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v/, 2- 






I HAVE but a few words to add to the prefatory remarks 
which will be found in the first volume. I therein sketched 
out the plan of the work which I proposed to follow. Since 
the issue of the first volume, two species have been added to 
the British list. Of the Sub-alpine Warbler (Sylvia subalpina), 
a specimen was shot in St. Kilda in June, 1894, by Mr. J. S. 
Elliot, as recorded by me in the Bulletin of the British Orni- 
thologists' Club, Vol. IV. p. ix. Coues' Redpole (Cannabina 
exilipes) has been obtained by Dr. Bendelack Hewetson near 
Easington on the west coast of Yorkshire during the winter of 
1893-94, as has been recorded by Mr. John Cordeaux in the 
"Naturalist" for March, 1894 (p. 84). 

While the criticisms on the first volume of the " Handbook" 
have been wholly favourable and kindly, three notices in par- 
ticular have appeared, in reply to which I should like to say a 
few words. 

Dr. P. L. Sclater seems to imply (" Ibis," 1894, p. 566) that 
the nomenclature adopted by me in the " Handbook " is intro- 
duced into my writings for the first time, and he alludes par- 
ticularly to the names of the genera in the Family Corvida, but 
these names are not of my own foundation. I adopted them, 
after monographing the whole of the Family in the " Catalogue 
of Birds," twenty years ago. My conclusions have been followed 
by naturalists in many countries, and, I hope, will continue to 
be so. I would further remark that Dr. Stejneger's " incon- 
venient discoveries " have not had a "great attraction " for me, 
as my kindly critic suggests. I really hate all these changes of 



names, and I have always had a great sympathy with the pro- 
posal of Mr. Seebohm to adopt only the best-known name for 
a species, but the " auctorum plurimorum " system of nomen- 
clature, though very good in theory, would not work well in 
practice, for a name in a majority one year, might turn out to 
be in a minority two years hence, and so there would again be 
no stability in our nomenclature. 

It is certainly unfortunate that so many older names for 
common species have been unearthed during recent years, 
but that is surely not the fault of the authors themselves, 
but of their descendants, who have not taken the trouble to 
search the whole of the literature. I have used in the present 
" Handbook " such names as I believe to be not only the right 
ones, but those which in future are most likely to be adopted 
by ornithologists generally; and I cannot agree with Dr. Sclater 
that, because this little "Handbook" is "confessedly in- 
tended for popular use, it would have been wiser to adhere 
to ordinary nomenclature and to avoid an unnecessary multi- 
plicity of genera." This is exactly what I think ought not to 
be done for in a book which has such a wide sale as the 
" Naturalist's Library," it is more important to teach the 
reader the nomenclature most likely to be in vogue in the 
future, than to serve up to him names which a very little study 
on his part will enable him to discover to be out of date. 

Mr. Harting has also written a friendly notice of my first 
volume in the "Zoologist" for 1894 (pp. 468-472), but he 
also complains that there is so much that is " new " in the 
book. It really looks as if he had allowed much recent work 
to escape his notice, and has only just woke up to the fact that 
things have been moving since he wrote his "Handbook to the 
Birds of Great Britain " in 1872. The arrangement followed 
in my book was duly set forth by me in my " Classification of 
Birds" in 1891, and there is therefore nothing wonderful in an 
author following his own ideas. The same may be said of Mr. 
Harting's remarks on my nomenclature, and if he had studied 


the Crows as diligently as he has done the Wading Birds, he 
would probably have found little difficulty in recognising that 
the black plumage of the former birds is really their only 
warranty for inclusion in a single genus Corvus, and that the 
characters for generic separation, when properly weighed, are 
as important as the genera of CharadriidcR, which Mr. Harting 
accepts without hesitation. Some of the changes in nomen- 
clature at which he "stands aghast" might have paralysed him 
at any moment during the last twenty years, and, as I have 
already said, the genera of the Corvidce are none of them of 
my own invention. 

Mr. Harting, moreover, entirely misunderstands the principle 
of the duplicate generic and specific names by which such titles 
as Graculus graculus are arrived at. It is not adopted for the 
sake of attaching the name of the typical species to that of 
the genus. That this must often, and in fact generally, occur, 
is really a matter of chance, and I am sorry that the mere 
act of restoring Linnean specific names to their original posi- 
tion has resulted in the duplication of the name, but then the 
Linnean names ought never to have been used in a generic 
sense. Thus, if Linnaeus called the Partridge Tetrao perdix, 
the name perdix ought to be retained at all costs for the species. 
When Perdix was taken in a generic sense and the species was 
called Perdix cincrea, I contend that it ought never to have 
been allowed, and if, in restoring the Linnean specific name of 
perdix % it results that the oldest generic name is also Perdix^ 
and the species has to be called Perdix perdix (L.), I can only 
say that I am sorry, but it cannot be helped. 

Canon Tristram's paper on the " Use and Abuse of Generic 
Names" ("Ibis," 1895, pp. 130-133) expresses the ideas of an 
old-fashioned ornithologist on modern-day work, but my critic 
has not shown the consistency of opinion which might have been 
expected from the author of such an emphatic diatribe as that 
which he has directed against me and my methods of work. 
Genera are, according to Canon Tristram, entirely arbitrary, 


and to be employed only for our convenience, and names 
should not be bestowed when there is only a single species to 
represent them. In order tograsp my critic's full meaning, I 
consulted the published "Catalogue" of his collection, and there 
I found the whole of the Thrushes placed under the genus Tur- 
dus, though this is exactly the instance he quotes in his critique 
in which these birds ought absolutely to be classified under the 
heading of the two genera, Turdus and Merula. Then, in order 
to determine what characters Canon Tristram considered to be 
of generic value in the only instance in which he has shared 
my crimes with me, I find that the Seychelles Scops-Owl was 
considered by him to be worthy of a new generic name, Gyin- 
noscops, from the fact that " its ear-tufts, if any, are only rudi- 
mentary, and its tarsi wholly unfealhered, excepting a narrow 
line for about a quarter of an inch down the front of the tar- 
sus, while the back of the joint is entirely bare." Slender dis- 
tinction enough, as the describe! himself seems to think, for 
he adds : " I venture to think that these differences entitle 
it at least to sub-generic, if not generic, rank." After this ad- 
mission of what constitutes a generic or sub-generic difference, 
I am surprised that Canon Tristram should have ventured to 
stigmatise as "new fangled," "absolutely capricious," c., 
genera which are founded on quite as strong characters as he 
allows to be sufficient in his own case. 

He then proceeds to make a somewhat startling comparison 
as to the number of generic names which figure in my volumes 
of the "Catalogue of Birds," viz., 108, as compared with 
those written by my coadjutors, Mr. Seebohm and Dr. Gadow, 
" neither of whom invented a single new genus," Mr. Osbert 
Salvin (one), Mr. Edward Hargitt (four), Captain Shelley (five), 
Mr. Ogilvie-Grant (six), Count Salvadori (twelve),* " while Dr. 
Sharpe in 10^ volumes has favoured us with 108 new genera. 
It is obvious that the ' genus-standard ' of Dr. Sharpe must be 

* To have been quite fair, Canon Tristram should have added two new 
genera of Swifts (out of nine !) published in Mr. Hartert's half volume. 


very different from that of Messrs. Hargitt, Seebohm, Salva- 
dor!, and others, who, in 9^ volumes, have been content with 
28 new genera, as against his 108." A more manifestly un- 
fair method of comparison could hardly be conceived, and I 
wonder at Canon Tristram attempting to prove his point by 
means of the above figures. Mr. Seebohm worked out the 
Thrushes and Warblers, a well-worn field, over much of which 
he had travelled in print, before he wrote Vol. V. of the "Cata- 
logue." Dr. Gadow's volumes dealt with Panda, Laniida, 
Nectariniidce, Meliphagidcz, all of which had been much 
studied and written about before he undertook this portion 
of the " Catalogue." Captain Shelley, for instance, had just 
completed a Monograph of the Nectariniida. The Shrikes 
and Tits had received much attention from several ornitholo- 
gists, and Count Salvador! and Dr. Meyer had already swept 
the board of such new genera as might have fallen to Dr. 
Gadow's share in the Mcliphagida, by publishing a number of 
new genera not long before the latter commenced to work at 
the "Catalogue." Mr. Salvin's volume consisted mainly of 
the Humming Birds (Trochilida), and it is wonderful that he 
even found one new genus to characterise, seeing that the 
family had been monographed over and over again, by 
Gould, Reichenbach, Heine, Mulsant, and worked at by Von 
Berlepsch, Boucard, and others for years, to say nothing of 
Mr. Salvin's own previous study of the Family. Mr. Hargitt's 
four new genera of Woodpeckers were reserved for publication 
in the "Catalogue," and so were Mr. Ogilvie-Grant's few 
generic names of Hornbills and Game-Birds, but all these 
families had been monographed, some of them more than 
once, before the authors began their " Catalogues," and there- 
fore the chance of there being any genera which had escaped 
notice by previous writers was extremely small, and the same 
may be said of the volumes written by Captain Shelley and 
Count Salvador!. 

On the other hand, fair play would have demanded an 

v "l PREFACE. 

acknowledgment of the fact that the groups of birds which 
fell to my lot in the " Catalogue " had been practically un- 
worked before, and it is net in the least surprising that, in 
monographing such difficult families as Babbling-Thrushes, 
Finches, Starlings, &c., a close study should discover generic 
differences, while many of the larger birds, such as Bustards 
and Cranes, had not been monographed for many years 
before I did them in the " Catalogue." My views are, I 
dare say, not those of the older school of ornithologists, any 
more than are those of Dr. Reichenow and other " German 
friends," or those of Mr. Ridgway and Dr. Stejneger, the 
"American cousins," who are evidently regarded by Canon 
Tristram as the cause of my backslidings ! 

The whole question appears to me to be a very simple one. 
Canon Tristram evidently does not like what he calls the 
"new-fangled" ideas of some of the younger school of 
ornithologists, because they were not in vogue in his younger 
days, but the collections which are now in the cabinets of the 
British Museum provide a completeness of material with 
which our forefathers were totally unacquainted. It was 
only to be expected that the close study involved in the 
preparation of the " Catalogue of Birds " would result in the 
discovery of new genera, but there is a sure test as regards 
the calibre of our work in store for Canon Tristram, for 
myself, and for every other writer. Future generations will 
judge the value of our labours, and that which is good will 
be preserved, and that which is bad will be cast into outer 

I have to thank Mr. Howard Saunders, Mr. W. E. de 
Winton, and Mr. Robert Read for assisting me with notes for 
the present volume, and special acknowledgments are due tc 
Count Salvador! for the notes he has given me on the Ducks 
and Geese. 









I. viridis (L.) ... ... 5 


1. major (L.) ... ... ... 8 

2. villosus (Forst.) ... ... 10 

3. pubescens (L.) ... ... II 

4. minor (L.)... ... ... 12 



I. torquilla, L. ... ... 16 




LXXIX. COCCYSTES, Gloger ... 21 

i. glandarius (L.) ... ... 21 


i. canorus, L. ... ... 24 

LXXXI. COCCYZUS, Vieill. ... 30 

1. americanus (L. ) ... ... 30 

2. erythrophthalmus (Wils. ) 32 






Wolf 38 

1. melba(L.) 3 s 

2. apus (L.) ... ... ... 40 


LXXXIII. CH/ETURA, Steph.... 43 

I. caudacuta (Lath.) ... 43 




1. europseus, L. 47 

2. segyptius, Licht 50 

3. ruficollis, Temm. ... ... 51 




1. apiaster, L. ... ... 54 

2. philippinus, L. ... ... 57 




i. epops, L 59 




LXXXVII. CERYLE, Boie ... 64 

I. alcyon (L.) 65 


I. ispida, L. ... 




1. garrulus, L. ... 

2. abyssinicus, Bodd. 

3. indicus, L. 
XC. BUBO, Cuv 

I. bubo(L.) 
XC1. SCOPS, Savign 

i. scops (Linn.) ... 

i. nyctea (L.) 

1. ulula (L.) 

2. funerea(L.) ... 

I. noctua (Scop.) ... 
XCV. Asio, Briss 

1. otus (L.) ... ... 

2. accipitrinus (Pall.) 

i. aluco (L.) 

i. tengmalmi (Gm.)... 

I. flammea, L. ... 

I. haliaetus (L.) ... 

























116 I 
116 I 


C. GYPS, Savign 116 

i. fulvus (Gm.) 117 

CI. NEOPHRON, Savign. ... ... 120 

I. percnopterus (L.)... ... 120 


CII. CIRCUS, Lacep 124 

1. cyaneus (L.) 125 

2. pygargus (L.) 129 

3. reruginosus (L.) ... .. 133 
CIII. ASTUR, Lacep 136 

1. palumbarius (L.) 137 

2. atricapillus (Wils.) ... 140 
CIV. ACCIPITER, Briss 141 

I. nisus (L.) ... ... ... 142 


CV. BUTEO, Cuv. ... ... 147 

1. buteo (L.) 147 

2. desertorum (Baud.) ... 150 

3. borealis (Gm.) ... ... 151 

4 lineatus (Gm.) ... ... 152 


CVI. ARCHIBUTEO, Brehm ... 153 

I. lagopus (Gm.) 154 

CVII. AQUILA, Briss 156 

1. chrysaetus (L.) 156 

2. maculata (Gm.) ... ... 159 

CVI II. HALFAETUS, Savign. ... 162 

i. albicilla (L.) 163 

CIX. ELANOIDES, Vieill. ... 166 

i. furcatus (L.) ... ... 166 

CX. MILVUS, Cuv 167 

1. milvus (L.) .. .. 1 68 

2. migrans, Bodd. ... ... 171 

CXI. ELANUS, Sav 173 

I. ocruleus (Desf.) ... ... 174 

CXII. PERNIS, Cuv 176 

I. apivorus (L.) ... .. 177 





1. peregrinus, Tunst. ... 181 

2. subbuteo, L. ... ..184 

3. sesalon, Tunst 187 

CXIV. HIEROFALCO, Cuv. ... 191 

1. candicans (Gm.) ... ... 191 

2. islandicus (llanc.) .. 194 

3. gyrfalco (L.) 197 


1. tinnunculus (L.) ... ... 201 

2. cenchris (Naun.)... . 204 

3. vespertina (L.) ... ... 207 



RACES 211 


1. carbo (L.) 211 

2. graculus (L.) 215 



CXVII. DYSPORUS, Illig. ... 218 
I. bassanus (L.) ... ... 218 



I. roseus, Pall 222 

FAMILY ANATID.E ... . .. 224 


CXIX. CHEN, Boie 225 j 

I. hyperboreus (Pall ) ... 225 ' 


CXX. ANSER, Briss 227 

1. anser (L.) ... 227 

2. albifrons (Scop.) ... ... 230 

3. fabalis (Lath.) 232 

4. brachyrhynchus, Baillon... 234 
CXXE. BRANTA, Scop 236 

1. leucopsis (Bechst.) ... 236 

2. bernicla (L.) ... ... 239 

3. ruficollis (Pall) 243 


CXXII. CYGNUS, Bechst. ... 246 

1. musicus, Bechst 247 

2. bewicki, Yarr 252 

3. o!or (Gm.) 254 

CXXIII. TADORNA, Flem. ... 257 

I. tadorna (L.) ... ... 258 


I. casarca (L.) 262 

CXXV. SPATULA, Boie 265 

I. clypeata (L.) 265 


i. boscas (L.) 269 


I. streperus (L.) 273 

CXX VI II. MARECA, Steph. ... 276 

1. penelope (L.) ... ... 276 

2. amer'cana (J. F. Gmelin) 281 
CXXIX. NETTION, Kaup. ... 282 

1. crecca (L.) 282 

2. carolinense (Gm.) ... 285 
CXXX. DAFILA, Steph 286 

i. acuta (L.) ... 287 


1. querquedula (L.) .. ... 291 

2. discors (L.) ... ... 294 



XXXII. Green Woodpecker ... 5 

XXXIII. Cuckoo 24 

XXXIV. Kingfisher 67 

XXXV. Roller 71 

XXXVI. Snowy Owl 84 

XXXVIL Little Owl 91 

XXXVIIL Tawny Owl 100 

XXXIX. Tengmalm's Owl 103 

XL. Barn-Owl 108 

XLI. Egyptian Vulture ... ... ... 120 

XLIL Hen-Harrier 125 

XLIII. Marsh-Harrier 133 

XLIV. Common Buzzard 147 

XLV. Golden Eagle 156 

XLVI. White-tailed Sea-Eagle 163 

XLVII. Swallow-tailed Kite 166 

XLVIIL Kite 168 

XLIX. Honey-Kite 177 

L. Greenland Falcon ... ... ... ... 192 

LI. Kestrel ... ... ... ... ... 201 

LII. Shag 215 

LIII. Gannet 218 

LI V. White-fronted Goose 230 

LV. Heads of Swans ... ... ... 247 

LVI. Common Sheld-Duck ... ... ... ... ... 258 

LVIL Shoveler 266 

LVIIL Fig. i. Teal 283 

Fig. 2. American Teal. 



" WOODPECKERS and their kin " might be the popular title of 
this Order of birds, but it includes two Families which cannot 
be called Woodpeckers in the true sense of the word, viz., the 
Puff-Birds (Buccones] and the Jacamars (Galbnla). The two 
latter Sub-orders are only found in Central and Southern 
America, and are thus characteristic of the Neotropical 
Region, i.e., the Tropical Region of the New World. 

The Woodpeckers, on the other hand, are almost cosmo- 
politan in their distribution. They are found in every part of 
Europe and Asia, Africa, as well as North and South America, 
ranging far to the north and south, but they are absent in the 
Australian Region. Thus they are entirely unknown in the 
islands of the Pacific Ocean, in New Zealand and Australia 
itself, nor do we meet with any Woodpecker in the Papuan or 
Muluccan islands, until we come to Celebes. The fauna 
of this island exhibits features which are partly Australian 
and partly Indian, but in possessing Woodpeckers and Mon- 
keys (cf. Forbes, Nat. Libr. Primates, ii. p. 250), its zoological 
affinities incline to the Indian Region. Wallace's line, which 
passes between the islands of Bali and Lombock, has also 
been supposed to show an absolute barrier between the terres- 
trial fauna of the Indian and Australian Regions, and it is so 
i:i the majority of cases: nevertheless, two genera of Wood- 
peckers cross it, as lyngipicus grandis and Dendrocopus analh 
are found in Lombock and Flores. 

8 B 



Externally these birds may be distinguished by their " zygo- 
dactyle '\frxot. : " Yoke-fooied " is another name frequently 
.applied -to j&fcm, 'but, described in simple language, they may 
be have two toes "in front " and two "behind." This 
may soem: a very unscientific way of characterising the Wood- 
peckers, but it is the first character to look for in one of 
these birds. Then they have usually a stiffened tail of sharp- 
pointed feathers but not in every case, for the Wrynecks 
and Piculets have soft-plumaged tails, while some Passerine 
Birds, such as the Tree-Creepers (Certhiidce\ also possess 
spiny tails (cf. vol. i. p. 119), as do also the South American 
Spine-tails {Dendrocolaptidai\ so that this cannot be reckoned 
a peculiar characteristic of Woodpeckers. Then, again, turn- 
ing to anatomical structure, we find that the Woodpeckers 
have a long and extensile tongue, the bones of which, the 
"hyoid cornua" as they are called, extend backwards ovei 
the skull. The tongue, thus capable of extension, and of 
enormous length, is furnished with muscles which enable the 
bird to dart it out and retract it in the most extraordinary 
manner. This extensile tongue is found in the Wrynecks as 
well, but is not a character exclusively diagnostic of the Wood- 
peckers, for two North American genera, Sphyropicus and 
Xenopicus have an ordinary tongue, as in the majority of Pas- 
serine Birds. On the other hand, an extensile tongue is found in 
the Humming-Birds ( Trochilidce] and Sun-Birds {Nectariniida) 

The following description of the mechanism of the Wood 
pecker's tongue is copied from that given by Sir William Flowei 
in the Bird-Gallery of the British Museum. 

" In the majority of the Picidcz the tongue is long, vermiform, 
pointed, and barbed at the tip. To permit of its bemg pro- 
jected or withdrawn as required, the hyoid cornua are pro- 
longed backward, sliding in a sheath which curves round the 
top of the skull. The sub-lingual glands are greatly developed, 
secreting a viscid fluid which covers the tongue and causes in- 
sects to adhere to it. The peculiar modification of these 
organs and their application in procuring food are closely 
analogous to those found in the Ant-Eaters and several other 
and in the Chameleon among Reptiles. 


"In some species the hyoid cornua slide backwards and 
forwards in the sheath as the tongue is retracted or protruded ; 
in others, as in the common English Green Woodpecker, their 
ends are fixed to the sheath, and the protrusion of the tongue 
is caused by the action of the genio-hyoid (protractor lingua} 
diminishing the curve in which the cornua lie when the tongue 
is withdrawn." 

Another curious anatomical feature in the Woodpeckers is 
found in the base of the skull, the vomer being slender and 
split, with the lateral halves separated. The late Professor 

Ventral view of skull of Dendrocopus major (enlarged). [From the Cata- 
logue of the Osteological Specimens in the Museum of the Royal College of 
Surgeons.], mpl. p. maxillo-palatine process, pi. palatine, pg. pterygoid. 

W. Kitchen Parker described this feature of the Woodpecker's 
skull as " saurognathous," on account of its Saurian or Rep- 
tilian character. 

Other anatomical characters may be added for the definition 
of this Sub-order, and may be found in all recent works on 
avian anatomy, but they need not be further mentioned here. 


The late Mr. Edward Hargitt, our best authority on this 
Family, and to whose work we are indebted for much of the in- 
formation here given, divides the Picida into three Sub-families, 

B 2 


viz., the Woodpeckers (Picina\ the Piculets (Picumnina) and 
the Wrynecks (lyngince). The second of these Sub-families has 
a soft and rounded tail, without spiny shafts. It consists of 
about forty species of very small size, mostly found in Central 
and South America, but also represented in Africa, as well as in 
the Himalayan and kindred ranges of mountains in Asia. 

Both the Woodpeckers and Wrynecks are represented in 
Great Britain, the former by three species, the latter by a single 


Some forty-five genera are comprised in this Sub -family, of 
which two are natives of Great Britain. Besides the three 
species which are residents, there are several which have been 
chronicled as having wandered to the British Isles. The Great 
Black Woodpecker (Picus martins) has been recorded over and 
over again, but a careful enquiry into all the records by Mr. 
J. H. Gurney, has thrown doubt on every one of the occur- 
rences, and it is indeed a very unlikely bird to wander from its 
Scandinavian home. The only specimen examined by me in 
the flesh, in this country, had its crop filled with insects, which 
I sent for examination to the late Professor Westwood of 
Oxford, and they were pronounced by him not to be British, 
but Swedish, species ! The Great Black Woodpecker measures 
seventeen inches in length, is entirely black above and below, 
the male having a red crown, while in the female the red colour 
is confined to the occiput. 

The White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopus kuconotus) is 
said to have occurred in the Shetland Islands. The specimen 
believed to be of this species was figured by the late Mr. 
Gould in his " Birds of Great Britain," and it appeared to me 
at the time to be a young D. kuconotus. Recent observers, 
however, have come to the conclusion that the bird was only 
a young of the Spotted Woodpecker. D. kuconotus may be 
distinguished, when adult, by its pure white rump, contrasting 
with the black of the upper back ; the male has the head and 
occiput red, and the female has these parts black. The total 
length is about ten inches, and the wing a little over five and 
a half inches. Its native home is Northern and Central 


Europe, and its range extends across Southern Siberia to 
Manchuria and Corea. 


Gednus, Boie, Isis, 1831, p. 542. 

Type, G. viridis (Linn.). 

This genus constitutes a familiar Old World type of Wood- 
pecker, comprising seventeen species, all greatly resembling 
each other in appearance. The best-known is our European 
bird, G. viridis, which is represented in Spain by Sharpe's 
Green Woodpecker (G. sharpii\ and in North-east Africa by 
Vaillant's Green Woodpecker (G. vailla?iti\ while in the differ- 
ent parts of Europe and Asia other species are distributed ; 
several being inhabitants of the Indian Region as far south as 
Sumatra and Java. 

In the genus Gednus the feathering of the neck is full (in 
many species, called the " Narrow-necked " Woodpeckers, the 
plumage of the neck is very scanty), the opening of the nostrils 
is covered with close-set feathers or bristles, the outer anterior 
toe is about equal in length to the outer posterior toe, which, 
again, is equal in length to the tarsus. The wing is moderately 
long, and the tail is composed of strong and spiny feathers, 
the outer one on each side being so short that it is often 
overlooked, as it is hidden by the under tail-coverts ; this is 
called the "dwarf" tail-feather. The bill is nearly straight, 
and there is a distinct ridge in the culmen (cf. Hargitt, Cat. 
Birds Brit. Mus. xviii. p. 3). 

(Plate XXXII.}. 

Picus vtridiS) Linn. S. N. i. p. 175 (1766) ; Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 

91 (1840). 
Gednus viridis, Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 77, pi. 285 (1871); 

Newton, ed. Yarr. Br. B. ii. p. 457 (1881) ; B. O. U. List 

Br. B. p. 79 (1883); Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 364 (1884); 

Saunders, Man. p. 263 (1889); Hargitt, Cat. B. Brit. 

Mus. xxiii. p. 36 (1890); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. pt. xvi. 

Adult Male. General colour above uniform yellowish-olive ; 


the rump and upper tail-coverts brighter chrome-yellow, the 
feathers being tipped with this colour ; quills externally green, 
with dull white spots on the outer aspect of the primaries, the 
inner webs spotted with white ; crown of head crimson, as also 
a broad moustachial stripe ; nasal plumes and fore-part of face 
black ; sides of face and under surface of body light yellow- 
ish or yellowish-white ; throat paler ; the vent and under tail- 
coverts with crescentic dusky marks or bars ; bill blackish, the 
base of the lower mandible yellow ; feet grey ; iris white. 
Total length, about 12-5 inches; oilmen, 17; wing, 6-4; tail, 
4-7; tarsus, 1-3. 

Adult Female. Like the male, but has the moustachial stripe 
black. Total length, 12 inches; wing, 6*4. 

Young. Resemble the adults, but much duller green in 
colour, with dusky bars on the upper surface ; forehead and 
eyebrow black, with tiny white spots ; sides of face blackish, 
streaked with white ; a black moustache, minutely spotted with 
white ; under surface of body yellowish-white, profusely spotted 
with blackish. 

Range in Great Britain. Most common in the southern coun- 
ties, but plentiful in many of the midland districts, as far as 
the south of Yorkshire. North of this it is rare, and has only 
been found breeding occasionally in the Border counties. In 
Scotland it can only be of occasional occurrence, and from 
Ireland it has been but twice recorded. 

Range outside the British Islands. Generally distributed over 
Europe as far east as the Ural Mountains, the Caucasus, and 
Persia. It occurs throughout France and Italy, but does not 
cross the Mediterranean, and is replaced in the Spanish Penin- 
sula and Portugal by Gednus sharpiL It breeds in Norway up 
to 63 N. lat. ; in Sweden and Russia up to about 60 N. lat. 
That it is not a migratory species is shown by the fact that it 
has occurred but once in Heligoland. 

HaMts. The noisy laugh of the " Yaffle " (as this bird was 
popularly called in the days of Chaucer, and is even now known 
by the same name in many country districts of the south of 
England) is a sound familiar enough to visitors to the New 
Forest and other parts of England, where the bird is still to be 
found. The Green Woodpecker is indeed more often heard 


than seen, but it may occasionally be detected, as it wends its 
way from tree to tree with a dipping flight, exposing the yellow 
of its back as it flies away. It is more often seen near the 
ground than the two other British Woodpeckers, and it may 
sometimes be observed flying from one small tree to another 
in the hedgerows. Another reason for its ground-frequenting 
habits is that it feeds largely on ants, and commits great havoc 
among the nests of these industrious little insects. When it 
alights on a large tree, it generally commences at the bottom, 
and works its way to the top with great rapidity, though, if the 
bird be conscious of the proximity of a stranger, it generally 
keeps to the opposite side of the tree, and its upward progress 
is marked only by an occasional sight of its head, as it peers 
round to take a glance at the intruder. It finds much of its 
food beneath the bark of old trees, and it is therefore gener- 
ally to be observed in parks and old forests, these being the 
favourite home of the Green Woodpecker. Its food consists 
almost entirely of insects, but it is also said to eat nuts and 
acorns, and occasionally wasps and bees, as well as their grubs. 
When hammering at the bark of a tree, the bird receives con- 
siderable support from its stiffened tail-feathers. 

Nest. None. The eggs are laid at the bottom of a hole, 
hewed by the birds themselves, on the chips of wood accu- 
mulated during the excavation of the nest-hole. The latter is 
often situated at but a short distance from the ground, and the 
circular entrance to the nest is so perfectly made that it might 
have been executed by an expert carpenter rather than by the 
bill of a bird. As a rule only hollow trees are attacked, but it 
is an undoubted fact that occasionally sound trees are attempted, 
with the result that the Woodpecker has to desist in its effort 
to bore a nest-hole, and is driven to seek a more rotten tree for 
its operations. 

Eggs. From five to seven, or even eight, in number. Pure 
white and glossy in appearance. Axis, 1-25-1-15; diam., 
o*95 ' S 5- 


DendrocopuS) Koch, Baier. Zool. i. p. 72 (1816). 

Type, D. major (L.). 

Of the Pied Woodpeckers about forty species are known, and 


their colouring is, as their name implies, principally black and 
white. The majority of them are northern birds, being found 
in Europe and Northern Asj#, and also in North America. In 
the New World the genus reappears in a curious way, as no 
species is found to the south of the Isthmus of Panama, until 
D. lignanus and D. mixtus are met with from Peru to Chili, 
and in Southern Brazil and Argentina. 

There are but two species resident in the British Islands, a 
large and a small one, which are described below. 


Picus major, Linn. S. N. i. p. 176 (1766) ; Dresser, B. Eur. v. 

p. 19, pi. 275 (1871); Seeb. Br. B. ii. p. 354 (1884); Lil- 

ford, Col. Fig. Br. B. pt. vii. (1888). 
Picus pipra, Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 80 (1840). 
Dendrocopus major, Newt. ed. Yarr. Br. B. ii. p. 470 (1881); 

B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 77 (1883); Saunders, Man. p. 265 

(1889); Hargitt, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xviii. p. 211 (1890). 

Adult Male. General colour above black and white ; the 
scapular plumes white, slightly dingy ; quills spotted or barred 
with white, the spots or patches on the closed wing giving the 
appearance of five bars ; tail black, the four median feathers 
entirely of this colour, the next ones black at the base, white 
at the tip with black bars ; nasal plumes black ; forehead 
drabby-brown; crown of head and nape blue-black, the occiput 
red ; sides of face white ; a broad moustachial band of black 
connected with the black nape ; under surface drabby-brown 
from the throat to the breast ; remainder of under surface 
crimson; under wing-coverts and axillaries white, the lower 
coverts spotted with black; "bill slaty-black; legs, feet, and 
claws dark brown; iris red" (H. Seebohni). Total length, 10 
inches; cuhnen, n ; wing, 5-5 ; tail, 37 ; tarsus, ro. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male in colour, but having no 
red on the occiput ; the entire head is, in consequence, black. 
Size about the same as that of the male. 

Young. More dingily coloured than the adults, especially 
below, the crimson on the abdomen being very dull. They may 
easily be told by their red crowns, by the white tips to the 


primary quills, and by the dusky stripes on the flanks and 

The large size of the present species prevents its being mis- 
taken for any of the other Pied Woodpeckers included in the 
British list. It may also be recognised by its having the back 
and rump black. The North American P. villosus, which ap- 
proaches it in size, has a white streak down the middle of the 

Range in Great Britain.; A somewhat local bird, and one oi 
the most difficult to observe, on account of its shy nature. It 
is found nesting in the woodlands of the southern and mid- 
land counties of England, but is rare to the north of Yorkshire. 
In Wales it is a scarce species, and in Scotland it is not now 
known to breed. In some years considerable numbers visit the 
British Islands during the autumn migration, especially the 
eastern coasts, as in 1886, 1887, and again in 1889. It has only 
been noticed in Ireland at scattered intervals, and has never 
been found breeding in that country. 

Range outside the British Islands. Distributed throughout 
Europe in suitable localities, reaching just beyond the Arctic 
Circle in Scandinavia, and found as far as Archangel in 
Northern Russia, but the most northern limit recorded in 
the Ural Mountains is 64 N. lat. Thence, according to Mr. 
Hargitt, its range extends across Southern Siberia to Amurland 
and Corea. The British Museum possesses examples of the 
Great Spotted Woodpecker from Portugal, Spain, N. Italy, 
and from Asia Minor. The above-named authority also con- 
siders the bird of the Canary Islands to be the same as our 
British species, though there is a tendency to a darker under 
surface in the specimens from these islands. In every direction 
races of Detidrocopus major are found, which take its place in 
other countries of the Palaearctic Region. Thus D. cissa, a 
white-breasted form, is found in Eastern Siberia and Kamt- 
chatka ; D. poelzami, a dark form, in the Caucasus ; D. leucop- 
terits, a pale form again, in Central Asia, &c. 

Habits. No birds are more difficult to study in the field than 
the Woodpeckers, and the present species, with us, is one of the 
shyest of birds. Its presence is sometimes made known by its 


call-note, which our best field-naturalists render as " tchick " 
or "chink." It is certainly a peculiar call, and, when once 
recognised, is not likely to be mistaken. Mr. Seebohm also 
states that it has a seconcf note like " the syllable tra" This 
I have not noticed, but the other resounding note may often 
be heard in our woodlands, though the bird itself will be rarely 
observed. In the spring-time both this Woodpecker and its 
smaller cousin, D. minor, produce a loud noise by drumming 
with their bills on the branches or twigs of a tree, and these 
vibrating taps are generally supposed to be a signal or call-note 
between the sexes. Certainly this noise can be heard at a 
considerable distance. The food of the Great Spotted Wood- 
pecker consists of insects of all sorts, which it procures after 
the manner of its kind by hammering at the bark of a tree and 
prising it off. It also feeds on fruit and nuts, acorns, berries, 
&c. It is the only British Woodpecker which is a migrant, 
and nearly every year considerable numbers cross the ocean. 
When I was in Heligoland with Mr. Seebohm, five young 
D. major were brought to us alive one Sunday morning, having 
been caught by boys in the potato-fields, where they had 
dropped to rest, in an exhausted state. 

Nest. None. As with other Woodpeckers, the eggs are laid 
on chips or powdered wood at the end of a hole, hollowed 
in nearly every case by the birds themselves. The eggs are 
laid about the middle of May, and both birds are said to assist 
in their incubation. 

Eggs. From five to seven in number, sometimes eight being 
known. Axis, ro-ri5; diam., 075-0-85. 


Picus villosus, Forster, Phil. Trans. Ixii. p. 383 (1772). 
Dendrocopus villosus, B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 77 (1883); 

Saunders, Man. p. 266 (1889) ; Hargitt, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 

xviii. p. 230 (1890). 

Adult Male. Of moderate size. Black and white, with a 
broad white stripe down the middle of the back ; scapulars, 
rump, and upper tail-coverts black; four centre tail-feathers 
black, the next one black for the basal half, white for the ter- 


minal half, the two outer feathers white with a black spot at 
the base ; none of the tail-feathers barred ; wing-coverts and 
all the quills spotted with white; nasal plumes buffy-white, 
tipped with black ; a scarlet band on the occiput. " Bill 
bluish-grey, towards the end black; feet bluish-grey; iris 
brown " (J. f. Audubon). Total length, 8-5 inches ; culmen, 
1-25; wings, 4-85; tail, 3*0; tarsus, 0-85. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but having no scarlet 
band on the occiput. Total length, 8*5 inches ; wing, 4*8. 

Young. Differs from the adults in having the feathers of the 
crown tipped with orange-red. 

Range in Great Britain. On two occasions the Hairy Wood- 
pecker is said to have occurred in the British Islands, both 
occurrences having taken place in Yorkshire : one a hundred 
years ago, and another near Whitby in 1849. The latter 
specimen has been presented by Mr. F. Bond to the British 

Range outside the British Islands. According to Mr. Hargitt, 
North America, from the Atlantic to the eastern base of the 
Rocky Mountains, and sometimes to the west of the latter. 


Picus pubescens, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 175 (1766). 
Dendrocopus pubescent, Hargitt, Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. xviii. p. 
238 (1890). 

Adult Male. Of small size. Black and white, with a broad 
white stripe down the middle of the back, and distinguished 
by having bars on the lateral tail-feathers ; a red band on the 
occiput. Total length, 6 inches; culmen, 0*65; wing, 3*75; 
tail, 2-3 ; tarsus, 0-65. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but with more or less 
white on the occiput, which has no red band on this part of 
the head. Total length, 6 inches; wing, 3-9. 

Young Male. Like the adult, but wanting the red occipital 
band; the whole of the feathers of the crown being tipped 
with red, with dusky bases ; the occiput spotted with dull 
white ; some obscure dusky stripes ou the sides of the body 
and under tail-coverts. 


Range in Great Britain. Has only occurred once, when a 
specimen was shot by the Rev. O. Pickard Cambridge, F.R.S., 
near his home at Blox^orth in Dorsetshire, in December, 
1836. Some doubt has been thrown on the authenticity of 
the specimen in Mr. Cambridge's possession, and it has been 
hinted that the specimen might have been changed by the 
bird-stuffer who mounted it. I have written to the owner 
about the bird in question, and he tells me that he has not the 
slightest doubt that the specimen he still has in his house is 
the identical one which he shot. Sixty years ago, a Downy 
Woodpecker would have been worth much more money to a 
dealer than a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and it would not 
have been worth while for anyone to have changed the one 
species for the other. D. pubescent has once been shot near 
Elbeuf in France. 

Range outside the British Islands. A North American species, 
occurring as far as Alaska in the north-west, and Florida in 
the south. 


Ptcus minor, Linn. S. N. i. p. 176 (1766) ; Dresser, B. Eur. 

v. p. 53, pi. 282 (1872) ; Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 359 (1884) ; 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. pt. x. (1889). 
Picus striolatus, Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 86 (1840). 
Dendrocopus minor, Newton, ed. Yarr. Br. B. ii. p. 477 (1882); 

B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 78 (1883); Saunders, Man. Br. 

B. p. 267 (1889) ; Hargitt, Cat. Br. Brit. Mus. xviii. p. 252 


Adult Male. General colour black and white ; scapulars 
white, the lower ones white barred with black ; lower back barred 
with black and white ; rump and upper tail-coverts black; quills 
black, spotted on the outer web with white, and barred on the 
inner web ; four central tail-feathers black, the others for the 
most part white, barred with black, the outermost or "dwarf" 
feather black with a white tip; crown of head crimson, the 
feathers having dusky bases and concealed white spots ; sides 
of hinder crown, occiput, nape, and hind-neck black ; fore- 
head pale buff, brownish at base ; sides of face and sides of 


neck white, the ear-coverts light brown ; a black moustachial 
stripe running up behind the ear-coverts, and widening on 
the sides of the neck ; under surface of body brownish-white, 
clearer white on the throat ; sides of body with narrow streaks 
of black, the streaks taking the form of arrow-head spots on 
the under tail-coverts ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white, 
with a few dusky spots; "bill, legs, and feet dark slate-grey ; 
iris reddish-brown " (ff. Seebohni). Total length, 5*8 inches; 
oilmen, 075; wing, 3-6 ; tail, 2-4; tarsus, o'6. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but without any red on 
the crown, the forehead and fore-part of the latter being 
buffy-white. Total length, 5-8 inches; wing, 3-6. 

Young. Similar to the adults, but more dingy and sooty- 
brown above ; no brown colour on the base of the forehead ; 
only the centre of the crown crimson, the feathers being dingy- 
white at the base, 

Range in Great Britain. Inhabits nearly the same districts as 
the Great Spotted Woodpecker, and is in many parts of the 
south of England the most plentiful of the three species of 
Woodpecker indigenous to this country. Lord Lilford says 
the same with regard to Northamptonshire. Northwards it be- 
comes rarer, and is local and not plentiful in Yorkshire. In 
the old park-lands of the Thames Valley it is frequently to be 
noted, and it is even a bird of the London district, for I have 
seen a specimen killed in Kensington Gardens, and the species 
is frequently to be seen near Chiswick. It visits some elm- 
trees in my own garden, and can be seen and heard on almost 
any winter's afternoon in the grounds of the " Chiswick Golf 

In Scotland and Ireland the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 
has only occasionally been noted, but Mr. Robert Service has 
given to Mr. Howard Saunders notice of its capture on three 
occasions in the Solway district. 

Range outside the British Islands. The present species is 
generally distributed throughout Europe, but is decidedly 
less frequent in the south, though it is found in Algeria and 
is a resident in the Azores. In Scandinavia it breeds as far 
as 70 N. lat., and in Russia it is to be found as far north as 
Archangel and to about 67 N. lat. on the Petchora and the 


Ob. Mr. Hargitt considers that specimens from the Ussuri 
River in Eastern Siberia, and from the island of Yezo, cannot 
be separated from D. miner, though he admits that individuals 
from the last-named locality are not typical. The same 
authority states that from the Southern Urals, " across Siberia 
north of about 55 N. lat. into Kamtchatka and Bering 
Island," the place of D. minor is taken by D. pipra, a species 
which differs from D. minor in being purer white below and 
in having scarcely any streaks or spots on the under tail- 
coverts, while the black bars on the lower back and rump 
are scarcely discernible. In the Caucasus another species, 
D. quadrifasciatus, replaces D. minor. Little is known of this 
species, which is said to show only four, instead of five, white 
bars on the wing, when the latter is closed. A very distinct 
form, D. danfordi, is found in Asia Minor, easily recog- 
nised by the black line of the moustache being directed 
upwards behind the ear-coverts and joining the black of the 

Habits This species is more often to be observed, at least 
in the south of England, than any of the three English Wood- 
peckers, and it differs a good deal in its habits from the Great 
Spotted Woodpecker. In flight, as in size, it much more re- 
sembles the Nuthatch, and its note is a sort of compromise 
between that of the latter species and that of a Wryneck. 
In fact its cry, when heard in winter, is somewhat startling 
from its similarity to the Wryneck's call, until one remembers 
that the last-named bird is far away in the south, and that 
the oft-repeated note can only be that of the Lesser Spotted 
Woodpecker. It certainly descends more often to the lower 
branches of the big trees than does D. major, and is not 
unfrequently seen hanging under a bough or climbing up the 
smaller twigs of a large elrn or poplar. Its nest has also been 
found at low elevations, but as far as my own experience goes, 
the nest is a difficult one to obtain, and near Cookham in 
Berkshire, where the bird is by no means uncommon, the nest 
is exceptionally difficult to reach, as it is usually placed in a 
high and rotten branch of a poplar tree. At times it descends 
to the orchards, and the late Mr. John Henry Gurney told me 
of a pair which frequented the orchard in a house where he 


was staying, and allowed him to observe their ways at a short 
distance from his window. 

The food of the present species consists mainly of insects, 
which it obtains by splitting off the bark of the trees, but, like 
other Woodpeckers, it will also feed on fruit and berries, 
though it never seems to descend to the ground to feed on 
ants like the Green Woodpecker. The drumming on a small 
branch of a tree, supposed to be a call-note between the sexes, 
is often heard in the spring. 

Nest. None. A neatly made hole is drilled into a dead or 
decayed branch by the birds themselves, and there at the 
distance of six or eight inches downwards, the eggs are laid in 
a small chamber, on the chips of wood or the powdered dust 
caused by the excavation. Such a nest-hole can be seen in 
the Bird-Gallery of the British Museum, and is the identical 
one described by Mr. Gould in his "Birds of Great Britain." 
This bird often takes advantage of any hole which it may find 
in a decaying tree and may be found nesting in a pollard 
willow or an ancient fruit-tree. 

Egg S . From five to eight in number. They are laid about 
the middle of May, and are pure ivory-white. Axis 0*8-0-9 ; 
diam., 0-55-07. 


The Wrynecks constitute a little group of Woodpeckers, 
with a soft-plumaged tail, rather long, and variegated and 
mottled like the general colour of the upper surface of the 
body. The bill is stout and shorter than the head, and the 
nasal aperture is not concealed by bristly plumes, but, on the 
contrary, is exposed and partially hidden by an overhanging 
membrane. The feet are zygodactyle and resemble those of 
a Woodpecker in every respect, and the long extensile tongue 
is exactly fashioned like that of the other members of the 
Family Picida. 

The Wrynecks are represented by a single genus lynx. 
This name is written " Yunx" in most works on Natural 
History, but, as Dr. Henry Wharton has pointed out, the name 
is derived from iu'o>, " to cry out " : hence lynx. 



Yunx, Linn. Svst. Nat. i. p. 172 (1766). 

Type, / torquilla (I,.). 

Only four species of Wryneck are known, three of which 
are resident in Africa and peculiar to that continent. These 
are /. pectoralis, which ranges from Natal to the Transvaal, and 
the Congo Region in the west, /. pulchricollis, confined to the 
Upper White Nile districts, and /. ccquatorialis, from Shoa and 
Southern Abyssinia. The fourth species is the Wryneck of 


Yunx torquilla, Linn. S. N. i. p. 172 (1766); Macg. Br. iii. p. 

100 (1840). 
lynx torquilla, Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 103, pi. 289 (1875); 

Newton, ed. Yarr. Br. B. ii. p. 487 (1881) ; B. O. U. List 

Br. B. p. 80 (1883); Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 372 (1884); 

Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 261 (1889); Hargitt, Cat. B. 

Brit. Mus. xviii. p. 560 (1890). 

Adult Male. General colour above variegated, brown and grey 
and rufous with black markings and vermiculations, including 
the tail, the latter grey with irregular bars of white and black ; 
the scapularies and inner secondaries rather more rufous than 
the back, with black median stripes ; sides of face and sides 
of neck, throat, and chest, buff with narrow bars of black, the 
chin whiter ; a whitish streak above the ear-coverts, which are 
rufous-brown, barred with black; under-parts creamy-white, 
with a shade of rufous on the upper breast and sides of the 
body and thighs, with black arrow-head shaped markings or 
spots ; under tail-coverts buff, with faint black markings ; 
" bill, feet, and claws pale greyish-brown ; iris light brown " 
( W. Macgillivray). Total length, 6*5 inches; culmen, o'6; 
wing, 3-35; tail, 2'6; tarsus, 07. 

Adult Female. Similar in colour to the male. Total length, 
6-5 inches; wing, 3-15. 

Young. Similar to the adults, but without any spots on the 


Range in Great Britain. A summer visitor, arriving early in 
April, and leaving in September. It is principally to be found 
in the south of England, but becomes rarer in the Midlands, 
and farther north it must be considered a scarce bird, though 
the species has occurred in most of the Scottish counties, and 
it has been met with in the Orkney and Shetland Islands. 
In Ireland it has been noted but twice, in the summer of 1878, 
and again in the Arran Islands, on the 6th of October, 1886. 

Eange outside the British Islands. Generally distributed through- 
out Europe, having reached even to the Fseroe Islands. In 
Scandinavia it is found up to 62 N. lat, and it also visits the 
neighbourhood of Archangel, but is not found so far to the 
north in its Asiatic range, which is believed to extend across 
Siberia to Kamtchatka and the Japanese Islands. The Asiatic 
Wryneck was for a long time believed to be a different species, 
as it is somewhat smaller than the European bird, but it is 
now considered to be identical with the latter (cf. Hargitt, Cat. 
B. Brit. Mus. xviii. p. 560). In winter our Wryneck retires to 
Africa, but does not go so far south as many of our European 
migrants, as it is not known to wander farther than Kordofan 
in North-east Africa, and Senegambia on the west coast. 
Doubtless most of the Wrynecks, which breed in Northern 
Europe, go no farther in winter than to Northern Africa, 
though in most of the Mediterranean countries the species is 
regarded as a bird of passage only. In the East, the winter 
homes of the species appear to be in the northern parts of the 
Indian Peninsula and in Southern China. 

HaMts. From the fact of its arriving about the same time as 
the Cuckoo, the Wryneck has acquired its popular name of 
" Cuckoo's Mate." It has been said to reach this country as 
early as March, and even to occur during the winter months. 
It is doubtful, however, whether the species has not been mis- 
taken for the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, which is a resident 
bird in Great Britain. The cry of the latter species might 
easily be mistaken for that of the Wryneck, when heard in the 
depth of winter. 

In many parts of the south of England the bird is called the 
"Fee-pee," from its curious note, which is a musical and oft- 
repeated iteration of the above syllables. It visits the neigh- 
8 c 


bourhood of London regularly on migration, and is heaid every 
spring in my own garden at Chiswick. It even nests in the 
western suburbs, and, by constant care in driving off the 
hostile Starling, Dr. Giinther has succeeded in protecting the 
Wrynecks in his garden at Kew, to which the birds returned 
for several years in succession. Like its relations, the Wood- 
peckers, the Wryneck is a very shy bird, and its peculiar note 
is the chief indication of its presence in the neighbourhood. 
It is met with in all kinds of situations, but is most commonly 
seen in orchards and park-lands, and it frequents the vicinity 
of habitations in a much more familiar degree than do any of 
the Woodpeckers ; so that it will not disdain to accept the 
accommodation of nesting-boxes put up in the trees for its 
especial benefit. 

Although a true member of the Family Piridce, by reason of 
the structure of its foot and its extensile tongue, the Wryneck 
is not given to climb trees in the same way as the above men- 
tioned birds, as its soft-plumaged tail would be of no service to 
it in climbing, and it is therefore often to be seen perched on 
a branch like an ordinary Passerine bird, while it not unfre- 
quently visits the ground. On occasion, however, it runs up 
a tree exactly like any true Woodpecker, and I once shot a 
Wryneck as it was climbing up the woodwork of the Great 
Western Railway bridge at Bourne End on the Thames. 

The food of the Wryneck consists entirely of insects, and 
ants and their eggs constitute its favourite food. Although, 
from its feeding so much on the ground, it accumulates, in a 
state of nature, a considerable amount of grit into its stomach, 
I have found young Wrynecks very difficult to rear, since after 
a time, the rape seed and soaked bread, which suits them so 
well for a time, ultimately irritates their tongue to such an ex- 
tent as to produce inflammation, and I have always had to let 
my pretty pets fly, that they might find their proper food for 
themselves in the woods. 

The name of " Snake-Bird," often applied to the present 
species, is supposed to be derived from the curious way in 
which a wounded or captured bird writhes and twists its long 
neck about, while the darting out of the tongue has doubtless 
had something to do with the idea of a snake. 


Nest. None. The eggs rest upon the dry chips or dead wood 
at the end of the hole, which is generally selected and not ex- 
cavated by the birds themselves. Sometimes a nest-hole is 
somewhat enlarged, but the Wryneck never seems to hammer 
out a hole like the Woodpeckers. The nest-hole varies in 
depth, and sometimes the eggs are deposited at a considerable 
distance in the tree, while at other times the hole is shallow, 
and the eggs can be seen from the entrance. 

Eggs. From six to eight in number, sometimes as many as 
ten ; and an instance is recorded by Mr. Norgate of a female 
Wryneck laying forty-two eggs for two years in succession 
(1872-3). As Mr. Seebohm remarks, in 1874 " her reproduc- 
tive powers were apparently exhausted, as only one egg was 
laid, and in 1875 the place was deserted ! " The eggs are pure 
white, a little larger than those of the Lesser Spotted Wood- 
pecker, and not so glossy as the eggs of the latter bird. They 
measure 0-55-0-65 inch in diameter; axis, 0-8-0-95. 


The Cuckoos have a scansorial or climbing, i.e. a zygodac- 
tyle, foot, with two toes directed forwards and two backwards. 
The hallux, or hind-toe, is served by the flexor longus hallucis 
tendon only, while the second, third, and fourth toes are con- 
nected with the flexor perforans digitorum. In this respect 
Cuckoos resemble the Game-Birds. The palate is bridged or 
" desmognathous," and there are no basipterygoid processes ; 
there is no " after-shaft " to the feathers, and the oil-gland is 
nude. The number of tail-feathers is only ten, except in the 
South American genera, Guira and Crotophaga, where they are 
eight in number. 

By the above combination of characters the Cuckoos may 
be recognised from all other birds, and the only other Sub- 
order of the Coccyges consists of the Musophagi, the Plantain- 
Eaters or Touracous of Africa. These are closely allied to 
the Cuckoos, but have the feet only semi-zygodactyle, the 
fourth toe not being fully directed backwards as in the True 
Cuckoos. In habits and mode of nesting they also differ 

C 2 



greatly from Cuckoos, and are, moreover, entirely confined to 
the Ethiopian Region. 

The Family Cuculida, which is co-equal in extent with 
the Sub-order, as defined above, contains six Sub-families, 

Left foot of a Cuckoo (Eudynamis cyanocephald], to show the arrange- 
ment of the plantar tendons. [From the Catalogue of Osteological Speci- 
mens in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons.] F.H., Flexor 
longus hallucis ; F.P., Flexor pcrforans digit or urn* 

viz., the True Cuckoos (Cuculin<z\ found all over the world, 
the Lark-heeled Cuckoos ( Centropodina\ distributed over the 
tropical portions of the Old World, the Bush Cuckoos (Pfmni- 
cohczin<z\ inhabiting the tropics in Africa, India, and the 


Indo-Malayan Sub-region, and the three Sub-families Neo- 
morphincB, Diplopterince^ and Crotophagince, which are only to 
be met with in the tropics of the New World. In the British 
Islands we have only to deal with the first of these Sub-families. 


These chiefly differ from the other members of the Family 
in their long and pointed wing, showing that they are birds of 
strong flight, the majority of the species being migratory, and 
some, like our Common Cuckoo, traversing enormous dis- 
tances. In the other Sub-families, such as the Lark-heeled and 
the Bush Cuckoos, the wing is concave and fits closely to the 
shape of the body, showing that the birds are not migratory and 
incapable of sustained flights. 

Captain Shelley, the latest exponent of the family, recog- 
nises seventeen genera of the Cucultna, of which three have 
to be treated of as British. 


Coccystes, Gloger, Handb. Naturg. p. 203 (1842). 

Type, C. glandarius (Z.). 

Of the eight species composing this genus, five are peculiar 
to Africa, one is Indian, one inhabits both Africa and India, 
while the eighth is a migratory bird, which nests in Southern 
Europe and visits Africa in the winter. All the species have a 
conspicuous crest of elongated feathers, and have the nasal 
aperture elongated, so as to form a linear oval. 


Cucuhis glandarius, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 169 (1766) ; Seebohm, 

Br. B. ii. p. 386 (1884). 
Coccystes glandarius, Newton, ed. Yarr. Br. B. ii. 408 (1881); 

Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 219, pi. 300 (1874); B. O. U. 

List Br. B. p. 84 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. p. 279 (1889); 

Shelley, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xix. p. 212 (1891). 
Oxylophus glandarius, Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. pt. xvi. (1890). 
Adult Male. General colour above ashy-brown, with white 


tips to the quills and the upper tail-coverts ; ciown of head 
pale grey; on the sides of the neck a broad collar of buff; 
under surface of body white, with a tinge of buff on the throat 
and fore-neck; under wing-averts buff; bill blackish, with the 
base of the lower mandible pale yellow ; feet leaden-grey ; iris 
dark brown. Total length, 16 inches ; culmen, 1-2 ; wing, 8-5 ; 
tail, 8'8; tarsus, 1-3. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but with a good deal of 
chestnut on the quills, which appears to vanish with age, so 
that there is at last no difference between the sexes, beyond 
that the female is a little smaller. Total length, 15 inches; 
wing, 7-7. 

Young. Resembles the adult, but always has the greater part 
of the quills chestnut ; the throat is darker and more rufous, 
and the fore-part of the head is black. 

Eange in Great Britain. Has occurred twice in the British 
Isles, once in Ireland in 1842, when a specimen was caught 
alive in March of that year. It was found in an emaciated 
condition on the Island of Omey, off the coast of Connemara. 
Mr. Howard Saunders says that the specimen, which is now 
in the Museum of Trinity College, Dublin, is in immature 
plumage, which fact accounts for the caution of his statement, 
that it was captured probably in March 1842. A second 
example is in the Newcastle Museum, and was shot near 
Bellingham in Northumberland on the 5th of August, 1870. 

Eange outside the British Islands. Principally a Mediterranean 
species, arriving in Southern Spain early in March and leaving 
in the first days of August. It has occurred accidentally in 
Northern Germany, Southern France, and Northern Italy, 
and to most of the Mediterranean countries, as far east as 
Asia Minor, it is a regular visitor. Its farthest eastern range 
appears to be Northern Persia. It is a resident bird and nests 
in Egypt and North-western Africa, but the only known breed- 
ing place within strictly European limits, is the southern half 
of Spain, where Mr. Howard Saunders has found it nesting as 
far north as Madrid. It is also a visitor to the Canary Islands. 
In winter it migrates to Senegambia and the Gold Coast, and 
also visits Southern Africa. 

Habits. Like the other members of this Family, the Great 


Spotted Cuckoo feeds entirely upon insects. It is parasitic 
upon various species of Magpies and Crows, sometimes even 
placing its egg in the nest of a Raven. Magpies, however, and 
occasionally the Blue-winged Magpie (Cyanopolius cyanus) are 
its most frequent victims, and Mr. Saunders says that he has 
found four Cuckoo's eggs deposited in a Magpie's nest along 
with six of the rightful owner's. Lord Lilford, who has given 
an excellent account of the habits of the present species, says 
that the greatest number of Cuckoo's eggs found by him in one 
next was eight, with five of a Magpie. "In almost every case in 
which we found eggs of both species together, the Cuckoo's 
eggs were more advanced towards hatching than those of the 
rightful proprietor of the nest." The voice of the male bird is 
said by Mr. Saunders to be a harsh " kark-kark" and that of 
the female to be like the words " burroo-burroo " rapidly re- 

Nest. None; the bird being parasitic, as described above. 

Eggs. Although bearing some resemblance to those of the 
Magpie, the eggs of the Great Spotted Cuckoo can be told by 
their elliptical shape, and by the smoother texture of their shell. 
The ground-colour is pale greenish-blue, with spots of brown, 
and underlying purplish-grey spots ; in some cases the spots are 
evenly distributed over the egg, while in others they are col- 
lected round the larger end, imitating the Magpie's egg in the 
frequent possession of a zone. The eggs of the Great Spotted 
Cuckoo vary considerably in size, as will be seen by the measure- 
ments. Axis, 1-25-1-4 inch; diam., 0-95-1-05. 


CucuhiS) Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 168(1766). 

Type, C. canorus (L.). 

The True Cuckoos have no crest, and are distinguished fur- 
ther by their rounded nostril, which is surrounded by a swollen 
membrane. The wings and tail are long, and the latter is fan- 

They are found in nearly every country of the Old World, 
some of them, like our Common Cuckoo, inhabiting the tem- 
perate regions of the north during summer, and migrating 


southwards in the autumn, while in some of the tropical coun- 
tries the species remain all the year round. 


Cuciilus canorus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 165 (1766); Macgill. 

Br. B. iii. p. 109 (1840) ; Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. ii. p. 

387 (1880); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 199, pi. 299 (1878); 

B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 83 (1883) ; Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 

378 (1884) ; Saunders, Man. p. 277 (1889) ; Shelley, Cat. 

B. Brit. Mus. xix. p. 245 (1891) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. 

pt. xviii. (1891). 

(Plate XXXIII.} 

Adult Male. General colour above leaden-grey, with a slight 
greenish gloss, the upper tail-coverts with white edges and bars; 
quills dark brown, with white notches on the inner webs ; tail- 
feathers slaty-black, with white ends ; on each side of the shaft 
twin spots of white, the inner webs notched with white, but no 
complete bars across the feathers ; sides of face and throat 
rather lighter grey than the head ; remainder of under surface 
of body white, regularly barred with black, with a tinge of buff 
on the abdomen and under tail-coverts ; axillaries and under 
wing-coverts barred with black ; bill black, light yellow at the 
base of the lower mandible ; feet yellow ; iris yellow. Total 
length, 14 inches; culmen, 0-9 ; wing, 8-9; tail, 7-0; tarsus, o'S. 
Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a trifle smaller, and 
distinguished by the rufous shade on the fore-neck. Total 
length, 12-5 inches; wing, 8-3. 

Young. Very different from the adults. Dark brown or 
ashy-brown, barred with rufous, and with a white edging to 
the feathers, producing a strongly mottled appearance ; on the 
back of the neck a white spot ; under surface of body buffy- 
white, barred with blackish-brown, more broadly on the throat ; 
tail barred with rufous. 

There is also a rufous or "hepatic" phase of plumage in the 
Cuckoo, which appears to be confined to the young birds only. 
In this plumage the general aspect of the bird is tawny-rufous 
or cinnamon, barred with blackish, the bars less distinct or 
forming only spots on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; tail- 
feathers rufous, tipped with white, before which is a sub- 




terminal black band, the. feathers being irregularly barred with 
blackish ; under surface of body buffy-white, barred with black, 
the buff colour deeper on the throat. By some naturalists it is 
supposed that this " hepatic " stage lasts throughout the bird's 
life, but I have seen specimens moulting from it into the grey 
plumage of the fully adult bird. 

Eange in Great Britain. A summer visitor, arriving in April, 
somewhat irregularly in some years, when the seasons are back- 
ward, and leaving about the end of July. The young birds, 
however, are later in their departure, and are sometimes seen 
as late as the middle of September. The males come a few 
days before the females, and greatly out-number the latter. It 
visits every portion of the British Islands, and even the out- 
lying isles. 

Eange outside the British Islands. The Cuckoo has been known 
to visit the Faeroe Islands, and is found nearly everywhere 
throughout Europe and Northern Asia to Kamtchatka, but 
it does not visit the tundras of Siberia, according to Mr. See- 
bohm. In Norway it extends its range almost to the North 
Cape, and in the valleys of the Petchora and the Ob it reaches 
to 66^ N. lat, on the Yenesei to 67, and in Eastern Siberia 
it has been recorded from the Stanovoi Mountains (62 N. lat.) 
by Midden dorf. It breeds throughout the Mediterranean coun- 
tries, but is chiefly known as a migrant, and the same may be 
said of it in India, as only a few breed in the Himalayas. I saw 
it not uncommonly at Simla in the summer of 1885. 

The winter home of the Cuckoo extends throughout the 
African continent, as it occurs at that season on the Gold 
Coast, and it is also found in South Africa. Throughout the 
whole of the Indian Peninsula it likewise extends in winter, 
and even reaches Australia. 

Habits. The natural economy of the Cuckoo is of such an 
extraordinary nature, that a whole volume could easily be 
written on the life-history of this curious and interesting bird. 
The peculiar facts connected with its breeding are worthy of 
a prolonged study, and there is doubtless much still to be 
discovered respecting the behaviour of the bird during the 
breeding-season. That there is a great predominance in the 
number of males over that of the females which visit this 


country, is now an admitted fact, and the constant following 
of the female bird by several of the opposite sex, not only 
allows of no opportunity for pairing for life, but takes away 
every possibility of her having time to build a nest. That the 
Cuckoo is polyandrous seems to be equally certain, and the 
note of the female is also different from that of the male, 
which is the bird which utters the well-known " Cuckoo " call. 
The female's, on the other hand, is a ''whittling" or "water- 
burbling " cry, unlike that of any other British bird, and, when 
uttered, is quite sufficient to set all the male Cuckoos calling for 
some distance round. The flight of the Cuckoo is very similar 
to that of a Hawk, and the appearance of one on the wing 
is the signal for its being mobbed by Swallows, Martins, and 
other small birds, just as if it were really a Bird of Prey. 
Whether the smaller species really mistake it for a Hawk, 
or really recognise it as a common enemy which brings disas- 
ter at times on their progeny, one can hardly say, but that its 
Accipitrine character is useful to the Cuckoo can hardly be 
doubted, as will be seen from the narrative which Mrs. Fraser 
has given of a singular occurrence which came under her 

This lady had found a Stonechat's nest, and was engaged 
in painting a picture in its vicinity, when she saw a female 
Cuckoo fly down to the ground with an egg in its bill. At the 
same moment the male Cuckoo swooped down near the Stone- 
chats, when the foolish little birds at once flew to attack it and 
drive it from their nest, and pursued it for some distance, 
during which interval the female Cuckoo quietly approached 
the nest and dropped her egg into the latter. She then uttered 
her peculiar call, and was immediately joined by the male, and 
both birds flew off together in triumph. 

The Cuckoo, having laid her egg, carries it about in her bill 
and places it in the nest which she selects as a suitable one for 
the well-being of her youngster when it is hatched. To the 
fact that Cuckoos have been shot with an egg in their mouth is 
no doubt due the myth that the bird devours eggs, no one 
having, apparently, surmised that the egg which the bird was 
carrying might be its own I Having deposited the egg, it is 
generally supposed that the old female takes no further interest 
in its offspring, and certainly it would appear that, by their 


earlier departure, the adult Cuckoos leave their young to find 
their way south by themselves. They are, however, by no 
means the only birds which act thus. 

The history of the young Cuckoo in the nest of the foster- 
parents is that, being hatched about the same time as the young 
of the rightful occupant, the interloper, while still blind and in 
an apparently helpless condition, manages to hoist the other 
little blind nestlings over the side of the nest, so that they 
perish, and it endures to receive the unremitting care of the 
pair of small birds, in whose nest the mother Cuckoo may have 
placed her egg. This story was first related by Dr. Jenner, to 
whom we owe the discovery of vaccination, and we have heard 
that some " anti-vaccinationists " have carried their fanaticism 
so far, that, from their dislike of the founder of the practice of 
vaccination, they would wish to throw doubts on the authen- 
ticity of Dr. Jenner's observations on the habits of the Cuckoo ! 
Some few years ago, however, the proceedings of the young 
Cuckoo, in ejecting from the nest its young foster-brothers and 
sisters, were observed by Mrs. Hugh Blackburn, who sketched 
the operation. We do not know whether the anti-vaccination- 
ists wish to accuse this lady of an untruthful record, but they 
will scarcely be inclined to doubt the evidence of the late Mr. 
John Hancock, who also was a witness to the method of the 
young Cuckoo in ejecting the other occupants of the nest (Tr. 
North, and Durham Nat. Hist. 2, pp. 210-217, 1886). 
The fanatics may not even be satisfied with this evidence, but 
it will be sufficient for every ornithologist. 

The small size of the egg laid by the Cuckoo, considering 
the bulk of the bird, is another peculiar feature in its economy. 
Great diversity of colour, also, is one of its characteristics, and 
considering the various types of eggs laid by the Cuckoo, it is 
not wonderful that the theory exists that the bird places its egg 
in the nest of a species, the eggs of which most resemble its 
own in colour. That there is great truth in this theory I 
firmly believe, otherwise it would be difficult to account for the 
fact that blue Cuckoo's eggs should be placed in the nest of 
a Redstart, which likewise lays blue eggs. In the British 
Museum are such clutches of eggs, and also blue eggs placed 
in the nest of a Pied Flycatcher, the eggs of which are also 
blue. The fact of the Cuckoo producing a blue egg was for 


some time doubted in England, though well-known in Ger- 
many ; but the question avas set at rest by two English orni- 
thologists, Mr. Henry Seebohm and Mr. H. J. Elwes who, were 
collecting together in Holland, and who received a nest of 
Redstart's eggs, one of which, larger than the rest, was said to 
be that of a Cuckoo. The eggs proved to be hard-set, with 
well-formed young inside They were alike blue in colour, 
but on trying to blow the larger egg, the foot of the little bird 
a zygodactyle foot protruded from the hole, and effect- 
ually proved that the tiny occupant was a veritable Cuckoo. 

In England the most common victims are the Pied Wagtail, 
the Reed-Warbler, and the Meadow Pipit ; and in each case 
there is a remarkable similarity in colouring of the Cuckoo's 
egg to that of the foster-parent which she selects. It is sup- 
posed that the coloration of the Cuckoo's egg is an hereditary 
faculty, and that each female Cuckoo lays a particular type of 
egg. This is in all probability the case, and Cuckoos which 
lay blue eggs come of a stock which has been hatched from 
blue eggs, and will continue to lay them, and deposit them in 
the nest of some blue-egg-laying species. 

Among the various types of Cuckoo's eggs in the collection 
of the British Museum are many which are exact copies of the 
eggs of other birds. In some instances the likeness is truly re- 
markable, and it is curious to see the large egg lying in the nest 
by the side of the smaller ones of the rightful parent, precisely 
similar in colour, but double the size, looking in fact, like a 
double-yolked egg of the species. In the above-named collec- 
tion are Cuckoo's eggs showing the exact colour and markings 
of the eggs of the birds victimised by the parasitic bird Pied 
Wagtail's, Yellow Wagtail's, Blue-headed Wagtail's, Meadow- 
Pipit's, Tree-Pipit's, Skylark's, Chaffinch's, Reed-Warbler's, 
Sedge- Warbler's, Orphean Warbler's, &c. But these eggs are 
not always deposited in the nests of the species where the eggs 
of the foster-parent exactly resemble those of the interloper. 
In none of the Hedge-Sparrow's nests, for instance, have we a 
blue Cuckoo's egg, and it is curious to find an egg like that of 
a Skylark or a Tree-Pipit deposited in the nest of a Marsh- 
Warbler or a Chiff-chaff, the eggs of which are so differently 
coloured that the sombre Cuckoo's egg lies in striking con- 
trast, and it is wonderful that the little owners of the nest 
do not detect the fraud. This dissimilarity in the colour OL 


the Cuckoo's egg probably arises from the fact that the bird 
cannot find at the time a nest ready for its reception, and is, 
therefore, obliged to put it into the first nest where there are 
freshly-laid eggs, which will ultimately be hatched at the same 
time as the young Cuckoo, and therefore allow the latter the 
opportunity of turning out its little nest-fellows, and receive the 
entire attention of the two foster-parents, who find all 
time taken up in feeding the voracious youngster. A striking 
instance of the above fact was noticed by my friend, Mr. C. 
Bygrave Wharton, who observed a female Cuckoo haunting the 
vicinity of his grounds at Totton in the New Forest for some 
days. He at length discovered a Cuckoo's egg in the nest of a 
Sedge-Warbler, and, beyond the larger size of the egg, there 
was absolutely nothing to distinguish the egg of the Cuckoo 
from those of the rightful owner. Some five days afterwards 
he found an egg of the Cuckoo of the same " Sedge- Warbler " 
type, but this time in the nest of a Reed-Bunting, whose eggs 
were, of course, of a wholly different pattern. This seemed to 
show that the egg laid by the Cuckoo was like that of the 
Sedge- Warbler, and that on the first occasion the bird had 
found a nest ready to hand, but, in the case of the second egg, 
no Sedge- Warbler in the neighbourhood had a nest ready, and 
therefore the Cuckoo was forced to put it into the nest of the 
Reed-Bunting. Such instances could no doubt be multi- 
plied, but, as we have before hinted, the natural history of 
our Common Cuckoo is such a complex subject that a 
book might easily be written about the bird and its peculiar 

That the Cuckoo lays its eggs at intervals has long been 
believed, but Dr. Rey, a well-known German oologist, has 
recently given his opinion that the interval between the de- 
position of the eggs is much shorter than is generally supposed, 
and that a single female will lay from seventeen to twenty-two 
eggs ! Much has been surmised as to whether the old Cuckoos 
take any interest in their offspring after it is hatched, but 
Professor Newton writes, " of the assertion that the Cuckow* 

* Professor Newton always calls the bird the " Cuckow," which is the 
form "of the more scholarly English ornithologists, as Montagu and 
Jenyns" (cf. Diet. B. p. 118). The bird itself, however, says " Clicks," 
and even the above learned writer admits that the oldest English spelling of 
the name seems to have been '' Citccu." 


herself takes any interest in the future welfare of the egg she 
has foisted on her victinf, or of its product, there is no evi- 
dence worth a moment's attention." It is certain that the 
young Cuckoos are left to find their way south in the autumn 
entirely by themselves, the old birds having left long before, 
and in the British Museum are three birds shot by myself on 
the same day within a quarter of a mile of the same spot, which 
must have been migrating south in company. 

The food of the Cuckoo appears to consist entirely of in- 
sects, and it is a true friend of the farmer and gardener, espe- 
cially as it is believed to be the only kind which devours the 
larvae of the Tiger-Moth the "Woolly Bear," as it is generally 
called. Most birds decline to eat this creature, but the 
stomach of the Cuckoo has been found completely lined with 
the hairs from off this caterpillar's body. 

Nest. None; the bird being parasitic. 

Eggs. Variable to an extraordinary degree, as described 


Coccyzus, Vieill. Analyse, p. 28 (1816). 

Type, C. americanus (L.). 

The American Cuckoos have much the same form as the 
ordinary True Cuckoos of the Old World, but are rather plainer 
in colour, without bars on the under surface of the body, and 
have the nostril oval in shape. They also make nests, and are 
not parasitic, as far as is known. 

Two species have wandered to Europe, but they can only be 
regarded as occasional visitors, of accidental occurrence. 

The members of the genus Coccyzus occur throughout the 
greater part of the New World, visiting the temperate regions 
of North America in summer, and occurring throughout tro- 
pical America as far south as the Argentine Republic, but not 
visiting the extreme south of the South American continent. 


Cuculus americanus. Linn. S. N. i. p. 170 (1766). 


Coccyzus ainericanus, Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 137 (1840); Dresser, 
B. Eur. v. p. 227, pi. 301, fig. 2 (1876) ; Newton, ed. 
Yarn ii. p. 414 (1881) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 84 (1883); 
Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 390 (1884); Saunders, Man. p. 280 
(1889); Shelley, Cat. B. xix. p. 308 (1891). 

Adult Male. Above brown, glossed with olive on the mantle ; 
tail black, tipped with white, except the centre feathers, which 
are like the back ; quills externally brown and also brown at 
the ends, internally rufous ; eyebrows greyish ; ear-coverts 
rather darker brown ; cheeks and under- surface of body white ; 
under wing-coverts white, tinged with buff. Bill dark horn- 
colour, paler below the nostrils, the lower mandible for the 
most part orange-yellow ; feet leaden-grey ; iris dark brown. 
Total length, n inches; oilmen, ri ; wing, 5-5; tail, 6'o; 
tarsus, ro. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male in colour. Total length, 
io'8 inches; wing, 5'6. 

Range in Great Britain. A purely accidental visitor. Four in- 
stances of its occurrence have been recorded : in co. Cork, in 
the autumn of 1825 ; near Dublin, in 1832 ; near Aberystwith, 
in October, 1870; and on Lundy Island, in October, 1874. It 
has also been obtained in Belgium, and in Italy near Turin. 

Range (mtside the British Islands. Found principally in the 
Eastern United States, eastward to the Missouri Plains, breed- 
ing as far south as Texas, and extending on the west to Cali- 
fornia, though Mr. Ridgway considers the western bird to be 
distinct, and names it C. occidentalis. It also occurs in the 
West Indian Islands and breeds there, 

Habits. Very similar to those of our own Cuckoo, but differ- 
ing from that species in the habit of building its own nest, rear- 
ing its own young, and being an affectionate parent. According 
to Wilson, it begins to pair early in May, and commences to 
build its nest about the loth of that month, retiring to some 
shady and retired woodland for that purpose. There seems to 
be, even with this well-behaved parent, the same difference in 
time between the deposition of the eggs as is to be found in 
the case of Cucuhis canorus. Audubon relates that he found 
a nest in which were five young Cuckoos and two eggs. Two 


of the young birds were sufficiently advanced to scramble out 
of the nest, and the other three were of different ages, one being 
just hatched, another several days old, and the third still further 
advanced, covered with " pen "-feathers, so that it would have 
been able to fly in about a week. His friend Mr. Rhett, in 
whose garden this nest was found, assured him that he had 
known as many as eleven young Cuckoos to be reared in a 
nest in the course of one season. The late Dr. Brewer says 
that the breeding-season lasts from one to four months, so that 
it will be seen that the nesting-habits of the American Cuckoo 
differ strikingly from those of their European cousins. 

Nest, In the construction of this, little art is displayed. It 
is made of a few sticks and twigs without any perceptible con- 
cavity, and has a few green weeds and apple-blossoms inter- 

Eggs. Uniform light bluish-green, which rapidly fades, even 
in a cabinet, according to Dr. Brewer. Axis, 1*2-1 '3 inch; 
diam., 0-9-1-0. 


Cuculus erythropthalma, Wilson, Am. Orn. iv. p. 16 (1811). 
Coccyzus erythrophthalmuS) Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 231, pi. 301, 
fig. i (1876); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 85 (1883); Saun- 
ders, Man. p. 280 (1889); Shelley, Cat. B. xix. p. 311 

Adult Male. Similar to C. americanus, but distinguished by 
the narrow white tips to the tail feathers, which have a black 
sub-terminal band. There is no chestnut lining to the quills, 
which have only a little rufous-buff colour at the base ; bill 
black, with sometimes a little yellow at the base of the lower 
mandible ; feet leaden-grey ; iris dark brown. Total length, 1 1 
inches; culmen, 0-9; wing, 6"o; tail, 6-5 ; tarsus, 0-95. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, io'8 inches ; 
wing, 4-8. 

Range in Great Britain. Has occurred once near Belfast, in 
September, 1871. Another example has been obtained near 
Lucca in Italy, in i&jS. 


Range outside the British Islands. According to Mr. Ridgway, 
this species inhabits the Eastern United States, as far north 
as Labrador and west to Manitoba and the Rocky Mountains, 
visiting in winter Central America, the West Indies, and the 
northern part of South America. 

Habits. Very similar to those of C. americanus^ excepting 
that the bird is perhaps even more shy and retiring in its ways. 
Like the last-named bird, it builds its own nest, and is a most 
affectionate parent. Dr. Brewer tells of an instance where the 
female had been killed, and the male bird successfully brought 
up the brood of five young ones. 

Nest. According to Dr. Brewer, the nest is built in an ever- 
green bush or small sapling. It is rather neatly constructed of 
twigs, occasionally lined with moss, withered catkins, or blossoms 
of plants. 

