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Full text of "A history of British birds"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 



PRESENTED BY 

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND 
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID 



BRITISH BIRDS. 



VOL. II. 



HISTORY 



BRITISH BIRDS. 



WILLIAM YARRELL, E.L.S. V.P.Z.S. 




ILLUSTRATED BY 535 WOOD-ENGRAVINGS. 

IN THREE VOLUMES. VOL. II. 

SECOND EDITION. 



LONDON: 
JOHN VAN VOORST, PATERNOSTER ROW. 

M.DCCC.XLV. 






LONDON : 

Printed by S. & J. BENTLBT, WILSON, and FLEY, 
Bangor House, Shoe Lane. 



BRITISH BIRDS. 



WSESSORES. 

CONIROSTRES. 



FRING1LLIDM. 




THE COMMON CROSSBILL. 

Loxia curmrostra. 

Loxia curmrostra^ Common Crossbill, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 425. 
The MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 157. 

VOL. II. B 



M35MG6 



2 FEINGILLIDJE. 

Loaria curvirostra, Common Crossbill, FLKM. Brit. An. p. 76. 

SELBV, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 329. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 141. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xv. 

Beocroise commun, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 328. 

LOXIA. Generic characters. Beak rather long, thick at the base, much com- 
pressed, strong, very convex, the mandibles crossing each other at the points. 
Nostrils round, basal, lateral, defended by incumbent setaceous feathers. Wings 
pointed ; the first quill-feather the longest. Tarsus very short ; toes and claws 
strong ; hinder toe longer than the tarsus ; claws curved and sharp. Tail short, 
forked. 

THE history of the Common Crossbill, in this country, at 
least, was involved in some obscurity; and though these 
birds were more abundant here during the greater part of 
1836, '37, and "38, than has been known for some years 
before, but few instances have occurred in which the eggs or 
nestlings were taken. These birds are most frequently seen 
in flocks between the latter part of the month of June and 
the beginning of February ; but Mr. Hoy has watched 
them closely in Suffolk, and satisfied himself that the same 
birds remained till May ; and Mr. Joseph Clarke of Saffron 
Walden, who has also paid great attention to this species, 
has recorded his having seen them during every successive 
month of one entire year in the plantations about Saffron 
Walden, yet he could never learn that they then made any 
attempt to breed. Mr. Bullock long ago suspected that 
the Crossbill bred in this country, having received young 
birds from the vicinity of Bath early in July. Large flocks 
were observed in this country in 1821. Mr. Selby in the 
month of June of that year obtained many, the females of 
which showed plainly, from the denuded state of their 
breasts, that they had lately been engaged in incubation. 
White of Selborne obtained Crossbills there in summer, and 
found that the females were in the same state as to plumage 
as those examined by Mr. Selby. Mr. Knapp has observed 



COMMON CROSSBILL. 3 

the same appearance in females killed early in August. 
Small flocks, including young birds, were seen in Dumfries- 
shire in June 1833 or '34. Mr. Heysham says there were 
flocks of Crossbills about Carlisle in June 1837 ; and twenty 
were killed by one person in Hampshire during the first 
week of August 1838. These summer flocks are ascer- 
tained to be family parties, composed of the parent birds 
and young ones of the year ; the old birds are undergoing 
the usual moult, which commences almost immediately 
after incubation ; the young birds of the year are in their 
nestling plumage, and do not complete their first moult or 
change till October, and sometimes still later. 

The visits of this singular species to our shores happen 
at irregular periods, sometimes with intervals of many 
years ; and some curious records of the appearance of large 
flocks in 1254 and in 1593 are still preserved. I have been 
favoured by the Rev. L. B. Larking of Ryarsh Vicarage, 
near Maidstone, with a copy from an old MS., which 
refers to this subject in the following terms: "That 
the yeere 1593 was a greate and exceeding yeere of apples ; 
and there were greate plenty of strang birds, that shewed 
themselves at the time the apples were full rype, who fedde 
uppon the kernells onely of those apples, and haveinge a 
bill with one beake wrythinge over the other, which would 
presently bore a greate hole in the apple, and make way 
to the kernells; they were of the bignesse of a Bull- 
finch, the henne right like the henne of the Bullfinch in 
coulour ; the cocke a very glorious bird, in a manner al 
redde or yellowe on the brest, backe, and head. The 
oldest man living never heard or reade of any such like 
bird ; and the thinge most to bee noted was, that it seemed 
they came out of some country not inhabited ; for that 
they at the first would abide shooting at them, either with 

B2 



4 FRINGILLIDJE. 

pellet, bowe, or other engine, and not remove till they were 
stricken downe ; moreover, they would abide the throweing 
at them, in so much as diverse were stricken downe and 
killed with often throweing at them with apples. They 
came when the apples were rype, and went away when 
the apples were cleane fallen. They were very good meate." 

From a note in the last edition of Bewick's History of 
British Birds, it would appear that Crossbills were numerous 
and visited other parts of England also, besides the county 
of Kent, in the year 1593. 

J. Childrey in his Britannia Baconica, or The Natural 
Rarieties of England, Scotland, and Wales, published about 
six years before Merrett's Pinax rerum naturalium Britan- 
nicarum, says, page 13, "In Queen Elizabeth's time a 
flock of Birds came into Cornwall about harvest, a little 
bigger then a sparrow, which had bils thwarted crosswise at 
the end, and with these they would cut an apple in two at 
one snap, eating onely the kernels ; and they made a great 
spoil among the apples.' 1 

In June and July 1791, a bird-catcher at Bath caught 
one hundred pair, which were generally sold for five 
shillings each. In the winter of 1806, a flock inhabited for 
a time a clump of firs in a deep-sheltered valley at Penller- 
gare in Glamorganshire, as I learn, by a communication 
from L. W. Dillwyn, Esq., who has favoured me with 
many ornithological notes. In 1821, Crossbills were nume- 
rous, and flocks were seen in various parts of the country, 
particularly in Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, and Warwick- 
shire. In 1828 they appeared in Westmorland, in the 
winter of 1829 they were numerous in Yorkshire, and have 
been, I might almost say, plentiful in various parts of 
England from the winter 1835 to the present time (January 
1839),' probably induced to remain longer in this country 



COMMON CROSSBILL. ;, 

now than formerly by the greater abundance of fir planta- 
tions, to which they particularly resort to avail themselves 
of the seeds of the numerous cones, which are their principal 
food during winter. In the months of July and August 
their visits, as already noticed, are made to those orchard 
countries where apples abound, the kernels or pips of which 
they manage, with their singularly formed beak, to cut 
down to and extract with ease ; and hence one of the old 
names by which this bird was known, that of Shell Apple. 
They are very frequently brought alive to the London 
market, and many are purchased by individuals to watch 
their habits in confinement and the changes which take 
place in their plumage. They feed readily on hempseed, 
and busy themselves with extracting the seeds from fir 
cones, occasionally climbing in all directions over the wires 
of their cage, holding on by their hooked beaks, as well as 
their claws, like a Parrot. Mr. Gould says he saw in the 
bird-market of Vienna multitudes of Crossbills exposed for 
sale, with Swallows, Martins, and many others of the 
smaller birds, for the purposes of the table : of these the 
Crossbill appeared to be especially in request, and this is 
in accordance with the reports of those who have eaten 
them in this country and pronounced them to be excellent 
food. 

From the various accounts of this species to be found in 
the different works devoted to Natural History, it appears 
to have been seen and obtained in almost every county 
in England. In Ireland Mr. Thompson says it is an 
occasional winter visitant, occurring more frequently in the 
North than in the South. In Scotland it has been killed 
in various localities, and Mr. Macgillivray gives the follow- 
ing interesting account from his own observation : " In the 
autumn of 1821, when walking from Aberdeen to Elgin, by 



FRINGILLIDJ2. 

the way of Glenlivat and along the Spey, I had the pleasure 
of observing, near the influx of a tributary of that river, a 
flock of several hundreds of Crossbills busily engaged in 
shelling the seeds of the berries which hung in clusters on a 
clump of rowan-trees.* So intent were they on satisfying 
their hunger, that they seemed not to take the least heed of 
me ; and as I had not a gun, I was content with gazing on 
them, without offering them any molestation. They clung 
to the twigs in all sorts of positions, and went through the 
operation of feeding in a quiet and business-like manner, 
each attending to his own affairs without interfering with 
his neighbours. It was indeed a pleasant sight to see how 
the little creatures fluttered among the twigs, all in con- 
tinued action, like so many bees on a cluster of flowers in 
sunshine after rain. Their brilliant colours, so much more 
gaudy than those of our common birds, seemed to convert 
the rude scenery around into that of some far-distant land, 
where the Redbird sports among the flowers of the magnolia. 
In that year, flocks of these birds were observed in various 
parts of Scotland." 

The visits of Crossbills to fir-trees, and their mode of 
feeding on the seeds lodged between the scales and 
the body of the cone, are thus described by E. F. Wright, 
Esq., of Hinton Blewit, Old Down, Somersetshire, who 
very kindly sent me the following communication : 

" Having for some time remarked the cones, under a 
large fir-tree in the garden, lying in considerable numbers, 
and mostly pecked, I could not account for the circum- 
stance, until, passing near the tree one afternoon in the 
beginning of August 1838, my attention was attracted by a 
shrill chirping, which I soon discovered proceeded from a 
small flock of birds, about six in number, who were disport- 

* The mountain ash Pyrus aucuparia. 



COMMON CROSSBILL. 7 

ing on the higher branches of the tree. I soon succeeded 
in having three of them killed ; and they proved to be the 
Loxia curvirostra in fine plumage. They were extremely 
tame, and seemed unconscious of harm ; for when the first 
was killed, the rest only flew into the thicker parts of the 
tree, and it was not until two others were shot, that the 
remainder took their departure, and I saw no more of them 
for some days : however, in a short time, three returned, 
and I did not suffer them to be molested in any way, 
intending to observe their motions ; but after the recent 
attack upon them, they were evidently more shy ; still 
they appeared several times each day on their favourite 
tree, generally at stated periods, early in the morning, and 
about four or five o'clock in the afternoon, when I have 
observed them clinging to a branch and breaking off the 
pendent cones with a loud snap ; then flying with them iri 
their beak to the upper side of the bough or other conveni- 
ent station, and commence extracting the seeds, holding the 
cone chiefly in one claw by pressure against the branch ; 
yet it often happened that the cone soon fell from the bird's 
grasp, as it frequently did in the act of detaching them 
from the tree. I have occasionally seen a Crossbill break a 
cone off in the middle, and holding the piece in one claw, in 
the manner of a parrot, tear it in pieces and pick out the 
seeds. This continued for two or three weeks, when their 
visits became few and far between, till at length the birds 
disappeared altogether. Their flight was rapid, making a 
shrill, though not unmusical note whilst on the wing, and a 
kind of continuous chirping, like young birds, occasionally 
when in the tree." In a second letter this gentleman 
further observes that larger flocks came under his notice 
later in the year. Their food was gathered from the larch ; 
they visited the Scotch firs, flitting from branch to branch, 



8 FRINGILLIDjE. 

but not feeding. While with some friends observing a 
considerable flock, suddenly, as if warned of our presence 
by a sentinel, we entirely lost sight of them, so completely 
had they concealed themselves among the branches. On 
another occasion, having shot two pair from the same trees, 
after closely searching every tree and not perceiving the 
slightest movements, one of our party climbed up to reach a 
bird that was lodged, when eighteen or twenty simultane- 
ously flew out of the same trees, uttering their usual shrill 
cry. A bird-catcher informed me that he had taken alive 
near one hundred and fifty during the last summer about 
the plantations in the vicinity of Bath, and that these birds 
were equally numerous seventeen or eighteen years ago in 
the same locality. 

Apparently but very few instances of the nests of these 
birds being found in any country are recorded, and even the 
time of their breeding is not stated with much precision ; 
Bechstein, indeed, says that neither their laying nor their 
moulting has any fixed season. The editor of the last edi- 
tion of Pennant's British Zoology, says, " I know but one 
certain instance of the Crossbill breeding in England, and 
that on a pine tree within two miles of Dartford in Kent. 
The nest, about the size of that of a Blackbird, was 
made on the lowest fork of the tree, composed of dry 
twigs of a loose texture ; however, no eggs were laid, 
for from the too great curiosity of frequent observers, 
the birds forsook it." Mr. Joseph Clarke of Saffron 
Walden, whose account of these birds has been before 
referred to, says, " Some eight or ten years ago, early 
in March, a pair made a nest at the Audley End aviary, 
near this town, in which the female deposited five eggs. 
The nest was of a loose texture, not unlike that of the 
common Greenfinch, though not near so well, or so care- 



COMMON CROSSBILL. 9 

fully built ; the eggs also were not unlike those of that 
bird, but larger ; they, however, deserted them without 
making any attempt at incubation, although I believe 
they were perfectly undisturbed. About the same time, 
a pair also built their nest in a garden in this town, 
on an apple-tree, but were shot before they had completed 
it." A more conclusive instance has been briefly referred to 
by M. Necker in his valuable Memoir of the Birds of 
Geneva, in which it is stated that a nest was made in 
a fir, the materials were grass, moss, and portions of fir ; 
the nest contained three young ones, covered with feathers, 
which were dark green, with blackish longitudinal marks ; 
the mandibles not then crossed, but like those of a young 
Greenfinch ; the parent male, red ; the female green : the 
voice a single sharp note, frequently repeated, and also 
when flying from one tree to another; all their actions 
very paroquet like. Such is the substance of the brief 
account supplied by M. Necker ; and the fact that the 
mandibles are not crossed over till the bird is obliged to 
seek its own living, exhibits one of those beautiful pro- 
visions of Nature, under which the formative process re- 
mains suspended till the age and necessities of the animal 
require the particular development. 

On the European continent, the Crossbills visit Spain 
and Genoa, and are seldom seen further south, but have 
occasionally been taken in Sicily. They inhabit the Alps 
and Pyrenees, the pine forests of Switzerland and Ger- 
many, Poland, Eussia, Siberia, and eastward over Asia, even 
to Japan* They inhabit also Denmark, Norway, and 
Sweden, where Professor Nilsson says they build their 
nests on the uppermost branches of firs in the winter months. 
M. Sundeval, a Naturalist of Stockholm, who accompanied 
a recent expedition to North Cape, believes that the 



10 FRINGILLIDjE. 

Crossbills breed at all seasons. Linnseus, in the account 
of his Tour in Lapland, mentions having seen Crossbills 
there on the 22nd of May. 

The most recent account I am acquainted with, of the 
discovery of the nests and eggs of the Common Crossbill, 
was supplied to Mr. Charlesworth while conducting the 
Magazine of Natural History, by H. L. Long, Esq., of 
Hampton Lodge, near Farnham, Surrey, and appeared 
in the volume for the year 1839, page 236.* The follow- 
ing are extracts : "It is now five or six years since 
I began to observe the Crossbills ; they were at first but 
few, and rarely seen, now they are in considerable numbers, 
and visible every day. If they migrate at all in the 
summer, some of them, the young birds, perhaps, certainly 
remain behind, for some are to be seen here every month in 
the year. I, therefore, early in February last, urged upon 
the attention of the labourers hereabouts, to keep a diligent 
watch in the plantations ; and this day, April 13th, I have 
had the satisfaction of receiving a nest with four eggs, 
from the Holt forest in this neighbourhood. This is the 
third nest that has been met with in the Holt ; the first 
was taken with two eggs ; and then, on the 7th of April, 
one with four young birds, apparently above a fortnight 
old, which would date the commencement of the nest early 
in the month of March. These three nests were all found 
in the thick top of a young Scotch fir, of about thirteen or 
fourteen years growth. I have thus the pleasure of sending 
you the top of a young Scotch fir, with the nest of a 
Crossbill in it. Two of the eggs, and a young bird, the 
crossing of the mandibles in which is scarcely discoverable ; 
such a construction of the bill would indeed be useless, as 
long as the parent birds supplied the food. The contents 

* See also page 310. 



COMMON CROSSBILL. 11 

of the crop of the young birds appear to consist, almost 
exclusively, of the blanched seeds of the larch. 

" The nest is rather small in proportion to the size of 
the bird, being only four inches and a half across the top, 
outside measure, where it is widest, and the central cavity 
but three inches in diameter. The outside is strengthened 
with a few slender twigs of fir, then a layer of coarse dry 
grass, lined with finer grass and a few long hairs. It 
is lodged close to the central or main stem of a Scotch fir, 
about thirty inches below its highest point, at the base of 
the shoots of the year 1837 ; here the nest is supported 
underneath by five or six ascending lateral branches of the 
fir, which so entirely conceal it, that it can scarcely have 
been perceptible from the ground, and the occasional visits 
of the parent birds probably betrayed their retreat. 

" The eggs measure seven-eighths of an inch in length 
and five-eighths of an inch in breadth, the colour white, 
slightly tinged with pale skim-milk blue, and sparingly 
speckled with red. 

" The young bird appears to be about three weeks old, 
and measures four inches and a half in length, the wing 
from the carpal joint to the end only two inches and a half 
long, the base of each primary feather being covered with 
its membranous sheath, or only as yet what is commonly 
termed pen-feathered. Both mandibles of the beak straight, 
the under mandible shutting within the upper ; the plumage 
of the head, back, rump, and all the under surface of the body 
greyish white, tinged with yellow, and streaked longi- 
tudinally with dusky brown ; the feathers of the wings and 
tail dark brown, edged and tipped with pale wood brown, 
legs and toes flesh colour." 

It has been considered and stated, that the Common 
Crossbill of North America was too small in size to be of 



12 FRINGILLHLE. 

the same species as that of Europe ; but the measurement 
given by Mr. Audubon of the American bird, viz., whole 
length seven inches, extent of wings eleven inches, is equal 
to that of our own bird, and some of our English examples 
are even the smaller of the two. The general description 
of the plumage and its changes, as given in the second 
volume of the Biography, page 560, agrees with the appear- 
ances of our bird ; and Mr. Audubon concludes his account 
of the American species with the following sentence : " I 
have carefully compared skins of the American bird with 
others of that found in Scotland, but have not succeeded in 
detecting any differences sufficient to indicate a specific 
distinction."" The localities inhabited by the Crossbill in 
North America are thus referred to in the work just 
quoted : " I have found this species more abundant in 
Maine, and in the British Provinces of New Brunswick 
and Nova Scotia, than anywhere else. Although I have 
met with it as early as the month of August in the Great 
Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, I have never seen its 
nest." The habits of the birds in the two countries are 
identical. 

The plumage of the nestling Crossbill has been already 
described. The next appearance, that of young birds 
when first seen in this country in June and July, presents 
a greyish white on the head, neck, and all the under sur- 
face of the body, streaked longitudinally with dusky 
brown ; the wings and tail uniform dull brown. At this 
age, as observed by Mr. Blyth, they resemble the female 
Siskin in their plumage ; but the males are distinguished 
from the females by having the striated portion of the 
plumage considerably more distinct, and more vividly con- 
trasted, than that of the female. The upper bird in the 
group at the head of this subject represents a young bird. 



COMMON CROSSBILL. IS 

By the month of September the young males have become 
more uniform in colour, the stripes are more diffused, and 
their first autumnal moult commences by a change to one 
of three different states, namely, to red only, or to yel- 
low only, while others change to red and yellow mixed, 
some feathers being red, some yellow, and some orange, 
the last being the effect of red and yellow combined. The 
red and yellow tints probably become much brighter as 
the males grow older, many grades of tints being ob- 
servable, some of which are as brilliant as others are dull. 

A red male, now before me, that had completed his 
moult during his first autumn, has the beak dull reddish 
brown, darkest in colour towards the tip of the upper 
mandible ; irides dark brown ; the head, rump, throat, 
breast, and belly, tile red ; the feathers on the back mixed 
with some brown, producing a chestnut brown ; wing- 
coverts, quill, and tail-feathers, nearly uniform dark brown ; 
tail short, slightly forked ; vent, and under tail-coverts, 
greyish white ; legs, toes, and claws, dark brown. The 
central figure of our group represents such a bird. 

A second male bird killed at the same time as the red 
bird just described, has the head, rump, and under surface 
of the body, pale yellow, tinged with green ; the back 
olive brown ; wings and tail-feathers like those of the red 
bird. 

A third male, killed at the same time, has the top of 
the head and the back a mixture of reddish brown and 
dark orange ; the rump reddish orange ; the upper tail- 
coverts bright orange ; the chin, throat, and upper part 
of the breast, red, passing, on the lower part of the breast, 
belly, and sides, to orange. 

Red males that have moulted in confinement have 
changed during the moult to greenish yellow, and others 



FRINGJLLID.E. 

to bright yellow ; thus apparently indicating that the yel- 
low colour was that of the older livery ; but young males, 
as before observed, certainly sometimes change at once to 
yellow, without going through either the red or the orange- 
coloured stage. The brightest colours, whether green, 
yellow, red, or orange, pervade the feathers of the rump, 
and the upper tail-coverts. 

In captivity I have known several instances of red and 
yellow coloured specimens changing back to dull brown, 
as dark, or even darker, than their early plumage. This 
might be the effect of particular food, which is known to 
exercise such an influence on other birds; but whether 
having once assumed bright tints, they ever, in a wild and 
healthy state, go back to olive brown, or more dull co- 
lours, has not, I believe, been ascertained. 

Young females, from the striated appearance of their 
first autumn dress acquire a greenish yellow tint on the 
top of the head, and on the whole of the under surface of 
the body, mixed with greyish brown ; the rump and upper 
tail-coverts of primrose-yellow, tinged with green ; wings, 
tail, and legs, coloured as in the male ; but, as far as I 
am aware, no females have been found bearing the red- 
coloured plumage. The lower figure in our group is from 
a female. 

Mr. Henry Doubleday, of Epping, possesses two skins of 
the Common Crossbill, having dull white tips to the fea- 
thers of both sets of the wing-coverts ; these birds, from 
their bulk and length, I believe to be varieties only ; the 
true White-winged Crossbill, to be hereafter described, is 
a very different bird from this, being shorter, and much 
less robust in its form. 

The Common Crossbill, however, varies a little in size, 
depending on sex and age. Young males are the smallest, 



COMMON CROSSBILL. 15 

and seldom measure more than six inches and a quarter in 
length ; old females are the largest, and frequently mea- 
sure seven inches in length : the wings rather long and 
pointed, indicating considerable powers of flight ; the 
average extent from tip to tip, about eleven inches ; from 
the carpal joint to the end of the first quill-feather, which 
is the longest, three inches and three-quarters ; the second 
quill-feather a very little shorter than the first ; the third 
a little shorter than the second, and the fourth feather one 
quarter of an inch shorter than the third. 

Besides several skins in my own collection of birds, 
killed in July, September, November, and January ; some 
skins selected with reference to particular states of plumage, 
and opportunities of examining from time to time various 
specimens kept in confinement for observation, I have 
been favoured with many others. W. Wells, Esq. of 
Kedleaf, very kindly sent me some in different states of 
plumage from Penshurst, where these birds were recently 
so numerous that nine were killed at one shot. The Rev. 
William Browne, of Cheam, sent me five specimens from 
Devizes soon after Christmas. I have had the use of a 
dozen in various states of plumage from Mr. Joseph Clarke 
of Saffron Walden, and as many from Mr. Henry Double- 
day of Epping, in which locality these birds have been 
unusually numerous. 

The upper figure of the group at the head of this sub- 
ject, as before observed, represents a young bird ; the 
middle figure is from an old male ; the lower figure is from 
an adult female. 

Since the previous portion of this subject was written, I 
have, by the kindness of Mr. John Leadbeater, of Brewer 
Street, had an opportunity of examining a young Cross- 
bill, which was undoubtedly bred in this country during 



16 FRINGILLID^E. 

the spring of the present year (1839), and confirms in 
various points that which has been here detailed. This 
young bird was brought from Hampshire at the latter end 
of March, and was obtained within a few miles of Win- 
chester. Its whole length is only five inches; the fea- 
thers of the wings and tail not yet completed ; the former 
measuring but three inches from the carpal joint to the 
end, and the tail-feathers only extending five-eighths of an 
inch beyond the ends of the upper tail-coverts. This bird 
cannot have flown far from the nest in which it was 
reared, and was probably hatched about the beginning of 
March. In the colours of its plumage it very closely re- 
sembles those observed on young birds of the year when 
obtained in June, as previously described, namely, the 
head, neck, upper part of the back, the rump, and all the 
under surface of the body, greyish white, streaked longi- 
tudinally with dusky brown ; the feathers of the wings 
and tail hair-brown, with narrow edges of pale brown ; 
the beak, though rather long, has both its mandibles per- 
fectly straight, the lower one just shutting within the 
edges of the upper, nor is there the slightest indication to 
which side either mandible would hereafter be inclined. 
I may here add, that an opinion prevails that the sexes 
in the Crossbill may be known by the direction of the 
curves of the mandibles, those of the males turning out- 
ward in the contrary direction to those of the females ; but 
the examination of a great many specimens, in reference 
to this point, has convinced me that this is not a rule to 
be depended upon, the upper mandible in both sexes turn- 
ing sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left. I 
observe a record in the Essex Literary Journal for Janu- 
ary 1839, that the Crossbill bred in Orwell Park, near 
Ipswich, in the year 1822. 



COMMON CROSSBILL. 17 

The peculiar formation and direction of the parts of the 
beak in the Crossbill, its anomalous appearance, as well 
as the particular and powerful manner in which it is ex- 
ercised, had long excited in me a desire to examine the 
structure of an organ so curious, and the kindness of a 
friend supplied me with the means. To those who have 
not made the habits and economy of birds an ohject of 
investigation, it may be necessary to premise that our three 
species of Crossbills are the only British Birds that ex- 
hibit, or seem to require, any lateral motion of the mandi- 
bles, and it is my object here to describe the bony struc- 
ture and muscles by which this peculiar and powerful 
action is obtained. 

The beak of the Crossbills is altogether unique in its 
form ; the mandibles do not lie upon each other with their 
lateral edges in opposition, as in other birds, but curve to 
the right and left, and always in opposite directions to 
each other. In some specimens the upper mandible is 
turned to the right, the lower mandible curved to the 
left ; in others the position of the mandibles is reversed as 
to their direction. In the specimen I examined, the upper 
mandible curved downwards, and to the left ; the under 
portion turned upwards, and to the right, as the figures 1 
and 2, in the vignette at the end of this subject, will de- 
monstrate. When holding the head of this bird in my 
fingers, I found that I could bring the point of the under 
mandible in a line underneath, and touching the point 
of the upper, but not beyond it, towards the left side ; 
while on its own side the point passed with ease to the dis- 
tance of three-eighths of an inch. The upper mandible 
has a limited degree of vertical motion on the cranium, the 
superior maxillary and nasal bones being united to the 
frontal bones by flexible bony laminae. The form, also, as 

VOL. n. c 



18 FRINGILLID^E. 

well as the magnitude of the processes of the bones of the 
head are also peculiar to this bird. 

The pterjgoid processes of the palatal bones are consi- 
derably elongated downwards, as shown at figure 3, letter 
a, to afford space for the insertion of large pterygoid mus- 
cles. The os omoideum on each side, figure 3, letter #, is 
strongly articulated to the os quadratum, figure 3, letter 
(?, affording firm support to the moveable portion of the 
upper mandible. Letters d, d, refer to the jugal bone, 
which, united to the superior maxillary bone in front, is 
firmly attached by its posterior extremity to the outer side 
of the os quadratum ; when, therefore, the os quadratum 
is pulled upwards and forwards by its own peculiar mus- 
cles, to be hereafter mentioned, the jugal bone on each side 
by its pressure forwards elevates the upper mandible. 

The inferior projecting process of the os quadratum, to 
which the lower jaw is articulated, in most other birds is 
somewhat linear from before backwards, and compressed 
at the sides, admitting vertical motion only upwards and 
downwards ; the same processes in the Crossbill are sphe- 
rical, as shown at figure 3, letter c ; the cavity in the 
lower jaw destined to receive this process is a hollow cir- 
cular cup, figure 5, letter a ; the union of these two portions, 
therefore, forms an articulation possessing much of the 
universal motion and flexibility of the mechanical ball and 
socket joint. 

The lower jaw is of great strength, the sides or plates 
elevated, with prominent coronoid processes, figure 5, #, 5, 
to which, as well as to the whole outer surface of the plates, 
the temporal muscle is attached ; and in a head of this 
bird, which had been divested of all the soft parts, I found, 
on sliding the lower jaw laterally upon the upper, as per- 
formed by the bird, that before the coronoid process is 



COMMON CROSSBILL. 19 

brought into contact with the pterygoid on its own side, 
the extreme points of the mandibles were separated la- 
terally to the extent I have already mentioned, namely, 
three-eighths of an inch. 

The temporal and pyramidal muscles on the right side 
of the head, that being the side to which the lower jaw 
inclined, were considerably larger than those on the left 
side, as represented in figures 1, 2, and 4, letters a and #, 
and indicated by their bulk the great lateral power this 
bird is capable of exerting, to be hereafter noticed. The 
unusually large size of the pterygoid muscles on each side 
was very conspicuous, figure 2, letters 0, c ; the space for 
them being obtained by the great distance to which the 
articulated extremities of the lower jaw were removed, 
and the food of the bird being small seeds, rendered a nar- 
row pharynx sufficient for the purpose of swallowing. 

The muscles which depress the lower mandible are three 
in number, only one of which, the great pyramidal, is 
visible, figures 1 and 4, letter b. This large and strong 
muscle covers two other small ones, the triangular and 
square muscles, so called from their peculiar shape. These 
three muscles, all of which have their origin on the occi- 
pital portion of the cranium, are inserted by strong tendons 
on the under and back part of each extremity of the 
lower jaw, behind the centre of motion, and consequently 
by their simultaneous contraction raise the point to which 
they are attached, and depress the anterior part of the 
mandible. The lower portions of the ossa quadrata are 
pushed somewhat forward by this compression, assisted by 
two small muscles not exhibited; but the situation of 
which may be explained by a reference to figure 3. One 
of these, a small flat muscle, arises from the septum of 

the orbits behind the small aperture observed in the sep- 

c 2 



20 FRINGILLID^E. 

turn, and passes downward to be inserted upon the pro- 
jecting styloid process of the os quadratum ; the second 
is a small pyramidal-shaped muscle arising" also from the 
septum, anterior to the other muscle, and passing down- 
wards and backwards, is inserted upon the omoideum, 
both muscles by their contraction pulling the os quadratum 
forwards, and thus elevating the upper mandible. The 
depressors of the lower jaw, and the elevators of the upper 
jaw, therefore, act together to separate the mandibles. 

To close the mandibles, the temporal and pterygoid 
muscles elevate the lower jaw, assisted by two slender slips, 
marked d, d, figure 2, which, extending forwards to the 
superior maxillary bones, act in concert by bringing them 
down. 

When the lateral motion is required, the great pyra- 
midal muscle on the right side pulls the extremity of the 
lower jaw, to which it is attached backwards ; the ptery- 
goid muscle of the left side at the same time powerfully 
assisting by carrying that side of the lower jaw inwards. 

Having thus described the muscles of the mandibles in 
birds generally, and their peculiar mode of action in the 
Crossbill, I shall quote Mr. Townson's description of the 
manner in which they are made subservient to the use of 
the bird in feeding. " The great pine forests, such as the 
Hartz in Germany, are the natural places of residence of 
the Crossbeaks, and the seed of the cones of these trees 
their food, and it is to pull out the seeds from between the 
squamse, or scales of the cones, that this structure is given 
them. Their mode of operation is thus : They first fix 
themselves across the cone, then bring the points of the 
maxillae from their crossed or lateral position, to be im- 
mediately over each other. In this reduced compass they 
insinuate their beaks between the scales, and then opening 



COMMON CROSSBILL. 21 

them, not in the usual manner, but by drawing the in- 
ferior maxilla sideways, force open the scales." 

At this stage of the proceeding the aid of the tongue 
becomes necessary ; and this organ is no less admirably 
adapted for the service required. The os hyoides, or bone 
of the tongue, has articulated to its anterior extremity an 
additional portion formed partly of bone with a horny 
covering, figures 6 and 7, letter a. In shape it is narrow, 
about three-eighths of an inch in length, and extends for- 
wards and downwards, the sides curved upwards, the 
distal extremity shaped like a scoop, somewhat pointed, 
and thin on both edges, the proximal extremity ending 
in two small processes elongated upwards and backwards 
above the articulation of the bone of the tongue, each 
process having inserted upon it a slender muscle, 5, figures 
6 and 7, extending backwards to the glottis, and attached 
to the os hyoides, which muscles, by their contraction, 
extend and raise the scoop-like point. Underneath the 
articulation of this horny and grooved appendage is 
another small muscle, e, figure 7, which is attached at 
one extremity to the os hyoides, at the other to the 
moveable piece, and by its action as an antagonist to the 
upper muscles, bends the cutting point downwards and 
backwards ; while, therefore, the points of the beak press 
the scale from the body of the cone, the tongue, brought 
forward by its own muscle (genio hyoideus), is enabled, by 
the additional muscles described, to direct and insert 
its cutting scoop underneath the seed, and the food thus 
dislodged is transferred to the mouth ; and it will be seen 
by a reference to the first figure, that when the mandibles 
are separated laterally in this operation, the bird has an 
uninterrupted view of the seed in the cavity with the eye 
on that side to which the under mandible is curved. 



22 FRINGILLID.E. 

" The degree of the lateral power," says Mr. Townson, 
" is surprising, and they are fond of exercising it for mere 
amusement ; they are, therefore, not a little mischievous. 
My pets would often come to my table whilst I was 
writing, and carry off my pencils, little chip boxes in 
which I occasionally kept insects, and other similar objects, 
and tear them to pieces in a minute. Their mode of 
operation is by first pecking a little hole, in this they insert 
their bill, and then split or tear the object by the lateral 
force. When I treated them, as I often did, with almonds 
in their shells, they got at the kernel in the same manner ; 
first pecking a hole in the shell, and then enlarging it 
by wrenching off pieces by the lateral power." 

Notwithstanding BufFon's assertion to the contrary, they 
can pick up and eat the smallest seeds ; and they shell or 
husk hemp, and similar seeds, like other birds, so perfect 
and useful is this singular instrument. The remarks of 
Buffon on the beak of this bird, which he characterises as 
" an error and defect of Nature, and a useless deformity," 
exhibit, to say the least of them, an erroneous and hasty 
conclusion, unworthy the spirit of the science he cultivated. 
During a series of observations on the habits and structure 
of British Birds, I have never met with a more interesting, 
or more beautiful example, of the adaptation of means to 
an end, than is to be found in the beak, the tongue, and 
their muscles, in the Crossbill. 
Explanation of the vignette : 

Fig. 1 . Head of the Crossbill, side view ; #, temporal 
muscle ; 5, great pyramidal muscle. 

2. Head viewed from below : c, 0, pterygoid mus- 

cles ; d, d, graciles muscles. 

3. Head, side view : #, pterygoid process ; 5, os 

omoideum ; c, os quadratum ; c?, c?, os jugale. 



COMMON CROSSBILL. 23 

Fig. 4. Head viewed from behind : a, right temporal 
muscle ; 5, great pyramidal muscle. 

5. Lower jaw, side view : a, cavity for articulation ; 

5, J, coronoid processes. 

6. Tongue seen from above : #, horny scoop ; &, #, 

extensor muscles. 

7. Tongue, side view : a, horny scoop ; 5, extensor 

muscles ; (?, flexor muscle. 




FRINGILLID./E. 



1NSESSORES. 

CONIROSTRES. 



FRINGILLIDM. 




THE PARROT CROSSBILL. 

Loxia pityopsittacus. 

Loscia pityopsittacus, Parrot Crossbill, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 160. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 76. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 332. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 1 42. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. vi. 

Bec-croise perroquet, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 325. 

THE first notice of the appearance of this bird in this 
country that I am acquainted with, occurs in Pennant's 
British Zoology, at the commencement of his account of the 
Common Crossbill, where the following statement will be 
found : " We received a male and female of the large 
variety out of Shropshire : the bill was remarkably thick 
and short, more incurvated than that of the common bird, 



PARROT CROSSBILL. 25 

and the ends more blunt." This bird was considered only 
as a variety of the common species by Gmelin, who called 
it Loxia curvirostra major ; but it is now admitted as a 
distinct species by Bechstein, Brehm, Meyer, Naumann, 
and Nilsson, besides those authors enumerated under the 
title here, and probably many others of good authority. 

Since the year 1776, the date of that edition of Pen- 
nant's British Zoology which contains his notice, this 
species has occurred twice at least in Scotland, and several 
times in England. Mr. Blyth has recorded one instance of 
its being shot in Surrey ; and a second instance of its 
being obtained in the autumn of 1835 in Epping Forest. 
Several specimens were brought for sale to the London 
market in March 1838, and were eagerly purchased by 
those who were acquainted with the specific difference, and 
aware of their rarity. Two of these I saw and examined ; 
Mr. Bartlett was the purchaser of a third, and I am indebt- 
ed to him for the opportunity of figuring from the sternum 
of that bird to show the difference in size between it and 
that of our more common species. These representations 
form the subject of the vignette at the end of this article. 

Specimens of the Parrot Crossbill are frequently brought 
from Germany to this country by dealers in birds' skins. 
The food of this bird, and its mode of obtaining it, are, as 
far as known, the same as that of the Common Crossbill ; 
but the Parrot Crossbill is a much rarer bird. In high 
northern latitudes it breeds in May ; but in more southerly 
countries it is said to go to nest much earlier in spring, or 
even before the winter has entirely passed away ; it is also 
said to lay four or five ash-coloured eggs, spotted with red 
at the larger end. 

According to M. Temminck, this bird is only an occa- 
sional visiter either in Holland or France ; it inhabits Ger- 



26 FRINGILLID^E. 

many, and the parts of the European continent still farther 
north. M. Nilsson includes the species in his Birds of 
Sweden, but mentions that specimens are more frequently 
obtained in other parts of Scandinavia. Mr. W. C. 
Hewitson obtained two specimens in Norway. 

This species has not, that I am aware, been found in 
North America, although from its high northern geogra- 
phical range in Europe this might have been expected. It 
is distinguished from the Common Crossbill by its greater 
comparative length, its more bulky body, and the much 
greater thickness of the beak at its base. 

A young bird of the year, in the possession of Mr. John 
Leadbeater, has the beak of a blackish horn colour ; the 
head, neck, lower part of the back, and all the under 
surface of the body, greyish white, thickly streaked longi- 
tudinally with dark greyish brown ; the rump, neck, and 
breast, slightly tinged with yellow ; wing-coverts dark 
brown, both sets tipped with pale brown ; wings and tail- 
feathers blackish brown, also tipped with pale brown ; legs 
lead colour ; claws black. 

An older male, after his first moult, has the head, back, 
rump, and upper tail- coverts, the throat, neck, and breast, 
tile red ; darkest on the back, lightest on the rump ; the 
feathers of the back and breast still retaining many of the 
dusky brown streaks which mark the first plumage ; the 
beak dark brown, the under mandible reddish brown at the 
base ; the irides hazel ; wings, quill feathers, and tail, 
uniform dark brown ; legs, toes, and claws, also dark brown. 

Mr. Bartlett's bird was a red male, in the moult when 
killed, and all the new feathers when coming were of a 
greenish yellow. 

The female does not at any time differ greatly from the 
young male of the year, before assuming his second suit* 



PARROT CROSSBILL. 27 

The upper parts are greenish ash with patches of brown ; 
throat and neck grey, clouded with yellowish brown ; the 
rest of the under surface ash colour, varied with yellowish 
green ; rump yellow ; vent and under tail-coverts greyish 
white, the base of each feather greyish brown. 

M. Nilsson has figured a bright red male, and a female 
in plumage, as last described, in illustration of this species 
in his Scandinavian Fauna. 

The whole length of a male in red plumage is seven 
inches and five-eighths. Extent of wings twelve inches. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the longest quill-feather 
not quite four inches : the wing in its form and relative 
length of the quill-feathers, resembles that of the Common 
Crossbill : the first quill-feather is the longest ; the second 
quill-feather a very little shorter than the first ; the third 
a little shorter than the second, and the fourth feather one 
quarter of an inch shorter than the third. 

Mr. Macgillivray, in his work, gives the measurements 
of a larger example of this species, probably from the spe- 
cimen in the Edinburgh Museum : <c Length to the end 
of the tail, eight inches ; wing from flexure, four inches 
three-twelfths." 

The vignette below represents the breast-bone of the 
Parrot Crossbill and that of the Common Crossbill. 




28 



FRIXGILLID^E. 



IN8BSSORE& 

CONIROSTRES. 



FRINGILLIDM. 




THE WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. 

Loxla leucoptera. 

Lariafalcirostra, White-winged Oros&M, PENX. Brit ZooL vol. i. p. 428. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 76. 

leucoptera, JENYNS, Brit Vert. p. 143. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. iv. 

EYTON, Rarer Brit. Birds, p. 21. 

Bec-croise leucoptere, TEMM. Sup. Man. d'Ornith. vol. iii. p. 243. 

THE WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL was first described by 
Dr, Latham in the third volume of his General Synopsis, 
page 108, but without bestowing upon it, at that time, any 
systematic name : the specimens were received from North 
America ; like the two Crossbills already described, this 



WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. 29 

third species has occurred in considerable numbers in some 
parts of Europe, and is believed by a German naturalist 
to belong also to Northern Asia. The first systematic 
name, that of leucoptera, was given by Gmelin. 

This species was not included by M. Temminck in the 
second edition of his Manual of the Birds of Europe, pub- 
lished in 1820, but has been admitted in the Supplement to 
the Land Birds of that work, and it is there stated that 
several have been captured in the north of Germany, and 
that it has been killed at Nuremberg. It is included by 
M. Brehm in his work on the birds of Germany, under the 
term Crucirostra Mfasciata ; and it has also been noticed 
by M. Constantin Gloger, who says, that besides single 
specimens which have been occasionally met with in Swe- 
den, and various parts of Germany, it occurred in consi- 
derable numbers in Silesia and Thuringia in the autumn 
of 1826. M. Gloger, in his remarks on the appearance 
of this species, states his reasons for believing that its mi- 
gration took place from Asia ; but he admits that his bird, 
though named by him tamopttra> was identical with the 
North American L. leucoptera. 

The localities in which this species has appeared in Eu- 
rope have been thus primarily noticed, to show the proba- 
bility of its occurrence in this country, and accordingly it 
appears that a female was shot within two miles of Belfast 
in January 1802. Of this a notice was sent to the Lin- 
nean Society, and it is recorded. Pennant also mentions 
in his British Zoology, that he had been told of a second, 
killed in Scotland. H. E. Strickland, Esq. of Cracombe 
House, Evesham, in a letter with which he has favoured 
me, mentions that he possesses a specimen of the White- 
winged Crossbill, killed near Worcester in 1836 ; and Mr. 
Hoy informs me that some years ago Mr. Seaman, of 



30 

Ipswich, who is well acquainted with birds, being out 
with his gun, looking for specimens, saw five or six small 
birds on a tree, which from their peculiar manners at- 
tracted his attention; he fired, and killed one, which 
proved to be a White-winged Crossbill ; but the more 
fortunate survivors did not allow him an opportunity of 
repeating the experiment. 

Professor Nilsson, in his Scandinavian Fauna, says, 
writing from Lund, " Not more than two specimens of this 
pretty little Crossbill have been taken with us ; but it 
appears that they are not unfrequently seen in central 
Sweden among the Crossbills which arrive in the months 
of October and November. Its manners are like those of 
the other Crossbills, but it has a different call-note, and a 
different song." 

Since the publication of the first edition of this work, 
several records of the occurrence of the White-winged 
Crossbill have appeared in the Zoologist. One example 
is mentioned by Mr. Jerdon, as having been taken in Rox- 
burghshire, in the month of March of the present year. 
Mr. J. Cooper of Birmingham had one alive, which was 
caught in that district ; E. H. Rodd, Esq. of Penzance, 
has recorded one that was killed at Lariggan in Cornwall, 
and the Rev. C. A. Bury has mentioned on the authority 
of Mr. Butler, that a pair of these birds had been taken in 
the Isle of Wight. 

This species appears to be more numerous in North 
America than in any other part ; and to the publications 
of Ornithologists in that country I must refer for the par- 
ticulars of the habits of this bird, which are not to be 
observed here. 

" This species," says Charles Lucian Bonaparte, Prince 
of Musignano, in the second volume of his Ornithology of 



WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. 31 

America, in continuation of Wilson, page 88, " inhabits 
during summer the remotest regions of North America, 
and it is therefore extraordinary that it should not have 
been found in the analogous climates of the old continent.* 
In this, its range is widely extended, as we can trace it 
from Labrador, westward to Fort de la Fourche, in lati- 
tude 56, the borders of Peace River, and Montagu Island 
on the North West coast, where it was found by Dixon. 
Round Hudson's Bay it is common, and well known, pro- 
bably extending far to the north west, as Mackensie ap- 
pears to allude to it when speaking of the only land bird 
found in the desolate regions he was exploring, which en- 
livened with its agreeable notes the deep and silent forests 
of those frozen tracts. It is common on the borders of 
Lake Ontario, and descends in autumn and winter into 
Canada, and the Northern and Middle States. Its migra- 
tions, however, are very irregular. They are seldom ob- 
served elsewhere than in pine swamps and forests, feeding 
almost exclusively on the seeds of these trees, together 
with a few berries. All the specimens I obtained had 
their crops filled to excess entirely with the small seeds 
of Pinus inops. They kept in flocks of from twenty to 
fifty, when alarmed suddenly taking wing all at once, and 
after a little manoeuvring in the air, generally alighting 
again nearly on the same pines whence they had set out, 
or adorning the naked branches of some distant, high, and 
insulated tree. In the countries where they pass the sum- 
mer, they build their nest on the limb of a pine, towards 
the centre ; it is composed of grasses and earth, and 
lined internally with feathers. The female lays five eggs, 

* C. L. Bonaparte was not then aware of the memoir of M. C. Gloger, which 
appeared in the fourteenth volume of the Nova A eta, published at Bonne in 1828, 
the same year in which the second volume of the Ornithology was published in 
Philadelphia. 



32 FRINGILLID.E. 

which are white, spotted with yellowish. The young leave 
the nest in June, and are soon able to join the parent birds 
in their autumnal migration. In the northern countries, 
where these birds are very numerous, when a deep snow 
has covered the ground, they appear to lose all sense of 
danger, and by spreading some favourite food, may be 
knocked down with sticks, or even caught by hand while 
busily engaged in feeding. Their manners are also in other 
respects very similar to those of the Common Crossbill."" 

Dr. Richardson states that this bird " inhabits the dense 
white spruce forests of the North American fur countries, 
feeding principally on the seeds of cones. It ranges through 
the whole breadth of the continent, and probably up to the 
sixty-eighth parallel, where the woods terminate, though 
it was not observed by us higher than the sixty-second. 
It is mostly seen on the upper branches of the trees, and 
when wounded, clings so fast, that it will remain sus- 
pended after death. In September it collects in small 
flocks, which fly from tree to tree, making a chattering 
noise ; and in the depth of winter it retires from the coast 
to the thick woods of the interior." 

Mr. Audubon, in his fourth volume of American Orni- 
thological Biography, now just published, says, " I found 
this species quite common on the islands near the entrance 
of the Bay of Fundy, which I visited early in May 1833. 
They were then journeying northwards, although many 
pass the whole year in the northern parts of the State of 
Maine, and the British provinces of New Brunswick and 
Nova Scotia ; where, however, they seem to have been over- 
looked, or confounded with our Common American Cross- 
bill. Those which I met with on the islands before- 
mentioned were observed on their margins, some having 
alighted on the bare rocks ; and all those which were 



WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. S3 

alarmed immediately took to wing, rose to a moderate 
height, and flew directly eastward. On my passage across 
the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Labrador, in the same month, 
about a dozen White-winged Crossbills, and as many 
Mealy Redpolls, one day alighted on the top yards of our 
vessel ; but before we could bring our guns from below 
they all left us, and flew ahead, as if intent on pointing 
out to us the place to which we were bound. Within the 
limits of the United States I have obtained some during 
winter along the hilly shores of the Schuylkill River in 
Pennsylvania ; also in New Jersey, and in one instance in 
Maryland, a few miles from Baltimore, beyond which, 
southward, I have never met with this species, nor have I 
heard of any having been seen there. Its song is at times 
mellow and agreeable, and in captivity it becomes gentle 
and familiar." 

Young birds have the beak of dark horn colour ; to- 
wards the point, the upper mandible is so compressed the 
edges are almost united ; the lower mandible rather lighter 
in colour ; the feathers at the base of the beak, near the 
nostrils, greyish white ; irides dark hazel ; head, neck, and 
back, dull greenish grey, mottled with a darker tint, 
which pervades the centre of each feather ; the rump 
tinged with greenish yellow ; the under surface of the body 
of a lighter grey, longitudinally streaked with dusky brown ; 
the shoulders mottled with two shades of dull greyish 
brown ; both sets of wing- coverts dull black, with white 
tips, forming two conspicuous bars across the wings ; all 
the quill-feathers nearly black ; the primaries and secon- 
daries with narrow lighter-coloured edges; the tertials 
edged and tipped with white ; the tail forked, the fea- 
thers dull black, with narrow light-coloured edges ; under 

VOL. n. D 



34 FRINGILLIDj;. 

tail-coverts dark at the base, with greyish white ends ; 
legs, toes, and claws, dark brown. 

The male in his second plumage has the beak, neck, 
back, rump, and under surface of the body, crimson red; 
the base of each feather dark grey : the quill and tail fea- 
thers darker than in the younger bird, or than in either of 
the other species, and almost uniform black ; the tertials 
only being tipped with white. 

A male described by the Prince of Musignano, and be- 
lieved to be older than the preceding bird, had a light buff 
orange tinge where the other was crimson ; the wings and 
tail of a still deeper black. 

The female at first like the young bird, but afterwards 
loses the striated appearance on the under surface, and 
attains a lemon yellow colour on the rump, and over a 
portion of the breast. 

Whole length about six inches. From the carpal joint 
to the end of the wing, three inches and three-eighths : 
the first three primaries very nearly of equal length, and 
the longest in the wing ; the fourth feather shorter than 
the third, but much longer than the fifth. 



RED-WINGED STA1U.1XU. 



INSESSORES. 

CONIROSTRES. 



STURNID& 




THE RED-WINGED STARLING. 



Agelaius phteniceus. 

Sturnus predatorius, Red-winged Starling, LUBBOCK, Faun, of Norfolk, p. 36. 

WILSON, Amer. Ornith. v. iv. p. 30. 

Icterus pliceniceus, BONAP. SYN. p. 52. 

Agelaius, Red-winged Maize-bird, SWAINS, and RICH. Faun. Bor. 

Amer. v. ii. p. 280. 

Icterus, Red-winged Blackbird, NUTTALL, Man. v. i. p. 169. 

Agelaius, Red-winged tarling, A UD. Birds of Amer. v. iv. p. 31. 

AGELAIUS. Generic Cliaracters. Bill shorter than the head, stout, straight, 
conical, tapering to an acute point. Nostrils basal, oval, with a small operculum. 
Wings of moderate length, with the outer four quill-feathers nearly equal. Tail 
rather long, rounded. Legs and feet strong 

D 2 



36 STURNID^E. 

" A SPECIMEN of the Red- winged Starling of America 
(Sturnus predatorius) came into the possession of J. H. 
Grurney, Esq., in a fresh state, during June 1842 ; and was 
said to have been shot near Rollesby Broad, and to have 
had another of the same species in company with it. It 
was a male bird, in good condition and in almost adult 
plumage ; the stomach full of the remains of beetles." 

" I have detailed these circumstances, as it seems proba- 
ble, if these points were so, that these foreign visitants in- 
tended to nest here. Wilson says they resort to low 
grounds where reeds and alders grow for that purpose, and 
that the bird in America is often termed Marsh Blackbird 
or Swamp Bird." 

Of the occurrence of this species, new to our Catalogue 
of British Birds, as here mentioned by the Rev. Richard 
Lubbock, a record appeared in the Zoologist, vol. i. p. 317, 
and I received an early notice from J. H. Gurney, Esq., of 
Norwich, who purchased the specimen, and has most 
kindly sent it up to London for my use in this work. The 
figure at the head of this subject was drawn and engraved 
from that bird. 

I have also, through the influence of F. Bond, Esq., 
been favoured with the loan of another example of this spe- 
cies which was shot among the reeds at Shepherd's Bush, 
a swampy situation about three miles west of London, on 
the Uxbridge-road, where an extensive tract of land, from 
which brick-earth has been dug out, is overgrown with 
reeds. This specimen was shot in the autumn of 1844. 

Wilson, the American ornithologist, quoting Edwards, 
refers to another specimen " shot in the neighbourhood of 
London many years ago ; and on being opened its stomach 
was found to be filled with grub- worms, caterpillars and 
beetles." 



RED-WINGED STARLING. 37 

The range of country in the western hemisphere fre- 
quented by this species, and over which it migrates, ex- 
tends from Mexico on the south, to a great distance up the 
Missouri, westward and northward, and . to Labrador and 
Newfoundland on the east. 

Mr. Audubon remarks, " The Marsh Blackbird is so 
well-known as a bird of the most nefarious propensities, 
that in the United States, one can hardly mention its 
name, without hearing such an account of its pilferings as 
might induce the young student of nature to conceive that 
it had been created for the purpose of annoying the 
farmer. That it destroys an astonishing quantity of corn, 
rice and other sorts of grain, cannot be denied ; but that 
before it commences its ravages, it has proved highly 
serviceable to the crops, is equally certain." 

Flocks of these birds, most formidable by their numbers, 
assail the various corn crops whenever they are in a state 
to afford them food. After the corn is gathered the pro- 
fuse gleanings of the old rice, corn and buck-wheat fields 
supply them abundantly. Later in the season they as- 
semble around the corn-cribs, and in the barn-yards, 
greedily and dexterously picking up every thing within 
their reach, and Mr. Bullock mentions having seen them 
very numerous and bold near the city of Mexico, where 
they followed the mules to steal a tithe of the barley 
with which they were fed. The accounts of this bird 
by Wilson, Audubon and Nuttall are interesting. 

Dr. Kichardson's observations on the Red-winged Starl- 
ing, in the Fauna Boreali- Americana, are as follows : 

" This showy, but destructive bird winters in vast 
numbers in the southern districts of the United States, and 
in Mexico, frequenting swampy places, and roosting at night 
among the reeds. It begins to enter Pennsylvania towards 



38 STURNID^E. 

the end of March, but seldom reaches the Saskatchewan 
before the beginning of May, and it does not pass beyond 
the fifty-seventh parallel. On its first arrival in the fur- 
countries it feeds on grubs ; but as soon as the grain sown 
in the vicinity of the trading posts begins to germinate, it 
associates itself with the Saffron-headed Maize-birds and 
Boat-tails, and is occupied the whole day in tearing up 
and devouring the sprouting plants, returning to the work 
of devastation as often as driven away. It breeds in 
swampy places, in Pennsylvania in the beginning of May, 
and on the Saskatchewan about the twentieth of June. Its 
eggs are of a pale bluish white, with a circle of spots and 
streaks of dark liver-brown round the thick end, one or two 
scattered spots of the same colour, and some faint blotches 
of purplish grey." 

Some of the habits of this American bird being observed 
to resemble some of those of our well-known Starling, next 
to be described, obtained for it the name of Eed-winged 
Starling, in illustration of which, Mr. Audubon, in his 
recently completed work on the Birds of America, in 
seven volumes, royal 8vo., says, " Towards evening they 
alight in the marshes by millions, in compact bodies, settle 
on the reeds and rushes close above the water, and remain 
during the night, unless disturbed by the gunners. When 
this happens, they rise all of a sudden, and perform various 
evolutions in the air, now gliding low over the rushes, and 
again wheeling high above them, preserving silence for 
awhile, but finally diving suddenly to the spot formerly 
chosen, and commencing a general chuckling noise, after 
which they remain quiet during the rest of the night." 

The Yarmouth specimen, a male, has the bill shining 
black ; the irides dark brown ; the head, neck, scapulars, 
and the space between them, black ; the feathers below the 



RED-WINGED STARLLN'u. 31) 

neck edged with reddish brown ; the feathers covering the 
anterior bend of each wing red, the lesser wing-coverts 
orange yellow and bounding the red ; wings and tail 
black, the greater coverts edged with buffy brown ; the 
tail rounded in form, the outer three feathers on each side 
being graduated ; all the under surface of the body black ; 
legs, toes, and claws, shining black. 

The specimen killed at Shepherd's Bush is the older male 
bird of the two, and has lost all the buffy margins from the 
feathers of the back, scapulars, and greater wing-coverts ; 
the whole of the plumage, except that on the bend of the 
wing, being of one uniform glossy black. 

The whole length of the male nine inches ; the wing 
from the anterior bend four inches and a half. 

Mr. Audubon describes the female as much smaller, with 
upper parts dark brown, the feathers edged with light 
brown ; some of the smaller wing-coverts tinged with red ; 
wings and tail blackish brown, the feathers margined with 
brownish red, the first row of small coverts and secondary 
coverts narrowly tipped with whitish ; a yellowish band 
over the eye ; lower parts longitudinally streaked with 
dusky whitish, the fore neck strongly tinged with dull 
carmine. The young similar to the female, but without 
red on the small wing-coverts or throat, the latter part with 
the sides of the head being pale yellowish brown. 



40 



STUKNIDjE. 



INSESSORES. 
CONIROSTRES. 



STURNIDjE. 




THE COMMON STARLING. 

Sturnus vulgaris. 

Sturnus vulgaris, Common Stare, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 396. 

Stare or Starling, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 111. 

,, Common FLEM. Brit. An. p. 86. 

Stare, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 340. 

Starling, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 143. 

,-, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. iv. 

Etourneau vulgaire, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 132. 



COMMON STARLING. 41 

STURNUS. Generic Cltaracters. Beak almost straight, pointed, depressed, 
wider than high, and slightly subulated. Nostrils basal, lateral, and partly closed 
by a prominent membrane. Wings long, pointed ; the first feather very short, 
the second the longest. Feet with three toes in front, one behind ; the middle 
toe united to the outer ones as far as the first joint. 

THE STARLING is one of our handsome birds, both with 
reference to shape and plumage ; and from being very nu- 
merous as a species, and pretty generally distributed, is not 
only very well known, but, from a variety of associations, 
is a great favourite with many. Being intelligent and 
sprightly, with a retentive memory, and great flexibility 
of voice, the males are often kept in confinement, where 
they learn to whistle tunes, and imitate some of the various 
sounds of the human voice with facility and correctness. 
In their more natural state they are social, living in flocks 
throughout the greater portion of the year ; and in some 
instances, though their labours are distinct, they do not 
separate widely, even at the breeding-season, if suitable 
places for an assemblage of nests can be found in the same 
locality. Mr. Waterton, the admirer, protector, and de- 
fender of the Starling, made various cavities in the wall of 
an old tower, near his residence, to induce these birds to 
remain and breed there, contrary to their previous habit : 
his wishes were gratified ; every cavity had its pair of 
undisturbed and happy tenants, and from the squabbling 
for original possession that occurred, more would pro- 
bably have domiciled there could they have found room. 

Dr. Beverley Morris of York, on the subject of the 
Starling when nest building, says in the Zoologist : " I 
stood this morning for nearly an hour, watching a pair 
of Starlings. They had chosen a hole in a tree close to 
me for their nest, in the construction of which the female 
alone was engaged; the male sate near, looking on, but 
never fetching any materials ; he seemed to be a sort of 



42 STURNIILE. 

guard or sentinel, as he repeatedly drove off some sparrows 
that were too inquisitive as to the progress the nest was 
making. The female, in her arduous task, made on an 
average, by my watch, three trips per minute, with small 
twigs and bits of dry grass, which she picked up near 
the tree. Sometimes she took three or four small ones at 
one time ; so that at this rate, supposing her to work 
for only six hours, she would have brought together up- 
wards of a thousand sticks, &c., which would be more 
than sufficient to form her nest." 

The Starling builds in church steeples, under eaves, and 
in holes of houses, towers, or ruins ; sometimes in hollow 
trees, and often in cliffs, or high rocks overhanging the sea ; 
occasionally in pigeon-houses. The nest is made of slender 
twigs, straw, roots, and dry grass ; the eggs are four or 
five in number, of a uniform delicate pale blue, one inch two 
lines in length, by ten lines in breadth ; these are hatched in 
about sixteen days, and the old birds are observed to 
be most assiduous in their attentions to their nestlings. 
Soon after the young birds leave the nest, both parents 
and offspring unite with other families of the same species, 
forming large flocks, which again associate, and may be 
seen feeding on commons and grass grounds, in company 
with Books, and occasionally with other birds. Their 
food consists of worms, insects in their various stages, and 
snails ; in default of these they will eat berries and grain. 
They are frequently seen in meadows, searching for food 
among sheep and cattle. In the southern countries of 
Europe they devour ripe grapes and figs. In confinement 
they appear to prefer raw meat. 

When the young are too much grown to continue to oc- 
cupy the nest in which they were reared, the nights of 
summer and autumn being warm, these birds roost by 



COMMON STARLING. 43 

thousands among reeds in the fenny parts of Essex, Cam- 
bridge, Huntingdon, Lincoln, and other counties; where 
alighting in myriads upon this flexible plant, they crush it 
to the water's surface, and large patches are seen lodged 
and beaten down like grain after a storm. 

I am indebted to the kindness of the late Dr. Good- 
enough, Dean of Wells, for the following account of 
an extraordinary haunt of Starlings on the estate of W. 
Miles, Esq., at King's Weston : " This locality is an 
evergreen plantation of Arbutus, Laurustinus, &c., covering 
some acres, to which these birds repair in an evening I 
was going to say, and I believe I might with truth say 
by millions, from the low grounds about the Severn, where 
their noise and stench are something altogether unusual. 
By packing in such myriads upon the evergreens, they 
have stripped them of their leaves, except just at the tops, 
and have driven the Pheasants, for whom the plantation 
was intended, quite away from the ground. In the day 
time, when the birds were not there, the stench is still 
excessive. Mr. Miles was about to cut the whole planta- 
tion down to get rid of them, two years ago, but I 
begged him not to do so on account of the curiosity of 
the scene, and he has since been well pleased that he ab- 
stained."" 

Another instance of a similar character was communicat- 
ed to me in March last (1845), by Robert Ball, Esq., of 
Dublin, and has also appeared in print. " In the mass of 
thorn trees at the upper end of the Zoological Garden in 
the Phoanix Park, sleep every night, from the end of 
October to about the end of March, from one hundred 
and fifty thousand to two hundred thousand Starlings. 
This enormous number may appear an exaggeration, yet 
it is the estimate of many observations. When these 



44 STURNID^E. 

starlings were first observed, they were estimated at from 
fifteen thousand to twenty thousand : but during three 
years they seem to have increased tenfold. 

In winter, for the sake of the warmer temperature, Star- 
lings frequently roost in pigeon-houses, and are accused of 
destroying both eggs and young Pigeons. This has been 
doubted ; and as I can substantiate no charge on my own 
knowledge, I leave the cause of the accused Starlings in 
the hands of a very able advocate, before referred to, who 
has much better opportunities of personal observation than 
I have. Colonel Montagu, when residing near Kings- 
bridge, observed that in very hard weather large flocks 
of Starlings flew towards West Devon and Cornwall, re- 
turning when the frost broke up ; and Mr. Couch, at Pol- 
perro, and Mr. E. H. Eodd, at Penzance, have observed 
that large flocks of these birds visit Cornwall in autumn 
and winter, but that few remain to breed ; they even 
depart, Mr. Couch says, in his Cornish Fauna, much earlier 
than the migratory birds that go to the northern parts of 
Europe. 

The Starling is found in almost every part of the United 
Kingdom. In the Hebrides, according to Mr. Macgillivray, 
and in Orkney, it is found in thousands ; where, Mr. Low 
says, it is also a favourite, as few houses are built, but se- 
veral holes are left in the wall for its convenience, of which 
it always, as if sensible of the favour, avails itself, and 
repays it with a song, and an occasional display of its antic 
mimicry. In the winter, Mr. Low observes, when the 
earth is locked up with frost, and worms or insects no 
longer to be obtained, the Starling visits the sea side, where 
it lives upon marine animals, insinuating the point of its 
beak under stones, turning them over with a jerk, and 
immediately seizing what may be underneath. A feeling 



COMMON STARLING. 45 

in favour of this bird exists also in Shetland. Mr. Dunn 
says it frequently builds its nest in the walls of the houses 
so low that it may be easily reached with the hand, yet it 
is seldom disturbed by the people. 

The Starling is common over Scandinavia, and on the 
Faroe Islands ; and from the North of Europe is found as 
far east as Nepal, the Himalaya Mountains, Calcutta, 
China, and Japan. It is found also in the countries both 
north and south of the Caucasian range ; in Persia ; at 
Trebizond, by Keith Abbot, Esq., and at Smyrna by Mr. 
Strickland. It inhabits both the northern and southern 
countries bounding the Mediterranean ; and Mr. Gould, in 
his Birds of Europe, says that it has been found in Africa 
as far south as the Cape of Good Hope. As might be 
expected, it has been taken at Madeira and the Canary 
Islands, and is reported to be common at the Azores. Mr. 
Charles Darwin saw this bird at Terceira, one of the 
Azores, in September 1836. The geographical range of 
this species appears, therefore, to be very extensive. Its 
flight is vigorous and rapid. In progression on the ground 
the Starling walks by alternate steps with each leg, like 
the Crows. 

Adult males in their third summer, having previously 
moulted in two preceding autumns, have the beak yellow, 
except close to the base ; the irides brown ; the head, 
neck, back, and all the under surface of the body, almost 
black, but varied with purple and green, which are re- 
flected with great brilliancy in different lights ; the feathers 
on the upper part of the breast elongated and pointed ; 
those on the shoulders partially tipped with buff colour ; 
the wing-coverts, quill and tail feathers, greyish black, 
edged with pale reddish brown ; the legs dark reddish 
brown. 



46 STURNID.E. 

The whole length of the bird eight inches and a half. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, five inches 
and one-eighth : the first feather very short, not more than 
half an inch in length ; the second feather the longest in 
the wing ; the third but little shorter than the second ; the 
fourth one quarter of an inch shorter than the third ; the 
other primary quills diminishing regularly in succession, 
each about a quarter of an inch shorter than the quill- 
feather which precedes it. 

A male in his second summer having moulted but once, 
has not acquired the fine yellow beak, and both the upper 
and under surface of the body are varied by a greater num- 
ber of light-coloured spots. Very old males acquire an ad- 
ditional number of spots at their autumnal moult, which 
they carry through the winter to the commencement of the 
following spring, when the light-coloured tips being many 
of them worn off, and the beak becoming yellow, they pre- 
sent the appearance first described. 

Young birds of the year, before their first autumnal 
moult, are of a uniform greyish brown colour ; the throat 
white, and a tinge of white on the belly and vent ; the 
feathers of the wings and tail darker brown, with light 
reddish brown edges. In this stage the young Starling has 
been called the Solitary Thrush, and has also been con- 
sidered the young of another Continental species. Mon- 
tagu^s specimen being still preserved in his collection at the 
British Museum, no doubt remains that his bird was 
nothing more than a young Starling before the commence- 
ment of its first moult. During the first moult, which 
occurs in its first autumn, the plumage of the young Star- 
ling presents a curious mixture, the feathers appearing in 
patches, some of plain brown, and others of the dark colour 
of the second dress. 



COMMON STARLING. 47 

The female Starling is very similar to the male at the 
same age, but the plumage is rather less brilliant in colour, 
and the white spots on the under surface of the body are 
larger than those of the male ; but both sexes carry a much 
greater number of spots from autumn to spring than from 
spring to autumn ; the moult, however, only occurs and 
produces a change in the autumn ; the change in the spring 
is effected without moulting, by a partial alteration in the 
colour of some of the feathers, producing greater brilliancy, 
and by the loss of many of the light-coloured tips. 

Albinoes and buff-coloured varieties of the Starling are 
not uncommon. 




48 



STURNID.E. 



fNSESSORES. 

CONIROSTRES. 



STURNIDJZ. 



\m 







THE ROSE-COLOURED PASTOR.* 

Pastor roseus. 



Ttirdus roseus, Rose-coloured Ouzel, 



Pastor, 



Starling, 

Ouzel, 

Pastor, 



Martin roselin, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 413. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 115. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 66. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 343. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 144. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. iii. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 136. 



PASTOR. Generic Oiaracters. Beak in the form of an elongated cone, com- 
pressed, slightly curved, with a small notch near the point. Nostrils basal, late- 
ral, oval in shape, partly closed by a membrane covered with small feathers. Feet 
strong ; three toes in front, one behind, the outer toe connected by membrane at 
its base to the middle toe. Wings with the first feather very short, the second 
and the third the longest in the wing. 



* A shepherd, or herdsman, and this bird was probably so called, because, like 
the Starling, it is frequently seen in company with sheep and cattle. 



ROSE-COLOURED PASTOR. 49 

THE genus Pastor was proposed by M. Temminck for 
several birds which exhibit various relations to the Starlings 
and the Crows; only one of these, the Rose-coloured 
Pastor, is an accidental visiter to this country ; and though 
several years sometimes intervene from one occurrence to 
another, the beauty of the bird attracts particular notice, 
and its capture has probably been more regularly re- 
corded than that of many other birds that are equally rare. 

It may not be altogether useless to include here a brief 
enumeration of those instances that have come to my know- 
ledge, some from the records of the observers, and others 
from private communications. The bird was first noticed 
as British by Edwards, who appears to have taken his re- 
presentation from a specimen killed at Norwood. Mr. 
Gould, in his Birds of Europe, mentions one that was shot 
by his friend John Newman at Iver Court ; and Shaw re- 
cords one that was killed in Oxfordshire. It has been met 
with in Sussex ; and during the summer of 1838, a pair 
were seen near Christchurch, in Hampshire, and shot at : 
the male only was obtained ; the female, though believed 
to be wounded, got away : this communication was sent to 
me by the Hon. Mr. Harris, son of the Earl of Malmes- 
bury. A pair, now in the British Museum, were killed in 
Devonshire; and two or three other instances of the oc- 
currence of this species in the same county are recorded 
by Dr. Edward Moore, in his published catalogue of the 
Birds of Devonshire, in the Magazine of Natural History 
for 1837. This bird has been shot at Helston in Corn- 
wall, and also on the Scilly Islands, the latter specimen 
is now in the collection of E. H. Eodd, Esq., of Penzance. 
Mr. L. LI. Dillwyn has in his possession a specimen shot in 
July 1836, while eating cherries in a nursery-garden, near 
Swansea. Mr. Eyton has recorded one instance that came 

VOL. II. E 



50 STURNID^E. 

to his knowledge about four years ago at Holyhead ; and it 
has also been killed twice in Lancashire. Mr. Thompson 
sends me word that it has, in a few instances, occurred in 
summer, in various parts of Ireland. North of London, a 
specimen was shot on the 15th August 1830, at Haydon 
House, a few miles from Royston. Mr. Hoy has recorded 
a notice of one at Woodbridge in July 1832. On the 10th 
of July 1838, a fine specimen was shot by one of the 
gamekeepers of the Rev. J. Holmes, of Brooke Hall, 
Norwich. This gentleman very obligingly sent the bird to 
London, for my use in this work, and the figure at the 
head of this subject was drawn from that specimen. The 
Rose Pastor has also been obtained in the same county 
more than once besides, as recorded by Messrs. Paget, and 
Mr. J. D. Salmon. This species has been obtained in 
Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland. 
The museum at Newcastle contains one British-killed 
specimen, if not more. Mr. Selby mentions that a small 
flock were seen in company with Starlings, near Barn- 
borough Castle, in July 1818; and two other birds have 
been killed within a comparatively short period, and both 
near Alnwick ; one of which is now in the collection of the 
Rev. Oswald Head, of Howick Rectory, the other belongs 
to Mr. Moifatt, one of the gamekeepers of Earl Grey, at 
Howick, as communicated to me by Mr. Hutchinson, of 
Durham. Dr. Fleming has noticed one that was killed at 
Dunkeld. Thomas Macpherson Grant, Esq., of Edinburgh, 
has in his collection one shot in a garden in Forfarshire, on 
the 29th of September, 1831 ; and Mr. Bullock had a 
female that was taken at Hoy in Orkney. 

Since the publication of the previous account, Mr. Hey- 
sham has sent me notice of one killed near Carlisle, and 
another has been killed in Kent. 



ROSE-COLOURED PASTOR. 51 

This bird, like our Starling, has an extended geographical 
range. It is found, though rarely, in Sweden ; and is said 
to have been obtained in Lapland. It is found in Russia 
and Siberia ; and I have seen skins from four very widely 
separated localities in India. Colonel Sykes, in his Cata- 
logue of the Birds of the Dukhun, says, " These birds 
darken the air by their numbers, at the period of the ripen- 
ing of the bread grains, Andropogon sorghum, and Ponicum 
spicatum, in Dukhun, in December. Forty or fifty have 
been killed at a shot. They prove a calamity to the hus- 
bandman, as they are as destructive as locusts, and not 
much less numerous." 

B. H. Hodgson, Esq., includes the Rose-coloured Pastor 
in his Catalogue of the Birds of Nepal, and Mr. Blyth finds 
it in the vicinity of Calcutta. 

It inhabits Syria, Egypt, and Africa, passing occasionally 
in summer to breed in the warmer countries north of the 
Mediterranean. At Aleppo it is held sacred, because it 
feeds on the locust. Specimens have been obtained several 
times in the neighbourhood of Geneva ; and in the transla- 
tion of M. Bechstein's work on Cage Birds, it is stated that 
" a sportsman discovered in 1774, in the environs of Mei- 
ningen in Suabia, a flight of eight or ten Rose Ouzels^ 
moving leisurely from south-west to north-east, and passing 
from one cherry-tree to another. He fired on these birds, 
only one fell, which was fortunately very slightly wounded, 
so that it soon recovered. Being immediately carried to M. 
Von Wachter, the rector of Frickenhausen, this clergyman 
took the greatest care of it : he gave it a spacious cage ; and 
found that barley meal, moistened with milk, was as whole- 
some as agreeable to it. His kindness tamed it in a short 
time so far that it would come and take from his hand the 
insects which he offered it. It soon sang, also ; but its 

E2 



52 STURNID^E. 

warbling consisted at first of but a few harsh sounds, pretty 
well connected, however ; and this became at length more 
clear and smooth. Connoisseurs in the songs of birds dis- 
cover in this song a mixture of many others : one of these 
connoisseurs, who had not discovered the bird, but heard its 
voice, thought he was listening to a concert of two Star- 
lings, two Goldfinches, and perhaps a Siskin ; und when he 
saw that it was a single bird, he could not conceive how 
all this music proceeded from the same throat. This bird 
was still alive in 1802, and the delight of its possessor." 

A dealer in birds, residing in Oxford Street, had three 
living specimens of the Rose-coloured Pastor for sale, in the 
summer of 1837 or 1838. This bird flies in flocks like the 
Starling, and in other habits and peculiarities also resem- 
bles that species ; it feeds about and among flocks and 
herds, and frequently mounts on the backs of sheep and 
cattle to search for the insects, or their grubs, which are 
known to occupy such situations. Insects appear to form a 
principal portion of their food ; but they are also partial to 
fruit, and have been frequently found in gardens. They 
build in holes of trees, and in cavities of old walls ; the 
eggs are six in number, but I have not found any recorded 
notice of their colour. 

In the adult male the beak is of yellowish rose colour, 
except at the base of the under mandible, where it is almost 
black ; the irides intense red brown ; the head, neck, 
wings and tail, black, glossed with violet blue ; the feathers 
on the head elongated, so as to form a flowing crest ; 
the back, scapulars, and rump, of a delicate rose colour ; 
the chin, throat, and front of the neck, black ; breast, sides, 
and abdomen, like the back, of rose colour ; thighs and 
under tail-coverts black ; legs and toes yellowish brown ; 
claws darker brown. 



ROSE-COLOURED PASTOR. 53 

Whole length of the bird eight inches and a half. From 
the carpal joint to the end of the wing, five inches : the 
first feather very short ; the second the longest in the 
wing ; the third feather a little shorter than the second ; 
the fourth a quarter of an inch shorter than the third. 

In its second year the male has not so full a crest ; the 
dark portions of the plumage have not the brilliancy of the 
same parts in the older male birds ; the rose colour is pale 
or dull and occasionally mixed with brown. 

In young birds of the year, the beak is yellow at the 
base, brown at the point ; no indication of a crest on the 
head ; the whole of the upper surface of the body is of a 
uniform dull brown ; the feathers of the wings and tail of a 
darker brown tint, edged with white, or greyish ash 
colour ; throat and abdomen pure white ; the rest of the 
under parts ash brown ; legs, toes, and claws brown. 







CORVIDvE. 



JNSESSORES. 
CONIROSTXES 



CORV1DM. 




THE CHOUGH. 



RED-LEGGED CROW. 



Fregllus graculus. 



Corvus graculus, Red-legged Crou; 



Pyrrhocorax 

Fregilus, 



Tlu>. Chough, 
Cornish Chough, 



The Chough, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 294. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 96. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 89. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 365. 
JENYNS, Man. Brit. Vert. p. 144. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. vi. 



Pyrrhocoraoc Pyrrhocorax coracias, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 122. 

FREGILUS. Generic Characters. Beak longer than the head, strong, arched, 
and pointed. Nostrils basal, oval, hidden by small, closely-set feathers. Wings 
long, but rounded in form ; first quill-feather short, the fourth or fifth the longest 
in the wing. Tail square, or but slightly rounded. Feet strong ; toes four, three 
in front, one behind, tarsus longer than the middle toe, the outer toe united at its 
base to the middle one ; claws strong, and very much curved, that of the hind toe 
much the largest. 



