchers. This family numbers 
about three hundred and fifty species, and is confined 
exclusively to the New World, By far the greater 
number of these are found in the region of the tropics, 
but as many as thirty-five species occur in North 
America. In colouring the sexes are much alike, and 
the nestlings resemble the parents. The prevailing 
tints are olive-grey and brown, with touches of yellow 
on the under parts. A few species, however, have 
patches of bright-coloured feathers. 

Flycatchers are notable for the width of the beak 
opening, as in the Goatsuckers, and for the bristles at 
the angle of the mouth which are of assistance in cap- 
turing their insect prey. The method of pursuing and 
catching insects is characteristic of this entire family. 


The bird perches upon the branch of a tree, and, 
motionless and upright, awaits the passing of victims. 
When one comes within sight, the Flycatcher darts 
from its perch, pursues, and usually captures the fly- 
ing insect with a snap of the bill, and invariably 
returns to the branch from which it started. Preying 
almost entirely as they do upon insects, these birds are 
necessarily migratory, leaving their northern summer 
haunts for a warmer climate in winter. 

The Kingbird, or Tyrant Flycatcher, is one of 
the largest of American Flycatchers, and gets its 
name, "Tyrant," from its pugnacious disposition. 
Owing to its powers of flight and its great courage, 
this bird attacks without fear much larger species, 
such as Hawks, Owls, and Crows, driving them away 
from its chosen haunts whenever they appear. Tak- 
ing its place in the air above the larger bird, the king- 
bird maintains the relative position and, with a note of 
alarm, now and again dives swiftly down and stabs the 
offender with his sharp beak. Neither Crows nor 
Hawks make any attempt at defence, but fly from the 
assaults of their tiny enemy. 

Although the common name, Bee-Martin, is applied 
to the Kingbird because of the farmers' belief that it 
preys upon bees, many authorities claim that only the 
drones are eaten. But as to this there seems to be 
some doubt. 

The general colouring of the Kingbird is greyish- 
slate above, the tail black, slightly tipped with white. 
Both male and female have an orange-red crest, 
which is only visible when the feathers are raised. 

The Phoebe is distinguished by a dark crest on the 


head, white on the outer tail-feathers, yellowish-white 
under parts, and black bill. This bird is fond of 
nesting near houses, showing little fear of man. Its 
name is derived from its monotonous note. The 
Phcebe is the only member of its family found in 
numbers in the Southern States during the winter. 

The Wood Pewee is a slightly smaller bird than 
the preceding. The colouring is generally dull dark 
olive, and the wings have two whitish bars. The upper 
mandible only is black. The wings are considerably 
longer than the tail, as in one other species, the Olive- 
sided Flycatcher, and the legs are short. The Wood 
Pewee nests on the limbs of trees, from twenty to 
thirty feet above the ground, and the nest, like that of 
the Humming-bird, is hardly to be distinguished from 
the bough on which it rests. 

The Great Crested Flycatcher is the largest of this 
family, being slightly more than nine inches in length. 
The upper parts of the body are greyish-brown, with 
tints of olive green; the throat and breast are pearl- 
grey, the rest of the under parts bright yellow. A 
peculiar habit of this bird is the lining of its nest with 
a cast snake-skin, for what reason is not known. The 
Crested Flycatcher is a shy bird, keeping well out of 
sight, and its habits are not so well known as those of 
some other members of its family. 


We pass now to the second of our two great groups 
of Passerine birds. This group, which is divisible into 
two sections, is made up of what are known as the 



European House Martin 
(Ohelidonaria urbica). 


primulfjtts europwua). 


Bank Swallow 

(Biparia riparia). 


Cock of the Rock 
(liupicola nipicola). 




(Caloapiza iatao). 

1 14. Jackdaw 
(Col(«us monedula). 


Oscinine Passeres, or Oscines, which are distinguished 
by having the voice-muscles inserted into the ends of 
the windpipe. Strange to say, though all the birds 
included in the second section should prove fine 
songsters, only a few are really good performers. 
Crows, for example, are deficient as singing birds, 
yet they have the same voice-organ as the Nightingale. 
But then, even in the human race, the voice-muscles 
of those who are tuneless do not differ essentially from 
those of the greatest singers. 

The curiously aberrant type known as the Lyre- 
bird represents the first of the two sections just re- 
ferred to. By most authorities this bird is placed 
apart from the true Oscines, and made to form a sub- 
group, or section, because its voice-muscles, though 
resembling those of the "true Oscines," are not the 
same in number; but for our purpose this distinction 
may be ignored. The Lyre-bird is a native of 
Australia. Three species are known, that which 
forms the subject of our illustration being found in 
New South Wales. See Plate 14, Fig. 73. 

These birds are remarkable for the peculiar form 
of the tail, the two outer feathers of which are of great 
length, and so curved as to form a general resemblance 
to the old-fashioned musical instrument known as 
the lyre — ^hence the name of the bird. The inner tail- 
feathers have a peculiar structure, and a soft and 
filmy appearance. 

One authority says: "These birds inhabit pre- 
cipitous sandy gullies in thick forests with tangled 
undergrowth. Each cock has a walk, or playground, 
and scrapes little hillocks, or hollows, for dancing 


places, where he struts or pirouettes with erect tail 
and drooping wings, scratching, pecking, and singing 
at intervals. The normal cry is a loud, liquid 
gurgling sound; but they are clever mockers, imitat- 
ing a cock's crow, a hen's cackle, a dog's bark or howl, 
the Laughing Jackass's note, or even the setting of a 
saw." They lay but one egg, in a bulky nest of sticks, 
lined with moss and feathers, and placed either in the 
fork of a tree or on the ground. The nestling is 
remarkable for the fact that it is covered with long 
and woolly down — a feature shared by no other 
Passerine bird. 

All the birds now left for consideration here belong 
to the second section, and are commonly called the 
true Oscines, having from five to seven pairs of 

These will be described in order, as nearly as 
possible, according to their grade of evolution. That 
is, we shall begin with those species which are appar- 
ently least specialised, least modified, and proceed to 
those which are most specialised, or modified. 


According to this plan, we commence with the 
Swallow tribe. There are many species of these birds, 
widely distributed throughout the world. All have 
long, slender, but powerful wings, and very weak 
feet, showing that much of their life is spent in flight 
and that the feet have become feeble from disuse. In 
many species the tail is forked. They feed almost 
entirely upon insects, captured in the air, their deeply 


cleft mouths, like those of the Goatsuckers, being well 
adapted to the purpose. The bill is very short, and 
slightly curved at the tip. Swallows have a very 
beautiful flight, unlike that of any other bird. They 
are gregarious, and just before migrating in the fall, 
assemble in enormous numbers. Swallows lend much 
charm to the life of the country during the summer 
months, and they are certainly most useful birds from 
an economic standpoint. Like its relative, the House- 
Martin, the Swallow builds a nest of mud, on rafters 
in barns and outhouses, and sometimes in trees. Two 
broods are usually reared before the summer is over. 
The species figured is the Common Barn Swallow 
of Europe. See Plate 18, Fig. 108. 

The House-Martin may easily be distinguished 
from the Swallow, having a large patch of white on 
the lower part of the back, and the under parts all 
white. Besides this, the Martin has legs and toes 
completely covered with short, downy feathers. This 
bird usually builds its nest under the eaves of houses, 
and lays white eggs, while those of the true Swallow 
are spotted. The House-Martin is not represented in 
this country. See Plate 19, Fig. 109. 

The Bank Swallow is a small form corresponding 
to the Sand Martin of Europe, a dull greyish-brown 
above and white below. Unlike the Swallow and 
the Martin, it nests in holes in sandbanks, labori- 
ously tunnelling long chambers in which the eggs are 
deposited, from two to three feet from the entrance. 
And this work is accomplished by means of the 
feeblest of beaks and feet. See Plate 19, Fig. 110. 

This species is very similar to the Rough-wing 


Swallow, which also usually, though not invariably, 
nests in sandbanks. 

The Purple Martin is the largest member of this 
tribe in North America. The male is a beautiful 
glossy, bluish-purple colour over the entire body, dark- 
ening on wings and tail, while the female is a duller 
hue above and greyish- white below. This bird is quite 
common throughout the Southern States, where it is 
valued for its usefulness as well as for its beauty and 
sweet song. 

Two other species of Swallow common in America 
are the Cliff Swallow, distinguished by its reddish 
upper tail-coverts and bluish-black back striped with 
white, and the Tree Swallow, all blue above and white 
below. The former builds nests of mud in cliifs or 
under the eaves of houses and barns, while the latter 
nests in trees or in boxes provided for its use. 

European Flycatchers 

The European Flyca:tchers are included among the 
true Oscines, or singing birds, and rank next in order 
to the Swallows. 

The two best known species are the Pied and the 
Spotted Flycatchers, both of which are common on the 
continent of Europe and in the British Islands. In 
general characteristics they resemble their American 
cousins, preying upon insects which they capture in 
the same manner. See Plate 10, Fig. 47. 

The general colouring of the Spotted Flycatcher 
is light brown, darkening on wings and tail, throat 
and breast paler and streaked with brown. This bird 


builds its nest on the branch of a tree, while the Pied 
Flycatcher makes use of the hollows in trees. 


The Flycatchers are comparatively feeble birds, but 
their near relatives, the Shrikes, or Butcher-birds, are 
much more formidable. They are considerably 
larger, and are distinguished by their almost Hawk- 
like beaks, which are used to tear living prey, such as 
smaller birds, mice, and so on. Although numbering 
about two hundred species, these are mostly confined 
to the Old World, only two being native to America. 

The first of these is the Northern Shrike, a rather 
large bird, measuring over ten inches in length, grey 
upon the upper parts, with black wings and tail, 
marked with white. The bill is powerful and hooked 
like that of a Hawk. This bird has a characteristic 
straightforward flight, flying close to the ground with 
much flapping of the wings, and rising suddenly 
upward to perch. 

The Northern Shrike breeds in the far north, 
migrating southward in winter. Its nest of twigs and 
grass is usually placed in low trees or bushes. The 
Great Grey Shrike of Europe closely corresponds to 
this species. See Plate 10, Fig. 46. 

All the birds of this family have the curious habit 
of killing and impaling their prey on thorns and 
twigs, presumably for future use. It is on this 
account they have received the name Butcher-birds. 
The English name, Flesher, comes from an old 
English word for butcher. Preying as it does upon 


many harmful insects and mammals, and especially 
upon the noxious English Sparrow, ornithologists 
declare that this bird well deserves to be protected. 

The Red-backed Shrike is another common Euro- 
pean species. See Plate 10, Fig. 45. 

The Loggerhead Shrike is a smaller form than the 
northern species, but closely resembles it in colouring. 
This bird does not fly forth in search of prey, but, Hke 
the Flycatchers, perches and waits for it to come 
within view. Its power of sight is remarkably keen, 
and the grasshoppers, small snakes, and lizards upon 
which it chiefly feeds are detected at long distances. 
This bird also often impales its victims on thorns, 
capturing more than it can devour at one time. The 
Loggerhead's notes are harsh and guttural, unlike 
those of the Northern Shrike, some of whose notes are 
very musical. 


The Titmice are small birds, of rather pugnacious 
disposition, and commonly known in this covmtry as 
Chickadees. It is a moot point among ornithologists 
as to whether or not they are related to the Shrike 
family. These little birds feed largely on the eggs and 
larvse of insects that are injurious to trees, and so are 
of great benefit to man. They have short, stout bills, 
and the nostrils are concealed by bristles. 

A common English species is the Blue Tit, a 
courageous little bird, especially during the time that 
it is sitting on its eggs. The nest is usually made in 
the hole of a tree-trunk, sometimes in deserted Wood- 
peckers' holes, from which intruding fingers are often 


46. Great Gray Shrike 
(Lan'ms excubilor). 


Red-backed Shrike 

(Lcinivs collwrio). 




50. Water Ouzel 

fCinclus cinclus). 


hastily withdrawn in consequence of a hissing sound 
from the bird, resembling the warning note of a snake. 
This bird may be readily induced to take up a resi- 
dence in any desired spot by means of nesting-boxes 
hung in convenient situations. See Plate 15, Fig. 83. 

The Great Tit is a larger bird than the preceding, 
but similar in appearance. It may readily be dis- 
tinguished, however, by the broad black stripe which 
runs down the middle of the breast. The Great Tit 
frequently attacks smaller birds, beating out their 
brains with its powerful beak. See Plate 15, Fig, 84. 

The Coal Tit and the Crested Tit require to be 
carefully sought, being of shy and retiring disposition. 
The Coal Tit is met with in many of the less populated 
districts throughout the British Islands, but the other 
species mentioned is rarely seen except in Scotland. 
See Plate 15, Figs. 80, 82. 

While Titmice are mainly insect-feeders, ripe pears 
and apples prove an irresistible attraction, especially 
for the Blue Tit, and on this accoxmt it is disliked by 
fruit-growers. In spite of its depredations, however, 
it is a most useful bird. 

The Long-tailed Tit is the smallest of the family, 
and a very handsome little bird. In the art of nest- 
building it is most skilful. Oval in shape, the nest is 
covered on the outside with moss and lichens, and lined 
with feathers. It is suspended from a branch usually 
not far from the ground, and harmonises so perfectly 
with its surroundings that even an expert nest-hunter 
has difficulty in finding it. When sitting, the long 
tail of the bird is turned over the back, so that beak 
and tail often poke out of the doorway at the same 


time. The capacity of this nursery is as wonderful as 
its structure, since as many as sixteen youngsters have 
been found together inside, though usually the number 
ranges from seven to ten. See Plate 14, Fig. 78. 

The Chickadee is a very common little bird of this 
family in eastern North America, easily distinguish- 
able by its glossy black cap and throat, white at side of 
head and neck, white outer webs of wing-feathers, and 
huffy sides. It nests in holes in stumps and old trees, 
lining the cavities with feathers, grasses, and so on. 

This attractive little bird is not at all shy, and is 
often seen about houses in the winter months. Feed- 
ing chiefly upon insects in summer, in cold weather it 
will eat seeds, nuts and a variety of other food, when 
obtainable, showing much adaptability. Another 
common name for the Chickadee is Black-capped 

The Tufted Titmouse is a resident of the eastern 
part, of the United States, where it is widely dis- 
tributed. The upper parts are, in general, a grey 
colour, the under parts white^ with a reddish tinge on 
the sides. The forehead is black, and the crest is well 
marked. Its notes are louder and not so pleasing as 
those of the Chickadee, and they are uttered almost 


These birds are near relatives of the Titmice, and 
four out of the twenty known species are found in 
North America. As a rule, the Nuthatches are in- 
conspicuous in colour, black, white, and grey pre- 
vailing. They resemble the Woodpeckers, and like 


them, pass their lives on the trunks of trees. The 
tail differs from that of the Woodpeckers, however, 
in that the feathers are soft, and not spiny, and there- 
fore it is not used as a support for the body when 
feeding. The Nuthatch is able to climb up and down 
the trunks of trees with equal facility. See Plate 21, 
Fig. 128. 

Holes in tree-trunks are generally used as nesting- 
places, and at the bottom of the cavity a bed of dry 
leaves is made on which the eggs are laid. When the 
entrance is too large, the bird reduces it by the use of 
mud to the desired size — a hole just large enough to 
pass through. 

This bird receives its name from its habit of wedg- 
ing nuts in crevices of the bark of trees and hammer- 
ing, or hatching, them until the shell is broken. Dur- 
ing a large part of the year insects form a considerable 
portion of its diet, and hard seeds of many kinds are 
also eaten. 

The White-breasted Nuthatch is a resident species 
throughout eastern North America. It closely re- 
sembles the European species figured. All the birds 
of this family are of stocky build, have strong and 
sharply pointed beaks, sharp claws fitted for climbing 
and short, square tails. The White-breasted Nut- 
hatch has the crest and forepart of the back glossy 
black, the rest of the upper parts blue-grey, with some 
white feathers in wings and tail. It nests in holes in 
trees, like the Old World species, sometimes excavat- 
ing them for itself, like the Woodpeckers. 

In winter this bird is frequently seen in the eastern 
part of the United States in company with the Downy 


Woodpecker and the Chickadee. It is easy to identify 
from its habit of running up and down the trunks 
of trees, usually in a spiral course, searching for grubs 
concealed in the bark. 

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a more northern spe- 
cies than the preceding, but is similar in appearance, 
except for a black stripe which runs through the eye 
to the back of the head, and for the reddish instead of 
white breast. Its notes, too, are quite different in 
tone, and neither species is remarkable for its melodi- 
ous voice. 


Like the foregoing family, these birds are tree- 
dwellers. Like the Nuthatch, the Tree-creeper climbs 
about the trunks of large trees; but in one point it 
differs conspicuously — in the form of its tail. In the 
Nuthatch the tail is short and soft; in the Tree- 
creeper, on the other hand, it is long and composed of 
stiff and pointed feathers, as in the Woodpecker. 
Since the Nuthatch uses its beak as a hammer, after 
the manner of the Woodpecker, and the Tree-creeper 
does not, this curious difference is not easy to under- 
stand, for the Woodpecker's tail is supposed to have 
developed as a support for the body and to give force 
to the hammering of the beak. This prop seems to be 
unnecessary in the Nuthatch. The Tree-creeper's 
beak, indeed, could never be used hammer-fashion, 
for it is slender and curved and is used for the capture 
of insects. See Plate 21, Fig. 127. 

The American Brown Creeper is the only one of the 
twelve recognised species foimd in America. It cor- 



Red Crossbill 

(lA>xia (Turviroitra) 


responds to the European form, being black, white 
and buff above, and white below. It breeds in the 
North and in winter migrates southward to the Gulf 
States. Owing to its small size, sober colours and the 
skill with which it contrives always to keep the trunk 
of a tree between itself and humxan observers, this bird 
is seldom seen. Its faint little twitter, uttered as it 
climbs about, is very pleasing. 

The beautifiil little Wall-creeper is found only in 
Asia and certain parts of Europe. It is of a soft grey- 
ish colour, with white spots on the outer tail-feathers 
and crimson wing-coverts. The appearance of this 
bird has been noted two or three times in the British 
Islands. See Plate 21, Fig. 126. 


The Wren family includes a great number of very 
small birds, spread over the greater part of the world, 
being especially abundant in the New World. They 
are not found, however, in Africa and the Australian 
region. They are insect-feeders and therefore migra- 
tory in their habits. Wrens are active, nervous birds, 
with musical voices. 

The common American House Wren is found 
nearly everywhere in North America. The colouring 
is brownish above, indistinctly barred with darker col- 
our, and greyish below. Like all the other members 
of this family, it builds domed nests, frequently in 
outhouses and other places in proximity to human 
beings. The wings are short and rounded and the 
short tail is usually carried in a vertical position. 


The Common Wren of Europe closely corresponds 
to this species. It is popularly known as "Jenny 
Wren" and is a favourite character in the folk-lore of 
England. See Plate 13, Fig. 68. 

Other familiar American species are the Winter 
Wren, the Carolina Wren and the Marsh Wren. 