Eggs Glaucous-green or verditer-blue. Axis, i'ii; diam., 
0*78 inch (Ridgway). 


In this Order are comprised several Sub-orders of birds, 
most of which are inhabitants of the Tropics, and do not 
immediately concern us here. Such are the Guacharos 
(Steatornithes), the Frog-mouths (Podargi), the Madagascar 
Rollers (Leptosomati\ the Hornbills (Buccrotes), the Mot-mots 
(Momoti], the Todies (Todi\ the Humming-Birds (Trochili], 
and the Colies (Colii). All these Sub-orders have remarkable 
characteristics, and contain, as a rule, but few species, which 
represent the various Sub-orders in the Tropics of both the 
Old and New Worlds. 

All the Picarians differ from the Passerine Birds in the ar- 
rangement of the tendons of the foot, the flexor perforans 
digitoruni being connected with the hallux. 

As a rule they lay white, or at least uniform pale-coloured 
eggs, which are always hidden from sight in the hole of a tree, 
or under the shelter of a building or rock. The young are 
born naked, and, as far as is known, the form of development 
of the feathers is peculiar, the feather remaining long in its 
sheath, so that a young Picarian is covered soon after its birth 


with an array of pen-feathers. As soon as these have reached 
a development which makes the youngster look like a small 

Young Kingfisher, to show the pen-feathers. 

Porcupine, the sheath breaks and falls off, and the feathers 
cover the body at once. 


The Swifts and the Night- Jars have generally been associated 
in recent classifications of birds with the Humming-Birds, as 
forming an Order Machrochires. The association of the Swifts 


with the Swallows as joint members of the Order Fissirostres 
has long been recognised as a mistake, the Swallows being 
aberrant Passeriformes, and the Swifts being really aberrant 
Picaria. They are, however, the most Passerine of the Pica- 
rian birds, as they have a distinctly Passerine, or segithogna- 
thous, palate ; in other respects they are Picarian, though in 
many points they are aberrant members of the Order. 

In some form or other, Swifts are found nearly all over the 
world, except in the high north and the extreme south. Where 
no true Swifts occur, as is the case in some of the Pacific 
Islands, their place is taken by the edible Swiftlets (Collo- 
calia\ those curious little cave-haunting birds, which make 
the nests so highly prized by the Chinese and others for the 
manufacture of bird's-nest soup. In Borneo these caves are 
leased for the purposes of revenue, those which are frequented 
by Collocalia fuciphaga, which makes the purest white nest, 
being of more value than those inhabited by C. linchii or by 
species which make "black" or "moss" nests, these not being 
so useful for culinary purposes. These are, however, birds of 
the Tropics, and in the British Islands we have but to notice 
three species, one, Micropus apus, a regular summer visitor, 
one, M. mdba, of rare occurrence, and one, Chcetura caudacuta, a 
very rare visitor, of accidental occurrence only. 


The Swifts are remarkable for their very wide .Rape, the 
mouth being cleft to below the level of the eyes. The wing, 
although so powerful in flight, has less feathers in its compo- 
sition than the bulk of Passerine Birds, for there are only ten 
primaries, while the secondaries are less than nine in number, 
but the quills are all very strong and pointed, so that no birds 
on earth exceed the Cypselida in their power of flight. That 
of our Common Swift is rapid enough, but this is nothing when 
compared with the lightning-like rapidity with which some of 
the Spine-tailed Swifts (Chatura) traverse space. I remember 
one Indian experience in particular, when we stopped for the 
night at Solon, on the road to Simla, arriving there just as 
twilight was approaching. While dinner was preparing, I 
stood outside on the road, looking over that wonderful Hima- 
layan scenery which I am never likely to see again, the tre- 

D 2 


mendous mountains aboy,e and the deep valley below, with 
the setting sun illuminating the glorious peaks of the hill-tops, 
and throwing into shade the depths lying below my feet. I 
was conscious of an occasional buzz of wings past my face, 
and soon discovered that the roof of the Dak Bungalow was 
tenanted by a colony of the small Indian Swift (Micropus 
affinis\ who were dashing out every moment with the speed of 
an arrow, or perhaps one might say, with the velocity of a rifle- 
bullet. I had no gun with me if I had, it would have been 
useless, but I marked the holes whence the birds came forth, 
and armed myself with a butterfly-net. It is needless to tell 
anyone who has seen these birds in flight that I did not catch 
one of them. The fast approaching darkness, which hindered 
my vision, served to sharpen that of the birds, which easily 

Sternum of 
Hirundo rustica. 

Sternum of 
Micropus apus. 

avoided me, but I shall never forget the pace at which the little 
creature s darted out from beneath the roof of the house and 
whizzed past. When I had turned my head they were half-a-mile 
away over the valley, giving just a glimpse of the white band 
on the rump, which enabled me to detect to which species 
they belonged. I am informed by some of my Anglo-Indian 
friends that the flight of M. affinis is as nothing compared with 
that of a C/uztura, to which the term of " greased lightning " 
can easily be applied. 

In addition to the characteristic rapidity of their flight, the 
Swifts further differ from the Swallows, with which they have 
been associated by so many writers, in having only ten tail- 


feathers instead cf twelve. The breast-bone is very small, and 
has a high keel, indicative of a powerfully-developed pectoral 
muscle, and the hinder margin is one-notched. 

Then, again, the bones of the wing in the Swift are peculiar, 
the humerus being very short, the fore-arm being longer, and 
the bones of the manus extremely long. 

These are some of the most striking differences between the 
Swifts and the Swallows, and there are numerous others which 

Wing-bones of Hinmdo rnstica 

have been described by Parker, Shufeldt, Lucas, Ridgway, 
and other competent anatomists. In their segithognathous 
palate there is strong fundamental evidence that they cannot 
be placed far from the Passerine Birds in the natural system, 
and the Swallows are doubtless their nearest allies in the latter 

Mr. Ernst Hartert, who is the latest exponent of the classi- 
fication of the Cypselidtz (Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xvi. pp. 434-518), 

Wing-bones of Micropus afus. 

divides the Family into three Sub families : the Cypselince^ or 
True Swifts, with feathered toes and only three phalanges to 
the outer and middle toes ; the ChfKturinc^ or Spine-tailed 
Swifts, with the toes unfeathered, and four phalanges to the 
outer and middle toes, the tail short and exceeded by the wings; 
and finally, the Tree Swifts (Macropterygince), with a long 
forked tail, not exceeded by the wing. It is not, however, 
necessary tp enter further ir^o the cjifferences Qf the three 


groups of Cypselidce, as, in a*work on "British Birds," only the 
True Swifts concern us directly, the Spine-tailed Swifts very 
little, and the Tree Swifts, which are exclusively tropical, not 
at all. 


The characters of this Sub-family, as detailed above, are 
the feathered toes, and the presence of only three phalanges 
in the outer and middle toes. 


MicropiiSi Meyer und Wolf, Taschenb. i. p. 280 (1810). 

Type, M. apus (L.). 

In this genus the toes ara very strong, without feathers, and 
all four are directed forwards, the same interval dividing each 
toe from its neighbour. 

The typical Swifts are principally birds of the Old World. 
Two species only occur in South America, in the Andes of 
Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, and these species appear to 
descend to lower levels in winter and to visit Argentina, but 
over the whole of Brazil and Amazonia the genus is unrepre- 
sented, while in North America its place is taken by the Pied 
Swift (Aeronantes). In Europe and Asia the Swifts are 
summer visitors, not breeding far north, and leaving for their 
\\inter quarters very early in the autumn. A considerable 
number of resident species are found in Africa, which is also 
the winter home of our two British species. 


Jlirundo melba, Linn. S. N. i. p. 345 (176'). 

Cypselus melba, Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 611 (1840); Dresser, B. 

Eur. iv. p. 603, pi. 269 (1874) ; Newton's ed. Yarr. ii. p. 

372 (1874); B. O. U. List, p. 74 (1883); Seebohm, Br. 

B. ii. p. 297 (1884); Saunders, Man. p. 253 (1889). 
Micropus melba, Hartert, Cat. B. xvi. p. 438 (1892). 

Adult Male. Distinguished by its large size and white abdo- 
men. General colour above mouse-brown, darker on th 


win^s and tail ; under surface of body white, with a band of 
dark brown across the chest, the feathers composing it being 
narrowly edged with white ; under tail-coverts and marginal 
under wing-coverts also edged with white ; flanks brown and 
edged with white, before which is a sub-terminal bar of darker 
brown ; bill black ; feet dull flesh-colour ; iris dark brown. 
Total length, 8*5 inches; oilmen, 0*5 ; wing, 8*45; tail, 2^5 ; 
outer feathers, 3-5 ; tarsus, o'6. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, 8*3 inches ; 
wing, 8-3. 

Young. Similar to the adults, but having white fringes to 
tha brown feathers. 

Range in Great Britain. Of accidental occurrence only, though 
it has been recorded more than twenty times. In Scotland it 
has not yet been noticed, but has occurred in Ireland once, a 
specimen having been captured near Dublin, in March, 1833. 
The other instances of its capture have taken place between 
the months of June and October. 

Eange outside the British Islands. A regular summer visitor to 
the Alps of Southern Europe, wandering occasionally to 
Northern France, Germany, and Heligoland. Mr. Howard 
Saunders states that the species nests in the cliffs of Nolay on 
the western frontier of Burgundy, as well as in the Vosges and 
Savoy. In Switzerland it is a well-known species, and its 
range extends through the mountains of South-eastern Europe 
as far east as Persia and the Himalayas. Its winter home 
appears to be in Northern and North-eastern Africa, and it 
extends also over the whole of the Indian Peninsula and 
Ceylon. In Eastern and Southern Africa its place is taken by 
a resident species, M. africanus, which has been generally sup- 
posed to be the same as M. melba^ but it is now separated as a 
distinct species by Mr. Hartert. 

Habits, This large Swift is a conspicuous feature of the 
localities it inhabits, and is particularly to be noticed round 
the Cathedral at Berne, which is tenanted by a large colony of 
these birds every summer. They arrive in that town in April, 
and, like other Swifts, often suffer from hunger and cold, if the 
weather happens to be inclement, and Dr. Fatio and Professor 


Studer say that many perishes, of course, the supply of insects, 
on which these birds entirely depend, fails them. The nest is 
a rough structure, formed of many materials, all of which are 
procured by the Swifts on the wing, as the short fe:t and long 
wings of the bird prevent its rising when once it gets on the 
ground, and so it is often captured when benumbed with cold. 
Thus the nest is composed of earth procured from the crevices 
of rocks, leaves, paper, feathers, &c., all the materials being 
glued together into a compact mass by means of the. birds' own 
saliva. The eggs are laid before the nest is completed, and 
much of the structure is consolidated by the sitting birds, both 
male and female sharing the duties of incubation. In their 
rubits the White-bellied Swifts are very regular, issuing forth 
from their retreats at break of day and foraging for food for 
some hours, then resting in their homes during the best pnrt 
of the day, and sallying forth again about five o'clock in the 
afternoon, and flying about till dark. They are very quarrel- 
some and irritable in their nature, and make a considerable 
noise and clatter in the places where they take up their 

Eggs. Generally two in number, but sometimes three or 
even four, though it is supposed that no female lays more than 
two eggs. Eggs pure white. Axis, n-i'25; diameter, 075- 


Hirundo apus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 344 (1766). 

Micropus mvrarius, Meyer und Wolf, Taschenb. p. 281 (1783); 

Macgill. Brit. B. iii. p. 618 (1840). 
Cypselus apus, Dresser, B. Eur. iv. p. 583, pi. 266 (1881) ; 

Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. ii. p. 364 (1882); B. O. U. List 

Brit. B. p. 74 (1883) ; Seeb. Brit. B. ii. p. 292 (1884); 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part v. (1887) ; Saunders, Man. 

Brit. B. p. 251 (1889). 

Adult Male. Sooty-black with a slight greenish gloss, the 
forehead slightly whiter; chin dull white, with a few shaft-lines 
on some of the feathers ; under wing-coverts with faintly in- 
dicated whitish margins, these being sometimes visible on the 
under tail-coverts ; bill black ; feet dark brown ; iris dark 


brown. Total length, 7 inches ; culmen, 0*3 ; wing, 67 ; 
centre tail-feathers, 17 ; lateral ones, 2*9 ; tarsus, 0-35. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, 6'6 inches; 
wing, 6-4. 

Young. Similar to the adults, but browner, the forehead 
whiter, and the feathers having whitish edgings. 

Range in Great Britain, A common summer visitor to England 
and Scotland, but rarer and of more irregular occurrence in the 
north and west of the latter country. In Ireland, according 
to Mr. R. J. Ussher, it breeds in every county, sometimes 
nesting in cliffs. 

Kange outside the British Islands. The Swift is distributed in 
summer over the greater part of Europe, and winters in South 
Africa and Madagascar. It has been noticed as high as 70 N. 
lat. in Norway, and has been found breeding at 69 N. lat. 
Mr. Seebohm says that it is only an accidental visitor to the 
neighbourhood of Archangel, and is not found higher than 
lat. 60 N. in the Urals. He also records the species as breed- 
ing regularly in Dauria, Mongolia, and North China, but the 
Swift of these regions is doubtless the pale form called by 
Swinhoe Cypselus pekinensis, a light-coloured eastern race of 
our Common Swift, which ranges eastward from Sind to North 
China, and winters to the southward, though it appears also 
to visit South Africa on its migrations. Another light-coloured 
form of M. apus is the Pallid Swift (M. murinus), which visits 
Egypt and the Mediterranean countries in summer, and ex- 
tends its eastern range as far as Sind, wintering in South 

Habits. The Swift is one of our latest arrivals in summer, 
and one of the first of the migrants to leave our shores. It 
comes towards the end of April or early in May, and departs 
in August, though a few belated individuals are seen as late as 
the end of September on our southern coasts, and even later 
records of its stay have been established. Its approach north- 
ward is very gradual, for whereas the first arrivals make their 
appearance in the South of Europe in March, it is not till April 
that they appear in Central Europe, and in the more northern 
parts of their range, such as Lapland, they are not seen tilj 


June. Many succumb frm cold and subsequent starvation, 
from arriving too early, before the frosts have quite left us. 

As a rule the Swifts are most active towards the evening, 
when they fly about in parties, dashing round the houses or 
towers in which their nests are placed, screaming vociferously 
in concert. Their food consists entirely of insects, which are 
seized upon the wing. Nevertheless; at certain times, the 
Swift may be seen hawking over the low ground, over a river, 
or high in the air, even in the brightest sunshine, so that it is 
evident that the daylight does not deter it from issuing forth 
from its recesses, though it is undoubtedly in the twilight that 
the bird is most active. 

The short legs of the Swift incapacitate it from walking on 
the ground, and its long wings are obviously in the way ; but it 
is a mistake to suppose that the bird can never rise from the 
earth, as the contrary has been proved. It is, however, never 
seen to settle voluntarily on the ground for the purpose of col- 
lecting material for its nest, as can always be observed in the 
case of the Swallows and the Martins. From the situations 
in which it builds its nest or in which it roosts, it can always 
shuffle to the openings and launch itself into the air. 

Nest. A rough structure of straws and like material, mixed 
with a few feathers and wool, and cemented together by the 
saliva of the bird. It is sometimes placed in the crevice of a 
cliff or building, or at the protected base of a spout, but is 
more often placed under the roof of some building. 

Eggs. Pure white, of an elongated oval shape. Generally 
two in number, often three, and more rarely four, the texture 
of the shell being always more rough than in the eggs of the 
Swallows. Axis, 0*95-1 '05 ; diam., 0*65-07. 


This Sub-family contains a number of species, mostly tropi- 
cal in their habitat. They have the toes with the usual four 
joints, and the tarsi bare of feathers. 'The tarsi are long, 
equalling the length of the middle toe, but the tail is very 


short, and scarcely forked at all. The wings, on the other 
hand, are extremely long, and project far beyond the tail. 

In the Sub-family CJuztitrina are included the edible Swifts 
(Collocalid), which might very well be separated as a separate 
Sub-family, on account of their peculiar nesting-habits. Mr. 
Hartert includes them with the Chceturince^ though they have 
not spiny tail-ftathers. 

The Short-tailed Swifts are found in most parts of the world, 
but do not extend very far north, especially in the Old World. 


Chcetura, Steph. Gen. Zool. xiii. pt. 2, p. 76 (1826). 

Type, C.pelag\ i (Linn.). 

The members of this genus vary very much in size, and in- 
clude both the largest and some of the smallest Swifts. They 
can, however, always be told by the stiffened shafts of the tail- 
feathers, the points extending beyond the tip of the tail and 
presenting the appearance of spines. 

The geographical range of the genus includes nearly the 
whole of America from north to all but the extreme south. 
In the Old World, species are found from Amoorland in 
Eastern Siberia south to India, and the Malayan Region to 
Australia; as well as the whole of Africa below the Sahara. 


Hirundo caudacuta, Lath. Ind. Orn. Suppl. ii. p. 57 (1801). 

Acanthyllis caudacuta, Dresser, B. Eur. iv. p. 613, pi. 270 
(1880); Newton, ed. Yarr. ii. p. 371, note (1874); 
B. O. U. List, p. 74 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. p. 255 

Chcetura caudacuta, Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 303 (1884) ; Har- 
tert, Cat. B. xvi. p. 472 (1892). 

Adult Male. Of large size. Upper surface of the body pale 
brown, shading off into lighter brown on the lower back, the 
rump with white bases to the feathers ; upper tail-coverts 
black, glossed with steel-blue ; wings and tail black, with a 
gloss of green or steel-blue, very distinct on the upper wing- 


coverts, the innermost secondaries conspicuously paler, whitish 
on the inner webs ; crown and nape, as well as the sides of 
the head, glossy blackish-brown ; forehead and lores white ; 
under surface of body sooty-brown, with white bases to the 
feathers of the lower abdomen and lower flank-feathers, the 
latter being glossy blue-black ; throat white ; vent and under 
tail-coverts also white ; under wing-coverts blackish-brown, 
with a slight metallic gloss ; bill black ; feet brown. Total 
length, 8 inches ; oilmen, 0-35 ; wing, 8'2 ; tail, 2'3 ; tar- 
sus, o 6. 

Adult Female, Similar to the male, but slightly smaller. 

Young, Similar to the adults, but with less white on the 
forehead, and to be distinguished by some brownish spots on 
the under tail-coverts. 

Range in Great Britain. A rare and occasional visitor, having 
only been met with on two occasions, both in the middle of 
summer. One was shot at Great Horkesley, near Colchester, 
on the 8th of July, 1846, and another towards the end of July, 
1879, near Ringwood in Hampshire. In the latter case, two 
were observed flying for some days over the River Avon. The 
species has not been obtained anywhere else in Europe, and 
the Needle-tailed Swift is apparently one of those birds which, 
for some reason or other, sometimes wanders westward, out of 
the ordinary course of its migrations. 

Range outside the British Islands. The breeding range of this 
species extends from the neighbourhood of Krasnoyarsk in 
Siberia eastwards to Amoorland and South-eastern Mongolia, 
as well the northern islands of Japan. In winter it migrates 
by way of China to Australia. 

Habits, Very similar to those of our Common Swift. It 
arrives in its northern quarters about the end of April or the 
beginning of May, and departs in August, a few staying on till 
September. On migration vast flocks are often seen. Its 
powers of flight are prodigious, and it is often noticed at a 
great height in the air. It also visits the lowlands in the 
vicinity of the mountain fastnesses in which it breeds, and is 
there noticed hawking over the ground in company with other 



These birds, familiarly known as Goat-Suckers, have much 
similarity to the Swifts as regards their structure, but differ from 
them in many points of anatomy. One great difference, how- 
ever, is seen in the character of the nestlings, which are covered 
with down. The palate is generally said to be " schizogna- 
thous," but in Caprimulgus it seems to be segithognathous 
(see infra), and basipterygoid processes are present. In the 
character of the plumage they differ entirely from the close- 
set, hard feathering of the Swifts, and are remarkable for the 
soft and delicate nature of their body-feathers, which are like 
those of the Owls, and even resemble the latter in their zig- 
zag markings and spots. They are almost all crepuscular 
birds, coming out to seek their food in the twilight, though 
they can fly very fairly in the daytime, but do not willingly take 
flight unless disturbed. 

The Night-Jars are distributed all over the world, except in 
the extreme north and south, and they are also absent in the 
islands of the Pacific Ocean. 

There are two families, the True Night- Jars (Caprimulgida) 
and the Moth-plumaged Night- Jars (Nyctibiida), the latter being 
only found in Tropical America. 


Distinguished by their pectinated middle claw, which has a 
comb-like edge. Only four phalanges are found in the outer 
toe. The gape is very wide, and when the mouth is opened, 
the extent is enormous, and in most cases is beset with a 
number of strong, spiny bristles. 

The range of the Family extends nearly all over the globe, 
with the exceptions above stated. It contains about eighteen 
genera, some of which are beautifully decorated and carry long 
streamers in the wings and tail, or have other ornamental 
plumes during the breeding-season. 

Caprimulgus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 346 (1766). 

Type, C. europccus (Linn.). 
In these birds the skull is aegithognathous, with the vomer 



truncated in front, and basipterygoid processes are ptes<rtit. 
The spinal feather-tract is well defined on the neck, but is 
forked on the back, as in the Swallow. A hind-toe is always 
present, and is connected with the flexor perforans digitomm. 
The mouth is widely split, the gape opening to behind the eye, 
and is furnished with strong bristles. As a rule in this Family, 
the sexes are very much alike in colour, but the male has a white 
spot on the primaries and at the end of the outer tail-feather y 
this being replaced in the female by a fulvous spot. The wing 

lp(j-p. pO 

Ventral aspect of cranium of Caprinntlgiis etr,'op<ziis (enlarged) to show 
the vomer. Letters as before. [From the Catalogue of Osteological 
Specimens in the Royal College of Surgeons.] 

is very long and pointed. The young are covered with down, 
and are helpless for some time after birth, being fed by their 

Night- Jars are found over almost the entire surface of the 
globe, the species which visit the northern temperate regions 
being strictly migratory ; but in the Tropics a large number of 
resident species are found, and are met with everywhere, except 
in the extreme south of South America and the islands of 



Caprimulgus europceus. Linn. S. N. i. p. 346 (1766); Macg. 
Br. B. iii. p. 633 (1840); Newton, ed. Yarr. ii. p. 377 
(1874); Dresser, B. Eur. iv. p. 621, pi. 271 (1875); 
B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 75 (1883); Seebohm, Br. B. ii. 
p. 309 (1884); Saunders, Man. p. 257 (1889); Hartert, 
Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xvi. p. 5-26 (1892); Lilford, Col. Fig. 
Brit. B. part xxii. (1892). 

Adult Male. Mottled all over, the general colour of the 
upper surface being dark ashy-grey, with darker brown vermi- 
culations, taking the form of broad lanceolate spots on the 
crown; the nape streaked with dull ochraceous-buff; on the 
scapulars some longitudinal streaks of black and ochraceous- 
buff; wing-coverts spotted with the latter colour; primary 
quills blackish, with rufous-buff spots on both webs ; the three 
outer primaries with a large rounded spot of white on the 
inner web ; the two outer tail-feathers with a large white spot, 
about an inch long, at the tip ; throat blackish-brown, nar- 
rowly barred with rufous-brown and spotted with white ; breast 
coloured like the upper surface ; abdomen fulvous, barred with 
blackish-brown, these bars less distinct on the under wing- and 
tail coverts, which are rather more rusty; bill black ; feet red- 
dish-brown ; iris black. Total length, 10^5 inches; culmen, 
0-55; wing, 7-8; tail, 5-5; tarsus, 075. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but having the white 
spots on the primaries and outer tail-feathers replaced by 
spots of ochreous-buff, which have also a few brown specks 
upon them. Total length, 10*5 inches; wing, 7'5. 

Young. Resemble the adults, but are rather duller in colour 
and have the spots on the primaries and outer tail-feathers 
ochreous-buff, as in the old female. 

Nestling Covered with down of a greyish shade, darker 
above and paler below. 

This species is distinguished by the white or buff spots on 
the inner web of the primaries and at the ends of the outer 
tail-feathers, and by the absence of a distinct rufous collar 
round the hind-neck. 

Range in the British Islands A regular summer visitor, arriving 


about the middle of Mayand leaving in September, though, 
according to Mr. Howard Saunders, it will sometimes remain 
"in the mild south-west of England" until November. It is 
found throughout the United Kingdom in summer, ranging to 
the far north of Scotland, but occurring only as a straggler in the 
Orkneys, Shetland*, and the outer Hebrides. In Ireland, Mr. 
R. J. Ussher records it as breeding in most of the counties, 
but being more scarce in the north and west. 

Range outside the British Islands. Extends over the whole of 
Europe, being found as far north as 60 N. lat. in Scandinavia, 
and reaches about 50 N. lat. in the Ural Mountains and the 
Valley of the Yenesei. Mr. Seebohm believes that it does not 
extend farther east than Irkutsk. Its winter home is in South 
Africa, where it is met not uncommon. It may also extend 
as far as Persia in summer, but the species which inhabits this 
country and Central Asia is a paler form of the Night-Jar, 
known as Caprimulgus unwini, which apparently winters in 
North-western India. 

Habits. Although it may occasionally be flushed during the 
day from the place where it is resting, the Night-Jar is a bird 
of the twilight, and only comes out of its own accord in the 
gloaming. Its favourite haunts are the districts covered with 
fern and bracken, but it also frequents park-land, and I have 
more than once started one from the open road. Its mottled 
plumage tends to conceal it so effectually, when on the ground, 
that it would be impossible to perceive it even in broad day- 
light, and it is only in the evening that the Night-Jar is in evi- 
dence. Seated lengthwise on a bough, or on the top of a post, 
the bird utters its " churring " note a sound, once heard, never 
to be forgotten and it is one of the most characteristic noises 
of a summer night. It is from this peculiar vibrating call that 
the Night-Jar has got the popular name of "Churn "-Owl in some 
parts of the country. When flying it has also a call-note, 
somewhat Owl-like, very well rendered in Mr. Seebohm's book 
as co-iC) co-ic. This it utters when flying, and it is accompanied 
by a kind of cracking noise, which is apparently produced by 
striking its wings together over its back, after the manner of a 
Wood-Pigeon. Often when on a moth-hunting expedition in 
St. Leonard's Forest, in Sussex, my nightly round to the trees 


at the bottom of a little valley has been enlivened by the aerial 
gambols of the Goat-Suckers above my head, and I have heard 
the bird make the sound very distinctly, and seen it in the air 
at thirty or forty yards' distance, silhouetted against the sky. 
It always seemed to arrest its flight for an instant, as if the 
wings were clapped together over the back, and I have noticed 
the same hesitation when the bird makes the noise, as it 
often does, after rising from the ground. The "churring" 
notes are decidedly ventriloquial, and are given out with great 
power. The late Mr. Frederic Bond told me that he was once 
" sugaring " for moths in Windsor Forest, and as it was too 
early to commence his rounds, he sat down against the foot of 
a tree to rest, and dropped off to sleep, when he was awakened 
suddenly by a din which startled him nearly out of his wits for 
the moment. A Night-Jar had settled on a neighbouring bough, 
and had commenced to " churr." The food of the Night- Jar 
consists almost entirely of insects, and it devours large num- 
bers of cockchafers and beetles. Mr. Seebohm says that it 
eats slugs, and Macgillivray found that it also devoured cater- 
pillars. Whether the large bristles which beset the gape are 
of use to it in catching its prey is not known for certain, and 
they are probably only an extreme development of this feature, 
which is found, in a greater or less degree, in all fly-catching 
birds. Certain it is that some Night-Jars, with similar habits 
to our own species, are almost devoid of these rictal bristles. 
Another puzzling character found in the Night-Jar is the pec- 
tinated claw on the middle-toe, and it is extremely difficult to 
imagine the use of this comb-like appendage. It has been 
suggested that it is of use to the bird in retaining a firm 
hold on the bark of the trees, when it sits along a bough. 
Another use for the comb has been suggested in the cleaning 
of the long rictal bristles from the debris of the moths and 
beetles on which the bird feeds. Dr. Giinther, who had some 
young Night- Jars for some time in confinement, tells me that 
the only use which he found the birds to make of this pecti- 
nated claw was to scratch the surface of a chair or sofa on which 
they were sitting. Thus it may be a useful appendage in 
scratching or distributing the earth for the purpose of seeking 
its food. 

Nest. None ; the eggs being laid in a slight depression of 


the earth, which becomes a* little more evident as the period 
of incubation progresses. 

Eggs. Only two in number, of a peculiar shape, being equally 
rounded at either end, like those of Swifts, and still more like 
those of Sand-Grouse. They are very light in colour, being 
pure white, or creamy- white, with two kinds of markings or 
spots. The underlying ones are of a violet-grey colour, and 
always visible, while the distinctive spots are brown, either 
light or dark, and distributed over the egg in different ways, 
either as spots, or large blotches, or lines. Axis, i '2-1 '35 
inch ; diameter, o'85-o'95. 


Caprimulgus (egyptius, Licht. Verz. Doubl. p. 59 (1823); 
Dresser, B. Eur. iv. p. 629, pi. 272 (1877) ; Seebohm, Hist. 
Br. B. ii. p. 315 (1884); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 260 
(1889); Hartert, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xvi. p. 562 (1892). 

Adult Male. Very pale in colour, isabelline and sandy-buff, 
with blackish markings pronounced on the head and again on 
the scapulars, where they are larger ; quills deep brown, ex- 
ternally spotted or banded with brownish-buff, the inner webs 
notched with white for some distance, but not quite reaching 
to the shaft; tail-feathers like the back, but banded with 
black, the outer feathers becoming more uniform near the 
tips ; under surface of body very pale, with two distinct spots 
of white on the throat ; abdomen pale sandy-isabelline, with 
narrow bars of blackish, which disappear on the lower abdomen, 
but are again distinct on the under tail-coverts ; bill dark 
brown; feet reddish-brown; iris black. Total length, 10-5 
inches ; culmen, 0*55 ; wing, about 8 ; tail, 5*1 ; tarsus, o f 8. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, io'6 
inches ; wing, 8-5. 

Young. Similar to the adults, but rather more rufous. 

Characters. Distinguished from C. europceus by its paler 
coloration, and by the pattern on the inner web of the primary 
quills, these being indented with white. 

Eange in Great Britain. An accidental visitor, having occurred 


only once, a specimen having been recorded from Mansfield 
in Nottinghamshire by Mr. Whitaker. It was shot there on 
the 23rd of June, 1883. It is by no means an unlikely bird 
to occur in England, as it evidently wanders westward, on 
occasions, from its eastern home. One specimen has been 
obtained in Heligoland, three in Malta, and one in Sicily. 

Range outside the British Islands. The home of this species is 
in the desert countries of Northern Africa from Algeria to 
Egypt and Nubia. Thence it ranges to the Caspian, and 
eastwards to Turkestan and Afghanistan. Its occurrence with- 
in European limits is, as mentioned above, purely accidental. 
It appears to winter in N. E. Africa. 

Habits. With the exception that the Isabelline Night-Jar is 
a bird of the deserts, it is very similar in habits to our common 
species, passing the day in retirement, when its sandy-coloured 
plumage, assimilating to the ground around it, doubtless affords 
the bird entire protection from observation. Those travellers 
who have observed the species in North-eastern Africa, have 
remarked that several individuals are generally seen together, 
but this is probably during the season of migration only. 
Captain Shelley procured four males together in March, and 
he thinks that the sexes, in all probability, migrate in flocks. 
This is very likely, as Von Heuglin also remarks that the 
specimens which he shot out of large flocks of fifty proved to 
be all females. 

Nest. None ; a depression being formed in the sand or 
under the shade of a bush. 

Eggs. Two in number, very similar to those of our Common 
Night-Jar, but smaller, and with the ground-colour creamy- 


Caprimulgus ruficollis, Temm. Man. Orn. p. 438 (1820) ; 
Newton, ed. Yarr. ii. p. 386 (1874); Dresser, B. Eur. iv. 
p. 633, pi. 273 (1874) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 75 (1883) ; 
Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 317 (1884) ; Saunders, Man. Br. B. 
p. 259 (1889); Hartert, Cat. B. xvi. p. 531 (1892). 
Adult Male General colour above sandy-grey, mottled and 

E 2 


spotted with black ; the markings on the scapulars large and 
well-developed, being longitudinal, like the accompanying buff 
markings ; wing-coverts with bright fulvous spots ; quills deep 
brown, with chestnut spots and bars, the three outer primaries 
having a large white spot on the inner web, this being some- 
times visible on the fourth ; the three outer tail-feathers with 
a large white spot at the end, an inch or an inch and a half in 
depth ; crown mottled with longitudinal black spots, bordered 
with rufous-buff; round the hind-neck a broad collar of golden- 
or rufous-buff; throat like the upper surface, with two large 
white patches, and with broad blackish bars on the fore-neck ; 
abdomen buff with brown bars, the under tail-coverts more 
uniform. Bill blackish-brown ; feet dull brown ; iris black. 
Total length, 12 inches; culmen, 0*5; wing, about 8*0; tail, 
67 ; tarsus, 07. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, and having the white spots 
on the primaries and tail-feathers as in that sex. Total length, 
12 inches; wing, 8'o. 

Young. Paler in colour than the male, the black markings 
less pronounced, and the white spots on the quills and tail- 
feathers less strongly indicated. 

Characters. Distinguished from our Common Night-Jar by 
its larger size and by having a white spot on the primaries and 
tail-feathers in both sexes. As in C. europtzus, the inner 
webs of the primaries are not uniform in colour, but it may 
be at once recognised by the broad rufous collar on the hind- 

Range in Great Britain. An accidental visitor only, one having 
been killed at Killingworth, and examined by the late Mr. 
John Hancock in the flesh on the 6th of October, 1856. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Red-necked Night-Jar is 
a i inhabitant of Southern Spain, where it comes every sum- 
mer and breeds. It has also been obtained in Languedoc and 
Provence in the south-east of France, as well as in Malta and 
Dalmatia. It probably winters in the oases of the Sahara, 
but its exact winter habitat has not yet been discovered, nor 
has it yet been found in West Africa. 

. Mr. Howard Saunders, who is well acquainted with 


the species in Southern Spain, says that there is nothing dis- 
tinctive about its food and habits. In the southern half of 
the Spanish Peninsula it "frequents the cool chequered shade 
of the woods during the greater part of the day." 

Eggs. Similar to those of C. europceus, but rather larger and 
more boldly marked. Axis, i'2-i'3 inchj diam., 0*9-1 'o. 


This is a group of birds confined to the Old World. Five 
genera are recognised, all very similar in structure, appearance, 
and habits, the birds being generally of bright coloration, with 
a curved bill, and long wing and tail. The latter is sometimes 
forked, sometimes square, but in the typical species the middle 
tail-feathers are elongated. 

The palate is bridged or desmognathous, and there are no 
basipterygoid processes present. The breast-bone has four 
notches on its hinder margin, and the episternal process is 
perforated so that the foot of each coracoid meets through this 
opening : as a rule in birds the coracoids are kept apart at the 
base by this process. This is a singular character, found in 
Game-Birds, and also in the Hoopoes and Hornbills. The 
feet are syndactyle or gressorial, the sole being flat and the 
toes united together, as in the Kingfishers and other groups 
of birds, which were formerly united under the name of 
" Fissirostres," or " Wide-gaping Birds," of which the Bee-Eaters 
were always reckoned a component Family. The fourth toe is 
united to the third as far as the last joint, the second toe being 
united to the middle one for the basal joint only. The tail- 
feathers are only ten in number. 

The bill is long and gently decurred, both mandibles follow- 
ing the same direction at the tip. 

The Bee-Eaters are, as a rule, resident birds in the countries 
in which they live. Africa possesses the greatest number of 
species, but those which range into the temperate portions of 
the Northern Hemisphere are migratory, and only appear in 
summer, and then never go very far north. Species are found 
in most of the tropical portions of the Old World, and range 
south to the Malay Archipelago and Australia. 



There are no Sub-families among the Bee-Eaters, and con- 
sequently the whole of the five genera admitted by ornitholo- 
gists are placed under the heading of the Meropidce, the Family 
characters being the same as those of the Sub-order, given in 
detail above. 

Merops, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 182 (1766). 

Type, M. apiaster, L. 

As most of the Bee-Eaters have the tail square or slightly 
forked, it is very easy to recognise a member of the genus 
Merops by the elongated central feathers of the tail, these being 
produced beyond the other tail-feathers, and somewhat pointed. 
About seventeen species of Merops are known to science, and 
they are distributed over Africa, India, and Australia, and ex- 
tend to the temperate portions of Europe and Northern Asia. 


Merops apiaster. Linn. S. N. i. p. 182 (1766); Macg. Br. B. 
iii. p. 685(1840); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 155, pi. 295 
(1877); Newton, ed. Yarr. ii. p. 435 (1874), B. O. U. 
List Br. B. p. 82 (1883); Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 321 
(1884) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part ix. (1888) ; Saunders, 
Man. Br. B. p. 273 (1889); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 
xvii. p. 63 (189:). 

Adult Male. Crown of head and hind-neck chestnut, this 
colour overspreading the mantle and gradually disappearing 
on the scapulars and back, which are creamy-buff; lo\ver back 
washed with blue ; the upper tail-coverts entirely pale blue ; 
forehead white, followed by a line of blue, which unites with a 
narrow eyebrow, \\hich is first blue, and then shades off into 
green ; the crown separated from this blue eyebrow by a green 
shade ; lesser wing-coverts green, the rest of the coverts light 
chestnut, like the secondaries, which have black tips ; primary 
quills blue, blackish towards the tips, the inner secondaries 
green, bluish towards their ends; tail-feathers green, edged 
with blue, the centre ones blue, greener near the base ; lores 
and a streak through the eye black, like the ear-coverts ; cheeks 


blue in front, white behind ; throat bright yellow, with a black 
band across the lower throat; under surface of body green- 
ish-blue ; the under wing-coverts and axillaries ochreous-buff, 
washed with green along the edge of the wing ; quills dusky 
below, ochreous buff along the inner web ; bill black ; feet 
greyish-brown; iris lemon-yellow or red. Total length, 10 
inches; oilmen, r65 ; wing, 5-7 ; tail, 4-5 ; tarsus, 0-35. 

Adult Female. Like the male, but often washed with green on 
the head and back. Total length, 9-5 inches ; wing, 5-9. 

Young. Much paler in colour than the adults, and having 
the under surface of the body much greener, and wanting the 
black bar across the lower throat ; the eyebrow green ; the 
upper-parts coloured as in the adults, but much greener, and 
having a wash of pale green over the whole, including the 
light parts of the back and scapulars. 

Range in Great Britain. A rare visitor to the south of Eng- 
land, generally occurring in spring. Mr. Howard Saunders 
states that over thirty instances have been recorded " south of 
Derbyshire in England and Pembrokeshire in Wales." In 
Scotland and the south of Ireland the Bee- Eater has also beeii 
noticed on a few occasions, but the bulk of the captures have 
taken place in England. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Common Bee-Eater 
visits the whole of Southern Europe in spring, and extends 
eastwards to Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Cashmere. It 
breeds throughout the whole of this range, and winters to the 
southward, visiting Sind, and the extreme north-western dis- 
tricts of the Peninsula of India, as well as the countries of the 
Persian Gulf. It extends its migrations throughout the whole 
of Africa, and even reaches the Cape Colony, where it is said 
to breed a second time. 

Habits. This is one of the most brightly coloured birds 
of Europe, and its brilliant plumage renders it so conspicu- 
ous that there is little chance of its escaping observation on 
the rare occasions when it visits this country. In Spain it 
arrives during the last days cf March and early in April, and 
Colonel Irby states that, near Gibraltar, Bee-Eaters pass in 
great numbers from the loth to the i4th of the latter month, 


generally flying high in the air, almost out of sight, seldom stop- 
ping or descending near the ground. They cross the Straits for 
the most part early in the day, flight following flight for hours in 
succession, always exactly in the same direction, due north. 
The latest date on which Colonel Irby noticed a flight going 
north was the yth of May. The return migration takes place 
early in the year, about the end of July and the early part of 
August, the 2Qth of August being the latest day on which a 
Bee-Eater was seen by the above-named observer. 

The Bee-Eater commences to nest directly after its arrival, 
and the eggs are laid about the second week in May, some 
time being occupied in excavating the tunnels, at the end of 
which the nesting-chamber is excavated. Some of these are of 
great length, extending for some eight or nine feet in the banks 
of rivers, and Colonel Irby states that the bills of the birds be- 
come much worn away by the process of boring, but grow 
again to their normal length in course of time. The holes are 
sometimes drilled into the ground " in a slightly vertical direc- 
tion, or into an elevated mound," when no suitable river-banks 
are available for their work. Generally the birds nest in large 
colonies, but occasionally only a few holes are found together, 
and Colonel Irby says that vast quantities of eggs and young 
birds must annually be devoured by Snakes and Lizards. The 
habits of the Bee-Eater also render it an object of detestation 
to the peasantry, as the birds swoop down in the vicinity of 
the hives and carry off numbers of the bees, so that, as Mr. 
Howard Saunders records, " sacks-full of birds are taken in 
Spain by spreading a net over the face of an occupied bank, 
and pour'ng water into a parallel trench cut at some distance 
back." It is as well, therefore, that the Bee-Eater does rear a 
second brood far away in South Africa, for it has many enemies 
in its northern home, and none greater than its own beautiful 
plumage, which causes it to be frequently in demand as an 
ornament (!) for ladies' hats. " During my stay at Gibraltar," 
writes Colonel Irby, " Bee-Eaters decreased very much in the 
neighbourhood, being continually shot on account of their 
bright plumage to put in ladies' hats. Owing to this vile 
fashion, we saw no less than seven hundred skins, all shot in 
Tangier in the spring, which were consigned to some dealer in 


The food of the Bee-Eater consists entirely of insects, and 
besides the bees which it devours in such numbers, it also eats 
quantities of wasps, locusts, and beetles. Its note is a single 
one, variously rendered by ornithologists as " teerrp " or 

Nest. None. A long tunnel is excavated in the ground or 
in a bank, and the eggs are deposited in a chamber at the end, 
on the bare soil. 

Eggs- From five to six in number ; pure white, glossy, and 
nearly round. Axis, 1*05 inch ; diam., 0*9. 


Merops philippinns, Linn. S. N. i. p. 183 (1787); Saunders, 
Man. p. 274, note (1889) ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 
xvii. p. 71 (1892). 

Merops philippensis, Hancock, Cat. B. Northumb. p. 28 (1874) ; 
Newton, ed. Yarr. ii. p. 442, note (1874). 

Adult Male. General colour above green, the mantle and 
scapulars being of the same colour as the back ; lower back, 
rump, and upper tail-coverts blue ; no white on the forehead 
or eyebrow, the former having a narrow line of blue ; tail 
blue ; bill black ; feet blackish ; iris scarlet. Total length, 
1 1 -3 inches; culmen, r8; wing, 5^3; tail, 3*5; middle tail- 
feathers, 5-0 ; tarsus, 0-45. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, 11*5 inches; 
wing, 5-15. 

Characters. Distinguished from M. apiaster by the green, 
not chestnut, mantle, the green scapulars, the blue tail, and 
by the yellow throat being succeeded by a shade of chestnut ; 
there is also no black band in the fore-neck. 

Kange in Great Britain. Has occurred on one occasion near 
Seaton Carew, in Northumberland, in August, 1862. It is 
extraordinary that this species should have wandered to Eng- 
land, but the occurrence is vouched for by Mr. John Hancock, 
one of the most conscientious ornithologists which this country 
has ever produced, and must, therefore, be accepted. 

Range outside the British Islands. An Indian species, inhabiting 
the whole of the Indian Peninsula and Ceylon, and extending 


eastwards through the Burmese countries and Siam to South- 
ern China. It is further distributed through the Malayan 
Peninsula and Archipelago to the Philippine Islands, Java, 
Sumatra, Borneo, Timor, and, Celebes. 

HaMts. These resemble those of the Common Bee-Eater, 
and as the species is not likely ever to occur in Great Britain 
again, a few words only are necessary on this subject. Accord- 
ing to Mr. Hume, it " breeds from March to June, pretty well 
all over Continental India, in well-cultivated and open country. 
Like all the rest of the Family, it nests in holes in banks. 
The holes are rarely less than four feet deep, and sometimes 
extend to seven feet. In diameter they vary from two to two 
and a half inches." 

Nest. None as a rule, but sometimes the chamber has a 
thin lining of grass and feathers, not seen in the nesting-place 
of any other of the Indian Bee-Eaters. 

Eggs. Four or five in number; pure white, glossy, and nearly 
round. Axis, o'82-o*97 inch ; diam., 


The Hoopoes have a bridged, or " desmognathous," palate, 
and, like the Bee-Eaters, have the anterior process of the 
sternum, or breast-bone, perforated, so as to receive the feet 
of the coracoid bones. The sternum has two notches on its 
posterior margin. The oil-gland is tufted ; there are no blind 
intestines c r caeca, and the spinal feather-tract is forked in the 
upper back ; of the plantar tendons, the flexor perforans digt- 
tonim is split into three branches, leading to the second, third, 
and fourth digits, but not to the first, and the hind aspect of 
the tarsus (planta tarsi) is scaled transversely, as in the Larks. 
It is evident, therefore, that the Hoopoes have marked Pas- 
serine affinities, but they are also allied to the HornbilU 
(Buceroles), ^hich they resemble in another curious feature. 
The nest is placed in the hole of a wall or of a tree, and the 
female is fed by the male during the period of incubation, 
though she is not plastered in by her husband, as is the case 
with the Hornbills. 


The Hoopoes may be divided into two Families, the True 
Hoopoes (Upupidce) and the Wood-Hoopoes (Irrisoridce], 
The latter are peculiar to the forest- and bush-districts of Africa, 
and have a good deal of metallic colour in their plumage. 
The tail is very long and wedge-shaped, and the nostril' has a 
well-developed operculum, or shelf, to it. 


This Family contains but a single genus, Upupa^ with five 
species, all very much resembling each other in appearance. 
They have an erectile crest, shaped like a compressed fan and 
ornamented with a sub-terminal bar of black. The bill is 
long and slender and decurved towards the end. The other 
principal characters will be found under the heading of the 


Upupa, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 183. 

Type, U. epops, Linn. 

Of the five species known to science, the Common Hoopoe 
has the widest distribution in Europe, South-eastern and North- 
western Africa, eastwards to China and Japan, as well as the 
Peninsula of India, in the southern portion of which its place 
is taken by the Indian Hoopoe (U. indica\ which extends 
throughout the Burmese countries to Southern China and 
Hainan. In Somali-land a distinct species, U. somalensis, 
occurs, and in Madagascar U. marginata takes the place of our 
European bird. The fifth species, U. africana, is found over 
South Africa, and extends to the Congo on the west and to 
Zanzibar on the east ; it is a smaller and more richly-coloured 
bird, and has no white band on the primaries. 


Upupa epops. Linn. S. N. i. p. 183 (1766); Macg. Br. B. iii. 
p. 41 (1840); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 179, pi. 298 (1871); 
Newton, ed. Yarr. ii. p. 419 (1874; ; B. O. U. List Br. B. 
p. 83 (1883) ; Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 334 (1884) ; Lilford, 
Col. Fig. Br. B. part vii. (1888); Saunders, Man. p. 275 
?\' Salvin, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xvi. p. 4 (1892). 


Adult Male. General cdour above light brown, the scapulars 
tipped with buffy-white and crossed with a band of buff, which 
is broadly edged with black ; rump white ; primaries black, 
with a broad band of white, in the form of a spot on the inner 
web of the first primary, and again on the eighth, ninth, and 
tenth, where the white bar takes the form of a transverse spot ; 
the external aspect of the wing barred with black and white ; 
head and neck pale vinous-rufous, including the crest, which 
is a little darker ; the crest-feathers tipped with black, before 
which is a sub-terminal bar, before which, again, is a bar of 
white, not defined on its junction with the rufous of the rest of 
the feather ; throat and breast also vinous-rufous, the abdomen 
very pale buff; flank-feathers streaked with blackish along 
their inner webs ; under tail-coverts white ; tail black, with a 
median white bar, which crosses the other feathers diagonally, 
so as to approach the tip on the outermost pair. Bill blackish, 
flesh-coloured at the base of both mandibles ; feet black ; iris 
brown. Total length, 12 inches; culmen, 2*2 ; wing, 57 ; tail, 
4'o ; tarsus, o'S. 

Adult Female Similar to the male. 

Young. Like the adults, but a little duller and browner in 

Range in Great Britain The Hoopoe may be considered a 
regular spring migrant, and it has occurred in nearly every 
part of the United Kingdom, including the Orkney and Shet- 
land Isles, as well as the outer Hebrides. If the bird were 
not so conspicuous an object and so tame, it is almost certain 
that it would nest regularly in England, and, notwithstanding 
the fact that a Hoopoe is almost sure to be shot by way of 
welcome in this country, there is no doubt that it has bred in 
many of the southern counties of England. 

Kange outside the British Islands. Generally distributed through- 
out Southern Europe, and nesting in the Mediterranean coun- 
tries, and in Central Europe as far north as Denmark and 
Southern Sweden. It wanders even to the Faeroes and Spits- 
bergen, and the North of Russia and Norway, but does not 
breed in these high latitudes. Its eastern range extends through- 
out Central Asia to China and Japan. It arrives in the south 
of Europe in the middle of February, and Colonel Irby notes 


the earliest arrivals near Gibraltar as the i6th to the i8th of 
that month, though the greater number pass northward in 
March, returning during August, September, and October. 
The winter home of the Hoopoe is in Senegambia and North 
eastern Africa, the Central Asian individuals doubtless winter- 
ing in North-western India, and the Chinese and Japanese 
birds in Southern China. 

Habits It is a pity that the indiscriminate slaughter of this 
pretty bird deprives us in this country of an opportunity of 
seeing the Hoopoe in a state of nature, for it is admitted by 
everyone who has had that privilege as being a very graceful 
bird in its movements and ways, particularly, says Mr. Howard 
Saunders, " at the time of courtship, when the bird struts 
about with crest erect, uttering a note resembling a soft bu-bu 
(whence the Spanish term Abubilld]^ or hoop-hoop^ to which, 
and not to its crest, it owes its English and French names." 

The nest is placed in the hollow of a tree, and in some 
countries of Europe the bird has disappeared or become re- 
duced in numbers, owing to the cutting down of old timber. 

To look at a Hoopoe, one could scarcely imagine a more 
neat and cleanly-looking bird, and yet its nesting habits are 
often disgusting. The material of which the nest is composed 
is of the slightest, but it is surrounded by ordure of some kind, 
which, according to Mr. Howard Saunders' experience in 
Spain, "causes an intolerable stench, which is subsequently 
increased by the droppings of the female and young." In 
China, according to Mr. Swinhoe it is known by the name of 
" Coffin-Bird," as it breeds in the holes of exposed Chinese 
coffins, and Pallas relates his finding a nest in the chest of a 
decaying corpse. 

The Hoopoe feeds on insects and worms, boring in the 
ground with its long bill for the former. It devours a large 
number of worms and insects of various kinds, beetles, cater- 
pillars, grasshoppers, &c. It is said that the bird always 
throws up its food into the air and catches it in its bill, before 
swallowing it, a very Hornbill-like habit, and one which has a 
bearing on the relationship of the Hoopoes to this Family. 

For my own part, I have no doubt as to the relationship 
of the Hoopoes with the Hornbills, and another remarkable 


feature is common to tne two families. Just as the male 
Hornbills feed their females in the nest, so, it would appear, 
do the Hoopoes. It is true that the male does not plaster the 
female in the tree, like the Hornbill does, but there is plenty 
of evidence that the male Hoopoe brings all the food to the 
female, though the latter occasionally comes out and takes a 
flight before returning. 

The note of the Hoopoe, as observed in China by Swinhoe, 
" is produced by puffing out the sides of the neck, and ham- 
mering on the ground at the production of each note, thereby 
exhausting the air at the end of the series of three notes, 
which make up its song. Before it repeats the call, it repeats 
the puffing of the neck with a slight gurgling noise. When it 
is able to strike its bill, the sound is the correct hoo-hoo-hoo, 
but when perched on a rope, and only jerking out the song 
with nods of the head, the notes most resemble the syllables 

Eggs. Four to seven in number ; grey or greenish-olive or 
stone-colour, without spots. When first laid, they are of a pale 
greenish-blue colour, which soon fades. Axis, 0-9-1-1 inch; 
diam., 07. 


Birds of ungainly form but mostly of brilliant plumage, the 
Kingfishers are found in nearly every part of the world. They 
are most numerous in the Old World, as America possesses but 
one genus, Ceryle, of which the Belted Kingfisher, Ceryle alcyon, 
is the type, but the genus ranges throughout the New World, 
from the high north even down to Chili. 

In the Old World there is scarcely a country that docs not 
possess a Kingfisher of some sort or another, belonging to one of 
the two types recognised in the Family, which is divided into 
Fish-eating Kingfishers (Alcedinina) and Insect- or Reptile- 
eating Kingfishers {Dacelonince). The former have a long thin 
bill, much compressed, fit for cleaving the water, and generally, 
but not always, a short rudder-like tail. This is, indeed, by 
no means an universal characteristic, and among the Insect- 


eating Kingfishers, there are several which have a short tail 
like the true Alcedinin<z, and yet live in forests and never feed 
on fish. 

The palate is bridged, or desmognathous ; there are no 
basipterygoid processes ; the hallux, or first hind-toe, is con- 
nected with the flexor perforans digitorum^ and the sole of 

Ventral aspect of the bill of the Giant Kingfisher (Dacelo gigas], to show 
the desmognathous palate. [From the Catalogue jf Osteological Specimens 
in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons.] Letters as before. 

the foot is flat, the front toes being ui.ited together for the 
greater part of their extent hence the birds are Anisodactyle. 

The eggs are white and hidden from sight, as with other 
Picarian Birds, being mostly deposited in the hole of a bank or 
tree. The young are hatched naked, but the feathers are 
developed in well-marked lines or " tracts," and are for a long 
time enclosed in the sheath, imparting a singularly bristly 
appearance to the nestling (see p. 34). 

Of the Insect-eating Kingfishers, of which we have no re- 
presentatives in the northern parts of the world, the nearest 
allies to our own Kingfisher are the African genus Ispidina, 
and the Indian and Moluccan genus Ceyx, the latter having only 
three toes. The large genus Halcyon, consisting of bush- and 
forest-frequenting birds, is widely spread over Africa, India, 


China, and extends even to Australia and Oceania. One 
species, Halcyon smyrnensis, even reaches Asia Minor and Pales- 
tine. The beautiful Racket-tailed Kingfishers (Tanysiptera) are 
forest-haunting birds, feeding chiefly on insects, and having 
long tails like a Bee-Eater or a Racket tailed Parrot (Prioni- 
turus\ while the largest of all Kingfishers are the Giants or 
" Laughing Jackasses" of Australia. These birds feed mostly 
on reptiles. 


The Kingfishers constitute in fact a single Family, co-equal 
with the Sub-order Halcyones, and consequently the characters 
of the latter are the same as those of the Family Alcedinidce. It 
is divided into two Sub-families, which are not very strongly 
characterised, but they may be separated more by their habits 
than by any structural features. Thus they are divided into 
Alcedininiz and Dacelonince, the latter Sub-family not concern- 
ing us here, as no member of it reaches the British Islands. 


The Kingfishers of this Sub-family are mostly of the type of 
the British species, Alcedo ispida, which is mainly a piscivorous 
bird, but it likewise embraces the genus Ceryle, of which the 
Belted Kingfisher is the type, as well as the Stork-billed King- 
fishers (Pelargopsis) of Asia, the Crested Kingfishers (Cory- 
thornis) of Africa, and the Three-toed Kingfishers (Alcyone) of 
Australia and Malaisia. All of these birds have a narrow, com- 
pressed bill, very long and thin, and are almost entirely fish- 


Ceryle, Boie, Isis, 1828, p. 316. 

Type, Ceryle rudis (L.). 

The species of this genus are found throughout the New 
World, as well as in Africa, Asia Minor, and the greater part 


of tropical Asia, extending throughout the Indian Peninsula 
and Ceylon to China and Japan, but not penetrating farther 
than Tenasserim and the Indo-Chinese countries. One pecu- 
liar character of the genus Ceryle is that the sexes, contrary 
to the usual rule in Kingfishers, differ in colour, the female 
possessing an additional band on the breast. The genus 
differs also from the genus Alcedo in having a long tail, in this 
respect resembling the Stork-billed Kingfishers (Pelargopsis) of 
the Indian Region. The best known species of the genus 
Ceryle is probably the Black-and- White Kingfisher (Ceryle 
rudis), which is a frequent object of interest to the traveller in 
Palestine and the Nile Valley, where it attracts attention by its 
habit of hovering in the air, like a Kestrel Hawk. 


Alcedo alcyon. Linn. S. N. i. p. 180 (1766). 

Ceryle alcyon, Newton, ed. Yarr. ii. p. 452 (1881); B. O. U. 
List Br. B. p. 81 (1883); Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 348 
(1884); Saunders, Man. p. 270 (1889); Sharps, Cat. B. 
xvii. p. 125 (1892). 

Adult Male. General colour above slaty-blue, with a well 
developed crest of the same colour ; round the hind-neck a 
white collar ; wing-coverts spotted with white ; quills black, 
with white tips, the outer webs with white spots, the second- 
aries externally slaty-blue with white spots ; tail also slaty-blue, 
banded and spotted with white ; under surface of body white, 
with a broad band of slaty-blue across the upper breast, the 
flanks also mottled with slaty-blue ; bill black ; feet dark 
bluish-grey; iris dark brown. Total length, 12 inches; cul- 
men, 2'o ; wing, 6*4; tail, 3*2; tarsus, 0*3. 

Adult Female. Differs from the male in having a second band 
of rusty-red on the breast, below the grey one, the flanks being 
also rufous. Total length, 11*5 inches; wing, 6*4. 

Young Male. Resembles the old female, and has two bands 
on the breast like the latter. The second rufous band, how- 
ever, is narrower than that of the old hen-bird, and the band 
on the upper breast has a strong admixture of rufous, as well 
as the flanks. 


Young Female. ResemWes the young male, but has always 
rufous axillaries, and the flanks are rufous like the lower breast- 
band. The band on the fore-neck has also a good deal of 

Eange in the British Islands. An accidental visitor from North 
America, of which two examples have been recorded from 
Ireland, one said to have been obtained in Co. Meath in 
October, 1 845, and another in Co. Wicklow in November of 
the same year. " No other instances," writes Mr. Howard 
Saunders, "of the occurrence of this species in Europe is 
known, nor has it been obtained in Greenland or Iceland," and 
he deems it inexpedient to admit to the British List "an 
American bird which assuming the accuracy of the records 
had probably escaped from confinement." 

Range outside the British Islands. The greater part of North 
America from Alaska southwards, migrating south in winter to 
Central America and the Greater and Lesser Antilles. 

Habits. All accounts of the life-history of the Belted King- 
fisher show that the bird has very similar habits to our own 
Alcedo ispida, nor is its food entirely confined to fish, as it 
will also eat insects, and even, on occasion, small Mammalia. 
Like the Pied Kingfisher of Egypt, it also hovers in the air like 
a Kestrel, as our own Kingfisher sometimes does. The nesting- 
chamber is excavated by both parents, and the tunnel leading 
to it is hollowed out by the birds themselves, sometimes to a 
depth of fifteen feet. 

Nest. None. 

Eggs. Six in number, more rarely seven ; pure white, gloss 
Axis, i '3-1 *4 inch ; diam., 1*05. 


Alcedo, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 178 (1766). 

Type, Alcedo ispida (L.). 

The Kingfishers of this genus are easily recognisable by their 
short tails and short crests. In the genus Ceryle the tail is 


longer than the bill, in Alcedo the bill is much longer than 
the tail. So it is in the African genus Coryihornis and the 
Australian genus Alcyone^ both of which are fish-eaters, but 
Alcyone has only three toes, and Corythornis has a long droop- 
ing crest, which distinguishes it at once from Alcedo. 


Alcedo ispida, Linn. S. N. i. p. 179 (1766); Macg. Br. B. iii. 
p. 671 (1840); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 113, pi. 290(1875); 
Newt. ed. Yarr. ii. p. 443 (1881); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 
81 (1883); Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 341 (1884) ; Lilford, 
Col. Fig. Br. B. part viii. (1888) ; Saunders, Man. p. 269 
(1889); Sharpe, Cat. B. xvii. p. 141 (1892). 

(Plate XXXIV.) 

Adult Male. General colour greenish-blue, the scapular 
feathers slightly streaked with brighter blue ; the back, rump, 
and upper tail-coverts, rich cobalt-blue, sometimes, in very old 
individuals, deep blue ; wing-coverts like the back, the median 
and greater series spotted with greenish-cobalt ; bastard-wing, 
primary-coverts and quills blackish, externally blue; tail- 
feathers also blue, with black shafts; crown of head greenish- 
blue, with bands of dusky-black, and with a shaft-stripe of 
greenish-blue ; lores blackish, with a streak of orange-rufous 
above, the sides of the face and ear-coverts being also orange- 
rufous ; cheek-stripe bright blue, with dusky bars ; on each 
side of the neck a band of buffy-white feathers, slightly tinged 
with orange-rufous ; under surface of body rich orange-rufous, 
the throat buffy-white ; the sides of the upper breast greenish- 
blue; bill black; feet coral-red; iris dusky-brown. Total length, 
7*5 inches; culmen, 175 ; wing, 3'! ; tail, 1*5 ; tarsus, 0*35. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but not quite so bright in 
colour, and always to be distinguished by having the basal half 
of the under mandible red. Total length, 7-0 inches; culmen, 
t'55; wing, 3-0; tail, 1-4; tarsus, 0-3. 

Young. Much more dingy in colour than the adults, and 
always to be distinguished by the ashy margins to the feathers 
of the fore-neck and breast, which impart an ashy shade to this 
portion of the body. 

F 2 


Range in Great Britain. tlmversally distributed, but rarer in 
the north of Scotland. To a great extent migratory, though 
many individuals remain throughout the year. 

Range outside the British Islands. Found throughout the greater 
part of Europe, but not extending to the northern portions of 
the Continent. Thus it is only an accidental visitor to Den- 
mark and Southern Scandinavia, and extends rarely as far north 
as St. Petersburg. In India and China a smaller race occurs, 
of a more vivid blue colour, but the Kingfishers of Egypt, 
Central Asia, and Sind are perfectly intermediate in colour and 
size, and it is impossible to recognise the eastern race (Alcedo 
bengaknsis) as distinct, and therefore we may consider the 
Common Kingfisher as an inhabitant of the Pala^arctic and 
Indian Regions, merely noting that in its eastern habitat the 
bird is rather smaller and more highly coloured. The King- 
fishers which leave England in the autumn do not apparently 
travel farther south than the Mediterranean countries, and even 
'here the species is said to be resident, and to nest regularly in 
small numbers. 

Habits. The protection from shooting, which has of late 
years been afforded to our beautiful Kingfisher on the Thames, 
has certainly contributed to an increase in the number of the 
species, and its bright plumage may now be seen at almost 
any time of the year. It is unnecessary to add that the beauty 
of the river scenery is much enhanced by the presence of 
such a pretty bird as the Kingfisher, whose beauty might be 
allowed to atone for any delinquencies in the way of catching 
small trout. 

The flight of a Kingfisher is usually advertised by its note 
which is a peculiarly shrill dissyllabic one a kind of " h'wee- 
h'wee " uttered as the bird flies along at a prodigious rate, 
with a rapid beating of his powerful rounded wings, the bill 
being held straight out. It by no means follows, however, that 
the bird is flying over the water all the way, for, as often as not, 
the Kingfisher rises to a considerable height and takes a swift 
turn through a portion of the woods or across a meadow, rejoin- 
ing the stream a little farther on. It is a quarrelsome species, 
and jealous of intruders, so that a chase often takes place, if 
another Kingfisher should happen to interfere with the fishing- 


rights of an established owner. A vigorous battle, accompanied 
by any amount of shrill screaming, is the consequence, and 
when the weaker bird turns tail, he is pursued by the victor 
with great fury, the chase being often carried on high in the 
air. When thus seen, the occasional glimpses of the brilliant 
blue backs and chestnut breasts of the birds, as they shoot 
along, are always pleasing. 

In the autumn, the number of Kingfishers on any large river 
is increased by the influx of birds which have been nesting in 
out-of-the-way places, and have frequented brooks and lakes 
during the summer. A considerable autumnal migration takes 
place, and the Kingfisher may then be seen on our southern 
coasts in some numbers, frequenting reedy ditches and sluices, 
and not uncommonly the open shore, where the birds feed on 
small shell-fish. The principal food of the Kingfisher, how- 
ever, consists of fish, and these it catches with great dexterity, 
sitting generally on an exposed post or bough, from which it 
keeps a keen eye on the water below. The speed with which 
it flies from one perch to another, often crossing a field in 
passing from haunt to haunt, is truly wonderful, as is also the 
way in which it will suddenly arrest its flight on arriving at its 
station, and settle down without any apparent slowing off of its 
headlong flight. When first settled, the bird often bobs its 
head up and down and from side to side, and, in the act of 
perching, it may be seen to elevate the tail, as if to secure an 
immediate balance. 

Nest. None, that can properly be so called. The birds 
bore for themselves, in a sandy bank, a long tunnel, at which 
both male and female labour. At the end of this tunnel is a 
chamber, in which the eggs are laid. Sometimes stones or 
roots obtrude in the course of the boring, and the birds have 
to seek another place, but in one instance I remember finding 
a nest with seven eggs in the middle of a wood, and at a con- 
siderable distance from the river. An old tree in a bed of 
sand had been blown down and its roots were exposed and 
standing out into the air. Underneath these overhanging 
roots the birds had mined their tunnel, which, after a foot or 
so, was obstructed by roots of considerable size, but the birds 
had driven their hole over and under these obstructions, until 


the chamber was reacked. In this particular instance the 
tunnel and nest-chamber were quite clean, but these are some- 
times in an extremely dirty condition, and Mr. Seebohm men- 
tions that in one which he examined, "the bottom of the 
passage was lined with a black or dark green glossy substance 
smelling strongly of fish, and almost as sticky as bird-lime." 
This is formed of the castings and droppings of the birds, and 
the mass often swarms with maggots. The eggs are generally 
laid upon a small heap of white fish-bones, cast up by the birds, 
and this constitutes the whole of the "nest." 

Eggs. Six or seven, rarely eight or nine, in number. They 
are pure white, very glossy, and nearly round. Axis, 0*95 inch ; 
diam., 075 inch. 


These birds constitute a group of Old- World Picarians, of 
brilliant colour and somewhat Crow-like in form. They are 
undoubtedly nearly allied to the Kingfishers and Bee-Eaters, 
though they have not got the long bills of the two last-named 
groups of birds. The palate is desmognathous, or " bridged," 
and there are rudimentary basipterygoid processes, while the 
breast-bone has four notches in its posterior margin. The 
feet in the Rollers are very much like those of the Kingfishers, 
that is to say, " Anisodactyle," the soles being flat and the toes 
united together for a short distance by a membrane, the outer 
one being joined to the middle one at the extreme base, and 
to the inner one for the basal joint. The Family of Rollers is 
divided into two Sub-families, the Ground Rollers (Brachy- 
pteraciincz) and the True Rollers (Coradina). The former 
contains three ground-loving genera, all remarkable for their 
very long legs, and confined to Madagascar, while the True 
Rollers are found in the temperate and tropical portions of the 
entire Old World. 


The species of Coraciida at present known to us are but 
twenty-one in number, and they are contained in two genera, 




Coradas and Eurystomus. They are all birds of brilliant 
plumage, especially remarkable for the bright blue colour of 
the wings and tail ; but the Broad-billed Rollers (Eurystomus), 
which have a wide and slightly-hooked bill, are found in 
Africa and the Indian and Australian Regions, even extending 
to China and Eastern Siberia, while the True Rollers, which 
have a much narrower and more slender bill, are not found in 
the Australian Region at all. 


Coradas, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 150 (1766). 
Type, C. garrulus (L.). 

As has been already mentioned, the Rollers are somewhat 
like Crows in shape, and it is doubtless this Corvine aspect 
and the brilliant blue of their plumage that leads to their 
being called " Jays " in so many countries, particularly in 
India. The bill is also Corvine, and the nostrils are placed 
near the base of the upper mandible, and are hidden by bristly 
plumes. The tail consists of twelve feathers, and the outer- 
most on each side is sometimes produced to a considerable 
length in some African species. The Common Roller likewise 
exhibits a tendency to an elongation of the outer tail-feather. 
The base of the bill is beset with several strong bristles. 


Ccracias garrulus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 159 (1766) ; Macg. Br. B. 
iii. p. 540 (1840); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 141, pi. 293 
(1871); Newton, ed. Yarr. ii. p. 428 (1881); B. O. U. 
List Br. B. p. 82 (1883); Seebohm, Br. B. ii. p. 321 
(1884); Saunders, Man. p. 271 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. 
Br. B. part xii. (1890); Sharpe, Cat. B. xvii. p. 15 (1892). 

(Plate XXXV.} 

Adult Male. -General colour above light tawny-brown ; head 
greenish-blue, the forehead and eyebrow whitish, the hinder 
part of the latter greenish-blue like the crown ; lores black ; 
fore part of cheeks and chin white; sides of face, cheeks, and 


under surface of body light greenish-blue, paler on the abdo- 
men and under tail-coverts ; lower back and rump purplish- 
blue ; wing-coverts greenish-blue, those along the edge of the 
wing purplish-blue ; quills black, the outer web greenish-blue 
at the base, shading into purple ; primary quills externally 
greenish-blue, the secondaries externally purple ; centre tail- 
feathers dull oily-green, the remainder greenish-blue for two- 
thirds of the outer web and black on the inner web, the ends 
of the feathers greenish-blue with a black shaft, the blue in- 
creasing in extent on the outside tail-feathers, the outermost 
having a black spot at the tip ; bill blackish horn-colour ; 
feet dark yellow ; iris dark brown. Total length, 12 inches; 
culmen, 1*3; wing, 7-5; tail, 4'8; tarsus, 0-85. 

Adult Female. Like the male in plumage. Total length, 
12 inches ; wing, 7-4. 

Young Birds. Resemble the adults, but are much duller in 
colour, the head and neck being oily-green, the blue on the 
wings not so bright, and the greenish-blue portion shaded with 
brown ; the colour of the under-parts much duller, and the 
outer tail-feathers not tipped with black. 

Kange in Great Britain. An occasional visitor in spring and 
autumn. It has occurred over a hundred times, and has been 
met with as far north as the Orkneys and Shetland Isles, as 
well as in Ireland, where some half-dozen notices of its 
capture have been recorded. It is, however, in the southern 
and eastern counties of England that the Roller has most 
frequently occurred. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Roller is a summer 
migrant to Central and Southern Europe, being more plentiful 
in the south, arriving in April and departing in August. It is 
found in Northern Germany, and breeds in Sweden as far as 
61 N. lat, and as far as St. Petersburg in Russia. Its eastern 
range extends to the Altai Mountains and to Cashmere, while 
it also occurs as far north as Omsk in Siberia. The winter 
home of the Common Roller is in Africa, where it reaches the 
Cape, passing through Egypt and through Eastern Africa to 
arrive at its winter home. The bird breeds in Cashmere, 
and apparently a few winter in North-western and Central 


India, but the bulk of the individuals bred in Asia probably 
turn west and migrate to Africa in a south-westerly direction, 
as do many other Asiatic birds. 

Habits. The Roller is strictly an arboreal species, and is not 
at all at home on the earth, where, doubtless, its flat-soled 
feet are not adapted for walking. Nevertheless, it seeks for 
most of its food on the ground, but in a Picarian manner, 
that is to say, by darting on its prey from a perch, like a 
Bee-Eater or a Kingfisher. Mr. Seebohm observes : " A 
favourite mode of feeding adopted by the Roller is to sit on 
some clod of earth or other vantage-ground and wait patiently 
until it sees a beetle or a locust moving, then to suddenly 
pounce down and capture the prize." It is also a frequenter 
of reed-beds, on which it is said to perch when on the look 
out for frogs. 

The name of Roller is applied to this bird on account of 
its curious habit of " rolling " or tumbling in the air, like a 
Tumbler-Pigeon. Sometimes a whole flock of Rollers will 
indulge in this strange evolution, and Canon Tristram relates 
how he saw large flocks of Rollers on migration near Mount 
Tabor in Palestine, on the i2th of April. One of these 
flocks congregated on some trees near a fountain, and made 
as much noise as a colony of Rooks. " After a volley of 
discordant screams, one or two birds were observed to start 
from their perch and commence a series of gambols and 
somersaults in the air; then in a moment or two the whole 
flock followed their example, this strange performance being 
repeated many times in succession." 

The same, author writes of this species : " Brilliant and 
conspicuous, both in plumage, note, and manners, the Rollers 
attract attention everywhere, and are found in every kind of 
country alike woodland, plain, desert, ravines, ruins, always 
perching where they can see and be seen." They are by no 
means entirely forest-loving birds, and are found in well- 
timbered country as well as in the open plains, where there 
are plenty of trees, on which the Rollers love to perch on some 
conspicuous branch, where their bright colour renders them 
visible for a long distance off. 

The note of the Roller is very harsh, and is rendered by 


Mr. Seebohm as {c wrack, wrack," something like the sound 
made by a ratchet-drill. In Spain, according to Mr. Howard 
Saunders, the note is rendered by the words " Carlanco, 

The Roller is a late breeder, and never commences to lay 
before May, often not until the end of that month in some 

Nest. Very slight, or none at all. The bird selects a con- 
venient hole in a tree, a building, or even in a bank, and 
though not a gregarious bird at the nesting-time, it has been 
found in Palestine, by Canon Tristram, nesting in holes in a 
bank, excavated by the birds themselves. The nest is a slight 
structure of twigs or grass with hair or feathers, but when the 
hole of a tree is selected, or a deserted Woodpecker's hole 
used as a nesting-place, the eggs are deposited on chips of 
wood, without any attempt at a nest. 

Eggs. From four to six in number, rounded in shape, and 
glossy white. They measure: axis, 1-5 inch; diam., 1*15 


Coracias abyssinicus, Bodd. Tabl. PI. Enl. p. 38(1783); See- 
bohm, Brit. B. ii. p. 331 (1884); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. 
Mus. xvii. p. 19 (1892). 

Coracias leucocephalus> Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 272, note 

Adult Male. Exactly like C. garrulus, but with the outer 
tail-feather on each side produced to a great length; bill 
black; feet greenish-yellow; iris brown. Total length, 18 
inches; culmen, 1*05; wing, 67; tail, 5-4; outer tail-feather, 
11*3 ; tarsus, 0*85. 

Eange in Great Britain. Two specimens of this most unlikely 
visitor to Great Britain are said to have been obtained in 
Scotland. Mr. Small, the well-known taxidermist of Edin- 
burgh, states that the male was shot near Glasgow about the 
year 1857, and was preserved by him. A female bird was 
shot, not long afterwards, about forty miles from the place 


where the male had been shot. Like Mr. Howard Saunders 
(I.e.), I give the story "for what it is worth." 

Range outside the British Islands. This Roller is an inhabitant 
of the Soudanese Sub-region of Africa, and is found in Sene- 
gambia, on the Niger, and extends to North-east Africa. It 
has never been found in any other part of the African con- 
tinent, and no more improbable visitor to the north of Europe 
could well be imagined. 


Coracias indicus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 159 (1766); Sharpe, 
Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xvii. p. 10 (1892). 

Adult Male. General colour drab-brown, slightly glossed 
with oily-green; rump greenish-blue, washed with purple; 
wing-coverts greenish-blue, the lesser coverts bright purplish- 
blue; quills also purplish-blue, the inner secondaries like the 
back, the primaries with a broad sub-terminal band of silvery- 
blue, decreasing in size towards the centre of the wing ; centre 
tail-feathers green, the remainder purplish-blue at the base, 
succeeded by a broad band of silvery-cobalt, and ending in 
a band of purplish-blue ; crown and nape green, with a 
greenish-blue eyebrow ; base of forehead sandy-buff, succeeded 
by a shade of purplish-lilac ; sides of face, throat, and chest 
purplish-lilac, the feathers streaked with greenish-white shafts ; 
breast lilac-brown; abdomen, thighs, and under wing- and 
tail-coverts silvery-cobalt ; bill blackish-brown ; feet brownish- 
yellow ; eyelid and naked skin round the eye pale gamboge ; 
iiis greyish-brown. Total length, 12 inches; culmen, 1^5; 
wing, 7-3; tail, 5*0; tarsus, 0-95. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male in colour. Total length, 
12 inches; wing, 7' 15. 

Eange in Great Britain. A Roller was shot at Muckton, near 
Louth, in Lincolnshire, on the 27th of October, 1883, by a 
cottager, and was entered in the Migration Report for 1883 
(p. 47) as Coracias garrulus. The specimen in question has 
now become the property of Mr. John Cordeaux, and turns 
out to be the Indian Roller. 


Range outside the British Islands. A well-known inhabitant of 
the Indian Peninsula and Ceylon, ranging westwards through 
Baluchistan to Persia, and even to Asia Minor. 

Habits. Similar to those of Coradas garrulus. 


The Owls have generally been considered to be Birds of 
Prey, and to form a part of the Order Acdpitriformes^ 
which embraces all the Vultures, Hawks, and Ospreys. The 
Owls, however, possess so many peculiar characteristics, that 
by many modern zoologists they are considered to be very dis- 
tinct from Hawks, and there is a good deal to be said as to 
their separation from that group of birds, but I cannot admit 
the wide divorce which Dr. Gadow seeks to introduce between 
the Acripitres and the Slriges. According to the paper pub- 
lished by the last-named gentleman (in the " Proceedings " 
of the Zoological Society for 1892, pp. 229-256) on the "Classi- 
fication of Birds," the Owls come under his Order Coraciiformes t 
following the Parrots (Psittad\ but also included in the same 
Order as the Swifts, Trogons, and the bulk of Picarian Birds. 
That the Parrots should come between the Picarians and the 
Owls seems to be a very feasible proposition, for there are 
many Parrots which have Owl-like propensities, and even a 
Strigine appearance ; but, when all things are considered, the 
Owls must be reckoned more Birds of Prey than anything else, 
and even Dr. Gadow has to admit that the bill and feet in his 
Sub-order Striges are " raptorial " and nothing else, even if his 
other characters are more or less Picarian. 