CHOUGH. 55 

FROM the Starling and Pastor, the birds last described, 
the transition to the true Crows, by the intervening 
Chough, is easy and natural. The Crows generally, as 
observed by Mr. Swainson, " exhibit the greatest perfec- 
tion, and the most varied powers, with which nature has 
invested this class of animals. This superiority consists, 
not in the extraordinary development of any one parti- 
cular organ or quality, but in the union of nearly all those 
powers which have been separately assigned to other fa- 
milies. This perfection is best exemplified by looking to 
the economy of the ordinary Crows. In every climate, 
habitable to man, these birds are found. They are as well 
constructed for powerful flight, as for walking with a firm 
and stately pace on the earth. They feed indiscrimi- 
nately on animals or on vegetables ; arid when pressed by 
hunger, refuse not carrion : hence their smell is remarka- 
bly acute. They are bold, but wary ; live in common 
societies, and possess great courage. When domesticated 
they evince a power of imitating the human voice nearly 
equal to that of the Parrot ; while their cunning, pilfering, 
and hoarding dispositions, are all symptoms of greater in- 
telligence than is found in most other families of birds." 

The Cornish Chough, for which the genus Fregilus was 
established by Cuvier, is readily distinguished from the 
true Crows by the peculiar form of its beak. In this 
country the Chough is not a common bird, and is besides 
almost exclusively confined to the sea coast, where it in- 
habits the highest and most inaccessible portions of rocks 
or cliffs, about which it walks securely by means of its 
strong legs, toes, and claws. A bird kept by Colonel Mon- 
tagu some years in his garden, was never observed to walk 
upon the grass by choice ; and it required a strong tempt- 
ation to induce him to step off the gravel. 




56 CORVINE. 

account of this bird forms an interesting illustration of 
the general habits of the species : " His curiosity is be- 
yond bounds, never failing to examine anything new to 
him : if the gardener is pruning, he examines the nail-box, 
carries off the nails, and scatters the shreds about. Should 
a ladder be left against the wall, he instantly mounts, and 
goes all round the top of the wall ; and, if hungry, de- 
scends at a convenient place, and immediately travels to 
the kitchen window, where he makes an incessant knock- 
ing with his bill till he is fed or let in ; if allowed to 
enter, his first endeavour is to get up stairs ; and if not 
interrupted, goes as high as he can, and gets into any 
room in the attic story ; but his intention is to get upon 
the top of the house. He is excessively fond of being 
caressed, and would stand quietly by the hour to be 
smoothed ; but resents an affront with violence and effect, 
by both bill and claws, and will hold so fast by the latter, 
that he is with difficulty disengaged. Is extremely at- 
tached to one lady, upon the back of whose chair he will 
sit for hours ; and is particularly fond of making one in a 
party at breakfast, or in a summer's evening at the tea- 
table in the shrubbery. His natural food is evidently the 
smallest insects, even in the minute species he picks out of 
the crevices of the walls, and searches for them in summer 
with great diligence. The common grasshopper is a great 
dainty, and the fern-chaffer is another favourite morsel ; 
these are swallowed whole ; but if the great chaffer be 
given to him, he places it under one foot, pulls it to pieces, 
and eats it by piecemeal. Worms are wholly rejected ; 
but flesh, raw or dressed, and bread, he eats greedily, and 
sometimes barley with the pheasants, and other granivo- 
rous birds occasionally turned into the gardens, and never 
refuses hemp-seed. He seldom attempts to hide the re- 



CHOUGH. 57 

mainder of a meal. With a very considerable share of 
attachment, he is naturally pugnacious, and the hand that 
the moment before had tendered him food and caresses, 
will repent an attempt to take him up. To children he 
has an utter aversion, and will scarcely suffer them to 
enter the garden. Even strangers of any age are chal- 
lenged vociferously ; he approaches all with daring impu- 
dence ; and so completely does the sight of strangers 
change his affection for the time, that even his favourites 
and best benefactors cannot touch him with impunity in 
these moments of evident displeasure/' 

This bird in a wild state feeds on insects and berries 
and occasionally upon grain, but is seldom seen searching 
for them in the open fields. Mr. Wallace, of Douglas, in 
the Isle of Man, at the southern extremity of which, being 
very rocky, these birds breed in security, and from whence 
that gentleman had the kindness to bring me two skins in 
February last, tells me that he has seen them following 
the plough to obtain the grubs of insects that are thus ex- 
posed, and in the Field Naturalist's Magazine, it is re- 
corded that in August 1832, a Red-legged Crow was killed 
on the Wiltshire Downs, near the Bath road, between 
Marlborough and Calne, by a man employed in keeping 
birds from corn ; Mr. Blyth mentions having known it to 
occur on Mitcham Common in Surrey. 

This bird makes a nest of sticks lined with wool and 
hair in the cavities of high cliffs, or in old castles, or church 
towers, near the sea ; laying four or five eggs of a yellow- 
ish white colour, spotted with ash grey and light brown, 
the length one inch eight lines, by one inch one line in 
breadth. The voice of the Chough is shrill, but not dis- 
agreeable, and something like that of the Oyster- catcher. 
When on the wing at a moderate distance, the flight is 



58 CORVIDJ5. 

similar to that of a Rook ; but when walking on the 
ground, from its slender form, the appearance of the bird 
is more animated and its actions more graceful. 

Pennant says, " The Chough is found in small numbers 
on Dover cliff, where they came by accident ; a gentleman 
in that neighbourhood had a pair sent him as a present 
from Cornwall, which escaped and stocked these rocks." 
No date is mentioned, though apparently referring to his 
own time ; but there is a poetical authority, at least, for 
the existence of this bird at Dover at a much earlier date. 
Shakspeare, in his description of the celebrated cliff which 
now bears his name, says in reference to its height, 

" The Crows and Choughs* that wing the midway air 
Show scarce so gross as beetles." 

Gilbert White in his 39th letter to Pennant, says, " Cor- 
nish Choughs abound, and breed on Beachy-head and on all 
the cliffs of the Sussex coast." I have seen it on the high- 
est part of the cliffs between Freshwater Gate and the 
Needle Lighthouse in the Isle of Wight. Mr. Thomas 
Bond tells me this bird inhabits Gadcliff and Tyneham, in 
the Isle of Purbeck. It is not uncommon in some parts 
of Devonshire, as I learn from my friend Mr. George 
Mello. In Cornwall, Dr. Borlase quoting Upton, who 
wrote about the middle of the fifteenth century, says, the 
Cornish Chough was so great a favourite in those days, 
that some of the most ancient families bore these birds in 
their coat armour. The Chough is noticed as peculiar to 
Cornwall by Dr. William Turner in 1544, by Childrey in 
1661, and by Merret in 1667. I have seen specimens from 

* Possibly Shakspeare meant Jackdaws, for in the Midsummer Night's 
Dream he speaks of russet-pated (grey-headed) Choughs, which term is applicable 
to the Jackdaw, but not to the real Chough. 



CHOUGH. 59 

Glamorganshire. In Ireland, Mr. Thompson informs me, 
the Chough is found in certain localities all round the 
coast. The Isle of Man has been already noticed as a 
locality, particularly the southern part, and the rock called 
the Calf of Man. Mr. Macgillivray mentions having met 
with this bird in Galloway and the Island of Barry, one of 
the outer Hebrides. Dr. George Johnston, in his address 
to the members of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club in Sep- 
tember 1832, noticed that the Chough breeds in the rocks 
between St. Abb's Head and Fast Castle, and refers to this 
fact being distinctly mentioned by Bishop Leslie in his his- 
tory de Origine Scotorum, published in 1578, and it is in- 
cluded also as a bird of Scotland by Sir Robert Sibbald 
in his Scotia Illustrata, published in 1684 ; but further 
north than Scotland I find no notice of it. 

The Chough is found in Guernsey, but not in Jersey. 
It is found on most of the high ranges of mountains in 
France and Switzerland, on the rocky country about Ar- 
ragon in Spain ; it is found also in the Isle of Crete, and 
in Egypt is said to inhabit the plains. It is found on the 
mountains of Persia, in the countries between the Black 
and the Caspian Seas, and north of the Caucasian range to 
the southern part of Siberia ; it is also found on the Hima- 
laya Mountains, B. Hodgson, Esq. includes it in his ca- 
talogue of the Birds of Nepal, and Mr, Blyth has obtained 
it in the vicinity of Calcutta. 

The plumage of this bird is uniformly black, glossed 
with blue ; the irides of two circles and two colours, the 
inner ring red, the outer ring blue ; the eyelids red ; the 
inside of the mouth and the tongue yellow ; the wings reach 
nearly to the end of the tail, shining with more metallic 
lustre than the other parts of the plumage ; the beak, legs, 
and toes, vermilion red ; the claws shining black. 



60 



CORVID^E. 



In the family of the Crows, the males are larger than 
the females. The male in this species measures almost 
seventeen inches in length. The beak from the projecting 
feathers to the point one inch and seven-eighths : from the 
carpal joint of the wing to the end of the longest quill- 
feather eleven inches and three-quarters ; the first feather 
full three inches shorter than the second, and this an inch 
shorter than the third ; the fourth a little longer than the 
third, and the longest in the wing. 

The female of this species, obligingly sent me from 
Tyneham, in the Isle of Purbeck, by Mr. Thomas Bond, 
measured fourteen inches and a half in length ; the beak 
one inch and a half from the projecting feathers to the 
point ; the wing from the carpal joint to the end nine 
inches and three-quarters ; the quill-feathers of the wing 
not so decidedly black as those of the male ; beak, legs, 
and toes, vermilion red ; claws black. 

Young birds of the year have but little purple gloss on 
their plumage ; legs, orange red. 




m 



RAVEN. 



INSESSORES. 
CONITiOSTRES. 



61 

CORVIDM. 




THE RAVEN. 

Corvus cor ax. 



Corvus corax. The Raven, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 279. 
i n >> MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

w n n n BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol i. p. 85. 

w n n n FjLEM. Brit. An. p. 87. 

n ,, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 346. 

M JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 145. 

>> i? n GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. viii. 

Corbeau noir, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 107. 

CORVUS. Generic CIiaracters.Benk straight at the base, compressed at the 
sides, curved towards the point, and sharp at the edges. Nostrils basal, open, hid 
by stiff feathers directed forwards. Wings pointed ; the first primary of moderate 
length, the second and third shorter than the fourth, which is the longest. Feet 
three toes before, one behind, almost entirely divided ; tarsus longer than the 
middle toe. 



62 CORVIDjE. 

THIS is by far the largest specimen of the genus among 
British Birds, the character and size of the Eaven causing 
it to be exceedingly well known, while from the great ex- 
tent of its geographical range, north of the equator, it is 
also as universally recognised in many other parts of the 
world as it is in this country. Bold, as well as sagacious, 
with a quick eye, and a keen sense of smell, the Raven 
is always an object of suspicion to shepherds and husband- 
men. No sooner does an animal betray any signs of weak- 
ness, but the Raven is there on the watch for an oppor- 
tunity to satisfy his appetite. At first he makes his ap- 
proach with great caution ; because, as it has been aptly 
observed, though glad to find others carrion, or to make 
carrion of them, if he can do it with impunity, he takes 
good care that none shall make carrion of him. If the 
herdsman absents himself, and no other interruption oc- 
curs, he makes his first attack upon the eye, afterwards 
feeds at his leisure, retires to a small distance to digest 
his meal, and then returns to feed again. 

The Raven inhabits high rocks on the sea coast, exten- 
sive woods, mountains, or open plains, where danger may 
be seen and avoided. Like the other birds of this genus, 
the Raven is not particular in his food ; but eats indiscri- 
minately small mammalia, birds, or their eggs, reptiles, 
insects, grain, or carrion ; on the sea coast the shore is 
closely searched for dead fish of any sort, or other animal 
substance washed up by the tide. 

These birds breed very early in the season. By the be- 
ginning of February they may be seen visiting and repair- 
ing their nest of the previous year. This is usually placed 
in a very high tree, where the difficulty of the ascent, in 
some instances, and a superstitious fear " of the Bird of 
Odin" in others, contribute to allow them to occupy the 



RAVEN. 63 

same spot for many years in succession. Raven trees, as 
they are called, exist in many different places ; and these 
birds not only live to a great age, but are considered to 
pair for life. It has been observed that if any accident 
happens to either of the birds, the surviver quickly obtains 
another mate ; and should both birds be killed, the same 
locality, from some unknown cause of attraction, is almost 
certain to be occupied by another pair. 

The nest is generally placed in the fork of a branch, and 
is formed on the outside of sticks, with a lining of wool 
and hair ; the eggs are four or five in number, two inches 
in length by one inch four lines in breadth, of a pale green 
ground colour, spotted and speckled with darker greenish 
brown. Incubation with the Raven lasts twenty days, 
during which the male feeds the female as she sits upon the 
nest, and occasionally takes her place upon the eggs ; the 
wants of the young are supplied for a time by the parents 
with great tenderness and assiduity ; but they afterwards 
drive them from their own haunts when they are able to 
provide for themselves. 

Though possessed of great power as well as courage, the 
old birds make no defence against any attempt, by men or 
boys, to rob their nest ; but against the attack of other 
birds, and even very large ones, they defend their eggs or 
young with great boldness and perseverance. Gilbert 
White, of Selborne, relates that his brother, the Rev. John 
White, a very exact observer, had remarked, that a pair 
of Ravens nesting in the rock of Gibraltar, would suffer no 
Vulture or Eagle to rest near their station, but would drive 
them from the hill with amazing fury. On the rocky cliffs 
of our own coast these birds make their nests very high up. 
They are observed in different parts of Ireland, in the 
Hebrides, Orkney, and Shetland. 



64 CORVID^E. 

Southward in Europe, this bird is found from Gibraltar 
along the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. In 
the Alpine countries of central Europe, it inhabits the 
wooded mountains during summer, and sheltered valleys in 
winter. It inhabits Corfu, Sicily, and Crete. In Egypt 
the Raven, like the Vulture, is not molested ; its services 
in removing offal or putrid flesh being considered use- 
ful. It is found over the countries between the Black and 
the Caspian Seas ; Mr. Blyth has found it near Calcutta, 
and M. Temminck includes it among the Birds of Japan. 

Northward in Europe it is found over Scandinavia and 
on the Faroe Islands ; it is found also at Iceland and at 
Greenland. The Raven was seen by Captain Sir John Parry 
and his parties, and by our other Arctic travellers, on 
most, if not upon all the various expeditions to high north- 
ern latitudes. Several pairs were seen at Melville Island ; 
the individuals which were killed, differed in no respect 
from European specimens. In the Natural History Ap- 
pendix to the Second Voyage, it is stated that the Ravens 
rob the hunters' traps, and are sometimes caught them- 
selves. Scent offal at a great distance. Pair in March. 
In the Appendix to the Third Voyage : Ravens seen at 
Port Bowen and the most northern parts visited by the Ex- 
peditions. During the winter they were frequently ob- 
served to have a white ring round their neck, caused by 
the accumulated encrustations of the vapour of their own 
breath, and giving them a very singular appearance. 
Winter produced no effect on their plumage. Captain 
James Ross, in the Appendix written by him to the ac- 
count of his uncle's last northern voyage, says, " The 
Raven is one of the few birds that are capable of braving 
the severity of an Arctic winter." One poor Raven that 
had lost a leg either by frost or a trap, visited the ship 



RAVEN. 65 

daily, and his crippled state exciting commiseration, he 
seldom failed to obtain something in the way of food. Dr. 
Richardson says of the Raven, " This well-known bird 
abounds in the flir-countries of North America, and visits 
the remotest islands of the Polar Seas. It frequents the 
barren grounds even in the most intense winter colds, its 
movements being directed in a great measure by those of 
the herds of rein-deer, musk-oxen, and bisons, which it 
follows, ready to assist in devouring such as are killed by 
beasts of prey, or by accident. No sooner has a hunter 
slaughtered an animal, than these birds are seen coming 
from various quarters to feast on the offal ; and consi- 
derable numbers constantly attend the fishing stations, 
where they show equal boldness and rapacity." 

In the United States, Mr. Audubon says, tc The Raven 
is in some degree a migratory bird, individuals retiring to 
the extreme south during severe winters, but returning to- 
wards the middle, the western, and northern districts at 
the first indication of milder weather. A few are known 
to breed in the mountainous portions of South Carolina, 
but instances of this kind are rare, and are occasioned 
merely by the security afforded by inaccessible precipices, 
in which they may rear their young. 

Our Raven was formerly considered to be an inhabitant 
of the southern hemisphere, and may exist in some lo- 
calities ; but the Raven of Mexico and the equatorial part 
of the South American continent is a distinct bird larger 
than our Raven, with a long and wedge-shaped tail. The 
Raven of South Africa is also distinct from the European 
bird, is smaller in size, with a more brilliant metallic lustre 
on its plumage, and has been named in consequence Corvus 
splendens. The Museum of the Zoological Society contains 
examples of both these species. 

VOL. II. F 



66 CORVID.E. 

The beak of our Raven is strong and black ; the fea- 
thers covering the nostrils one inch and a half long, nearly 
half the length of the beak ; the irides brown and grey : 
the whole plumage black glossed with steel-blue, and 
purple ; the feathers on the throat elongated and pointed, 
and exhibiting more metallic lustre than those of other 
parts. Legs, toes, and claws, shining black ; the legs and 
toes strong ; the claws considerably curved. 

The whole length of a male bird twenty-six inches. 
The wing from the carpal joint to the end, seventeen inches 
and one quarter : the first feather four inches shorter than 
the second ; the second one inch shorter than the third ; 
the fourth a little longer than the third, and the longest in 
the wing : the primaries are narrow and pointed, the ter- 
tials broad and rounded. The tail in form rather more 
than rounded, or slightly angular, the pair of feathers in 
the middle being the longest. 

The female is smaller than the male ; and her plumage, 
as also that of young birds before their first moult, has 
less metallic lustre. 

Mr. Macgillivray in his volumes on British Birds, men- 
tions that he " once saw a Eaven in Harris, one of the 
outer Hebrides, that was patched with white. Another 
entirely white, was credibly reported to him to have been 
seen in the Island of Pabbay." The first of these was 
considered to be identical with the Pied Eaven of the 
Faroe Islands, the Corvus leucophceus of authors, but it is 
considered doubtful whether this Pied Eaven is entitled 
to rank as a species. According to ancient authors, 
Eavens were formerly white, but were changed to black 
for babbling. Mr. John Barrow in his ' Visit to Iceland, 1 
says, " This bird was dedicated to Odin, who, as the tra- 
ditional history of Iceland informs us, had two Eavens, 







RAVEN. 67 

which were let loose every morning to collect intelligence 
of what was going on in the world, and which, on return- 
ing in the evening, perched upon Odin's shoulders, to 
whisper in his ear whatever information they might have 
collected ; and even now, as we learn from Olafsen and 
Povelsen, the Icelanders entertain superstitious notions 
regarding the Eaven they believe this bird to be not 
only acquainted with what is going on at a distance, but 
also what is to happen in future." Iceland is said to 
have been originally stocked with Ravens from the Faroe 
Islands. Shakespeare alludes to our superstitions about 
the Eaven in King Henry VI., Othello, and Macbeth. 

The various qualities and* powers of voice exhibited by 
birds in general, and the diversity of structure found to 
exist in the windpipes or trachese of different species in some 
particular families, have justly excited the attention and 
remarks of several writers. Descriptions and illustrations 
of the peculiarities of these parts in some of those species 
most remarkable for their deviation from the common form 
will be found in the fourth, twelfth, fifteenth, and sixteenth 
volumes of the Transactions of the Linnean Society of 
London. 

Among British Birds, the power of imitating the sounds 
of the human voice is possessed in the greatest perfection 
by the Eaven, the Magpie, the Jay, and the Starling. In 
proof of this power in the Eaven, many anecdotes might 
be repeated : the two following, derived from unquestiona- 
ble authorities, are perhaps less known than many others : 
" Eavens have been taught to articulate short sentences 
as distinctly as any Parrot. One, belonging to Mr. Hen- 
slow, of St. Alban's, speaks so distinctly, that when we 
first heard it, we were actually deceived in thinking it 
was a human voice : and there is another at Chatham 

F 2 



68 



CORVID^E. 



which has made equal proficiency ; for, living within the 
vicinity of a guard-house, it has more than once turned 
out the guard, who thought they were called by the sen- 
tinel on duty."" Fauna Boreali- Americana. Swainson 
and Richardson, Part II. page 290, note. 

The advantageous size of the organ of voice in the 
Raven, and its perfect similarity to those of all our song- 
birds, induced me to select it in illustration of this subject, 
although in the quality of its tone there is no resemblance ; 
but it should be borne in mind, that this bird possesses 
the power of imitating the most difficult of all sounds, 
the human voice, for which numerous muscles appear to 
be necessary. The illustrations here given, are exactly of 
the same size as the parts themselves will be found in the 








KAVEN. 69 

bird, by any one who is inclined to follow me in the ex- 
amination. 

The organ of voice in birds may be considered as consist- 
ing of four parts : the glottis, or superior larynx, the tube 
of the trachea, the inferior larynx, with its muscles, and the 
bronchise ; and the variety of modulation birds in general 
are known to possess has its corresponding variety of forms 
and appendages. The glottis, or superior larynx, opens 
into the mouth at the root of the tongue. The orifice, 
figure 1, letter 5, in the first group of illustrations, is long 
and narrow, encircled by two pair of muscles, figure 2, 
5, #, and figure 3, , #, which govern the size of the aper- 
ture, and constitute one of the accessory means by which 
the sound of the voice is regulated. Birds have no epi- 
glottis, or covering over this aperture, to prevent any 
particles of food passing into the windpipe ; but the sur- 
face near the opening is furnished with numerous papillae, 
pointing backwards, which assist in directing and convey- 
ing food towards and into the O3sophagus. 

Figure 1 is a representation of the glottis with its sur- 
rounding membranes. Figure 4 is a representation of the 
cartilages forming the superior larynx, all the softer parts 
having been removed. The letters a refer to the principal 
cartilage, which, when in its natural situation, lies upon 
the pharyngeal portion, and between the cornua of the os 
hyoides, or bone of the tongue. This cartilage appears to 
perform the double office of the thyroid and cricoid car- 
tilages in the higher animals. In substance it is uniformly 
thin, its shape nearly triangular when laid flat, one angle 
placed forward, the lateral angles curving upwards to sup- 
port the base of the arytenoid cartilage on its own side. 
The letters 5, 5, refer to the arytenoid cartilages, supported 
at their base by the lateral angles of the cricoid cartilage, 




70 CORVID^E. 

before mentioned, and projecting forwards in two narrow 
and thin parallel processes over two-thirds of the orifice 
formed by the curved lateral portions of the cartilage un- 
derneath : each parallel process forming a slight groove 
on its superior surface by their edges also curving upwards. 

The glottis is closed by a pair of muscles, fig. 3, #, a, 
extending from the upper portion of the cricoid cartilage 
along the two branches of the arytenoid cartilages, upon each 
outer edge of which they are inserted ; and it is opened by 
a pair of muscles, fig. 2, 5, 5, arising from the lateral and 
posterior portions of the cricoid cartilage, the fibres of 
which muscles passing over the pair of smaller muscles, 
just described, are inserted upon the inner edge of each 
arytenoid cartilage. The obvious use of these two pair 
of muscles is to govern the size of the aperture. 

The tube of the windpipe is composed of two mem- 
branes, enclosing between them numerous cartilaginous, or 
bony rings, forming a cylinder more or less perfect from 
end to end. Ossification appears to commence in these 
rings at the front of the trachea, from which point the 
bone gradually extends equally on both sides towards the 
resophagus as the bird increases in age ; in particular 
parts, however, of the tracheae of some birds, the bony 
rings are not entirely complete at any age. Various 
inequalities of size occur, and convolutions in different parts 
of the same tube, in some species, producing, as might be 
expected, a particular effect on the voice, to be hereafter 
explained and figured with the species to which they 
belong. The length of the tube also requires conside- 
ration : thus shrill notes are produced by short tubes, and 
vice versa ; the first are possessed by the Singing Birds, 
and the reverse by some of the Waders and Swimmers ; 
but the diameter of the tube has also its influence, large 



RAVEN. 



71 



tubes producing notes low in the scale of tones, and 
vice versa. The substance of the tube itself has also to be 
considered, though some anomalies present themselves. 
Those birds possessing strong and broad cartilages, or bony 
rings, have monotonous and loud voices ; while the more 
slender rings, with enlarged spaces between them, allow a 
freedom of motion, producing a corresponding variety 
in the scale of tone. 

The inferior larynx, the true situation of the organ of 
voice in birds, as the experiments of Baron Cuvier have 




72 CORVID^E. 

sufficiently proved, is situated at the bottom of the tube, 
and is formed sometimes by the approximation of several 
of the lower rings of the trachea more or less firmly 
ossified together, and occasionally of solid bones ; varying 
in form, being compressed, conical, or triangular at its 
lower surface, figs. 4 and 5, a and 5, of the second group, 
having a central crossbone, figs. 4 and 5, a, a, extending 
from behind to the front, dividing the orifice into two 
equal parts ; to the outer side of which cross-bone the 
inner membrane of each bronchial tube is attached. This 
cross-bone, thus dividing the orifice, forms the point of 
divarication from which the bronchia? arise separate, and 
descend to the lungs. From the upper edge of this cross- 
bone a semi-lunar shaped membrane, concave on its superior 
edge, ascends for a short distance the inside of the tube. 

The bronchial tubes are formed on the outer sides by 
membrane interposed between, and connecting a variable 
number of cartilages which describe only parts of circles, 
diminishing in size as they approach the lungs, fig. 2, 0, 
the circle being completed on the inner side by a delicate 
membrane stretching from the opposite points of the 
semi-circular cartilages, fig. 3, c, and forming a tube from 
the orifice of the inferior larynx to the substance of the 
lungs. This membrane is called by Cuvier the membrani 
tympaniformis, and upon its dilatation and contraction, as 
well as the power afforded of altering the form and length 
of the bronchise, some of the varieties of intonation depend. 
The bronchise are also slightly attached to each other, and 
to the oesophagus. 

The muscles of the glottis, or superior larynx, are uni- 
formly two pair in all the birds I have examined ; but the 
muscles of the inferior, or true larynx, all largely supplied 
with nerves, vary in number from one pair to five pair, 



RAVEN. 73 

according to the genus or species, affording a corresponding 
increase in the various qualities of the voice. 

Some few birds have no true muscles of voice at the 
inferior part of their trachesc. The Vultures, some of 
them at least, are described as being without any. No. 
1 is a representation of the lower portion of the trachea of 
a Vulture, without muscles, or any true bone of divari- 
cation, the bronchial rings almost completing the circle, 
with little flexibility, and the voice of the bird monotonous. 
The want of muscles of voice will be more immediately appa- 
rent by comparing the representation of No. 1 of the second 
group of these vocal illustrations, with those of the Raven, 
with its five muscles on each side, forming the fourth group. 
The next division, or those birds possessing but one pair 
of muscles of voice at the inferior larynx, is by far the 
most numerous, including as it does most of the Raptores, 
some of the Insessores* all the Rasores, Grallatores, and 
NatatoreS) with a few exceptions, which will be pointed 
out. The British species of these orders are the examples 
more particularly referred to. 

The single pair of muscles, when one pair only exist, 
arise from the whole outer surface of the cricoid cartilage : 
descending, they form a sheath round the upper part of 
the tube, afterwards dividing and passing downwards in two 
equal portions, one on each side uniformly attached to 
the tube, and not quitting it till arrived at or near the 
bone of divarication ; when separating from the tube of 
the windpipe, they pass outwards and downwards in dis- 
tinct slips on each side, to be inserted upon each inner 
lateral edge of the breast-bone or sternum ; third group, 
figs. 1 and 2, front and side view. This pair of muscles 
support and strengthen the windpipe, and serve to ac- 
commodate the tube to all the varied movements of the 




neck : they influence the length of the trachese, as well as 
that of the bronchise, and on account of their place of 
insertion have been named sterno-tracheal. This pair of 
muscles sometimes send off a small slip towards the bottom, 
which is inserted upon the inner surface of the bone called 
the merry-thought, or forked bone, and have been named in 
consequence furculo-tracheal ; but this division does not 
appear to afford any additional powers of voice. In figures 
1 and 2, letters a a refer to the tube ; b b to the point of 
division, or bone of divarication ; c to the bronchia, and d 
to the elongated muscles going off to be attached to the 
sternum. Another example of two pair of muscles at the 
inferior larynx is found in the family of the Pigeons, as re- 
presented in the third figure of this third group. The 
second pair in this instance, marked 0, are formed of a por- 
tion of the sterno-tracheal muscles, but taking a different 
direction. They proceed by a narrow slip, from that point 
upon the tube where the first pair of muscles go off to be 
inserted upon the sternum down the side of the trachea, to 
be attached externally to the membrane between the lowest 



RAVEN. 75 

ring of the tube, and the first ring of the bronchia, as shown 
in the side view before referred to. By their contraction 
they shorten the flexible portion of the tube between their 
points of attachment, and produce tension upon the mem- 
brana tympaniformis. 

Among British Birds I have found no examples with 
three pair, or four pair of muscles, at the inferior larynx ; I 
proceed, therefore, to the consideration of the most complex 
organ, that furnished with five pair. 

The birds included in this division are all those of the 
family of the Crows, the Starling, the Thrush tribe, the 
Warblers, Larks, Buntings, Finches,* Swallows, &e., the 
organs of voice in which vary only in size. In birds pos- 
sessing powers of song, or imitation, the tube of the trachea 
is nearly uniform in shape throughout, the bronchise long in 
proportion, and both parts perfectly flexible. The fourth 
group here introduced exhibits, fig. 1, a front view fig. 2, 
a back view and fig. 3, a side view of the lower portion 
of the trachea and its muscles in the Eaven, which may be 
considered the type of this form, and from its size admits of 
clear explanation. Figures 2 and 3 of the second group, 
page 69, exhibit an outside and an inside view of the same 
part, but divested of its muscles, to show by the prevalence 
and interposition of membrane, the degree of alteration the 
various muscles are able to effect. 

Referring again to the fourth group, on the opposite 
page, the pair of muscles which descend on the outside of 
the trachea, divide at a short distance above the end of the 
tube, and one portion is directed in continuation downwards 
and backwards, to be inserted upon the extreme posterior 

* The Canary is a true Finch, possessing, like the best Song Birds, five pair 
of true muscles of voice, and hence arises its power of imitating other sounds, as 
evinced in the Canary, which has for some time past formed an interesting sub- 
ject of exhibition in London. 



76 



CORVIDjR. 





end of the first bone of the bronchia, and is marked /. Its 
counterpart passes from the place of separation downwards 
and forwards to be inserted belowthe extreme point of the last 
bone of the tube, and is marked e. Within the angle formed 
by the separation of these two muscles, a third slender and 
cord-like muscle arises, which goes off to be inserted upon 
the sternum, as in those birds having one pair ; these are 
marked d. The fourth muscle, marked A, is the shortest of 
the five. It arises near the centre of the bottom of the tube, 
and its fibres, directed obliquely backwards and downwards, 






RAVEN. 77 

are inserted by tendon upon the extremity of the first half- 
circular bone. The fifth muscle, marked g, arises also from 
the centre of the tube, similar to the last, but is something 
longer and thicker, having the appearance of being made up 
of several small muscles in close contact. Its direction is 
obliquely downwards and forwards, its substance in part 
hid by the muscle marked 0, and it is attached by a broad 
base to the last bony ring of the tube, to the cartilaginous 
projection immediately below, and sends one portion to be 
inserted upon the extreme end of the first bronchial bone. 
Figure 4 represents these five muscles, three of them being 
partly detached to render them more obvious by separation. 
I have called these four muscles the long and short, 
anterior, and posterior tensors : the muscle marked d, from 
its insertion upon the sternum, may still retain the name of 
sterno-tracheal. Thus, it will be seen, the lungs govern the 
quantity of air, as well as the force with which it is sent 
through the trachea, while these muscles influence the 
diameter, and the length of the bronchial tubes. The 
principle upon which the organs of voice in birds is founded 
is that which prevails in wind instruments generally ; 
the notes in the ascending scale being produced by a cor- 
responding contraction of the diameter, or the length of the 
tube, and vice versa. It may, perhaps, be objected, that 
the utmost extent of motion which birds appear to have the 
power of exercising over the different parts of their organ 
of voice, seems insufficient to account for the effects pro- 
duced ; but it may in answer be urged, that the closest ex- 
amination, or most scientific demonstration of the chordae 
vocales and muscles in man, with all the auxiliary appen- 
dages, afford but an imperfect illustration of the varied and 
extraordinary powers of the human voice. 



78 

INSESSORES. 



CORVID.E. 



CORV1DJF.. 




THE CARRION CROW. 



Corvus corone. 



Corvus corone, Tlie, Carrion Crow, 



Corneitte noir, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 281. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 87. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 87. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 349. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 145. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xviii. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 108. 



THE CROW, or Carrion Crow as it is more frequently 
called, may be considered a Raven of small size, resembling 
the bird last described in all but its bulk, while it is im- 
mediately distinguished from the Rook by its beak, its 
voice, and its habits. 



CARRION CROW. 79 

Like the Raven, the Crows keep in pairs all the year, 
and more than two are seldom seen together, unless as- 
sembled over a carcase. 

The partiality of this species to animal diet has caused 
it to be called Flesh Crow and Gor Crow, or Gore Crow ; 
and in those countries where large flocks of sheep are 
maintained, the Crow is a lurking and dangerous enemy. 
They live mostly in woods, or in wooded countries, taking 
extensive flights in search of food, while their power of 
vision, and the elevation at which they proceed, afford 
them a wide field of view. They destroy weak lambs and 
small quadrupeds, such as leverets, and young rabbits, 
and the young also of feathered game and poultry ; they 
have been seen to kill pigeons. "A Carrion Crow was 
observed to steal a young duck, which it pounced upon 
while in a pond, and carried it off in his bill. The Crow 
did not drop the duck in order to kill it, but laid it down 
on the ground, walking backwards and forwards, and 
treading upon it until it was dead, when it was taken to 
the nest." Another observer states that while looking at 
" an old sparrow enticing forth its young ones, a Crow 
pounced upon it, held it between its claws, and instantly 
tore it in pieces, as would a bird of prey. When the meal 
was completed, it began its hoarse note, and flew off in 
search of further food." A. E. Knox, Esq., says the Crow 
eats the freshwater muscle, and on the coast it picks the 
soft parts out of dead shell fish, or eats such other refuse as 
it can find. In default of any sort of animal matter, which 
it appears greatly to prefer, it will feed on grain, or po- 
tatoes, and sometimes on green walnuts. It is observed, 
like the Raven, and other birds of this family, to hide 
superfluous food. 

Haydn, in his Dictionary of Dates, says, " that an Act 



80 CORVID.E. 

was passed (24th Henry VIII. , 1532,) for the destruction 
of Crows in England, which breeds more of them than any 
other country in Europe." 

The Crow is an early breeder, like the other species of 
the genus Corvus, beginning to build or repair its nest in 
the month of February. The nest is generally placed in a 
forked branch of a tree ; the outside is framed of sticks 
and twigs, with a plentiful lining of wool and hair, or other 
soft material : the eggs are usually four or five in number, 
of a pale bluish green, spotted and speckled with two 
shades of ash colour and clove brown ; the length of the 
egg one inch eight lines, by one inch two lines in breadth. 
The male feeds the female while she remains upon the 
eggs, and both defend their young with great courage 
against birds much larger than themselves. According to 
Mr. Macgillivray, if the male be killed, the female soon 
gets another mate. In countries where the Carrion Crow 
is not numerous, it has been known to pair with the 
Hooded Crow ; and some instances of this, and of some 
other birds also, that in a wild state have been known to 
pair with birds that were not of their own species, will be 
noticed in the history of the Hooded Crow, which imme- 
diately follows. 

The Carrion Crow is found throughout England. In 
Ireland, Mr. Thompson informs me, it frequents the sea 
coast chiefly through the northern parts. In Scotland it 
is also found ; but diminishes in number as you approach 
the northern extremity. Miiller includes the C. corone in 
the Birds of Denmark ; but M. Nilsson says it is rare in 
Sweden, and according to Oedman it does not go to the 
northward of Nordkopin. It is found in Norway, on the 
Faroe Islands, and at Iceland. The Crow of the United 
States of America is a different species. 






CARRION CROW. 81 

Southward in Europe, it is found in Germany, France, 
Spain, Provence, and Italy; inhabiting the woods from 
spring to autumn, and the plains from autumn through the 
winter to spring. It is very rare in Sicily, but according 
to M. Temminck it is found in the Morea. A Russian 
Naturalist, whose name has been already quoted, has in- 
cluded it as inhabiting the country south of the Caucasian 
range, between the Black and the Caspian Seas. M. Tem- 
minck says it is also found in Japan. 

The beak of this bird is black, the nostrils and basal 
third covered by feathers directed forwards; irides dark 
brown ; the whole of the plumage entirely black, like that 
of the Raven ; the upper parts reflecting tints of violet and 
green in particular lights ; the tail shorter in proportion 
than that of the Raven ; the tail-feathers broad ; the form 
of the tail nearly square, the outer feathers on each side 
being but a little shorter than those in the centre. The 
legs, toes, and claws, strong, and of a shining black. 

The whole length of the bird described eighteen inches 
and a half. From the carpal joint to the end of the wing 
thirteen inches and a half : the first feather three inches 
shorter than the second ; the second one inch shorter than 
the third ; the third and fourth nearly equal, and the 
longest in the wing. 

Females, and the young birds of the year before their 
first moult, have less metallic lustre on the upper surface 
of their plumage than adult males. 



VOL. II. 



82 



CORVID^E. 



INSESSORES. 



CORVIDtf. 




THE HOODED CROW, 

OB, ROYSTON CROW. 

Corvus comix. 



Corvus comix, The Hooded Crow, 



Corneille mantelee, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 286. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 89. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 87. 
SELBY, Brit Ornith. vol. i. p. 351. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 146. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xii. 
TEMM. Man.d'Ornith. vol. i p. 108. 



THE HOODED, OR ROYSTON CROW, in its form, as well as 
in its habits, resembles the Carrion Crow ; it is even said 
to be more mischievous. In the southern parts of this 
country it is, however, only a winter visiter, arriving from 



ROYSTON, OR HOODED CROW. 83 

the North early in October, and departing for the North 
again in April. In the western and northern parts of 
Scotland, in the Hebrides, the Orkney and Shetland 
Islands, this bird is resident throughout the year ; and Mr. 
Selby observes, that 4t as he has been assured, from the 
most authentic information, that in those districts of Scot- 
land where they abound, there is no visible diminution of 
their numbers during the winter months," the inference 
seems to be that the greater part of those which visit Eng- 
land come from Sweden, Norway, and other countries 
situated to the north-east, this opinion being strengthened 
by the fact of their generally arriving with the first flight 
of Woodcocks, which birds always take advantage of a 
north-eastern breeze for their journey. The Koyston 
Crows, on their appearance in this country, frequent 
marshes near the sea, the banks and shores of tide rivers, 
inhabiting both sides of the Thames as high up as within a 
few miles of London ; and when inland these birds frequent 
champagne countries and open downs. 

This species is sometimes called the Royston Crow as 
well as the Hooded Crow, and I believe that Royston Crow 
is the older name of the two. Merrett, Willughby, and 
Ray, use the name Royston Crow only ; the two latter 
authors quoting Royston and Newmarket Heath as the 
localities for this bird in winter. That it is abundant about 
Rovston from October to March I can testify on my own 
knowledge ; its boldness, the contrast in the colours of its 
plumage, and the open character of that country, assist in 
rendering this bird very conspicuous, and we shall be as 
correct in referring to it by the name of Royston Crow, as 
we are in speaking of the Iceland Falcon, the Dartford 
Warbler, and many other birds named in reference to 

certain localities in which they are constantly found. 

G 2 



84 CORVID^E. 

These birds usually appear in small parties except when 
food is to be obtained ; and so destructive are these Hooded 
Crows to young lambs, eggs, or poultry, that in the Orkney 
and Shetland Islands, where they are numerous, rewards at 
the rate of twopence for every Crow were paid by the local 
authorities up to so late a period as the year 1835, in con- 
sequence of which many were annually destroyed. On the 
coast they feed upon sand- worms, shell-fish, and almost any 
marine production. Mr. Selby says, " I have repeatedly 
observed one of these birds to soar up to a considerable 
height in the air, with a cockle or mussel in its bill, and 
then drop it upon the rock, in order to obtain the included 
fish." l)r. Fleming, in his Philosophy of Zoology, con- 
siders instinct, in this degree, as bordering closely upon 
intelligence, as implying a notion of power, and also of 
cause and effect. May not such an act be referred to 
knowledge gained by experience ? 

When removed from the vicinity of the sea shore, or the 
banks of tide rivers, these birds seek the same sort of food 
as the Carrion Crow, preferring animal substance of any 
kind, seldom resorting to any vegetable production unless 
driven to it by stern necessity. Their voice is more shrill 
than that of the Carrion Crow ; but they are said to vary 
their tone occasionally, producing two cries, the one hoarse? 
the other sharp. 

So numerous are these birds on some of the western 
islands of Scotland, that a flock of them were seen feeding 
on shell-fish on the east coast of Jura, after a violent storm, 
which did not contain less than five hundred, and not a 
single black Crow among them. Mr. Salmon, in his obser- 
vations made during three weeks' sojourn in Orkney, says, 
" AVe found the Hooded Crow in tolerable plenty ; not 
associating together in communities, but, like the Crow, 



ROYSTON, OR HOODED CROW. 85 

preferring to build their nests separately. These are placed 
among the rocks, and upon the sides of the deep chasms 
that are to he found upon the sides of the hills ; generally 
upon the ledge of a rock, among the overhanging heather. 
The outside of the nest is composed of withered heather, 
and large roots or stalks, and it is lined with wool and hair. 
In one nest that we looked into, we found three young 
ones, and they were almost in full plumage, which had pre- 
cisely the same colours as that of their parents." Mr. 
Hunt, of Norwich, in his History of British Birds, says he 
was told by good authority that a pair of these birds had 
built a nest, and reared their young, during the season of 
1816 in the neighbourhood of King's Lynn, and there is 
good reason to believe that this species reared its young in 
the vicinity of Yarmouth in the season of 1843. 

Mr. W. C. Williamson, Curator to the Natural History 
Society, Manchester, in his notes on the appearance of rare 
Birds in the vicinity of Scarborough, as printed in the Pro- 
ceedings of the Zoological Society for the year 1836, says, 
" The Hooded Grow has been known to breed near Scar- 
borough on two or three occasions. In one instance, a 
female Hooded Crow was observed to pair with a Carrion 
Crow on a large tree at Hackness, where they succeeded in 
rearing their young. The Carrion Crow was shot by the 
gamekeeper ; but the following year the Hooded Crow re- 
turned with a new mate of the same sable hue as the former 
one to her old nest. The Carrion Crow and the young 
Crows were again all shot ; the old female by her vigilance 
escaped all the efforts of the keepers to destroy her, and a 
third time returned with a fresh mate ; she was not, how- 
ever, again so successful, but was shot, and is now preserved 
in the Scarborough Museum. The young birds varied, 
some resembling the Hooded and others the Carrion Crow 



86 



CORVINE. 



in their plumage." Mr. Selby, in his address to the Ber- 
wickshire Naturalists' Club in September 1834, mentions, 
on the authority of Mr. Armstrong, that a Hooded Crow 
had in the previous spring paired with a Carrion Crow at 
Fowberry, where it was killed from the nest, containing 
eggs. Examples of a similar nature, Mr. Selby observes, 
have also been known to occur in Dumfries-shire by our 
colleague Sir William Jardine ; and Temminck remarks, 
that in the northern countries of Europe, where the C. 
corone is rare, a mixed breed is sometimes produced between 
it and the C. comix. A correspondent in the Field Natu- 
ralist thus relates the result of his own observations on the 
same subject : " For four successive years I had oppor- 
tunities of witnessing the pairing of the Carrion Crow and 
the Hooded Crow on some large beech trees which sur- 
rounded my house in Forfarshire. They never reoccupied 
the old nest, nor did they always build their nest on the 
same tree ; nor was I positively certain that it was the 
same individuals who returned every year to these trees, 
though it is probable they were, for they were never 
molested. Knowing the predatory propensities of the 
Carrion Crow on hen's eggs, young chicks, and even 
turkey poults, I would have shot them had they been a 
pair of Carrion Crows ; but I was anxious to watch the 
result of what appeared to me at the time a remarkable 
union. Judging from the manners of the two birds, the 
almost constant incubation, and carefulness exhibited, I 
should say that the Hooded Crow was the female, though 
the Carrion Crow did frequently sit upon the eggs. After 
the young of the first year took wing, I perceived that the 
one was a Carrion and the other a Hooded Crow, and this 
distinctive character was maintained in the young which 
were hatched every year, as long as I remained in 



ROYSTON, OR HOODED CROW. 87 

that part of the country. I shot the first young pair, 
and ascertained that the Hooded one was the female, 
and the Carrion was the male, which confirmed me 
in my conjecture of the sexes of the parents. Ever after 
young and old were unmolested by me ; but, notwithstand- 
ing the increase of number every year after the first one, 
only one pair came annually to build on these beech trees." 
Another remarkable instance is noticed in Mr. Atkinson's 
Compendium of the Ornithology of Great Britain, page 30, 
where a male of the Hooded Crow paired with a female of 
the Carrion Crow at Aroquhar, on Loch Long, and this 
singular attachment had subsisted three or four years ; their 
nest was like that of the Carrion Crow, in the fork of a tall 
pine, and the young brood had already flown; but the 
party were unable to procure one of them, or to ascertain 
which of the parents they most resembled. In further 
proof of birds in a wild state sometimes pairing with others 
not of their own species, I may quote a letter received from 
R. H. Sweeting, Esq., of Charmouth, stating that a keeper 
brought him a pair of Harriers, genus Circus, which he had 
just shot together at their nest in a furze brake, in the act 
of feeding their young, the female of which proved to be 
a ring-tail, and the male an example of Montagu's Harrier. 
Another instance is recorded in the seventh volume of the 
Magazine of Natural History, page 598, by Mr. Henry 
Berry, in the following terms. With respect to the 
Thrush, I recollect a singular case : in the garden of James 
Hankin, a nurseryman at Ormskirk, in Lancashire, a 
Thrush and a Blackbird had paired : this was well known 
to a number of individuals, myself among them. During 
two successive years the birds reared their broods, which 
were permitted to fly, and evinced, in all respects, the 
features of strongly-marked hybrids. Several instances are 



88 CORVID.fi. 

known in which the female of the Black Grouse, usually 
called the Grey Hen, has bred in a wild state with the 
Common Pheasant ; and hybrids between the Pheasant and 
Domestic Fowls, are frequently produced. The Common 
Goose, in a state of domestication, has produced young with 
the Chinese Gander, as recorded by T. C, Eyton, Esq. ; 
and the Wild Duck has bred with the male Pintail at 
Belvidere, as communicated to the Zoological Society by 
Lord Saye and Sele. 

Several experiments on the productive powers of various 
hybrid birds are now in progress ; but, without intending to 
anticipate the interesting particulars which may be elicited, 
I may briefly refer to what has fallen under my own observa- 
tion. Some degree of restriction, either accidental or im- 
posed, and arising from various causes, appears to be neces- 
sary to induce the union of birds that are of different 
species; but the influence of the Divine command to in- 
crease and multiply is so irresistible, that some birds unite 
with strange partners, rather than have no partner at all ; 
when putting two birds of different species together, with 
the intention of breeding from them, union is less likely to 
take place if they are kept within sight or hearing of other 
birds of their own species. The two sexes of the broods 
produced by such unions take little or no notice of each 
other when adult, even during the usual breeding-season, 
and are believed to be unproductive among themselves if so 
restricted ; but if allowed an opportunity of uniting with 
the true species of either parent, they are then prolific, 
and the young birds produced soon lose all intermediate 
character. 

The Hooded Crows, like the other Crows, are early 
breeders, making their nest upon trees, in those countries 
where trees are found, in default of trees they build on 



ROYSTON, OR HOODED CROW. 89 

marine rocks and cliffs : the nest is formed of sticks and 
straw, lined with wool and hair ; the eggs from four to six 
in number, mottled all over with greenish brown on a light 
green ground ; the length one inch ten lines, by one inch 
three lines in breadth. 

In addition to the localities already quoted, the Hooded 
Crow is indigenous in the northern parts of Ireland. North 
of the islands of Scotland, it is common in Denmark, Swe- 
den, and Norway, breeds in considerable numbers on the 
Faroe Islands, and is found at Iceland ; it is found also in 
Russia and Siberia, but not beyond the Lena. It is said 
to breed in Germany ; and is common during winter on the 
coast of Holland. In the southern parts of Europe, this 
bird inhabits the plains from autumn to the spring, and the 
mountains that are wooded from the spring to autumn. It 
is found at Corfu, Sicily, and Crete. Mr. H. Strickland 
observed that it was common at Smyrna ; it is found in 
the Grecian Archipelago ; and it inhabits the country 
between the Black and the Caspian seas. M. Temminck 
includes it in his Catalogue of the Birds of Japan ; 
and Sonnerat records it as inhabiting the Philippine 
Islands. 

Beak strong, like that of the Raven, two inches long, 
and shining black, the basal half covered with projecting 
feathers, which entirely hide the nostrils ; the head, cheeks, 
throat, and neck in front, shining bluish black ; wings and 
tail the same ; nape of the neck, back, rump, and all the 
under surface of the body smoke grey, the shafts of the 
feathers dark slate grey ; legs, toes, and claws, shining 
black. 

Whole length of an adult male twenty inches. Wings 
from the carpal joint to the end of the quill-feathers thirteen 
inches: the first feather three inches shorter than the 



90 



CORVIDJE. 



second, which is one inch shorter than the third ; the third 
but little shorter than the fourth, which is the longest in 
the wing. 

Females are smaller than males, and the grey portions of 
the plumage are tinged with brown. Young birds resem- 
ble their parents in having their plumage grey, as men- 
tioned on the authority of Mr. Salmon. 

The vignette below represents an accidental malformation 
in the beak of a Rook, for the opportunity of figuring 
which I am indebted to T. C. Heysham, Esq., of Carlisle. 




JNSESSORES. 



ROOK. 



91 

CORVIDM. 




THE ROOK. 



Corvus fruyilcguS) Tlie Rook, 



Le Freux, 



PENN. Brit, Zool. vol. i. p. 283. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 91. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 88. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 353. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 146. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiii. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 110. 



THE ROOK, says Pennant, is the Corvus of Virgil, no 
other species of this kind being gregarious. The Poet seems 
to have been partial to these birds, bringing them into 
notice on many occasions, and describing very naturally the 
evening return to their nests. Rooks are at once dis- 
tinguished from the other species of this family, already 



92 CORVID.E. 

described, by their habits of constantly living in flocks 
together at all seasons of the year, and further evincing the 
sociability of their dispositions by appearing to prefer situ- 
ations in the immediate vicinity of the abodes of man. 
There are not wanting instances where long-established 
rookeries near a mansion have been deserted by these birds, 
when it has happened that the house has been pulled down, 
or even abandoned as a habitation. 

Their partiality to building their nests on any trees suffi- 
ciently lofty, that are occasionally to be found in various 
parts of crowded cities, must have been observed, not only 
in London, but elsewhere. In the spring of 1838, a pair of 
Rooks began to form a nest on the crown which surmounts 
the vane of St. Olave's church, in Hart Street, Crutched 
Friars ; many persons will remember the nest built on a 
single and not very lofty tree near the corner of Wood 
Street and Cheapside, in the season of 1836, and two nests 
have been built arid occupied in the present year, 1845. A 
few years since a pair built their nest between the wings of 
the dragon of Bow Church, and remained there till the 
steeple required repairs. In the gardens of two noblemen 
in Curzon Street, May Fair, a considerable number of 
Rooks have built for many years, and these probably 
received an addition at the destruction of the rookery in 
the gardens of Carlton House. Mr. Black wall has recorded 
in the Zoological Journal, that three pairs of Rooks built on 
some low black Italian poplars in a central part of the 
town of Manchester, and returned to the same place the 
following year. Mr. Bewick has noticed the nest of a pair 
of Rooks which was built on the top of the vane of the 
Exchange in Newcastle-upon-Tyne ; and though the nest 
and its inhabitants were turned about with every change of 
wind, it was tenanted for ten successive seasons till the 



ROOK. 93 

spire was taken down ; and Mr. Macgillivray mentions 
that Rooks build every year in the heart of the city of 
Edinburgh. 

Rooks are supposed to exhibit a degree of sagacity un- 
usual in birds, in selecting or avoiding certain trees. " At 
an old mansion, not far from London, surrounded by a 
number of very fine elms, a singular mark of the sagacity 
of Rooks was recently observed. Many of these trees had 
become very old, and it was therefore determined to fell a 
few of them every year, and plant young ones in their 
place. The oldest of the trees were accordingly condemned 
to be felled, and a portion of the bark taken off to indicate 
those which were to come down. These trees were soon 
forsaken by the Rooks, and it was subsequently observed 
that immediately after any of the other elms were marked 
in a similar manner, the Rooks at once forsook the trees, as 
if fully aware that the removal of the bark was a notice for 
them to quit." Another instance is thus noticed : " Mr. 
Wingate, steward to Mr. Templer of Lindridge, remarked 
in various years, that certain trees were not built upon by 
the Rooks ; if one nest were built, the others destroyed it ; 
and he invariably found that such trees were decayed, 
and were generally blown down during some storm." I am 
disposed in these cases to believe that the age, or incipient 
decay of the trees, had produced its effect on the upper 
branches, and that the Rooks found these twigs less fit for 
their purpose than those of more healthy trees which were 
close by. 

The balance between injury or benefit derived from 
Rooks by the agriculturist is a question which general 
opinion seems to have settled, by considering that the 
occasional injury is much more than counterbalanced by 
the amount of benefit conferred in the consumption of 



94 CORVID.E. 

thousands of destructive grubs of the common cock-chaffer, 
the wire-worms of several sorts, and, as mentioned by Mr. 
Selby, the larvae also of the insect commonly known by the 
name of harry-long-legs ; these, and probably many others 
equally injurious to vegetation, are searched for and de- 
voured with avidity, forming a very large proportion of the 
food of this most numerous species. Early in the morning 
Books visit meadow land while the grass is yet wet with 
dew, to break their fast on worms and slugs, which the 
moisture of that period induces to crawl forth. Later in 
the day, they may be seen either searching newly-ploughed 
ground for the various insects there exposed, or again visit- 
ing pastures for other purposes. There they are accused 
of destroying the grass by pulling it up by the roots ; " but 
it has been stated, and I believe truly, that this is an error 
arising out of the following circumstance : In searching 
for grubs which are concealed in the earth, and supported 
by eating the roots of the grass, the Rook pulls at the 
blade of grass with its bill, and when the grass comes up 
readily, the bird knows that there are under it insects 
which have destroyed its roots, and in this way detects 
them ; but if the blade of grass is firm, the Rook goes to 
another part of the ground. In a field where grubs are 
very abundant, the Rooks scatter the grass everywhere, so 
as to give the appearance of having rooted it up, while 
they have only exposed the depredations of the insects by 
which the roots have been destroyed." The author of the 
Journal of a Naturalist, speaking of the readiness with 
which Rooks detect the places where grubs are sure to be 
found, says, " I have often observed them alight on a pas- 
ture of uniform verdure, and exhibiting no sensible appear- 
ance of feathering or decay, and immediately commence 
stocking up the ground. Upon investigating the object of 



ROOK. 95 

their operations, I have found many heads of plantains, the 
little autumnal dandelions, 'and other plants, drawn out of 
the ground, and scattered about, their roots having been 
eaten off by a grub, leaving only a crown of leaves upon 
the surface." It may readily be supposed that extensive 
injury at the root of a plant cannot exist long without 
some alteration in the appearance of the leaves, or other 
parts, above ground, and the Books seem to have learned 
by experience how to select those plants which are the 
most likely to afford them some recompence for the trouble 
they take in grubbing them up. Mr. Jesse, in his instruc- 
tive Gleanings, says, " A gentleman once showed me a 
field which had all the appearance of having been scorched, 
as if by a burning sun in dry hot weather. The turf 
peeled from the ground as if it had been cut with a turfing- 
spade, and we then discovered that the roots of the grass 
had been eaten away by the larvae of the cock-chaffer, 
which were found in countless numbers at various depths 
in the soil. This field was visited by a great quantity of 
Books, though there was no rookery within many miles of 
the neighbourhood, who turned up, and appeared to devour 
the grubs with great satisfaction." To prove their utility 
on other occasions, two or three quotations from the Maga- 
zine of Natural History, among many others, will suffice. 
A flight of locusts visited Craven, and they were so nume- 
rous as to create considerable alarm among the farmers of 
the district. They were, however, soon relieved from their 
anxiety, for the Rooks flocked in from all quarters by 
thousands and tens of thousands, and devoured them so 
greedily that they were all destroyed in a short time. It 
was stated a few years ago, that there was such an 
enormous quantity of caterpillars upon Skiddaw, that they 
devoured all the vegetation on the mountain ; and people 



96 CORVIOffl. 

were apprehensive they would attack the crops in the 
enclosed lands ; but the Rooks, which are fond of high 
ground in summer, having discovered them, in a very short 
time put a stop to their ravages. 

The attempts occasionally made by man to interfere with 
the balance of powers as arranged and sustained by Nature 
are seldom successful. " An extensive experiment appears 
to have been made in some of the agricultural districts on 
the Continent, the result of which has been the opinion 
that farmers do wrong in destroying Rooks, Jays, Spar- 
rows, and, indeed, birds in general, on their farms, par- 
ticularly where there are orchards. In our own country, 
on some very large farms in Devonshire, the proprietors 
determined, a few summers ago, to try the result of offer- 
ing a great reward for the heads of Rooks ; but the issue 
proved destructive to the farms, for nearly the whole of 
the crops failed for three successive years, and they have 
since been forced to import Rooks, and other birds, to 
restock their farms with." A similar experiment was 
made a few years ago in a northern county, particularly in 
reference to Rooks, but with no better success ; the far- 
mers were obliged to reinstate the Rooks to save their 
crops. The subject was facetiously commented upon in a 
pamphlet by James Stuart Menteath, Esq., of Closeburn. 

Mr. Jesse, in the second volume of his Gleanings in Na- 
tural History, makes the following remark on this subject. 
" In order to be convinced that these birds are beneficial to 
the farmer, let him observe the same field in which his 
ploughman and his sower are at work. He will see the 
former followed by a train of Rooks, while the sower will 
be unattended, and his grain remain untouched." 

The food of the Rook, as already shown, consists prin- 
cipally of worms and various sorts of insects, which, from 



ROOK. 97 

the numbers of the birds themselves, must be consumed to 
an enormous extent. During the farmer's seed time, if 
other food is scarce, the newly-sown grain requires to be 
watched to keep the Rooks away ; they will also occasion- 
ally steal a few cherries, or green walnuts, and in severe 
winters peck holes in turnips or potatoes. There is reason 
to believe that the visits of Rooks to turnips may be in 
some degree beneficial. Farmers have suffered great in- 
jury of late years, particularly in Hertfordshire and Essex, 
from the attack of a large brown grub, the larva of a very 
common grey moth, called the corn rustic, Agrotis segetum 
of entomologists ; from four to seven of which I have known 
to be found eating their way into the bulb of one turnip. 

The Rook inhabits wooded and cultivated districts. As 
early in the year as the month of February these birds are 
seen to visit their nests of the preceding year, which are 
usually placed thickly together in the tops of tall trees, 
sometimes to the number of seven or eight nests on the 
same tree, and generally selecting such trees as have been 
planted to form avenues, or otherwise ornamental as timber, 
and in the vicinity of inhabited mansions, or other build- 
ings. In March, and usually about the second week of that 
month, the Rooks begin to repair the nests for their use, 
and some new nests are built by the young birds of the pre- 
vious year. These are formed of twigs, and lined with grass 
and fibrous roots. While the nests are in progress, con- 
siderable clamour prevails at times among the birds, which 
appears to arise from attempts made to rob one another of 
the materials employed in building; and it is observed 
that while a nest is in progress, one of the feathered pro- 
prietors remains near it to guard it against intruders, and 
its mate fetches whatever may be next wanted to proceed 
with ; it has also been repeatedly noticed, that if a pair of 

VOL. II. H 



98 CORVID.E. 

Books attempt to build their nest in a tree that was pre- 
viously unoccupied by a nest, and at a distance from the 
main body, the other Rooks invariably destroy the nest. 
The reason for this is not very obvious, unless intended as 
a punishment to the separatists for their want of sociability. 
The Book lays four or five eggs, of a pale greenish ground 
colour, blotched over with dark greenish brown ; the length 
one inch eight lines, by one inch two lines in breadth. 

During the period of incubation, the male feeds the 
female constantly, and occasionally takes her place upon 
the eggs. Both birds labour incessantly to support their 
young when hatched, and may be seen, early and late, 
collecting food for them in the various modes already de- 
scribed, the dilatable skin under the tongue distended with 
a conspicuous mass, which is thus softened, and rendered 
suitable to young and delicate organs. The young Books 
are able to fly by the end of May, or the beginning of 
June, and follow their parents to grass-fields, where they 
are still fed for a time, but soon learn to select and obtain 
sufficient for their own subsistence. The nest trees are in 
some cases deserted from this time, and all the inhabitants 
of the rookery roost together in some neighbouring wood, 
from whence at an early hour they repair in flocks to their 
feeding-ground, returning together with slow and measured 
flight in the evening. Whenever the main body are feed- 
ing, or otherwise engaged on the ground, two or three in- 
dividuals are generally seen posted, like sentinels, in trees 
close by, whose note of caution or alarm appears to be per- 
fectly understood by the rest, and surprise or danger avoid- 
ed apparently by a concerted understanding among them. 

Besides the general hatch which takes place in April, a 
few young broods are produced late in the autumn. Gil- 
bert White of Selborne, in his unpublished MSS. referred 



HOOK. 99 

to by Mr. Jesse, mentions a Rook's nest, with young ones 
in it on the 26th of November. Charles Anderson, Esq., 
some time since wrote me word, that in 1817 a pair of 
Rooks had a nest with eggs in a tall elm at Lea, near 
Gainsborough, so late as the month of November. E. H. 
Rodd, Esq. of Penzance, has also sent me word that at his 
father's residence in Cornwall, Rooks built their nests, and 
hatched young birds, in a warm sheltered valley near the 
house, in November 1836, and in November 1844, a pair of 
Rooks built a nest and produced their young on the outer 
branch of an old elm -tree, near the Park entrance to 
Broughton Castle, Oxfordshire, as recorded 4by F. Wyatt 
in the Zoologist for March 1845. 

Rooks, like some others of the Crow tribe, have been 
occasionally tamed, and learnt to perform many amusing 
tricks, becoming greatly attached to those who fed and 
protected them. Mr. Hewitson has heard the Rook imi- 
tate the note of the Jackdaw. Mr. Macgillivray men- 
tions having repeatedly heard one " that imitated so re- 
markably well the barking of several dogs in the village 
that, had it been placed out of view, it would have been 
impossible to have discovered the deception ;" and adds 
besides, that when making a visit of observation to a 
rookery, he was surprised to hear several Rooks uttering a 
variety of soft, clear, modulated notes, very unlike their 
usual cry. " Tn the intervals,"" it is observed, " I could 
distinguish the faint shrill voice of the newly hatched 
young, which their mothers, I felt persuaded, were fondling 
and coaxing in this manner. Indeed the sounds were 
plainly expressive of affection, and a desire to please/" 1 The 
numerous muscles already described as belonging to all the 
species of the Crow tribe, sufficiently account for the 
powers here manifested by the Rook. 

H 2 



100 CORVIDJE. 

This bird is probably nowhere more common than in 
England and Ireland ; but decreases in numbers as you 
proceed northward in Scotland, and is not found in Orkney 
or Shetland. A few are observed in Denmark, the south- 
ern part of Sweden, Russia, and northern Asia. It is said 
to be somewhat migratory over part of the European con- 
tinent, and is not found in Guernsey or Jersey, though 
observed occasionally to fly across the Channel from this 
country. It is found in Corfu, Sicily, and Malta, but does 
not remain all the year. It has been found also in the 
range between the Black and the Caspian seas ; and M. 
Temminck says it is an inhabitant of Japan. 

The anterior part of the beak shining black ; the basal 
part of both mandibles, as well as the skin under the 
tongue and on the throat, naked of feathers, scabrous, and 
warty, and this is the most obvious external distinction 
between the Rook and Carrion Crow ; the irides dark 
brown ; the whole of the plumage black, glossed with 
purple, in adult birds, particularly over the neck and back ; 
under surface of wing and tail-feathers greyish black. Legs, 
toes, and claws, shining black. 

The \vhole length of the adult male described was nine- 
teen inches and a half ; from the carpal joint of the wing 
to the end of the longest quill-feather, twelve inches and 
one quarter ; the first feather three inches shorter than 
the second ; the second one inch shorter than the fourth, 
which is the longest in the wing ; the third is as much 
shorter than the fourth as it is longer than the fifth. 

The female is frequently, in her whole length, two inches 
shorter than the male, and has less brilliancy in the plumage. 

Young birds of the year resemble the adult female ; but 
the feathers at the base of the beak, projecting forward 
over the nostrils, are not replaced after the first moult, and 



ROOK. 101 

two or three other birds (not British) are now known to 
exhibit this peculiarity, which has been considered specific. 

White, pied, and cream-coloured varieties of the Rook 
sometimes occur. Mr. Plunt, of Norwich, says, " A gen- 
tleman of his acquaintance had in 1816 a young Rook of a 
light ash-colour, most beautifully mottled all over with 
black, and the quill and tail-feathers elegantly barred. 
This curiosity he was naturally anxious to keep; when 
upon the bird moulting, all its mottled plumage vanished 
entirely, it became a jet black Rook, and in this state 
was suffered to join its sable tribe, as a fit companion, in 
the fields." This agrees with my own observations. Acci- 
dental varieties will generally be found to be smaller and 
weaker birds than those which are truly characteristic of 
the species. As these young birds increase in age, and 
gain constitutional power, the secretions become perfect, 
and the plumage assumes its natural colours. The as- 
sumption of white feathers by old birds is probably the 
effect of the converse operation of this physiological law. 

Malformations of the beak are by no means uncommon 
among the species of the genus Corvus, particularly in the 
Rook, and some remarks by John Blackwall, Esq., in his 
Researches in Zoology, refer to a question not yet entirely 
set at rest. 

" A Rook preserved in the Manchester Museum, has its 
mandibles crossed near their extremities, but so slightly, as 
not to have interfered materially with the mode of pro- 
curing food usually employed by that species, as is clearly 
evinced by the denuded state of the nostrils and the ante- 
rior part of the head, both of which are entirely destitute 
of feathers. Another specimen, in the possession of Mr. 
R. Wood, a zealous collector of objects in natural history, 
residing in Manchester, has the mandibles greatly elon- 



102 CORVID.E. 

gated, and much curved. Now it is evident that the bird, 
possessing a bill thus formed, could not thrust it into the 
ground in search of worms and the larvae of insects, as the 
Rook is known to do habitually; and, accordingly, the 
plumage at the base of the bill of this individual, and the 
bristly feathers which cover its nostrils, are very con- 
spicuous ; not having sustained the slightest injury. The 
opinion, entertained by many persons, that the naked con- 
dition of the nostrils and anterior part of the head is an 
original peculiarity in the Rook, is thus satisfactorily 
proved to be incorrect : indeed the fact that young Rooks 
exhibit no deficiency in these particulars, is sufficiently con- 
clusive on this point ; but the possibility of an entire 
species being endowed with an instinct destructive of a 
usual portion of its organization, was probably never con- 
templated by these observers ; it is not surprising, there- 
fore, that the inference, deduced from a partial view of the 
subject, should be erroneous." 

I have figured at page 90, a representation of an elonga- 
tion of the under mandible in a Rook. I have now in my 
collection an example of a Rook in which the upper man- 
dible is still more elongated and curved downwards, so as 
to render it most improbable that this bird could have ob- 
tained any part of its food by digging ; yet in this speci- 
men the skin around the base of the under mandible, is 
quite destitute of feathers. This would indicate that the 
want of feathers on the throat, which in this instance could 
not have been induced by abrasion when digging, was a 
specific peculiarity; but it is also possible that this na- 
kedness might have been produced before the alteration in 
the form of the beak had taken place, and the bulbs from 
which the feathers arise, having been once injured might 
afterwards remain unproductive. 



JACKDAW. 



JXSESSORES. 
CONIROSTRES. 



103 

COR V1DM. 




THE JACKDAW. 

Corvus monedula. 

Cvrvus moneilida, T/ie Jackdaw, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 296. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 94. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 88. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 356. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 147. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiv. 

Le C/toucas, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 111. 

JACKDAWS, in some of their habits, very much resemble 
Rooks, as last described, particularly in their sociability, 
living together in considerable numbers throughout the 
year, and whether seeking for food, or rearing their young, 
perfect harmony appears to prevail among them. They 
are even more bold and familiar than Rooks, approaching 



104 CORVID^E. 

nearer the residence of man, and sometimes taking shelter 
under the roof of his dwelling. They have also an air of 
greater cheerfulness and activity in their movements. 
Jackdaws appear to prefer cultivated districts, frequenting 
and building in church towers, belfries, and steeples. I 
have observed that a great number constantly inhabit the 
higher parts of Windsor Castle. Sometimes these birds 
make their nests in hollow trees : from several good au- 
thorities we learn that Jackdaws breed frequently in rab- 
bit-burrows, and on the sea coast they occupy cavities in 
high cliffs, or perpendicular rocks. It is mentioned by 
Pennant that these birds make their nests among the 
large masses of stone at Stone Henge, one nest was ob- 
served there recently, and Rusticus of Godalming says 
they build in great numbers in the chalk pit on Katherine 
Hill, near Godalming. The Rev. Leonard Jenyns, in a 
note to me, says, " In Cambridgeshire Jackdaws build 
very much in chimneys, which are sometimes quite 
stopped up from the quantity of sticks brought together. 
Neither do they appear to mind smoke, as I have known 
them attempt to build in the chimney of a room in which 
there was a fire kept pretty regularly from day to day. 
From the quantity of horse -dung which falls into the 
grates, it would seem that they use this material perhaps 
for lining the nest." Wool, and other soft substances, are 
the materials generally used for the lining, the outside is 
formed of sticks, and the mass CQllected together is some- 
times very extraordinary both in quality as well as quan- 
tity. At Cambridge, says Mr. J. Denson,* there is good 
accommodation for Jackdaws in the abundant receptacles 
for their nests which the various churches and college build- 
ings supply, and Jackdaws are numerous at Cambridge. 

* Magazine of Natural History, vol. vi. p. 397. 



JACKDAW. 105 

The botanic garden there has three of its four sides enclosed 
by thickly built parts of the town, and has five parish 
churches and five colleges within a short flight of it. The 
Jackdaws inhabiting these, and other churches and col- 
leges, had discovered that the wooden labels placed near 
the plants, whose names they bore, in the botanic garden 
would serve well enough for their nests instead of twigs 
from trees, and that they possessed the greater convenience 
of being prepared ready for use, and placed very near home. 
A large proportion of the labels used in this garden were 
made out of deal laths, being about nine inches long and 
one inch broad. To these the Jackdaws would help 
themselves freely whenever they could do so without mo- 
lestation, and the extent of the garden made this a matter 
of no great difficulty. Those who are aware how closely 
some species of the grasses, umbelliferous plants, &c. re- 
semble each other, and who, consequently, know how 
necessary it is to prefix labels to them indicating their 
names, will readily perceive how much inconvenience arose 
from the Jackdaws' appropriation of the labels ; and this 
especially when they removed them, as they sometimes 
did, from sown seeds, as the plants arising from these seeds 
must, in some species, grow for a year or more before their 
names could be ascertained. I cannot give a probable 
idea of the number of labels which the Jackdaws annually 
removed ; but from the shaft of one chimney in Free School 
Lane, which was close beside the botanic garden, no less 
than eighteen dozen of these labels were taken out and 
brought to Mr. Arthur Biggs, the curator of the botanic 
garden, who received and counted them. Of the mass of ma- 
terials sometimes collected for the nest by this species, I 
have evidence in a letter from Charles Anderson, Esq. of 
Lea, near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, who says, that a 



106 CORVID^E. 

Jackdaw began its nest on a step of a stone staircase in 
Saunby Church, near Lea. The staircase is spiral, and 
the steps narrow and steep. Finding it could not get a 
firm base so that the nest should be flat and fit to sit 
on, the birds brought sticks till they piled it up five or six 
steps, after which came a landing, and then they finished 
their work securely. The clergyman of the place bore 
testimony to the quantity of sticks brought together, the 
labour of collecting which must have been quite extraor- 
dinary. Mr. Jesse has mentioned another instance ; a re- 
presentation of the structure being placed opposite the 
title-page of his ' Scenes and Tales of Country Life.** 

The Jackdaw lays from four to six eggs ; these are ge- 
nerally produced in May, and the young are hatched by 
the end of the month, or very early in June. The eggs 
are of a pale bluish white, spotted with ash colour and 
clove brown ; the length one inch seven lines, by one inch 
and half a line in breadth. The young birds, which are 
usually fit to take from the nest by the end of the second 
week in June, are easily tamed, and much attached to 
those who feed them. They soon learn to imitate the 
sounds of the human voice, and exhibit other amusing 
qualities. Some remarkable instances are related in the 
Magazine of Natural History,* and in works upon Orni- 
thology. The voice of the Jackdaw is more shrill than 
that of the larger Crows, and like them, it is by no 
means particular as to the quality of its food, eating in- 
discriminately insects, seeds, or grain, eggs, or carrion ; 
on the sea shore, shell-fish, or the remains of other fish, 
and Crustacea ; it may be seen perched on the back of 
sheep to gather wool for its nest, or to pick out any pa- 
rasitic insect it may find in such a situation : occasionally 

* Vol. vi. p. 516, and vol. vii. p. 151. 



JACKDAW. 107 

the Jackdaw visits gardens to feed on some of the softer 
vegetables and fruits ; but in confinement appears to prefer 
meat. When once paired, Mr. Waterton considers that 
they remain partners for life. 

The Jackdaw is found in most parts of this country ; 
but Mr. Macgillivray, who has paid great attention to the 
Ornithology of Scotland, says it is not found in the outer 
Hebrides. Mr. Low includes it as a bird of the Orkneys ; 
but it is on the information of others : he does not ap- 
pear to have seen the birds himself. It is not mentioned 
by Mr. Dunn as occurring in Shetland. It is found, how- 
ever, still farther north in Denmark and in Scandinavia, 
in Russia, and in western Siberia, and Faber includes it as 
a bird of Iceland. The Jackdaw does not exist in Ame- 
rica. Eastward from this country it is found very com- 
mon in Holland and is a native of Germany, France, Italy, 
and the northern shores of Africa. It is found also at 
Corfu, Sicily, Malta, and Crete. Specimens have been 
forwarded to this country from Smyrna and Trebizond. 
It occurs in the countries between the Black and the Cas- 
pian seas, and from thence northward to Lake Baikal, but 
is not found in India. 

The beak is black and short, about the same length as 
the head of the bird ; the basal half covered with feathers 
directed forwards ; the iricles greyish white ; the crown of 
the head black ; ear-coverts, nape, the whole of the neck 
behind and on the sides, smoke-grey ; the whole of the 
back, wings, and tail, black ; the wings exhibiting a por- 
tion of shining blue colour, but not so conspicuously as in 
the Crow or Rook ; all the under surface of the body rusty 
black ; legs, toes, and claws, shining black. 

The whole length of a male bird about fourteen inches. 
The wing from the carpal joint to the end of the longest 



108 



CORVID.E. 



feather, nine inches and three-eighths ; the first wing-feather 
two inches and a half shorter than the second, which is 
three-quarters of an inch shorter than the third ; the third 
and fourth feathers nearly equal in length, and the longest in 
the wing. The wings when closed do not reach to the 
end of the tail by rather more than one inch. 

The female is smaller in size than the male ; the grey 
colour of the feathers under the hood is less conspicuous, 
being rather darker than that of the males, and is not 
spread over so large a surface. 

Young birds of the year exhibit but little grey colour 
about the neck, and it is not much more obvious in the 
second year ; several years are probably required for the 
attainment of the bright silvery grey colour observable on 
some males. 

The vignette below represents the breast-bone of the 
Jackdaw, as illustrative of the form of the sternum in the 
genus Corvus. 




7 



MAGPIE. 



1NSESSORES. 

CONIROSTRES. 



109 

CORVIDJE. 




THE MAGPIE. 

Pica caudata. 



Corvuspica, The Magpie, 



Pica caudata, Common 
inelanoleuca, The 
Corvus pica, 

Pica caudata* 

Corvuspica La Pie, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 289. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 98. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 87- 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 358. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 147. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. i. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 113. 



110 CORVID.E. 

PICA. Generic Characters. Beak strong, compressed laterally, slightly arched 
and hooked at the tip. Nostrils basal, covered by short stiff feathers, directed 
forwards. Wings short and rounded ; first quill-feather very short, the fourth or 
fifth the longest in the wing. Tarsus longer than the middle toe. Tail long and 
graduated. 

THE Long-tailed Pie kind among the Crows, or Corvida, 
admitted as a section by M. Temminck, have been ad- 
vanced to generic distinction by Brisson, Dumeril, Cuvier, 
and Vieillot ; and in this generic separation these syste- 
matic naturalists have been followed by most recent writers 
on the subject. The necessity for such subdivision has 
been long felt, and even anticipated : our Magpie is the 
Pica caudata of Gesner and Ray ; fourteen or sixteen spe- 
cies of the genus are now known and admitted by Wagler 
and others, of which one only is British. 

Although no bird in our catalogue is better known than 
the Magpie, yet accustomed only, as we are, to see it at 
a distance in the fields, or penned up in a cage where its 
plumage is soiled and disfigured by confinement, its sin- 
gular beauty is almost unsuspected ; yet with an agreeable 
variety and arrangement in the principal colours, the black 
and the white are as pure, as the green, the blue, and the 
purple, with their ever-varying reflections, are brilliant. 