This great family embraces not only the typical 
Wrens, but the Mocking-birds, the Catbirds and the 

Among the song-birds of America the Mocking- 
bird easily takes first place, its wonderful vocal pow- 
ers being equalled only by those of the celebrated 
Nightingale of Europe. Not only are its own notes 
remarkably melodious, but it has the ability to imitate 
closely the voices of other birds as well as many other 
sounds in Nature. See Plate 42, Fig. 247. 

In colour the Mocking-bird is ashy above, darken- 
ing on wings and tail and paling to dingy white below. 
The lower half of the quill-feathers of the wings is 
white, and some of the tail-feathers are also marked 
with white. The sexes are almost undistinguishable 
in colour, though the male has a little more white in 
the plumage. 

These birds are very common in our southern 
States. They show little fear of man and are often 
seen in city streets and parks. Mocking-birds sing 
morning and evening, and on moonlight nights are 
frequently heard all night. They build clumsy-look- 
ing nests in low trees, not far from the groimd, and in 
thickets, and the eggs are greenish, spotted thickly 
with brown. 

While not equalling the Mocking-bird in musical 


ability, its near relative, the Catbird, yet has a charm- 
ing song of its own, as well as considerable power of 
mimicry. It is bluish-grey above, with crown and 
tail black and under tail-coverts brownish red, some- 
times spotted with slate colour. This bird is of a lively 
and active disposition and very friendly and intelli- 
gent. One of its commonest notes resembles the mew- 
ing of a cat, and from this it derives its name. 

The Catbird is very abundant in the eastern part 
of the United States, breeding from the Gulf States 
to Canada. It makes a coarse nest of twigs, leaves, 
and so on, and lays greenish-blue eggs. 

Another well-known American member of this fam- 
ily is the Brown Thrasher, a frequenter of under- 
growth and thickets, especially in the Southern States. 
The upper parts are a rich reddish brown, the under 
parts whitish, heavily streaked with dark brown, ex- 
cept on the throat and middle of the breast. The 
wing-coverts are tipped with white. The Brown 
Thrasher in form closely resembles the Mocking-bird, 
and, like it, has the ability to mimic other birds. Its 
own song, heard during the breeding season only, is 
loud and very melodious, and is repeated for a long 


A very remarkable family is that which comprises 
the Waxwings of North America and northern 
Europe and Asia. Numbering but few species and 
of uncertain lineage, the birds of this family have ac- 
quired notoriety on account of the fact that the inner 
wing-quills and tail-feathers are tipped with horny 


plates, having the appearance of small drops of red 

The Wax wing, or Bohemian Chatterer, is an in- 
habitant of the Arctic regions. It is very rarely seen 
in the Atlantic States, but more often in the northern 
part of the interior of the United States. It has visited 
the British Islands periodically for upwards of two 
centuries, sometimes in great numbers. See Plate 18, 
Fig. 106. 

The Cedar Waxwing is a much more common spe- 
cies in this country, breeding from Virginia north- 
ward. The upper parts in this bird are greyish, the 
forehead, chin, and a line through the eye black. The 
tail is yellow at the end, and the secondaries and some- 
times the tail have the small wax-like tips that give 
the name to the species. It is slightly smaller than 
the preceding form, but, like it, has a conspicuous 
crest. Mrs. Bailey says : "The squads of Cedar-birds 
fly evenly on a level with the tree-tops, in close ranks 
often of five, seven or nine. Frequently, when under 
full headway, they suddenly wheel and dive down to 
an apple-tree for a meal of canker-worms." 


The true Orioles are an Old World family exclu- 
sively, and as to their exact relationship, there is some 
difference of opinion among naturalists. In the young 
the under parts are streaked in a way that is thought 
to ally the group with the Starlings. 

The Golden Oriole is one of the most beautiful of 
birds, the body plumage being bright yellow, with 
black wings and tail. The female is more soberly col- 


oured — dull green above, the under parts streaked 
with grey. This species winters in Africa, migrating 
to southern and central Europe in the spring, and 
occasionally breeding in the British Islands. All the 
family have sweet, flute-like voices. See Plate 11, 
Fig. 51. 

The nest of the Golden Oriole is a very cleverly 
made, cradle-like structure of bark, wool, and grass- 
stems, woven together and suspended beneath the 
fork of a small branch of a tree. 

The American family is a large one, embracing a 
hundred and fifty species, or more, most of which 
make their home in the tropics. They differ struc- 
turally from the Old World Orioles, as well as in 
many of their habits, but, like them, feed upon insects, 
fruit, and seeds. They are found in widely different 
localities, frequenting woodlands, plains, and marshes, 
showing much adaptability to environment. Certain 
species are fine singers, while others have harsh and 
disagreeable voices. 

The most conspicuous member of the family is the 
Baltimore Oriole, found quite abundantly throughout 
eastern North America. The head, throat, upper part 
of the back, and middle tail-feathers are black, some 
of the wing- feathers are edged with white, and the rest 
of the plumage is a rich orange colour. 

Like the Old World Oriole, this bird builds a sus- 
pended nest of grasses, bark, hair, and so on, near the 
end of a small branch. The work of constructing the 
nest seems to be done by the female, the male bird 
assisting her by bringing some of the material used. 


The eggs are whitish, with irregular dark lines and a 
few spots. 

One of our best known American song-birds is the 
Bobolink, Reed-bird or Rice-bird. The male of this 
species has two distinct phases of plumage. In the 
breeding season, the head, throat, and under parts of 
wings, and tail, are black, the fore part of the back 
buffy, the scapulars and upper tail-coverts dingy 
white. In the fall, after the breeding season, these 
feathers are all moulted, and the Bobolink assumes 
the streaked olive and buff colours of the female and 
young. At this time, during their migration to South 
America, these birds stop on their way to visit the rice- 
fields of the Southern States, gorging themselves with 
the rice until they become very fat. When in this con- 
dition they are esteemed a great delicacy and are shot 
in large numbers to supply the table. 

The Bobolink has a rich, melodious voice. His song 
has been described as "an irrepressible outburst; a 
flood of melody from a heart overflowing with the joy 
of early summer." 

Another very common bird of this country is the 
Red-winged Blackbird. Its name is taken from the 
colour of its lesser wing-coverts, which are a bright 
crimson, showing conspicuously in flight, but not 
visible when the wing is closed. The middle wing- 
coverts are yellowish, all the rest of the plumage is 
glossy black. The colouring of the female is much like 
that of a common Sparrow. 

This bird breeds from the Gulf of Mexico to Can- 
ada, and winters southward from Virginia. Its nest 
is built in bushes and reeds in swampy ground. 


The Cowbird has fittingly been called an outcast 
among the feathered tribe, on account of its despicable 
habit of shirking the duties of parenthood and foisting 
the care of its offspring upon other birds. Like the 
Old World Cuckoo, the Cowbird watches its oppor- 
tunity to deposit its egg in the nest of some smaller 
bird, who usually cares for it in preference to her own 
eggs and young, though the imposition is sometimes 
detected and the Cowbird's egg thrown from the nest. 

The plumage of this bird is shining black, with a 
metallic lustre over the greater part of the body. The 
head and neck are dark brown. 

The Purple Grackle, or Crow Blackbird, has beau- 
tifully iridescent plumage of green, blue and black, 
over the entire body, somewhat duller below than 
above. This bird breeds in the eastern part of the 
United States, wintering in the southern part. A 
noticeable feature in all the Grackles is their bright 
yellow eyes, which contrast strikingly with their 
sombre plumage. These birds are said to prey upon 
the eggs and young of other species. Their notes are 
harsh and disagreeable. 

A much larger form than the preceding, found 
principally in the marshes of Florida, is the Boat- 
tailed Grackle, the general colour of which is bluish or 
purplish-black, darker on wings and tail. 

The Meadowlark is the most soberly coloured mem- 
ber of this family, the plumage being a mixture of 
black, buff and white. The outer tail-feathers are 
white, forming a conspicuous mark when the bird is 
on the wing. These birds frequent marshes and 
meadow-lands, where they blend so well with their 


surroundings that they are able to keep themselves 
well out of sight. 


The Common Starling belongs to a family that is 
peculiar to the Old World. These birds seem to be 
most nearly related to the Golden Oriole, as already 
mentioned. The Starling is an extremely beautiful 
bird, its plumage, purplish and greenish in general 
tone, having a wonderful metallic lustre. The new 
feathers, assumed after the autumn moult, have light 
buff tips, which gradually wear off as the summer 
livery is gained. See Plate 20, Fig. 120. 

These birds lay their eggs in holes or the hollow 
trunks of trees, making but little pretence at nest- 
building. Young Starlings are of an ash-brown 
colour, totally unlike that of the adult birds. 

The Starling has been introduced into this country 
in recent years, where it breeds well and seems to have 
become completely naturalised. Like the English 
Sparrow, it is combative in disposition, and is said to 
be driving away some of our native birds. 


The birds of this family enjoy the unique distinction 
among perching birds of being not only able to swim, 
but also to run or fly along the beds of swift streams. 
The Dipper, or Ouzel, is like a large Wren in appear- 
ance, having a stout body and a very short tail. The 
upper parts are dark brown, and the breast white. It 
receives its name from the habit of dipping or ducking 
in the water. The Dipper is an insect-feeder, though 


it has been accused of devouring the eggs of trout in 
mountain streams. The case, however, has never been 
proved against them. See Plate 10, Fig. 50. 

The American Dipper, or Water-ouzel, as it is fre- 
quently called, resembles the European, but the breast 
is dark-coloured instead of white. About twelve spe- 
cies are known, all found in the neighbourhood of 
mountain streams. They build round nests of moss, 
on the ground, and their eggs are white. 

Of this bird Elliott Coues writes: "Although not 
web-footed, nor able to swim with its feet, nor having 
the slightest affinity with water birds, nevertheless 
there is no duck nor diver more truly aquatic than the 
Dipper; a great part of its time, in fact, being spent 
under water, where it repairs in search of food." 


We pass now to the large family of Thrushes and 
their near relations, many of whom are superb song- 
sters. These birds are spread over a large part of the 
globe, about twelve, out of the three hundred or more 
species, being found in the United States. They are 
rather stoutly built, live in wooded districts, and feed 
largely upon insects and fruit. The sexes are much 
alike in colouring, and the species are migratory and 
somewhat gregarious in habit. The true Thrushes are 
generally brownish or olive above, with light breasts 
spotted with darker colour. 

The Missel-thrush is the largest song-bird found in 
the British Islands, where it is seen all the year round. 
It measures about ten and a half inches in length, and 
is distinguished by the fact that the spots on the breast 


are kidney-shaped, while in the Common European 
Thrush they have somewhat the shape of ^ peg-top. 
The outer tail-feathers are tipped with white. See 
Plate 11, Fig. 55. 

The European Blackbird is probably a better 
known bird than the preceding, for he is more in evi- 
dence, living in and near large towns. In the London 
parks Blackbirds are seen at all seasons of the year. 
Though the sable livery and golden bill give this bird 
some claim to beauty, it is more as a songster that it 
is esteemed, its notes being peculiarly flute-like and 
beautiful. The plumage of the female is dull brown. 

It is interesting to note that the nest of this Black- 
bird, like that of the Missel-thrush, is lined with dry 
grasses, while that of the Common Thrush has a 
water-tight lining of rotten wood. See Plate 11, Fig. 

Nearly related to, and more striking in appearance 
than the Blackbird, is the Ring-ouzel, which has a 
pure white crescent on the breast. As a songster, how- 
ever, it is far inferior to the other species. See Plate 
11, Fig. 56. 

A very beautiful European Thrush is the Rock- 
thrush, which most nearly represents the American 
Bluebird. The plumage of the male is a mixture of 
blue, black, white and reddish colours. This bird is 
common in Germany and other parts of the continent 
of Europe, but is seldom seen in Great Britain. See 
Plate 12, Fig. 57. 

The delicately coloured little bird called the Wheat- 
ear is fovmd widely distributed throughout the Old 
World, and occasionally visits America. The plumage 


55. Missel Thrush 
( Turdus viscwonui). 

56. Ring Ouzel (Merula toriiuatus). 


of the male varies with the season. In summer 
it is a pale grey above, with wings and tail black, 
the rump and base of the tail white, and the under 
parts whitish. After the autumn moult he assumes a 
plumage that closely resembles that of the female, the 
feathers having long brown fringes, which wear off 
as spring approaches. The female is dull brown 
above, and the young are similar in colouring, but are 
slightly spotted. The name "Wheatear" comes from 
an old Saxon word. "Wheat" is a corruption of 
white, and "ear" is from the old word "aers," mean- 
ing rump, in allusion to the white patch above the 
tail. See Plate 12, Fig. 60. 

An extremely lively and very pretty member of the 
Thrush tribe is the Stonechat, common throughout the 
whole of Europe, and especially abundant in the pas- 
ture-lands of England. It is an insect-eater, and feeds 
largely upon the destructive wire-worm. The Stone- 
chat builds a nest of grass and moss on the ground, 
or in the stems of bushes but a few inches from the 
ground. See Plate 12, Fig. 62. 

A near relative of the preceding form is the 
European Redstart, of which two species are figured, 
the Common Redstart and the Black Redstart. Both 
are extremely handsome little birds, and fairly com- 
mon in the Old World. They are said to be increasing 
in Great Britain and extending their range. Curi- 
ously enough, the eggs of the two species differ con- 
spicuously, those of the Black Redstart being a pure, 
shining white, while those of its relative are a beautiful 
pale blue. The Redstarts build nests of fine grass and 


moss, hidden away in holes of trees and buildings, or 
in clefts of rock. See Plate 13, Figs. 65, 66. ' 

A no less beautiful bird is the Blue-throat, of which 
there are two — perhaps three — forms found in Euro- 
pean countries. The first has a red spot in the middle 
of the blue throat ; the second a white spot. A third, 
unspotted form may be but a variety of the white- 
spotted species. The red-spotted Bluethroat is a bird 
of high northern latitudes, where its song enlivens the 
nightless Arctic summer and rivals that of the Night- 
ingale in richness. The white-spotted bird breeds 
south of the Baltic Sea. See Plate 12, Fig. 63. 

Probably the English Redbreast, or Robin, holds 
chief place in the long roll of British birds, on account 
of its friendly ways and sweet notes. It is a small bird, 
about five and a half inches in length, olive-green 
above, throat and fore part of the breast orange-red. 
This bird is found even in large cities, in the parks and 
gardens. The males and females are alike in colour- 
ing, but the first plumage of the young birds is a dull 
brown, showing no trace of the orange-red throat so 
conspicuous in the parents. They are often mistaken 
for the females of the species. See Plate 12, Fig. 61. 

While it is not true to say that no brightly coloured 
birds sing well, it is a well-known fact that some of the 
most soberly clad are the sweetest of all the songsters. 
This is peculiarly true of the Nightingale, whose won- 
derful melody is celebrated throughout the world. 
This bird is found in many parts of the Old World, 
and is very common in Great Britain. The sexes are 
coloured alike, reddish-brown above and whitish below. 
See Plate 12, Fig. 59. 

america:n^ robin 199 

The American Robin, or Migratory Thrush, is one 
of the most f amihar of our birds, being found through- 
out the whole of North America. The name "Robin," 
or "Redbreast," was given it by the early English set- 
tlers in this country, on account of its resemblance to 
the Old World bird called by that name. The Robin 
of the New World, however, is a much larger form, 
being nearly twice the size of its European cousin, and 
the red breast is different in hue. It is slate-colour 
above, the head is black, and the throat is streaked with 
white. The food of the Robin consists of worms, in- 
sects, and fruit. The f oimdation of the nest is made of 
mud, lined with grasses and other soft materials. The 
song and call-notes of this bird are very varied, 
expressing suspicion, alarm, caution, and so on, and 
many of them have never been satisfactorily inter- 

The Bluebird is another well-known American 
member of the Thrush famQy, whose arrival in the 
spring is eagerly looked forward to. It is a resident 
species throughout eastern North America, though the 
majority of Bluebirds go South for the winter. The 
general colouring of the upper parts is brilliant blue, 
darkening on the wings ; dull reddish on the breast, the 
rest of the under parts whitish. The yoimg are 
spotted on breast and back. 

The largest member of the Thrush family in Amer- 
ica is the Wood Thrush, reddish-brown above, chang- 
ing to olive-brown on the tail. Except on the throat 
and down the middle, the xm^der parts are thickly 
spotted with black, the spots reaching well up under 
the wings. This bird is conmion in the Eastern States. 


Its notes are very sweet and flute-like in quality. The 
nest and the eggs are much like those of the Rohin. 

Wilson's Thrush, or Veery, is a duller brown than 
the Wood Thrush, and has the under parts white, 
flecked with small wedge-shaped spots, much the same 
colour as the brown of the back. The song of this bird 
is peculiar, and unlike that of any of the other 

The Hermit Thrush is spread over nearly the whole 
of North America. It is olive-brown, shading to red- 
dish on the tail; throat and breast huffy, profusely 
spotted with dark brown. This bird, like the other 
members of the group, is a fine singer. While not 
especially shy, the Hermit Thrush is not very often 
seen, from the fact that it inhabits woodlands and 
thickets, rather than open country. It builds a nest 
of sticks and twigs, on or near the ground, and the 
eggs are greenish-blue, like those of the Robin and 
Wood Thrush. See Plate 42, Fig. 248. 


This is a very large group of birds, inhabiting both 
the Old and the New World, embracing several fam- 
ilies and many different species. Only a few birds in 
America correspond to the Warblers of the Old 
World, all of which, unlike the typical American fam- 
ily, have clear, sweet voices. A few species representa- 
tive of the Warblers of both countries will be briefly 
mentioned. They are active, sprightly little birds, 
more or less green or brown above, and yellow or buff 
below. Formerly they were included in the Thrush 



Rock Thrush 


ttaxaUilis) . 

"■^i: lrl«4ge Sparrow 


• 59. Nightingale 
(Da-ul'uui liufcliiiuj 

\^ (Saxicola 

61. European Robin Redbreast 
(Erythacus ruhemda). 

fCyaneeula ^' 

(Pratincola rubiciila) 


family, from which they have now been separated on 
account of certain important differences. The War- 
blers have two moults during the year, and the young 
are like the parents in colour. 

The Blackcap is in some respects almost as skilled 
a performer as the Nightingale, and it is much more 
widely distributed than that famous songster. The 
female Blackcap has the crown of the head a dull 
chestnut, and so also have the young in their first 
plumage. See Plate 13, Fig. 72. 

Another sweet singer, but far inferior to the Night- 
ingale and Blackcap, is the Whitethroat, a common 
bird in the British Islands. The male White-throat 
displays great courage in defense of his nest and 
young. When an intruder draws near, he flits from 
branch to branch, with every feather of his crest and 
throat erect, and tail widely spread, while every now 
and then he shoots up into the air and descends again, 
almost vertically, keeping^ up this scolding remon- 
strance until the danger is past. See Plate 13, Fig. 