It must also be remembered that the Owls are related to the 
Acdpitres through the Pandiones^ i.e., the Ospreys, or Fishing- 
Eagles, which, like the Owls, have the fourth toe reversible, 
while the proportions of the tibio-tarsus and the tarso-meta- 
tarsal bones are exactly the same as those of the Owls. Among 
the latter, also, there are several species of Fishing-Owls which 
have bare feet, and the soles covered with spicules like the 
Ospreys. However much, therefore, we may regard the Owls 


as forming a separate Order, these features of relationship with 
the Ospreys must never be overlooked. 

Owls are distinguished, as a rule, by their soft and downy 
plumage and by their large and rounded heads, with the eyes 
directed forwards, not laterally placed as in Eagles and Hawks. 
The face is generally, but not always, surrounded by a disk of 
stiffened feathers, a feature only seen in the Harriers and 
Harrier-Hawks among the Acripitres. 

As the Owls are mostly nocturnal in their habits, the 
plumage is very soft and the flight noiseless, so that the birds 
are able to steal upon their prey without being heard ; and the 
wings are very broad, with soft webs to the quills, which pro- 
duce no sound when the bird is flying. The young birds, 
when hatched, are covered with down, generally white, but in 
some species black ; they are fed in the nest by the parent 
birds for a considerable time. 

The Owls may be divided into two Families, of which the 
Barn-Owl is the type of the Strigidce, while all the rest of the 
Owls belong to the Bubonidce, of which the Eagle-Owl may be 
taken as the type. 


In these birds the hinder margin of the breast-bone, or 
sternum, has two or more clefts or fissures; the furcula, or 
merry-thought, is free, and not attached to the keel of the 
sternum. There is no serration on the inner margin of the 
claw of the middle toe, and the latter is longer than the inner 

There are two Sub-families of the True Owls, the Bubcnince, 
which have the facial disk imperfect and less developed above 
the eye, and the Syrniince, in which the disk is perfect. 

In the Bubonincz are included all the Fishing-Owls (Ketupa\ 
the Eagle-Owls (Bubo), the Tufted Owls (Scops), the Snowy 
Owls (Nyctea), the Hawk-Owls (Surma), the Little Owls 
(Carine), the Burro wing-Owls (Speotyto), and the Pigmy Owls 
(Glandditim), besides some other tropical genera, of which we 
have no representatives in Europe, 



Bubo, Cuvier, Regne Anim. i, p. 331 (1817). 
Type, B. bubo (L.). 

These Owls may be first recognised by their large size, and 
by the long tufts of plumes on each side of the crown. The 

Sternum of Bubo bubo, to show notches and furcula. [From the 
Catalogue of Birds in the British Museum ] 

feet are thickly clothed with feathers, and the wings are not 
very long in comparison with the size of the birds, and do not 
reach to the end of the tail. 

The Eagle-Owls are found throughout the greater part of 
Europe, Africa, and Asia, extending to the Malay Archipelago, 
but not beyond, into the Australian Region. They are dis- 
tributed throughout the New World from north to south, being 
absent only in some of the districts unsuitable to their habits. 


Strix bubo, Linn. Syst Nat. i. p. 131 (i;66). 

Bubo ignavus, Forster ; Newton, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 168 

(1872); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 339, pi. 315 (1873); 

Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. ii. p. 14 (1875) ; B. O. U. List 

Br. B. p. 90 (1883); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 299 



Bubo maximus, Fleming; Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 428 (1840) ; Secb. 
Br. B. i. p. 187 (1883) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xi. 

Adult Male. Of large size. Blackish above, mottled and 
freckled with yellowish-buff or tawny markings; ear-tufts, 3^ 
inches in length, black, with tawny markings on the inner ones ; 
nape and hind-neck lighter than the rest of the upper surface, 
tawny-buff, with broad black centres and narrow black cross- 
lines ; scapulars externally whitish or pale tawny, with a few 
black cross-lines ; quills dark brown, barred with tawny-buff, 
the bars freckled with black, the inner webs for the most part 
tawny, with irregular black markings ; centre tail-feathers 
blackish, with buff vermiculations, the rest more or less dis- 
tinctly barred with tawny-buff, the inner webs bright tawny, 
with irregular blackish mottlings, more distinct towards the 
ends of the feathers ; lores and region of the eye whitish ; 
sides of neck like the hind-neck ; chin and fore-neck white, 
separated from each other by a band of tawny, black-centred 
feathers; crop tawny-buff; centre of breast white; rest of 
under surface tawny-buff, the chest-feathers streaked with 
black and spotted or barred with irregular lines of black; 
bill blackish horn-colour ; iris orange. Total length, 26 inches; 
wing, 18-6; tail, 11-2 ; tarsus, 3*2. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but larger. Wing, 18*2 

Nestling. Covered with down of a dull white colour. 

Range in Great Britain. Of rare and accidental occurrence. 
Many of the records doubtless refer to specimens escaped 
from confinement, as the bird is often kept in aviaries, and not 
unfrequently breeds in captivity. It is, therefore, difficult to 
determine whether the Eagle-Owls which have from time to 
time been recorded, have actually wandered to Great Britain, 
or have been escaped individuals. Some undoubtedly wild 
birds have, however, been taken in the Orkneys and Shetland 
Isles, on the mainland of Scotland, and in some parts of Eng- 
land ; so that there can be no doubt that the bird occasionally 
visits us from the Continent. The statement of its occurrence 
in Ireland is untrustworthy, as the specimen recorded by Dr. 


Burkitt, as shot in Co. Waterford on the 2yth of January, 
1851, after being ascribed to B. virginianus, proved on examina- 
tion to be the South African Bubo maculosus, and was doubt- 
less of the same origin as the Gold-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus 
capensis (see Vol. I., p. 318). 

Range outside the British Islands. Generally distributed through- 
out Europe and Northern Africa, being replaced in Central 
Asia by Bubo turcomanus^ a pale form which extends west- 
wards into South-eastern Russia, and which has occurred in 
the Himalayas. The typical form is said to re-occur in 
Eastern Siberia and Corea, and to extend to China, and a 
specimen from the Goto Islands, about fifty miles to the west 
of Nagasaki, is in the Norwich Museum. So far as is known 
the Eagle-Owl has never occurred in the Japanese Islands, the 
bird so identified having proved to be Bubo blakistoni^ which 
also inhabits Corea and North-eastern Siberia. 

Habits. The Eagle-Owl is one of the largest and one of the 
most ferocious of all the nocturnal Birds of Prey, and even in 
confinement has been known to attack its owner without any 
provocation. It creates great havoc among the larger game, 
and devours not only Grouse, but Rabbits and Hares, as well 
as Pheasants and Partridges. Mr. Seebohm states that in the 
northern forests it also feeds upon Crows and Jays, as well as 
devouring mice and rats. 

The Eagle-Owl breeds early, laying its eggs in March or in 
the beginning of April, and generally selects the old nest of 
some other bird. It sometimes chooses the hole of a tree, but 
not unfrequently nests on the ground or usually on the ledge 
of a rock. 

Although this fine Owl generally hunts by night, it is not much 
disturbed by the daylight, and is able to take excellent care of 
itself, while the nest is often in an exposed situation, in the full 
glare of the light. Several observers who have tried to shoot the 
parent birds at the nest, admit that this is nearly impossible to 
do, as the birds appear to notice the intruder, however care- 
fully concealed. 

Nest. None to speak of, and sometimes consisting merely 
of a slight hollow in the ground. The young are often found 


resting on the debris of the animals caught by the old birds, 
and the heaps of castings thrown up by the latter, no other 
attempts at a nest having been made. 

Eggs. Two or three in number. Like those of other Owls, 
they are white, but are somewhat rough in texture. They are 
easily distinguished by their large size, measuring as follows : 
axis, 2'i5-2'55 inches; diam., i'85-i'95. 


Scops, Savigny, Descr. de PEgypte, p. 291 (1809). 

Type, Scops scops (L.). 

These little Tufted Owls are really diminutive representa- 
tives of the great Eagle-Owls, from which they are easily dis- 
tinguished by their small size, though they have the same 
elongated " ear-tufts," or bunches of erectile plumes, on the 
side of the crown, as their larger relatives. They have re- 
latively longer wings than the Eagle-Owls, but are much 
more strictly nocturnal in their habits than the latter birds. 
Though Mr. Seebohm separates them under the genus Scops, he 
says that he only did so for the sake of convenience. This may 
be the case, if external appearances only are to be taken into 
consideration, but there can be no doubt that a careful com- 
parison of anatomical and osteological characters would un- 
doubtedly show that the two genera are distinct. For our 
purpose, the size of the two birds is sufficient, and there need 
be no difficulty in recognising the largest Scops from the 
smallest Bubo. 


Sirix scops, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 132 (1766). 

Scops aldrovandi, Macgill. Br. B. iii. p. 422 (1840). 

Scops giu, Newt. ed. Yarr. Br. B. i. p. 173 (1872); Sharpe, 

Cat. B. Brit. Mus. ii. p. 47 (1875); Dresser, B. Eur. 

v. P- 329, pi. 314 (1876) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 89 

(1883); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part in. (1886); Saun- 

ders, Man. p. 297 (1889). 
Scops scops, Seeb. Brit. B. i. p. 193 (1883). 

Adult Male. Above grey, mottled all over with vermiculations 

and pencillings of brown or blackish, with central streaks of 
black down the shafts of the feathers; ear-tufts grey, exter- 
nally sandy-brown, with white cross-markings; hind-neck 
greyer than the back; outer web of the scapulars white or 
buff, broadly tipped with black, and so forming a more or 
less distinct shoulder-patch ; wing-coverts like the back, the 
median and greater series with large spots of white on the 
outer web ; sides of face grey, with a few dusky cross-lines, the 
ear-coverts with a sandy tinge, especially below the eye ; 
behind the ear-coverts a crescent-like line of black, extending 
on to the sides of the neck ; chin whitish ; throat and sides of 
neck clear grey, with brown cross-lines, and washed with orange- 
buff, the shafts of the feathers black ; under surface of body 
greyish, with more or less orange-buff, the black shaft-lines 
distinct, especially on the flanks ; feathers of the breast and 
sides of the body lighter, with whitish bars on most of them ; 
lower flanks and under tail-coverts white, with one or two 
sandy-buff bars, and scarcely any blackish vermiculations ; 
thighs and tarsal plumes orange-buff, with a few brown bars ; 
bill black ; toes brown ; claws white at base, nearly black at 
tip; iris yellow. Total length, 7-5 inches; wing, 5*9; tail, 
2 -9 ; tarsus, 0*95. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, 8 inches ; 
wing, 6-15. 

The Small Tufted Owl, usually called the Scops Owl, is 
readily distinguished by its size from the other Tufted Owls of 
Europe, such as the Eagle-Owl, the Long-eared, and the Short- 
eared Owls. The members of the genus Scops are distributed 
over the greater part of the globe, with the exception of the 
Australian Region, and it is as well to remind my readers that 
the European species is easily recognisable by the description 
and figures of the bird quoted above. This warning is the more 
necessary, as I have had some little Tufted Owls submitted to 
me at the British Museum which proved to be Scops brasiliensis 
and other exotic species, which could only have been escaped 
specimens, or individuals brought from afar to deceive the 
unwary and obtain the ridiculous price which is often paid for 
specimens asserted to have been captured in Great Britain. 

The American Tufted Owl (Scops aslo] has been said to have 


been twice captured in England, once in Yorkshire and once 
in Norfolk; but neither Professor Newton nor Mr. Howard 
Saunders attach any credence to the statements, and the 
occurrences are probably on a par with those accompanying 
the alleged record of Scops brasiliensis and others, with which 
I am familiar. 

Range in Great Britain. Only a very occasional visitor, which 
has occurred in all three kingdoms. It has been obtained in 
several English counties, and at least three of the captures in 
Norfolk are deemed authentic ; and it has been recorded from 
Essex, Yorkshire, Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, 
Wiltshire, Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, Lancashire, and Cumber- 
land, One record from Sutherlandshire is also admitted, as 
well as three from Ireland. 

Range outside the British Islands. Generally distributed over 
Central and Southern Europe, but not extending into the 
northern provinces or into Scandinavia. In winter it migrates 
into North-eastern Africa and Senegambia ; but in Africa 
generally a dark form, S. capensis, is found, and to the east- 
ward the Tufted Owls are represented by several allied races, 
the exact ranges of which have not been yet satisfactorily de- 

Habits. The Small Tufted Owl is almost entirely a nocturnal 
bird, feeding chiefly on insects, but also devouring occasionally 
mice and shrews, and, according to Naumann, small birds and 
frogs. Its presence is generally detected by its note, for the 
bird is seldom to be seen, though, according to some observers, 
it flies about in the daylight; as a rule, however, this little 
Owl only emerges from its retreat in the evening, when it 
sallies forth in quest of its food. The note is described by 
Mr. Seebohm as monotonous as a passing bell, and almost as 
melancholy. "To my mind," he says, "this note is exactly 
represented by the syllable ahp t repeated in an unvarying and 
desponding strain every ten or twenty seconds. This bird is 
generally, if sparingly, distributed all over Greece, from the 
seashore almost, if not quite, up to the pine-regions on the 
mountains. I have often listened to the note as I lay in my 
camp-bed in a peasant's cottage at Agoriane, half-way up the 
Parnassus, where it was almost too cold to sleep with comfort ; 

G 2 


and I have heard it from the hotel at Buyukdere, on the Bos- 
phorus, when, with window wide open, the heat made it still 
more difficult to pass the nLht in happy unconsciousness even 
of ornithological sounds." By most observers the note is said 
to be "kiu," whence its scientific name of giu. 

The Small Tufted Owl comes back to Europe in March, 
and migrates south again in September and October, though a 
few remain in Southern Spain during the winter, as Colonel 
Irby has observed them in January. 

Nest. Little or none, as with most Owls. The site generally 
selected by this little species is a hole in a wall, or more often 
in a hollow tree, where the nest, such as it is, is principally 
composed of the castings of the old birds. 

Eggs. Five or six in number ; pure white and nearly round. 
Axis, i'2-i*3; diam., i'i-i'i5. 


Nycfea, Stephens, Gen. Zool. xiii. pt. 2, p. 63 (1826). 

Type, Nyctea nyctea (L.). 

The genus Nyctea contains but one species, the great 
Snowy Owl, which is easily recognised by its white plumage 
and its thickly-feathered toes. Its dense plumage shows that 
it is an inhabitant of the Arctic Regions, and it is, moreover, a 
day Owl, like its smaller relation, the Hawk-Owl (Surnia). It 
differs from the Eagle-Owls in the small size of the " ear-tufts," 
and in most individuals these are so small as not to be dis- 
tinguished from the general plumage of the head, so that, as a 
rule, the Snowy Owl is classed as one of the un-tufted series 
of Owls. A specimen from Archangel in the British Museum, 
however, shows that ear-tufts are sometimes present, and I 
believe that I was the first to draw attention to this fact in the 
"Catalogue" of the Striges in the British Museum (Cat. B. 
ii. p. 125). 

Only one species of the genus Nyctea is known, inhabiting 
the northern regions of the Old and New Worlds. 


Strix nyctea, Linn. S. N. i. p. 125 (1766). 
Syrnia nyclea, Macgill. Br. B. iii. p. 407 (1840). 



Nyctea scandiaca (L.), Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 187 
(1872); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 287, pi. 310 (1873); 
Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. ii. p. 125 (1875); B. O. U. 
List Br. B. p. 87 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. Brit B. p. 293 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xviii. (1891). 
Surnia nyctea^ Seeb. Brit. B. i. p. 177 (1883). 
(Plate XXXVI.) 

Adult Male. Pure white above and below, with a longitu- 
dinal spot of brown on the hinder crown and on the wing- 
coverts ; on the quills a few remains of brown bars, and on the 
tail-feathers a small spot near the end of the central rectrices ; 
bill and claws blackish horn-colour; iris deep yellow. Total 
length, 23 inches; wing, 167 ; tail, 9'6 ; tarsus, about 2*1. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a trifle larger. Total 
length, 26 inches; wing, 18*3. 

Young Birds. Not so pure white as the adults, with bars of 
dusky-brown both above and below, the quills and tail being 
also banded. 

There can be no doubt that the Snowy Owl becomes whiter 
with age, and that the very old individuals lose their markings 
almost entirely, though it is a question whether the females 
ever become perfectly snow-white and lose their spots and 
bars. American specimens appear to have the toes more 
thickly clothed with feathers than European examples. 

Nestling. Cpvered with down of a sooty-brown colour. 

Range in Great Britain. An occasional visitant, occurring 
chiefly in winter, and being noticed nearly every year in the 
Orkneys and Shetland Islands. It has also been recorded 
many times from Scotland, as well as on various occasions in 
England and Ireland. Although many of the Snowy Owls 
winter in the vicinity of their arctic home, it is plain that a 
considerable southward migration takes place, and Thompson 
mentions that a flock of these Owls accompanied a ship half- 
way on the voyage between Labrador and Ireland, while Mr. 
Seebohm one morning found a couple perched on the masts 
of the ship in which he was returning from the Petchora round 
the North Cape, and when the vessel was out of sight of land. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Snowy Owl is an in- 
habitant of the high north in both Hemispheres, and breeds 


beyond the region of forest-growth. Colonel Feilden, during 
the voyage of the Alert towards the North Pole, found this 
Owl nesting in Grinnell Land as high as 82 33' N. lat. It 
arrived there on the 2gih of March and left at the end of 
August. In some of its northern haunts, however, the Snowy 
Owl is but a straggler, as is the case in the Faerce Islands, 
Iceland, and Spitsbergen, though it is common and chiefly a 
resident in the Kola Peninsula, Novaya Zemlya, Waigatz Land, 
and Franz Josef Land. In Russia its breeding-range occasion- 
ally extends farther south, and in winter it wanders (in some 
seasons occurring in some numbers) as far south as the United 
States, and to many of the countries of Europe, while it has 
even been found in Turkestan and the Indus Valley. 

Habits. The Snowy Owl is a bird of the tundra, or barren 
grounds, and nests in the Arctic Regions of both Hemispheres 
beyond the limit of forest-growth. Its distribution is some- 
what affected by the abundance of Lemmings, which con- 
stitute its principal food, as Professor Newton says, occa- 
sionally " following those destructive little Rodents along the 
mountain ranges to lower latitudes, generally keeping, however, 
on the fells. It is thus often found to breed abundantly in a 
district wherein for many years before it had only been known 
as a straggler." Mr. Nelson states that in Alaska, in a good 
Lemming year, the Snowy Owls have been seen dotting the 
country here and there, as they perched on the scattered knolls, 
and they then make their nests on the ground, on the sides of 
the hills. 

Besides the Lemming, which constitutes its principal food, 
the Snowy Owl feeds on Hares and other game, particularly 
Grouse and Ptarmigan, and it has been known to accompany 
sportsmen and seize the birds as they fell, before the hunter 
could recover them. It is also said to catch fish, and will 
pursue and hunt Ducks and other water-fowl. The note of 
the bird, when on the wing, is said by Wheelwright to be a 
loud " krau-au," repeated three or four times, but it is seldom 
heard unless the bird is excited. 

Nest. Made of a little moss or lichen, with a few feathers. 
The eggs are often laid upon the bare ground, or in a little 
hollow scooped in the reindeer-moss. They are not laid all 


at once, but apparently at a considerable interval, so that nest- 
lings of all sizes, as well as freshly laid eggs, are found in the 
same nest, the warmth of the more advanced young birds 
doubtless contributing to the hatching of the more recently 
laid eggs. 

Eggs. Six to eight in number, occasionally more ; creamy- 
white, rather rough in texture, and more elongated than those 
of the Eagle Owl, which they nearly equal in size. Axis, 2'j- 
2 '3 inches; diam., 1-65-1 -8. 


Surnia^ Dumeril, Zool. Anal. p. 34 (1800). 

Type, S. ulula (L.). 

The members of the genus Surnia are two in number, one 
species being found in Europe and Northern Asia, and the 
other in North America. They are much smaller than the 
Snowy Owl, which they resemble in their habit of hunting by 
day, and like that species, the Hawk-Owls have no elongated 
ear-tufts on the head. The tail, too, is much longer than in 
the Snowy Owl, being nearly of the same length as the wing, 
and is wedge shaped, the feathers being graduated. 


Strix utu!a, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 133 (1766). 

Surnia ulula, Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 301, pi. 311 (1872); 

Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. ii. p. 129 (1875); B. O. U. 

List Br. B. p. 88 (1883). 
Siirnia funerea, Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xiii. (1890). 

Adult Male. General colour above sepia-brown, with bars of 
white ; scapulars externally pure white, forming a longitudinal 
patch j crown white, barred with dark brown, the bars broader 
towards the nape, which is white with a few brown shaft-lines 
and margins on the feathers ; a large black patch on each side 
of the neck ; lesser and median wing-coverts like the back, 
with large oval spots of white ; quills ashy- brown, with bars 
of lighter brown, the primaries tipped with white, the second- 
aries more broadly ; tail ashy -brown, with nine narrow bars of 
dull white, purer white on the inner web ; an indistinct eye- 


brow, as well as the sides of the face, white ; the ear-coverts 
tipped with black, and forming a crescentic line down the 
hinder margin of the latter ; throat white, separated from the 
chest, which is also white, by a band of dusky-brown feathers ; 
remainder of under surface white, narrowly banded with brown, 
the bars less distinct on the lower abdomen, but again pro- 
nounced on the under tail-coverts; bill light yellow; claws 
blackish-brown; iris bright yellow. Total length, 14 inches; 
wing, 97; tail, 7*5; tarsus, about i'o. 

Young Birds. Resemble the adults, but are more dingy-brown 
in colour, and do not show the white spots on the scapulars 
and wing-coverts so distinctly ; the white on the throat and 
fore-neck is also less distinctly indicated. 

The Hawk-Owl is easily recognised from the other British 
species of Owl by its long and wedge-shaped tail, and by its 
regularly banded under surface. 

Range in Great Britain. Although some half-a-dozen specimens 
of Hawk-Owls have been obtained in Great Britain, it would 
seem that the European species comes but seldom, and it is the 
American species which principally visits us. Such British 
specimens as have been examined by competent judges have 
proved to be Surnia funerea and not S. ulula^ but of the latter 
I exhibited a specimen before the Zoological Society in 1876, 
which had been shot near Amesbury in Wiltshire, and which 
was an undoubted European Hawk-Owl. Doubtless the spe- 
cimen obtained in the Shetlands, which was destroyed by moth, 
was also a wanderer from Scandinavia. 

Range outside the British Islands. Throughout the pine-regions 
of the northern parts of Europe and Northern Asia to Kamt- 
chatka, Mr. Seebohm says that the Siberian bird differs from 
the European form in having the under-parts purer white, and 
the dark parts darker and greyer. It has occurred in Alaska. 
The winter range of the Hawk-Owl does not extend far to the 
south of its breeding area, but it occasionally visits Denmark 
and Northern Germany, and has occurred in Poland, Austria, 
and Northern France. It also winters in Central and Southern 
Russia, but in Northern Turkestan it is a resident, and has not 
been found migrating farther south. 


Habits. The name of " Hawk "-Owl is very well applied to 
this species, as in many of its ways it is more like a Hawk 
than an Owl, and has even a Hawk-like note. It pursues its 
prey in the daylight, and is a fierce and daring bird, often 
attacking a man in defence of its nest. Like the Snowy Owl 
it feeds largely on Lemmings, and follows the migrations of 
this small rodent. It will also devour mice, and even larger 
game, such as the Willow-Grouse, but likewise eats insects. 

Nest. None ; the eggs being laid in the hole of a tree, on 
the chips of the wood at the bottom of the nest-hole. This 
Owl will also take possession of nesting-boxes placed for Ducks 
to breed in. 

Eggs. From five to eight in number ; white, and somewhat 
smooth and glossy. They are laid at different intervals, as 
with the Snowy Owl, and incubation lasts from about the 
middle of April to the middle of June. Axis, i -5-1 -65 ; diam., 


Strix funerea, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 133 (1766). 

Syrnia funerea, Macgill. Brit. B. iii. p. 404 (1840). 

Surnia funerea, Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 183 (1872); 

Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 309, pi. 312 (1872); Sharpe, Cat. 

B. Brit. Mus. ii. p. 131 (1875); B. O. U. List Brit. B. 

p. 88 (1883); Seeb. Br. B. i. p. 183 (1883); Saunders, 

Man, Brit. B. p. 295 (1889). 

Adult 7-Iale. Similar to S. ulula, but having the bars on the 
tinder surface of the body broader and more of a vinous-brown 
or rufous colour ; bill yellow ; iris bright yellow. Total length, 
15 inches; wing, 9-5 ; tail, 8 - o. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male in colour, and of about 
the same size. Total length, 14 inches; wing, 9*2. 

Range in tie British Islands. Four instances of the occurrence 
of this American species in the British Islands are authentic : 
one in Cornwall, in March, 1830; another near Yatton in 
Somersetshire, in August, 1817 ; one near Glasgow, in Decem- 
ber, 1863; and a fourth near Greenock, in November, 1868. 
The two other occurrences of Hawk-Owls have already been 
referred to as belonging to the European form, 


Range outside the British Islands. An inhabitant of the northern 
portion of North America, extending its winter range to the 
northern border of the United States. 

Habits. Very similar to those of the European species, and 
the bird is distinguished by the same fierceness with which it 
will attack anyone who ventures near its nest. According to 
Mr. L. M. Turner's observations in Alaska, the Hawk-Owls 
fly equally well by night or by day. 

Nest. None ; the bird generally selecting a hole in a tree, 
as with the European species. Mr. Ball relates that in the 
Lower Yukon River he found the bird breeding in the top of 
an old birch-stub about fifteen feet from the ground, the eggs 
being deposited on the bare wood, and being incubated by the 
male bird. 

Eggs. Similar in size and appearance to those of the Euro- 
pean Hawk-Owl. 


Carine^ Kaup, Nat. Syst. Vog. Eur. p. 29 (1829). 

Type, C. noctua (L.). 

The Little Owls form a small group of about six species, 
which are found in Central and Southern Europe, North-east 
Africa, and through Central Asia to Northern China, as well 
as throughout the Indian Peninsula and the Burmese countries. 
In no case does the size of these small Owls exceed 8 inches 
and they have, moreover, a curious swollen pea-shaped nostril, 
in which the nasal opening is pierced. The wing is rounded, 
the first primary not falling very far short of the tip of the 
second. The fifth primary has an indentation on the inner 
web, which is escalloped like the first four quills. The toes 
are thickly feathered at the base, and the hind part of the 
tarsus is always concealed by plumes. These Little Owls of 
the genus Carine must not be confounded with the Pigmy 
Owlets (Glauddium\ of which no example has yet been found 
in Great Britain, though there is a species found in Europe, 
viz., Glauddium passerinum. The Pigmy Owlets occur in 
nearly every part of the World, with the exception of Australia 
and the Austro-Malayan Islands. 



Strix noctua, Scop. Ann. i. p. 22 (1769). 

Syrnia psilodactyla^ Macgill. Br. B. iii. p. 417 (.1.840).. 

Carine noctua, Newt. ed. Yarr. Br. B. i. p. 178 (1872); Sharpe, 

Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 133 (1875). 
Noctua noctua,) Seebohm, Br. B. i. p. 174 (1883). 
Athene noctua. Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 357, pi. 317 (1871), 

B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 91 (1883); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. 

part iii. (1886); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 291 (1889). 

(Plate XXX VII.} 

Adult Female. Size small. Brown, with oval white spots, more 
or less concealed by the feathers of the upper-parts; quills 
brown, notched with white on the outer web, and barred with 
white on the inner one ; upper tail-coverts brown, barred with 
white; tail-feathers brown, tipped with whitish, and crossed 
with four bands of whity-brown ; head brown, streaked with 
triangular spots of white ; a patch of white on the nape ; face 
white, the ear-coverts marked with brown ; under surface of 
body white, with a band of brown across the fore-neck, the 
breast and abdomen streaked with brown, the flanks with a 
few brown bars ; under tail-coverts streaked with brown ; quills 
brown below, spotted on the outer webs, and barred on the 
inner webs with yellowish- white ; bill yellow, slightly tinged 
with greenish ; feet greyish-yellow ; iris yellow. Total length, 
1 1 -5 inches; wing, 67; tail, 3-5; tarsus, 1-3. 

Adult Male. Similar in colour to the female, but a trifle 
smaller. Total length, 8*5 inches ; wing, 6*0; tail, 3*0; tarsus, 

Young Birds. More dingily coloured than the adults, and 
more broadly streaked on the under surface ; the white mark- 
ings on the upper surface rather more distinctly indicated. 

Range in Great Britain. An accidental visitor to England 
only, not having, as yet, been recorded from Scotland or 
Ireland. The Little Owl is so often kept in confinement that 
escaped specimens cannot be rare, and consequently it is very 
difficult to say whether an occurrence of the species in Eng- 
land is due to an accidental visit from the Continent, or 
whether the individual in question has escaped from confine- 


ment. Fifty years ago Waterton set some specimens free in 
Yorkshire, and this experiment has been since tried by several 
naturalists, notably Mr. St. Quintin in Yorkshire, Lord Lil- 
ford in Northamptonshire, and Mr. Meade-Waldo in Hamp- 

Range outsida the British Islands. Europe generally, but only an 
occasional visitant to Scandinavia. In South-eastern Europe 
the colour is decidedly paler and a rufous race, Carine glaux, 
which is found in Egypt and Palestine, extends to Persia. 
Thence a race, with thickly-feathered toes, C. bactriana, takes 
its place in Central Asia, and ranges into Northern China. 

Habits. The Little Owl is as much diurnal as nocturnal in 
its habits, and feeds upon mice, small birds, and all kinds of 
insects, grasshoppers, moths, beetles, &c. I can cordially re- 
commend this bird as a tame and amusing pet, and one which 
will speedily clear a kitchen of black-beetles. Two tame 
Owls of this species were most useful in this respect, as, un- 
fortunately, in the suburb of London in which I resided some 
ten years ago, black-beetles were a very disagreeable reality. 
Hedgehogs in the kitchen at night were undoubtedly useful, 
but the best sport was obtained with my Little Owls, of which 
I had a pair. Every night the gas was turned low, and the 
Owls sat on our hands like trained Hawks. Their bright little 
eyes were turned in every direction, and the advent of a beetle 
was announced by a vigorous "bobbing" of Iheir heads. 
Before I could see the noxious insect, the Owls would leave 
their perch on my hand and noiselessly glide down and cap- 
ture the unsuspecting horror. Then they would stand over it, 
with one wing spread out, as if to protect the savoury morsel 
from the vulgar world, which knows not the delicacy of a black- 
beetle. Then grasping it in their toes, holding it like a Parrot, 
as if with a hand, they would munch it up contentedly, till not 
even an antenna was left to mark the place of slaughter. How 
many beetles one of these Owls would kill in an evening would 
be difficult to say. I used to leave them on the gas-bracket to 
woric out their role of extermination, but the mess that they 
made during the night ended in a " revolt of the daughter," 
backed up by the servants, and they had once more to be 
banished to their cage in the garden. 


Mr. Seebohm says that the flight of the Little Owl reminded 
him very much of that of a Bat. " It was not an undulating 
flight, but a steady, slow, beating of the wings, without any 
apparent exertion ; and yet there was a butterfly-like uncer- 
tainty about it, as if it continually changed its mind and slightly 

altered its course At Athens it was very common 

on the Acropolis, and was evidently breeding in holes in the 
rocks and ruins. In the Parnassus we often heard its curious 
note, cuc-koo-vali -ee, cuc-koo-vaK -ee^ and were told that it re- 
mained there all the year. It may be seen perched on a tree, 
a rock, or on the roof of a house." 

Nest. None, or a small collection of rubbish gathered in 
the vicinity. The Little Owl breeds from the middle of April 
to the middle of May, and the nest is placed in a hollow tree, 
or in the cleft of a rock, or in the roof of a house, and Mr. 
Seebohm says that he has seen one under the roots of a tree. 

Eggs, Four to six in number; pure white, and oval in 
shape. Axis, 1*3-1 '4 inches; diam., ro5-i'i5. 

With the next genus we commence the Sub-family Syrniince^ 
to which it is difficult to apply an English name, as the Sub- 
family embraces Owls of very different appearance, some of 
them having ear-tufts, as in the genus Asia, while the Wood- 
Owls (Syrnittm and Nyctala) have no tufts on the head. All 
the members of the Syrniince. have the facial disk complete, 
extending as far above the eye as it does below it, and the 
ear-conch is larger than the eye, and is closed by a very 
distinct operculum. 


Asia, Briss, Orn. i. p. 28 (1760). 
Type, Asia of us (L.). 

These Owls are distinguished by the very distinct tufts of 
feathers, or "horns/' on the head, \vhich are always present, 
though they are longer in some species than in others. The 
cere is also strongly marked, and is longer than the oilmen. 
Seven species of Horned Owls are known, and they are found 
in the greater part of the Old and New Worlds, but they 



appear to be absent in West Africa, the Malayan Sub-region, 
Australia, and Oceania, though a species occurs in the Sand- 
wich Islands and another in the Galapagos Islands. 


x otus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 491 (1766); Seebohm, Br. 

B. i. p. 1 60 (1883). 
otus, Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 453 (1840) ; Newt. ed. Yarr. 

Brit. B. i. p. 158 (1872); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. ii. 

p. 227 (1875); Dresser, B. Eur. p. 251, pi. 303 (1876); 

B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 86 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. Br. 

B. p. 283 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xxiii. 

(1893)- ' 

Adult Male. Blackish-brown above, mottled all over with 
orange-buff; all the dorsal plumes silvered with white, with 
vermiculations of dark brown ; scapulars and greater wing- 
coverts with a large oval spot of white on the outer web ; quills 
greyish-brown, with hoary tips, barred with darker brown, 
more broadly on the primaries, which have the interspaces 
orange-buff, the dark bars more broken up on the secondaries ; 
tail-feathers greyish-brown, with orange-buff at the base, and 
crossed with seven bands of darker brown, the bands being 
ten in number and narrower on the outer feathers; head pale 
orange buff, the feathers centred with black, and vermiculated 
with dusky on the sides; feathers on the sides of the neck 
much whiter, the cross-lines nearly obsolete ; frontal feathers 
greyish-white, with minute brown frecklings; ear-tufts i finches 
long, blackish, more or less orange-buff on the outer web and 
white on the inner one ; face dusky-white, the feathers round 
the eye blackish ; feathers of ruff white, all the feathers tipped 
with black, forming a frill ; chin whitish ; rest of under surface 
of body orange-buff, the breast-feathers for the most part white, 
centred longitudinally with blackish-brown, with a few cross 
vermiculations ; bill dusky horn-colour ; claws horn-colour ; 
iris orange-yellow. Total length, 13*5 inches; wing, ir6; 
tail, 6-0 ; tarsus, 1*6. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male in colour and of about 
the same size. Total length, 14 inches ; wing, 11-5 ; tail, 6-5 j 
tarsus, 1*6. 


Young. Coloured like the adults, but the markings not so 
pronounced. The nestling is covered with grey down, with a 
good deal of orange-buff. 

The slender body, with the long ear-tufts, the black streaks 
on the breast-feathers, and the blackish cross-markings on the 
plumage, distinguish the Long-eared Owl from all the other 
British species. Its smaller size prevents its being mistaken for 
the Great Eagle-Owl. 

Range in Great Britain. Wherever pine-woods or fir-plantations 
occur throughout the British Islands, the Long-eared Owl is to 
be found, and there is scarcely a county in which it is not a 
resident, while in Ireland, Mr. Ussher states that it is common 
in most counties, and breeds in every one of them. It nests 
in the Hebrides in favourable localities, but is only a visitor to 
the Orkneys and Shetland Islands. A considerable increase in 
the number of the species takes place in the autumn, when a 
good many migrate into our islands. 

Range outside the British Islands. In its favourite haunts, the 
present species is distributed over the greater part of Europe, 
and extends throughout Southern Siberia to the Japanese 
Islands, occurring also in the Himalayas, where it appears to 
breed, and it winters in wooded districts in the plains of India. 
In Scandinavia and Northern Russia it ranges as high as 63 
N. lat. and to 59 in the Ural Mountains. The birds which breed 
in many parts of Europe are only found to do so in the moun- 
tain forests, and in winter they descend to the lower ground. 
The species is also found in the Azores, Madeira, and the 
Canaries, and also inhabits Northern Africa. In North America 
the Long-eared Owl is replaced by a darker race, Asio ameri- 

Habits. This Owl is a strictly nocturnal species and is seldom 
found in the day-time, though, if disturbed and frightened, it 
will fly out into the daylight, which does not seem to incon- 
venience it much. As evening closes in, however, it becomes 
more active, and commences to hunt in the twilight. It seems 
never to make a nest for itself, but will appropriate the old 
nest of any other bird which appears suitable. Thus the nests 
of Crows, Magpies, Sparrow-Hawks, or Wood-Pigeons may 
be used, and th:se are merely slightly flattened, and a little 


wool is sometimes found in them, as well as the pellets or 
castings of the birds. In many of the fir-clumps on the downs 
of our southern counties, a pair of Long-eared Owls may be 
found, the nest being in the most retired and darkest por- 
tion of the clump, where no sunlight penetrates. Here the 
Owls rest during the day, either side by side, or perhaps drawn 
up against the trunk of a fir, and perfectly motionless. On 
the approach of dusk, however, their awakened interest is 
manifested by a snapping of the bill, a noise which can be 
heard a long way off; and they may be seen quartering over 
the ground with a slow and noiseless flight, though I have 
never seen them play or tumble in the air, as Barn-Owls will 
often do. They never appear to hoot, but are described as 
uttering a barking kind of note, and also "mewing" like a 
young kitten. Mr. Norgate, who has contributed some in- 
teresting notes on the species to Mr. Seebohm's " History of 
British Birds," believes that this " cat "-like note is that of the 
young birds, but at Avington in Hampshire, where Captain 
Shelley and myself have found several nests, this noise, which 
Mr. Norgate has so correctly described, was often heard by us, 
but there were no young in the nests we examined, and there- 
fore it is probably also uttered by the old birds. The food of 
this species consists of mice, rats, and small birds. 

The Long-eared Owl breeds early in the year, and eggs have 
been found at the end of February. Besides the above-men- 
tioned nests adopted by the species, it will also occupy an old 
Squirrel's drey, or even the nest of a Heron. 

Nest. As mentioned above, this species does not build a 
nest itself, but uses the old nest of a Squirrel or some bird. 

Eggs. From four to six, sometimes seven. They are some- 
what oval in shape, pure white, and slightly glossy. Axis, 1*5- 
1*8 inch; diam., i'i5-i*35 inch. 


Strix acripitrina. Pall. Reis. Rnss. Reichs. i. p. 455 (1771). 
Asio brachyotus (Forst), Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 461 (1840); 

B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 86 (1883); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. 

B. part xi. (1889). 


Asia acripitrimiS) Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. 13. i. 163 (1872); 

Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. ii. p. 234 (1875); Dresser, B. 

Eur. v. p. 257, pi. 304 (1876); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 

285 (1889). 
Strix brachyotus, Seeb. Br. B. i. p. 167 (1883) 

Adult Male. General colour above pale ochraceous-buff, with 
longitudinal dark brown centres to the feathers, imparting a 
streaked appearance ; scapulars much paler on their outer mar- 
gins ; quills rufous-ochre, tipped with whitish, and inclining to 
fulvous near the base, all the feathers chequered with dark brown 
bars, much narrower on the inner web; tail-feathers ochraceous, 
tipped with whitish, and crossed with seven continuous brown 
bars on the centre ones, reduced to five on the outer ones, 
where the bars are much narrower and disappear near the 
base ; plumes of forehead dark brown, narrowly margined with 
ochraceous ; facial ruff whitish, slightly washed with ochre, and 
having minute triangular spots of dark brown ; facial aspect 
dull white, the lores brownish, the region of the eye black ; 
ear-tufts half an inch long and coloured like the crown ; chin 
whitish ; remainder of under surface of body buffy-white, 
washed with golden-buff on the breast and sides, the breast- 
feathers broadly streaked with brown down the centre, these 
streaks becoming very narrow on the lower breast and abdo- 
men, and disappearing on the thighs and under tail-coverts ; 
under wing-coverts white, faintly tinged with ochre, with a 
blackish patch on the outer lower greater coverts ; bill brown- 
ish-black ; claws brownish-black; iris orange. Total length, 
14 inches; wing, 12-4; tail, 6-5 ; tarsus, 175. 

Adult Female Similar in colour and markings to the male, 
but deeper in colour, especially on the under surface, which is 
rich ochre ; the bands on the centre feathers six in number, 
four or five on the outer ones. Total length, 15-5 inches; 
wing, 12-5. 

Young Birds. Similar to the adults, but much darker, and 
having the quills underneath clouded with brown, without any 
transverse bars, and having a dark brown spot or bar about 
half way down the first primary. 

The Short-eared Owl is easily distinguished from the Long- 
8 H 


eared Owl oy me shortness of the ear-tufts and by the absence 
of minute cross-vermiculations, which are so plentiful in the 
Long-eared Owls, the feathers being broadly striped with brown 
both above and below. 

Range in Great Britain. The Short-eared Owl breeds in such 
haunts as are suitable to it in the north of England and in 
Scotland, as well as in the Orkneys and Shetlands. It also 
nests sparingly in the eastern counties of England. In Ireland 
it occurs as an autumn and winter visitant, but is not included 
as a breeding species in the latest list of Mr. R. J. Ussher. 
Over the greater part of England it is chiefly met with in 
autumn and winter, when a considerable migration of the 
species takes place. 

Range outside the British Islands. Unlike the Long- eared Owl, 
the present species has not been recorded from Iceland, though 
it occasionally wanders to the Faeroe Islands. It nests through- 
out Northern Europe, and even in South Russia and the Cau- 
casus, while it probably breeds throughout Northern Asia, as 
it has been found to do so in Eastern Siberia and Kamtchatka. 
Throughout the central and southern countries of Europe it is 
known as a migratory species, and it also passes through China 
on migration, to winter in Southern China, Burma, and the 
Indian Peninsula. 

In the New World the Short-eared Owl is found from the 
Arctic Regions to the very extreme of South America. Slightly 
modified forms are met with Asio galapagensis, in the Gala- 
pagos Islands, and in the Sandwich Islands, Asio sandwichen- 
sis. A dark species, Asio capensis, is met with in South Africa, 
and occurs also in Marocco and Southern Spain, and is said to 
interbreed with our own Short-eared Owl. With the exception 
of Australia and the Malayan Peninsula and islands, our bird 
may be said to have an almost cosmopolitan range, though it 
is doubtful whether it ever extends in winter below North- 
eastern Africa, the sole evidence of its having been met with 
in South Africa resting on a specimen sent alive to the Zoo- 
logical Gardens many years ago, and said to have come from 

Habits. In winter time and during the shooting-season, the 


Short-eared Owl is often flushed in open ground, such as tur- 
nip-fields, especially towards the end of October, when the 
general migration of the species takes place in England, about 
the time of the coming-in of the Woodcock. From the latter 
circumstance it is probably called in so many places the 
" Woodcock " Owl, or this name may also be acquired by its 
similarly twisting flight. It is essentially a bird of the open, 
and I have even seen it on the south coast, frequenting the 
banks and reedy ditches of Pagham Harbour in Sussex, where 
I once shot an early migrant on the 3rd of September. It 
flies well in the daylight, and may often be seen hunting for 
food in the full glare of the sun, which seems to incommode 
this species but little. It feeds on all the small Rodents, and 
was of great use during the vole-plague in 1892, when the 
Short-eared Owls came to the rescue of the farmers, and as 
many as four hundred of their nests were found in the infected 
districts of Southern Scotland. The same flocking of Owls 
occurred during a similar plague many years ago in the Forest 
of Dean in Gloucestershire. The Short-eared Owl is also said 
to feed on small birds, as well as occasionally on bats, fish, 
reptiles, and beetles. During his recent expedition to the 
Salvage Islands, which lie between Madeira and the Canaries, 
Mr. Ogilvie-Grant found two pairs of Short-eared Owls on the 
largest island of the group, where they found plenty of food in 
the shape of a powerful little mouse, which fed in turn on the 
unfortunate Petrels (P. marina) which were breeding in num- 
bers on the summit of the rocky island. 

Nest. On the ground, often in quite an exposed situation. 
No regular nest is made, the eggs being laid in a depression 
of the ground, or in a tuft of heather, in the moorland 

Eggs. From six to eight in number, and sometimes as many 
as twelve have been found. They are generally laid in May, 
but have also been found as early as the first week in April. 
The eggs are very much like those of the Long-eared Owl, 
white, and with scarcely any gloss. Mr. Seebohm says that 
some examples can scarcely be distinguished from those of 
the Hawk- Owl. Axis i '55-1 '65 inch ; diam., 1-2-1-3. 

H 2 


Syrnium, Savign. Descr. de 1'Egypte, p. 208 (1809). 

Type, S. aluco (L.). 

Although the Wood-Owls have the same curious ear-conch 
as the Horned Owls, they may easily be distingushed from 
the latter by the absence of ear-tufts, and by the cere being 
shorter than the culmen. The bony shell of the ear-conch 
is similar in form on either side of the skull, both sides of 
which are symmetrical, whereas in Nyctala (vide infra, p. 103) 
the opposite is the case. 

The Wood-Owls are found all over the New World from 
north to south, and also over the greater part of the Old 
World, with the exception of the Australian Region. 


Strix aluco. Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 132 (1766); Newton, ed. 

Yarr. Br. B. i. p. 146 (1872). 
Ulula ahuo, Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 438(1840); Seeb. Br. B. i. 

p. 154 (1883). 

Syrnium aluco, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. ii. p. 247 (1875); 
Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 271, pi. 306 (1879); B. O. U. List 
Br. B. p. 87 (1883); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 267 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. partxi. (1889), parts xxii. 
and xxv. (1892-93). 

(Plate XXXVIIL) 

Adult Male. General colour above ashy-grey, with generally 
a slight tinge of rufous, the feathers with dark longitudinal 
centres and zigzag cross-lines, imparting a vermiculated ap- 
pearance to the whole of the upper surface ; outer scapulars 
with a large oval spot of white ; quills light brown, barred 
with darker brown, the quills freckled with dusky at the tips, 
and on the light ashy or rufescent bars which are seen on the 
outer web ; tail brown, mottled with ashy spots and lines, the 
outer feathers with dark brown bars, about six in number ; 
head rather greyer than the back, considerably mottled with 
white spots, especially on the hind-neck ; lores and feathers 
round the eye whitish; ear-coverts ashy with dusky-brown 
bars ; tail-feathers profusely barred with white or buffy- white 
and dusky-brown; under surface of body ashy-white, with 



distinct black longitudinal centres to the feathers, which are 
also laterally barred and freckled, but not always completely 
banded ; quills dark brown below, with about six lighter bars, 
those near the base yellowish-white ; bill whitish horn-colour ; 
claws horny- white at base, darker at tip ; iris blue-black. 

Rufous Phase. Exactly like the grey phase in plumage, but 
rufous where the other is grey or brown. 

Nestling. Covered with greyish-white down, the first feathers 
yellowish, with dark-brown cross-markings ; bill ivory-white at 
the end of both mandibles. 

Range in Great Britain. The Tawny Owl is found in most of 
the wooded districts of Great Britain, though it is said to be 
decreasing in numbers, owing to the persecution it is sub- 
jected to on account of its supposed destructiveness to game. 
It is, perhaps, more plentiful in the northern districts of Eng- 
land than in the south, and is distributed over the greater part 
of Scotland, as well as the Isle of Skye and some of the inner 
Hebrides. It has not been found in Ireland. 

Range outside the British Islands. Distributed throughout the 
greater part of Europe and Northern Africa, and extends to 
Palestine and Syria. It is plentiful in Norway up to Trondh- 
jem Fiord, but is rarer to the north. In Sweden it is not 
found so far north, and does not extend to Archangel. In 
Eastern Russia the limit of its range is said to be lat. 58, 
and it has been met with in the Caucasus, but not, so far as 
known, in Siberia. In the Himalayas it is represented by a 
distinct form, Syrnium nivicolum, and this is probably the 
species which occurs in Turkestan. Mr. Seebohm considers 
this eastern form of the Tawny Owl to belong to the same 
species as our European bird, but in this; coricjusaon he is-, 
certainly mistaken. ; \ 5\* \ V 

Habits. The Tawny Owl is, as a rule, 
habits, and seldom flies in the daylight*. t J 
it has been driven from the dark recesses' in which it loves to 
pass the day, it may be seen perched on a large bough or 
against the trunk of a tree, absolutely immoveable, and appa- 
rently incapable of any action in the sunlight. Usually, how- 
ever, it seeks repose in the day-time in some dark hollow of an 


ancient tree. As night approaches, the Tawny Owl becomes 
more active, and its note is often heard " hoo-hoo, hoo- 
hoo-hoo," a wailing cry, which resounds to a considerable dis- 
tance, and is certainly not one of the least interesting sounds 
of a still summer night. 

The food of the Tawny Owl consists of small Rodents and 
insectivorous Mammals which stir forth in the dark, and it will 
also eat frogs and fish, and occasionally small birds, while its 
occasional onslaughts on young game-birds and rabbits are not 
to be gainsaid. 

Nest. In defence of its nest this Owl is sometimes very bold, 
and will swoop down and attack the intruder. The nesting- 
place is very varied, and although generally to be found in a 
hollow tree or an old ivy-covered ruin, or even an outhouse, the 
bird will sometimes select an old nest of some other bird, such 
as a Rook, a Magpie, or a Sparrow-Hawk, while its nesting in 
rabbit-burrows has also been chronicled, to say nothing of such 
curious sites as a disused dog-kennel, as related by Mr. A. W. 
Johnson in Mr. Seebohm's work on British Birds. The same 
gentleman also states that he has known the eggs to be laid on 
the bare ground, " somewhat concealed by the thick foliage of 
the lower branches of a fir." 

Eggs. Three or four in number ; white, smooth, and rather 
glossy. Axis, 175-1-95 inch; diam., 1-5-1-6. 


Nyctala, Brehm, Isis, 1828, p. 1271. 

Type, N. tengmalmi (Gm.). 

{ r -The species-: of i;he genus Nyctala are diminutive represen- 
tatives of the' Wood-Owls, but they differ from all the species 
;e'h;gemis y7?itutn in their small size, and in the curious 
eonfosrfnaiibn' of 'the ear-conches, which are different on either 
side of the head, as has been pointed out by Professor Collett, 
of Christiania. 

This may have something to do with the sense of hearing in 
the genus Nyctala, but nothing is known on this point. Apart 
from the small size of the birds, the thick feathering of the 



toes distinguishes Nyctala from Syrnium^ as far as the British 
avifauna is concerned. 

The Saw-whet Owl (Nyctala acadica) of North America has 
been said to have occurred in Yorkshire, but the occurrence is 
not considered genuine. 


Strix tengmalmi, Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 291 (1788); Seeb. Br. 

B. i. p. 164 (1883). 

Ulula tengmalmi) Macgill. Br. B. iii. p. 445 (1840). 
Nyctala tengmalmi, Newt. ed. Yarr. Br. B. i. p. 154 (1872) ; 

Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 319, pi. 313 (1872); Sharpe, Cat. 

B. Brit. Mus. ii. p. 284 (1875) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 

88(1883); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 289(1889); Lilford, 

Col. Fig. Br. B. part xxx. (1895). 

(Plate XXXIX.} 

Adult Male. General colour above light brown, plentifully 
spotted and mottled with white, especially on the scapulars, 
where the white markings are very conspicuous ; fore-part and 
sides of crown rather darker than the back, with numerous 

Skull of Tengmalm's Owl, to show the position of the ear-conches 
(after Collett). 

triangular spots of white, with a "wig" of looser plumes on the 
hind-neck, where the plumage is fuller, these parts being barred 
with white ; the median and greater coverts with large oval 
spots of white on the outer web; quills brown, tipped with 
greyish, spotted on the outer web, and broadly notched on 


the inner web with white; tail brown, with five rows of white 
bars ; face white, with the lores and a large patch in front of 
the eye black ; ruff very distinct, and composed of dark brown 
feathers, thickly spotted with white ; this ruff continued under 
the chin, which is white, as also the fore-neck ; remainder of 
under surface of body white, mottled with brown markings, 
especially on the breast, the flanks streaked with brown, the 
breast more spotted ; under wing-coverts white, with small 
brown spots ; the greater series ashy-brown, spotted with 
white, like the inner lining of the quills, which are ashy- 
brown below, barred with white, the bars larger and more 
ovate on the secondaries ; bill dull yellow ; iris bright yellow. 
Total length, 9-5 inches ; wing, 67 ; tail, 4/4 ; tarsus, 075. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but slightly larger. Total 
length, io'5 inches; wing, 7*5 ; tail, 4*8 ; tarsus, o'85. 

Young. Differs considerably from the adult. Chocolate- 
brown, darker on the sides of the face and ear-coverts ; lores, 
fore-part of cheeks, and eyebrow white, with blackish bristles 
on the former ; scapulars and upper tail-coverts with concealed 
white spots ; tail brown, with three rows of white spots, not 
continuous ; under surface of body chocolate-brown, the breast 
and abdomen mottled with white ; feathers of the thighs and 
feet, as well as the under tail-coverts, yellowish white, with a 
few brown spots. 

Tengmalm's Owl is often confounded with the Little Owl 
(Carine noctua), but there ought to be no difficulty in dis- 
tinguishing the two species. Both are devoid of horns, like 
the Tawny Owl, but Tengmalm's Owl is a more northern 
bird, and more thickly clothed with feathers than the southern 
Little Owl. The plumage is altogether more dense and softer 
in the first place, and the species can at once be distinguished 
by the feathering which covers the toes, leaving the claws only 
discernible. In the Little Owl the feathering of the toes is 
much more sparse, and the joints of the toes are plainly visi- 
ble. Tengmalm's Owl is also a darker bird, and is very 
plainly spotted with white on the head, and especially on the 
facial ruff. The face, too, is pure white, with a very con- 
spicuous black patch on the lores and in front of the eyes. 

Range in Great Britain. An occasional visitor in spring and 


autumn. Less than twenty authentic records of the occurrence 
of the species within our limits have been published, and prob- 
ably not more than sixteen or seventeen are genuine. The 
counties in which Tengmalm's Owl has been captured are 
Northumberland, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent, and 
Somerset, Shropshire, Lancashire, and Cumberland, most of 
these instances having occurred during autumn. Two Scot- 
tish records are known, one in the Orkneys, and one in the 
Firth of Forth, but no specimen has yet been procured in 

Kange outside the British Islands. Tengmalm's Owl is an in- 
habitant of the mountain regions of the Old and New Worlds, 
for I have never been able to discover the specific distinctness 
of the American form, the so-called Nyctala richardsoni. It 
is an inhabitant of the pine-forest region south of the Arctic 
Circle from Scandinavia to Eastern Siberia, and again in 
North America. In Lapland it breeds as far north as 68 
N. lat., in the Ural Mountains up to 59 N. lat. On the 
River Ob Dr. Finsch obtained it in lat. 61, and Mr. See- 
bohm's collectors have sent specimens from Krasnoyarsk in 
Siberia. The species is plentiful in Eastern Siberia round 
Lake Baikal, and also as far as Sidemi in Ussuri Land, but 
has not yet been detected in Kamtchatka. 

In winter Tengmalm's Owl migrates to a certain extent, but 
is not found very far to the south. It breeds in the Car- 
pathians and the Alps in the forests, as well as in the Vosges 
and the mountains of South-eastern France. 

Habits. Although principally a nocturnal species, Teng- 
malm's Owl does not appear to be incommoded by the day- 
light ; and, indeed, in the northern localities where the species 
breeds, the sun never sets, and there is scarcely any difference 
between night and day. Its food consists of small rodents, 
such as mice and lemmings, as well as insects and small 
birds, and Taczanowski states that in Eastern Siberia this 
little Owl is detested by the trappers, as it is continually being 
taken in the snares set for the Ermine, and the bird is there- 
fore considered a nuisance. 

Wheelwright says that the note of Tengmalm's Owl is a 
soft whistle, which is heard only in the evening and at night. 


M. Godlewski, a well-known Siberian traveller and collector, 
speaks of one of these birds which became very tame in con- 
finement, and imitated the crowing of a cock, the howling of 
a dog, and the cries of other domestic animals. 

Nest. None. The eggs are generally placed in a hollow 
tree, the holes of the Great Black Woodpecker being often 
used ; and Wolley, to whom we owe much of our knowledge of 
the breeding habits of the present species, obtained some eggs 
from the nest-boxes which are put by the inhabitants for the 
Golden-eye Duck to breed in. These nesting-places are formed 
of pieces of logs, hollowed out and with a hole cut in the side. 
The bird breeds early in May, even in its northern home, and 
eggs were taken by Wolley at the end of May and during 

Eggs. From four to seven, and, Mr. Howard Saunders says, 
occasionally as many as ten. They are white, and vary in 
shape, some being rounder and some more elongated. Axis, 
i'3 inch; diam., 1*05. 


Apart from their peculiar and unmistakeable visage, the 
White Owls differ from all the other members of the Order 
Striges in two easily recognisable characters. One of these 

Middle toe of Strix flammea> to show the pectination of the claw. 
[From the Catalogue of Birds in the British Museum, vol. ii. p. 290.] 

consists in having the inner and middle toes of about equal 
length, while the middle toe has a pectinated or comb-like 
edge on its inner aspect. 



Another character is seen in the sternum, or breast-bone, 
which has no fissures or clefts in its hinder margin, and at the 
same time the furcula, or " merry-thought," is joined to the keel 
of the sternum. 

The White Owls are almost cosmopolitan, and are found 
even in the Pacific Islands. There are two sections of White 
Owls, which may be distinguished as Barn-Owls and Grass- 
Owls, the latter, as their name implies, frequenting dense grass- 

Sternum of Strix flammta^ to show the junction of the furcula and the 
outline of the hinder margin. [From the Catalogue of Birds in the British 
Museum, vol. ii. p. 289.] 

land. Both the known species of Grass-Owls are easily recog- 
nised by their uniform brown upper surface, instead of having 
vermiculations on the back, like the Barn-Owls, and they are 
often separated by naturalists under a separate genus, Scelo- 
strix. One of the species, S. capensis, inhabits South Africa, 
while the second, S. Candida, is found in India and China, 
the Philippines, North Australia, and re-occurs in the Fiji 

StriX) Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 133 (1766). 

Type, S.flammea (L.). 
The Barn-Owls, on the other hand, are birds which love the 


dark recesses of a building or a tree, rather than the open 
grass-country. Seven forms of the Common Barn-Owl are 
recognised by naturalists, but these birds vary in plumage 
considerably, and they are all so closely connected by inter- 
mediate forms, that it is difficult to say where one race ends 
and another commences its range. 

The most distinct of the Barn-Owls are the large Strix 
castanops and S. novcz hollandice, of Australia, all the other 
species being merely forms of the ordinary Barn-Owl (S. 
flammed]. Some of these, however, are fairly recognisable as 
races, especially the pale form, S. delicatula, of Australia and 
Oceania, and the island races from the Cape Verd Islands 
(Strix insularis\ and the Galapagos Islands (Strix punctatis- 
sima), both of which are very dark and thickly-spotted forms. 

I am still under the same impression as in 1875, when I 
wrote the second volume of the " Catalogue of Birds," that 
"there is one dominant type of Barn-Owl which prevails 
generally over the continents of the Old and New Worlds, 
being darker or lighter according to different localities, but 
possessing no distinctive specific characters." 


Strix flammea, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 133 (1766); Macgill. Brit. 

B. iii. p. 473 (1840) ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. ii. p. 291 

(1875) ; Dresser, B. Eur. i. p. 237, pi. 302 (1879); B. O. 

U. List Br. B. p. 85 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 

281 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xiv. (1890). 
A In co flammeus. Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit B. i. p. 194 (1872); 

Seeb. Brit. B. i. p. 148 (1883). 
(Plate XL.} 

Adult Male. General colour above orange-buff, with white 
spots at or near the end of each feather, relieved by a corre- 
sponding spot of blackish; the back and scapulars mottled 
with silvery -grey ; quills orange-buff, shading off into whitish 
near the base and on the inner webs, the secondaries rather 
deeper orange, tipped with whitish, the innermost secondaries 
mottled with grey like the back ; tail whitish, washed with pale 
orange, the centre feathers slightly speckled with brown, these 
markings disappearing towards the outer feathers, which are 



entirely white ; face pure white, with a patch of rufous in front 
of the eye ; feathers of the ruff glistening white, those on the 
upper-part washed with orange, the lower feathers sub-termin- 
ally orange with a tiny apical margin of blackish, rather more 
distinct on the gular portion of the ruff; rest of under surface 
of body pure white, as well as the thighs and under tail- 
coverts ; under wing-coverts also white, the lower primary 
coverts greyish, like the lower surface of the quills, which are 
greyish- white underneath ; bill nearly white ; claws brown ; iris 
black. Total length, 13 inches; wing, II'Q; tail, 5*0; tarsus, 


Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, 13 inches, 
wing, ii'o. 

The above description refers to the ordinary Barn-Owl as it 
is usually seen in England ; but on the continent of Europe a 
darker form occurs, remarkable for its dark grey upper surface, 
whereon very few of the lighter markings and spots are dis- 
cernible, while the under surface is also deep orange, with 
numerous " arrow-head "-shaped spots of dusky-brown. This 
dark form is occasionally found in Great Britain, but very 
rarely, and these individuals may be visitors from the Conti- 
nent, perhaps from Schleswig, where only the dark phase of 
the Barn-Owl is met with. Mr. De Winton recently pre- 
sented to the British Museum a pair of birds from Workum 
in Friesland, which proved to be a male and female of the 
dark-phased Barn-Owl, showing that the difference between 
the light and dark forms is not dependent on age or sex, as 
indeed is known from both males and females of our British 
bird being white-breasted. 

Nestling. Covered with pure white down, the face slightly 

Range in Great Britain. The Barn-Owl is found all over Great 
Britain, and breeds in all the counties of England and 
sparingly also in every count'' o*" Ireland. In Scotland, too, 
it is found nesting in small numbers as far north as Caith- 
ness and in the Inner Hebrides, but in decreasing numbers 
beyond the Lowlands. 

Range outside the British Islands. As already stated, the Barn- 
Owl is nearly cosmopolitan, but it does not range very ar 


north, either in the Old or New Worlds; about 40* N. lat. and 
40 S. lat. being the limit of the Barn-Owl on the American 
continents. In many places it is a local bird, and seems to 
extend its range with civilisation, following in the footsteps 
of man, in the vicinity of whose homesteads are abundance 
of mice. 

In Europe the Barn-Owl nests no farther north than the 
south of Sweden and the Baltic Provinces. It extends to 
Central Russia and is then apparently absent throughout the 
whole of Siberia and Northern Asia, as well as China. It is 
likewise unknown in Greece and the countries of South- 
eastern Europe, but is found in Northern Africa and Pales- 
tine, and throughout the whole of Africa. It likewise extends 
in slightly modified forms over the entire Indian and Austra- 
lian Regions, being also found in the islands of Oceania. 

Habits. The Barn-Owl is a nocturnal species, and never 
ventures out in the daylight of it own accord. In the twilight, 
however, it issues forth, and in Avington Park in Hampshire, 
where the late Sir Edward Shelley protected them, I have 
seen two and three of these pretty birds flying about in the 
early evening, over the bracken, and playing with each other in 
the air. Their movements were full of grace and activity, as 
they sailed over the ferns and gambolled with each other in. 
the most playful manner. The number of mice which a Barn 
Owl catches in a single night is truly astonishing. Water- 
ton says that the birds will bring a mouse to their nest every 
twelve or fifteen minutes, and a nest in Avington Park was 
found by us to have over forty freshly-killed field-mice, which 
must have been caught during the preceding night. Where 
encouraged the present species will take advantage of any tub 
or shelter put up for its accommodation, and will nest freely. 

The food of the Barn-Owl consists principally of mice, but 
it will also catch rats and bats, as well as voles and shrews, 
and small birds, while it has also been known to take fish. 
It is a great friend to the farmer and gardener, and does no 
harm to game, so that it ought to receive protection from every 
landed proprietor and game-preserver ; instead of which it 
ss to be feared that ignorant prejudice against the Owls still 
contrives the slaughter of a number of these useful birds. 


although of late years their services in the destruction of 
vermin has been more generally recognised. 

Nest. None. Sometimes the eggs are surrounded by cast- 
np pellets, but no regular nest is made. The eggs are laid in 
May, seldom as early as April, but young birds have been 
found as late as November and December. 

ggs. I-rom three to seven in number ; white, with little or 
no gloss. Axis, 1-5-17; diam., ri-i'3. 


Without fully enumerating the many anatomical and osteo- 
logical characters which distinguish these birds, it is sufficient 
to note that Accipitrine Birds have a desmognathous, or 
"bridged," palate, and the external characters are easily recog- 
nisable. Thus the hooked and raptorial bill is peculiar to the 
Birds of Prey, taken in conjunction with the cere, or bare skin 
at the base of the bill. The Passerine Family of Shrikes, or 
Laniidce have also a hooked or raptorial bill, but they have no 
cere, and lack the powerful talons which are also a conspicuous 
feature in the Accipitres. The young birds are covered with 
down, and remain in a helpless condition in the nest for a 
considerable period, being nurtured by the old birds on animal 
food. As a general rule, the female is a larger and more 
powerful bird than the male. 


The Ospreys occupy an intermediate position between the 
Owls and the typical Birds of Prey. The skeleton is especially 
Owl-like, but the eyes are placed laterally in the head, and there 
is no facial disk. Like the Owls, however, the outer toe is 
reversible, and is capable of being turned forwards or back- 
wards, a great advantage to a fish catching bird, and the sole 
of the foot is covered with numerous small spicules, which are 
of great advantage to the Osprey in holding its finny prey. 

The range of the Ospreys is almost cosmopolitan, and there 
is only one species representing the Sub-order. The Osprey 


of Australia and the Moluccas is a smaller bird, but cannot be 
considered a distinct species, while the American Osprey I 
consider to be absolutely identical with the ordinary bird of 
the Old World. 

There is but one genus in the Sub-order, namely the genus 
Pandion, Savigny, Descr. de 1'Egypte, p. 272 (1809). 

Type, P. haliaetus (L.). 
the characters of which have been alluded to above. 


Falco haliaetus^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 129 (1766). 

Pandion haliaetus^ Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 239(1840); Newton, 

ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 30 (1871); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. 

Mus. i. p. 449 (1874) ; Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 139, pi. 

387 (1876) ; Sceb. Br. B. i. p. 55 (1883) ; B. O. U. List 

Br. B. p. 105 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 347 (1889). 

Adult Male. General colour above dark brown, the feathers 
with indistinct edges of paler brown ; quills blackish, the 
primaries uniform whity-brown below, the secondaries whitish 
on the inner web, and indistinctly barred with ashy-brown ; 
tail almost uniform brown, the inner webs whitish with obso- 
lete bars of ashy-brown ; head brown, mottled with white 
bases to the feathers; from behind the eye a broad white 
streak, extending down the sides of the neck ; the ear-coverts 
blackish-brown ; sides of neck like the back ; sides of face 
and under surface of body white, the chin and fore-part of 
cheeks slightly streaked with dark-brown ; breast with brown 
centres to the feathers; some of the flank- feathers and the 
axillaries marked with rufous-brown, like the breast ; bill black, 
the cere blue ; feet blue ; iris yellow. Total length, 24 inches ; 
culmen, 175; wing, I9'8; tail, 9-5; tarsus, 2-4. 

Adult Female. Resembles the male in colour. Total length, 
21 inches; wing, 19-0. 

Young. Chocolate-brown, the feathers plainly edged with 
buffy-white, more broadly on the secondaries and upper tail- 
coverts; crown black, with white edges to the feathers, im- 
parting a streaked appearance ; nape white ; tail-feathers brown, 


tipped with white, and barred with sepia-brown and ashy- 
brown alternately. 

N33tling. Covered with sooty-brown down, the down of the 
centre of the back, along the bend of the wing, and on the 
breast and flanks dusky white ; the dorsal feathers dark 
brown, broadly tipped with ochraceous-buff; crown and ear- 
coverts blackish ; eyebrow and throat white. 

Eange in Great Britain. Though formerly said to breed on 
the south coast of England, and in the Lake district up to 
within a century ago, the eyries of the species are now con- 
fined to a few places in Scotland. The species is, in fact, 
threatened with extinction in the British Islands, as its eggs 
still command a high price, and therefore afford a strong 
temptation to the keepers of those few places in Scotland 
in which the species is still preserved. At present, however, 
the Osprey breeds in Scotland, but it is only owing to the in- 
telligent protection of a few landowners that the species has 
persevered so long as an indigenous British species. 

A considerable number of Ospreys occur in various portions 
of our islands, on the inland lakes and the sea- shores, especially 
in the estuaries of our southern rivers, and usually in autumn. 
Most of these specimens are young individuals, and it is only 
during these wanderings that the Osprey has occurred in Ire- 
land at all, though, as Mr. Howard Saunders remarks, there 
are in that island numbers of suitable places for its nidifica- 

Range outside the British Islands. The Osprey is found in nearly 
every part of the world, but only in pbces suited to its shy 
habits, and affording it a supply of its food. It breeds through- 
out Europe, Asia, and Africa, but in the latter continent it is 
probably only a migrant, though it nests on the Dahlak Islands 
in the Red Sea. In Australia and the neighbouring Moluccas, 
the Ospreys are smaller and rather darker in plumage, and 
have been separated as a distinct species under the name of 
Pandion leucocephalus. The Australian Ospreys, however, can 
only be looked upon as a smaller race of our European bird. 

Habits. The food of the Osprey consists entirely of fish, and 
on inl md waters it catches any kind that can be reached easily 

S I 


near the surface of the water, from Salmon and Trout down- 
wards to the smaller species. Its spiky soles and powerful 
talons enable it to hold the fish in security, and so tightly does 
it grasp its prey that the talons are unlocked with difficulty, 
and instances have been known of the bird having been 
carried below the water and drowned, when it has struck a fish 
stronger than itself. 

The favourite breeding-haunt of the Osprey is a forest where 
there is water in the vicinity, in which it can obtain a sufficient 
supply of fish, and solitude and quiet are the conditions which 
it loves best. In America, and even in certain parts of Europe, 
the bird is gregarious, and several pairs nest in company. Mr. 
Seebohm mentions an instance in which he observed them 
thus nesting on an island in a Pomeranian lake, and in North 
America as many as three hundred pairs of Ospreys have been 
known to breed in a similar situation. When hunting for its 
prey, this large Fishing-Eagle goes to work very much like a 
gigantic Kestrel, sailing quietly along above the water, and 
occasionally hovering over it, and then descending on the fish 
with a plunge which can be heard for a long distance. The 
bird is said often to disappear beneath the surface of the water, 
while at other times it appears to catch the fish with its talons 
without wetting its feet to any great extent. The close-set 
feathering of the thighs and the bare tarsus and toes are dif- 
ferent from the general aspect of an Accipitrine bird's leg, but 
the long thigh feathers and feathered feet of an ordinary Eagle 
would be decidedly a drawback to a bird like the Osprey, whose 
legs are so often in the water. 

Nest. This is a gigantic structure, whether it be placed on 
a tree or on some ruin in an inland lake. Mr. Seebohm 
writes : " From the great weight and bulkiness of the Osprey's 
nest, and from the fact that the same situation is resorted to 
for many years in succession, the branches which support it 
are not unfrequently distorted in growth and flattened. In 
other cases the Osprey has several favourite eyries in one 
chosen locality, and appears to utilise them in turn, like the 
White-tailed Eagle or the Peregrine. As a rule the largest tree 
in the forest, the patriarch of the timber, is selected to hold 
the nest, which is built at varying heights from the ground, 


sometimes on the topmost branches, flattened by its weight, 
more rarely at a distance of ten or twelve feet from the ground 
on one of the broad-spreading limbs. But, when the Osprey's 
nest is on ruins, it is often at a far less elevation, and when 
built on rocky islands, it is not unfrequently but a few feet 
from the ground, built amongst the grey lichens and tufts of 
polypody fern. On the southern shores of the Baltic, north of 
Stettin, surrounding the inland lakes which form the delta of 
the Oder, are vast forests which form a perfect paradise for the 
Osprey. Lonely forests within easy access of fresh-water lakes 
are the favourite breeding-places of this bird. He generally 
selects the loftiest tree in the forest, his main object being 
apparently to be able to rise at once from the nest without 
being incommoded by the branches of trees. Thus it often 
happens that the nest is visible at the distance of a mile. The 
structure is enormously large, and from three to four feet in 
diameter, and occasionally as high. It is usually placed upon 
the summit of a pine-tree, one having a dead top being pre- 
ferred. At the outside it extends so far over the branches that 
it is very often difficult to reach. The foundation is made of 
branches intermixed with decaying vegetable matter and sods ; 
the upper surface is flat, and consists of finer twigs covered 
over with green and dry grass, the eggs being laid in a slight 
hollow in the middle, not more than a foot across, and scarcely 
two inches deep." 

Eggs. The eggs of the Osprey are among the most beautiful 
of all of the Birds of Prey, and are very finely marked as a 
rule. The ground-colour is white, which is sometimes entirely 
hidden by the red or purple blotches which congregate at the 
larger end of the egg. Those with large blotches of colour 
are the commonest and at the same time the most handsome, 
for occasionally the markings are much smaller, and take the 
form of spots, streaks, and marblings, which are distributed 
over the whole surface. Axis, 2-35-2-6 inches; diam., 17-1-9. 

1 2 



The name Falcones has been adopted for the bulk of the 
Birds of Prey, because the Falcons may be considered the 
most typical of all the Hawks, but, as a matter of fact, the 
present Sub-order includes every Accipitrine Bird except the 
Ospreys and the Owls. From both of these groups of birds 
the Falcones differ in not having a reversible outer toe, and 
from the Owls they are further distinguished by the absence 
of the facial disk and the presence of a cere. 

Putting aside the American Turkey Vultures and the Con- 
dors, which form a separate Sub-order, and are quite distinct 
from the ordinary Birds of Prey, we may divide the remaining 
species into two main families, Vulturidce and Falconidce. 


The principle character by which a Vulture is known is by 
its bare head, which is either quite naked or only scantily 
clothed with down. There is generally a ruff of feathers or 
down round the neck, but true feathers are never developed 
on the crown of the head. The feet are strong, but are not 
formed for grasping, as in the rest of the Hawks, but rather 
for holding their prey firmly, while they tear it to pieces with 
their powerful bills. They feed almost entirely on carrion, 
and never capture anything in full flight. They are entirely 
peculiar to the Old World. 


Gyps, Savigny, Descr. de FEgypte, p. 232 (1809). 

Type, G. fulvus (Gm.). 

All the species of Griffon Vulture have down on the crown, 
and a ruff round the neck. They are all birds of large size, 
and have an immense bill, with a perpendicular oval nostril. 
The toes are very long, and the middle one even exceeds the 
tarsus in length. Their general colour is brown, sometimes 
rather tawny, in some species nearly white or creamy-white, 


while Riippell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) is remarkable for the 
whitish tips to the feathers of the upper surface. The Griffon 
Vultures are distributed over the Mediterranean Region in 
Europe, the whole of Africa, the Indian Peninsula, and the 
urmese provinces down to the Malayan Peninsula. 


ultur fulvuS) Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 249 (1788). 
Gyps fulvus, Newt. ed. Yarr. Br. B. i. p. i (1871); Sharpe, 

Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 6 (1874) ; Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 

373, pis. 319, 320 (1879) ; Seebohm, Hist. Br. B. i. p. 4 

(1883); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 91 (1883); Saunders, Man. 

Br. B. p. 301 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xxiii. 


Adult Male. Ashy-fulvous above, with a slight shade of grey 
on some of the feathers, some of which are darker brown, 
giving the bird a mottled appearance ; wing-coverts a little 
paler than the back, the greater series edged and tipped with 
creamy-white ; lower back and rump darker brown ; the upper 
tail-coverts pale ochraceous-buff ; quills and tail black, slightly 
shaded with brown, the secondaries broadly edged with ashy, 
the inner ones tipped with ochraceous-buff; ruff round the 
neck white, and composed of downy feathers; crop-patch 
brown ; under surface of body creamy-brown, with narrow 
whitish shaft-lines ; cere bluish-black ; bill yellowish-white 
horn-colour; feet lead- colour ; iris reddish-orange. Total 
length, about 40 inches ; culmen, 37 ; wing, about 29*0 ; tail, 
12-0; tarsus, 4*4. 

Adult Female. Smaller than the male (Newton). 

Young Birds. More tawny than the adults ; the ruff round 
the neck composed of lanceolate feathers, which are whitish, 
with tawny margins ; crop-patch rufous fawn-colour, like the 
rest of the under surface, with a whitish mark down the centre 
of each feather. Total length, about 38 inches ; wing, 27*0. 

The bird which I separated in 1874 as the Spanish Griffon 
(Gyps hispaniolensis) is now considered by ornithologists to 
be the young of G. fulvus, in which the ruff is downy instead 
of being composed of lanceolate feathers. I accept this verdict 
at present, but it is much to be desired that the changes of 


plumage in these Griffon Vultures was more thoroughly studied. 
Unfortunately for science, the habits of the Griffons and the 
food they eat, or rather, perhaps, the condition in which they 
eat it, renders the preservation of Vultures such an unsavoury 
task that it is very difficult to get any naturalist to undertake 
the task of preserving a series of specimens. My friend the 
late Mr. W. Davison, who skinned many Vultures, told me 
that he always poured a good dose of carbolic acid into the 
gullet of the birds, before he dared to attempt the task of 
skinning them. Anyone who sees the Bengal Vultures (Pseudo- 
gyps bengaknsis) sitting on the Towers of Silence in Bombay, 
row upon row, packed tightly side by side, and knows the 
name of the food that distends their crops, may be excused 
from wishing to make a Museum specimen of them, even 
if he saw that their state of plumage was interesting, or abso- 
lutely necessary to be described for a proper understanding of 
the life-history of the species. 