With a handsome exterior, the Magpie is, however, a 
suspicious character ; and though cautious to a degree, it 
rarely removes far from the habitations of man. Its at- 
tachment, as observed by Montagu, " is governed by self- 
interest ; it is a great enemy to the husbandman and the 
preserver of game ; but has cunning enough to evade their 
wrath. No animal food comes amiss to its carnivorous 
appetite; young poultry, eggs, young lambs, and even 
weakly sheep it will attempt to destroy by first plucking 
out their eyes ; the young of hares, rabbits, and feathered 
game, share the same fate ; fish, carrion, insects, and fruit, 



MAGPIE. Ill 

and, lastly, grain, when nothing else can be got. It is an 
artful noisy bird, proclaiming aloud any apparent danger, 
and thereby gives notice to its associates. Neither the 
fox, or other wild animal, can appear without being ob- 
served and haunted ; even the fowler is frequently spoiled 
of his sport, for all other birds seem to know the alarming 
chatter of the Magpie." 

Of Magpie-hawking, Sir John Sebright says, " Nothing 
can be more animating than this sport : it is, in my opi- 
nion, far superior to every other kind of hawking. The 
object of the chase is fully a match for its pursuers, a re- 
quisite absolutely necessary to give an interest to any sport 
of this kind ; and it has the advantage of giving full em- 
ployment to the company, which is not the case in Par- 
tridge-hawking. A down or common, where low trees or 
thorn bushes are dispersed at the distance of from thirty 
to fifty yards apart, is the place best calculated for this 
diversion. When a Magpie is seen at a distance, a Hawk 
is immediately to be cast off. The Magpie will take re- 
fuge in a bush the moment he sees the Falcon, and will 
remain there until the falconer arrives, with the Hawk 
waiting on in the air. The Magpie is to be driven from 
his retreat ; and the Hawk, if at a good pitch, will stoop 
at him as he passes to another bush, from whence he is to 
be driven in the same way, another Hawk having been pre- 
viously cast off, so that one or the other may always be so 
situated as to attack him to advantage. The second Hawk 
is necessary, for the Magpie shifts with great cunning and 
dexterity to avoid the stoop ; and when hard pressed, 
owing to the bushes being rather far apart, will pass under 
the bellies of the horses, flutter along a cart-rut, and avail 
himself of every little inequality of the ground in order to 
escape. Four or five assistants, besides the falconer, who 



112 CORVHLE. 

should attend solely to his Hawks, are required for this 
sport. They should be well mounted, and provided with 
whips ; for the Magpie cannot be driven from a bush by 
a stick ; but the crack of a whip will force him to leave 
it, even when he is so tired as hardly to be able to fly. 
The Magpie will always endeavour to make his way to 
some strong cover ; care, therefore, must be taken to 
counteract him, and to drive him to that part of the ground 
where the bushes are farthest from each other. It is not 
easy to take a Magpie in a hedge. Some of the horsemen 
must be on each side of it ; some must ride behind, and 
some before him ; for, unless compelled to rise, by being 
surrounded on all sides, he will flutter along the hedge, so 
as to shelter himself from the stoop of the Falcon. Many 
requisites are necessary to afford this sport in perfection ; 
a favourable country, good Hawks, and able assistants. 111 

Magpies generally continue in pairs all the year round. 
They build in high trees, sometimes in a lofty hedge, and 
occasionally in a low but thick bush, returning to the same 
nest for several years in succession. The nest is well con- 
structed for security against enemies ; it is of an oval shape, 
and large, framed on the outside with sharp thorny sticks, 
strongly interwoven, and forming a dome over the top. 
The framework of sticks is plastered with earth on the in- 
side, and afterwards covered with a lining of fibrous roots 
and dry grass. One small aperture is left on the side just 
large enough to admit the parent bird, who generally sits 
with her head to the hole, ready to quit the nest on the 
slightest alarm. 

The Magpie breeds early in spring, producing six or 
seven eggs of a pale bluish white colour, spotted all over 
with ash-colour and two shades of greenish brown ; the 
length one inch four lines and a half; the breadth one inch. 






MAGPIE. 113 

When taken young the Magpie is easily tamed, chatters 
to those who feed or notice him, imitates the sound of the 
human voice, and learns many amusing tricks : the desire 
to pilfer and hide any small shining article, observable in 
all the birds of this family, is particularly conspicuous in 
the Magpie, and has been made the subject of a dramatic 
performance of an interest so intense, that few who have 
witnessed the exhibition are likely to forget. 

The young birds of the year associate with the parents 
for a considerable time ; and in winter these birds, in small 
flocks, roost together in thick woods, but separate again in 
the day. 

The Magpie, in this country, has a bad name, and is 
accordingly doomed to destruction by every one who carries 
a gun. But for its sagacity, eminently evinced in its self- 
preservation, it would be a rare bird ; it is, however, very 
common in many parts of England, particularly in the 
wooded districts, and not much less so in other quiet park- 
like localities, where it can have the shelter, the means of 
observation, and the security afforded by high trees. In 
my note-book I have a memorandum that I once counted 
twenty-three Magpies together in Kensington Gardens. 

It is now also common throughout Ireland ; but that 
this was not the case in that country formerly, the follow- 
ing account, supplied me by my friend Mr. Ogilby, will 
show : 

" The earliest notice I have met with on the subject 
of the introduction of Magpies into Ireland is contained in 
the following verses of old Derrick, who, in his ' Image of 
Ireland,' says, 

' No Pies to plucke the thatch from house 

Are bred in Irish grounde, 
But worse than Pies the same to burne 

A thousand raaie be founde/ " 
VOL. II. I 



114 CORVHLE. 

It would appear, therefore, that, in the time of Queen Eli- 
zabeth, the Magpie did not exist in Ireland : and even so 
late as the year 17.11, it seems to have been confined to the 
neighbourhood of Wexford, where, however, it must have 
been introduced long prior to that period, since Swift, 
in the following extract, speaks of it as indigenous to 
that part of the country. The passage occurs in the 
twenty-sixth letter of the Journal to Stella, under the 
date of June 30, 1711, and is as follows: " Pray observe 
the inhabitants about Wexford ; they are old English ; see 
what they have particular in their manners, names, and 
language. Magpies have been always there, and no where 
else in Ireland, till of late years. 1 ' It must be confessed 
that the testimony afforded by this passage is not so explicit 
as could be wished. That the Magpie existed always, or, 
in other words, was indigenous to the vicinity of Wexford, 
and to no other part of the country, is scarcely credible, 
even if it were not directly contradicted by the preceding 
quotation from Derrick. That it might have continued to 
be a local denizen for a considerable time after its introduc- 
tion, is more probable, and more in accordance .with the 
habits of the bird : and this circumstance of its locality pro- 
bably gave origin to the popular idea expressed by Swift, of 
its being indigenous to the county of Wexford. We may, 
however, conclude with greater certainty, for upon this 
point our authority is express, that it was only in the 
reign of Queen Anne that the bird began to spread gene- 
rally over the kingdom ; that is, at the same period as 
the introduction of Frogs ; and indeed I have sometimes 
heard these two events spoken of traditionally as having 
been simultaneous. The town of Wexford is remarkable as 
having been the first place of strength in the island which 
was reduced and colonized by the English. Even to the 









MAGPIE. 1 1 5 

present day the great majority of the inhabitants of that 
part of the country are of English extraction ; and it is not 
improbable that their forefathers brought the Magpie with 
them from England, perhaps as a pet, to put them in mind 
of their native land ; for it is scarcely possible that any one 
would voluntarily introduce so mischievous an animal. At 
all events, St. Patricias curse, which is said to rest so 
heavily on the whole tribe of serpents, does not appear to 
have extended to Frogs and Magpies, for I know no part 
of the world where both breeds thrive better or faster than 
in Ireland. 

Smith, in his " History of Cork," says, the Magpie was 
not known in Ireland seventy years before the time at 
which he wrote, about 1746. Tradition says, also, that 
they were driven over to Ireland from England during a 
storm. 

From Pembrokeshire to Wexford would not be a diffi- 
cult flight. 

The Magpie is common in Scotland ; but according to 
Mr. Macgillivray it is not found in the outer Hebrides, in 
Orkney, or in Shetland. 

In France the Magpie is one of the few birds, if not the 
only one, which no one seems to destroy, and it is accord- 
ingly very common ; while all other birds, at least, as it 
appeared to me when in that country, are remarkably 
scarce. In Sweden, neither the Magpie, its nest, nor its 
eggs, are ever touched; while in the adjoining country, 
Mr. Hewitson, of Newcastle, says,* " The Magpie is one of 
the most abundant, as well as the most interesting of the 
Norwegian birds ; noted for its sly cunning habits here, its 
altered demeanour there is the more remarkable. It is 
upon the most familiar terms with the inhabitants, picking 

* Magazine of Zoology and Botany, vol. ii. p. 311. 

i 2 



116 CORVIIhE. 

close about their doors, and sometimes walking inside their 
houses. It abounds in the town of Drontheim, making its 
nest upon the churches arid warehouses. We saw as many 
as a dozen of them at one time seated upon the gravestones 
in the churchyard. Few farmhouses are without several of 
them breeding under the eaves, their nest supported by the 
spout. In some trees close to houses their nests were 
several feet in depth, the accumulation of years of undis- 
turbed and quiet possession." 

" The inhabitants of Norway pleased us very much by 
the kind feeling which they seemed to entertain towards 
them, as well as to most species of birds, often expressing a 
hope that we would not shoot many. Holes are cut in 
many of their buildings for the admission of some, and 
pieces of wood are nailed up against them to support 
the nests of others. At Christmas, that the birds may 
share their festivities and enjoyments, they place a sheaf of 
corn at the end of their houses," 

Fynes Moryson, who wrote a short account of Iceland 
about 1602, states, "We have here no chattering Pie; " 
but Sir William Hooker, in his tour in 1809, remarks that 
a tradition in Iceland says, the Magpie was imported into 
that country by the English out of spite. 

Our Magpie is a native of the United States and North 
America from Louisiana* to the Fur-countries,-)- it exists 
in the Rocky Mountains^ also, and has been found in that 
direction as far as Kamtschatka. 

To return to the central portions of Europe : the Magpie 
is there common. Southward, it is found in Portugal, 
Spain, Provence, Italy, Sicilyj Malta, the Morea, Smyrna, 
Aleppo, in the country between the Black and the Caspian 
seas, and in the southern part of Russia and Siberia. East- 

* Audubon. f Richardson. Nuttall. 



MAGPIE. 117 

ward from thence it has been found by Mr. Blyth in India, 
it exists in China and in Japan. In the northern hemi- 
sphere of the globe, therefore, the longitudinal range of the 
Magpie is very extensive. 

The beak is black ; the irides hazel ; the head, neck, 
back, and upper tail-coverts, jet black ; rump greyish 
white ; the scapulars pure white ; wing-coverts and tertials 
of a fine shining blue ; the primaries black, with an elon- 
gated patch of pure white on the inner web of each of the 
first ten feathers ; the tail graduated, the outside feather on 
each side not exceeding five inches in length, the middle 
ones nearly eleven inches long, in colour beautifully irides- 
cent, with blue and purple near the end, and green from 
thence to the base. Chin and throat black, the shafts 
of some of the feathers shining greyish white ; upper part 
of the breast black ; the lower part of the breast, the belly, 
sides, and flanks, pure white ; under tail -coverts black ; 
under surface of tail-feathers uniform dull black : thighs, 
legs, toes, and claws, black. 

The whole length of an adult male is full eighteen 
inches, of which the longest tail-feathers measure nearly 
eleven inches. The wing from the carpal joint to the end 
of the longest primary, seven inches and one quarter : the 
first feather only two inches and a half long; the second 
about one inch shorter than the third; the fourth, fifth, 
and sixth feathers nearly equal in length, but the fifth is 
rather the longest. The wing, it will be observed, is 
shorter and less pointed than that of the true Crows, 
and the flight of the bird is different ; the vibrations are 
quick, are given in rapid succession, and apparently with 
more effort. On the ground this bird progresses either by 
walking or hopping. 



118 CORVID^E. 

The female is smaller in size, the tail is shorter, and the 
plumage less brilliant. 

Specimens varying in the colour of their plumage occur 
occasionally. 

Malformations of the beak, similar to that represented in 
the vignette at page 90, and still further approaching the 
form of the mandibles in the true Crossbills, have occurred 
in the Magpie ; and Mr. John Black wall, in his published 
Researches in Zoology, page 173, notices a similar instance 
in the Jackdaw. This specimen, now deposited in the 
Museum of the Society established in Manchester for the 
promotion of Natural History, was observed to be in 
excellent condition, though killed in the month of January ; 
a convincing proof, as Mr. Black wall observes, that the 
bird had acquired great expertness in the management of 
its singularly-formed bill. 







Ij 

- 



INSESSORES. 



.JAY. 



119 

CORVIDM. 




THE JAY. 

Garrulus glandarius. 

Corvus glandarius, The Jay, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 291. 



Garrulus 



Corvus 
Garrulus 



Le Geai, 



MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 100. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 86. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol i. p. 362. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 148. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ix. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 114. 
Supplt. 1st Part, p. 65. 



GARRULUS. Generic Cliaracters. Beak shorter than the head, conical, slightly 
compressed, straight at the base, commissure straight, tip of the upper mandible 
distinctly notched, and rather suddenly bent over the lower. Nostrils basal, 
lateral, hidden from view by incumbent bristles. Wings moderate, rounded ; the 



120 CORVID^E. 

first three quill- feathers graduated, the fourth, fifth, and sixth of nearly equal 
length, and the longest in the wing. Legs moderate, tarsus longer than the mid- 
dle toe, the outer toe joined at its base to the middle toe, and longer than the 
inner ; claws stout, curved, and sharp. Tail slightly rounded. 

IN the family of the Crows generic distinction has been 
successfully claimed for the Jays by Brisson and others. 
M. Temminck formerly included our Jay in his third 
section of the genus Corvus, but in the Supplement to the 
first volume of his Manual, published in 1835, this dis- 
tinguished Ornithologist has admitted the genus Garrulus 
by name, as quoted in the list of authors at the head of this 
article, and it should not be forgotten that our Jay was 
called Garrulus by Willughby* as long ago as 1678. 
Many species of this genus are now known, some of which 
inhabit North America, and Mr. Gould has lately figured 
several beautiful examples in his Century of Birds from 
the Himalaya Mountains. 

The Jay is a handsome bird well known in most of the 
wooded districts of England, more arboreal in its habits, 
appearing to prefer the shelter and security of thick covers, 
not frequenting open grounds so commonly as the other 
birds of this family, and has been called glandarius, 
because considered more partial to feed on vegetable pro- 
ductions, such as acorns and beech-mast, than the true 
Crows are observed to be. 

Besides feeding on insects and worms, the Jay, in 
summer, frequents gardens, unable to resist the temptation 
of peas and cherries ; and as he is believed also to be 
partial to eggs and young birds, the Jay meets with no 
favour from gardeners or gamekeepers, and is accordingly 
shot or trapped and hung up as an example upon all 
occasions. 

* Ornithology of Francis Willughby, Esq , F.R.S. London, 1678, p. 131. 



JAY. 121 

The Jay seldom builds its nest higher than twenty feet 
from the ground, preferring the upper part of a thick bush 
in high wood, or in a tall hedge-row, and occasionally one 
of the lower branches of a large tree, if sufficiently thick 
with leaves to afford the required concealment. The nest is 
cup-shaped, open at the top, formed on the outside with 
short sticks, and thickly lined with fine roots and grasses. 
The female lays five or six eggs of a yellowish white ground 
colour, minutely and thickly speckled all over with light 
brown, presenting the appearance of a uniform yellow-grey 
brown ; the length one inch four lines, and one inch in 
breadth. 

The young birds follow their parents for several months 
after they leave the nest, some observers say even to the 
pairing-time of the following spring. Montagu says they 
are never gregarious ; but they are stated by Vieillot, and 
others, to perform certain migrations in small flocks in the 
southern parts of the European continent, and they have 
been seen, by those who pay constant attention to the 
habits of birds, to come in the winter, in small parties of 
from twenty to forty at a time, to take up their temporary 
residence in thick woods on the Hampshire coast, in the 
vicinity of Christchurch. 

Young birds are easily brought up from the nest, soon 
become very tame, and in confinement appear to prefer 
meat to any other description of food. Although the most 
common notes of the Jay are harsh and grating, the bird in 
captivity soon becomes an amusing pet, from the facility 
with which it imitates the sound of the human voice, and 
indeed almost any other sound that is to be heard suffi- 
ciently often to afford the opportunity of acquiring it. 
Montagu says that it will sometimes in the spring utter a 
sort of song in a soft and pleasing manner, but so low as 



124 CORYIDJL 

velvet black, indistinctly barred transversely with bine and 
black ai the base of the outer web ; the last tertials of 
a rich chestnut colour, particularly on the inner web; 
rump and upper tail-coverts pure white ; tail-feathers dull 
black, indistinctly barred at the base; the outer tail- 
feather on each side the lightest in colour, approaching to 
brown ; chin greyish white ; breast and belly reddish buff 
colour ; Tent and under tail-coTerts dull white ; the under 
surface of wings and tail-feathers smoke grey ; legs, toes, 
and claws, pale brown. 

The whole length of the specimen described thirteen 
inches and three-quarters. From the carpal joint to the 
end of the wing seven inches and one-eighth ; the first fea- 
ther about two inches and a half long; the second feather 
about four inches and a halt* and one inch shorter than the 
third; the fourth, fifth, and sixth feathers nearly equal, 
and the longest in the wing. 

There is scarcely any describable difference in the plu- 
mage of the two sexes. 



NUTCRACKKR. 



125 



/ VSESSORES. 



con r 




THE NUTCRACKER. 
Nucifraga caryocatactes. 

caryocatactes, The Nutcracker, PKNN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 298. 




HKcifraga, 

Nucifnuja w/v/orufrtc/o 1 . 



Le Casse Afoir, 



MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BKWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 103. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 88. 
SKLBV, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 3u'8. 
JKNYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 149. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ix. 
TKMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i p. 1 17. 



NUCIFRAGA. Generic Characters Beak about as long as the head, straight, 
conical ; the base dilated and dividing the frontal feathers ; both mandibles termi- 
nating in an obtuse point. Nostrils basal, round, open, concealed by hairs di- 
rected forwards. Wings rather long; the first quill-feather the shortest, the 
fourth, fifth, and sixth, nearly equal, and the longest in the wing. Tail ni-arlv 



124 CORVID.E. 

velvet black, indistinctly barred transversely with blue and 
black at the base of the outer web ; the last tertials of 
a rich chestnut colour, particularly on the inner web; 
rump and upper tail-coverts pure white ; tail-feathers dull 
black, indistinctly barred at the base ; the outer tail- 
feather on each side the lightest in colour, approaching to 
brown ; chin greyish white ; breast and belly reddish buff 
colour ; vent and under tail-coverts dull white ; the under 
surface of wings and tail-feathers smoke grey ; legs, toes, 
and claws, pale brown. 

The whole length of the specimen described thirteen 
inches and three-quarters. From the carpal joint to the 
end of the wing seven inches and one-eighth ; the first fea- 
ther about two inches and a half long ; the second feather 
about four inches and a half, and one inch shorter than the 
third; the fourth, fifth, and sixth feathers nearly equal, 
and the longest in the wing. 

There is scarcely any describable difference in the plu- 
mage of the two sexes. 



NUTCRACKER. 



INSESSOKES. 



125 
CORVIDJE 




THE NUTCRACKER. 

Nucifraga caryocatactes. 



Curmis caryocatactes, Tlie Nutcracker, 



( Caryocatactes nucifraga, 
Nucifraga caryocatactes, 



Le Casse Noix, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 298. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 103. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 88. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 368. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 149. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ix. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i p. 117. 



NUCIFRAGA. Generic Cliaracters. Beak about as long as the head, straight, 
conical ; the base dilated and dividing the frontal feathers ; both mandibles termi- 
nating in an obtuse point. Nostrils basal, round, open, concealed by hairs di- 
rected forwards. Wings rather long; the first quill-feather the shortest, the 
fourth, fifth, and sixth, nearly equal, and the longest in the wing. Tail nearly 






126 CORVIDJ3. 

square at the end. Tarsus longer than the middle toe ; toes three before, one 
behind, the two outer toes on each side united at the base. 

THE NUTCRACKER CROW, as it is sometimes called, has 
been separated from the true Crows by most modern syste- 
matic authors. Though allied to the Crows in several par- 
ticulars, this bird exhibits also some of the habits of the 
Woodpeckers, and in systematic arrangement has therefore 
been judiciously placed between the Crows and the Wood- 
peckers, as a connecting link indicating by its modifications 
the transition from the one to the other. Two species of 
the genus Nucifraga of Brisson are now known. 

Although the Nutcracker is not uncommon in some parts 
of Europe, its occurrence in this country is so rare that it 
may be useful to enumerate such as have been recorded. 
Pennant, in the edition of his British Zoology, published in 
1766, says of the Nutcracker, vol. ii. p. 265, that the spe- 
cimen he took his description from was the only one he 
ever heard of that was shot in these kingdoms. It was 
killed near Mostyn in Flintshire, October 5th, 1753. 

Montagu, in his Ornithological Dictionary, besides refer- 
ring to the specimen killed in Flintshire, mentions another 
that was killed in Kent. In the Supplement to his Dic- 
tionary, under the article Nutcracker, he says, " Mr. 
Anstice assures us he saw one of this rare species near 
Bridgewater, upon a Scotch fir, in the autumn of 1805. 
This accurate observer of nature could not be deceived, as 
he examined the bird, and attended to its actions for some 
time with the aid of a pocket telescope, which he usually 
carried with him for similar purposes. In August 1808, 
one of these birds was shot in the north of Devon, now in 
the collection of Mr. Comyns. Another is stated in the 
Monthly Magazine for December 1808, to have been shot 
in Cornwall." 



NUTCRACKER. 127 

Mr. Selby refers to one seen in Netherwitton Wood in 
the county of Northumberland, in the autumn of 1819, by 
his brother Captain Eobert Mitford, of the Royal Navy, 
who also during an excursion in Switzerland, September 
1825, met with a large flock of Nutcrackers in a forest 
mostly composed of pinasters and stone pines. These birds 
were all busily engaged, feeding upon the seeds contained 
in the cones. They were not wild, but allowed of a near 
approach. 

Mr. E. H. Rodd, of Penzance, in an extended communi- 
cation to myself on the birds of Cornwall, mentions that 
one was seen on a tree on the banks of Hooe Lake by 
Thomas Bulted, Esq., of Belle Vue, near Plymouth. 

Dr. Edward Moore of Plymouth, in his published cata- 
logue of the Birds of Devonshire, besides referring to the 
example mentioned by Montagu, has recorded one other 
that was shot in Devonshire in 1829, near Washford Pyne 
Moor, by Mr. W. Tucker, of Dawlish. 

Rusticus, of Godalming, has lately noticed that one was 
closely watched by a gentleman in Pepper Harrow Park, 
the seat of Lord Middleton. 

Mr. Macgillivray, in his History of British Birds, says, 
u There is a specimen in the Museum of the University of 
Edinburgh, said to have been shot in Scotland ; another in 
that of Mr. Arbuthnot, at Peterhead ; while the individual, 
also killed in Scotland, from which this description was 
taken, belongs to Mr. Thomas Henderson, Coate's Crescent, 
Edinburgh." 

I do not find any notice of the occurrence of this bird in 
Ireland. 

M. Vieillot says this bird appears to prefer mountainous 
countries that are covered with firs. They are found in 
Auvergne, Savoy, on the Alps in Switzerland, and in Aus~ 



128 COR VIM. 

tria, where our countryman and naturalist Willughby men- 
tions having seen them. P. Roux includes the Nutcracker 
among his Birds of Provence, and M. Savi also in his Birds 
of Italy. Although properly speaking the Nutcracker is 
not a migratory bird, yet M. Vieillot observes that they 
frequently wander from one part of the country to another, 
probably because some article of food fails them. They 
unite occasionally, forming numerous flocks, quit the moun- 
tains, and descend to spread their numbers over the plains, 
always selecting those in which they find abundance of 
firs. TheiiMbod consists of insects, seeds of pines, beech- 
mast, and nuts : these last they are said to crack like the 
Nuthatch, by fixing them in a crevice of the bark of a tree, 
and then pecking at them with great force with the beak. 
Messrs. Wolf and Meyer, in their History of the Birds 
of Germany, and M. Nilsson, in his Ornithology of Sweden, 
and M. Temminck, in his Manual of the Birds of Europe, 
each state that the Nutcracker does occasionally feed on 
eggs or young birds, thus resembling the Crows ; and it is 
also said that it can climb the bark of a tree like the 
Woodpecker. A gentleman who had travelled in Norway, 
where he had seen the Nutcracker, says, " That they fre- 
quent the extreme tops of the Pines, keeping a sharp look 
out, and very shy. When on the wing, the flight is like 
that of the Jackdaw. They nest in holes of trees, which 
they excavate or enlarge sufficiently for their purpose, like 
the Woodpeckers ;" and this is not the only point of re- 
semblance to that tribe of birds, for he found that the 
middle feathers of the tail were worn by climbing among 
the trunks and branches of trees. 

During the autumn of 1844 an unusual number of Nut- 
crackers were observed to visit different parts of Europe. 
They were particularly noticed in Germany and Belgium ; 



NUTCRACKER. 129 

many appeared in the southern part of Sweden, and my 
friend Mr. Dann, now residing in that country, whose com- 
munications in ornithology I have so frequently had the 
advantage of acknowledging, told me when he was in Lon- 
don last winter that these birds appeared on his grounds in 
small parties of six or seven together, like families, and as 
he watched them, he observed that they were very busy 
turning over and picking off the moss and lichens attached 
to the rocks for the sake of the insects they found under- 
neath. A few specimens of the Nutcracker visited this 
country. One was killed at Rollesby near Yarmouth, on 
the 30th of October, and is now in the possession of J. H. 
Gurney, Esq., of Norwich, as recorded in the Zoologist by 
W. E. Fisher, Esq. The stomach contained nothing but 
coleopterous insects. Another was killed in September 
last, while flying over a field of turnips, at Littlington 
near Alfristone, in Sussex, and is now in the collection of 
Mr. Wm. Borrer, jun. The Zoological Society have, for 
some months past, had a Nutcracker alive in the aviary. 
Contrary to the power proclaimed by the name, this bird 
cannot crack nuts ; when cracked for him he eats the 
kernels greedily, but is fed principally with hemp seed. 
Some of the actions of this bird resemble those of the Nut- 
hatch, and he demolishes the woodwork of his cage like a 
Woodpecker. So far back as 1831, M. Brehm had in- 
cluded in his Manual of the Birds of Germany, two species 
of Nutcracker, characterised principally by the difference 
observed in the length and strength of the beak, and 
named in reference to these peculiarities. The examination 
of several examples in the autumn of 1844, has induced 
M. Edm. de Selys-Lonchamps of Belgium to adopt the 
opinion of M. Brehm. Among our British examples both 
these modifications of the beak occur, but some specimens 

VOL. II. K 



130 CORVID.E. 

also exhibit intermediate lengths and characters. The 
figure in Bewick's British Birds appears to me to have 
been taken from a long and slender billed bird ; that here 
given is taken from a bird with a shorter and stout bill. 
The living bird at the Zoological Garden has a slender bill. 
Mr. Fisher, at page 824 of the 25th number of the 
Zoologist, has given a faithful outline of the form of the 
beak in Mr. Gurney's Yarmouth bird, which is also slender, 
and measures one inch and seven-eighths in length, from 
the commencement of the feathers on the forehead to the 
point ; the bill in the bird figured in this work measures 
full one quarter of an inch shorter, and there are differences 
also in the plumage. The opportunity of examining a con- 
siderable number of specimens, of which the age and sex 
are known, is necessary to assist in arriving at a good 
opinion on the question ; in the absence of such opportunity 
I am induced to consider the differences of the lengthened 
bill and brighter plumage as marks of greater age. 

The eggs are said to be five or six in number, of a 
yellowish grey colour, with a few spots of yellowish or 
wood-brown. An egg in the collection of Mr. Willmot, of 
the Temple, which is believed to be that of a Nutcracker, 
and which that gentleman very kindly lent me to have a 
drawing made from it for my use in this work, measures 
one inch one line in length, by ten lines in breadth, is also 
of a greyish white colour, spotted over the larger end with 
bluish grey and light ash brown. 

Besides the countries already named as inhabited by the 
Nutcracker, Pennant says he received a specimen from 
Denmark by means of M. Brunnich, author of the Ornitho- 
logia Borealis, and the bird is also included in the Zoologia 
Danica of Muller. It is said to be common in the pine 
forests of Russia, Siberia, and Kamtschatka. 



NUTCRACKER. 

The beak is black ; the lore, or space between the beak 
and the eye, dull white ; irides brown ; top of the head 
umber brown without spots ; the sides of the head, the 
scapulars, the whole of the back, the lesser wing-coverts, 
and all the tinder surface of the body clove brown, each 
feather terminating with an elongated triangular spot of 
dull white ; the greater wing-coverts and the wings black- 
ish brown, the ends of the feathers rather lighter in colour 
than the other parts ; the rump uniform clove brown, with- 
out spots ; upper tail-coverts blackish brown ; the two 
middle of the twelve tail-feathers also blackish brown, 
without any white ; the next tail-feather on each side has 
a narrow white tip ; the white colour occupies more space 
in each next feather towards the outside, increasing to a 
space of three-quarters of an inch at the ends of those on 
the outside ; the under tail-coverts and the under surface 
of the tail-feathers greyish brown, the latter ending in dull 
white ; tail in form nearly square at the end ; legs, toes, 
and claws, black. 

The whole length of the specimen described thirteen 
inches and three-quarters. The length of the wing from 
the carpal joint to the end of the longest quill-feather seven 
inches : the first quill-feather one inch and a half shorter 
than the second, which second quill-feather is three-quarters 
of an inch shorter than the third, the third equal in length 
to the eighth ; the fourth, fifth, arid six feathers one quar- 
ter of an inch longer than the third, all three nearly equal 
in length, and the longest in the wing. M. Temminck 
says the brown plumage of the female is tinged with red. 



K 2 



132 



PICID^E. 



1NSESSORES. 
SCANSORES. 



PIC1D&. 




THE GREAT BLACK WOODPECKER. 

Picus martius. 

Picus martius, Great Black Woodpecker, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 325. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 138. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 92. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 375. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 151. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. i. 

Le Pic noir, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 390. 

Picus. Generic Characters. Beak about as long as the head, straight, pyra- 
midal, compressed, pointed. Nostrils basal, oval, open, hid by hair-like feathers 
directed forwards. Wings moderate ; the first quill-feather short, the third or 
fourth the longest in the wing. Feet strong, formed for climbing, with two toes 
before and two behind, rarely with only a single toe behind ; the two anterior 



GREAT BLACK WOODPECKER. 133 

toes connected together at the base, the two posterior toes entirely free. Tail of 
ten or twelve feathers, the outside one the shortest, the others more or less gra- 
duated, the shafts strong, elastic, and pointed. 

THE subjects of the third division of the Insessores, or 
Perching Birds, are the Scansores, or Climbers ; a division, 
which, as its name implies, includes all those birds remark- 
able for their power of climbing, to accomplish which most 
of them have their toes arranged in pairs, or two op- 
posed to two, but with some modifications, to be hereafter 
described. In our British Birds eight genera, forming 
three families, belong to the Scansores, commencing with 
the Picidtf, or family of the Woodpeckers. 

The Great Black Woodpecker was added to the cata- 
logue of British Birds on the authority of Dr. Latham, 
who said he had been informed that it had occasionally 
been seen in Devonshire and the southern parts of the king- 
dom. Dr. Pulteney, in his Catalogue of the Birds of 
Dorsetshire, notices the Great Black Woodpecker as hav- 
ing been more than once killed in that county : one in 
particular is said to have been shot in the nursery at Bland- 
ford, and another at Whitchurch. Montagu, in his Sup- 
plement, says, " Lord Stanley assures us that he shot a 
Picus martins in Lancashire ; and we have heard that 
another was shot in the winter of 1805 on the trunk of a 
tree in Battersea Fields." The specimen of the Black 
Woodpecker, formerly in the collection of Mr. Donovan, 
who was well known to give very high prices for rare 
British-killed birds, for his own use in his History of 
British Ornithology, this example, was affirmed to have 
been shot in this country. At the sale of Mr. Donovan^s 
collection, this specimen was purchased by Earl Derby, 
and is now at Knowsley. I have been told of two in- 
stances of the Black Woodpecker having been killed in 



134 PICID^E. 

Yorkshire, but the birds falling into the hands of those who 
were not aware of the Ornithological interest attached to 
them, the specimens were not preserved. This species is 
also recorded to have been killed in Lincolnshire. A few 
years since a communication was made to the Zoological 
Society of London, that two examples of the Great Black 
Woodpecker had been at that time killed in a small wood 
near Scole Inn, in Norfolk ; and still more recently, a pair 
were frequently seen in a small preserved wood, near 
Christchurch in Hampshire. It was hoped that they 
would have remained to go to nest ; but the birds dis- 
turbed by being too frequently watched, left the wood. 
Lastly, I may add, that Sir Robert Sibbald, in his Scotia 
Illustrate claims Picus martins as a bird of Scotland, in- 
cluding it in his Historia Animalium in Scotia, p. 15. 

The general habits of the Woodpeckers are well known. 
These birds are rather limited in their powers of flight ; 
they live in, or near woods, are retiring and shy, hiding 
themselves from view when approached by passing to that 
side of the tree or branch which is farthest from the in- 
truder. They search the bark of trees, or decaying parts, 
for any insects that may be concealed in the fissures, as- 
cending the body of the tree or its branches, with facility 
by climbing, occasionally supporting themselves by their 
tail-feathers, the shafts of which are strong, elastic, and 
pointed. The tongue of these birds, by a particular ana- 
tomical construction, is capable of great elongation and 
extension, and being copiously supplied with a tenacious 
mucus, secreted by large glands on the sides of the throat, 
small or light insects are rapidly taken up by adhesion. 
During the night these birds occupy the holes so fre- 
quently to be observed in trees, some of which they ex- 
cavate, or partially enlarge for themselves by working with 



GREAT BLACK WOODPECKER. 135 

the point of their sharp and strong bill. In these holes, at 
the usual season, the eggs are deposited, which in all the 
species, as far as they have been ascertained, are invaria- 
bly white, smooth, and shining. The males are said to 
take a share in the task of incubation. In these particu- 
lars the Black Woodpecker agrees, as far as its history can 
be gathered from the works of European Ornithologists. 
The egg of this bird is exactly like that of our well-known 
Green Woodpecker in shape and colour, but is considera- 
bly larger. One specimen, in the possession of Mr. Wil- 
mot, whose rich collection was referred to in the account 
of the Nutcracker, last described, is one inch four lines 
long, and one inch one line in breadth. According to M. 
Temminck, the Black Woodpecker lays three eggs, and 
in default of finding insect food, will feed on nuts, seeds, 
or berries. 

The Black Woodpecker is not found in Holland, but 
M. Vieillot and Polydore Eoux include it among the 
birds of France and Provence. M. Necker says it is not 
uncommon in the pine forests of the mountains of Switzer- 
land, and M. Savi also says that it is not uncommon on 
the mountains of Savoy and in the Tyrol, occasionally in 
winter appearing in the vicinity of Rome. A small num- 
ber inhabit Sicily, where they remain all the year. Mr. H. 
E. Strickland, in his Catalogue of birds obtained or seen 
in Asia Minor, mentions that he saw a specimen of this 
Woodpecker in the possession of Mr. Zohrab, at Broussa, 
which was shot in the pine forests of Mount Parnassus. 
Northward, it is a native of Denmark, Sweden, and Nor- 
way. Mr. Hewitson, in reference to the Birds of Norway, 
says, " In two instances only the Great Black Wood- 
pecker was seen at a distance, but so wild, that it was 
impossible to approach it ; on the wing it looks like a 



136 PICID^E. 

Crow, and its notes resemble a loud hoarse laugh." It is 
found in Germany, and from thence to the most northern 
parts of Russia and Siberia ; this bird, therefore, has an 
extended latitudinal range. 

The male : Beak as long as the head, rather conical 
in shape, with a well- defined, elevated, central ridge, ex- 
tending the whole length of the upper mandible from the 
base to the point ; in colour it is black at the end, passing 
by a bluish horn colour to almost white at the base ; a 
small tuft of black hair-like feathers extending forwards 
above each nostril ; the irides straw colour ; the upper 
surface of the head is covered with feathers that are black 
at the base, but tipped with rich arterial blood red, forming 
a cap which reaches to the occiput ; the whole of the body 
of the bird, both above and below, the wings and the tail, 
are of uniform black, of which the under surface of the 
body is rather more dull in colour than the upper ; the 
tarsi partly covered with black feathers ; the toes and 
claws bluish black ; of the two toes directed backwards, 
the inner toe is only half as long as the outer one ; the 
claws of all the toes greatly curved, strong, and sharp. 

The whole length of the specimen described was six- 
teen inches. The wing from the carpal joint to the end 
nine inches : the first feather pointed, and only about two 
inches in length ; the second feather about five inches long, 
also pointed, and equal in length to the ninth ; the third 
shorter than the fourth, fifth, or sixth which are about 
equal, and the longest in the wing. The two middle fea- 
thers of the tail are the longest, the outside feathers the 
shortest, but all are stiff, and but slightly elastic, the 
shafts being very thick and strong. 

In the female the crimson colour is confined to the back 
part of the head, and in young males the top of the head 
is only spotted with red. 



INSESSORES. 

SCANSORES. 



GREEN WOODPECKER. 



137 

PICIDM. 




THE GREEN WOODPECKER. 

WOODSPITE, RAIN-BIRD, HEW-HOLE, YAFFLE, 
WHET-ILE, AND WOODWALL. 

Picus mridis. 

Picus viridis, Green Woodpecker, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 315. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

., BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i p. 140. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 91. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 372. 

,, JENYNS, Man. Brit. Vert. p. 14.9. 

v M GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. iii. 

Pic vert, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 3.91. 



138 PICID^E. 

THE GREEN WOODPECKER is the most common, and ac- 
cordingly the best known, among British Woodpeckers, 
and is found over a great portion of, if not all, the 
wooded districts of England and Scotland. It is generally 
seen either climbing the bark of trees in search of its in- 
sect food, or passing, by a short, somewhat laboured, and 
undulating flight, from one tree to another. 

When seen moving upon a tree, the bird is mostly as- 
cending in a direction more or less oblique, and is believed 
to be incapable of descending, unless this action is per- 
formed backwards. On flying to a tree to make a new 
search, the bird settles low down on the bole or body of 
the tree, but a few feet above the ground, and generally 
below the lowest large branch, as if to have all its work 
above it, and proceeds from thence upwards, alternately 
tapping to induce any hidden insect to change its place, 
pecking holes in a decayed branch that it may be able to 
reach any insects that are lodged within, or protruding 
its long extensible tongue to take up any insect on the 
surface ; but the summit of the tree once obtained, the 
bird does not descend over the examined part, but flies 
off to another tree, or to another part of the same tree, to 
recommence its search lower down nearer the ground. 

The tongue and its appendages in our Woodpeckers are 
admirably adapted to their mode of life. That of the 
Green Woodpecker has been frequently figured, and a 
brief description, therefore, may suffice : it is, however, an 
interesting subject to examine. The great extensibility of 
the tongue is obtained by the elongation of the two pos- 
terior branches or cornua of the bone of the tongue, which 
extending round the back of the head and over the top, 
have the ends of both inserted together into the cavity of 
the right nostril. These elongations, forming a bow, are 



GREEN WOODPECKER. 139 

each accompanied throughout their length by a slender 
slip of muscle, by the contraction of which the bow is 
shortened, and the tongue pushed forward; another pair 
of muscles folded twice round the upper part of the trachea, 
and from thence passing forward, are attached to the an- 
terior part of the tongue, and by their contraction bring 
the tongue back again. The tongue itself is furnished at 
the tip with a horny point, and also with four or five 
short bristle-like hairs on each side which are directed 
backwards. At each side of the head of the bird, behind 
and below the external orifice of the ear, is a large and 
elongated parotid gland, from which a membranous duct 
passes as far forwards as the point of union of the two 
bones, forming together the lower mandible, on the inner 
surface of which the glutinous secretion of these large 
glands passes out, and may be seen to issue on making 
slight pressure along the course of the glands. The flat- 
tened inner surface of the two bones which are united along 
the distal part of their lower edge, forms the natural si- 
tuation of the tongue when at rest within the mandibles ; 
and every time it is drawn into the mouth when the 
bird is feeding, it becomes covered with a fresh supply of 
the glutinous mucus. From a close examination of the 
contents of the stomach of many Green Woodpeckers, I 
am induced to believe that the point of the tongue is not 
used as a spear, nor the food taken up by the beak, unless 
the subject , whatever it may happen to be, is too heavy to 
be lifted by adhesion. 

Insects of various sorts, ants, and their eggs, form the 
principal food of the Green Woodpecker; and I have 
seldom had an opportunity of examining a recently killed 
specimen the beak of which did not indicate, by the earth 
adhering to the base, and to the feathers about the 



140 



PICID^E. 



nostrils, that the bird had been at work at an ant-hill, and 
this species is therefore more frequently seen on the ground 
than any other of our Woodpeckers ; it is said also to be 
a great enemy to bees. Bechstein says that the Green 
Woodpecker will crack nuts. 

Another anatomical peculiarity remarkable in the skele- 
ton of the Woodpecker, but admirably adapted to the 
habits of the bird, is the small size of the keel of the 
breast-bone. Moderate powers of flight, sufficient to trans- 
port the bird from tree to tree, are all that it seems to 
require ; large pectoral muscles with a deep keel to the 
breast-bone would to this bird be an inconvenience. The 
advantage of a narrow shallow keel is immediately appa- 
rent, on looking at a representation of the skeleton in a 
climbing position : the low keel allowing the bird to place 




GREEN WOODPECKER. 141 

its body close to the tree, to bring its centre of gravity in 
a perpendicular line before the points of support, and thus 
materially to diminish the labour of, and the strain upon, 
the muscles of the legs and thighs. The descending posi- 
tion of the bones of the tail indicate the mode by which 
the stiff points of the tail-feathers are brought into contact 
with the surface of the bark of the tree to form an acces- 
sory prop. 

These birds inhabit holes in trees, which they excavate 
or enlarge for their use, chiefly in the elm or the ash, in 
preference to those of harder wood. When excavating 
a hole in a tree for the purpose of incubation, the birds, 
it is said, will carry away the chips to a distance, in order 
that they may not lead to a discovery of their retreat, 
as other birds are known to carry away the egg-shells and 
mutings of their young birds. The Green Woodpecker 
makes no nest, but deposits its eggs on the loose, soft frag- 
ments of the decayed wood. The eggs are from five to 
seven in number : smooth, shining, and pure white, one 
inch two lines and a half in length, by ten lines and a half 
in breadth. The young birds are fledged in June, and 
creep about the tree a short distance from the hole before 
they are able to fly. I have known the young birds 
to be taken from the tree and brought up by hand, becom- 
ing very tame, and giving utterance to a low note not 
unlike that of a very young gosling. The adult birds also 
make a low jarring sound, which is supposed to be the call- 
note of the sexes to each other. Their more common note 
is a loud sound, which has been compared to a laugh, and 
they are said to be vociferous when rain is impending, 
hence their name of Rain-bird ; and as it is highly pro- 
bable that no change takes place in the weather without 
some previous alteration in the electrical condition of the 



142 PICID^E. 

atmosphere, we can easily understand that birds, entirely 
covered as they are with feathers, which are known to 
be readily affected by electricity, should be susceptible 
of certain impressions, which are indicated by particular 
actions : thus birds, and other animals,* covered only 
with the production of their highly sensible skin, become 
living barometers to good observers. The Green Wood- 
pecker is one of the earliest birds to retire to rest in the 
afternoon. 

I have occasionally, in the History of our Fishes and 
Birds, endeavoured to give the explanation or derivation of 
some of the names applied to our British species, and it is 
hoped that such attempts, though sometimes unsuccessful, 
may yet be acceptable, and even useful. The various 
names by which our Green Woodpecker is known in diffe- 
rent parts of this country invite observation. 

Wood-spite, which I have also seen spelled, Wood- 
speight, if not intended for our English words, wood, 
and spite ; the first syllable is derived from woad, in refer- 
ence to the green colour of the bird, and the second syllable 
is derived from the German word " specht," a Wood- 
pecker : Griinspecht is in Germany the name of our Green 
Woodpecker. 

Rain-bird has been already noticed. Wallis, in his His- 
tory of Northumberland, observes that it is called by the 
common people Bain-fowl, from its being more loud and 
noisy before rain. The Romans called them Pluvite aves for 
the same reason. 

* Mr. Scrope, in his excellent book on the "Art of Deer- stalking," says, 
" The Deer, like many other animals, seem to foresee every change of weather ; 
at the approach of a storm they leave the higher hills, and descend to the low 
grounds, sometimes even two days before the change takes place. Again, at the 
approach of a thaw, they leave the low grounds, and go to the mountains by a 
similar anticipation of change." 



GREEN WOODPECKER. 143 

Hew-hole is sufficiently explained by the well-known 
habit of the bird. 

Yaffle, or Yaffil. The Green Woodpecker is so called in 
Surrey and Sussex. This name has reference to the repeat- 
ed notes of the bird, which have been compared to the 
sound of a laugh. White of Selborne says, " the Wood- 
pecker laughs ; " and in the popular poem of the Peacock 
" At home," the following couplet occurs : 

" The Sky-lark in ecstacy sang from a cloud, 
And Chanticleer crow'd, and the Yaffil laugh'd loud."' 

In some parts of Hertfordshire, and of the adjoining 
county of Essex, the Green Woodpecker is called a Whet- 
ile. The word Whittle, is a term at present in use in some 
northern counties. Brockett, in his Glossary of North- 
country words, considers it derived from the Saxon " Why- 
tel," a knife. In Yorkshire, and in North America, a 
whittle is a clasp-knife, and, to whittle,* is to cut or hack 
wood ; the origin and the meaning of this name for the 
Woodpecker is, therefore, sufficiently obvious : whytel, 
whittle, whet-ile, woodhacker. 

The terms Woodwele, Woodwale, Woodwall, and Wit- 
wall, which are only modifications of the same word, are 
generally considered to refer to one of the species of our 
English Woodpeckers, but to which, or, I may add, if to 
either, there is some doubt. Willughby and Ray apply 
the name of Witwall to the Greater Black and White, or 
Greater Spotted Woodpecker ; and in the New Forest, 
Hampshire, at the present day, this same bird is called 
Woodwall, Woodwale, Woodnacker, and Woodpie. The 
word occurs occasionally in old ballads : 

* See Webster's Dictionary, and both Series of the Sayings and Doings of Sum 
Slick the Clockmaker. 



144 PICIDjE. 

" The Woodwele sang and would not cease, 

Sitting upon the spray e, 
So loud he wakened Robin Hood 
In the green wood where he lay." 

Ritson's edition of Robin Hood, vol. i. p. 115. 

" In many places Nightingales, 
And Alpes* and Finches and Woodwales." 

Chartcer, Rom. of the Rose. 

" There the Jay and the Throstell, 
The Mavis menyd in her song, 
The Woodwale farde or beryd as a bell 
That wode about me rung." 

True Thomas. 

In the glossary to the work first quoted, the Woodwele 
is thus described : " The Golden Ouzle, a bird of the 
Thrush kind. P." The initial P. is probably intended to 
refer to the works of Pliny. In the English portion of 
Ainsworth's Dictionary, the corresponding term for Wit- 
wall is vireo ; and Dr. William Turner, an English 
physician, and an accurate observer of birds, who wrote in 
the time of Henry the Eighth, makes vireo to be the Golden 
Oriole, including in his synonymes the Greek word CJilo- 
rion, also in reference to colour, and the German names 
Wittwol and Weidwail ; but remarking that he had never 
seen this bird in England, though he had seen it very often 
in Germany. Galbula, another term applied to the Golden 
Oriole, is in Ainsworth's Dictionary, " a bird which we 
call a Whittall, or Wood wall, Mart" Galbula is a dimi- 
nutive from gallus, signifying yellow. Kilian interprets 
the Belgic word " weed wael " as galgulus (avis eadem que 
qalbula, Plin.) avis lurida, oriolus. He also refers to the 
German word " wette wal," or " weet wal," which is 
applied to the Gold Amsell, or Yellow Thrush, two other 
names for the Golden Oriole. Although these references 
would seem to identify the Golden Oriole as the Woodwele, 

* An old name for the Bullfinch. 



GREEN WOODPECKER. 145 

yet the remark of Dr. Turner, and our own knowledge of 
the rarity of the Golden Oriole in England, affords strong 
presumptive evidence that the " Wood Wele singing from 
the spray," the bird which woke Robin Hood, could not 
have been the Golden Oriole. A ballad writer, wishing of 
course to be generally understood, would introduce some 
bird of familiar occurrence. Harduin translates vireo into 
verdier, which, according to Buffon, is the Greenfinch ; and 
A ins worth gives Greenfinch as a translation of vireo. The 
Greenfinch certainly does not sing very loud, but your free- 
booters are probably very light sleepers. In an English 
and German Dictionary, composed chiefly from Johnson 
and Adelung, the word corresponding to Wood wall is 
Grunspecht, which, as before noticed, is our Green Wood- 
pecker. There seems to be no doubt that the colour of the 
Woodwele was greenish yellow, and this name, with its 
various modifications, may therefore apply to the Green 
Woodpecker, the Golden Oriole, or the Greenfinch. The 
objections to the Green Woodpecker are, that his notes 
can scarcely in poetical license be called a song; and, 
moreover, that they are most frequently uttered when the 
bird is on the wing. 

The derivation in the present instance, through the assist- 
ance of a learned friend at Cambridge, who is kind enough 
to interest himself in the character and success of this His- 
tory of our British Birds, might have been carried much 
farther, but it may perhaps be considered that enough has 
already been said here upon this subject. 

Though sufficiently common and well known in the 
wooded districts of England and Scotland, as before 
observed, I can find no record of the occurrence of the 
Green Woodpecker in Ireland. It is not a common bird 
in Holland, though found generally on the European Conti- 

VOL. II. L 



146 PICID^E. 

nent from Scandinavia and Russia to Spain, Provence, 
Italy and Sicily. The editor of the last edition of Penn- 
ant's British Zoology, says, that it is also found in the 
wooded districts of Greece, but not on the eastern side 
of that country, which is bare of trees. 

Dr. Dickson and Mr. Ross have found this species in 
great numbers at Trebizond, and have shot them in the 
country between Trebizond and Erzeroom. 

The adult male has the beak of a dark horn-colour, 
almost black, the base of the lower mandible only being 
nearly white ; the feathers over the nostrils, on the lore, 
and round the eye, black ; the crown of the head and 
the occiput bright scarlet ; the irides white, tinged with 
pale straw colour ; from the base of the lower mandible 
a mustache extends backwards and downwards, formed of 
black feathers, with a brilliant scarlet patch along the 
middle of it ; the neck, back, wings, wing-coverts, and 
scapulars, dark green, tinged with yellow ; rump and upper 
tail-coverts sulphur yellow ; wing-primaries greyish black, 
spotted with white along the whole of the outer web, and 
on the proximal half of the inner web ; the secondaries and 
tertials uniformly green on the outer web, greyish black 
spotted with dull white on the inner web ; tail-feathers 
long, stiff, and pointed, the middle pair the longest, the 
others graduated, in colour greyish black, indistinctly barred 
across with dull greyish white ; the whole of the under 
surface of the body ash green ; legs, toes, and claws, 
black. 

The whole length about thirteen inches. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, six inches and a half: 
the first quill-feather short, the second shorter than the 
seventh, the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, nearly equal, but 
the fourth the longest in the wing. 



GREEN WOODPECKER. 



147 



Adult females have less red upon the head, and no red 
on the black mustache. 

In young birds that have recently quitted the nest, the 
scarlet colour on the top of the head is mixed with yellow 
and greyish black, the feathers passing by a change of 
colour from greyish white to yellow, and afterwards to 
scarlet ; on the mustache of the young male the same 
changes may be observed ; on the back and wings the 
green feathers are tipped with yellow : all the under surface 
of the neck and body dull greyish white tinged with ash 
green, streaked longitudinally on the neck, and trans- 
versely on the breast and belly, with greyish black. The 
green colour on the under surface of the body increases 
with age. 

The vignette below represents the breast-bone of the 
Green Woodpecker, rather larger than the natural size; 
the power of flight may be estimated by comparing this 
bone with that of a Falcon, vol. i. p. 113, and that of 
an Owl, at p. 137, or with that of the Jackdaw, in the pre- 
sent volume, p. 108, between which bird and the Green 
Woodpecker there is no great difference in size. 




148 



PICID.E 



INSESSORES. 
SCANSORES. 



PICIDJE. 







THE GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 



FRENCH- PIE, AND WOODPIE. 



Picus major. 

Picus major, Great Spotted Woodpecker, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 319. 



Greater 
Pied 

Greater 
Great 



Pic 



MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 142. 
FLKM. Brit. An. p. 91. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. voL i. p. 375. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 150. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. x. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 395. 



THIS species, next to the Green Woodpecker, is the best 
known in this country, and is by no means uncommon, 



GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 149 

particularly in the wooded districts of our midland counties, 
where it inhabits forests, woods, parks, and gardens. This 
bird climbs with great ease in all directions about the 
trunks and limbs of trees, but appears unwilling to be seen, 
creeping behind a branch on the approach of any observer, 
and remaining there out of sight. The Great Spotted 
Woodpecker, or Great Black and White Woodpecker, as 
it is also sometimes called, like its generic companion the 
Green Woodpecker, has several names. Willughby and 
Ray, and others from their example, have called it the 
Witwall ; in some counties it is called the French-pie, and 
in others the Woodpie. 

Confining itself chiefly to woods, and rarely seen on the 
ground, Mr. Gould says they are sometimes " observed to 
alight upon rails, old posts, and decayed pollards, where, 
among the moss and vegetable matter, they find a plentiful 
harvest of spiders, ants, and other insects ; nor are they free 
from the charge of plundering the fruit trees of the garden, 
and in fact commit great havoc among cherries, plums, and 
wall-fruit in general." Their food is insects of all sorts, 
and probably in all their various stages ; and M. Temminck 
says they will also eat seeds and nuts. 

Their flight is short, and performed in a series of undula- 
tions. A particular sound made by both the adult birds 
and also by the young birds of the year, when seeking their 
own living in autumn, has reference to one of their modes 
of obtaining food, and is thus explained by the editor of the 
last edition of Pennant's British Zoology. "By putting 
the point of its bill into a crack of the limb of a large tree, 
and making a quick tremulous motion with its head, it oc- 
casions a sound as if the tree was splitting, which alarms 
the insects and induces them to quit their recesses ; this it 
repeats every minute or two for half an hour, and will then 



150 

fly off to another tree, generally fixing itself near the top 
for the same purpose. The noise may be distinctly heard 
for half a mile. This bird will also keep its head in very 
quick motion, while moving about the tree for food, jarring 
the bark, and shaking it at the time it is seeking for 
insects." 

These birds inhabit holes in trees, and the females ex- 
hibit great attachment to their eggs ; Montagu mentions an 
instance where " notwithstanding a chisel and mallet were 
used to enlarge the hole, the female did not attempt to fly 
out till the hand was introduced, when she quitted the tree 
at another opening. The eggs were five in number, per- 
fectly white and glossy, weighing about one dram, or rather 
more. These were deposited two feet below the opening, on 
the decayed wood, without the smallest appearance of a 
nest." The eggs are one inch long, and nine lines broad. 

The young birds are perfectly fledged and able to shift 
for themselves by the middle of July. 

I have referred to Kensington Gardens as a locality in 
the vicinity of London rather remarkable for the number of 
its insectivorous birds. The Woodpeckers are frequently 
to be seen and heard there, and I remember, some years 
ago, seeing a family of the young of the species now under 
consideration, which had been taken and reared by the 
keeper at the Bayswater gate ; they were climbing over 
the inside of their cage as it hung against a large tree near 
the lodge. 

This species occurs in all the southern and midland coun- 
ties of England, but becomes more rare on proceeding 
northwards : it is found in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. 
Mr. Selby says, " In Northumberland, scarcely a year 
passes without some of these birds being obtained in the 
months of October and November. This induces me to 



GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 151 

suppose that they are migratory in some of the more 
northern parts of Europe, perhaps in Norway and Sweden. 
They arrive about the same time as the Woodcock, and 
other equatorial migrants ; and generally after stormy 
weather from the north or north-east. They moult at a 
late period, as several of those which have come into my 
hands have been in that state as late as the -10th of 
November." T. C. Heysham, Esq., has recorded two 
instances of this bird being obtained in the vicinity of 
Carlisle, where it is considered a rare species. Sir William 
Jardine sends me word that it has occurred in Dum- 
friesshire, and is met with occasionally still farther north. 
Mr. Selby also says he has seen it in Scotland, on the 
banks of the river Spey, and amid the wild scenery of the 
Dee. 

Mr. Thompson of Belfast says,* a specimen of Picus 
major, preserved in the Museum of the Royal Dublin 
Society, was shot in the vicinity of that city a few 
years since : and in the manuscript notes of the late Mr. 
Templeton, it is stated that an individual of the same 
species was sent to him in August 1802, from the county 
of Londonderry. 

This species is found in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, 
and Russia, and from thence southward over the European 
continent to Italy. The Zoological Society have received 
this bird from Oporto, and it is found in Corfu and Sicily. 
Mr. H. E. Strickland says that it is common in Smyrna. 

The old male has the beak about as long as the head, 
of a dark and shining horn colour, with a few greyish hair- 
like feathers projecting over the nostrils ; forehead, ear- 
coverts, and a circle round the eye, dull dirty white ; 
irides red ; top of the head dark bluish black ; occiput 

* Proceedings of the ZooL Soc. for 1835, p. 79. 



1 52 FICID^E. 

bright scarlet ; nape of the neck black, this colour pass- 
ing forward, above a white spot, by a narrow stripe, which 
at the side of the neck divides, one stripe passing forwards 
to the base of the beak, the other backwards towards the 
wings ; the back, rump, and tail-coverts, black ; the sca- 
pulars white, forming an elongated patch ; the smaller and 
the outer larger wing-coverts black ; the inner larger 
wing-coverts white, and partly hid by the scapulars ; the 
quill-feathers black, with from two to five well-defined, 
rather elongated white patches on the outer web of each 
feather, and rounded patches of white on the inner web, 
the two middle tail-feathers the longest, and wholly black, 
pointed, and somewhat worn at the ends ; the two next 
in succession, on each side, also black, tipped with white 
at the end, and similarly pointed ; the next black and 
white, with some black forming bars on the white ; the 
outer feather on each side with the ends rounded and en- 
tire. The throat, neck, breast, and belly, dirty white ; 
vent and under tail-coverts red. 

The whole length of an adult bird nine inches and a 
half. From the carpal joint to the end of the wing five 
inches and a quarter : the first feather very short ; the se- 
cond shorter than the seventh, but longer than the eighth ; 
the third, fourth, and fifth, as long as the seventh ; the 
sixth feather the longest in the wing. 

The adult female has no red colour on the head or 
occiput. 

The young birds of the year, of both sexes, are a little 
smaller in size, and though not differing in plumage from 
the parent birds in other respects, they have the top of 
head red, the occiput black, and these colours they retain 
till their first moult, which probably from the observation 
of Mr. Selby, is not completed till late in the year. This 



GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 153 

red colour covers the whole of the top of the head, but is 
not so bright in tint as the occipital patch of the old male, 
and is sometimes mixed with a few black feathers. In 
this state of plumage this young bird has been confounded 
with, and quoted as the Picus medius of Linnams, a black 
and white Woodpecker of the Continent of Europe, which 
there is no reason to believe has ever been killed in this 
country. 

The figure below represents the character and position 
of the toes in the Woodpeckers. 




154 



PICID^E. 



INSESSORES. 
SCANSORES. 



PICIDJE. 




THE LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 



THE BARRED WOODPECKER, AND HICKWALL. 

Picus minor. 

Picus minor, Least Spotted Woodpecker, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 322. 



Lesser 
The Barred, 
Lesser Spotted 



MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 144. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 90. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 379. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 151. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xii. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 399. 



Pic epeichette, 

THE LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER, Little Black-and- 
White Woodpecker, and Barred Woodpecker, as it is also 
sometimes called, has the characters and actions, as well as 
the colours of the Black-and- White Woodpecker, last de- 
scribed, while its small size, and its retiring habits, enable 



LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 155 

it to escape observation, so that it is generally considered 
to be much more rare. It is heard to make the same sort 
of jarring noise as the other Woodpeckers, but not so loud ; 
it is said to be most partial to woods of beech and oak, 
and also to frequent the tops of large elms. It chooses 
small holes in trees, as an obvious security against the in- 
trusion of birds larger than itself, and Colonel Montagu 
mentions having in one instance found five eggs, deposited 
on the rotten wood, without any nest, at a considerable 
distance below the aperture, which corresponded with the 
size of the bird, but did not appear to have been recently 
made. The eggs are smooth, of a delicate spotless flesh- 
coloured tint, before they are blown, the colour of the 
yelk appearing through the transparent albumen and 
thin shell ; but when blown, the egg-shells are thin, of a 
pure and shining white, nine lines and a half in length, 
by seven lines in breadth, and very similar to the eggs of 
the Wryneck. 

The food of this species is small insects, which they oc- 
casionally seek among long grass on the ground, but are 
generally seen examining the bark of trees, searching the 
branches rather than the trunks, from the crevices in which 
they withdraw such as they find within the reach of their 
long tongue, and the glutinous secretion with which it is 
covered. Mr. Gould, in his birds of Europe says, this 
little Woodpecker is frequently to be seen searching for 
insects on the moss-covered branches of orchard fruit trees. 

This species is not uncommon around London, and may 
be seen in Kensington Gardens, and I find notices of its 
occurrence in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Dor- 
setshire, and Cornwall ; it has also been noticed in Glou- 
cestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Shropshire, and 
as far north, on the west side, as Lancashire. I am not 



156 PICID.E. 

aware that it has been found in Ireland. From London 
eastward and northward it has been found in Essex, Suf- 
folk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, 
and as I am informed by Mr. Thomas Allis, in Yorkshire. 
Further northward it is more rare ; but Sir Robert Sib- 
bald includes Picus varius minor as a bird of Scotland, and 
this is a name by which our Little Woodpecker, the 
smallest of the European species, was designated by some 
authors. Professor Nilsson includes this species in his 
Fauna of Scandinavia, giving representations of both sexes; 
and M. Vieillot says, that it is found as far as the eastern 
part of Siberia. On the southern part of the European 
continent it is found, though sparingly, as far as Rome, 
and in Sicily. 

The male has the beak shorter than the head, angular, 
pointed, and black ; hair-like feathers at the base of the 
beak, projecting over the nostrils, greyish brown ; forehead 
dull white ; crown of the head bright scarlet ; occiput and 
nape black ; irides reddish hazel ; cheeks, ear-coverts, and 
each side of the nape down to the scapulars, white ; under 
the ear-coverts on each side a patch of black ; upper part 
of the back and the scapulars black ; middle of the back 
white, barred transversely with black ; upper tail-coverts 
black ; upper part of the wings black ; both sets of wing- 
coverts black, tipped with white ; quill-feathers greyish 
black, with angular spots of white on the outer webs, 
and rounded spots of white on the inner webs, forming four 
conspicuous and almost regular white bars ; the four mid- 
dle tail-feathers black, somewhat pointed and stiff; the 
next on each side tipped with white ; the other two on 
each side white barred with black ; chin, throat, and all 
the under surface of the body dirty white ; the sides of the 
breast marked with a few descending black lines ; under 



LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 157 

tail-coverts with a few black spots ; legs, toes, and claws, 
lead colour. 

The whole length five inches and three-quarters. From 
the carpal joint to the end of the wing three inches and 
three-eighths : the first feather very short ; the second the 
same length as the seventh ; the third, fourth, and fifth, 
nearly equal in length, but the fourth rather the longest in 
the wing. 

The top of the head in the female is of a dirty brownish 
white, without any appearance of red feathers ; the white 
patches about the ear-coverts occupy more space than in 
the males, and the under surface of the body is tinged with 
dull pale brown. 

Young male birds of the year assume the red colour on 
the top of -the head during their first autumn. 

The vignette below represents the tongue and its glands 
in the head of the Great Spotted Woodpecker, of the na- 
tural size, as seen when the skin is removed. The struc- 
ture is the same in the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, except 
that all the parts in the latter are much smaller. 




158 



PICID.E. 



INSESSORES. 

SCANSORES. 



PICIDM. 




THE WRYNECK. 



Yunac tor quill u, The Wryneck, 



Common 



Torcol ordinaire. 



Yunx torquilla. 

PENN. Brit. Zool. vol i. p. 312. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 1 34. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 92. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 381. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 152. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. i. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith, vol. i. p. 403. 



YUNX. Generic Characters. Beak short, straight, conical; the tongue long, 
worm-like, with a horny point ; nostrils basal, lateral, partly closed by a mem- 
brane. Wings moderate, the second quill-feather the longest. Tail-feathers 
flexible. Feet with two toes in front, and two behind ; the anterior pair joined 
at their base ; the hind toes unconnected. 



WRYNECK. 159 

THE WRYNECK is a common bird, and a well known 
summer visiter to this country, arriving in the first or se- 
cond week of April, and departing by the end of August 
or early in September. As the Wryneck makes its ap- 
pearance here about the same time as the Cuckoo, it has 
from some supposed connection with that bird acquired the 
names of Cuckoo's Mate, and Cuckoo's Maid. Pennant 
says the Welsh name for this bird (Gwds y gog) means 
also Cuckoo's attendant ; but it is scarcely necessary to 
add that, except in the circumstance of the two species 
arriving here, and again departing hence, about the same 
period of each spring and autumn, these two birds have in- 
deed scarcely any other point of similarity between them. 
The Wryneck is, in fact, rather solitary in its habits, being 
very seldom seen associating with, or even near, any other 
bird than its own single partner, and that too but for a 
very limited portion of the year. 

Without any rich or attractive colours in its plumage, 
the Wryneck is still a handsome bird from the singularly 
beautiful manner in which the various markings and the 
shades of brown and grey are distributed. It is provided 
with a long tongue, and with feet similar to those of the 
Woodpeckers, but has not the stiff tail-feathers like those 
birds, and is, as might be expected, less of a climber than 
the species of the genus Picus. It frequents small copses, 
plantations, orchards, and fields enclosed with tall hedges. 

This bird is called a Wryneck from the habit it exhibits 
of moving its head and neck in various directions, some- 
times describing parts of circles, at others from side to 
side, with an undulating motion not unlike the actions of 
a snake, and in some of the counties in England this bird 
is called the Snakebird from this circumstance. When 
found in its retreat in the hole of a tree, it makes a loud 



160 PICIDJ!. 

hissing noise, sets up an elongated crest, and writhing its 
head and neck towards each shoulder alternately, with 
grotesque contortions, becomes an object of terror to a 
timid intruder, and the bird taking advantage of a moment 
of indecision, darts with the rapidity of lightning from a 
situation whence escape seemed impossible. 

These birds feed on caterpillars and various other in- 
sects, and are often seen on the ground near ant-hills, con- 
suming as food large quantities of the ants and their eggs. 
Bechstein says the Wryneck will eat elderberries. The 
anatomical construction of the tongue and its appendages 
in the Wryneck, and the consequent mode of taking its 
food, like the Woodpeckers, will amply repay the closest 
examination. By an elongation of the two posterior 
branches of the bones of the tongue, and the exercise of 
the muscles attached to them, this bird is able to extend 
the tongue a very considerable distance beyond the point of 
the beak ; the end of the tongue is horny and hard ; a large 
and long gland is situated at the under edge of the lower 
jaw on each side, which secretes a glutinous mucus, and 
transfers it to the inside of the mouth by a slender duct. 
With this glutinous mucus the end of the tongue is always 
covered, for the especial purpose of conveying food into 
the mouth by contact. So unerring is the aim with which 
the tongue is darted out, and so certain the effect of the 
adhesive moisture, that the bird never fails in obtaining its 
object at every attempt. So rapid, also, is the action of 
the tongue in thus conveying food into the mouth, that the 
eye is unable distinctly to follow it, and Colonel Montagu, 
who had an opportunity of observing this bird feed while 
confined in a cage, says, that an ant's egg, which is of a 
light colour, and more conspicuous than the tongue, had 
somewhat the appearance of moving towards the mouth by 






. WRYNECK. 161 

attraction, as a needle flies to a magnet. In consequence 
of this bird feeding frequently at the ant-hills, the author 
of the Journal of a Naturalist has observed, that its long 
glutinous tongue collects much of the soil of the heaps, and 
its stomach contains a larger portion of grit than is usually 
met with in that of other birds. 

The Wryneck makes little or no nest, but deposits its 
eggs on the fragments of decayed wood within the hole of 
a tree. The eggs are from six to nine or ten in number, 
white, smooth, and shining, nine lines and a half long, by 
seven lines in breadth. 

Mr. Salmon, when residing in Norfolk, recorded a sin- 
gular instance of the attachment of this bird to a particular 
retreat, in the following terms : " I wished, last spring, to 
obtain the eggs of the Wryneck to place in my cabinet, 
and accordingly watched very closely a pair that had re- 
sorted to a garden in this village for the purpose of incu- 
bation ; I soon ascertained that they had selected a hole 
in an old decayed apple tree for that purpose, the entrance 
to which was so small as not to admit my hand. The tree 
being hollow and decayed at the bottom near the ground, 
I was enabled to reach the nest by putting my arm up- 
wards, and I found, on withdrawing the nest, that the 
underneath part of it was composed of moss, hair, &c., 
having every appearance of an old nest of the Redstart's of 
the preceding summer ; which, I suspect, was the case : 
the upper part was made of dried roots. The nest did not 
contain any eggs, and I returned it by thrusting it up in 
the inside of the tree. On passing by the same tree about 
a week afterwards, my attention was arrested by observing 
one of the birds leaving the hole, upon which I gently 
withdrew the nest, and was much gratified at finding it 

* Magazine of Natural History, vol. vii. p. 465. 
VOL. II. M 



162 PICIDjE. 

contained five most beautiful glossy eggs, the shells of 
which were perfectly white, and so transparent that the 
yelks shone through, giving them a delicate pink colour, 
but which is lost in the blowing. I replaced the nest, and 
visited it during the ensuing week, and was induced, out 
of curiosity, to examine it again, when, to my astonish- 
ment, I found the birds had not deserted the hole, she 
having laid six more eggs since. I took these away, and 
was obliged to keep them, as I was only able to replace 
the nest by again thrusting it up in the inside of the tree 
as before, which I did. I again visited the spot in the 
following week, and found that they had still pertinaciously 
adhered to their domicile, having further laid four more 
eggs. I repeated the experiment ; but not having an op- 
portunity of visiting the tree until ten days afterwards, I 
thought at the time that the nest was abandoned, and was 
not undeceived until I had again withdrawn the nest, 
having taken the precaution of endeavouring to frighten 
the old bird off should she be on the nest, which I found 
was the case, she suffering me to pull the nest to the bot- 
tom of the tree before she attempted to escape : there were 
seven eggs which were slightly sat upon. What appears 
to me extraordinary is that the bird should suffer her nest 
to be disturbed five times, and the eggs (amounting alto- 
gether to twenty-two) to be taken away at four different 
periods within the month before she finally abandoned the 
spot she had selected."' 

The young birds are easily tamed, and are great fa- 
vourites with boys in this country, but more particularly so 
in France, where it is customary to tie a piece of thin 
string to one of the legs of the bird, and carrying it from 
one tree to another, allow it to search the bark for insects ; 
it climbs with equal facility over any part of the clothes. 



WRYNECK. 163 

The Wryneck is very common during summer in the 
south-eastern counties of England ; but it decreases in 
numbers on proceeding to the westward : it is rare in 
Cornwall, and has not been ascertained to visit Ireland. 
Northward it is also scarce ; it is rare in Yorkshire. Mr. 
Selby has ascertained that a few only appear every year in 
Northumberland. There are records of this bird having 
been killed twice in Berwickshire, once in Fifeshire, and in 
one or two other instances in Scotland. Miiller and M. 
Nilsson include the Wryneck among the birds of Denmark 
and Sweden, the latter author noticing that it makes its 
appearance in Sweden at the beginning of May. M. Tern-- 
minck says it is a rare bird in Holland ; but it is common 
in Germany, France, Spain, Provence, Italy, Corfu, and 
Sicily, during summer. Mr. Gould has received specimens 
from the Himalaya mountains, a locality remarkable for 
European forms among its animal inhabitants. Mr. Blyth 
has obtained it in the vicinity of Calcutta, and it is found 
in China. M. Temminck includes it in his Catalogue of 
the Birds of Japan ; and M. Vieillot says it is found in 
Kamtschatka. The Wryneck, when quitting the southern 
part of the European continent in autumn, goes to north 
Africa, and the warm parts of western Asia. 

The adult bird has the beak brown ; the irides hazel ; 
the top of the head greyish brown, barred across with 
streaks of darker brown and white ; neck, back, rump, and 
upper tail-coverts, grey, speckled with brown ; from the 
occiput down the middle line of the back of the neck, and 
between the scapulars, a streak of dark brown mixed with 
black; the wings brown, speckled with lighter yellow 
brown, and a few white spots ; the primary quill-feathers 
barred alternately with pale yellow brown and black ; the 
tertials on the upper surface marked with a descending line 

M 2 



164 PICIDJ3. 

of black ; upper surface of the tail-feathers mottled with 
grey and brown, and marked with four irregularly trans- 
verse bars of black ; chin, throat, ear-coverts, and neck in 
front, pale yellow brown, with narrow transverse black lines; 
breast, belly, sides, and under tail-coverts, dull white, 
tinged with pale yellow brown, and spotted with black ; 
under surface of tail-feathers pale greyish brown, speckled 
and barred with black ; legs, toes, and claws, brown. 

The whole length of the bird seven inches. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, three inches and one 
quarter ; the first and third quill-feathers nearly equal in 
length, longer than the fourth, but a little shorter than the 
second, which is the longest in the wing. 

The female is rather larger than the male, and the 
colours of her plumage are less pure and bright. M. Tem- 
minck says the dark band on the neck and back is shorter. 

The vignette here inserted represents the foot and the 
head of the Wryneck, both of the natural size ; the foot, 
as referred to in the generic characters, the head as de- 
scribed at page 1 60. Of the two small thread-like muscles 
seen at the throat on the side of the windpipe, one, with 
its fellow on the other side of the neck, belongs to the 
trachea itself; the other assists in drawing the tongue back 
into the mouth after it has been thrust forward. 




COMMON CREEPER. 



165 



IffSESSORES. 

SCANSORKS. 



CERTFHAD.'E. 




THE COMMON CREEPER. 

CertMa familiaris. 

Certliia familiaris. Familiar Creeper, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 345. 

Common MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

The BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 152. 

Common FLEM. Brit. An. p. 88. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 388. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 152. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xix. 

Le Grimpereau, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 410. 

CERTHIA. Generic C/taracters. Beak of moderate length, curved downwards, 
slender, and pointed; tongue short; nostrils basal, lateral, the orifice longitudinal, 
elongated, partly covered by a membrane. Wings of moderate length ; the first 
feather very short, the fourth feather the longest in the wing. Tail-feathers long, 
stiff, pointed, and slightly curved downwards. Feet with three toes before, one 
behind ; the claws long, curved, and sharp ; the outer toe united by a membrane 
to the middle toe at its base. 



166 CERTHIAD^E. 

THE little Common Creeper, with the Wren, the Golden 
Crests, and the Chiff Chaffs, are among the smallest of our 
British Birds ; and the first of these, the subject of the pre- 
sent article, though rather numerous as a species, is not 
very readily distinguishable in its natural haunts when 
climbing the trunks and branches of trees, partly from the 
small size and brown colour of the bird itself, and partly 
from its habit, when approached, of shifting round to the 
opposite side of the stem, like the Woodpeckers. The 
little Creeper, aided by its long, curved, and sharp claws, 
and assisted also by twelve rather elongated and stiff tail- 
feathers, is an excellent climber, running rapidly in any 
direction over the rough bark, searching for small insects of 
all sorts, picking them out of the various crevices with its 
slender beak, and having traced its course over one tree, 
takes flight to the next for the same purpose, generally be- 
ginning low down towards the base of the tree. This bird 
inhabits groves, plantations, and parks, appearing to be par- 
tial to the examination, in rapid succession, of a number of 
trees planted near each other, as when forming an avenue. 

The Creeper makes its nest in a hollow tree, generally 
for security choosing one with a very small external aper- 
ture, but sometimes forming its nest on the inner side of 
the loose bark of a decayed tree : the vignette at the end 
exhibits an instance of a nest of this latter sort, for the 
opportunity of figuring which I am indebted to the kind- 
ness of T. F. Robinson, Esq., of Havering Atte Bower, 
Essex : the nest was taken on the estate attached to the 
Bower House. It is supported on the inner surface of a 
thick piece of the bark of an elm which has been detached 
from the tree, and thus affords the view of the nest here 
given. The nest itself is formed on the outer surface with 
small twigs, within which there is a thick layer of fine 



COMMON CREEPER. 167 

grass mixed up and lined with black wool, and a few small 
dark-coloured feathers. The Creeper is an early breeder, 
laying from seven to nine eggs in the month of April : the 
eggs measure eight lines in length, and five lines and a half 
in breadth : they are white, with a few pale red spots, 
often confined to the large end only. The notes of the 
Creeper are pleasing, and not unlike those of the Gold 
Crested Regulus. 

The Creeper is distributed generally over England, and 
is not a migratory bird as has been supposed ; Mr. Thomp- 
son also sends me word that it is resident in certain lo- 
calities in Ireland. Mr. Selby says it is abundant all the 
year in Northumberland ; and he has seen it at Blair in 
Athole, and at Dunkeld. Mr. Macgillivray says it is 
common about Edinburgh. Miiller includes it in his birds 
of Denmark; and M. Nilsson says it is not uncommon in 
Sweden. It is rare in Russia and Siberia ; but is common 
from Germany to Italy and Sicily. 

According to the concurring testimony of Wilson, C. L. 
Bonaparte, Sir William Jardine, Audubon, Nuttall, and 
others, our Creeper is found throughout the United States 
of North America, where it is called the Brown Creeper ; 
but as this bird was not met with by Dr. Richardson, it is 
probable that it does not extend its range so far north as 
the Fur Countries. 