The Golden-crested Wren has the distinction of 
being the smallest of European birds, measuring not 
more than three and a half inches in length. Its nest 
is a wonderful structure of moss, felted together by 
spider-webs and sheep's wool. Outside, bits of lichen 
are fastened to render it inconspicuous, and the inside 
is lined with feathers. This exquisite little nursery is 
swung at the. end of a long bough, instead of being 
placed on it. From five to eight, or even ten, tiny, 
buff- white eggs, faintly freckled with red, are laid, and 
most jealously brooded by the female. The young 


birds lack the beautiful golden crest of their parents. 
See Plate 13, Fig. 69. 

The Golden-crowned Kinglet takes the place of the 
preceding species in America. This pretty little bird 
has a crown of bright orange colour, bordered by black 
and yellow. The general tint of the upper part of the 
body is greyish-green, the lower part whitish. This 
bird is often associated in migration with another 
species, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, which has a 
bright red crown, more or less concealed, but otherwise 
closely resembles it. Like the European species, these 
birds build, elaborate nests, which they suspend from 
the end of branches — usually from evergreen trees. 
The song of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is mellow and 
flute-like, that of its Golden-crov/ned cousin shriller 
and not so pleasing to the ear. 

Among the common Old World species figured are 
the Wood-wren, the Marsh-warbler, and the Icter- 
ine Warbler, whose relatives are the Sedge- and Reed- 
warblers, and the Chiff-chaff. The Reed-warbler 
builds a most interesting nest. It is shaped like a deep 
cup, and is fixed at the sides to the tall stems of reeds, 
giving them the appearance of growing up through 
the nest. So skilfully is this nursery built, that when 
the reeds bend low over the water, the eggs or young 
rest securely at the bottom of the nest. See Plate 13, 
Figs. 64, 67, 70. 

Though many of the Warblers, such as the Sedge-, 
Reed- and Marsh-warblers, show a preference for 
swamps and inland water, a great number of species, 
on the other hand, inhabit dry localities. Between 


some of these species there is so great a resemblance 
that only an expert can distinguish them. 

The" Hedge-sparrow is a true Warbler, and is in no 
way related to the House-sparrow, as the name seems 
to imply. In their habits, even more than in their 
appearance, the birds are unlike, for the House-spar- 
row is mischievous and insolent in demeanour, while 
the Hedge-sparrow is among the most retiring of 
birds. It is generally distributed throughout the 
British Islands, where it is a resident species. This bird 
is frequently made the dupe of the Cuckoo, perform- 
ing the work of foster-parent with great zeal. The 
nest of the Hedge-sparrow, seldom placed far from 
the ground, is made of roots and mosses, and lined 
with hair sind wool. From four to six beautiful tur- 
quoise-blue eggs are laid. See Plate 12, Fig. 58. 

As has been said, the Wood Warblers are a pecu- 
liarly American family, found chiefly in the eastern 
part of the country. The greater part of the one 
hundred known species inhabit the United States, 
although some are confined to the tropics. They are 
generally tree-living birds, but a few species are to be 
found in undergrowth and open country. All are 
insect-feeders, but vary in their methods of obtaining 
their prey, some capturing it on the wing, while others 
find it by creeping about the trunks and limbs of 

One of the most beautiful members of this family 
is the little American Redstart, whose plumage is a 
charming mixture of shining black and rich salmon 
colour. It breeds in North America, but winters in 
the tropics. 


In the Hooded Warbler the hind head, neck and 
throat are black, the face and under parts bright yel- 
low ; back, tail and wings, olive-green. The outer tail- 
feathers are mostly white, showing conspicuously 
when the bird is on the wing. Both this and the pre- 
ceding species have sweet singing notes, and a sharp 
call when alarmed. 

The Myrtle Warbler has the top of head, each side 
of the breast and the rump, yellow, forming a striking 
contrast to the black-streaked bluish-grey of the 
upper parts. The throat is white, and there is much 
black on the breast. Like the other species mentioned, 
this bird is common in the eastern part of the United 
States, and the yellow patches of colour make it easy 
to identify. 

The name of the Blue-winged Warbler is apt to be 
misleading, since the wings are rather slate-coloured 
than blue. The tail is the same shade as the wings; 
the upper parts are olive-green, faintly washed with 
yellow, and the entire under parts are brilliant yellow. 
As in many of the Warblers, the wing-coverts are 
tipped with white, and there are patches of white on 
the outer tail-feathers. The black line through the 
eye helps to identify the species. 

The black forehead and cheeks, olive-green back, 
bright yellow throat and breast of the Maryland 
Yellow-throat, are found in so many other species of 
the "Yellow-throats" that only an expert ornithologist 
can distinguish them one from another. The North- 
ern Yellow-throat is a somewhat larger form, found 
quite widely distributed throughout the northern and 
eastern parts of North America. 


A distinguishing field-mark of the Parula Warbler 
is the triangular patch of greenish-yellow on the fore 
part of the back. The throat and breast are yellow, 
and there is a dark band across the breast, usually 
blackish or reddish. The Northern Parula has a 
wider breast-band, and there is more reddish in the 

The Chestnut-sided Warbler has reddish-brown 
sides, greenish-yellow back streaked with black, black 
on cheeks and sides of throat. This bird is found 
along the borders of woodlands and in scrubby under- 
growth, and its markings differ considerably from 
those of other species, so that it is comparatively easy 
to recognise. 

The Yellow-breasted Chat has the distinction of 
being the largest of all our Warblers, as well as the 
most eccentric in behaviour. The back of this bird is 
olive-green, like that of so many of the family; the 
throat and breast are brilliant yellow, and over the 
eye and at the edge of the throat is a conspicuous 
white line. It is a common summer resident in many 
of our Eastern States. It is a very shy bird, and when 
approached, especially during the nesting-time, goes 
through with many strange performances in the air. 
Mr. Chapman says, "After an acquaintance of many 
years, I frankly confess that his true character is a 
mystery to me. . . . But that there is method in his 
madness no one who studies him closely can doubt." 

The Oven-bird, or Golden-crowned Thrush, is one 
of the Ground Warblers, that in appearance resembles 
a small Thrush, having a white breast marked with 
brownish spots. It is olive-green above, without white 


markings on wings or tail, and has an orange-coloured 
crown bordered by black lines at the sides. This bird 
is common in our Eastern States, but is seldom seen 
on account of its retiring disposition. He has a liquid, 
melodious song, "the very force of which carries him 
up into the air among the tree-tops." 


The Vireos constitute a family, embracing many 
species, of small, insectivorous birds that are peculiar 
to America. Their characteristic colour is olive-green, 
and on this account they are also called Greenlets. 
The Vireos inhabit both trees and undergrowth, and 
most of them have very melodious songs. Unlike 
many of the other insect-eating birds, they are rather 
slow in their motions, and obtain their food by glean- 
ing the under surface of leaves and prying larvae from 
crevices in the bark, rather than by darting after it 
in the manner of the Flycatchers. The Vireos are 
migratory, many species spending the summer in the 
United States and in the autumn returning to their 
home in the West Indies and South America. 

A common species in eastern North America is the 
Red-eyed Vireo, or Greenlet, whose plumage is olive- 
green above, with a slaty-grey crown, and a conspicu- 
ous white line over the eye. The under parts are pure 
white. A distinguishing character of this bird is its 
red iris. Like most of its relatives, the Red-eyed 
Vireo is a fine singer, and like them also, but in this 
character differing from most other birds, it sings 
while weaving its pensile nest of grasses, lichens, and 
so on. 1 


'64. Marsh Warbler. 
fAcrucephalus palustrii). 

71. Garden- 
Warbler ^/^ \ X 12 BI 

I'Syhla simplexj. ^f" *f *^ ^ ^ (.Sylvia a. 

72 Blackcap 
tncapiiln i 


A very handsome, but somewhat rarer form than 
the preceding in the United States, is the Blue- 
headed, or Sohtary, Vireo, whose, back is bright olive- 
green, top and sides of head bluish-ash colour, wings 
marked with two white bars, and under parts pure 
white. This bird is the first of its family to reach the 
Northern States in the spring, and the last to leave 
for its southern home. 

The White-eyed Vireo is abundant in summer in 
the undergrowth of our Eastern States. The bright 
olive-green of its upper parts are washed with greyish, 
and the wings have two distinct yellowish-white bars. 
A marked character is the white iris, which, however, 
is brown in the young bird. The White-eyed Vireo 
has considerable ability as a singer, and varies his own 
sweet son^ with the notes of other birds. 

Wagtails and Pipits 

These birds are found principally in the Old World, 
only three out of the sixty or more known species 
inhabiting America. Though the Wagtails and Pipits 
are closely related, so far as colouration is concerned 
the two groups differ conspicuously: the Wagtails 
have a beautifully harmonious, but rather brightly 
coloured plumage, while the Pipits as a rule are 
clothed in sober brown, relieved by streaks and spots 
of darker brown. In both groups the legs are rela- 
tively long, and the inner quill-feathers of the wing, 
or inner secondaries, are so long that they reach the 
end of the primaries when the wing is closed — a char- 
acter shared by the Larks. These birds do not hop. 


but walk or run along the ground, and have the habit 
of constantly wagging the tail. They feed upon in- 
sects, which they catch both on the wing and from the 
ground. The hind toe-nail in both Wagtails and 
Pipits is greatly lengthened. 

Two of the commonest European species are the 
Grey Wagtail and the White Wagtail, the former 
being remarkable for its long tail. Both are beautiful 
and delicately coloured little birds. The black throat 
of the male Grey Wagtail is worn only during the 
breeding season, being replaced by white in winter. 
This bird is a lover of mountain streams, preferring 
them to those that run through flat country. See Plate 
11, Fig. 52. 

The White Wagtail in its summer dress may readily 
be distinguished from its other common relative, the 
Pied Wagtail, by the greater amount of white on the 
sides of the neck, and by the beautiful pearl-grey of 
the upper parts, that of the Pied species being black. 
In winter they resemble each other rather closely; the 
black back being grey at this time, although darker 
than in the other species. See Plate 11, Fig. 53. 

The Yellow Wagtail is an extremely common bird 
in many parts .of the British Islands. It is a species 
which revels in wet meadows, and finds the company 
of cattle attractive for the sake of the flies which they 
stir up in the grass. The chin, throat, and under parts 
of this bird are bright yellow, and a yellow stripe runs 
over the eye. 

In some respects the Pipits are like the Larks, but 
they are nevertheless probably not very closely related 
to the Lark family. In colouration they are very 


similar, and another external character which they 
have in common is the greatly lengthened hind toe- 
nail. The Pipits build their nests on the ground, 
usually in sheltered places, and the eggs of some spe- 
cies are much more brilliantly coloured than are those 
of the Wagtails. 

The Tree-pipit is fairly well distributed throughout 
Europe, though on account of its sober colouring it 
seldom attracts attention. It has a pleasing and rather 
powerful, though limited, little song. While able to 
perch upon trees, the Tree-pipit, like the other species 
of this group, seems more at home on the ground, 
where it runs actively about, with much jerking of the 
tail. Resembling the Meadow-pipit, it is larger, and 
has a shorter hind-claw. See Plate 10, Fig. 49. 

The smallest of the European Pipits, or Titlarks, 
is the Meadow-pipit. This dainty little bird may be 
seen in suitable localities throughout the year in the 
British Islands. 

The American Pipit, or Titlark, is the most widely 
distributed species in this country. In colouring it is 
greyish-brown above, faintly streaked with darker 
brown; the under parts are buff, streaked on breast 
and sides with blackish. The end half of the outer 
tail-feather is white, the one next to it has white on the 
end, and the wing-coverts are tipped with white. 

These little birds breed in the far North, migrating 
southward in winter to Mexico and Central America. 
When a flock is startled, it is said to rise high in the 
air, as if for a long flight, but after hovering for a few 
moments, to return to, or near, the place from which 
it rose. 



There is a general notion among those who are not 
experts in the matter of the classification of birds, that 
the Larks are related to the Pipits and Wagtails, but 
whether this belief is well founded or not remains to 
be proved. As has been said, in certain characters 
they bear a superficial resemblance. The relationship 
between the Larks and the Finches, to be considered 
later, seems to be evident. 

The Larks are chiefly natives of the Old World, 
though North America has representatives of the 
group in the Horned Larks. The family is distin- 
guished from all the other Perching birds by the fact 
that the back of the leg is covered by small scutes, or 
scales. The long hind claw and the length of the inner 
quill-feathers of the wing in Larks has already been 
mentioned. Their bills are short and conical. 

The best known of this family is the Skylark, so 
famous for its song, which is heard during nearly eight 
months of the year, and ranks next to that of the 
Nightingale in popular favour. It is one of the few 
birds that sing while on the wing, and the strong 
natural impulse to rise in the air when singing makes 
the efforts of a caged Skylark a most pitiful sight. 
Sometimes it will sing from the ground, but usually 
the Skylark ascends in a spiral course to a consider- 
able height. The general colour of this bird is brown 
of varying shades, with slight touches of white or 
yellow. The breast is greyish-brown. See Plate 14, 
Fig. 74. 

During migration these birds suffer appalling losses 


in their ranks, immense numbers being killed by dash- 
ing against lighthouses. As many as fifteen thousand 
are known to have been killed in this way in a single 

Resembling the Skylark in general appearance, the 
Wood Lark may be distinguished by its smaller size, 
shorter tail, more pronounced crest, and the broad, 
pale stripe over the eye. The song of this bird is 
sweet and flute-like, and is uttered on the wing, the 
bird hovering in the air and descending spirally with 
half -closed wings. It does not mount like the Sky- 
lark, however, nor is its song so powerful and spark- 
ling. The Woodlark receives its name from its ability 
to perch on trees, which the Skylark does not seem to 
have. See Plate 14j Fig. 75. 

The Crested Lark is a fairly common species on the 
continent of Europe, but is rarely found in England. 
It is distinguished from the Skylark by the long 
drooping crest depending from the back of the neck, 
the abisence of white in the tail, and by its somewhat 
larger form. See Plate 14, Fig. 76. 

The Homed Lark, or Shore Lark, breeds in the 
Arctic regions of both Old and New Worlds. In win- 
ter it is found as far south in this country as North 
Carolina. The black feathers over the eye in this bird 
are lengthened to form little tufts, or "horns," from 
which it receives its name. The back is brown, 
streaked with darker colour, and the sides are pinkish 
brown, as well as the back of the neck and wing- and 
tail-coverts, while the throat and a line over the eye 
are yellow. This species is found in the vicinity of 
the seashore, or in open country in the interior, but sel- 


dom in wooded districts. They are groiind birds, and 
are usually seen in flocks. 

A smaller but similar form to the preceding is the 
Prairie Horned Lark, a more southern species, and 
one that is extending its range eastward from the Mis- 
sissippi Valley. Formerly confined to the prairies 
of the West, it now breeds in any suitable locality 
farther East. This bird has a white, instead of yellow, 
line over the eye. In singing, it is said to hurl itself 
aloft like the Skylark, and also to sing on the ground. 


This is an enormous family of birds, the largest in 
the Order to which it belongs, and found in all parts 
of the world, except Australia and adjacent islands. 
While the plumage of many species is plain, that of 
many others is brilliantly coloured. Nearly all the 
Finches are song-birds, and many are favourite cage- 
birds. All are seed-eaters, although during the breed- 
ing season they capture great quantities of insects as 
food for their young. Most of the species are resident 
throughout their range, and not migratory to any 
extent, as are all the exclusively insect-eaters among 
birds. The Finches may be generally described as 
rather small birds having a short, pointed, conical 
beak, and nine primary quill-feathers. 

One of the commonest of European Finches is the 
Greenfinch. It has no representative in America. The 
male is a beautiful bird whose colouring is in general 
green and gold, and the female resembles him, but is 
not so brilliantly coloured. This bird does well in con- 
finement, and shows some capacity for learning the 


78. Long- 
tailed Titmouse 
(Acredula cau- 


songs of other species, though it is by no means a 
skilled performer, and its own notes are rather monot- 
onous. It is a lover of gardens and orchards. See 
Plate 16, Fig. 90. 

The Hawfinch is found in nearly the whole of 
Europe and in parts of Asia, as well as in northern 
Africa. It is especially common in England, although 
it contrives remarkably well to escape observation. 
The plumage of the Hawfinch is much variegated and 
by no means conspicuous. It closely resembles that of 
the Chaffinch, but the Hawfinch is a larger bird — one 
of the largest of its family. A marked character is the 
great size of its beak, inside of which are curious crush- 
ing-pads, used in opening the hard-shelled stones of 
the hawthorn and other fruits of which it is very fond. 
See Plate 14, Fig. 77. 

Perhaps the most beautiful of the Finches is the 
European Goldfinch, whose name is derived from the 
golden-yellow of its plumage. The sexes are coloured 
much alike, but the young are quite different-looking, 
being without the beautiful markings of the parents. 
The Goldfinch is a favourite cage-bird, and as it is not 
easy to keep in confinement, is constantly in demand 
by fanciers. In England thousands are caught yearly 
in nets, and so great have been the raids on their ranks 
that in many parts of the country where they were 
formerly abundant they have been practically exter- 
minated. See Plate 17, Fig. 98. 

Introduced into this country in 1878, the European 
Goldfinch is occasionally seen about New York City 
and in other parts of the Eastern States. 

The American Goldfinch, more commonly called 


Yellow-bird, is a distinct species from the European. 
It is also a very beautiful little bird, having a bright 
yellow body, a black cap, and black wings and tail 
varied with white. The sexes are quite unlike in 
colour, the female being olive-brown above and yellow- 
ish below. In the fall the black cap of the male dis- 
appears and his colours in general fade until they 
approximate those of his mate. The sweet song and 
undulating flight of this little bird are well known. 
The American Goldfinch is quite common east of the 
Rocky Mountains. 

The Siskin, or Aberdevine, is a near relative of the 
Goldfinch, which it resembles both in song and in man- 
ner of flight. It breeds in the Arctic regions of the 
Old World, and winters in many parts of Europe. 
The Siskin is especially abundant in the British 
Islands, where it is frequently kept in confinement on 
account of its melodious song. See Plate 18, Fig. 103. 

The Pine Siskin, or Pine Finch, of this country, is 
also a native of the far North, but winters south to 
the Gulf States, and is found throughout almost the 
whole of North America. The colouring, in general, 
is olive-brown above, whitish, streaked with black, 
below, with yellow on wings and at base of tail. The 
latter is slightly forked. Siskins feed chiefly on the 
seeds of pines and hemlocks and other coniferous 

The home of the little bird known as the Serin 
is in the southern parts of Europe and northern 
Africa, although it is an occasional visitor to Great 
Britain. This Finch has a peculiar interest, inasmuch 
as it is probably the ancestor of that most popular 


of cage-birds, the Canary. It is a slightly smaller 
bird, with shorter wings and longer tail, and its song 
is not so melodious nor so varied as that of the 
Canary. See Plate 18, Fig. 102. 