Range in Great Britain. A very rare and occasional visitor. 
Though rumours are afloat that other Griffon Vultures have 
been seen and recognised by competent observers, whose testi- 
mony would be received without hesitation by all ornitholo- 
gists, there is but a single example which is so far authenticated 
as British. In the spring of 1843, a specimen, which Mr. 
Howard Saunders affirms to be a young bird (i.e. a bird of 
the previous year), was caught by a boy on the rocks near Cork 
Harbour, and was presented by Lord Shannon to the Museum 
of Trinity College, Dublin, where it still remains. 

Range outside the British Islands. A bird like the Griffon, 
which undoubtedly wanders far in search of food, and, an 
absentee from a district on one day, is present on the next in 
numbers, if a battle has taken place, and food is plentiful, is 
not the easiest bird of which to trace the exact geographical dis- 
tribution. Furthermore, much of our information is a matter 
of conjecture, as few people bring back skins of the Vultures 
they see, that identification may be rendered certain. 

The Indian Griffon is allowed to be a separate race or sub- 
species under the name of Gyps fulvescens, Hume, but its 
range is very doubtfully determined, and so the eastern limits 
of the Griffon of Europe is still a matter of conjecture. 


Supposing that the Spanish Griffon is not distinct, a fact by 
no means yet proved with certainty, for lack of specimens, the 
range of Gypsfulvus may be said to extend over the Mediter- 
ranean countries, and probably extends far into the Soudan, as 
Major Denham brought one back from his adventurous journey 
across Africa. I often think that if the brave traveller had not 
brought a bulky Griffon's skin, but had collected small birds to 
the same extent, what an insight he might have given us to the 
avifauna of Central Africa, which remains an unknown quan- 
tity to the present day ! The European Griffon undoubtedly 
frequents North-eastern Africa and the Red Sea district, as 
far south as Aden, and extends eastwards through Asia Minor 
to Persia, and probably to Turkestan, though here the reigning 
species may be the Indian Gypsfulvescens. 

Habits. The Griffon Vulture preys exclusively on dead 
animals, and there can be little doubt that it seeks its prey 
entirely by sight and not by the sense of smell, as many ob- 
servers have suggested. Captain Willoughby Verner, who 
has climbed to many Griffons' eyries, says that the stench 
about the nests is dreadful, "an indescribable sickly odour." 
Mr. Seebohm writes : " The stench of the Griffonries is 
almost insupportable. The entrance to the cavern or cleft 
in the rock looks as if pails of whitewash had been emptied 
upon it ; and the effluvia of ammonia and putrefaction are 
overpowering to all but the most enthusiastic oologist. One 
visit to the nest of a Vulture is sufficient to dispose for ever 
of the theory that these birds hunt by scent, and are en- 
dowed with highly-sensitive olfactory nerves. The only con- 
dition in which the existence of animal life seems possible in 
a Griffonry, is in the case of animals absolutely devoid of any 
sense of smell whatever." 

When in flight, a Griffon Vulture is a grand bird, and will sail 
almost for a distance of a mile without once flapping its wings, 
and in the air they float round and round without a movement 
of the wings, probably by some inclination of the primaries, 
which sometimes seem to be curved upwards. In the Hima- 
layas I have seen them thus sweep over the tops of the high 
mountains and glide across the valleys with a sailing flight, 
till one could scarcely judge the distance, without any appa- 
rent movement of their wings. 


The Griffon is an early breeder, and begins to repair its 
nest in January, laying towards the end of February or in 

Nest. Composed principally of sticks, and placed on a 
ledge of an almost inaccessible rock, or in a hole or cave. 

Eggs. One, occasionally two ; generally white without mark- 
ings, but sometimes streaked or blotched with pale reddish- 
brown. Some eggs are even handsomely marked with the 
latter colour. Axis, 37; diam., 2*8. 


Neophron^ Savigny, Syst. Ois. de 1'Egypte, p. 238 (1808). 

Type, N. percnopterus (L.). 

The Neophrons are distinguished by their small size and 
very slender bills, the nostrils being placed horizontally in the 
latter. Four species of these Scavenger Vultures are known 
to science, two of them white and two brown in colour. The 
latter have the crop-patch feathered, and are confined to 
Africa, one of them, N. pileatus, being found in the southern 
part of the continent, and the other, N. monachus, being an 
inhabitant of North-eastern Africa and certain parts of 
Western Africa. 

Of the two white Scavenger Vultures which have the crop- 
patch bare instead of feathered, the one which is found in 
Europe is the best known, and extends throughout the Medi- 
terranean Region, being replaced in India by a closely-allied 
form, N. ginginianus. 


Vultur percnopterus > Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 123 (1766); Seeb. 

Hist. Br. B. i. p. n (1883). 
Neophron percnopterus^ Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 166 (1840) ; 

Newton, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 6 (1871); Sharpe, Cat. 

B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 17 (1874); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 39, 

pi. 322 (1879); B. O. U. List Br.' B. p. 92 (1883); 

Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 303 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. 

Br. B. part xxiii. (1893). 

(Plate XLI.) 





Adult Male. General colour white, with a little tinge of rust- 
colour on the neck-hackles ; the primaries black, externally 
ashy-white at the base ; the secondaries dark brown, exter- 
nally ashy-white; the head bare and yellow, with a little scanty 
down on the throat, and with a few whitish feathers in front 
of the eye ; chest bare ; bill pale horny-brown ; feet yellowish- 
white; iris red or reddish-brown. Total length, 25 inches; 
culmen, 2*8; wing, 19*2; tail, io'o ; tarsus, 3-5. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male in colour. 

Young Birds. Differ from the adults in being blackish-brown 
in colour, with fulvous tips to the feathers. As the birds grow 
older, the mantle and the wing coverts become more and more 
of an ochre shade, till they gradually assume the white plumage 
of the adults ; fore part of head and neck dirty grey. 

Eange in Great Britain. Two specimens are all that have been 
obtained within our limits, and the Egyptian Vulture must be 
reckoned as one of our rarest and most occasional visitants. 
Two birds were observed in October, 1825, in Bridgewater 
Bay in Somersetshire, and one of them, a young bird, was shot. 
In September, 1868, another was killed in Essex, at Peldon. 

Range outside the British Islands. Chiefly an inhabitant of the 
Mediterranean countries, extending eastwards to Central Asia, 
and said to occur also in North-western India. It is found in 
Southern France and throughout the Spanish Peninsula, breed- 
ing also in the Canaries, Madeira, and the Cape Verd Islands. 
Thence it extends eastwards on both sides of the Mediter- 
ranean to Egypt and North-eastern Africa, to the Caucasus, 
Persia, and Turkestan. In winter it wanders south through 
Africa down to the Cape Colony. In the Indian Peninsula it 
is represented by a closely allied form, Neophron ginginianus, 
which has a yellow bill, and is rather smaller in all its dimen- 
sions. In confinement Colonel Irby says that it takes three 
years for a Neophron to assume the adult's white plumage, but 
in a wild state he believes that it is donned with great rapidity. 

Habits. The Scavenger Vulture is a filthy bird, according to 
human notions, but is a useful one in the hot climates where it 
lives. It arrives early in Europe, and the earliest dates of its 
northward migration near Gibraltar is the 23rd of February, 


though the bulk of the migration takes place in March, the 
laying of the eggs taking place about the ist of May. 

The food of the present species consists of all kinds of 
carrion, dung, and putrefying substances of all sorts. It will 
take its meal from a carcase after the Hysenas and Griffons 
have had their share, and even frequents the sea-shore to 
pick up rotten fish thrown up by the tide. Though repul- 
sive in its habits, everyone admits that the Neophron is a 
fine bird on the wing. In the Himalayas I found the Indian 
representative of the genus inhabiting the lower valleys, where 
they sailed majestically backwards and forwards, scanning the 
ground below. At Simla they never ascended to the higher 
portions of the mountains, where the Griffons were to be seen 
topping the crest in the early morning on their far-reaching 
course, but hundreds of feet down below one could see the 
White Scavengers sailing in the valley in circles or in a direct 

From their habits one can gather the idea of what their nest 
may be like. Here is the description given by that excellent 
observer, Colonel Irby, in his work on the " Ornithology of 
the Straits of Gibraltar " : " The nest is often easily accessible 
from below, and, placed on a ledge of some overhung rock, 
generally at the top of a sierra, is composed of a few dead 
sticks, always lined with wool, rags, and rubbish, such as a 
dog's head, boars' tusks, dead kittens, foxes' skulls and fur, 
rotten hedge-hogs, dead toads, dead snakes, skeletons of 
snakes, lizards, mummified lizards, lizards' heads, carapaces 
of the water-tortoise, rotten fish, excrement both of man and 
beast, bones, bits of rope and paper. In one nest Major 
Verner found, among a heap of filthy rags, a number of meal- 
worms. Probably the Neophron had picked up a bag with 
some flour in it. Naturally, from the above-mentioned con- 
tents, their nests are most offensively odoriferous ! " He 
further adds : " They are probably among the foulest feeding 
birds that live, and are very omnivorous, devouring any animal 
substance, even all sorts of excrement : nothing comes amiss 
to them." 

Nest. A mass of sticks and rubbish, as described above. 
As a rule in Southern Europe, the nest is placed on the ledge 


of a rock, and not often on a tree, but this sometimes happens. 
The Indian Scavenger Vulture, however, often nests on a tree, 
appropriating the old nest of some other bird, just as the 
Egyptian Vulture in Greece and other countries of the Mediter- 
ranean will make use of the disused nest of a Laemmer-geier, 
or Bearded Eagle, and lays its eggs among the carapaces which 
that bird has collected, after having cracked them upon the 
bald skulls of the descendants of ^Eschylus, or upon the rocks 
which, in modern times, do duty for that convenient mode of 
breaking up Tortoises. 

Eggs. These are generally very handsome, being profusely 
spotted with red on a white ground. The amount of red mark- 
ing varies considerably. They are generally two in number, 
and often only one egg is laid, while on very rare occasions 
three have been met with. Axis, 2*5-2*75 inches; diam., 


Although the name of Falco?iidcB is generally in use for the 
Birds of Prey as a whole, the Family includes a number of 
Accipitrine forms which are far removed from the Falcons, 
which the name of the Family would imply as being the most 
typical. Between the True Falcons and the Vultures are found 
a number of intermediate types, which are divisible into 
Sub-families. Thus we have the Caracaras of South America 
(Polyborinas) t Ground Birds of Prey, with their toes connected 
by a membrane. To these the Secretary-Bird of Africa is 
akin, but presents so many points of structural difference that 
it may be considered the type of a separate Sub-family (Ser- 
pentariin<z\ now peculiar to Africa, but found in ancient times 
in France. Of the general mass of Accipitrine Birds, which 
have only a slight membrane connecting the outer and middle 
toes at the base, we have four Sub-families : the Long-legged 
Hawks (Accipitrin&\ such as the Harriers, Goshawks, and 
Sparrow-Hawks ; and the shorter-legged series, comprising the 
Buzzards (Buteonin(z\ the Eagles (Aquilincz), and the Falcons 

With the web-footed Birds of Prey we have nothing to do, 


as they are American and African, but the Long-legged Hawks 
concern us, as representatives of the principal genera are found 
in Great Britain, and constitute the first Sub-family of our tree 
Raptores, or Birds of Prey. 


In these birds the membrane between the toes exists only 
at the base of the outer and middle toes, which are joined 
together by a web. The tibia is very long, as well as the 
tarsus, and these two portions of the leg are about equal in 
length, whereas in Buzzards, Eagles, and Falcons the tibia 
is conspicuously longer than the tarsus. The Long-legged 
Hawks comprise the Harriers, Goshawks, and Sparrow- 
Hawks of Europe, as well as many tropical forms, such as 
the Gymnogenes of Africa (Polyboroides\ curious reptile- 
eating Hawks, apparently distant relations of the Secretary- 
Bird, but not so powerful as the latter bird, which is a 
ground-loving and walking species, whereas the Gymnogene 
is forest-loving and arboreal in its ways, It has, moreover, 
the curious faculty, not yet discovered in the Secretary, which 
is a weak-kneed individual from all accounts, of being able 
to turn its leg backwards or forwards at will by an apparent 
dislocation of the tibio-tarsal joint, an advantage in the catch- 
ing of reptiles which is said to be shared by its relative, the 
American genus Geranospizias. To this section of the Birds 
of Prey belong also the Chanting-Goshawks (Melierax) of 


Circus, Lacep. Mem. de 1'Inst. Paris, iii. p. 506 (1806). 

Type, C. cyaneus (L.). 

The Harriers are as nearly as possible cosmopolitan birds. 
They do not extend very far north, and affecting, as they do, 
localities suited to their mode of life, they are absent from 
some of the forest-clad regions of both Hemispheres. There 
is not, however, a single continent that is without its Harrier, 
and these birds are found in North and South America, Africa, 


Europe and the whole of Asia, Australia and New Zealand, 
and even the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Although they 
are really Long-legged Hawks, of the same type as the Sparrow- 
Hawks, the ruff which they have round their face has suggested 
their alliance with the Owls, and it is usual in works on Natural 
History to find the Harriers placed near the Owls on account 
of this peculiarity, which, however, is shared by the Ruffed 
Gos-Hawks (Micrastur\ and no one has as yet suggested 
that the latter are allied to Owls. In my opinion, this single 
character shows no absolute affinity whatever between the 
Harriers or the Ruffed Gos-Hawks and the Owls, which are 
altogether distinct and separate. That the genus Micrastur and 
the genus Circus have certain relationship is further proved by 
the fact that both genera have the hinder aspect of the tarsus 
covered with reticulate scales. 

Three species of Harriers are found in Great Britain. They 
are all now more or less rare, but were more common before 
the draining of the marsh-lands deprived them of so much 
of their congenial habitat. 


Falco cyaneuS) Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 126 (1766). 
Circus cyaneus, Macgill. Brit. B. iii. p. 366 (1860); Newton, 
ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 132 (1871) ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. 
Mus. i. p. 52 (1874); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 431, pis/75, 
76 (1879); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 93 (1883); Seebohm, 
Brit. B. i. p. 128 (1883); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 307 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxi. (1892). 

(Plate XL II.) 

Adult Male. Clear blue-grey or bluish ash-colour, lighter on 
the greater wing-coverts, which are silvery-grey ; under-parts 
white, the throat and upper breast blue-grey; base of fore- 
head and lores whitish, the ruff also mottled with white ; 
primary quills black both above and below, with a white 
base to the inner web ; the secondaries silvery-grey, with 
black shafts, and an indistinct sub-terminal band of black ; 
upper tail-coverts white ; tail-feathers ashy-grey, tipped with 
white, the four central feathers uniform, the rest more or less 
white on the inner webs, with remains of ashy bars; cere 
yellow : bill bluish-black ; feet yellow, claws black ; iris 


yellow. Total length, 22 inches; culmen, i'i5; wing, 13*5; 
tail, 8-5 ; tarsus, 0-9. 

Adult Female. Different from the male, and rather larger. 
Brown, the feathers of the crown slightly washed with rufous ; 
nape and hind-neck pale tawny-buff, streaked with dark 
brown ; the scapulars and wing-coverts with large oval spots of 
pale tawny-buff ; quills brown, with whitish tips, the second- 
aries externally washed with ashy-grey, barred with blackish- 
brown, these bars very distinct on the lower surface of the 
wing; upper tail-coverts white; tail greyish-brown, tipped with 
whitish, and crossed with five bands of darker brown, of which 
the sub-terminal one is much broader ; the light bands on the 
outer tail-feathers pale creamy-buff, shaded with ashy; feathers 
of the forehead and above and below the eye whitish; ear- 
coverts and cheeks rufous, streaked with dark brown ; facial 
ruff buffy-white, streaked with brown; sides of neck and 
under surface'of body pale tawny-buff; the lower breast and 
abdomen whitish, all broadly streaked with brown, rather more 
narrowly on the thighs and abdomen, where the streaks are 
somewhat tinged with rufous ; flanks and axillaries dark brown, 
marked on both webs with rounded spots of creamy-buff; cere 
greenish-yellow ; bill blackish ; feet yellow ; iris reddish-brown. 
Total length, 23 inches; wing, 15-15-6; tail, io'3-iro; tar- 
sus, 3-15. 

Young Birds. The young male is brown like the old female, 
but is always to be recognised by its smaller size, as the wing 
never exceeds 14 inches in length. The plumage is always 
more rufous than in the old female, especially on the lower 
parts and about the head and neck ; facial ruff clear fulvous, 
streaked with dark brown; feathers above, around, and below 
the eye pure white, forming a very conspicuous facial patch ; 
under surface of body tawny-rufous, with dark brown streaks, 
narrower on the abdomen ; upper tail-coverts white, with 
streaks of rufous-brown ; tail tawny-rufous, with a buff tip, and 
crossed by four blackish bands. 

A young female is like the old female, but has the bars on 
the tail rufous. 

Characters. An adult male Hen-Harrier can always be told 


by its bluish-grey plumage, white upper tail-coverts, uniform 
white thighs, and the bluish-ashy colour of the throat and 
chest. An adult female can always be recognised by having a 
"scallop," or indentation, on the outer web of tt\e fifth pri- 
mary quill. This character K also sufficient to tell the young 
birds of the Hen-Harrier from those of Montagu's Harrier. 

Kange in Great Britain. The present species was formerly 
much more generally distributed as a breeding-species than it 
4 is now. Its numbers have been decreased by its being shot 
down by gamekeepers, and the bringing into cultivation of 
much of the waste-land in which the species delights has also 
been one of the chief causes of its diminution in numbers. 
At one time the Hen-Harrier used to breed in many counties 
of England and Wales, but in most of these it has ceased to 
do so for the reasons above-mentioned. In the Highland 
counties of Scotland the species still nests, as well as in the 
Orkneys and Shetlands, and also in the Hebrides. In Ireland 
Mr. Ussher states that it breeds sparingly in Kerry and Gal- 
way, and possibly still in Antrim, Queen's County, Tipperary, 
and Waterford, but has become very scarce. It seems to have 
been exterminated from Donegal and Londonderry. 

Range outside the British Islands. Throughout the greater 
part of Europe the Hen-Harrier is chiefly known between 
spring and autumn, and it is probably only in the British 
Islands that any remain during the winter. It breeds in 
Northern Europe, and has been noticed by Dr. Collett from 
East Finmark, and Wolley found it breeding in Lapland beyond 
68 N. lat., according to Professor Newton. Mr. Seebohm 
states that he has seen the Hen-Harrier on the tundras of 
Northern Russia and Siberia, more than a hundred miles 
beyond the Arctic Circle, and its range extends across Siberia 
to Corea and the Japanese Islands. In suitable localities the 
species breeds in Central Europe from Denmark and Ger- 
many to the Alps and Carpathians, as well as in Central 
France. In winter it migrates south and visits North-eastern 
Africa, India, and China, in all of which countries it appears 
in some numbers in the cold season. 

Habits. -The Hen-Harrier is an inhabitant of the fens and 
moors, where it may be seen quartering the ground in search 


of its food, which consists of small mammals and reptiles, 
these forming its chief subsistence, though it will also catch 
small birds, and devour both eggs and nestlings of Game- 
Birds. Professor Newton describes the flight of the Hen- 
Harrier as performed apparently without much labour, easy 
and buoyant, but not rapid, and, except in the breeding- 
season, generally within a few feet of the surface of the 
ground, which they examine with great care, making close and 
diligent search for any object of food They have been ob- 
served to hunt the same ground regularly, and a male bird has 
been seen to examine a large wheat-stubble thoroughly, cross- 
ing it in various directions, always about the same hour in the 
afternoon, and for many days in succession. 

Taczanowski says that the present species feeds on rodents, 
frogs, lizards, large insects, and the eggs and chicks of small 
birds, but it also often catches the old birds on their nests or 
when they are hiding in the grass. Sometimes it will pursue 
the small birds as they fly up from the latter, but if the 
Harrier does not manage to catch them at once, it soon 
relinquishes the chase. It will sometimes capture Sandpipers, 
Quails, Plovers, and other birds. The eggs which it devours 
are mostly those of small birds which breed on the ground, 
such as the small Plovers, but Ducks' nests are but seldom 
plundered by it, as it does not often frequent the places where 
those birds breed. 

Nest. The nest is placed on the ground, and according to 
Taczanowski, who has given a very interesting account of the 
habits of this Harrier, it is often situated in the brushwood 
in the middle of the prairies or marshes, and in many localities 
in corn-fields. The nest is generally in a dry situation, never 
in very moist places, more often on the flat ground than on 
any small elevation. The nest contains few branches, and 
never rushes ; as a rule, on a bed composed of some sort of 
rameaux, the bird deposits a layer of fine and long dry grass, 
so as to form a compact mass, flattened down, about two feet 
wide and four or five inches high, slightly hollowed towards 
the centre of the nest. The eggs are generally four in number, 
more rarely three. The female sits very close, and will not 
move even when a man passes quite near to the nest, but the 


male is extremely vigilant, and as soon as he perceives an 
enemy, he comes towards him with a cry, and suddenly utter- 
ing a note like "ker-ker-ker," produced at short intervals, he 
continues to charge and reveals at once the situation of the 
nest. The female will not budge from the nest, and is not 
more wary even after she has been fired at. Both parents are 
very assiduous in their care of the young ones. 

Eggs. From four to six in number, bluish-white in colour, 
with occasionally yellowish-brown or rusty markings. Axis, 
1 7-2'o inches ; diam., i'25-i'5. The Hen-Harrier is rather 
a late breeder, and lays its eggs towards the end of May and 
throughout the month of June. 


Falco pygargus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 148 (1766). 

Circus cineraceus, Mont. ; Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 378 (1840) ; 

Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 138 (1871) ; Seeb. Brit. B. i. 

p. 131 (1883). 
Circus pygargus, Sharpe, Cat B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 64 (1874); 

Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 423, pi. 328 (1878) ; B. O. U. List 

Br. B. p. 93 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 309 (1889) ; 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xxvii. (1893). 

Adult Male. General colour above bluish-grey, the wing- 
coverts slightly darker than the back, and having a terminal 
spot of dark ash-colour ; primary-coverts and secondary-quills 
silvery-grey, narrowly tipped with white, and crossed by two 
bands of black, very plainly seen on the under surface of these 
quills ; primary-quills black, the inner ones shaded with grey 
towards the tips and on the inner web ; upper tail-coverts 
white, ashy-grey at the tips, with a sub terminal shade of deep 
ashy colour, and sometimes with two ashy-grey bands ; tail- 
feathers cindery-grey, the two central ones uniform, the re- 
mainder crossed with five broad bars of ashy-black, more 
rufous on the outer feathers, which have the interspaces white ; 
lores whitish ; the facial ruff cindery-grey like the head ; throat 
and breast pale bluish-ashy ; abdomen, flanks, thighs, and 
under wing- and tail-coverts white, with distinct longitudinal 
streaks of rufous fawn-colour ; axillaries with large diamond- 
shaped cross-markings of rufous; cere greenish-yellow; bill 

8 K 


blackish ; feet yellow ; iris yellow. Total length, 1 8 inches ; 
oilmen, i'i ; wing, i3'5-i5'o; tail, 9-8; tarsus, 2-3. 

Adult Female. Different from the male. Nearly uniform 
brown above, with slight remains of rufous margins to the 
feathers ; head and hind-neck streaked with pale rufous, as well 
as the sides of the neck and the facial ruff; ear-coverts nearly 
uniform brown, the feathers under the eye whitish ; quills dark 
brown, the primary-coverts and primaries shaded with grey ex- 
ternally, and barred with darker brown, more distinctly under- 
neath, where the quills are buffy white on the inner web, the 
inner secondaries being brown like the back; upper tail-coverts 
white ; tail brown, tipped with paler brown and crossed with 
five bands of darker brown, the interspaces paler and more 
rufescent on the outer rectrices, inclining to whitish on the 
inner web ; under surface of body buffy white, with rufous 
centres to the feathers, giving a distinctly striped appearance ; 
cere dull yellow; bill black; feet yellow; iris hazel. Total 
length, 19 inches; wing, 15-3 ; tail, 87 ; tarsus, 1-4. 

Young Birds. Dark brown like the old female, with pale 
tawny margins to the feathers of the upper surface, the white 
upper tail-coverts with broad tawny-buff edges and narrow 
shaft-lines of dark brown ; head and neck rich tawny colour, 
the feathers centred with dark brown and imparting a mottled 
appearance ; lores, eyebrow, and fore-part of ear-coverts white, 
the latter washed with rufous ; tail-feathers deep tawny colour, 
inclining to buff at the tip, and crossed with four or five black- 
ish bands, the central feathers uniform ashy-brown with five dis- 
tinct black bands ; throat whitish ; facial ruff and entire under 
surface of body clear tawny-buff, with a few streaks of reddish- 
brown on the upper breast, flanks, and upper wing-coverts. 

Characters. Montagu's Harrier is a smaller bird than the 
Hen-Harrier, and the adult male is easily distinguished from 
the male of the latter by the white thighs, which have also rufous 
streaks, or spots. The throat and chest are ashy grey. The adult 
female is distinguished from that of the Hen-Harrier by the 
simple test of the presence or absence of a notch in the outer 
web of the fifth primary. If there is no notch, then the bird 
is Montagu's Harrier and not the Hen-Harrier. This same 
test will distinguish the young birds of the two species, and I 


may say that these characters, suggested as specific by Mi. 
Howard Saunders more than twenty years ago, have over and 
over again been proved by me to hold good. 

Montagu's Harrier, like several other species of the genus 
Circus, is subject to melanism, and old birds are sometimes 
found nearly black, while the young birds have also a melanistic 
phase, this being often the case in English killed specimens. 

Range in Great Britain A spring and summer visitor, chiefly 
to the southern and eastern counties, in some of which it still 
breeds, recent instances having been recorded in the Isle of 
Wight, Dorsetshire, and Norfolk. It has also been known to 
nest in Wales, and even as far north as the Solway district in 
Western Scotland, but everywhere in the north of England it 
must be considered a rare and occasional visitor only. In Ire- 
land it has occurred on four occasions, in Co. Wexford and 
Co. Wicklow. 

Eange outside the British Islands. The present species does 
not extend its range so far north as the Hen-Harrier, and the 
neighbourhood of St. Petersburg and the Gulf of Finland 
appear to constitute the northern limits of the species in 
Europe. In Central Europe and in Central and Southern 
Russia it breeds generally, and in Spain it is a resident in 
suitable localities, receiving a large accession of numbers in 
winter. At this season of the year it not only migrates to 
Northern Africa and the Canaries, but passes down the Nile 
Valley, even to the Cape Colony. Eastwards the species is 
found as far as Turkestan and South-western Siberia, but 
has never been recorded from Eastern Siberia. The eastern 
winter range extends to the Indian Peninsula and the Burmese 

Habits. This species is said by Colonel Irby to possess a 
lighter and more Owl-like flight than the other European 
Harriers, and the wings are longer in proportion than in the 
other species of the genus Circus. It arrives in Central Europe 
in March and April, and leaves in October. 

Not only during its winter migrations is the present species 
gregarious, but it appears frequently to nest in company, and 
Colonel Irby found a colony of fifteen or twenty pairs breeding 

K 2 


in a marsh near Lixus in Marocco at the end of April, and he 
could see with his telescope the hen-birds " sitting dotted 
about the marsh." Montagu's Harrier hunts for its food in 
the usual manner of these birds, and is also, like all Harriers, 
very destructive to the eggs of other birds, of which it eats a 
great number. Mr. Howard Saunders relates that he took two 
unbroken eggs of the Crested Lark from the crop of a male of 
one of these Harriers, with the crushed remains of others, but 
with the exception of this evil propensity, the bird devours 
large numbers of small rodents, frogs, snakes, and lizards, as 
well as locusts, grasshoppers, and other insects. Small birds 
also fall victims to its rapacity, but the Harrier does not pursue 
them in full flight, but pounces on them on the nest or on the 

Mr. Seebohm writes : " Its long and pointed wings give an 
especial gracefulness to its flight. Now it darts rapidly with 
half-closed wings, now it makes a sudden turn with one wing 
elevated, and now it sails over the surface of the ground with 
motionless outspread wings ; but, with all its apparent power 
of flight, it seldom, if ever, pursues small birds if they attempt 
to escape." Montagu's Harrier has also the habit of sailing 
in wide circles, like many other Birds of Prey. Mr. Howard 
Saunders describes the female, which he put off the nest in 
the Isle of Wight, as " flying away in repeated and ever widen- 
ing circles. The same feature was remarked on the return to 
the nest : the wide circles gradually narrowed, and the wings 
were suddenly closed as the bird swept over the nest and 
dropped upon it." The last-named observer also states that 
the young birds sometimes circle and hover with outspread 
wings and tail, like Kestrels, though less steadily, and the white 
colour of the tail-coverts distinguishes the species at a glance. 

Nest. A very slight one, generally a mere hollow in the 
ground, lined with dry grass. In the fens, however, Mr. 
Saunders says that it is substantially built of sedge. A nest 
found by Mr. Seebohm in Germany in a field of rye is thus 
described by him : " There was no hole whatever in the 
ground : the rye had only been trampled down, and a slight 
but somewhat neat nest made of corn-stalks, and lined with 
a little dry straw. The nest was rather more than nine inches 



in diameter, and about two inches and a half deep in the 

Eggs. From four to six in number, laid at intervals about 
the end of May. They are bluish-white, but, on rare occasions, 
have some pale reddish spots. Axis, r6-r8; diam., 13-1-45. 


Falco czrugitiosus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 130 (1766). 
Circus ceruginosus, Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 382 (1840); Newt, 
ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 127 (1871); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. 
Mus. i. p. 69 (1874) ; Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 415, pis. 326, 
327 (1878) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 92 (1883) ; Saunders, 
Man. Br. B. p. 305 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part 
xiv. (1890). 

(Plate XL1IL} 

Adult Male. General colour above dark brown, the feathers 
slightly margined with rufous ; lesser wing-coverts buffy- white, 
wilh dark brown centres; outer greater-coverts, primary-coverts, 
and secondaries bluish-ashy, slightly tipped with white, the 
innermost secondaries brown, washed with more or less ashy- 
grey ; primary-quills blackish-brown, paler at the tips, creamy- 
white at the base of the inner web, increasing in extent towards 
the secondaries, which are entirely light ashy below; upper 
tail-coverts white, slightly washed with grey, and tinged with 
rufous ; tail uniform bluish ash-colour, paler and somewhat 
fulvescent underneath ; entire head and neck creamy-buff, 
streaked with dark brown, the mantle being also slightly 
streaked ; facial ruff indistinct, of the same colour as the 
rest of the head and neck ; sides of face and throat white, 
narrowly streaked with dark brown, the h : nder margin of the 
ear-coverts uniform brown ; under surface of body creamy-buff, 
the breast longitudinally streaked with brown ; abdomen and 
thighs more rufous, with fulvous edges to the feathers, so that 
they appear to be streaked with buff; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries uniform buffy-white, the latter having brown shaft- 
lin -is ; cere greenish-yellow ; bill blackish ; feet yellow, the 
cl'ws black; iris bright yellow. Total length, 22*5 inches; 
cuimen, 1*55; wing, 16*0; tail, 10*0; tarsus, 3-4. 

Adult Female. In 1874, when I wrote the first volume of 
the " Catalogue of Birds," I was under the impre sion that 


fully adult females of the Marsh-Harrier resembled the male 
in plumage, nor am I yet convinced that both in this species 
and Montagu's Harrier, the full plumage of the female birds is 
not a counterpart of that of the males. I am bound to con- 
fess, however, that recent observers have not confirmed my 
opinion. Mr. Howard Saunders and Colonel Irby, both of 
whom have seen numbers of this Harrier in life, describe the 
female as brown above, chocolate-brown below, with a creamy- 
white margin to the carpal bend of the wings, and the head 
buff or creamy-white, streaked with blackish-brown. The tail 
is entirely brown. 

Young Birds. At first the plumage of the young bird is en 
tirely chocolate-brown, including the head. The latter gradu- 
ally becomes creamy-white like that of the old female, which 
the bird then closely resembles. The iris is blackish. 

Characters. Apart from its much larger size, the Marsh- 
Harrier is further distinguished from the other two British 
species by its rufous thighs, which sometimes have whitish 
spots or margins to the feathers. The tail in the adult male 
and female is uniform grey, and this last character will dis- 
tinguish the melanistic birds also, though these have darker 
coloured thighs, in fact almost blackish in tint. Young birds> 
apart from their large size, may unfailingly be distinguished by 
having the outer web of the fifth primary notched, the chest 
perfectly uniform, with no streaks, the chin and centre of the 
breast creamy-buff, and the inner webs of the primaries uni- 

Kange in Great Britain. The Marsh-Harrier may now be 
considered only an occasional visitor to the British Islands, 
though it was formerly a regular breeder in the fen districts of 
England, and its nest has been recorded from many counties. 
Occasional captures in Scotland are recorded, but the evidence 
as to its nesting is not satisfactory. In Ireland, however, it 
still nests, and Mr. Ussher says that it " breeds sparingly in 
Queen's County and Galway, and, probably, also in King's 
County and Westmeath, but it seems to have been exter- 
minated in Donegal, Londonderry, Tyrone, Down, Monaghan, 
Fermanagh, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Cork, and Mayo, and has 
now become very rare." 


Eange outside tlio British Islands. The Marsh- Harrier is found 
generally throughout Europe in suitable localities, but does 
not extend very far north, though it breeds in Southern 
Sweden, and as far eastward as the Valley of the Ob, and even 
extends to Turkestan. It has. never been recorded from 
Central or Eastern Siberia, being replaced in the latter country 
by Circus spilonotus, a very distinct species, easily recognised 
in its adult plumage, but scarcely distinguishable in its young 
stages from C. ceruginosus. The supposed occurrence of our 
Marsh-Harrier in Japan is doubtless a mistake, and the species 
which has been found there must be C. spilonotus. The 
winter home of the Marsh-Harrier is in the Indian Peninsula, 
where it is also believed by Mr. Hume to breed, when the 
flooded condition of the country renders suitable spots avail- 
able, and it is also said to wander as far as the Transvaal in 
South Africa, though here it meets with an allied species, 
C. mauniS) the young of which- is so very similar to that of 
C. ceruginosus, that great caution is necessary in the deter- 
mination of specimens from the countries inhabited by other 
species of Marsh-Harriers. In most of the Mediterranean 
countries the species breeds, receiving a great influx of indivi- 
duals in the winter, when the birds bred in the north flock 
southward on migration. 

Habits. Like the other Harriers, the present species feeds 
on small mammals, snakes, and other small reptiles, and also 
devours a large number of eggs and young birds. It will also 
take sitting birds by surprise, but does not seem capable of 
capturing them in full flight, though it will seize a wounded 
bird, and follow the sportsman in the hope of picking up 
some quarry. Colonel Irby writes of the species in Spain : 
" The Marsh-Harriers are a perfect pest to the sportsman, as, 
slowly hunting along in front, they put up every Snipe and 
Duck that lie in their course, making them unsettled and 
wild. Cowardly and ignoble, they are the terror of all the 
poultry which are in their districts, continually carrying off 
chickens, and, like other Harriers, they are terribly destruc- 
tive to the eggs and young of all birds. On account of 
these propensities, I never let off a Marsh-Harrier, unless it 
spoiled sport to fire at one. Sometimes when at Casas Viejas, 
and the Snipe were scarce, to pass away the time, we used to 


lie up in the line of the Harrier's flight to their roosting- 
places ; for they always take the same course, and come, even- 
ing after evening, within five minutes of the same time. Upon 
one occasion, a friend and myself killed eleven, and during 
that visit accounted for over twenty. We also, on every pos- 
sible opportunity, destroyed the nest and shot the old ones ; 
but it was the labour of Sisyphus, for others immediately ap- 
peared. However, there was a visyble diminution of their 
numbers about Casas Viejas. We never found rats in their 
nests or crops, and believe that they have not the courage 
to kill them : small snakes, frogs, wounded birds, eggs, and 
nestlings form the main part of their prey." 

Nest. The Marsh-Harrier is, in many places, gregarious 
during the breeding-season and many nests are found in the 
same vicinity ; at least this is the case in Southern Spain 
and Marocco. The nest is made of dead sedge and reeds 
with a few small branches, these being added to from time 
to time. It is occasionally found in a tree, but is generally 
placed in a reed-bed, sometimes on the ground and among 
low brambles, always near water, but sometimes far from any 
marshes. A disused nest of a Coot or Water-Hen is often 

Eggs. From three to six in number ; pale bluish white, very 
rarely with any pale brown markings. When fresh blown, and 
held up to the light they show a bluish tinge. Axis, i'S-2'i ; 
diam., 1-55. 


Astur^ Lacep, Mem. de 1'Inst. Paris, iii. p. 505 (1801). 

Type, A. palumbarins (L.). 

Although belonging to the long-legged Hawks, the Cos- 
Hawks are much more stoutly built than the Harriers, and 
have no facial ruff like the last-named birds. The hinder 
aspect of the tarsus, also, is transversely scaled, -and not arti- 
culate or covered with a network of small scales as in the 
Harriers. They comprise birds of all sizes, just like the 
Sparrow-Hawks, many of the latter exceeding the smaller 
Cos-Hawks in size. There is, however, one character by 


which these two genera of birds can be told apart. The Gos- 
Hawks, as we have already said, are stouter and heavier birds 
than the Sparrow-Hawks, and these features are especially 
evidenced by their large bills and feet. Thus a Gos-Hawk's 
bill is much longer in proportion to the size of its head, and 
the middle toe is shorter, whereas in the Sparrow-Hawks the 
middle toe is very long, and the bill is comparatively small. 
Taking, therefore, the length of the ridge of the bill from the 
cere to the tip, we find that its dimensions go more than twice 
into the length of the middle toe in a Sparrow-Hawk, but 
little more than one and a half times in a Gos-Hawk. Other- 
wise the two genera are very closely assimilated, and all the 
members are remarkable for their short wings, in direct contrast 
to the long wings of the True Falcons. 

The Gos-Hawks are nearly cosmopolitan in their range, 
being found in nearly every part of America from north to 
south, and all over the Old Woild, even to the Oceanic 


Falco palumbarius, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 130 (1760). 
Accipiter palumbarius, Macgill. Brit. B. iii. p. 340 (1840) ; Seeb. 

Brit. B. i. p. 142 (1883). 
Astur palumbarius^ Newt. ed. Yarr. Br. B. i. p. 83(1871); 

Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 95 (1874); Dresser, B. 

Eur. v. p. 587, pi. 354 (1875) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 97 

(1883); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 321 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. 

Fig. Br. B. part xix. (1891). 

Adult Male. General colour above ashy-brown; quills brown, 
barred with darker brown, the under surface of the wing ashy- 
grey, inclining to white near the base of the quills, with dark 
brown cross-bars, which become obsolete on the inner quills ; 
tail ashy-brown, tipped with white, and crossed with four broad 
bands of dark brown ; upper tail-coverts ashy-brown, with 
white tips ; crown of head, ear-coverts, and sides of neck 
blackish; the hind-neck slightly mottled with white; lores, 
cheeks, and a line above the ear-coverts white, streaked with 
blackish ; under surface of body white, with black shaft-stripes 
on the feathers of the throat and breast ; the entire under sur- 


face thickly crossed with bars of ashy-brown, less distinct on 
the thighs; under tail-coverts white ; cere yellow; bill bluish 
horn-colour; iris orange. Total length, 19-5 inches; culmen, 
1-5; wing, 12-2; tail, 9-0; tarsus, 3-0. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a little larger in size, 
and rather darker grey. Total length, 23 inches; wing, 14*0; 
tarsus, 3-4. 

Young Birds. Much browner than the adults, mottled with 
white, the bases of the scapulars and wing-coverts being white, 
and all the feathers margined with ochraceous-buff; head and 
neck rufous-ochre, the nape inclining to whitish ; the crown 
broadly streaked with dark brown, the hind-neck largely 
marked with spade-shaped spots of the same colour; forehead, 
eyebrows, and sides of face whitish, narrowly streaked with 
dark brown ; under surface of body ochraceous-buff, inclining 
to white on the throat and under tail-coverts, the entire under 
surface streaked with dark brown, narrowly on the throat, 
thighs, and under tail-coverts, more broadly on the chest and 
breast, the flanks marked with large spade-shaped spots ; tail 
dark brown, tipped with white, and crossed with five distinct 
bands of darker brown, the lighter interspaces inclining to 
white on either margin of the feathers ; feet yellowish-brown, 
the claws black ; cere and bill as in adults ; iris yellow. 

Sometimes the young birds are rusty-red on the under sur- 

Range in Great Britain. Many years ago the Gos-Hawk is 
said to have bred in the British Islands, but has long since 
ceased to do so. Speaking of the bird in Scotland, and the 
evidence of its breeding there, Professor Newton says : " It is 
not unreasonable to suppose that, in the days when large 
forests of Scotch firs flourished naturally in that kingdom, it 
inhabited the districts so occupied ; still there can be no 
doubt that considerable confusion has arisen from the fact 
that in several places its common name has been, and yet is, 
applied to the Peregrine Falcon, and hence some caution must 
be used in accepting all the testimony as to its former abund- 
ance in this country." Most of the records of the Gos-Hawk 
in the British Islands refer to young birds in autumn and 
winter, at which seasons the species is a tolerably regular mi- 


grant. Three notices of the occurrence of the bird in Ireland 
have been published. 

RaDge outside the British Islands. The Gos-Hawk is a resident 
in most parts of Europe up to 60 N. lat., and extends in 
the north to Tromso and Archangel, throughout Russia and 
Siberia to the borders of the Japanese Sea, breeding through- 
out this wide range wherever suitable forests present them- 
selves. It is resident in all the Japanese Islands. It also 
breeds in the Himalayas, and descends in winter to the lower 
valleys. In the eastern portion of its range it seems to be 
more strictly migratory than it is in Europe, where the migrants 
are principally young birds. North-eastern Africa, Palestine, 
and Egypt seem to be the winter-quarters of most of these 
migrating Gos-Hawks from Northern Europe. 

Habits. The name Gos-Hawk is said to be a corruption of 
Goose-Hawk, though it is doubtful if the bird, powerful though 
it be, ever attempts to capture a bird as large as a Goose. 
The list of animals on which it preys is, however, a sufficiently 
large one : hares, rabbits, small rodents, squirrels, pheasants, 
partridges, grouse, ducks, and smaller birds. It is even said, 
in the Himalayas, to capture the great Moonal Pheasants. 
Although it is a very fierce and powerful species, it is capable 
of being trained by Falconers into a very useful bird for the 
chase, and is said, by those who know it well, to develop great 
intelligence, as well as docility. A rabbit has little chance 
with a Gos-Hawk, for, even when given a good start, the easy 
speed with which the great bird sails down upon it speedily 
puts an end to the chase, and it is as nimble as the rabbit in 
doubling and twisting in its tracks. Mr. Thompson con- 
tributes to Mr. Hume's " Rough Notes on Indian Raptores " 
an exceedingly interesting account of the way in which the 
Gos-Hawk is flown in the Himalayas. He writes : " Despite 
all that has been said about these short-winged Hawks, this, 
bird is capable of attaining a high degree of efficiency as a 
bold and rapid flier, a fagless worker, and affording decidedly 
the best sport that can be had in a forest country. I have 
taken a Quail in the middle of April with my Gos-Hawks flying 
straight off the fist at the quarry. They have also flown at 
Partridge and Quail, 800 to 1,000 yards from where they were 
slipped. When first put to the quarry, they fly with outspread 


wings, with a listless, slow motion like that of a Great Owl 
admirably described in Sir John Sebright's little pamphlet on 
Hawking, but by everyday practice and constant flying at the 
Black Partridges, high feeding, and carefully training them to 
become familiar with men, dogs, and all other objects likely to 
frighten them, they become, in two or three months, peifect 
at the work. One bird I had used to be unleashed at my tent- 
door, and would fly to the nearest tree, and as the party set 
out through forest and glade, would fly from tree to tree, and 
thus keep on, quite up to the beaters and the dogs, never lag- 
ging behind till a bird was flushed, but always sufficiently 
forward to receive the quarry as it rose. ... I have taken 
a dozen jungle-fowl in a couple of hours with my Gos-Hawks, 
using dogs to flush the birds. They have also killed Peacocks 
in a single flight, and Hares, without having been hooded. I 
have also taken Teal and Ducks in wooded swamps, by 
appearing at the water at a point whence a distant view could 
be had of the water-fowl. The Hawk, on being shown the 
Ducks, would fly at once to the tree nearest to them, and there 
wait in ambush. The beaters were then sent to flush the fowl, 
one of which the Hawk caught in the air as the flock rose, 
almost perpendicularly, out of the water." 

Nest. The Gos-Hawk breeds early : at the end of April or 
early in May. The nest is a large structure of sticks, and is 
often occupied for years in succession, and being added to 
during each period of tenancy, often attains to great dimen- 
sions. It is placed in a beech- or fir-tree, often at a great 
height from the ground, occasionally in an oak, and the in- 
terior of the nest is lined with moss, roots, and lichens, 
according to Mr. Seebohm, but not with green leaves. 

Eggs. From three to five, four being the usual number- 
They are pale bluish-green, almost white, and on rare occa- 
sions spots have been found on them. According to Colonel 
Irby, they are sometimes so stained with dirt as to appear 
quite yellow, like the eggs of a Grebe which had been sat on 
for some time. Axis, 2'2-2'45 ; diam., 17. 


Fako atricapilluS) Wilson, Amer. Orn. vi. pi. 52, fij. 3 


Astur atricapillus , Newton, ed. Yarr. Br. B. i. p. 87, note 

(1871); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 97 (1874); See- 

bohm, Brit. B. i. p. 145 (1883); B. O. U. List Brit. B. 

p. 98 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 322, note (1889). 

Adult Male. Similar to A. palumbarius, and of about the 

same dimensions, but having a black head, and the markings 

on the under surface taking the form of freckles, not bars ; 

cere, feet, and iris yellow; bill bluish-black. Total length, 

20-5 inches; culmen, 1-4; wing, 12-9; tail, 9-5; tarsus, 2*6. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but larger. Total length, 
24 inches; wing, 14-0; tarsus, 3-1. 

Young Birds. R esemble the young of A, palumbariiis. 

Range in Great Britain. Has occurred three times : once in 
Scotland, said to have been shot in Perthshire by a keeper. 
Two have been taken in Ireland : one, according to the late 
Sir Victor Brooke, on the Galtee Mountains in Tipperary, in 
March, 1883, and another near Parson's Town, in King's 
County, was recorded shortly after by the late Mr. Basil 

Range outside the British Islands. The present species is an 
inhabitant of North America, where it is found in the arctic 
portion of the continent, breeding in the Northern United 
States, and as far south as Colorado. 

Habits. Similar to those of the European species. 

Nest. In trees. 

Eggs. Two or three ; white, or glaucous-white, sometimes 
very faintly marked with pale brownish. Axis, 2*31 inches; 
diam., 170 (Ridgway). 


Accipiter, Brisson, Orn. i. p. 310 (1760). 

Type, A. nisus (L.). 

The Sparrow-Hawks are considered by some ornithologists 
to belong to the same genus as the Gos- Hawks, and vice versa. 
As already mentioned, however, I do not consider these birds 
to be generically the same, for the Sparrow-Hawks throughout 


the world have always the same little bill, combined with a very 
long middle toe, so that if the distance of the oilmen from the 
anterior edge of the cere to the tip of the bill be doubled, this 
double dimension will be found to fall short of the length of 
the middle toe by at least one-third. This character will be 
found to hold good in all the Sparrow-Hawks of the world, 
even the large African species, A. melano'eucus, which is as 
big as a Gos-Hawk, being found to offer no exception to this 

Sparrow-Hawks have almost the same cosmopolitan distri- 
bution as the Gos-Hawks, but they do not range into the Pacific 
Islands. About thirty species are known to science. 


Faleo nisus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 130 (1766). 

Acdpiter nisus, Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 88 (1871); Sharpe 

and Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 599, pis. 355-358 (1871); 

Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 132 (1874) ; Seebohm, Br. 

B.i. p. 135(1883); B. O. U.ListBr. B. p. 98 (1883); Lil- 

ford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. parts iv. v. (1887) ; Saunders, Man. 

Br. B. p. 323 (1889). 

Adult Male. General colour above bluish slate-colour ; wines 
like the back, the primaries browner and barred with darker 
brown, more distinct below, where the inner webs of the quills 
are ashy-white, slightly tinged with rufous ; tail bluish slate- 
colour, a little browner than the back, slightly tipped with 
whitish, and crossed with four bars of darker brown ; nape 
slightly mottled with white ; forehead and eyebrow somewhat 
washed with rufous ; lores whitish ; cheeks and ear-coverts 
bright rufous, the upper margin of the latter slaty-blue, like the 
sides of the neck ; throat whitish, washed with rufous ; re- 
mainder of under surface white, the breast narrowly barred across 
with bright rufous, some of the bars being tinged with brown 
and becoming narrower towards the abdomen and thighs, which 
are almost entirely white, like the under tail-coverts; flanks 
bright rufous ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white, the 
former spotted, the latter barred with brown ; cere yellow ; bill 
dark horn-blue, yellowish at the base of the lower mandible ; 
feet yellow; iris orange. Total length, 13 inches; culmen, 
o'Ss: wing, 8-15; tail, 6-3; tarsus, 2*3. 


The brown shade on the bars of the under surface is a sign 
of immaturity, and as the bird gets older, the rufous increases, 
and the bars get less and less distinct, till the under-parts are 
almost entirely rufous. This, however, is only the case in ex- 
tremely old individuals. 

Adult Female. Larger than the male, and rather lighter grey ; 
below whitish, with ashy bars, narrower than in the male, and 
having a large tuft of downy rufous feathers on the flanks. 
Total length, 15-5 inches; wing, 9-5; tail, 7-0; tarsus, 2-5. 

Young Birds. General colour above sepia-brown, all the 
feathers margined with rufous, especially on the crown ; occi- 
put and nape mottled with white ; a distinct eyebrow, cheeks 
and ear-coverts, white, streaked with blackish, the hinder mar- 
gin of the ear-coverts brown, washed with rufous \ quills brown, 
barred across with darker brown, more distinct on their lower 
surface ; tail ashy-brown, with whitish tips, and crossed with 
five bars of darker brown ; under surface of body white, the 
throat narrowly streaked with black, the fore-neck and chest 
with broad rufous streaks, the flanks and thighs distinctly barred 
with dark brown ; under tail-coverts white ; under wing-coverts 
buffy-white, with numerous spots or bars of dark brown ; iris 
pale yellow. 

It takes some time before the young birds attain the adult 
plumage, and it is certain that they breed while still in the im- 
mature plumage. The first adult dress with bars underneath 
teems to be gained by the breaking up of the pattern on the 
feather, rather than by a complete moult. The feathers on the 
chest have, in the first stage of plumage, a broad longitudinal 
centre of pale rufous, and, as time goes on, this alters in shape 
and breaks off into bars, the colour being distributed laterally 
instead of longitudinally, and the rufous colour giving place to 
dark brown. Thus two brown bars may be seen on a feather, 
while the terminal one may be represented by a heart-shaped 
spot of light brown, with a rufous " eye," the last remains of 
the streak of the immature plumage, and when this spot of 
rufous is at last absorbed, and the brown bars complete, the 
bird shows the first stage towards the adult plumage. The next 
change is by a moult, which seems to take place at irregular 
seasons, and not in the first autumn, as with most birds, and 


then when the new feathers are assumed, they are always barred, 
and no return to the striped breast ever takes place, but the 
bars on the under-parts are at first more or less brown, and 
Become more and more rufous with each successive moult. 
The numbers of bars on the tail are also indicative of the age 
of the bird, as they decrease, as it gets older, from five to 

The female gains her adult plumage in the same way as the 
male, but does not become rufous underneath ; in fact, she 
gets greyer with age, and the rufous tuft of down on the sides 
of the body becomes more pronounced. 

Range in Great Britain. The Sparrow-Hawk is found through 
out the three kingdoms, wherever woodland localities occur, 
so that it is rarer in some spots than others, such as the 
Orkneys, Shetlands, and Outer Hebrides. In Ireland, Mr. 
Ussher says, it "breeds commonly wherever there are any 

A considerable migration takes place in the autumn to the 
east coast of Great Britain ; but many of the resident birds in 
England, and especially Irish individuals, are very dark in 

Range outside the British Islands. This species is found every- 
where in Europe, and extends north to the limits of forest- 
growth, about lat. 69. It is less common in Southern 
Europe, where its numbers are largely reinforced by the 
migrants from the north. It extends to Egypt and Kordofan 
in the winter, and at that time of year also visits Aden. 

Eastward it extends across Siberia to Corea and the Japanese 
Islands, being resident in these countries, as it is also in the 
Himalayas, where it breeds. In winter it visits China as far 
south as Canton. A large race, A. major, is recorded from 
Switzerland, and a dark-coloured resident race, A. melanochistus, 
from the Himalayas. 

Habits. In its ways the Sparrow-Hawk is a miniature edition 
of the Gos-Hawk, possessing all the fire and pluck of that 
bird, but of course being much less powerful, and feeding 
on smaller game. It is an inhabitant of the woods, and is 
remarkably swift and agile in its movements, sallying forth 


from its retreat and snatching unsuspecting birds on the trees 
or in the hedgerows. A Falcon will not pursue a bird which 
has taken refuge in a tree, but I have seen a Sparrow-Hawk 
follow a Blackbird through a tangled willow thicket, doubling 
as its quarry doubled, till it drove it out across the river and 
might have caught it, had I not been interested in the changes 
of plumage which the species undergoes, and to which I 
have alluded above. As it was, I forgot for the moment all 
about the Ducks I had been waiting for so long, and bagged 
the Sparrow-Hawk for the British Museum, where it is still. 

The dread with which the bird is regarded by all the smaller 
species shows that they hold the Sparrow-Hawk in consider- 
able awe, though Swallows and Martins will mob it freely as 
it crosses from one wood to another. Its method of capturing 
small birds is, however, mostly by seizing them unexpectedly, 
before they have time to escape by hiding. Thus the Hawk 
will fly along the side of a wood or hedgerow, and suddenly 
snatch a small bird from the twig on which it sits singing, or 
drop down on it as it crouches in the grass. Besides small 
birds, it also catches mice and rats, but it can be very destruc- 
tive to chickens and young Pheasants and Partridges, and is, 
therefore, shot and trapped by keepers on every occasion. 

West. The Sparrow-Hawk breeds in May, and usually, Mr. 
Seebohm says invariably, builds its own nest, which is composed 
of sticks, and the tree selected appears to vary according to 
locality, for whereas Mr. Seebohm gives preference to the oak, 
as the favourite tree selected by the bird, he mentions also 
the alder, and not ^infrequently a pine-tree as a nesting-site. 
My own experience in Hampshire, where I have taken many 
nests at Avington, is in favour of the last-named tree, and I 
never remember the nest being built in any other. It is always 
placed at a considerable height, and near the trunk. The 
female sits very close, and I remember one occasion, when 
three of us had come out to take the nest and shoot the old 
birds. After clapping our hands and knocking the tree to 
see if the old bird was on the nest, we were preparing to take 
up our stations to await its return, when it occurred to me to 
see if I could hit the nest with a pine branch which was lying 
near. My first attempt sent it smartly against the bottom of 

8 L 


the nest, and off flew the bird like an arrow, taking all the 
party by surprise. She had been sitting close the whole time, 
and had disregarded all the talking and noise we had made 
beneath the tree. After flying round for some time, at a great 
height in the air, above the nest, she disappeared for half an 
hour, when she suddenly came gliding through the wood 
towards her home, and was shot by Captain Shelley. The 
male was trapped the next morning on the nest, and both birds 
proved to be in immature plumage. 

Eggs. The eggs of the Sparrow-Hawk vary greatly in their 
colour and markings, and are sometimes very handsome. The 
clutch consists of from three to four eggs, on rare occasions 
five. The ground-colour is a faint greenish-white or else quite 
white, and sometimes the eggs are entirely unspotted. Others 
are blotched or even marbled with dark reddish-brown, in 
which chestnut and lilac are mingled. The distribution of 
the markings is thoroughly irregular, for sometimes these 
brown or rufous markings are distributed over the whole egg, 
and are more or less broken up into small spots or blotches, 
while in others the rufous markings are gathered at one or 
other end of the egg, leaving its opposite pole uniformly white, 
while in certain specimens in the British Museum the mark- 
ings form a ring round the centre of the egg, leaving the two 
ends unspotted and not marked in any way. Axis, i'55-i'75 ; 
diam., 1-25-1 '4. 


In all the remaining Birds of Prey we find the legs much 
shorter than in the Hawks and Harriers, and the proportions 
of the tibia and tarso-metatarsal bones are different, the 
former being much longer than the latter, and not equal in 
length, as it is in the long-legged Hawks. 

The Buzzards may be recognised from the Eagles and Fal- 
cons, which are the other two groups of these shorter-legged 
Birds of Prey, by having the hinder aspect of the tarsus scaled, 
and not reticulated. By this character we know that some 
of the largest of Raptorial birds, such as the Great Harpy 
Eagle (Thrasaetus harp) ia) of South America, are Buzzards 



and not true Eagles. As a rule, the members of the Sub- 
family Buteonincz are somewhat sluggish and heavy birds, 
not possessing the dash of an Eagle or a Hawk, but resemb- 
ling the former in general appearance and build. The range 
of the Buzzards is almost cosmopolitan, though the Australian 
members of the genus are not typical Buzzards, and are more 
like large Gos-Hawks in appearance. 


Buteo, Cuvier, Lemons Anat. Comp. i. Tabl. Oiseaux (1800). 

Type, J3. buteo (L.). 

The typical Buzzards have rather a long wing and a head 
like that of an Eagle, with a bony shelf above the eye, a long 
tail, more than twice the length of the tarsus, which is never 
entirely feathered. The nasal aperture is a long oval, and 
there is no tubercle, as in the Falcons and some other Birds 
of Prey. The Buzzards are found throughout the northern 
parts of both Hemispheres, and in North America many of 
the species are migratory, and v : sit South America in winter. 
In Africa several species of True Buzzards are resident, and 
they are found throughout the greater part of Asia, but do 
not extend below Southern China and the Burmese Provinces, 
being absent in the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago. 


Falco buteo, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 127 (1766). 
Butco vulgaris, Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 109 (1871); 
Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 186 (1874); Dresser, B. 
Eur. v. p. 449, P 1 - 33 T ( l8 75); Seebohm, Br. B. i. p. 117 
(1883); B. O. U. ListBr.B. p. 94(1883); Saunders, Man. 
Br. B. p. 311 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xvii. 
Buteo fuscus, Macg. Br. B. iii. p. 183 (1840). 

(Plate XLIV.) 

Adult Male. General colour above ashy-brown, rather paler 
on the scapulars and wing-coverts, which have more or less 
distinct white margins ; on the nape some white streaks, the 
forehead and sides of face being also narrowly streaked with 

L 2 


white ; under surface of body yellowish-white ; the breast, 
sides of body, and thighs more uniform brown, clouding the 
whole of these portions of the under-parts ; primary-quills 
dark brown, externally shaded with ashy-grey, with distinct bars 
of darker brown, less plainly indicated on the secondaries, 
which are paler brown like the bnck, the inner webs of all the 
quills white for two-thirds of their length; tail ashy-brown, 
with a rufous shade towards the tip, and crossed with twelve 
or thirteen bands of darker brown ; cere yellow ; bill bluish- 
black, darker towards the tip ; feet yellow ; iris yellowish-brown. 
Total length, 22 inches; oilmen, i'45; wing, 15*0; tail, 9^0; 
tarsus, 3' i. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, and very little larger. 
Total length, 23 inches; wing, 16-5 ; tail, 9-5 ; tarsus, 3-1. 

Young Birds. The young of the Common Buzzard is always 
much paler than the adults, and frequently has the head and 
under surface of the body creamy-white, with a few streaks and 
spots of brown. 

I consider all these light-coloured birds to be immature, 
though some ornithologists regard this pale plumage as indica- 
tive of albinism, and the darker forms to be melanistic. While 
admitting that Buzzards have a tendency to melanism, my ex- 
perience has been that the birds grow darker with age, and have 
fewer bars on the tail than when they are young. 

Eange in Great Britain. The Common Buzzard is by no means 
so plentiful in the British Islands as it used to be, owing to the 
ill-advised way in which it has baen shot down by game-pre- 
servers. In Scotland and Wales, however, it is still to be found 
in the wilder districts, and in many parts of England specimens 
are obtained on migration : these are mostly young birds. In 
Ireland Mr. R. J. Ussher says that in Donegal, Londonderry, 
Antrim, and Down, where it was formerly recorded by Thomp- 
son as resident, it has now been nearly exterminated, and the 
bird is, therefore, as rare in its ancient habitat as it is in 

Eange outside the British Islands. Commonly distributed over 
the greater part of Western Europe, but its eastern range is by 
no means satisfactorily determined, as in Russia it appears to 


coalesce with the range of Buteo desertorum^ or the intermediate 
form known as B. zinunennannce. In Scandinavia it breeds 
as far as 60 N. lat, but its eastern range is believed to be 
the Baltic Provinces and the Vistula. It is, to a great extent, 
a migratory species in the autumn, and passes over Heligoland 
in great flights, and in Southern Europe it is decidedly local as 
a breeding species, and in the Mediterranean countries it again 
meets its rufous ally, B. desertorum. 

HaMts. The food of the Buzzard consists largely of field- 
mice, frogs, reptiles, especially slow-worms, and occasionally 
small birds. It will therefore be admitted by all that this Rap- 
torial bird is of great use in keeping down small vermin, and, 
like the Barn-Owls, ought to be rigorously protected, and not 
shot down, as is, unfortunately, too often the case with both 
species. In Germany the utility of the Buzzard in forest dis- 
tricts is better recognised. 

In its ways the Buzzard is rather a sluggish bird, and may 
often be seen sitting motionless, sometimes for hours together, 
on a tree or on the ground, only moving when it sees a mouse 
or other small prey. At other times it circles high in the air, 
uttering its plaintive, squealing cry ; and when in flight the 
action of the bird is described by all observers to be imposing 
and graceful. 

Nest. The nest is generally placed in a tree, but sometimes 
on rocks, and one, taken in Ross-shire a few years ago, is in 
the British Museum. The birds had built their rough nest of 
sticks on the floor of a small hollow in the cliff, in a well shel- 
tered situation. The nest is made of rough and ragged sticks 
for a foundation, with more slender twigs on the top, and is 
rather flat. A curious habit of the bird is to line the nest 
with green leaves, which it evidently renews from time to 
time. Mr. Seebohm found this lining of green leaves in ten 
out of eleven nests, some of which contained eggs and some 
young birds ; and it was only in a nest in which the young ones 
were far advanced that the lining was absent. Buzzards, how- 
ever, are not the only Birds of Prey which line their nests with 
green leaves, but the object of this proceeding is not clear. 

Eggs. From two to four in number, generally three. The 


ground-colour is white or faint greenish-white, and the eggs 
are often quite uniform, or show faint spottings or marblings of 
pale rufous. On the other hand, they are sometimes richly 
marked and clouded with rufous or rufous-brown. Every 
gradation in a series of clutches is exhibited in the Seebohm 
collection in the British Museum, from unsullied white eggs to 
those in which ihe ground-colour is almost hidden by a con- 
fusion of mottlings and cloudings of rich chestnut or rufous- 
brown. Axis, 2*1-2*4* diam., 1*7-1*9. 


Falco desertorum, Baud. Traite*, ii. p. 164 (1800). 

Buteo desertorum, Sharpe, Cat. B. i. p. 179(1874) ; Dresser, B. 
Eur. v. p. 457, pi. 332 (1875) ; Seebohm, Br. B. i. p. 122, 
note (1883) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 94 (1883). 

Adult Male. Smaller than B. buteo, and much more rufous, 
especially on the upper tail-coverts and tail the bars on the tail, 
nine or ten * cere lemon-yellow * bill dark lead-colour, lighter 
near the throat and cere ; feet lemon-yellow ; iris light hazel 
or yellowish. Total length, 21 inches; culmen, 1-55; wing, 
13*4; tail, 7-8; tarsus, 3*0. 

Young Birds. Much paler than the adults, especially on the 
under surface, the tail always showing a rufous tint, and having 
as many as thirteen bars. 

The rufous character of the plumage of this Buzzard is the 
best test for recognising it from the Common Buzzard, but it 
is sometimes very difficult to distinguish the two species, as 
B. desertorum gets very dark in its older stages, while B. buteo 
not unfrequently exhibits a shade of rufous on the tail. 

Range in Great Britain. The present species has been sup- 
posed to have occurred three times in England : twice in North- 
umberland, and once at Everley in Wiltshire, where a speci- 
men was shot in September, 1864. The two Northumbrian 
birds may have been wrongly identified, but the Wiltshire 
example was considered by the late Mr. J. H. Gurney to be an 
undoubted Desert Buzzard. 

Kange outside the British Islands. This species occurs in the 


Mediterranean countries and in South-eastern Europe. It is 
a common species in certain parts of Africa, and is apparently 
only a rare visitor to India, the specimens often identified as 
B. desertorum from this country being, in all probability, refer- 
able to B. plumipes. 


Falco borealis, Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 266 (1788). 
Buteo borealis, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 188 (1874); 
B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 94 (1883). 

Adult Male. Of large size, and distinguished by its rufous 
tail, the head and ear-coverts being smoky-brown, varied with 
darker brown streaks ; the tail-feathers tipped with white and 
crossed with a sub-terminal band of blackish-brown; under 
surface of body whitish, the breast streaked and the abdomen 
mottled with bars of dark brown; cere and gape greenish- 
yellow ; bill bluish-black ; feet yellow ; iris pale amber. Total 
length, 21 inches ; oilmen, 1-55 ; wing, 15-1 ; tail, 8-5 ; tarsus, 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but larger. Total length, 
25 inches; wing, 17-5 ; tail, 9-5 ; tarsus, 3*8. 

Young Birds. Brown, with the head and neck streaked with 
white ; sides of face whitish, streaked with brown, the cheeks 
uniform dark brown ; tail brown, slightly washed with rufous 
and crossed with nine bars of darker brown ; under surface o\ 
body pure white, with brown stripes on the throat, broader ou 
the breast, the abdomen and flanks with arrow-head marks of 
brown ; thighs white, with small transverse spots of pale rufous. 

Characters The red tail of the adult sufficiently distinguishes 
this Buzzard. The young birds may be distinguished by the 
longer wing, and by the particoloured thighs, but as there are 
many other species of Buzzard which possess these characters, 
only an examination by an expert can decide any of the young 
birds belonging to the genus Buteo. 

Eange in Great Britain. The Red-tailed Buzzard is said to 
have occurred once in Nottinghamshire, in the autumn of 
1860, and is recorded in the list of the birds of that county by 
Messrs. Sterland and Whitaker. 


Eange outside the British Islands. A North American species, 
found in the eastern portion of that continent, and westwards 
to the border of the Great Plains, according to Mr. Ridgvvay 
(Man. N. Amer. B. p. 232) occurring south in Eastern Mexico, 
and perhaps extending to Panama. 


Palco Hneatus, Gmelin, Syst. Nat. i. p. 274 (1788); Sharpe, 
Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 191 (1874); Newton, ed. Yarr. 
Brit. B. i. p. 113 (1871); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 94 

Adult Male. Easily distinguished by the colour of the lesser 
wing-coverts, which are conspicuously margined with rufous, so 
as to form a shoulder-patch ; the quills distinctly spotted with 
white on their outer webs ; the tail with from four to six alter- 
nate bars of black and white ; cere yellow ; bill bluish-black ; 
feet yellow ; claws black ; iris bright amber. Total length, 2 1 
inches; culmen, 1*4; wing, i3'2; tail, 8*5 ; tarsus, 3-1. 

Eange in Great Britain. A specimen of this Buzzard is said 
to have been obtained in Inverness-shire in 1863, but, as the 
Committee of the British Ornithologists' Union remark, the 
record is probably the mistake of a dealer. 

Range outside the British Islands. A North American species, 
occurring northward to Nova Scotia, and westward to the edge 
of the Great Plains. 


The chief distinguishing character of the Eagles is the reti- 
culation of the hinder aspect of the tarsus. This is very often 
hidden by feathers, but traces of the network of the scales 
can generally be found on parting the feathering of the back 
of the tarsus. The species of Eagles are numerous, and they 
are distributed nearly over the entire globe ; in fact, there is no 
portion of the Old World in which a Sea-Eagle of some kind 
does not occur. There is great variety in size among the 
members of the Sub-family, some being large and powerful, 
while others are little bigger than Sparrow-Hawks^ and yet be- 


long typically to the Eagles. The connection between them 
and the Buzzards is very close, while by way of the Kites they 
also approach the Falcons. 

Among the Eagles are to be found the largest of the Birds 
of Prey, such as the Laemmergeier, or " Bearded Vulture " as 
it is often called, a bird which, though structurally an Eagle, 
much resembles the Scavenger Vultures in many of its habits. 
It resembles the latter in being bare-footed, whereas all the 
species of the true Aquila and its allied genera have feathered 
tarsi. In this feathered group are included all the beautiful 
Crested Eagles (Spizaetus) and the Hawk-Eagles (Eutobnaetus\ 
as well as the curious Egg-devourer (Neopus). 

The bare-footed section comprises all the Sea-Eagles (Haliac- 
tus) and the Snake-Eagles (Circatu$\ besides a number of tro- 
pical forms, such as Haliastur^ which is half a Kite and half a 
Sea-Eagle, and connects the latter with the true Kites. 

Archibutco, Brehm, Isis, 1828, p. 1269. 
Type, A. lagopus (J. F. Gmelin). 

These birds have always been considered to be true Buzzards, 
and have generally been placed by ornithologists either in the 
genus Buteo or in close proximity, but the reticulation of the 
tarsi shows that they really belong to the Aquilince. In writing 
the "Catalogue of Birds in the British Museum," I made the 
curious mistake of figuring the tarsus of Archibuteo to show 
that it was reticulated behind, and then placed the genus 
among the Buzzards, thus stultifying the arrangement I had 
been at great pains to emphasise just one of those annoying 
faux pas which one makes sometimes without any apparent 
reason. Mr. Seebohm discovered my mistake and went so far 
as to put the Rough-legged Buzzards into the genus Aquila, 
because Dr. Gadow had found resemblances in the anatomy of 
the above-mentioned species and the Spotted Eagle. To put 
these two birds into the same genus is, however, more than Dr. 
Gadow ever intended, and although the Buzzard-Eagles bear a 
very close resemblance to the True Eagles, the nostril is not ex- 
posed as in the latter birds, and is, moreover, vertical, with an 


overhanging shelf, whereas in the Eagles the nostril is gener- 
ally a perpendicular oval, and exposed, or, in rare instances, 


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

Buteo lagopus, Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 193 (1840); Newt. ed. 

Yarn Br. B. i. p. 117 (1871); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 

313(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xiv. (1890). 
Archibuteo lagopus, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 196 (1874) ; 

Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 471, pis. 334, 335 (1875); B. O. U. 

List Br. B. p. 95 (1883). 
Aquila lagopus^ Seebohm, Br. B. i. p. in (1883). 

Adult Female. General colour above deep brown, the head 
and neck white, streaked with dark brown, especially on the 
cheeks and sides of the head ; lesser wing-coverts and scapulars 
with white bases, and margined with buff, imparting a streaked 
appearance to these parts ; quills brown, white for the greater 
part of the inner web ; upper tail-coverts white, with a sub- 
terminal bar of brown ; tail white, inclining to ashy-brown and 
tinged with rufous for the terminal third of its length, the tip 
white with a broad sub-terminal bar of black ; under surface of 
body white, the throat washed with buff like the sides of the 
neck, and streaked with dark brown, more broadly on the breast; 
lower breast and abdomen dark brown, the latter mottled with 
buff in the centre ; under tail-coverts white ; thighs and tarsal 
plumes buffy-white, spotted with brown ; cere yellow ; bill dark 
horn-colour ; toes yellow ; claws dark horn-colour ; iris hazel. 
Total length, 26 inches; culmen, 1*45; wing, 187; tail, io'o; 
tarsus, 3'i. 

Adult Male. Similar to the female, but a little smaller. Total 
length, 22*5 inches; wing, 17'! ; tail, 10*0; tarsus, 2*8. 

Young Birds. Resemble the adults, but are rather browner, es- 
pecially below, where the breast is more streaked ; the tail also 
brown for its terminal half, with no perceptible sub-terminal 

Characters. Distinguished from the ordinary Buzzards by the 
feathered tarsi, and from any of the feathered-legged Eagles by 
the different form of the nostrils, and by the lesser size. 


Range in Great Britain. An autumn visitor, occurring in some 
years, as in 1891, in great numbers. It may be considered 
almost a regular visitor to Scotland, and some specimens are 
obtained in the eastern counties nearly every autumn, but it is 
not often found in the south or west of England, and only 
about half a dozen instances of its capture in Ireland have 
been recorded. The species has even been said to breed in 
Great Britain, but the evidence is by no means satisfactory, and 
more exact confirmation of the fact is essential. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Rough-legged Buzzard- 
Eagle is distinctly a northern bird, being commonly distributed 
from Scandinavia into the valley of the Lena in Siberia. It 
breed.s in Russia, as far south as 56 N. lat, and also in thii 
Baltic Provinces, but in more southern latitudes it is only 
known as a winter visitor, occurring at this season of the year 
in the Pyrenees, in Italy, and the Mediterranean countries. 
In North America it is represented by a closely allied species, 
Archibuteo sancti johannis. 

Habits. Very little has been recorded of the habits of this 
species, but it is said to be a frequenter of the open country, 
rather than of wooded districts like a Buzzard, and in many 
of its habits it is more of an Aquila than a Buteo. It has a 
peculiar " mewing " cry, like that of a cat. Its food consists 
of rabbits and other small Mammalia, but it also eats reptiles 
and captures water-fowl. Its flight is said by Professor Newton 
to be slow, but smooth, and, except during its migrations, is 
seldom continued for any great length of time. 

Nest. Composed of sticks, according to Wolley, who took 
several nests of this species in Lapland. He says : " The nest 
was small, made of old sticks, with a few twigs of the fir and a 
little of the black hair-like lichen which grows so abundantly in 
the northern forests. The situation was near the edge of a 
great marsh with trees all around. Other nests were in taller 
trees, and were larger in size, and the bird will occasionally use 
an old nest of the Osprey." 

Eggs. Three or four in number, though sometimes only two 
are found. The ground-colour is a dull white or greenish- 
white, and although the markings and spots vary in number and 
intensity, absolutely white eggs, without any markings, seem to 


be almost unknown. The rufous markings are generally dis- 
ributed pretty evenly over the egg, and are intermixed with 
:loudings of a lighter brown, principally at the larger end of the 
egg. In one clutch in the Seebohm collection, from Fin- 
mark, the entire eggs are clouded with pale brown mottlincjs, 
forming here and there large blotches. Axis, 2-1-2-35 ; diam 


Aquilci) Briss. Orn. i. p. 419 (1760). 

Type. A. chrysactus (L \ 

Eagles are found throughout the northern parts of both 
Hemispheres, as far as Mexico in America, and in the Old 
World throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, but not extend- 
ing into the Malayan regions or to Australia. The large size 
of the Eagles is the best character by which our English species 
can be distinguished, but the Lesser Spotted Eagle is an ex- 
ception, as it is very little bigger than a Buzzard. It must 
be remembered that all members of the genus Aquila have 
feathered legs, and thus it is always easy to tell a True 
Eagle from a Sea-Eagle, which has the legs devoid of fea- 
thers.- The claw r s, or talons, of the Eagles are also extremely 
powerful, and fitted for taking large prey, presenting a marked 
difference in strength to the talons of the Vultures, whose feet 
are adapted for holding, not seizing, their prey. 


Falco ckrysaetus. Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 125 (1766). 

Aquila chrvsaetus, Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 204 (1840); Newt. cd. 

Yarr. Brit B. i. p. n (1871) ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 

i. p. 235 (1874); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 533, pi. 345 (1880); 

Seeb. Brit. B. i. p. 96 (1883) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 96 

(1883) ; Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 317 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. 

Fig. Br. B. part xxv. (1893). 

(Plate XLV.} 

Adult Male. General colour above blackish-brown, often 
with a very perceptible purplish gloss, the feathers of the 
mantle and the wing-coverts with paler edees ; quills blackish, 


ashy-brown below, the secondary 'quills ashy-grey, mottled with 
brown, the terminal third of the feather blackish ; tail ashy-grey, 
blackish at the tip and browner towards the base, the grey 
forming an irregular band across the middle of the tail, the 
basal portion of which is also mottled with grey ; head brown, 
the nape and hind-neck rich tawny, the feathers lanceolate in 
shape, with brown bases, and imparting a streaked appearance 
to this part of the neck ; sides of the face light tawny, paler 
than the neck ; cheeks and under surface of body blackish, the 
feathers mostly brown at the base, and the feathers of the leg 
pale brown, as also the under tail-coverts ; under wing-coverts 
blackish ; cere yellow ; bill bluish horn-colour, darker at the 
tip; feet yellow, claws black; iris hazel. Total length, 32 
inches; culmen, 2'6; wing, 24*5; tail, 13*0; tarsus, 37. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male in colour, but larger. 
Total length, 35-5 inches; wing, 27-5; tail, 13-0; tarsus, 3*8. 

Young Birds. These can always be distinguished by the 
colour of the tail, which is white for more than the basal half, 
and brown for nearly the terminal half, so that there is a very 
broad band at the end of the tail ; otherwise the colour of the 
young birds does not differ very much from that of the adults, 
excepting that there is a good deal of white at the bases of the 
feathers, especially on the under surface of the body, which is 
rather lighter brown than in the old birds. 

Nestling. Covered with white down. 