The beak of this species is about as long as the head, 
curved downwards, slender, and pointed ; the upper man- 
dible dark brown, the lower one pale brownish white : the 
irides hazel ; over the eye a light-coloured streak ; upper 
part of the head dark brown, the centre of each feather 
being pale wood brown ; back dark brown, streaked with 
light greyish brown ; rump reddish tawny ; wing-feathers 
brown ; wing-coverts tipped with dull white ; primaries 



168 



CERTHIAD.E. 



barred with pale brown and greyish black ; tertials with a 
dark central stripe, and tipped with greyish white ; tail- 
feathers reddish brown, stiff, pointed, and slightly bent 
downwards ; chin, throat r breast, and belly, white ; but 
generally bearing the appearance of being soiled by contact 
with the exposed surface over which the bird had climbed ; 
all the plumage thick, soft, and silky ; legs, toes, and 
claws, light brown. 

The whole length of the bird rather more than five 
inches. From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, two 
inches and three -eighths : the first feather very short ; the 
second nearly half an inch shorter than the third ; the 
third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, nearly equal in length, but 
the fourth rather the longest feather in the wing. 




WREN. 



fVSESSORES. 
SCANSORRS. 



169 

CEETUIA D&. 




THE WREN. 

Troglodytes vulgaris. 



Troglodytes vidgaris, Common 
Europceus 



Sylvia troglodytes, T/ie Wren, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 516. 
Motacilla Common MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 272. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 73. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 390. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert, p 153. 

T/ie GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. v. 

Sylvia troglodytes, Troglodyte ordinaire, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 233. 
Troglodytes vulgaris, Supplt. p. 160. 

TROGLODYTES. Generic Cliaracters. Beak very slender, slightly curved, 
pointed, the edges of the mandibles entire, without any depression or notch. 
Nostrils oval, covered with a membrane. Wings very short, concave, rounded ; 
the first feather rather short, the fourth or fifth feather the longest. Tail short. 
Feet rather long, slender ; the middle toe united at the base to the outer toe, but 
not to the inner toe. 

OUR little established favourite, the Wren, was formerly 
included among the Warblers ; but the similarity in the 



170 CERTHIAD^E. 

habits, and the general resemblance in the colours of the 
plumage of certain species, limited in numbers, but distri- 
buted over Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, have in- 
duced modern ornithologists to adopt the genus Troglodytes, 
first proposed for them by Baron Cuvier ; and M. Tem- 
minck, as will be seen by the quotation from his Supple- 
ment, coincides in the propriety of this view. 

Among our small birds there is scarcely one that is better 
known, or more secure by privilege, than the little Wren ; 
frequenting gardens close to our houses, and occasionally 
taking shelter in out-buildings, its confidence, like that 
of the Robin, appears to have induced and insured its pro- 
tection. It creeps mouse-like from our sight through 
hedges and underwood, occasionally only taking wing for 
a short distance, and again disappears from our view. 
This little bird sings throughout the greater part of the 
year with a shrill and lively strain, and even 

" When icicles hang dripping from the rock, 
Pipes his perennial lay ;" 

enduring a frosty winter's night by uniting and roosting in 
company in some sheltered hole of a wall or under thatch. 
Sir William Jardine and Mr. Selby both mention the cir- 
cumstance of several of these diminutive birds passing the 
night together in the same aperture ; and the Hon. W. 
Herbert says that in severe weather they frequently roost 
in cow-houses, where the confined cattle keep them warm. 
The Wren begins to make a nest early in spring, and 
sometimes fixes it under the thatch of a building, against 
the side of a moss-covered tree, or close to an impending 
bank that secures it from the rain ; but what is remarkable, 
says Montagu, "the materials of the nest are generally 
adapted to the place : if built against the side of a hayrick, 
it is composed of hay ; if against the side of a tree covered 






WREN. 171 

with white moss, it is made of that material ; and with 
green moss if against a tree covered with the same, or in a 
bank. Thus instinct directs it for security." Mr. Jesse 
mentions in his Gleanings, " that he has a Wren's nest in 
his possession, built amongst some litter thrown into a 
yard. It so nearly resembled the surrounding objects, that 
it was only discovered by the birds flying out of it. Some 
of the straws of which it is composed are so thick, that one 
wonders how so small a bird could have used them. 11 
Without wishing to detract from the character of the 
Wren for intelligence, I cannot, however, but believe that 
the proximity of materials may frequently influence the 
choice of situation and substance. In the eighth volume of 
the Magazine of Natural History, a correspondent says, in 
watching a pair of Wrens building their nest in an old road, 
I noticed that one confined itself entirely to the construc- 
tion of the nest, which it never left for a moment ; whilst 
the other was as incessantly passing and repassing with 
materials for the structure. These materials, however, this 
helper never once attempted to put into their places ; they 
were always regularly delivered to the grand architect that 
was employed in constructing the building. 

The nest is large, in reference to the small size of the 
bird, generally oval in shape, domed over the top, with a 
small hole at one end or on the side ; the lining is mostly 
composed of feathers. The eggs are usually from seven to 
ten in number, but a larger quantity has been assigned to 
them. They measure seven lines and a half in length, 
by six lines in breadth : they are white, with a few pale 
red spots, but sometimes without any spots. The young 
are hatched after about ten day's incubation, during which 
time the male feeds the female while she remains on the 
eggs, and afterwards both parents are most assiduous in sup- 



172 CERTHIADJ5. 

plying their numerous offspring with insects in their various 
states and worms. In reference to the depth of the nest, 
and the number of young ones by which it is sometimes 
occupied, for it is said that as many as sixteen have been 
found in one nest, a remark by Willughby has been thus 
paraphrased by Grahame in his poem on the birds of Scot- 
land, 

" But now behold the greatest of this train 
Of miracles, stupendously minute ; 
The numerous progeny, claimant for food 
Supplied by two small bills, and feeble wings 
Of narrow range ; supplied ay, duly fed 
Fed in the dark, and yet not one forgot ! " 

The Wren produces two broods in the season. 

This little bird is generally dispersed over England ; and 
Mr. Thompson informs me that it is common throughout 
Ireland ; it is also found in Scotland, in Orkney, and in 
Shetland. M. Nilsson says it is resident in Sweden ; and 
it is by the Fabers considered as an inhabitant of the Faroe 
Islands, of Iceland, and of Greenland. It is even more 
abundant in the northern than in the central parts of 
Europe. It is however resident in Spain and Italy all the 
year, and is found in Corfu, Sicily and Crete. Mr. H. E. 
Strickland says it is common at Smyrna ; and the Zoolo- 
gical Society have received specimens from Trebizond. 

Mr. Thompson in his notices on the Birds of Ireland, 
thus refers to an annual custom still practised against the 
poor little harmless Wren in the south of Ireland. Smith, 
in his " History of Cork," written about a century ago, 
remarks, as the Wren makes but short flights, and when 
driven from the hedges is easily run down, to hunt and kill 
him is an ancient custom of the Irish on St. Stephen's day. 
The late Mr. T. F. Neligan of Tralee communicated the 
following note upon this subject in 1837. To hunt the 



WREN. 173 

Wren is a favourite pastime of the peasantry of Kerry on 
Christmas clay. This they do, each using two sticks, one to 
beat the bushes, the other to fling at the bird. It was the 
boast of an old man, who lately died at the age of one 
hundred, that he had hunted the Wren for the last eighty 
years on Christmas day. On St. Stephen^ day the 
children exhibit the slaughtered birds on an ivy-bush 
decked with ribbons of various colours, and carry them 
about, singing the well-known song, commencing 

** The Wren, the Wren, the king of all birds," &c. 

and thus collect money to " bury the Wren." Mr. R. Ball 
informs me that this persecution of the bird in the south is 
falling into disuse, like other superstitious ceremonies. In 
Dr. William H. Drummond's "Eights of Animals" the 
cruelty practised towards the Wren in the south of Ireland 
(for in the north the practice is quite unknown) is dwelt 
upon, and a tradition narrated, attributing its origin to 
political motives. In the first number of Mr. and Mrs. S. 
C. HalPs " Ireland," a very full and well told account of 
the " hunting of the Wren " appears. The legend there 
given as current among the peasantry, is not, however, con- 
fined to them, for Mr. Macgillivray, in his British Birds, ap- 
parently without knowing anything of the Irish fable, relates 
the very same as told by the inhabitants of the Hebrides, 
and a detailed account of the Wren being called a King-bird 
over a considerable part of the European Continent will be 
found in one of the volumes of the Library of Entertain- 
ing Knowledge, entitled the " Habits of Birds," page 49. 

The beak is rather shorter than the head, slender, slightly 
curved and pointed ; the upper mandible dark brown, the 
under mandible pale wood brown ; the irides hazel ; over 
the eye and ear-coverts a streak of pale wood brown ; the 



1 74 CERTHIADJS. 

top of the head, neck, and back, reddish brown, barred 
transversely with narrow streaks of dark brown ; the 
feathers of the wings and tail rather more rufous in colour 
than those of the back, and the dark bars are more dis- 
tinct ; the greater wing -coverts with three or four small, 
round, bead-like spots of white ; primaries barred alter- 
nately with tawny brown and black ; chin and throat plain 
greyish buff, becoming more "brown on the belly ; flanks, 
and under tail-coverts, reddish brown, indistinctly barred 
with darker brown ; the under tail-coverts have tips of dull 
white ; legs, toes, and claws light brown. 

The whole length of the bird rather less than four inches. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, one inch and 
seven-eighths : the first wing-feather only half as long as 
the second : the second the same length as the seventh ; 
the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, nearly equal in length, 
but the fourth rather the longest. 

The female, according to M. Temminck, is the smaller 
bird, rather more red in colour, and the transverse bars 
less distinct. 




fNSESSORES. 

SCANSORES. 



iiooroE. . 



175 

CERTHIADM. 







THE HOOPOE. 

Upupa epops. 

Upupa epops, Common Hoopoe, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 342. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

Tlie BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 148. 

Common FLEM. Brit. An. p. 89. 

Tlie SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 393. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 153. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. v. 

La Huppe, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 415. 

UPUPA. Generic Characters. Beak longer than the head, slightly bent, slen- 
der, triangular, higher than broad. Nostrils basal, lateral, oval, partly concealed 
by the feathers on the forehead. Wings of moderate size ; the fourth and fifth 
quill-feathers the longest. Tail of ten feathers, square at the end. Toes three in 
front, one behind ; the outer and middle toe united as far as the first joint ; claws 
short, and but slightly curved. 

So remarkable is the appearance of the Hoopoe, that a 
specimen of the bird having been once seen, it is not likely to 



176 CERTHIADJ). 

be forgotten. It can scarcely be considered a very rare 
bird, since hardly a season passes but one or more examples 
are obtained, and there is not a county on our southern or 
eastern coasts in which this species has not been killed 
several times. Though a summer visiter from North Africa, 
and going even to the North of Europe, it seldom makes 
its appearance in this country till after the breeding season 
is over ; and the period of the year in which this bird most 
commonly occurs is in autumn. To this, however, a few 
exceptions are recorded. Dr. Latham had a young bird 
sent him on the 10th of May, 1786. Montagu mentions 
that a pair in Hampshire left a nest they had begun ; and 
Mr. Jesse, in the third volume of his Gleanings in Natural 
History, says, that "some years ago a pair of Hoopoes 
built their nest, and hatched their young, in a tree close to 
the house at Park- end, near Chichester." They build con- 
stantly in hollow trees, collecting a few grass bents and 
feathers, upon which from four to six or seven eggs are 
deposited : these are of a uniform pale lavender grey, one 
inch and half a line long, by eight lines in breadth. These 
birds pass much of their time in the day upon the ground, 
appearing to prefer low and moist situations near woods, 
where they search for insects, upon which they principally 
subsist. I have had two oportunities of examining the 
stomach of the Hoopoe, when killed in this country, one of 
which contained the remains of small coleopterous insects, 
the other was partly filled with the skins of caterpillars of 
two different species. Bechstein, in his Cage Birds, has 
given an interesting account of the habits of these birds in 
confinement, and Mr. Blyth has described, in the second 
volume of the New Series of the Magazine of Natural 
History, the actions of five or six of these birds, which 
were alive in London in the year 1838. I am indebted to 



HOOPOE. 177 

Mr. Bartlett for the opportunity of observing a living speci- 
men, a fine male, now in his possession. This bird is quite 
tame, and when unexcited, the high crest falls flat over the 
top of the head, and covers the occiput ; it takes a meal- 
worm from the hand very readily, nibbles and pinches 
it between the ends of the mandibles, then putting it on 
the ground, strikes it several blows with the point of the 
beak ; when the insect is apparently dead or disabled it is 
again taken up, and by a particular motion of the head, 
which is thrown backward, and the beak opened, the meal- 
worm drops into the gape of the mouth and is swallowed. 
The call for another is a sharp note ; but it also utters at 
times a sound closely resembling the word, hoop, hoop, 
hoop,* but breathed out so softly, but rapidly, as to remind 
the hearer of the note of the Dove. This bird constantly 
rubs himself in the sand with which the bottom of his large 
cage is supplied, dusting himself like the Larks, but takes 
great care to shake off any sand or gravel that may adhere 
to his food, which is raw meat, chopped and boiled egg. He 
hides superfluous food, and resorts to his hoard when 
hungry. When allowed to come out of his cage, he takes 
short flights about the room ; but would not be considered 
a bird of great power on the wing; yet the Bishop of 
Norwich has recorded that "one approached a vessel in the 
middle of the Atlantic, and kept company with it a good 
way, but did not settle on board, which it probably would 
have done had it been tired." , 

At the moment of settling on the floor of the room, Mr. 
Bartlett's bird bends the head downward till the point of 
the beak touches the floor, after which, as well as occa- 

* The note probably suggested the name, which, according to Turner, was an 
Howpe ; Germanice, ein Houp. The French name, La Huppe, is particularly 
appropriate, from its double reference to the crest and the note. 

VOL. II. N 



178 CERTHIAD^E. 

sionally at other times, the long feathers forming the crest 
are alternately elevated and depressed in a slow and grace- 
ful manner, the bird assuming an appearance of great 
vivacity, running on the ground with a very quick step. 
M. Necker, in his Memoir on the Birds of Geneva, says, 
Hoopoes fight desperately, and leave the ground covered 
with their feathers. 

A favourite locality for the Hoopoe on the Continent 
has thus been described by a correspondent in the Maga- 
zine of Natural History : " On the Bordeaux side of the 
Garonne, and near the city, are large spaces of marshy 
ground, intersected by broad ditches and creeks termi- 
nating in the river ; where from the advantage derived 
from the water, many poplars and willows are planted for 
the sake of the twigs, which are much used for tying vines. 
These trees being topped at about ten or twelve feet from the 
ground, so as to induce them to sprout much, become very 
thick, and, in the course of a few years, gradually decaying 
at the centre, are attacked by numerous insects, particularly 
the jet ant, Formica fuliginosa. In these retired places, which 
are frequented only by a few cowherds and country people, 
the Hoopoe, which is a very shy bird, may be frequently 
observed examining the rotten wood, and feeding on the 
insects with which it abounds. The Hoopoe flies low and 
seldom, unless when disturbed, its food being so abundant 
as to require little search. It breeds in a hollow willow 
about the end of May. T[he young come out in June ; 
but I could not ascertain the exact time required for 
hatching." 

Mr. Gould mentions that a specimen was shot by J. 
Lullivan, Esq. on the 28th of September, 1832, in his own 
pleasure-grounds at Broom House, Fulham, only four miles 
west from London. Further west it has been obtained in 



HOOPOE. 179 

Wiltshire and Hampshire. In Dorsetshire it has been 
frequently met with. One specimen has been shot by 
my friend William Thompson in his garden at Ham- 
worthy, near Poole, in the latter part of September 
1827. The injury this bird received from the gun was 
slight, and on being approached it drew back the head, 
erected its crest, and lowered its wings, making a show 
of great resistance, but ultimately allowed itself to be taken 
up without attempting to inflict any wound. This part 
of our coast appears to be one of the most favourite haunts 
of the Hoopoe in this country. In the collection of the 
Rev. Mr. Barclay at Swanage, which I had the pleasure 
of seeing in the autumn of 1827, were three Hoopoes, all 
killed in that vicinity. In Devonshire, the frequent oc- 
currence of this bird has been recorded by Montagu and 
Dr. E. Moore. In his Cornish Fauna, Mr. Couch says, 
" So many specimens have been met with, as to justify me 
in saying that it is not uncommon in Cor wall. The pe- 
riods of their visit are about the vernal and autumnal equi- 
nox, as if performing a regular migration ; and for several 
years I have noticed the occurrence of one or more speci- 
mens within a very limited distance of the same spot, an 
elevated and retired farm near the sea. Two were shot 
at one time, after they had seemed to have paired ; and 
in the autumn of 1836 one remained near the farm-yard 
for about a week, being by no means shy. It seemed to 
be in moult, having but one or two feathers in the crest." 
It has also been shot lately at Scilly. It has been killed 
in south and north Wales, in Lancashire, and in Cumber- 
land. Mr. Thompson of Belfast informs me this bird has 
occasionally been killed in different parts of Ireland. 

South east, and north of London, it has been killed in 
Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and 

N2 



180 CERTHIAD^E. 

Yorkshire. The bird figured by Mr. Bewick was killed at 
Bedlington on the coast of Durham ; that used by Mr. 
Selby was caught near Bamborough Castle on the coast of 
Northumberland; Mr. Macgillivray, of Edinburgh, men- 
tions one that was shot near Porto Bello ; it has also been 
killed in Ayrshire, and at Banff. 

Since the publication of the first edition of this work, 
examples of the Hoopoe are recorded to have been killed in 
Kent, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Oxfordshire, Corn- 
wall, and Glamorganshire. 

This bird in summer goes as far north as Denmark, 
Sweden, and Russia. Southward thence on the European 
continent, it is found in Germany, is common in Holland, 
France, Spain, and occurs in small flocks at Gibraltar. 
Captain Brown was told by an officer of the 92nd Regi- 
ment that this bird is met with in great numbers near 
Ceuta, in Africa, opposite to Gibraltar, during the whole 
year, and the late G. W. H. Drummond Hay, Esq. sent 
the Zoological Society specimens from Tangiers, remarking 
that they were common, and generally seen about dung- 
hills. Dr. Heiniken included the Hoopoe in his enumera- 
tion of the birds of Madeira; it probably inhabits the 
whole of the northern part of Africa, and is recorded as 
breeding in Egypt. It is common in Italy from May to 
September, is found in Corfu, Sicily, Malta, and Crete, 
was seen at Hushak by Mr. Strickland in April, and has 
been received lately by the Zoological Society from Tre- 
bizond. 

B. Hodgson Esq. includes it in his Birds of Nepal, and 
Mr. Blyth has obtained specimens in the vicinity of Cal- 
cutta. 

In the adult male the length of the beak, from the point 
to the angle of the gape, is two inches and one quarter ; 



HOOPOE. 181 

the distal two-thirds of its length nearly black ; the base 
flesh colour, or pale reddish brown ; the irides brown ; 
from the forehead, over the top of the head to the occiput, 
are two parallel rows of elongated feathers, arranged with 
their surfaces outwards towards the side, forming a crest ; 
the longest feathers, which are those about the middle, have 
the base of a rich buff colour ; towards the end of the 
feather, a patch of white tipped with velvet black ; the 
feathers of that part of the crest on the forehead are the 
shortest of the series, and are without the white patch ; the 
sides of the head and back of the neck pale buff; across the 
back are three half-circular bands, inclining downwards, one 
band of white between two of black ; the rump white ; 
the upper tail-coverts white at the base, and black at the 
end ; the tail-feathers are black, with a well-defined white 
patch about half way along in the middle feathers, but 
gradually nearer the end in those toward the outside of 
the tail, which gives to this band the form of a portion of 
a circle when the tail-feathers are spread : both sets of 
wing-coverts are black, with a transverse bar of buffy 
white; the feathers on the shoulder and carpal joint pale 
brown ; the primaries jet black, with one broad bar of 
white ; the secondaries and tertials also black, but with 
four or five narrow bars of white ; some of the tertials have 
in addition edges and tips of pale buff, with an obliqe lon- 
gitudinal stripe of pale buff on the inner web of the last 
tertial feather ; when the wings are expanded, the white 
transverse bars on the jet black ground are very regular 
and very conspicuous ; the chin, throat, breast, and belly, 
are pale buff; under tail-coverts white : legs and toes 
brown ; the claws black, and but slightly curved. 

The whole length twelve inches and a half. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, five inches and five- 



182 



CERTHIADjE. 



eighths ; the first wing-feather half the length of the se- 
cond ; the second rather longer than the eighth, and one 
quarter of an inch shorter than the seventh ; the third and 
sixth feathers equal in length, but a little shorter than the 
fourth and fifth, which are also equal, and the longest in 
the wing. 

The plumage of the female is rather paler in colour than 
that of the male, and the buff has much less of the rufous 
tinge ; the white parts of the tertials are without any of 
the buff colour observable in the males. 

In young birds the feathers on the breast and flanks are 
crossed with narrow dusky lines. 

The vignette is a view of Fulham church, with part of 
the Bishop's Walk, taken from Putney Terrace. 



... , . -. 




IKSESSORES. 
SCANSORES. 



NUTHATCH. 



183 
CERTHlADfc. 




THE NUTHATCH. 

Sitta Europcea. 



Sitta Europoea, European Nuthatch, 



Tie 



Common 

Sitelle Torchepot, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 336. 
MONTAGU, Ornith Diet. 
BEWICK. Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 146. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 81. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 385. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 154. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xii. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 407. 



SITTA. Generic Characters. Beak straight, nearly cylindrical, wider than 
high at the base, subulate, pointed. Tongue short, pointed, horny. Nostrils 
basal, rounded, partly hidden by hair and short feathers. Feet with three toes 
before, and one behind ; the outer toe joined at its base to the middle toe. Wings 
rather short ; the first feather very short, the fourth or fifth feather the longest. 
Tail short, flexible, square at the end. 



184 CERTHIAM. 

THE well-known Nuthatch was considered till lately the 
only example of its genus in Europe ; but another species 
having been recently discovered, which is an inhabitant of 
Dalmatia and Stiria, has somewhat impaired the value of 
the old specific name. The Nuthatch, the last of our group 
of the true climbing birds, is an interesting species, and a 
great favourite with many observers ; it inhabits woods, 
plantations, and parks, particularly such as contain old 
oaks, and other large forest trees. It is resident here all 
the year, approaching orchards and gardens in winter ; but 
is not equally numerous in every district. This bird, by 
means of its powerful claws, for its tail-feathers are not 
calculated to afford it any support, is able to climb with a 
short quick step over the rough bark of trees, and appa- 
rently with equal ease in any direction ; our Woodpeckers 
are occasionally seen to hop when climbing, but the Nut- 
hatch creeps or runs along so smoothly that its motions 
more resemble those of a mouse than those of a bird. 

The names of Nuthatch and Nutjobber have been given 
to this bird from its habit of feeding on the kernels of nuts, 
which, however thick or hard the shells may happen to be, 
are broken with equal ease and dexterity. Sir Thomas 
Browne says that in his time this bird was called Nut- 
hack. The nut, or filbert, sometimes brought from a dis- 
tance, is placed in an angular crevice in the bark of a tree, 
and the bird having fixed it, moves round it as if to ascer- 
tain how best it can make an impression upon it by re- 
peated blows with the point of its strong beak, aided by 
the whole weight of the body, which is frequently placed 
above the nut to give greater effect to the blow, and the 
noise made is considerable. Besides nuts, this bird feeds 
on caterpillars, insects, berries, hard seeds, and beech-nuts 
or mast : Bewick mentions that it is also fond of picking 



NUTHATCH. 185 

bones. Old beech trees, from the deep longitudinal fissures 
in the bark, are the favourite resort of the Nuthatch, as 
affording both food and the means of enabling them to get 
at it. In the spring of the present year, when examining 
some fine old beech trees, upon one of which a pair of the 
Nuthatch had been for some time observed to be very busy, 
a considerable number of the beech nuts were found fixed 
in the angles of various fissures in the bark, several shells 
and husks were lying at the base of the tree, and there was 
little doubt these trees were among those which this pair 
of birds visited daily. 

The call of the Nuthatch is a shrill single note, frequent- 
ly repeated ; and, like the other true climbers, it builds in 
holes of trees : if the external aperture is large, the Nut- 
hatch plasters up part of it with mud, and if the plastering 
is removed, the bird almost invariably renews it the first or 
second day. In reference to this habit of working with 
plaster, one of the names applied to this bird in France is 
Pic-mafon. Bird-nesting boys, when they find a hole that 
has been recently plastered, always examine it, as they 
know by experience that it is almost certain to be ten- 
anted. 

The Nuthatch makes a slight nest, or rather a collection 
of dead leaves, moss, bits of bark and wood, and lays from 
five to seven eggs ; these are nine lines in length and seven 
lines in breadth, white, with some pale red spots ; the eggs 
are very much like those of the Great Tit ; but the spots 
are generally less numerous and rather larger. 

The actions of these birds are very amusing, and it is 
not difficult to induce them to pay constant visits to a 
garden. It is only necessary to fix a few nuts in the bark 
of any tree that is conveniently situated for observation 
from a window, and the Nuthatch will soon find them ; 



186 CERTHIADvE. 

and fresh nuts being deposited will insure almost daily 
visits. A kernel of a nut fastened to the bark of a tree 
with a pin is a great temptation. If old birds are caught 
and caged, though they will feed readily on almost any- 
thing that is given them, they soon kill themselves by 
their unceasing exertions to escape ; but the young birds 
are easily reared : and Sir William Jardine relates that 
" he had lately an opportunity of observing a nest of our 
native species which had been taken young. They became 
remarkably tame ; and when released from their cage, 
would run over their owner in all directions, up or down 
his body and limbs, poking their bills into seams or holes, 
as if in search of food upon some old and rent tree, and 
uttering during the time, a low and plaintive cry. When 
running up or down, they rest upon the back part of the 
whole tarsus, and make great use as a support of what 
may be called the real heel, and never use the tail. When 
roosting, they sleep with the head and back downwards, in 
the manner of several Titmice/ 1 The Nuthatch has fre- 
quent and obstinate battles with some species of the Tits, 
for the possession of a favourite locality for nesting, and 
this may be a reason for plastering up a considerable por- 
tion of a large external aperture, as the smallest breach is 
the most easily defended. 

Some observations on the Nuthatch by the Rev. J. C. 
Atkinson, are thus recorded in the 1st volume of the 
Zoologist. A pair were induced to visit a particular tree 
by fixing nuts in the bark for them ; " the birds attended 
regularly ; they were there the first thing in the morning, 
and apparently the last thing before going to roost. See- 
ing that the nuts were carried away whole, I began to 
crack them, and fix the kernel only in the crevices, or by 
means of pins, to the tree. The greater part of the nuts 



NUTHATCH. 187 

were now eaten on the spot ; occasionally, when a large 
piece was got, the birds flew away with it to some tall 
trees close by, but very soon returned for more. Their 
absence on these occasions was very short, certainly not 
long enough to lead me to suppose they had time to eat 
the nut ; I concluded it was either added to a store already 
existing, or deposited on the tall trees. Fragments of nuts 
were sometimes driven from four to six feet from the tree 
by the violence of the blows applied ; they were almost 
invariably caught by the bird before they reached the 
ground, and, without one single exception, in the bill. 
The feet were never used for that purpose. Latterly these 
birds became so tame as to sit within two feet or so of my 
head, while I was preparing their feast ; and if I threw a 
nut into the air to them, they would fly after and catch it. 
They took dozens in this way." 

The Nuthatch is found in most of the wooded parts of 
England. Near London it may be frequently seen in Ken- 
sington Gardens ; and I may here observe that I am in- 
debted to Mr. Henry Churton, of Oxford Street, for most 
of the notes I have used referring to Kensington Gardens 
as a locality. From London westward this bird, though 
not observed in Cornwall by Montagu, is found as far as 
Liskeard, and the wooded eastern parts of that country, 
according to Mr. Couch and Mr. Eodd ; but is rare in the 
extreme western part. Mr. Eyton includes the Nuthatch 
in his Catalogue of the Birds of Shropshire and North 
Wales ; but it does not appear to have been taken in 
Ireland. In the midland counties of England it is well 
known, and on the east coast is found in Suffolk, Norfolk, 
Lincolnshire, and occasionally in Yorkshire. Mr. Selby 
has traced it as far north as the banks of the Wear and 
the Tyne. The authority for considering the Nuthatch as 



188 CERTHIAD.E. 

a bird of Scotland has been questioned, and no recent cap- 
ture has been recorded that I am aware of. Miiller in- 
cludes it as a bird of Denmark, and M. Nilsson says it is 
not uncommon in some parts of Sweden. In the centre, 
and in the south of Europe, it is common and resident, 
particularly in France, Provence, Italy, and Sicily. 

The beak is about as long as the head, thick, and strong, 
rather depressed, and wider than high at the base ; the 
ridge of the upper mandible rounded, the colour bluish 
black ; the base of the under mandible pale brownish 
white ; irides hazel ; from the base of the beak, through 
the eye, to the shoulder, a black streak ; top of the head, 
neck, back, wing-coverts, tertials, upper tail-coverts, and 
the two middle tail-feathers, uniform light slate grey, the 
primary quill-feathers darker ; all the tail-feathers, except 
the two middle ones, black at the base, grey at the end, 
with a patch of white between these two colours on the 
three outside feathers at each side ; the chin white; throat, 
breast, and belly, buff colour ; flanks, and under tail- 
coverts, chestnut, the latter tipped with white ; legs, toes, 
and claws, light brown ; the hind toe and claw longer, and 
much stronger than the middle toe. 

The whole length of the male described rather less than 
six inches. From the carpal joint to the end of the wing 
three inches and one quarter ; the first feather very short ; 
the second rather longer than the seventh, but shorter than 
the sixth ; the third, fourth, and fifth nearly equal in 
length, but the fifth rather the longest in the wing. 



COMMON CUCKOO. 



INSESSORES. 

SCANSORES. 



189 

CUCULIDJE. 




THE COMMON CUCKOO. 

Cuculus canorus. 

Cuculus canorus, Common Cuckoo, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 305. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

The BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 129. 

Common FLEM. Brit. An. p. 90. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 397. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 154. 

,, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xix. 

Coucou gris, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 381. 



190 CUCULDLE, 

CUCULUS. Generic Characters. Beak of moderate length, shorter than the 
head, slightly curved, the upper mandible with a small but almost obsolete notch 
near the tip ; the gape wide ; the under mandible following the curve of the 
upper. Nostrils basal, circular, pierced in the centre of a naked membrane. 
Wings rather long and pointed, the third quill-feather the longest. Tail long and 
graduated. Tarsi stout, partly feathered ; toes two in front, two behind ; the 
outer toe on each side reversible. 

THE Natural History of the Cuckoo has always been a 
subject of great interest to the Ornithologist ; and although 
its habits are now pretty well ascertained, the question 
why this bird, of all our numerous summer visitors, many 
of them coming from the same country, and existing on 
similar food, should deposit its eggs in the nests of other 
birds, and be apparently regardless of its offspring, has not 
yet received a satisfactory answer, yet it may be said that 
considerable advances have been made towards it. 

The male Cuckoo makes his appearance in this country 
about the middle of April ; and in reference to the periods 
which mark the various stages of his progress through 
the season, I have somewhere met with the following 
couplets, 

In April, 

Come he will. 

In May, 

He sings all day. 

In June, 

He alters his tune. 

In July, 

He prepares to fly. 

Come August, 

Go he must. 

The well-known notes of the male are listened to with 
pleasure as the record of returning spring, with its bright 
skies and gratifying associations ; the voice of the female is 
different, and has been compared to that of the Pabchick 
and the Gallinules. Unlike most other birds, Cuckoos do 
not pair ; but a female is occasionally seen on the wing, 



COMMON CUCKOO. 191 

and is frequently attended by one or more males. The 
earliest eggs do not appear to be laid till the middle of 
May, and Montagu found an egg as late as the 26th of 
June. Mr. Jesse mentions that a young Cuckoo which 
had just escaped from a Wagtail's nest was taken in 
Hampton Court Park on the 18th of August, 1832. The 
egg which produced this young bird, was probably laid 
during the second week in July ; and from the middle of 
May to the middle of July is included, probably, the whole 
time during which the female Cuckoo produces eggs. 
These eggs, as it is well known, are exceedingly small 
compared to the size of the bird. The largest Cuckoo's 
egg obtained by Dr. Jenner, weighed but fifty-five grains, 
the smallest only forty-three grains. Of four specimens in 
my own collection the largest only measures eleven lines 
and a half in length, and eight lines and a half in breadth. 
This is the exact size of the egg of the Skylark, yet the 
comparative size of the two birds is as four to one. The 
egg of the Cuckoo, according to Mr. Selby, requires four- 
teen days incubation, and the young are able to leave the 
nest in three weeks, but require feeding afterwards. 

The egg of the Cuckoo, which is of a pale reddish grey 
colour, has been found in the nests of the Hedge Accentor, 
the Robin, the Redstart, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 
Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Sky Lark, Yel- 
low Bunting, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, and Blackbird, 
in this country ; and on the European continent, M . Tem- 
minck says, it has also been found in the nests of the 
Thrush and the Red-backed Shrike. From the circum- 
stance of a pair of Red-backed Shrikes having been seen 
feeding a young Cuckoo, as recorded by Messrs. Sheppard 
and Whitear in their Catalogue of the Birds of Norfolk 
and Suffolk, it is probable that the Cuckoo sometimes de- 



192 CUCULHLE. 

posits its egg in the nest of the Red-backed Shrike in this 
country; but the nests in which the Cuckoo's eggs are 
most frequently found, are those of the Hedge Warbler, 
the Pied Wagtail, and the Meadow Pipit ; these nests 
being rather numerous, and not very difficult to find. Two 
eggs of the Cuckoo have been occasionally found in one 
nest ; but it is the prevailing opinion that the second egg 
is deposited by a second Cuckoo, and that one Cuckoo does 
not go a second time to the same nest to lay an egg. Mr. 
Hoy, Mr. Salmon, and other good observers, bear testi- 
mony to the fact of the adult Cuckoo occasionally destroy- 
ing one or more of the eggs of the nest in which she de- 
posits her own. But the young Cuckoo when hatched is 
almost always found alone in the nest, without any eggs 
or young birds, whatever may happen to be the nest in 
which it has been hatched, the foster parent birds also 
attending to its wants with the greatest assiduity ; and in 
order to ascertain the cause of this apparent preference to 
the exclusion of their own offspring, Dr. Jenner, at the 
request of John Hunter, made a series of observations and 
experiments to illustrate the natural history of the Cuckoo 
the details of which were published in the Transactions of 
the Royal Society for the year 1788. The results of Dr. 
Jenner's observations may be briefly stated as follows : 

The small birds in the nests of which the Cuckoo's egg 
is most frequently found, take four or five days in laying 
their eggs. During this time, generally after one or two 
eggs have been laid, the Cuckoo contrives to deposit her 
egg, leaving the future care of it to the owner of the nest. 
When the bird has sat her usual time, and disengaged the 
young Cuckoo and some of her own offspring from the 
shell, the young Cuckoo being commonly hatched first, her 
own young ones, and any of her eggs that remain un- 



COMMON CUCKOO. 193 

hatched, are soon turned out, the young Cuckoo remaining 
possessor of the nest, and the sole object of her care. 
The young birds are not previously killed, nor are the 
eggs demolished, but all are left to perish together, either 
entangled about the bush which contains the nest, or lying 
on the ground under it. The expulsion is effected by the 
young Cuckoo, who is generally strong enough the day 
after it is hatched to insinuate itself under the remaining 
eggs or young birds, and one after another, to hoist them 
out ; thus securing to itself the whole of the food brought 
by the old birds, who adopt and provide for the young 
Cuckoo as if unable to distinguish between it and their 
own young, since if any remain, which is sometimes the 
case, all are fed alike. I have mentioned that two eggs 
of the Cuckoo are sometimes found in one nest ; the follow- 
ing paragraph, referring to such an occurrence, is from Dr. 
Jenners paper: "June 27th, 1787. Two Cuckoos and 
a Hedge-sparrow were hatched in the same nest this morn- 
ing; one Hedge-sparrow's egg remained unhatched. In a 
few hours after, a contest began between the Cuckoos for 
the possession of the nest, which continued undetermined 
till the next afternoon ; when one of them, which was 
somewhat superior in size, turned out the other, together 
with the young Hedge-sparrow, and the unhatched egg. 
This contest was very remarkable. The combatants alter- 
nately appeared to have the advantage, as each carried 
the other several times nearly to the top of the nest, and 
then sunk down again, oppressed by the weight of its 
burthen ; till at length, after various efforts, the strongest 
prevailed, and was afterwards brought up by the Hedge- 
sparrows." 

"It is wonderful/' says Dr. Jenner, " to see the extraor- 
dinary exertions of the young Cuckoo, when it is two or 

VOL. n. o 



194 CUCULIDJ5. 

three days old, if a bird be put into the nest with it that 
is too w eighty for it to lift out. In this state it seems ever 
restless and uneasy. But this disposition for turning out 
its companions begins to decline from the time it is two or 
three till it is about twelve days old, when, as far as I have 
hitherto seen, it ceases. Indeed, the disposition for throw- 
ing out the eggs appears to cease a few days sooner ; for I 
have frequently seen the young Cuckoo, after it had been 
hatched nine or ten days, remove a nestling that had been 
placed in the nest with it, when it suffered an egg, put 
there at the same time, to remain unmolested. The sin- 
gularity of its shape is well adapted to these purposes ; for, 
different from other newly hatched birds, its back from the 
shoulders downwards is very broad, with a considerable 
depression in the middle. This depression seems formed 
by nature for the design of giving a more secure lodge- 
ment to an egg, or a young bird, when the young Cuckoo 
is employed in removing either of them from- the nest. 
When it is about twelve days old, this cavity is quite 
filled up, and then the back assumes the shape of nestling 
birds in general. 1 ' The substances found in the stomach of 
young Cuckoos are various, depending upon the species of 
bird by which they are fed. They consist of flies, beetles, 
caterpillars, grasshoppers, and small snails. When fed by 
any of the Finches, which are rather vegetable feeders, 
they are supplied with young wheat, small vetches, tender 
shoots of grass, and seeds. Adult Cuckoos seem most par- 
tial to hairy caterpillars. The young are frequently found 
in a nest in a hedge-row by their almost incessant querulous 
note, which appears to be a call for food ; and they are 
voracious feeders. The young are sometimes, by great 
care, kept alive in confinement over their first winter, 
but seldom survive long afterwards. The best food for 



COMMON CUCKOO. 195 

them is raw beef chopped small, and mixed with yelk of 






"To what cause then," says Dr. Jenner, " may we attri- 
bute the singularities of the Cuckoo ? may they not be 
owing to the following circumstances ? The short residence 
this bird is allowed to make in the country where it is 
destined to propagate its species, and the call that nature 
has upon it, during that short residence, to produce a 
numerous progeny. The Cuckoo's first appearance here is 
about the middle of April, commonly on the 17th. Its 
egg is not ready for incubation till some weeks after its 
arrival, seldom before the middle of May. A fortnight is 
taken up by the sitting bird in hatching the egg. The 
young bird generally continues three weeks in the nest 
before it flies, and the foster-parents feed it more than five 
weeks after this period; so that if a Cuckoo should be 
ready with an egg much sooner than the time pointed 
out, not a single nestling, even one of the earliest, would 
be fit to provide for itself before its parent would be in- 
stinctively directed to seek a new residence, and be thus 
compelled to abandon its young one ; for old Cuckoos take 
their final leave of this country the first week in July." 
This, however, I may here remark, is not always the case. 
The notes of the male have been heard as late as the end 
of July. The males arrive before the females in spring, 
and probably leave us before them in summer. The young 
birds of the year do not go till September ; and Mr. Bodd 
of Penzance sends me word that he has known them 
remain in Cornwall till October. 

M. Temminck, in the Supplement to the first volume of 
his Manual, mentions that M. Schlegel, one of the Assist- 
ant Naturalists in the Museum at Leyden, had in a memoir 
addressed to the Natural History Society of Harlem, sup- 

o2 



196 ClTCULIDvE. 

plied details of great interest on the probable causes which 
induce the Common Cuckoo, and all other species which 
deposit their eggs in the nests of small insectivorous birds, 
not to burthen themselves with the hatching or the feed 
ing of their young. " The principal cause alleged in the 
case of the Cuckoo, is the particular nature and effect of 
its food producing an enlargement of the stomach, which 
appears to influence the development of the eggs in the 
ovarium ; these are known to be very small, and the bird 
lays at intervals of six or eight days." 

Whatever influence may really be attributable to the 
nature or quantity of the food taken by the Cuckoo, there 
is good reason to believe that it does produce its eggs at 
intervals of several days, and this is now known to be the 
case in the Yellow-billed Cuckoo of America, which does 
bring up its own young. Four examples of this bird 
having been shot in this country, it is entitled to a place in 
this work, and its history will follow in detail ; it may be 
sufficient here briefly to state that the nests of the Yellow- 
billed Cuckoo, when examined, contained no two eggs or 
young birds of the same age ; but all exhibited an obvious 
difference of several days between their various stages 
of advancement. 

I have constantly observed, when examining the ana- 
tomical structure of our Cuckoo, the small comparative size 
of the parts destined to effect the reproduction of the 
species. On this subject I furnished a note to Mr. James 
Jennings, which was published in his Ornithologia in 
1828. Dr. Jenner, in his paper on the migration of birds, 
says that he had never found the internal sexual organs of 
the male Cuckoo so large as those of the Wren, yet the two 
birds compared in size are as six to one. Mr. Thompson 
of Belfast, who dissected a female Cuckoo on the 28th of 



COMMON CUCKOO. 197 

May 1833, says it did not contain any eggs so large as 
ordinary-sized peas. May not the small size of these 
organs, and the probable low degree of excitement, also 
diminish the interest attached to the providing for the 
wants of the young? but that this feeling is not wholly 
obliterated in every instance is the opinion of Mr. J. E. 
Gray of the British Museum; who, from observations 
made by himself, states that the Cuckoo does not uniform- 
ly desert her offspring to the extent that has been sup- 
posed ; but, on the contrary, that she continues in the 
precincts where the eggs are deposited, and in all proba- 
bility sometimes takes the young under her protection 
when they are sufficiently fledged to leave the nest. 

The Cuckoo is commonly distributed every summer over 
England, Ireland, and Scotland ; it also visits Orkney. 
It is found in Denmark and Sweden, and over Scandi- 
navia generally. Mr. Barrow, when in the northern part 
of Norway, heard the Cuckoo near Roraas, at an elevation 
of three thousand feet above the level of the sea ; and 
Linnaeus, in the account of his Tour in Lapland, mentions 
having heard the Cuckoo there as early as the 13th of 
May, and as late as the 10th of July. This bird is found 
in Siberia, and over great part of Asia. The Zoological 
Society have received specimens from the Himalaya Moun- 
tains, which are precisely similar to our British bird, and 
quite distinct from the Cuculus micropterus of Mr. John 
Gould from the same locality, which, though very like 
our bird in size and colour, is at once distinguished from 
it by its larger beak, shorter wings, whence its name, and 
its smaller feet. A collection of birds, formed by Major James 
Franklin, F.R.S. on the banks of the Ganges, and in the 
mountain chain of Upper Hindoostan, exhibited at the 
Zoological Society in August 1831, includes specimens of 



198 CUCULID.E. 

which it is stated in the Proceedings of the Society for 
that year, page 121, " This bird, on comparison with the 
Common Cuckoo, differs so little that it can scarcely be 
called a variety ; it is the Common Cuckoo of India, and 
its habits and note resemble those of the European bird." 
Colonel Sykes also includes it in his Catalogue of the Birds 
of the Dukhun, but says it is rare. M. Temminck says 
it is found in Japan ; Dr. Horsfield includes it in his 
Catalogue of the Birds of Java ; and Pennant, in his Arctic 
Zoology, says it goes as far east as Kamptschatka. This 
bird, as might be expected, visits the whole of the Eu- 
ropean continent, remaining in Italy from April to Sep- 
tember ; it visits Sicily, the Morea and the Grecian Archi- 
pelago, in its way from and to Africa with the Turtle-dove, 
and is called by a name that signifies Turtle Leader. Mr. 
Strickland saw the Cuckoo at Smyrna in April, and the 
Zoological Society have received specimens, sent by Messrs. 
Dickson and Boss, from Erzerum. According to M. 
Temminck, the Cuckoo is found in Egypt, and examples 
received from South Africa, though differing slightly, were 
considered by Le Vaillant and M. Temminck to be of the 
same species. 

The adult male Cuckoo has the beak bluish black, ex- 
cept at the base, where it is pale brown ; the irides yellow ; 
the head, neck, back, and upper tail-coverts bluish grey ; 
quill-feathers rather darker, and the broad inner webs 
barred with white ; tail long and graduated, the middle 
pair of feathers being the longest, and the outside feathers 
the shortest ; the colour greyish black, tipped with white, 
and a few white spots on the centre and sides. Chin, 
neck, and upper part of the breast, ash-grey ; lower part 
of breast, belly, and under wing-coverts, white, barred 
transversely with lead grey ; vent, and under tail-coverts, 



COMMON CUCKOO. 199 

also white, but the dark bars are less numerous ; legs and 
toes gamboge yellow. 

The whole length about fourteen inches ; from the carpal 
joint to the end of the wing eight inches and three- 
quarters ; the first quill-feather near three inches shorter 
than the second, which is equal to the fourth, the third 
feather the longest in the wing. 

The female is smaller than the male, and on her first re- 
turn to this country has the neck barred with brown, and 
the wings and back tinged with brown ; adult females 
differ but little from adult males. 

Young birds of the year, when they have attained the 
length of twelve inches, have the irides brown ; whole of 
the upper surface of head and body barred alternately with 
brownish red and clove brown ; quill and tail-feathers red- 
dish brown, the former barred with white, the latter spotted 
with white in the line of the shaft of the feather : neck, 
breast, and under parts, dull white, closely barred with 
dark brown. Young birds about to leave the nest are 
represented in the vignette below. 




200 

1KSESSORES. 

SCANSORES. 



CUCULIDiK 



CUCULIDAS. 




THE GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO. 

Cuculus glandarius. 

The Great Spotted Cuckow, EDWARDS, Glean, pi. 57. 

Cuculus glandarius, Cuckoo, LATHAM'S Syn. v. 2. p. 513. 

Pisan v. ii. p. 520. 

Spotted GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiii. 

Coucou Geai ou tacliete, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. iii. 

p. 274. 
PI. Color. 414. 

" THE Cuculus glandarius, or Great Spotted Cuckoo, was 
taken near Clifden in the county of Galway last winter. 



GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO. 201 

I have seen the specimen, which is the property of Mr. 
Creighton of Clifden. As it is the first noticed occurrence 
of this bird in the British Islands, you will oblige me by 
making it known through the medium of the Annals of 
Natural History ; yours very truly, R. BALL." Such is the 
notice of the occurrence of this bird published in the sum- 
mer of 1843, and Mr. Ball has lately been kind enough 
to ascertain and send me the particulars which follow. 
The Cuckoo was taken by two persons walking on the 
island of Oinagh, where, pursued by Hawks, it flew for 
refuge into a hole in a stone fence, or wall, was taken 
alive and lived for four days (attempt being made to 
feed it on potatoes.) The inhabitants had never seen 
any bird like it before. It was taken about Christmas, 
1843. The bird when chased by the Hawks appeared 
fatigued, weak, and emaciated, as if after a long flight, 
such as Woodcocks on their first arrival. The specimen 
has been presented to Trinity College, Dublin, and is now 
in the Museum. 

This species inhabits Senegal and North Africa. Our 
countryman Edwards, in his notice of the subject of his 
57th Plate, says, " I suppose this bird to be an alternate 
inhabitant of the southern parts of Europe, and the north- 
ern parts of Africa ; since it was shot on its supposed pas- 
sage, on the rock of Gibraltar, in Spain, by an English 
officer there, who sent it to his brother, Mr. Mark Catesby, 
of London, who obliged me with it, to make what use I 
thought proper." 

M. Malherbe, when noticing this species in his Ornitho- 
logical Fauna of Sicily, says, he has frequently received it 
from Spain, and Brisson calls it Cuculus Andalusia. It is 
included among the birds of Provence by Polydore Koux ; 
M. Vieillot includes it also in his Fauna Franchise, and 



202 CUCULIM. 

mentions that in different years many examples have been 
taken in Languedoc. M. Brehm, Meyer, and Nauman, 
notice its occasional appearance in Germany. 

One name used by Dr. Latham for this species, as quoted 
at the head of this subject, is the Pisan Cuckoo, in refe- 
rence to which it is stated " that a male and female of this 
bird were found near Pisa, in Italy, where they made 
their nest, laying four eggs, sat on, and hatched them. 
It was observed that this species had never made its ap- 
pearance there before ; nor was it known from whence 
these birds came." M. Savi includes it in his Birds of 
Italy, and it is found in Sicily, Egypt, and Syria. 

Mr. Gould in his well known work on the Birds of Eu- 
rope, says, that the true habitat of this species is the 
wooded districts skirting the sultry plains of North Africa, 
but those that pass the Mediterranean find a congenial 
climate in Spain and Italy. Opportunities are still want- 
ing to confirm the most interesting of its habits. 

The adult male bird has the beak bluish black ; the 
irides yellow ; the head and cheeks dark ash colour, the 
feathers on the top and back of the head considerably 
elongated, forming a conspicuous crest ; the back, sca- 
pulars, wing-coverts, rump, and upper tail-coverts greyish 
black, most of the wing-feathers, wing and tail-coverts, 
with more or less white at the end ; the tail-feathers gra- 
duated, the two in the centre brown, the outer feathers 
darker, but all are tipped with white ; throat and chest 
reddish white; abdomen, under wing and under tail- 
coverts pure white ; legs, toes, and claws, bluish black. 

The whole length of a specimen in the Museum of the 
Zoological Society, is fifteen and a half inches, of which 
the middle tail-feathers alone measure eight inches ; the 
outer tail-feather but four inches and three-quarters ; wing 



GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO. 



203 



from the anterior bend eight inches ; the fourth primary 
the longest in the wing. 

Considerable differences are observed in the plumage of 
this species, depending upon age. Mr. Gould says the 
plumage of middle age differs from that of the adult in 
having the head and crest of a much darker colour, and 
the whole of the upper surface more inclining to reddish 
brown with slight reflections of green ; the primaries are 
rufous, tinged with greenish brown towards the points, 
which are pure white ; the throat and chest are light 
reddish brown ; the under surface as in the adult male. 

The vignette below is a representation of the breast-bone 
and the foot of our Common Cuckoo. 




204 



CUCULIDJS. 



INSESSORES. 

SCANSORES. 



CUGULIDM 




THE YELLOW-BILLED AMERICAN CUCKOO. 

Coccyzus Americanus. 

Coccyzus Americanus, Carolina Cuckoo, JENVNS, Brit. Vert. p. 155. 

Virginian EYTON, Rare Brit. Birds, p. 23. 

American GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xxii. 

Cuculus cinerosus, Coucou Cendrillard, TEMM. Suppl. Man. d'Ornith. p. 277. 

COCCYZUS. Generic Characters. Beak of moderate length, rather slender, 
thickened at the base, somewhat curved, compressed, pointed ; ridge of the upper 
mandible rounded. Nostrils basal, the aperture pierced in a membrane. Legs 
with the tarsi and middle toe of equal length, outer toe reversible. Wings short, 
concave. Tail long, graduated. 

FOUR examples of this Yellow-billed American Cuckoo 
having been taken in Great Britain, namely two in Ire- 
land, one in Wales, and one in Cornwall ; and M. Tem- 
minck, as well as Mr. Gould, having admitted the species 
among their Birds of Europe, it is considered to be entitled 
to a place in this work. 



YELLOW-BILLED AMERICAN CUCKOO. 205 

The first notice which appeared of the occurrence of this 
hird was published in the Field Naturalists 1 Magazine in 
January 1833. Mr. Ball, of Dublin Castle, in a letter 
to the editor, made known the capture of the first specimen, 
which was shot near Youghal, in the county of Cork, in the 
autumn of 1825. When brought to Mr. Ball by the 
butler of a gentleman in the neighbourhood, who had shot 
it but a few minutes before, it was still warm and bleeding. 
The second was shot at a later period at Old Connaught, 
near Bray. The Cornwall specimen was the subject of a 
private communication, and the fourth was shot on the 
estate of Lord Cawdor in Wales during the autumn of 
1832. This last example has now, by the liberality of his 
lordship, been deposited in the national collection at the 
British Museum, and one, if not both, of the specimens 
killed in Ireland, were exhibited at the Zoological Society 
by Mr. Thompson of Belfast in June 1835. 

This bird, says Mr. Audubon, in the first volume of his 
American Ornithological Biography, Ct I have met with in 
all the low grounds and damp places in Massachusets, along 
the line of Upper Canada, pretty high on the Mississippi 
and Arkansas, and in every state between these boundary 
lines. Its appearance in the state of New York seldom 
takes place before the beginning of May, and at Green Bay 
not until the middle of that month." The most frequent 
note of this bird sounds so much like the word "cow," fre- 
quently repeated, that it has obtained the general appella- 
tion of Cow-bird ; and from being particularly vociferous 
before rain, it is in some states called the Rain-crow. 
Unlike our English Cuckoo, this American species builds a 
nest and rears its young with great assiduity ; but it some- 
times robs smaller birds of their eggs, and its own egg, 
which is not easily mistaken from its particular colour, is 



206 CUCULIDvE. 

occasionally found in another bird's nest. Mr. Audubon 
says, " That its own nest is simple, flat, composed of a few 
dry sticks and grass, formed much like that of the common 
Dove ; the eggs are four or five in number, of a uniform 
spotless greenish blue colour," one inch two lines in length 
by eight lines in breadth. 

Wilson says that, " while the female is sitting, the male 
is generally not far distant, and gives the alarm, by his 
notes, when any person is approaching. The female sits 
so close that you may almost reach her with your hand, 
and then precipitates herself to the ground, feigning lame- 
ness, to draw you away from the spot, fluttering, trailing 
her wings, and tumbling over, in the manner of the 
Partridge, Woodcock, and many other species. Both 
parents unite in providing food for the young. This 
consists, for the most part, of caterpillars, particularly such 
as infest apple trees. The same sort of insects constitute 
the chief part of their own sustenance. They are accused, 
and with some justice, of sucking the eggs of other birds, 
like the Crow, the Blue Jay, and other pillagers. They 
also occasionally eat various kinds of berries. But from 
the circumstance of destroying such numbers of very 
noxious larvae, they prove themselves the friends of the 
farmer, and are highly deserving of his protection." 

As every newly ascertained fact in the reproduction of 
the species among the Cuckoos is a matter of interest, 
I here append some recent additions by Mr. Audubon, 
inserted in his fifth volume. 

" Whilst at Charlestown in South Carolina, in the early 
part of June 1837, I was invited by J. S. Ehett, Esq. re- 
siding in the suburbs of that city, to visit his grounds for 
the purpose of viewing the nest of the Yellow-billed 
Cuckoo. This I did in company with my friend Dr. S. 



YELLOW-BILLED AMERICAN CUCKOO. 207 

Wilson, and we found ourselves highly gratified, as we 
were enabled to make the following observations : 

" A nest, which was placed near the centre of a tree of 
moderate size, was reached by a son of the gentleman on 
whose ground we were. One of the old birds, which was 
sitting upon it, left its situation only when within a few 
inches of the climber's hand, and silently glided off to 
another tree close by. Two young Cuckoos, nearly able to 
fly, scrambled off from their tenement among the branches 
of the tree, and were caught by us after a while. The 
nest was taken, and carefully handed to me. It still con- 
tained three young Cuckoos, all of different sizes, the 
smallest apparently just hatched, the next in size probably 
several days old, while the largest, covered with pen 
feathers, would have been able to leave the nest in about a 
week. There were also in the nest two eggs, one contain- 
ing a chick, the other fresh or lately laid. The two young 
birds which escaped from the nest, clung so firmly to the 
branches by their feet, that our attempts to dislodge them 
were of no avail, and we were obliged to reach them with 
the hand. On now looking at all these young birds, 
our surprise was indeed great, as no two of them were of 
the same size, which clearly showed that they had been 
hatched at different periods, and I should suppose the 
largest to have been fully three weeks older than any of 
the rest. Mr. Ehett assured us that he had observed the 
same in another nest placed in a tree within a few paces 
of his house, and which he also showed to us. He stated 
that eleven young Cuckoos had been successively hatched 
and reared in it, by the same pair of old birds, in one 
season, and that young birds and eggs were to be seen in it 
at the same time for many weeks in succession. 

" On thinking since of this strange fact, I have felt most 



208 CUCULID.E. 

anxious to discover how many eggs the Cuckoo of Europe 
drops in one season. If it, as I suspect, produces, as our 
bird does, not less than eight or ten, or what may be called 
the amount of two broods in a season, this circumstance 
would connect the two species in a still more intimate 
manner than theoretical writers have supposed them to be 
allied. Having mentioned these circumstances to my 
friend, Dr. T. M. Brewer, and requested him to pay par- 
ticular attention to these birds while breeding, he has sent 
me the following note : " The fact you intimated to 
me last July I have myself observed. The female 
evidently commences incubation immediately after laying 
her first egg. Thus I have found in the nest of both 
species of our Cuckoos* one egg quite fresh, while in 
another the chick will be just bursting the shell; and 
again, I have found an egg just about to be hatched while 
others are already so, and some of the young even about to 
fly. These species are not uncommon in Massachusets, 
where both breed, and both are much more numerous 
some years than others." Mr. Audubon adds, " I found 
the Yellow-billed Cuckoo plentiful and breeding in the 
Texas ; and it is met with, on the other hand, in Nova 
Scotia, and even in Labrador, where I saw a few. It has 
been observed on the Columbia river by Dr. Townsend. 
No mention is made of it in the Fauna Boreali- Americana. 
Many spend the winter in the most southern portions of the 
Floridas." Pennant, in his Arctic Zoology, says of this 
bird, tc It arrives in New York in May, makes its nest 
in June, and retires from North America in autumn." 

The appearance of four examples of an American 
species in this country has caused some speculation. As 
far as I have been able to ascertain, these birds were 

* The other is the Black-billed American Cuckoo. 



YELLOW-BILLED AMERICAN CUCKOO. 209 

obtained late in the month of August or early in the month 
of September. M. Temminck, unwilling to consider them 
as migrations from North America to Europe, thinks it pro- 
bable the bird may yet be found in the North of Europe. 

Mr. Thompson's observations on the occurrence of these 
four examples are thus recorded in the ninth volume of the 
Annals of Natural History, " The specimen obtained near 
Bray was shown to me by Mr. Grlennon, bird preserver, 
Dublin, and I agree with Mr. Ball in considering it 
identical in species with his own. This was, with that 
gentleman's usual liberality, entrusted to me when about 
to visit London in the spring of 1835, when I compared it 
with the specimen presented by Lord Cawdor to the 
British Museum, and found them to be of the same 
species. Before leaving home, I had purchased in Belfast 
a Yellow-billed American Cuckoo from a person who had 
shot it at Long Island (United States) and at a meeting of 
the Zoological Society, exhibited this bird and Mr. Ball's 
for the purpose of showing their Specific identity. It 
was considered desirable to look as critically as possible to 
these birds, on account of the singular fact of their appear- 
ance in this hemisphere. Ornithologists can hardly believe 
that they cross the Atlantic. Temminck conjectures that 
this Cuckoo must breed in the north of Europe, whence 
individuals migrated to the British Islands. But our 
knowledge of their occurrence here only, and in the more 
western parts, (Ireland, Wales and Cornwall) in addition 
to the fact, that at the very period of their being met with, 
the species is, as we learn from Wilson and Audubon, in 
course of migration in the western hemisphere, seems to me 
presumptive evidence of their having really crossed the 
ocean. So far north as Labrador, Audubon has seen this 
bird in summer." 

VOL. II. P 



210 CUCULHLE. 

The beak is as long as the head ; both mandibles slightly 
curved, the upper one brownish black inclining to yellow at 
the base ; the under mandible yellow, except at the extreme 
point, which is nearly black ; the irides hazel ; the top of the 
head, back of the neck, the back, the wing-coverts, quill- 
feathers, and the two central tail-feathers, yellowish brown; 
the inner webs of the primary quill-feathers chestnut ; the 
tail-feather on each side of the central pair black; the 
others black, broadly tipped with white ; the outer feather 
white on the external web ; the tail graduated ; chin, 
throat, neck in front, breast, belly, and under tail-co- 
verts, greyish white ; the flanks and thighs pale brown ; 
legs, toes, and claws, greyish lead colour. 

The whole length of the bird about twelve inches. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, five inches 
and five-eighths ; the first quill-feather more than an inch 
shorter than the second ; the second shorter than the third 
or fourth, but equal to the fifth ; the third feather longer 
than the fourth, and the longest in the wing. 

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is an elegantly formed bird. 
The figure and description here given were taken from 
the specimen killed in Wales. 

The female differs very little from the male in colour. 



WSESSORE& 

FISSIROSTRES. 



MEROPWrt. 




P 



THE ROLLER. 

Coracias garrula. 

Coracias garrula^ Garrulous Roller, PKNN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 300. 

w i r. MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

The BBWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 106. 

FLBM. Brit. An. p. 88. 

Garrulous SELBV, Brit. Ornith. voL i. p. 117. 

JBNYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 156. 

The GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt, v. 

Rottier vulgaire^ TKMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 127. 

CORACIAS. Generic Ctiaraders. Beak of moderate size, compressed, straight, 
with cutting edges, upper mandible curved downwards at the point ; gape wide ; 
the sides bristled. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear, pierced obliquely, partly hid by 
a membrane furnished with feathers. Legs with the tarsus shorter than the 
middle toe ; three toes in front, and one behind. Wings long ; the first qnill- 
feather a little shorter than the second, which is the longest in the wing. 

THE fifth and last division of the INSESSORES, or Perching 
Birds, is that of the FmnbtraflB, which, with slender or 

p 2 



212 MEROPID^E. 

small feet, have also considerable width of gape, and feed 
more or less upon the wing. The British species included 
in this division are the Roller, the Bee-eater, the King- 
fisher, the Swallow, the three Martins, the two Swifts, and 
the Nightjar ; among which it will be perceived, from their 
well-known powers, that those last named have the cha- 
racters pertaining to this division most strongly marked. 
The Roller has by several systematic authors been ar- 
ranged near the Crows ; but its colours, its habits, and 
other peculiarities, seem to prove that it is more truly 
allied to the Bee-eaters, Meropida, and the Kingfishers, 
Halcyonida. 

The Roller is a native of Africa, from the northern parts 
of which many of them pass to Europe in the spring, re- 
turning in autumn, and are accordingly abundant at Malta, 
and other islands in the Mediterranean, which are resting- 
places on the passage. Shaw, in his History of Barbary, 
says, " This bird makes a squalling noise, and builds in the 
banks of the Sheliff, Booberak, and other rivers." M. 
Vieillot mentions that where trees are scarce, as in Malta, 
these birds are said to make their nest in the ground ; 
and Pennant, in his Arctic Zoology, confirms this habit, 
from other authorities, by remarking that in places where 
trees are wanting, the Roller forms its nest in clayey banks. 
This mode of nesting and depositing its eggs is precisely 
similar to the habits of the Bee-eater and the King-fisher, 
hereafter to be described, and the eggs of each of these 
three birds are exactly alike in colour and shape, and only 
differ in size in relation to the proportions of the parent birds. 

In Malta, at certain seasons, Rollers are caught in such 
numbers that they are exposed in the market for sale with 
Hoopoes, Bee-eaters, and others. The Maltese are very 
expert in taking these birds alive. On the European con- 






ROLLER. 213 

tinent the Roller is said to be frequently found in the 
thickest and most secluded parts of the forests of Ger- 
many ; some of its habits, however, are but imperfectly 
known ; it is said to be noisy and restless, laying four eggs 
in the hollow of a tree, preferring the birch tree to any 
other, from which circumstance one of its German names 
is Birck-heber, or the Birch Jay. The eggs are of a de- 
licately smooth and shining white ; in shape a very short 
oval, measuring one inch five lines in length, by one inch 
one line in breadth. The food of the Roller consists of 
worms, slugs, insects in their various stages, and berries. 

Specimens of the Roller have been killed in two or three 
instances in Cornwall ; and three examples are said to have 
been met with in Ireland. This bird has been obtained 
more frequently in our eastern and north-eastern counties. 
One was killed at Oakington, in Cambridgeshire, in October 
1835. Six examples are recorded to have been killed in 
Suffolk and Norfolk, the most recent of which occurred in 
1838. Three or four specimens have been killed in York- 
shire, the last of which happened at Scarborough in 1833. 
Mr. Backhouse at Newcastle has a specimen in his col- 
lection killed in that vicinity, and another is recorded to 
have been shot at North Shields. Mr. Selby mentions that 
he had examined one that was found dead in the planta- 
tions of Earl Grey in Northumberland ; and the bird 
figured from by Mr. Selby, in illustration of his own work, 
was killed at Dunkeld in Perthshire. M'Pherson Grant, 
Esq., of Edinburgh, sent me notice of a specimen obtained 
in the eastern part of Scotland ; Sir William Jardine pos- 
sesses one that was killed in Orkney ; and Mr. Bullock had 
in his Museum in London a specimen also killed in Orkney. 
Miiller includes the Roller in his Catalogue of the Birds of 
Denmark, and Pennant mentions having received a speci- 



214 MEROPID^E. 

men from that country. Professor Nilsson says the Boiler 
is occasionally a summer visiter to Sweden, arriving in 
May with the Cuckoo ; it breeds there in hollow trees, and 
departs in September ; it is seen also in the southern 
provinces of Russia. In some parts of Germany it is not 
uncommon ; but according to M. Temminck, never visits 
Holland : it is rather rare in France ; is found in Provence, 
and has been taken at Gibraltar. It inhabits North Africa 
from Tangiers to Egypt. Adanson saw flocks at Senegal, 
and supposed they passed the winter there ; and Dr. 
Andrew Smith includes it in his Catalogue of the Birds of 
South Africa. In Italy during autumn young birds of 
the year are not uncommon, generally frequenting gardens. 
In the Morea, these birds being very fat in autumn, are 
sought after as a choice article of food. It has been re- 
marked* by a traveller in Asia Minor, that "The Roller 
was most common throughout the south and west parts 
of the country, wherever the Magpie was not found ; and 
was not seen in the same district with that bird. The 
Roller was observed to fall through the air like a Tumbler 
Pigeon.' 1 It has been taken at Aleppo. The Zoologi- 
cal Society have received specimens from Trebizond and 
Erzerum ; and a Russian naturalist has found that it visits 
the countries lying between the Black and the Caspian 
Seas. M. Temminck includes it among the Birds of 
Japan. 

In the " Life of a Travelling Physician," vol, ii. page 
130, there is the following reference to the habits of this 
bird. "The only other object worthy of notice is the 
beautiful bird called the Steppe Parrot, which is common 
in this country (the south of Russia). It is the Roller. 
Its plumage is beautiful, and when flying in the sun it 

* Annals of Nat. Hist. Nov. 1839, page 213. 



ROLLER. 215 

looks like a moving rainbow. I endeavoured several times 
to get near them with my gun, but in vain, they fly or roll 
along in their flight, and are very shy, perching on the 
highest branches of trees and watching continually. 

In Sicily M. Malherbe says, "great numbers of the 
Roller are seen all the summer in the woody and mountain- 
ous districts, they are wild to a degree and the bird 
appears to be incapable of becoming familiar. Young birds 
brought up from the nest become wild as soon as they are 
able to fly. The voice is loud and harsh. 

The beak is black ; the irides reddish brown ; behind 
the eye a triangular naked spot ; head, neck, and wing- 
coverts, greenish blue, approaching in richness to verditer 
blue ; back, scapularies, and tertials, yellowish brown ; 
shoulders and rump China blue ; upper tail-coverts Berlin 
blue ; the two middle tail-feathers blackish green ; the 
others, for two-thirds of their length, bluish green, the 
shafts black; the outer feather on each side tipped with 
black ; the primary and secondary quill-feathers verditer 
blue at the base, the rest dark bluish black ; chin greyish 
white ; throat verditer ; all the under surface of the body 
and the under wing-coverts, pale bluish green ; under 
surface of primaries and secondaries rich Berlin blue ; 
under surface of the tail-feathers Berlin blue for two- 
thirds of their length, then tipped with greyish blue ; 
the outer elongated tail-feather on each side almost wholly 
blue, but tipped with dark blue ; these longer outside tail- 
feathers distinguish the male bird : the legs and toes 
yellowish brown ; the claws black. 

The whole length of the bird thirteen inches. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing eight inches : the first 
quill-feather rather longer than the fourth ; the second 
rather longer than the third, and the longest in the wing. 



216 



MEROPID^E. 



Adult females do not differ from males in colour. 

Young birds do not attain to brilliant colours till their 
second year, previous to which they are dull brown 
above, and greyish green underneath. 

Beneath are representations of the breast-bone of the 
Roller in two different points of view. 





1NSESSORES. 
FISSIROSTRES. 



BEE-EATER. 



217 

MEROPIDJE. 







THE BEE-EATER. 

Merops apiaster. 

Merops apiaster, The Bee-eater, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 339. 

Common MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

M The BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 150. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 90. 

Common SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 114. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 156. 

TJie GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ii. 

Guepier vulgaire, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 420. 

MEROPS. Generic Characters. Beak rather long, slender, slightly curved, 
pointed, the culraen elevated, the edges of the mandibles cutting, entire. Nostrils 
basal, lateral, oval, partly concealed by hairs directed forwards. Feet with the tarsi 
short, toes small, three in front, one behind, the outer toe connected to the middle 
toe as far as the second joint ; the inner toe connected as far as the first joint. 
Wings long and pointed ; the second quill-feather the longest in the wing. 

No specimen of the Common Bee-eater of Africa appears 
to be recorded to have been killed in England till the 



218 MEROPID.E, 

summer of 1794, when a communication was made to the 
Linnean Society, and a specimen of this beautiful bird was 
exhibited by the President, Sir James Edward Smith, 
which had been shot out of a flock of about twenty near 
Mattishall, in Norfolk, in the month of June, by the Rev. 
George Smith, and a portion probably of this same flight, 
much diminished in numbers, was observed passing over 
the same spot in the month of October following. Since 
that time several have been shot in different parts of this 
country, which will be noticed when stating the geo- 
graphical range of the species. 

This bird, like the Roller last described, is a native 
of Africa, and according to Le Vaillant and Dr. Andrew 
Smith, goes nearly as far south as the Cape. It is found 
also at Madeira, and from Tangiers and other parts of 
North Africa passes over the Mediterranean, and is found 
periodically in considerable numbers at Gibraltar, Sardinia, 
Malta, and Sicily. " These birds, 1 ' says Mr. Swainson, 
who lived four or five years in Sicily and its vicinity, 
" occasionally visit Italy in flocks of twenty or thirty, and 
may be seen skimming over the vineyards and olive planta- 
tions with a flight much resembling the Swallow, though 
more direct and less rapid. From the northern shores of 
the Mediterranean these flocks pass on to the continent 
before them. Colonel Montagu says, " It probably breeds 
in some parts of Spain and Portugal, as he was assured by 
an officer that it was not uncommon about Badajos, where 
he observed a considerable number flying about like 
Swallows, but that they frequently pitched, and assembled 
together in trees in the gardens. This was in the spring 
of the year 1811, while the allied army was encamped 
before Badajos." 

In Spain these birds are also observed about the rocky 



BEE-EATER. 219 

country of Aragon. Polydore Roux includes them among 
the Birds of Provence, and a few every year frequent the 
southern parts of Switzerland, France, and Germany. 
The bird from which our figure was taken was shot in May 

1827, by the bailiff of Robert Holford, Esq. at Kingsgate 
in the Isle of Thanet. This specimen is now in the pos- 
session of R. B. Hale, Esq. M.P. of Alderly, near Woot- 
ton-under-Edge, in Gloucestershire, who obligingly allowed 
me the use of it for this Work. One example of the Bee- 
eater is recorded by Rusticus to have been shot in a 
garden in the town of Godalming in Surrey a few years 
back ; and a specimen was shot during the autumn of the 
present year, 1839, at Christchurch, in Hampshire, for the 
knowledge of which I am indebted to the kindness of my 
friend T. C. Heysham, Esq. of Carlisle. 

In Dorsetshire, a Bee-eater was shot at Chidcock, and is 
now preserved in the Bridport Museum. Three specimens 
are recorded by Dr. Edward Moore as having been killed in 
Devonshire. In Cornwall, according to Mr. Couch, four 
specimens occurred in the parish of Madern in 1807, and a 
flock of twelve visited the neighbourhood of Helston in 

1828, of which eleven were shot. The only instance I am 
aware of in which the Bee-eater has occurred in Ireland, 
is that recorded by Mr. Vigors in the Zoological Journal as 
having been killed on the sea-shore near Wexford, in the 
winter of 1820, and preserved in the collection of James 
Tardy, Esq., of Ranelagh, near Dublin. 

Four or five examples of this bird have been obtained in 
the countries of Suffolk and Norfolk. One killed at 
Beccles, in the spring of 1825, is in the possession of the 
widow of the Rev. H. F. Howman ; three others are re- 
corded in the fifteenth volume of the Transactions of the 
Linnean Society. Mr. Thompson of Belfast has referred to 



220 MEROPID^E. 

one that was shot in October 1832 in the Mull of Gallo- 
way ; and Professor Nilsson mentions that a male and 
female were killed in Sweden in 1816. Montagu says, 
"It is nowhere so plentiful as in the southern parts of 
Russia, particularly about the rivers Don and Wolga, in 
the banks of which they build their nests, perforating holes 
to the depth of half a foot or more for that purpose. They 
are said to be gregarious, as well in the breeding season as 
in their migrations, excavating the clayey banks so near to 
each other as to appear like a honey-comb. In autumn 
they migrate in large flocks to the more southern latitudes." 
These birds line their nesting-holes with soft moss, and lay 
from five to seven eggs, which are smooth, white, and 
shining, measuring about one inch in length by ten lines 
and a half in breadth. To follow the Bee-eater back to 
Africa by a different route, I may mention that it visits the 
the countries between the Black and the Caspian seas : the 
Zoological Society have received specimens from Messrs 
Dickson and Ross, two zealous collectors at Erzerum, who 
state that these birds frequent that country from May till 
September ; it is found also in Turkey, in Greece, and in 
Egypt. The Bee-eater takes its food while on the wing, 
like the Swallows, living chiefly on winged insects, and 
probably derives its name from a partiality to those of the 
Hymenopterous order. A traveller speaking of the habits 
of the Bee-eater in Asia Minor, says,* " They utter a rich 
warbling chirp when on the wing ; they are often observed 
among the turpentine firs, from which 'bees collect much 
honey, and are sometimes attracted to the valleys by the 
numerous apiaries of the peasantry." Montagu says that 
" In Egypt it is called Melinoorghi, bees' enemy, and 
that the bird itself is eaten as food. At the Cape of Good 

* Annals of Nat. Hist. November, 1839. 



BEE-EATER. 221 

Hope it is called Gnat-snapper, and serves as a guide to the 
Hottentots by directing them to the honey which the bees 
store in the clefts of the rocks.' 1 It has often been asked 
how it is that many of our small birds manage to swallow 
live bees, and even wasps, without appearing to suffer from 
their powerful stings. I believe that the bird pinches the 
insect, passing it from head to tail between the points of its 
mandibles, till by repeated compression, particularly on 
the abdomen, the sting is either squeezed out, or its muscu- 
lar attachments so deranged that the sting itself is harmless. 
I have mentioned that the Bee-eater is common during 
summer in Greece and the islands of the Archipelago, 
and in Crete is said to be the most plentiful. It is in this 
latter island " that the curious mode of bird-catching 
described by Bellonius is said to be frequently practised 
with success, viz., a cicada is fastened on a bent pin or 
fish-hook, and tied to a long slender line. The insect, 
when thrown from the hand, ascends into the air, and flies 
with rapidity ; the Merops, ever on the watch, seeing the 
cicada, springs at it, and swallowing the bait is thus taken 
by the Cretan boys." 

In the adult male the beak is nearly black ; the irides 
red ; the lore and ear-coverts black ; forehead tinged with 
verditer blue, which extends in a line over the eye ; top of 
the head, neck, back, and wing-coverts, rich reddish brown, 
passing on the rump to saffron yellow ; primary and 
secondary quill-feathers greenish blue, the shafts and ends 
black ; tertials greenish blue, but without dark tips ; upper 
tail-coverts bluish green ; tail-feathers duck green, the 
middle pair with narrow ends extending beyond the others ; 
chin and throat rich saffron yellow, bounded below by a 
bar of bluish black; breast, belly, and under tail -co verts, 
verdigris green, tinged with blue ; under wing-coverts fawn 



222 



MEROPID^E. 



colour ; under surface of wing and tail-feathers, greyish 
brocoli brown ; legs, toes, and claws, small, and reddish 
brown. 

Whole length to the end of the elongated tail-feathers 
eleven inches. From the carpal joint to the end of the 
wing, five inches and three-quarters : the first feather very 
short, the second the longest in the wing. 

Females are not so bright in colour as the males, the yel- 
low on the throat is paler, and the green colour tinged with 
red. 

Mr. Hale's bird is in the plumage of the second year, in 
which the brown colour, which commences on the head, 
does not descend below the neck on to the back as in the 
older bird, and the whole of the back is greenish yellow 
where the adult bird is saffron yellow. 

A young bird of the year, in my own collection, has the 
top of the head green, with a small patch of reddish brown 
above each eye ; no red colour on the back ; the yellow on 
the throat does not terminate with a dark band, and the 
tail-feathers are even at the end. 

Underneath are representations of the foot and breast- 
bone of the Bee-eater. 





KINGFISHER. 



INSESSORES. 

FISSIROSTRES. 



223 

HALCYON I DM. 




THE KINGFISHER. 



Alcedo ispida. 



Alcedo ispida, Common Kingfislier, 



The 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 326. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 129. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 89. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 136. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 157. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. i. 



Common 

w 

The 
Martin PecJieur Alcyon, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 423. 