The Canary is closely allied to, if, indeed, it is not 
a sub-species of, the Serin. The wild Canary is olive- 
green above, streaked with darker colour, and green- 
ish-yellow below; but by ages of careful breeding, 
many varieties have been produced, the most common 
being pale yellow over the whole body. This is said 
to be deepened to a brilliant flame-colour by mixing 
cayenne pepper in the food. The name of the bird 
is derived from the fact that it is a native of the 
Canary Islands, where it is very abundant. It is a 
popular cage-bird all over the world. The song of 
the wild Canary, though pleasing, is said to be sur- 
passed by that of the domesticated varieties. See 
Plate 18, Fig. 105. 

Of the House-sparrow, or English Sparrow, as it 
is usually called in this country, though it is not 
known to be a native of England, little need be said, 
for it is, unfortunately, now common everywhere. 
Although, like the rest of its family, chiefly a seed- 
and grain-eater, it was introduced into the United 
States in the expectation that it would destroy noxi- 
ous insects that were injuring trees in our public 
parks. It has, however, done far more harm than 
good, proving a great pest to farmers, and driving 
away many of our native birds from their former 
haunts. The House-sparrow is extremely hardy and 
prolific, and adapts itself with wonderful facility to 
new environment. It has no song, and its one note is 


by no means pleasant to the ear. See Plate 16, Fig. 

„ The European Tree-sparrow, which is closely re- 
lated to the preceding species, is a relatively rare 
bird in comparison. It also was introduced into this 
country, where it has become naturalised. While 
much like the House-sparrow, it may be distinguished 
by its chestnut, instead of grey, crown, and the two 
white bars across the closed wing. Further, while in 
the former species the sexes are quite dissimilar, ia 
the Tree-sparrow they can hardly be distinguished. 
See Plate 16, Fig. 94. 

The American Tree-sparrow is found in the eastern 
part of the country, breeding north of the United 
States, but wintering throughout them, as far west as 
the Great Plains. A small black spot in the centre 
of the greyish-white breast is an aid in identifying it. 
It has a sweet liquid warble, somewhat Canary-like 
in character. 

The Field-sparrow of this country gets its name 
from its habit of frequenting fields and open country, 
rather than more wooded sections. It closely resem- 
bles the Tree-sparrow in colouring, but is somewhat 
duller. This bird is common in summer throughout 
our Eastern States. It nests on or near the ground. 

Two other very well known species in eastern North 
America are the Song-sparrow and the Chipping- 
sparrow. Both are sociable little birds, often coming 
about houses in search of food. The former is one of 
our sweetest and most constant songsters, being heard 
at all hours during the day. This bird is reddish- 
brown above, streaked with black and ash, and white 



Bohenrian Waxwing 

(Ampells garrulusj. 

J 07. 





)08. European ' 
Barn Swallow 
(Hirundo ruslica). 


below, the breast and sides having streaks of dark red- 
dish, and the crown striped with black. Both species 
build in trees or low bushes, often very near houses. 

The Common Chaffinch is even more abundant in 
many parts of Europe than the House-sparrow, and 
is especially plentiful in the north of England. The 
male bird has a tuneful song, and is much esteemed 
as a cage-bird. It was a common custom, formerly, 
to sear the eyes of these birds with a hot iron in order 
to make them sing better, and even now, in order to 
perfect their song, they are sometimes made to pass 
much of their time in the dark. See Plate 17, Fig. 97. 

The Chaffinch is a friendly little bird, building its 
nest in gardens and orchards near human dwellings. 

The B rambling, or Mountain Finch, is a near rela- 
tive of the Chaffinch, and is even more brilliantly col- 
oured, its plumage being a combination of black, 
orange and white. This bird breeds in the northern 
parts of Europe and Asia, migrating south in winter. 
In some years it is remarkably abundant in Great 
Britain, especially when severe weather prevails on 
the continent of Europe. The wonderful black head 
and neck are assumed just before the breeding season 
— not by a change of feathers, but by the wearing 
away of the brown tips of the fall and winter 
plumage. See Plate 18, Fig. 104. 

Another common song-bird, found throughout 
Europe, western Asia, and the north of Africa, is the 
Linnet, also in great demand as a cage-bird. The 
wonderful rose-red breast which distinguishes the 
male is never regained by captive birds after their firsb 
moult, but is replaced by yellow. The name. Linnet, 


is derived from the Latin word for flax, linum, on 
account of the bird's fondness for the seeds of that 
plant. See Plate 17, Fig. 100. 

A very beautiful little bird of the Finch family 
found in southwestern Europe and the British 
Islands, is the Bullfinch, which gets its name from the 
thickness of its neck. The sexes differ conspicuously 
in colour, the females lacking completely the beautiful 
red on the breast of the male. In her it is replaced by 
chocolate-brown. The young resemble the female, 
but lack the black cap, which is common to both sexes 
in the adult birds. 

The Bullfinch, like the Chaffinch, builds a remark- 
able nest, though the workmanship of the two differs 
strikingly. The first makes a wonderful nursery of 
fine moss, wool, and lichen felted together, while the 
Chafiinch erects a platform of small twigs, sur- 
mounted by fine roots and a little hair fashioned into 
a shallow cup, in which the eggs are laid. See Plate 
16, Fig. 91. 

A variety of the Bullfinch was discovered in Alaska, 
in 1887. 

The home of the Pine-Grosbeak is in the far North 
of both hemispheres — ^in the region near the Arctic 
circle, wherever cone-bearing trees abound. Here it 
flourishes, feeding on buds, seeds and berries, varied 
by such insects as come within its reach. In this coun- 
try it migrates south in winter as far as Virginia. In 
the male the plumage is mostly rose-red, changing to 
ashy below, the wings darker, with white bars. In the 
female the head and rump are brownish-yellow. The 
American species is similar to the European, but is 


somewhat more brightly coloured. See Plate 16, 
Fig. 92. 

The Pine-Grosbeak has a variety of pleasing notes, 
and is a popular cage-bird in many countries. 

Closely allied to the preceding species is the Cross- 
bill. This bird derives its name from the fact that its 
mandibles cross each other at their tips, a peculiarity 
which looks like a deformity, but which enables the 
bird to wrench apart pine-cones and extract from 
them the seeds which form the bulk of their food. 

The Common Red Crossbill is found in both this 
country and Europe, breeding in the northern parts 
of the continents and wintering southward. It 
migrates in large flocks. Our American species is 
slightly smaller than the European, and is more 
brightly coloured. Before the beautiful red plumage, 
which distinguishes the male, is assumed, a livery of 
orange-yellow is worn. The general colour of the 
female is greenish-yellow, with brown wings and tail. 
See Plate 15, Fig. 79. 

The Purple Finch is a common bird of eastern 
North America whose name is quite misleading, for 
the colour over its entire body is dull rose-red, darken- 
ing on wings and tail. The latter is shghtly forked. 
The female diflPers markedly in appearance, being 
greyish-brown above, streaked with black, and white 
below, streaked or spotted with dark colour. The 
male does not assume adult plumage for two years, 
until that time resembling the female in colouring. 
Both sexes have small tufts of bristly feathers over 
the nostrils. The Purple Finch is one of our most 


melodious song-birds. His sweet and liquid notes are 
said to resemble those of the English Chaffinch. 

The Redpoll, or Redpoll Linnet, is an inhabitant 
of the Arctic regions of both the Old and the New 
World, migrating south in this country to about the 
middle of the United States. The bright red crown 
of both sexes gives it its name. In the male the throat, 
breast, ard rump are also red, the upper parts black- 
ish-brown, streaked. The female resembles him, but 
lacks the rose colour on the body. In general habits 
it is like its relative, the American Goldfinch, and is 
very friendly in disposition, frequenting orchards and 
gardens and often closely approaching houses. Its 
song is said to be musical, but is seldom heard far from 
its breeding-grounds in the North. 

The Indigo Bunting, an exquisitely coloured little 
bird often seen in the Eastern States, is bright blue 
on the back, a deeper blue on the head, and has black 
wing- and tail-feathers margined with blue. The 
female is quite Sparrow-like in appearance, plain 
brownish-grey taking the place of the rich blue in 
the plumage of the male. The outer wing- and tail- 
feathers, however, are slightly washed with blue. The 
cheery song of the Indigo Bunting is especially wel- 
come during the month of August, when most of our 
other song-birds are silent. 

In the Towhee, or Chewink, the upper parts, throat 
and breast are black, the sides reddish, and wings and 
tail marked with white. This is another member of 
the great Finch family that is found in eastern North 
America, where it is found inhabiting dense thickets 
and undergrowth. In this bird the iris is red, but in 


93. European 
House Sparrow 
(Passer domesticfus) 

94. European 

Tree Sparrow 

(I'aaeer montanus). 


the White-eyed Towhee, a more southern species, it 
is yellowish-white. 

The Snowbird, or Junco, breeds in the northern 
parts of both continents, and flocks of them are seen 
migrating southward as the cold weather comes on. 
The male is slate-grey above, darkening on the head, 
and white below, and the female resembles him, but 
is somewhat browner above. 

Often seen in company with the preceding species, 
the Snowflake, or Snow Bunting, is sometimes con- 
fused with it. This bird, however, is pure white 
above, with black markings on wings and tail, and the 
bill is black, while in the Snowbird it is white. After 
the breeding season, the white of the upper parts 
becomes washed with brown. These little birds are 
not at all shy, and are frequently seen in winter seek- 
ing food in the neighbourhood of human dwellings. 
See Plate 16, Fig. 89. 

The Paradise Whydah-bird is a South African spe- 
cies, found on swampy ground where reeds and long 
grasses flourish. Kaffir children capture numbers of 
the males with limed twigs and strings, and also by 
running them down, the birds being hampered with 
their long tails. During the season of courtship these 
birds perform wonderful evolutions in the air. On 
account of its beautiful plumage, as well as for its 
song, the Whydah-bird is frequently kept in confine- 
ment in European countries. See Plate 17, Fig. 95. 

Both the Amaduvade and Paradise Whydah-bird 
belong to a group of birds found in Africa and parts 
of Australia called Weaver-birds, from the remark- 
able nests which they weave of roots and grasses. By 


some authorities they are considered a distinct family, 
though they admit that it is hardly to be distinguished 
from the Finch family. All are small, Sparrow-hke 
birds, and feed principally on seeds and insects. 

The Amaduvade, or Strawberry-finch, is very popu- 
lar as a cage-bird, and is imported into European 
markets in enormous numbers. The male in breeding 
plumage is very beautiful, and, in addition, has a brief 
but sweet song, which is said to resemble a bugle-call. 
The female is less brilliant, being brown above, with a 
light patch of red on the rump, and buff -coloured be- 
low. These birds moult twice during the year, and 
after the breeding season the male assumes the dress of 
the female. The males are pugnacious little birds, and 
fight with spirit, on which account they are kept by 
the natives in India to afford them sport. See Plate 
17, Fig. 96. 

The Java Sparrow, as its name implies, is a native 
of the Island of Java, where, like the House-sparrow 
here, it is a pest. In the countries where it has been 
introduced it commits great ravages on fields of grain 
and rice. Of late years the Java Sparrow has become 
much sought after as a cage-bird, and breeds readily 
in confinement. From the domesticated birds a white 
race has been raised, which is highly prized. See 
Plate 17, Fig. 99. 

Though popularly called a "Sparrow," this bird is 
not really very closely related to the true Sparrows, 
such as the House- and Tree-sparrows. 

The Buntings are generally regarded as forming a 
sub-family of the Finches. Many of them are 
brightly coloured, but others, such as the Corn Bunt- 


ing, or Common Bunting of the Old World, is quite 
sombrely clad. This bird bears a striking resemblance 
to the Skylark, from which, however, it may easily be 
distinguished by the absence of the conspicuously 
long claw to the hind-toe. See Plate 15, Fig. 86. 

The Yellow Ammer, or Yellow Bunting, receives 
its name from the bright yellow of the head, neck and 
lower parts. Like the preceding species, it is a com- 
mon European resident, but has no representative in 
this country. The name here is frequently errone- 
ously applied to the Flicker, or Golden-winged 
Woodpecker, which has no affiliation with the Bunt- 
ings. The bird which most nearly resembles the true 
Yellowhammer (a form in which the name often 
appears) is the Bobolink in its fall plumage. The 
Yellowhammer is also known as the Writing-lark, 
because of the curious scribblings, as of a pen, over 
its eggs; though this character is shared by the eggs 
of the Buntings in general. See Plate 15, Fig. 85. 

Perhaps the most celebrated of all the European 
Buntings is the Ortolan, because of the fame which it 
has unfortunately acquired as a table delicacy. Com- 
mon throughout the greater part of Europe, this bird, 
as soon as the breeding season is over, returns south- 
wards in vast flocks. On both of its migratory jour- 
neys, to and from Europe, it is beset by bird-catchers, 
who make enormous hauls. The victims are kept alive 
in dark places, and fed until they become very fat, 
when they are killed to supply the table. The natural 
food of this bird consists of insects and seeds in about 
equal quantities. The Ortolan much resembles its 
relative, the Yellow Bunting, but the head is greyish 


instead of yellow. Neither species has much musical 
ability, though their notes are heard almost contin- 
uously during the summer months in European 
countries.' See Plate 16, Fig. 87. 

Wherever sluggish streams and reedy marshes 
abound throughout Europe, there the Reed-bunting 
may be looked for. In the spring, it is rather hand- 
some in its reddish plumage and black head, relieved 
by the white of the under parts, but in the autumn, 
after the new plumage has been assumed, the black 
hood is obscured by brown tips to the feathers. As 
winter proceeds, these tips gradually wear off until 
the black crown is once more in evidence. See Plate 
16, Fig. 88. 

Though in general appearance resembling the 
Reed-bunting, the Lapland Bunting may be distin- 
guished by the long claw of the hind-toe, which has 
gained for it the name of Long-spur. See Plate 15, 
Fig. 81. 

The home of this bird is in the far North; it is, 
indeed, a circumpolar species, frequenting swampy 
lands beyond the limit of forest growth. Until the 
year 1892 the Lapland Bunting was extremely rare 
in the British Islands, but since that time England 
especially has been invaded by great numbers, 
annually, though only a few have ever been seen in 

The beautiful Cardinal-bird, or Virginia Nightin- 
gale as it is sometimes called on account of its famous 
song, is a common species in the eastern parts of the 
United States. It is from eight to nine inches in 
length, the face is black, the bill red, and the head 


bears a long crest of feathers. Most of the plumage 
over the entire body is a deep rich red ; darker in crest, 
wings and tail, and the back is tinged with greyish. 
The female is duller in colour than the male. Both 
sexes have a charming song, that of the female being 
even more pleasing in quality than her mate's. Inhab- 
iting thickets and undergrowth, this bird contrives, in 
spite of its brilliant colouration, to escape observation, 
even when its rich rolling notes proclaim its near 
presence. See Plate 17, Fig. 101. 


The Tanagers form a group of New World birds, 
numbering about three hundred and fifty species, and 
very closely allied to the Finches. Indeed, the char- 
acters which distinguish the two families are very 
slight and technical. The Tanagers are birds of beau- 
tiful and varied plumage, many of them being bril- 
liantly coloured, and the females differ conspicuously 
in colouration from the mal^. They are most abun- 
dantly represented in tropical America, only five 
species summering in the United States. The 
Tanagers are woodland birds, feed chiefly upon insects 
and fruit, and only a few species have any vocal 
ability, most of them having very weak voices. 

A very beautiful species common in the eastern 
part of this country is the Scarlet Tanager, also 
known as the Blackwinged Redbird. The male bird is 
a brilliant scarlet, with black wings and tail, while 
the female is a light olive-green above, darkening on 
wings and tail, and greenish-yellow below. Towards 
the end of the summer the male begins to moult his 


scarlet plumage, and replace it with the greenish 
colours of his mate ; but the black wings and tail are 
retained. The song of the Scarlet Tanager is char- 
acterised as "a loud, cheery, rhythmical carol, sug- 
gesting the song of the Robin." 

Another exquisitely coloured species is the Summer 
Redbird, or Summer Tanager, also common in the 
eastern part of this country as far north as Canada. 
This bird is a rich rose-red over the entire body, and 
the female is greenish and yellow, closely resembling 
the female of the preceding species. 

The Little Calliste, or Paradise Tanager, is shown 
as a good example of the vividness which some of 
these birds display in their plumage. It is one of the 
Central and South American species, and is fairly 
common as a cage-bird. See Plate 19, Fig. 113. 


Although in the past there has been much difference 
of opinion among ornithologists as to which family of 
birds is entitled to the highest place in their class, it 
is now generally conceded that the Crows are the most 
perfectly developed of all the Passerine birds. In 
both sexes, and in all stages of development, the 
plumage is practically the same; each primary and 
wing-covert is perfect in structure; and the scales on 
legs and feet are more strongly marked than in any 
of the other birds. And although most of the family 
have no powers of song, their voices being extremely 
harsh and disagreeable, the voice-muscles of all are 
remarkably well developed. The Anstralian Piping 
Crow, a beautiful bird having plumage varied with 


95. Paradise Whidah-bivd 
(Vidua paradisect). 

101. Cardinal ((Jardivalis canlinaiu). 


black and white, is, however, exceptional among its 
relatives in possessing a most enchanting flute-like 
song, to which it gives utterance at frequent intervals. 

The eyes of Crows are bright and intelligent in 
expression. The wariness and sagacity of these birds, 
indeed, is well known, and these traits have doubtless 
been further developed on account of the constant 
persecution to which they have for ages been sub- 
jected by agriculturists, who are their sworn enemies 
in consequence of the injury Crows inflict upon crops. 
They will return again and again to some favourite 
feeding-ground, their wonderful sagacity enabling 
them to avoid poison, traps and other snares set for 
their destruction. The food of Crows is much varied. 
They are especially fond of small living creatures, 
such as mice, nestlings, worms, and so on, but they 
also eat carrion, and, indeed, they are practically 
omnivorous, eating fruit, grain and seeds as well. 
The great Ravens of Europe and America Avill even 
attack and kill small lambs. 

The Crow family numbers about two hundred 
species, found in all parts of the world, except New 
Zealand. In colour most of them are shining black, 
somewhat iridescent on back, wings and tail, although 
the plumage of certain species, as the Jays, is bril- 
liantly coloured. The bills are stout, rather long and 
powerful, and the base of the upper mandible is cov- 
ered with bristle-like feathers. The feet are strong, 
and the toes end in rather heavy, curved claws. 

Crows have a peculiarly jaunty manner of walking, 
and in disposition are a strange mixture of shyness 
and boldness. They may be thoroughly tamed, and 


make most interesting and affectionate pets, exhibit- 
ing remarkable intelligence. A curious characteristic 
habit is the stealing and secreting of small bright 
objects that attract their attention, about which they 
are usually so cunning that it is difficult to detect them 
in their thefts. 

The best known species in this country is the com- 
mon American Crow, found abundantly throughout 
North America, and too familiar to require more than 
brief mention. The plumage is black over the whole 
body, with purplish reflections, and the female is 
somewhat duller than the male. The nest is built of 
sticks, plastered with clay, and lined with feathers and 
other soft materials. Both male and female take 
turns in brooding the eggs, and are untiring in their 
devotion to their young. In the fall, Crows gather in 
enormous flocks, chattering and "cawing," and 
making a terrific din. 