Range in Great Britain. The breeding-range of the Golden 
Eagle is now restricted to the highlands of Scotland and some 
of the western isles, where the bird is protected. Formerly 
it used to nest in the Orkneys, and also in the south of Scot- 
land, while it has only been extinguished as a breeding bird in 
the Lake district during the last hundred years, and two cen- 
turies ago it nested in Wales and Derbyshire. Young birds 
of the present species occur in the lowlands of Scotland not 
unfrequently, and more rarely visit England, but the reported 
captures of Golden Eagles generally refer to young White-tailed 
Eagles, which may always be distinguished by their bare legs. 

In Ireland, Mr. R. J. Ussher says the chief breeding-places 
of "the Golden Eagle are now a few spots in Western Mayo. 


It breeds still more sparingly in Western Donegal, and prob- 
ably in Western Galway and Kerry, but it has ceased to breed, 
as formerly, in Antrim, Tyrone, Down, Tipperary, Waterford, 
Leitrim, and Sligo, but visits the mountainous parts of these 
counties occasionally." 

Range outside the British Islands. The Golden Eagle is found 
throughout the mountains of Europe and Northern Africa, and 
extends to the extreme east of Asia, as far as Kamtchatka and 
the Japanese Islands. It also breeds in the Himalayas. Many 
races or sub-species have been recognised, chiefly by the late 
Dr. Severtzov and the Russian naturalists, but I have never 
been able to recognise more than one species of Golden Eagle, 
though in some localities the birds are larger and darker than 
in others, but the supposed differences in the amount of white 
on the tail- and body-feathers are dependent, 1 am certain, solely 
on the age of the individuals, and are never specific. 

In North America the Golden Eagle is found in the moun- 
tainous regions of the northern parts, but has not yet been 
noticed in Greenland. 

Habits. Owing to the destruction which this large Eagle is 
capable of committing on sheep-farms, the bird has been shot 
and trapped almost to extinction in the British Islands. The 
principal food of the Golden Eagle in Scotland is the Blue 
or Mountain Hare, and it also captures rabbits or an occa- 
sional Grouse, while it is well known that it will devour carrion, 
which propensity often leads to its being taken in traps. The 
flight of a Golden Eagle is certainly a wonderful sight to see, 
according to all observers, and I have seen nothing finer than 
the flight of the Eagles in the Himalayas (probably Imperial 
Eagles), soaring round and round, high in the air, without any 
apparent motion of the wings, the ends of which are slightly 
upturned in soaring, so that daylight can be seen between the 
tips of the long primaries. Then follow a few rapid beats of 
the wings, and then another round of circular movements, 
until the bird winds itself out of sight or tops the mountain 
crest into the next valley. Sometimes the bird will sit motion- 
less on a rock or favourite perch for hours, but it is when 
the Golden Eagle is on the wing, that we can understand 
why its majestic movements inspired the idea that it was the 


11 King of Birds." Otherwise there is nothing very awe-inspiring 
in the habits of the Eagle, which are further sullied by its car- 
rion-eating propensities. Mr. Seebohm says: "The Eagle in its 
habits is more of a Vulture than a Falcon, and his motions 
are sluggish, cowardly, and tame, compared with the death- 
swoop of the Peregrine, or the brilliant performance of the 
Sparrow-Hawk, or the Merlin, who would not deign to feast 
on such lowly fare." 

Nest. The Golden Eagle is an early breeder, and its nest 
has been found while the country was still covered with snow. 
The young are hatched by the end of April. The nest is a 
large and rough structure of sticks and heather, with a lining 
of fern and moss and tufts of green herbage. It is often as 
much as five feet in diameter, and is generally placed on a 
cliff, more rarely on a tree, in the British Islands at least. 

Eggs. Two, occasionally three, in number. They vary in 
colour from white to richly marked varieties. Sometimes 
rufous spots are distributed over the whole egg, while in the 
more handsomely coloured ones the whole surface is clouded 
with light earthy-rufous, while on some of these clouded eggs, 
bright rufous or rufous-brown markings are interspersed. 
Axis, 2-8-3-3; diam., 2-25-2-45. 


Fako maculatus, Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 258 (1788). 

Aquila ncevia, Gm. ; Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 20 (1871) ; 

Seebohm, Brit. B. i. p. 106 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. Br. B. 

p. 315 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxv. (1893). 
Aquila cfanga, Pall.; Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 246 (1874) ; 

Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 499, pi. 339 (1878) ; B. O. U. List 

Br. B. p. 96 (1883). 

* The difficulty of assigning a specific name for the Spotted Eagles has 
long been recognised by ornithologists, and the smaller of the three races 
has generally been called Aquila navia, the larger form A. clanga, and 
the Indian form A. hastata. Dr. W. T. Blanford has recently reviewed the 
the whole of the evidence, and accepts the verdict that the Falco n-zvius 
of Gmelin refers to the Common Buzzard, and that the name maculata 
belongs to the larger form, generally known as Aquila clanga of Pallas. 
I agree with Dr. Blanford in adopting this name. 


Adult Male. General colour above and below dark chocolate- 
brown, almost black. The wing-coverts rather lighter brown, 
and the hinder crown and nape inclining to sandy-huff; quills 
and tail almost uniform brown, the latter with a few greyish 
mottlings or indications of bars in old individuals. Total 
length, 26*5 inches; culmen, 2^4; wing, 20^5; tail, 10*5; tar- 
sus, 3-9. 

Adult Female. -Similar to the male, but larger. Total length, 
29 inches; wing, 21*5; tail, ir8; tarsus, 4*2. 

Young Birds. Of a purplish-brown colour ; wing-coverts like 
the back, the median coverts with a few longitudinal streaks of 
dull white, which become much larger and take the form of 
oval spots on the greater and primary-coverts, as well as on the 
tips of the scapulars ; the quills blackish, the secondaries 
rather browner, with faint bars of black, and oval white spots 
at the tips like the scapulars ; lower back and rump with dis- 
tinct triangular spots of ochraceous-buff, the upper tail-coverts 
almost uniform buffy-white ; tail-feathers blackish, browner 
towards their ends, which are tipped with whity -brown, the 
feathers crossed with three or four bars of blackish-brown near 
the tips ; under surface of body blackish, browner on the chin, 
the breast streaked with pale brown down the centre of the 
feathers, the abdomen and feathers of the leg rather more 
octwaceous ; under tail-coverts ochraceous-buff; under wing- 
coverts blackish, the axillaries rather browner ; greater under 
wing-coverts ashy-brown, and white at the base like the prim- 
ary-quills. Total length, 26 inches; wing, 20; tail, io'o; tar- 
sus, 3-9. 

Characters. An adult Spotted Eagle can always be told from 
an adult Golden Eagle by its smaller size, and by its tail being 
uniform below. This character will also distinguish the young 
birds of the two species, the Golden Eagle having the base of 
the tail white, and showing none of the large spots on the 
wings, from which the Spotted Eagle has derived its popular 

Eange in Great Britain. A rare and occasional visitant, occur- 
ring apparently only in late autumn and winter. Two were 
obtained near Youghal in Ireland in January 1845. Two 
more have been shot in Cornwall in December 1860 and 


November 1861. In 1875 a specimen was found dead on 
Walney Island, and on the 3ist October, 1885, another was 
shot in Northumberland (cf. Saunders, I.e.). In November 
1891, three or four specimens were obtained in the eastern 
counties. Mr. J. H. Gurney states that all the British speci- 
mens examined by him belonged to the larger race of Spotted 
Eagle, and I have, therefore, somewhat taken for granted that 
the small Spotted Eagle (A. pomarina) has not yet visited us. 
An examination of every specimen killed in these islands is 
desirable, as Mr. Seebohm believes that the Irish and Corn- 
wall specimens belonged to the small race. 

Range outside the British Islands. There are three races of 
Spotted Eagle, named respectively Aquila pomarina^ A. macu- 
lata, and A. hastata. The first two of these are found in 
Europe, A. hastata being an Indian species and therefore not 
concerning us in the present work. The difference between 
A. pomarina and A. maculata consists of size chiefly, the 
latter being a larger and a darker bird, both of them having, in 
their young plumage, the distinct spotting of the wing. A. 
pomarina is distinctly smaller than A. maculata^ and has the 
wing under twenty inches in both male and female. This 
smaller race, which is the one we should expect to be the 
visitor to England instead of A. maculata^ breeds in Northern 
Germany and the Baltic Provinces of Russia, and is found 
in the Pyrenees, and even in Spain and North Africa, but is 
apparently rare in all the Mediterranean countries. A. poma- 
rina is said to reach to Bessarabia and the Caucasus, and in 
winter migrates down the Nile Valley to Abyssinia, and, in my 
opinion, will probably be found still farther to the south. 

Aquila maculata^ on the other hand, is a bird of Turkey and 
Southern Russia, occurring also in Hungary, and reaching in its 
eastern range through Central Asia to Eastern Siberia and Nor- 
thern China. This form winters in India, and also migrates down 
the Nile Valley to Abyssinia and probably farther southward. 

Habits. The Spotted Eagle is said to resemble a Buzzard in 
its ways, and to feed on frogs, lizards, snakes, and even to eat 
grasshoppers and other insects, while it will also devour car- 
rion. It is an inhabitant of the swampy forests, and Mr. See- 
bohm says that, during his search for the nest of the Spotted 

8 M 


Eagle in Pomerania, he never found one in a dry forest. The 
only nest which I have seen myself was in Hungary, and was 
situated not more than forty feet from the ground, in a forest 
through which we proceeded in small shooting parties. The 
bird sat so close that none of the party suspected that the nest 
was tenanted ; and when, after we had been chatting for some 
minutes below the tree, the Eagle suddenly flew off, we were 
so much taken by surprise that she was missed by all three of 
the party. 

Nest. This is generally a large structure, and Mr. Seebohm 
gives the dimensions of one found by himself in Pomerania as 
four feet long, two and a half feet wide, and two feet high. It 
was very flat, like the nests of all Birds of Prey, the depression 
in the centre not being more than four or five inches. "The 
foundation was composed of sticks nearly an inch thick, but at 
the top they were very slender. The final lining was slender 
beech-twigs with fresh green leaves on them. There was 
also a little down and a feather or two, which had probably 
been accidentally rubbed off the breast of the parent bird." 
Another nest was lined with fresh green grass. The tree 
selected by the Spotted Eagle is generally a beech, but the 
nest is also found in oak- and fir-trees. 

Eggs. Thesj are laid'early in May, and are generally two in 
number. Sometimes only one is found, and on very rare oc- 
casions a nest has been known to contain three eggs. They 
are very like a small edition of Golden Eagles' eggs, nnd are 
alike in shape at both ends, but they are, of course, smaller 
than the eggs of that bird. In those of both forms of Spotted 
Eagle there seems to me to be an occasional tendency for the 
rufous markings to congregate at one end of the egg, which 
is not seen in those of A. chrysactus. Axis (in eggs of A. 
pomarina), 2'3-2'65 : diam., rQ-2'i ; axis (in those of A. macu- 
lata), 2 45~2'65; diam., i'g-2'i. 

Haliaetus, Savigny, Syst. Ois. d'Egypte, p. 254 (1809). 

Type, H. albidlla (L.). 

The Sea-Eagles have the tarsi bare of feathers, and the extent 
of the bare part of the tarsus is less than the length of the middle 


toe. The nostrils are perpendicular ovals, the tail is slightly 
rounded, and the bare tarsus is scaled in front and reticulated 

Members of the genus Haliactus are found in the northern 
portions of the New World, but are not known from Central 
or South America. In the Old World they are found almost 
everywhere, and one species, Haliaetus kucogaster^ is an in- 
habitant of the Malayan Archipelago, Australia, and even ex- 
tends to some of the Oceanic Islands. 


Vultur albicilla, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 123 (1766). 
Haliaetus albicilla, Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 221 (1840) ; Newt. ed. 
Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 25 (1871); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 
i. p. 303 (1874); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 551, pi. 348 
(1875); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 97 (1883); Seebohm, 
Br. B. i. p. 87 (1883); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 319 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. parts xiii. xvi. (1890). 

(Plate XL VI.) 

Adult Male. General colour above brown, with a tinge of 
sandy-colour on the neck and wing-coverts, many of the 
feathers being edged with pale brown or ashy-grey ; head and 
sides of face with a decided tinge of ashy-grey, the ear-coverts 
browner ; the median and greater wing-coverts glossy brown, 
with whity-brown margins ; quills black, with brown shafts, the 
primaries externally shaded with ashy, the secondaries like the 
back, but darker brown towards their tips ; lower back and rump 
dark brown ; long upper tail-coverts white, slightly varied with 
brown at the base and at the tips ; tail pure white ; under 
surface of body brown, the throat and chest whity-brown, 
with dark brown central streaks, some of the feathers shaded 
with ashy ; under wing-coverts and inner lining of quills dark 
brown, the latter inclining to ashy ; cere and bill yellow ; feet 
yellow, the claws black; iris straw-yellow. Total length, 33-5 
inches; culmen, 3*0; wing, 24-5; tail, ii'o; tarsus, 4-1. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but larger. Total length, 
3^ inches; culmen, 3-8; wing, 26-3; tail, i3'5; tarsus, 4-6. 

Young Birds. The young are much darker than the adults, 
and much more mottled, the head and neck being blackish- 
brown, the long feathers slightly tipped with fulvous-brown, not 

M 2 


so distinctly on the crown itself; entire back, scapulars, and 
median wing-coverts bright fulvous-brown, with large markings 
of dark brown towards the tips, imparting a strongly mottled 
appearance to the upper surface of the body ; lesser and greater 
wing-coverts dark brown, the latter slightly mottled with whity- 
brown, as also the inner secondaries, the quills being otherwise 
as in the adults ; lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts 
light brown, the long coverts mottled with whity-brown ; tail of 
the latter colour, the centre feathers especially whitish, all 
irregularly mottled with greyish-brown, which colour is most 
developed on the edge of the feathers ; throat dark brown, with 
white bases to the feathers, the sides of the face being almost 
uniform dark brown ; rest of under surface of body mottled 
like the back, the bases of the feathers being fulvous-brown, 
mottled with dark brown down the centre and at the tip; under 
tail-coverts and thighs rather more uniform ; under wing-coverts 
entirely dark brown ; cere yellowish-brown ; bill black ; feet 
yellow ; iris brown. 

Characters. I have already stated that the unfeathered legs 
of the White-tailed Eagle unfailingly distinguish it from the 
Golden Eagle. The pure white tail of the adult is a further 
character, and the mottled plumage and whitish tail of the 
young birds ought to render identification of immature speci- 
mens easy. Indeed it is only by gross carelessness that the 
two species can be confounded, and yet we know that this is 
often the case. 

Kange in the British Islands. Principally observed in England 
as a migrant in autumn and winter, though it formerly bred on 
many p irts of the coast and in the Lake district, but even in 
the south of Scotland it has become extinct as a breeding bird, 
and places like Ailsa Craig, where there used to be an eyrie, no 
longer know the species except as a chance visitor. In the 
western isles of Scotland it still breeds, and also on the 
northern coast. Mr. Ussher says that in its former breeding- 
haunts in Donegal, Antrim, Dublin, Wicklow, Cork, Clare, and 
Galway it is extinct ; but a pair has bred recently on the coast 
of Mayo, and another pair on the coast of Kerry. 

Range outside the British Islands. The White-tailed Eagle is 
found in most parts of Northern Europe, and breeds in Scan- 


dinavia, Germany, and Russia, as well as in the valley of the 
Danube. Eastwards it extends across Asia to Kamtchatka, 
and in winter the species is found to the southward in China 
and Japan, and even visits India. 

In North America its place is taken by the Bald Eagle 
(Haliaetus leucocephalus\ but the European species extends to 
Greenland, where it is resident. 

Habits. By many writers this species is spoken of as the 
Sea-Eagle, and in most of its range it appears to frequent the 
sea-coast, but it is also found on inland waters and lakes, and 
is probably nowhere more plentiful in Europe than in the valley 
of the Danube. The food of the White-tailed Eagle consists 
of the smaller game, such as hares, young deer, and ducks, 
and it also feeds largely on carrion. It will likewise catch 
fish, and in Pomerania Mr. Seebohm says that it often makes 
considerable havoc in the carp-ponds. Its nature is said to be 
somewhat cowardly, and one of these Eagles will allow itself to 
be driven off by a Peregrine or a pair of Ravens. 

Nest. This is a huge structure of sticks, added to year by 
year, until it attains an immense size. It is often built on a 
rock in the middle of a lake in inland districts, but the site 
varies a good deal, and the nest is as often built in a tree, and 
on rarer occasions on the ground. In Egypt the nest has 
been found among reed-beds, and similar instances have been 
recorded from Europe. It is, however, often placed on the 
ledges of cliffs, and is composed entirely of sticks and a little 
heather, with some coarse grass as lining. 

Eggs. Two in number ; white or whity-brown, when they 
have become nest-stained. The brownish markings which are 
sometimes seen on them are apparently always the result of 
such staining. The eggs are somewhat smaller than those 
of the Golden Eagle, and are rounder in form, and coarser in 
texture. Axis, 2 ! 7-3'i5 ; diam., 2-2-2-5. 

We now pass on to the Kites, whose connection with the 
Eagles is maintained bysuch forms as the Brahminy-Kites(-fa//- 
astur) of India and Australia, which approach the Sea-Eagles in 
form, but have the manners of a Kite. In Africa, and again in 
North America, occur the Swallow-tailed Kites, of which Rio- 


cour's Kite (Nauchrus riocouri) is the representative in the 
former continent, its place being taken in the New World by 
the following. 


Elanoides, Vieillot, N. Diet d'Hist. Nat. xxiv. p. 101 (1818). 
Type, E. f urea fits (L.). 

These birds, like the Eagles, have the feet bare, but they are 
much weaker than in the last named group, and have not such 
powerful talons. The nostril is oblique, and is generally 
closed in by a membrane on its upper margin, so that the 
nasal aperture becomes almost linear in character. The tail 
is very long and distinctly forked, the outer tail-feather being 
the longest. The wing is also of great length and even ex- 
ceeds the tail in dimensions. 


Falco furcahiS) Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 129 (1766). 

Nauclerns furcatus, Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 277 (1840); Newton, 

ed. Yarr. Br. B. i. p. 103 (1871); B. O. U. List Brit. B. 

p. 100 (1883). 
Elanoidcs furcatus, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 317 (1874) ; 

Seebohm Br. B. i. p. 63 (1883); Saunders, Man. Brit. 

B. p. 328, note (1889). 

(Plate XLV1I.) 

Adult Male. General colour above black, varied with shades 
of purple or green, according to the light ; mantle and lesser 
wing-coverts deep velvety-black ; wings and tail externally light 
slaty-grey, with a slight gloss of purple or bronzy-green, the latter 
tint especially developed on the two centre tail-feathers ; head 
and neck all round white, as well as the hinder part of the back 
and rump ; the entire under surface of the body pure white ; 
upper wing-coverts white at the base, shaded with grey, and 
glossed with green ; under wing-coverts and bases of inner 
secondaries white ; bill dark horn-blue ; feet light milk-blue ; 
iris rich dark reddish-brown. Total length, 21 inches; culmen, 
I'oj wing, 17*0; tail, 13^0; tarsus, 1-4. 

THE TRUE KITES. . , 167 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length,. 24 inches; 
wing, 1 6 ! 8. 

Kange in Great Britain.-^The Swallow-tailed Kite is so firmly 
established in the British list of birds, that to, omit it would 
seem to be a mistake, and yet the claims, of the species to, be 
considered British are of the very slenderest. Two, specimens 
have been recorded : one in Argyllshire in 1772,. and auothei 
in 1823. The latter bird was captured alive, but made,- ii 
escape, so that I believe I am correct in. saying that no 
authentic British example of the Swallow.-tailed Kite exists in 
any private collection or public museum in this country. 

Eange outside the British Islands. The range of this species 
in North America is given by Mr. Ridgway as extending 
over the tropical and warm-temperate portions of continental 
America, north in the interior regularly to Iowa, Minnesota, 
Illinois, &c., along the Atlantic coast casually to Pennsylvania 
and Southern New England. In winter the species migrates 
to Brazil. 

Habits. A very graceful bird on the wing, soaring to a 
great height. It appears from Audubon's notes, to be gre- 
garious to a great extent, feeding on the wing, and catching 
insects or small lizards from the trunks of the trees, devouring 
also large grasshoppers, caterpillars, snakes, and frogs, :Mr. 
Dresser also says that they feed on wasp-grubs, and will carry 
off a nest to a perch and there pick out the, grubs. 

Nest. Placed on a high tree, made of sticks, and lined with 
coarse grass. Mr. Dresser suggests that they probably breed in 
society, and Mr. Ridgway says that the nest is usually found 
near watercourses. 

Eggs. Two or three in number ; white or buffy-white, boldly 
spotted or blotched, chiefly round the larger end,, with hazel- 
brown, chestnut, or rich madder-brown (Ridgway). 


Milvus, Cuvier, Lee, Anat. Comp. i. tabL.Ois. (1800). 

Type, Milvus milvus (L.). 

The Kites have the same oblique nostril as was described 
in the genus Elanoides, with the membrane on the upper 


margin closing in the nostril, so that the nasal opening appears 
as a linear slit. The tail is forked, so that the outer feathers 
are the longest, and the wings are long and pointed, but the 
difference between the tips of the primaries and secondaries is 
more than that of the fork of the tail. 

The True Kites are birds of the Old World, and are dis- 
tributed over temperate Europe, as well as Asia, Africa, and 


Fako milvuS) Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 126 (1766). 
J\filvusregalis^QU*- ) Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 265 (1840); See- 

bohm, Br. B. i. p. 74 (1883); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. 

part xi. (1889). 
Milvtis ictinus, Sav. ; Newt. ed. Yair. Brit. B. i. p. 92 (1871) ; 

Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mtis. i. p. 319 (1874); Dresser, B. 

Eur. v. p. 643, pi. 361 (1875) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 99 

(1883) ; Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 325 (1889). 

(Plate XLV1II.) 

Adult Male. Above brown, with rufous margins to the 
feathers, shading off into buff on the edges, especially on the 
wing-coverts; primary-coverts and primary-quills black, with 
the base of the inner web white ; the secondaries paler brown, 
with rufous edges ; the lower back and rump dark brown ; 
upper tail-coverts rufous, washed with brown ; tail rufous, with 
fulvous tips to the feathers, the outer feathers darker brown on 
the outer web, especially towards the tips, the inner web with 
a few bars of dark brown ; head, sides of face, and throat 
whitish, streaked with dark brown, more narrowly on the latter ; 
chest pale rufous, the feathers margined with buff, and with 
broad brown centres ; remainder of under surface of body 
bright rufous, with longitudinal centres of dark brown, these 
streaks more narrow on the thighs and under tail-coverts; under 
wing-coverts and axillaries dark brown, with rufous margins, 
the lower series greyish ; cere yellow ; bill horn-colour ; feet 
yellow; iris yellow. Total length, 24 inches ; culmen, 1*8 ; wing, 
20*4; tail, 15*0; tarsus, 2-2. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, 24 inches; 
wing, 1 8 6. 
Young Birds are distinguished by the light streaks on the under 



surface of the body, and the much narrower black stripes on 
the under-parts. 

Range in Great Britain. Formerly a common species in many 
parts of England and Wales, but now extinct in most of its 
former haunts, though it is said still to nest in certain places 
in the last-named principality, where it is protected. In 
Scotland, also, it occasionally breeds, but in England the last 
nest recorded was in 1870 in Lincolnshire. There are still 
living people who can remember the Kite as anything but a 
rare bird, and the Marquis of Huntly's head keeper at Aboyne 
could recall the time when it bred regularly at Glentanar, and 
was always known as the " Glentanar Glead." In Ireland it 
appears never to have been plentiful, and only some half-a- 
dozen instances of its capture have been recorded. In the 
Middle Ages it was a common species in England, and excited 
the curiosity of foreign visitors by its abundance in the streets 
of London, where it fed upon the offal and garbage. 

Range outside the British Islands. Throughout the greater part 
of Europe the Kite is met with, and breeds in Central Europe 
and the Mediterranean countries, remaining in Southern Spain 
at all seasons, though the number is slightly increased by 
arrivals from the north in winter, when they pass over to North 
Africa during the autumn migration. Its northern range in 
Scandinavia is about 61 N. lat.,andits eastern range in Russia 
is bounded by the Dnieper and the Governments of Tula and 
Orel. It breeds in Palestine, in North Africa, and is also 
found in Madeira, the Canaries, and the Cape Verd Islands. 

HaMts. However much the Red Kite may have frequented 
the cities of England in former times, as its relations do many 
of the eastern cities at the present day, the species is now 
banished from the woods which it still frequented early in the 
century, and is now only to be found in the wilder parts of 
Great Britain. In many of the woodland districts of Northern 
Germany, however, it is still a common bird, and Mr. See- 
bohm gives an account of a bird-nesting excursion in Pome- 
rania, when he took several nests. 

The flight of the Red Kite is easy and graceful, and the 
forked tail of the bird renders it readily recognisable on the 


wing. Its well-known powers of soaring used, in former days, 
to make it an object of pursuit for Falconers, and it is said 
that on some occasions both the Kite and its pursuer soared to 
such an immense height as to become invisible, and neither Fal- 
con nor quarry were ever seen again. The cry of the Kite is 
like that of its tropical brethren, a " mewing " one, but it is not 
heard in the same constant and irritating querulous manner, 
as is the case with the Govinda Kites in India, or the Egyptian 
Kites in Egypt. With the Red Kite the cry is principally 
heard in the breeding-season. 

In most of its ways the Red Kite is very Buzzard-like, and 
like that species, it captures its prey more by surprise and 
stealth than in open flight. Its diet is varied, consisting of 
the smaller mammals, birds, reptiles, and frogs, and also fish, 
but the remains of hares which have been found in the nest of 
the Kite are probably those of animals killed by some more 
powerful depredator, and carried off by the Kite after the animal 
has been despatched and partially eaten by its original captor. 
The same may be said of the Grouse, which the Kite is stated 
to snatch on occasion, for one can hardly imagine a weak-footed 
bird like the Kite capturing a powerful bird like the Red 
Grouse, if the latter were in its full strength ; and it is, there- 
fore, most likely that only diseased or wounded birds fall 
victims to the Kite's rapacity. Besides being a scavenger, it 
will also take young birds of all sorts, and in the old days, 
when the species was common, it obtained a bad name as a 
destroyer of young chickens. 

Nest. From all accounts this is chiefly remarkable among 
the nests of the Birds of Prey for the scraps with which it is 
ornamented. It is generally placed in a tree, though in certain 
places it has been found on rocks, as in Northern Africa, for 
instance. As to the rubbish with which a Kite decorates its nest 
of sticks, here are some of the items recorded by Mr. See- 
bohm as found by him in those he visited in Pomerania : 
" old rags, parts of newspapers, a piece of embroidery, part of 
an old stocking, some moss, goat's hair, rags, lumps of hair 
from a cushion, brown paper, wool, pig's hair, &c." 

Eggs. From two to three in number ; pale greenish-white 01 
white, many of them with spots and blotches of reddish-brown 


or chestnut, some of the eggs being very boldly blotched, and 
with the markings almost black. The red blotches are not 
confined to either end of the egg, as a rule, though sometimes 
this is the case. The spots are generally distributed over the 
egg, when they occur, and serve to bring into relief the larger 
and darker blotches, which give the eggs a very handsome 
appearance. Axis, 2*i-2'35 inches; diam., i'y-i'75. 


Accipiter korsckun, Gm. N. Comm. Petrop. xv. p. 444 (1771). 
Falco migrant, Bodd. Tabl. PI. Enl. p. 28 (1783). 
Milvus migrans, Newton, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 97 (1871); 
Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 651, pi. 362 (1876); B. O. U. List 
Br. B. p. 99 (1883); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 327 (1889); 
Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xix. (1891). 
Milvus korschun, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 322 (1874). 
Milvus ater, Seebohm, Brit. B. i. p. 80 (1883). 

Adult Male. General colour above dark brown, the median 
wing-coverts paler brown, with darker brown shaft-stripes ; 
quills dark brown, paler on their inner webs, ashy-brown 
below, paler towards the base ; tail dark brown, somewhat 
rufescent towards the end, with very indistinct bars of darker 
brown ; head all round and throat whitish, with dark brown 
streaks, the ear-coverts washed with brown ; under surface of 
body rufous brown, becoming clearer rufous on the abdomen, 
the breast broadly streaked with dark brown, more narrowly 
on the abdomen, flanks, and under tail-coverts ; under wing- 
coverts dull brown, washed with rufous and streaked with dark 
brown, the lower series ashy-brown ; cere and gape orange ; 
bill black, yellowish at base ; feet yellow, claws black ; iris pale 
greyish-yellow, surrounded by a black line. Total length, 22 
inches; culmen, r6; wing, 18*1 ; tail, ii'o; tarsus, 2*2. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male in plumage. Total length, 
22 inches; wing, i8 - o. 

Range in Great Britain. This Kite can only be considered as 

* Though I still believe that the oldest name for this species is Milvus 
korsckun (Gm.), the name is a barbarous one, and as it has no similarity 
to anything Latin or Greek, I am willing to discard it for the more classi- 
cal one of M. migrant, which has been generally adopted for the Black 
Kite by ornithologists of the present day. 


one of our rarest and most accidental visitors, for it has only 
been known to occur in the British Islands on one occasion, 
an adult male bird having been trapped in the deer-park at 
Alnwick in Northumberland in May, 1866. This specimen is 
now in the Newcastle Museum. 

Range outside the British Islands. This Kite is found in most 
parts of Europe, though locally distributed in many portions 
of the Continent. On both sides of the Mediterranean Sea it 
is to a great extent resident and breeds, especially in Northern 
Africa, but, though nesting throughout Central Europe, it does 
not extend to Scandinavia, being again found throughout Russia 
from Finland and Archangel to the Caspian Sea. Its range 
extends eastward to Persia and Turkestan, but farther east 
its place is taken by Milvus govinda and M. melanotis. In 
winter it visits Africa, wandering even to the southern por- 
tions of the continent. 

Habits. Although very similar in its ways of life to the Red 
Kite, the present species seems to be a much shyer bird than 
its congener in Northern Europe, though in Southern Europe 
and the Mediterranean countries it is much commoner and is 
even found in some of the cities, which it frequents for the 
sake of the garbage it can pick up. It is particularly fond of 
fish, and is often to be seen beating over lakes and rivers in 
pursuit of fish on the surface or in the shallows. Its food like- 
wise consists of leverets, rats, mice and small birds, frogs, 
and insects. Although mostly found in forests and wooded 
districts, the Black Kite is sometimes met with in unexpected 
localities, and Mr. Dixon states that, when in Algeria, he found 
the Black Kite " in the most desolate country, both on the 
plains and at altitudes of 7,000 feet in the Aures Mountains." 
In Mr. Seebohm's work on British Birds occurs the following 
note, translated from the writings of the late Profess )r Bog- 
danow. " Upon my arrival at Astrachan, I was greatly sur- 
prised at the numbers of Black Kites living in the town, and 
at their tameness. One could throw hardly anything out of 
the window, without two or three of these birds pouncing on 
it. As soon as the August fishery commences, all these birds 
leave the town and go to the fishing-places, where the small 
and useless fish are cast away by the fishermen. The different 
localities inhabited by the Kite, and its occurrence in the 


steppes and valleys, certainly does not make it a normal in- 
habitant of the plains, and its real habitation is the forest, 
where it breeds, and to which it retires to roost. In the 
Volga district it never builds anywhere but in trees ; but in 
the Volga delta, where no oaks nor any other high trees exist, 
it constructs its nest on the very low trees which sometimes 
grow amidst reeds. In the wooded parts of Kazan their 
food consists of young hares, moles, mice, and small birds, 
and in the towns and villages of garbage. In the river- 
valleys it preys upon frogs, water-rats, ducks and other water- 
birds ; but in no case, and in no place, does it despise carrion. 
Its migration from the province of Kazan commences in Sep- 
tember, and draws to a close in October. This, however, 
largely depends upon the weather, as in dry and mild autumns, 
when there are many mammals on the steppe, it leaves later." 
N es t. Made of sticks, and lined with some rubbish and 
scraps of paper, bits of old clothes and rags, as in the case of 
the Red Kite. In the Eastern Atlas, Mr. Osbert Salvin states 
that the nest was usually built amongst the roots of a tree 
growing out of a rock. Mr. Seebohm adds : " The nest is 
often covered with fish-bones, and, according to Dr. Holland, 
the young are fed on reptiles and small birds. The Black 
Kite will also rob the nests of other birds, when it is bringing 
up its young." In Southern Spain, Mr. Howard Saunders 
has found the species to be gregarious during the nesting- 
season, and as many as ten nests have been found by him in 
a small patch of forest. 

Eggs. Generally two, but as many as five are sometimes 
found. They are very similar to those of the Red Kite, but 
they are, as a rule, more distinctly marked than the eggs of 
the last-named species. The ground-colour is dull white, and 
the reddish blotches are distributed irregularly over the egg, 
being sometimes congregated at one end, sometimes at the 
other. Some eggs are clouded all over with pale cinnamon- 
brown. Axis, 2-05-2-3 inches; diam., 1-6-1-75. 


Elanus, Savigny, Syst. Ois. d'Egypte, p. 274 (1809). 
These are perfectly tropical birds, and, like the Bee-Eaters, 
are entirely out of place in Great Britain. As, however, the 


occurrence of the common Black-winged Kile in Ireland 
appears to be beyond question, it is given a place in the pre- 
sent work, for what it is worth. Like all Kites, the members 
of the genus Rhinus have the feet bare, and further show that 
they are Kites and not Eagles by having the oblique nostril 
which is one of the features of the Milvine section of the 
Sub family Aquilince. At the same time they approach the 
True Falcons in appeirance, and more especially the Honey- 
Kites in their soft feathering, that peculiar "feel" of plumage 
which distinguishes this small group of Hnvks to the student, 
and enables him to recognise the Falconine Kites. To this 
group of Accipitrine Birds belong the S)uth America genera 
Rosthramus and Leptodon, as well as Gampsonyx, and the 
Old World genera Gypoutinia, Elanus, Henicopernis^ Machce- 
rhamphus, and Pernis. Of these Falconine Kites perhaps the 
most interesting is Machccrhamphns, of wh'ch the species are 
so rare in museums that certainly less than twenty examples 
are as yet known. They are crepuscular birds, coining out in 
the twilight and feeding on bats, edible swifts, and other 
night-flying animals. These curious black Perns are found in 
Southern and Eastern Africa and Madagascar, and then the 
genus re-appears in Southern Tenasserim, Malacca, Borneo, 
and New Guinea. The genus Elanus is represented in every 
portion of the tropical globe, and is absent only in the tem- 
perate parts of the Palaearctic and the Nearctic Regions, as well 
as in Oceania. 


Fako caruhus, Desf. Mem. Acad. Sci. Paris, 1787, p. 503, pi. 


Elanus canileus, Leach ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 336 

(1874); Dresser, B. Eur. v. p. 663, pi. 363 (1875); B. O. 
U. List Br. B. p. 100 (1883); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 
328, note (1889). 

Adult Male General colour above blue-grey, the head paler ; 
forehead and eyebrow, lores and sides of face, white ; the ear- 
coverts washed with grey ; feathers round the eye black ; lesser 
and median wing-coverts black, the greater series blue-grey ; 


primary-coverts and quills grey, the latter white at the base, 
the shafts black ; the inner quills paler and the inner second- 
aries darker grey, like the back ; tail ashy-white, with the two 
centre feathers more ashy-grey ; under surface of body pure 
white, including the under wing-coverts and axillnrics ; cere, 
orbits, and feet yellow ; bill black ; iris carmine. Total length, 
J3'2 inches; culmen, 1*05; wing, io'6; tail, 5*6; tarsus, 1*4. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, 1 2*5 inches; 
wing, io'2. 

Young Birds. These differ somewhat from the adults, being 
ashy-brown, with broad ashy-white tips to the feathers ; tail also 
ashy-brown, whiter on the inner web ; wing-coverts black, as in 
the adults, with buffy-white tips ; forehead and eyebrow white, 
with narrow rufous-brown streaks ; sides of face and under 
surface of body silky-white, the centre of the breast streaked with 
rufous, as also the flanks ; the sides of the breast washed with 
r.ifous ; iris light brownish-yellow, or pale salmon-colour. 

Range in Great Britain. Has only been noticed once in 
Ireland, a single specimen having occurred " on the bog of 
Horsestown in Co. Meath in Ireland ; it is now in the posses- 
s ; on of Sir John Dillon, at Lismullcn" (More, List of Irish 
Birds, 1885, p. 6). 

Range outside the British Islands. The Black -shouldered Kite 
is found all over tropical Africa and even visits Northern Africa, 
where it breeds and in some localities is not rare. It crosses into 
Southern Spain, where, however, it is not common. The same 
may be said of its occurrences in South-eastern Europe. It 
is found also in the Indian Peninsula. 

Habits. Colonel Irby says that this species is easily recog- 
nised on the wing by its greyish-white colour. It has also a 
peculiar habit of hovering at about thirty yards from the 
ground, with the wings forming a sort of V or acute angle with 
the body, never bringing them level with one another, till it 
flies off to take up a fresh position. The birds are rather wary 
when thus engaged in hunting for their prey. In India, Mr. 
A. O. Hume states that it is nowhere seen in any numbers, 
though he once saw more than a dozen pairs hunting over the 
dry reedy bed of a jheel in the Delhi district ; they feed mostly 


on large grasshoppers, but also catch mice. In Egypt, Mr. 
Stafford Allen says that the bird is crepuscular in its habits, 
feeding largely on mice and beetles, as well as small birds. 

Mr. Hume likewise speaks of the curious hovering flight of 
the Black-shouldered Kite. He says : " They hover over the 
grass in the fashion of a Kestrel, or perhaps more like a Snake- 
Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), but in a clumsier and heavier manner. 
The wings point upwards, instead of being retained nearly 
horizontally as in the Kestrel, and the legs and tail hang down 
in a manner unlike that of any other bird I have yet noticed. 
Thus hovering, they after a time slowly descend, and when 
within a few feet of the ground, generally drop suddenly. They 
are very tame, bold birds, passing unconcernedly within a 
few yards of a sportsman, when busy hunting, over fields of 
grass, and sitting composedly on the bare end of a bough, 
whilst, gun in hand, one walks up to within a few paces of 
their perch." 

Nest. Composed of sticks and lined with grass roots and 
fibres, and always built in a tree. 

Eggs. Three or four, generally the latter number, on rare 
occasions five. Ground-colour yellowish-white or buffy-white, 
the markings varying considerably. Very few but what are 
richly marked with chestnut ; one egg in the Hume collection, 
from Poona, being white, sparsely powdered with reddish 
spots. In some the red colour is congregated at one or other 
end of the egg, leaving the other half with spots only, while in 
some very handsome specimens the whole of the egg is clouded 
with reddish-brown and chestnut, leaving the white ground- 
colour invisible. Axis, 1*55-1*7 inch j diam., i'2-i'2$. 


Perm's, Cuvier, Regne Anim. i. p. 322 (1817). 
Type, P. apivorus (L.). 

The Honey-Kites, or Perns, generally but erroneously called 
Honey-" Buzzards " in works on Natural History, are birds of 
the Old World only, their place in North and South America 
being taken by the Grey Kite-Falcons (Ictinia)^ and in the 




Neotropical Region especially by the Double-toothed Kite- 
Falcons (Harpagus). 

The Honey-Kites are found throughout temperate Europe 
and Asia as far as Japan, and occur throughout the whole of 
India, Ceylon, the Malay countries and islands, and China. 
They visit Africa only on migration, and are unknown in the 
Australian Region. 

The members of this genus have the lores densely feathered, 
and the plumes of the face are very short and scaly in appear- 
ance, the feet are weak, and the toes are not suited for killing 
prey in full flight. The nostril is an oblique oval of a some- 
what irregular shape. The wings are long, and the tail is 
rounded as in Elanus. There is a peculiar softness about the 
plumage of these Honey-Kites, which is shared by the mem- 
bers of the genera Baza, Henicopernis, and Harpagus, and shows 
that these Birds of Prey are related to each other, forming, in 
fact, links between the True Kites and the True Falcons. 


Falco apivorus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 130 (1766). 
Perm's apivorus, Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 254 (1840) ; Newton, ed. 
Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 121 (1871); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 
i. p. 344 (1874); Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 3, pis. 365, 366 
(1875); Seeb. Brit. B. i. p. 69 (1883); B. O. U. List 
Brit. B. p. 100 (1883); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 328 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxvii. (1893). 

(Plate XLIX.) 

Adult Male. General colour above brown, with slightly paler 
margins to the feathers, which are black-shafted ; on the nape 
a spot of white, caused by the white bases to the feathers ; 
greater coverts and quills darker brown at their ends, exter- 
nally shaded with grey, and having two broad bars at the base, 
which is whitish below ; the inner webs, particularly of the 
secondaries, with sliuht greyish frecklings ; upper tail-coverts 
rather paler brown than the back, barred with white near the 
base, and having obsolete white tips ; tail pale brown, narrowly 
tipped with whitish, the base also mottled with white; the 
tail-feathers crossed with three bands, one near the base rather 
paler brown, one in the middle and one just before the tip of the 

8 N 


tail darker brown, the sub-terminal one very broad ; head grey, 
this colour extending on to the sides of the neck ; under surface 
of body white, narrowly streaked with brown, these streaks 
widening out into a spade-shaped spot on the sides of the 
breast ; flanks and abdomen also spotted with brown ; under 
wing-coverts also brown, the inner ones and the axillaries white, 
with a few brown spots or bars, the lower series white with 
broad blackish bars ; cere grey ; bill black ; iris straw-colour. 
Total length, 25*5 inches; culmen, 1*4; wing, 17*2; tail, ii'o ; 
tarsus, 2 - o. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male in colour. Total length, 
23 inches; wing, i6'6. 

Young Bird Distinguished by its brown head and face, and 
by the markings on the tail, which, besides the two brown 
bands (one median and one sub-terminal), has the basal part 
varied with six or seven broken bars or mottlings, The 
under surface of the body is dull rufous-brown, with very dis- 
tinct black shaft-stripes, the under tail-coverts and some of the 
breast-feathers paler and more buff at their bases; the head 
and hind-neck spotted with buff, the feathers having their 
points of this colour ; forehead and eyebrow white, and the 
wing-coverts also tipped with white. 

As the young birds progress to maturity the under surface 
becomes barred with white. 

Melanism. The Honey-Kite, both in its young and adult 
plumage, is very subject to melanism, and examples are often 
shot which are entirely brownish-black. 

Range in Great Britain. The present species used to breed in 
many parts of England, arriving in early summer to nest in 
the wooded districts, but the beauty of its eggs and the rarity 
of the bird have caused its destruction in this country, and of 
late years I have not heard of any being taken in the New 
Forest, which may be regarded as the last stronghold of the 
Honey-Kite in England. In Ireland it appears to be a very 
rare visitor, and the same may be said of Scotland, in parts of 
which the species used to breed. In autumn a few examples 
are procured at the time of the southward migration, and it has 
been stated to occur in winter occasionally. 


Eange outside the British Islands. The Honey-Kite returns from 
its winter home in Africa in May, and passes over the Straits 
of Gibraltar in large numbers, more than a hundred being often 
seen together. In September it passes south again, but in less 
numbers and in smaller parties; a similar stream of migration 
passes over the Bosphorus. The breeding-range of the species 
seems to extend throughout the greater part of Europe to South- 
ern Norway, and it nests in Sweden, Finland, and Russia up 
to the Arctic Circle. It is probably this same species which 
extends eastward to Turkestan, and Mr. Seebohm states that 
he has received a specimen from Krasnoyarsk in Central 
Siberia. He also believes that it extends through Eastern 
Siberia to Japan and China, but it will probably be found to 
be the eastern race, P. ptilonorhynchus, which has a slight crest, 
which will prove to be the dominant species of Eastern Asia. 
The last-named form breeds in Pdia and occurs throughout 
the Burmese and Malayan countries, while in Java, and pro- 
bably in Sumatra and Borneo, its place is taken by a resi- 
dent form which is very dark and has almost as long a crest as 
a Crested Eagle (Spizaetus). 

HaMts In the northern part of its range the Honey-Kite is 
a late ariival, not, as pointed out by Mr. Seebohm, so much on 
account of its fearing the cold, as because the insects which form 
its favourite food do not make their appearance until the middle 
of the summer. The Honey-Kite feeds largely on wasps, bees, 
and their larvae, which it extracts from the comb, but it also 
devours other insects, as well as small birds and mice, slugs 
and worms, and is even said by Mr. Sachse to eat berries and 
small fruits in autumn, when animal food fails. The nature of 
its food renders the Honey-Kite somewhat of a ground-bird, 
and it is said to run with comparative agility. 

Nest. As a rule the deserted nest of some other bird is 
utilised by the Honey-Kite, being repaired and added to with 
fresh twigs. Both sexes assist in the incubation of the eggs, 
the sitting-bird being fed meanwhile by its mate. 

Eggs. These are laid in June, and are mostly two in num- 
ber, very rarely three, b:it even four have been known to occur. 
The eggs are among the handsomest of those of Accipitrine 
Birds, and are mostly richly clouded with two shades of rufous, 

H 2 


the overlying blotches being of the deepest chestnut, in fact 
almost black. Some eggs are entirely clouded over with 
lighter chestnut, while in others the buffy-white ground-colour 
is conspicuous, and half of the egg is spotted with chest- 
nut, with blotches and cloudings round the larger end, and 
sometimes quite half the egg is clouded and blotched, while 
the other half is only sparsely spotted. Axis, i'9-2'2 inches; 
diam., 1-6-175. 


The Falcons have the tarsus reticulated and covered with a 
network of scales both in front and behind. They are also 
distinguished by having a distinct notch or tooth in the bill. 
The outer toe is connected to the inner toe by a membrane 
near the base, and the tibia is considerably longer than the 
tarsus, imparting a great strength to the leg, which is evidenced 
by the way in which these birds strike down their prey in full 
flight. As with all the other Sub-families of the Birds of Prey, 
species of various form are included, from the feeble Kite-like 
Cuckoo-Falcons on the one hand, to the dashing Peregrines 
on the other. Included in this Sub-family are the tiniest of all 
the Hawks, viz., the Pigmy Falcons or Falconets (Microhierax)^ 
birds which do not exceed the size of a Butcher-bird in bulk, 
feed on insects, and lay white eggs in the hole of a tree. These 
little Falconets inhabit the Himalayas, the Burmese countries 
to Southern China, as well as the Malayan Peninsula and the 
Indo- Malayan islands. 


Fako, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 124 (1766). 

Type, F. peregrinus, Tunst. 

All the Falcons have a distinct tubercle, or pedestal, in the 
centre of their nostrils, which are round. The foot is powerful, 
and the talons curved and very sharp, the outer toe longer 
than the inner toe. The wings are very pointed, and the 
primaries far exceed the secondaries in length. 

The Falcons are found in nearly every part of the world. 



Falco peregnnuS) Tunst. Orn. Brit. p. i (1771) ; Macg. Br. B. 
iii. p. 294 (1840); Newton, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 53 
(1871); Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 31, pi. 372 (1876); See- 
bohm, Brit. B. i. p. 33 (1883); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 
102 (1883); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 334 (1889); Lil- 
ford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xii. (1890). 

Falco community Gm. ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 376 

Adult Male. General colour above blue-grey, much paler 
towards the rump and upper tail-coverts, the upper surface 
barred with black, the bars on the rump and upper tail-coverts 
more or less heart-shaped ; the head, neck, and upper mantle 
blackish, with grey bars, more or less indistinct on the mantle ; 
cheeks, ear-coverts, and a moustachial band blackish ; fore- 
head whitish ; sides of neck white, forming a patch of white, 
separating the ear-coverts from the hind-neck; under surface 
of body white, with a tinge of pale fawn-colour on the breast 
and lower abdomen ; the throat unspotted, and the chest with 
a few narrow bars of blackish, taking the form of spots in the 
centre of the breast, and of narrow dart-shaped lines on the 
under tail-coverts ; the quills brownish-black, the primaries 
slightly shaded with greyish, the secondaries clearer grey, 
crossed by dull blackish bars, the smaller median quills tipped 
with white ; tail-feathers grey, broadly barred with black and 
tipped with white, the bars more obscure towards the tip of 
the tail, which is darker than the basal portion; cere and 
eyelids yellow ; bill blue, blackish towards the tip ; feet yel- 
low, the claws black ; iris dark hazel-brown. Total length, 
15 inches; oilmen, 1-2; wing, 12-0-127; tail, 6*5 ; tarsus, 

Adult Female Larger than the ma'e. Total length, 17 
inches; culmen, 1-35 ; wing, 14-5 ; tail, 7-5 ; tarsus, 2-3. 

Young Birds. Brown, shaded with grey on the upper surface, 
the feathers of which are edged with rufous ; head and neck 
rusty-buff, the sides of the crown and occiput, the nape and 
hind-neck, the feathers behind the eye, and the moustachial 
line mottled with blackish ; under surface of the body rusty- 


buff, with mesial longitudinal spots of dark brown, fewer on 
the thighs, and represented by bars on the under wing- and 

The full-grown young birds may always be told by the rufous 
margins to the feathers of the upper surface, which become 
whitish on the upper tail-coverts and tail-feathers, the latter 
spotted on the outer web and barred on the inner one with pale 
rufous ; the under surface of the body is whitish, the throat 
unspotted, but all the rest of feathers have longitudinal dark 
brown centres, the markings on the sides of the body being 
broader and more dart-shaped ; cere, eyelid, and feet bluish- 

Range in Great Britain. The Peregrine breeds on many rocky 
parts of the coast of England, and in some places there has 
been a decided increase in the numbers of this noble Bird of 
Prey, so that on the Dover cliffs and in the Isle of Wight in 
the south, as well as the cliffs of Wales and the Flamborough 
head-lands, the Peregrine Falcon is more in evidence than for- 
merly, to the great delight of the ornithologist. Although in 
many inland parts of England and Wales the species had been 
exterminated, this was never the case in Scotland, and it breeds 
both on the cliffs and in the interior, while it also inhabits the 
rocky islands. In Ireland, according to Mr. R. J. Ussher, the 
species breeds in numerous places all round the rocky coasts, 
and in the mountain-cliffs of Tyrone, Fermanagh, Wicklow, 
Tipperary, Waterford, and Galway. 

Kanga outside the British Islands. The Peregrine Falcon is 
found throughout the northern and temperate parts of the Old 
World, and on its winter migrations visits India and Africa. 
The North American Peregrine can scarcely be considered 
to be different from the European bird. In South America, 
Africa, and Australia dark resident forms of Peregrine are 
found, all of which may be considered to be distinct races, and 
in the Mediterranean countries another small race, with black 
cheeks, also occurs, viz., F. punicus. Again, in Java, Sumatra, 
Borneo, and the Philippines is found a beautifully marked 
form, of very dark, rich colour, called F. ernesti, and the 
Himalayas have a reddish -breasted form, F. peregrinator. All 
these different races can be recognised by an experienced eye 


as distinct, but they can never be considered more than races 
of the ordinary Peregrine, for our European bird varies greatly 
in the colour of the face, having the sides of the latter some- 
times white, and sometimes entirely black, while the amount 
of rufous on the under surface of the body also varies greatly, 
being more rufous in some individuals than others. Thus 
examples from Greenland and those from Egypt are very 
richly tinted, and it is supposed that the abundance of ducks 
and other prey has something to do with their finer appear- 

Habits. From its bold spirit and fiery dash, the Peregrine 
Falcon has always been considered the best bird for the pur- 
poses of Falconry, not only in Europe, but also in the countries 
of the East. 

In a wild state the Peregrine feeds on all kinds of game, 
rabbits, grouse, partridges, pigeons, and largely on ducks, 
water-fowl, and sea-birds, and for the sake of the abundance 
of the latter its eyrie is often found on the rocky cliffs, where 
Puffins and Guillemots congregate. Sometimes, when bringing 
food to its young, it will, apparently for mere wantonness, strike 
down a Gull or Puffin that happens to fly in its path, and send 
the bird headlong into the sea below. Choughs, Rooks, and 
Magpies are also captured by the Falcons. 

The nesting-place is tenanted year after year, and if one of 
the birds be shot or trapped, the survivor is not long in finding 
another mate. The breeding-season commences in April. 

Nest. In this country the nest of the Peregrine Falcon is to 
be found in high and almost inaccessible cliffs, a mere hollow 
being formed, without any real attempt at a nest, but in other 
countries, the old nest of a Rook or Heron, or some other bird, 
in a tree, is selected, while in the north of Europe the bird 
nests on the ground in the open. Beyond the debris of cast- 
up pellets, bones of birds and animals, and a few scattered 
feathers, nothing like a real nest is ever found. 

Eggs. T\vo or three, and sometimes four in number. The 
eggs of the Peregrine are richly clouded with some shade of 
chestnut, over which are some mottlingsof darker rufous, often 
almost black in intensity. Sometimes the colour is uniform 


light rufous, with cloudings of darker chestnut irregularly dis- 
tributed over the whole of the egg, accompanied by dots and 
small or large spots. Occasionally the eggs have a buffy-white 
ground-colour with reddish-brown blotches. Axis, 1-95-2-2; 
diam., i'55-i-6. 


Falco subbuteo, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 127 (1766); Macg. Brit. 
B. iii. p. 309 (1840); Newton, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 65 
(1871); Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 69, pis. 378, 379 (1871); 
Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 395 (1874); B. O. U. 
List Brit. B. p. 102 (1883); Seebohm, Brit. B. i. p. 31 
(1883); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. parts ii. iii. (1886); 
Saunders, Man. p. 337 (1889). 

Adult Male. General colour above dark slaty-grey, inclining 
to blackish on the head, much clearer on the lower back and 
rump ; wing-coverts like the back ; quills blackish, with rufous 
bars on the inner web ; tail slaty-grey, also barred with rufous 
on the inner web; forehead and eyebrow whitish, the nape 
tinged with rufous ; cheek-stripe, feathers below the eye and 
along the upper margin of the ear coverts, black ; hinder part 
of cheeks, sides of neck, throat, and entire breast creamy- 
white, \\ith a rufous tinge, the latter broadly streaked with 
black down each feather, with a greyish shade on the flanks 
and vent; thighs, vent, and under tail-coverts rich rusty-red ; 
under wing-coverts buffy-white, with blackish cross-markings ; 
cere, orbits, and feet yellow ; bill bluish-black, yellow at base ; 
iris dark brown. Total length, 11-5 inches; culmen, 07; 
wing, 9-6; tail, 5-5; tarsus, 1-25. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but larger. Total length, 
i3'6 inches; culmen, 07; wing, io'6; tail, 6'5 ; tarsus, 1*4. 

Young. Blackish, with buff edges to the feathers, broader 
and more distinct on the secondaries, rump, and especially on 
the crown ; forehead and eyebrow buffy-white ; cheek-stripe 
and line under the eye black; sides of neck, nape, and throat 
rich creamy-buff; under surface of body creamy-buff, the thighs 
and under tail-coverts in ore rufous; the breast broadly streaked 
with black, the thighs more narrowly, the under tail-coverts 


streaked with a line of black ; under wing coverts rufous, 
numerously barred with black ; quills and tail black, banded 
with rufous on the inner web, the tail-feathers tipped with 

Characters. The Hobby in its adult stage is very easily re- 
cognised by its uniform rufous thighs, white throat and breast, 
the latter being striped with black. The young Hobby is more 
like a young Peregrine, but can, of course, be distinguished by 
its smaller size. 

Range in Great Britain. A summer visitor to England, where 
it breeds, when permitted to do so in peace. It has been 
known to nest in most of the southern and eastern counties, 
as well as in the midlands, and on rare occasions in Yorkshire. 
In Scotland it is chiefly known as a rare migrant, but Sir 
Edward Newton has recorded an instance of the nesting of the 
species near Dunkeld in 1887. It has never been known to 
breed in Ireland, though some half-a-dozen occurrences in 
that island have been chronicled. 

Eange outside the British Islands. The Hobby is found from 
Northern Europe across Siberia to Kamtchatka. It breeds in 
the forests of Central Europe and Scandinavia, and occasion- 
ally in the countries of Southern Europe, but it is principally 
known in the latter as a spring and autumn migrant. In 
Northern Europe it extends to the Arctic Circle in Lapland, 
and in Russia up to 65 N. lat. In winter the species visits 
China, the Indian Peninsula, and migrates through Eastern 
Africa as far as the Cape. 

Habits. The Hobby has much the appearance of a diminu- 
tive Peregrine, but does not possess the strength or courage of 
the larger Falcon, though it equals it in fierceness and agility 
of flight. It feeds largely on insects, especially cockchafers 
and dragon-flies, and when these are plentiful, it gives up the 
chase of small birds in a great measure, and lives on insects, 
which it catches with great dexterity on the wing, devouring 
them in the air and allowing the wings and wing-cases to fall 
to the earth. In some of these flights, Taczanowski says that 
it will occasionally seize a Bat in its career, but drops the 
latter without touching it further. 


On its first arrival in May, however, before the insects which 
it loves are on the wing, the Hobby feeds on small birds, such 
as Thrushes and Larks, especially the latter, and it is a terror 
to Swallows, remains of which birds are often found in its nest 
and feeding-haunts. It has even been known to catch Swifts 
and Starlings ; Sandpipers and Quails are also taken by this 
active little Bird of Prey. It has also been known to accom- 
pany sportsmen, and give chase to the small birds which are 
frightened up from the ground by the dogs. 

Its favourite haunts are the borders of the forests, whence it 
can sally forth over the surrounding fields. Perched on a tree 
or a stone, it awaits the appearance of any small birds, and 
then flings itself upon them with great velocity, producing 
quite a noise with its wings in doing so. Should the quarry 
seek protection by hiding in the grass, the Hobby stops for an 
instant, but goes off if it does not at once detect the presence 
of its prey. 

Nest. The Hobby appears never to build its own nest, pre- 
ferring to appropriate the old one of a Crow or Kestrel Hawk. 
The late Professor Taczanowski of Warsaw, from whose writ- 
ings I have taken some of the above notes, states that the ap- 
propriated nest is generally at the top of a good-sized pine, and 
that the Hobbies re-line it with twigs, stalks, and dry grass. 
Mr. Frank Norgate, who has found several nests in Nor- 
folk, says that, in his experience, there is no attempt on the 
part of the Hobby to restore or line the nest which it adopts 
as a home. In Pomerania, however, Dr. Holland says that 
the nest is re-lined with hair, wool, and feathers. The lateness 
of the breeding of the Hobby, which lays its eggs in June, 
lenders the appropriation of a Crow's nest a convenient matter, 
as the young of the Carrion Crow have flown before the Hobby 
begins to lay. 

Eggs. From three to five in number. In general appearance 
they resemble those of the Kestrel, but are not so varied in 
colour as the latter, though many specimens are indistinguish- 
able from the ecrgs of the last-named bird. The general 
colour of the Hobby's eggs is a dark rufous, the ground-colour 
of the egg being seldom visible, on account of the closeness of 
the rufous mottlings. It is of a 4ull white, and, in the less 


clouded eggs, is covered with small dots of rufous and larger 
blotches of chestnut. In some examples in the Museum the 
whole egg is uniformly clouded with brownish-red, so that 
there is scarcely any indication of mottling. Axis, 1*4-1 '65 ; 
diam., 1*2. 


Fdlco czsalon, Tunstall, Orn. Brit. i. p. i (1771); Macg. Brit. 
B. iii. p. 317 (1840); Newton, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 74 
(1871) ; Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 83, pis. 380, 381 (1875) ; 
B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 103 (1883) ; Seebohm, Br. B. i. p. 
34 (1883); Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 341 (1889); Lil- 
ford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xvi. (1890), part xx. (1891). 

Fako reguluS) Pall. ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. p. 406 (1874). 

Adult Male. General colour above clear slaty-blue, paler on 
the rump and upper tail-coverts, with distinct black shafts to 
all the feathers ; head dark slate-colour, with black shaft- 
stripes ; forehead, lores, and sides of face whitish, with black 
shaft-lines ; eyebrow and nape strongly mixed with rufous ; the 
ear-coverts with a grey tinge on the hinder part ; throat pure 
white ; sides of neck and under surface of body white, 
strongly washed with rufous, the feathers streaked with 
black down the middle, these stripes becoming narrower 
on the thighs and more distinct on the under tail-coverts ; 
under wing-coverts white, spotted and barred with black ; 
quills black, barred with white on the inner web, and washed 
with bluish-grey near the base of the outer web ; the inner 
secondaries bluish-grey like the back, and with the same black 
shafts ; tail slaty-blue, tipped with white, with a broad sub-ter- 
minal band of black on the inner web, and with remains of 
other black bands on the under surface ; cere yellow ; bill 
bluish horn-colour, the tip darker ; feet yellow, claws black ; 
iris dark brown. Total length, 10 inches; culmen, 07 ; wing, 
7-9; tail, 4-5; tarsus, 1-45. 

Adult Female. Like the male in plumage, but a trifle larger. 
I fancy that I was the first to point out, as I did in 1874, that 
the fully adult female of the Merlin resembles the male in 
plumage, and I still believe this to be a fact, though it must 
be difficult to prove the truth of it in England, where Hawks 


are so systematically shot down, that few of them probably 
reach the mature age when the female assumes a dress like 
that of her mate. As a rule, the female Merlin is brown, the 
tail-feathers being also brown, tipped with white, and crossed 
with five bands of paler brown ; the under surface of the body 
; whitish, streaked with dark brown. Total length, 12 inches; 
oilmen, 0-9; wing, 8*8; tail, 5-5; tarsus, 1*5. 

' Young Birds. General colour above brown, with a slight shade 
of ashy-grey, paler on the rump, all the feathers margined with 
pale sandy-rufous, the secondaries with concealed bars of the 
same colour; forehead, eyebrow, and ear-coverts whitish, 
narrowly streaked with black, the latter brownish on the 
hinder part, which is slightly washed with rufous; throat 
creamy-white, with narrow and indistinct shaft-lines of brown ; 
remainder of under surface of body whitish, with broad streaks 
of reddish-brown, the black shaft-stripes very distinct ; thighs 
with smaller brown spots, and tlsie abdomen and under tail- 
coverts with only a few brown markings ; sides of body reddish- 
brown, marbled with large white spots ; under wing-coverts 
also reddish-brown, with white spots like the sides of the body ; 
quills dark brown, notched on the inner web, and spotted on 
the outer one with rufous ; tail dark brown, tipped with 
whitish, and barred with pale rufous. 

Eange in Great Britain. A resident species in Great Britain, 
breeding on the mountain moorlands and descending to 
more cultivated districts at lower elevations in winter, though 
a considerable migration of the young birds from the shores 
of England undoubtedly takes place. It is believed to nest 
on Exmoor, but its regular breeding-haunts commence with 
the moors of Derbyshire and North Wales, and extend thence 
northwards to trie Shetland Isles. The record of its breeding 
in some of the more southern counties, though frequently 
stated, needs confirmation in many instances. In Ireland. 
Mr. R. J. Ussher says that " it breeds sparingly in about twenty- 
two counties in the mountain districts, and also in some parts 
of the great red bogs of the central plain." 

Eange outside the British Islands. The Merlin inhabits the 
mountain districts of Northern Europe, and breeds also in 
Iceland and the Faeroes, being resident in the last named 


islands. It is recorded from Novaya Zemlya, and breeds 
generally throughout the mountains of Central Europe and 
Russia, as high as 57 N. lat. It appears to extend across 
Northern Asia to Eastern Siberia, but is much less plentiful 
than in Europe, and nests rarely. It has not been recorded 
from Kamtchatka, and is mostly known as a migrant in Corea 
and the far east, visiting China and Northern India in winter. 
Our European birds migrate to the Mediterranean countries 
and North-eastern Africa, but do not penetrate so far south as 
the Hobby in the latter continent. 

Habits. The common name of " Stone " Falcon goes far to 
explain the mode of life of the Merlin, which is essentially a 
Falcon of the rocks and moors. Though feeding largely on 
insects, it captures many species of birds which it " flies down " 
like a thoroughbred Falcon and after the manner of the nobler 
Birds of Prey. Larks and Thrushes are a favourite quarry, and 
on the sea-coast in winter it raids among the Dunlins and 
other shore-birds. Many writers speak of the pluck and dash 
of the Merlin, but it is one of the easiest of all Hawks to 
tame, and is readily trained to fly at Larks in the autumn, 
while a female Merlin will take Plovers and Pigeons. It has 
even been said to strike down Grouse and to be destructive 
to game, and on the latter plea many of these little Falcons 
fall victims to the gamekeeper's gun, but the late Mr. E. T. 
Booth, one of the keenest and most energetic field-naturalists 
of the century, combats this accusation and observes : 
"Whether it is that my experience with regard to this bird 
has been too limited to form a correct judgment, I am unable 
to say, but I hardly think that they are the desperate charac- 
ters that they are generally described. Those which I have 
seen in the south were usually in pursuit of small birds, and 
while seeking this sort of prey they are frequently captured in 
the clap-nets that abound near Brighton. On the Grouse- 
moors in the north I have examined the remains of the victims 
that the Merlins have consumed near their nests, and I never 
found anything larger than a Dunlin, which birds, with Larks, 
Pipits, and large moths, principally of the egger kind, seemed 
to make up their bill of fare." Lord Lilford writes : " In- 
quisitiveness seems to be a prominent trait in this species, for 
I have repeatedly seen wild Merlins come to observe the pro- 


ceedings 01" trained Peregrines on the wing, and more than 
once noticed one hovering over hooded Hawks on their 
"cadge." The Merlin seldom flies at any great height, ex- 
cept, of course, when in pursuit of any soaring quarry, or 
bound on a lengthy journey. In our district of Northampton- 
shire, where this species is by no means rare on passage, we 
generally notice it flying low along the course of our river or 
tributary brooks, or along the fence-sides, in search or in 
pursuit of small birds. An old Wagtail or Pipit cuts out a 
Merlin's work for her ; and I have often witnessed beautiful 
and prolonged flights at these birds, which, generally, in the 
winter season, terminated in favour of the intended victim." 
Lord Lilford also disbelieves in the damage which is supposed 
to he wrought by this little Falcon among young Game Birds, 
as he points out very truly that the latter are jealously pro- 
tected by their parents. 

A curious habit of the Merlin as regards the tenacity with 
which it adheres to its nesting-place is related by Mr. Seebohm. 
He says that he has known a patch of heather, only some 
couple of yards square, which had a Merlin's nest for many 
years, though no other breeding-place could be found within a 
distance of eight or ten miles ; and, although the birds were 
persistently trapped or shot by the gamekeepers, year after 
year, a pair of Merlins always tried to nest in the identical 
spot the next year, only to be destroyed again. As they were 
never allowed to rear their young, it could not be the latter 
which returned on migration to the favourite spot, and its 
selection year after year is a very curious fact. 

The Merlin returns from its winter haunts at the end of 
March or the beginning of April, laying about the middle of 

Nest. Generally consisting of a hole scraped in the ground, 
with a few twigs of ling or dry grass and roots. On the moors 
it is built generally on a slope among the heather, and in other 
localities on the ledge of a rock. 

Eggs. Four or five in number; usually of a clouded red, 
varying in shade from light or deep chestnut to a reddish-choco- 
late tint. The ground-colour is mostly obscured, but in the 
rare examples where the cloudings are so sparse as to allow the 
underlying colour to be seen, the latter is of a creamy-white, and 


the chestnut forms small spots and larger blotches. The eggs 
of the Merlin are often impossible to distinguish from those 
of the Hobby, and also from those of the Kestrel, though they 
seem never to vary to a pale form like so many of the Kestrel's 
eggs do. Axis, 1-45-1*6 inch; diam., ri5-r25. 


Hierofalco, Cuvier, Regne Anim. i. p. 312 (1817). 

Type, H. candicans (Gm.). 

The Gyr-Falcons are giant Kestrels, and in the case of the 
Saker Gyr-Falcon (Hierofalco saker) and Henderson's Gyr-Fal- 
con (Hierofalco hendersoni) the plumage is red and not unlike 
that of a Kestrel. Both the Gyr-Falcons and Kestrels differ from 
the true Falcons (Falco), as typified by the Peregrine, in having 
the outer and inner toes about equal in length, whereas in 
every true Falcon the outer toe is longer than the inner one. 
The nostril in the Gyr-Falcon has always a central tubercle. 
The tarsus is finely reticulate in front, and is not double the 
length of the middle toe. Although the proportions of the 
toes are the same in the Gyr-Falcons and the Kestrels, the 
former have a somewhat less pointed wing, the distance be- 
tween the tips of the primaries and secondaries being equal to, 
or less than half of, the length of the tail. 

The true Gyr-Falcons are all birds of northern countries, 
and occur throughout the whole of the arctic and sub-arctic 
portions of the Old and New Worlds. The Kestrel-like Gyr- 
Falcons, H. saker, If. hendersoni, and H. mexicanus, have a 
more southern habitat, and carry the range of the genus to 
Mexico in the New World, and to South-eastern Europe, 
Central Asia, and India in the Old World. 


Falco candicans, Gmelin, Syst. Nat. i. p. 275 (1788); Newton, 
ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 36 (1871); Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 
21, pi. 368, 369 (1876) ; Seebohm, Brit. B. i. p. 16 (1883) ; 
Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 331 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. 
Brit. B. part xvii. (1891). 

* This species is called Falco islandtts of Briinnich by the American 
ornithologists. The work, however, dates from 1764, and was therefore 
published before the I2th edition of Linnoeus in 1766, which is the recog- 


Falco gyrfalco (me L.), Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 284 (1840). 
Hierofalco candicans, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus- p. 411 (1874); 
B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 101 (1883). 
(Plate L.) 

Adult Male. Snow-white, with scarcely a spot. The head 
and tinder-parts snoivy-white^ entirely unspotted, or perhaps 
with a few black stripes on the nape ; on the back a few drops 
of black, some inclined to be longitudinal in shape, others 
pear-shaped or oval in form ; quills white, with remains of 
spots, or notches, on the outer web, and a few fragments of 
bars on the inner webs, which are for the greater part white ; 
tail pure white, with white shafts ; cere and orbits yellow ; bill 
pale yellow, with a bluish tip ; feet pale yellow ; iris dark 
brown. Total length, 23 inches; oilmen, n; wing, i4'5; 
tail, 7-8; tarsus, 2-3. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but seldom so completely 
white. Total length, 23 inches; oilmen, 1-5; wing, 16*2; tail, 
9-5; tarsus, 2-35. 

Young Birds. White, but never with a pure white head or 
under-parts, being streaked with brown, the pattern some- 
what irregular on the upper surface, and confined to longi- 
tudinal streaks on the under surface ; lores and sides of face 
streaked with brown ; the tail white, the centre feathers with 
brown cross-bands, more or less broken, and forming only spots 
or mottlings on the other feathers. 

I am at issue with some of our most distinguished ornitho- 
logists as to the changes of plumage through which the Green- 
land Gyr-Falcon passes in arriving at maturity. Many of them 
believe that the differences exhibited by a series of specimens 
are caused by there being a light and dark race, while I con- 
sider that every difference can be accounted for by the age of 
the bird. 

First of all, therefore, it is necessary to state that a Green- 

nised date from which British ornithologists start. Dr. Stejncger, however, 
says (Auk, ii. p. 185) that " English authors, starting from the I2th edition 
of Linnreus, will have to call it Falco islandus, Fabricius, Faun. Groenl. p. 
58 (1780, ex Brunn.)." As, however, the name of tstancfus is misleading, 
and has been referred to the Iceland Falcon by most European authors, it 
is far better to keep to the clearly-defined name of candicans t about which 
there can be no doubt, and hence no confusion. 



land Gyr-Falcon can be told, at any age, by its yellow bill, and 
by never having bars on the flanks. If a specimen comes from 
Greenland with a blue bill and with cross-bars on the flanks, 
it is not a Greenland Gyr-Falcon, but HolboelPs Gyr-Falcon 
(Hierofalco holboelli). All the Grey Gyr-Falcons, of which H. 
holboelli is a light arctic race, have blue bills and barred flanks. 
The above characters at once separate the Greenland Gyr- 
Falcon from the Grey Gyr-Falcons, H. gyrfalco and its allies, 
of which H. holboelli is one. 

The young H. candicans is a streaked bird with longitudinal 
brown streaks on the flanks. Of this there can be no doubt ; 
but many white birds are often transversely barred with black, 
while others are white, with longitudinal broad streaks in the 
process of breaking up into cross-bars or spots. This plumage 
I believe to be indicative of a change of pattern in the feather, 
which is effected without any moult. There is nothing wonderful 
in this theory, for many Hawks and other birds change their 
colour without shedding a feather. The barred specimens 
may be birds of the second year, or females, which always 
take longer to assume adult plumage than the males, or they 
may even be due to hybridisation with Holboell's Gyr-Falcon, 
though I never like to adopt this last " refuge for the destitute," 
in the case of changes of plumage which we do not exactly 
understand. My conclusions have been derived from speci- 
mens shot in a wild state, and I decline to be influenced by 
observations made from these Gyr-Falcons in confinement, for 
a snowy-white bird like the present species would assuredly be 
influenced by confinement in a smoke-laden atmosphere like 
that of England, away from its arctic surroundings, and de- 
pending on the strength necessary to perform its normal func- 
tions of moulting on the food supplied to it in a menagerie. 

Eange in Great Britain. An accidental visitor, occurring dur- 
ing the autumn and winter migrations. Although it has been 
recorded at intervals in various counties of England, most of 
the specimens have been procured in Ireland and Scotland, as 
might have been expected in a wanderer from the north. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Greenland Gyr-Falcon 
is a typical arctic species, and only occurs within European 
limits during the autumn and winter, when a few individuals, 
8 o 


mostly young birds, wander from their northern home and 
occur in more southern latitudes. It breeds in Northern 
Greenland, and probably in all the circumpolar lands, as 
Dr. Stejneger found it nesting on Bering Island. It also 
breeds in north-eastern Arctic America, and may possibly do 
so in other northern portions of the American continent. 

Habits. In the Middle Ages this splendid bird was in great 
request among Falconers, and was chiefly used for the capture 
of Cranes and Herons, and, in more recent Hawking days, 
the Greenland Falcon has been trained to catch Hares and 
Rabbits. In a wild state it feeds on Ptarmigan and Willow- 
Grouse, as well as Lemmings and other small animals, and, 
like the Snowy Owl, it has to migrate south in winter, when 
its food-supply disappears from the arctic tundras, and the 
country is covered with snow. Although a powerful bird, the 
Greenland Falcon does not possess the dashing spirit of the 
Peregrine, and Lord Lilford writes: "My experience of this 
bird in captivity is to the effect that it is extremely docile, and 
A very fine and powerful flyer and stooper, but what we call in 
Falconry a poor " footer," that is, it is not able, or more prob- 
ably not disposed, to bind to and grasp its quarry firmly ; it is 
also by no means hardy of constitution, and is difficult to 
keep in good condition for field purposes." He also states 
that an old gamekeeper, John Campbell, told him that he had 
frequently seen Greenland Falcons near Loch Rannoch in 
Perthshire during the winter months, and that the birds 
seemed to prefer Rooks to any other quarry, but that they 
made the wild-fowl very " uneasy " ; he never saw one in pursuit 
of a Red Grouse, but once saw one make a stoop at an old 
Blackcock ; on the whole, from his professional point of view, 
he did not look upon the Greenlander as such a "bad ver- 
min ! " as the " Hunting Hawk or Peregrine." 

Nest. None, the eggs being laid upon the bare rock, but 
sometimes the old nest of some other bird is adopted. 

Eggs. Four in number. 


Falco ishmdicus, Hancock, Ann. Nat. Hist. ii. p. 247 (1839). 
Falco gyrfalco, pt. Macg. Brit. B. iii. p. 284 (1840). 


Fako islandus (nee Gm.), Newton, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 46 

(1871); Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 25, pis. 370, 371 (1876); 

Saunders, Man. Br. B. i. p. 333 (1889); Lilford, Col. 

Fig. Br. B. part xxix. (1894). 
Hierofako islandus, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 414 (1874); 

B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 102 (1883). 
Fako gyrfako-candicans, Seebohm, Brit. B. i. p. 16 (1883). 

Adult Male. Entire head white, with blackish shaft-streaks, 
very narrow on the forehead and broader on the nape, with a 
slight greyish shade under the eye and over the ear-coverts; 
upper surface of body greyish-brown, clearer on the rump, all 
the feathers tipped and barred across with white, these bars 
sometimes not continuous ; quills dark brown, with narrow 
white tips, the feathers barred on the inner web, but notched 
and freckled on the outer web with white ; tail ashy, with a 
white tip, alternately barred with blackish, the intermediate 
spaces being ashy-white, sometimes freckled with blackish ; 
under surface of body white, the throat almost unspotted, the 
chest covered with central streaks developing into tear-drop 
spots at the end ; rest of under surface of body spotted with 
blackish, taking the form of bars on the sides of the body, 
under tail-coverts, and flanks, being rather numerous and 
close-set on the latter; under wing-coverts white, spotted or 
half-barred with blackish ; bill pale horn-blue, yellow at base 
of lower mandible; cere, orbits, and feet yellow; iris dark 
brown. Total length, 22 inches; culmen, 1^4; wing, 14*6; 
tail, 9*0 ; tarsus, 2'3- 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but larger. Total length, 
24 inches; culmen, 1-4; wing, 16-0; tail, 9'o; tarsus, 2-4. 

Young Birds. Brown ; all the feathers of the upper surface 
being margined with whitish, with conspicuous oval spots of 
white on the upper tail-coverts ; tail brown, with broad bands 
of whitish ; head whitish, the feathers streaked with dark brown 
down the centre, the hind-neck more conspicuously mottled ; 
under surface white, the throat unspotted ; all the rest of the 
feathers conspicuously centred with brown, these markings 
somewhat oval in form, excepting on the flanks, where they 
are irregular, the brown occupying the greater portion of the 
feather ; cere, orbits, and feet bluish-grey. 