ALCEDO. Generic Characters. Beak long, straight, quadrangular, and acute. 
Nostrils placed at the base of the beak, oblique, and nearly closed by a naked 
membrane. Feet small, tarsi short, naked ; toes three in front ; the external toe 
united to the middle toe as far as the second articulation, and the middle toe 
united to the inner one as far as the first ; hind toe strong, but short. Wings 
short ; the second or third quill-feather the longest. 



224 HALCYONID.E. 

THE well-known Kingfisher is one of the most beautiful 
of our British birds, and will bear a comparison with many 
of those which are brought from climates considered more 
favourable to the production of brilliant colours. It is also 
generally distributed, though it can scarcely be said to be 
very numerous anywhere. It frequents the banks of 
streams of various sizes, whether rivers or brooks, some- 
times inhabiting the vicinity of fish-ponds ; and the bird is 
most frequently seen when flying rapidly along near the 
surface of the water. Its food consists of water-beetles* 
leeches, minnows, stickle-backs, and probably any other 
species of small fish which it can seize upon by surprise. 
For this purpose the Kingfisher takes a station near the 
water, sitting on the branch of a bush or tree overhanging 
the stream, or on a rail by the water side, from whence it 
darts instantaneously upon any passing prey, and will occa- 
sionally suspend itself on the wing, hovering and watching 
for a favourable opportunity to make the plunge which is 
to secure its victim. The prey is always taken with the 
beak; and so unerring is the aim, that the bird seldom 
fails to gain the fish it strikes at, which when thus cap- 
tured is brought to the usual waiting-place, and after some 
mutilation to produce death, is invariably swallowed head 
foremost. 

The Kingfisher is solitary in its habits, and pugnacious 
in disposition, seldom to be seen with any associate except 
its mate during the breeding-season. At this period a pair 
take possession of a hole already formed by some burrow- 
ing animal, in the bank by the water side, and often but 
little elevated above the surface of the stream ; sometimes 
the Kingfisher will take to a cavity among the exposed 
roots of an aged tree on the river bank ; they have been 
known to take possession of a hole in a bank frequented by 



Sand Martins at a distance from water; and Mr. .1 
relates in his (Cleanings that in the MHIIIIUT of' LSM-, one of 
tlie workmen employed in the gardens of Hampton Court 
Palace, discovered a Kingfisher's nest in the hank of a 
small gravel-pit in the Wilderness of that place, and within 
a short distance of the public footpath leading through it. 
and which is much frequented. There were six eggs in 
the nest, which was composed as usual of small fish hones, 
and was placed about two feet in the bank. The- small 
gravel-pit was perfectly dry, and the workmen were in 
the constant habit of throwing the sweepings of the garden 
into it. The old birds showed but little fear of the work- 
men, and this led to the disi-o\ery of the nest. 

Kingfishers, like many other birds, possess the power of 
bringing np the contents of the stomach at pleasure. This 
faculty is very useful to them in reference to their nestlings, 
enabling the parent birds not only to bring home a larger 
quantity of food than they could otherwise carry, but also 
of partially preparing that food, and thus rendering it more 
suitable to the tender stomachs of their infant brood. This 
power of emptying the stomach is at other times only 
exercised to discharge the more indigestible portions of the 
food they swallow, as noticed in all the Birds of Prev. a> 
also iii the Shrikes, and some other birds which occasion- 
ally teed on large coleopterous insects. The rejection by 
the Kingfisher appear* to be performed frequently when 
the bird is in the hole chosen as an abode, the whole 
ground surface of which is sometimes covered with bones 
of small fishes, and upon these bones the female deposit * 
her eggs, generally from five to seven in number, of a short 
oval form, almost round, measuring ten lines and a half 
in length, by nine lines in breadth, of a smooth and shining 
white when blown, but previously exhibiting a delicate 
VOL. II. 



226 HALCYONID^l. 

pink tinge from the influence of the colour of the yelk, 
which pervades the transparent albumen and thin shell. 

The young, Mr. Gould observes, do not leave the hole 
till fully fledged and capable of flight ; when, seated on 
some neighbouring branch, they may be known by their 
clamorous twittering, greeting their parents as they pass, 
from whom they impatiently expect their supplies ; in 
a short time, however, they commence fishing for them- 
selves, assuming at that early age nearly the adult 
plumage. 

Young Kingfishers, if taken from the nest, are not diffi- 
cult to rear ; they require a supply of small fish for a time, 
but may afterwards be brought to do well on chopped beef. 
If kept in an aviary of sufficient size to admit a large stone 
trough, or tin bath, filled with clear water, in which they 
can be supplied with live minnows, these birds make an 
interesting display of their powers and mode of proceeding 
and may be kept in good health ; but are voracious 
feeders : the quantity of minnows that a brood of young 
Kingfishers will consume is quite extraordinary. Towards 
the end of autumn these birds should be separated, or the 
strongest will be certain to kill the weaker ones, even to 
the last bird. This has happened two seasons following 
to my friend Mr. William Kayner of Uxbridge, who 
living within a short distance of the river Colne is able 
to obtain Kingfishers as well as minnows, and whose aviary 
is seldom without living specimens of both. 

The Kingfisher flies rapidly, with a very quick action of 
his short wings, and is a difficult bird to shoot when in 
motion. It is said to have a shrill piping note, and is 
known to quit inland waters on the approach of the frosts 
of winter, visiting for a time the flat shores of the sea.* 

* Magazine of Natural History, vol. i. p. 23. 



KINGFISHER. 227 

Aii account of the Kingfisher would be incomplete if left 
without any reference to the powers attributed to this bird 
by some of the older naturalists and poets ; and the follow- 
ing brief notice is therefore condensed from the pages of 
Pennant, and the more recently published observations of 
Mr. J. H. Fennell on Shakspeare^s knowledge of Natural 
History. 

It was formerly believed that during the time the 
Halcyon or Kingfisher was engaged in hatching her eggs, 
the water in kindness to her remained so smooth and calm? 
that the mariner might venture on the sea with the happy 
certainty of not being exposed to storms or tempests ; this 
period was therefore called by Pliny and Aristotle the 
Halcyon Days. It was even supposed that the Kingfisher 
had power to quell the storm ; and in reference to the 
dangerous situation of the female when sitting in her 
water-bound nest, Dryden, in his translation of Ovid's 
Metamorphoses, has the lines 



-" Her sire at length is kind, 



Calms every storm, and hushes every wind." 

Theocritus, a Greek pastoral poet, as translated by Fawkes, 
has also the following line 

" May Halcyons smooth the waves and calm the seas." 

W. Browne, as quoted by Mr. Fennell, writes 

" Blow, but gently blow fayre wynde, 

From the forsaken shore, 
And be as to the Halcyon kinde, 
Till we have ferried o'er/' 

Shakspeare refers to the supposed influence of the King- 
fisher in the First Part of Henry the Sixth 

" Expect Saint Martin's summer, halcyon days." 

Q2 



228 HALCYOSID.E. 

Cowper is perhaps the latest poet who has referred to these 
fancies in the following couplet 

"As firm as the rock and as calm as the flood, 
Where the peace-loving Halcyon deposits her brood.' 1 

But this was not the only power attributed to the King- 
fisher ; it was also supposed that the dead bird carefully 
balanced and suspended by a single thread, would always 
turn its beak towards that point of the compass from which 
the wind blew. Storer, in his poem on the life, &c., of 
Cardinal Wolsey, says 

" Or as a Halcyon, with her turning breast, 
Demonstrates -wind from wind, and east from west." 

Kent, in Shakspeare's King Lear, speaks of rogues who 



-" Turn their Halcyon beaks 



With every gale and vary of their masters." 

After Shakspeare's allusion, Marlowe, in his Jew of Malta, 
has the lines 

" But how now stands the wind ? 
Into what corner peers my Halcyon's bill ? " 

And Mrs. Charlotte Smith, in her Natural History of 
Birds, says, " I have once or twice seen a stuffed bird of 
this species hung up to the beam of a cottage ceiling, and 
imagined that the beauty of the feathers had recommended 
it to this sad pre-eminence, till, on inquiry, I was assured 
that it served the purpose of a weather vane ; and though 
sheltered from the immediate influence of the wind, never 
failed to show every change by turning its beak to the 
quarter whence the wind blew." 

The Kingfisher is generally distributed over Great 
Britain, but is not so numerous in Scotland as it appears 
to be in Ireland. M tiller includes it among the birds of 
Denmark, but considers it rare : it does not appear to be 



KINGFISHER. 

found in Sweden or Norway, nor in the more northern 
parts of Scandinavia. Pennant says it inhabits the tempe- 
rate parts of Russia and Siberia. It is found in Germany, 
Holland, France, Spain, Provence, Italy, Sicily, and the 
Morea. Mr. Hugh Strickland says it is common in 
Smyrna; the Zoological Society have received specimens 
from Trebizond, and it inhabits the country between the 
Black and the Caspian seas. In Africa this species is found 
as far south as Senegal. 

In form the Kingfisher is bulky, and heavy for its size 
and length, reminding the observer of the powerful body 
and short wings of the Dipper. The beak is about one inch 
and a half long from its point to the feathers on the fore- 
head, and two inches long from the point to the angle 
formed by the gape ; both mandibles black, except the 
base of the lower one, which is orange ; the irides red ; 
lore and ear-coverts reddish brown ; behind the ear-coverts 
on the lower part of the side of the neck, an elongated 
white patch ; from the lower mandible a green stripe 
passes under the eye, extending below the ear-coverts, and 
the white patch to the shoulder ; top of the head and back 
of the neck dark green ; some of the feathers tipped with 
verditer blue ; upper part of the back dark green ; lower 
part of the back, rump, and upper tail-coverts, verditer 
blue ; wing-coverts and tertials dark green, the former 
spotted with verditer blue ; primary and secondary quill- 
feathers greenish black, tinged with lighter green on the 
outer webs ; tail-feathers indigo blue ; but all the upper 
parts of the body, which are green in a reflected light, 
have more or less an appearance of blue when seen by 
transmitted light ; chin arid throat white, tinged with buff ; 
breast, under wing-coverts, belly, vent, and under tail- 
coverts pale, chestnut; legs, toes, and claws, reddish brown. 



230 



HALCYONIDJ;. 



The whole length about seven inches. From the carpal 
joint to the end of the wing, three inches : the first four 
quill-feathers nearly equal in length, but the second and 
third are rather longer than the first and fourth. 

The female has rather a smaller beak than the male, and 
her plumage is rather darker ; there is otherwise but little 
difference. 

Young birds have the beak wholly black, and the irides 
darker reddish brown. 




8 WALLOW. 



fiVSESSORES. 

FISSIROSTRES. 



231 

T1IRUND1NIDM 




THE SWALLOW. 



Hirundo rustica. 

Hirundo rmlica, Chimney Swallow, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 543. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

The BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 297. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 60. 

Chimney SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 120. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 157. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xviii. 

Hirondelle de Cheminee, TEMM. Man. d'Omith. voL i. p. 427. 

HIRUNDO. Generic Characters* Beak very short, depressed, and very wide 
at the base, upper mandible curved downwards at the point, the culraen elevated. 
Nostrils basal, oval, partly covered by membrane. Legs short, toes slender, three 
in front, one behind ; claws curved. Wings long and pointed. 

" THE SWALLOW," says Sir Humphrey Davy in his Sal- 
monia, " is one of my favourite birds, and a rival of the 
Nightingale ; for he cheers my sense of seeing as much as 



232 HIRUNDINID^E. 

the other does my sense of hearing. He is the glad pro- 
phet of the year the harbinger of the best season : he 
lives a life of enjoyment amongst the loveliest forms of 
nature : winter is unknown to him ; and he leaves the 
green meadows of England in autumn, for the myrtle and 
orange groves of Italy, and for the palms of Africa/ 1 This 
is, in truth, a brief, but a perfect sketch of the history of 
the Swallow, and I have only to fill up the outline by 
adding the details. 

The Swallow is a periodical visiter to this country, and 
more records are preserved of its first appearance every 
season than of that of any other bird. The average of 
many records and many seasons, seems to give the 10th 
of April as the mean period of its arrival ; and it remains 
more than six months in this country, frequently on its 
return revisiting the precise locality it had inhabited for 
seasons before. Swallows are occasionally seen earlier 
than the date here mentioned, even in a backward spring, 
the migration being influenced by the temperature of the 
country they proceed from. In a letter written by Charles 
Lucian Bonaparte, Prince of Musignano, and dated on 
board the Delaware, near Gibraltar, March 20th, 1828, it 
is stated that a few days before, being five hundred miles 
from the coasts of Portugal, and four hundred from those 
of Africa, we were agreeably surprised by the appearance 
of a few Swallows, Hirundo rustica and urbica. The wind 
had blown a gale from the eastward. In that year the 
first Swallow seen at Carlisle, as recorded by Mr. Hey- 
sham, was on the 18th of April : the first seen in Corn- 
wall, as recorded by Mr. Couch, was on the 1 7th. These 
birds, in crossing the Channel, Mr. Couch observes, reach 
the land near the shore, and in -misty weather seem to 
have a difficulty in finding it ; for I have been assured by 






SWALLOW. 233 

intelligent fishermen, that, when the weather is hazy Swal- 
lows, Martins, Swifts, and other birds, are accustomed to 
alight on their boats at the distance of three or four 
leagues from land, either singly or in small flocks ; at 
which time they appear so much fatigued, that the Swal- 
low is often only able to fly from one end of the boat to 
the other, when an attempt is made to seize it. The 
Swallow and Martin come either singly or in small parties, 
and if they do not happen to be our own residents, soon 
pass on to their accustomed haunts ; so that after two or 
three have been seen, it may perhaps be a fortnight before 
others make their appearance. In 1831 a single Swallow 
was seen by a fisherman near the Eddystone on the 4th of 
April ; four were seen on the 13th at sea, flying low, and 
making towards the land at three o'clock, P.M. Two Mar- 
tins were also seen on the 16th; but the first of either of 
these that I saw was on the 19th. Swallows and Martins 
continued to fly on board fishing-boats, at the distance of 
ten leagues from land, through the whole of May ; my 
last note of that circumstance being so late as the 28th of 
that month. There are rarely more than two or three in 
a company ; and considering that the Wheatear and Wil- 
low Warbler cross in safety, the state of fatigue in which 
they are seen is remarkable. One man informs me that 
in fine weather he has often seen them drop on the water, 
flat, and with wings expanded, and presently after fly off 
again, as if refreshed. The fact of the Swallow settling on 
the sea and flying up again, has been seen, also, and re- 
corded by Mr. Audubon. 

The migration of Swallows and Martins being in a 
direction nearly due north and south, those referred to in 
the extract from the communication of the Prince of 
Musignano, had been driven by the gale from the east far 



234 HIRUNDINIDyE. 

to the west of their true course. Gilbert White, in his 
ninth letter to the Hon. Daines Barrington, says, " it 
does not appear to me that much stress may be laid on 
the difficulty and hazard that birds must run in their 
migrations, by reason of vast oceans, cross-winds, &c. ; be- 
cause, if we reflect, a bird may travel from England to the 
equator without launching out and exposing itself to 
boundless seas, and that by crossing the water at Dover, 
and again at Gibraltar. And I with the more confidence 
advance this obvious remark, because my brother has 
always found that some of his birds, and particularly the 
Swallow kind, are very sparing of their pains in crossing 
the Mediterranean : for when arrived at Gibraltar, they 
do not 

" Rang'd in figure wedge their way, and set forth 
Their airy caravan high over seas 
Flying, and over lands with mutual wing 
Easing their flight :" 

but scout and hurry along in little detached parties of 
six or seven in a company ; and sweeping low, just over 
the surface of the land and water, direct their course to the 
opposite continent at the narrowest passage they can find. 
They usually slope across the bay to the south-west, and 
so pass over opposite to Tangier, which, it seems, is the 
narrowest space." 

Again, in his thirty-third letter to Thomas Pennant, 
he says, " I was much pleased to see, among the collection 
of Birds from Gibraltar, some of those short-winged 
English summer birds of passage, concerning whose de- 
parture we have made so much inquiry. Now if these 
birds are found in Andalusia to migrate to and from 
Barbary, it may easily be supposed that those that come 
to us may migrate back to the continent, and spend their 



SWALLOW. 235 

winters in some of the warmer parts of Europe. This is 
certain, that many soft-billed birds that come to Gibraltar, 
appear there only in spring and autumn, seeming to 
advance in pairs towards the northward, for the sake of 
breeding during the summer months ; and retiring in 
parties and broods towards the south at the decline of the 
year ; so that the rock of Gibraltar is the great rendezvous 
and place of observation, from whence they take their 
departure each way towards Europe and Africa. 11 It is 
very much to be regretted that the " Natural History of 
Gibraltar," written by the Rev. John White, who lived 
there for some years, and whose M.S. is referred to by 
Gilbert White, in his fifty-third letter to Daines Barring- 
ton, was never published. 

To show the course pursued to the northward by some 
of those birds from western Africa, after crossing the 
Mediterranean opposite Gibraltar, where the passage is 
only from four to five miles wide, I may quote Mr. 
Hewitson, who says, that on his voyage of return from 
Madeira at the beginning of April 1842, whilst keeping 
near the coast of Spain, the deck of the steamer was a 
perfect levee daily, and a scene of the liveliest interest. 
Whilst the Chimney-swallow and the Sand-martin con- 
tinued to fly round and round us, Wheatears, Whinchats, 
various species of warblers, Redstarts, Red-backed Shrikes, 
&c., were constantly passing, each appearing to me as if 
it had put on its gayest apparel for the occasion. 

Bewick, in the introduction to his History of British 
Birds, says that an intelligent master of a vessel told him, 
that whilst he was sailing early in the spring between the 
islands of Minorca and Majorca, he saw great numbers of 
Swallows flying northwards, many of which from fatigue 
alighted on the rigging of the ship in the evening, but 






236 HIRUNDINID^l. 

disappeared before morning. The author of the Natural 
History of Arragon says they arrive there very early in the 
spring. In the direct line of their northern course, and 
having passed over France, Sir Charles Wager says, " In 
the spring of the year, as I came into soundings in our 
Channel, a great flock of Swallows came and settled 
on all my rigging ; every rope was covered ; they hung on 
one another like a swarm of bees, the decks and carving 
were filled with them. They seemed almost famished and 
spent, and were only feathers and bone ; but being re- 
cruited with a night's rest, took their flight in the morn- 
ing." In reference to their return by the same line of 
route, Gilbert White, in his 23rd letter, says, " If ever I 
saw anything like actual migration, it was last Michaelmas 
day. I was travelling, and out early in the morning ; at 
first there was a vast fog ; but by the time I was got 
seven or eight miles from home towards the coast, the sun 
broke out into a delicate warm day. We were then on 
a large heath or common, and I could discern as the 
mist began to break away, great numbers of Swallows 
clustering on the stunted shrubs and bushes, as if they 
had roosted there all night. As soon as the air became 
clear and pleasant, they all were on the wing at once ; 
and by a placid and easy flight, proceeded on southward 
towards the sea ; after this I did not see any more flocks, 
only now and then a straggler." 

Another line of migration pursued by these birds, as well 
as many others of our summer visiters, is by Malta, Sicily, 
and Italy, and still further to the eastward. Mr. Thomp- 
son of Belfast has published in the eighth volume of 
the Annals of Natural History an interesting account of 
the migratory birds seen by him while sailing in the 
Mediterranean in the spring of 1841, from which the 



SWALLOW. 237 

following are extracts. " Having been favoured by my 
friend Captain Graves, R. N., with an invitation to accom- 
pany him during the projected government survey of 
the island of Candia, I, with Mr. E. Forbes, who had 
received from the Admiralty the honorary appointment of 
Naturalist on the occasion, left Malta, in H. M. S. Beacon 
on the 21st of April. The first port we sailed for was 
Navarino, for the purpose of watering the ship. The 
passage occupied seven days. It being just the period of 
the year when many species of birds which make Europe 
their abode only in the more genial seasons, were, after 
having passed the winter in Africa, crossing the Mediter- 
ranean to their summer quarters, we were often gratified 
by a sight of them, either passing, resting briefly on the 
rigging, or remaining sometimes so long as a day or more 
about the ship." 

" April 22nd. Wind W., forty miles E. of Malta. 
Two Swallows remained some time about the ship, perch- 
ing on the rigging, and hawking over the deck in pursuit 
of flies." 

"April 25th. Wind N. E., fifty-eight miles from 
Calabria, the nearest land; one hundred and thirty-five 
miles from Mount Etna at sunset, when it was visible. 
Several Swallows about the ship." 

" April 26th. Wind N. E., eighty-six miles from 
Zante, the nearest land ; one hundred and thirty miles 
from Navarino. Several Swallows about the vessel during 
the day, and some remained, perching upon one of the 
boats throughout the night." 

"April 27th. Wind N., forty-five miles from Zante, 
the nearest land, and in sight ; sixty miles W. of the 
Morea. About a dozen Swallows which rested last night 
in the rigging, went off this morning. Throughout the 



238 HIRUNDINID.E. 

afternoon and towards evening many more arrived, and 
continued flying about the ship in considerable numbers. 
A few Martins appeared this morning, and remained 
through the early part of the day, confining their flight to 
the lee-side of the ship ; in the afternoon still more were 
seen hawking about in company with Swallows : as flies 
were numerous, they probably obtained plenty of food ; at 
four in the afternoon all this species were gone." 

Other British birds seen were the Bee-eater, Black- 
headed Bunting, Chiff Chaff, Glossy Ibis, Golden Oriole, 
Hoopoe, Nightjar, Quail, Eedstart, Turtle Dove, Wagtail, 
Wheatear, Whitethroat, both species, Willow Wren, 
Woodchat, and Wryneck. " All the birds seen on migra- 
tion bore right on in the course they had come, whether 
they rested temporarily on the vessel or otherwise. They 
all came from a southerly direction, either due south, 
south-west, or south-east. The wind was moderate, the 
weather fine and dry during the whole passage, so that all 
the species we saw were in the ordinary course of migration, 
and none driven to the ship by any stress of weather." 

Arrived in this country, Swallows seem to prefer those 
habitations of man which are in the vicinity of water, 
whether of river or lake, probably as affording a greater 
abundance, as well as variety, of the winged insect food 
upon which they entirely subsist. These are sought for in 
the air during the greater part of the day, the power of 
flight enjoyed by these birds, and indeed by all the species 
of this interesting family, enabling them to remain on the 
wing for hours in succession in pursuit of their prey, with- 
out any apparent lassitude. In May the situation for the 
nest is chosen, and this, as one of the names of the bird 
will imply, is most frequently a few feet down an unused 
chimney, the bird taking advantage of any angle or de- 



SWALLOW. 239 

pression to obtain support for the intended structure. The 
nest is formed of small portions of moist earth, which the 
bird may be seen on the ground collecting at the edges of 
ponds, and sometimes at the margins of puddles by road 
sides. The pellets of soft clay are carried home to the 
place chosen, there to be moulded with straw and bents 
into an open saucer-shaped nest, which is afterward lined 
with feathers. The eggs are generally from four to six in 
number, nine lines and a half in length, by six lines and a 
half in breadth, white, speckled with ash colour and dark 
red. Two broods are produced in the season, the first of 
which is usually ready to fly by the end of June, and the 
second by the end of August. But a chimney is not the 
only place chosen by the Swallow for its nest : in the north 
of England these birds frequently build in the unused 
shafts of mines, or in old wells ; sometimes under the roof 
of a barn or open shed, between the rafters and the thatch 
or tiles which form the covering. Turrets intended for 
bells are frequently resorted to, and unused rooms or pas- 
sages in outhouses, to which access can be gained by the 
round hole so frequently to be observed cut in the doors to 
such buildings, and within which the birds take advantage 
of any projecting peg, or end of a beam, that will serve as 
a buttress to support the nest. I have heard of a nest 
made by a pair of Swallows in the half open drawer of a 
small deal table in an unoccupied garret, to which access 
was obtained by a broken pane of glass. Pennant men- 
tions an instance in which a pair of Swallows attached 
their nest to the body and wing of an Owl nailed against a 
barn ; this specimen was preserved in the museum of the 
late Sir Ashton Lever, and is now in my own collection. 
A provincial paper furnished the following notice. A 
small steamer, the Clarence, lies at Annan Waterfoot, and 



240 HIRTJNDINID.E. 

plies between it and Port Carlisle, in the way of tugging 
vessels. A pair of Swallows built their nest last year 
under the sponsons of one of the paddle-wheels, not more 
than three feet above the water, and succeeded in bringing 
forth their young. There they are this summer again. 
During neap tides the Clarence plies every other day, and 
often every day. When she leaves the Waterfoot, the 
birds leave her, and keep on the Scotch side ; and when 
she returns, and is nearing Annan, the Swallows invariably 
meet her, and accompany her to her berth. 

Another most unusual selection of a situation for a Swal- 
low's nest is that which forms the subject of the vignette to 
the present article, and for the opportunity of figuring which 
I am indebted to the kindness of William Wells, Esq. 
of Eedleaf. This nest was built on the bough of a 
sycamore, hanging low over a pond at the Moat, Pens- 
hurst, in Kent, in the summer of 1832. Two sets of eggs 
were laid in it : the first brood were reared, but the second 
died unfledged. The vignette was executed from a draw- 
ing made by Mr. Edward Cooke, at the request of Mr. 
Wells, and obligingly devoted to my use. 

The note of the adult Swallow is a soft and sweet 
warble, and the attention paid by the parent birds to the 
wants of their young is incessant, returning to the nest with 
food once in every three minutes throughout a great portion 
of the day ; yet is the law of migration sometimes of an 
influence so powerful, that they have been known to desert 
their young, and leave them to perish in their nests. But 
as this circumstance has been more particularly observed in 
the Martin, next to be described, it will be referred to 
more at length in that place. On the young birds first 
leaving their nest, "they perch for a few days on the chim- 
ney top, or on the roof of the house, and are there fed by 



SWALLOW. 241 

their parents. Their next essay is to reach some leafless 
bough, where they sit in rows, and receive their food. 
Soon after they take to the wing, but still want skill 
to seize their own prey. They hover near the place where 
their parents are in chase of flies, attend their motions, 
meet them, and receive from their mouths the offered 
sustenance." 

When the young broods have entirely left their nests 
they roost by hundreds among willows and osiers near 
water till the time for their departure from this country 
arrives, when they leave us in large flocks to seek a more 
southern latitude, there to enjoy a continuance of that 
temperature and means of subsistence which these islands 
from geographical position can no longer afford them. 
They generally leave by the end of October, but strag- 
glers are sometimes seen as late as the middle of No- 
vember. 

In confinement these birds become exceedingly tame, 
and in this state it has been ascertained by naturalists in 
this, as well as in other countries, that these birds moult in 
January and February. An account of the mode pursued 
will be found in Bewick's History of British Birds ; and 
the Rev. W. F. Cornish of Totness, who is known to be 
very skilful in his management of birds in confinement, 
sent me word, that of two Swallows given him, one lived 
a year and a half, and the other two years. It has been 
observed by the Rev. Walter Trevelyan that these birds, 
like other feeders on insects, bring up the indigestible 
parts of their food in small pellets, called castings. 

The Swallow is common in summer throughout all the 
British Isles, and visits Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. 
M. Nilsson says it arrives in Sweden early in May, and 
retires in September. It does not go so far north as our 

VOL. II. R 



242 

Martin, but it remains a little later, as I am informed by 
Richard Dann, Esq. who has passed several seasons in 
Norway and Lapland, and who tells me also that there is 
no want of food for them, as the morasses in the sheltered 
valleys swarm with insects. 

Pennant says the Swallow visits the southern parts of 
Siberia ; and a Russian naturalist has included it among 
the summer birds of the countries between the Black and 
the Caspian seas ; it is also found at Erzerum from April 
till September. Swallows leaving Italy, which they all do 
in autumn, go off in the direction for Egypt, and have been 
seen in Egypt going still farther south. Bruce saw the 
Swallow in Abyssinia in winter. In Napier's " Reminis- 
cences of Syria," it is stated that Swallows were seen near 
Esdroelon on the march to Naplouse in December and 
January; our Swallow is included by B, H. Hodgson 
Esq., in his catalogue of the birds of Nepal, and Mr. 
Blyth has obtained it in the neighbourhood of Calcutta. 
Those from the western parts of Europe go to Western 
Africa. Sir William Jardine includes it among the birds 
of Madeira. Adanson in 1783, and Afzelius in 1793, 
saw the Swallow on the river Senegal and at Sierra 
Leone in that period of the year when it is absent from 
Europe. Mr. Tudsbury, of Chesterfield, who resided at 
Sierra Leone and Rio Nunez from 1821 to 182 8, says the 
Swallow, the Martin, and the Swift, are seen all the year 
in the neighbourhood of these two places ; but that they 
are less numerous in the rainy season from June to Septem- 
ber. Mag. Nat. Hist. vol. v. p. 449. To this I may add, 
that Mr. George Don told me he saw the Swallow, the 
Martin, and the Swift, at the Island of St. Thomas, on 
the equator, in the months of January and February in 
1822. 



SWALLOW. 243 

In the adult male the beak is black, the ridge elevated, 
the gape wide ; irides hazel ; forehead chestnut ; head, 
neck, back, wing-coverts, tertials, rump, and upper tail- 
coverts, shining steel blue ; primary and secondary quill- 
feathers dull black ; tail very much forked, the outer 
feather on each side as long again as the others, and 
nearly black, with an elongated patch of white on the 
inner web, commencing near the base, and terminating a 
little short of the end of the second feather, which, with 
the three tail-feathers next in succession, have each a 
rounded white patch on the inner web, and each also decrease 
in length ; the two middle tail-feathers are the shortest 
of the whole, also dull black, and have no white on either 
web. The chin and throat are chestnut, below that 
a bluish black band which terminates in a straight 
line across a little below the bend of the wing ; breast, 
under wing- coverts, belly, and under tail-coverts, buffy 
white ; legs and toes slender and black ; claws sharp and 
black. 

Whole length eight inches and a half, of which the very 
elongated outside tail-feathers measure nearly five inches ; 
the wings long and pointed, reaching beyond the end of 
the second tail-feather ; from the carpal joint to the end of 
the wing five inches ; the first and second quill-feathers 
nearly equal in length, but the first rather the longer of the 
two. 

The female has a smaller chestnut- coloured spot on the 
forehead; the dark band across the breast is narrower; 
the under surface of the body is less tinged with buff ; 
the upper part of the body not so fine in colour, and the 
outside tail-feathers are shorter. 

The young of the year have no chestnut colour on the 
forehead ; the throat is merely tinged with rufous ; the 

R 2 



244 

band across the throat is but faintly indicated ; the first 
set of tail-feathers are nearly square at the end, without 
white spots .on the webs. The long tail-feathers are not 
acquired till the first moult. 

White and buff-coloured varieties are not uncommon. 




MARTIX. 



TNSESSORES. 



245 

HIRUNDINID/E. 




THE MARTIN. 



Hirundo urblca. 



Himndo urbica, Martin Swallow, 
,, Tie Martin, 



House 
The 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 547. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 303. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 61. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 123. 
JENVXS, Brit. Vert. p. 158. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xviii. 



Hirondelle defenetre, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 428. 

THE spring appearance of the Martin in this country is 
usually a few days later than that of the Swallow. The 
Martin seems to commence its northern migration in 
Africa, and to cross the Mediterranean, resting occasionally 
on some of its numerous islands, in company with the 
Swallow ; but having comparatively a smaller wing, its 



246 HIRUNDINIDJS. 

relatively diminished powers of flight require longer time 
to perform the distance. Like the Swallow, the Martin 
also endeavours to establish itself about the habitations of 
man. The opinion entertained by many that they are 
birds of good omen, with which it would at least be 
unlucky, if not improper, to interfere, and the degree of 
confidence exhibited by the birds themselves, in their 
choice of situation, seem to have induced a general pre- 
possession in their favour, which their innocent and useful 
lives fully entitle them to enjoy. The habits of the 
Martin, in many instances, closely resemble those of the 
Swallow. That they return to the places, and even to 
the nests, which they inhabited during previous seasons has 
been frequently stated, and there appears to be no reason 
to doubt it. Gilbert White, in that part of his Journal 
published in the second series of Gleanings in Natural 
History, says, "July 6th, 1783. Some young Martins 
came out of the nest over the garden door. This nest was 
built in 1777, and has been used ever since." Their nests, 
as every one has seen, are fixed under the eaves of houses, 
or in the upper angles of windows, and hence its name of 
House Martin, and Window Martin. While the building 
of their nests is in progress, these birds are frequently to be 
seen on the ground in damp places, collecting the mud or 
clay of which the outside of the nest is composed. M. 
Vieillot says they select worm casts for this purpose. The 
earth probably becomes still further moistened with a 
portion of saliva from the bird, by which its tenacity is 
increased. White remarks " A Martin has built its nest 
against the glass of a window. It seems to stick firmly, 
and has no other support." The hemispheric form of the 
nest, when finished, is well known : while in progress, a 
single layer only of soft earth is laid on along the whole 



MARTIN. 247 

line, day after day, which is thus allowed to become hard 
before additional weight is superadded. When the exter- 
nal circular wall is finished, the cavity within is lined with 
a few bents of hay and some soft feathers, and the nest 
thus completed is frequently occupied by both birds at the 
same time, who thus appear to enjoy the habitation their 
united industry has achieved. In some instances these 
birds build under projections against the surface of high 
cliffs, as those referred to by Mr. Couch on the Cornish 
coast, and others mentioned by Mr. Selby as occurring 
about St. Abb^s Head, on the coast of Berwickshire. 

The Martin produces three, and sometimes even four 
broods in the season. Dr. Jenner, writing from home, 
says, " A pair of Martins hatched four broods of young 
ones in the house of a tradesman in this place in the year 

1786. The latter brood was hatched in the early part of 
October. About the middle of the month the old birds 
went off, and left their young ones, about half fledged, 
to perish. The pair returned to the nest the 17th of May, 

1787, and threw the skeletons out." 

The eggs are four or five in number ; they are smooth and 
white, measuring nine lines and a half in length, and six 
lines in breadth. Incubation lasts thirteen days. The 
young are at first fed by the old birds going into the 
nest to them; after a time, the young thrust their heads 
out at the opening on the arrival of either parent bird, 
who feeds them while hanging on by their sharp crooked 
claws to the rough outside of the nest. The old female 
begins to lay again as soon as each young brood is able to 
leave the nest. As the season advances a smaller number 
of eggs are produced ; but White says they are never 
without unfledged young ones as late as Michaelmas. 

The subject of the Martins deserting their young has 



248 HIRUNDINID^E. 

been adverted to. This singular fact in their economy has 
been particularly attended to by Mr. John Blackwall, and 
the following particulars are derived from that gentleman's 
published " Researches in Zoology." It did not come to 
my knowledge that these late broods are sometimes de- 
serted by the parent birds before they are capable of 
providing for themselves, till the spring of 1821 ; when a 
pair of House Martins, after taking possession of a nest 
which had been constructed in the preceding summer, drew 
out the dried bodies of three nearly full-fledged nestlings 
which had perished in it, preparatory to appropriating it to 
their own purposes. About the same time, and near the 
same spot, a similar attempt was made by another pair of 
House Martins ; but all their efforts to dislodge the young 
proving ineffectual, they entirely closed up the aperture 
with clay, and so converted the nest into a sepulchre. 
At first I was disposed to attribute the untimely fate of 
the nestlings, thus unexpectedly discovered, to the acci- 
dental destruction of one or both of the parents ; but a 
little reflection induced me to change my opinion. So 
many instances were called to mind of the sudden de- 
parture of House Martins, at periods when, to all appear- 
ance, they were most busily engaged in providing for their 
families, that what before was regarded as the unavoidable 
consequence of a fortuitous circumstance, I now began to 
suspect might be occasioned by a voluntary act of deser- 
tion. To clear up this doubtful point several examinations 
were made, at the second of which on the 22nd of October, 
1822, several riests, both of Swallows and Martins, were 
found to contain dead young ones. At a third search on 
the 19th of November, 1825, fourteen nests were ex- 
amined ; five of them contained dead nestlings, and one 
nest contained two eggs, whose contents very evidently 



MARTIN. 249 

showed that they had been forsaken when on the point of 
being hatched. A fourth search was made on the llth of 
November 1826, when it was found that of twenty-two 
nests then examined, eight of them contained dead young 
birds, amounting together to nineteen ; and five nests con- 
tained eggs amounting together to sixteen. Mr. Black wall 
mentions having seen a pair of House Martins feeding 
their unfledged young as late as the 20th of October. 
Young birds in the nest have been seen also in other parts 
as late as the 21st and 23rd of October. 

About the middle of October, however, Martins general- 
ly leave this country in large flocks, having previously 
assembled on house-tops, about churches, and lofty trees. 
White saw a small flock as late as the 3rd of November. 
A flock of more than one hundred were seen collected at 
Dover on the 13th of November 1831, and apparently 
going off. Montagu, in his Supplement, mentions having 
seen Martins daily in the neighbourhood of Kingsbridge as 
late as the 15th of November, in the year 1805. A flock 
of two hundred were seen at Barnstaple on the 17th 
of November 1838 ; and the Rev. W. F. Cornish mentions 
having seen one, near the cliff, over the brook, at Sid- 
mouth, in a warm situation fronting the south, so late as 
the 10th of December, in 1835. 

The Martin is a regular summer visiter to the British 
Islands, and considerable numbers go annually to Denmark, 
Sweden, Norway, and the southern part of Lapland. Mr. 
Lloyd, in his Field Sports of the North of Europe, men- 
tions that in Lapland he has frequently seen numbers 
of pots attached to houses, placed there to induce the 
Martins to build in them, in order to secure the benefit of 
their services in devouring the musquitoes. The Fabers, 
and other northern naturalists, include our Martin among 



250 HIRUNDINID^E. 

the regular summer visiters to the Faroe Islands, and even 
to Iceland. Pennant says it is common in Siberia, and 
from thence southward is found in most of the countries 
visited by the Swallow. On its passage in spring and 
autumn it visits many of the islands of the Mediterranean. 

In the adult male bird the beak is short and black ; the 
irides brown ; the top of the head, ear-coverts, back of the 
neck, wing-coverts, and back, are of a rich, glossy, bluish, 
black ; rump, and upper tail-coverts, white ; feathers of 
the wings and tail, dull black : the wings reaching to 
the end of the tail, which is forked; chin, and all the 
under surface of the body, white ; legs and toes small, and 
covered with short downy white feathers; claws curved, 
sharp, and of a greyish horn colour. 

The whole length rather exceeding five inches and one 
quarter. From the carpal joint to the end of the first 
quill-feather of the wing, which is the longest, four inches 
and one quarter. 

There is but little distinction between the sexes. Females 
and young birds of the year are not so pure in colour 
above, and the chin and throat are of soiled or greyish 
white. 

White varieties of the Martin are sometimes obtained. 



INSESSORES. 
FISSIROSTRES. 



SAND MARTIN. 



251 

IIIRUNDINID/E. 




"^ 



THE SAND MARTIN, 

OR BANK MARTIN. 

Hirundo riparia. 

Hirundo riparia, Sand Martin, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 549. 

,, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 305. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 61. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 125. 

Bank JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 158. 

Sand GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiii. 

Hirondelle de rivage, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 429. 

THE SAND MARTIN is the smallest in size of the species 
of Hirundo visiting this country. It makes its appearance 
here a little earlier than the Swallow or Martin ; but not 



252 

frequenting the habitations of men, its annual return is not 
so regularly or so generally noticed. Mr. Heysham, how- 
ever, has recorded that so far north as Carlisle, this bird 
has in two different seasons been noticed before the end of 
March ; and there are other records of its having been ob- 
served in Cumberland on the 4th and on the llth of April. 
Like the species already described, this little wanderer 
comes to this country from Africa, and frequents as its 
nesting-place high banks of rivers, sand-pits, and other 
vertical surfaces of earth that are sufficiently soft in sub- 
stance to enable the bird to perforate it to the depth 
necessary for its purpose. In such situations this little 
engineer forms circular holes in a horizontal direction, 
boring to the depth of two feet or more, with a degree of 
regularity, and an amount of labour, that is rarely exceeded 
among birds. The mode in which this perforation is 
accomplished has been well described by Mr. Rennie in his 
architecture of birds, in the following terms, page 18 : 
" The beak is hard and sharp, and admirably adapted for 
digging ; it is small, we admit, but its shortness adds to its 
strength, and the bird works, as we have had an oppor- 
tunity of observing, with its bill shut. This fact our 
readers may verify by observing their operations early 
in the morning through an opera glass, when they begin 
in the spring to form their excavations. In this way we 
have seen one of these birds cling with its sharp claws 
to the face of a sandbank, and peg in its bill as a miner 
would do his pickaxe, till it had loosened a considerable 
portion of the hard sand, and tumbled it down amongst the 
rubbish below. In these preliminary operations it never 
makes use of its claws for digging ; indeed, it is impossible 
it could, for they are indispensable in maintaining its 
position, at least when it is beginning its hole. We have 



SAND MARTIN. 253 

further remarked that some of these Martins 1 holes are 
nearly as circular as if they had been planned out with a 
pair of compasses, while others are more irregular in form ; 
but this seems to depend more on the sand crumbling away 
than upon any deficiency in the original workmanship. 
The bird, in fact, always uses its own body to determine 
the proportions of the gallery, the part from the thigh to 
the head forming the radius of the circle. It does not 
trace this out as we should do, by fixing a point for 
the centre around which to draw the circumference : on 
the contrary, it perches on the circumference with its 
claws, and works with its bill from the centre outwards : 
and hence it is that in the numerous excavations recently 
commenced, which we have examined, we have uniformly 
found the termination funnel-shaped, the centre being 
always much more scooped out than the circumference. 
The bird consequently assumes all positions while at work 
in the interior, hanging from the roof of the gallery with 
its back downwards as often as standing on the floor. We 
have more than once, indeed, seen a Bank Martin wheeling 
slowly round in this manner on the face of a sandbank, 
when it was just breaking ground to begin its gallery. 

All the galleries are found to be more or less tortuous 
to their termination, which is at the depth of from two 
to three feet, where a bed of loose hay, and a few of 
the smaller breast-feathers of geese, ducks, or fowls, is 
spread with little art for the reception of the eggs. It 
may not be unimportant to remark, also, that it always 
scrapes out with its feet the sand detached by the bill ; but 
so carefully is this performed that it never scratches up the 
unmined sand, or disturbs the plane of the floor, which 
rather slopes upwards, and of course the lodgement of rain 
is thereby prevented." 



254 HIRUNDINID^E. 

The eggs are from four to six in number; white, 
like those of the House Martin, but smaller, measuring 
only eight lines in length, by six lines in breadth. The 
Sand Martins are sociable birds, building in company close 
to each other ; and in some favourable localities the exter- 
nal apertures to their retreats, which are all that can 
be seen of their domicile, are very numerous, so much so 
that the surface of the bank appears perforated like a 
honey-comb. "The nestlings," says White, "are sup- 
ported, in common like those of their congeners, with 
gnats, and other small insects ; and sometimes they are 
fed with LibellultE (dragon-flies) almost as long as them- 
selves. In the last week in June we have seen a row of 
these sitting on a rail near a pool as perchers ; and 
so young and helpless, as easily to be taken by hand ; but 
whether the dams ever feed them on the wing, as Swallows 
and House Martins do, we have never yet been able 
to determine.*" When on the wing in search of food they 
skim low over meadows and commons ; they also drink, 
sip, and wash as they fly, sometimes, as the House- Martin 
and the Swallow. The young, when they have entirely 
left the nest to make room for the second brood, roost in 
numbers among the osiers which grow on the small islands, 
and on the banks of rivers. " The Sand Martin, I be- 
lieve," says Mr. Blackwall, " has never been suspected of 
forsaking its progeny ; yet that it sometimes does abandon 
them I have clearly ascertained, by repeated inspections of 
the nests of that species during the winter months." 

The Sand Martin is generally, but locally, distributed 
over the British Islands. Mr. Thompson of Belfast says 
it is a regular summer visiter to Ireland, but is not so 
numerous as the Swallow or the House Martin. It visits 
also the Orkneys and Shetland. Miiller includes it as a 



SAND MARTIN. 255 

bird of Denmark. M. Nilsson says it visits Sweden, and 
Mr. Hewitson saw it in Norway. It is found in summer 
in the more temperate parts of Russia and Siberia, and 
from thence over all the southern parts of the European 
continent, from which it passes towards the end of autumn 
across the Mediterranean to Africa, and is believed to go 
nearly as far south as the Cape. The Sand Martin rests 
at various islands while crossing the Mediterranean ; and 
M. Malherbe says that some remain in Sicily through the 
winter, and Vieillot says it is resident at Malta all the 
year round. Major James Franklin brought specimens 
from India, which were exhibited with his collection at 
the Zoological Society ; it has been found in the north- 
western part of India; and Mr. Blyth has obtained it 
near Calcutta. In North America, according to the testi- 
mony of Wilson, Mr. Audubon, and Dr. Richardson, this 
species is found from Florida over the United States, and 
as high as the 68th parallel, where they were seen in the 
month of July ; but they are not supposed to produce 
more than one brood in a season anywhere north of Lake 
Superior. 

The adult birds have the beak dark brown, nearly black ; 
the irides hazel ; the head, neck, back, wing-coverts, rump, 
and upper tail-coverts, uniform hair-brown, or mouse- 
brown ; the quill-feathers of the wing and the tail-feathers 
darker brown, almost blackish brown ; chin, throat, breast, 
belly, and under tail-coverts, pure white ; across the upper 
part of the breast a band of hair-brown ; legs, toes, and 
claws, dark brown, with a few short buffy white feathers 
on the posterior edge of the tarsus, just above the junction 
of the hind toe. 

The whole length four inches and three-quarters. From 
the carpal joint to the end of the wing four inches : the 



256 

wings, when closed, reaching beyond the end of the tail, 
which is forked ; the first quill-feather in the wing is the 
longest ; the others in succession diminishing gradually. 

Young birds of the year, before leaving this country, 
have the brown feathers of the back and upper tail-coverts, 
as also those of the wing-coverts and the tertials, tipped 
with buify white, as shown in the upper figure of the two 
representations given at the head of this subject ; the chin 
is also buffy white. 

White and yellowish white varieties of the Sand Martin 
are occasionally obtained. 

The upper figure in the illustration represents a young 
bird of the year ; the other is from an adult bird. 

The vignette below represents the edible nest of the 
Chinese Swallow. These nests, which look something like 
isinglass, are, when cleaned and broken in pieces, served up 
to table in chicken broth ; they eat short, like cartilage, 
and are perfectly flavorless. 




INSESSORES. 

FISSIROSTRES. 



AMERICAN PURPLE MARTIN. 257 

HIRUNDINIDM. 




AMERICAN PURPLE MARTIN. 

Hirundo purpurea. 

Hirundo purpurea, Purple Martin, WILSON, Araer. Orn. vol. i. p. 58. 

AUDUBON, Orn. Biog. vol. i. p. 115, pi. 22. 

NUTTALL, Man. vol. i. p. 598. 

AUD. Birds of America, v. i. p. 170. 

THE PURPLE MARTIN of the American ornithologists, 
Wilson, Audubon, and Nuttall, is here included in con- 
sequence of a letter received from Mr. Frederick M'Coy, 
of Dublin, informing me that a female example of this 
species had been shot near Kingston, in the county of 
Dublin, which had been sent for dissection to Dr. Scouler 
a few hours afterwards, and when preserved was placed in 
the Museum of the Royal Dublin Society. 

During the first week of September 1842, two other ex- 
amples of this same species were shot by Mr. John Calvert, 
of Paddington, at the Kirigsbury Reservoir. One of these 
specimens was lent me by F. Bond, Esq. ; it is a young 

VOL. II. S 



258 HIRUNDINID.E. 

bird of the year, and the outside tail-feathers are not fully 
grown up. From this bird the figure here inserted was 
taken. Since then Mr. John Calvert very kindly brought 
me his bird to examine, and this proves to be an old male, 
rather larger than the young bird, and of very brilliant 
plumage. These two birds, though shot during the same 
week, were not both killed on the same day, two or three 
days intervened, and the brood might therefore have been 
raised in this country. 

The Purple Martin, according to Mr. Audubon, makes 
its appearance in the city of New Orleans from the first to 
the ninth of February, occasionally a few days earlier. At 
the falls of the Ohio they arrive from the 1 5th to the 25th 
of March ; at Philadelphia they are first seen about the 
10th of April; they reach Boston about the 25th, and 
continue their migration much farther north, as the spring 
continues to open. From the circumstance of these Mar- 
tins leaving the United States early in August, Mr. Au- 
dubon is inclined to consider that they may go farther 
south from them than any others of the American migra- 
tory land birds. Interesting accounts of the habits of this 
species, and the partiality entertained by the Americans 
for them, will be found in the works of the Naturalists 
already quoted at the head of this subject. 

Mr. Audubon says, " I had a large and commodious box 
built and fixed on a pole, for the reception of Martins, in 
an enclosure near my house, where for some years several 
pairs had reared their young. The erection of such houses 
is a general practice, the Purple Martin being considered 
as a privileged pilgrim, and the harbinger of spring. Al- 
most every country tavern has a martin-box on the upper 
part of its sign-board. All our cities are furnished with 
houses for the reception of these birds ; and it is seldom 



AMERICAN PURPLE MARTIN. 259 

that even lads bent upon mischief disturb the favoured 
Martin. He sweeps along the streets, here and there 
seizing a fly, hangs to the eaves of the houses, or peeps 
into them, as he poises himself in the air in the front of 
the windows, or mounts high above the city, soaring into 
the clear sky. The flight resembles that of the Hirundo 
urbica? 

In the Middle States, the nest of the Purple Martin is 
built, or that of the preceding year repaired and augment- 
ed, eight or ten days after its arrival, or about the 20th of 
April. It is composed of dry sticks, willow twigs, grasses, 
leaves green and dry, feathers, and whatever rags he meets 
with. The eggs, which are pure white, are from four to 
six. Many pairs resort to the same box to breed, and the 
little fraternity appear to live in perfect harmony. They 
rear two broods in a season. The first comes forth in the 
end of May, the second about the middle of July. In 
Louisiana, they sometimes have three broods. 

Bill stout, black; head, neck, back, upper tail-coverts, 
and all the under surface of the body shining purple-blue ; 
wings and tail-feathers black, the primaries edged with 
brown ; the wing-coverts tinged with blue ; legs and feet 
blackish-brown. Whole length six inches and three-quar- 
ters ; wing from the carpal joint to the end of the longest 
feather five inches and a half. The female with the upper 
parts paler, and tinged with grey, the lower parts light 
grey, longitudinally streaked with black. 



s 2 



260 



INSESSORES. 

FJSSIROSTRES. 



HIRUND1NID&. 




THE COMMON SWIFT. 



Cypselus opus. 



Hirundo apus, 



Swift Swallow, 
The Swift, 



murarius, Common 
apus, 

murarius, T/ie 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 550. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 306. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 61. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 127. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 159. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ii. 



Martinet de Muraille, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i p. 434. 

CYPSELUS. Generic Cliaracters. Beak very short, triangular at its base, 
wide, concealed, depressed, gape extending beyond the eyes ; upper mandible, 
hooked at the point. Nostrils longitudinal, near the ridge of the beak, open, 
the edges raised and furnished with small feathers. Tarsi very short ; toes 
four, all directed forwards and entirely divided ; claws short, strong, and curved. 
Wings very long ; the first quill-feather a little shorter than the second. 



COMMON SWIFT. 261 

THE generic characters here inserted show the difference 
which exists in the structure of the foot and in the wing of 
the Swift as compared with the same parts in the species 
of the genus Hirundo, previously described. The great 
extent of wings, moved as they are by very large and 
powerful muscles, afford that decided power of flight which 
all have witnessed ; and the range of the toes, all four of 
which are turned to the front, assist these birds materially 
when climbing within the narrow apertures which they 
select for their nesting-places. 

The Swift comes to this country from Africa, and most 
probably by the same route as that pursued by the Swallow 
and the Martin ; it generally appears early in May, and 
without more variation than is observed in the arrival of 
the other species of this family ; but the greater part of 
them leaving us again by the middle of August, their stay 
here seldom much exceeds three months. Swifts have 
been found to return to the districts, and even to the nests, 
they have inhabited during previous seasons, as the follow- 
ing paragraph will show : " It is a remarkable fact," says 
Dr. Jenner, " that the Swallow tribe, and probably many 
other birds, which absent themselves at stated periods, 
should return annually to the same spot to build their 
nests. The Swift, which for nine months has some distant 
region to roam in, was selected for the purpose of an ex- 
periment to ascertain this with precision. At a farm- 
house in this neighbourhood, (Berkeley, Gloucestershire,) 
I procured several Swifts, and by taking off two claws 
from the foot of twelve, I fixed upon them an indelible 
mark. The year following their nesting-places were ex- 
amined in an evening when they had retired to roost, and 
there I found several of the marked birds. The second 
and third year a similar search was made, and did not fail 



262 

to produce some of those which were marked. I now 
ceased to make an annual search, but at the expiration of 
seven years, a cat was seen to bring a bird into the far- 
mer's kitchen, and this also proved to be one of those 
marked for the experiment." 

The Swift chooses for its nesting-place cavities under the 
eaves of houses, holes about steeples, or in the old walls 
of lofty towers, and in high windy days will remain for 
hours in its retreat, motionless, and in the dark. How 
great is the contrast when on other occasions it is seen 
darting rapidly, or wheeling in circles, and screaming 
aloud, while in pursuit of its insect food ; at one time sail- 
ing with ease and pleasure at an elevation where the bird 
is scarcely perceivable, and at another passing the angle of 
a building, as has been observed, with the almost incon- 
ceivable swiftness of a meteor. Great power of vision 
seems indispensable both to enable the bird to obtain its 
food, as well as to insure its safety under such rapid move- 
ments ; nor is even this power always sufficient to guard it 
against accident : a Swift on eager wing was seen in its 
flight to be carried against a wall, it was picked up stunned, 
and died almost immediately in the hand of the observer. 

The nest is formed of bits of straw, dry blades of grass 
and bents, bits of rag, and a few feathers, and being used 
for years in succession, has the appearance of being much 
compressed, and the various materials seem glued together 
by saliva, or some mucous secretion, which is supposed to 
be deposited by the birds themselves. Swifts are generally 
considered to lay but two eggs ; but Mr. Salmon has found 
that they produce three, and sometimes even four eggs. 
These are white, and rather large, measuring one inch in 
length, by eight lines in breadth. The young are not 
hatched till towards the end of June, and there is reason 



COMMON SWIFT. 263 

to suspect that they are slow of growth : they do not leave 
the nest till the end of July, sometimes still later. The 
young, though zealously fed by the parent birds while they 
remain in the nest, are but little attended to afterwards, 
and in some instances the whole family kave the country 
together as soon as the young are able to sustain them- 
selves firmly on the wing. Unless some accident happens 
to the first eggs, the Swift produces but one set in the 
season. " I have just met with a circumstance respecting 
Swifts," says Gilbert White, " which furnishes an exception 
to the whole tenor of my observations, ever since I have 
bestowed any attention on that species of Hirundines. Our 
Swifts, in general, withdrew this year (1781) about the 
first day of August, all save one pair, which in two or 
three days was reduced to a single bird. The perseverance 
of this individual made me suspect that the strongest of 
motives, that of an attachment to her young, could alone 
occasion so late a stay. I watched, therefore, till the 
twenty-fourth of August, and then discovered that under 
the eaves of the church, she attended upon two young, 
which were fledged, and now put out their white chins 
from a crevice. These remained till the twenty-seventh, 
looking more alert every day, and seeming to long to be 
on the wing. After this day, they were missing at once ; 
nor could I ever observe them with their dam coursing 
round the church, in the act of learning to fly, as the first 
broods evidently do. On the thirty-first I caused the 
eaves to be searched, but we found only two callow dead 
Swifts, on which a second nest had been formed." Now, 
although the maternal affection of the female bird, says 
Mr. Blackwall, in the instance before us, was sufficiently 
powerful to induce her to remain with her young till they 
were capable of accompanying her in a distant journey, to 



264 HIRUNDINID.E. 

a more genial climate, as is sometimes the case with House 
Martins when deserted by their mates ; yet the conduct of 
the male, if it does not absolutely establish the fact that 
Swifts occasionally abandon their offspring to destruction, 
certainly affords strong presumptive evidence in its favour. 
Mr. Salmon, in the tenth volume of the Magazine of 
Natural History, has recorded another curious instance in 
reference to the Swift. A pair of these birds continuing 
after the usual time to visit a particular spot, the situation 
was examined on the 2nd of September, and in the nest 
were found a pair of young, probably only a week old. 
The parent birds continued to feed them ; on the 1st of 
October they were ready to fly ; neither the old nor the 
young birds were seen after the 4th ; on the 5th the nest 
was examined, and found empty. " Thus," says Mr. Sal- 
mon, " this pair of birds remained in this country nearly 
seven weeks after all their associates had departed." 

Although the greater portion of the Swifts that visit, or 
are reared, in this country, take their leave by the middle 
of August, stragglers, probably some of those that have 
visited more northern countries, are also occasionally seen 
much later. R. B. Hale, Esq. M.P. of Alderley, saw one 
in Gloucestershire on the 9th of September, in the present 
year, 1839. One Swift was seen by Mr. Blackwall on the 
20th of October, 1815. A single Swift was seen in Perth- 
shire on the 8th of November 1834; and the Ttev. Mr. 
Cornish saw one in Devonshire in the year 1835 so late as 
the 27th of November. 

The Swift is generally distributed during its visiting 
season over England, and is a regular summer visiter to 
Ireland and Scotland ; but the remarks of several observers 
seem to prove that these birds are not so numerous now as 
formerly. They visit Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and 



COMMON SWIFT. 265 

Lapland. In Sweden, Professor Nilsson says this bird 
builds in hollow trees, even in the woods. From Scan- 
dinavia the Swift appears to range as far to the east as 
Lake Baikal. It is common over the countries of the 
European continent ; and Sir William Jardine includes it 
among the birds of Madeira. Montagu says it goes as far 
south in Africa as the Cape ; but M. Temminck believes 
that it does not go beyond the tropics. M. Savi, the orni- 
thologist of Tuscany, says it leaves Italy for Africa about 
the end of August. It is seen in Sicily, Malta, Corfu, and 
Crete; and according to Messrs. Dickson and Ross it is 
abundant at Erzerum from the beginning of May till the 
end of September. I have never seen our Swift in any 
collections brought from India. 

The beak is black, the mandibles very short, but the 
gape is wide ; irides dark brown ; the head, back, the 
whole of the body and wings, above and below, nearly 
uniform blackish brown, except a small patch under the 
chin, which is greyish white ; legs, toes, and claws, short 
and black. 

The whole length of the bird to the end of the forked 
tail, seven inches. From the carpal joint to the end of the 
wing, which reaches an inch and a quarter beyond the end 
of the tail, six inches and five-eighths : the second quill- 
feather the longest in the wing ; the first a little longer 
than the third. 

Young birds have the chin white ; the tertials, and some 
of the feathers on the upper surface of the* body, tipped 
with buify white. 



266 



1NSESSORES. 
FISSIROSTRES. 



HIRUNDINID^E. 




THE ALPINE SWIFT, 

OB THE WHITE- BELLIED SWIFT. 

Cypselus alpinus. 

Cypselus alpinus, Alpine Swift, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 127, note. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 159. 

White-bellied EYTON, Rare Brit. Birds, p. 1 7. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ii. 

Martinet a venire llanc, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 433. 

FOUR examples of the White-bellied Swift are now re- 
corded as having been obtained in the British Islands, and 
a fifth may be referred to, which was killed a few miles 
from land oif Cape Clear, on the south-west point of the 
coast of Ireland. The first of the four specimens was shot 
early in June 1820 by the bailiff of E. Holford, Esq. at 
Kingsgate in the Isle of Thanet, and this preserved bird 
being now in the possession of B. B. Hale, Esq. M. P. of 



ALPINE SWIFT. 267 

Alderley, to whom I am indebted for the use of a British- 
killed Bee-eater, as mentioned at page 219, that gentleman 
has most obligingly allowed me the use of the White- 
bellied Swift also for this work, and the figure at the head 
of the last page was drawn from it. The second bird in 
order of date, was shot near Buckenham Church in Nor- 
folk, on the 13th of October 1831, and is now in the pos- 
session of the Rev. Thomas Fulcher, of Old Buckenham, 
near Attleboro", Norfolk. The third specimen was killed 
early in March 1 833, at Rathfarnham in Ireland, and is 
preserved in the fine collection of birds belonging to T. W. 
Warren, Esq. as noticed by Mr. Thompson of Belfast ; and 
the fourth was picked up dead, near Saffron Walden, in 
Essex, in July 1838, as communicated to me by Joseph 
Clarke, Esq. 

In addition to those above-mentioned, a fine specimen of 
this bird was killed at Oakingham, on the 8th of October 
1841. I saw it before it was skinned, Mr. Gould having 
brought the bird to London to preserve it for his friend 
who shot it. 

In a recent publication, called, " the Note-book of a 
Naturalist," it is stated at page 226, that on the 20th 
of August 1830, a very fine specimen of the White- 
breasted Swift flew into the room of a friend at Dover, 
and was secured. The writer erroneously considers that 
his is the only record of the occurrence of this species in 
this country. 

This bird visits the continent of Europe, from Africa, 
every season, and is found at Gibraltar, in Spain, Provence, 
France, Switzerland, the Tyrol, Italy, the islands of Sar- 
dinia, Sicily, Malta, and those of the Grecian Archipelago. 
On its arrival, Dr. Latham says, it frequents ponds and 
marshes for fifteen or twenty days, after which it retires to 



268 HIRUNDINID^. 

the mountainous parts to breed. In Spain this bird builds 
among the high rocks about Aragon. In France, M. 
Vieillot says, this species only shows itself in the countries 
bordering on the Alps. It flies with still greater rapidity 
than the Common Swift, and has in proportion a greater 
length of wing, feeding almost exclusively on those insects 
which live in the high regions of air. The bird appears to 
have the general habits of our Common Swift, from which, 
however, it is easily recognised, even when on the wing, by 
its larger size, and its conspicuous white belly. High 
rocks, and the loftiest parts of cathedrals and church spires, 
are the places chosen by this bird, in the fissures of which 
it forms a nest of straw and moss, and these are united by 
a glutinous matter, which, when dry, makes the nest very 
hard. M. Vieillot says the nest is small for the size of the 
bird, and when fixed against a vertical surface is in the 
form of a half circle. This bird lays four or five elongated 
white eggs. 

The White-bellied Swift annually visits the rocks in the 
Canton of Geneva ; the high steeple at Berne, the cathe- 
dral at Fribourg, and other suitable places in the coun- 
tries already named, and M. Vieillot says it is also found 
at Constantinople. The Cypselus Africanus, or Le Mar- 
tinet a gorge blanche of Le Vaillant's Birds of Africa, is 
considered to be the same as this White-bellied Swift. 

The beak is black, and longer in proportion than in the 
Common Swift ; the irides blackish brown ; the top of 
the head, sides of the neck, and all the upper surface of 
the body, wings, and tail, nearly uniform hair brown ; 
chin, throat, breast and belly, white ; a band across the 
upper part of the breast; the thighs, vent, and under 
tail-coverts, hair-brown ; feathers on the legs brown ; toes 
orange brown ; claws dark brown. 



ALPINE SWIFT. 



269 



The whole length of the bird from the point of the beak 
to the end of the feathers of the tail, which are forked and 
very stiff, is eight inches and three-eighths. From the 
carpal joint of the wing to the end of the longest feather, 
eight inches and five-eighths ; the wings, when closed, 
reach two inches beyond the end of the forked tail ; the 
second quill- feather the longest in the wing ; the first fea- 
ther a little longer than the third ; the shafts of all black. 

The vignette below represents the foot of the Swallow, 
with the breast-bone and foot of the Swift. In the latter 
the four toes are all directed forwards. In the breast-bone 
the depth of the keel, and its consequent large muscles in- 
dicate the power of flight. 




270 



CAPRIMULGID^E. 



INSESSORES. 

FISSIROSTRES. 



CAPRIMULGIDtf. 




THE NIGHTJAR. 



Caprlmulgus Europeus. 

Caprimulgus Europeus, Tlie Nightjar, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 566. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 312. 

Nighthawk, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 62. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 131. 

Nightjar, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 160. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xviii. 

ISEngoulevent ordinaire, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. 

p. 436. 

CAPRIMULGUS. Generic Characters. Beak very short, flexible, slightly bent, 
the gape very wide, upper mandible curved at the point, and furnished with a 
row of strong hairs, directed forwards along each margin. Nostrils basal, 
large, partly closed by a membrane, and partly covered by the feathers of the 



NIGHTJAR. 271 

forehead. Feet with three toes in front, one behind ; the anterior toes united 
as far as the first articulation, the hind toe reversible ; the claws short, except 
that of the middle toe, which is long and serrated on the inner edge. Wings 
long ; the first feather shorter than the second, which is the longest in the wing. 

THE NIGHTJAR, or Nightchurr, both names having refer- 
ence to a particular noise made by the bird, which resem- 
bles the sound of a spinning-wheel, is, I believe, the only 
nocturnal bird among our summer visiters. It has been 
remarked that the Nightjars are among the Swallows what 
the Owls are among the Falconidte. These nocturnal, or 
night Swallows, as they have been sometimes called, do 
not differ much from the diurnal Swallows, either in their 
prey, or in the mode of taking it ; but their habit of fly- 
ing and taking their prey on the wing during several hours 
both in the morning and in the evening, feeding almost 
entirely on cockchafers and moths, is of great service to 
the agriculturist by thus consuming the prolific source of 
innumerable grubs and caterpillars. 

The Nightjar, like the Swallow, comes to this country 
from Africa. It is the latest arrival in order of date, ex- 
cept the Spotted Flycatcher, not making its appearance 
here till the middle of May, and generally leaves again by 
the end of August or the middle of September, but remain- 
ing near a month later in Italy before it seeks its winter 
quarters ; occasionally, though very rarely, staying much 
longer here, since Montagu mentions having shot one as 
late as the 8th of November, 1805, in Devonshire ; and 
Mr. Crouch says that one was shot in Cornwall, as if in 
departure, November 27, 1821. 

The Nightjar appears to prefer moors, heaths, and com- 
mons that are partially covered with bushes and patches of 
fern ; I have known them constantly frequent young wood 
of one or two years' growth, and have observed that if 



272 CAPRIMULGIDvE. 

disturbed in such a situation they usually fly to the high 
wood. If marked into a tree, and approached cautiously, 
the bird will be seen sitting along a branch of an oak, 
crouching close down upon it in the line of the limb of 
the tree, not across it. They appear to be partial to bask- 
ing on the ground, at the sunny side of a short bush, 
and if approached they squat close, seldom flying off till 
they are almost trodden upon, and then start up as if 
from under your feet. M. Vieillot says they are partial 
to stony places; and Mr. Dillwyn sends me word that 
at Penllergare in the dusk of a hot summer's evening he 
has frequently seen this bird alight in the middle of a 
road, and fly on when disturbed to a similar dusty 
spot only a few yards in advance, and the object ap- 
peared to be to rub himself like the Gallina in the dust. 

Like some of our twilight flying bats, the Nightjar seems 
to have a prescribed range over which he constantly seeks 
his food, passing at almost regular intervals by the same 
place many times in constant succession. When his haunt 
and route are once known, it is not difficult to place yourself 
so as to see him in perfection as he wheels round a fa- 
vourite tree, and he may generally be heard before he is 
seen. Wheel-bird, and various other provincial names are 
bestowed upon it, most of them having reference to the 
jarring noise which it produces. The authors of the Ca- 
talogue of the Birds of Norfolk and Suffolk, printed in 
the 15th volume of the Transactions of the Linnean So- 
ciety, say, we have twice seen a Nightjar hawking about 
in search of food in the middle of the day ; and upon one 
of these occasions the sun was shining very bright ; and in 
the third volume, at page 1 2, it is stated that this bird was 
at his feed as late as ten o'clock at night to the annoyance 
of a practical entomologist, who was out after moths. 



NIGHTJAR. 27o 

That the row of bristles along each edge of the upper 
inaudible of the beak see vignette, assists this bird when 
feeding on the wing, by increasing the means of capture by 
the mouth, there can be little doubt, but the use of the ser- 
rated edge on the inner side of the claw of each middle toe 
is not so obvious. The middle toe of the Nightjar is par- 
ticularly long, the claw is flattened and dilated on the inner 
edge, and the margin is divided so as to form a small comb 
of seven or eight teeth. The uses to which this little in- 
strument is thought to be subservient are various. White 
of Selborne, with whom the Nightjar was a favourite, thus 
writes of it in the commencement of his thirty-seventh 
letter to his friend Pennant : " On the twelfth of July, I 
had a fair opportunity of contemplating the motions of the 
Caprimulgus, or Fern-Owl, as it was playing round a large 
oak that swarmed with Scarab fei solstitiales, or fern-chafers. 
The powers of its wing were wonderful, exceeding, if pos- 
sible, the various evolutions and quick turns of the Swallow 
genus. But the circumstance that pleased me most was, 
that I saw it distinctly more than once put out its short 
leg whilst on the wing, and, by a bend of the head, deliver 
somewhat into its mouth. If it takes any part of its prey 
with its foot, as I have now the greatest reason to suppose 
it does these chafers, I no longer wonder at the use of its 
middle toe, which is curiously furnished with a serrated 
claw." In Atkinson's compendium of the Ornithology of 
Great Britain, at page 108, is a note on this subject in 
corroboration of the view of the use of the serrated claw 
taken by White. " We have witnessed the singular man- 
ner in which this bird takes its prey, consisting of moths 
and beetles, which it pursues with great agility on the 
wing, occasionally throwing itself backwards, and thrusting 
out its foot, with which it seizes and conveys them to its 

VOL. ii. T 



274 CAPRIMULGID^l. 

mouth with great deliberation : probably its serrated claw 
may assist this operation." Other uses have been assigned 
to this pectinated claw, namely, to comb out the hairs set 
along the upper edge of the mouth on each side, or to clear 
the delicate edges and angles of the mouth from the sharp 
hooks on the legs of insects, while some have supposed they 
are supplied to rid the birds of vermin. 

The Nightjar makes little or no nest, but under the 
shelter of a bush takes advantage of any slight depression 
in the ground, in which she deposits two eggs, which are 
generally laid during the first week in June. The eggs are 
nearly oval in form, beautifully clouded and veined with 
bluish grey on a white ground ; the length one inch two 
lines, by ten lines and a half in breadth. The young are 
at first covered with down, they are not difficult to rear 
when taken, and I have known them to be kept through 
their first winter ; but those I have had opportunities of 
observing never attempted to feed themselves. 

The Nightjar is common in most of the southern counties 
of England, particularly in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hamp- 
shire, Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, and westward to Cornwall, 
especially in all the uninclosed wooded parts of these coun- 
ties. Its occurrence in South Wales has been already re- 
ferred to. Mr. Thompson sends me word that it is a con- 
stant summer visiter to certain localities in Ireland, and of 
rare but of occasional occurrence in other parts. It is a 
common bird in Cumberland and Westmoreland, and ac- 
cording to Mr. Hawkeridge it inhabits the sea coast about 
Scarborough ; and though not uncommon in several parts 
of Scotland, Mr. Dunn could not hear of it in Orkney, and 
only saw one example in Shetland, which was considered a 
very great curiosity. Muller and M. Nilsson include it 
among the Birds of Denmark and Scandinavia. Pennant, 



NIGHTJAR. 275 

in his Arctic Zoology, says it is common over Siberia and 
Kampschatska, where it lives not only in forests, but in 
open countries, finding rocks and high banks for shelter. 
It is found, as might be expected, over the southern part 
of the European continent, particularly Spain, coming 
across to Gibraltar from Tangiers, visits Provence, Italy, 
and most of the Islands of the Mediterranean, having been 
observed as far to the eastward as the countries between 
the Black and the Caspian Seas. 

The upper mandible of the beak, extending but little 
from the forehead, is black, with nine or ten stiff bristles 
arranged along the edge on each side ; the under mandible 
also black at the point, but pale brown at the base ; the 
gape very wide and extending so far backwards as to bring 
the angle in a vertical line under the posterior edge of the 
eye : the irides dusky black ; the top of the head is pale 
greyish brown, produced by dark minute specks on a 
yellowish white ground ; a dark central stripe of blackish 
brown feathers passes to the nape of the neck ; the ear- 
coverts and a patch of feathers on each side behind the 
ear-coverts are also dark brown, bounded below and behind 
with pale yellowish brown, thus dividing the freckled grey 
colour of the head from that of the back, rump, and upper 
tail-coverts ; the scapularies anteriorly, and on the outer 
sides, are bounded by dark brown, mixed with some yellow 
brown ; the anterior part of the wing is also dark brown, 
bounded posteriorly with lighter brown ; the quill-feathers 
dark brown, spotted on both webs with yellow brown, and 
tipped with grey ; the first three primaries on each side, in 
the male bird, have a well-defined oblong patch of pure 
white on the inner web ; the middle tail-feathers freckled 
grey, with seven or eight darker transverse bars ; the two 
outer feathers on each side are dark brown, barred with 

T 2 



276 CAPRIMULGID,E. 

yellow brown on both webs, and in the males, these two 
feathers on each side have broad ends of pure white ; all 
the under surface of the bird, from the chin to the under 
tail-coverts, is of a pale yellow brown, with numerous 
transverse bars of darker brown ; both sexes with a few 
white feathers below the angle of the gape on each side; the 
legs, toes, and claws, orange brown ; the middle toe long, 
and furnished with a comb-like apparatus of seven or eight 
small teeth on the inner edge of the thin and dilated claw. 

The whole length of the bird ten inches and a half; 
from the carpal joint to the end of the wing seven inches 
and three-eighths ; the first feather shorter than the third, 
the second feather a little longer than the third, and the 
longest in the wing. 

The plumage of the male is more ferruginous than that 
of the female, whose plumage is darker than that of the 
males, and she has no white spots on the feathers of the 
wings or of the tail. 

The young in their first plumage are like the parents, 
but the birds of the year before they leave this country are 
distinguished by their smaller size and shorter tail. 





R A SORES. 



RING DOVE. 



277 

COLUMBIDAl. 




THE RING DOVE, OR WOOD PIGEON. 

THE QUEEST, AND THE CUSHAT. 

Columba palumbus. 

Columba palumbus, Ring Dove, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 392. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 31 7. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 47. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 406 

JENVNS, Brit. Vert. p. 161. 

Wood Pigeon, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. viii. 

Colombe rainier, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 444. 



COLUMBA. Generic Cliaracters. Beak of moderate strength, straight at the 
base, compressed, the point deflected. Base of the upper mandible covered 
with a soft skin in which the nostrils are pierced. Feet, three toes in front, 



278 COLUMBIA. 

entirely divided, one toe behind. Wings of moderate length, rather pointed ; 
the first quill-feather rather shorter than the second, which is the longest in the 
wing. Tail of twelve feathers nearly even at the end. 

WE have now arrived at the third Order of Birds, the 
Rasores of systematic authors : most of the birds of this 
order obtain the principal part of their food upon the 
ground. The Pigeons have been placed by some Ornitho- 
logists among the Insessores or Perching Birds, and by 
others among the Rasores or the Gallinaceous Birds. Mr. 
Thomas Allis of York has shown, in a paper published in 
the second volume of the Naturalist, page 57, in how many 
instances some of the Pigeons resemble the Perching Birds, 
but some of the Pigeons (not of our British species) in 
their habits and economy, also very closely resemble the 
Gallinaceous Birds, and the Columbid^ a family very nu- 
merous in species, are therefore arranged at one extremity 
of the Rasores, and immediately in connection with the 
Insessores. 

Our Ring Dove, so called from the white feathers which 
form a portion of a ring round its neck, a well known bird 
which is also called a Wood Pigeon in many parts of Eng- 
land, is the largest wild Pigeon in this country, and even 
in Europe. It is a constant resident in the warm and 
temperate districts of the Continent, as well as in all the 
wooded and enclosed parts of the British Islands ; but its 
numbers diminish in the higher northern regions, where this 
species appear only as visiters during summer. 

In this country the Ring Dove, or Wood Pigeon, is also 
called the Cushat and the Queest :* the last name having 
reference to a tone of sadness which pervades their notes. 
Brockett, in his Glossary of North- country words, considers 
Cushat to be derived from the Saxon cusceate, from cusc, 

* Queest, or Quist, forte, a querula voce. Nare^s Glossary. 



RING DOVE. 279 

chaste, in allusion to the conjugal fidelity of the bird ; and 
Mr. Booth in his Analytical Dictionary, says, " Pigeons of 
all kinds are understood to be particularly faithful in their 
loves. In courtship they salute with their bills, and mur- 
inur, or coo, their notes of pleasure. The male and female 
sit by turns while hatching, and alternately feed their 
young. They are not the birds of a busy and turbulent 
world, they have no gall-bladder, and, therefore, the secre- 
tions of the liver are, it is supposed, never converted into 
black bile : a fluid which has, in all ages, been associated 
with the irritable passions of mankind. Doves were sacred 
among the priests of antiquity. They drew the car of the 
celestial Venus, and were the messengers of the will of the 
gods. It was a Dove (ever since sacred to peace) that 
brought the olive branch to the ark of Noah, for which she 
has her place among the constellations ; and the Christian 
world still personate the Holy Spirit under the mystic 
emblem of a Dove." 