The European species that most nearly corresponds 
to the preceding is the Carrion Crow, a slightly larger 
form, common in western Europe, and so called from 
its fondness for carrion. Unlike the American Crow, 
this bird is seldom seen in flocks, being much more 
solitary in habit. Its voice also is quite different. 

The Fish Crow, closely resembling the Common 
Crow, but smaller, is found in large numbers in our 
Southern States. As the name implies, this bird 
feeds largely on fish, and is usually found along the 
coast or not far inland. It is especially common in 
Florida, and at places along the Indian River every 
post and tree is occupied by individuals, who keep up 


a continual calling. The voice differs from that of the 
Common Crow, being hoarser and more nasal, and 
easily distinguishes the two species. 

The largest and most famous of all the Crows is the 
Raven, found in the northern parts of both hemi- 
spheres. In colouring it closely resembles the Com- 
mon Crow, the plumage over the entire body being 
black with steel-blue reflections; but the feathers on 
the throat are long and pointed, while in the Crow 
they are short and rounded. The bill of the Raven 
is enormously large and powerful, and the bird will 
attack and kill small lambs, and even sheep that have 
been partially disabled. It also eats rabbits, birds, 
eggs, and carrion, and, like the other members of its 
family, feeds on grain and fruit as well, being 
extremely voracious. See Plate 20, Fig. 116. 

The Raven is easily tamed, and as a pet has few 
rivals, becoming much attached to its master and fol- 
lowing him about like a dog. It can also be taught to 
"talk," or to imitate sounds of the human voice, in this 
respect surpassing some of the Parrots. 

The American Raven is smaller than the European 
species, but is otherwise identical. It is found in 
parts of the West, especially where the Crow is not 
commonly seen. 

The Rook, is peculiar among Crows in having a 
bare face. Young Rooks have the face feathered, as 
in the other Crows, and the nostrils protected by stiff, 
forward-pointing bristles; but after the first moult, 
these, together with the rest of the feathers of the face, 
are shed, and thereafter the skin remains bare and 


white, having the appearance of being covered with 
powder. Why these feathers should thus be shed and 
never regained, is a mystery which many naturalists 
have attempted to solve. See Plate 20, Fig. 117. 

The Rook is as abundant in Europe as the Common 
Crow here, living in societies called rookeries, com- 
posed of many thousands of birds and nests. Like 
our species, too, it is a great pest to farmers, but its 
extreme cunning enables it to avoid many traps set for 
its destruction. Rooks are not considered as intelli- 
gent, however, as the Crow and the Raven, though 
they are sometimes tamed for pets. The young birds 
are fairly good eating, and many of them are shot for 
the table. 

The Jays are found in both the Old World and the 
New, usually in wooded districts. All have harsh, dis- 
cordant voices, but wonderful ability to mimic other 
birds. Many of them are very beautifully coloured. 
They have long tails, and short rounded wings. A 
character that distinguishes the Jays is their pecu- 
liarly light, bounding hop. 

The European Jay is a prettily coloured bird 
inhabiting many parts of Europe, and is especially 
abundant in Great Britain, in spite of ruthless perse- 
cution at the hands of game-keepers, who grossly 
exaggerate the harm it does. It feeds largely on 
acorns and other forest seeds. See Plate 20, Fig. 119. 

The American Blue Jay is very striking in colour, 
being beautifully marked in various shades of blue, 
with a mixture of black and white. Like its European 
relative, it has a feathered crest, which it constantly 





CPica pica). 

1 18. European Nutcracker 

( Nudfi-iuja caryoCdtacUi-i) . 

in. Rook (Corvus frxujikgus). 


raises and depresses. The Blue Jay is extremely 
noisy, keeping up a continual chattering and calling 
in its harsh and penetrating voice, and mimicking 
other birds apparently for its own amusement. It 
appears to take especial delight in frightening smaller 
birds by imitating the cry of the Sparrow-Hawk. 

The Canada Jay is a slightly smaller form than its 
blue relative, and is ashy grey in colour, with black 
and white markings. It is found in the northern part 
of this continent, coming southward in winter as far as 
New England. 

The Jackdaw and the Magpie are two corranon 
European birds of the Crow family, which share the 
characteristics of the tribe in general. Magpies have 
very long tails, and in form are more graceful than the 
tree Crows. Both species are easily tamed and taught 
to imitate the human voice to some extent. They are 
very cunning, and are particularly addicted to steal- 
ing small bright objects and carrying them to their 
nests, or hiding them in other places. See Plate 19, 
Fig. 114. 

The American Magpie, found in the western part 
of North America, is slightly smaller than the 
European, but is like it in colouring. The Jackdaw 
has no representative in this country. See Plate 20, 
Fig. 115. 

The Nutcracker is an Old World bird whose near- 
est relative in this country is Clark's Crow, found on 
the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The 
plumage of the Nutcracker is brown, spotted with 
white. The seeds of cone-bearing trees form its prin- 


cipal food, but it also eats insects. The seeds are held 
in the claw and cracked with the bill, but the bird is 
not known to crack nuts in this manner, as its name 
would lead one to suppose. See Plate 20, Fig. 118. 





Acanthus linaria (Redpoll) 220 

Accentor modularis (Hedge Sparrow) . (Plate 12, Fig. 58) 203 

Accipiter atricapillus (American Goshawk) 61 

" cooperii (Cooper's Hawk) 62 

velox (Red-tailed Hawk) 62 

" nisus (European Sparrow Hawk). (Plate 3, 

Fig. 12) 61 


Acredula caudata (Long-tailed Tit) . . . (Plate 14, Fig. 78) 183 

Acrocephalus palustris (Marsh Warbler) (Plate 13, 

Fig. 64) 202 

Acryllum vulturinum (Vulturine Guinea Fowl) 82 

Actodromas minuta (Little Stint) .... (Plate 32, Fig. 183) 109 

" minutilla (Least Stint) 109 

^gialitis alexandrina (Kentish Plover) (Plate 30, Fig. 174) 103 

" hiaticula (Ring Plover) (Plate 30, Fig. 173) 102 

" meloda (Piping Plover) 103 

Aid galerlculata (Mandarin Duck) 49 

Aix sponsa (Woo'd Duck) 49 

Ajaia ajaja (Roseate Spoonbill) 39 

Alauda arborea (Wood Lark) (Plate 14, Fig. 75) 211 

" arvensis (Skylark) (Plate 14, Fig. 74) 210 

" cristata (Crested Lark) (Plate 14, Fig. 76) 211 

Albatross, Black-browed (Diomeda melanophrys) (Plate 38, 

Fig. 221) 18 

" Sooty (Phoebetria fuliginosa) 19 

" Wandering (Diomeda exulans) 19 

Alca torda (Razor-billed Auk) (Plate 40, Fig. 239) 121 

Alcedo ispida (European Kingfisher) . . . (Plate 9, Fig. 40) 144 

Alle alle (Dovekie) (Plate 40, Fig. 236) 123 

Amaduvade ( Sporaeginthus amandava) .( Plate 17, Fig. 96) 222 
Amazona Jestiva (Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot) (Plate 8, 

Fig. 37) 136 


234 INDEX 


Ampelis cedorum (Cedar Waxwing) 190 

" garrulus (Bohemian Waxwing) (Plate 18, Fig. 

106) 190 

Anas boschus (Mallard) (Plate 35, Fig. 203) 47 

" obscura (Black Duck) ' 48 

Anhinga anhinga (Snake Bird) (Plate 38, Fig. 222) 25 

Ani (Crotophaga ani) 139 

" Groove-billed (Crotophaga sulcirostris) 140 

Anous stolidus (Noddy Tern) 119 

Anser anser (Grey-lag Goose) (Plate 34, Fig. 198) 52 


Anlhropoides virgo (Demoiselle Crane) 94 

An thus pensilvanicus (American Pipit) 209 

" trivialis (European Tree Pipit) (Plate 10, Fig. 49) 209 

" pratensis (Meadow Pipit) 209 

Antrostomus carolinensis ( Chuck-will 's-widow) 150 

" vociferus (Whippoorwill) 149 

Aptenodytes longirostris (Emperor Penguin) 21 

" patagonica (King Penguin )..( Plate 40, Fig. 

234) 21 

" parvus (Little Penguin) . (Plate 40, Fig. 235) 21 

Apteryx (Apteryx mantelli) (Plate 28, Fig. 160) 7 

Aquila chrysaetus (Golden Eagle) (Plate 2, Fig. 8) 63 

" maculata (Spotted Eagle) (Plate 3, Fig. 10) 63 

Ara ararauna (Blue and Yellow Macaw). (Plate 8, Fig. 34) 135 

" hyacinthia (Hyacinthine Macaw) 136 

" macao (Red and Blue Macaw) (Plate 8, Fig. 35) 136 

Ardea cineria (European Heron) (Plate 33, Fig. 192) 33 

" herodias (Great Blue Heron) 33 

" occidentals (Great White Heron) 34 

" wardi (Ward's Heron) 33 

ARDE^ 23 

Asio otus (European Long-eared Owl) . . (Plate 5, Fig. 20) 16 1 

Astragalinus tristis (American Goldfinch) 213 

Astur palumbarius (European Goshawk) . (Plate 4, Fig. 14) 61 

Audubon 65, 126 

Auk, Great (Plautus impennis) 123 

" Little (Alle alle) (Plate 40, Fig. 236) 123 

" Razor-billed (Alca torda) (Plate 40, Fig. 239) 121 

Auks 121 

Avocet, American ( Recurvirostra americana) 104 

Avocet, European (Recurvirostra avocetta) . (Plate 32, Fig. 

184) 104 

INDEX 235 


Aythya americana (Redhead) 48 

" marila (Common Scaup) 50 

" vallisneria (Canvasback) 48 


Balearica pavonina (Crowned Crane) . (Plate 34, Fig. 197) 94 

Bffiolophus bicolor (Tufted Titmouse) 184 

Bee-eater, European (Merops apiaster) . (Plate 9, Fig. 42) 145 
Bell-bird, Naked-throated (Chasmorhynchus nudicollis) 

(Plate 10, Fig. 48) 173 

Bittern, American (Botaurus lentiginosus) 37 

" European (Botaurus stellaris) . (Plate 33, Fig. 

194) 37 

Blackbird, European (Merula merula) . (Plate 11, Fig. 54) 196 

Red-winged (Agelaius phceniceus) 192 

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) (Plate 13, Fig. 72) 201 

Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 199 

Blue-throat (Cyanecula cyanecula) .... (Plate 12, Fig. 63) 198 

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) 192 

Bob White (Colinus virginianus) 91 

Bonasa umbellus (Ruffed Grouse) 88 

" " togata (Canada Grouse) 89 

Botaurus lentiginosus (American Bittern) 37 

" stillaris (European Bittern) 37 

Brambling ( Fringilla montifringilla) .( Plate 18, Fig. 104) 217 

Branta bernicla^ (Brant Goose) (Plate 34, Fig. 199) 52 

" canadensis (Canada Goose) 52 

migricans (Black Brant) 52 

Brewster, William 126 

Broadbills 173 

Buceros bicornis (Indian Hornbill) .... (Plate 9, Fig. 39) 146 

Bubo virginianus (Great Horned Owl) 158 

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (Plate 16, Fig. 91) 218 

Bunting, Corn (Miliaria miliaria) ... (Plate 15, Fig. 86) 222 

" Indigo (Cyanospiza cyanea) 220 

" Lapland (Calcarius lapponicus) .. (Plate 15, Fig. 

81) 224 

" Reed (Emberiza schasniclus) . (Plate 16, Fig. 88) 227 

" Snow (Passerina nivalis) (Plate 16, Fig. 89) 221 

Bustard, Great (Otis tarda) (Plate 30, Fig. 169) 100 

" Little (Tetrax tetrax) .... (Plate 29, Fig. 162) 99 

Buteo buteo (European Buzzard) (Plate 4, Fig, 16) 62 

236 INDEX 


Buteo borealis (Red-tailed Hawk) 62 

" lineatus (Red-shouldered Hawk) 62 

Buzzard, European (Buteo buteo) (Plate 4, Fig. 16) 62 

" Turkey (Cathartes aura) . . . (Plate 41, Fig. 243) 76 

Cacabis saxatilis (Red-legged Rock Partridge) . (Plate 25, 

Fig. 145) 87 

Cacatua galerita (Great Sulphur-crested Cockatoo) 137 

Calcarius lapponicus (Lapland Bunting) . . (Plate 15, Fig. 

81) 224 

Calidris arenaria (Sanderling) (Plate 32, Fig. 188) no 

Callipepla squamata (Scaled Partridge) 92 

Callocephalum galeatum (Helmet Cockatoo) . (Plate 8, Fig. 

36) 138 

Calospiza tatao (Paradise Tanager) . . (Plate 19, Fig. 113) 226 

Calcenas nicobarica (Nicobar Pigeon) 128 

Campephilus principalis (Ivory-billed Woodpecker) . (Plate 

6, Fig. 25) 168 

Canary (Serious canarius) (Plate 18, Fig. 105) 215 

Capercailzie (Tetrao urogallus) . (Plate 24, Figs. 138, 139) 90 


Caprimullgus europaeus (European Nightjar) .. (Plate 19, 

Fig. in) 149 

Caracara (Polyborus cherivay) (Plate 42, Fig. 242) 68 

Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) (Plate 17, Fig.,ioi) 224 

Carduelis carduelis (European Goldfinch) . . (Plate 17, Fig. 

98) 213 

Cariama cristata (Seriema) (Plate 42, Fig. 245) 94 

Carpodacus purpureus (Purple Finch) 219 

Cassowary, Helmeted (Casuarius galeatus) . (Plate 28, Fig. 

159) 2, 3 

Casuarius galeatus (Helmeted Cassowary) .( Plate 28, Fig. 

159) ••■•• 2, 3 

Catbird (Galeoscoptes carolinensis) 188 

Catharista urubu (Black Vulture) 77 

Cathartes aura (Turkey Vulture) . . . (Plate 41, Fig. 243) 76 

" calif ornianus (California Condor) 73 

Cepphus grylle (Guillemot) 121 

Certhia familiaris (European Tree-creeper) . (Plate 21, Fig. 

127) 186 

INDEX 237 


Certhia familiaris americana (American Brown Creeper).. 186 

Ceryle alcyon (American Kingfisher) 144 

Chacalacca (Ortalis vetula maccalli) 79 

Chapman, Frank M 42, 159, 205 

Chaffinch (Fringilla caelebs) (Plate 17, Fig. 97) 216 

Chapparal-cock (Geococcyx californianus) . (Plate 41, Fig. 

246) 141 


Charadrius dominicus (Golden Plover) . (Plate 30, Fig. 

170) 102 

Chasmorhynchus nudicollis (Bell-bird) . (Plate 10, Fig. 48) 174 

Chat, Yellow-breasted ( Icteria virens) 205 

Chelidonaria urbica (House-martin) .. (Plate 19, Fig. 109) 179 

Chen hypoboreus (Snow Goose) ... (Plate 34, Fig. 200) 52 

Chewink (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) 220 

Chickadee (Parus atricapillus) 184 

Chloris chloris (Greenfinch) (Plate 16, Fig. 90) 212 

Chordeiles virginianus (Nighthawk) 150 

Chrysolophus pictus (Golden Pheasant) . (Plate 25, Figs. 

146, 147) 83 

Chuck-will's-widow (Antrostomus carolinensis) 150 

Ciconia ciconia (European White Stork) ..( Plate 33, Fig. 

191) 38 


Cinclus cinclus (European Water Ouzel) . (Plate 10, Fig. 

_ 50) 194 

" mexicanus (American Dipper) 195 

Circus hudsonius (American Harrier) 61 

" cyaneus (European Hen Harrier) (Plate 4, Fig. 15) 61 

Qamatores 173 

Clangula'clangula (Golden-eye Duck) (Plate 36, Fig. 213) 47 

Coccyges americanus (Yellow-billed Cuckoo) 139 

Cockatoo, Great Black (Microplossus aterrimus) 137 

" Helmet (Callocephalon galeatum) . (Plate 8, Fig. 

36) 138 

" Great Sulphur-crested (Cacatua galerita) 137 

Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola) . (Plate 19, Fig. 112) 173 

Cocothraustes cocothraustes (Hawfinch). (Plate 14, Fig. 77) 213 

Colaptes auratus luteus (Common Flicker) 170 

Colaeus monedula (Jackdaw) (Plate 19, Fig. 114) 231 

Colinus virginianus (Bob White) 91 

Colomba aenas (Stock Dove) (Plate 22, Fig. 131) 129 

livia (Rock Dove) (Plate 23, Fig. 135) 129 

238 INDEX 


Colomba livia var. (Pouter Pigeon).. (Plate 23, Fig. 134) 130 

fasciata (Band-tailed Pigeon) 131 

COLUMB^ 124 

Columbigallina passerina terrestris (Ground Dove) 130 

Colymbus auritus (Horned Grebe) 17 

" cristatus (Great Crested Grebe) . (Plate 39, Fig. 

232) 16 

" fluviatilis (Little Grebe) ... (Plate 40, Fig. 237) 16 

Condor, California (Cathartes californiarius) 75 

" South American (Sarcoramphus gryphus) . (Plate 

I, Fig. i) 74 

Contopus virens (Wood Pewee) 176 

Conurus carolinensis (Carolina Paroquet) . . (Plate 7, Fig. 

32) 135 

Coot, European (Fulica atra) (Plate 29, Fig. 167) 99 

" American (Fulica americana) 99 

Coquimbo (Speotyto cunicularia hypogaea) 160 

CORACI^ 142 

Coracius garrulus (European Roller) . . . (Plate 9, Fig. 43) 142 
Cormorant, Common ( Phalacrocorax carbo) . (Plate 37, 

Fig. 218) 24 

" Harris's Phalacrocorax harrisi) 25 

Corvus americanus (Common American Crow) 228 

" corone (Carrion Crow) 228 

" corax (European Raven) .... (Plate 20, Fig. 116) 229 

" corax sinuatus (American Raven) 229 

" ossifragus (Fish Crow) 228 

Coturnix coturnix (Common European Quail) . . (Plate 24, 

Fig. 141) 88 

Coues, Elliott 195 

Cowbird (Molothrus ater) 193 

Crake, Carolina (Porzana Carolina) 97 

" Little (Zapornia parva) (Plate 29, Fig. 164) 97 

" Spotted (Porzana porzana) .. (Plate 29, Fig. 166) 97 

Corncrake (Crex crex) (Plate 30, Fig. 168) 97 

Crane, Crowned (Balearica pavonina) . (Plate 34, Fig. 197) 94 

" Demoiselle (Anthropoides virgo) 94 

" Common European (Grus grus) . (Plate 29, Fig. 