O 2 


Characters. The Iceland Gyr-Falcon is one of four or more 
races of the genus Hierofalco, which are distinguished from the 
Greenland Gyr-Falcon by having a blue bill and barred flanks. 
Four distinct races of Grey Gyr-Falcon can, I think, be 
certainly recognised. One of them is the Black Gyr-Falcon, 
Hierofalco obsoletus of American authors,* from Labrador. 
The second is the Iceland Gyr-Falcon, peculiar to Iceland, re- 
presented in Southern Greenland by Holboell's Gyr-Falcon (H. 
holboelli\ while the fourth is the well-known Norwegian Gyr- 
Falcon (H. gyrfalco), which I believe to extend from Scandi- 
navia to Eastern Siberia, and to North America also. Whether 
the various other races, H. uralensis, H. grebnitskii, and others, 
are distinct from the ordinary H. gyrfalco^ I have never had 
enough material before me to enable me to pronounce an 

Range in Great Britain. Like the Greenland Gyr-Falcon, the 
present species is only an accidental visitor in winter, and 
is decidedly less frequent than the last-named bird, It has 
occurred in Scotland and the north of England, as well as in 

Range outside the British Islands. My opinion is that this Gyr- 
Falcon is peculiar to Iceland, and is only found elsewhere on 
accidental migration. In Southern Greenland it is replaced 
by H. holboelli. 

Habits. Very little has been recorded of the Iceland Gyr 
Falcon in its native home, and several recent observers who 
have visited Iceland have not seen the bird at all during their 
expeditions. The habits are doubtless the same as those of 
the other species of the genus. It feeds on Plovers and sea- 
fowl, according to a note supplied to Mr. Hewitson by Mr. 
Proctor, who visited Iceland and found remains of Whim- 
brel, Golden Plover, Guillemots, and Ducks, about the nest. 
Ptarmigan also are largely captured. Faber says that after 
the nesting-season, both adult and young birds approach the 
homesteads, when they sit on elevations, and often fight with 
the Ravens (cf. Newton, l.c). Lord Lilford writes : " From 

* In 1874 I believed this name of Gmelin's to refer to a Buzzard, and 
not a Gyr-Falcon. The general opinion, however, now se^"ns to be that 
it was intended for the latter. 


a Falconer's point of view, I have had but a very slight 
acquaintance with the Iceland Falcon, and am not inclined to 
rate her highly, but it must be borne in mind that all the birds 
of this species trained in this country have necessarily had the 
great disadvantage of a sea-passage, and, in many instances, 
have arrived so much damaged in plumage that they could 
not be put on the wing till the first moult, and all Falconers 
know how much Hawks suffer from a lengthened period of 
inactivity. Our ancestors seem, however, to have esteemed 
the Icelanders highly ; there are traditions of their being 
trained to take the Kite, and in more recent days a few of 
these Falcons were flown at Herons in the Netherlands with 
success. ... In disposition this Falcon seems to be 
tameable enough, but by no means remarkable for docility, of 
a somewhat sluggish temperament, and it is by no means so 
hardy as might be expected from the climatic conditions of the 
country of its origin." 

Nest. Placed on the ledges of cliffs, and formed of twigs 
and dead sticks, and lined with wool. Mr. Proctor said, of 
those he found in Iceland, that they much resembled the 
nests of the Raven. The old nests of that bird are probably 
often utilised by the Gyr-Falcon. 

Eggs. Four in number, the ground-colour being dull white, 
but scarcely visible on account of the closeness of the rufous 
clouding in many specimens, which renders the general 
appearance of the eggs almost uniform rufous. Other eggs 
are whity-brown, mottled and blotched with reddish-brown, 
principally near the larger end. Axis, 2-2-2-4 > diam., 1-8-1*9. 


Falco gyrfalco, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 130 (1766); Dresser, B. 

Eur. vi. p. 15, pi. 367 (1875); Seebohm, Br. B. i. p. 16 

(1883); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 334 (1889); Lilford, 

Col. Fig. Brit. B. part xxx. (1895). 
Hierofalco gyrfalco, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 416 (1874) ; 

B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 101 (1883). 

Adult Male. Above blue-grey, with broad greyish-black cross- 
bands, the bars in alternate series of black and grey ; lower 


lack, rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail much clearer blue- 
grey, with narrow cross-bars of greyish-black, these bars being 
of the same width to the extremity of the tail ; lores and fore- 
head whitish ; crown of head grey, mottled with black ; the 
sides of the head from behind the eye and the nape varied with 
whitish ; cheek-stripe, feathers under the eye and on the upper- 
line of the ear-coverts, as well as the sides of the neck, greyish- 
black ; the rest of the face whitish, with median lines of black 
on the feathers ; wing-coverts like the back ; quills dark brown, 
externally mottled and freckled with grey, not forming regular 
bars, the inner secondaries exactly like the back ; under sur- 
face of body white, the throat unspotted, the chest longitudi- 
nally streaked with black, widening out towards the apex of 
the feather ; rest of the body rather scantily spotted with grey- 
ish-black, taking the form of bars on the flanks, under tail- 
coverts, and axillaries ; under wing-coverts white, with black 
markings, scarcely equivalent to bars ; bill blue, black at tip ; 
feet yellow ; iris dark brown. Total length, 20 inches ; cul- 
men, 1*3; wing, 14-5; tail, 8'o; tarsus, 2*0. 

Adult Female. Slightly darker, and a little larger than the 
male. Total length, 21 inches; oilmen, 1-4 ; wing, 15-0 ; tail, 
9-5; tarsus, 2-15. 

Young. Brown, with fulvous spots and mottlings on the edges 
of the scapulars and inner secondaries, and rather more dis- 
tinct on the upper tail-coverts ; tail dark brown, with imperfect 
bands of fulvous ; wing-coverts and quills externally dotted 
with minute fulvous spots, the latter internally barred with 
buff; head brown, mottled with buffy-white on the eyebrow, 
cheeks, sides of neck, and especially on the nape and hind- 
neck ; under surface of body white, with central dark brown 
patches on each feather, those narrower on the throat; bill 
horn-blue, yellow at the base of the lower mandible ; feet grey. 

Characters. The adult male of the Gyr-Falcon is wonderfully 
like an adult Peregrine, except that the latter has always a 
darker shade towards the e"nd of the tail, which is never seen 
in a Gyr-Falcon. 

The Norwegian race of the Gyr-Falcon is always distin- 
guished by its dark head. It has, of course, barred flanks like 


//. islandicus and H. holboelli, but is much darker than either 
of these. It may be remarked that no one has hitherto been able 
to detect any differences between the young of these races. 

Range in Great Britain. The first specimen of the Norwegian 
Gyr- Falcon actually recorded in this country was identified by 
myself. It was shot by one of the attendants in my depart- 
ment at the British Museum, Mr. George Hunt, near Orford 
in Suffolk, in October, 1867, and remains in the possession of 
his brother, Mr. E. J. Hunt, all our efforts to purchase the 
specimen for the British section of the National Collection 
having proved futile. The bird in question was immature, 
and therefore difficult to identify with certainty, but at the time 
I examined the specimen I had just concluded my work on 
the Acripitres, and had the Gyr- Falcons well in my mind, so 
that I have no doubt that the specimen was correctly identi- 
fied. It was shown by me to Mr. Seebohm, who also con- 
sidered it to be a Norwegian Gyr-Falcon. A second specimen, 
killed in Sussex, had been in Mr. Borrer's collection since 
1845, but had always been looked upon as a young Iceland 
Gyr-Falcon, till Mr. Gurney recognised it as an adult Norwegian 

Eange outside the British Islands. The exact range of the 
present species is very difficult to determine, as it has been 
divided by naturalists into several races, and it is impossible 
to determine the value of the latter without having a large 
number of specimens together for comparison, and at present 
no Museum possesses a sufficiently complete series. It is an 
inhabitant of Scandinavia, and, in my opinion, it will be found 
to extend across Siberia, as well as the whole of the northern 
part of the New World, or, as the American naturalists state, 
the interior of Arctic America, from Hudson's Bay to Alaska. 

Habits. In their manner of life all the Gyr-Falcons seem to 
be very much alike, and the Norwegian bird resembles the 
Iceland Gyr-Falcon in its flight and general habits. It feeds 
principally on Ptarmigan, but it also captures Whimbrel and 
water-fowl of various kinds. 

Nest. For our information as to the nesting of the Gyr- 
Falcon we are almost entirely indebted to the researches of 
the late John Wolley, who found many nests in Lapland. 


The nest is generally placed on a ledge of rock in a cliff, and 
is often very difficult to reach, but in certain districts it is to 
be found in a tree, and Professor Collett states that, according 
to his experience, the Gyr-Falcon almost invariably nests in 
the top of large fir-trees. Professor Newton well remarks : 
" The curious fact that the Gyr-Falcon, like so many other 
AccipitreS) adapts itself to circumstances, breeding in trees 
where rocks are wanting near places which abound with food 
for its offspring, as is the case in the district of Hanhi-jarwi- 
maa, will not escape the student's notice, and will furnish, I 
think, another good warning against too hasty generalisations 
with regard to the habits of a bird or other animal. It was 
not until the fourth summer of Mr. Wolley's residence in Lap- 
land that he became acquainted with this fact, and then, as 
his remarks show, he was justly sceptical concerning it at 
first." (Ooth. Woll. p. 87). 

The nest is made of stout sticks, and is used for many years, 
where the birds are not disturbed. A rude lining of grass is 
sometimes present, as well as a few green willow-twigs. 

Eggs. Four in number, the variations in tint being well 
described by Mr. Wolley in the " Ootheca Wolleyana." Those 
in the British Museum are mostly of a light reddish cast, 
dotted and stippled with reddish-brown of a darker tint. Some 
of the specimens show a ground-colour of reddish-white, with 
somewhat coarser rufous blotches and spots, but in certain 
examples the colouring of the egg is almost entirely rufous, 
without any markings whatever. Axis, 2-2-2-35 inches; 
diam., i*75-i'9- 


CerchneiS) Boie, Isis, 1826, p. 976. 
Type, C. tinnunculus (L,). 

The Kestrels are nearly cosmopolitan, and there is scarcely 
a country, excepting the Pacific Islands, where these small 
Hawks do not occur. They have the same short toes as the 
Gyr-Falcons, the outer and inner toes being about equal in 
length, but the wings are more pointed than in the last-named 



birds. They are true Falcons, with a tooth in the bill, and a 
central tubercle in the nostril. 

With the exception of some of the more tropical species, 
Kestrels are migratory birds, and several of them go south in 
immense flocks, as has been noticed by many observers in 
their winter quarters in Africa. They are principally insect- 
feeders, and devour large numbers of locusts, in pursuit of 
which their large gatherings often take place. 


Falco tinnunculus^ Linn. Syst. Nat i. p. 393 (1766); Macg. 

Brit. B. iii. p. 325 (1840); Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 113, 

pi. 384 (1871); Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 79 (1871); 

Seebohm, Brit. B. i. p. 45 (1883); Saunders, Man. Brit. 

B. p. 343 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xvi. 

Cerchneis tinnunculus (L.), Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 425 

Tinnunculus alaudarius, B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 104 (1883). 

(Plate LI.} 

Adult Male. General colour above rufous fawn-colour or pale 
chestnut, with a few arrow-head shaped marks of black, plainer 
on the inner secondaries ; primary-coverts and quills dark 
brown, the former narrowly margined with rufous, the primaries 
notched with white for about two-thirds of their length, the 
inner primaries and outer secondaries narrowly edged and 
tipped with buffy-white ; head and neck clear slaty-blue, with 
narrow black shaft-stripes; forehead buffy-white, as also a 
narrow eyebrow; cheeks silvery-grey, inclining to blackish 
below the eye, and on the fore-part of the cheeks, forming a 
tolerably distinct moustache; lower back, rump, upper tail- 
coverts, and tail clear slaty-blue, the latter tipped with white, 
before which is a broad sub-terminal band of black ; throat 
buff, not spotted ; remainder of under surface of body rufous 
fawn-colour, the chest-feathers mesially streaked with black, 
these black centres being larger and more oval in shape on the 
flank-feathers ; thighs clear rufous, unspotted ; under wing- 
coverts white, spotted with black ; bill bluish horn-colour, 
black at the tip, yellowish at the base ; cere, orbits, and feet 


yellow; iris brown. Total length, 12*5 inches; oilmen, 175; 
wing, 9'2 ; tail, 67 ; tarsus, r6. 

Adult Female. Differs from the male in being rufous above, 
banded with black; on the rump a bluish shade, which 
overspreads the tail in very old individuals ; head rufous, 
streaked with black ; tail rufous, banded with black, the bands 
not always continuous, the tip buify-white, with a sub-terminal 
band of black. Total length, 12*5 inches; culmen, 075 ; 
wing, 9*2; tail, 6*5; tarsus, i'6. 

Young Birds In first plumage the young male and female 
are alike, and both resemble the old hen-bird, but are rather 
paler, and have more distinct stripes on the back. The first 
signs of approaching maturity in the young male are seen on 
the rump and tail, which generally change to blue-grey, before 
the grey head is assumed. 

In 1874 Mr C. Bygrave Wharton procured a female Kestrel 
in Hertfordshire, which had a slaty-blue tail like the male, 
with black bars, the rump being also slaty-blue. This speci- 
men exemplifies further the fact that I have already noted, 
that in very old females of the Birds of Prey there is a ten- 
dency to assume a plumage like that of the males. 

Nestling. Covered with white down. 

Range in Great Britain. The Kestrel is found in every county 
throughout Great Britain and Ireland, and nests in the wooded 
districts, as well as in the cliffs of the sea-shore and inland 
mountains. It is in some degree migratory, descending to 
the lower ground from the highlands in winter. A certain 
number also leave the country in the autumn, being found 
on our southern coasts at that season of the year, while an 
influx of Kestrels also takes place from Northern Europe to 
our eastern coasts. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Kestrel is almost uni- 
versally distributed throughout the Paloearctic Region, and 
breeds up to the Arctic Circle. It is a summer migrant to 
Central Europe, where only a few remain during the winter. 
It is said to occur throughout Siberia, but in Eastern Siberia 
and in Japan the Kestrels are larger and darker in colour, 
and it is this dark race, C. japonicus. which occurs throughout 


China. Our European Kestrel visits the Gold Coast in winter 
and extends its range a considerable way down East Africa, and 
perhaps to the southern districts of the continent. India is 
also a winter home for the species, which is resident in the 

In many countries bordering its southern range the Kestrel 
is represented by a dark resident race. Thus, in the Azores, 
in the mountains of Abyssinia, and again in those of Southern 
India and Burma, there is a distinct difference in size and in 
the deeper colouration of the Kestrels, which can hardly be 
looked upon as specific, but which show modifications effected 
by a tropical habitat. 

Halrits. From its habit of hovering in the air, the Kestrel is 
frequently noticed in the country, where it is known in many 
places as the " Windhover." It is to be seen on almost any 
evening in the neighbourhood of the stubble-fields, where, 
as if held in the air by a thread, it hovers on the look-out 
for field-mice. If unsuccessful in its search, it will circle away 
to another part of the field, and then commence to hover 
again, till it falls like a bolt on its unsuspecting prey. Its food 
consists not only of mice, moles, and other small mammalia, 
but also largely of insects, frogs, lizards, &c. Cockchafers are 
a favourite food, and these and other beetles it devours on the 
wing. It is but rarely that the Kestrel is driven by sheer 
necessity, in a droughty season perhaps, to make a raid on the 
Pheasant-coops to find food for its young, and, as a rule, the 
bird is a real friend to the farmer and gardener. So little do 
small birds regard it as an enemy, that I have seen a Kestrel 
perched on a straw-stack and surrounded by Sparrows, who 
were pilfering gaily without heeding the Hawk, and when the 
little birds flew off, affording, as one would have thought a 
splendid opportunity for a raid on such a flock, the Kestrel 
did not attempt to follow. 

That they can, however, when hard pressed for food, be 
decidedly destructive to young game has been proved by 
several observers, and Mr. DC Winton lately shot a pair in the 
act of killing young Pheasants. This is, however, undoubtedly 
a rare occurrence, and was the more remarkable in this instance, 
because this particular pair seemed to be the only delinquents ; 
all the other Kestrels, of which there were plentv in the neigh- 


bourhood, never attempting to molest the game. Underlying 
the apparently mild demeanour of the ordinary Kestrel reigns 
undoubtedly the fierce nature of the B ; rd of Prey, and I 
remember that on one occasion when I loft my four Kestrels 
for a day in charge of a servant who, of course, forgot to feed 
them, as servants generally do, I returned to find only three 
alive in the cage. Recognising the fact that they were forgotten 
and unprovided with food, the three female birds set upon their 
smaller brother and ate him. 

Nest. As a rule, the Kestrel selects the old nest of a Crow 
or Raven, or it may be the old domicile of a Magpie or 
Pigeon. Mr. Seebohm says that the original owner's nest is 
sometimes repaired by the Hawks, but in the many nests 
which I have taken in the south of England I have never seen 
any evidence of this, and that the Kestrel is not much of a 
nest-builder is proved by the fact that when the bird breeds in 
a cliff, it makes no attempt at a nest. 

Eggs. From three to five, or even six or seven in number. 
The ground-colour is dull or creamy-white, but is often not 
visible, as the chestnut clouding of the eggs entirely hides it. 
Thus there are two shades of chestnut, as a rule, in the egg of 
the Kestrel, the underlying one almost uniform, and the over- 
lying darker chestnut shade taking the form of spots and irre- 
gular blotches. Every kind of variation is exhibited in a 
series, from brownish-red to dark chestnut, almost blackish. 
In others the pale colouring is confined to one end of the egg, 
and the dark colour to the other end, and the variation in 
intensity of colour and markings is extreme. In rare instances 
the whitish ground-colour is predominant, and the spots and 
blotches of rufous are so arranged that the eggs look not unlike 
certain forms of those of the Sparrow-Hawk. Axis, 1-45-1-7 
inch; diam., 1-2-1-3. 


Falcoeenchris, Naum. Vog. Deutschl. i, p. 318 (1822) ; Newton, 
ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 82 (1871) ; Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 
125, pi. 385 (1871); Seebohm, Brit. B. i. p. 51 (1883): 
Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 345 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. 
Brit. B. part xxii. (1892). 


Jerchneis naumanni, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 435 (1874). 
Tinnunculus cenchris, B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 104 (1883). 

Adult Male. General colour above rich cinnamon-rufous, 
the entire head and hind-neck, lower back, rump, upper tail- 
coverts, and tail blue-grey, the latter tipped with white, and 
crossed with a broad sub-terminal bar of black ; lores and a few 
streaks on the cheeks whitish ; lesser and median wing-coverts 
cinnamon-rufous, like the back, a few of the outer median 
wing-coverts washed with blue-grey ; greater coverts and inner 
secondaries blue-grey, washed with rufous externally, the 
primaries being dark brown ; throat deep buffy-white ; breast 
pale cinnamon or vinous, with a few blackish spots, becoming 
larger on the sides of the body; thighs paler rufous, unspotted; 
abdomen and under tail-coverts yellowish-white ; under wing- 
coverts white, with a few tiny oval spots of black, larger on the 
axillaries ; bill light blue, yellow at base and blackish at the 
tip ; cere, orbits, and feet beautiful yellow ; iris dark brown. 
Total length, 12*5 inches ; culmen, 075 ; wing, 9*1 ; tail, 6'o; 
tarsus, i -2. 

Adult Female. Different from the male. Above tawny-rufous, 
transversely barred with blackish-brown, the bars narrower and 
more obscure on the lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts, 
the latter being washed with grey ; tail rufous, barred with 
black, tipped with whitish, with a broad sub-terminal band of 
black ; head and neck rather paler rufous, the former broadly, 
the latter more narrowly, streaked with blackish shaft-lines ; 
primaries dark brown, barred on the inner web with rufous, the 
secondaries coloured like the back, the outer ones narrowly 
margined with white at the tip ; throat, vent, and under tail- 
coverts buffy-white, without spots ; breast inclining to rufous 
fawn-colour, all the feathers mesially streaked with blackish, 
these stripes being broader on the flanks, and very tiny on the 
thighs, which are also paler rufous. Total length, 12-5 inches; 
culmen, 07; wing, 9-3; tail, 5-9; tarsus, 1*2. 

Young Birds. At first resemble the old female, but are paler 
and not so strongly marked. The male, in his second season, 
assumes the blue tail by a moult, but the blue head is assumed 
apparently by a change of feather, as I believe is the case with 
the Common Kestrel also. 


Characters To distinguish the Lesser Kestrel from the 
ordinary Kestrel of England, the most distinctive characters 
are the whitish claws, and the uniform rufous back in the 
male, while the female can only be told from the female of 
C. tinnunculus by its smaller size and by its whitish claws. 

Range in Great Britain. This species certainly deserves a 
place in our avifauna, for, although it was not admitted to 
that rank in 1871 by Professor Newton, since that date so 
many examples of the Lesser Kestrel have been identified 
within British limits, that one may reasonably believe that it 
occurs more often than is generally suspected, and that it is 
often mistaken for the Common Kestrel. At least four instances 
of the occurrence of the Lesser Kestrel in Great Britain are 
known to have taken place. The first was shot in Yorkshire in 
November 1867, and in May, 1877, another adult male was 
captured near Dover. Since then it has been obtained near 
Shankill in Co. Dublin, in February, 1891, and also in the Scilly 
Islands in March of the same year. Two specimens which had 
been captured at sea in the Mediterranean, in April, 1894, 
escaped from their captors, one in Northumberland and the 
other in Belfast, and Mr. Robert Patterson wrote to the " Ibis" 
to notify the fact, in case a Lesser Kestrel should be shot, but 
I have not heard that they were ever seen again. 

Range outside the British Islands The Lesser Kestrel winters 
in South Africa, whither it goes with the flocks of other small 
insect-eating Hawks. It returns in the spring to Europe and 
is plentiful in the Mediterranean countries, arriving in February 
in Spain. A few pass the winter in the south of Europe. It 
is only an occasional visitor to Southern France, but has been 
taken in Germany and in Heligoland, as well as in the British 
Islands. Its eastern range extends to Central Asia, and it has 
of late years become very numerous in the district of Orenburg 
in Southern Russia. 

Habits. In the countries of Southern Europe, and especially 
in Spain, the Lesser Kestrel is a very common bird, commenc- 
ing to breed about the end of April, and laying its eggs about 
the middle of May. Its food, according to Mr. Howard Saun- 
ders, consists of insects, especially cockchafers and other beetles, 


and grasshoppers. He says that the stairs and other approaches 
to the towers frequented by this and the larger Kestrel are 
often "covered with an accumulation of wing-cases and ejected 
pellets of indigestible matter." In general habits, flight, and 
cry the present species is said by Lord Lilford to resemble the 
Common Kestrel, but in his opinion it is a more entirely in- 
sectivorous bird, and takes its prey on the ground. He writes : 
" The two species of Kestrel are, I think, in April and May, 
the commonest birds in Andalucia, with perhaps the exception 
of the Bee-Eater. Every church-steeple, belfry, and tower, 
every town and village, every ruin, swarms with them. I 
believe I am not at all beyond the mark in saying that I have 
seen three or four hundred on the wing at the same moment 
on more than one occasi n, notably at Castro del Rio in April, 
1864. Both species of Kestrel continue on the wing long 
after sunset." 

Nest. No nest is made by this little Kestrel, and the eggs 
are generally laid in a hole of a building, sometimes within 
reach of the ground. In the Crimea, Colonel Irby found 
them nesting in holes in banks. 

Eggs. Four or five in number, though occasionally as many 
as seven are found. Although some of them are marked like 
the Common Kestrel's, and are only to be distinguished from 
the eggs of the latter by their smaller size, the series in the 
British Museum is undoubtedly paler and more cinnamon in 
tint than the eggs of C. tinnunculus. The eggs are minutely 
spotted with rufous, and less boldly blotched than the eggs of 
the preceding species, and the markings always seem to me to 
be smaller in character. Axis, i '3-1 '5 inch; diarn., n-i'2. 


Fako vespertinus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 129 (1766); Macg. 

Brit. B. iii. p. 313 (1840); Newt. ed. Yarr. Brit. B. i. p. 

69 (1871) ; Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 93, pi. 382 (1871) ; Seeb. 

Brit. B. i. p. 42 (1883) ; Saunders, Man. Brit. B. p. 339 

Ccrchneis vespertina, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 443 

Tinnunculus vespertinus, B. O. U. List Brit. B. p. 103 (1883). 


Adult Male General colour above leaden-grey, the wing- 
coverts rather paler, the greater coverts more hoary-grey; 
primary-coverts and quills hoary-grey, the secondaries darker 
and more like the back ; tail brownish-black ; under surface 
of body bluish-grey, with faint indications of black shaft-stripes; 
lower abdomen, vent, thighs, and under tail-coverts rich chest- 
nut ; under wing-coverts leaden-grey ; quill-lining brownish- 
black ; cere, orbits, and feet bright brownish-red ; claws 
yellowish-white, with horn-coloured tips ; bill yellowish horn- 
colour, blackish at tip; iris light brown. Total length, 11*5 
inches; culmen, 075; wing, 9^8; tail, 5'6; tarsus, i'i5. 

Adult Female. Different from the male. General colour 
above bluish-grey, with transverse black bars on all the feathers, 
the mantle a little darker and more ashy ; tail also bluish-grey, 
a little paler towards the tip, with narrow black bars, the sub- 
terminal one much broader ; quills brownish, externally ashy- 
grey, barred on the inner web with whitish ; head, hind-neck, 
and under surface of body rufous, inclining to buff on the 
under tail-coverts ; forehead whitish ; lores and feathers round 
the eye greyish-black ; sides of face and neck, as well as the 
throat, yellowish-white, with faint indications of a pale rufous 
moustachial streak ; soft parts as in the male, but less bright. 
Total length, n inches; culmen, 07; wing, 97; tail, 5-6; 
tarsus, i 'i 5. 

Young Birds. At first resemble the old female, and have the 
tail barred with black ; the fore-part of the crown whitish ; the 
feathers of the mantle edged with rufous ; upper-part of ear- 
coverts and feathers round the eye greyish-black ; a faintly in- 
dicated moustachial streak ; throat and sides of neck creamy- 
white ; under surface of body rufous, paler than in the old 
female, the feathers with blackish centres, developing into 
spots at the end ; cere, orbits, and feet reddish-yellow ; claws 
yellowish-white, with dark grey tips. 

Range in Great Britain. An accidental visitor in spring and 
summer, rarely occurring in autumn. Mr. Howard Saunders 
states that the species has been recorded upwards of twenty 
times, and has occurred in nearly all the southern and eastern 
counties of England, from Cornwall to Norfolk, as well as in 
Denbighshire and Shropshire, Yorkshire, Durham, and North- 


umberland. I can also add a record from near London, for a 
few years ago a beautiful female bird was brought to me at the 
British Museum in the flesh. It had been shot near Nunhead 
on the previous day, having flown into a tree near some pigeon- 
shooting grounds. I did not know at the time that any par- 
ticular interest attached to the records of the Red-footed Kes- 
trel in the South of England, and omitted to take down full 
particulars. * 

Three specimens have been shot in Scotland, and one was 
procured in Co. Wicklow in Ireland in 1832. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Red-footed Kestrel is a 
bird of Eastern Europe and Western Siberia, being found over 
the greater part of Russia, and as far east as Krasnoyarsk. It 
breeds also in Hungary, and has occurred as far north as 65 
in Finland, as well as in the south of Sweden. Professor Menz- 
bier thinks that an extension of its range to the northern pro- 
vinces of Russia has taken place within the last fifty years, and 
in places in the south of Russia, such as the steppes of Oren- 
burg, where the Red-footed Kestrel used to breed freely, it 
has been ousted to a great extent by an influx of Lesser Kes- 
trels of late years. The winter home of the present species 
is in South Africa, to which it migrates in immense flocks 
along with Hobbies and Lesser Kestrels. In Eastern Siberia 
its place is taken by an allied species, with white under wing- 
coverts, called C. amurensis, which winters also in South Africa, 
but is there found chiefly on the Zambesi and in the Transvaal, 
and seems to preserve, even in its winter home, its more eastern 

HaMts. This little Kestrel is one of the prettiest of all the 
Falcons, and is remarkable for the difference in colour be- 
tween the sexes, which is greater than in the majority of 
Birds of Prey. The food of the Red-footed Kestrel con- 
sists almost entirely of insects, which it catches and devours 
on the wing, such as dragon-flies, beetles, moths, and grass- 
hoppers, while in company with other birds it follows the 
swarms of locusts in South Africa. In all its ways it is a Kes- 
trel, and has the same querulous cry. In its nesting, as well 
as on its migrations, it seems to be gregarious, for it is often 
found breeding in company. 

S P 


Nest. The present species does not build a nest of its own, 
but adapts the old nest of a Crow or Rook to its wants. 

Eggs The British Museum possesses so few eggs of this 
species that I am not able to describe them at length. They 
appear to resemble some of the eggs of the Common Kestrel 
so closely, as to be practically inseparable. According to Mr. 
Goebel, who has taken numbers of the eggs of C. vespertina in 
Southern Russia, they are not so coarsely grained as those of 
the Common Kestrel, have much less lustre, and are, on an 
average, smaller, and not only absolutely, but proportionately 
lighter. The colour of our Kestrels' eggs is a darker, browner 
red compared with the yellower red of C. vesfertina. Axis, 
i'25-r6 inch; diam., ro-i'2. 



Tropic Birds (Phaetontes\ Frigate Birds (Fregati), Pelicans, 
Cormorants, and Gannets these are the groups of birds 
which constitute the large order Pelecanifonnes. These birds 
have also been united together under the heading of Stegano- 
podes, all of them having the hallux, or hind-toe, united to the 
second by a web, so that, in fact, all four toes are connected by 
a membrane. 


The members of this Sub-order are easily recognised by 
their peculiar bills and large gular pouches, which are capable 
of distension to an enormous extent. A Pelican is a tropical 
bird and seldom wanders far north, though recently some of 
thess birds are said to have been noticed in West Jutland. The 
White Pelican (P. onocrotalus] used at one time to inhabit 
England, as its bones have been found in the fens of Norfolk, and 
Montagu mentions the shooting of a Pelican at Horsey Fen 
in 1663, but this was believed to have been one of the King's 
birds escaped from St. James' Park. The species can, there- 
fore, scarcely be said to require notice in the present Work, 
and, indeed, Mr. Howard Saunders does not even mention 
it in his " Manual." 




As in all the Steganopodes, the Cormorants have a desraog- 
nathous, or "bridged," palate, and they have the four toes 
all joined together by a web. They have also a remarkably 
hooked bill, with a sort of nail at the end. The feet in these 
birds are placed very far back, and the thighs are feathered 
down to the tarsal joint. 

Cormorants and Shags are found in nearly every part of 
the world, and are most numerous in species in the Southern 



Phalacrocorax, Briss. Orn. vi. p. 511 (1760). 
Type, P. carbo (Linn.). 

Any number of anatomical and osteological characters can 
be brought forward for the identification of the Cormorants, 
but in a book dealing only with British birds we have, happily, 
no need to go into these minuter details, for our two species 
are easily recognisable by the merest tyro. Thus their webbed 
feet, with all four toes joined together by a membrane, are a 
leading character; secondly, their black plumage is distinctive, 
and their hooked bills and bare faces will distinguish them 
from all our British sea-birds, except the Gannets. 

Two species inhabit the British area, the Common Cor- 
morant and the Green Cormorant, or Shag, and there is no 
difficulty in distinguishing these black-plumaged birds from 
the white-plumaged Gannets. 


Pelecanus carbo, Linn. S. N. i. p. 216 (1766). 

Phalacrocorax carbo, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 380 (1852) ; Dresser, 
B. Eur. vi. p. 151, pi. 388 (1879); B. O. U. List Br. 
B. p. 105 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 143 
(1884); Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 650 (1885); Saunders, 
Man. Br. B. p. 349 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. 
part xxii. (1892). 

P 2 


Adult Female. General colour above glossy blue-black from 
the hind-neck to the tail, dividing the mantle and back down 
the centre ; the sides of the mantle, remainder of the back, 
scapulars, and wing-coverts bronzy-brown, with broad edges of 
blue-black to all the feathers; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, 
and quills black, externally greyish-bronze, the feathers with a 
broad black margin as well ; tail-feathers slaty-black, with grey- 
ish shafts ; crown of head and neck glossy blue-black, with a 
very evident nuchal crest ; under surface of body blue-black ; 
sides of face, ear-coverts, cheeks, and upper throat creamy- 
white, ascending to a point in the centre of the chin, which 
is bare like the lores, region of the eye, and fore-part of the 
cheeks ; the crown, neck, and lower throat ornamented with 
numerous white filaments, which completely conceal the black 
ground-colour ; on the sides of the lower flanks a large white 
patch ; sides of upper breast bronzy-brown, the flanks bor- 
dered with black, as on the back ; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries black ; bill brown above, slate-colour below, including 
edge of lower mandible ; gular skin lemon-yellow ; feet black ; 
iris green. Total length, 32 inches; culmen, 2-6; wing, 12 '8; 
tail, 6'o ; tarsus, 2-5. 

Adult Male. Similar to the female, but larger and with the 
crest somewhat more developed. Total length, 30 inches; 
wing, 12-5. 

Winter Plumage Black like the summer plumage, but not 
having the white filaments on the head and neck, and the 
white patch on the thighs also being absent. 

Young Birds. Browner above than the adults, and with black- 
ish margins to the feathers, which are greyish-brown rather 
than bronzy ; the head and neck ashy-brown, with blackish 
centres to the feathers ; sides of face, throat, and fore-neck 
ashy-brown ; chin, upper throat, and sides of face dull white ; 
rest of the under surface of the body white, the sides of the 
body brown, as well as the under tail-coverts ; bill pale horn- 
colour ; cere none ; gular skin yellow ; iris light green. 

The adult black plumage is gained apparently by a change 
in the feather, the tip of which becomes gradually black or 
brown, and this colour spreads by degrees over the whole 


Nestlings. At first bare and of a leaden grey-colour, but 
afterwards becoming covered with dense sooty-brown down, 
and remaining in this till they are more than half the size of 
their parents. 

Characters The Cormorant may be told from the Shag by 
its larger size and by having fourteen tail-feathers. I have seen 
one specimen from Hungary which had fifteen rectrices. The 
colour is always more of a blue-black, not greenish like the 

The white filaments which adorn the head of the Cormo- 
rant, and the occipital crest, are apparently retained for a short 
time only. The female described was obtained in February, 
and has all the ornamental plumes developed to the fullest 
extent, including the white patch on the flanks, but these are 
all shed by the time that nesting commences, so that the 
real breeding plumage is exactly similar to that of the winter 
dress after the autumn moult. 

Range in Great Britain. Although mostly a bird of the sea- 
coasts, the Cormorant is often met with inland, and there is 
scarcely a county in the British Islands where stragglers have 
not been obtained at some time or other. It is found in most 
parts of our area on the coasts, but is commoner in some dis- 
tricts and rarer in others, where the Shag predominates. On 
the east coast of England, between the Thames and the Hum- 
ber, it is rarer, probably on account of the absence of breeding- 
places suitable to the species, but north of Flamborough and 
along the Scottish coast it occurs plentifully, while on our west- 
ern coasts the Shag is the commonest of the two species. Mr. 
Ussher gives a long list of the counties in Ireland in which 
the Cormorant nests on the coast, and he says that several 
breeding colonies are to be met with on the islands of inland 
lakes, where they breed on trees, such as Lough Tawnyard in 
Co. Mayo, Lough Key in Roscommon, and Lough Cutra in 
Galway. In some of these, he says that the Cormorants 
breed in company with Herons in high trees. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Cormorant is distributed 
in suitable localities throughout Europe and Northern Asia to 
Japan. It breeds in India and Burma, and is believed to 
extend to Australia and also to South Africa, but recently the 


species of Cormorant inhabiting the African continent has 
been considered to be different from P. carbo, and it is difficult 
to say what is the exact range of our Cormorant to the south- 
ward. It occurs in Arctic America on the Atlantic side, and 
ranges in winter as for south as New Jersey, but has not been 
recorded from the Pacific side of North America. 

Habits. The Cormorant is in most parts of England a sea- 
bird, frequently the rocky coasts and building its nest on the 
rocks, but in many places it builds on trees, in company. In 
other parts of its range it has been known to build its nest in 
reed-beds, and in pollard willows, while sometimes a colony 
of Cormorants will be found to occupy quite high trees, like 

The food consists entirely of fish, of which the bird devours 
a great number, and the decaying carcases are plentifully 
strewn about the nesting-places, so that a visit to a Cormo- 
rant's home is generally trying to the olfactory sense. The 
mess which the birds make is also rather appalling, the 
whole of the rocks on which they breed having generally 
the appearance of having been whitewashed. On land the 
Cormorant is rather a sluggish bird, and is generally seen 
perched on a rock, where it will remain for hours digesting its 
food ; but in the water it is a splendid swimmer and diver, 
employing its great webbed feet to singular advantage, and 
using its stiffened tail as a rudder to steer itself with, but 
not making much use of its wings. Although generally nest- 
ing in company, at other times of the year Cormorants are 
found on inland rivers, and many are thus obtained during the 
winter, most of these individuals being young birds, though 
old ones not unfrequently occur. One which was shot near 
Cookham, when I was a boy, was observed for several days 
swimming in the Thames, with its body submerged and only 
its head ,nd neck protruding out of the water. 

Nest. A very rough structure of seaweed or sticks, which is 
added to year by year in places where the birds are allowed 
to nest without interference. The Cormorant seems to have 
some idea of decorating its nest, for Mr. Doncaster informed 
Mr. Seebohm that he found one in which the birds had pulled 
a long spike of foxglove and had twisted it round the nest as 


a lining. There is also generally a lining of fresh green leaves 
of sea-parsley or some other plant, according to Mr. Seebohm. 

Eggs. Two or three in number. The ground-colour is 
green, but this is generally obscured by a chalky-white cover- 
ing, which can be scraped off. Axis, 2'4-2'8 inches; diam., 


Pehcanus graculus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 217 (1766). 

Phalacrocorax graculus, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 392 (1852) ; Dresser, 
B. Eur. vi. p. 163, pi. 389 (1879); B. O. U. List Br. B. 
p. 106 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 151 
(1884); Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 656 (1885); Saunders, 
Man. Br. B. p. 351 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part 
xxii. (1892). 

(Plate LIL) 

Adult Male. General colour above and below black, with a 
bottle-green or oily-green gloss, all the feathers margined with 
velvety-black on the mantle, scapulars, and wing-coverts, these 
parts having also a bronzy reflection ; tail-feathers twelve ; 
" inside of mouth and skin round the gape pale orange-yellow ; 
naked skin of chin and throat black, thickly dotted with yellow ; 
feet and toes blackish; iris bright green" (W. R. Ogilvie- 
Granf}. Total length, 27 inches; culmen, 2-5; wing, ii'o; 
tail, 5-5; tarsus, 2-35. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, 26 inches ; 
wing, 10-5. 

Young Birds Brown above, glossed with green, the feathers 
edged with darker brown, which becomes much abraded and 
turns to whity-brown, the tail-feathers being margined with 
whity-brown ; sides of face and under surface of body brown, 
the throat white, and the lower abdomen also dingy-white; 
feet and toes reddish. The young Shags can always be dis- 
tinguished from young Cormorants by their twelve tail-feathers, 
and they are browner underneath. 

The black plumage is assumed in the first spring, and is 
accomplished by a gradual darkening of the feathers of the 


under surface, as well as by a complete moult of some of the 
feathers, the quills being entirely renewed. 

Nestlings. At first completely bare and of a sooty lead- 
colour, afterwards densely covered with sooty-brown down. 

In the winter the Shag puts on a crest, which is shed, like 
the ornamental filaments of the Cormorant, by the time the 
nesting commences in April, but Lord Lilford says that he has 
shot specimens in August on the coast of Cornwall which still 
showed remains of a crest, while in the Mediterranean he never 
found a Shag with a crest at any season. This would go to prove 
that the Shag of the Mediterranean is a different species from 
that of Northern Europe, as has been insisted upon by Profes- 
sor Brusina, who has named the crestless Shag Phalacrocorax 
croaticus, but if really different, it will have to bear the older 
name of P. desmaresti. 

Eange in Great Britain. In many parts of England the Shag 
is more plentiful than its larger ally. It occurs on all our 
rocky coasts, being more abundant on the western side of 
England and Scotland, especially on the rocky shores of 
Wales and in the western isles. In Ireland Mr. Ussher says 
that it breeds in all the maritime counties frequented by the 
Cormorant ; but on the coasts of Galway and Mayo it appears 
to be much more numerous than that species. 

Eange outside the British Islands The Shag is a bird of Western 
Europe, for, though it is common on the coasts of Norway and 
breeds in the Faeroes, it has not been met with farther west than 
Iceland, and is almost unknown in the Baltic, being rare along 
the shores of the North Sea. It becomes commoner, however, 
on the Atlantic coasts of France and Portugal, and if P. 
desmaresti should prove to be only P. graculus in its crestless 
stage, then the range of the Shag will extend throughout the 

Habits. The Shag is essentially a maritime species and is 
not met with on inland waters, though it does occasionally 
occur. It feeds entirely on fish and is a capital swimmer and 
diver, and that it can descend to a great depth is shown by the 
fact that it has been caught in a crab-pot lying twenty fathoms 
down. Lord Lilford has given a most interesting account of 
his visits to some of the breeding-places of the Shag in the 


Mediterranean, from which I make the following extract, as it 
will give the reader a good idea of the habits of these birds. 
" A Shag-cavern, when numerously tenanted during the breed- 
ing season, is, although most interesting to a naturalist, indeed 
a gruesome, and, as a Highlander would say, ' no a wholesome ' 
place. On pushing into one of these caves in a boat, the 
smell of decaying fish is almost overpowering ; a rush of 
great dark birds comes forth above, on both sides, and often 
almost into the arms and faces of the intruders (we always 
' backed ' in), whilst many of the Shags plunge headlong from 
the ledges into the sea, and dive under the boat. 

" The real way to see the interior in all its weird horror, was 
to illuminate its recesses by a blue light, when in all probability 
many old Shags might be discovered still on their nests or on 
the ledges, twisting their long necks with extraordinary contor- 
tions, dazed by the light, and uncertain whether to go or to 
'stand by' their young. However they might decide this 
question, we generally found the stench so horrible, that, after 
taking in the scene, we were glad to beat a speedy retreat and 
chase any young Shag that might have taken to the sea and be 
unable to fly, with a view to capturing him alive an attempt 
that, in my experience, was invariably a failure, for, although 
we could often have killed these youngsters, had we been so 
minded, with oars or boat-hook, they always managed to dive 
and conceal themselves amongst the boulder-stones and sea- 
weed at the foot of the rocks." 

In Great Britain also the Shags prefer to nest in a cave, when 
such is available, and they will occupy every ledge with their 
nests when they find a suitable cavern. In other places, where 
there are no caves, they nest on ledges of cliffs, and, like that 
of the Cormorants, the position of the breeding-place is easily 
discernible from the way in which the cliffs are whitewashed. 
The flight of the Shag is powerful and rapid, and it may often be 
seen skimming along above the level of the water. When about 
to dive, the bird raises itself up and disappears with a curve 
and a dip. It is said to use its wings as well as its feet under 
the water, but the Shags which I have watched in confinement 
seemed not to use their wings at all, but to depend upon their 
feet alone to propel them. When a fish is caught, they return 
to the surface of the water to swallow it. 


Nest. A bulky and rough structure of sticks or seaweed, 
with sometimes a little straw, c. 

Eggs. Three or four in number, but often only two are laid. 
They resemble those of the Cormorant and have the same 
chalky covering to the shell, but are somewhat smaller. Axis, 
2 '3-2 '6 inches; diam., 1*35-1 '5 inches. 


The Gannets are very closely allied to the Cormorants, and 
like them have all the four toes joined together by a web, 
which gives them great swimming and diving powers. In 
osteological and anatomical characters they are also very 
similar to the Cormorants, but the bill is nearly straight and 
only slightly deflected at the tip, not being hooked as in 
Phalacrocorax. They have a small gular sac, which is for the 
most part bare. As in the Cormorants, the feet are placed far 
back and the tarsus alone is bare. The changes of plumage 
undergone by the Gannets is, however, quite different to that 
of the Cormorants. Gannets are found all over the world, but 
do not go very far to the north or south. 


Dysporus, Illiger, Prodr. p. 279 (1811). 

Type, D. bassanus (L.). 


Pelecamts bassanus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 217 (1766). 

Sula bassana, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 405 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. 

vi. p. 181, pi. 392 (1880); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 106 

(1883); Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 155 (1884); 

Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 643 (1885); Saunders, Man. Br. 

B. p. 353 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xii. 


(Plate LIU.} 

Adult Male. General colour above and below pure white, 
with a tinge of ochreous-buff on the head and neck ; bastard- 
wing, primary-coverts, and primary-quills black ; tail-feathers 
white, with yellowish shafts ; bill pale bluish-grey, tinged with 


green at the base ; bare space round the eyes, lines on the bill, 
and gular space black ; feet brownish-black, the scales light 
greenish-blue or emerald-green ; claws greyish-white ; iris pale 
yellowish-white. Total length, 33 inches; culmen, 3-85 ; wing, 
18-4; tail, 8-3; tarsus, 2'i. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male. 

Young Birds. When first hatched the nestlings are bare and 
slaty- black in colour, with the bill and naked region of the eye 
black. As they progress they become covered with dense 
white down. The full plumage of the young bird is greyish- 
brown, spotted with white, each feather having a triangular 
spot at the end, these spots being very numerous on the head 
and neck; the bastard-wing, primary- coverts, and quills are 
blackish, rather more ashy on the inner webs, the innermost 
secondaries tipped with white ; tail-feathers black, with white 
shafts ; throat greyish-brown, spotted with white like the upper 
surface ; remainder of under surface of body dull white, mottled 
with ashy-grey, with which colour the feathers are tipped ; 
under wing-coverts blackish, spotted with white. After the 
second moult they become more uniform below, and the head 
and neck are mottled with white, and, according to Mr. See- 
bohm, the white colour gradually predominates after the third 
and fourth moults, until the full white plumage is assumed 
after the fifth moult. 

Range in Great Britain. Although the Gannet occurs on all 
our coasts, the breeding-places are confined to a few colonies, 
the only one in England being on Lundy Island, but another 
exists on the island of Grassholme, off the Pembrokeshire 
coast. In Scotland the best-known places are Ailsa Craig and 
the Bass Rock ; and other breeding colonies are at Boreray in 
the St. Kilda group, Sulisgeir or North Barra, and the stack of 
Suleskerry, about forty miles west of Stromness. These are 
all the places mentioned by Mr. Howard Satmd'TS in his latest 
work. In Ireland, Mr. Ussher says, the principal breeding- 
place of the species is the Little Skellig, off Kerry, but a con- 
siderable colony also exists on the Bull Rock, off Cork, as was 
recorded in 1868; and notwithstanding that a lighthouse has 
now been erected there since 1884-85, the number of nests is 
estimated at from one hundred and eighty to two hundred by 


the light-keepers, who think that the birds are increasing in 

Range outside the British Islands. As in our own islands, the 
breeding-places of the Gannet are confined to a few localities, 
which are in the Western Faeroes, in Iceland, and again on 
the Magdalene Islands and other rocky islets in the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence, on the Atlantic side of North America. The 
species wanders south in winter, and reaches as far as the 
Mexican coast in America, and to North Africa and Madeira, 
but its southern limits in winter are not well known, and it 
would appear to be represented by distinct species of the 
genus in all the southern continents. 

Habits. The Gannet is entirely maritime, and is only found 
inland when driven by stress of weather and exhausted. It 
lives entirely on fish and destroys a large number of herrings 
and other surface-feeding species, falling on them from a height 
in the air, as it does not dive like a Cormorant. Except in the 
winter, when single specimens are met with on our coasts, the 
Gannet is a gregarious bird, nesting and fishing in company, 
and some idea of the number of the latter may be gained from 
the figures given by Mr. Seebohm, who reckons that on Sulis- 
geir there are one hundred and fifty thousand pairs, on the 
Stack of Suliskerry twenty-five thousand pairs, and the same 
number on Boreray. On the Bass Rock and Ailsa Craig he 
puts the numbers at about six thousand pairs on each. When 
feeding in company, as they do, many birds are caught in the 

The flight of the Gannet is decidedly grand, as the bird 
swoops along at a prodigious rate, one flap of the wings seem- 
ing sufficient to carry it for a great distance. At first appear- 
ing as a speck on the horizon, I have known one of these birds 
to pass over my boat in a space of time almost incredible ; but 
the long pointed wings have a way of swinging it through the 
air, so that in a few seconds the great bird looms up close, 
and in a few more is out of vision behind the next headland. 
Sometimes the Gannets soar to a great height and wheel 
round and round, seldom settling on the water except to digest 
their food or to sleep. They are capable of traversing long 


distances, and often go a Long way from their breeding-stations 
in search of food. 

Eggs. Only one. The ground-colour is bluish, but is 
obscured by a chalky covering as in the case of the Cormo- 
rants. Mr. Robert Read, to whom I am indebted for many 
interesting notes on British birds, writes to me: "I have 
taken many eggs on Ailsa Craig. Some of them are perfectly 
black with stains from the birds' feet, but if a Gannet's egg be 
soaked in warm water and well scrubbed with a hard brush, all 
the chalky coating can be removed, and there is then present 
a beautifully clear-looking bluish egg, in texture and appear- 
ance much resembling that of a Heron. The birds, when 
sitting hard, hiss like a common Goose, and require a lot of 
stirring up to make them leave their eggs." Axis, 2 '85-3 '3 
inches; diam., 1-8-2-0. 



Judged by their long legs and general appearance, the 
Flamingoes would appear to be a kind of aberrant Stork, and 
there are not wanting naturalists who consider them to be 
more of a Stork than a Duck ; but, weighing the whole of the 
characters, the balance in favour of their affinity to the Ducks 
is incontestable, and two characters seem to point to their true 
affinity, viz., the possession of lamellae on the edge of the 
bill, and the downy young, which are able to run about and 
feed themselves soon after being hatched. No Stork has these 
characteristics, and therefore, if the Flamingo has certain Stork- 
like characters, the weight of evidence is in favour of its being 
a Stork-like Duck, and I place these birds in my system of 
classification between the Storks and the Ducks (cf. Sharpe, 
Classif. B. p. 76). The outward structure of a Flamingo, with 
its long legs and its peculiar bent bill and long neck, is suffi- 
cient to distinguish the bird from any other member of the 
British avifauna, while there are several osteological characters 
by which the Flamingoes can be distinguished. As, however, 
the birds concern the British fauna but little, there is no need 
to enlarge on the minute characters of the group, the external 
ones being sufficient to distinguish a Flamingo at a glance. 



Phcenicoplerus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 230 (1766). 

Type, P, ruber^ Linn. 

The Flamingoes are divided by Count Salvador! into three 
genera, Phanicopterus^ Phceniconaias, and Phtznicoparrus. The 
latter is confined to the Andes of Chili and Peru, the second 
to Africa and North-western India, while the genus Phcznicop- 
terus is found throughout the greater part of the tropical Old 
World, with the exception of the Australian Region, and occurs 
again in the Neotropical Region. 


Phanicopterus roseus, Pall. Zoogr. Rosso- Asiat. ii. p. 207 
(1811); Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 343, pi. 410 (1879); 
Saunders, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. iv. p. 244 (1884) ; id. Man. 
Br. B. p. 383 (1889). 

Adult Male. White, with a rosy tinge, especially on the tail ; 
upper wing-coverts bright scarlet ; quills black, with the inner- 
most secondaries rosy ; under surface white with a rosy tinge, 
the under wing-coverts and axillaries bright scarlet ; bare skin 
near the eye and base of bill fleshy-pink ; end of bill and 
edges of the lower mandible black ; legs and feet pinkish-red ; 
iris pale lemon-yellow. Total length, 50 inches; culmen, 5-5 ; 
wing, 17*0; tail, 7-0; tarsus, 13-0. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a little smaller. 

Young Birds. Brown above, with darker central streaks on the 
feathers; the head and neck whitish, tinged with buff, especially 
on the upper neck ; under surface of body whitish, with a tinge 
of buff, the axillaries pale pink ; base of bill dull pink ; legs 
dull lead-colour. 

Nestling. Covered with white down, greyer on the back ; the 
bill quite straight. 

Range in Great Britain. Flamingoes are so often kept in cap- 
tivity in our Zoological Gardens and in private aviaries, that it 
is quite possible that an individual occasionally escapes, which 
may account for the odd specimens which have been shot in 
England. Three instances, however, of the capture of the 


Flamingo in England are undoubted, and no evidence has 
been forthcoming that in any of the cases they were escaped 
birds. The first was taken in Staffordshire, in September, 1881, 
and another was shot near Beaulieu in Hampshire, in November, 
1883, having been flying about for a fortnight after a great gale 
from the south-west, which may have driven the bird to our 
shores. Another was seen in the Hoy, near New Romney in 
Kent, in August, 1884, by Captain Shelley ; and the old sports- 
man must have imagined himself back in Egypt, when he saw a 
Flamingo flying past him on the Kentish coast. Another was 
shot in the Isle of Sheppey, in August, 1873, but Mr. Howard 
Saunders thinks that this may have been an individual which 
escaped from the Zoological Gardens on the igth of July in 
the same year. Although we now look upon the occurrence of 
a Flamingo in England as something extraordinary, palaeonto- 
logists show that in ancient times they were common enough 
in Central Europe, and even in the South of England. 

Eange outside the British Islands. The Flamingo is a bird of 
Southern Europe, whence it extends eastwards from the Medi- 
terranean to Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia, and it is also 
found breeding in India, and extends to Ceylon, as well as all 
over Africa. It has been observed occasionally in Switzerland, 
and on the Rhine it has been seen in flocks. 

Habits. The Flamingo breeds in the salt-marshes of the 
Camargue in Southern France, and in Southern Spain and 
other suitable localities in Southern Europe and the Caspian 
district. The nest is made of mud, and the bird sits on it with 
its long legs doubled up under it, and its neck twisted round, 
so as to rest on its back. The eggs are two in number, and are 
of a chalky-white. Axis, 3-55-37 inches ; diam., 1-15. 



The members of this Order have a bridged, or desmognathous, 
palate, and their downy young are able to run about in a few 
hours. Besides these characters, which Mr. Seebohm believes 
to be thoroughly diagnostic of the Order, there are many others, 
chiefly anatomical, which distinguish the Ducks and Geese, 


They may be said to be absolutely cosmopolitan in their range, 
and no country is without them, as far as we know. 

I am indebted to Count Salvadori, who is engaged on the 
twenty-seventh volume of the "Catalogue of Birds in the 
British Museum," for giving me his scheme of classification of 
the Anseres for the benefit of the present volume ; and every 
one who knows the excellence of that author's work will under- 
stand that his advice has been of material assistance to me. 
I have mainly followed the order of Mr. Howard Saunders 
" Manual " for the British species, which varies but little from 
that adopted by the Count. My Order Anseriformes is equiva- 
lent to the Family Anatida of Count Salvador!, who divides the 
Family into eleven Sub-families, with some of which, being ex- 
clusively tropical forms, we need not concern ourselves further 
in the present work. Following, therefore, as nearly as pos- 
sible, Count Salvador's system, and merely altering the order 
of the Geese and Swans, we find that he divides the Anatidce, 
into three divisions, depending on the presence or absence of 
a lobe on the hind-toe. Geese and Swans have no lobe, the 
True Ducks have only a very narrow one ; while the Diving 
Ducks and the Mergansers have a broad lobe. 


As already mentioned, the Geese are distinguished by the 
absence of a lobe on the hind-toe, which is moderately large ; 
the bill is stout and high at the base, and there is no cere. 
They differ from the majority of Ducks in not having any 
metallic colours in the plumage and no " wing-speculum." 

The typical " Grey " Geese are mostly birds of the northern 
parts of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, the most 
southern species being Anser indicus, which inhabits Central 
Asia and the Indian Peninsula, and Nesochen sandwichensis, 
which is confined to the Sandwich Islands. All the species of 
" Black " or Brent Geese are birds of the Arctic Regions, and 
occur in temperate latitudes chiefly in winter. In the Southern 
Hemisphere their place is taken by the Kelp Geese (Cloephaga) 
of South America and the Maned Goose (Chenonetta) of Aus- 

Four species of Geese have been recorded as British, which 


are now very properly dropped out of the list, viz., the Spur- 
winged Goose (Plectropterus gambensis\ the Canada Goose 
(Bernicla canadensis), and the Bar-headed Goose (A. indicus]. 
All these birds are kept in confinement in this country, and 
there can scarcely be a doubt that the specimens which have 
been shot were simply escaped birds. 


Chen, Boie, Isis, 1829, p. 563. 

Type, C. hyperboreus (Pall.). 

The genera of the Geese are separated by Count Salvador! 
according to the character of the serrations on the cutting-edge 
of the upper mandible, and the outline of this tomium, or 
cutting-edge. Thus the genera Chen and Anser have the latter 
decidedly sinuated, or concave, with the serrations visible from 
the outside for the greater part of its length. The species of 
the genus Chen are remarkable for a very stout bill, and for 
their snow-white or bluish colour, with black wings. The genus 
is arctic in its habitat. 


Anser hyperboreus, Pall. Spiz. Zool. vi. p. 25 (1767); Seeb. Br. 

B. iii. p. 490 (1885). 

Anser albatus, Cass. ; Saunders, P. Z. S. 1871, p. 519. 
Chen albatus (Cass.), Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 409, pi. 417, fig. 2 

(1873) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 117 (1883). 
Chen hyperboreus, Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 275 (1885); 

id. Man. Br. B. 393 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part 

xxvi. (1893). 

Adult Male. General colour above and below snowy-white, 
the bird being everywhere pure white except on the wings ; 
primary-coverts ashy-grey; primaries black, slightly washed 
with ashy at the base ; " bill purplish-red, the nail whitish, and 
the intertomial space black ; feet purple or orange-red, the 
soles dingy-yellow ; iris dark brown, eyelids whitish " (R. 
Ridgway). Total length, 26-0 inches; oilmen, 2*1; wing, 
1 6*6 ; tail, 5-5 ; tarsus, 2 '8. 

S Q 


Adult Female. Similar to the male. Total length, 2S'o 
inches ; wing, 16*3. 

Young Birds. Greyish above, the feathers edged with ashy- 
brown ; the crown of the head and the centre of the back 
of the neck brown ; forehead and sides of face ashy-white, 
slightly tinged with yellowish-buff; under surface of body 
white, greyish on the fore-neck and chest ; the scapulars brown 
like the back, with ashy bases ; lesser wing-coverts white, 
powdered with grey ; the median and greater coverts ashy- 
grey, with white edges, the amount of white varying greatly on 
the latter series; bastard wing-feathers grey; primary-covei!s 
and quills as in the adult birds ; the secondaries ashy-brown, 
edged with white, and having the greater part of the inner 
webs white ; inner secondaries dark slaty-brown, with broad 
white edges to both webs ; tail-feathers white, powdered with 

Range in Great Britain. Of accidental occurrence only. The 
first instance of the capture of this species was made known by 
Mr. Howard Saunders, who noticed two young Snow-Geese in 
Leadenhall Market on the Qlh of November, 1871, and he came 
at once to tell me of his interesting discovery. We returned 
forthwith to the market and purchased the pair, and Mr. Saun- 
ders, having procured from the salesman the name of his corre- 
spondent, enlisted the aid of the late Sir Victor Brooke, who was 
then in Ireland, and by this means the clue was followed up, 
and it was ultimately discovered that the two Geese had been 
shot a few days previously on til* lake of Tacumshane in Co. 
Wexford. A third was shot soon after in Wexford Ha"bour, 
but was not preserved. In October, 1877, a flock of seven 
was seen near Belmullet in Co. Mayo, and two were captured. 
On the 2 2nd of Augus", 1884, an adult Snow-Goose was seen 
by the Rev. H. A. Macpherson on the coast near Allonby in 
Cumberland, Others have since been noticed in Yorkshire, in 

Eange outside the British Islands. The home of this beautiful 
bird is in the Arctic Regions of North America, but the species 
probably occurs in Eastern Siberia. It breeds in Western Arc- 
tic America, and migrates in winter to Japan, and in America 
down the Mississippi Valley and to Southern California. It has 


been observed in various parts of Northern Europe. A large 
eastern form, Chen nivalis (Forst. , Salvad. Cat. B. xxvii. p. 
86), is found in the United States on migration, and reaches 
the Bermudas. Its breeding-home is not yet known, but is 
believed to be in Arctic America to the east of the Mackenzie 
River. This large race only differs from the true C. hyper- 
boreus in size, and it is extremely doubtful if it can be separated 
from the latter bird specifically. 

Habits. Nothing particular has been recorded of the habits 
of the Snow-Geese in their arctic home, where they frequent 
the tundras, or barren ground, feeding on grass and insects, 
and in the autumn on berries. 

Nest. A hollow in the ground, lined with down. 

Eggs. Dirty white in colour, and usually five in number. 
Axis, 3'i5-3'4 inches; diam., 2-05-2-2. 


Anser, Briss. Orn. vi. p. 261 (1760). 

Type, A. anser (L.). 

The true Geese are found in the northern parts of the Old 
and New Worlds, breeding in the high north, and migrating 
south in winter. Four species occur in the British Islands, 
and they are not always easy to distinguish, but they have 
been very clearly differentiated by Mr. Howard Saunders in 
his " Manual " and by Count Salvador! in the " Catalogue of 
Birds." The nail at the end of the bill is white in A. anser 
and A. albifrons^ and blackish in A. f abatis and A. brachyrhyn- 
t/ius, and the colours of the bill and feet are usually distinc- 
tive characters, but too much stress must not be laid on these 
points, as they do not always hold true, while possibly some 
hybridisation takes place among the Geese, which may account 
for the appearance of the characters of one section unexpectedly 
among birds of the other section. 


Anas anscr, Linn. S. N. i. p. 197 (1766). 
Anser ferns, Macg. Br. B. iv. p. 589 (1852); Salvad. Cat. B. 
Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 89 (1895). 

g 2 


Anser cinereus, Meyer; Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 355, pi. 411 
(1878); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 115 (1883); Saunders, 
cd. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 253 (1885); Seebohm, Br. B. iii. 
p. 500 (1885); Saunders, Man. p. 385 (1889); Lilford, 
Col. Fig. Br. B. part xxvi. (1893). 

Adult Male. General colour above light brown, with ashy 
centres to the feathers and whity-brown margins ; the lower 
back, rump, and upper tail-coverts lavender-grey ; wing-coverts 
like the back, but the lesser series, as well as the coverts round 
the bend of the wing, light bluish-grey, with which colour the 
median and greater coverts are tinged ; bastard-wing bluish 
grey, with somewhat broader white margins, and shaded with 
brown ; primary-coverts grey ; primaries blackish, with white 
shafts, the outer ones grey for a considerable portion of their 
length; the secondaries blackish-brown, narrowly edged with 
white; the inner secondaries browner, like the back; sides of 
rump and long upper tail-coverts white ; centre tail-feathers 
ashy-brown, edged and tipped with white, the remainder 
blackish on the outer web and at the base, the dark colour 
disappearing towards the outermost, which are white; head 
and neck light brown, the feathers of the hind-neck somewhat 
lanceolated and forming a soft ruff ; sides of face light ashy- 
brown, with a narrow line of white fringing the base of the 
upper mandible ; under surface of body white, the throat and 
chest ashy-grey, with whitish margins to the feathers ; the breast 
and abdomen slightly mottled with black ; thighs grey ; sides 
of body brown, with whity-brown margins to the feathers ; 
under wing-coverts and auxiliaries light lavender-grey ; bill 
flesh-coloured, with the nail white ; feet flesh-colour ; iris light 
brown. Total length, 30*0 inches; culmen, 2'6; wing, 17*8; 
tail, 7*0 ; tarsus, 3*2. 

Adult Female. Similiar to the male but smaller. Total 
length 30-0 inches ; wing, i6'o. 

Young Birdd. Darker than the adults and having no black on 
the under-parts. 

Characters. The white nail at the end of the bill distin- 
guishes this species, as well as the absence of any conspicuous 
white on the forehead, combined with the light grey of the 


rump. The flesh-coloured bill and feet are also character- 

Range in Great Britain. Although formerly nesting in Lin- 
colnshire, the breeding-places of this Goose are now confined 
to Scotland, where it still rears its young in Ross, Caithness, 
and Sutherland, as well as in the Hebrides, where it is still 
abundant on some of the outer isles. It is not mentioned 
by Mr. Ussher as a breeding-species in Ireland. In winter 
the Grey Lag-Goose occurs in flocks in other localities in 
Great Britain, but seldom on either the east or west coast of 

Range outside the British Islands. To the southern counties of 
Europe this species only comes as a winter visitor, but in 
Russia, and locally in Central and Northern Europe, it is 
generally distributed in summer. In Siberia its place is taken 
by a nearly allied species, A. rubrirostris of Hodgson, which 
winters in India and China. This, according to Count Sal- 
vador!, is a somewhat larger bird, with heavier bill and feet, 
and has more black on the under-parts poor characters for 
separation, but from the series in the British Museum I am 
able to say that they are fairly well marked. The bill is 
said by Dr. Radde to be flesh-coloured, but with the base of 
the upper mandible bright red, in the eastern form. 

HaMts. Many people think that the name of " Grey-lag," 
as it is generally written, is a vernacular corruption of " Grey- 
leg," which, as the bird has flesh-coloured feet, would be a 
misnomer ; but it is now recognised that the name should be 
written Grey " Lag-Goose," indicating the goose that "lagged " 
behind to breed in the fens of Lincolnshire in former times. 
When unmolested, the present species feeds all day, retiring at 
night-time to secluded places on the sea-shore, or wherever 
it can rest without molestation. Its food consists of various 
water-plants, grass, and grain, in pursuit of which it is to be 
found on stubble-lands. The curious feature which is com- 
mon to most Geese, of a very rapid moult, renders the birds 
practically defenceless at this period of their existence, and 
they then either hide themselves when inland, or take to the 
water for protection from assault when they are no longer 
able to fly. At other times they fly strongly and well, and 


generally take the form of a V when flying in flocks or small 

Nest. The Grey Lag-Goose is a somewhat early breeder, 
nesting in March in Germany, and in Scandinavia in May. 
The nest is a large, roughly-made structure, composed of dead 
reeds, grass, and sedge, with sometimes a stick or two added. 
Mr. Seebohm says that the nest is often a foot high and a yard 
across, and "in cold climates is generally lined with moss, to 
which down is added, as the eggs are laid." 

Eggs. From five to six in number ; pure white, but soon 
getting discoloured to a creamy-white, some of the eggs appear- 
ing also to be naturally of a dirty yellowish-white colour. 
Axis, 3' 2 5-3'55 inches; diam., 2-1-2-55. 


Branta albifrons. Scop. Ann. I. Hist. Nat. p. 69, No. 87 

Anscr albifrons, Macg. Br. B. iv. p. 609 (1852); Dresser, B. 

Eur. vi. p. 375, pi. 414 (1878); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 

116 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 261 (1885); 

Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 505 (1885); Saunders, Man. Br. 

B. p. 387 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. pt. x. (1889); 

Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 92 (1895). 

(Plate LI V.} 

Adult Male. General colour above resembling that of A. 
anser, but darker, especially as regards the lower back and 
rump, which are dark slaty-grey, instead of light bluish-grey ; 
the grey on the wings is also darker than in A. anser, and the 
outer greater coverts especially are greyer, with broader white 
margins ; a white mask extend^ from the base of the mandible 
across the forehead, but does not reach to the line of the eyes 
and is separated from the brown of the head and face by a 
shade of black ; under surface of body as in A. anser, but 
much more extensively marked with black ; bill orange-yellow, 
with a white nail at the tip ; feet and toes orange ; iris dark 
brown. Total length, 30*0 inches ; culmen, 175; wing, i6'o; 
tail, 6'o ; tarsus, 2'6$. 


Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a little smaller. Total 
length, 26'o inches ; wing, 15. 

Young Birds. Darker and more uniform in colour thnn the 
adults, and the nail at the end of the bill is brown ; the under 
surface is more uniform, without any black patches or bars. 

Characters. The White-fronted Goose is a smaller bird than 
the Grey Lag-Goose, and has an orange-coloured bill with a 
white nail at the tip. The white forehead also easily dis- 
tinguishes it, when adult, though it should be noted that, in our 
figure, the white is rather more extended than it should be. 

Range in Great Britain. This Goose does not breed within our 
limits, and is only a winter visitant, with a somewhat curious 
distribution, as is detailed by Mr. Howard Saunders and Mr. 
Seebohm. It occurs somewhat sporadically, and is rare on 
the east coasts of both England and Scotland, is commoner in 
Ireland. On the west coast of Scotland it is a rare visitor, as 
a rule, and on the Outer Hebrides is only an occasional visitor, 
but on Islay is said to be the most common of all the Grey 

Range outside the British Islands. The European form of the 
White-fronted Goose breeds in the high north, from Green- 
land and Iceland to Central Siberia, as Mr. Seebohm found 
it on the Yenesei, and he states that it passes farther to 
the north to breed than either the Bean-Goose or the Grey 
Lag-Goose. In America a large form, A. gambeli, is found, 
which can only be considered a slightly larger race of our A. 
albifrons, and this race breeds in Arctic America and goes 
south in winter, as does the true A. albifrons, which in the 
cold season occurs throughout Europe, and even winters in 
North-western Ir.dia and China. 

Habits. The same as those of the Grey Lag-Goose. Mr. 
Seebohm says that the notes are somewhat similar to those of 
the last-mentioned species, but are more trumpet-like in tone, 
and more rapidly repeated, so that it has sometimes been 
called the Laughing Goose. He remarks further : " In other 
respects the habits of the White-fronted, Bean, and Grey Geese 
are so similar that the description of one might almost for 
that of the others," 


Nest. Described by Middendorf as placed on a grassy hillock, 
in a hollow abundantly lined with down. Other observers state 
that the American form makes sometimes only a depression in 
the sand, or lines the nest with grasses and feathers as well as 

Eggs. From five to seven in number, though as many as ten 
have been found. They are dull yellowish-white. Axis, 3^0- 
3'3 inches; diam., ?'o-2'2. 


Anasfabalis, Lath. Gen. Syn. Suppl. i. p. 297 (1787). 

Anas segetum, Gm. S. N. i. p. 512 (1788). 

Anser se^etum^ Macg. Br. B. iv. p. 595 (1852) ; Dresser, B. Eur. 

vi.p. 363, pi. 412 (1879); B.O.U. ListBr.B. p. 115 (1883); 

Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 265 (1885); Seebohm, 

Br. B. iii. p. 493 (1885) ; Saunders, Man. p. 389 (1889) ; 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xxvi. (1893). 
Anser fabalis, Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. i. p. 100 (1895). 

Adult Male. General colour above brown, with whity-brown 
edges to the feathers ; the lower back and rump dull slaty- 
blackish ; the sides of the rump and upper tail-coverts white ; 
the tail-feathers blackish, edged and tipped with white ; the 
wing-coverts dark slaty-grey, the inner ones, as well as the 
median and greater coverts, brown, rather broadly edged with 
white, like the inner secondaries ; the bastard-wing and primary- 
coverts grey ; primaries black externally, grey for the most 
part ; secondaries black, with broad white edges ; head and 
neck brown, with a little trace of white at the base of the upper 
mandible and along the base of the forehead ; the neck-feathers 
soft and lanceolate ; under surface of body greyish-white ; 
throat brown, and with a brown shade overspreading the fore- 
neck ; the sides of the body mottled with ashy or dark brown 
feathers, which are broadly edged with whity-brown ; thighs 
ashy-brown ; under wing-coverts dark slaty-grey, the axillaries 
more blackish ; bill black, with an orange band in the middle ; 
nail black ; feet orange ; iris dark brown. Total length, 30-0 
inches; culmen, 2*5; wing, 18*0; tail, 5-4; tarsus, 3'r. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a little smaller. 


Young Birds. Darker than the adults, with a tinge of tawny- 
buff about the neck. 

Characters. Distinguished by the black nail at the end of the 
bill, the orange feet, and orange band across the middle of the 

Range in Great Britain. The Bean-Goose does not breed with 
us, but is a visitor in autumn and spring, and occurs through- 
out the winter on most parts of the coasts, though in some 
localities it is much more plentifully observed than in others. 

Eange outside the British Islands. This species breeds far away 
to the north, on the tundras of the Petchora and the Yenesei, 
and also in Lapland and Scandinavia above 64 N. lat, as 
well as in Novaya Zemlya. It also nests near Archangel. A 
specimen procured by Mr. Seebohm in the valley of the 
Yenesei is referred by Count Salvadori to the true Bean-Goose, 
but in Eastern Siberia, eastwards from the Boganida River, its 
place is taken by an allied species, A. serrirostris, which breeds 
in the high north, and winters in China and Japan. The Bean- 
Goose of Europe winters in the southern countries of the Con- 
tinent, and is abundant in most of them at that season of the 
year, as it is also in Southern Russia and the Caspian. 

Habits. To its arctic breeding-ground the Bean-Goose be- 
tnkes itself as soon as there is any sign of the break-up of the 
cold, and of the ice disappearing, and Mr. Seebohm has given 
a very graphic account of his meeting with the species on the 
Petchora and on the Yenesei Rivers, where he saw the first birds 
on the 9th and loth of May respectively. Small flocks passed 
during the next fortnight, but on the wind changing to the 
north, and the frost recommencing, the geese were seen flying 
south again. When, however, the full migration set in, he says 
that " flock after flock followed every few minutes, winging their 
way northwards at a great speed. The first arrivals flew high in 
the air, as if keeping a good look-out for any open water, but 
when the thaw commenced they flew low, many skimming over 
the surface of the snow on the ice of the river, below the level 
of the forests, but most of them hugging the shore-line." 

After the young are hatched, the old birds begin to moult, 
and for this purpose retire into the tundra, accompanied oy the 


goslings. As neither young nor old birds are able to fly, these 
flocks proceed at a walking pace, and at these times numbers 
all victims to the Samoyeds, who depend largely on their store 
of these birds for their winter food. Mr. Seebohm met with 
one of these flocks on the Petchora. " At least a hundred old 
geese, and quite as many young, perhaps twice or thrice that 
number, were marching like a regiment of soldiers. The van- 
guard, consisting of old birds, was half-way across the stream, 
whilst the goslings brought up the rear, and were running down 
the steep bank to the water's edge as fast as their legs could 
carry them. The green grassy banks of the river, where the 
Geese had evidently been feeding, were strewn with feathers, 
and in five minutes I picked up a large handful of quills. They 
were evidently migrating to the interior of the tundra, moulting 
as they went along. On the following day, our stock of pro- 
visions being entirely exhausted, we sent a foraging party after 
this flock of Geese, who met with them a few versts higher up 
the river, and secured eleven old birds and five goslings. Most 
of the Geese were in full moult r.nd unable to fly, and both old 
and young made for the water, attempting to conceal them- 
selves by diving." 

Nest. A slight hollow scraped in the soil and lined with 
dead grass, moss, sometimes a few feathers, and always plenty 
of the light grey down of the bird itself (Seebohm). 

Eggs. Three, sometimes four in number ; creamy-white, or 
yellowish-buff when stained, and with scarcely any gloss. Axis, 
2-95-3-4 inches; diam., 2-15. 


Anser brachyrhynchus, Baillon, Mem. de la Soc. Roy. d'Em. 
d'Abbev. 1833, p. 74; Macg. Br. B. iv. p. 602 (1852): 
Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p 369, pi. 413 (1878); B. O. U. List 
Br. B. p. 116; Saunders, ed. Yarr. iv. p. 270 (1885). 
Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 498 (1885) ; Saunders, Man. p. 391 
(1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. partxxv. (1893) ; Salvad. 
Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 103 (1895). 

Anser segetum brachyrhynchus, Seebohm, Brit. B. iii. p. 498 

Adult Male, Similar to A. faballs^ and, like that species ? 


having no white outer tail-feathers ; the flanks greyer and not 
so marked with brown ; the grey of the wings, as well as of the 
lower back and rump, rather lighter than in A.fabalis. It is, 
however, easily distinguished from that species by its pink feet 
and by the pink band on the bill. Total length, 26*0 inches; 
culmen, i'8; wing, i6'5 ; tail, 5*4; tarsus, 3*0. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but smaller. Total length, 
25-0 inches ; wing, i6'2. 

Range in Great Britain. In autumn and winter considerable 
flocks of this Goose are observed on the east coast of Scotland 
and England, and at Holkham in Norfolk, where protection is 
afforded by the Earl of Leicester to the wild-fowl, numbers 
of these Geese may be seen in the autumn. The species is 
not often recorded from the south or the west of England, but 
it visits the west of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides, and has 
only once been recorded from Ireland. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Pink-footed Goose is 
known to breed in Iceland and in Spitsbergen, and is probably 
the species noticed by Mr. Leigh Smith on Franz-Josef Land, 
but on Novaya Zemlya only the Bean-Goose was observed by 
Admiral Markham. It has not been proved to breed in Scan- 
dinavia, and its distribution in winter in Northern Europe is 
also not thoroughly understood, though it has been procured 
in Holland, in Belgium, and in France. 

Habits. This species appears to be exceedingly shy, wherever 
it occurs, whether during the breeding-season or during the 
winter, but very little has been recorded of the nesting-habits 
of the Pink-footed Goose. In Spitsbergen it is said to nest 
mostly on the low rocks near the coast, and Mr. Chapman 
found young birds and moulted feathers in such situations, but 
the species is also believed to nest in the high cliffs a mile or 
two from the sea, according to Messrs. Evans and Sturge. 

In its summer home the Pink-footed Goose has much 
the same habits as its close relation the Bean-Goose. In 
winter, when it visits us in England, it is found feeding in the 
stubble-fields, but as the tide falls the birds betake themselves 
to their favourite sand-banks and rest well away from danger. 
This is certainly the case with the Geese at Holkham, for, 


although Mr. Seebohm says that they only go out to the sand- 
banks at nightfall, 1 have seen flocks of them flying out, day 
after day, as soon as the sand-banks beyond the bar at Wells 
were left uncovered. They fly very high in the air, well out 
of gun-shot, in small or large parties, in a V or W form, and 
sometimes a couple of hundred or more will be on the wing 
together, flock succeeding flock, and the sound of so many 
Geese at once, uttering their musical " tin-trumpet "-like call, 
is one which never fails to form an interesting experience to 
the listener. 