The feeling in favour of Doves and Pigeons in general, 
receives further confirmation from the habits of the natives 
of other countries. A writer in the fourth volume of the 
Naturalist, says, " The Common Pigeon swarms in the city 
of Petersburg and the country ; it is esteemed sacred, and 
called God's Bird by the Russians, from the circumstance 
of the Holy Spirit assuming that form when it descended 
upon our Saviour. To kill and eat it is considered an 
act of profanation. I had one day an opportunity of ob- 
serving, myself, how the respect for the Pigeon prevails 
amongst the lower orders. I shot six, away from a village, 
at one shot, and brought them home, with the intention of 
obtaining that master-achievement of modern cookery, a 
pigeon-pie; when I threw them on the table, a Russian 
servant who was near, after several ejaculations against my 



280 COLUMBIA. 

impiety and cruelty, snatched up one of the dead birds, and 
bursting into tears, commenced kissing and fondling it. 11 

The notes of this Dove may be heard almost incessantly 
through the months of March and April in most of our 
thick woods and plantations, particularly those of closely set 
firs, in which they delight to build ; the nest consists of a 
few sticks laid across, constituting a platform surface, but 
so thin in substance that the eggs or young may sometimes 
be distinguished. This structure is usually sixteen or 
twenty feet above the ground, and sufficiently broad to 
afford room for both parents and their young. Two eggs 
are laid, which are oval and white, measuring one inch 
eight lines in length, by one inch two lines in breadth ; 
these are hatched in sixteen or seventeen days ; the young 
are nourished with food supplied from the crops of the 
parent birds, who, inserting their own beak between the 
mandibles of the young bird, thus feed them with a soft 
and pulpy mass which is already half digested. The old 
birds produce two and sometimes three broods in the 
season ; and it is a practice among boys, in some countries, 
when they find a pair of newly hatched birds, too young 
and small for a prize, to tie each bird by one leg to a 
branch under the nest, passing the string through the 
bottom of the nest, and thus endeavour to insure the 
capture at a future day. The old birds feed during spring 
and summer on green corn, young clover, grain of all sorts, 
with peas in particular, and during autumn and winter on 
acorns, beech-nuts, berries, and turnip leaves. In cold 
weather they fly in flocks, roosting at night on high trees 
of ash and oak in thick woods. Ring Doves are in consi- 
derable estimation as an article of food, and one of the best 
modes of obtaining a shot at them is to be in waiting under 
the trees upon which they come to roost. Ring Doves, 



RING DOVE. 281 

like the Pigeons in general, are birds of great power of 
flight; and this species may be recognized when on the 
wing almost as far off as any bird I am acquainted with. 

Considerable pains have been taken by different indivi- 
duals to domesticate this species, and the eggs are frequently 
obtained and placed under other Pigeons ; but it generally 
happens that as soon as the young birds are able to fly, and 
have learned to feed themselves, they take their departure 
for more natural haunts. 

M. Vieillot says that they have not been able to succeed 

j j 

in France in inducing this bird to breed in confinement, 
though this secret was known to the ancients. Several per- 
sons have failed in this country ; but, on the other hand, 
some have succeeded. Mr. Thomas Allis, of York, has 
been successful for the two or three last seasons following. 
These birds have bred in the aviary of the Earl of Derby at 
Knowsley ; and two or three summers since, a pair of these 
birds in the Dove-house at the Gardens of the Zoological 
Society in the Regents Park, built a nest, and produced 
two eggs ; but, unfortunately, during the period of incuba- 
tion, in which the male assisted, the eggs were broken by 
some of the numerous other birds, most of them of the same 
genus, with which they were confined. 

This species is found as far south as the latitude of 
Madeira, and goes eastward to Sicily and Crete, and as far 
northward in summer as the southern parts of Siberia and 
Russia. It is found also in summer in Denmark and Swe- 
den, but not in Norway or Lapland. 

The beak is reddish orange ; the soft parts about the 
nostrils almost white ; irides straw yellow ; head and upper 
part of the neck bluish grey ; the feathers on the sides of 
the neck tipped with white, forming parts of four or five 
oblique rings ; back, scapulars, both sets of wing-coverts 



282 COLUMBID^E. 

and the tertials, a shade darker than the head ; the four or 
five first feathers of both sets of wing-coverts white, or par- 
tially white, which when the wing is closed produces only 
a white line down the edge of the wing, but when they are 
spread open these feathers then form a conspicuous white 
patch, which is visible at a great distance ; the primary 
quill-feathers are lead grey, with narrow white outer margins 
and black shafts ; rump and upper tail-coverts bluish grey ; 
tail-feathers twelve ; the pair in the centre of two colours, 
the basal two-thirds bluish grey, the ends dark lead grey ; 
the other ten feathers of three shades of grey, of which that 
in the middle is the lightest in colour, and pearl grey ; the 
chin bluish grey ; neck and breast vinous purple red ; belly, 
vent, and under tail-coverts ash grey ; under surface of the 
tail-feathers pearl grey in the middle, lead grey at both 
ends ; legs and toes red ; claws brown. 

Whole length seventeen inches. From the carpal joint 
to the end of the wing, ten inches : the first and second 
quill-feathers very nearly equal in length, and the longest 
in the wing, from which the others decrease gradually. 

The female does not differ much from the male, except 
that she is a little smaller in size. 

Young birds of the year before their first moult have no 
white on the sides of the neck, and the general colour of the 
plumage is less pure and glossy. Varieties, spotted over 
the body with white, are not uncommon, and are generally 
very handsome birds. 



STOCK DOVE. 



R A SORES. 



283 

COLUMBIDJE. 




THE STOCK DOVE. 

Columba anas. 

Columba anas, Stock Dove, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 390. 
SEJLBV, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 408. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 161. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. v. 
Colombe columbin, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 445. 

MONTAGU appears to have considered the Eock Dove 
and the Stock Dove but as one species, applying the trivial 
name anas to the Rock Dove, which is truly described, and 
giving no description of the Stock Dove. Bewick has 
figured the Rock Dove under the specific name of tenas, and 
remarks that the Stock Dove, Rock Pigeon, and Wood 
Pigeon, with some small differences, may be included under 



284 COLUMBIA. 

the same denomination. Dr. Fleming has also called his 
Rock Dove C. anas, considering them but one species, and 
I have, therefore, omitted the usual references to these 
works among the synonymes altogether. 

The Stock Dove is, however, perfectly distinct from the 
Rock Dove, as its localities, its habits, voice, and plumage, 
will sufficiently demonstrate. It was called anas * on 
account of the vinous claret colour of the plumage of the 
neck ; and Stock Dove, not because it was by some con- 
sidered to be the origin of our domestic stock, but because 
it builds in the stocks of trees, particularly such as have 
been headed down, and have become in consequence rugged 
and bushy at the top. In the open countries of Suffolk and 
Norfolk, this species frequently makes its nest in holes 
in the ground, generally selecting a rabbits burrow for the 
purpose ; and Messrs. Sheppard and Whitear, in their 
Catalogue of the Birds of those counties, printed in the 
fifteenth volume of the Transactions of the Linnean Society, 
mention, "that when the warreners find the young in a 
burrow, they fix sticks at the mouth of the hole in such a 
manner as to prevent the escape of the young, but to allow 
the old birds to feed them ; and when they are in good 
condition they are taken for the table." Mr. Leathes says, 
" it breeds in old trees near the decoy at Herringfleet." 
Mr. Salmon, in his notice of Norfolk birds, says, " the 
Stock Dove occupies the deserted rabbit burrows upon 
warrens, it places its pair of eggs about a yard from the 
entrance, generally upon the bare sand, sometimes using a 
small quantity of dried roots, &c., barely sufficient to keep 
the eggs from the ground ; besides such situations on the 
heaths, it nestles under thick furze bushes, which are im- 
pervious to rain in consequence of the sheep and rabbits eat- 

* JEnas from oinos, vinum., vinago, a name given to this bird by Ray. 



STOCK DOVE. 285 

ing off the young and tender shoots as they grow, the birds 
always preferring those bushes that have a small opening 
made by the rabbits near the ground ; a few pairs occasion- 
ally breed in the holes of decayed trees ; but this is of rare 
occurrence in this district. It generally commences breed- 
ing by the end of March, or the beginning of April ; the 
young ones, which are very much esteemed, being ready for 
the table by the commencement of June." Mr. Salmon 
also mentions his having known this bird to make its nest 
high up in a fir tree, like the Ring Dove, last described ; 
they also roost in trees, which the Rock and Domestic 
Pigeons never do, and unless under very particular circum- 
stances very seldom even settle in a tree at all. Mr. Selby 
says the Stock Dove in its habits resembles the Ring Dove, 
and is an inhabitant of woods, breeding in the hollows of 
old and pollard trees. Mr. Jenyns says the Stock Dove 
inhabits woods with the Ring Dove, but is less plentiful and 
more local. Not uncommon in some of the midland and 
eastern counties, where it remains the whole year. Builds 
in the hollows of pollard trees, and lays two eggs. Does 
not coo like the Ring Dove, but utters a hollow rumbling- 
note, heard at intervals throughout the spring and summer 
months. Flocks with the Ring Dove in winter, and sup- 
ports itself in the same manner. 

Mr. Blyth says the Stock Dove is rather a rare species in 
the south of England, and has a disagreeable grunting note 
very different from the musical coo of the Cushat, and 
equally unlike that of the Rock or dovecot species. Mr. 
Jesse, in the last edition of his Gleanings, 1838, vol. ii. p. 
256, mentions that some pairs of Stock-pigeons, Columba 
anas, build every year in the holes of the old oak pollards 
in Richmond Park. The keepers take the young, which 
they say are excellent eating. The eggs are oval and 



286 COLUMBINE. 

white, measuring one inch six lines and a half in length, and 
one inch two lines in breadth. The food of this species is 
very similar to that of the Ring Dove, namely, young 
green leaves, peas, grain, seeds, berries, turnip leaves, beech 
nuts, acorns, &c., according to the season of the year. 

The young of the Stock Dove are frequently sent to the 
London market, and sold to the poulterers, and I have this 
day, January 4, 1840, bought two old birds which have 
also been sent up to market for sale ; these came packed with 
some Ring Doves, and appear to have been shot with them. 

Columba anas is, in truth, a southern species. According 
to Sir William Jardine, Mr. Macgillivray, and other autho- 
rities, it is not found in Scotland, in the Hebrides, in Ork- 
ney, or in Shetland, where the Rock Dove is common on 
most of the high cliffs and promontories at the sea side 
which have caves or fissures. When the Stock Dove does 
go northward, it is only as a summer visiter. M. Nilsson 
includes it among the birds of Sweden, and has given an 
excellent figure of it in the coloured illustrations of his 
Scandinavian Fauna. In that country, where the Rock 
Dove is also found, the Stock Dove builds in holes of trees, 
and departs southward in autumn with the Ring Dove. M. 
Vieillot says it is only a summer visiter to Germany and 
France, and always found to inhabit woods in the interior 
of each country. It is found in Provence and the eastern 
part of Spain. It is abundant in Italy during September, 
October, and November, then frequently going farther 
south. It is included among the Birds of Madeira. It is 
found in Corfu, Sicily and Malta, going from thence in 
autumn to Algeria. Mr. Selby and M. Temminck con- 
sider it as widely diffused in North Africa, but not going 
southward of the tropic ; and the Zoological Society have 
recently received specimens from Erzeroom, which agree 



STOCK DOVE. 287 

exactly with our British examples ; Messrs. Dickson and 
Ross, from whom they were received, remarking in their 
notes of communication, published in the Society^ Proceed- 
ings, that it is common in that locality. 

The beak is reddish orange ; the irides scarlet ; head, 
neck, back, scapulars, and both sets of wing-coverts, bluish 
grey ; primary quill-feathers lead grey, the external margin 
lighter ; the secondaries pearl grey at the base of the outer 
web, the ends lead grey ; the tertials bluish grey, the last 
three with a single lead grey spot on the outer web, some- 
times a similar spot on the wing-covert feather above ; but 
these spots do not form a band in any position of the 
wing ; rump and upper tail-coverts French-grey ; tail- 
feathers twelve, the basal two-thirds bluish grey, then a 
narrow band of lighter grey, the ends lead grey ; the basal 
portion of the outer web of the outside tail-feather on each 
side almost white ; chin bluish grey ; sides of the neck 
glossy with green reflections ; breast purple red ; belly, 
flanks, vent, under wing and under tail-coverts French- 
grey ; legs and toes red ; claws brown. 

Whole length of a female thirteen inches. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, eight inches and three- 
eighths ; the first and fourth quill- feathers nearly equal 
in length, and a little shorter than the second and third, 
which are also nearly equal, and the longest in the wing. 

The male and female differ but little in plumage ; but 
the male is the larger bird, and his colours are more 
brilliant. 

Young birds before their first moult have no shining me- 
tallic feathers in the neck, and they are also without any 
spots on the last tertial feathers of the wing, or on the wing 
covert above. 




288 

RASORES. 



COLUMBIA. 



COLUMBID/E. 




THE ROCK DOVE. 

Columba lima. 

Columba livia, Rock Dove., SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 410. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 162. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. x. 

Colombe biset, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p. 446. 

As it is not intended to include in this work either 
figures or lengthened descriptions of those birds which 
exist in this country only in a domesticated state, I do 
not refer to the Columba domestica of Pennant's Zoology, 
vol. i. page 383, by including it among the synonymes, 
and reasons were given under the head of Stock Dove 
for omitting also the references in this instance to the works 
of Montagu, Bewick, and Dr. Fleming. 

The Rock Dove, as its name implies, is a species which 



ROCK DOVE. 289 

iii its natural and wild state inhabits high rocks near the 
sea-coast, in the cavities of which it lives the greater part 
of the year, only venturing during summer as far inland as 
may be necessary to visit the nearest cornfields, or other 
places, from which it can obtain its food. The Rock Dove, 
as a species distinct from the Stock Dove, was called 
Columba livid, on account of its lighter or more livid blue 
colour ; the pure white on the lower part of the back ; the 
two conspicuous black bars across the wings ; the voice, in 
conjunction with the habits, so opposite to those of the 
Stock Dove, are sufficient proofs of distinction, and accord- 
ingly the Rock Dove is not only admitted as a good 
species, but from several other circumstances there appears 
to be no reason to doubt that the Rock Dove is also the 
species from which our Domestic Pigeons were originally 
derived. 

This bird has a very extensive geographical range, being 
found as far north as the Faroe Islands, and southward at 
Teneriffe, Madeira, over North Africa, inhabiting most of 
the rocky islands in the Mediterranean, and eastwards as 
far as Greece. In our own country it is not only found on 
some of the high cliffs of our southern coast, but, according 
to Sir William Jardine and Mr. Selby, it is found in 
various parts both of the east and west coasts of Scotland. 
The specimen from which the figure here engraved was 
taken, was given me by John Malcolm, Esq., who brought it, 
with some others, from Scotland. Mr. Macgillivray has 
recorded that he found it in quantities inhabiting the rocks 
and promontories of the Hebrides. The Rev. Mr. Low 
and Mr. Salmon include it among the birds of Orkney, 
where, the latter gentleman observes that it is very nume- 
rous, breeding in the crevices of the rocks, but the nests are 
placed at such a depth that it is impossible to reach them. 

VOL. II. U 



290 .COLUMBID^E. 

Mr. Dunn says there are considerable numbers in the Shet- 
land Isles, where they breed in the rocks and deep subter- 
ranean caverns, the mouths of which open to the sea, and 
to which they constantly repair during the night. In the 
day they fly about in large flocks, searching for food, 
and when not engaged in feeding, their favourite resort 
appeared to be such portions of the high precipices as were 
covered with soft grass. It has also been observed of 
Shetland, that those islands which produced the most corn 
had the greatest number of Bock Doves. Their food con- 
sists principally of grain and seeds : Colonel Montagu ascer- 
tained that they eat considerable numbers of the Helix 
virgata ; and Mr. Macgillivray says they pick up several 
species of shell-snails, especially Helix ericitorum and 
Bulimus acutus. The Pigeon's mode of drinking is by a 
continued draught, and not by sipping, as practised by 
most other birds. 

The Rock Dove produces two pairs of young in the sea- 
son, each pair generally consisting of a male and female 
bird : the eggs are white, of a short oval shape, rather 
pointed at one end, measuring one inch five lines in length, 
by one inch two lines and a half in breadth. 

The extreme southern localities of this species have been 
already alluded to. North of Shetland it is found in Den- 
mark, Sweden, Norway, and as far as the Faroe Islands. 
Pennant, in his Arctic Zoology, says, that this bird goes as 
far east as Lake Baikal, and M. Temminck mentions that 
skins received from Japan do not differ in any respect from 
those of Europe or of Africa. 

A reference to our Domestic Pigeons, and to some of the 
varieties, rendered permanent by restriction, will follow the 
description of the Wild Bock Dove. 

The beak reddish orange, inclining to brown ; hides pale 



ROCK DOVE. 291 

orange ; head and neck bluish grey, the sides of the latter 
shining with green and purple reflections ; shoulders, upper 
part of the back, and both sets of wing- coverts, french-grey ; 
all the greater coverts with a black bar near the end, form- 
ing a conspicuous black band, extending outwards and for- 
wards to the edge of the wing ; primary and secondary 
quill-feathers bluish-grey ; the tertials french-grey, tipped 
with black, and with a conspicuous band of black below the 
black band on the coverts, the light-coloured band of the 
great wing- coverts intervening between the two dark 
bands ; lower part of the back pure white ; rump and 
upper tail- co verts pearl-grey ; tail-feathers twelve, of two 
colours, the basal two-thirds pearl-grey with dark shafts, 
the ends lead grey ; the chin bluish grey ; the throat 
purple and green ; breast and all the under surface of 
the body pearl grey ; under wing-coverts and axillary 
plume white; legs and toes reddish orange; the claws brown. 

The whole length of the bird eleven inches and a half. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing eight inches : 
the first quill-feather considerably longer than the fourth, 
but a little shorter than the second and third, which are 
nearly equal in length, and the longest in the wing. 

The females are not quite so large as males, and their 
colours generally less brilliant. Young birds in their first 
or nestling plumage, before their autumnal moult, may 
always be distinguished from the young of the Stock Dove 
by the broad patch of pure white on the lower part of the 
back. 

Of the Rock Dove, and its descendants, among our Dove 
house-pigeons, it is remarked, that they very seldom or ever 
roost on trees, or even settle in them, unless wounded by 
shot, or under peculiar circumstances, such as mentioned by 
Mr. Eyton in the account of the Stock Dove in his work 

u 2 



292 COLUMBIA. 

on the Earer British Birds. The Stock Dove, on the con- 
trary, roosts and lives almost exclusively in the woods, and 
the other distinctions of voice and plumage have been 
already pointed out. Our Dove house-pigeons possess 
great power of vision, as well as speed and duration of 
flight. Dr. Jenner says, " my ingenious -friend and neigh- 
bour, the late Rev. Nathaniel Thornbury, who had occa- 
sionally visited Holland, informed me that the Pigeons 
about the Hague make daily marauding excursions, at 
certain seasons, to the opposite shore of Norfolk, to feed on 
vetches, a distance of forty leagues." Domestic Pigeons 
have been known to live twenty years ; but ten or twelve 
years are more common, and they are not usually very 
prolific after five years. 

One of the first consequences of domestication, it is well 
known, is the production of various colours, generally, how- 
ever, retaining some indication of the original race, or re- 
producing some of the original traits, if selection be not 
attended to. The numerous and remarkable varieties 
among what are called Fancy Pigeons, however first esta- 
blished, are now maintained and perpetuated by selection 
and restriction, and some of them are among the most 
curious of zoological results. In some instances a remark- 
able change has been effected in the character of the 
feather ; thus in the Jacobins, more frequently for brevity's 
sake called Jacks, there is a range of feathers inverted quite 
over the hinder part of the head, and reaching down on 
each side of the neck as low as the wings, forming a hood. 
Another change, equally extraordinary, has been effected in 
that variety called the Broad-tailed Shakers ; the tail- 
feathers in these birds, all beautifully spread, amount to 
thirty-six, though the. normal number of true tail-feathers 
is but twelve. 



ROCK DOVE. 



293 



The changes, however, in some fancy Pigeons are not con- 
fined to the feathers, but modifications in form are effected 
even in the bones. A comparison of the Short-faced Tum- 
bler and the Carrier exhibits the first named with a very small 
round head, and a short, straight, conical beak, not more 
than half an inch in length, while the beak of the Carrier 
Pigeon measures an inch and a half in length, with a pro- 
portionally elongated head. The properties of the Carrier 
Pigeons, and some allied varieties, have also excited consi- 
derable interest from the certainty with which they find 
the place where they were bred, and that, in some cases, 
from an almost increbible distance. When, however, the 
training these birds undergo is explained, the experience 
thereby attained, their powers of vision uninterrupted from 
the elevation they take, and some recollection of prominent 
objects with their bearing upon the locality of the desired 
point, the difficulty is greatly diminished. These birds are 




294 COLUMBINE. 

generally bred in lofts at the top of the house, from whence, 
when able, the young birds accompany their parents in 
their daily excursions around, and thus learn to distinguish 
their own roof from any other. The further directions are 
thus given in a work on Fancy Pigeons : 

" In order to train a Pigeon for this purpose, take a 
strong, fully-fledged, young Carrier, and convey it in a 
basket or bag, about half a mile from home, and there turn 
it loose ; having repeated this two or three times, then take 
it two, four, eight, ten, or twelve miles, and so on, till they 
will return from the most remote parts of the kingdom ; 
for if they are not practised when young, the best of them 
will fly but insecurely, and stand a great chance of being 
lost. Be careful that the Pigeon intended to be flown is 
kept in the dark, and without food, for about eight hours 
before it is let loose, when it will immediately rise, arid 
flying round, as is their custom, will continue on the wing 
till it has reached its home." 

The spiral flight, when first let loose, is a flight of obser- 
vation, from which, as soon as the bird has reached suffi- 
cient elevation, and gained the sight of a known object, he 
goes off in a direct line to his point. Should fog or haze 
occur the bird would probably be lost. 

Examples of power and speed are thus recorded : In 
July 1808, a wager was decided by setting off three 
Pigeons, belonging to a young man named Wilson, in the 
Borough, who undertook that they would fly thirty-five 
miles in one hour. They were accordingly sent off the 
same evening at five o'clock, five miles beyond Tunbridge 
Wells, and arrived at the residence of their owner in the 
short space of fifty-three minutes, being seven minutes 
within the time allowed. A gentleman having a wager 
depending on the event, sent a Pigeon by the stage coach 



ROCK DOVE. 295 

to his friend at Bury St. Edmonds, with a note requesting 
that the bird, two days after his arrival there, might be 
thrown up precisely when the town clock struck nine in 
the morning, which was accordingly done, and the Pigeon 
flew into the loft of the Bull Inn, Bishopsgate Street, Lon- 
don, and was there shown at half past eleven o'clock the 
same morning, having flown seventy-two miles in two 
hours and a half. The fact was confirmed by a letter sent 
by post from the person at Bury St. Edmonds. 

A society of Pigeon-fanciers at Ghent give an annual 
prize for the best Carrier Pigeon. In 1833 this prize was 
decided on the 24th of June, when twenty-four birds were 
sent off from Rouen, whither they had been conveyed from 
Ghent. The distance in a direct line is about one hundred 
and fifty miles. They were started at Rouen at fifty- five 
minutes after nine o'clock in the morning. The first which 
arrived at Ghent had made the transit in an hour and a 
half; sixteen arrived in two hours and a half; three in the 
course of the day, and four were lost. 

On the 27th day of June 1819, some sporting amateurs 
of Antwerp sent thirty-two Carrier Pigeons to London, 
where they arrived on the 10th of July following, at four 
o'clock in the afternoon, each of them having a mark on 
both wings. In the evening they were countermarked, 
London. The next morning, Sunday, July llth, they 
were thrown up on Tower Hill, precisely at a quarter be- 
fore seven o'clock, viz. : six by Mr. George Babington ; 
eight by Mr. J. F. Sells ; six by Mr. Jacobs, of the firm 
of Messrs. F. Deckers, & Co., to whose care the birds were 
consigned ; the other twelve by the two men who brought 
them from Antwerp, via Calais. 

Fourteen of the thirty-two were lost ; eighteen arrived 
at their respective owners in the following order : 



296 COLUMBIA. 

1 at 12 o'clock the same day, Sunday, July llth. 

1 at a quarter past 12 . 

1 at half- past 12 . 

2 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon 
1 at 5 in the afternoon . . 
1 at 7 in the afternoon . 

7 came in the same day, the first performing the distance, estimated at 

about 240 miles, in 5 hours. 
1 came in at half- past 5 in the morning of July 12th. 

1 at 6 in the evening . 

3 at 7 in the evening 

2 at 9 in the evening 

1 at 1 1 in the morning of . . 18th. 

1 at 10 in the morning of . . 19th. 

1 at 4 in the afternoon of . . 21st. 
1 at 7 in the evening of 

18 Arrived 
14 Were lost. 

32 

A pair of these Pigeons were sent from Antwerp to Sir 
John Sebright at Beechwood ; they were confined for TWO 
YEARS in a room from which they could not see the horizon, 
and produced several young ones. The male died, and the 
female was then put into a place with other Pigeons, from 
which she disappeared, and Sir John received a letter from 
Antwerp to say that she had returned there. 

This power has, by an interchange of birds, been made 
available both in war and in commerce. 

In reference to the mode of marking these valuable 
Pigeons, I copy the following from the 25th Number of the 
Zoologist. About the beginning of August 1844, a fisher 
boy was rambling about Spern Head, and discovered a 
Pigeon resting on the top of the house of one of the seamen 
that manned the life-boat. He procured a gun and killed 
it. When plucking off the feathers, he observed one which 
attracted his notice, and kept it on account of its beauty. 
The bird was a Carrier Pigeon, and had been sent from 



ROCK DOVE. 297 

Hamburgh ; and on this feather (the fourth of the wing,) 
was a drawing of exquisite design and execution. The 
ground colour of the feather was of a light dove, the figures 
being wrought in black. In the centre of a ring were two 
doves, each holding a letter, and near it the initials of the 
owner, and the number 119, round which was a motto in 
German. The whole drawing occupied a space of about 
an inch square. This feather is still preserved at Spern 
Head as a great curiosity. 

In Captain Carleton's memoirs there is a description of 
the Naval Battle of Solebay, fought on the 28th of May 
1672. The following extract in reference to Pigeons kept 
on board of ship, is not without interest. " I cannot 
here omit one thing, which to some may seem trifling, 
though I am apt to think our naturalists may have a dif- 
ferent opinion of it, and find it afford their fancies no un- 
diverting employment in more curious and less perilous 
reflections. We had on board the London, where, as I 
have said I was a volunteer, a great number of Pigeons, of 
which our commander was very fond. These, on the first 
firing of our cannon, dispersed, and flew away, and were 
seen nowhere near us during the fight. The next day it 
blew a brisk gale, and drove our fleet some leagues to the 
southward of the place where they forsook our ship, yet 
the day after they all returned safe on board ; not in one 
flock, but in small parties of four or five at a time. Some 
persons at that time on board the ship, admiring at the 
manner of their return, and speaking of it with some sur- 
prise, Sir Edward Sprage told them, that he brought those 
Pigeons with him from the Streigths ; and that when pur- 
suant to his orders he left the Revenge man-of-war to go 
on board the London, all those Pigeons, of their own ac- 
cord, and without the trouble or care of carrying, left the 



298 



COLUMBIA. 



Revenge likewise, and removed with the sailors on board 
the London, where I saw them : all which many of the 
sailors confirmed to me. What sort of instinct this could 
proceed from I leave to the curious.' 1 

The vignette represents an employment quite in cha- 
racter with so gentle a messenger. 




RASORES. 



TURTLE DOVE. 



299 
COLUMRIDM. 




THE TURTLE DOVE. 

Columba turtur. 

Columba turtur, The Turtle, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 394. 

Dove, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 322. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 47. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 41 3. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 162. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ii. 

Colombe turtureUe, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 448. 



300 COLUMBID^E. 

THE TURTLE DOVE is only a summer visiter here, and 
like most of our summer visiters comes to this country from 
Africa, and returns there again before winter, not remain- 
ing even in the Italian states beyond the middle of autumn. 
These birds arrive in England about the end of April, or 
the beginning of May, and are rather more numerous in 
the south-eastern, southern, and midland counties than in 
those which are farther north. Their appearance is ob- 
served and hailed with pleasure each returning spring, as 
denoting the season of buds and flowers, and as emblems of 
serenity and peace their mournfully plaintive notes give 
pleasure. Sportsmen speak of a flight of Pigeons, but they 
say also a dule of Turtles, from doleo, the term in this in- 
stance, as in that before mentioned at page 278, having 
reference to the particular character of the voice of the 
bird. They frequent woods, fir plantations, and high thick 
hedges dividing arable land. They make a thin, almost 
transparent platform nest, eight or ten feet above the 
ground in the forked branch of an oak, on a fir tree, or 
near the top of a thick and tall bush. Upon this nest the 
female deposits two eggs about the middle of June, accord- 
ing to the observations of Mr. Jenyns. The eggs are 
white, rather pointed at one end, one inch two lines and a 
half long, by ten lines in width. The parent birds sit by 
turns, the male occasionally also feeding his mate during 
incubation, and both afterwards mutually labouring for the 
support of the young. In this country they are considered 
as producing but one brood in the season, but in the South 
of France these birds are known to have a second pair of 
young. Their food is grain, particularly wheat, and they 
are constant visiters to the wheat-field while the corn is 
growing, and to pea-fields : they also feed on rape, and 
other small seeds. In the autumn they fly in small parties 



TURTLE DOVE. 301 

of ten or twelve birds, and leave this country about the 
ond of August, and sometimes as late as the end of Sep- 
tember, particularly in those seasons when our harvest is 
backward. I have several times killed both adult birds 
and the young of the year when out Partridge shooting in 
Hertfordshire; but I have observed that these birds are 
more numerous in the thickly-wooded parts of the middle 
of the county of Kent than elsewhere. 

In the western counties, the Turtle Dove is found in 
Dorsetshire, Devonshire, and is not uncommon in Cornwall. 
Mr. Eyton says it is found in Shropshire, where it is called 
the Wrekin Dove. It is found in Lancashire ; and is men- 
tioned as visiting Cumberland both by Mr. Heysham and 
Mr. Sanderson. In Ireland, Mr. Templeton says this spe- 
cies has been seen at Cranmore and at Shane^s Castle. Sir 
William Jardine sends me word that he once shot this bird 
in the garden of Jardine Hall in Dumfriesshire, and in the 
eighth volume of the Magazine of Natural History there is 
a notice of a specimen of the Turtle Dove having been shot 
in Perthshire in 1834, so late in the year as the 20th of 
October. On the eastern side of England it is common in 
Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk. The Rev. Richard Lubbock, 
who has favoured me with many notes in reference to Birds 
and Fishes, tells me that the Turtle Dove builds frequently 
in fir plantations in various parts of Norfolk ; is content to 
place its nest much nearer the ground, and in a much 
smaller tree than the Ring Dove affects ; and mentions that 
he has observed it breeding within half a mile of the city of 
Norwich. This bird has been taken near Scarborough, 
and also near York ; and Bewick mentions that a young 
bird was shot out of a flock at Prestwick Car in Northum- 
berland, in the month of September 1794. I do not find 
any notice of the Turtle Dove visiting any part of Scan- 




302 COLUMBIA. 

dinavia or Russia. It is common in Germany in summer, 
and from thence southward to the shores and islands of the 
Mediterranean, going still farther south before the end of 
autumn. Mr. Fellows has included this bird among those 
seen by him in Asia Minor in 1838; and Mr. H. Strick- 
land saw it at Smyrna in the month of April 1 836. 

The adult male in summer has the beak brown ; the 
irides reddish brown ; under the eye a small patch of naked 
red skin ; top of the head bluish ash, inclining to brown on 
the back of the neck ; on the lower part of the side of the 
neck are four rows of black feathers, tipped with white, 
forming four oblique bars ; scapulars, back, and rump, pale 
brocoli brown, the centre of each feather still darker ; both 
sets of wing-coverts clove brown, broadly margined with 
bright red brown ; the most external smaller wing-coverts 
bluish grey ; quill-feathers brocoli brown ; upper tail-co- 
verts, and the two central tail-feathers, clove brown ; the 
other tail-feathers darker brown, tipped with white; the 
outer tail-feather on each side, with the outer web, also 
white ; chin, neck, and breast, pale wood brown, with a 
vinous tint over the latter; belly, vent, and under tail- 
coverts white ; under surface of the tail-feathers blackish 
brown, tipped with white, as on the upper surface : under 
wing-coverts and sides of the body bluish grey ; legs and 
toes yellow brown ; claws darker brown. 

Whole length eleven inches and a half. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, six inches and three- 
quarters : the first and second quill-feathers rather longer 
than the third, and the longest in the wing. 

The colours in the female are less bright and pure than 
those of the male, and she is rather smaller in size. 

Young birds of the year up to the time of leaving this 
country have the beak dark brown ; the general colour of 



TURTLE DOVE. 



303 



the plumage of the head and body hair brown ; the back 
rather darker than the front of the neck ; the wing-coverts 
tipped with buffy white; the flight, or quill-feathers, slight- 
ly tinged on their outer edges with rufous ; belly and under 
tail-coverts white ; flanks bluish grey ; tail-feathers above 
hair brown, on the under surface blackish brown ; the 
outer feathers on each side with the external web, and the 
next two with the ends, white ; legs, toes, and claws, 
brown. 

The upper figure in the engraving at the head of this 
subject represents an adult bird ; the lower figure was 
taken from a young bird of the year. 

The vignette represents in outline the form of the breast- 
bone of our Turtle Dove of the natural size, and indicates 
by the depth of the keel the great powers of flight pos- 
sessed by the birds of this genus. 




304 COLUMBIA. 

RASORES. COLUMBIDA', 



\) 




THE PASSENGER PIGEON. 

Ectopistes migratorius. 

Columba migratoria, Passenger Pigeon, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 145. 

JENVNS, Brit. Vert. p. 163. 

Migratory EYTON, Rare Brit. Birds, p. 30. 

Columbe voyageuse, TEMM. Suppl. Man. d'Ornith. pt. iv. p. 

309. 
Ectopistes migratorius, Passenger Turtle^ SELBY, Nat. Lib. Ornith. vol. v. p. 177. 

ECTOPISTES. Generic Characters. Bill slender, notched. Wings rather 
elongated, pointed ; the first and third quill- feather equal, the second longest. 
Tail rounded, or cuneated. Feet short, naked: anterior scales of the tarsi im- 
bricate ; lateral scales very small, reticulate. 




PASSENGER PIGEON. 305 

THE genus Ectopistes, the characters of which were first 
published in the third volume of the Zoological Journal, 
page 362, was instituted by Mr. Swainson, for the recep- 
tion of the Columba migratoria, and Columba Carolinensis 
of authors, birds which, Mr. Selby observes in the volume 
quoted, " though nearly allied in other characters, are dis- 
tinguished from the rest of the Turtles by the greater 
length of their wings and tail, those essential organs of 
motion, the extra developement of which necessarily in- 
dicates an economy and mode of life different from that of 
those species where these members are comparatively short, 
and differently proportioned." 

This beautiful Pigeon is a native of North America, over 
nearly the whole of which immense continent it occasion- 
ally rambles, the country to the west of the Rocky Moun- 
tains only excepted. According to Mr. Hutchins, they 
abound in the country round Hudson's Bay, where they 
usually remain as late as December, feeding, when the 
ground is covered with snow, on the buds of juniper. Dr. 
Richardson says this celebrated bird arrives in the fur- 
countries in the latter end of May, and departs in October. 
It annually attains the sixty-second degree of latitude in 
the warmer central districts, but reaches the fifty-eighth 
parallel on the coast of Hudson's Bay in very fine summers 
only. Mr. Hutchins mentions a flock of these Pigeons 
visiting and staying two days at York Factory in 1775, as 
a remarkable occurrence. Wilson says they spread over 
the whole of Canada ; were seen by Captain Lewis and his 
companions near the great falls of the Missouri, upwards of 
two thousand five hundred miles from its mouth, reckoning 
the meanderings of the river ; were also met with in the 
interior of Louisiana by Colonel Pike; and extend their 
range as far south as the Gulf of Mexico, occasionally 

VOL. n. x 



306 COLUMBID.E. 

visiting or breeding in almost every quarter of the United 
States. 

Captain James Ross, in the Natural History portion of 
the Appendix to the Narrative of the second voyage by Sir 
John Ross, says of this Pigeon, " A young male bird 
flew on board the Victory during a storm, whilst crossing 
Baffin's Bay in latitude 73i N. on the 31st of July, 1829. 
It has never before been seen beyond the sixty-second de- 
gree of north latitude ; and the circumstance of our having 
met with it so far to the northward, is a singular and in- 
teresting fact." Dr. Richardson, in the Appendix to Cap- 
tain Back's Narrative, referring to this occurrence of the 
Passenger Pigeon, remarks, " that it flew on board the 
Victory during a storm, and must have strayed from a 
great distance. The wind, as we find by a reference to Sir 
John Rosses Narrative, blew from the north-east at the 
beginning of the gale, shifting afterwards to the eastward. 
As the Victory was to the northward of the island of Disco 
at the time, if the bird came in either of these directions, it 
must have taken flight from the northern part of Green- 
land, but it is not likely to have found food on that barren 
coast."" M. Temminck, in the recently published fourth 
part of his Manual of Birds found in Europe, says, this 
bird has been taken both in Norway and in Russia. Dr. 
Fleming, in his History of British Animals, page 145, says, 
" I have to add the occurrence of a single individual, of a 
species hitherto unknown, even as a straggler, the Pas- 
senger Pigeon, Golumba migratoria. It was shot, while 
perched on a wall in the neighbourhood of a pigeon-house, 
at Westhall, in the parish of Monymeal, Fifeshire, the 31st 
of December, 1825. The feathers were quite fresh and 
entire, like those of a wild bird." This species is therefore 
included in this History of British Birds. 



PASSENGER PIGEON. 307 

Since the publication of the preceding notice, another 
example of this species has been killed near Royston in 
Hertfordshire, which being sent, as in the case of the Eock 
Thrush, to Mr. John Norman for preservation, I received 
the following notice of the occurrence from my young 
friend Mr. Hale Wortham. This bird was obtained be- 
tween Royston and Chishill, early in the month of July 
1844, by the sons of the tenant of the farm called Known 1 s 
Folly, about two miles east of Royston. When the lads 
first saw the bird it appeared so much exhausted they 
could have knocked it down with a pole, if they had had 
one, they however fetched a gun and shot it. When ex- 
amined the crop was quite empty, but in the stomach there 
were some few seeds, resembling cole-seed, and a few small 
stones, but no barley, or any traces of artificial food. The 
plumage was perfect, and neither the wings, the tail, or the 
legs, exhibited any sign that the bird had been in confine- 
ment. I have learned by a communication from the Rev. 
Mr. Williams, who is well acquainted with birds, that he 
saw a Passenger Pigeon in a wood near Tring, also in 
Hertfordshire, though on the other side of the county ; but 
this covert being strictly watched, as a preserve for Phea- 
sants, the use of a gun, and the requisite search, were not 
permitted. 

For long and particular accounts of the vast numbers and 
extraordinary habits of this migratory or Passenger Pigeon 
in America, I must refer to the ornithological histories of 
Wilson and Audubon. Like other Pigeons, it makes a 
slender platform nest; but, unlike other Pigeons, it lays 
but one egg. The following is an extract from the pub- 
lished Proceedings of the Zoological Society for the year 
1833, page 10. A note by James Hunt, one of the So- 
ciety"^ keepers was read. It related to the breeding of the 

x2 



308 COLUMBIA. 

Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius (Swains,) in the 
Society's menagerie. A pair of these birds began to build 
their nest on the 25th of April, 1832, having been three or 
four days in selecting a proper place in a fir-tree in the 
inclosure appropriated at the Gardens to the Pigeons. The 
female was the nest-builder. The male bird performed the 
most laborious part of the work : he collected and con- 
veyed to the spot all the materials, principally sticks and 
straw, of which the nest was composed. He alighted on 
the back of the female with each fresh supply, so as not to 
disarrange any part of the nest which she had formed. 
They began their task in the morning, and completed it 
the same evening. One egg was laid on the morning of 
the 26th, and the female commenced sitting immediately. 
A young bird was hatched in sixteen days. The male re- 
lieved the female during the period of incubation. 

Another instance of the breeding in this country of the 
Passenger Pigeon, occurred nearly at the same time in the 
menagerie of the President of the Zoological Society, the 
Earl of Derby, at his seat, Knowsley, in Lancashire. 

The beak is orange ; the irides pale yellow ; the head, 
cheeks, back of the neck, wing-coverts, back, and upper 
tail-coverts bluish grey ; sides of the neck reddish chestnut, 
beautifully iridescent, reflecting green by transmitted light 
and purple by reflected light ; lower part of the neck 
behind, the scapulars and tertials, brownish grey; wing- 
coverts with a few oblong spots of black ; primaries lead 
grey, with lighter-coloured outer margins, the shafts black ; 
the tail long, cuneiform ; the four middle tail-feathers the 
longest, lanceolate and pointed ; the outer four on each 
side graduated ; the middle pair blackish brown ; the next 
long feather on each outside white, tinged with pearl grey 
over a portion of the outer web, and lead grey at the base; 



PASSENGER PIGEON. 



309 



the other four outside feathers white, partly tinged with 
pearl grey, and at the base with lead grey ; chin bluish 
grey ; throat and breast rich chestnut bay, becoming paler 
on the belly and flanks ; vent and under tail-coverts white; 
legs and toes rather long, and reddish orange ; the claws 
black. 

The whole length of an adult male bird seventeen inches. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, eight inches 
and a half; the first and third quill- feathers equal in 
length, longer than the fourth, but a little shorter than the 
second, which is the longest in the wing. 

The female is rather smaller than the male, seldom mea- 
suring more than sixteen inches in length, and her plumage 
is less pure and bright, being more tinged with brown. 




310 

RASORES. 



PHASIANID.E. 



PHASIANIDJE. 




THE COMMON PHEASANT. 
Phasianus colcMcus. 

Phasianus Colchicus, Common Pheasant, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

The BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 331, 

v> yi >> FLEM. Brit. An. p. 46. 



COMMON PHEASANT. 311 

Phasianus ColcJiicus, Common Pheasant, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 417. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 166. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xxi. 

Faisan vulgaire, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 453. 

PHASIANUS. Generic Characters. Bill of moderate length, strong; upper 
mandible convex, naked at the base, and with the tip bent downwards. Nostrils 
basal, lateral, covered with a cartilaginous scale ; cheeks, and the skin surround- 
ing the eyes, destitute of feathers, and with a verrucose red covcering. Wings 
short: the first quill- feather narrow towards the tip ; the fourth and fifth feathers 
the longest in the wing. Tail long, wedge-shaped, graduated, containing eighteen 
feathers. Feet three toes in front, one behind ; the three anterior toes united 
by a membrane as far as the first joint ; the hind toe articulated upon the tarsus, 
which in the male birds is furnished with a horny, conical, and sharp spur. 

DANIELS, in his Rural Sports, says, Pheasants were 
brought into Europe by the Argonauts 1 250 years before 
the Christian sera, and are at present found in a state of 
nature in nearly the whole of the Old Continent. It may 
surprise the sportsman to read that this bird, which he 
finds wild in forests which can scarcely be said to have an 
owner, was brought from the banks of the Phasis, a river 
in Colchis in Asia Minor, and artificially propagated with 
us, and in other parts of the globe. History assigns to 
Jason the honour of having brought this bird, on his cele- 
brated expedition, from the banks of the Phasis, and hence 
the modifications of the word, viz. Phasianus in Latin, 
Pheasant in our own language, Faisan in French, and 
Fasiano in Italian. The ancient Colchis, from which the 
specific name is derived, is the Mingrelia of the present 
day ; and there, it is said, this splendid bird is still to be 
found wild, and unequalled in beauty. The price Phea- 
sants bore, according to Echard's History of England, AJD. 
1299, being the 27th of the reign of Edward the First, 
was fourpence : at the same period the value of a Mallard 
was three halfpence, a Plover one penny, and a couple of 
Woodcocks three halfpence. 

Extensively diffused in England as far north as over the 



312 PHASIANID^E. 

whole county of Northumberland, Mr. Selby yet observes 
in his work, that although the Pheasant has been for such 
a length of time a naturalised inhabitant of this country, 
the cause of its preservation must be referred, not so much 
to the wildness of its nature, as to the care and expense 
bestowed to that end by noblemen, and other considerable 
landed proprietors, without which the breed would, in all 
probability, have been long since extinct. Independent of 
the beauty of its plumage as an object of acquisition, the 
high estimation it bears at the tables of the wealthy and 
luxurious proves too tempting an inducement for the 
poacher, whose facilities are greatly increased by the pecu- 
liar habits of the species. 

Woods that are thick at the bottom, with long grass 
kept up by brambles and bushes, thick plantations, or 
marshy islands and moist grounds overgrown with rushes, 
reeds, or osiers, are the favourite resorts of Pheasants, in 
default of which they take to thick hedgerows, but can 
seldom be induced to remain long on any ground bare of 
shelter, however undisturbed. Wood and water are con- 
sidered indispensable. 

The short crow of the males may be heard in March, 
and the females begin to lay their eggs in April, and hatch 
them by the end of May or the beginning of June. They 
make but little nest upon the ground, in which they de- 
posit from ten to fourteen eggs, which are of a uniform 
olive brown colour, one inch ten lines long, by one inch five 
lines in breadth. The number of eggs that are occasion- 
ally found together appear to prove that two hen Phea- 
sants will sometimes lay in one nest ; and where game is 
strictly preserved, and the quantity considerable, Phea- 
sants' eggs are occasionally found in the nest of the Par- 
tridge, so unsteady are they in their half reclaimed state. 




COMMON PHEASANT. 313 

They are very partial also to making their nest and laying 
their eggs in moist and thick clover bottoms, where they 
are very likely to be exposed and mowed out, and it is a 
good practice with gamekeepers to hunt such favourite 
grounds just before and at the commencement of the laying 
season, to disturb the birds continually in these spots, and 
thus induce them to go to nest in places where their na- 
tural process is less likely to be interfered with. To keep 
up a stock of Pheasants, several are kept all the year in 
pens, where many eggs are produced, but as the females 
will seldom sit steadily in confinement, these eggs, with 
others found by mowers, are hatched and reared by com- 
mon hens of small size, which are generally found to be the 
best nurses. The young birds require to be carefully fed 
with ants' eggs, grits, maggots of flesh-flies, &c. till they 
are able to take coarser food, or old enough to go to 
stubble and provide for themselves. 

The Pheasant, says Mr. Selby, " like most of the galli- 
naceous tribe, is very liable, especially in a state of confine- 
ment, to a disease called the gapes, so destructive to broods 
of chickens and young turkeys in particular situations. It 
is occasioned by an intestinal worm of the genus Fasciola, 
which, lodging in the trachea, adheres by a kind of sucker 
to its internal membrane, and causes death by suffocation 
from the inflamed state of the part. Many recipes for the 
cure of this malady have been suggested, but none of them 
seem to be effectual except the one recommended by Mon- 
tagu, in the Supplement to his Ornithological Dictionary, 
under the article Pheasant, namely, fumigation by to- 
bacco, found to be an infallible specific when administered 
with due care and attention." The young birds are put 
into a wooden box, into which the fumes of tobacco are 
blown by means of a common tobacco-pipe : any state 



314 PHASIANIDJE. 

short of suffocation by the remedy is found to be a cure for 
the complaint. 

The food of Pheasants in a wild state consists of grain, 
seeds, green leaves, and insects. I have several times seen 
Pheasants pulling down ripe blackberries from a hedge 
side, and later in the year have also seen them fly up into 
high bushes to pick sloes and haws. Mr. Selby mentions 
he has observed that the root of the bulbous crowfoot, Ra- 
nunculus bulbosus, a common but acrid meadow plant, well 
known as the buttercup, is particularly sought after by the 
Pheasant, and forms a great portion of its food during the 
months of May and June ; and another friend has noticed 
that they also feed on the pilewort crowfoot, Ranunculus 
ficaria. At the latter end of autumn I have found their 
crops distended with acorns of so large a size, that they 
could not have been swallowed without great difficulty. 
Towards and throughout the winter, Pheasants in pre- 
serves, to prevent them from straying away in their search 
for food, require to be supplied constantly with barley in 
the straw, or beans, or both ; and one good mode of in- 
ducing them to stop at home is to sow in summer, beans, 
peas, and buckwheat, mixed together, leaving the whole 
crop standing on the ground ; the strong and tall stalks of 
the beans carry up, sustain, and support the other two, and 
all three together afford, for a long time, both food and cover. 

During summer, till the old birds have completed their 
seasonal moult, Pheasants do not roost constantly in trees, 
but afterwards they may be heard, about dusk, to go up to 
their roost, by the flutter of their wings, and their peculiar 
notes ; the male giving his short chuckling crow, and the 
female her more shrill piping whistle, as soon as they get 
upon their feet on the branch : both generally roost upon 
the smaller trees, and near the stem. Unless disturbed, and 




COMMON PHEASANT. 315 

obliged to secure their safety by flight, Pheasants seldom 
use their wings, except as before noticed, at night and 
morning : nor have they much occasion, as a mode of pro- 
gression ; the facility and speed with which they can get 
over the ground by running is quite surprising. Pheasants 
do not pair, and except during the spring, the males and 
females do not even associate. During the shooting season 
the males are found together, and are also observed to 
be much more wary and on the alert than the females. 
An old cock Pheasant immediately on hearing a dog give 
tongue in a wood where he is, will foot away to the nearest 
corner, particularly if the wood be open at bottom, and 
from thence run one dry ditch or hedgerow after another for 
half a mile to the next covert ; but a hen Pheasant seems 
to trust to her brown colour to escape detection, and squat- 
ting in any bit of long grass that is near her, often sur- 
prises and startles the young shooter, not a little, by boun- 
cing up with a rattling noise close at his feet, and the poor 
frightened bird is frequently indebted to the sensation thus 
created for a clear escape. The brown earth-like colour of 
the plumage of the females of several species of Pheasants 
seems to be a bountiful provision, not only for their indivi- 
dual safety, but in a degree for the preservation of the 
whole race. Mr. Jesse, in his Gleanings, has truly ob- 
served that, " while we admire the dazzling plumage of a 
male bird, we may wonder why the female appears so 
infinitely below him in the scale of beauty. Is it because 
she is to be considered as more degraded, or as an inferior 
being? When we see the male expanding his rich and 
varied plumage in the sunbeams, let us not forget that 
on the female devolves all the offices of love and affection. 
She hatches, feeds, and protects, at the risk of her life, her 
helpless young ones ; and what we may consider as lower- 



316 PHASIANHLE. 

ing her in the scale of creation, is, on the contrary, an act 
of the greatest kindness and consideration. Her want of 
beauty is her chief protection, and her very humility saves 
her from a thousand perils." It is on this account that 
some gamekeepers dislike having white or pied Pheasants 
on their ground. Any prowling boy can find a hen Phea- 
sant on her nest, if she happens to have any white feathers 
in her plumage. 

Among the various communications for which I am in- 
debted to the kindness of the Rev. Richard Lubbock of 
Norfolk, are some extracts from the Household Book and 
Privy Purse accounts of the Lestranges of Hunstanton, 
from A.D. 1519 to 1578, communicated to the Society of 
Antiquaries by D. Gurney, Esq., in 1834. Such of these 
extracts as relate to birds, more particularly those in use 
for the table, I shall occasionally quote : some of them will 
be found curious, either for the mode by which the birds 
were taken, or the equivalent given for them. The first in 
reference to our present subject is, "Item, to Mr. Asheley's 
servant for brynging of a Fesant Cocke and four Wood- 
cocks on the 18th day of October, in reward, four-pence," 
The second, " Item, a Fesant kylled with the Goshawke." 
The third, " a notice, two Fesants and two Partridges 
killed with the Hawks." I may here remark that the 
ordinary weight of a Pheasant is about two pounds and a 
half; but under the influence of abundance of food in quiet 
preserves, where they are not disturbed perhaps more than 
once in a season, and that for a Christmas battue, the size 
attained is scarcely credible. Mr. Fisher, a poulterer in 
Duke Street, St. James's, in January 1839, exhibited a 
cock Pheasant which weighed four pounds and one quarter. 
Messrs. Sheppard and Whitear, in their Catalogue of Nor- 
folk and Suffolk Birds, published in the fifteenth volume of 



COMMON PHEASANT. 317 

the Transactions of the Linnean Society, mention, that at 
Campsey Ash, where the Pheasants are well fed with 
potatoes, buckwheat, and barley, a cock Pheasant has 
been killed which weighed four pounds and a half; and 
some winters since, my friend Mr. Louis Jaquier, then of 
the Clarendon, produced a brace of cock Pheasants which 
weighed together above nine pounds. The lighter bird of 
the two just turned the scale against four pounds and a 
half; the other bird took the scale down at once. The 
weights were accurately ascertained in the presence of 
several friends to decide a wager, of which I was myself 
the loser. 

One peculiarity of the Pheasant must not be passed over, 
which is, its inclination to breed with other gallinaceous 
birds, not of its own species. This tendency exists also in 
a remarkable degree among the different species of Grouse, 
as will be hereafter noticed, with examples. Edwards long 
ago figured, plate 337, a bird which was considered to have 
been produced between a Pheasant and a Turkey. Henry 
Seymour, Esq., of Handford, Dorsetshire, discovered three 
or four of these birds in the woods near his house, and 
shot one in October 1759, which he sent to Mr. Edwards, 
who figured and described it, as quoted. I have twice 
been shown birds that were said to be the produce of 
the Pheasant and the Guinea Fowl, and the evidence to be 
derived from the plumage was in favour of the statement. 
Of birds produced between the Pheasant and the Black 
Grouse, several have occurred within the last few years ; 
figures and particulars will be given under the head of 
Black Grouse. Birds produced between the Pheasant and 
Common Fowl are of frequent occurrence, and such a one 
is usually called a Pero. The Zoological Society have pos- 
sessed several, which were for a time kept together, but 



318 PHASIANID.E. 

showed no signs of breeding ; they are considered like other 
hybrids to be unproductive among themselves, all being 
half bred ; but when paired with the true Pheasant or the 
Fowl, the case is different. The Zoological Society has 
had exhibited at the evening meetings two instances of 
success in this sort of second cross. The first was in 1831, 
when the present Lord Saye and Sele exhibited a specimen 
of a hybrid Duck, bred between a male Pintail and a Com- 
mon Duck. It was one of a brood of six, several of which 
were subsequently confined with the male Pintail from 
which they sprung, and produced young. A specimen of a 
female of this second brood was also exhibited. Zool. Pro- 
ceedings for 1831, p. 158. The second instance, though 
later in date, is more in point. In September 1836, a com- 
munication from Edward Fuller, Esq., of Carleton Hall, 
near Saxmundham, was read, which stated that his game- 
keeper had succeeded in rearing two birds from a Barn- 
door Hen, having a cross from a Pheasant, and a Pheasant 
cock ; that the birds partook equally of the two species in 
their habits, manners, and appearance, and concluded by 
presenting them to the Society. The gamekeeper of 
Edward Fuller, Esq., in a short note which accompanied 
the birds, stated that he had bred them, and they were 
three-quarter-bred Pheasants. Zool. Proceedings for 1836, 
p. 84. Several specimens of hybrids, from the preserved 
collection in the Museum of the Society, were placed on the 
table the same evening for exhibition and comparision. 
These had been bred between the Pheasant and Common 
Fowl, the Common Pheasant and the Silver Pheasant, 
and the Common Pheasant with the Gold Pheasant. 

A history of our Pheasant would be incomplete if left 
without any notice of that remarkable assumption of a plum- 
age resembling the male observed to take place in some of 



COMMON PHEASANT. 319 

the females, which is well known to sportsmen and game- 
keepers, by whom such birds are usually called Mule 
Pheasants. The name is correct, since some of our diction- 
aries show that the term mule is derived from a word which 
signifies barren, and these hen Pheasants are incapable of 
producing eggs from derangement of the generative organs ; 
sometimes an original internal defect, sometimes from sub- 
sequent disease, and sometimes from old age. The illustra- 
tion given on the next page represents on a small scale a 
preparation of part of the body of a healthy female Pheasant 
in winter, in the left hand figure ; and that of a diseased fe- 
male Pheasant on the right hand. The disorganisation is 
marked by the appearance of the dark lead colour pervading 
the ovarium, situated on the middle line, and between the 
two kidneys, which dark colour is seen in patches on various 
parts of the oviduct below ; and I have never examined a 
hen Pheasant assuming the plumage of the male without 
finding more or less of the appearance here indicated. The 
subject, however, in its details, is unsuited to this popular 
work ; but those who desire to carry their investigation 
further will find a paper by Dr. Butter in the third volume 
of the Memoirs of the Wernerian Society ; one by John 
Hunter in the various editions of his Animal (Economy, 
and one by myself, published in the Transactions of the 
Royal Society for the year 1827. I have seen this disor- 
ganisation and its effects among birds in the Gold, Silver, 
and Common Pheasants, in the Partridge, the Peafowl, the 
Common Fowl, the Crowned Pigeon, the Kingfisher, and 
the Common Duck : in the latter species, in two instances, 
the change went on even to the assumption of the two 
curled feathers above the tail. Other classes of animals are 
liable to an influence similar in kind, and the effect is 
singularly conspicuous among insects and Crustacea. 



320 



PHASIANID.E. 





J 



In the adult male the beak is of a whitish horn colour, 
rather darker at the base ; the eyes surrounded with a naked 
skin of a bright scarlet colour, speckled with a bluish black ; 
the irides hazel ; the head, and the neck all round, steel blue, 
reflecting brown, green, and purple, in different lights ; ear- 
coverts dark brown ; feathers of the upper part of the back 
orange red, tipped with velvet black ; back and scapulars 
orange red, the centre of each feather dark brown, with an 
outer band of straw yellow ; saddle hackle feathers, rump, 
and upper tail-coverts, light brownish red ; wing- coverts of 
two shades of red ; quill-feathers dull greyish brown, varied 
with pale wood brown ; tail-feathers very long, pale yellow 
brown, with narrow transverse black bars about one inch 
apart ; breast and belly golden red ; each feather margined 
with velvet black, and reflecting tints of gold and purple ; 



COMMON PHEASANT. 321 

lower part of the belly, vent, and under tail-coverts, 
brownish black; legs, spurs, toes, and claws, brownish 
lead colour ; the spurs become pointed and sharp after the 
first year. 

The whole length of a male Pheasant about three feet, 
depending upon the age of the bird, and the consequent 
length of the two middle feathers of the tail, which fre- 
quently measure two feet. Wing from the carpal joint to 
the end nearly ten inches ; the wing in form rounded ; the 
fifth quill-feather the longest. 

The female measures about two feet. The general colour 
of the plumage pale yellowish brown, varied by different 
shades of darker brown ; sides of the neck tinged with red 
and green. 

Young birds of the year, of both sexes, in their first plum- 
age, resemble the females. 

Females assuming the plumage of males may be known 
by their partial want of brilliancy of tint ; the golden 
red feathers on the breast generally want the contrast of 
the broad dark velvet-like margin ; the legs and feet re- 
taining their smaller and more slender female character, 
and are without spurs. 

White and Pied varieties of the Pheasant are not un- 
common ; and this account of our Pheasant having ex- 
tended to an unusual length, the Ring-necked and Bohemian 
Pheasants will for brevity"* sake, be considered also as only 
varieties. The first may be known, when old enough, by 
the white feathers which form part of a circle on the sides 
and back of the neck ; I have never, in the oldest speci- 
mens, seen the ring continued round the front ; the saddle 
hackle feathers have peacock-green and copper reflections ; 
the tail-feathers have broader dark bars, and the spaces 
between the bars speckled with black. 

VOL. II. Y 



322 



PHASIANID.E. 



The two or three examples which I have seen of what 
are called the Bohemian Pheasant, shot in this country, 
have appeared to be accidental varieties, very pale in colour 
on the neck, and approaching to huffy white on the chest, 
back, and wing, apparently from weakness and consequent 
defective secretions. 




RASORES. 



CAPEROAILLIE. 



323 
TETRAONIDJE. 




THE CAPERCAILLIE. 

WOOD GROUSE, OR COCK OF THE WOOD. 

Tetrao urogallus. 

Tetrao urogallus, Wood Grouse, PENN. Erit. Zool. vol. i. p. 347. 
,, n MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 345. 
Y 2 



324 TETRAONID^E. 

Urogallus vulgaris, Cock ofilie Wood, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 46. 

Tetrao urogallus, Wood Grouse, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 1G8. 

Capercailzie, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xvii. 

Tetras auerhan, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 457. 

TETRAO. Generic Characters. Bill short, strong ; upper mandible convex, and 
arched from the base to the tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, partly closed by an arched 
scale, and hidden from view by small closely-set feathers. Space above the eye 
naked, the skin red with papillae, and fringed. Wings short and rounded in form ; 
the fifth quill-feather the longest. Tail of sixteen feathers. Feet with the toes 
naked, three in front united as far as the first joint, and one toe behind, short, 
the edges of all pectinated. Tarsi feathered to the junction of the toes. 

THE liberal and persevering endeavours of several noble- 
men to re-establish the Wood Grouse, or Capercaillie, in 
this country having been successful, to a certain extent, in 
one district of Scotland, as the details to be here related 
will show, I have inserted this fine species in its proper 
place at the head of our Grouse. 

The term Capercaillie is derived from the Gaelic, Capull- 
coille, which means literally the horse of the wood : this 
species being in comparison with the others of the genus 
preeminently large, this distinction is intended to refer to 
size, as it is usual now to say horse-mackerel, horse-ant, 
horse-fly, horse-leach, horse-chestnut, and horse-radish. The 
Latin specific term urogallus, the German auerhan, and the 
Dutch ouerhan, refer in the same way to size. Urus, is a 
wild bull, and the names bulldog, bullfinch, bullhead, bull- 
trout, bullfrog, and bullrush, are applied to species of large 
size in Zoology and Botany. Pennant says, that north of 
Inverness the Wood Grouse was also known by the names 
Caper-calze. and Auer-calze. This bird formerly existed 
in Ireland, and the last was said to have been killed about 
the year 1760. The last of them killed in Scotland, and 
near Inverness, happened later than the year just recorded. 

The most recent, as well as the best, account of the 
habits of this noble bird that I am acquainted with is fur- 



CAPERCAILLIE. 325 

nished by L. Lloyd, Esq. in his Field Sports of the North 
of Europe, written during a residence in Sweden and Nor- 
way ; and as the opportunity of studying this bird in his 
native forests occurs to but few, I hope I shall be excused 
for selecting from this very interesting work a portion of 
the following pages. 

" The Capercali is to be found in most parts of the Scan- 
dinavian peninsula ; indeed as far to the north as the pine 
tree flourishes, which is very near to the North Cape itself. 
These birds are, however, very scarce in the more southern 
of the Swedish provinces. The favourite haunts of the 
Capercali are extensive fir woods. In coppices, or small 
cover, he is seldom or never to be found. Professor Nilsson 
observes that those which breed in the larger forests remain 
there all the year round ; but those which, on the contrary, 
breed on the sides of elevated mountains, or in a more open 
part of the country, in the event of deep snow, usually fall 
down to the lower grounds." 

" The principal food of the Capercali, when in a state 
of nature, consists of the leaves and tender shoots of the 
Scotch fir, Pinus sylvestris. He very rarely feeds upon 
those of the spruce, Pinus abies. He also eats juniper 
berries, cranberries, blueberries, and other berries common 
to the northern forests ; and occasionally also, in the win- 
ter time, the buds of the birch, Sec. The young Capercali 
feed principally at first on ants, worms, insects, &c." 

" In the spring of the year, and often when the ground 
is still deeply covered with snow, the cock stations himself 
on a pine, and commences his love-song, or play, as it is 
termed in Sweden, to attract the hens about him. This is 
usually from the first dawn of day to sunrise, or from a 
little after sunset until it is quite dark. The time, how- 
ever, more or less, depends upon the mildness of the wea- 






326 TETRAONID.E. 

ther, and the advanced state of the season. During his 
play, the neck of the Capercali is stretched out, his tail is 
raised and spread like a fan, his wings droop, his feathers 
are ruffled up, and in short, he much resembles in appear- 
ance an angry Turkey-cock. He begins his play with a 
call something resembling the word peller, peller, peller ; 
these sounds he repeats at first at some little intervals ; but 
as he proceeds they increase in rapidity, until at last, and 
after perhaps the lapse of a minute or so, he makes a sort 
of gulp in his throat, and finishes by drawing in his breath. 
During the continuance of this latter process, which only 
lasts a few seconds, the head of the Capercali is thrown up, 
his eyes are partially closed, and his whole appearance 
would denote that he is worked up into an agony of pas- 
sion." 

" On hearing the call of the cock, the hens, whose cry 
in some degree resembles the croak of the Raven, or rather, 
perhaps, the sound gock, gocJc, gock, assemble from all parts 
of the surrounding forest. The male bird now descends 
from the eminence on which he was perched to the ground, 
where he and his female friends join company." 

" The Capercali does not play indiscriminately over the 
forest, but he has his certain stations, which may be called 
his playing-grounds. These, however, are often of some 
little extent. Here, unless very much persecuted, the song 
of these birds may be heard in the spring for years to- 
gether. The Capercali does not during his play confine 
himself to any particular tree, and is seldom to be met 
with exactly on the same spot for two days in succession. 
On these playing-grounds several Capercali may occasion- 
ally be heard playing at the same time. Old male birds 
will not permit the young ones, or those of the preceding 
season, to play. Should the old birds, however, be killed, 



CAPERCAILLIE. 327 

the young ones, in the course of a day or two, usually open 
their pipes. Comhats, as may be supposed, not unfre- 
quently take place on these occasions; though I do not 
recollect having heard of more than two of these birds 
being engaged at the same time. 1 '' 

" The Capercali hen makes her nest upon the ground, 
and lays from six to twelve eggs ; these are two inches 
three lines long, by one inch eight lines in breadth, of a 
pale reddish yellow brown, spotted all over with two shades 
of darker orange brown. It is said she sits for four weeks. 
Her young keep with her until towards the approach of 
winter ; but the cocks separate from the mother before the 
hens." 

When the females really commence incubation, they are 
forsaken by the old males, who skulk about among the 
brushwood while renewing their plumage, the female alone 
attending to the hatching and rearing of her progeny. 

My friend the late W. Christy, jun. whose premature 
death was sincerely regretted, says, in his journal, kept 
when on a trip to Norway in 1836, under the date of Au- 
gust 8th, " I was not a little startled, whilst gathering a 
plant near the river side, by the sudden rising, within a 
yard of me, of a fine Cock of the Woods. Shortly after- 
wards I heard several shots, and on rejoining my com- 
panions I found they had succeeded in bringing down a 
female, and several half-grown young ones. In the course 
of the day several other young males were shot, but we 
were unable to procure one in adult plumage." Linnaeus, 
in his Tour in Lapland, says the Wood Grouse there are 
caught in traps ; the bodies are dried, and will keep for a 
year. 

Mr. Lloyd observes, that <4 excepting there be a deep 
snow, the Capercali is much upon the ground in the day 



328 TETRAONIDJL 

time ; very commonly, however, he sits on the pines, some- 
times on the very uppermost branches. During the night 
he generally roosts in the trees ; but if the weather be very 
cold, he not unfrequently buries himself in the snow. Con- 
sidering the large size of the bird, his flight is not par- 
ticularly heavy or noisy." Mr. Lloyd has not only seen 
this bird at a very considerable height in the air, but has 
known him take a flight of several miles at a time. t: The 
Capercali lives to a considerable age ; at least so I infer, " 
says Mr. Lloyd, "from the cocks not attaining to their full 
growth until their third year or upward. The old ones 
may be easily known from their greater bulk, their eagle- 
like bill, and the more beautiful glossiness of their plumage. 
The size of these birds appears to depend, in a great de- 
gree, on the latitude where they are found. In Lapland, 
for instance, the cocks seldom exceed nine or ten pounds. 
In Wermeland, and adjacent parts, again, I have never 
heard of their being killed of more than thirteen pounds ; 
whilst in the more southern provinces of Sweden, and I 
have three several authorities for my statement they have 
not unfrequently been met with weighing seventeen pounds 
and upwards. The hen Capercali usually weighs from five 
to six pounds." 

" The Capercali is often domesticated in Sweden ; in- 
deed, both at Uddeholm and Risater, as well as other 
places, I have known them to be kept for a long period in 
aviaries built for the purpose. These birds were so per- 
fectly tame as to feed out of the hand. Their food prin- 
cipally consisted of oats, and of the leaves of the Scotch fir, 
Pinus sylvestris, large branches of which were usually in- 
troduced into their cages once or more in the course of the 
week. They were also supplied with abundance of native 
berries when procurable. They were amply provided at 






CAPERCAILLIE. 329 

all times with water and sand ; the latter was of a coarse 
quality, and both were changed pretty frequently." 

"It has been asserted that the Capercali will not breed 
when in a state of domestication : this is altogether a mis- 
take ; repeated experience has proved the contrary. A 
few years ago I procured a brace of those birds, consisting 
of a cock and hen, for a friend of mine, Thomas Fowell 
Buxton, Esq. the member for Weymouth, then resident at 
Cromer Hall, in Norfolk. After a few months, the hen 
laid six eggs, and from these, in process of time, six Ca- 
percali were produced. The chicks lived until they had 
attained a very considerable size, when, owing to the effects, 
as it was supposed, of a burning sun, to which they had 
been incautiously exposed, the whole of them, together 
with the mother, died. On this mishap, the old cock, the 
only survivor, was turned loose into the game preserves, 
where he remained in a thriving condition for about a year 
and a half. At last, however, he also met his doom, 
though this was supposed to have been owing rather to 
accidental than natural causes. In farther corroboration of 
the fact, that the Capercali will breed when in confinement, 
I make the following quotation from M. Nilsson^s work. 
That gentleman 1 s authority was the Ofwer Director of 
Uhr, and the birds alluded to were at a forge in the pro- 
vince of Dalecarlia. They were kept together during the 
winter in a large loft over a barn, and were fed with corn, 
and got occasionally a change of fresh spruce, fir, pine, and 
juniper sprigs. Early in the spring they were let out into 
an enclosure near the house, protected by a high and close 
fence, in which were several firs and pines, the common 
trees of the place. In this enclosure they were never dis- 
turbed ; and during the season of incubation no one ap- 
proached, except the person who laid in the food, which at 



330 TETRAONID.E. 

that time consisted of barley, besides fresh sprigs of the 
kinds before mentioned. It is indispensable that they 
should have full liberty, and remain entirely undisturbed, if 
the hens are to sit and hatch their young. As soon as this 
had occurred, and the brood were out, they were removed 
to the yard, which was also roomy, and so closely fenced 
that the young ones could not escape through ; and within 
this fence were hedges and a number of bushes planted. 
Of the old ones, one of the wings were always clipped, to 
prevent their flying. I have seen several times such broods 
both of black game and Capercali, eight to twelve young 
ones belonging to each hen. They were so tame, that, like 
our common hens, they would run forward when corn was 
thrown to them. They should always have a good supply 
of sand and fresh water. 1 ' 

" The young birds should be supplied with ant eggs in 
conjunction with the materials of which the hills of those 
insects are composed ; hard boiled eggs are to be chopped 
and mixed amongst fine moistened barley meal ; also pea- 
haum and trefoil grass. They must have plenty of water, 
which should be placed so that they cannot overturn the 
pitcher, for they suffer very much if they get wet when 
they are young. Dry sand and mould they never should 
be without : when they get larger, and cabbage leaves, 
strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries are to be had, 
they are fond of such food ; and when they are full grown, 
they eat barley and wheat ; and in winter they should 
have young shoots of pine and birch buds. I have seen 
many people who thought they treated young birds well 
by giving them juniper berries ; but they never resort to 
this kind of food but in cases of necessity." 

I have purposely gone to considerable length in these 
extracts in reference to the modes of treating both the old 



CAPERCAILLIE. 331 

and the young birds in a state of confinement, because 
great labour and very considerable sums have been ex- 
pended to reintroduce these magnificent birds to the forests 
of Scotland : several noblemen have been for some seasons 
past, and are at present engaged in this undertaking, and 
others may be induced to assist, from the success that has 
already attended these endeavours, and the mode of ma- 
nagement being supplied. During the year 1838, and in 
the early part of 1839, Lord Breadalbane received at his 
seat in Scotland forty-four Capercaillie altogether, about 
two-thirds of which were hens, and all were old and sea- 
soned birds. This splendid collection was made in Sweden, 
with vast trouble and very great expense, by Mr. L. 
Lloyd. Thomas F. Buxton, Esq., formerly member for 
Wey mouth, presented them to his lordship ; and it will be 
gratifying to every one who takes an interest in our native 
birds to know, that a portion of these being retained in a 
large aviary, and others turned out into the forest, both 
divisions have succeeded, and seventy-nine young birds 
were known to be hatched out during the season of 1839. 

Since the account of the Capercaillie here given was 
printed, I have learned, by the publication of an article 
upon this bird in the Sporting Review for April 1840, that 
the greatest success in hatching and rearing the young 
birds was obtained, at the seat of Lord Breadalbane in 
Scotland last year, by putting the eggs laid by the Caper- 
caillie hens in the aviary into the nests of the Black 
Grouse. " Forty-nine young Capercaillies were, by this 
single method, known to have been hatched out by the 
Grey-hens. 1 ' 

About the end of the year 1827, or early in January 
1828, Lord Fyfe commenced with a pair of birds, and in 
February 1829 received a second pair ; but I have not 



332 TETRAONID^E. 

heard what success has attended this attempt. " It was 
intended as soon as some healthy broods had been reared 
in confinement, to liberate a few in the old pine woods of 
Braemar, and thus eventually to stock with the finest of 
feathered game the noblest of Scottish forests." 

Three birds were sent in 1838 to the Duchess of Athol, 
at Blair ; and several were sent to the Earl of Derby at 
Knowsley, in whose aviary five young birds were hatched 
last summer, four of which are now doing well. 

" According to M. Nilsson, when the Capercali is thus 
reared, he frequently becomes as tame as a domestic fowl, 
arid may be safely left at large. He, however, seldom loses 
his natural boldness ; and, like the Turkey-cock, will often 
fly at and peck people. He never becomes so tame and 
familiar as the Black-cock. Even in his wild state, the 
Capercali occasionally forgets his inherent shyness, and will 
attack people when approaching his place of resort. Mr. 
Adlerberg mentions such an occurrence. During a number 
of years, an old Capercali cock had been in the habit of fre- 
quenting the estate of Villinge at Wormdo, which, as 
often as he heard the voice of people in the adjoining wood, 
had the boldness to station himself on the ground, and, 
during a continual flapping of his wings, pecked at the 
lesrs and feet of those that disturbed his domain. M. 

o 

Brehm, also, mentions in his Appendix, page 626, a 
Capercali cock that frequented a wood, a mile distant 
from Eenthendorf, in which was a path or roadway. This 
bird, as soon as it perceived any person approach, would fly 
towards him, peck at his legs, and rap him with its wings, 
and was with difficulty driven away. A huntsman suc- 
ceeded in taking this bird, and carried it to a place about 
fourteen English miles distant ; but on the following day 
the Capercali resumed his usual haunt. Another person 



CAPERCAILLIE. 333 

afterwards caught him, with a view of carrying him to the 
Ofwer Jagmastare. At first the bird remained quiet ; but 
he soon began to tear and peck at the man so effectually, 
that the latter was compelled to restore him to his 
liberty. However, after a few months he totally disap- 
peared, having probably fallen into the hands of a less 
timid bird-catcher." 

Mr. Lloyd says, " The Capercali occasionally breed with 
the Black Grouse, and the produce are in Sweden called 
RacJcleJianen ; these partake of the leading characters of both 
species, but their size and colour greatly depend upon whe- 
ther they have been produced between the Capercali cock 
and the Grey hen, or vice versa" Females of these hybrids 
appear to be much more rare than males ; but neither sex, 
according to Mr. Lloyd, are common : he had, however, 
himself shot one, and his sporting friend, Mr. Falk, had 
shot two. Among the quantities of Capercaillie which are 
received every season in the London market, and are said 
to come from Norway, the male birds of this hybrid are 
occasionally to be found. Within the last ten years I have 
certainly seen as many as seven specimens at the shop of 
one poulterer, four of which were in beautiful plumage, 
and were purchased by Mr. Leadbeater, Mr. Gould, or 
others, to preserve for collections. This hybrid appears to 
be well known in those countries which are inhabited by 
the Black Grouse as well as the Capercaillie, and has been 
named by various authors Tetrao medius, Tetrao hylridus, 
and Urogallus hybridus : some considering the bird a dis- 
tinct species, and others only a hybrid. There is even 
reason to believe that it formerly existed in Scotland, con- 
temporary with the Capercaillie. Mr. G. T. Fox, in his 
Synopsis of the contents of the Newcastle Museum, publish- 
ed in 1827, quotes the Tunstall MS. at page 78, in the 



334 TETRAONID^E. 

following words : "I know some old Scotch gentlemen, 
who say they remember when young there were in Scot- 
land both the Cock of the Wood, as also the Hybridus : " 
and, at page 245, Mr. Fox has given a figure of this 
last-named bird, from a specimen in the Newcastle Museum, 
which was engraved on copper by Robert Bewick from 
a drawing made by his father Thomas Bewick. The 
bird has since been figured by Gould, Werner, and others. 
The figure of the bird given on the next page, was taken 
from a coloured representation illustrating the Fauna of 
Scandinavia by M. Nilsson. 

A beautiful specimen of this bird, exhibited by Mr. Gould 
at the Zoological Society in the spring of 1831, was thus 
briefly described in comparison with the Capercaillie, in the 
Proceedings of the Society for that year, at page 73. " In 
the Tetrao medius the beak is black ; the shining feathers 
on the front of the neck are of a rich orleans-plum colour ; 
and of the eighteen feathers of the tail the outer ones are 
the longest. In the Cock of the Wood the beak is white ; 
the feathers on the front of the breast are of a dark glossy 
green ; and the centre feathers of the tail are the longest." 
There is a fine specimen in the collection at the British 
Museum. 

Females of this hybrid, as I have before mentioned, 
appear to be much more rare than the males. Two 
examples are said to be preserved in the Koyal Museum 
at Stockholm, and one in the Museum at Geneva, which 
M. Necker, in his Memoir on the Birds of Geneva, says, 
was obtained from the pine forests of Mount Jura in 
winter ; there is also in the same collection a male from 
St. Gothard, which was bought in the market of Lausanne 
in September 1834. It deserves at the same time to be 
mentioned that Klein in his OVA AVIUM, published at 



CAPERCAILLIE. 