161) 93 

" Little Brown (Grus canadensis) 94 

" Sandhill (Grus mexicana) 94 

" Whooping (Grus americana) 94 

Creeper, American Brown (Certhia familiaris americana) . . 186 

INDEX 239 


Creeper, European Tree (Certhia familiaris) . . (Plate 21, 

Fig. 127) 186 

Wall (Tichodroma muraria). (Plate 21, Fig. 126) 187 

Creepers 186 

Crossbill, American Red (Loxia curvirostra minor) 219 

European (Loxia curvirostra) . (Plate 15, Fig. 79) 219 

Crotophaga ani (Ani) 139 

Sulcirostris (Groove-billed Ani) 140 

Crow, Common American (Corvus americanus) 228 

Carrion (Corvus corone) 228 

Fish (Corvus ossifragus) 228 

Crows 226 

Cuckoo, Black-billed (Coccyzus erythrophthalmus) 139 

Common European (Cuculus canorus) . (Plate 7, 

Fig. 30) 139 

Yellow-billed (Coccyzus americanus) 139 


Cuculus, canoris (European Cuckoo) . . . (Plate 7, Fig. 30) 139 

Curassow, Globose (Crax globicera) . . (Plate 41, Fig. 244) 79 

Curlew, Eskimo (Numenius borealis) 113 

European (Numenius arquatus) . (Plate 31, Fig. 

176) 113 

" Hudsonian (Numenius hu'dsonicus) 113 

" Long-billed (Numenius longirostris) 112 

Crymophilus rulicarius (Wilson's Phalarope) 113 

Cyanecula cyanecula (Blue-throat) . . . (Plate 12, Fig. 63) 198 

Cyanocitta cristata (American Blue Jay) 230 

Cyanospeza cyanea (Indigo Bunting) 220 

Cygnus olor (European Mute Swan) . (Plate 35, Fig. 201) 54 



Dabchick (Colymbus fluviatilis) (Plate 40, Fig. 237) 16 

Dacelo gigas (Giant Kingfisher) 143 

Dafila acuta (Pintail Duck) (Plate 35, Fig. 205) 47 

Darter (Anhinga anhinga) (Plate 38, Fig. 222) 25 

Daulius luscinia (Nightingale) (Plate 12, Fig. 59) 198 

Didus ineptus (Dodo) 126 

Diomeda exulans (Wandering Albatross) 19 

" melanophrys (Black-browed Albatross) . (Plate 38, 

Fig. 221) 18 

238 INDEX 


Colomba livia var. (Pouter Pigeon).. (Plate 23, Fig. 134) 130 

" fasciata (Band-tailed Pigeon) 131 

COLUMB^ 124 

Columbigallina passerina terrestris (Ground Dove) 130 

Colymbus auritus (Horned Grebe) 17 

" cristatus (Great Crested Grebe) . (Plate 39, Fig. 

232) 16 

" fluviatilis (Little Grebe) . . . (Plate 40, Fig. 237) 16 

Condor, California (Cathartes californiarius) 75 

" South American ( Sarcoramphus gryphus) . (Plate 

I, Fig. i) 74 

Contopus virens (Wood Pewee) 176 

Conurus carolinensis (Carolina Paroquet) .. (Plate 7, Fig. 

32) 135 

Coot, European (Fulica atra) (Plate 29, Fig. 167) 99 

" American (Fulica americana) 99 

Coquimbo (Speotyto cunicularia hypogaea) 160 


Coracius garrulus (European Roller) . . . (Plate 9, Fig. 43) 142 
Cormorant, Common ( Phalacrocorax carbo) . (Plate 37, 

Fig. 218) 24 

" Harris's Phalacrocorax harrisi) 25 

Corvus americanus (Common American Crow) 228 

" corone (Carrion Crow) 228 

" corax (European Raven) .... (Plate 20, Fig. 116) 229 

corax sinuatus (American Raven) 229 

" ossifragus (Fish Crow) 228 

Coturnix coturnix (Common European Quail) . . (Plate 24, 

Fig. 141) 88 

Coues, Elliott 195 

Cowbird (Molothrus ater) 193 

Crake, Carolina (Porzana Carolina) 97 

" Little (Zapornia parva) (Plate 29, Fig. 164) 97 

" Spotted (Porzana porzana) .. (Plate 29, Fig. 166) 97 

Corncrake (Crex crex) (Plate 30, Fig. 168) 97 

Crane, Crowned (Balearica pavonina) . (Plate 34, Fig. 197) 94 

" Demoiselle (Anthropoides virgo) 94 

" Common European (Grus grus) . (Plate 29, Fig. 

161) 93 

" Little Brown (Grus canadensis) 94 

" Sandhill (Grus mexicana) 94 

" Whooping ( Grus americana) 94 

Creeper, American Brown (Certhia familiaris americana) . . 186 

INDEX 239 


Creeper, European Tree (Certhia famlliaris) . . (Plate 21, 

Fig. 127) 186 

" Wall (Tichodroma muraria). (Plate 21, Fig. 126) 187 

Creepers 186 

Crossbill, American Red (Loxia curvirostra minor) 219 

" European (Loxia curvirostra) . (Plate 15, Fig. 79) 219 

Crotophaga ani (Ani) 139 

Sulcirostris (Groove-billed Ani) 140 

Crow, Common American (Corvus americanus) 228 

" Carrion (Corvus corone) 228 

" Fish (Corvus ossifragus) 228 

Crows 226 

Cuckoo, Black-billed (Coccyzus erythrophthalmus) 139 

" Common European (Cuculus canorus) . (Plate 7, 

Fig. 30) 139 

" Yellow-billed (Coccyzus americanus) 139 


Cuculus, canoris (European Cuckoo) . . . (Plate 7, Fig. 30) 139 

Curassow, Globose (Crax globicera) . . (Plate 41, Fig. 244) 79 

Curlew, Eskimo (Numenius borealis) 113 

" European (Numenius arquatus) . (Plate 31, Fig. 

176) 113 

" Hudsonian (Numenius hu'dsonicus) 113 

" Long-billed (Numenius longirostris) 112 

Crymophilus rulicarius (Wilson's Phalarope) 113 

Cyanecula cyanecula (Blue-throat) . . . (Plate 12, Fig. 63) 198 

Cyanocitta cristata (American Blue Jay) 230 

Cyanospeza cyanea (indigo Bunting) 220 

Cygnus olor (European Mute Swan) . (Plate 35, Fig. 201) 54 



Dabchick (Colymbus fluviatilis) (Plate 40, Fig. 237) 16 

Dacelo gigas (Giant Kingfisher) 143 

Dafila acuta (Pintail Duck) (Plate 35, Fig. 205) 47 

Darter (Anhinga anhinga) (Plate 38, Fig. 222) 25 

Daulius luscinia (Nightingale) (Plate 12, Fig. 59) 198 

Didus ineptus (Dodo) 126 

Diomeda exulans (Wandering Albatross) 19 

" melanophrys (Black-browed Albatross) . (Plate 38, 

Fig. 221) 18 

240 INDEX 


Dipper, American (Cinclus mexicanus) 195 

" European (Cinclus cinclus) .... (Plate 10, Fig. 50) 195 

Dippers 194 

Dodo (Didus ineptus) 126 

Dolichon5rx:, oryzivorus (Bobolink) ; . . . . 192 

Dove, Ground (Columbigallina passerina terrestris) 130 

" Mourning (Zenaida macroura) 130 

" Ring (Streptopelia risoria) .... (Plate 22, Fig. 130) 128 

" Rock (Columba livia) (Plate 23, Fig. 135) 129 

'■' Stock (Columba senas) (Plate 22, Fig. 131) 129 

" Turtle (Turtur turtur) (Plate 23, Fig. 137) 127 

" White-winged (Melopella leucoptera) 131 

Dovekie (Alle alle) (Plate 40, Fig. 236) 123 

Dryobates minor (Lesser Spotted Woodpecker) . (Plate 6, 

Fig. 27) 169 

Dromaeus novaehollandiae (Emu) i 

Duck, Aylesbury 49 

" Black (Anas obscura) 48 

" Canvasback (Aythya vallisneria) 48 

Eider (Somateria mollissima) . (Plate 35, Fig. 206) 46 
" Golden-eye (Clangula clangula) ... (Plate 36, Fig. 

213) 47 

" Goosander (Merganser merganser) . (Plate 36, Fig. 

207) 45 

• " Mallard (Anas boschus) (Plate 35, Fig. 203) 47 

" Mandarin (Aid galericulata) 49 

" Muscovy 49 

" Old Squaw (Harelda hyemalis) . (Plate 36, Fig. 208) 47 

" Pekin 49 

" Pintail (Dafila acuta) (Plate 35, Fig. 205) 47 

" Redhead (Aythya americana) 48 

" Scaup (Aythya marila) 50 

" Scoter, Velvet (Oidemia fusca) .... (Plate 36, Fig. 

212) 46 

" Sheldrake, European (Tadorna tadorna) . (Plate 36, 

Fig. 209) 50 

" Smew (Mergus albellus) .... (Plate 36, Fig. 210) 46 

" Tufted, (Nyroca fuligula) (Plate 36, Fig. 211) 47 

" Teal, Blue-winged (Querquedula discors) 48 

" Teal, European (Nettion crecca) . (Plate 35, Fig. 

202) 48 

" Teal, Green-winged (Nettion carolinensis) 48 

" Widgeon (Mareca penelope) . . (Plate 35, Fig. 204) 47 

INDEX 241 


Duck, Wood (Aix sponsa) 49 

Dunlin (Pelidina alpina) (Plate 32, Fig. 185) 108 

Eagle, Bald (Haliaetus lucocephalus) (Frontispiece) 64 

" Golden (Aquila chrysaetus) (Plate 2, Fig. 8) 63 

" Harpy (Thrasaetus harpyia) .. (Plate 42, Fig. 241) 66 

" Kamchatka Sea (Haliaetus pelagicus) 65 

Spotted (Aquila maculata) (Plate 3, Fig. 10) 63 

" White-tailed (Haliaetus albicilla) . (Plate 3, Fig. 9) 64 
Ectopistes migratorius (Passenger Pigeon) . (Plate 22, Fig. 

133) 126 

Egret, American (Herodias egretta) 36 

" Little (Garzetta candidissima) 35 

" Great White (Herodias alba) . (Plate 33, Fig. 193) 35 

" Snowy (Egretta candidissima) 35 

Elanus leucurus (White-tailed Kite) 60 

Elanoides forficatus (Swallow-tailed Kite) 60 

Ereunetes pusillus ( Semipalmated Sandpiper) 109 

Erolia ferruginea (Curlew Sandpiper) 109 

Emberiza schaeniclus (Red Bunting) .. (Plate 16, Fig. 88) 224 

" hortulana (Ortolan) (Plate 16, Fig. 87) 223 

Emu, Common (Dromaeus novsehollandiae) i 

Eurylsemidae (Broadbills) 173 

Falco islandus (Gyrfalcon) (Plate 2, Fig. 7) 71 

" peregrin us anatum (Duck Hawk) 71 

Finch, Purple (Carpodacus purpureus) 219 

" Strawberry ( Sporseginthus amandava) 221 

Finches 212 

Flamingo, American (Phaenicopterus ruber) 42 

" European (Phaenicopterus roseus) . (Plate 33, 

Fig. 189) 42 

Flicker, Common (Colaptes auratus luteus) 170 

Flycatcher, Great Crested (Myiarchus luteiventris) 176 

" Pied (Muscicapa atricapilla) 180 

" Spotted (Muscicapa grisola) . (Plate 10, Fig. 47) 180 

Flycatchers, American 174 

" European 180 

Fowl, Domestic (Gallus gallus, van) . (Plate 27, Fig. 156) 86 

242 INDEX 


Fratercula arctica (Puffin) (Plate 39, Fig. 233) 122 

Frigate-bird (Fregata aquila) (Plate 37, Fig. 219) 31 

Fringilla montifringilla (Brambling) . (Plate 18, Fig. 104) 217 

" caelebs (Chaffinch) (Plate 17, Fig. 97) 217 

Fulica americana (American Coot) 99 

" atra (European Coot) (Plate 29, Fig. 167) 99 

Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) 120 


Galeoscoptes carolinensis (Catbird) 188 

Galerida cristata (Crested Lark) (Plate 14, Fig. 76) 211 


Gallinago gallinago (European Snipe) . (Plate 31, Fig. 178) 105 

" gallinula (jack Snipe) 105 

" media (Great Snipe) (Plate 31, Fig. 179) 105 

Gallinula chloropus (Moor-hen) .... (Plate 29, Fig. 165) 99 

GalHnule, Florida (Gallinula galeata) 98 

. " Purple (lonornis martinica) 98 

Gallus gallus, var. (Domestic Fowl). (Plate 27, Fig. 156) 86 

" ferrugineus (Jungle Fowl) 85 

Gannet, Common (Sula bassana) (Plate 37, Fig. 217) 27 

Garrulus glandarius (European Jay) . (Plate 20, Fig. 119) 230 

Garzetta candissima (Little Egret) 35 

Gavia arctica (Black-throated Loon) . (Plate 39, Fig. 231) 14 

" imber (Common Loon) 15 

" lumme (Red-throated Loon) 16 

Geococcyx californianus (Road-runner) (Plate 41, Fig. 246) 141 
Gennaeus nycthemerus (Silver Pheasant) . (Plate 26, Fig. 

.151) •■••• 83 

Glareola pratincola (Pratincole) (Plate 31, Fig. 175) loi 

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) (Plate 13, Fig. 69) 201 

Goldfinch, American (Astragalinus tristis) 213 

" European (Car'duelis carduelis) . (Plate 17, Fig. 

98) 213 

Goosander (Merganser merganser) . . (Plate 36, Fig. 207) 45 

Goose, Black Brant (Branta migricans) 52 

" Brant (Branta bernicla) (Plate 34, Fig. 199) 52 

" Canada (Branta canadensis) 52 

" Grey-lag (Anser anser) (Plate 34, Fig. 198) 52 

" Snow (Chen hyperboreus) ... (Plate 34, Fig. 200) 52 

" Solan (Sula bassana) (Plate 37, Fig. 17) 27 

" iWhite-fronted (Anser albifrons gambeli) 53 

INDEX 243 


Goshawk, American (Accipter atricapillus) 61 

" European (Astur palumbarius) . (Plate 4, Fig. 

14) 61 

Goura coronata (Crowned Pigeon) . (Plate 23, Fig. 136) 128 

Grackle, Boat-tailed ( Megaquiscalus major) 193 

Purple (Quiscalus quiscula) 193 

Grebe, Great Crested (Colymbus cristatus) . (Plate 39, Fig. 

232) 16 

" Horned (Colymbus auritus) 17 

" Little (Colymbus, fluviatilis) .(Plate 40, Fig. 237) 16 

Pied-billed (Podilymbus podiceps) 17 

Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) (Plate 16, Fig. 90) 212 

Greenshank (Totanus nebularius) .... (Plate 31, Fig. 180) 107 

Groesbeck, Pine (Pinicola enucleator) . . (Plate i6, Fig. 92) 218 

Grouse, Black (Lyrurus tetrix) (Plate 24, Fig. 142) 90 

" Canada (Bonasa umbellus togata) 89 

" Dusky (Dendragapus obscurus) 89 

" Hazel (Tetrastes bonasia) ..( Plate 24, Fig. 140) 91 
" Ptarmigan, Alpine (Lagopus mutus) .( Plate 24, 

Fig. 143) 89 

" RufiEed (Bonasa umbellus) 88 

" Sage (Centrocercus urophasianus) 89 

" Sharp-tailed (Pediaecetes phasianellus) 89 


Grus canadensis (Little Brown Crane) 94 

" grus (European Crane) (Plate 29, Fig. 161) 93 

" americana (Whooping Crane) 94 

" mexicana (Sandhill Crane) 94 

Guan (Ortalis vetula maccalli) 79 

Guara alba (White Ibis) 41 

" rubra ( Scarlet Ibis) 40 

Guillemot (Cepphus grylle) 121 

Guinea-fowl (Numida meleagris) .... (Plate 27, Fig. 154) 81 

" Vulturine (Acryllium vulturinum) 82 

Gull, Black-headed (Larus ridibundus) . (Plate 39, Fig. 

228) 117 

Great Black-backed (Larus marinus) 117 

Herring (Larus argentatus) ... (Plate 38, Fig. 223) 116 

Kittiwake (Rissa tredactyla) .... (Plate 38, Fig. 225) 117 

Laughing (Larus atricilla) 118 

Mew (Larus canus) (Plate 38, Fig. 224) 117 

Gypaetus barbatus (Lammegeier) (Plate i, Fig.4) 73 

Gypagus papa (King Vulture) (Plate 2, Fig. 5) 74 

244 INDEX 


Gyps fulvus (Griffon Vulture) (Plate i, Fig 3 73 

Gyrfalcon (Falco islandus) (Plate 2, Fig. 7) 71 


Haematopus bachmani (Black Oyster-catcher) 112 

" palliatus (American Oyster-catcher) 112 

Haliaetus albicilla (White-tailed Eagle) . (Plate 3, Fig. 9) 64 

" lucocephalus (Bald Eagle) .... (Frontispiece) . . 64 

" pelagicus (Kamachatka Sea-eagle) 65 

Haploderma Narina (African Trogon) . (Plate 9, Fig. 44) 165 

Harelda hycmalis (Old Squaw Duck) . (Plate 36, Fig. 208) 47 

Hawfinch ( Cocothraustes cocothraustes).( Plate 14, Fig. 77) 213 

Hawk, American Harrier (Circus hudsonius) 61 

" European Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) . (Plate 4, 

Fig. 15) •_ 61 

" Cooper's (Accipiter cooperii) 62 

Duck (Falco peregrinus anatum) 71 

" Goshawk, American (Accipiter atricapillus) 61 

" Goshawk, European (Astur palumbarius) . (Plate 4, 

Fig. 14) 61 

" Red-shouldered (Buteo lineatus) 62 

" Red-tailed (Buteo borealis) 62 ' 

" Sharp-shinned (Accipter velox) 62 

" American Sparrow (Falco sparverius) 70 

" European Sparrow (Accipiter nisus) . (Plate 3, Fig. 

12) 61 

Heliactin bilopha (Double-crested Humming Bird). (Plate 

21, Fig. 121) 152 

Herodias egretta (American Egret) 36 

alba (Great White Egret) . . (Plate 33^ Fig. 193) 35 

Heron, European (Ardea cinerea) .... (Plate 33, Fig, 192) 33 

" Great Blue (Ardea herodias) 33 

Great White (Ardea occiden talis) 34 

" Little Green (Butorides virescens) 34 

Louisiana (Hydranassa tricolor ruficolHs) 35 

" Night, Black-crowned (Nycticorax nycticorax 

nsevius) 35 

Night, Yellow-crowned (Nyctanassa violaceus) . . . 35 

" Ward's (Ardea herodias wardi) 33 

Himantopus himantopus (European Stilt) . (Plate 30, Fig. 

172) 104 

" mexicanus (Black-necked Stilt) 104 

INDEX 245 


Hirundo rustica (European Barn Swallow) . (Plate 18, Fig. 