Nest and Eggs. Similar in character to those of the Bean- 


Branta^ Scop. Ann. I. Hist. Nat. p. 67 (1769). 

Type, B. bernida (L.) 

In the Brent Geese the serrations of the upper mandible 
are not visible from outside, and the cutting-edge of the man- 
dible, or tominm, is almost straight. 

Count Salvadori recognises eight species of Brent Geese, all 
of them inhabitants of the northern parts of the Old and New 
Worlds, breeding in the high north, and coming south in large 
flocks in winter. The large Canada Goose, which has been 
kept in confinement in England for many years, and from 
which all British-killed examples are believed to have escaped, 
is a North American species, of which two other races B. 
hutchinsi and B. ocridentalis, are recognised by American 
ornithologists. The series in the British Museum is insufficient 
for me to determine the value of these forms, but I agree with 
Count Salvadori that they appear to be very doubtfully distinct. 
Branta minima is, however, a small and well-defined race 
belonging to Western North America. B. nigricans has the 
same habitat, but occurs also on the coasts of Eastern Asia. 
All the other species of Branta are visitors to Britain, and are 
treated of in the following pages. 


4nas hucopsis, Bechstein, Orn. Taschenb. ii. p. 424 (1803). 


Beniida kucopsis, Macg. Br. B. iv. p. 622 (1852) ; Dresser, B. 

Eur. vi. p. 397, pi. 415, fig. i. (1878) ; B. O. U. List Br. 

B. p. 118 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. iv. p. 286 

(1885) ; id. Man. Br. B. p. 397 (1889). 
Anser leucopsis, Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 512 (1885); Lilford, 

Col. Fig. Br. B. part xi. (1889). 
Branta leucopsis^ Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 117 


Adult Male. General colour above ashy-grey, with white 
margins to the feathers, before which is a black band, so that 
the upper surface is prettily banded, especially on the wing- 
coverts and inner secondaries ; the mantle blackish, like the 
neck, but the upper back banded like the wings ; lower back 
and rump black; sides of rump and upper tail-coverts white; 
tail entirely black ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and pri- 
maries grey, the latter black towards the ends ; the secondaries 
pearly-grey, blackish at the tips and on the inner webs ; fore- 
head and crown white to the line between the middle of the 
eyes ; the middle and hinder part of the crown, as well as the 
whole of the neck, lower throat, fore-neck, and chest, black, 
the latter obscured with dusky-brown margins ; lores and 
feathers in front of the eye black, browner near the base of the 
bill and on the base of the forehead ; cheeks, ear-coverts, eye- 
brow, and throat pure white ; breast and abdomen white ; the 
sides of the body pearly-grey, the feathers tipped with white, 
before which is a brownish shade producing a slightly mottled 
appearance; thighs black; under wing-coverts and axillaries 
pearly-grey, with whitish tips and dusky sub-terminal bars like 
the upper wing-coverts ; bill, feet, and claws black ; iris dark 
brown. Total length, 30*0 inches ; culmen, 1*25; wing, 15*0; 
tail, 5-3; tarsus, 3-1. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a little smaller. 
Young. Differs from the adults in having some black 
feathers intermingled with the white of the cheeks ; the feathers 
of the back and wing-coverts with a rufous tinge at the ends ; 
the grey bars on the flanks darker, and the legs, according to 
Count Salvadori, not so black as in the adults. 

Range in Great Britain. A winter visitor from the north, but 
rare on the eastern coasts of our islands, and decidedly so in 

the English Channel. On the western coasts it occurs much 
more plentifully, and it frequently arrives in thousands, accord 
ing to Mr. Howard Saunders, in the upper part of the Solway 
between the end of September and the latter part of March. 
In the western isles it occurs in some abundance, and also 
visits the south of the Shetlands, but is local in Ireland, 
though abundant at certain places on the northern and east- 
ern coasts. 

Range outside the British Islands. Very little is known of the 
breeding-home of the Bernacle Goose, for, however plentifully 
it may occur in winter, we are still in want of information as to 
its nesting. It may breed in Iceland and Greenland, but there 
is as yet no proof of the fact, and the information as to its nest- 
ing in Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya is equally unsatisfactory, 
though it is extremely probable that it does so, and the finding 
of the species in Northern Spitsbergen in a complete state of 
moult, ns recorded by the Rev. A. E. Eaton, is almost conclu- 
sive proof that the species breeds there. Professor Collett has 
recorded the nesting of the species on Borgevaer, one of the 
Lofoden Isles, but this may be an exceptional instance. Mr. 
Trevor-Battye says that it breeds on the Gusina River in the 
island of Kolguev. In winter it is occasionally found on the 
shores of Hudson's Bay, and occurs at this season in Russia 
and on the coasts of other countries in Northern Europe, rarely 
wandering to the Mediterranean countries. 

Habits These resemble the habits of the other shore- 
haunting Geese, the birds feeding on grass in the marsh-lands, 
and retiring to sand-banks to rest. One of the best accounts 
of the habits of the Bernacle is that given by the Rev. H. A. 
Macpherson in his " Vertebrate Fauna of Lake-land." He 
says that the species is well-known on the coast-line, but is only 
abundant on certain salt-marshes between Silloth and Floriston, 
and has been observed crossing the Pennine Hills on migration. 
His description of the habits of the Bernacle corresponds very 
closely with those of the Pink-footed Goose as noted by me at 
Holkham. " When the tide of the Solway begins to ebb, and 
isolated sand-banks appear above a wild waste of waters, 
Bernacles often rise off Rockliffe marsh, and alight again on 
the first bars exposed, there to linger until another and more 


extended sand-bank becomes dry. Other variations occur in 
their daily routine, such as alighting in the shallows of the 
estuary, and marching in a line to the brow of the marsh oppo- 
site, which gained, they range themselves along the edge of 
the loose turfs of the saltings ; or, again, they alight in the 
water, and swim a short distance. They are never long silent, 
neither do they associate with other fowl. They generally 
leave the Solway in March and April, but sometimes a few 
linger into May. At that season, pinioned Bernacles exhibit 
much restlessness, and display symptoms of the migratory im- 
pulse by loud calls. Those shot in open weather are con- 
sidered good eating." 

Nist. Unknown, in a wild state. 

Eggs. Those laid in confinement are white. Axis, 275- 
2 -9 inches; diam., 1-85-2-0. 


Anser brenta, Pall. Zoogr. Rosso-As. ii. p. 229 (1811); See- 

bohm, Br. 13. iii. p. 508 (1885). 
Bernicla brenta, Macg. Br B. iv. p. 629 (1852) ; Dresser, B. 

Eur. vi. p. 389, pi. 415, fig. 2 (1877); B. O. U. List Br. 

B. p. 117 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 290 

(1885) ; id. Man. Br. B. p. 399 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. 

Brit. B. part xxiv. (1893). 
Anser brenta glaucogaster (Brehm.) ; Seeb. Brit. B. iii. p. 508 

(1885). _ 
Branta bernicla y Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 119 


Adult Male. General colour above greyish-brown, decidedly 
slaty ; the lower back and rump, as well as the central upper 
tail-coverts, darker, the latter inclining to blackish ; wing- 
coverts like the back; bastard- wing, primary-coverts, and quills 
black, the innermost secondaries like the back ; the sides of 
the lower rump and the upper tail-coverts white, and hiding 
the tail-feathers, which are black ; head, neck, and upper 
mantle, as well as the throat and fore-neck, sooty-black, with a 
patch of white-tipped feathers on each side of the neck ; breast 
and abdomen brownish-grey, sharply defined against the black 


of the fore-neck, and shading off into pure white on the lower 
abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts ; the sides of the body 
and flanks mottled with broad white edgings to the feathers, 
before which is a shade of brown ; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries slaty-grey; bill, feet, and toes black; iris dark brown. 
Total length, 21*0 inches; culmsn, 1*35 ; wing, 127; tail, 
4 6 ; tarsus, 2*1. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a little smaller. 

Young Birds. Paler grey and having the neck entirely black, 
and may be distinguished by the whitish edges to the wing- 
coverts and scapulars, which gives them a spotted appear- 

Characters. The Brent Goose is easily recognised by the 
abnormal length of the upper and under tail-coverts, which 
reach to the end of the tail-feathers, and occasionally even 
beyond them, so that the tail is almost completely hidcL-n. 
The head in the present species and its allies is entirely black. 
The under-parts are greyish, or whitish, contrasting strongly 
with the black of the neck and chest. 

There are two forms of the Common Brent Goose, both of 
which occur in England and appear at first sight to be specifi- 
cally distinct. The true Branta bernida, which is supposed to 
range from the Taimyr Peninsula to Novaya Zemlya, Franz- 
Josef Land, and Spitsbergen, has the belly dark grey, and Mr. 
Seebohm considers the form with the whitish belly, B. glauco- 
gaster, to take the place of the common Brent from the west 
coast of Greenland to the Parry Isles. These two races are 
further supposed to be distinguished from the Pacific Brent, 
B. nigricans (which has the belly nearly as black as the throat 
and chest), by the white markings on the sides of the neck, not 
meeting in front. This last is not a specific character, for it 
is found occasionally in both the dark and light forms of the 
Common Brent. Although the scries of specimens of these 
Geese in the British Museum is not a large one, it is sufficient 
to show that intermediate specimens between the light and 
dark forms often occur, and I agree with Count Salvadori that 
they cannot be separated as races. Nor is the restriction of 
each race to a separate geographical area, as propounded by 
Mr. Seebohm, confirmed by recent researches, for a specimen 


of the white-breasted form from Novaya Zemlya is in the 
Museum, while Mr. Trevor-Battye found both light and dark- 
breasted individuals on Kolguev. 

Range in Great Britain. The commonest of all the Geese 
which visit our shores in the winter, and occurring in great 
numbers in certain parts, particularly on the east coasts of 
England and Scotland, as well as in Ireland. On the western 
coasts it is not so common as on those of the east and south. 

Range outside the British Islands. How far north the Brent 
Goose goes during the breeding-season is not yet discovered, 
but its range probably extends as far as land is known. From 
the Taimyr Peninsula it ranges westward throughout the 
Arctic Regions in summer, the dark-bellied form being the 
principal inhabitant of Novaya Zemlya, Spitsbergen, Kolguev, 
&c., though not exclusively, as has already been pointed out, 
and the light-breasted form taking its place from Greenland to 
the Parry Islands. In winter it migrates south, and occurs 
along the coasts of Northern and Western Europe, even occa- 
sionally visiting the Mediterranean countries. 

Habits. This Goose is entirely a maritime species, and 
mostly feeds during the day-time. Mr. Howard Saunders 
says that it does not dive, but searches on the ooze, or with 
head and neck extended below the surface of the water in 
shallow places, for aquatic plants, "especially grass-wrack 
(Zostera marina] and laver (Ulva latissima] : whence the local 
names 'Ware-Goose' and 'Rood-Goose,' t.e., 'Root-Goose'; 
small crustaceans and marine insects are also eaten. The call- 
note is a loud cronk or honk, audible at a considerable distance." 

The Brent Goose breeds in Kolguev Island, according to 
the admission of the Samoyeds, but Mr. Trevor-Battye never 
saw the nest or the egg. Vast numbers of old and young 
birds appear off the sand-banks in July, and he describes 
in a graphic manner in his work, " Ice-bound on Kolguev," 
the way in which the Geese are trapped on that island by the 
Samoyeds by placing a large net supported on poles, and 
sending men out in boats to drive the Geese inland. ' At this 
time of year the Brent Geese are moulting and cannot fly, and 
are gradually driven into the trap bv the natives, and all 
slaughtered. On the occasion when Mr. Trevor-Battye wit- 


nessed this capture, 3,325 Geese were taken, of which no less 
than 3,300 were Brents. Of the interesting details given by 
the author there is not space to extract more than a few words, 
but the whole scene is very vividly described by him. " Long 
before we could see the boats, for the mist had thickened, we 
could hear shouting and the cries of the Geese, but after a bit 
first one boat and then another came into view. On the men 
came, but very slowly ; now pulling across a creek, now push- 
ing the arnoh over a bit of mud or hauling it over a sand- 
ridge, sometimes leaving it altogether and running off to head 
the Geese. So, slowly, they came zig-zagging along. 

" By this time we could see Geese by thousands through 
the mist. I could even distinguish the short trumpet-note of 
the Brent among the general babel. It was, indeed, a babel. 
How to convey to you any idea of it I do not know. If you 
can imagine many hundred farmyard Geese and many thousand 
cornets all sounding together, and crowded on by a handful of 
screaming wild men if you can imagine all this, then you are 
not far off the mark. . . . 

" For some little while the Geese delayed as though they 
felt that they were getting too much inland, or suspected a 
trap in front. Then the boats came up from behind and the 
Geese crowded on. They didn't like going. Sometimes the 
leading Geese would stop and wheel about, heading right into 

the mass But the boats came steadily on. 

Every moment I looked to see the parents escape by diving, 
or expected some to rise, for it was plain enough that many 
were full-winged. Neither of these things they did ; only, like 
a pack of idiots, they ' wanked ' and swam along. The grey 
Geese dived. The Bean and the White-fronts behaved exactly 
alike. First they laid out their long necks flat on the water, 
as their fellows did on the land. Then, as the boats came 
nearer, they sank their bodies till the water was almost over 
their backs. It was wonderfully difficult to see them they 
looked like bits of stick. When a boat approached a bird, it 
would just sink its head and shoot forward under the water. 
They never went down like Diving-Ducks." 

" And now the body of Brents was exactly opposite the 
entrance to the nets, and about them in a half-circle were the 
boats. Round and round they swam, but refused to leave the 


water. The boats did not dare to close in, for fear the Geese 
should break. It was a ticklish moment the Geese would 
not make the land. At last a single old Goose, a Bean he 
was, stepped out and ran up the bank. He was quickly 
followed by one or two more, and then by the first of the 
Brent. And now that they had started they went quickly 
enough, scrambling after one another, and heading into the 
net. Over the green they ran like a flock of domestic Geese. 
Sometimes they aimed for right or left, but then the children 
showed themselves and the Geese were turned. The last bird 
was in, and then we closed the rear. Not a Brent had flown, not 
a Brent had dived, not one escaped. Of all that army every 
bird was in the net a dense black moving mass." The kill- 
ing of the Geese took some time, and then they were divided, 
and ultimately cached. "The turf cut round with the axe, 
where the cloudberry grew thickest, was torn up with the 
hands ; then the Geese were stood on their tails with their 
heads tucked in, till the girls had made a circular group some 
three or four yards across. Then the turfs were rolled back 
on them a double layer, and the packing was complete." 

Nest. The nest has been described by Colonel Feilden, 
who found the species breeding in 82^ N. lat, during the 
expedition of the Alert and Discovery to the Arctic Regions. 
The eggs were laid in the third week of June. The nests were 
situated on the sloping hillsides between the snow-line and the 
sea, and were placed in a slight depression of the ground, with 
a good foundation of grass, moss, and the stems of saxifrages, 
and plentifully lined with a warm bed of down. 

Eggs. Four or five in number ; creamy-white, with a slight 
gloss. Axis, 2'6-2'95 inches; diam., i"75-i'9. 


Anser rufcollis, Pallas, Spicil. Zool. fasc. vi. p. 21, tab. v. 

(1769); Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 515 (1885). 
J3ernicla ntficolli$ t Macg. Br. B. iv. p. 634 (1852); Dresser, 

B. Eur. vi. p. 403, pi. 416 (1876) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. 

p. 119 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 281 

(1885); id. Man. Br. B. p. 395 (1889); Lilford, Col. 

Fig. Br. B. part xxi. (1892); Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 

xxvii. p. 124 (1895). 

R 2 


Adult Male* General colour above black, including the 
centre of the lower back and rump, the sides of the latter 
being pure white like the upper tail-coverts ; wings and tail 
black, with greyish white margins to the median and greater 
coverts ; crown of head and entire hind-neck black, separated 
by a band of white from the mantle ; sides of face and throat 
black ; a large loral patch of white ; below the eye a small 
white spot ; ear-coverts forming a large chestnut patch, en- 
tirely encircled by white, which skirts the black of the hind- 
neck in a broad line ; lower throat, fore-neck, and sides of 
neck bright chestnut, separated from the white on the sides of 
the neck by a line of black, and again by another line of black 
across the lower fore-neck, this black line being continuous 
with the black of the hind-neck ; across the chest a narrow 
line of white, continuous with the white band across the 
mantle ; entire breast black, the feathers having white bases ; 
the entire abdomen and under tail-coverts white, as well as 
the feathers of the thighs, some of which are black-tipped ; 
sides of the body white, the lower flanks handsomely banded 
with black ; axillaries and under wing-coverts black ; bill 
nearly black ; feet and toes dark brown, nearly black ; iris 
hazel. Total length, 20 inches; culmen, i-o; wing, 13*5; 
tail, 4*6 ; tarsus, 2*1. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but slightly smaller. 

Young Male Has the same markings as the adult, but the 
chestnut is much paler and the black is tinged with brown, 
and the feathers of the upper surface have distinct brown 
edges, especially on the wing-coverts ; the white bands across 
the upper mantle and on the lower fore-neck are not so well 
defined as in the old bird. 

Range in Great Britain. A very rare visitor, of which eight 
authenticated occurrences are on record, the first dating back 
to 1776, when a specimen was procured near London, and 
is still preserved in the Newcastle Museum. Nearly all the 
occurrences of the species have taken place on the east coast, 
but Mr. Howard Saunders mentions two in South Devon, and 
one in Caithness. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Red-breasted Goose 
breeds in the lower valleys of the Ob and the Ycnesei Rivers 


in Siberia, above the limit of forest-growth, and was found 
breeding by Middendorf on the Boganida. It winters on the 
Caspian Sea, and has occurred in most countries of Europe at 
that season of the year. Lord Lilford possesses an Egyptian 
specimen, collected by the late Mr. Stafford Allen, and it is 
no doubt an occasional winter visitant to that country, as the 
species is often depicted on the ancient monuments. 

Habits. The Red-breasted Goose is such a rare bird in 
most parts of Europe, and has its breeding-range so restricted 
to Siberia, that very little has been recorded about the habits 
of the species. Mr. Seebohm, who is one of the few English 
naturalists who have seen this Goose in a state of nature, has 
given the following notes on it : " Radde describes its great 
abundance in winter on the islands near the south-western 
shores of the Caspian. After a heavy fall of snow, the fisher- 
men clear a space on the grassy islands, and often catch them 
in such numbers in nets that they are sold at from five to ten 
kopecks apiece. When they begin to collect before migration, 
thousands of flocks are reported to be seen, and it is stated 
that the worst shots obtain as many as two hundred birds 
during the season. When feeding together they utter a short 
trumpet-like note ; but their cry, as they call to each other on 
migration, is a double note, which Finsch says is easily 
imitated with the aid of a bit of birch-bark, and which Pallas 
represents as resembling the sound of the syllables, shak-voy, 
whence its local name among the Russian sportsmen of 
Obdor^k. It is an extremely shy bird and very difficult to 
shoot, but, curiously enough, reconciles itself at once to con- 
finement, and soon becomes very tame. The only information 
which we possess respecting its winter habits is that furnished 
us by Radde, who states that it is a very gregarious bird, 
always seen in flocks which frequent the pastures on the 
southern shores of the Casphn during the day, and retire far 
out to sea for the night." 

Nest. Said by Mr. Seebohm's collectors to be indistinguish- 
able from that of the Bean-Goose, except that it was somewhat 

Eggs. These are laid early in July. The colour, according 
to Mr. Seebohm, is " creamy-white, with obscure trace? of an 


underlying green shell; the surface is rather smooth but not 
glossy, and the shell is very fragile. Axis, 2-7 inches ; diam., 


These birds are so familiar to everyone that a long and de- 
tailed descrip:ion of their characters is not necessary. They 
are distinguished by two features which prevent their being 
mistaken for any other of the Ducks or Geese : they have no 
lobe on the hind-toe, and at the same time a remarkal ly long 
neck, which equals or even exceeds the length of the bird's 
body. They further differ from the Ducks and Geese in 
having the lores bare, but in the Chilian Swan (Coscoroba ccs- 
coroba) the lores are feathered, and this bird seems to be inter- 
mediate between the Swans and the Geese. In some of the 
species the trachea is convoluted and enters the sternum. 

The distribution of the Swans is principally arctic, and 
they breed in the high north of both hemispheres, but a true 
Cygnus, the Black-necked Swan (C. melanocoryphus), is found 
in South America. The Black Swan ( Chenopsis atrata} is con- 
fined to Australia, and the aberrant genus, Coscoroba, to the 
south of South America. 


Cygmis, Bechst. Orn. Taschenb. ii. p. 404, note (1803). 

Type, C. olor (Gm.). 

Like the Geese, the Swans moult their quill-feathers after 
the breeding-season, and become equally helpless, being able 
to save themselves only by swimming, as they are incapable 
of flight. As with the Geese, they are then captured by the 
dexterous natives, and have become extinct in many of their 
old breeding-haunts. 

With regard to the supposed occurrences of the Trumpeter 
Swan (Cygnus buccinator] and the Whistling Swan (C. ameri- 
canus] in England, I cannot do better than quote the opinion 
of Mr. Howard Saunders as to the worth of the records. He 
observes : "An immature Swan shot at Aldeburgh in October, 
1866, and now in the Ipswich Museum, is, in the opinion of 
Professor Newton, an example of the American Trumpeter 
Swan, C, buccinator, a larger species than the Whooper with a 


black bill. It has long been naturalised in this country, and 
has repeatedly hatched its young in captivity, so that there is 
always a strong probability of the cygnets escaping before they 
can be pinioned. Another North American species which 
has been stated but on far weaker evidence to have been 
found at long intervals in the shops of Edinburgh poulterers, 
is C. americamis, a bird which is smaller than the Whooper, 
though larger than Bewick's Swan, which it resembles in 
having patches of small size at the base of the bill, but of a 
deep orange-colour. In the adults of our Whooper and the 
American Trumpeter Swan, the loop of the trachea between 
the walls of the keel of the sternum takes a vertical direction, 
whereas in Bewick's Swan and in C. americanus the bend is 
horizontal; but in immature birds these distinctions are less 
marked, and are not absolutely invariable." 


Anas cy 'gnus, Linn. S. N. i. p. 194 (1766 ; pt.). 
Cygnus musicuS) Macg. Br. B. iv. p. 659 (1852); Dresser, B. 
Eur. vi. p. 433, P 1 - 4 *9, fig- 4 (1880) ; B. O. U. List Br. 
B. p. 120 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 308 
(1885); Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 480 (1885); Saunders, 
Man. p. 401 (1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xxv. 
(1893); Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 26 (1895). 

(Plate LV. Fig. i.) 

Adult Male. White all over, with occasionally some ferrugin- 
ous-yellow on the head ; " anterior part of the bill depressed and 
black, the basal part, with the lores, yellow, this colour extend- 
ing forward along each lateral margin of the upper mandible, 
beyond the openings of the nostrils, which are black; the black 
colour only reaches half-way to the gape; legs, toes, and their 
membranes black. Total length, about 5 feet ; oilmen, 4-2 ; 
wing, 25-5 ; tail, 8-5 ; tarsus, 4-2 " (Salvador*}. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a little smaller. 
Young Birds. Greyish-brown ; " beak first of a dull flesh- 
colour, the tip and the lateral margins black, posteriorly black, 
with a reddish-orange band across the nostrils, and with the 
base and lores pale greenish-white " (Salvador!) ; "feet flesh- 
colour" (Saunders}. 


Nestling-. Clothed with white down. 

Characters. There is no knob at the base of the bill, which 
has nearly the basal half yellow ; the black terminal portion 
not extending above the nostrils, and only reaching laterally 
half-way to the gape. Culmen, 4*2 inches. 

Range in Great Britain. The Whooper or Whistling Swan, as 
this species is variously called, is a bird of passage, or a winter 
visitor, arriving on the coasts and islands of Northern Britain 
in November, and remaining till the spring, sometimes as late 
as May. Hard weather will bring the Swans south, and they 
may then be found on the southern coasts, or even on large 
sheets of inland waters. In Ireland they are said to be far less 
plentiful than Bewick's Swan. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Whooper breeds in 
high northern latitudes from Iceland eastwards throughout 
Northern Europe and Siberia, wandering south in winter to 
most of the Mediterranean countries, as well as to Central 
Asia, the Japanese Islands, and China. In Norway it is only 
found nesting above the Arctic Circle, but in Sweden and in 
Northern Russia it is found as low as 62 N. lat. 

Habits. Mr. Seebohm gives the following excellent account 
of the habits of the Wild Swan : " When Harvie-Brown and 
I were in the valley of the Petchora, waiting at Ust Zylma, a 
little south of the Arctic Circle, for summer to come, one of 
the first warnings that we had of the approaching break-up of 
the winter was the arrival of the Swans. At first they arrived 
in pairs. The earliest date was on the nth of May; every 
day the numbers passing over increased, and occasionally we 
saw them on the snow or on the ice ; until on the 2oth, when 
the ice on the river broke up, the last Swan appeared to have 
passed us, and we saw no more of them, until we arrived at 
their breeding-grounds. A month later, when we had reached 
the tundra, where a few small birches and willows was all that 
was left of forest-growth, we came upon the breeding-ground of 
the Swans in the delta of the Petchora. We found several 
nests between the igth and 3cih of June. The Whooper is a 
very shy bird. We never got a chance of a shot, except once 
Qr twice from a boat. We saw very little of it on the tundra, 


the lakes probably not producing the particular water plants 
which formed its favourite food, but it was very common on 
the islands in the Delta, and was especially fond of the 
' Kourias,' long reaches of water running inland for some 
little distance, and often fringed with willows. Most of the 
islands in the Delta are under water for a few days, when the 
river is at its height, but they are nevertheless generally covered 
with low willow-trees, and very often, in the middle of an 
island, there is a little lake. By cautiously stealing up to these 
lakes, under cover of the willows, we frequently obtained the 
most charming glimpses of happy families of Swans, and half 
a dozen different species of Ducks, feeding in delightful 
security. The Whooper is a ten times handsomer bird than a 
tame Swan in the eyes of an ornithologist, but it is not really 
so graceful ; its neck is shorter, and its scapulars are not so 
plume-like. Instead of sailing about with its long neck curved 
into the shape of the letter S and bent back almost to the 
fluffed-up scapulars, the Whooper seemed intent on feeding 
with his head and neck under water. At the slightest noise 
the neck was raised erect, and the head turned round from side 
to side, like a weathercock on a steeple. Even in July the 
Whoopers were not always single or in pairs, and we frequently 
saw half a dozen swimming together, or preening their feathers 
on a sand-bank. We sometimes tried to drift silently down 
stream within gun-shot of some of these small parties or herds, 
as they are called in the technical language of the sportsman, 
but they were too many for us, and rose with a tremendous 
splash, their wings beating the water for twenty or thirty yards, 
before they got sufficient way on, to be able to rise high 
enough. When once on the wing, they flew with great speed, 
with steady beats of their long powerful wings. 

" On migration the Whooper is a very gregarious bird, and by 
far the greater number which passed us in the valley of the 
Yenesei on the way north were in herds, which generally flew 
in a wedge-sniped line ; they were soon out of sight, and some- 
times passed over us at a great height. Many a time, when 
struggling with snow-shoes on the treacherous half-melting 
snow in the forest, I have heard their trumpet-calls, without 
being able to catch a glimpse of them between the trees. The 
notes of the Whooper are like the bass notes of a trombone, 


and sometimes almost set your ear on edge ; but they are very 
short, three or four trumpet-blasts, keeping time with the 
upward and downward strokes of the wing. It is not known 
that the food of the Whooper differs from that of its more 
southern ally : it consists chiefly of aquatic plants, water- 
insects, and molluscs." 

The Rev. H. A. Macpherson, in his " Vertebrate Fauna of 
Lake-land," has given the following interesting note on the 
Wild Swan as observed by him in England : 

"It was on the yth of February, 1891, that visiting Monk- 
hill Lough, I found four Wild Swans swimming on the edge of 
the sedge. Hearing them ' cla?iging? I at once conjectured 
that they must be Whoopers. Soon after my arrival I had 
irrefutable evidence of their specific identity in their well- 
defined * hooping? the action which accompanied this call 
being already familiar to me, as studied in a pinioned bird at 
the Zoological Gardens. They were feeding in company, and 
all four necks were sometimes straightened or bent forward at 
the same instant. For a few moments they would observe 
silence, then they ' hooped,' and, vociferating their peculiar 
clang, they all fell to feeding again. So closely did they herd 
together that two birds might often be mistaken for one. 
They appeared to be well contented with their new quarters, 
paying no attention to the barking of a dog. Once, indeed, 
one of the Whoopers seemed to be rather startled by the action 
of a Coot, which suddenly bobbed up beside it : the Swan 
flapped its wings uneasily, but did not attempt to fly. These 
Whoopers swam rapidly through the water, the head and neck 
slightly thrown back, and the black butt of the tarsus standing 
out in bold relief against the white body-colour. Their necks 
were supple and arched sinuously, held erect when the birds 
were at ' attention,' arched when they fed, but twisted in 
various forms to rearrange the plumage. Watching the four 
birds, you could see at the same moment one fellow resting 
with neck erect, its next neighbour arching its neck, a third 
shooting its neck forward in the shape of the letter S. On 
the whole there existed a wonderful spontaneity of action be- 
tween these birds. 

" On the gth of February the four Whoopers were browsing 
in the sedge-beds in the centre of the lough. A solitary Mute 


Swan was feeding alone, not as yet daring to associate with the 
distinguished strangers. It was pleasant to contrast the long- 
drawn, flat bodies of the Whoopers with the more rounded 
outline of Cygnus olor. The wild fellows swam together ; one 
and another arched their necks backward in a loop, dipped 
gracefully forward, and then, raising their necks, allowed the 
water to trickle over their shoulders. This was their method 
of bathing, but there was nothing violent about it. On the 
contrary the action was easy and majestic, as became such 
lordly fowl. When they caught sight of us they became meta- 
morphosed at once into a * stiff-necked generation,' and hurried 
off in line through the sedge. Reaching open water on the 
other side they became somnolent, first one, and then another, 
gracefully reclined at ease, floating idly on the water, and 
burying their long and supple necks in the dense feathering of 
their dorsal plumage, while on either side their two companions 
kept vigilant watch with necks uplifted, and intent to detect 
any signs of renewed danger. It was noontide, and the winter 
sun shone out upon the still waters of the lough ; before us, on 
the farther margin of the bank of sedge, floated the strange 
voyageurs, behind the birds was a tiny sea of glittering waters, 
against which the forms of these beautiful strangers looked 
dark by force of contrast. Only when we showed more openly 
did the Whoopers forego their attitude of disengaged ease ; 
hitherto they had contented themselves with occasionally 
uttering their trumpet-call, but now a bird ' hooped] and again 
they crossed the sedge, this time in a fresh direction. So 
strongly matted together was the aquatic vegetation, at least in 
one place, that instead of swimming through, the Swans lifted 
their legs over the submerged plants which barred their pro- 
gress ; they swayed their bodies heavily as they crossed the 
barrier and regained an open track through the sedge. All at 
once the leader sounded his bugle-call, slightly throwing up 
the head when expelling the sound. A second bird passed, 
and the leader fell back in the file, but continued to sound his 
musical refrain at intervals. We found it difficult to describe 
their ' clang ' on paper. When we showed ourselves, we heard 
distinctly, ' hoop- hooper-hoop '/ then came a c clang ' followed 
by another ' hoop.' When a bird hoops, the neck is stiffened j 
this exercise is generally followed by a slight pause." 


Nest. A large structure, composed of dead sedge and coarse 
herbage, and concealed in the dense willow- scrub (Seebohm). 

Eggs. From two to four, but sometimes five and even seven, 
eggs are found ; creamy-white in colour, slightly glossy, and 
with the surface granulated. Axis, 4/5 inches; diam., 2-85. 


Cygnus bewickii, Yarrell, Trans. Linn. Soc. xvi. p. 445 (1033); 
Macg. Br. B. iv. p. 669 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 
441, pi. 419, fig. 3 (1880); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 121 
(1883); Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 484 (1885); Saunders, 
ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 315 (1885) ; id. Man. Br. B. p. 403 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xxv. (1893); Salvad. 
Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 29 (1895). 

(Plate LV. Fig. 4.) 

Adult Male. Entirely white. Similiar to C. musicus, but of 
much smaller size; "lores and basal portion of the bill deep 
yellow, but this colour not extending below the nostrils" ; re- 
mainder of the bill black, this black colour reaching on to the 
edges of the gape, and sometimes extending along the culmen ; 
feet and toes dull black; iris hazel. Total length, 46-50 
inches; culmen, 3-8 ; wing, 21*0; tail, 8'8; tarsus, 4-8 (Sal- 
vador i). 

Adult Female. Similiar to the male, but a little smaller. 
Young Birds. Greyish-brown, becoming white in the second 
winter, but having the bill lemon-yellow ; iris yellow. 

Character. Bewick's Swan can be easily recognised from the 
Whooper by its smaller size, and by the colour of the bill, 
which has not only nearly all its basal part yellow like the 
lores, but is further distinguished by having the black of its 
terminal portion extended for some distance above the nostrils 
and backwards to the gape. The bill is much smaller than in 
the Whooper, the culmen only measuring 3-8 inches. 

Range in Great Britain. In England this Swan must be con- 
sidered as a rarer bird than the Whooper, but on the Scottish 
coasts and the Outer Hebrides it occurs much more plentifully 
than its larger relative, and this is especially the case in Ire- 
land, where it is sometimes seen, after hard frosts, by hundreds 
and thousands. 


Range outside the British Islands. Bewick's Swan breeds in 
North-eastern Russia and in Northern Siberia. It may even 
be found to nest throughout the Arctic Regions of the Old 
World, more especially on the islands, as it occurs in winter in 
the Japanese and Chinese Seas. Messrs. Seebohm and Harvie- 
Brown found the species breeding on the Petchora, and, until 
last year, this was the most western breeding-range recorded 
for the species, but Mr. Trevor-Battye has now procured it on 
Kolguev, as was predicted in 1885 by Mr. Seebohm (Hist. Br. 
B. iii. p. 485), when he wrote : " We are driven to believe that 
the Swans which are known to breed in great numbers on the 
island of Novaya Zemlya and Kolguev, and of which the species 
has not yet been determined, are Bewick's Swans, which mi- 
grate east in autumn, give the shores of Norway a wide berth, 
and drop down to winter on the western coasts of our islands." 
The occurrences of the species on the coasts of Northern Europe 
are few, with the exception of the British Islands, though it has 
been known to visit even the Mediterranean countries occa- 

Habits For the account of these I am obliged once more to 
give an extract from Mr. Seebohm's work on British Birds, as he 
is almost the only naturalist who has seen this Swan in its breed- 
ing-haunts, and has given an account of its habits. He writes : 
"The first Swan which ventured as far north as the Arctic 
Circle, in the valley of the Yenesei, during the weary months 
when Captain Wiggins and I were waiting for the arrival of 
summer, was seen on the 5th of May. It is probable, how- 
ever, that this pioneer soon returned to the south, as we saw 
nothing more of them for some weeks. On the Qth Geese began 
to arrive, after the i6th they came in considerable numbers ; but 
we saw no more Swans until the 28th, when many flocks 
passed over. During the next fortnight hundreds of large and 
small flocks winged their way over our heads, after which we 
saw no more of them until we got down to^the Delta. They 
are quite as noisy as their allies, and are constantly calling to 
each other as they fly over, but their note is not so harsh. 
I call it a musical bark ; Naumann expresses it as klung ; 
and Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey as tong, musically and quickly 

fc ' Bewick's Swan is quite as shy and difficult of approach as 


its ally ; but there is not the slightest necessity to shoot this 
handsome bird in order to identify the species. It is fond of 
walking and standing on the mud or sand on the banks of the 
rivers and lakes where it feeds. All that is necessary is to 
mark down the place, find the heavy footprints, and measure 
them. The impress of the middle toe of Bewick's Swan, from 
the centre of the ball of the heel to the centre of the ball next 
the claw, measures five inches and a quarter ; the footprints 
left by the Whooper measure an inch or more longer. 

" Bewick's Swan scarcely differs from its ally in its habits, 
food, or in its choice of feeding- or breeding-grounds. Our 
trusty Samoyede servant in the Petchora. brought us a 
Bewick's Swan which he had shot from a herd of nine, as they 
were swimming near the edge of a large lake. "He succeeded 
in stalking up to within thirty paces of them, when they caught 
the alarm, immediately swam up close together, pausing for 
a moment to listen with upstretched necks. St. John de- 
scribes the same habit of the Whooper in the north of Scot- 

Nest. This is said by Mr. Seebohm's collectors to be like 
that of the Whooper. Mr. Trevor-Battye found the nest of 
Bewick's Swan in Kolguev, and says that it was a mound 
about 2 feet 6 inches in height and 4 feet 6 inches in diameter 
at the base. " It was perfectly smooth and symmetrical, taper- 
ing till the circular top was no more than about two feet across. 
The structure was entirely composed of little bunches of green 
moss, with the exception of a very little lichen, and a chance 
bit, here and there, of short light dead grass, pulled up with 
the moss ; of course there were no green grasses or reeds as 
yet, and not a single piece of dead reed had been used. 
There was a thin lining only to the nest of dead grass, mixed 
with a little down." 

Eggs. Two or three in number ; white like those of the 
Whooper, but smaller and less glossy. Axis, 3 '9-4*2 inches;, 
diam., 2 '5-2 '65. 


Anas o!or> Gm. S. N. i. p. 501 (1788). 


fygnus olor, Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 419, pi. 418 (1880) ; 
B O. U. List Br. B p. 119 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarn 
Br. B. iv. p. 324 (1885); Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 476 
(1885); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 405 (1889); Salvad. 
Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 38 (1895). 

(Plate LV. Fig, 2.} 

Adult Male. White all over, and distinguished from the other 
species by the colour of the bill, which is described by Count 
Salvador! as follows : " Lores, frontal tubercle, base of upper 
mandible, nostrils, nail, edges of upper mandible and entire 
under mandible, black ; remainder of the beak reddish-orange ; 
legs and feet dull black ; iris hazel." Total length, about 5 feet ; 
culmen, 4*2 ; wing, 27*0; tail, io'o; tarsus, 4*5. 

Adult Female. Similar to the male, but a little smaller, and 
with a smaller tubercle on the bill. 

Young Birds. Sooty-grey, paler on the neck and under sur- 
face of body ; bill and legs grey. The nestlings are covered 
with down of a dull ashy-grey colour, which is paler and in- 
clining to white on the lower throat and breast. 

Characters. In the Mute Swan the keel of the sternum is 
simple, and is not entered by the trachea, as in the foregoing 
species. The knob on the bill is also a distinguishing feature. 

Polish Swan (Cygnus immutabilis], This supposed species 
(Plate LV., Fig. 3) is said to have white cygnets, and in the 
adult birds the tubercle is less developed, and the legs and 
feet are more ashy-grey, but with regard to the latter characters 
Mr. Howard Saunders writes : " Neither Mr. Bartlett nor I 
could find these distinctions in old birds in the Zoological Gar- 
dens which had been white as cygnets." Some ornithologists 
still believe in the difference of the Polish Swan as a species, 
and the Rev. H. A. Macpherson, in his " Vertebrate Fauna of 
Lake-land," gives a figure of the sternum and trachea of a young 
bird, which, he thinks, show characters defining the Polish from 
the Mute Swan. 

On the other hand, Mr. Howard Saunders, Mr. Seebohm, 
and most of our leading British ornithologists regard the Polish 
Swan as only a kind of quasi-albino, probably produced by 
domestication. This opinion is endorsed by Count Salvador], 


our first authority on the Anatida, who says that nona of the 
characters attributed to C. immutabilis are constant. 

Range in Great Britain. The Swan is now universally distri- 
buted as a tame or semi-domesticated bird all over the three 
kingdoms, but it has been introduced into many of its present 
habitats. The species is said to have been first brought to 
England by King Richard I. from Cyprus. At Lord Ilchester's 
seat at Abbotsbury, near Weymouth in Dorsetshire, there is 
the largest Swannery in this country. Specimens are often 
shot in the winter, and these are generally supposed to be 
escaped birds, but as Mr. Howard Saunders points out, they 
may be thoroughly wild birds which have migrated to our 
shores from the Continent, in many parts of which the Mute 
Swan breeds in a thoroughly wild condition. 

Eange outside the British Islands. The present species breeds 
in Southern Sweden, in Denmark and Germany, in Central 
and Southern Russia, on the Lower Danube, the Black and 
Caspian Seas, and as far east as Turkestan, Mongolia, and 
Amurland. In winter it visits the Mediterranean, and has 
been found at that season in North-western India. 

Habits. These are so well-known to every one of my readers 
that but few words are necessary. Mr. Mansel-Pleydell gives 
a very interesting account of the Abbotsbury Swannery in 
his "Birds of Dorset," and he states that in 1865 there 
were about 500 Swans on the estuary of the Fleet, and that 
the number had increased to 1,400 birds in 1880, but in the 
last-named year " the number became reduced by one-half, 
owing to the Fleet becoming frozen over during an extremely 
low spring-tide, when the water-plants g: owing at the bottom 
became entangled in the ice, and were torn up by the roots at 
the returning tide. Many of the Swans, thus suddenly de- 
prived of their supply of food, either died of famine or 
migrated, and reduced the number to about 800, which 
average it now maintains." 

The food of the Mute Swan consists of aquatic plants, as 
well as molluscs and insects, and it is said to devour frogs on 
occasion, while there are not wanting many river-side fisher- 
men, who declare that the Swans eat small fish and ova. 

The tame Swans nest earlier than wild ones, which do not 


have eggs before May, and they do not breed until they are 
two or more years old. 

Nest. A large structure of dead reeds and grass, sometimes 
more than two feet high and five feet across. 

Eggs. Three to five in number, but more are often found, 
and sometimes as many as ten or twelve have been recorded. 
They are greenish- white, and measure: Axis, 4*3-4'65 inches; 
diam., 2'8-3'i. 


All the members of this Sub-family have, according to Count 
Salvador!, the hind-toe very narrowly lobed. There is in nearly 
every species a "speculum" of metallic colour on the wing, 
and the males have a bony swelling, or " bulla ossea," on the 
trachea. The bill is rather flat and broad in the true Ducks, 
and distinguishes them from the Chenonetfinee t or Goose-like 
Ducks, which inhabit the Southern Hemisphere. 

The Egyptian Goose, as it is called, (Chenalopex agyptiaca\ is 
considered by Count Salvador! to belong to the present Sub- 
family. It is a species which has long been kept in confinement, 
and the many examples which have been shot in a wild state 
are doubtless individuals which have escaped. The same may 
be said of the Summer Duck (s2x. sponsa) and the Muscovy 
Duck (Cairina moschata). The changes of plumage through 
which most of the Ducks pass is very curious, and there are at 
least six of these. After the young have acquired their first 
plumage, both sexes resemble the old female. In the first 
year they are like the adults, but differ somewhat from both ; 
then the male has a separate plumage from the female in the 
fully adult stage, and lastly there is the post-nupital dress of the 
male, when he retires into a sober-coloured plumage like that 
of his wife. This is when he is about to moult his quills, and 
at this season the males keep mostly apart from the females. 
Mr. De Winton writes tp me : "All the Ducks take on the 
characteristic ' adult ' plumage in the first year, but this is far 
from perfect, and though they may breed, I believe that it takes 
quite four years before a Duck arrives at the perfection of 
plumage. The full dress is scarcely complete by Christmas, 

258 LLOYD'S NATURAL msrouv. 

and to see Ducks at their best, they must be observed in 
February and March, so that it would seem that they take 
nearly six months to attain their perfect plumage, after the 
change into their dull summer dress." 


Tadorna, Fleming, Phil. Zool. ii. p. 260 (1822). 

Type, T. tadorna (L.). 

The Sheld-Ducks of which the beautiful species figured in 
the accompanying plate is the typical representative have the 
tarsus scutellated in front, a conspicuous wing-speculum, and 
the outer web of the innermost secondaries chestnut. On 
the edge of the bill the lamellae are prominent, and are more 
developed towards the tip of the upper mandible. The bill 
widens out towards the tip, and is broader at the end than at 
the base, and on the lower mandible the lamellae do not pro- 
ject outwardly. The sexes are alike in plumage, and the feet 
are flesh-coloured. These are the characters of the genus 
Tadorna, according to Count Salvador!, and they are ample for 
its definition, as the two species of which it consists are both 
remarkable for their coloration, and are easily recognisable. 
Besides Tadorna tadorna, the European species, there is but 
one other, T. radjah, of the Malayan Archipelago. 


Anas tadorna, Linn. S. N. i. p.. 195 (1766). 

Tadorna vulpanser, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 22 (1852). 

Tadorna cornuta, Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 451, pi. 420 (1878); 

B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 122 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarr. 

Br. B. iv. p. 352 (1885) ; Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 520 

(1885) ; Saunders, Man. p. 407 (1889) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. 

Brit. B. part xxvii. (1893) ; Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 

xxvii. p. 171 (1895). 

(Plate L VI.) . 

Adult Male. General colour above varied, black, white, and 
orange-chestnut, the head being black with a gloss of bottle- 
green, the black occupying the entire head and upper throat ; 


round the hind-neck a white collar, widening out into a broad 
band across the lower throat and fore-neck ; this white band 
followed by a broad band of orange-chestnut occupying the 
mantle, and widening out in a broad band of the same colour 
across the chest, which is divided- longitudinally by a black 
band, which descends down the breast and joins the black 
of the abdomen ; the rest of the under-parts pure white, 
except the under tail-coverts, which are orange-chestnut; the 
back pure white from the mantle downwards, as also are 
the wing-coverts ; the scapulars black, the inner ones half 
white and half black, and those nearest the back pure white ; 
bastard-wing feathers white, blackish towards the ends; 
primary-coverts and quills black, ashy on their inner webs ; 
secondaries black, externally metallic-green, forming a specu- 
lum, both bases of the inner webs white, the. inner secondaries 
externally chestnut, internally white or ashy, and the inner- 
most secondaries white like the back ; tail white, with a band 
of black at the end ; bill red, as well as the basal knob ; feet 
and webs of toes fleshy-pink ; iris hazel. After the breeding- 
season the knob, or shield, at the base of the bill is not so 
noticeable, and becomes dull pale red. Total length, 22 
inches; oilmen, 2-2; wing, 13*0; tail, 4-6; tarsus, 2'o. 

Adult Female. Not so handsomely coloured as the male, the 
chestnut of the mantle obscured by blackish frecklings, and 
the chestnut band across the chest represented by a sooty- 
black band, which only inclines to chestnut on the sides. The 
knob at the base of the b;ll is not developed. Total length, 
20 inches ; wing, 11*5. 

Young Birds. Much duller in colour than the adults, the 
head and throat being dusky-white with a good deal of black 
on the chin and fore-part of the cheeks ; the black feathers of 
the back of a more or less brown, with white margins and 
ashy mottlings ; the chestnut collar on the mantle scarcely 
defined at all, and the feathers mottled with blackish and 
edged with white ; the entire under surface, from the throat 
downwards, is entirely white, without any black or chestnut, 
excepting a patch of the latter colour on each side of the 
upper breast. Mr. De Winton informs me that the Sheld- 
Duck does not breed during its second year, and the knob on 

s 2 


the bill does not appear till the bird is at least two years old, 
and commences to breed for the first time. The knob in- 
creases in size with age. 

Nestling. Brown above, white beneath, with a slight 
yellowish tinge ; forehead and sides of face white ; in the 
middle of the back a white patch ; a white patch on each 
side of the lower back, and a white streak along each side of 
the rump. 

Characters. The striking contrast of colours in this beautiful 
species, to say nothing of its red bill and frontal knob, render 
it easy of identification, and there is no other species of 
British Duck with which it can possibly be confounded. 

Hybrids. The Common Sheld-Duck has been known to 
interbreed with the South African Sheld-Duck (Casarca cana) 
and with the Wild Duck (Anas boscas). Cf. Salvadori, Cat. B. 
Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 173. 

Range in Great Britain. The present species occurs in suit- 
able localities on most parts of the British coasts, and is found 
breeding in those portions which afford it suitable nesting- 
places. Mr. Ussher states that it breeds in small numbers on 
the coasts of Donegal, Londonderry, Antrim, Down, Dublin, 
Wexford, Waterford, Kerry, Clare, and Mayo. In winter con- 
siderable numbers visit us from the north of Europe, and the 
bird is then killed in many parts of Great Britain, in which it is 
not seen in the summer. 

Eange outside tho British Islands. The Sheld-Duck is a Palse- 
arctic bird, and breeds on the coast of Norway up to 70 N. 
lat., being only occasionally met with in the Faeroes. It nests 
in Sweden, Denmark, the Baltic provinces, and Holland, as well 
as on the shores of France and Spain, but in other parts of 
Europe and the Mediterranean countries it is only known as 
a winter visitor. It is, however, again resident on the shores 
of the Black and Caspian Seas, and its range extends in locali- 
ties suited to its habits, through Central Asia and Southern 
Siberia to Mongolia and Japan. 

Habits. From its habit of nesting in rabbit-holes in many 
parts of the country the Sheld-Duck is known as the " Burrow 
Duck," and the nest is often constructed at the end of a 


burrow to a depth of four or five feet, while the distance has 
alco been known to extend to as many as twelve feet from the 
entrance, and in these cases the burrows are said to be exca- 
vated by the birds themselves. Mr. Robert Read states that 
the Sheld-Duck nests most commonly in burrows amongst 
the sand-hills by the seaside, but in Scotland he has found the 
nest in a rabbit-burrow amongst a group of trees near a fresh- 
water loch. When breeding in the sand-hills, the nest usually 
consists simply of the down of the parent bird, but when near 
trees and herbage, there are generally a good many leaves 
mixed with the down. 

Mr. W. E. de Winton observes that in South Wales the local 
names for this species are " Perre'net" and " St. George's Duck " 
(in Scotland, " Stockenet "), and he tells me that he has known 
them to nest on precipitous cliffs, in burrows at such a height 
that it is difficult to imagine how the young ones could be got 
down to the water ; generally, however, the nest has been in 
rabbit-holes in the sand-dunes by the sen, covered with long 
sword-grass. There is seldom any track to the nest, into which 
the female appears to dive in full flight. When watching them, 
he has known the two birds to suddenly appear over a sand- 
hill, and then fly round and round together for some time, but 
on taking his eye off them for a moment, it has often happened 
that only the male is seen afterwards, the female having suddenly 
dived into the nest like an arrow. 

The food of the Sheld-Duck consists of worms, small 
molluscs, and water-insects, as well as various aquatic plants, 
and also, it is said, of seaweeds. In many of their ways they 
resemble Geese, while Mr. Seebohm describes the flight as 
"performed by slow and laboured beats of the wings, very un- 
like the rapid motion of smaller Ducks, and much more re- 
sembling that of the Swan." The same writer says that the 
call-note, which is common to both sexes, is a harsh quack. 
During the pairing-season, the male utters a clear rapidly- 
repeated whistle or trill ; and when the young are hatched, his 
anxious alarm-note to his mate on the approach of danger 
may constantly be heard, and resembles the syllables kor-kor, 
uttered in a deep tone. In confinement Lord Lilford says that 
he has never heard any noise produced by the birds beyond a 


short hiss, when bullying some other bird or fighting amongst 
themselves, but, he adds " I have heard occasionally on the 
coast of North Wales at night a somewhat Wigeon-like whistle 
that emanated, as I believe, from * Sand-Geese ' on the wing.' 

Nest. Composed principally of the bird's own down, with a 
few leaves occasionally, as mentioned above by Mr. Robert 
Read. In some parts of Denmark the peasants make artificial 
burrows for the birds, and systematically rob the nest, as many 
as thirty eggs having been taken from one burrow in a single 

Eggs. From seven to twelve in number, but sometimes as 
many as sixteen have been found. They are dull creamy- 
white, with very little gloss. Axis 2*45-2 *6 inches ; diam., 
i -8-1*95. The down is ashy-grey, with silvery white ends, 
and with a few white feathers intermingled. 

Casarca, Bp. Comp. List B. Eur. & N. Amer. p. 56 (1838). 
Type, C. casarca (L.). 

The members of the genus Casarca, according to the conclu- 
sions of Count Salvadori, differ from the typical Sheld-Ducks 
(Tadornd) in the following characters : The bill does not 
widen towards the tip, and is no broader at the tip than it is at 
the base ; the culmen is almost straight ; the lamellae are 
equally developed along the inner edge of the upper mandible, 
and the lamellae on the edge of the lower mandible project 
outwardly ; the bill and feet are dark, and the sexes generally 
differ in colour. 

Four species of the genus Casarca are known, C. casarca, 
C. cana from South Africa, C. variegata from New Zealand, 
and C. tadornoides from South Australia and Tasmania. In 
the Ruddy Sheld-Duck, where the sexes are alike, there has as 
yet been no proof of any change of plumage in summer, such 
as occurs in most species of ducks. The post-nuptial plumage 
is probably emphasised by the loss of the black collar. In 
the three other species, however, where the sexes are different 
in colour, the male doubtless undergoes a change, as Mr. 
Blaauw has noticed a double moult in C. tadornoides. 



Anas casarca, Linn. S. N. iii. App. p. 224 (1768). 
Tadorna casarca, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 19 (1852); Dresser, 
B. Eur. vi. p. 461, pi. 421 (1875) ; B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 
122 (1883); Saunders, ed.Yarr. Br. B. iv.p. 347 (1885); id. 
Man. p. 409 (1889); Lilford,Col. Fig. Br. B. part xx. (1891). 
Tadorna rutila, Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 524 (1885). 
Casarca rutila, Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 177 (1895). 

Adult Male. General colour above tawny-chestnut ; the wing 
coverts paler and of a light fawn-colour, with white bases ; 
bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills black ; secondaries 
black internally, externally bronzy-green with a coppery gloss, 
the inner secondaries externally deep chestnut, ashy on the 
inner webs ; lower back pale tawny, vermiculated with dusky- 
grey ; rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail black, with a greenish 
gloss ; under surface of body dark tawny, deepening into chest- 
nut ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white ; the head and 
neck also tawny, but the crown paler and inclining to white, 
as also the lores ; round the neck a black collar ; bill black ; 
feet black, somewhat brownish on the toes and tarsus ; iris 
black. Total length, 25 inches; oilmen, 17; wing, 14-5; 
tail, 4-9 ; tarsus, 2-2. 

Adult Female. Smaller than the male, and wanting the black 
collar; the head, face, and wing-coverts whiter ; bill black ; feet 
brown, blackish on the joints and black on the webs, except 
at the junction with the toes ; iris deep brown. Total length, 
22*5 inches; wing, 13*5. 

There seems to be but little difference in colour between 
the summer and winter plumages of the Ruddy Sheld-Duck, 
but the feathers have sooty-brown centres in summer, and 
during the winter the black ring round the neck is absent, 
while the buff tinge on the wing-coverts is also probably a sign 
of the breeding-season, as these are white in many birds killed 
in the winter. 

Young Birds. Resemble the female, and have no black 
collar ; they are also more dingy in colour. 

Characters. Besides the generic features given above, the 
general tawny-colour of the bird and its size serve to distinguish 
it from the other Ducks. 


Eange in Great Britain. The Ruddy Sheld-Duck has occurred 
in all three kingdoms, but can only be considered a rare and 
occasional visitor, while some of the records of its capture 
are doubtless founded on escaped specimens, as the bird is 
frequently kept in confinement in this country. In 1892, 
however, there was a large immigration of wild birds, and a 
very interesting record of the visit of the Ruddy Sheld-Duck 
to Great Britain in the summer of 1892 has been published by 
Mr. F. Menteith Ogilvie in the " Zoologist " for that year (pp. 
392-398). Flocks consisting of as many as ten to fourteen 
birds, in one instance twenty, were observed between the 
middle of June and the middle of September, and there were 
probably many others. Mr. Ogilvie surmises that it was from 
the South Russian habitat of the species that the immigra- 
tion occurred. " Those that visited this country, being non- 
breeders, who probably accompanied the older birds on their 
northern journey in the spring, were driven away by them from 
the breeding-grounds, lost their bearings, and, crossing Russia 
and the North Sea, found themselves on our inhospitable 
shores." Mr. Ogilvie, however, notices that in every specimen 
killed, the inner secondaries were extremely worn, which looks 
as if the birds had nested, and seeing that the Ruddy Sheld- 
Duck is rather an early breeder, with the young swimming 
about on the 3oth of May (cf. Seebohm, Brit. B. iii. p. 524), 
there is nothing to prevent the British specimens, at the end 
of June, from being birds which had bred in South-eastern 
Europe, and migrated north-west instead of south. 

Eange outside the British Islands. In Asia the Ruddy Sheld- 
Duck breeds as far north as the Common Sheld-Duck, but in 
Europe it is a bird of the Mediterranean Sub-region, extend- 
ing eastwards to Southern and Eastern Siberia, and Mongolia. 
In winter it visits Northern Africa, India, and China. 

Habits. However gregarious this species may be in winter, 
the observations of naturalists tend to prove that, during the 
breeding-season, it is only found in isolated pairs, usually 
selecting holes of cliffs as its nesting-site, and often at a great 
height. Thus the species has been found breeding in Ladak 
and Tibet, at an elevation of 13,000 to 16,000 feet above 
the sea. The young birds are tended with great care by the 


mother, who shams to be wounded, so as to draw off attention 
from the young, while Dr. Henderson states that he saw a 
female make all her young ones dive, by swimming and 
flapping on to each of them as soon as it showed itself above 
water, after which she pretended to be wounded, and lay 
on the water every now and then, with wings spread out, as 
if unable to fly. It is evident that the old birds, breeding in 
cliffs so high above the water, must convey the young to the 
latter. The food of the Ruddy Sheld-Duck consists of grass 
and water-plants, as well as small molluscs. 

ITest. This is placed in a variety of situations, in a burrow, 
in the middle of a corn-field, in the cleft of a precipice, or, 
in Eastern Siberia, in the deserted nest of a bird of prey. 

Eggs. From nine to as many as sixteen in number, and 
creamy-white, with scarcely any gloss. Axis, 27-2-85; diarn., 
1-85-1-9. The colour of the down in the nest has not yet 
been described. 


Spatula, Boie, Isis, 1822, p. 564. 

Type, S. clypeata (L.). 

The Shovelers are very easily distinguished by their flat 
and shovel-like bills, and in their plumage they resemble 
the true Ducks, especially the Teal, having blue wing-coverts 
like some of the members of the genus Nettion. Two genera 
of Shoveler Ducks are known, the genus Spatula containing 
four species, of which our English S. clypeata is the best 
known and the most widely distributed ; S. rhynchotis comes 
from Australia and New Zealand, S. platalea from S. America, 
and S. capensis from South Africa. Their range is, therefore, 
nearly cosmopolitan. In Australia and Tasmania another 
curious genus of Shovelers is found, Malacorhynchus, with a 
single species, M. membranaceus, confined to the countries 


Anas clypeata, Linn. S. N. 1 p. 200 (1766) ; Seebohm, Br. B. 
iii. p. 554 (1885) ; Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part x 


Rhynchaspis clypeata, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 74 (1852). 

Spatula clypeata, Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p, 497, pi. 425 (1873); 

B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 128 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarr. 

Br. B. iv. p. 375 (1885) ; id. Man. Br. B. p. 415 (1889) ; 

Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 306 (1895). 

(Plate L VII.} 

Adult Male. General colour above blackish-brown on the 
mantle and upper back, becoming deep black on the lower 
back, rump, and upper tail-coverts, the lateral series of the 
latter glossed with steel-blue, of which there is also a faint 
gloss on the black rump ; scapulars white, the long feathers 
greyish-blue, with a good deal of black towards the base of 
the inner web and a broad streak of white on the inner side of 
the shaft ; wing-coverts greyish-blue, the greater series dusky 
internally, blue externally, and somewhat broadly tipped with 
white; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and primary-quills black- 
ish, the latter paler brown on the inner web, with white 
shafts; the secondaries brown, externally metallic steel-green, 
changing to purple under certain lights ; the long inner secon- 
daries externally velvety-black, with white centres towards the 
end of the shafts ; centre tail-feathers black, the rest white, 
mottled and marbled with ashy-brown, the bars nowhere com- 
plete, and varying in shape ; crown of head and lores dusky- 
black, without any metallic gloss ; the sides of the face, neck, 
and throat black, glossed with green, and especially with 
purple on the hinder neck and crest ; fore-neck and chest 
white, extending on to the sides of the chest, and nearly reach- 
ing in a collar round the hind-neck, in the centre of which are 
a few blackish feathers : remainder of under surface from the 
chest downwards vinous-chestnut, with a large white patch 
on each side of the vent ; the flank-feathers paler buff at their 
ends, freckled with dusky, some of the feathers on the lower 
flanks freckled with dusky lines ; under tail-coverts black, 
white at base with a few blackish wavy lines ; the lateral 
under tail-coverts glossed with green or purple ; axillaries and 
under wing-coverts white ; lower under wing-coverts and quill- 
lining ashy-grey; bill lead- colour; feet reddish- orange; iris 
yellow. Total length, 19 inches; culmen, 2*55; wing, 9-5; 
tail, 3-3; tarsus, 1-3. 


Adult Female. General colour above dusky-brown, with ashy 
margins and irregular sandy-buff markings and marblings, the 
scapulars paler, barred and edged with whitish or pale buff; 
lower back and rump blackish-brown, the upper tail-coverts 
edged and irregularly barred with white or buff ; wing-coverts 
blue like the male, the greater series more dingy and tipped 
with white ; the quills as in the male and the speculum also 
metallic green, but the inner secondaries brown ; crown of 
head nearly uniform blackish, as also the nape ; lores, fore- 
part of cheeks, and chin whitish ; remainder of sides of face 
and sides of neck dull reddish-buff, streaked with narrow lines 
of dusky ; the lower throat similarly streaked ; remainder of 
under surface buff, a little paler in the centre of the abdomen ; 
the chest and sides of body and flanks scalloped with dusky 
bars and markings, principally of a horse-shoe shape, very 
thickly distributed on the chest and less closely so on the 
flanks ; the lower abdomen and under tail-coverts spotted 
with dusky ; axillaries and under wing-coverts white. Total 
length, 17 inches; oilmen, 2*6; wing, 8*8; tail, 3*6; tarsus, 

The young male in its first plumage, according to Count 
Salvadori, resembles the old female, but is distinguished by its 
more brightly coloured wings, the bill being pale reddish- 
brown, and the legs and feet flesh-coloured. 

The male, after breeding, passes into a dark plumage, like 
that of the female, but with the crown dark brown. Mr. De 
Winton tells me that the pattern of this summer dress of the 
male is very much like that of the old female, but is much 
more rufous, and the bill becomes orange and black, the feet 
red, and the iris is orange instead of lemoi.-grey. All trace 
of the breeding-dress is gone, no bright colours remaining, 
except the blue of the wing-coverts. 

Young in Down. Nearly uniform above, like the nestling 
Wigeon, with some indistinct paler spots, and a dark brown 
stripe through the eye, as in the Mallard. The bill is not 
widened at the tip, but the spatulated form is very rapidly 

Hybrids. Apparently few instances of the crossing of the 


Shoveler with any other species of Duck have been recorded, 
though Von Tschusi has mentioned an instance of its mating 
with a Domestic Duck. 

Characters. The flattened form of the Shoveler's bill, widened 
at the end, and " spatulate," as it is called, as well as the 
blue wing-coverts, and the green speculum in the wing, dis- 
tinguish this species. 

Eange in Great Britain. A few pairs breed annually in England, 
especially in parts of Norfolk, where the Ducks are protected, 
as well as in the marsh-lands of other parts of England and 
Scotland. It nests on the island of Tiree, where Colonel 
Irby has found it, but not on the Outer Hebrides. In many 
localities it is increasing in numbers as a breeding-bird, and 
the same may be said of Ireland, where, according to Mr. 
Ussher, it nests sparingly in Donegal, Antrim, Fermanagh, 
Westmeath, Louth, Dublin, Queen's County, Galway, Ros- 
common, Mayo, and Sligo, and probably in King's County 
and Kerry. During the winter the species occurs in most 
parts of Great Britain. 

Range outside the British Islands. The Shoveler is found in 
America, as well as in the Old World, and breeds in temperate 
North America, visiting the United States in winter, and ex- 
tending as far south as Panama. In Europe it does not go 
so far north as some of the other Ducks, and is a species of 
the temperate portions of Europe and Asia, visiting Northern 
Africa, India, and China in winter. It has been procured in 
Borneo, and seems to wander as far south as Australia. 

Habits. This species is more of a fresh-water Duck than 
many of its relations, and frequents marshes and inland lakes, 
where it searches in the shallows for the food which its broad 
bill enables it easily to sift, as it consists of tender shoots of 
grass and weeds, as well as aquatic insects and small molluscs, 
while it is also said to include tadpoles, frogs' spawn, and very 
small fish. As a rule, it is not so shy as other Ducks, and, in 
its winter quarters in India, it is described by Mr. Hume as 
being very tame. The female is a devoted mother, and watches 
over her brood with great anxiety, while Mr. Whitaker states 
that he has found the male bird sitting on the eggs. When 
flying, the bird is said by Mr. Seebohm to utter a guttural note, 


"puck-puck," and Mr. Howard Saunders says that the note 
during the breeding-season is " took-took." The quack of the 
Duck is said by Mr. Seebohm to resemble that of the domestic 
species, the voice of the drake being a little the deeper, and 
sounding like guaak, while that of the duck might be repre- 
sented as "quauk." 

Hest. A neat but unskilfully made structure of grass, placed 
in a tuft of reedy grass or heath, without much lining beyond 
that of the bird's own down, and a little grass. 

Eggs. Five or six in number, of a pale buffy-white or 
greenish-white. Mr. Pvobert Read found ten eggs in a nest 
in Scotland. Axis, 2 - o5-2'4; diam., 1*5. Down very dark, 
spotted with white. The colour is dark brown, with whitish 
tips, scarcely visible, and with a white star-like spot in the 
centre of the plume. 


Anas, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 194 (1766). 

Type, A. boscas (L.). 

The common Duck, of which the Mallard is the type, is 
distinguished from the other Ducks rather by negative than 
positive differences, as one gathers from Count Salvadori's 
characters of the genus Anas. It has no chestnut on the inner 
secondaries like the Sheld-Ducks, but possesses a generally 
mottled plumage, without any large uniform patches, as in the 
foregoing birds. Nor is the bill spatulate as in the Shovelers, 
but is rather broad, and is of about the length of the head. 
From the Shovelers and some of the Teal it differs also in 
having the wing-coverts dull grey, and not blue. 


Anas boschas, Linn. S. N. i. p. 205 (1766); Macg. Br. B. v. p. 

31 (1852); Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 469, pi. 422 (1873); 

Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part viii. (1888). 
Anas boscas, B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 125 (1883) ; Seebohm, Br. 

B. iii. p. 559 (1885) ; Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 358 

(1885); Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 411 (1889); Salvad. 

Cat. B, Brit. Mus, xxvii. p. 189 (1895). 


Adult Male. General colour above brown, deepening into 
black on the lower back, the rump and tail-coverts being black, 
with a purplish or green gloss ; the scapulars pearly-grey, with 
very fine wavy lines of darker grey, the outer scapulars dark 
chestnut-brown, continuous with the dark outer webs of the 
innermost secondaries ; the wing-coverts ashy- grey, more or 
less washed with brown ; the greater coverts with a sub-terminal 
bar of white, the tips being black, and forming the upper bor- 
der to the wing-speculum ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and 
quills ashy-brown, externally more grey ; the inner webs of 
the primaries conspicuously lighter and more ashy ; the 
secondaries ashy-grey on the inner web, metallic-purple on the 
outer web, and tipped with white, before which is a sub-terminal 
bar of velvety-black ; the colour of the speculum varying, 
according to the light, from rich purple to steel-blue or greenish- 
blue ; the inner secondaries pearly-grey, those adjoining the 
speculum being externally chestnut-brown ; centre tail-feathers 
recurved, black like the rump, the rest of the feathers white, 
with grey or brown centres, these dark centres gradually dis- 
appearing and only represented by ashy f ecklings on the 
outer ones ; head and neck all round metallic green, chang- 
ing into purple according to the light ; on the lower throat a 
narrow white band not completely joining on the nape ; fore- 
neck and chest deep chestnut, extending on to the sides of the 
neck and nearly meeting on the hind-neck ; remainder of under 
surface greyish-white, finely freckled with ashy vermiculations, 
which are more distinct on the sides of the body; under wing- 
coverts and axillaries white ; under tail-coverts velvety black ; 
bill olive-yellowish ; feet and toes orange ; iris dark brown. 
Total length, 22 inches; culmen, 2^4; wing, iro; tail, 3^5 ; 
tarsus, i '8. 

Adult Female. Entirely different from the mile, bro'.vn above 
with reddish margins and centres to the feathers, imparting a 
narrowly streaked appearance to the head and neck, and a 
broadly streaked appearance to the back, but it must be 
noticed that great variation in these markings takes place ; 
wing-coverts dark ashy-brown, the greater series and the 
secondaries banded with white, the former with a velvety-black 
tip and the latter with a sub-terminal black bar ; the speculum 


is therefore as in the male, but it is not so bright and is more 
broadly bordered with black ; the inner secondaries bordered 
with rufous, like the scapulars ; lower back, rump, and upper 
tail-coverts like the upper back ; tail-feathers ashy-whitish, cen- 
tred with dark brown, which is more or less broken up into 
rufous markings; under surface of body yellowish-buff; the 
throat uniform, but the sides of the face and neck streaked 
like the head ; the chest and sides of the body mottled 
with dark brown centres to the feathers ; fore neck and chest 
tinged with chestnut ; under tail-coverts white, with black 
streaks ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white. Total length, 
20 inches; culmen, 2'i ; wing, io - 3 ; tail, 3*4; tarsus, i'5. 

Young Males and Young Females. Almost alike in plumage, 
and at first resembling the old female in general appearance, 
but the darker head and blacker appearance of the back are 
generally sufficient to distinguish the males, which have also a 
clearly indicated dark eye-stripe. Young birds also seem to 
be much more plentifully streaked with brown on the under- 
parts. For a short period in the summer, males assume a 
plumage only to be distinguished from that of the female by 
its blacker appearance above, the feathers of the back being 
edged with rufous, while the crown and a broad stripe through 
the eye are also black ; the quills are fully moulted, as well as 
the body feathers, and the full plumage is again assumed by a 
direct moult. 

Hybrids. These are so many that it is impossible to enu- 
merate them all here. Crossings with at least a dozen other 
species of Ducks are recorded by Count Salvadori. 

Kange in Great Britain. Of all the fresh-water Ducks, the 
Mallard is the commonest, and though it was more plentiful 
in former days, there are still so many places where it is 
encouraged to breed, that it is extremely numerous in some 
districts, and every winter there is a vast accession of numbers 
due to arrivals from the Continent. At this season of the year, 
the species quits its northern habitat, and is absent from many 
of the northern districts of Scotland and its islands. It 
breeds, according to Mr. Ussher, in every county in Ireland- 


Range outside the British Islands. The Mallard may be said 
to be an inhabitant of the temperate portions of the Palaearctic 
and Nearctic Regions, not breeding north of the Arctic Circle, 
but throughout Europe, including the Mediterranean countries, 
and across the temperate poitions of Asia, and wintering in 
India and China. It even breeds in Cashmere. In America 
it breeds in the temperate latitudes, and wanders south in 
winter, when it is found as far south as Panama. 

Habits. The tame Duck of our farmyards, which is suffi- 
ciently well-known to preclude any special description of its 
habits, is a derivative of the true Wild Duck, but the latter 
bird in its native habitat is decidedly a wary bird. 

The Mallard is a very interesting species to study where 
one has an opportunity of so doing, as its habits are very 
varied. Sometimes numbers of nests will be found in the 
growing grass of a meadow close to a lake, at other times 
most curious situations are chosen for the nest. In the 
choice of a situation the Duck is very cautious, and it is 
often not discovered until the appearance of the young ones 
betrays its situation. It is especially where there are plenty of 
foxes that the wariness of the Duck is developed, and at 
Avington Park where the head-keeper once told me that he 
had known forty sitting ducks to be taken off their nests in a 
season by foxes I have found some curious sites for the 
nest. One was in a dell, quite half a mile from the lake, and it 
was artfully concealed under some outgrowing roots of a tree : 
another was made in the hollow between two wide-spreading 
limbs of an oak, about ten feet from the ground, and quite a 
mile away from any water. Mr. De Winton has known a nest 
to be built in the thick ivy on the wall of a house. Mr. Robert 
Read also tells me that he has found it in the open amongst 
heather, under a rock amongst bracken, in rushes by the 
water-side, and in the hollow of a pollard-tree, while in 1894, he 
found a nest on the Thames with ten eggs and one egg of a 

Like the tame Duck, the Mallard is almost omnivorous in 
its choice of food, many kinds of aquatic plants and weeds, as 
well as all kinds of water-insects, worms and slugs, forming its 
staple diet, but it will also eat grain, acorns. &c. 


Nest. Although generally carefully concealed, the nest is 
rather loosely made of grass and rushes, and is lined with the 
bird's own down. 

Eggs. From eight to ten or twelve in number, though as 
many as sixteen have been found; greenish or greenish- 
white in colour, sometimes inclining to buffy-white. Axis, 
2'i-2 - 35 inches; diam., 1*6. 

Down. Mostly light brown, with whitish thread-like tips, 
but mixed with a considerable number of pure white downy 


CkauklasmuS) Bp. Comp. List B. Eur. & N. Amer. p. 56 

Type, C. streperus (L.) 

Two species only of Gad wall are known, the widely distributed 
C. streperus, and Coues' Gadwall, C. couesi, which is only 
known from the Fanning Islands. The bill is not so broad as 
in the genus Anas and is shorter than the head, and has no 
fringe of soft membrane near the tip ; the lamelloe of the upper 
mandible are quite prominent (Salvador?)* The colouring of 
the two sexes is not nearly so different as in the generality of 
Ducks. The central tail-feathers scarcely extend beyond the 
lateral ones. 


Anas strepera. Linn. S. N. i. p. 200 (1766); Saunders, ed. 

Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 370 (1885); Seebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 

530 (1885) ; Saunders, Man. p. 413 (1889); Lilford, Col. 

Fig. Br. B. part xv. (1890). 

Querquedula strepera, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 59 (1852). 
Chanlelasmus streperus, Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 487, pi. 424 

(1873); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 125 (1883); Salvad. 

Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 221 (1895). 

Adult Male. General colour above dusky-brown, the hind- 
neck, mantle, and upper scapulars freckled with wavy bars 
of black and ashy-white ; the lower back darker and scarcely 
freckled; the rump and upper tail coverts velvety-black; the 
8 T 


long scapulars margined with tawny-brown; wing coverts 
ashy, with a few dusky frecklings ; the median-coverts 
for the most part chestnut; the greater coverts velvety- 
black ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills dark ashy, 
paler on the inner webs ; the outer secondaries velvety- 
black and tipped with white, the inner ones white externally, 
forming a speculum, the innermost ashy-grey ; tail-feathers 
ashy-grey, edged with white towards the ends, and mottled 
with dark brown near the ends of the outer feathers ; crown of 
head dusky-brown, slightly mottled with paler edges to the 
feathers ; eyebrow and sides of face ashy, minutely spotted with 
dusky-brown ; lores and base of forehead more hoary ; cheeks 
and throat whitish, minutely spotted with dusky ; fore-neck and 
chest closely barred with dusky-blackish and white, the bars 
irregular in shape, but mostly circular ; remainder of under sur- 
face white, with a few dusky streaks on the abdomen ; the sides 
of the body and flanks thickly freckled with wavy lines of 
dusky-blackish ; under tail-coverts black ; under wing-coverts 
and axillaries pure white ; bill black ; feet orange, almost the 
whole of the web black. Total length, 19 inches; culmen, 
1-6; wing, 10-5; tail, 3-5; tarsus, 1-5. 

Adult Female. Different from the male. General colour 
above brown, with edges of sandy-buff and irregular bars and 
frecklings of the same colour ; the wings as in the male, but the 
black of the greater wing-coverts much reduced in extent and 
the white speculum not so large ; the chestnut patch on the 
median-coverts entirely absent ; tail mottled with irregular 
bars of brown and buff; head rather darker than the back and 
more uniform ; eyebrow, sides of face, and throat buff, minutely 
lined with streaks of blackish-brown ; the lower throat and fore- 
neck more rufescent, as also the sides of the body, flanks, and 
under tail-coverts, all these parts being strongly mottled, with 
blackish centres to the feathers ; the rest of the under surface 
white, more minutely spotted with dusky; under wing-coverts 
and axillaries white. Total length, 19*5 inches; wing, 9*9. 

Young Males. At first resemble the old females, but are 
more barred on the back and not so streaked with sandy-buff. 
They are densely spotted with brown on the under surface, and 
may be distinguished by having a little chestnut on the greater 


wing-coverts, and by having a broad black border to the outer 
aspect of the speculum, as in the male. In the female the 
external black border to the speculum is scarcely visible, and 
there is no chestnut on the greater wing-coverts. 

The Gadwall Drake, like the Mallard, assumes a sort of 
female plumage, after the breeding-season. The male then 
resembles the female, but is darker, as is the case with the 
other Ducks which assume the female coloration. The black 
rump, which is so characteristic of the adult Gadwall, disappears, 
as do the distinctive markings of the wing, and the male in 
the hen-like plumage can scarcely be told from the female, 
Mr. De Winton says that the summer dress is not so dis- 
tinctive as in some of the other Ducks, as the male does not 
lose his speckled breast or all the vermiculated feathers of the 
body, or the black under tail-coverts. The bill has much more 
yellow on it, and is more like that of the hen, while the feet 
are dull orange, with sooty webs. 

Nestling. Very dark chocolate-brown, with a blackish head ; 
a broad eyebrow of buff, followed by a distinct eye-line of 
brown ; on each side of the mantle some white marks, and a 
distinct white spot on each side of the rump ; under surface of 
body yellowish-white. 