335 



Leipsic in 1766, has given a coloured representation of the 
egg of Urogallus hybridus, tab. 15, fig. 2, intermediate in 
size, and placed between the eggs of the Capercaillie and 
Black Grouse, with a short reference to, and description of, 
each, at page 33, as follows: Fig. 1. Auerhahn. Urogal- 
lus major. Ovum coloris rubiginosi, hinc inde maculis 
parvis obscurioribus notatum. Fig. 3. Birkhan. Urogallus 
minor. Ovum priori simile, sed minus Fig. 2. Z witter 
vom Auerhahn und Birkhenne. Urogallus Jiybridus. Ovum 
dilutius, maculis majoribus. 

I have referred, in the article on the Pheasant, to 
the singular change which takes place in the plumage 
of some of the females among Pheasants, and other birds, 




336 TETRAONID^E. 

by which they assume, to a certain extent, the colours of 
the male ; and M. Nilsson having figured in his illustrations 
before mentioned, a female of the Wood-grouse in the 
plumage of the male, which he calls truly a barren female, 
I have inserted a figure of that bird on the next page. 

The Capercaillie appears to have an extensive geographical 
range. North of the British Islands, M. Necker says it is 
found in Jutland. Mr. Lloyd says it is found generally 
over Scandinavia as far north as the pine forests extend, 
which is almost as far as North Cape ; but is becoming rare 
in the southern parts. It is found in Russia and Siberia ; 
in Livonia, in Poland and Germany. M. Temminck says 
it is found in Hungary, that it is rare in France, and is 
never seen in Holland. M. Vieillot, a Continental autho- 
rity, states that it is met with on the Alps, the Pyrennees, 
in Auvergne, in Dauphigny, in the forests on the mountains 
of Ardennes, in Upper Alsace, in Lorraine, in Italy, in 
Greece, and in Tartary. M. Temminck also says that 
it has been known as far south as some of the islands of the 
Grecian Archipelago. 

The adult male has the beak of a whitish horn colour ; 
the irides hazel ; over the eye a semilunar patch of naked 
skin which is bright scarlet ; plumage of the head, the 
neck in front and behind, the back, rump, and upper tail- 
coverts, minutely freckled with greyish white on a brownish 
black ground ; the feathers of the crown of the head and 
on the throat rather elongated ; wing-coverts and wings 
freckled with light bjown on a darker brown ground ; the 
depth of the tint depending on the greater age of the bird ; 
quill-feathers dark chestnut brown ; tail-feathers nearly 
black, with a few greyish white spots ; some of the longer 
and lateral upper tail-coverts tipped with white ; the chest 
of a fine shining dark green ; breast black, with a few 



CArERCAILLIE. 



337 







white spots ; flanks and under tail-coverts greyish black, 
spotted with white ; under wing-coverts white, a small 
patch appearing on the outside near the shoulder ; thighs 
grey ; legs feathered with darker grey ; toes and claws 
black. 

The whole length of the male described, three feet four 
inches. From the carpal joint to the end of the wing 
sixteen inches : the first feather two inches shorter than 
the second, and the second one inch shorter than the 
third ; the third, fourth, and fifth feathers nearly equal 
in length, but the third the longest feather in the wing. 

VOL. II. Z 



338 TETRAONID^E. 

The adult female has the beak brown ; the irides hazel : 
the feathers of the head, neck, back, wings, upper tail- 
coverts and tail-feathers dark brown, barred and freckled 
with yellow brown ; the neck in front and the chest are of 
a fine yellowish chestnut ; those of the breast margined 
with black, and with an extreme edge of greyish white ; 
the feathers of the flanks, vent, and under tail-coverts with 
broader edges of white ; legs greyish brown ; toes and 
claws pale brown. 

The whole length of the female described twenty-six 
inches. From the carpal joint to the end of the wing thir- 
teen inches. 

The young birds of both sexes in their first plumage re- 
semble the old female, the young males afterwards obtain- 
ing by slow degrees the colours which distinguish that sex. 

A young male preserved in the Museum of the Zoological 
Society, about twenty-two inches in length, and rather 
larger in bulk than a cock Pheasant, has nearly completed 
his change ; the chestnut coloured feathers on the chest 
have assumed part of the green colour peculiar to the males, 
but still retain a portion of the chestnut, and is evidently a 
change of colour without losing the feather, the black cres- 
cent changing to green. 

A simple and ingenious trap is sometimes used by the 
peasants in Norway for taking the Capercaillie ; and I am 
indebted to Mr. Grant for a description of it, and also for 
the drawing from which the vignette below was derived. 
Where the trees grow thickly on either side of a foot-path, 
two long pieces of wood are placed across it ; one end of 
these rests on the ground, the other being raised a foot and 
a half, or somewhat more, from the surface, and supported 
by a piece communicating with a triangular twig, placed in 
the centre of the path, and so contrived that on being 



BLACK GROUSE. 



339 



slightly touched the whole fabric falls : a few stones are 
usually placed upon the long pieces of wood to increase the 
weight. Birds running along the foot-path, attempt to 
pass beneath the barrier, strike the twig, and are killed by 
the fall of the trap. 







z2 



340 



TETRAONIDJS. 



RASORES. 



TETRAONIDM. 




THE BLACK GROUSE. 



Tetrao tetrix, Black Grouse, 



Tetrao tetrix. 

PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 352. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 348. 

Cock, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 43. 

Grouse, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 423. 

Grouse, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 169. 

Grouse, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xxi. 

Tetras Birkhan, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. i. p, 460. 



BLACK GROUSE. 341 

THE BLACK GROUSE inhabiting in small numbers a few 
particularly wild localities in some of the southern counties 
of England is much more numerous in the north, and from 
Northumberland, throughout the greater part of Scotland, 
is found in considerable quantities where well wooded and 
mountainous districts afford shelter and winter food. 
They are also found, according to Mr. Macgillivray, on 
the islands of Mull and Sky in the Hebrides, but not on 
any of the islands of Orkney and Shetland. 

The Black Grouse, our name is considered to be derived 
from the Persian word, groos, though partial to bogs and 
morasses, where the herbage grows rank and strong, is 
more arboreal in its habits than either the Red Grouse 
or the Ptarmigan ; and like the Capercaillie, last described, 
it does not pair, but the males in the spring resort to some 
particular elevated and open spots, where they may be 
heard in the morning and evening repeating their call 
of invitation to the other sex, and displaying a variety 
of attitudes, trailing their wings, raising and spreading 
their tails, accompanied, as Mr. Selby observers, by a 
crowing note, and by another sound similar to that made 
by the wetting of a scythe ; their voice is loud, and may 
be heard from a considerable distance ; their plumage is 
at this time in the highest perfection. The other sex 
assemble at the well-known call : but, like the hens of the 
last species, they do not long retain the attentions of 
their sable lords. The females make a slight nest on 
the ground, frequently under shelter of some low thick 
bush, in which they deposit from six to eight eggs : 
these are yellowish white, spotted and speckled with orange 
brown ; two inches in length, by one inch five lines in 
breadth. The dreary task of incubation is performed by 
the female only, and, being deserted by the male, upon her 



342 TETRAONID.E. 

alone devolves the care and provision of the brood. In 
their first plumage the young birds of both sexes resemble 
the female, but the young males by the month of August, 
being then more than half grown, begin to show some 
of the black feathers which distinguish the sex, and which 
first appear in spots and patches about the sides and 
breast. The change to the complete dark plumage goes on 
in some instances so slowly, that I lately saw a young male 
of the season of 1839, which retained a few brown feathers 
as late as the middle of the month of February 1 840. 

In the summer these birds live upon seeds, the tender 
shoots of heath, leaves, and some insects. In autumn they 
feed on berries of various sorts, occasionally visiting corn- 
fields and stubbles ; and in winter I have found their crops 
distended with the tips of the most recent shoots of pines 
and firs. 

The supply of these birds to the London poulterers is 
very large and continuous, from the end of August till the 
following month of April ; during the first four months 
from Scotland, and afterwards from Norway and Sweden. 
Grouse shooting commences in Norway on the first day of 
August; and so numerous are these birds in some parts 
of Sweden, where they are strictly preserved, where the 
hens are never shot at, and no spring shooting allowed, that 
one hundred Black Cocks have not unfrequently been killed 
in one day. 

In the southern parts of England, Black Grouse are found 
in Sussex on Ashdown Forest ; in Surrey on St. Leonard's 
Forest, near Horsham, and from Pudmores along the brows 
of the heath-hills towards Tilford, and again from Tilford 
up to the Devil's Punch-bowl on Hindhead. In 1815, H. 
M. Thornton, Esq., of Chobham, brought two Black Cocks 
and three Grey Hens from Holland. These birds were 



BLACK GROUSE. 34-3 

turned out on the Hurtwood, a tract of heath between 
Guildford and Dorking. At that time this species of 
game had been extinct in that part for fifty years; but 
these foreign birds, being well preserved, have replenished 
the district. They bred the following spring after their 
introduction, and the first nest observed was within a 
hundred yards of the spot where they were first turned 
out. Some of the descendants of these birds have strayed 
to the heathy districts between Farnham and Bagshot, and 
have extended themselves as far as Finchampstead in Berk- 
shire. Black Grouse occur again in Hampshire on the 
New Forest, and from thence along to the westward in 
Dorsetshire ; they are found on Dartmoor and Exmoor in 
Devonshire, and are abundant on the property of Lord 
Caernarvon near Dulvarton, on the north-eastern border 
of Devonshire, and the heaths of Somersetshire, from whence 
they are found in Worcestershire and Staffordshire ; they 
are found also on most of the extensive heaths of Shropshire, 
and on the Beswyn chain near Corwen. It is included 
in the catalogue of the birds of Lancashire, and from 
thence becomes more plentiful on proceeding northwards. 

Black Grouse are common over nearly the whole of 
Scandinavia. Linnaeus met with it on his tour high up 
in the forests of Lapland ; it is found in Russia, Siberia, 
Poland, Germany, Holland, France, and along the whole 
chain of the Alps, and other mountain ridges that are 
covered with forests, and, according to Savi, in Italy. 

Having mentioned the tendency among Pheasants and 
Grouse to breed one with another occasionally, without re- 
striction to their own species, I may here particularise the 
various examples of hybrids between the Pheasant and the 
Black Grouse in the order in which they have been re- 
corded. The first is the bird noticed by Gilbert White of 



344 TETRAONHLE. 

Selborne, of which a coloured representation is given in 
some of the editions of his work. The subject being then 
new, the real character of that specimen was a matter of 
doubt, till more recent experience, and other examples, 
seemed to confirm its origin. In June 1834, the late Mr. 
Sabine called the attention of the members present at a 
meeting of the Zoological Society to a specimen of a hybrid 
bird, between the common Pheasant and the Grey Hen, 
which was exhibited. Its legs were partially feathered ; it 
bore on the shoulder a white spot, and its middle tail- 
feathers were lengthened. It was bred in Cornwall. 
ZooL Proc. 1834, page 52. This bird belonged to Sir 
William Call. 

In 1835, T. C. Eyton, Esq., residing near Wellington, 
Shropshire, sent up for exhibition to the Zoological Society, 
a hybrid bird between the cock Pheasant and the Grey 
Hen, with a note, as follows: " For some years past 
a single Grey Hen has been seen in the neighbourhood of 
the Merrington covers, belonging to Robert A. Slaney, Esq., 
but she was never observed to be accompanied by a Black 
Cock, or any other of her species. In November last a 
bird was shot on the manor adjoining Merrington, belong- 
ing to J. A. Lloyd, Esq., resembling the Black game in 
some particulars, and the Pheasant in others. In Decem- 
ber another bird was shot in the Merrington covers, re- 
sembling the former, but smaller ; this, which is a female, 
is now in my collection, beautifully preserved by Mr. Shaw 
of Shrewsbury." ZooL Proc. 1835, page 62. 

The figure given on the opposite page represents this 
bird, Mr. Eyton having with great kindness allowed me 
the use of his specimen for that purpose. Mr. Eyton 
observes, in his work on the Rarer British Birds, that 
the brood to which his hybrid bird belonged, consisted 



BLACK GROUSE. 



345 



of five; one of them remained in the possession of J. A. 
Lloyd, Esq., of Leaton Knolls : the other three, with the 
old Grey Hen, fell victims to a farmers gun, and were 
consequently destined to the table. Mr. Eyton further 
remarks, at page 101, that he had also seen another speci- 
men killed near Corwen, in Merionethshire, and then 
in the collection of Sir Rowland Hill, Bart. 

In the first volume of the Magazine of Zoology and 
Botany, William Thompson, Esq., of Belfast, describes in 
detail another hybrid that had been shot in Wigtonshire, 
and was preserved for Sir Andrew Agnew, Bart., M.P. 
This bird was shot in a wild state at Lochnaw, where 
it had been seen several times on the wing by persons 
who imagined it to be a wild Turkey. Pheasants and 
Black Grouse are numerous in the surrounding planta- 




^---^r-~-, ; c 

' 



346 TETRAONID.E. 

tions ; but this was the only bird of the kind that had been 
observed. 

In December 1837, Mr. John Leadbeater exhibited at 
the Zoological Society a male hybrid between the Pheasant 
and Black Grouse. It was observed that this was the 
third specimen which had been sent to the Society for ex- 
hibition within a comparatively short space of time. The 
first bird, from Cornwall, was more of a Grouse in appear- 
ance than a Pheasant ; the second, Mr. Eyton's bird, from 
Shropshire, was more Pheasant-like ; but the present bird 
was decidedly intermediate, exhibiting characters belonging 
to both. The head, neck, and breast were of a rich dark 
maroon colour, the feathers on the breast showing the 
darker crescentic tips ; the upper part of the tarsi were 
covered with feathers ; the back and wings mottled black- 
ish grey, like that of a young Black Cock after his first 
moult, but with some indications of brown ; the feathers of 
the tail rather short, but straight, pointed, graduated, and 
Pheasant-like. It was remarked that this bird more closely 
resembled the hybrid figured by White than either of the 
specimens previously exhibited. This bird was sent to 
Mr. Leadbeater to be preserved by order of the Duke of 
Northumberland ; it was understood to have been killed 
near Alnwick, and it is now by the duke^s liberality de- 
posited in the British Museum. 

Dr. Edward Moore, in his notes on the Birds of Devon- 
shire, published in the Magazine of Natural History for 
the year 1837, says, that a hybrid of this kind was shot at 
Whidey, near Plymouth, by the Rev. Mr. Morshead. A 
male Pheasant, a female Grouse, and one young, had been 
observed in company for some time by the keeper. Mr. 
Morshead shot the Pheasant, and, in a few days, the young 
hybrid ; but the Grouse escaped. The young bird bears 



BLACK GROUSE. 



347 



the marks of botli parents ; but the most prominent cha- 
racters are those of the Grouse. The space above the eye, 
however, is not bare, as in the Grouse, but entirely fea- 
thered, as in the Pheasant ; the whole of the neck is 
covered with black feathers, somewhat mottled ; the tail is 
not forked, but fan-shaped, and half as long as that of the 
Pheasant ; the tarsi are bare, as in the Pheasant ; the 
colour is generally, except the neck, that of the Pheasant ; 
but it has the white spot on the shoulders, as in the Grouse. 
I am indebted to the Rev. W. S. Hore, of Stoke, near 
Devonport, for the knowledge of two other specimens, 
killed in Devonshire ; one, a fine male, in his own collec- 
tion, the other believed to be at this time in the collection 
of Dr. Kodd, of Trebartha Hall, in Cornwall. 




348 TETRAONID^E. 

The last of thirteen examples of hybrids between the 
Pheasant and Black Grouse, here recorded, was killed in 
Northumberland, for a knowledge of which I am indebted 
to the kindness of Mr. Selby, of Twizell House, This 
bird was shot early in December 1839, by Lord Howick, in 
a large wood belonging to Earl Grey, a few miles to the 
east of Felton, and, having been sent to Twizell, I was not 
only immediately made acquainted with the occurrence, 
but Mr. Selby has since supplied me with a coloured draw- 
ing of the bird, from which the representation at page 
347 was executed. 

Hybrids between the Black and the Red Grouse have 
been suspected, and in many parts of this country both spe- 
cies inhabit the same ground ; but such a union is less 
likely to happen with species that pair in their season, as 
do the Red Grouse, than with those which, like the Phea- 
sant, the Capercaillie, and the Black Grouse, do not pair. 
Mr. Macgillivray, in the first volume of his History of 
British Birds, Indigenous and Migratory, page 162, has, 
however, mentioned three, describing in detail one bird 
supposed to have been thus produced. This bird is, 
I believe, in the collection at the Edinburgh Museum. 

In Sweden there are two species of Ptarmigan ; one of 
them identical with the Ptarmigan of this country, inhabits 
the mountains, and is called by M. Nilsson, in consequence, 
alpina : the other, a larger bird, which inhabits the plains 
and valleys, is called by M. Nilsson subalpina. With this 
latter species hybrids have been produced with the Black 
Grouse, but these seem to be exceedingly rare. M. Nilsson 
appears to have seen five examples, one of which being 
figured in his coloured illustrations of the Fauna of Scan- 
dinavia, I am enabled to insert a representation of this 
prettily-marked bird. In a letter lately received from T. 



BLACK GROUSE. 

Macpherson Grant, Esq., of Edinburgh, that gentleman 
says, " When in Norway last summer, I saw, preserved at 
Christiana, several specimens of hybrids between the Black 
Cock and the Capercailzie, a circumstance said to be of not 
very uncommon occurrence. I saw also in Mr. Eskmark^s 
collection a specimen of hybrid betwixt the Black Cock and 
the Ptarmigan, but which he told me was extremely rare." 

M. Nilsson mentions an instance where the Black Cock 
had been known to breed with the Barn-door Fowl, but 
the chicks, very unfortunately, only lived a few days. 

In the adult male the beak is black; the irides dark 
brown ; semilunar patch of naked skin over the eye bright 
scarlet ; the feathers of the head, neck, back, wing-coverts, 
rump, and tail, black ; those of the neck and back mar- 
gined with shining bluish black ; the primary quill-feathjers 
black, with white shafts ; the secondaries and tertials black 




350 TETRAONID^E. 

at the end, but white at the base, forming a conspicuous 
white bar below the ends of the great wing-coverts, which, 
with the lesser coverts, are black ; the feathers of the 
spurious wing with white spots at the base ; tail of eighteen 
black feathers, of which three, four, and sometimes five of 
those on the outside are elongated, and curve outwards ; 
the others nearly equal in length, and square at the end : 
the chin, neck, breast, belly, and flanks, black ; under 
wing-coverts, axillary plume, and under tail-coverts, pure 
white ; vent, thighs, and legs, mixed black and white ; 
toes and claws blackish brown. 

The whole length twenty-two inches. From the carpal 
joint to the end of the wing, ten inches and a half: the 
form of the wing rounded ; the first quill-feather about as 
long as the seventh, the second about as long as the sixth, 
the fourth rather longer than the third or the fifth, and the 
longest in the wing. 

The female of the Black Grouse, usually called the Grey 
Hen, has the beak brown, irides hazel ; the general colour 
of the plumage pale chestnut brown, barred and freckled 
with black ; the dark bars and spots larger, and most con- 
spicuous on the breast, back, wings, and upper tail-coverts; 
the feathers of the breast edged with greyish white, par- 
ticularly in old birds, and in those from northern latitudes ; 
under tail-coverts nearly white ; feathers on the legs pale 
yellow brown ; toes and claws brown. 

The whole length, seventeen to eighteen inches ; from the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, nine inches. 

Several instances have occurred in which the females of 
this species have assumed, to a considerable extent, the 
colouring of the plumage of the male, the intermixture of 
some decidedly black feathers gives them a varied and 
handsome appearance. 



RED GROUSE. 



RASOKES. 



351 

TETRAONWJR. 




THE RED GROUSE. 

Lagopus scoticus. 

Tctrao Scoticus, Red Grouse, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 356. 

lagopus, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

Scoticm, ., BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i p. 351 

., FLEM. Brit. An. p. 43. 



352 TETRAONID^E. 

Lagopus Scotieiis, Red Grouse, Ptarmigan, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 427. 
Tetrao Ptarmigan, JENYNS, Man. Brit. Vert. p. 170. 

Lagopus Grouse, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xv. 

Tetrao Tetras rouge, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. voL ii. p. 465. 

LAGOPUS. Generic Cliaracters. Bill very short, clothed at the base with 
feathers; the upper mandible convex, and bent down at the point. Nostrils 
basal, lateral, partly closed by an arched membrane, and nearly hidden by the 
small closely-set feathers at the base of the bill. Eyebrows naked, as in the 
genus Tetrao. Wings short, concave, with the third and fourth feathers the 
longest. Tail generally square at the end. Tarsi and toes completely feathered ; 
hind toe very short, and barely touching the ground with the tip of the nail. 
Nails long, and nearly straight. 

THIS handsome species ought to have been named Bri- 
tannicus, rather than Scoticus, since it is found in the north 
of England, in Wales, and in Ireland, as well as in Scot- 
land, in the Hebrides, and in the Orkneys, but not in any 
part of the world except the British Islands. The Red 
Grouse and the Ptarmigan differ from the two species of 
Grouse already described here, in pairing constantly, in 
having the toes feathered down to the roots of the claws, 
in having also a double moult, and neither of them are 
seen to perch on trees ; I have therefore followed the ex- 
ample of M. Vieillot and others in considering them so far 
removed from the genus Tetrao as to be entitled to a sepa- 
rate generic distinction. 

The Red Grouse are inhabitants of wild and extensive 
heaths and moors. It is well known to be especially abun- 
dant in Scotland ; and Mr. Macgillivray says that the 
" low sandy heaths of the eastern counties of the middle 
division appear to be less favourable to it than the more 
moist peaty tracts of the western and northern districts, 
where the shrubs on which it feeds attain a greater size. 
In the central and desolate regions of the Grampians it is 
equally abundant, as on the moors of the Hebrides ; and 
on the hilly ranges of the south, the Pentlands, the Lam- 



RED GROUSE. 353 

mermuir, and the mountains of Peebles, Dumfries, and 
Selkirk, it is still plentiful." 

The Red Grouse pair very early in spring, and the 
female soon goes to nest : this is formed of the stems of 
ling and grass, with occasionally a very few feathers, and 
these materials are slightly arranged in a depression on the 
ground, under shelter of a tuft of heather. Daniel, in his 
Rural Sports, says, that "on the 5th of March 1794, the 
gamekeeper of Mr. Lister (now Lord Ribblesdale) of Gis- 
burne Park, discovered on the manor of Twitten, near 
Pendle Hill, a brood of Red Grouse, seemingly about ten 
days old, and which could fly about as many yards at a 
time ; this was an occurrence never known to have hap- 
pened before so early in the year." T. H. Sanderson, Esq. 
also sent me word, in reference to early breeding, that a 
farmer in burning ling off Shap Fell, burnt over a nest con- 
taining fifteen eggs on the twenty-fifth of March 1835. 
The eggs are from eight to fourteen or fifteen in number, 
of a reddish white ground colour, nearly covered with 
blotches and spots of umber brown : the length of the egg 
one inch nine lines, and one inch three lines in breadth. 
The female sits very close ; and Mr. Salmon mentions that 
one allowed him to take her off her eggs. The young 
brood leave the nest soon after they are freed from the 
shell, and are attended to by both the parent birds, under 
whose example they learn to feed on the various vegetable 
substances by which they are surrounded. The extreme 
ends of the common ling and fine-leaved heather, with the 
leaves and berries of the black and red wortle, and crow- 
berry, and occasionally oats, when grown at the moor side, 
are the portions and kinds of food most frequently found in 
their crops. 

The quantity of Red Grouse supplied to the London 

VOL. II. A A 



354 TETRAONID^E. 

market only, could the number be ascertained, must be 
enormous, when it is considered that from the second week 
in August up to the present time, the end of the first week 
in March, of every year, the supply is large and constant. 
The females of the Red Grouse now to be seen in the shops 
of the London poulterers, March 7th, 1840, have begun 
to assume the plumage peculiar to the breeding-season. 
These have been killed very recently, and I have observed 
within the last three years, that a considerable portion of 
the birds I have examined bore no marks of having been 
shot, and have probably been caught by sliding loops of 
horse hair set up across their paths or runs in the heather. 

It has been observed that it seems almost marvellous 
that a species which furnishes sport to so many, and to 
such an extent, besides those taken clandestinely, should 
continue to exist in such quantities in the country. The 
Earl of Strathmore's gamekeeper was matched for a con- 
siderable sum to shoot forty brace of moor game in the 
course of the 12th of August, upon his lordship's moors in 
Yorkshire : he performed it with great ease, shooting 
forty-three brace by two o'clock ; at eight in the morning, 
owing to a thick fog, he had only killed three birds, and 
the odds ran much against him ; however, the day cleared 
up by eleven, and the work of slaughter went on rapidly. 

In 1801, a gentleman in Inverness-shire, shot fifty-two 
brace of moor-game in one day, never killing a bird sitting, 
or more than one bird at one shot. At the first of the 
season the young birds lie close, particularly where the 
heath is high and strong, affording excellent sport after a 
favourable breeding-season, and the newspapers frequently 
record the great numbers killed by parties that are favour- 
ably located; but as the season advances, the birds get 
strong, and from being disturbed, become wild, and the 



RED GROUSE. 355 

families uniting to form packs, are then very difficult to get 
shots at. 

Among the quantities of Red Grouse received in London, 
considerable differences in the colour of the plumage are 
obvious, and a difference also in weight is considered to be 
peculiar to the birds of particular districts. 

The Red Grouse of North Wales are said to be large in 
size, and light in colour : those of the Western Highlands 
are also light in colour, and are said to be earlier breeders 
than those of the eastern parts of Scotland, which are, 
however, of large size, and dark in colour. I have been 
favoured with the weight of four male and two female Red 
Grouse from Morayshire, not selected because considered 
as particularly large, but it happens to be a practice with 
the keeper. The four males weighed respectively 24f 
ounces, 4f ounces, 24-J- ounces, and 24 ounces, thus 
averaging 24 \ ounces. Of the two females, one weighed 
24i ounces, the other 23 ounces ; and in this locality the 
birds are very dark in colour. 

In further reference to colour, Mr. Selby, residing in 
Northumberland, observes, that " varieties of a cream co- 
lour, or with different degrees of white, are often met with; 
and there has for many years existed on the moors of 
Blanchland, in the county of Durham, a cream-coloured, or 
light grey variety, spotted more or less with dark brown 
and black ; but, from the anxiety of sportsmen to procure 
specimens, these birds have not been allowed to increase, as 
they otherwise, in all probability, would have done." 

The Red Grouse of Yorkshire are said to be the smallest 
in size ; and this difference is most observable when the 
birds are picked and trussed for roasting ; yet Daniel, in 
his Rural Sports, records one that was killed near Rich- 
mond in Yorkshire, which weighed twenty-five ounces ; 

AA2 



356 TETRAONID^E. 

and Pennant, in a note, mentions that he had heard of one 
killed in Yorkshire which weighed twenty-nine ounces. 

The Red Grouse is found in Lancashire and Derbyshire, 
and as far south as the heaths of Staffordshire. Montagu 
mentions one instance " of this bird being found at a dis- 
tance from the moors. This was a female, taken alive near 
Wedhampton in Wiltshire, in the winter of 1794 ; the 
occurrence was communicated to him by Edward Poore, 
Esq., who showed him part of the bird. By what unac- 
countable accident," Montagu observes, " it should have 
been driven to so great a distance from its native moors is 
difficult to be assigned, as the nearest place they are known 
to inhabit is the south of Wales ; a distance, in a straight 
line, not less than sixty miles." 

The Red Grouse, like the Capercaillie and the Black 
Grouse, will live and breed in confinement, and some that 
I have seen have become remarkably tame. 

Daniel mentions that they " had been known to breed 
in the menagerie of the late Duchess-dowager of Portland, 
and that this was in some measure effected by her Grace's 
causing fresh pots of ling or heath to be placed in the 
menagerie almost every day. At Mr. Grierson's, Rath- 
farnham House, County of Dublin, in the season of 1802, a 
brace of Grouse, which had been kept for three years, 
hatched a brood of young ones. In 1809, Mr. William 
Routledge, of Oakshaw, in Bewcastle, Cumberland, had in 
his possession a pair of Red Grouse, completely domesti- 
cated ; and which had so far forgotten their natural food, 
as to prefer corn and crumbs of bread, to the tops and 
seeds of heath. The hen laid twelve eggs, but from some 
cause was not suffered to hatch them ; or, in all proba- 
bility, the young brood would have been equally as tame as 
their parents." 



RED GROUSE. 357 

Iii 1811, a pair of Red Grouse bred in the aviary at 
Knowsley ; the female laid ten eggs, and hatched out eight 
young birds ; but these, from some unknown cause, did not 
live many days. Earl Derby, then Lord Stanley, also 
communicated to Colonel Montagu the occurrence of a mot- 
tled brown and white variety of the Red Grouse, very much 
resembling the Ptarmigan when in its summer plumage, 
which was shot in Lancashire in the month of August. 

A male bird of the year, killed in December, has the 
beak black ; the irides hazel, with a crescentic patch of 
vermilion red skin over the eye, fringed at its upper free 
edge ; head and neck reddish brown, but more rufous than 
any other part of the bird ; back, wing, and tail-coverts, 
chestnut brown, barred transversely and speckled with 
black ; distributed among the plumage are several feathers 
in which the ground colour is of a bright yellowish brown ; 
all the quill-feathers dark umber brown ; the secondaries 
and the tertials edged on the outside, and freckled with 
lighter brown ; the tail of eighteen feathers ; the seven on 
each outside dark umber brown ; the four middle feathers 
chestnut brown, varied with black. On the breast the 
plumage is darker than on the sides, almost black, and 
tipped with white ; the chestnut brown feathers on the 
sides, flanks, belly, vent, and under tail-coverts tipped with 
white; legs and toes covered with short greyish white 
feathers ; claws long, bluish-horn colour at the base, nearly 
white at the end. 

The whole length sixteen inches. From the carpal joint 
to the end of the wing, eight inches and three-eighths : the 
first quill-feather shorter than the sixth, but longer than 
the seventh ; the second shorter than the fifth, but longer 
than the sixth ; the third and fourth nearly equal in length, 
and the longest in the wing. 



358 



TETRAONID^!. 



The old male in summer has many of the body feathers 
tipped with yellow, and the red colour is of a lighter tint. 

The female is rather smaller than the male ; the patch 
of red skin over the eye is also smaller ; the red and brown 
tints of the feathers are lighter in colour, and give a more 
variegated appearance to the plumage generally. In her 
summer plumage all the feathers of the head and upper 
part of the neck, are yellowish chestnut, with a few black 
spots : those of the lower neck, breast, back, wing, and 
tail-coverts, and middle tail-feathers, transversely barred 
with black, and tipped with yellow ; the long feathers on 
the sides and flanks also barred across with black and 
yellow, very much resembling the feathers borne on the 
same parts at the same season by the female Ptarmigan, 
showing its affinity to that bird : and some authors have 
called our Bed Grouse, the Red Grouse Ptarmigan, the 
Red Ptarmigan, and the Brown Ptarmigan. 

The vignette represents a mode of shooting an Eagle 
from a pit. 




PTARMIGAN. 



359 



R A SORES. 



TETRA ONID/R. 




-.-. 



THE PTARMIGAN. 



Tetrao lagopus, The Ptarmigan, 

n w w 

White Grouse, 

Lagopus vulgaris, The Ptarmigan) 

mutus, Common 
Tetrao lagopus, ,, 

Lagopus mutus, 

Tetrao kigopus, Tetras Ptarmigan, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 359. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 353. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 43. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 430. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 170. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xi. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 468. 



360 TETRAONID^E. 

THE PTARMIGAN is the smallest in size of the British 
Grouse ; and though considered to have been formerly an 
inhabitant of the mountain ridges of Cumberland and 
Westmoreland, it is now only found as a British bird 
among the grey rocks on the highest ranges of hills in the 
central and northern parts of Scotland, in the Hebrides, 
and in the Orkneys. It was not met with by Mr. Dunn 
in Shetland. 

The name of Ptarmigan is but a slight modification of 
the Gaelic word, Tarmachan. This Grouse is not found 
now in any part of Ireland, not even in the north, where it 
might have been expected. The Red Grouse, as I am in- 
formed by Mr. William Thompson, is the only species of 
Grouse now to be found in Ireland, where it inhabits most 
of the suitable localities. 

The Ptarmigan pairs early in spring, and lays eight or 
ten eggs, frequently on the bare ground, among stones. 
The eggs are yellowish white, sparingly blotched and 
spotted with dark brown ; the length one inch eight lines, 
by one inch two lines in breadth. The food of these birds 
is the various sorts of alpine berries, seeds, and the tender 
shoots of alpine plants. Mr. Selby says, the note, or com- 
mon call, of the Ptarmigan is not unlike that of the Missel 
Thrush, but rather more harsh in sound. Mr. Macgillivray 
compares the sound of the Ptarmigan's voice to the croak 
of a frog. At the commencement of the shooting season, 
the broods, or small families, go together ; and Mr. Gould 
has very justly observed, that the mountain Ptarmigans 
are less wary and shy in their disposition than the other 
Grouse, doubtless in consequence of being less disturbed 
by man, against whom the elevated regions they inhabit 
present an obstacle of too formidable a nature to be often 
encountered. Pennant and others have said that they are 



PTARMIGAN. 361 

very silly birds, so tame as to bear driving like poultry, 
and if provoked to rise, take very short flights. The only 
preservative, says a sporting friend to the late Rev. Mr. 
Daniel, that nature seems to have afforded them, is their 
alighting upon stones so exactly of their own colour, as to 
render it difficult for the eye to discern them. This 
sportsman killed forty-three Ptarmigan in one day above 
Loch Laggan, which lies between Dalwinnie and Fort 
Augustus in this district ; but as the season advances, and 
the ground becomes wet and cold, they are much more 
difficult to approach. Mr. Macgillivray also observes, that 
" these beautiful birds while feeding run and walk among 
the weather-beaten and lichen-crested fragments of rock, 
from which it is very difficult to distinguish them when 
they remain motionless, as they invariably do should a 
person be in sight. Indeed, unless you are directed to a 
particular spot by their strange low croaking cry, you may 
pass through a flock of Ptarmigans without observing a 
single individual, although some of them may not be ten 
yards distant. When squatted, however, they utter no 
sound, their object being to conceal themselves ; and if you 
discover the one from which the cry has proceeded, you 
generally find him on the top of a stone, ready to spring off 
the moment you show an indication of hostility. If you 
throw a stone at him, he rises, utters his call, and is imme- 
diately joined by all the individuals around, which, to your 
surprise, if it be your first rencontre, you see spring up one 
by one from the bare ground. They generally fly off in a 
loose body, with a direct and moderately rapid flight, re- 
sembling, but lighter than that of the Red Grouse, and 
settle on a distant part of the mountain, or betake them- 
selves to one of the neighbouring summits, perhaps more 
than a mile distant. In winter several families of Ptarmi- 



362 TETRAONHLE. 

gan associate, forming a flock, and fifty in number have 
been seen together." 

Our Ptarmigan is found on most of the elevated moun- 
tain ranges of the continent of Europe, even to Italy. In 
Spain it is found about the high rocky country of Aragon, 
where it is called Perdiz Uanca. It is found in Russia, 
and nearly all over Scandinavia and its islands. By the 
parties employed on the various Northern expeditions 
which have been sent out from this country, these birds 
were found at Greenland; on the west side of Baffin's 
Bay ; in the country south of Barrow^s Strait ; and on the 
east of Prince Regents Inlet ; on Melville Peninsula ; at 
Port Bowen ; and, on the last voyage, one pair were seen 
on the east side of the Peninsula of Boothia, latitude 7l 
nearly, and three or four more were seen at Felix Har- 
bour ; it is also an inhabitant of the northern part of North 
America. 

It is, however, nowhere more plentiful, according to Mr. 
Lloyd, than over all the more northern parts of Scandi- 
navia. " Their usual resorts are the Fyalls, or lofty moun- 
tains, whose summits are destitute of trees ; but during 
heavy snow storms these birds not unfrequently descend to 
the low country. This has occasionally happened in some 
of the Norwegian valleys, at which time they have been 
seen perched in such numbers in the birch trees, that the 
latter seemed to be altogether clothed in white." I have 
mentioned that Scandinavia produces a second species of 
Ptarmigan, besides that which is identical with our own 
Scottish bird. This second species is the L. saticeti, or 
Willow Ptarmigan, of some authors, the L. subalpina and 
Dal-ripa of M. Nilsson, the Swedish naturalist, and is a 
bird of larger size than the other, which, as before men- 
tioned, is called by M. Nilsson L. alpina, on account of 



PTARMIGAN. 363 

its generally inhabiting a higher range of ground. Linnaeus 
met with both these species when on his Lapland Tour, 
and under date of July 30th, says, " The little Alpine 
variety of the Ptarmigan was now accompanied by its 
young. I caught one of these, upon which the hen ran so 
close to me, that I could easily have taken her also. She 
kept continually jumping round and round me ; but I 
thought it a pity to deprive the tender brood of their 
mother, neither would my compassion for the mother allow 
me long to detain her offspring, which I restored to her in 
safety/' ( Vol. i. p. 291.) The mode of catching the Ptar- 
migan is thus described, at page 319 : " They take a 
little forked birch twig, about a span long, which is stuck 
into the snow perpendicularly by its divided end, forming 
a sort of arch. A snare, or noose, made of packthread or 
horsehair, is then fixed to the twig by one end, and placed 
in the open space between the forks. The thin curling 
bark of the twig, being carefully slit down at the outer 
side, curls inward, and serves both to confine and conceal 
the snare, by drawing it close to the branch on the inner 
side. Such traps as these are ranged in a line, about a 
fathom from each other, in the birch thickets, brushwood 
being laid from one to another, so as to form a low fence. 
Now as the Ptarmigans come running along, for they sel- 
dom fly, they have no way to go but through these snares, 
and forty or fifty of them are frequently caught at a time." 
Whether this precise mode is still practised, I am unable 
to state, but I have more than once found the hair-noose 
round the neck of Norway Ptarmigan in the London mar- 
ket, and others have done the same. T. M. Grant, Esq. 
of Edinburgh, who has been in Norway, and has supplied 
me with many interesting notes, says the Ptarmigan are 
all taken in snares made of horse-hair, set, be believes, 



364 TETRAONID^E. 

amongst the twigs of a skreen of bushes, erected above the 
surface of the snow. Mr. Lloyd says, one peasant will set 
from five hundred to a thousand of these snares. This is 
done in the winter season ; the birds are kept in a frozen 
state until the arrival of the dealers who make it a trade 
to purchase up game : a single dealer will sometimes pur- 
chase and dispose of fifty thousand Ptarmigan in the course 
of the season. Sir Arthur de Capell Brooke calculated 
that, in one large parish in Lapland, sixty thousand birds 
were killed in one winter. Mr. Grant says, I was assured, 
when in Norway, that the number of Ptarmigan killed in 
that country every winter, was beyond belief: two thou- 
sand dozen was, if I remember right, the quantity exported 
from Drammen in one ship for England last year ; and 
great numbers are annually sent to the Copenhagen mar- 
ket. Besides those received in this country from Dram- 
men, great quantities are also received in London during 
the months of February, March, April, and May, from 
Bergen, Drontheim, and other portions of the west coast of 
Norway, from whence conveyance is obtained for them in 
the boats which bring constant supplies of lobsters to the 
London market. On one occasion, late in the spring of 
1839, one party shipped six thousand Ptarmigan for Lon- 
don ; two thousand for Hull ; and two thousand for Liver- 
pool ; and at the end of February, or very early in March, 
of the present year, 1840, one salesman in Leadenhall 
Market received fifteen thousand Ptarmigan that had been 
consigned to him ; and during the same week another 
salesman received seven hundred Capercaillies, and five 
hundred and sixty Black Grouse. The prices of these 
birds in the market of Drammen, as supplied me by Mr. 
Grant, are in English money for 



PTARMIGAN. 365 

s. d. 

A Capercaillie male, about . 2 

female . . .12 
A Black Grouse, male . . 08 

A Grey Hen, the female . .06 
A Ptarmigan .... 04 

In London the usual price for these birds, when in good 
condition, is, for 

s. d. 

A Capercaillie male . . . 10 

female . . 70 

A Black Grouse, male or female . 3 6 

A Ptarmigan . , . . 20 

Of the various species of Grouse, as articles of food, the 
flesh of the Red Grouse has perhaps the most admirers. 
The Black Grouse is remarkable for the dark colour of the 
outer muscle of the breast, as contrasted with the very 
white colour of the inner muscle, and all the Grouse are 
considered to possess fine qualities for the table by those 
who are partial to high game flavour. 

The Ptarmigan of the mountain ridges of Norway and 
Sweden, called the Fyall-ripa, the species named alplna by 
M. Nilsson, is considered to be identical with our Scottish 
Ptarmigan. Mr. Lloyd says, " The predominant colours of 
the Fyall-ripa in the summer season are speckled black, 
brown, or grey ; there is, however, a very great dis- 
similarity in the dress of the male and female ; the former 
being of a much darker colour than the latter." This 
agrees with the descriptions of our Ptarmigan, as given by 
those authors who have had the best opportunities of 
obtaining specimens of these birds at different seasons of 
the year. 

The male in winter has the beak, the lore, and a small 
angular patch behind the eye, black ; the irides yellowish 
brown ; over the eye a naked red skin ; almost all the 



366 TETRAOJS T ID,E. 

plumage pure white ; shafts of the primary quill-feathers 
black ; the four upper tail-feathers white ; the fourteen 
other tail-feathers black, tipped with white ; legs and toes 
white, the claws black. The male in May and November 
has the beak, the lore, and the space behind the eye, black ; 
over the eye a naked red skin ; the throat white ; head and 
neck mottled with blackish and speckled grey feathers, 
a few others with narrow bars of black and ochreous 
yellow ; the white feathers assuming the greyish black by a 
change of the colour, as particularly observed in progress in 
a male bird in March, when pen feathers, which were then 
growing, were all greyish black; the breast, back, and 
upper tail-feathers, nearly uniform speckled grey ; the 
fourteen under tail-feathers black ; the wings, the under 
surface of the body, and the legs, white. 

The whole length of a male fifteen inches and a quarter. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, eight inches : 
the first quill-feather an inch and a half shorter than the se- 
cond ; the second rather longer than the fifth ; the third 
and fourth nearly equal in length, and the longest in the 
wing. The wings of the bird killed in autumn are seldom 
perfect, as this is the season for moulting the flight fea- 
thers. 

The female is smaller than the male, and is pure white 
in winter, like the male already described, except that she 
has no short black feathers before or behind the eye. By 
the end of April the female has assumed almost as much 
mixture of feather, barred black and ochreous yellow, with 
white tips, as the male bird has of those which are grey ; 
a female bird from Scotland, bought in the London market 
during the second week in May, 1839, is much farther 
advanced, having the whole of the head, neck, back, rump, 
upper tail-coverts, upper part of the breast and sides, 



PTARMIGAN. 367 

covered with feathers of greyish black and yellow in bars, 
many of them still retaining the white tips ; in the course 
of the summer these yellow or very pale chestnut-coloured 
feathers, barred with greyish black, pervade the breast, 
sides, and flanks, very similar to those already described, 
as forming part of the summer plumage of the Bed Grouse. 
By the beginning of September, the upper surface of the 
body has become freckled grey, like that of the male, but 
with a few yellow feathers remaining ; the under surface of 
the body with some grey feathers among the yellow ones ; 
the quill-feathers, and some of the wing-coverts, with those 
on the middle line of the belly, white ; as the autumn 
advances the yellow-coloured feathers are first lost, after- 
wards those which are grey, leaving the bird wholly 
white. 

The length of the female fourteen inches and a half. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing seven inches 
and a half. 

Mr. Macgillivray says, " The young are at first covered 
with a light yellowish grey down, patched on the back with 
brown, and having on the top of the head a light chest- 
nut mark, edged with darker. When first fledged they 
are very similar to the young of the Bed Grouse, but 
banded and spotted with brighter reddish yellow. This 
plumage soon changes, so that in the beginning of August 
many of the yellow and brown feathers of the back are 
exchanged for others spotted and barred with pale grey 
and brown, and the under parts are white, as well as the 
wings. These young birds become white the first winter, 
like older ones." 

The Ptarmigan, Mr. Selby observes, has been reared in 
confinement without much difficulty, and has been known 
to breed in a tame state. 



S68 

A few particulars of two other species of Ptarmigan, 
both of which are closely allied to our own, may not be out 
of place here. 

The Dal-ripa of Scandinavia, the sulalpina of M. Nils- 
son, the saliceti of M. Temmiuck, and the Willow Grouse 
of English authors, is pure white in winter, except the 
shafts of the quill-feathers and the lower series of tail- 
feathers, which are black ; the latter broadly tipped with 
white ; the male has no black feathers before or behind the 
eye : it is further distinguished from our Ptarmigan by its 
larger size, and much stouter beak. In summer both sexes 
assume a reddish yellow plumage, somewhat resembling 
that of the Red Grouse, the quill-feathers and part of the 
under surface of the body remaining white ; the claws 
black at the base, white at the end. The male measures 
seventeen inches in length : the wing eight inches and one 
quarter. The female measures sixteen inches, and her 
wing eight inches. This species is abundant in the countries 
about Hudson's Bay, where ten thousand have been taken 
in one winter. A coloured figure of this bird in its sum- 
mer plumage will be found at page 72 of Edwards' Glean- 
ings in Natural History, and in Mr. Gould's Birds of 
Europe. 

Mr. Lloyd says that M. Nilsson considers the Scandina- 
vian Fyall-ripa identical with our Ptarmigan, to be the same 
bird described by Faber as common to Iceland ; but with 
two specimens of the Iceland bird before me, obtained from 
Mr. Procter of the Durham Museum, who brought them 
from Iceland himself, I am induced to think Faber was 
correct in considering the Ptarmigan of Iceland distinct, and 
naming it accordingly Islandorum. Both the specimens I 
possess are males, one in winter plumage, the other killed 
in spring, and exhibiting a portion of the plumage of 



PTARMIGAN. 



369 



summer. Both these birds have black feathers before and 
behind the eye, and by this mark are distinguished from 
the Willow Bird ; both these birds measure seventeen 
inches in length, and are therefore as large as the largest 
males of the Willow Bird ; the beak is equally bulky, and 
the colour of the summer plumage in the spring-killed speci- 
men, as far as at present obtained, does not agree with that 
of either the male or female of our Lagopus mutus. 

I believe, with M. Temminck and Mr. Henry Double- 
day, that the Ptarmigan figured by Mr. Gould and Mr. 
Eyton under the name of rupestris, is only the female of 
our common Ptarmigan in her summer plumage. 

In our three representations of the Ptarmigan, at the 
head of this subject, the lower figure is taken from a female 
killed in the month of May, the upper figure from a male 
killed in October, and the middle figure from a male bird 
killed in January. 




VOL. II. 



B B 



370 

R A SO RES. 



TETRAONID.E. 



TETRAON1DM. 




THE COMMON PARTRIDGE. 

Perdix cinerea. 



Perdix cinerea, Common Partridge, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 363. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

Tetrao perdix, The 

Perdix cinerea^ 

Common 



Perdrix grise, 



BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 358. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 44. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 433. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 172, 

Go ULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xxi. 

TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 488. 



PERDIX. Generic Characters. Bill short, strong, naked at the base ; upper 
mandible convex, deflected towards the tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, the orifice 
partly concealed by an arched naked scale. Wings short, concave, rounded in 



COMMON PARTRIDGE. 371 

form ; the first three feathers shorter than the fourth or fifth, which are the long- 
est in the wing. Tail, of fourteen to eighteen feathers, short. Feet, with three 
toes in front, and one behind, those in front united by a membrane as far as the 
first articulation. 

THE enlarged demands of an increasing population, tempt- 
ing prices in seasons of scarcity, or the progress of science 
unfolding the nature of soils, have each in turn induced the 
cultivation of various tracts of ground unploughed before ; 
and as the labours of the agriculturists encroach upon the 
boundaries of the moor, the Grouse retires, and the Par- 
tridge takes its place upon the land : the districts best cul- 
tivated, and producing the most corn, frequently also pro- 
ducing the greatest number of Partridges. 

Of a bird so universally known, little that is new can be 
said ; with its appearance and its habits almost all are fami- 
liar. These birds pair in February ; but seldom begin to 
lay eggs till towards the end of April or the beginning of 
May : a slight depression in the ground, with a few dead 
leaves or dried grass bents scratched together, serves for a 
nest ; and the place chosen is sometimes only a few yards 
from a public footpath. Occasionally, also, the nest of a 
Partridge is found in a situation the least likely to be occu- 
pied by a bird so decidedly terrestrial in its habits. In 
Daniel's Rural Sports, it is recorded that a Partridge made 
her nest on the top of an oak pollard ; and this tree had one 
end of the bars of a stile, where there was a foot-path, fas- 
tened into it, and by the passengers going over the stile 
before she sat close, she was disturbed, and first discovered. 
She there hatched sixteen eggs ; and her brood, scrambling 
down the short and rough boughs which grew out all round 
from the trunk of the tree, reached the ground in safety. 
The eggs of the Partridge are, however, mostly deposited 
among brushwood or long grass, or in fields of clover and 
standing corn ; they are of a uniform olive brown colour, 

B B 2 



372 TETRAONIDJl. 

one inch five lines in length, by one inch and half a line in 
breadth, and from twelve to twenty are produced by one 
female. Twenty-eight eggs in one instance, and thirty- 
three eggs in two other instances, are recorded as having 
been found in one nest ; but there is little doubt in these 
cases, that more than one bird had laid eggs in the same 
nest. In one of the instances recorded, in which the 
nest, with thirty-three eggs, was in a fallow field, twenty- 
three young birds were hatched out and went off with the 
old ones, and four of the eggs left behind had live birds in 
them. The attachment of Partridges to their eggs and 
young is proverbial. Montagu mentions an instance in 
which a Partridge, on the point of hatching, was taken, 
together with her eggs, and carried in a hat to some dis- 
tance ; she continued to sit, and brought out her young. 
Mr. Jesse mentions two cases : "A farmer discovered a 
Partridge sitting on its eggs in a grass-field. The bird 
allowed him to pass his hand frequently down its back 
without moving, or showing any fear ; but if he offered to 
touch the eggs, the poor bird immediately pecked his hand. 
A gentleman living near Spilsby, in Lincolnshire, was one 
day riding over his farm and superintending his ploughmen, 
who were ploughing a piece of fallow land. He saw a 
Partridge glide off her nest so near the foot of one of 
his plough-horses, that he thought the eggs must be 
crushed ; this, however, was not the case ; but he found 
that the old bird was on the point of hatching, as several 
of the eggs were beginning to chip. He saw the old bird 
return to her nest the instant he left the spot. It was 
evident that the next round of the plough must bury the 
eggs and nest in the furrow. His surprise was great when, 
returning with the plough, he came to the spot, and saw 
the nest indeed, but the eggs and bird were gone. An 






COMMON PARTRIDGE. 373 

idea struck him that she had removed her eggs ; and he 
found her, before he left the field, sitting under the hedge 
upon twenty-one eggs, and she brought off nineteen birds. 
The round of ploughing had occupied about twenty minutes, 
in which time she, probably assisted by the cockbird, had 
removed the twenty-one eggs to a distance of about forty 
yards." 

Incubation with the Partridge lasts twenty-one days, and 
the great hatching-time in the southern parts of England is 
from the twentieth of June till the end of that month. Mr. 
Selby observers, that " as soon as the young are excluded, 
the male bird joins the covey, and displays equal anxiety 
with the female for their support and defence. There are 
few persons conversant with country affairs who have not 
witnessed the confusion produced in a brood of young Par- 
tridges by any sudden alarm ; or who have not admired 
the stratagems to which the parent birds have recourse, in 
order to deceive and draw off the intruder. Their 
parental instinct, indeed, is not always confined to mere 
devices for engaging attention ; but where there exists 
a probability of success, they will fight obstinately for 
the preservation of their young, as appear from many 
instances already narrated by different writers, and to 
which the following may be added, for the truth of which 
I can vouch : A person engaged in a field, not far from 
my residence, had his attention arrested by some objects 
on the ground, which, upon approaching, he found to be 
two Partridges, a male and female, engaged in battle with 
a Carrion Crow ; so successful and so absorbed were they 
in the issue of the contest, that they actually held the 
Crow till it was seized and taken from them by the 
spectator of the scene. Upon search, the young birds, 
very lately hatched, were found concealed amongst the 



374 TETRAONID^E. 

grass. It would appear, therefore, that the Crow, a mortal 
enemy to all kinds of young game, in attempting to' carry 
off one of these, had been attacked by the parent birds, 
and with this singular result. Markwick says he has seen, 
when a Kite has been hovering over a covey of young 
Partridges, the old birds fly up to the Kite, screaming 
and fighting with all their might to preserve their brood. 
Their desire to go to nest, and their partiality to a young 
brood, is sometimes shown in another manner. In 1808, 
at Mark's Hall, in Essex, Payne the gamekeeper noticed a 
brace of Partridges, whose nest had been destroyed, taking 
to a nest of Pheasant's eggs, the hen of which had been 
killed by accident. The Partridges hatched and brought 
up ten young Pheasants. The keeper frequently showed 
his master, Colonel Burgoyne, and others, the old Par- 
tridges with the young Pheasants, at different periods 
of their growth.* 

During the day a covey of Partridges, keeping together, 
are seldom seen on the wing, unless disturbed ; they fre- 
quent grass fields, preferring the hedge sides, some of them 
picking up insects, and occasionally the green leaves of 
plants ; others dusting themselves in any dry spot where 
the soil is loose, and this would seem to be a constant 
practice with them in dry weather, if we may judge by 
the numerous dusting-places, with the marks and feathers, 
to be found about their haunts ; and sportsmen find in the 
early part of the shooting-season, that young and weak 
birds are frequently infested with numerous parasites. In 
the afternoon the covey repair to some neighbouring field 
of standing corn, or if that be cut, to the stubble, for the 
second daily meal of grain, and this completed, the call- 
note may be heard, according to White, as soon as the 

* Daniel's Supplement, page 397. 



COMMON PARTRIDGE. 375 

beetles begin to buzz, and the whole move away tog-ether 
to some spot where they jug, as it is called, that is, 
squat and nestle close together for the night ; and from the 
appearance of the mutings, or droppings, which are gene- 
rally deposited in a circle of only a few inches in diameter, 
it would appear that the birds arrange themselves also in a 
circle, of which their tails form the centre, all the heads 
being outwards ; a disposition which instinct has suggested 
as the best for observing the approach of any of their 
numerous enemies, whatever may be the direction, and 
thus increase their security by enabling them to avoid a 
surprise. In the morning early they again visit the stubble 
for a breakfast, and pass the rest of the day as before. 
Fields of clover or turnips are very favourite places of 
resort, during the day. 

Many Partridges are annually reared from eggs that are 
found, or mowed out in cutting clover or grass, these eggs 
being hatched under hens. The young birds should be fed 
with ants-eggs, curd, grits ; small grain, when the birds are 
old enough, and some vegetables. Partridges thus hatched 
and reared become so tame as even to be troublesome, run- 
ning close about the feet of those who are in the habit of 
supplying them several times daily with food ; and though 
they live for years afterwards in an aviary, there is but 
one record, as far as I am aware, of the Partridge breeding 
in confinement ; Sir Thomas Marion Wilson, Bart., had 
a small covey of seven or eight hatched and reared by the 
parent birds in his aviary at Charlton in the summer of 
1842, I saw these birds in 1843. Dry summers are par- 
ticularly favourable to the breeding of Partridges ; White, 
in his History of Selborne, notes, that after the dry sum- 
mers of 1740 and 1741, the Partidges swarmed to such a 
degree, that unreasonable sportsmen killed twenty, and 



376 TETRAONID.E. 

sometimes thirty brace in a day. This, however, is but 
moderate sport to some that might be quoted. T. W. Coke, 
Esq., ( the late Earl of Leicester) on the 7th of October, 
1797, upon his manor at Warham, and within a mile's 
circumference, bagged forty brace of Partridges in eight 
hours, at ninety-three shots, every bird was killed singly ; 
the day before, on the same ground, he killed twenty-two 
brace and a half in three hours. 

A more recent match, as recorded in Pierce Egan's 

Anecdotes, and in the Naturalist's Library, affords still 

further proof of the abundance of the Partridge, and the 

excess to which the sport may be carried. This was a bet 

between Mr. William Coke and Lord Kennedy, for two 

hundred sovereigns a-side, play or pay, who shot and 

bagged the greatest number of Partridges in two . days 1 

sporting ; both parties to shoot on the same days, namely, 

the 26th of September and the 4th of October in the same 

season, 1823. Mr. William Coke to sport upon his uncle's 

manors in Norfolk, and Lord Kennedy in any part of 

Scotland he pleased. The result of Mr. Coke's first day's 

shooting was eighty and a half brace of birds bagged. On 

Saturday, October 4th, Mr. W. Coke took the field soon 

after six o'clock in the morning ; he was accompanied by 

his uncle, T. W. Coke, Esq., M.P., and by two umpires 

Colonel Dixon for Mr. Coke, and F. S. Blunt, Esq., for 

Lord Kennedy ; also by two of his friends, Sir H. Good- 

ricke, Bart., and F. Holyoake, Esq. He was attended 

by several gamekeepers, and by one dog only, to pick 

up the game. Several respectable neighbouring yeomen 

volunteered their labours in assisting to beat for game, and 

rendered essential service throughout the day. Mr. Coke 

sported over part of the Wigton and Egmere manors. The 

morning was foggy, and the turnips were so wet that 



COMMON PARTRIDGE. 377 

the birds would not lie among them : very little execution 
was done, in consequence, in the early part of the day ; in 
the first two hours only six brace of birds were bagged. 
The day cleared up after eight o'clock, and the sportsman 
amply made up for his lost time. He found birds plentiful 
among Mr. Denny's fine crop of turnips on the Egmere 
farm : and in a one and twenty acre piece of Swedes, he 
bagged thirty-five and a half brace of birds. He concluded 
his day's sport soon after six in the evening, and had then 
bagged eighty-eight brace of birds, and five Pheasants ; 
but a dispute having arisen among the umpires about one 
bird, Colonel Dixon gave the point up, and the number was 
ultimately declared to be eighty-seven and a half brace of 
birds bagged, Pheasants and other game not being counted 
in the match ; so that Mr. W. Coke's number of birds 
bagged in the two days' shooting was one hundred and 
sixty-eight brace. He had much fewer shots on the 
second than on the first day, but he shot better ; on the 
Saturday he bagged one hundred and eighty head from 
three hundred and twenty-seven shots, which was con- 
sidered good shooting in a match of this nature, when a 
chance, however desperate it may appear, is not to be 
thrown away. His uncle, T. W. Coke, Esq., loaded the 
guns a great part of the day on Saturday, and, as a finale 
to the day's sport, shot at and killed the last bird, which 
his nephew had previously missed. Lady Ann Coke was 
in the field a great part of the day ; her ladyship carried 
refreshments for the sportsmen in her pony gig. Lord 
Kennedy chose for the scene of his exploits, Montreith, 
in Scotland, a manor belonging to Sir William Maxwell, 
considered equal to any lands in Scotland for rearing Par- 
tridges. On the first day of trial his lordship bagged 
fifty brace, and on the second eighty-two brace ; being 



378 TETRAOJttDjE. 

in all one hundred and thirty- two brace of Partridges in 
two days. 

At the commencement of the Part ridge- shooting season, 
which in some countries of Europe occurs earlier than with 
us, beginning in the canton of Geneva, for instance, on the 
15th of August, the young birds, when disturbed and 
separated, will, after resting in silence for a time, endeavour 
to get back to the field they were bred in, apparently 
in search of their former companions. Later in the season, 
the whole covey, when flushed, will take to the woods 
in some districts, and frequently when they have become 
strong on the wing, the remains of several covies unite, 
forming a pack, and are then very wild and difficult to 
approach. 

Mr. Selby observes that the Partridge is found to vary 
considerably in size, according to situation, and the different 
nutritive qualities of food ; thus, the largest are met with 
in districts where an abundance of grain prevails, whilst 
upon the precincts of moors, where but an inconsiderable 
portion of arable land is offered to them, they are much 
inferior in size, although perhaps by no means evincing 
a similar inferiority in point of flavour. 

It has been observed to me also, that on some heathy 
districts in Surrey, as the Hurtwood and Bagshot Heath, 
the Partridges seldom frequent the corn-lands, but subsist 
on heath and hurtle-berries. These birds are not so white 
in the flesh when dressed as others, and have some of the 
flavour of the Grouse. 

The Partridge is so generally distributed over this coun- 
try as to make an enumeration of particular localities un- 
necessary ; but though plentiful in some of the low grounds 
of Scotland, Mr. Macgillivray says there are none on the 
islands of the outer or western Hebrides. M. Nilsson in- 



COMMON PARTRIDGE. 379 

eludes this bird in his Fauna of Scandinavia, and it is found 
in suitable localities over the European continent to the 
shores of the Mediterranean. M. Teinminck says it inha- 
bits Barbary and Egypt ; and two Russian naturalists have 
included it in their catalogues of the birds found in the 
country between the Black and the Caspian Seas, south 
of the Caucasian mountain range. Though stationary all 
the year in central Europe, this bird is said to be migratory 
in the countries that are at the limits of its geographical 
range ; thus M. Malherbe in his Fauna of Sicily, says 
it visits that island every spring and autumn, when on 
its passage from North Africa to Italy and back. 

The adult male has the beak bluish white ; the irides 
hazel ; behind the eye, and above the ear-coverts, a small 
triangular patch of naked red skin ; the forehead, the space 
between the beak and the eye, with the feathers extending 
backwards as far as the ear-coverts, and downwards cover- 
ing the front of the neck and throat, bright yellowish 
chestnut ; top of the head and back of the neck greyish 
brown ; the back and wing-coverts freckled with two 
shades of chestnut brown on a ground of wood-brown, 
the shaft of each feather forming a conspicuous streak 
of pale wood-brown ; the wing-primaries, or flight-feathers, 
greyish brown, with transverse bars of wood-brown ; the 
rump and upper tail-covers, some of which are long, 
freckled with two shades of brown, and barred transversely 
with chestnut ; tail-feathers uniform reddish chestnut. The 
neck and upper part of the breast, the sides, and flanks, 
light bluish grey, minutely freckled with dark grey ; lower 
breast with a rich chestnut- coloured horse-shoe-shaped 
patch on a ground of white ; sides and flanks barred with 
chestnut; thighs greyish white; under tail-coverts yellowish 
brown ; the legs and toes bluish white ; the claws brown. 



380 TETRAONID^. 

The whole length of the male bird twelve inches and a 
half. The wing in form rounded. The length from the 
carpal joint to the end six inches ; the first feather about as 
long as the sixth ; the second equal to the fifth ; and all of 
them shorter than the third and fourth, which are the 
longest in the wing. 

The female is generally a little smaller than the male ; 
the light chestnut-coloured patch round the beak is lighter 
in colour, and smaller in size, than in the male, not extend- 
ing farther back over the sides of the neck than a line 
falling perpendicularly from the eye ; the grey feathers 
of the lower part of the sides of the neck are more mixed 
with brown ; the lower breast is white, not assuming the 
dark chestnut patch till the second or third year ; the 
chestnut bars on the flanks are broader. 

Young birds before their first autumn moult have no red 
mark behind the eye ; the general plumage is of a uniform 
brownish yellow, barred and streaked with darker brown ; 
the legs and toes yellowish clay brown. During the two 
first months of our shooting- season, the young Partridges 
may be found in every stage of moult. 

Varieties of the Patridge in colour are very common, 
some exhibiting only patches of white ; others are wholly 
white ; and cream-coloured, or very pale buff-coloured varie- 
ties are also common. 



R A SO RES. 



RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE. 381 

TETRAONID&. 




THE RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE. 

Perdix rufa. 

Red-legged Partridge, PENN. Brit. ZooL vol. i. p. 365. 

Perdix rufa, Guernsey MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

Tetrao rvfus, Red-legged BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 355. 

Perdix rufa, Guernsey FLEM. Brit. An. p. 45. 

rubra, Red-legged JENVNS, Brit. Vert. p. 1 72. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xvii. 

Perdrix rouge, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 485. 

IT is stated in Daniel's Rural Sports, that so long ago as 
the time of Charles the Second, several pairs of Red-legged 
Partridges were turned out about Windsor to obtain a 
stock; but they are supposed to have perished, although 
some of them, or their descendants, were seen for a few 



382 TETRAONJD.E. 

years afterwards ; and I find other record of this bird 
having been killed in Berkshire. Mr. Daniel further states 
that the late Duke of Northumberland preserved many in 
hopes of their increasing upon his manors, and he also adds, 
that he himself, in 1777, found a covey of fourteen within 
two miles of Colchester. Some attempts were also made 
by the late Earl of Rochford. Dr. W. B. Clarke, of 
Ipswich, says, in Mr. Charlesworth's Magazine of Natural 
History for 1839, that numbers were introduced into 
England about the year 1770 by the Marquis of Hertford 
and Lord Bendlesham, each of whom had eggs procured on 
the Continent, carefully brought to England, and placed 
under domestic fowls ; the former at Sudbourn, near Orford, 
in Suffolk, one of his shooting residences ; the latter on 
his estates at Rendlesham, a few miles distant from Sud- 
bourn ; from these places the birds have been gradually 
extending themselves over the adjoining counties. 

As will be seen by the names quoted at the commence- 
ment of this subject, the Red-legged Partridge is sometimes 
called the Guernsey Partridge, and it is found at Guernsey 
and Jersey. These Channel Islands, as they are frequently 
called, were probably at one time the most western locality 
of this species ; but Mr. E. T. Bennett, and the R/ev. L. 
Jenyns, have each referred to the Pulteney Catalogue, in 
which it is stated that this species has been shot at Upway, 
near Weymouth, in Dorsetshire ; and this suggests the 
possibility of its sometimes reaching this country from 
Guernsey or Jersey. The Rev. Richard Lubbock, in some 
Ornithological notes sent me, mentions that these birds are 
becoming more and more common in Norfolk, and that it 
occasionally changes its ground, as he has known it abund- 
ant upon an estate in one year, and none to be seen there 
in the next, though the breeding was equally favourable in 






RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE. 383 

both seasons. That these birds sometimes take very long 
flights, is inferred from the circumstance that the Rev. T. 
Fowler, of Colton, near the coast between Yarmouth and 
Lowestoft, told Mr. Lubbock he knew two instances in 
which four or five Red-Legged Partridges were found upon 
the beach there, in so fatigued a state, that they were run 
down by the boatmen, after endeavouring to conceal them- 
selves in piles of seaweed, and under the fishing-boats 
drawn up on the sand. The authors of the Catalogue of 
Norfolk and Suffolk Birds, published in the fifteenth 
volume of the Transactions of the Linnean Society, say, 
" These birds are now very plentiful in some parts of 
Suffolk. We have seen at least one hundred and fifty 
brace upon Dummingworth-heath, and they are found in 
greater or less numbers from Aldborough to Woodbridge." 
They are now making their appearance in Lincolnshire ; 
have been taken in Cambridgeshire ; and within the last 
few years I have known three examples killed very near 
Royston in Hertfordshire, one of which was shot out of a 
covey. The Rev. Richard Lubbock, in his recently pub- 
lished Fauna of Norfolk, mentions that in the beginning 
of January 1845 he was called into a bird-preserver's shop 
to look at a curious hybrid, believed to be bred between 
a Red-legged Partridge and a Pheasant. It came from 
Mr. Gurdon's of Letton, near Thetford. M. Temminck 
also refers to a hybrid between the Red-legged Partridge 
and the Common Partridge. 

These birds scrape together a slight nest of dried grass 
and leaves upon the ground, among growing corn, grass, or 
clover ; and two or three instances are recorded, in which 
nests with eggs were found in the thatch, or upon the top 
of low stacks. The eggs are from fifteen to eighteen in 
number, of a reddish yellow white, spotted and speckled 



384 TETRAONID.E. 

with reddish brown ; the length one inch seven lines and a 
half, by one inch and three lines in breadth. The young, 
like those of our Common Partridge, soon quit the nest 
after they are released from the egg-shell. They feed also, 
like other Partridges, on seeds, grain, and insects ; they 
frequent turnip-fields, but appear to prefer heaths, com- 
mons, and other waste land, interspersed with bushes. 

As an object of pursuit they are not much esteemed by 
sportsmen. These birds being stronger on the wing than 
the Common Partridge, are usually much more wild, and 
accordingly much more difficult to get shots at within 
distance. They foot away before a pointer like an old 
Cock Grouse; and unless the sportsman can drive them 
into furze, or some other such thick bottom, through 
which they cannot thread their way, but little chance 
of success attends him. When wounded, they will run 
to ground in a rabbit-burrow, or any other hole they can 
find. 

Occasionally they perch in trees, and have been seen on 
the upper bar of a gate, or the top of a lift of paling. Mr. 
Daniel mentions that the covey of fourteen which he found 
near Colchester, were in a very thick piece of turnips, and 
for half an hour baffled the exertions of a brace of good 
pointers to make them take wing ; and the first which did 
so immediately perched on the hedge, and was shot in that 
situation, without its being known what bird it was; a 
leash more were at length sprung from the turnips and 
shot ; and two days after a brace more were killed by 
another person. Some years after, when out at Sudbourn 
with a gentleman who was particularly anxious to kill 
some of these Red-legged Partridges, and hunted with a 
brace of capital pointers for them only, the instant the dogs 
stood, the red birds ran, and always took wing, not with- 



RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE. 385 

standing all the speed exerted to head them, at such dis- 
tances as to be out of the range of shot ; yet upon the same 
ground, and on the same day, after changing the mode 
of shooting, these birds lay to some springing spaniels till 
the dogs almost touched them before they rose, and two 
brace and a half were killed. The flesh of the Bed-legged 
Partridge is white, but rather more dry, and not so much 
in request as that of the Common Partridge. The red bird 
has been known to breed in confinement. 

This bird is not an inhabitant of Germany or Holland, 
according to Continental authors, but it is found in France, 
Provence, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and is probably con- 
founded sometimes with two other species of Bed-legged 
Partridges which are found in Barbary and Greece, and 
from thence to a considerable distance eastward. 

M. Temminck mentions, in the fourth part of his Manual, 
that this species is also an inhabitant of Japan, and does 
not exhibit there any difference either in its form or the 
colouring of its plumage. 

The adult male has the beak red ; from the nostrils a 
black streak passes to the eye, and recommencing behind 
the eye passes downwards and then forwards, joining in 
front, forming a gorget of black, from which, both on the 
sides of the neck and in the front, numerous black streaks 
and spots descend towards the breast ; the irides reddish 
orange, eyelids vermilion red ; top of the head with a line 
of white before and behind the eye ; back of the neck, the 
shoulders, back, wing-coverts, rump, and upper tail-coverts, 
hair-brown, the plumage smooth and blended; wing-fea- 
thers greyish black, with a margin of wood-brown on the 
outer web; tail-feathers chestnut ; breast pearl-grey ; belly, 
vent, and under tail-coverts, fawn-colour; feathers of the 
sides, flanks, and thighs transversely barred with pearl- 

VOL. II. C C 



386 



TETRAONID^E. 



grey, white, black, and fawn-colour ; legs and toes red, the 
former with a blunt rounded knob in the situation of a 
spur ; the claws brown. 

Whole length thirteen inches and a half. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing six inches and one 
quarter; the first quill-feather as long as the sixth, but 
both shorter than the second, third, fourth, or fifth, which 
are nearly equal, and the longest in the wing. 

The female is rather smaller than the male ; but does 
not differ much, except that the plumage is not quite so 
bright in colour, and she has no rounded spur-like knob on 
the legs. 




R A SORES. 



BARBARY PARTRIDGE. 387 

TKTRAONIDM. 




THE BARBARY PARTRIDGE. 

Perdix petrosa. 

The Red-legged Partridge from Barbary, EDWARDS, Glean, pi. 70. 

Barbary Partridge, LATH. Syn. vol ii. pt. ii. p. 770. 

Perdix petrosa, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. i. 

Perdrix gambra, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 487. 
n w vol. iv. p. 333. 

A BIRD of this species was picked up dead by a man that 
was hedging in a field at Edmondthorpe, about six miles 
from Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire, in April 1842. 

c c 2 



388 TETRAONID.E. 

The plumage did not exhibit the slightest indication that 
the bird had been in confinement ; it was a female, and 
the eggs inside were as large as sloes. I received this in- 
formation from Mr. Robert Widdowson, of Melton Mow- 
bray, who then possessed the specimen, and who sent me 
up a coloured drawing, taken from the bird, by which the 
species was immediately recognised. Two or three years 
ago, a bird of this same species was shot by a nobleman 
when sporting on the estate of the Marquis of Hertford, at 
Sudbourn, in Suffolk, where it was considered that a few 
of the eggs of the Barbary Partridge had been introduced 
with a much larger quantity of those of the more common 
red-legged birds, at the time the country about Sudbourn 
and Wickham Market was stocked by means of eggs ob- 
tained from the continent by the Marquis of Hertford and 
Lord Rendlesham, about 1 770, as mentioned in the history 
of the species last described. 

This specimen of the Barbary Partridge has now passed 
into the possession of Mr. Thomas Goatley, of Chipping 
Norton, Oxfordshire ; who has most kindly lent me the 
preserved bird for my use in this work, and the figure here 
given was drawn from this British killed Barbary Par- 
tridge. As a species it is immediately distinguished from 
the more common Red-legged Partridge, which precedes it 
in this work, by the chestnut collar surrounding the neck, 
which is studded with small round white spots, and is 
much broader, and therefore more conspicuous in the male 
than in this example, which is a female. 

The Barbary Partridge is found in Africa as far south 
as Senegal, extending its range northward over Morocco 
and Barbary, and from thence eastward to Algeria, where 
it is said by M. Malherbe to be very common. It is the 
Rock Partridge and Gambia Partridge of Buffon. 



BARBARY PARTRIDGE. 389 

The Zoological Society have received skins of this Par- 
tridge sent by Messrs. Dickson and Ross from Fezzan. 
The note appended was as follows. " Killed in December 
1842. Very common all over the country, frequenting 
ravines, hills, and all places where they can find cover, and 
often met with even in our gardens ; flies in coveys ; a shy 
bird ; used as food by the natives, though its flesh is dry 
and without flavour. Its heart is so small that it does not 
exceed that of a sparrow." 

Our countryman George Edwards, who gave a figure of 
this species in 1802 in his Gleanings in Natural History, 
says, " A pair of these birds were sent to me alive by my 
good friend Mr. Thomas Rawlings, merchant, residing at 
Santa Cruz, in that part of Barbary without the Straights 
of Gibraltar, on the Atlantic Ocean. I have not heard that 
the Red-legged Partridge, either European or African, 
were ever increased in England, though both sorts are fre- 
quently brought hither." 

Of the islands of the Mediterranean the Barbary Par- 
tridge is found in Majorca, Minorca, Corsica, Sardinia, and 
Sicily ; and north of the Mediterranean is said to be abun- 
dant in Spain, inhabits Provence and France, has been 
found in Germany, Italy, and Greece, and eastward as far 
as the country of Mount Caucasus. 

In its habits the Barbary Partridge, it is said, very 
closely resembles the Red-legged Partridge last described. 
" The female chooses barren places and desert mountains, 
where, among low bushes she deposits her eggs to the 
number of fifteen, of a yellowish colour, thickly dotted 
with greenish olive spots. Seeds, grain, and insects, are 
selected as food." 

The beak and a bare space around the eyes red ; irides 
hazel ; sides of the head above and below the eye bluish 



390 TETRAONID^l. 

ash ; ear-coverts light brown ; top of the head and back of 
the neck rich chestnut brown, which ends in a broad collar 
of the same colour descending to the bottom of the neck in 
front, and prettily varied with small round white spots ; 
back and tail greyish brown ; wing-coverts tinged with 
blue, and edged with rufous ; wing-primaries brownish 
black on the inner web, the outer web of the first greyish- 
brown, of the others light wood brown ; throat and neck 
in front, above and below the collar, bluish ash; breast 
buff; feathers of the sides and flanks barred with white, 
black, and bright chestnut ; belly, vent, and under tail- 
coverts, reddish buff; legs, toes, and nails, red. 

The length of the male thirteen inches ; wing from the 
anterior bend six inches ; the legs armed with blunt spur- 
like protuberances. 

The female is rather smaller than the male ; the general 
plumage less brilliant in colours, and the legs without any 
spur-like protuberances. 



VIRGINIAN COLIN. 391 

RASORES. TETRAONID&. 




THE VIRGINIAN COLIN. 

Ortyx Virginiana. 

American Quail, MONTAGU, Suppl. to Ornith. Diet. 

See Grosbeak, White-winged. 

Coturnix Marylanda, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 46. 

Perdix Virginiana, Virginian Partridge, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 173. 
Ortyx Colin, MACGILL. Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 228. 

Perdix Borealis, Colin Colenicui, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. iv. p. 335. 

ORTYX. Generic Cliaracters. Bill short, thick, and strong, higher than broad, 
slightly convex, the tip rounded. Nostrils basal, linear, operculate, nearly con- 
cealed. Feet of moderate length ; tarsus shorter than the middle toe. Wings 
short, concave, rounded ; the first feather short, the fifth the longest in the wing. 
Tail of twelve feathers, rather short, and rounded. 



392 TETRAONID^. 

THIS bird, the Perdix Virginiana of Wilson and Mr. 
Audubon, the Ortyx Virginianus of Bonaparte, called also 
an Ortyx by Mr. Audubon in his recently published Sy- 
nopsis of the Birds of North America, has been introduced 
to this country from the United States. 

The genus Ortyx, says Sir William Jardine, Bart, in his 
octavo edition of Wilson's American Ornithology, vol. ii. 
page 223, was formed by Mr. Stephens, in his continuation 
of Shaw's Zoology, for the reception of the thick and 
strong-billed Partridges peculiar to both continents of the 
New World, and holding the place there, with the Par- 
tridges, Francolins, and Quails of other countries. They 
live on the borders of woods, among brushwood, or on the 
thick grassy plains, and, since the cultivation of the coun- 
try, frequent cultivated fields. During the night some of 
them roost on trees, and occasionally perch during the day; 
when alarmed, or chased by dogs, they fly to the middle 
branches ; and Mr. Audubon remarks, they walk with ease 
on the branches. In all these habits they show their 
alliance to the perching Gallina, and a variation from the 
true Partridge. 