108) 179 

Hoopoe, Common (Upupa epops) .... (Plate 22, Fig. 129) 145 

Hornbill, Indian (Buceros bicornis) .... (Plate 9, Fig. 39) 146 
Humming-bird, Coquette (Lophornis ornata ..( Plate 21, 

Fig. 122) 152 

Double-crested (Heliactin bilopha) (Plate 

21, Fig. 121) 152 

Fire-tailed (Lesbia sparganura) (Plate 21, 

Fig. 123) 152 

Racquet-tailed (Spathura underwoodi) .. (Plate 

21, Fig. 125) 153 

Ruby-throated (Trochilus colubris) 154 

Topaz (Topaza pella) .... (Plate 21, Fig. 124) 153 

Hylocichla fuscescens (Wilson's Thrush) 120 

" mustelina (Wood Thrush) 199 

Ibis, Glossy (Plegadis autumnalis) 41 

" Sacred (Ibis aethiopica) (Plate 34, Fig. 196) 40 

" Scarlet (Guara rubra) 40 

" White (Guara alba) 41 

" Wood (Tantalus loculator) 40 

Icteria virens (Yellow-breasted Chat) 205 

Icterus galbula (Baltimore Oriole) 191 

Ictinia mississippiensis (Mississippi Kite) 60 


lonornis martinica (Purple Gallinule) 98 

Iridoprocne bicolor (Tree Swallow) 180 

Jabiru (Mycteria americana) 39 

Jacana, Mexican ( Jacana spinosa) 113 

Jackdaw (Colaeus monedula) (Plate 19, Fig. 114) 231 

Jaeger, Parasitic ( Stercorarius parasiticus) . (Plate 38, Fig. 

226) 121 

Jay, American Blue (Cyanocitta cristata) 230 

" Canada (Perisoreus canadensis) 231 

" European (Garrulus glandarlus) . (Plate 20, Fig. 119) 230 

Laughing Jackass (Dacelo gigas) 143 

Junco ( Junco hyemalis) 221 

246 INDEX 


Jungle-fowl (Gallus ferrugineus) 85 

Jynx torquilla (Wryneck) (Plate 7, Fig. 31 ) 170 


Kakapo (Stringops habroptilus) 138 

Kea (Nestor notabilis) I37 

Kestrel (Cerchneis tinnunculus) (Plate 3, Fig. 11) 70 

Killdeer (Oxyechus vociferus) 103 

Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) 1 75 

Kingfisher, Belted (Ceryle alcyon) 144 

" Common European (Alcedo ispida) . (Plate 9, 

Fig. 40) 144 

" Giant (Dacelo gigas) 143 

Kinglet, Golden-crowned (Regulus satrapa) 202 

" Ruby-crowned (Regulus calendula) 202 

Kite, European Red (Milvus milvus) . . . (Plate 4, Fig. 17) 60 

Mississippi ( Ictinia mississippiensis) 60 

" Swallow-tailed (Elanoides forficatus) 60 

" White-tailed (Elanus leucurus) 60 

Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) (Plate 38, Fig. 225) 117 

Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) (Plate 28, Fig. 160) 7 

Knot (Tringa canutus) (Plate 32, Fig. 187) no 

Lagopus mutus (Alpine Ptarmigan) . . (Plate 24, Fig. 143) 89 

Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) (Plate i, Fig. 4) 73 

Lanius borealis (Northern Shrike) 181 

" excubitor (Great Grey Shrike).. (Plate 10, Fig. 46) 181 

" ludovicianus (Loggerhead Shrike) 182 

" collurio (Red-backed Shrike) .. (Plate 10, Fig. 45) 182 

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) (Plate 30, Fig, 171) 103 

Lark, Horned (Otocoris alpestris) 211 

" Prairie Horned (Otocoris alpestris praticola) 212 

" Crested (Galerida cristata) (Plate 14, Fig. 76) 211 

" Skylark (Alauda arvensis) (Plate 14, Fig, 74) 210 

" Wood (Alauda arborea) (Plate 14, Fig. 75) 2ii 

Larks 210 

Larus atricilla (Laughing Gull) 118 

" argentatus (Herring Gull) ... (Plate 38, Fig. 223) 116 

canus (Mew Gull) (Plate 38, Fig. 224) 1 17 

" marinus (Great Black-backed Gull) 117 

" ridibundus (Black-headed Gull) . . (Plate 39, Fig. 

228) 117 

INDEX 247 


Leptoptilus argala (Indian Adjutant Stork) 38 

crumenifer (African Adjutant Stork) .. (Plate 

34, Fig. 195) 38 

Lesbia Sparganura (Fire-tailed Hummingbird) . . (Plate 21, 

Fig. 123) 152 

Linnet (Linota cannabina) (Plate 17, Fig. 100) 217 

Longspur, Lapland (Calcarius lapponicus) (Plate 15, 

Fig. 81 ) 224 

Loon, Black-throated (Gavia arctica) . (Plate 39, Fig. 231) 14 

" Common (Gavia imber) 15 

" Red-throated (Gavia lumme) 16 

Lophophanes cristatus (Crested Tit).. (Plate 15, Fig. 82) 183 
Lophornis ornata (Coquette Hummingbird) . , . . (Plate 21, 

Fig. 122) 152 

Lophophorus impeganus (Impeyan Pheasant) 83 

Lophortyx californicus (California Partridge) 92 

" gambelii (Gambel Partridge) . . . (Plate 41, Fig. 

245) : ; 92 

Loxia curvirostra (European Crossbil) . (Plate 15, Fig. 79) 219 

" " minor (American Crossbill) 219 

Lunda cirrhata (Tufted Puffin) 122 

Lyrurus tetrix (Black Grouse) ... (Plate 24, Fig. 142).. 90 

Lyre-bird (Menura superba) (Plate 14, Fig. 73) 177 


Macaw, Blue and Yellovir (Ara ararauna) . . (Plate 8, Fig. 

.34) •..••. '35 

" Hyacinthine (Ara hyacinthina) 136 

" Red and Blue (Ara macao) (Plate 8, Fig. 35) 136 

Magpie, American ( Pica pica hudsonia) 23 1 

" European (Pica pica) (Plate 20, Fig. 115) 231 

Man-o'-w^ar Bird (Fregata aquila) . . . (Plate 37, Fig. 219) 31 

Marabou (Leptoptilus crumenifer) ..( Plate 34, Fig. 195) 38 

Marecca penelope (Widgeon) (Plate 35, Fig. 204) 47 

Marsh-Hen (Rallus crepitans) 97 

Martin, House (Chelidonaria urbica) . (Plate 19, Fig. 109) 179 

" Purple ( Progne subis) 180 

" Sand (Riparia riparia) (Plate 19, Fig.iio) 179 

Meadowrlark (Sturnella magna) 193 

Megapodes 78 

Megascops asio (Screech Owl) 162 

Megaquiscalus major (Boat-tailed Grackle) 193 

248 INDEX 


Melanerpes erythrocephalus (Red-headed Woodpecker) .... 

(Plate 7, Fig. 29) 169 

Meleagris gallopavo (Mexican Wild Turkey) . . (Plate 27, 

Fig. 155) 80 

" ocellata (Honduras Turkey) 81 

" sylvestris (Eastern Wild Turkey) 81 

Melopsittacus undulatus (Grass Paroquet) (Plate 8, 

Fig. 38) 138 

Melospiza cinerea melodia (Eastern Song Sparrow) 216 

Menura superba (Lyre-bird) (Plate 14, Fig. 73) 177 

Merganser, Hooded (Lophodytes cucullatus) 46 

" merganser (Goosander) . . (Plate 36, Fig. 207) 45 

Mergus albellus (Smew) (Plate 36, Fig. 210) 46 

Meropella leucoptera (White-winged Dove) 131 

Merops apiaster (European Bee-eater) . . (Plate g, Fig. 42) 145 

Merula raigratoria (American Robin) 199 

" torquatus (Ring Ouzel) 196 

Microglossus atterrimus (Great Black Cockatoo) 137 

Miliaria miliaria (Corn bunting) .... (Plate 15, Fig. 86) 222 

Milvus milvus (European Red Kite) (Plate 4, Fig. 17) 60 

Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) (Plate) 188 

Molothrus ater (Cowbird) 193 

Monticola saxatalis (Rock Thrush) . . . (Plate 12, Fig. 57) 196 

Moor-hen (Gallinula chloropus) .... (Plate 29, Fig. 165) 99 

Motmot, Lesson Mexican 143 

Motacilla alba (White Wagtail) ^08 

" lugubris (Pied Wagtail) .. .(Plate 11, Fig. 53) 208 

" melanope (Grey Wagtail) .. (Plate 11, Fig. 52) 208 

Murre (Uria lomvia) (Plate 40, Fig. 238) 122 

Muscicapa grisola (Spotted Flycatcher) . (Plate 10, Fig. 47) 180 

Mycteria americana ( Jabiru) 39 

Myarchus luteiventris (Great Crested Flycatcher) 176 


Neophron percnopterus (Egyptian Vulture) .... (Plate i, 

Fig- 2) 73 

Nestor notabilis (Kea) 134 

Nettion crecca (European Teal) (Plate 35, Fig. 202) 48 

carolinensis (Green-winged Teal) 48 

Nightingale (Daulias luscinia) (Plate 12, Fig, 59) 198 

Nightjar, Common European (Caprimulgus europaeus) . 

(Plate 19, Fig. 1 1 1 ) 149 

INDEX 249 


Nighthawk (Chordeiles virginianus) 149 

Noddy ( Anous stolidus) 119 

Nucif raga caryocatactes (Nutcracker) . (Plate 20, Fig. 118) 231 
Numenius arguatus (European Curlew) .. (Plate 31, Fig. 

176) 113 

" borealis (Eskimo curlew) 113 

" hudsonicus (Hudsonian) 113 

" longirostris (Long-billed Curlew) 112 

Numida meleagris (Guinea Fowl) . . . (Plate 27, Fig. 154) 81 

Nutcracker (Nucif raga caryocatactes). (Plate 20, Fig. 118) 231 

Nuthatch, European (Sitta caesia) ... (Plate 21, Fig. 128) 185 

" Red-breasted (Sitta canadensis) 186 

" White-breasted (Sitta carolinensis) 185 

Nuthatches 184 

Nyctea nyctea (Snowy Owl) (Plate 5, Fig. 23) 160 

Nycticorax nycticorax naevius (Black-crowned Night 

Heron) 35 

Nyctanassa violaceus (Yellow-crowned Night Heron) .... 35 


Oceanodroma leucorhoa (Leach's Petrel) .. (Plate 37, Fig. 

214) 20 

Oidemia fusca (Velvet Scoter) (Plate 36, Fig. 212) 46 

Old Squaw (Harelda hyemalis) (Plate 36, Fig. 208 47 

Olor atratus (Australian Black Swan) 54 

" buccinator (Trumpeter Swan) 55 

" columbianus (Whistling Swan) 55 

Oreortyx pictus (Mountain Partridge) 92 

Oriole, Baltimore (Icterus galbula) 191 

" Golden (Oriolus galbula) (Plate 11, Fig. 51) igo 

Orioles 190 

Ortalis vetula maccali ( Chacalacca) 79 

Ortolan (Emberiza hortulana) (Plate 16, Fig. 87) 223 

Oscines 176 

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) (Plate 2, Fig. 6) 69 

Otis tarfa (Great Bustard) (Plate 30, Fig. 169) 98 

Ostrich (Struthio camelus) (Plate 28, Fig. 157) 5 

Otocoris alpestris ( Horned Lark) 211 

Ouzel, Ring (Merula torquatus) (Plate 11, Fig. 56) 196 

" European Water (Cinclus cinclus) (Plate 10, 

Fig. 50) 194 

Oven-bird (Seiurus aurocapillus) 205 

250 INDEX 


Owl, American Barn (Strix pratincola) ■. . . i6i 

" European Barn (Strix flammea).. (Plate 5, Fig. 21) 162 

" Barred (Syrnium varium) 162 

" Great Eagle (Bubo bubo) (Plate 5, Fig. 18) 159 

" Great Grey (Scotiaptix nubulosa) 162 

" Great Horned (Bubo virginianus) 158 

" American Hawk (Surnia ulula caparoch) 163 

" Little (Athene noctua) (Plate 5, Fig. 22) 160 

" European Long-eared (Asio otus) . . (Plate 5, Fig. 20) 161 

" Little Screech (Megascops asio) 162 

" Snowy (Nyctea nyctea) (Plate 5, Fig. 23) 160 

" Tawny (Syrnium aluco) (Plate 5, Fig. 19) 161 

Oxyechus vociferus (Killdeer) 103 

Oyster-catcher, Black (Hasmatopus bachmani) 112 

" American (Haematopus palliatus) 112 

Pandion haliaetus (Osprey) (Plate 2, Fig. 6) 69 

Padda orizyvora (Java Sparrow) (Plate 17, Fig. 99) 222 

Paroquet, Carolina (Conurus carolinensis) (Plate 7, 

Fig. 32) 135 

" Zebra grass (Melopsittacus undulatus) . . (Plate 

8, Fig. 38) ■. 138 

Parrot, Blue-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva) .. (Plate 

8, Fig. 37) 136 

" Grey. (Psittacus erythacus) (Plate 7, Fig. 33) 134 

" Kea (Nestor notabilus) 134 

" Owl (Stringops habroptilus) 138 

Partridge, California (Lophort5T£ calif ornicus) 92 

" Common European (Perdix perdix) . . (Plate 24, 

Fig. 144) 87 

" Gambel (Lophortyx gambelii) .. (Plate 41, Fig. 

245) 92 

" Mountain (Oreortyx pictus) 92 

" Plumed (Plumiferous) 92 

" Red-legged Rock (Cacabis saxatilis) .... (Plate 

25, Fig. 145) 87 

" Scale'd (Callipepla squamata) 92 

Parus ater (Coal Tit) (Plate 15, Fig. 80) 183 

" atricapillus (Chickadee) 184 

" coerulus (Blue Tit) (Plate 15, Fig. 83. 182 

" major (Great Tit) (Plate 15, Fig. 84) 183 

INDEX 251 


Passer domesticus (European House Sparrow) .. (Plate 16, 

Fig. 93) 215 

" montanus (European Tree Sparrow) .... (Plate 16, 

Fig. 94) 216 


Passerina nivalis (Snow Bunting) .... (Plate 16, Fig. 89) 221 

Pavo cristatus (Peacock) (Plate 25, Fig. 148) 84 

" muticus ( Javan Peacock) 85 

Pavoncella pugnax (Ruff) (Plate 31, Fig. 181) iii 

Peacock (Pavo cristatus) (Plate 25, Fig. 148) 84 

Javan (Pavo muticus) 85 

Pe'diaecestes phasianellus (Sharp-tailed Grouse) 89 

Pelican; American White (Pelecanus erythrorhynchus) .... 28 

" Brown (Pelecanus occidentalis) 29 

" European (Pelecanus onocrotalus) . . (Plate 37, Fig. 

220) 28 

Pelicans 28 

Pelicanus erythrorhynchus (American White Pelican) .... 28 

" occidentalis (Brown Pelican) 29 

" onocrotalis (European Pelican) .. (Plate 37, Fig. 

220) 28 

Pelidna alpina (Dunlin) (Plate 32, Fig. 185) 108 

Penguin, Emperor (Aptenodytes longirostris) 21 

" King (Aptenodytes patagonica) .. (Plate 40, Fig. 

234) 21 

" Little (Aptenodytes parvus) . (Plate 40, Fig. 235) 21 

Perisoreus canadensis (Canada Jay) 231 

Perdix perdix (European Partridge) . . (Plate 24, Fig. 144) 87 

Petrel, Giant 21 

" Leach's (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) .. (Plate 37, Fig. 

214) 20 

" Little Stormy (Procellaria pelagica) 20 

" Snow 20 

Petrels 18 

Petrochelidon lunifrous (Cliff Swallow) 180 

Pewee, Wood (Contopus virens) 176 

Phaenicopterus roseus (European Flamingo) .... (Plate 33, 

Fig. 189) 42 

" ruber (American Flamingo) 42 

Phaethon jethereus (Tropic Bird) .... (Plate 37, Fig. 216) 32 

Phalarope, Wilson's (Crymophilus fulicarius) 113 

Phalocorax carbo (Common Cormorant) .. (Plate 37, Fig. 

218) 24 

252 INDEX 


Phalocorax harrisi (Harris's Cormorant) 25 

Pharomacrus mocinno (Resplendent Trogon) 165 

Phasianus colchicus (Common European Pheasant) 

(Plate 26, Fig. 150) 82 

" reevesi (Reeves Pheasant) 84 

" torquatus (Ring-necked Pheasant) 82 

Pheasant, Common European (Phasianus colchicus).... 

(Plate 26, Fig. 150) 82 

" Argus (Argusianus argus) .... (Plate 26, Figs, 

152, 153) •.■ 84 

" Golden ( Chrysolophus pictus) . . . (Plate 25, Figs. 

146, 147) 83 

" Impeyan (Lophophorus impeyanus) 83 

" Lady Amherst (Chrysolophus amherstiae) 84 

" Reeves (Phasianus reevesi) 84 

" Ring-necked (Phasianus torquatus) 82 

" Silver (Gennaeus nycthemerus) .... (Plate 26, 

Fig. 151) 83 

Philohela minor (American Woodcock) 106 

Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) 175 

Phoebetria fuliginosa (Sooty Albatross) 19 


Phylloscopus sibilatrix (Wood Wren) . . (Plate 13, Fig. 67) 202 

Pica pica (European Magpie) (Plate 20, Fig. 115) 231 

" " hudsonia (American Magpie) 231 

vanicus) 209 

PICI 164 

Picus martius (Great Black Woodpecker) .. (Plate 6, Fig. 

28) 168 

Pigeon, Band-tailed (Columba fasciata) 132 

" Blood-breasted (Columba livia var.) 128 

" Carrier (Columba livia var.) 131 

" Crowned (Goura coronata) .. (Plate 23, Fig. 136) 128 

" Fantail (Columba livia var.) 132 

" Nicobar (Caloenas nicobarica) 128 

" Passenger (Ectopistes migratorius) .... (Plate 22, 

Fig. 133) 126 

" Pouter (Columba livia, var. )..( Plate 23, Fig. 134) 130 

" Wood (Columba palumbus) .(Plate 22, Fig. 132) 129 

Pinicola enucleator (Pine Grosbeak) ..( Plate 16, Fig. 92) 218 

Pintail (Dafila acuta) (Plate 35, Fig. 205) '47 

Pipit, American (Anthus pensilvanicus) 209 

" Meadow (Anthus pratensis) 209 

" Tree (Anthus trivialis) (Plate 10, Fig. 49) 209 

INDEX 253 


Pipits 207 

Piranga erythromelas (Scarlet Tanager) 225 

" rubra (Summer Tanager) 226 

Platalea leucorodia (European Spoonbill) . . (Plate 33, Fig. 