Characters. -The male Gadwall is easily recognised by the 
chestnut and black patch on the wing, and by its white speculum. 
The female has the same characters, but the amount of chest- 
nut on the wing is smaller. 

Eange in Great Britain. Chiefly known as a winter visitor, 
though it now breeds plentifully in certain parts of Norfolk, 
where it has been preserved. In the series of nests of British 
birds in the National Museum is one presented by Lord 
Walsingham, from Merton, where the species breeds regularly. 
It occurs, however, only as a winter visitor to Scotland and 

Kange outside the British Islands. The Gadwall does not breed 
in the Arctic Regions, but is known to do so in Iceland, as 
well as in Southern Sweden and the Baltic provinces, and 
throughout Northern and Central Europe. Throughout the 
Mediterranean countries it also breeds, and Mr. Howard 
Saunders says that it nests in Spain near the mouth of the 

T 2 


Guadalquivir; while in winter it extends to Northern Africa and 
up the valley of the Nile into Nubia. It occurs throughout 
Central Asia, breeding in Turkestan, and reaches to the Pacific 
coast in Eastern Siberia. The eastern birds winter in India and 
China. The Gadwall also breeds in North America at about 
the same latitudes as in the Old World, and is found in winter 
as far south as Mexico and the Greater Antilles. 

Habits. The Gadwall is a great skulker and always shy, but 
on the water it is a very smart-looking bird, as it swims lightly, 
with its feathers brushed hard back to a point behind its neck. 
It is a fresh-water Duck and is not often captured on the sea 
coasts, and is to a great extent gregarious, being sometimes 
seen in hundreds on fresh-water lakes. It has a powerful 
flight, and rises easily from the water. Its food consists of 
leaves and flower-buds of water-plants, and in India, accord- 
ing to Mr. A. O. Hume, largely of rice, so that in the early 
season its flesh is said to be excellent. Like other Ducks, the 
diet also partly consists of insects and their larvae, small frogs, 
and worms. The name of strepera, or " noisy," is a decided 
misnomer for the present species, as it is a very quiet Duck. 
Lord Lilford says that the note of the male is a curious rattling 
croak, a sort of mixture of the alarm-cry of the Mallard and 
the sound uttered by the male Garganey. 

Host. A mere depression in the ground, with a scanty lining 
of dry grass, bits of reed or rush, and, in some cases, a few dead 
leaves. It is carefully concealed by the overhanging grass or 

Eggs. From eight to twelve in number ; buffy-white or 
creamy-white, and slightly glossy, some inclining to greenish. 
Axis, 2'i-2'25 inches; diam., 1*55. 

Down. Light brown, with a centre star of white, the fila- 
ments brown at the ends, not silvery-whitish ; there is also an 
admixture of pure white downy plumes. 


Mareca, Steph. Gen. Zool. xii. pi. 2, p. 130 (1824). 

Type, M. ptnelope (L.). 

The form of the Wigeon is very similar to that of the 
Gadwalls, but the lamellae of the upper mandible are not so 

WIGEON, 277 

prominent, the tail is rather more acuminate, and the central 
feathers extend somewhat beyond the lateral ones. The bill 
is small and gradually tapering towards the tip. The above 
characters are given for the genus by Count Salvadori, and 
to them must be added the style of plumage, which is well 
pronounced ; thus, though many recent writers have placed 
the Gadwalls, Shovelers, and Wigeon in the genus Anas, I 
thoroughly agree with Count Salvadori that they should be 
separated as distinct genera. Three species of Wigeon are 
known, our British bird (M. penelope), the American Wigeon 
(M. ainericana\ and M. sibilatrix from South America. 


A nas penelops, Linn. S. N. i. p. 202 (1766). 

Anas penelope^ Gm. Syst. Nat. i. p. 527 (1788); Seebohm, Br. 

B. Hi. p. 539 (1885). 
Mareca penelope, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 83 (1852) ; Dresser, B. Eur. 

vi. p. 541, pis. 432, 433 (1876); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 

123 (188,3); Saunders, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. iv. p. 397 

(1885) ; id. Man. p. 425 (1889) ; Lilibrd, Col. Fig. Br. B. 

part xv. (1890); Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 227 

Adult Male. General colour above grey, with fine vermicula- 
tions of darker grey, the lower back and rump more finely 
vermiculated ; the sides of the lower rump white ; central tail- 
coverts grey, with coarser vermiculations and the ends of the 
feathers white, the lateral upper tail-coverts velvety-black ; lesser 
wing-coverts grey, very finely vermiculated ; the median- and 
greater wing-coverts pure white, forming a large patch, the latter 
tipped with velvety-black, forming the upper border to the 
speculum ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills ashy-grey, 
the inner webs dusky, with a mirror of buff on the inner web 
of the primaries ; the secondaries grey internally, metallic- 
green externally, but black at the ends, this forming the wing- 
speculum ; the next inner secondary white externally, forming 
an inner border to the speculum, the next three inner second- 
aries externally velvety-black, with white shafts, the innermost 
grey with darker vermiculations like the scapulars ; crown of 
head light cinnamon-buff, paler on the lores; the hinder 


crown, nape, and hind-neck, as well as the sides of the face 
and throat, chestnut, slightly mottled with green behind the eye 
and on the occiput ; the lower throat and fore-neck, as well as 
the sides of the neck and of the chest, pale vinous, shaded with 
grey ; remainder of under surface of body from the fore-neck 
downwards pure white ; the under tail-coverts black ; the sides 
of the body ashy-grey, finely vermiculated with darker grey ; 
under wing-coverts ashy-grey ; axillaries white, freckled with 
grey ; bill bluish lead-colour, black at the tip ; feet and toes 
dark brown; iris hazel. Total length, 18 inches; culmen, 
1-45; wing, 10-4; tail, 4-1 ; tarsus, 1*55. 

Adult Female. Differs from the male, the back being ashy- 
brown, narrowly barred with rufous on the hind-neck and 
mantle ; the dorsal feathers brown-edged with ashy-grey, these 
edgings becoming whiter on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; 
the scapulars with more rufous margins; wing-coverts ashy-grey, 
margined with white, more broadly on the greater series ; the 
bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and primaries as in the male ; 
the secondaries dusky-brown, externally black and tipped with 
white, but not showing a distinct speculum like the male; 
inner secondaries velvety-black, edged with white on the outer 
web, and separated from the black speculum by a line of white, 
caused by the white outer web of a single inner secondary ; 
tail ashy-brown, narrowly fringed with white ; crown of head 
blackish, with small white b:;rs, producing a thickly mottled 
appearance ; lores, sides of face, and sides of throat fulvous, 
dotted and spotted with blackish, throat slightly more rufous ; 
remainder of the under surface pure white; the under tail- 
coverts centred and barred with brown ; the sides of the chest 
and of the body mottled with rufous. Total length, 16 inches; 
wing, 9-6. 

Young Birds. Are at first like the old female, and the males 
evidently take some time, probably two or three years, before 
they acquire their perfect livery. The younger birds with the 
speculum developed have often only half the wing-coverts 
white, and, judging by a specimen in the British Museum, 
killed in June at Kiukiang by Mr. Styan, I should say that, 
until the second summer, the male retains a wing exactly like 
that of the old female. After the breeding-season, Mr. De 

'I HE WIGEON. 279 

Winton writes to me, " both males and females assume a very 
distinct summer dress of reddish-brown, though the female is 
not quite so rufous. In the male all traces of the beautiful 
breeding-dress disappear." Sir Savile Crossley, finding that 
I was interested in the summer plumage of Ducks, very kindly 
had a pair of Wigeon caught for me and sent up to London 
alive. On the day of their arrival (August 24th) the male 
had moulted his wings and assumed the full plumage, 
speculum and all, but the female was still helpless, the quills 
being in full moult. The male, however, still retained much 
of his post-nuptial dress, and the feathers of the back were 
blackish, with rufous margins and bars ; the head and neck 
were rufous, spotted with black, but distinctly glossed with 
green ; the chest and sides of the body were dark chestnut, 
mottled with sub-terminal bars of black. 

The female was darker than the male, but the feathers were 
also blackish, with rufous bars and margins, and the head was 
especially dark, almost black, but with a very distinct green 
gloss ; the wing-markings, however, were very different from 
those of the male, and resembled, as far as the feathers were 
developed, those of the full-plumaged hen-bird. 

Characters. The Wigeon is distinguished by the white patch 
on the wing, formed by the median and greater coverts, the 
grey bill tipped with black, and the green speculum. 

Hybrids. Crosses have been known to take place between 
the Wigeon and Mallard, Teal, and Pin-tail. The latter are 
very rare, but Sir Edward Grey possesses a brood of the latter 
hybrids hatched on his estate in Northumberland. 

Range in Great Britain. Occurs chiefly in England during 
autumn and spring migration, sometimes in immense numbers. 
It has not been known to nest anywhere in England, but in 
the north of Scotland, in Sutherland, Ross, Cromarty, and 
Caithness it breeds regularly. Mr. Ussher writes with regard 
to the Wigeon in Ireland : " Lord Caledon states that he 
has seen the old birds in summer, at Caledon, Co. Tyrone. A 
pair of Wigeon were seen in June, 1893, on Lough Allen in 
Leitrim." The mere appearance of birds during the summer 
does not prove that they bred in the neighbourhood. This 
autumn a specimen was sent to the British Museum as a 


young Wigeon, and the bird in question was supposed to 
have been hatched in Hampshire, but it was not a young 
bird at all, but an old male, changing from his short-lived 
summer plumage to his full dress, and, therefore, he was 
probably a non-breeding individual which had remained in 
southern latitudes instead of going north to breed. This I 
take to be the case with the birds which have been seen in 
Norfolk and other counties of England during the summer. 

Range outside the British Islands. Breeds in the Arctic Re- 
gions of the Old World, from Iceland to Eastern Siberia. 
It also breeds occasionally in more southern latitudes, and 
its eggs have been taken on the Lower Danube by Mr. See- 
bohm, so that the improbability of its breeding in England is 
lessened, as the same author states that its nests have been 
found in France, Germany, and Bohemia. The range of the 
species extends eastwards to Kamtchatka. In winter it ranges 
south to Abyssinia and to Madeira, as well as to Northern 
India and the Burmese provinces and China, while stray 
examples have been met with in Borneo, and even as far south 
as the Marshall Islands. In North America it is found in 
Alaska and occurs as for south as California, and it is also 
found in winter on the Atlantic coasts. 

HaMts. In winter, when the Wigeon principally visits our 
coasts, it is a gregarious bird, and often occurs in enormous 
flocks on the sea-coasts and also on inland lakes, herding 
together on the latter with other Ducks, especially the 
Tufted Duck. The male, as is evidenced by the birds lent to 
me by Sir Savile Crossley, gets through his summer moult 
more rapidly than the female, and leaves to the latter the 
charge of bringing up the young. Lord Lilford says that " the 
note of the male bird is a shrill double whistle, once heard 
never to be forgotten," and Mr. Seebohm writes, " The cry 
of this Duck is a prolonged whistle or scream, immediately 
followed by a short note. I can best represent it by the 
syllables mee-yu, the first very loud and prolonged, the last 
low and short. It sounds very wild and weird, as in startles 
the ear on the margin of a mountain tarn or moorland lake, a 
solitary cry, high in key, not unmusical in tone, but one of the 
most familiar sounds on the banks of the Petchora or the 


Yenesei, where the Wigeon is very abundant, especially on 
the banks of the borderland where the forest merges into 
the tundra not far north of the Arctic Circle." 

Nest. The nests, according to Mr. Seebohm, are well con- 
cealed, generally close to the margin of a lake or pond, and 
are placed in the long grass and sedge, often under a willow- 
bush. Like those of most Ducks which breed in the Arctic 
Regions, they are very deep, well lined with dead grass and 
sedge, and, when the full clutch is laid, contain a quantity of 
down with which the eggs are covered when the female leaves 
the nest. 

Eggs. From seven to ten in number, more rarely twelve 
being found; buffy-white or cream-colour. Axis, 2*o-2'25 
inches; diam., z'45-1'55. 

Down. Extremely dark chocolate-brown with a dull star 
of white, and dull whitish filaments at the end of the down. 
The general aspect, however, is dark brown, the white being 
scarcely visible. 


Anas americana, Gm. S. N. p. 526 (1788); Seebohm, Br. B. 

iii. p. 543 (1885). 
Mareca americana, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 90 (1852); B. O. U. 

List Br. B. p. 124 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. 

iv. p. 403 (1885) ; id. Man. Br. B. p. 427 (1889) ; Salvad. 

Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 233 (1895). 

Adult Male. Differs from M. penelope in having the upper 
part of the head whitish instead of buff, the sides of the head 
and upper neck whitish, thickly spotted with black, and a broad 
patch of green extending from behind the eye to the hinder 
nape ; bill light greyish-blue, black at the end ; legs and feet 
light bluish; iris brown. Total length, 18 inches; culmen, 
i'6 ; wing, 10*2; tail, 4*4; tarsus, 1-4. 

Adult Female. Differs from the female of M. penelope in 
having the head and neck much whiter, the light part of the 
feathers being whitish instead of reddish-brown. Total length, 
i6 - 5 inches; culmen, 1*4; wing, 9*6; tail, 3*2; tarsus, 1*5. 


Kange in Great Britain. In the winter of 1837-38, Mr. Bartlett 
secured a specimen of the American Wigeon from a market in 
London. He preserved the bird, which afterwards passed into 
the collection of Mr. J. H. Gurney. In these days of freezing- 
chambers on board ship, the presence of a foreign Duck in 
an English market would be absolutely worthless as evidence of 
the occurrence of the species within the British area, but sixty 
years ago the modes of transit were not so easy, and the appear- 
ance of an American Wigeon among a lot of English Wigeon 
may be taken as sound evidence that the specimen had been 
procured within British limits. The few other records of the 
occurrence of the species in Great Britain all appear to be un- 
tnstworthy, though its capture once in France and again in 
the Azores is authentic. 

Range outside the British Islands. The American Wigeon 
breeds in the arctic portion of North America, occasionally as 
far south as the Northern United States. In winter it extends 
to the Southern States, Mexico, and the West Indies. 

Habits. Similar to those of M. penelope. 

Nest. Like that of M. penelope. 

333. Pale buff. Axis, 2*06 inches; diam., 1*48 (Ridgway). 


Nettion, Kaup, Natiirl. Syst. p. 95 (1829). 
Type, N. crecca (L.). 

Though resembling the Wigeon in the character of the bill, 
which has the lamellae of the upper mandible scarcely at all 
prominent, the Teal differ in having the bill moderate, and 
graduated towards the tip, where it becomes more rounded and 
broader than in the species of Mareca ; the scapulars and inner 
secondaries are longer and narrower than in that genus, and 
the coloration of the two sexes is distinctly different. 

Fifteen species are recognised by Count Salvadori, and the 
range of the genus is cosmopolitan. 

: ;^ ," , '> 

O ,11- ,*.!, '-, ' ,*'' 

THE TEAL. 283 


Anas crecca, Linn. S. N. i. p. 204 (1766). 

Querquedula crecca, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 48 (1852); Dresser, B. 

Eur. vi. p. 507, pi. 426 (1871); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 

127 (1883) ; Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 387 (1885); 

Scebohm, Br. B. iii. p. 545 (1885); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. 

B. part viii. (1888) ; Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 419 (1889). 
Nettioti crecca, Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 243 (1895). 

(.Plate LVIIL Fi S . i.) 

Adult Male. General colour above dusky-grey, with some- 
what coarse vermiculations of ashy-grey ; the scapulars, lower 
back, and rump browner, with darker centres to the feathers 
and scarcely any vermiculations ; the outer scapulars black and 
white, forming a double line of these colours ; the upper tail- 
coverts blackish, with whiter margins; wing-coverts uniform 
ashy-grey, the greater series broadly tipped with white, the 
inner ones with cinnamon-buff, forming a band along the 
upper edge of the speculum ; the bastard-wing, primary-coverts, 
and quills dusky-grey, the inner webs of the primaries browner ; 
the outer secondaries velvety-black, the inner ones externally 
metallic-green, or purplish-blue in other lights, followed by a 
line of velvety-black, of which the outer web of some of the 
inner secondaries are composed ; the innermost secondaries 
ashy-brown; tail-feathers ashy-brown; crown of head deep 
cinnamon or chestnut, as also the sides of the face and throat ; 
the chin black, extending in a line at the base of the bill to the 
forehead, which is also blackish ; this is succeeded by a line 
of creamy-buff in a crescent from the base of the bill to the 
eye, and is continued above the latter in a narrow line along 
the side of the crown ; the eye is surrounded by a black band, 
glossed with green or purple, which unites on the nape, and 
is bordered below for some distance by a line of white con- 
tinuous with the line which divides in front of the eye ; lower 
eyelid with a white spot ; under surface of body creamy-white ; 
the fore-neck and breast more fulvescent, and thickly spotted 
with black ; the sides of the body and flanks vermiculated with 
dusky-grey and blackish ; under tail-coverts black, the longer 
ones bordered with white, the basal ones white barred with 
dusky; on each side of the vent a patch of creamy-buff, with a 


velvety-black base ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white ; 
bill nearly black ; feet, toes, and membrane brownish-grey ; iris 
hazel. Total length, 14 inches; culmen, 1*5 ; wing, 7*0; tail, 
27 ; tarsus, i'i. 

Adult Female. Different from the male. Dark brown above, 
with crescentic or horse-shoe markings of tawny-buff on the 
mantle and back ; the lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts 
dusky and more blackish-brown, mottled with whitish edgings 
and centres to the feathers ; wing as in the male, with an 
equally distinct speculum, showing green in certain lights and 
purplish-blue in others ; the black border to the inner margin 
of the speculum dusky-black, not velvety-black ; crown of head 
rufous-brown with dusky streaks ; sides of face and throat 
ashy-whitish, minutely spotted with dusky; lores, a spot under 
the eye, and upper throat white ; breast white, with a slight 
reddish tinge on the fore-neck, this and the breast and flanks 
mottled, and the under tail-coverts streaked with dark brown 
centres to the feathers. Total length, 15-5 inches: culmen, 
1-25; wing, 67; tail, 2-5 ; tarsus, n. 

Mr. De Winton writes to me concerning the post-nuptial 
plumage of the Teal : " In the summer dress it is very diffi- 
cult to tell the males from the females, and they resemble each 
other more than any Duck I know. After a close inspection, 
the chief difference I can find is that the males have a more 
lead-coloured head, with no light stripe over the eye, but they 
show a little buff at the sides of the base of the tail. The 
female has a pale stripe over the eye, though this is never so 
distinct as in the hen Garganey." 

Young. At first both sexes resemble the old female in 
plumage, but are more distinctly mottled with dark centres 
to the feathers of the under surface, while the wing-coverts 
have pale margins. 

Hybrids. Tha Teal has been known to cross with other 
Ducks, such as the Mallard and Pin-tail, while the so-called 
Bimaculated Duck (A. bimaculata) is now admitted to be a 
hybrid between a Teal and a Mallard. 

Range in Great Britain. The Teal nests in most parts of the 
British Islands, but more plentifully in the north. Mr. Ussher 
says that it is reported to breed in every county in Ireland 

THE TEAL. 285 

except Dublin and Carlow. On migration there is a large 
increase in the numbers of Teal which visit us, and the species 
is commoner in winter. 

Kange outside the British Islands. The range of the present 
species in summer extends from Iceland throughout Northern 
Europe and Asia to Bering Island, breeding as far north as 
70 N. lat. In Southern Europe it is less frequent, though it 
nests in Madeira and in the Azores, but it is more plentiful in 
the Mediterranean countries in winter, when it ascends the 
Nile Valley and visits Abyssinia. In Central Asia and Eastern 
Siberia the species breeds more sparingly, but nests abun- 
dantly in the Commander Islands, and it is a common winter 
visitor to the Caspian Sea, the Indian Peninsula, China, and 
the Burmese countries. It is an occasional visitor to Green- 
land and the Eastern United States, as well as to Alaska. 

Habits. This is the smallest of the English Ducks, and is 
found in winter in a variety of places, on the lakes consorting 
with the Mallards and Wigeon, though keeping to itself in 
small parties, which generally take flight by themselves. At 
other times Teal may be found singly in water-holes in the 
marshes. Mr. Seebohm writes : " Its habits differ very little 
from those of its congeners ; perhaps it might be said that the 
Teal is more partial to small reedy ponds, and less fond of 
visiting the mud-banks on the sea-shore than its relations; 
but its food is the same mixture of animal and vegetable sub- 
stances. Its quack, or alarm-note, is very similar to that of 
the Garganey, and may be represented by the syllable knake^ 
but the call-note of both sexes is a sharp krik, and in the pair- 
ing-season the drake utters a harsh grating noise. It is quite 
as gregarious as its congeners." 

Like the Mallard, the Teal often builds its nest at some 
distance from water, and Lord Lilford says that he feels sure 
that, in such instances, it "carries its young to the splashy 
spots in which it delights." 

Nest. Does not differ from that of the other T'lcks, and is 
lined with down. As an instance of the early nesting of the 
Teal, Mr. Robert Read writes to me : " I have taken the nest 
of the Teal in May, under a tuft of heather on a hillside over- 
looking a fresh-water loch in Scotland. In the same locality 


I know of a nest with two fresh eggs having been found in 
February, when the ground was covered with snow. A shep- 
herd, seeing the hole in the snow, put his head in, expecting 
to get a rabbit, when out flew the female bird." 

Eggs. Eight to ten in number ; buffy-white or cream-colour, 
some greenish-white. Axis, 1*65-1*9 inches j diam., 1*2-1*35. 
Mr. Seebohm says that they are, as a rule, smaller than those 
of the Garganey, but they can only be distinguished with 
certainty by the down. This is sooty or deep chocolate-brown, 
with a very conspicuous star of white, the tips not being whitish, 
but brown, scarcely visible. 


Anas carolinensis, Gm. S. N. i. p. 533 (1788) ; Seebohm, Br. B. 

iii. p. 519 (1885). 
Querquedula carolinensis, B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 127 (1883) ; 

Saunders, Man. Br. B. p. 421 (1889). 
Nettion carolinense, Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 250 


(Plate LVI II. Fig. 2.) 

Adult Male. Very similar to that of N. crecca, but distin- 
guished by the whitish crescent on each side of the upper breast ; 
the whitish line which envelops the green patch on the sides 
of the head, and passes to the base of the bill, is scarcely 
visible, and the scapulars are uniform pale grey ; bill black ; 
feet light fleshy (horn-colour when dried) ; iris brown. Total 
length, 13-5 inches; culmen, 1*5; wing, 7*3; tail, 2-95; tar- 
sus, i'i. 

Adult Female. Not to be distinguished from that of N. 

Range in Great Brita'n. Three specimens of this little Teal 
have been captured in England, one near Scarborough in 
1852, another in Hampshire, and one near Kingsbridge in 
South Devon. Full particulars are given by Mr. Howard 
Saunders in his "Manual." 

Eange outside tlie British Islands. An inhabitant of North 
America, breeding chiefly north of the United States, and 


ranging in winter as far south as Honduras and Cuba 

HaMts. Similar to those of N. crecca. 

Eggs. Pale dull buff. Axis, 175 inch; diam., \'2 



Dafila, Steph. Gen. Zool. xiii. part 2, p. 126 (1824). 
Type, D. acuta (L.). 

The Pin-tailed Ducks, though in general structure much 
resembling the members of the preceding genera, have a dis- 
tinctive character in their long tail, the central feathers of 
which are elongated beyond the rest and pointed. The cul- 
men also is nearly straight. 

With the exception of Australia and New Zealand, the range 
of the genus Dafila may be said to be almost cosmopolitan. 
Only three species are recognised by Count Salvadori, for the 
Dafila modesta of Canon Tristram, from the Fanning Islands, 
will, in all probability, prove to be D. acuta, which has already 
been procured in Borneo on its southern migration. D. eatoni 
inhabits Kerguelen Island, and the Crozettes, and D. spini- 
canda is peculiar to South America. 


Anas acuta, Linn. S. N. i. p. 202 (1766) ; Seebohm, Br. B. iii. 
p. 534 (1885). 

Querquedula acuta, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 65 (1852). 

Dafila acuta, Dresser, B. Eur. vi. p. 531, pis. 430, 431 
(1873); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 124 (1883); Saunders, 
ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 380 (1885); id. Man. Br. B. p. 417 
(1889); Lilford, Col. Fig. Br. B. part xiii. (1890) ; Salvad. 
Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 273 (1895). 

Adult Male. General colour above ashy-grey, finely vermicu- 
lated with wavy lines of blackish; the long scapular plumes 
and inner secondaries bordered with white, and longitudinally 
centred with black, with a slight inclination to form a sickle- 
shaped curve ; the upper scapulars black for the greater part 


of their outer web, forming a large patch ; lower back and rump 
rather more dusky than the upper back ; the upper tail-coverts 
ashy-grey, with the centre or outer webs black, and the edge 
white ; the two centre tail-feathers black, six inches long, and 
produced far beyond the tail ; the rest of the tail-feathers grey 
with white margins, the inner ones blackish on the outer web ; 
wing-coverts uniform grey, the greater series tipped with pale 
cinnamon, forming a band along the upper margin of the 
speculum ; the bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills grey, 
except the outer webs of the latter and the tips, which are 
dusky ; the secondaries externally bronzy-green, broadly tipped 
with white, before which is a sub-terminal bar of black ; 
the inner secondaries externally black, forming a broad hind 
margin to the speculum ; crown of head, sides of face, and 
upper throat chocolate-brown, the crown slightly mottled with 
dusky, and the lower margin of the throat-patch inclining to 
sooty-brown, with a streak of bronzy-green gloss from behind 
the eye down the sides of the nape ; hind-neck ashy, with 
scarcely any trace of freckling, separated from the crown by a 
patch of black on the nape. Under surface of body pure white, 
this running up on the sides of the neck and forming a broad 
band which reaches to the nape; the sides of the body freckled 
with narrow wavy lines of grey ; on each side of the lower 
flanks a conspicuous patch of buff; under tail-coverts black, 
the lateral ones edged with white ; under \ving-coverts ashy, 
margined with white ; axillaries white, with a few dusky bars 
or shaft-stripes ; bill black, pale leaden-blue on sides of upper 
mandible ; legs and feet blackish-grey, paler on outside of tarsus 
and web of toes ; iris brown. Total length, 25 inches ; culmen, 
2-0; wing, 107; tail, 5-0; tarsus, 1-9. 

Adult Female. Different from the male. Brown above, the 
feathers edged with sandy-buff or white and barred or irregu- 
larly spotted with the same colour, the markings being gener- 
ally in the shape of a horse-shoe; wing-coverts ashy-grey, with 
whitish margins, more distinct on the greater coverts ; the 
quills brown, darker at the ends ; the secondaries broadly edged 
with White at the ends and slightly darker brown, but showing 
no speculum ; the tail-feathers brown, margined with white 
and irregularly barred with sandy-buff; crown of head rufous- 
brown, narrowly streaked with blackish ; the sides of the face 


fulvescent, with tiny streaks of dusky-brown extending down 
the sides of the neck, but absent on the throat, which is white ; 
remainder of under surface of body white, with a few spots of 
dusky-brown, only distinct on the fore-neck and sides of body 
where the feathers are centred with bars of brown ; under wing- 
coverts ashy, with whitish margins ; axillaries ashy, with 
irregular bars of white. Total length, 18 inches; oilmen, 17 ; 
wing, 97; tail, 4-1; tarsus, 1-5. 

A speculum is present in some birds said to be females, 
but it is much less distinct than in the males, and generally 
consists of a gloss cf bronzy-green on the feather. 

The old male, when out of plumage after the breeding-sea- 
son, resembles the female, but is much darker above and more 
spotted underneath ; the bars on the back are narrower and 
more distinctly transverse, instead of being of a horse-shoe 
shape ; the speculum is like that of the full plumage. 

Mr. De Winton writes : " The two sexes in their summer 
dress closely resemble each other. The breast, unde?-parts, 
and tail-coverts of the male are handsomely marked with 
crescent-shaped spots, the general colour is greyer than in the 
female, and the back does not quite lose its distinctive colour- 
ing. The bill is not strikingly bicoloured, so that if the two 
birds are not swimming close together, it is not very easy to 
distinguish them." 

Hybrids. The Pin-tail has been known to cross with the 
Mallard, the tame Duck, the Teal, and the Shoveler. 

Range in Great Britain. Known almost entirely as a winter 
visitor, though it probably breeds in a few isolated localities 
in Scotland. Mr. Harvie Brown has taken eggs from the island 
of Hysgeir, off Canna, and Mr. Howard Saunders has also 
seen young birds on the same island. It is commoner on the 
east of Scotland than on the west, but is much more frequent 
on the south and east coasts of England, being sometimes 
captured inland. Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey states that he has 
seen female Pin-tails with young broods on Loughs Mask and 
Corrib, and has noticed the species in summer on Lough 
Inagh in Connemara. It has also bred many years ago near 
Cranston in Queen's County, and Lord Castletown still pos- 

8 u 


sesses the egg, according to Mr. R. J. Ussher, who, however, 
states that there is "no recent evidence of the Pin-tail breed- 
ing in Ireland." 

Kange outside the British Islands. The Pin -tail is a bird of very 
wide distribution. It inhabits America, breeding in the far 
north in Alaska and Labrador up to 72 N. lat., wintering as 
far south as the West Indies and Panama. In the old World 
it breeds plentifully in the Arctic Regions up to 70 N. lat., 
and as far south as 50, but less frequently, and its breeding- 
range extends across Northern Asia to Bering Island. In 
winter it visits the Indian Peninsula and China, and has been 
found as far south as Borneo, and it doubtless occurs even 
farther to the southward. 

Habits. For grace and elegance of form in the water, the 
Pin-tail is probably the handsomest of our British Ducks. It 
is essentially a fresh-water species. Mr. Seebohm gives a very 
interesting account of his experiences with the Pin-tail in the 
Petchora, which space forbids me from quoting in full, but I 
give the following extract from his notes on the species : " It 
breeds in the midst of moors, lakes, rivers, and swamps, but 
during migration and in winter it spends most of its time on 
the sea-shore, to feed on the mud-flats at low tide. It is one 
of the earliest Ducks to arrive in spring, and one of the latest 
to leave in autumn. If the ground be not covered with snow, 
it makes its appearance in North Germany about the middle 
of March, and passes through again during the month of 
October, remaining in November until it is frozen out. In its 
habits it closely resembles the Mallard, feeding, like the other 
fresh-water Ducks, partly on insects and molluscs, and partly 
on the en4is of grass and the buds of water-plants, but, like 
the Mallard, it frequents the stubble-fields in autumn to pick 
up the fallen grain. Its voice closely resembles that of the 
Mallard and the Shoveler, but on the whole it is a silent bird. 
This may be accounted for by its extreme wariness ; it takes 
such great care to avoid danger, that its alarm-note of quack is 
not often required. Its call-note is a low kah ; and Naumann 
says that, in the pairing-season, the male may be seen swim- 
ming round the female, uttering a deep cliik, which, if the 
observer be fortunate enough to be sufficiently near to hear it, 


is preceded by a sound like the drawing-in of the breath, and 
followed by a low grating note." 

Nest Somewhat deep, with a lining of grass and sedge, 
placed, according to Mr. Seebohm, in the grass among the 
shrubs in dry places, generally at some distance from the 

Eggs. From seven to ten in number, of a pale greenish-buff 
colour. Axis, 2*05-2*4 inches ; diam., 1*4-1*5. The down is 
dark brown, with scarcely distinguishable whitish filaments at 
the tips, bat having a very prominent central star of white. 


Querquedula, Steph. Gen. Zool. xii. part 2, p. 142 (1824). 

Type, Q. querquedula (L.). 

The Garganeys, or Blue-winged Teal, differ from the true 
Teal {Ndtion\ with which they have generally been associated, 
in the soft membrane which fringes the terminal portion of the 
upper mandible, and the blue upper wing-coverts, in which 
respect they greatly resemble the Shoveler. 

Out of the five species recognised by Count Salvadori as 
belonging to this genus, two are exclusively South American, 
viz., Q. versicolor and Q. puna ; two are North American, Q. 
discors and Q. cyanoptera, wintering in Central and South 
America ; and one, Q. querquedula, is Palaearctic. 


Anas querquedula^ Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 203 (1766). 

Anas circia, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 204 (1766); Seebohm, Br. 

B. iii. p. 551 (1885); Lilford, Col. Fig. Brit. B. part 

xiii. (1890). 
Querquedula arcia, Macg. Br. B. v. p. 55 (1852); Dresser, B. 

Eur. vi. p. 513, pi. 427 (1871); B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 

126 (1883); Saunders, ed. Yarr. Br. B. iv. p. 393 (1885); 

id. Man. Br. B. p. 423 (1889); Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. 

xxvii. p. 293 (1895). 

Adult Male. General colour above dark brown, the centres 
of the feathers being blackish and the edgings reddish-brown ; 

U 9 


the lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts darker than the 
back, the feathers being blackish with ashy-grey margins ; tail- 
feathers dark brown, with paler edges ; wing-coverts delicate 
lavender-grey, the greater coverts broadly tipped with white, 
forming a broad band across the wing and making the upper 
border of the speculum ; bastard-wing and primary-coverts ashy- 
brown, with rather broad white margins ; quills blackish, more 
ashy on the inner web ; secondaries dusky-brown, externally 
dull metallic-green and broadly tipped with white, forming the 
lower border to the green speculum ; inner secondaries brown 
edged with whitish, and externally ashy near the base, the 
innermost blue-grey ; the adjoining scapulars long and slightly 
sickle-shaped, black with a slight greenish gloss, and relieved 
by a well-defined white longitudinal streak along the shaft , 
crown of head blackish, extending to the nape ; a few pale shaft- 
streaks on the forehead ; from above the eye a broad band ot 
white skirting the black ; lores, sides of face, and throat deep 
vinous-red, with numerous tiny shaft-streaks of white ; the fore- 
neck and breast sandy-buff, thickly barred with lines and 
circular marks of blackish ; abdomen white, or with a buff 
tinge, especially on the under tail-coverts, which are mottled 
and streaked with brown centres ; sides of body white, with 
fine cross-bars of greyish-black, with a double band of white 
and blue-grey divided by a black line on each side of the lower 
flanks; under wing-coverts and axillaries white, the edge of the 
wing bluish-grey ; bill black ; feet greyish-brown ; iris hazel. 
Total length, 16 inches; culmen, 1*55; wing, 7*3; tail, 27; 
tarsus, ro. 

Adult Female. Different from the male. General colour 
above dark brown, with rufescent edges to the feathers ; lower 
back and rump somewhat darker, with whitish margins ; upper 
tail-coverts brown, edged and barred with rufescent or buffy- 
white ; tail-feathers similar to those of the male ; wing-coverts 
light brown, washed with ashy-grey; the greater coverts margined 
with white, forming a white wing-bar ; quills dark brown, the 
secondaries blackish, tipped with white ; crown of head minutely 
streaked with brown and buffy-white, as also the sides of the 
face and neck, becoming lighter on the hind-neck; an indistinct 
eyebrow of dull white ; chin and throat white ; lower throat 
longitudinally streaked with minute blown centres to the 


feathers, like the sides of the neck ; the feathers on the fore- 
neck and sides of body white, mottled with brown centres; re- 
mainder of under surface buffy-white, with indistinct brown 
centres to some of the feathers, becoming pear-shaped on 
the under tail-coverts ; under wing-coverts white, the outer 
ones brown, edged with white; axillaries pure white. Total 
length, 14-3 inches ; wing, 6'8. 

Young Birds. At first resemble the old female, but the 
colour is rather darker and the breast is more rufous. They 
are very like young Teal, but can be distinguished by the 
absence of the green speculum. 

In post-nuptial plumage the colour of the male becomes 
like that of the old female, but it can always be distinguished 
by its brighter green speculum. The hen-like dress is retained 
for a longer period than in most Ducks, and remains of it can 
be seen in specimens shot well into the winter season. 

Range in Great Britain. The Garganey, or Summer Teal, as it 
is also called, comes to England in the spring, and nests in the 
eastern counties, but is of irregular occurrence elsewhere. Mr. 
De Winton writes to me : " It is possible that the Garganey 
succeeds in rearing a brood in parts of England not yet 
recorded. An occasional pair visit Herefordshire, and I have 
known them to be shot as late as May, when they ought to be 
hatching off. In 1894, Mr. Ashdown, the well-known local 
taxidermist, received a pair in the second week in May." 

In Scotland and Ireland and the greater part of England 
the Garganey is only of occasional occurrence in spring, and 
again on its return migration in autumn. 

Eange outside the British Islands. The range of the Garganey 
seems to be more southerly than that of the other species. It 
is only known as an accidental visitor to Scandinavia, the 
Faeroes, and Iceland, but breeds throughout the rest of Europe 
and as far north as Archangel. In Asia it is found breeding 
in Turkestan and Southern Siberia, but not in Northern Asia. 
In winter the Garganey is found in the Mediterranean, the 
Black and the Caspian Seas, and extends as far south as 
Somali-land, while in the east it is plentiful during the winter 
in India and China, and goes as far as Borneo and the Moluc- 


Habits. In its ways the Garganey resembles the Teal, but 
Mr. Seebohm calls attention to a few slight peculiarities in 
the habits of this species, viz., its intolerance of cold, which is 
apparently the reason that the bird does not venture so far 
north as its congeners, and accounts also for its earlier depar- 
ture south. Its flight is very rapid, but almost noiseless, and 
altogether the Garganey is somewhat of a silent species. He 
adds : " Its quack is not so loud as that of the Mallard, but 
is in a slightly higher key; it may be represented by the 
syllable knake, whence the German name for this duck ' knak- 
ente.' " It is generally uttered singly, but is sometimes re- 
peated twice. The quack is common to both sexes, but in 
the breeding-season the male utters a harsh grating note re- 
sembling kr-r-r." 

Nest According to Mr. Seebohm, this is placed in a variety 
of positions hidden under a bush or in thick grass or sedge, 
far away from water in the forest or among the corn, anywhere 
and everywhere where a hidden retreat can be found. It is 
made very deep, and is lined with dead grass and leaves, to 
which plenty of down is afterwards added. 

Eggs.- From eight to twelve, sometimes as many as fourteen ; 
buffy-white or cream-colour. Axis, 1*7-1 '8 inch; diam., 1-3. 

Down. Very dark, sooty-black in colour, with indistinct 
filamentous tips of ashy-white, and a small but tolerably well- 
marked star of white in the centre of the down. 


Anas discors, Linn. S. N. i. p. 205 (1766). 

Querquedula discors, B. O. U. List Br. B. p. 126 (1883); Saun- 
ders, ed. Yarr. Brit. B. iv. p. 392 (1884) ; id. Man. p. 422 
(1889); Salvad. Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 300 (1895). 

Adult Male. Differs from Q. querquedula in having the 
wing-coverts bright smalt-blue instead of pale blue, and also 
by having a crescent-shaped white band between the eyes and 
the bill of the male ; the throat and sides of the face are sooty- 
grey, and the crown of the head black; the under surface of 
the body is much darker than in Q. querquedula^ and is thickly 
spotted all over with dusky markings ; bill black : feet yellow- 


ish ; iris brown. Total length, 14*5 inches ; culmen, 17 ; wing, 
7-6; tail, 3-0; tarsus, 1-3. 

Adult Female. Darker than the female of Q. querquedula, and 
easily distinguished by its blue wings and dusky speculum ; the 
under surface of the body deep buff, thickly mottled with brown 
centres to the feathers, very broad on the flanks. Total length, 
14 inches ; wing, yo. 

Range in Great Britain. A purely accidental visitor, of which 
only one authentic occurrence is known, a male bird having 
been shot near Dumfries. The species has also been procured 
in Denmark, in April, 1886. 

Kange outside the British Islands North America in general, 
but chiefly east of the Rocky Mountains, in winter, the whole 
of the West Indies and Middle America, south to Ecuador 

Habits. Similar to those of Q. querquedula. 
Eggs. Pale buff. Axis, 1-84 inch; diam., 1-34. 


Abyssinian Roller. 74. 
abyssinicus, Coracias. 74. 
acadica, Nyctala. 102. 
Acanthyllis caudacuta. 43. 
acuta, Anas. 287. 

Dafila. 287. 

Querquedula. 287. 
Accipiter. 141. 

korschun. 171. 

major. 144. 

melanochistus. 144. 

melanoleucus. 142. 

nisus. 141, 142. 
Accipitres. 76, in. 
Accipitriformes. 76. 
accipitrina, Strix. 96. 
Accipitrinse. 124. 
accipitrinus, Asio. 96, 97. 
aegyptiaca, Chenalopex. 257. 
oegyptius, Caprimulgus. 50. 
aequatorialis, lynx. 16. 
Aeronautes. 38. 
seruginosus, Circus. 133, 135. 
cesalon, Falco. 187. 
affinis, Micropus. 36. 
africana, Upupa. 59. 
africanus, Micropus. 39. 
alaudarius, Tinnunculus. 2OI. 
albatus, Anser. 225. 

Chen. 225. 
albicilla, Haliaetus. 162, 163. 

Vultur. 163. 
albifrons, Anser. 227, 230, 231. 

Branta. 230. 
Alcedinidae. 64. 
Alcedinintie. 62. 
Alcedo. 66. 

alcyon. 65. 

Alcedo bengalensis. 68. 

ispida. 64, 66, 67. 
alcyon, Alceclo. 65. 

Ceryle. 62, 65. 
Alcyone. 64. 
aldrovandi, Scops. 8.1. 
Aluco flammeus. 108. 
aluco, Strix. 100. 

Syrnium. 100. 

Ulula. 100. 
American Cuckoos. 30. 

Gos-Hawk. 140. 

Hawk-Owl. 89 

Teal. 286. 

Tufted Owl. 82. 

Wigeon. 281. 
americana, Anas. 281. 

Mareca. 281. 
americanus, Asio. 95. 

Coccyzus. 30. 

Cuculus. 30, 33. 

Cygnus. 246. 
amurensis, Cerchneis. 209. 
analis, Dendrocopus. i. 
Anas. 269. 

acuta. 287. 

americana. 281. 

boscas. 269. 

boschas. 269. 

casarca. 263. 

carolinensis. 286. 

circia. 291. 

clypeata. 265. 

crecca. 283. 

cygnus. 247. 

discors. 294. 

fabalis. 232. 

leucopsis. 236, 



i penelope. 277. 

penelops. 277. 

segetum. 232. 

strepera. 273. 

tadorna. 258. 

querquedula. 291. 
Anatidoe. 224. 
Anatin;e. 257. 
Anser. 225, 227. 

albatus. 225. 

albifrons. 227, 230, 231. 

anser. 227. 

brachyrhynchus. 234, 

branta. 239. 

branta glaucogaster. 239. 

gambeli. 231. 

hyperboreus. 225. 

indicus. 224, 225. 

leucopsis. 237. 

rubrirostris. 229. 

ruficollis. 243. 

segetum. 232. 

segetum brachyrhynchus. 234. 

serrirostris. 233. 
Anseres. 224. 
Anseriformes. 223. 
Anserince. 224. 
Ant-Eaters 2 
apiaster, Merops. 54, 57, 
apivorus, Falco. 177. 

Pernis. 176, 177. 
apus, Cypselus. 40, 

Hirundo. 40. 

Micropus. 35, 36, 38, 39, 40. 
Aquila. 153, 156. 

chrysaetus. 156, 162. 

clanga. 159. 

hastata. 159, 161. 

lagopus. 154. 

maculata. 159, i r -i. 

noevia. 159. 

pomarina. 161, 162. 
Aquilince. 152, 174. 
Archibuteo. 153. 

lagopus. 153, 154. 

sancti johannis. 155. 
Asio. 93. 

accipitrinus. 96, 97. 

americanus. 95. 

Asio brachyotus. 96. 

capensis. 98. 

galapagensis. 98. 

otus. 93,94- 

sandwichensis. 98. 
asio, Scops. 82. 
Astur. 136. 

atricapillus. 140, 141. 

palumbarius. 136, 137, 141. 
ater, Milvus. 171. 
Athene noctua. 91. 
atrata, Chenopsis. 246. 
atricapillus, Astur. 140, 141. 

Falco. 140. 

bactriana, Carine. 92. 
Bald Eagle. 165. 
Banded Kingfisher. 64. 
Barn-Ovvl. 77, 107, 108, no. 
bassana, Sula. 218. 
bassanus, Dysporus. 2 1 8. 
Bean-Goose. 231, 232. 
Bee-Eater. 53, 64. 

Blue-tailed. 57. 

Common. 54. 

Long-tailed. 54. 
Belted Kingfisher. 62, 64, 65. 
Bengal Vulture. 118. 
bengalensis, Alcedo. 68. 

Pseudogyps. 118. 
Bernacle Goose. 236. 
bernicla, Branta. 236, 239, 240. 
Bernicla canadensis. 225. 

leucopsis. 237. 

ruficollis. 243. 
bewicki, Cygnus. 252. 
Bewick's Swan. 252. 
bimaculata, Querquedula. 284. 
Bimaculated Duck. 284. 
Black Gyr-Falcon. 196. 
Black Kite. 171. 
Black- necked Swan. 246. 
Black-shouldered Kite. 173. 
Black Swan. 246. 
Black-and-white Kingfisher. 65. 
blakistoni, Bubo. 80. 
Blue Kingfishers. 66. 
Blue-tailed Beef-Eater. 57. 
Blue-winged Teal. 290, 294. 



borealis, Buteo. 151. 

Falco. 151. 
boscas, Anas. 269. 
boschas, Anas. 269. 
brachyotus, Asio. 96. 

Strix. 97. 

Brachypteraciinae. 70. 
brachyrhynchus, Anser. 234. 
Branta. 236. 
Branta albifrons. 230. 

bernicla. 236, 239. 

glaucogaster. 240. 

hutchinsi. 236. 

leucopsis. 236. 

nigricans. 236, 240. 

minima. 236. 

occidentalis. 236. 
branta, Anser. 239. 

Bernicla. 239, 240. 
brasiliensis, Scops. 82, 83. 
Brent Geese. 224. 236, 239. 
Broad-billed Rollers. 71. 
Bubo. 77, 78. 

bubo. 78. 

blakistoni. 80. 

ignavus. 78. 

maculosus. 80. 

maximus. 79 

turcomanus. 80. 

virginianus. 80. 
bubo, Strix. 78. 
Bubonidne. 77. 
buccinator, Cygnus. 246. 
Buccones. I. 
Bucerotes. 33, 58. 
Bulbul, Gold-vented. 80. 
Burrowing-Owls. 77. 
Bush Cuckoos. 20, 21. 
Buteo. 147. 

borealis. 151. 

buteo. 147, 150. 

desertorum. 149, 150. 

fuscus. 147. 

lagopus. 154. 

lineatus. I5 2 

vulgaris. 147. 
buteo, Buteo. 147, 150. 

Falco. 147. 
Buteoninse. 123, 146. 

Buzzard, Common. 147. 

Desert. 150. 

Red-shouldered. 152. 

Red-tailed. 152. 
Buzzard -Eagle. 153. 

Rough-legged. 154. 
Buzzards. 123, 146, 147. 

cseruleus, Elanus. 174. 

Falco. 174. 
Canada Goose. 225. 
canadensls, Bernicla. 225. 
candicans, Falco. 191. 

Falco gyrfalco. 195. 

Hierofalco. 191. 
canorus, Cuculus. 23,24,31. 
capensis, Asio. 98. 

Pycnonotus. 80. 

Scops. 83. 
Caprimulgi. 45. 
Caprimulgidoe. 45. 
Caprimulgus. 45. 

segyptius. 50. 

europceus. 45, 46, 50, 52. 

ruficollis. 51. 

unwini. 48. 
carbo, Pelecanus. 211, 214. 

Phalacrocorax. 211. 
Carine. 77, 90. 

bactriana. 92. 

glaux. 92. 

noctua. 90, 91, 104. 
carolinense, Nettion. 286. 
carolinensis, Anas. 285. 

Querquedula. 285. 
Casarca. 262. 

casarca. 262, 263. 

rutila. 263. 
casarca, Anas. 263. 

Casarca. 262, 263. 

Tadorna. 263. 
caudacuta, Acanthyllis. 43. 

Choetura. 35, 43. 

Hirundo. 43. 
cenchris, Cerchneis. 204, 

Falco. 204. 

Tinnunculus. 204. 
Centropodime. 20. 
Cerchneis. 200, 



Cerchneis amurensis. 209. 

cenchris. 204. 

naumanni. 204. 

tinnunculus. 200, 201. 

vespertina. 207, 210. 
Certhiidse. 2. 
Ceryle. 64, 65. 

alcyon. 62, 65. 

rudis. 64, 65. 
Ceyx. 63. 
Chactura. 35. 

caudacuta. 43. 

pelagica. 43. 
Choeturinoe. 42. 
Chanting Gos-IIawks. 124. 
Chaulelasmus. 273. 

streperus. 273. 
Chen. 225. 

albatus. 225. 

hyperboreus. 225. 

nivalis. 227. 

Chenalopex segyptiaca. 257. 
Chenonetta. 224. 
Chenonettinse. 257 
Chenopsis atrata. 246. 
Chilian Swan. 246. 
Chloephaga. 224. 
chrysaetus, Aquila. 156, 162. 

Falco. 156. 

cineraceus, Circus. 129. 
cinereus, Anser. 228. 
Circaetus. 153. 

gallicus. 176. 
circia, Anas. 291. 

Querquedula. 291. 
Circus. 124. 

reruginosus. 133, 138. 

cineraceus. 129. 

cyaneus. 124, 125. 

pygargus. 129. 

spilonotus. 135. 
cissa, Dendrocopus. 9. 
clanga, Aquila. 159. 
clypeata, Anas. 265. 

Rhynchaspis. 266. 

Spatula. 265. 
Coccyges. 19. 
Coccystes. 21. 

glandarius. 21. 

Coccyzus. 30. 

americanus. 30. 

occidentalis. 31. 
Colics. 33. 
Collocalia. 35, 43. 

fuciphaga. 35. 

linchii. 35. 
Common Bee-Eater. 54. 

Buzzard. 147. 

Cuckoo. 24. 

Flamingo. 222. 

Gos-Hawk. 137. 

Hoopoe. 59. 

Kestrel. 201. 

Kingfisher. 67. 

Kite. 168. 

Roller. 71. 

Sheld-Duck. 258. 

Sparrow-Hawk. 142. 

Swift. 40. 

Teal. 283. 

Wryneck. 16. 
communis, Falco. 181. 
Coraciae. 70. 
Coracias. 71. 

abyssinicus. 74. 

garrulus. 71, 74, 75. 

indicus. 75. 

leucocephalus. 74. 
Coraciidae. 70. 
Coraciiformes. 76. 
Cormorants. 210, 211, 218 
cornuta, Tadorna. 258. 
Corythornis. 64, 67. 
Coscoroba coscoroba. 246. 

melanocoryphus. 246. 
coscoroba, Coscoroba. 246. 
Coues' Gadwall. 272. 
crecca, Anas. 283. 

Nettion. 283, 286. 

Querquedula. 283. 
Crested Cuckoos. 21. 

Eagles. 153. 

Kingfishers. 64. 
croaticus, Phalacrocorax. 216 
Crotophaga. 19. 
Crotophagince. 21. 
Cuckoo. 19, 20. 

American. 30. 



Cuckoo, Bush. 20, 21. 

Common. 24. 

Crested. 21. 

Great Spotted. 21. 

Lark-heeled. 20. 

True. 20, 21, 23. 

Yellow-billed. 30. 
Cuculinoe. 20, 21. 
Cuculus. 23. 

americanus. 30, 33. 

canorus. 23, 24, 31. 

glandarius. 21. 
cyaneus, Circus. 124, 125. 

Falco. 125. 

cyanocephala, Eudynamis. 20. 
Cygninse. 246. 
Cygnus. 246. 

americanus. 246. 

bewicki. 252. 

buccinator. 246. 

immutabilis. 255. 

musicus. 247. 

olor. 246, 254, 255. 
cygnus, Anas. 247. 
Cypseli. 34. 
Cypselidoe. 35, 38. 
Cypselinse. 37, 38. 
Cypselus apus. 40. 

mclba. 38. 

pekinensis. 41. 

Dacelo gigas. 63. 
Daceloninse. 62, 64. 
Dafila. 287. 

acuta. 287. 

eatoni. 287. 

modesta. 287. 

spinicauda. 287. 
danfordi, Dendrocopus. 14. 
delicatula, Strix. 108. 
Dendrocolaptidoe. 2. 
Dendrocopus. 7. 

analis. I. 

cissa. 9. 

danfordi. 14. 

leuconotus. 4. 

leucopterus. 9. 

lignarius. 8. 

major. 8, 9, 10. 

Dendrocopus minor. 10, II, 14. 

mixtus. 8. 

pipra. 14. 

poelzami. 9. 

pubescens. n, 12. 

quadrifasciatus. 14. 

villosus. 10. 
Desert Buzzard. 150. 
desertorum, Buteo. 149, 150. 

Falco. 150. 

desmaresti, Phalacrocorax. 216. 
Diplopterinae. 21. 
discors, Anas. 294. 

Querquedula. 294. 
Double-toothed Kite-Falcons. 177. 
Downy Owlets. 102. 

Woodpecker. 11. 
Duck, Bimaculated. 284. 

Wild. 269. 
Ducks, Sheld-. 257. 

True. 257, 269. 

Eagle, Bald. 165. 

Buzzard. 153. 

Crested. 153. 

Golden. 156. 

Harpy. 146. 

Hawk. 153. 

Lesser Spotted. 156. 

Sea. 153, 162. 

Snake. 153, 176. 

True. 156. 

White-tailed. 163. 
Eagle-Owls. 77, 78. 
eatoni, Dafila. 287. 
Egyptian Goose. 257. 
Egyptian Scavenger Vulture. 120. 
Elanoides. 166. 

furcatus. 166. 
Elanus. 173. 

cieruleus. 174. 
epops, Upupa. 59. 
ernesti, Falco. 182. 
Eudynamis cyanocephala. 20. 

europoeus, Caprimulgus. 



Eurystomus. 71. 
Eutolmaetus. 153 

shouldered Kite. 


3 OI 

fabalis, Anas. 232. 
Falco. 1 80. 

sesalon. 187. 

apivorus. 177. 

atricapillus. 140. 

borealis. 151. 

buteo. 147. 

coeruleus. 174. 

candicans. 191. 

cenchris. 204. 

chrysaetus. 159. 

communis. 181. 

cyaneus. 125. 

desertorum. 150. 

ernesti. 182. 

furcatus. 166. 

gyrfalco. 192, 194, 197. 

islandicus. 194, 195. 

island us. 191, 192. 

lagopus. 154. 

lineatus. 152. 

maculatus. 159. 

migrans. 171. 

xnilvus. 1 68. 

ncevius. 159. 

nisus. 142. 

palumbarius. 137. 

peregrinator. 182. 

peregrinus. 180, iSl. 

punicus. 182. 

pygargus. 129. 

regulus. 187. 

subbuteo. 184. 

tinnunculus. 201. 

vespertinus. 207. 
Falconidoe. 116, 123. 
Falconinse. 180. 
Falcons, Gyr-. 191. 

Peregrine. 181, 182. 

True, 1 80. 

Fish-eating Kingfishers. 62 ; 64. 
Fishing-Owls. 77. 
Fissirostres. 34. 
Flamingo. 221. 

Common. 222. 
flammea, Strix. 106, 107, 108. 
flammeus, Aluco. 108. 
Fregati. 210. 
Frigate Birds. 210. 

Frog- mouths. 33. 
fuciphaga, Collocalia. 35. 
fulvescens, Gyps. 118. 
fulvus, Gyps. 116, 117, 119. 

Vultur. 117. 
funerea, Strix. 89. 

Surnia. 87, 88, 89. 

Syrnia. 89. 
furcatus, Elanoides. 166. 

Falco. 1 66. 

Nauclerus. 166. 
fuscus, Buteo. 147. 

Gadwalls. 273. 

Gadwall, Coues'. 273. 

galapagensis, Asio. 98. 

Galbulse. I. 

gallicus, Circaetus. 176. 

gambeli, Anser. 231. 

gambensis, Plectropterus. 225. 

Gampsonyx. 174. 

Gannets. 210, 218. 

Garganey. 291. 

garrulus, Coracias. 71, 74, 75. 

Gecinus. 5. 

sharpii. 5, 6. 

vaillanti. 5. 

viridis. 5. 
Geese. 223, 224. 

Brent. 224, 236. 

Snow. 225. 

True. 227. 
Geranospizias. 124. 
Giant Kingfisher. 63. 
gigas, Dacelo. 63. 
ginginianus, Neophron. 12 1. 
giu, Scops. 8 1. 
glandarius, Coccystes. 21. 

Cuculus. 21. 

Oxylophus. 21. 
Glaucidium. 77, 90. 

passerinum. 90. 
glaucogaster, Anser. 239. 

Branta. 240. 
glaux, Carine. 92. 
Golden Eagle. 156. 
Gold-vented Bulbul. 80. 
Goose, Bean. 231, 232. 

Bernacle. 236. 



Goose, Brent. 239. 

Canada. 225. 

Egyptian. 257. 

Grey Lag-. 231. 

Indian. 225. 

Kelp. 224. 

Maned. 224. 

Pink-footed. 234. 

Red-breasted. 243. 

Spur-winged, 225. 

White-fronted. 230. 
Gos-Hawks. 136. 

American. 140. 

Chanting. 124. 

Common. 137. 
govinda, Milvus. 172. 
graculus, Pelecanus. 215. 

Phalacrocorax. 215. 
grandis, lyngipicus. i. 
Grass-Owls. 107. 
Great Black Woodpecker. 4. 
Great Harpy Eagle. 146. 
Great Spotted Cuckoo. 21. 
Great Spotted Woodpecker. 8. 
grebnitskii, Hierofalco. 196. 
Greenland Gyr-Falcon. 191. 
Green Woodpecker. 3, 5. 

Sharpe's. 5. 

Vaillant's. 5. 
Grey Gyr- Falcons. 193, 196, 197. 

Kite-Falcons. 176. 

Lag-Goose. 231. 
Griffon Vultures. 116, 117. 
Ground Rollers. 70. 
Guacharos. 33. 
Guira, 19. 
Gypoictinia. 174. 
Gyps. 1 1 6. 

fulvescens. in. 

fulvus. 116, 117, 119. 

hispaniolensis. 117. 

rueppelli, 117. 
gyrfalco, Falco. 192, 194, 197. 

Hierofalco. 193, 196, 197. 
Gyr-Falcon. 191. 

Black. 196. 

Greenland. 191. 

Grey. 193, 196, 197. 

Henderson's. 191. 

Gyr-Falcon, Holboell's. 193, 196. 
Iceland. 194, 196. 
Norwegian. 196. 
Saker. 191. 

Hairy Woodpecker. 10. 
Halcyon smyrnensis. 64. 
Halcyones. 62, 63, 64. 
Haliaetus. 153, 162. 

albicilla. 162, 163. 

leucogaster. 163, 165. 
haliaetus, Pandion. 112. 
Haliastur. 153, 165. 
Harpagus. 177. 
harpyia, Thrasaetus. 146. 
Harrier, Hen-. 125, 126. 

Marsh-. 133. 

Montagu's. 129. 
Harriers. 124. 
hastata, Aquila. 159,161. 
Hawk-Eagles. 153. 
Hawk-Owl. 77, 84, 87. 

American. 89. 

European. 87. 

Hawks, Long-legged. 123, 124. 
hendersoni, Hierofalco. 191. 
Henderson's Gyr-Falcon. 191. 
Hen-Harrier. 125, 126. 
Henicopernis. 174. 
Hierofalco. 191. 

candicans. 191. 

grebnitskii. 196. 

gyrfalco. 193, 196, 197. 

hendersoni. 191. 

holboelli. 193, 196, 199. 

islandicus. 194, 199. 

islandus. 195. 

mexicanus. 191. 

obsoletus. 196. 

saker. 191. 

uralensis. 196. 
Ilirundo apus. 40. 

caudacuta, 43. 

melba. 38. 

rustica. 36, 37. 
hispaniolensis, Gyps. 117. 
Hobby. 184. 

holboelli, Hierofalco. 193, 196, 


Holboell's Gyr-Falcon. 193, 196. 
Honey-Kite. 176, 177. 
Hoopoe. 58. 

Common. 59. 

Indian. 59. 

True. 59. 
Hornbills. 33, 58. 
Horned Owls. 93. 
Humming-Birds. 2, 33, 34. 
hutchinsi, Branta, 236. 
hyperboreus, Anser. 225. 

Chen. 225. 

Iceland Gyr-Falcon. 194, 196. 
Ictinia. 176. 
ictinus, Milvus. 168. 
ignavus, Bubo. 78- 
immutabilis, Cygnus. 255. 
Indian Goose. 225. 

Hoopoe. 59. 

Roller. 75. 

Swift. 36. 
indicus, Anser. 224, 225. 

Coracias. 75. 
insularis, Strix. 108. 
Isabelline Night-Jar. 50. 
islandicus, Falco. 194. 

Hierofalco. 194, 199. 
islandus, Falco. 191, 192, 195. 

Ilierofalco. 195. 
ispida, Alcedo. 64, 66, 67. 
Ispidina. 63. 
lynginse. 4. 
lyngipicus grandis. I. 
lynx. 15, 1 6. 

cequatorialis. 16. 

pectoralis. 16. 

pulchricollis. 16. 

torquilla. 1 6. 

Jacamars. I. 

Kelp Goose. 224. 
Kestrel. 200. 

Common. 201. 

Lesser. 204. 

Red-footed. 207, 209. 
Ketupa. 77. 
ingfisher. 62. 

Kingfisher, Banded. 64. 

Belted. 62, 64, 65. 

Black-and-White. 65. 

Blue. 66. 

Common. 67. 

Crested. 64. 

Giant. 63. 
Kite, Black. 171. 

Black-shouldered. 173, 174. 

Brahminy. 165. 

Common. 168. 

Honey. 176, 177. 

Red. 168. 

Riocour's. 1 66. 
korschun, Accipiter. 171. 

Milvus. 171. 

lagopus, Aquila. 154. 

Archibute.o. 153, 154. 

Buteo. 154. 

Falco. 154. 
Laniidoe. in. 
Larger Spotted Eagle. 159- 
Lark-heeled Cuckoos. 20. 
Leptodon. 174. 
Leptosomati . 33. 
Lesser Kestrel. 204, 205. 

Spotted Eagle. 156. 

Spotted Woodpecker. 12. 
leucocephalus, Coracias. 74. 

Pandion. 113. 

leucogaster, Haliaetus. 163, 165. 
leuconotus, Dendrocopus. 4. 
leucopsis, Anas. 236. 

Anser. 237. 

Bernicla. 237. 

Branta. 236. 

leucopterus, Dendrocopus. 9. 
lignarius, Dendrocopus. 8. 
linchii, Collocalia. 35. 
lineatus, Buteo. 152. 

Falco. 152. 
Little Owls. 77, 90, 91. 
Long-eared Owl. 94, 95. 
Long-legged Hawks. 123, 124. 
Long-tailed Bee-Eaters. 54. 

Machrerhamphus. 174. 
Machrochires. 34. 


Macropteryginre. 37. 
maculata, Aquila. 159, 161. 
maculatus, Falco. 159. 
maculosus, Bubo. 80. 
Madagascar Rollers. 33. 
major, Accipiter. 144. 

Denclrocopus. 8, 9, 10. 

Picus, 8. 
Malacorhynchus. 265. 

membranaceus. 265. 
Mallard. 269. 
Maned Goose. 224. 
Mareca. 276. 

americana. 281. 

penelope. 276, 281. 
marginata, Upupa. 59, 
Marsh-Harrier. 133. 
martius, Picus. 4. 
maximus, Bubo. 79. 
melanochistus, Accipiter. 144. 
melanocoryphus, Coscoroba. 246. 
melanoleucus, Accipiter. 142. 
melanotis, Milvus. 172. 
melba, Cypselus. 38. 

Hirundo. 38. 

Micropus. 35, 38. 
Melierax. 124, 


Merlin. 187. 
Meropidre. 54. 
Meropes. 53, 54. 
Merops apiaster. 54, 57. 

philippensis. 57. 
mexicanus, Hierofalco. 191, 
Micrastur. 125. 
Micropus. 38. 

affinis. 36. 

africanus. 39. 

apus. 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 

melba. 35, 38. 

murarius. 40. 
migrans, Falco. 171. 

Milvus. 171. 
Milvus. 167. 

ater. 171. 

govinda. 172. 

ictinus. 1 68. 

korschui^ 171. 


Milvus melanotis. 172. 

migrans. 171. 

milvus. 167, 1 68. 

regalis. 161. 
milvus, Falco. 168. 

Milvus. 167, 1 68. 
minima, Branta. 176. 
minor, Dendrocopus. 10, 11, 14. 

Picus. 12. 

mixtus, Dendrocopus. 8. 
modesta, Dafila. 287. 
monachus, Neophron. 120. 
Montagu's Harrier. 129. 
Moth-plumaged Night-Jars. 45. 
Mot-mots. 33. 
murarius, Micropus. 40. 
musicus, Cygnus. 247. 
Musophagi. 19. 
Mute Swan. 254. 

ncevia, Aquila. 159. 
nsevius, Falco. 159. 
Narrow-necked Woodpeckers. 5, 
Nauclerus furcatus. 166. 

riocouri. 166. 
naumanni, Cerchneis. 204. 
Nectariniidae. 2. 
Needle-tailed Swifts. 43. 
Neomorphinae. 21. 
Neophron. 120. 

ginginianus. 121. 

monachus. 120. 

percnopterus. 120. 

pileatus. 120. 

Nesochen sandwichensis. 224. 
Nettion. 282. 

carolinense. 286. 

crecca, 283, 286. 
Night-Jar. 34, 43, 45, 47. 

Isabelline. 50. 

Red-necked. 51. 
nigricans, Branta. 236, 240. 
nisus, Accipiter. 141, 142. 

Falco. 142. 
nivalis, Chen. 227. 
nivicolum, Syrnium. IOT. 
Noctua noctua. 91. 
noctua, Athene. 91. 

Carine. 90, 91, 104. 



noctua, Noctua. 91. 

Strix. 91. 

Norwegian Gyr-Falcon. 196. 
Nyctala. 93, 102. 

acadica. 102. 

richardsoni. 105. 

tengmalmi. 103. 
Nyctea. 77, 84. 

nyctea. 84. 

scandiaca. 85. 
nyctea, Nyctea. 84. 

Strix. 84. 

Surnia. 85. 

Syrnia. 84. 

obsoletus, Hierofalco. 196. 
occidentalis, Branta. 236. 

Coccyzus. 31. 

olor, Cygnus. 246, 254, 255. 
onocrotalus, Pelecanus. 210. 
Ospreys. 76, in, 112. 
otus, Asio. 93, 94. 

Strix. 94. 
Owlets, Downy. 102. 

Pigmy. 90. 
Owls. 76. 

American Tufted. 82. 

Barn, 77, 107, 108, no. 

Burrowing. 77. 

Eagle. 77, ; 8. 

Grass. 107. 

Hawk. 77, 84, 87. 

Horned. 93. 

Little. 77, 90, 91. 

Long-eared. 94, 95. 

Pigmy. 77. 

Saw-whet. 102. 

Scops. 82. 

Short-eared. 96, 98. 

Small Tufted. 81,82. 

Snowy. 77, 84, 85. 

Tawny. 100, 101. 

Tengmalm's. 103, 104. 

Tufted. 77, 81. 

White. 106, 107. 

Wood. 93, 100. 
Oxylophus glandarius. 21. 

palumbarius, Astur. 136, 137, 141, 

palumbarius, Falco. 137. 
Pandion. 76, ill, 112. 

haliaetus. 112. 

leucocephalus. 113. 
Parrot, Racket-tailed. 64. 
Passeriformes. 35. 
passerinum, Glaucidium. 90. 
pectoralis, lynx. 16. 
pekinensis, Cypselus. 41. 
Pelecanus bassanus. 218. 

carbo. 211, 214. 

graculus. 215. 

onacrotalus. 210. 
pelagica, Choetura. 43. 
Pelargopsis. 64, 65. 
Pelican, White. 210. 
percnopterus, Neophron. I2O. 

Vultur. 120. 
penelope, Mareca. 277, 281. 

Anas. 277. 

peregrinator, Falco. 182. 
Peregrine Falcon. 181, 182. 
peregrinus, Falco. 180, 181. 
Pernis. 174, 176. 

apivorus. 177. 

ptilonorhynchus. 179. 
Phieniconaias. 222. 
Phaenicoparrus. 222. 
Phcenicopterus. 221, 222. 

roseus. 222. 

ruber. 223. 
Phalacrocorax carbo. 2 1 1 . 

croaticus. 216. 

desmaresti. 216. 

graculus. 215. 
philippensis, Merops. 57* 
Phaetontes. 2IO. 
Picarian Birds. 33. 
Pici. 2. 

Picidoe. 2, 3, 4, 15, 17. 
Piciformes. I. 
Piculets. 2, 4. 
Picus major. 8. 

martius. 4. 

minor. 12. 

pipra. 8. 

pubescens. n. 

striolatus. 12. 

villosus. 9, 10. 




Picus viridis.' 5. , 

Pied Swallow-tailed Kites. 166. 

Pied Swift. 38. 

Pied Woodpeckers. 7. 

Pigmy Owlets. 90. 

pileatus, Neophron. 120. 

Pink-footed Goose. 234. 

Pin-tail. 286, 287. 

pipra, Dendrocopus. 14. 

Picus. 8. 

Plectropterus gambensis. 225. 
Podargi. 33. 

poelzami, Dendrocopus. 9. 
Polish Swan. 255. 
Polyborinoe. 123. 
Polyboroides. 124. 
pomarina, Aquila. 161, 162. 
Prioniturus. 64. 
Pseudogyps bengalensis. 118. 
psilodactyla, Syrnia. 91. 
Psittaci. 76. 

ptilonorhynchus, Pernis. 179. 
pubescens, Dendrocopus. II, 12. 

Picus. II. 
Puff-Birds, i. 
pulchricollis, lynx. 16. 
punctatissima, Strix. 108. 
punicus, Falco. 182. 
Pycnonotus capensis. 80. 
pygargus, Circus. 129. 

Falco. 129. 

quadrifasciatus, Dendrocopus. 14. 
Querquedula. 291. 

acuta. 287. 

bimaculata. 284. 

carolinensis. 286. 

circia. 291. 

crecca. 283. 

discors. 294. 

querquedula. 290, 291. 

strepera. 273. 
querquedula, Anas. 291. 

Querquedula. 290, 291. 

Racket-tailed Kingfishers. 64. 
Racket-tailed Parrots. 64. 
Red-breasted Goose. 243. 
Red-footed Kestrel. 207, 209. 

Red Kite. 168. 
Red-necked Night -Jar. 51. 
Red-shouldered Buzzard. 152. 
Red-tailed Buzzard. 151. 
regalis, Milvus. 168. 
regulus, Falco. 187. 
Rhynchaspis clypeata. 266. 
richardsoni, Nyctala. 105. 
riocouri, Nauclerus. 166. 
Riocour's Kite. 166. 
Roller, Abyssinian. 74. 

Broad-billed. 71. 

Common. 71. 

Ground. 70. 

Indian. 75. 

Madagascar. 33. 
roseus, Phoenicopterus. 222. 
Rosthramus. 174. 
Rough-legged Buzzard-Eagle. 154. 
ruber, Phnenicopterus. 222. 
rubrirostris, Anser. 229. 
Ruddy Shelcl-Duck. 261. 
rudis, Ceryle. 64, 65. 
rueppelli, Gyps. 117. 
Ruffed Gos- Hawks. 125. 
ruficollis, Anser. 243. 

Bernicla. 243. 

Caprimulgus. 51. 
Ruppell's Vulture. 117. 
rustica, Hirundo. 36, 37. 
rutila, Casarca. 263. 

Tadorna. 263. 

Saker Gyr-Falcon. 191 
saker, Hierofalco. 191. 
sancti johannis, Archibuteo. 155. 
sandwichensis, Asio. 98. 

Nesochen, 224. 
Saw-whet Owl. 102. 
scandiaca, Nyctea. 85. 
Scavenger Vultures. 120. 
Scops. 77, 81. 

aldrovandi. 8 1. 

asio. 82. 

fcrasilienvis. 82, 83. 

capensis. 83. 

giu. 8 1. 

scops. 8\. 
scops, Scops. 8 1. 



scops, Strix. 8 1. 
Sea- Eagles. 153, 162. 
segetum, Anas. 232. 

Anser. 232. 
Serpentariinte. 123. 
serrirostris, Anser. 233. 
Shags. 211. 

Sharpe's Green Woodpecker. 6. 
sharpii, Gecinus. 5, 6. 
Sheld-Duck. 257. 

Common. 258. 

Ruddy. 261. 
Short-eared Owls. 96, 98. 
Short-tailed Swifts. 42. 
Shoveler, Common. 265. 
Small Tufted Owl. 81, 82. 
smyrnensis, Halcyon. 64. 
Snake-Bird. 17. 
Snake-Eagles, 153, 176. 
Snow-Geese. 225. 
Snowy Owls. 77, 84, 85. 
somalensis, Upupa. 59- 
Sparrow-Hawk, Common. 141, 

142, 146. 
Spatula. 265. 

clypeata. 265. 
Speotyto. 77. 
Sphyropicus. 2. 
spilonotus, Circus. 135. 
Spine-tails. 2. 
spinicauda, Dafila. 287. 
Spizaetus. 153. 
Spotted Eagle, Larger. 159. 
Spur-winged Goose. 225. 
Steatornithes. 33. 
Steganopodes. 210,211. 
Stork-billed Kingfishers. 64, 65. 
strepera, Anas. 273. 

Querquedula. 273. 
streperus, Chaulelasmus. 272, 273. 
Striges. 76, 84, 106. 
striolatus, Picus. 12. 
Strix accipitrina. 96. 

aluco. 100. 

brachyotus. 97. 

bubo. 78. 

delicatula. 108. 

flammea. 106, 107, 108. 

funerea. 89. 

Strix insularis., io8/ 

noctua. 91. 

nyctea. 84. 

otus. 94. 

punctatissima. 108. 

scops. 81. 

tengmalmi. 103. 

ulula. 87, 88, 89. 
subbuteo, Falco. 184. 
Sula bassana. 218. 
Sun-Birds. 2. 
Surnia. 77, 84. 

funerea. 87, 88, 89. 

nyctea. 85. 

ulula. 87. 
Swallows. 35. 
Swans. 223, 246. 
Swan, Bewick's. 252. 

Black. 246. 

Black-necked. 246. 

Chilian. 246. 

Mute. 254. 

Polish. 255. 

Trumpeter. 246. 

Whistling. 246. 

Whooper. 247. 
Swiftlets. 35. 
Swiff, Common. 40. 

Indian. 36. 
Needle-tailed. 43. 

Pied. 38. 

Short-tailed. 42. 

True. 37, 38. 

White-bellied. 38. 
Syrnia funerea. 89. 

nyctea. 84. 

psilodactyla. 91. 
Syrnium. 93, 100, 102. 

aluco. 100. 

nivicolum. 101. 

Tadorna, 257. 

casarca. 263. 

cornuta. 258. 

rutila. 263. 

vulpanser. 258. 
tadorna, Anas. 258. 

Tadorna. 258. 
Tanysiptera. 64. 

3 o8 


Tawny Owl. 100, 101. 
Teal. 282. 

American. 286. 

Blue-winged. 290, 294. 

Common. 283. 
tengmalmi, Nyctala. 103. 

Strix. 103. 

Ulula. 103. 

Tengmalm's Owl. 103, 104. 
Thrasaetus harpyia. 146. 
Three-toed Kingfishers. 64. 
Tinnunculus alaudarius. 2OI. 

cenchris. 204. 

vespertinus. 227. 
tinnunculus, Cerchneis. 200, 2OI. 

Falco. 20 1. 
torquilla, lynx. 16. 

Yunx. 16. 
Todies. 33. 
Tree-Creepers. 2. 
Tree-Swifts. 37, 38. 
Trochilidre. 2. 
Tropic Birds. 210. 
Trumpeter Swan. 246. 
Tufted Owls. 77, 81. 
turcomanus, Bubo. 80. 

Ulula aluco. 100. 

tengmalmi. 103. 
ulula, Strix. 87, 88, 89. 

Surnia. 87. 

unwini, Caprimulgus. 48. 
Upupa. 58, 59. 

africana. 59. 

epops. 59. 

indica. 59. 

marginata. 59. 

somalensis. 59. 
uralensis, Hierofalco. 196. 

vaillanti, Gecinus. 5. 
Vaillant's Green Woodpecker. 5. 
vespertina, Cerchneis. 207, 210. 
vespertinus, Falco. 207, 
Tinnunculus. 207. 

villosus, Dendrocopus. 10. 

Picus. 9, 10. 
viridis, Gecinus. 5. 

Picus. 5. 

virginianus, Bubo. 80. 
vulgaris, Buteo. 147. 
vulpanser, Taclorna. 258. 
Vultur albicilla. 163. 

fulvus. 117. 

percnopterus. 120. 
Vulture, Egyptian Scavenger. 

Griffon. 116, 117. 
lell's. 117. 

Whistling Swan. 246. 
White Owl. 106, 107. 
White Pelican. 210. 
White-backed Woodpecker. 4. 
White-bellied Swift. 38. 
White-fronted Goose. 230. 
White-tailed Eagle. 163. 
Whooper Swan. 247. 
Wigeon. 277. 

American. 281. 
Wild Duck. 269. 
Wood-Owls. 93, 100. 
Woodpeckers. I, 2, 3. 

Downy. II. 

English Green. 3. 

Great Black. 4. 

Great Spotted. 8. 

Green. 5. 

Hairy. 10. 

Lesser Spotted. 12. 

Pied. 7. 

White-backed. 4. 
Wryneck. 2, 4, 15, 16. 

Common. 16. 

Xenopicus. 2. 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo. 30. 
Yunx. 1 6. 
torquilla. 16. 




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AN 22 1936