190) 39' 

Plautus impennes (Great Auk) 123 

Plegadis autumnalis (Glossy Ibis) 41 

Plover, Golden (Charadrius dominicus) .. (Plate 30, Fig. 

1 70) 102 

" Kentish (jEgialitis alexandrina) .. (Plate 30, Fig. 

174) •••; 103 

" Piping (jEgialitis meloda) 103 

" Ringed (jEgialitis hiaticula) .( Plate 30, Fig. 173) 102 

Podilymbus podiceps (Pied-billed Grebe) 17 

Polyborus cherivay (Caracara) (Plate) 68 

Porzana jamaicensis (Little Black Rail) 98 

" porzana (Spotted Crake) (Plate 29, Fig. 166) 96 

Carolina (Carolina Rail) 97 

Pratincola rubicola (Stonechat) (Plate 12, Fig. 62) 197 

Pratincole (Glareola pratincola) (Plate 31, Fig. 175) loi 

Progne subis (Purple martin) 180 

Psittacus erythacus (Grey Parrot) . . (Plate 7, Fig. 33) 134 


Psophia crepitans (Trumpeter) 95 

Ptarmigan, Alpine (Lagopus mutus) . . (Plate 24, Fig. 143) 89 

" Willow (Lagopus lagopus) 90 

Puffin (Fratercula arctica) (Plate 39, Fig. 233) 122 

" Horned (Fratercula corniculata) 123 

" Tufted (Lunda cirrhata) 123 

Puffinus puffinus (Manx Shearwater) ..(Plate 37, Fig. 215) 20 


Pyrrhula pyrrhula (Bullfinch) (Plate 16, Fig. 91) 218 


Quail, Common European (Coturnix coturnix) . . (Plate 24, 

Fig. 41) 88 

Quetzel 165 

Querquedula discors (Blue-winged Teal) 48 

Quiscalus quiscula (Purple Grackle) 193 


Rail, Clapper (Rallus crepitans) 97 

" King (Rallus elegans) , 97 

" Little Black (Porzana jamaicensis) 98 

254 INDEX 


Rail, Virginia (Rallus virginianus) 97 

" Water (Rallus aquaticus) (Plate 29, Fig. 163) 98 

Rallus crepitans (Clapper Rail) 97 

" elegans (King Rail) 97 

Raven, American (Corvus corax sinuatus) 229 

" European (Corvus corax) .... (Plate 20, Fig. 116) 229 
Recurvirostra avocetta (European Avocet) . (Plate 32, Fig. 

184) 104 

Redpoll (Acanthis linaria) 220 

Redshank (Totanus totanus) (Plate 32, Fig. 182) 112 

Redstart, American (Setophaga ruticilla) 203 

" Black (Ruticilla titys) (Plate 13, Fig. 66) 197 

" European (Ruticilla phoenicurus) . (Plate 13, Fig. 

65) .' 197 

Reedbird (Dolichonyx orizyvorus) 192 

Regulus calendula (Ruby-crowned Kinglet) 202 

" regulus (Golden-crested Wren) . (Plate 13, Fig. 

69) 201 

" satrapa (Golden-crowned Kinglet) 202 

Rhampastos toco (Giant Toucan) (Plate 9, Fig. 41) 166 

Rhea, Common (Rhea americana) .... (Plate 28, Fig. 158) 4, 5 
Rhynchotus rufescens (Rufus Tinamou) . (Plate 41, Fig. 

240) 8 

Rhynchops nigra (Black Skimmer) 118 

Riparia riparia (Bank Swallow) (Plate 19, Fig. no) 179 

Rissa tridactyla (Kittiwake) (Plate 38, Fig. 225) 117 

Road-runner (Geococcjrx californiaus) . (Plate 41, Fig. 346) 141 

Robin, American (Merula migratoria) 199 

" European (Erythacus rubecula) . (Plate 12, Fig. 61) 198 

Roller, European (Coracias garrulus) . . . (Plate 9, Fig. 43) 142 

Rook (Corvus frugilegus) (Plate 20, Fig. 117) 229 

Ruff (Pavoncella pugnax) (Plate 31, Fig. 181) in 

Rupicola rupicola (Cock-of-the-rock) . (Plate ig, Fig. 112) 173 
Ruticilla phoenicurus (European Redstart) . (Plate 13, Fig. 

65) 197 

Sanderling (Calidris arenaria) (Plate 32, Fig. 188) no 

Sandpiper, Curlew (Erolia ferruginea) . (Plate 32, Fig. 186) 109 

" Least (Actodromas minutilla) 109 

Sandpiper, Semipalmated (Ereunetes pusillus) 109 

Sapsucker, Yellow-bellied (Sphyrapicus varius) 169 

Sarcoramphus gryphus (South American Condor) . (Plate i. 

Fig. i) 74 

INDEX 255 


Saxicola aenanthe (Wheatear) (Plate 12, Fig. 60) 196 

Scolopax rusticola (European Woodcock) . (Plate 31, Fig. 

177) 106 

Scoter, Velvet (Oidemia fusca) (Plate 36, Fig. 212) 46 

Scotiaptix nebulosa (Great Grey Owl) 162 

Secretary Bird ( Serpentarius secretarius) . (Plate 3, Fig. 13) 59 

Seiurus aurocapillus (Oven-bird) 205 

Seriema (Cariama cristata) (Plate 42, Fig. 245) 94 

Serin (Serinus hortulanus) (Plate 18, Fig. 102) 214 

Serinus canarius (Canary) (Plate 18, Fig. 105) 215 

Serpentarius secretarius (Secretary Bird) . (Plate 3, Fig. 13) 59 

Shearwater, Manx (Puffinus puffinus) . (Plate 37, Fig. 215) 20 

Sheldrake (Tadorna tadorna) (Plate 36, Fig. 209) 50 

Shrike, Great Grey (Lanius excubitor) . (Plate 10, Fig. 46) 181 

" Loggerhead (Lanius ludovicianus) 182 

" Northern (Lanius borealis) 181 

" Red-backed (Lanius collurio) .. (Plate 10, Fig. 45) 182 

Shrikes 181 

Sialis sialis (Bluebifd) 199 

Siskin (Spinus spinus) (Plate 18, Fig. 103) 214 

" Pine (Spinus pinus) 214 

Sitta canadensis (Red-breasted Nuthatch) 186 

" carolinensis (White-breasted Nuthatch) 185 

" cassia (European Nuthatch) .... (Plate 21, Fig. 127) 185 

Skimmer, Black (Rhynchops nigra) 118 

Skua, Parasitic ( Stercorarius parasiticus) . (Plate 38, Fig. 

226) 121 

Skylark (Alauda arvensis) (Plate 14, Fig. 74) 210 

Smew (Mergus albellus) (Plate 36, Fig. 210) 46 

Snake-bird (Anhinga anhinga) (Plate 38, Fig. 222) 25 

Snipe, Common European (Gallinago gallinago) . (Plate 31, 

Fig. 178) 105 

" Great (Gallinago media) (Plate 31, Fig. 179) 105 

" Jack (Gallinago gallinula) 105 

Snowbird (Junco hyemalis) 221 

Snowflake (Passerina nivalis) 221 

Somateria mollissima (Eider Duck) . . . (Plate 35, Fig. 206) 46 

Sparrow, Chipping (Spizella socialis) 216 

Field (Spizella pusilla) 216 

House (Passer domesticus) . . (Plate 16, Fig. 93) 215 

Hedge (Accentor modularis) . (Plate 12, Fig. 58) 203 

Java (Padda oryziva) (Plate 17, Fig. 99) 222 

Song (Melospiza cinerea melodia) 216 

American Tree (Spizella monticola) 216 

2^6 INDEX 


Sparrow, European Tree (Passer montanus) .. (Plate i6, 

Fig. 94) • 216 

Spathura underwoodi (Racquet-tailed Humming-bird) 

(Plate 21, Fig 125) _ I53 

Speotyto cunicularia hypogaea (Burrowing Owl) 160 

Sphyrapicus varius (Yellow-bellied Sapsucker) 169 

Spinus pinus (Pine Siskin) 214 

" spinus (Siskin) (Plate 18, Fig. 103) 214 

Spizella montanus (European Tree Sparrow) . (Plate 16, 

Fig. 94) 216 

" monticola (American Tree Sparrow) 216 

Spoonbill, European (Platalea leucorodia) .( Plate 33, Fig. 

190) 39 

" Roseate (Ajaia ajaja) 39 

Sporaeginthus amandava (Amaduvade) . (Plate 7, Fig. 96) 221 

Starling, Common (Sturnus vulgaris) . (Plate 20, Fig. 120) 194 

Starlings 194 


Stercorarius parasitacus (Parasitic Skua). (Plate 38, Fig. 

226) 120 

Sterna antillarum (Little Tern) 119 

" ansethetus (Bridled Tern) 120 

" fuliginosa (Sooty Tern) 120 

" maxima (Royal Tern) 119 

" minuta (Least Tern) (Plate 39, Fig. 227) 120 

Stelgidopteryx serripennis (Rough-wing Swallow) 179 

Stilt, Black-necked (Himantopus mexicanus) 104 

" European (Himantopus himantopus) . (Plate 30, Fig. 

172) 104 

Stint, Little (Actodromas minuta) . . . (Plate 32, Fig. 183) 109 

Stonechat (Pratincola rubicola) (Plate 12, Fig. 62) 197 

Stork, African Adjutant (Leptoptilus crumenifer) . (Plate 

34, Fig. 195) ■ • • ; 39 

" European White (Ciconia ciconia) . (Plate 33, Fig. 

191.) : 38 

" Indian Adjutant (Leptoptilus argala) 38 

" Whale-headed 39 

Streptopelia risoria (Ring Dove) 128 


Stringops habroptilus (Owl Parrot) 138 

Strix flammea (European Barn Owl) . . . (Plate 5, Fig. 21) 162 

" pratincola (American Barn Owl) 161 

Struthio camelus (African Ostrich) . . . (Plate 28, Fig. 157) 5 

Sturnella magna (Meadowlark) 193 

INDEX 257 


Sturnus vulgaris (Starling) (Plate 20, Fig. 120) 194 

Sula bassana (Common Gannet) (Plate 37, Fig. 217) 27 

Surnia ulula caparoch (American Hawk Owl) 163 

Swallow, American Bank (riparia riparia) . (Plate 19, Fig. 

1 10) 179 

" American Barn (Hirundo erythrogastra) 179 

" European Barn (Hirundo rustica) . (Plate 18, 

Fig. 108) 179 

" Cliff ( Petrochelidon lunifrons) 180 

" Rough-wing (Stergidopteryx serripennis) 179 

" Tree (Iridoprocne bicolor) 180 

Swallows 178 

Swan, Australian Black (Olor atratus) 54 

" European Mute (Cygnus olor) . (Plate 35, Fig. 

201) ;•■.•••. 54 

" Black-necked (Olor nigricollis) 55 

" Trumpeter (Olor buccinator) 55 

" Whistling (Olor columbianus) 55 

Swift, Common European (Cypselus apus).( Plate 18, Fig. 

107) 150 

" Chimney (Chsetura pelagica 151 

Sylvia atricapilla (Blackcap) (Plate 13, Fig. 72) 201 

Symphemia semipalmata (Willet) 106 

Syrnium aluco (Tawny Owl) (Plate 5, Fig. 19) 161 

" varium (Barred Owl) 162 

Tadorna tadorna (Sheldrake) (Plate 36, Fig. 209 50 

Tanager, Paradise {Calospiza tatao) . . . (Plate 19, Fig. 113 226 

" Scarlet (Piranga erythromelas) 225 

" Summer (Piranga rubra) 226 

Tanagers 225 

Tantalus locutor (Wood Ibis) 40 

Tern, Bridled (Sterna anasthetus) 120 

" , Common (Sterna hirundo) .... (Plate 39, Fig. 230) 119 
" Least, European (Sterna minuta) . (Plate 39, Fig. 

227) 120 

" Little (Sterna antillarum) 120 

" Noddy ( Anous stolidus) 119 

" Royal ( Sterna maxima) 119 

" Sandwich (Sterna sandvicencis) . (Plate 39, Fig. 229) 120 

" Sooty (Sterna fuliginosa) 120 

Tetrao urogallus (Capercailzie) (Plate 24, Fig. 138) 90 

Tetrastes bonasia (Hazel Grouse) (Plate 24, Fig. 140) 91 



Tetrax tetrax (Little Bustard) (Plate 29, Fig. 162) 99 

Thrasaetus harpyia (Harpy Eagle) .. (Plate 42, Fig. 241) 66 

Thrasher, Brown (Toxostoma rufum) ■ 189 

Thrush, Hermit (Hylocichla guttata pallasii) 200 

" Missel (Turdus viscivorus) .. (Plate 11, Fig. 55) 195 

" Rock (Monticola saxatalis) . . . (Plate 12, Fig. 57) 196 

" Wilson's (Hylocichla fuscescens) 200 

" Wood (Hylocichla mustelina) 199 

Tichodroma muraria (Wall-creeper) . (Plate 21, Fig. 126) 187 
Tinamou, Rufus (Rhynchotus rufescens) .. (Plate 41, Fig* 

340) 8 

Tit, Blue (Parus coeruleus) (Plate 15, Fig. 83) 182 

" Coal (Parus ater) (Plate 15, Fig. 80) 183 

" Crested (Lophophanes cristatus) . (Plate 15, Fig. 82) 183 

" Great (Parus major) (Plate 15, Fig. 84) 183 

" Long-tailed (Acredula caudata) . . . (Plate 14, Fig. 78) 183 

Titmouse, Tufted (Bseolophus bicolor) 184 

Titmice 1 82 

Topaza pella (Topaz Humming-bird) . (Plate 21, Fig. 124) 153 

Totanus melanoleucus (Greater Yellowlegs) 106 

" nebularius (Greenshank) .... (Plate 31, Fig. 180). 107 

" totanus (Redshank) (Plate 32, Fig. 182) 112 

Toucan, Giant (Rhampastos toco) .... (Plate 9, Fig. 41) 166 

" Short-billed 166 

Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) 220 

Toxostoma rufum (Brown Thrasher) 189 

Tringa canutus (Knot) (Plate 32, Fig. 187) 1 10 

Trochilus colubris (Ruby-throated Humming-bird) 154 

Trogon, Resplendent (Pharomacrus mocinno) 165 

" African (Hapaloderma narina) . (Plate 9, Fig. 44) 165 


Tropic-bird (Phaeton aethereus) (Plate 37, Fig. 216) 32 

Trumpeter (Psophia crepitans) 95 


Turdus viscivorus (Missel Thrush) . . . (Plate 11, Fig. 55) 195 

Turkey, Eastern Wild (Meleagris sylvestris) 81 

" Honduras (Meleagris ocellata), 81 

" Mexican Wild (Meleagris gallopavo) . (Plate 27, 

Fig. 155) 80 

" turtur (Turtle Dove) (Plate 23, Fig. 137) 127 

Tympanuchus americanus (Prairie Hen) 89 

Tyrannus tyrannus (Kingbird) 175 

INDEX 259 


Upupa epops (Hoopoe) (Plate 22, Fig. 129) 145 

Uria lomvia (Murre) (Plate 40, Fig. 238) 122 


Vidua paradisea (Paradise Whydah-bird) . (Plate 17, Fig. 

95) 221 

Vanellus vanellus (Lapwing) (Plate 30, Fig. 171) 103 

Vireo, Red-eyed (Vireo olivaceus) 206 

White-eyed (Vireo noveborensis) 206 

Vireos • 206 

Vulture, Black (Catharista urubu) 77 

Egyptian (Neophron percnopterus) . (Plate i, 

Fig. 2) 73 

" Griffon (Gyps fulvus) (Plate 2, Fig. 5) 73 

" Turkey (Cathartes aura) .... (Plate 41, Fig. 243) 76 

" King (Gypagus papa) (Plate 2, Fig. 5) 74 


Wagtail, Grey (Motacilla melanope) . (Plate 11, Fig. 52) 208 

" Pied (Motacilla lugubris) . . . (Plate 11, Fig. 53) 208 

" White (Motacilla alba) 208 

" Yellow (Budytes rayi) 208 

Wagtails .... '. .'• 207 

Warbler, Blue-winged ( Helminthophila pinus) 204 

" Chestnut-sided (Dendroica pensylvanica) 205 

" Hooded (Wilsonia mitrata) 204 

" Icterine (Hypolais hypolais) . (Plate 13, Fig. 70) 202 
" Marsh (Acrocephalus palustris) . (Plate 13, Fig. 

64) 202 

" Myrtle (Dendroica coronata) 204 

" Parula ( Compsothlypis americana) 205 

Warblers 200 

Waxwing, Bohemian (Ampelis garrulus) . (Plate 18, Fig. 

106) . ., 190 

" Cedar (Ampelis cedrorum) 190 

Waxwings 1 89 

Wheatear (Saxicola aenanthe) (Plate 12, Fig. 60) 196 

Whippoorwill (Antrostomus vociferus) 149 

White-throat (Sylvia cinerea) (Plate 13, Fig. 71) 201 

Whydah-bird, Paradise (Viddua paradisea) . (Plate 17, Fig. 

95) 221 

26o INDEX 


Widgeon (Marecca penelope) (Plate 35, Fig. 204) 47 

Willet (Symphemia semipalmata) 106 

Wilson, Alexander 126 

Woodcock, American ( Philohela minor) 106 

" European (Scolopax rusticola) .( Plate 31, Fig. 

177) 106 

Woodpecker, Ivory-billed (Campephilus principalis) . (Plate 

6, Fig. 25) 168 

Downy (Dryobates pubescens) 169 

Great Black ( Picus martins) . ( Plate 6, Fig. 

28) • 168 

Great Spotted (Picus major) 169 

Green (Gecinus viridis). . (Plate 6, Fig. 26) 169 
Grey-headed Green (Gecinus canus) . (Plate 

6, Fig. 24) 169 

Hairy (Dryobates villosus) 169 

Lesser Spotted (Dryobates minor) . (Plate 6, 

Fig. 27) 169 

" Red-headed (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) 

(Plate 7, Fig. 29) 169 

Wren, Carolina (Thyothorus ludovicianus) 88 

" Golden-crested (Regulus regul us) . (Plate 13, Fig. 

69) 201 

" European House (Troglodytes troglodytes) . (Plate 

13, Fig. 68) 188 

" Common American House (Troglodytes aedon) . . . 187 

" Marsh (Telmatodytes palustris) 188 

" Winter ( Olbiorchilus hiemalis) 188 

" Wood ( Phylloscopus sibilatrix) . (Plate 13, Fig. 

67) 202 

Wrens 187 

Wryneck (Jynx torquilla) (Plate 7, Fig. 31) 170 


Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) ..( Plate 15, Fig. 85) 223 

Yellowlegs (Totanus flavipes) 106 

" Greater (Totanus melanoleucus) 106 

Yellowthroat, Maryland (Geothlypis trichas) 204 


Zapornia parva (Little Crake) (Plate 29, Fig. 164) 97 

Zenaidura macroura (Mourning Dove) 130