The first notice I am acquainted with of the occurrence 
of this American bird in England, is furnished by Colonel 
Montagu in the Supplement to his Ornithological Diction- 
ary, under the article Grosbeak, white-winged, where it is 
stated that a male was shot near Mansfield by Mr. Har- 
rison ; the specimen was sent to Lord Stanley, now Earl 
of Derby. Montagu afterwards adds, the American Quail 
has been turned out in some parts of the British Empire, 
with a view to establish the breed ; but we believe without 
effect. The late General Gabbit liberated many on his 
estates in Ireland ; but in two years the breed was lost. 
Sir William Jardine observes in the Naturalist's Library, 






VIRGINIAN COLIN. 

that " the Virginian Partridge has been attempted to be 
introduced in several parts of the European Continent, 
but we are uncertain with what success. They have also 
been tried in some of the English counties." Two or three 
authors have recorded that a quantity of the Virginian 
Partridge were turned down by Edward John Littleton, 
Esq. on his estates at Teddesley, in Staffordshire ; and one 
gentleman states that the guard of a coach informed him 
that he had the care of a basket of these birds by his 
coach ; that they all by some accident got out and flew 
away ; and that in the part of the country where they 
made their escape (the name of the place was forgotten,) 
they had bred and increased exceedingly. In the col- 
lection of Mr. Henson, at Cambridge, was a specimen of 
this bird which was killed at Holkham ; and in a letter 
quoted by Mr. H. Denny in the 13th volume of the Annals 
of Natural History, written to him in November 1825, by 
the Rev. John Burrell, F.L.S., Rector of Letheringsett, 
near Holt in Norfolk, a zealous naturalist, it is stated in 
reference to this Virginian Ortyx, of which he had ob- 
tained a specimen in the season of 1824, and another in 
1825, in that county, " it is now quite a colonised creature, 
and numerous are the coveys which, report says, the 
poachers cannot destroy, its manners are so watchful, and 
the bird so shy of man." In further reference to the ex- 
istence of this species in Norfolk, the Rev. Richard Lub- 
bock wrote me as follows : " A nest was found at Barton 
in this county, three or four years back, containing nume- 
rous white eggs, which were sold to a bird preserver in 
Norwich. Two are in my possession. I endeavoured to 
ascertain the whole number of the eggs, but could not : 
there must have been above a dozen. The nest was found 
in a marsh. Mr. Coke, I have understood, turned off 



394 TETRAONID^E. 

many of these birds at Holkham, with what ultimate suc- 
cess I know not. This made me suppose that the eggs in 
question might belong to this bird, particularly as a fen- 
man near the place where this nest is said to have been 
found, mentioned to me his having seen a bird like a Par- 
tridge in flight, but much smaller. Mr. Salmon, of Thet- 
ford, had some of these eggs ; and I think he told me he 
showed them to Mr. Hewitson." 

On comparing the outline of one of these eggs with three 
specimens of the eggs of Ortyx Virginiana in my own col- 
lection, received from America, the accordance was so 
exact as to leave no doubt that they belonged to the 
same species; and lastly, I may add that a few years 
back Mr. Leadbeater received three or four freshly killed 
specimens, with directions to mount them together in one 
case. These birds had been shot in Kent, were in beau- 
tiful plumage, and when preserved formed a very interest- 
ing group. 

Since the publication of the first edition of this work, a 
specimen of this Virginian Quail has been shot in North- 
umberland, and is now in the collection of Mr. J. Hancock, 
of Newcastle-upon-Tyne ; and another was shot off a tree 
near Bristol, as mentioned by Mr. Hewitson in the second 
edition of his work on the eggs of our British Birds. In 
September 1844, a couple were shot near Egham as they 
rose from a pea-stubble. On the 29th of October, in the 
same year, a pair were killed out of a small covey of seven 
or eight, in a copse near Egham, by Wyatt Edgell, Esq. 
This latter occurrence was communicated to me by Gr. R. 
Marten, Esq., who very kindly allowed me an examination 
of the birds ; and in April of the present year, 1845, a 
very fine old male was obtained between Weybridge and 
Chertsey by a boy, who, hearing the call-note of a bird, 






VIRGINIAN COLIN. 395 

whistled a similar note in answer ; the bird was deceived 
by the imitation, and came so close up to him that he 
killed it with a stone. 

A correspondent, residing in Staffordshire, thus describes 
in the Magazine of Natural History the habits of the Ortyx 
Virginiana in confinement : " A few years ago I pur- 
chased two brace of these elegant little birds from Mr. 
Cross, of Exeter Change, London, and brought them home 
with me in the coach. I have a small garden, walled 
round, and covered over with wire, into which I turned 
them, but each separated from the other by a wire par- 
tition. Towards the latter end of May, I perceived one of 
the cock birds carrying straws, and twisting them about 
over his head ; and I found they were making a nest with- 
in a bundle of pea- sticks, which were placed in the garden 
for them to run under and hide themselves. This nest was 
the joint production of male and female ; it was placed on 
the ground within the pea-sticks, and shaped much like a 
Wren's, with a hole on one side, and covered over at top. 
After the hen had laid about twelve eggs she began to sit, 
and with as much assiduity as our common hen. When I 
thought it was her time to hatch, I examined her nest, and 
found it deserted, and the egg-shells, which had evidently 
contained young birds, lying about. Much pleased with 
this circumstance, I went cautiously about to find the dam 
with her little ones ; and, after searching a considerable 
time, the first intimation I had of her presence was from 
her flying in my face with great agitation, like our common 
hen. I retired much gratified, and observed the young 
ones, nine in number, collect again under the wings of their 
mother. The assiduity of this excellent parent was truly 
exemplary, and her attention unremitting, and she reared 
them every one with very little trouble. What is very 



396 TETRAONID^E. 

singular, there were eight cocks and but one hen, all of 
whom were reared till they moulted, and got their adult 
plumage ; when, from some cause which I could never as- 
certain, they began to droop one after another ; and before 
Christmas all the young birds died. Though I examined 
the stomachs and gizzards of most of them, yet I never 
could find out the cause of their deaths ; but I have little 
doubt of its being some deleterious substance picked up in 
the place where I separated them from the old ones, soon 
after they became fully fledged, as the old birds escaped 
this mortality. 

" The other pair never bred ; but it was easily account- 
ed for, as the hen was unwell from the time I turned 
them down, and she lingered on to October, and then 
died. 

" Previously to and during the time the hen was sitting, 
the cock serenaded her with his harsh and singular notes, 
some of them very similar to the mewing of a cat. He 
had also a peculiarity of constantly running round in a 
circle, till the ground whereon he performed his evolutions 
was worn as bare as a road, and the turf trodden down 
much in the same way as it is by the Ruff in the fens 
during the season of incubation. 

" Nothing could be more cordial and harmonious than 
this happy family. When the shades of evening approach- 
ed, they crowded together in a circle on the ground, and 
prepared for the slumbers of the night by placing their tails 
all together ; with their pretty mottled chins facing to the 
front in a watchful round-robin. 

" When food was thrown in for them, which consisted 
chiefly of spirted barley and wheat, and occasionally bread, 
the male bird would peck at the grain, but not eat any 
himself until he had called his family around him first to 



VIRGINIAN COLIN. 397 

partake of the food, which he did with many soft blandish- 
ments, and with much strutting and spreading of the wings 
and tail. 

" I was greatly disappointed at the loss of this interest- 
ing family ; and I waited with some impatience for the 
result of another season. The season at length arrived : 
they built their nest again as before ; the hen laid about 
sixteen eggs ; when, to my great mortification, just as she 
had begun to sit, I found her dead one morning ; and can 
no otherwise account for the circumstance than by sup- 
posing that something must have frightened her in the 
night, and caused her to fly up with violence against the 
wires, which proved fatal to her. Thus ended my hopes of 
domesticating this elegant little bird, as I have not been 
able to procure another female. I wished much to breed 
some more, and turn them out if successful, as they lay 
many eggs, and are much more easily reared than either 
Pheasants or Partridges. 1 ' 

This bird is a general inhabitant of North America, from 
the northern parts of Canada and Nova Scotia, in which 
latter place it is said to be migratory, to the extremity of 
the peninsula of Florida. In the eastern and middle dis- 
tricts, Mr. Audubon says, its common name is that of 
Quail, but in the western and southern States, it is called 
a Partridge. Their food, in a wild state, consists of grain, 
seeds, insects, and berries ; but buckwheat and Indian com 
are also particular favourites. The eggs are white ; one 
inch two lines and a half in length, by one inch in breadth, 
at the larger end, from whence they taper rapidly to a 
point. The nest in its form, and the habit of the covey of 
clustering in a circle, in a wild state, are as already de- 
scribed. Various devices are employed for taking them ; 
and they are to be seen in the markets of the United 






398 TETRAONID^E. 

States in considerable quantities, both alive and dead. 
Their flesh is white, tender, and delicate, and is accord- 
ingly very much in request. 

The adult male has the beak almost black ; the irides 
hazel ; upper part of the head dark chestnut brown ; these 
feathers occasionally elevated, forming a crest ; from the 
forehead to the eye, and from thence over and behind the 
ear-coverts, a band of pure white, below this a band of 
dark chestnut brown and black, which reaches the sides of 
the neck, where the brown feathers are white in the mid- 
dle ; the upper part of the back and the wing-coverts red- 
dish brown ; lower part of the back, rump, and upper tail- 
coverts, a mottled greyish brown, with a few spots of dark 
brown ; wing-primaries greyish brown ; the scapulars and 
tertials very dark brown, with buff-coloured margins ; tail- 
feathers bluish grey ; chin and throat white, with a gorget 
of black below ; breast and belly buffy white, with trans- 
verse bars of black ; sides, flanks, and under tail-coverts, 
varied with reddish brown and buffy white ; legs and claws 
reddish brown. 

Whole length rather more than nine inches. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, four inches and a half : 
the wing in form rounded ; the first and the eighth feathers 
of the same length ; the second equal to the sixth ; but not 
so long as the third, fourth, or fifth, which are nearly equal 
in length to each other, but the fourth rather the longest 
in the wing. 

The female is rather smaller than the male ; the band 
before and behind the eye is less conspicuous, the light- 
coloured edges of the scapulars and tertials are more white 
than buff-coloured ; the chin and throat are pale buff 
colour ; the breast is nearly white, with much less of the 



VIRGINIAN COLIN. 



S99 



reddish brown colour on the upper part, the sides, or the 
flanks. 

Very young birds, Mr. Audubon says, have the beak 
brownish yellow ; irides light hazel ; the general colour of the 
upper parts light yellowish brown, patched with grey ; 
sides of the head dusky. 




400 

RASORES. 



TETRAONID^E. 



TETRAON1DJE. 




Perdix coturnix, 
Tetrao 

w 

Coturnix vulgaris, 
Perdix coturnix. 



THE COMMON QUAIL. 

Coturnix vulgaris. 

TJie Quail, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 366. 



Common 



Coturnix dactylisonans, . 
Perdix cotumix, La caille, 



MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 361. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 45. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 437. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert, p 174. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiii. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 491. 



COTURNIX. Generic Characters. Beak strong, shorter than the head, upper 
mandible curved. Nostrils basal, lateral, half closed by an arched membrane. 
Feet with four toes, those anterior connected by a membrane as far as the first 
articulation. Tail short, rounded, recumbent, almost hid by the tail coverts. 

OUR British Quail belongs to that section of the- genus 
Coturnix designated by Colonel Sykes* as having the upper 

* Transactions of the Zoological Society, vol. ii. page 1. 






COMMON QUAIL. 401 

mandible but slightly bent, the wings pointed, and the legs 
smooth, or without tubercles ; species belonging to other 
divisions of the genus have wings rounded in form, with 
occasionally spur-like tubercles upon the legs. 

This bird has generally been considered as a summer 
visiter only to Great Britain ; but so many instances have 
latterly been recorded of its occurrence, in Ireland particu- 
larly, as well as in England, during the winter months, as 
to make it appear that a portion of them do not return 
southward in autumn. The Quails arrive from Africa in 
countless thousands on the numerous islands of the Medi- 
terranean, and the Grecian Archipelago about April, and 
hence, according to Pennant, the warm southerly winds of 
that month bringing birds to Greece, are called in that 
country ornithix. So numerous are they in other countries 
in the line of their migration, that one hundred thousand 
are recorded to have been taken in one day on the west 
side of the kingdom of Naples. From thence they spread 
over southern Europe, migrating every year as far north 
as Scandinavia and Russia. They arrive in this country 
in May, and seem more partial to open champaign coun- 
tries than to those which are enclosed. The males are said 
to arrive before the females, and advantage is taken of this 
circumstance by bird-catchers in France, who every year 
decoy hundreds of dozens of males only into their nets by 
imitating the call-note of the female. These birds are 
brought by French dealers in Quails to the London mar- 
kets in large quantities, and sold to the poulterers for the 
use of the table ; and on examination of dozens together in 
the flat cages in which they are carried, it is rare to find a 
female among them. The birds while in confinement, are 
fed on hemp-seed, and soon become very fat. This par- 
ticular food is probably also the cause of the darker tone of 

VOL. II. D D 



402 TETRAONID^E. 

colour which pervades these birds as compared with those 
that are killed in a wild and more natural state. The flesh 
is delicate, and very little inferior to that of the Landrail ; 
it is accordingly very much in request, and in London in 
particular, during the season, that is, from May to 
August, the consumption is large. I have found, on 
inquiry, that three thousand dozens have been purchased 
of the dealers by the London Poulterers in one season. 

Though very like a Partridge, except in size, and resem- 
bling those birds also in several of their habits, Quails do 
not pair. The males are polygamous, and have a shrill 
whistling note, which is generally repeated three times in 
quick succession, and they are said to lose their voice when 
the breeding-season is over, as they are not heard to 
exercise their notes afterwards. The female scrapes out a 
small cavity on the ground, into which she collects a few 
bits of dry grass, straw, or clover stalks ; she lays from 
seven to twelve eggs ; nesting among wheat generally, but 
sometimes in a piece of clover or grass. The eggs are 
of a yellowish or dull orange-coloured white, blotched or 
speckled with umber brown ; one inch one line in length 
by eleven lines in breadth. Upon these she sits about 
three weeks ; the young are able to follow her soon after 
they are excluded from the shell, and learn to feed on 
seeds, grain, insects, and green leaves. Many are found 
and killed in wheat stubbles by Partridge shooters in the 
month of September ; they fly quick, but generally straight 
and low, and are difficult to raise a second time when they 
have been once flushed and alarmed. The greater portion 
leave this country in October. 

An interesting account of our Quail is included by Co- 
lonel Sykes in the paper which has been already referred 
to on " The Quails and Hemipodii of India," as published in 



COMMON QUAIL. 403 

the second volume of the Transactions of the Zoological So- 
ciety of London, of which the following extract forms a part. 

" I have carefully examined and compared specimens 
from China,* India, the Cape of Good Hope, and England, 
and must pronounce them, in spite of the extraordinary 
geographical range, to be one species, the differences be- 
tween the specimens not being greater than are found 
amongst individuals from the same locality. The Indian 
bird has the same cry of picker wick, or peek-wheet-wheet, 
which, M. Temminck says, induced M. Meyer to give it 
the specific appellation of dactylisonans.-\- 

A matter of considerable historical interest is associated 
with this bird, as there is the strongest ground for believ- 
ing that it is the identical species, Tetrao Israelitarum, of 
whose instinct it pleased the Divinity to avail himself in 
supplying the famishing Israelites with food in the Wilder- 
ness. Authors have differed with respect to the real nature 
of this food ; Rudbeck^: asserting that it was & flying fish, 
and Ludolph that it was a locust: but the 26th, 27th, 
28th, and 29th verses of the 78th Psalm, determine it to 
have been a bird : " He caused an east wind to blow in 
the heaven : and by his power he brought in the south 
wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and fea- 
thered fowls (fowl of wing) like as the sand of the sea : 
and he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about 
their habitations. So they did eat, and were well-filled : 
for he gave them their own desire." || 

BochartH and Dr. Harris** state that the Hebrew word 
used is Selav, in Arabic Selwee, or Selvai (a Quail,) which 

* M. Temminck says our Quail is also found in Japan. 

f Pig. et Gal. torn. iii. p. 501. 

J Ichthyol. Bibl. Comment, ad Hist. ^Ethiop. p. 108. 

|| See also Exodus xvi. 13, and Numbers xi. 31 and 32. 

If De Animalibus S. Scripturse. ** Natural History of the Bible, p. 317. 

D D 2 



404 TETRAONIDJ). 

is constantly rendered by the Septuagint ogrwyofbqrga, a 
large kind of Quail. Aristotle, indeed, calls the Rail 
(Eallus and Crex) ortygometra ; but on the whole it is to 
be inferred from Bochart that the Greeks used the word 
rather to indicate the size of the ogru%, than as descriptive 
of a different bird; and Josephus considers ogrvyopJirga 
and oJ5ry synonymous, and states that Quails abound on 
the gulf of the Red Sea ;* and we know that they abound 
in Egypt, Barbary, Asia Minor, and at certain seasons in 
Europe at the present day. 

There is another mode to connect the bird of Scripture 
with the Coturnioc dactylisonans, and this is readily done by 
the simple fact of its being the only species of Quail that 
migrates in multitudes ; indeed we have not any satisfactory 
account that any other species of Quail is migratory. Aris- 
totle mentions the habit ; and Pliny states they sometimes 
alight on vessels in the Mediterranean and sink them ! Be- 
lon found Quails alight in autumn on a vessel bound from 
Rhodes to Alexandria ; they were passing from the north to 
the south, and had wheat in their craws. In the preceding 
spring, sailing from Zante to the Morea, he saw flights of 
Quails going from the south northwards, Buffon relates that 
M. le Commandant Godelun saw Quails constantly passing 
Malta during certain winds in May, and repassing in 
September ; and that they flew by night. Tournefort says 
that almost all the isles of the Archipelago are covered with 
them in certain times of the year. In the commencement 
of autumn, such great quantities are captured in the isle of 
Capri,-)- near Naples, as in former times to afford the bishop 
the chief part of his revenue ; and he was called in conse- 

* Lib. iii. cap. 1. 

f On this small island alone, called Goat Island, at the entrance of the Bay of 
Naples, 160,000 Quails are recorded to have been netted in one season. 



COMMON QUAIL. 405 

quence the Bishop of Quails. M. Temminck says that in 
spring such prodigious numbers of Quails alight on the 
western shores of the kingdom of Naples, about Nettuno, 
that one hundred thousand are taken in a day. They also 
arrive in spring in similar numbers on the shores of Pro- 
vence, so fatigued, that for the first days they allow them- 
selves to be taken by the hand. Sonnini states that they 
arrive in Egypt in September. 

With these facts before us, considering the positive tes- 
timony of the Psalmist that the unexpected supply of food 
to the Israelites was a bird, and that bird, agreeably to the 
Septuagint and Josephus, a Quail, that only one species of 
Quail migrates in prodigious numbers, and that species the 
subject of the present notice, we are authorized to pro- 
nounce the Coturnix dactylisonans to be the identical 
species with which the Israelites were fed. We have 
here proof of the perpetuation of an instinct through 3300 
years,* not pervading a whole species, but that part of 
a species existing within certain geographical limits ; an 
instinct characterised by a peculiarity which modern ob- 
servers have also noticed, of making their migratory flight 
by night ; " And it came to pass, that at even,-J- the 
Quails came up and covered the camp." J As might be 
expected, we see the most ancient of all historical works 
and natural history reflecting attesting lights on each other. 

It is probable that these small defenceless birds fly only 
by night to avoid the attacks of birds of prey ; in crossing 
seas, they must of course continue their flight by night as 
well as by day. I am aware, however, from personal ob- 
servation, that the Grus Orientalis, whose size secures it 
from the attacks of other birds, also migrates during the 

* 1491 years before Christ. t Query " night ? " 

Exodus xvi. 13. 



406 TETRAONID^E. 

night. M. Temminck thinks it probable that Quails 
emigrate for food rather than to enjoy a uniform climate ; 
and in this opinion I coincide, as the great changes of 
temperature in India do not influence the movements of 
this species, food being abundant at all seasons. 

I am not aware that this bird is used for combats 
(although a species with tubercles is) in India ; and it is 
not likely the people would warm their hands with it, 
as is said to be the case in China. 

From some experience I consider Quails very heating- 
food ; and it is probable the French proverb, " hot as a 
Quail," may apply rather to its stimulating properties than 
to its animal heat. 

The adult male has the beak brownish grey ; the irides 
hazel ; top of the head dark brown, with a pale wood brown 
streak from the base of the beak on each side over the eye 
and the ear-coverts, and a narrow streak of the same colour 
over the crown of the head to the nape of the neck ; the 
plumage of the back, wings, rump, and tail brown, with 
lighter-coloured shafts and longitudinal streaks of wood- 
brown ; wing-primaries dusky brown, mottled with light 
brown ; chin and throat white, bounded by two half- 
circular dark brown bands descending from the ear-coverts, 
and with a black patch at the bottom in front ; breast 
pale chestnut brown with the shafts of the feathers straw 
colour; lower part of the breast, the belly, vent, and 
under tail-coverts, yellowish white ; the flanks streaked 
with pale chestnut ; legs, toes, and claws pale brown. 

The whole length seven inches. The wing from the 
carpal joint to the end four inches and a half: the first 
feather a very little longer than the third, but a little 
shorter than the second, which is the longest in the wing ; 
the form of the wing is therefore pointed. 



COMMON QUAIL. 407 

The female has no dark half circular marks descending 
down the sides of the neck, nor the black patch in front ; 
but the feathers on her breast are strongly marked with 
a small dark spot on each side of the light straw-coloured 
shaft. 

The young birds of the year resemble the adult female. 
The young males do not acquire the black patch on the 
front of the neck till their second year. 

In the illustration which precedes this subject, the figure 
in the foreground represents the male bird ; that behind 
and a little to the left, the female ; and in reference to 
the unusual occurrence of Quails in the southern parts of 
England during winter, noticed at page 401, I may men- 
tion that early in February 1844, I saw six Quails at a 
poulterer's shop in London, which had been sent up from 
Cambridgeshire, and as these birds had no wound about 
them, I had no doubt they had been caught by fowlers 
when drawing nets for Larks. Of these six, three were 
females. A writer in the Zoologist, page 871, refers to 
the late appearance of Quails in Oxfordshire in the follow- 
ing terms. " In consequence of some fields of corn re- 
maining in this part of England, still standing in Decem- 
ber, 1844, Quails did not leave us till very late. After 
several days of severe frost, I heard of a pair having been 
seen in a field, in the parish of Hornsey, near this town. 
I cannot remember the exact date, but it was some time 
in December ; and in the last week in November, I saw 
a pair in this market, where they have been more plentiful 
than usual this autumn, which had been killed down in 
the fens. The birds seen at Hornsey, had not been driven 
away by intense frost, which, curious to say, prevailed 
while the barley where they lay was being carried/ 1 H. 
T. Frere, C. C. C. Oxford. 



408 

R A SORES. 



TETRAONID^E. 



TETRAON1DM. 




THE ANDALUSIAN HEMIPODE. 

Hemipodius tachydromus. 

Gibraltar Quail, LATH. Syn. vol. iv. p. 790, sp. 37. 
Andalusian p. 791, sp. 38. 

fig. frontispiece to the vol. 

Hemipodius tachydromus, Andalusian Tumix, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiv. 
Turnix tachydrome, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol.ii. p. 494. 

lunatus a croissans, vol.ii. p. 495. 

tachydromus, tachydrome, vol. iv. p. 3 40. 

HEMIPODHTS. Generic Characters. Beak moderate, slender, very compressed ; 
culmen elevated and curved towards the point. Nostrils lateral, linear, longi- 
tudinally cleft, partly closed by a membrane. Tarsus rather long. Toes three 
before, entirely divided ; no posterior toe. Tail composed of weak yielding fea- 
thers clustered together, and concealed by the feathers of the back. Wings 
moderate, the first quill-feather the longest. Gould. 

THE term Hemipodius, signifying Half-foot, was applied 
generically by M. Temminck in 1815 to several species of 



ANDALUSIAN IIEMIPODE. 409 

quail-like birds, but with three toes only, which from their 
very diminutive size were considered the pigmies among 
the gallinaceous birds. They live on sterile sandy plains 
or on the confines of great deserts : they run with great 
speed, seldom taking wing ; ready to hide themselves 
at the slightest appearance of danger, and are found with 
difficulty among the herbage under which they conceal 
themselves. But one species is known in Europe, and of 
that one, parts of its history are still involved in some 
obscurity. It is found in the southern countries of Europe 
from Spain to Italy, and it is also found in North Africa, 
from Barbary to Tripoli. Dr. Latham, in a note, quoting 
Pennant, says, most likely this is the same bird with 
the Three-toed Quail of Shaw, which he says is a bird 
of passage, and is caught by running it down ; for having 
been sprung once or twice, it becomes so fatigued as to be 
overtaken and knocked down with a stick. Trawls in 
Barbary, p. 800. M. Temminck considers that it does 
not migrate because it is found in Sicily in November and 
December, yet its pointed wings indicate considerable 
powers of flight. It is found in Europe, more particularly 
in various parts of Spain, from Gibraltar to Arragon : its 
food consists of seeds, grain, and insects ; it is considered 
to be polygamous, but its habits in reference to nidification 
are imperfectly known. 

The first occurrence of a pair of the Andalusian Hemi- 
pode in this country is thus recorded in the 1 4th volume 
of the Annals of Natural History, in a letter to the 
editors : 

" Gentlemen, I have recently received a bird which 
appears to me to be new to this country ; it is a Quail, 
having no back toe, and is not mentioned, I believe, in any 



410 TETRAONIDyE. 

work on British Ornithology to which I have had access ; but 
in Dr. Latham's General History it is described as the Per- 
dix Gibmltarica, with which my specimen appears to agree. 
The bird was shot by the gamekeeper on the Cornwell 
estate in this county, about three miles from hence, and has 
been kindly presented to me. It was found in a field of 
barley, of which kind of grain, by the by, hundreds of 
acres are still standing, with no prospect of being harvested 
in a proper state. Before I proceeded to preserve the 
bird, I took the measure of its various parts, the colour of 
its eyes, bill, and feet, its weight, &c., after which I found 
its description in the work before alluded to. It was shot 
on the 29th of October last, since which time another 
has been killed near the same spot by the same person, but 
its head was shot off, and otherwise so mutilated as to 
be unfit for preservation : this might probably complete the 
pair, mine being a male bird. It had in its gizzard two or 
three husks of barley, several small seeds similar to char- 
lock, some particles of gravel, and was very fat. It was 
considerably injured by the shot, but I have set it up in 
the best manner I could, and consider it a valuable 
addition to my small collection of British Birds. Should 
this prove to be the only known instance of the capture of 
the bird in Britain, I shall feel glad in having saved it 
from oblivion. I am, Gentlemen, your obedient servant. 
Chipping Norton, Oxon, Nov. 11, 1844." THOS. GoATLEY. 

"The bird in question is the Hemipodius tachidromus 
of Temminck, which is figured in Mr. Gould's Birds of 
Europe, vol. iv. plate 264. Mr. Gould, to whom we have 
shown Mr. Goatley's letter, considers this one of the most 
interesting additions to the British Fauna that has oc- 
curred for many years." Ed. 



ANDALUSIAN HEMIPODE. 411 

This species differs from the true Quails in having no 
hind toe ; in the greater length and more slender form 
of its bill, and in the very probable circumstance of its 
laying only four eggs : in all of which points it exhibits 
an affinity to the Bustards, the Coursers and the Plovers. 
I have adopted Mr. Gould's term Hemipode for this bird 
as at once expressive of an obvious peculiarity. 

Mr. Gould possesses four very interesting letters written 
by Linnaeus from Upsal to the Rev. John White, then 
at Gibraltar, one of the brothers of Gilbert White of 
Selborne. I have at page 235, under the article on the 
Swallow, referred to a Natural History of Gibraltar in 
M.S. by John White, which unfortunately remains still 
unpublished. In the first of these letters, dated Upsal, 
20th January, 1772, Linnaeus congratulates John White on 
his being an admirer of the works of the GREAT CREATOR of 
ALL. In the second, dated the 7th of August, 1 772, in 
reference to John White's Natural History of Gibraltar, 
Linnaeus writes, Fauna tua Calpensis esset mihi et omnibus 
exoptissima. 

Mr. Gould very kindly allows me to make further 
extracts in reference to three very rare British Birds. 
John White appears to have been in the habit of sending 
Linnaeus specimens, some of which were new to him. Of 
our White-bellied Swift, page 266 of this volume, Linnaeus 
writes Hirundo melba, quam antea non vidi, affinis H. apus, 
Of the little Three-toed Quail, the subject of the present 
article, Linnaeus writes, Coturnix tridactilus, an ex ordine 
Gallinarum aut Grallarum. His notice of our Pratincole 
will be given with the account of that bird. 

Of the genus Hemipodius, South Africa produces two 
species ; Madagascar one ; India two ; Sumatra and the 
Philippine Islands two ; but Mr. Gould has shown me 



412 TETRAONHLE. 

seven or eight species brought from Australia, three of 
which are already figured in his beautiful work now in 
progress on the Birds of that country, and the others are 
forthcoming. So much new light has Mr. Gould thrown 
on the Natural History of this interesting group, that I 
venture, with permission, to abstract a portion of the 
details supplied with the species figured in the second part, 
called the Fast-flying Hemipode. 

" I found this new and interesting species of Hemipodim 
abundant in various parts of New South Wales, but whether 
it has always visited those localities, or has recently made 
its appearance there, I cannot say. Mr. Stephen Coxen, on 
whose estate it was plentiful, and who, it was well known, 
has for some years paid considerable attention to the Ornitho- 
logy of Australia, could give me no information respecting it ; 
and it would appear to have escaped the notice of collectors 
generally, for I have never seen a specimen in any collec- 
tion either public or private. I clearly ascertained that it 
is strictly migratory, by finding it abundant in those places 
in summer which I had previously visited in winter, when 
no appearance of one was to be seen." 

" The season of more than usual luxuriance that followed 
the long and distressing drought of 1838-39, bringing in 
its train a number of rare and interesting species, was 
highly advantageous to the objects of my expedition. It 
was to this season of plenty, when the whole face of the 
country was covered with the richest vegetation, that I am 
inclined to attribute the appearance of vast numbers of this 
species over the district of the whole Upper Hunter, 
particularly in the flats of Segenho, Invermein, and Yar- 
rundi. It appeared to give preference to the low stony 
ridges which border and intersect these flats, and which 
are thinly covered with grasses of various kinds, for it was 



ANDALUSIAN IIEMIPODE. 413 

in such situations I generally found it, though on some 
occasions I started it from among the rank herbage 
clothing the alluvial soil of the bottoms. It lies so close as 
to be nearly trodden upon before it will rise, and when 
flushed it flies off with such extreme rapidity, as, combined 
with its small size, and the intervention of trees, to render 
it a most difficult shot to the sportsman. On rising it flies 
to the distance of one or two hundred yards, within two or 
three feet of the surface, and then suddenly pitches to the 
ground. As might be expected, it lies well to a pointer, 
and it was by this means that I found many which I could 
not otherwise have started." 

" One of the most singular circumstances connected with 
this species (and the other two) is the great difference in 
the size of the sexes, the males being but little more than 
half the size of their mates. Pleased as I was at making 
acquaintance with this little bird, I was still more gratified 
at finding its nest and eggs. Natty and Jemmy, two 
intelligent and faithful natives, of the Yarrundi tribe, and 
who always accompanied me, also caught several of the 
young which had not left the nest many days." This 
species was found to have a wide range in New Holland ; 
the eggs four in number, the nest on the ground, under 
shelter of a small tuft of grass. 

To return to our British killed bird : I have again to 
record my thanks to Mr. Goatley for most kindly allowing 
his interesting specimen to be drawn from and engraved for 
this work. 

The point of the beak is light brown, the base pale wood 
brown ; irides hazel ; top of the head dark brown with a 
lighter brown streak in the middle, passing backwards ; 
the cheeks brown, speckled with buff; upper surface of the 
body dark brown, with numerous narrow transverse bars of 



414 



TETRAONID.E. 



chestnut, black and buffy white ; tail greyish brown ; 
wing-coverts yellowish brown, varied by a dark spot 
placed on the centre of a larger spot of pale yellow brown ; 
primaries greyish brown, with a light-coloured line along 
the edge of the outer web ; chin whitish ; throat, neck in 
front, and upper part of the breast pale chestnut ; sides 
and flanks yellowish white, with a crescent-shaped mark of 
rich brown occupying the centre of each feather ; lower 
part of the belly, vent and under tail-coverts buffy white ; 
legs and toes pale brown. 

Whole length of the bird about six inches ; from the 
anterior bend of the wing to the end of the first primary, 
which is the longest, three inches and a half. 

In reference to Linnaeus, the vignette below represents 
the entrance into Upsal. 




RASORES. 



GREAT BUSTARD. 415 

STRUTIIIONTDM. 




THE GREAT BUSTARD. 

Otis tarda, 

Otis tarda, Tlic, Great Bustard, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 376. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 3G4. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 115. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 442. 

., JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 175. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiii. 

Ontarde barlue, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 50G. 



416 STRUTHIONTD^E. 

OTIS. Generic Characters. Bill moderate, straight, depressed at the base, the 
point of the upper mandible curved. Nostrils a little removed from the base, 
lateral, oval, and open. Legs long, naked above the tarsal joint. Toes three 
all directed forward, short, united at the base, and edged with membrane. Wings 
of moderate length, in form rather rounded ; the third quill-feather the longest. 

THE GREAT BUSTARD is a bird of such interest as well 
as magnitude, that every individual capture becomes a sub- 
ject for ornithological record. Dr. Turner, who wrote in 
1544, includes it among his English birds. In the printed 
catalogue of the contents of the Tradescant Museum, pre- 
served at South Lambeth, in 1656, is, " The Bustard, as 
big as a Turkey, usually taken by greyhounds on New- 
market Heath ; " and Merrett, in his Pinax rerum natura- 
lium Britannicarum, in 1667, includes the Bustard as taken 
on Newmarket Heath and about Salisbury. Montagu 
notices some instances of the occurrence of this bird in 
Devonshire, and says that he had seen them in Wiltshire. 
White of Selborne in that portion of his Journal published 
by Mr. Jesse in the second volume of his Gleanings in 
Natural History, says, "Spent three hours of this day, 
November 17, at a lone farm-house, in the midst of the 
downs between Andover and Winton. The carter told 
us that about twelve years before he had seen a flock 
of eighteen Bustards on that farm, and once since only 
two." White adds in another place, <c Bustards when 
seen on the downs resemble fallow deer at a distance. 11 
In Daniel's Rural Sports, it is stated, " that on the 29th of 
September 1800, Mr. Crouch of Burford shot a hen 
Bustard on Salisbury Plain. This bird was killed at 
the distance of forty yards with a common fowling-piece 
and with such shot as is generally used for partridge- 
shooting. There were two other Bustards in company 
with the one shot, neither of which appeared to be hurt. 11 
Markwick in his Catalogue of the Birds of Sussex, pub- 



GREAT BUSTARD. 41 7 

lished in 1798, says of the Great Bastard, "Sometimes 
seen on our South Downs." Ray and Willughby mention 
Royston Heath as a place frequented in their time by this 
species ; and in reference to Bustards, as formerly inhabit- 
ing that part of the country, 1 may state, that Mr. Joseph 
Clarke, of Saffron Walden, gave me lately a copy of a 
single paper of Addison's Spectator, No. CCCX., for 
Tuesday, March 4th, 1712, containing an advertisement, of 
which the following is an exact copy : " HEYDEN in ESSEX, 
near WALDEN and ROYSTON, the seat of Sir Peter Soame, 
Bart., deceased, situate on a gentle hill, with a very large 
and pleasant prospect, fair gardens, canals, fish-ponds, dove 
coate, and all sorts of offices without door, woods of large 
timber, and where is all game in great plenty, even to the 
Bustard and Pheasant, is to be let, furnished or unfurnished, 
for 16 years. Enquire at Mr. Chus in Bartly-street, Pic- 
cadily, or at Mr. Coopers, at the Blue Boar in Holborn." 
To this I may add, that in Melbourne, the parish next 
below Royston, there is a piece of land which is still known 
by the name of Bustard-Leys ; and Dr. George Thackeray, 
the Provost of King's College, Cambridge, sent me word 
that Mr. Townley, the father of the present Mr. Greaves 
Townley, who lives at Fulbourne, told him that for some 
years after he first went to live there, Bustards regularly 
bred on his estate. 

Formerly these birds were plentiful in the open tracts 
about Newmarket Heath, and till within a few years 
single individuals have occasionally been seen in that neigh- 
bourhood. Among other references to Cambridgeshire, I 
may mention that in January 1830 a young male was shot 
on Shelford Common, and passed into the collection of Mr. 
Henson, and in December 1832, a specimen was killed at 
Caxton, and is preserved in the Museum of the Philosophi- 

VOL. n. E E 



418 STRTJTHIONHLE. 

cal Society at Cambridge. A correspondent in the Maga- 
zine of Natural History, vol. vi. p. 513, says that the late 
Duke of Queensberry had three Bustards pinioned on his 
lawn at Newmarket ; and J. Westall, Esq., had one for a 
long time in his garden at Risby, in Suffolk. The authors 
of the Catalogue of the Birds of Norfolk and Suffolk, pub- 
lished in 1827 in the fifteenth volume of the Transactions 
of the Linnean Society, say, " these noble birds still con- 
tinue to breed in some of the open parts of both counties, 
though they are become much scarcer than formerly. The 
places most frequented by them are, Westacre in the 
former county, and Icklingham in the latter. At both 
places they are carefully preserved by the proprietors. 
In the summer of 1819, nineteen were observed together 
at Westacre. We have twice seen a male Bustard in 
the neighbourhood of Burnham. It suffered itself to be 
approached to about the distance of a hundred yards, 
then walked deliberately a few paces, and took wing with- 
out the least difficulty. In flying it moved its wings 
slowly, more like a Heron than one of the Gallinaceous 
tribe. Mr. Hady of Norwich has more than once suc- 
ceeded in domesticating this species/' In a note at the 
foot of page 197 in Mr. Bennett's edition of White's Sel- 
borne, it is stated, " that two birds of this kind, male and 
female, have been kept in the garden ground belonging to 
the Norwich Infirmary, and have but lately been sold by 
the owner of them. The male bird was very beautiful 
and courageous, apparently afraid of nothing, seizing any 
one that came near him by the coat ; yet on the appear- 
ance of any small Hawk, high in the air, he would squat 
close to the ground, expressing strong marks of fear. The 
female was very shy." The Eev. Richard Lubbock sent 
me word that a female Bustard bred near Thetford in 



GREAT BUSTARD. 419 

1832, and carried off her young- ones. This nest was upon 
a warren, but it is most commonly placed in rye. Mr. 
Elwes shot a female to a pointer in a turnip field at 
Congham in the autumn of 1831. The continuation of 
these notes is as follows : " I know one instance of a 
specimen killed on the contrary side of Norfolk to that 
which they generally affect. About ten years ago a 
person returning home in the parish of Palling, upon the 
coast, near Winterton, saw an immense bird walking in a 
marsh by the road side. He rode home, brought his gun, 
and shot it ; it proved to be a male Bustard of the second 
year, and is now in the collection of Mr. Postle, a near 
relation of mine. This is exactly the opposite part of the 
county to that in which they are generally found. When 
a boy I remember two or three individuals in a domesticat- 
ed state. I recollect one of these birds swallowing, in an 
instant, a thin leather glove which I dropped. The system 
of weeding out corn in the spring has tended perhaps more 
than any other cause to the decrease of Bustards ; since 
egg collectors became numerous, a nest is a valuable prize 
indeed. A very fine bird, an old male, is still in preser- 
vation, as a stuffed specimen, at the house of a friend in my 
neighbourhood, which was taken by greyhounds forty years 
ago, within three miles of Norwich." Among the extracts 
from the Household Book, A.D. 1519 et seq., for which I 
am, as before mentioned, under the article Pheasant, at 
page 316, also indebted to the Rev. Richard Lubbock, are 
the following : " July 25th, a reward to Baxter for bring- 
ing two young Bustards ; " and " Item, a Bustard and a 
Hernsewe kylled with ye crosbowe." I have been favoured 
by Thomas Bond, Esq., of the Temple, with extracts from 
Dugdale^s * Origines Juridiciales, which, as exhibiting 

* I am indebted to another very kind friend for an extract from Dugdale's 

KK2 



420 STRUTHIONID.E. 

the prices of various kinds of game provided for a feast 
given in the Inner Temple Hall on the 16th of Octo- 
ber 1555, the third year of Philip and Mary, is not 
without ornithological interest; namely, Bustards 10s. 
each; Swans 10s. Cranes 10s. Pheasants 4s. Turkeys 4s. 
Turkey chicks 4s. Capons 2s. 6d. Pea chickens . 2s. Par- 
tridges Is. 4d. Plovers 6d. Curlews Is. Sd. Godwits 2s. 6d. 
Knots Is. Pigeons Is. 6d. a dozen; Larks 8d. a dozen; 
Woodcocks 7s. Sd. a dozen ; Snipes 2s. a dozen. To return, 
however, to the Bustard in the county of Norfolk, I find 
Mr. Salmon has recorded that u in the spring of 1832, three 
females resorted to Great Massingham Heath, in Norfolk, 
for incubation. Their eggs consisted of two pairs and a 
single one. These were taken away, under the impression 
that as there was no male bird, they were good for nothing ; 
but the male is said to live apart after the female is im- 
pregnated." From Mr. William Borrer, jun., I learn 
that a very fine female was brought to him, which was 
killed on the 26th of January, 1838, whilst feeding in a 
turnip field at Dersingham, near Castle Rising. The base 
of each of the feathers on the breast of this bird was of 
a delicate rose colour. 

In Lincolnshire, I find from Charles Anderson, Esq., that 
a pair of Bustards bred a few years since on his father's 
farm at Hawold, and a single Bustard was seen a few 
winters ago, and was considered to be a stray bird, from 
the Yorkshire wolds, which were for a long time a favourite 
locality for them. Mr. Denny, of Leeds, sent me word 
that a townsman of his remembers seeing Bustards on the 
wolds at the beginning of the present century. About the 

Monasticon Anglicanum^ in reference to an early notice of Pheasants, by which 
it appears that the Abbot of Amesbury obtained a license to kill Hares and 
Pheasants in the first year of the reign of Henry the First, which commenced on 
the 2nd of August, 1100. 



GREAT BUSTARD. 421 

year 1817, eight Bustards were seen together, in the shoot- 
ing season, in a large turnip field, in the parish of South 
Dalton. Within the last fifteen years they were known to 
breed on a wold, near Malton, and Mr. Hawkridge sent me 
word that about fourteen years since one was shot on a 
wold near Scarborough. 

Early in February, 1843, E. H. Rodd, Esq., of Pen- 
zance, sent me word that a female of the Great Bustard 
had been shot only a few days before on an open plain 
between Helston and the Lizard Point. The bird had 
been observed for some days in a field of turnips close by. 
This is considered to be the first instance of the capture of 
the Great Bustard in Cornwall, and the last recorded 
instance of its being killed in England. 

Of this bird, in Scotland, Dr. Fleming observes, that it 
appears to have been found in the days of Boece ; Sibbald, 
however, seems to view it as rare in his day ; and it is now 
reduced to the rank of a straggler. One was shot in 1803, 
in Murrayshire, by William Young, Esq., of Borough-head. 

M. Nilsson says the Great Bustard is of rare appearance 
in Sweden ; but has been observed in spring. It is found 
in Russia, and Pennant, in his Arctic Zoology, mentions 
that it is frequent over all the desert of Tartary, and 
beyond Lake Baikal. It is a solitary bird, but collects 
into small flocks at the time of its southern migration, and 
winters about Astracan. 

In Germany, these birds are numerous, but very difficult 
to approach; the sportsmen of that country use rifles in 
the pursuit, and practice as many devices to get within shot 
as are employed by the Highlanders of Scotland, when 
stalking red deer. The Bustard is a rare bird in Holland. 

In France, according to M. Vieillot, the Great Bustard, 
naturally very wild, prefers champaign and stony countries, 



422 STRUTHIONIM. 

far from any habitations, and it only approaches villages 
when deep snows interfere with its means of subsistence ; 
they are in families in autumn, and later in the season 
these broods unite, forming flocks, consisting of from forty 
to two hundred individuals. In this state they may be 
seen from the beginning of December till March, when 
they again divide and disperse. 

The Great Bustard is found in Spain, Provence, Italy, 
Dalmatia, the Levant, and, according to M. Temminck, on 
the plains of Greece. The Russian naturalists who accom- 
panied the expedition from their own country to the Cau- 
casus, say, this bird is found in winter at the foot of the 
mountain, and in the vicinity of the river Don. 

So much of the natural history of the Great Bustard is 
included in the various quotations and notices already 
inserted, that little remains to be added. These birds 
are polygamous, the males only attending the females till 
the latter begin their task of incubation. The female lays 
two or three eggs in a depression on the bare ground. The 
eggs are olive-brown in colour, sparingly and indistinctly 
blotched with greenish broccoli-brown : length two inches 
eleven lines, by two inches two lines in breadth. The 
birds feed on green corn, grasses, trefoil, and other vegeta- 
bles ; are said to kill and eat small mammalia, and from 
their partiality to marshy ground, I have no doubt they 
also devour small reptiles. In the summer they conceal 
themselves in standing corn, generally wheat or rye, and 
later in the season, in large fields of high turnips ; they also 
frequent chalk pits when they are partly overgrown with 
bushes or rank vegetation. As an article of food, the flesh 
of the Bustard is highly esteemed, and Mr. Gould says 
that on the Continent, the bird is frequently to be seen 
exposed in the markets for sale. About the year 1817 or 



GREAT BUSTARD. 



423 



1818, I remember to have seen a pair of Great Bustards, 
male and female, and very fine specimens, exposed for sale 
by Mr. Townsend, the poulterer, in Charles-street, St. 
Jameses Square. These birds were sold for twelve guineas, 
and were preserved by Mr. Leadbeater for the purchaser. 
These were the only examples of the Great Bustard I 
remember to have seen exposed for sale in the meat. Mr. 
Townsend bought both the birds in Leadenhall Market, 
and both of them exhibited marks of having been trapped 
and caught by the legs. 

A remarkable anatomical peculiarity in the male of the 
Great Bustard, first discovered by Dr. James Douglas, of 
the College of Physicians in London, is thus described by 
Edwards in his Gleanings, with a figure. "It is a pouch 




424 STRUTHIONID^E. 

or bag to hold fresh water, which supplies the bird in 
dry places when distant from waters ; the entrance into it 
is between the under side of the tongue and the lower 
mandible of the bill. I poured into this bag, before the 
head was taken off, full seven wine pints (which about 
equals seven pounds of our common weight) before it run 
over. This bag is wanting in the hen." There is, how- 
ever, some reason to doubt whether this is really the use 
to which the pouch is applied, since it is mentioned by 
Bewick that one of these birds, which was kept in a cara- 
van, among other animals as a show, lived without drink- 
ing. It was fed with leaves of cabbages, and other greens, 
and also with flesh and bread. 

The figure and the descriptions here given are taken 
from a very fine pair of these birds in the Museum of the 
Zoological Society. 

The adult male has the beak clay brown ; the irides 
hazel ; the head and the upper part of the neck greyish 
white ; from the chin, passing backwards and downwards 
on each side, there is a tuft or plume about seven inches 
long, directed across and partly concealing a vertically 
elongated strip of bare skin of a bluish grey colour ; the 
lower part of the neck behind, the back, upper tail-coverts 
and tail-feathers, of an ochreous yellow or pale chestnut, 
barred transversely with black ; the tail-feathers tipped 
with white ; the wing-coverts and tertials white ; the 
primaries black, with white shafts ; neck in front, the 
breast, all the under surface of the body, the thighs, 
and under tail- coverts white ; under surface of the tail- 
feathers barred transversely with dusky grey ; legs, toes, 
and claws, brown. 

The whole length of the male bird forty-five inches. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, twenty-four 



GREAT BUSTARD. 



425 



inches and a half: the first quill-feather shorter than the 
second ; the second shorter than the third or the fourth, 
which are the longest in the wing. 

The whole length of the female is thirty-six inches. 
From the joint to the end of the wing, nineteen inches and 
a half. The females generally do not exhihit the lateral 
plumes from the chin, but in the Transactions of the Lin- 
nean Society of Bordeaux, M. de Rochebrune has remarked 
that when the female has arrived at her full growth, at the 
age of three or four years, she has the same external cha- 
racters as the male, only somewhat less developed. 

Mr. Selby observes that the young at a month old are 
covered with a buff-coloured down, barred upon the back, 
wings, and sides with black. 

The outline below is drawn, half the natural size, from 
the breast-bone of a female of the Great Bustard. 




426 

R A SO RES. 



STRUTHIONID^l. 



STRUTHIONIDM. 




THE LITTLE BUSTARD. 



Otis tetrajc, Ttie Lesser Bustard, 
Little 



Outarde canepetiere. 



Otis tetrax. 

PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 379. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 368. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 115. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. i. p. 447. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 175. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ii. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 507. 



LITTLE BUSTARD. 427 

THE LITTLE BUSTARD can only be considered an acci- 
dental, and, generally, a winter visiter to this country ; the 
male has never been killed here in the plumage assumed 
during the breeding season, that I am aware of ; nor has 
the nest, or the eggs been found ; and most of the speci- 
mens, of which many are recorded, some of them males, 
have occurred in the winter half year, that is, from the 
middle of autumn to the middle of spring, both sexes, 
during that period, wearing the same livery. 

Mr. Thompson, of Belfast, has stated that two birds of 
this rare species were seen in the county of Wicklow on the 
23rd of August 1883, and one of them was shot by Mr. 
Reside, for whom it was set up by Mr. W. S. Wall, bird- 
preserver, Dublin. Mr. Couch mentions that two or three 
specimens have occurred in Cornwall, one of which he has 
seen. Three instances are also recorded of the appearance 
of this bird in Devonshire, and a fourth was obtained so 
lately as the 15th of November 1839. The Earl of 
Malmesbury has in his collection a female specimen killed 
at Heron Court, near Christchurch, Hants. To F. Holme, 
Esq., I am indebted for the knowledge of a specimen that 
was shot on Denton Common in Oxfordshire, in December 

1833. One was killed at Chatham, in Kent, in January 

1834. Three specimens have been obtained in Essex, one 
of which, a female, killed at Harwich in January 1823, is 
in my own collection ; a second was killed at Little Clac- 
ton in the winter of 1824, and a third very recently near 
Chelmsford, for the knowledge of the occurrence of which I 
am indebted to Mr. G. Meggy. This species has been 
killed in Suffolk, in Cambridgeshire, and several times in 
Norfolk, one example of which was in the collection of 
the late Mr. Sparshall of Norwich. In October 1839, two 
Little Bustards were seen near Birmingham, as I learn 



428 STRUTHIONID^!. 

from D. W. Crompton, Esq., and one of the two was 
killed. Very early in the same year, 1839, one specimen 
was killed at Boythorp, Sledmere Wolds, near Scar- 
borough, of which Mr. Hawkridge sent me notice. Mr. 
Selby has recorded two instances of the occurrence of this 
rare bird in Northumberland, which becomes still more rare 
on proceeding northward, and T. M. Grant, Esq., of Edin- 
burgh, has supplied me with a notice of one killed near 
Montrose, in December 1833, which is the only one, I am 
aware of, that has been killed in Scotland. Professor Nils- 
son ranks the Little Bustard among the rarest of the oc- 
casional stragglers to Sweden. It has been recorded as 
killed in Lapland, on the authority of Acerbi, but AcerWs 
description proves that his bird was the Wood Grouse.* 

Pennant, in his Arctic Zoology, says that the Little 
Bustard is frequent in the southern and south-western parts 
of Russia, migrating in small flocks, and is found also on 
the deserts of Tartary. It is a rare bird in Germany, more 
common in France, and is found in Spain, Provence, Sar- 
dinia, Italy, and Sicily. It is found in North Africa, Tur- 
key, and Greece. Specimens of the Little Bustard have 
been sent to the Zoological Society from Erzeroom by 
Keith Abbott, Esq., and by Messrs. Dickson and Ross; 
the latter gentlemen in their notes state that this bird is 
very common in ploughed fields on the skirts of the marsh. 
M. Menetries, in his Catalogue, observes, that this species 
is very common at the foot of Mount Caucasus, and par- 
ticularly so towards the shores of the Caspian Sea, Near 
Baiku, this author says, I saw in December immense flocks 
of these birds going in the direction from east to west ; of 
all those seen, or of those procured and examined, not a 
single male had any black on the throat. 

* Travels through Sweden, Finland, and Lapland, vol. ii. page 229. 



LITTLE BUSTARD. 429 

The nest is on the ground, among herbage which is suffi- 
ciently high to hide the bird ; the eggs vary in number, 
according to different authors, from three to five; the 
length two inches, the breadth one inch six lines ; the 
colour, of one in my own collection, uniform olive brown ; 
but I have seen them slightly clouded with patches of 
darker brown. 

The food of this species consists of herbs, grain, arid in- 
sects ; in the specimen killed at Harwich, in my own col- 
lection, the body of which was examined, the stomach con- 
tained parts of leaves of the white turnip, lungwort, dan- 
delion, and a few blades of grass. The flesh had the ap- 
pearance and flavour of that of a young hen Pheasant. 
These birds inhabit open countries, and fly with great 
speed and power. 

The adult male, when in the plumage peculiar to the 
breeding-season, has the beak brown ; the irides golden 
yellow; the top of the head pale chestnut mottled with 
black ; cheeks, ear-coverts, the front and sides of the neck, 
bluish grey, bounded inferiorly by a border of black passing 
to the back of the neck ; below this a narrow white ring 
all round the neck, and below this a broad collar of black, 
with a gorget of white, and another of black at the bottom 
of the neck in front ; shoulders, back, scapulars, tertials, 
and upper tail- coverts, pale chestnut brown, streaked irre- 
gularly with numerous narrow lines of black ; all the wing- 
coverts, and the base of the primaries, white, the distal half 
of the primaries greyish black ; the secondaries patched 
with black and white ; the base of the tail-feathers white, 
the ends mottled with black and buffy white, crossed with 
two narrow bars of black, the extreme tips white ; the 
breast, and all the under surface of the body, white ; legs, 
toes, and claws, clay-brown. 



430 CHARADRIIDJl. 

The whole length about seventeen inches. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, nine inches and three- 
quarters ; the first quill-feather almost an inch shorter than 
the second, which in the male described was as long as the 
third, and both longer than the fourth, the second and 
third being the longest in the wing. 

The males that are killed in the winter half-year have 
the feathers of the neck of pale chestnut streaked with 
black, like the same part in the female, which does not 
change with the season. 

The adult female is of the same size as the male, and 
has the head and neck mottled and streaked with black on 
a ground of pale chestnut ; the chin white ; the neck below 
without any appearance of transverse bars at any season ; 
the wing-coverts have less white than those of the males ; 
the white feathers on the breast, sides, and flanks, are 
marked with short transverse bars of black. Females in 
other respects resemble the males. 



CREAM-COLOURED COURSER. 431 

GRA LLA TORES. CHA RA DRUDGE. 




THE CREAM-COLOURED COURSER. 



Cursorius Europaus. 



Cursorius Europceus, Cream-coloured Plover, 

11 11 11 11 

Isabellinus, Courser, 

11 11 11 Swiftfoot, 

Courser, 

11 11 11 

Courtvite Isabelle, 



MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 

383. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 112. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 

217. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 176. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. vii. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. 

p. 513. 



CURSORIUS. Generic Characters. Beak shorter than the head, straight, and 
rather depressed at the base, slightly convex towards the end, and pointed. Nos- 
trils oval, with a small protuberance. Tarsi long and slender ; toes, three only, 
all in front, middle toe almost as long again as the lateral toes. Wings long, 
rather pointed ; the first and second quill-feathers the longest in the wing. 



432 CHARADRIID^E. 

THE commencement of the Fourth Order, the Gralla- 
tores, or Wading Birds, may be considered also as the 
commencement of the Water Birds, when two systematic 
divisions only are adopted, those of the Land Birds and 
those of the Water, which two divisions, in reference to 
the ornithology of the British Islands, divide the whole 
number of birds into two very nearly equal parts. The 
present series commences with those birds among the 
Waders which have the closest relation to the Bustards. 

The Cream-coloured Courser was first described by 
Buffon from a specimen killed in France ; but this bird is 
rarely found north of the Mediterranean. It is a native 
of Africa, Egpyt, Nubia, and Abyssinia, and is said to be 
more numerous in the latter country than elsewhere, and 
is only an accidental visiter to the southern parts of 
Europe. 

It is in fact only a summer visiter along the line of the 
North African coast, from Tangiers to Tripoli. At Tan- 
giers it is very rare, and from the great resemblance be- 
tween the colour of this bird and that of the sand of the 
desert, it is with difficulty seen, even when flying, since it 
then keeps very close to the ground. Dr. Dickson says of 
one shot at Tripoli, this bird is probably an inhabitant of 
the inland lakes of Africa, for it makes its appearance here 
during the months of July and August, and quits us again 
for the winter. It frequents pools and other moist situ- 
ations, where it is seen occasionally in astonishing numbers. 
It is a shy bird, and reckoned good eating. 

One example of this very rare bird was shot by William 
Hammond, Esq. of St. Alban's Court, near Wingham, in 
East Kent, who presented the specimen to Dr. Latham, 
with the following account : " He first met with it run- 
ning upon some light land ; and so little fearful was it, that 



CREAM-COLOURED COURSER. 433 

after he had sent for a gun, one was brought to him, which 
having been charged some time, did not readily go off, and 
in consequence he missed his aim. The report frightened 
the bird away ; but after making a turn or two, it again 
settled within a hundred yards of him, when he was pre- 
pared with a second shot, which despatched it. It was 
observed to run with incredible swiftness, and, at intervals, 
to pick up something from the ground ; and was so bold, 
as to render it difficult to make it rise from the ground, in 
order to take a more secure aim on the wing. The note 
was not like any kind of Plovers, nor, indeed, to be com- 
pared with that of any known bird." 

Dr. Fleming, in his British Animals, records one that 
was shot in North Wales in 1793 by Mr. George Kingston, 
of Queen's College, Oxford. 

A third specimen is recorded in Atkinson's Compendium. 
This example was shot near Wetherby, in April 1816; it 
was seen alone, frequenting a piece of dry fallow ground, 
over which it ran with great swiftness, making frequent 
short flights, and was approached without difficulty. The 
occurrence of this third example has been further confirmed 
to me by letter from Mr. Denny of Leeds, who sent me 
word that it was shot by Mr. Rhodes, a brewer of Leeds, 
and that the specimen passed into the possession of George 
Walker, Esq. of Killingbeck Lodge. From this bird seve- 
ral drawings were made. 

A fourth example is recorded by George T. Fox, Esq. of 
Durham, in the third volume 'of the Zoological Journal, 
page 492. " This bird was shot on the 15th of October, 
1827, under Timberwood Hill, in Charnwood Forest, 
Leicestershire, by a tenant of Mr. T. Gisborne, who resides 
at Charley Mill, near that place. He described it as 
coming flying over his head, uttering a cry with which he 

VOL. n. F F 



434 CHARADRIID.E. 

was unacquainted, and it settled near him. This rare sub- 
ject is the property of the Rev. T. Gisborne, F.L.S. of 
Yoxall Lodge, Staffordshire, to whose ornithological taste 
his son knew the possession of it would be a subject of con- 
gratulation. He liberally furnished the use of it to Mr. 
Selby and Mr. Bewick, for the purpose of engraving figures 
of it for their works on British Ornithology." The repre- 
sentation of this Cream-coloured Courser was the last bird 
engraved by Bewick ; and I am indebted to the kindness 
of George C. Atkinson, Esq. of Newcastle, for a proof of 
this subject, sent me with a copy of his " Sketch of the 
Life and Works'" of the distinguished artist. 

Of the habits, nidification, or eggs of this species little 
further is known. M. Vieillot notices that it has occurred 
twice in France. M. Temminck mentions one that was 
obtained in Germany, and preserved in a collection of Na- 
tural History at Darmstadt. Polydore Roux includes it 
among his Birds of Provence. In the Museum at Geneva 
there is an example that was killed in Switzerland ; and 
it has been obtained in Spain and Italy ; but the specimens 
of this bird preserved in collections have generally been 
procured from Barbary or Abyssinia. It was found by 
the Russian naturalist in the plains at the base of the 
Caucasus. 

Four other species of this same genus are now known ; 
two of which belong to Africa and the South of Europe : 
the other two species are found in India. 

The beak is nearly black at the point, brown at the 
base ; the irides hazel ; the top of the head buff-colour, 
the hinder part grey ; above the eye, and passing from 
thence over the ear-coverts to the nape of the neck is a 
white streak; below this, from the eye, a black streak, 
both meeting behind : the neck, back, and all the upper 



CREAM-COLOURED COURSER. 



435 



surface of the body and wings, pale wood-brown, tinged 
with reddish buff; wing-primaries black ; the tail-feathers, 
with the exception of the middle pair, have an angular black 
spot near the end. The chin white ; the front of the 
neck, the breast, and under surface of the body, buffy 
white, palest on the vent and under tail-coverts ; legs and 
toes cream colour ; the claws brown. 

The whole length ten inches and one quarter. From 
the carpal joint to the end of the wing, six inches: the 
form of the wing-pointed, the first and second quill- 
feathers being nearly of equal length, and the longest in the 
wing. 

The sexes in plumage resemble each other; but, as 
usual in such cases, the young birds of the year diifer from 
both. These young have the feathers clouded with two 
shades of pale brown, with dark, irregular transverse lines 
of dusky ash-colour, as shown in the representation ; the 
lines round the back of the head as yet not very conspi- 
cuous; the dark feathers of the wing edged on the 
inner web with buff colour. 




436 

GRALLATORES. 



CHARADRIID^E. 



CHARADRUDJE. 




THE GREAT PLOVER. 

NORFOLK PLOVER, AND STONE CURLEW. 



Otis cedicnemus, Thick-kneed Bustard, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. i. p. 380. 

Cliaradrius MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

The Great Plover, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 371. 

Oidicnemus Bellonii, Common Thick-knee, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 114. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 250. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 177. 

Thick-kneed Bustard, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xi. 

CEdicneme criard, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 
512. 



GREAT PLOVER. 437 

CEoiCNEMUS. Generic C/iaracters. Beak stout, strong, and straight, a little 
depressed at the base ; ridge of the upper mandible elevated, under mandible with 
an angle at the symphisis. Nostrils placed in the middle of the beak, extending 
longitudinally as far forward as the horny portion, open in front, pervious. Legs 
long, slender ; three toes only, directed forwards, united by a membrane as far as 
the second articulation. Wings moderate ; second quill-feather the longest in the 
wing. Tail graduated. 

THE GREAT PLOVER, NORFOLK PLOVER, or STONE CURLEW, 
names referring to qualities or habits in this species, is a 
summer visiter to this country, arriving here in April, and 
leaving again at the end of September or in October, and 
like other summer visitors coming to us from the south. 
It is accordingly much more numerous in the southern and 
south-eastern counties of England than far to the west, 
or to the north, but, possessing great powers of flight, 
the range of this bird is not so limited here as has been 
supposed, and is otherwise, as will be shown, of great 
geographical extent. 

Mr. Thompson tells me that it is an extremely rare 
visitant to Ireland. According to Mr. Couch, Dr. Edward 
Moore, and Mr. Gale, this bird has been killed three or 
four times in Cornwall, and is found, but is not plentiful, 
in Devonshire and Dorsetshire. Peter Ryland, Esq. in- 
cludes it in his Catalogue of the Birds of Lancashire ; and 
Mr. Blyth mentions having received the young from 
Worcestershire. In Hampshire, Sussex, Kent, Essex, 
Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk, it is common. The 
late Mr. J. D. Hoy, in a letter sent to me, says, there is no 
part of England where the (Edicnemus crepitans so abounds 
as upon the sandy plains of Norfolk ; great numbers have 
been caught in most seasons by the Subscription Heron 
Hawks at Didlington Hall, Norfolk; they have been 
known to take refuge in a rabbit-burrow when pursued by 
the Hawk. 



438 CHARADRIIDjE. 

Mr. J. D. Salmon, then of Thetford, says of this species, 
" that it is very numerously distributed over all our warrens 
and fallow lands during the breeding-season, which com- 
mences about the second week in April, the female deposit- 
ing its pair of eggs upon the bare ground, without any 
nest whatever ; it is generally supposed that the males 
take no part in the labour of incubation ; this I suspect is 
not the case : wishing to procure for a friend, a few 
specimens in their breeding-plumage, I employed a boy to 
take them for me ; this he did by ensnaring them on the 
nest, and the result was that all those he caught during the 
day proved, upon dissection, to be males. They assemble 
in flocks previous to their departure, which is usually by 
the end of October ; but should the weather continue open, 
a few will remain to a much later period ; I started one as 
late as the 9th of December, in the autumn of 1834." 
Montagu mentions an instance of this bird being killed in 
Devonshire as early as February in the year 1807. 

The Great Plover visits Lincolnshire; and Mr. William- 
son in reference to the appearance of this species in the 
vicinity of Scarborough, says, " they breed on the fallows, 
and often startle the midnight traveller by their shrill and 
ominous whistle. This is supposed to be the note so 
beautifully alluded to by Sir Walter Scott in his poem of 
the Lady of the Lake, 

" And in the Plover's shrilly strain, 
The signal whistle 's heard again," 

for it certainly sounds more like a human note than that 
of a bird." 

Further north than Yorkshire I do not trace it. 

These birds are usually seen in unenclosed countries or 
where the fields are large; they frequent sheep walks, 



GREAT PLOVER. 439 

fallow lands, heaths, and warrens, and when trying to get 
a shot at them, I may remark, that from the bare and 
exposing nature of the ground, I have always found them 
very difficult of approach. The eggs are pale clay brown, 
blotched, spotted, and streaked with ash-blue and dark 
brown ; two inches two lines in length, by one inch seven 
lines in breadth ; and so closely do these eggs, and also the 
chicks in their downy covering, assimilate in colour with 
the soil and the stones around them, that they are both 
very difficult to find. 

The large and prominent eye in this species indicates a 
bird that moves and feeds by twilight or later. Their food 
is worms, slugs, and insects ; they are believed also to kill 
and devour small mammalia and small reptiles, for which 
their stout frame and large beak seem sufficiently powerful. 
Mr. Selby and the Rev. L. Jenyns found the remains 
of large coleopterous insects, of the genus Carabus, in the 
stomach of the Great Plover, and these beetles, it will 
be recollected, do not begin to move about till the close of 
day. 

The Great Plover annually visits Germany, and is abun- 
dant in France, Spain, Provence, Sardinia, Italy, Sicily, 
and, southward, to Africa, Madeira, and even to southern 
Africa ; Dr. Andrew Smith having obtained specimens 
during the progress of the exploring expedition . from the 
Cape northwards. 

Eastward it is found in Corfu, Turkey, and the Grecian 
Archipelago. Mr. Strickland, when at Smyrna, was told 
that it occurs in Asia Minor, of which there is little doubt, 
the Zoological Society having received specimens from 
Trebizond, and the Russian naturalist, M. Hohenacker, 
having also found it on the plains between the Black and 
the Caspian Seas. Mr. Blyth has obtained it in India. 



440 CHARADRIIDJl. 

In the adult bird, the beak is black at the point, the 
base greenish yellow ; the irides golden yellow ; the top of 
the head and back of the neck pale wood-brown, each 
feather with a streak of black in the centre ; from the base 
of the upper mandible a light-coloured streak passes back- 
ward under the eye to the ear-coverts ; from the base 
of the lower mandible a brown streak passes below the 
light-coloured one to the ends of the ear-coverts; the 
feathers of the back, wing-coverts, tertials, and upper 
tail coverts, pale brown, each feather with a dark brownish 
black, longitudinal streak in the line of the shaft ; wing 
primaries almost black, the first and second with a white 
patch towards the end ; the tail-feathers with the basal 
halves mottled with two shades of brown, the third portion 
white, the ends black ; the outside tail-feathers shorter than 
those in the middle. The chin and throat white ; the neck 
and breast pale brownish white, each feather streaked along 
the centre with blackish brown ; belly, sides, and flanks, 
almost white, with long, narrow, longitudinal streaks ; vent 
and under tail-coverts buffy white, without streaks ; legs 
and toes yellow ; the claws almost black. 

The whole length seventeen inches. The wing, from the 
carpal joint to the end, nine inches and three-quarters : the 
first and second quill-feathers nearly equal in length, and 
the longest in the wing. 

The plumage in the two sexes is nearly similar. 

In young birds the markings of the plumage are less dis- 
tinct. 

The breast-bone of this species is figured at the bottom 
of page 435. 



COLLARED PRATINCOLE. 441 

GRALLA TORES. CHARA DRUDGE. 




THE COLLARED PRATINCOLE. 

Glareola torquata. 

Glareola Austriaca, Austrian Pratincole, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 110. 

MONTAGU, Supp. Ornith. Diet. 

Hirundo Pratincola, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 309. 

Glareola torquata, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 94. 

Collared SEL BY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 213. 

Pratincola, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 216. 

torquata, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. vii. 

Glareole a collier, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 500. 

GLAREOLA. Generic Characters. Beak short, convex, compressed towards 
the point, the upper mandible curved throughout the distal half of its length. 
Nostrils basal, lateral, pierced obliquely. Legs bare for a short space above the 
tarsal joint ; long and rather slender ; three toes in front, one behind ; the middle 
toe united by a short membrane to the outer toe ; the inner toe free ; the hind 
toe articulated upon the tarsus ; claws long and subulate. Wings very long, the 
first quill-feather considerably the longest. 

A LIVING example of this species was preserved for some 
months in the aviary at the Gardens of the Zoological 



442 CHARADRIID.E. 

Society. It was very quiet in confinement, and had a 
habit of throwing the head back, as if looking upwards. 
M. Temminck says it frequents the banks of rivers, and the 
marshy margins of large lakes, making its nest among 
rushes or other dense aquatic vegetation. I have, however, 
very lately learned something more. Among a collection 
of birds, recently presented to the Zoological Society by 
the son of Drummond Hay, Esq., and which had been shot 
by this young gentleman in the vicinity of Tangiers, were 
two skins of the Pratincole. On making inquiry of the 
donor in reference to the Pratincole particularly, I learned 
that the habits of this bird corresponded closely with those 
of our Plovers, frequenting sandy plains, flying and running 
with great rapidity ; forming a slight nest in any acci- 
dental depression in the dry soil, and laying four eggs. 
One example of this bird's egg was given to the Society ; 
and this zealous young Ornithologist had seen others, 
which were all alike. The egg measures one inch two 
lines in length, by eleven lines and a half in breadth ; it is 
of a pale buffy stone-colour, marked with small round spots 
of bluish grey and dull black. This egg immediately 
reminds the observer, who is acquainted with the eggs 
of our birds, of those of the Ring Plovers, by its colours and 
markings. The Pratincole has been arranged by some 
authors with the Swallows, by others near the Bails : but 
I believe, with Mr. Selby, that it ought to be included 
in the family of the Plovers. I have lately obtained 
a skeleton of our Pratincole, the breast bone of which, 
with its double emargination, so much like those of 
the Bustards and Plovers, confirms me in my view, that 
it is allied to the Plovers, and I have so placed it accord- 
ingly. 

The Pratincole is an inhabitant of the temperate and 



COLLARED PRATINCOLE. 443 

warmer parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia ; and from its 
great powers of flight, indicated by its long wings, it has, 
as might be expected, an extensive geographical range. 

Mr. Bullock, of the London Museum, in the eleventh 
volume of the Transactions of the Linnean Society, thus re- 
cords the first captures of this species in this country. 

" The first instance of this bird having been killed in 
Britain occurred in 1807, when one was shot in the neigh- 
bourhood of Ormskirk in Lancashire : it was preserved by 
Mr. J. Sherlock, of that place, from whom I purchased it 
a few days afterwards. On the 16th of August 1812, I 
killed another specimen of this bird in the Isle of Unst, 
about three miles from the northern extremity of Britain. 
When I first discovered it, it rose within a few feet and 
flew round me in the manner of a Swallow, and then 
alighted close to the head of a cow that was tethered within 
ten yards 1 distance. After examining it a few minutes, I 
returned to the house of T. Edmondson, Esq. for my gun, 
.and, accompanied by that gentleman's brother, went in 
search of it. After a short time it came out of some 
growing corn, and was catching insects at the time I fired ; 
and, being only wounded in the wing, we had an oppor- 
tunity of examining it alive. In the form of its bill, wings, 
and tail, as well as its mode of flight, it greatly resembles 
the genus Hirundo ; but, contrary to the whole of this 
family, the legs were long, and bare above the knee, agree- 
ing with Tringa ; and, like the Sandpipers, it ran with the 
greatest rapidity when on the ground, or in shallow water, 
in pursuit of its food, which was wholly of flies, of which 
its stomach was full." 

The bird killed near Ormskirk is in the collection of the 
Earl of Derby. The other remained in Mr. Bullock's pos- 
session till the sale of the contents of his museum in 1819 ; 



444 CHARADRIID^E. 

when I find, by a reference to my priced catalogue, that this 
specimen from Shetland produced 81. 8s., and was trans- 
ferred to the British Museum. 

Mr. Joseph Clarke, of Saffron Walden, sent me word 
that a pair of Pratincoles was shot on the Breydon-wall 
near Yarmouth, in May 1827, by John Bessy, a fisher- 
man, and sold to Isaac Harvey, a bird preserver, who 
resold them for 7. The occurrence and capture of this 
pair of Pratincoles is mentioned in Pagefs sketch of the 
Natural History of Yarmouth and its neighbourhood (page 
10). 

From Mr. F. Holme I learned, that a Pratincole was 
shot by Frederick Oats, Esq., of Branston Hall, near 
Lincoln, on the 15th of August 1827, while flying about 
much like a Swallow, and near the ground. 

The Rev. Leonard Jenyns sent me notice of a Pratincole 
shot in Wilbraham Fen, Cambridgeshire, in May 1835 ; 
and I have since ascertained that this specimen is now in 
the collection of J. T. Martin, Esq., of Quy Hall, in that, 
county. In May 1840, a Pratincole was shot upon the 
shore of the harbour of Blakeney in Norfolk, by Henry 
Overton, a fowler, and passed into the possession of Mr. 
John Sparham, by whom it was presented to Henry 
Rogers, Esq., solicitor, at Thetford. 

The bird is rare in Holland, but is occasionally seen in 
Germany, France, Provence, Switzerland, and Italy ; it is 
found in Sicily, but only from spring till autumn ; it is 
more plentiful in Dalmatia, and other eastern parts of 
Europe. M. Temminck mentions that it breeds in Sar- 
dinia, and has been seen at Malta. It is said to inhabit 
Senegal ; I have seen specimens from Tangiers, Algiers, 
and Tripoli. The Rev. John White obtained this species 
at Gibraltar, and Linnaeus in the fourth letter of those 



COLLARED PRATINCOLE. 445 

already referred to, writes, Pratincolam antea non vidi ; 
ad Grallas spectat et proprii generis est. This species has 
also been observed at Cairo, Smyrna, Trebizond ; and 
in the country about the Caucasus it was seen by M. 
Menetries in considerable flocks : the birds squatted close 
to the ground, with outstretched wings, and allowed a near 
approach. The Pratincole is also found in Tartary, but 
is said not to go farther north in that direction than 
latitude 53. 

The beak is curved, and almost black, and Mr. Bullock 
says, that whilst living, the edges of both mandibles, and 
the base of the lower one, were bright scarlet orange ; the 
irides light brown ; the head, the neck behind, the back, 
scapulars, wing-coverts and tertials, nearly uniform clove 
brown ; primaries nearly black ; upper tail-coverts white ; 
tail very much forked, the feathers white at the base, 
the other part dark brownish black ; the outer feather 
on each side as long again as those in the middle ; the 
chin white ; the throat pale buff, with a crescentic line of 
black ascending to each eye ; breast brownish buff ; 
belly, thighs and under tail-coverts white ; axillary plume, 
and under wing-coverts bay; the legs reddish purple 
brown. 

In the young bird the clove brown feathers of the back, 
and the wing-coverts, the secondaries and tertials, have 
pale-reddish brown margins ; the tail-feathers shorter, and 
much less forked ; throat pale brown, the crescentic collar 
indicated by dark brown spots ; breast varied with two 
shades of brown ; belly, and under surface of the body, and 
tail feathers, greyish white. 

Females are said to resemble the males. The whole 
length of an adult bird near ten inches. From the carpal 
joint to the end of the first quill-feather, seven inches. 



446 CHARADRIID.E. 

The egg of the Pratincole is so great a rarity, that I 
have endeavoured to give a representation of it, by which 
it may be known. It is found on the ground, in barren 
situations : the bird does not build a regular nest, but 
merely collects a few straws. Zool. Proceedings. 




The outline below represents the breast-bone of the Pra- 
tincole. 




GOLDEN PLOVER. 



OR ALL A TORES. 



447 

CIIARADRI1DM. 




THE GOLDEN PLOVER. 



YELLOW PLOVER. GREEN PLOVER. 

Charadrius plumalis. 

Charadrius pluvialis. Golden Plover, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 98. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 376. 
Green FLEM. Brit. An. p. 113. 

Golden SELBV, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 231. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 177. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. i. 
Pluvier dore, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 535. 

CHARADRIUS. Generic Characters. Bill straight, compressed, shorter than 
the head ; the end of the upper mandible horny, pointed, and slightly bent ; nasal 
furrow elongated. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear, longitudinally cleft in the mem- 
brane of the furrow. Legs of moderate length, sometimes rather elongated, naked 
above the tarsal joint. Toes three only, all directed forwards, the outer toe 
slightly connected at the base to the middle toe. Wings of moderate length, 
pointed in shape ; the first quill-feather the longest. 



448 CIIARADRIID^E. 

THE true Plovers, at which we have now arrived, are 
birds of great powers of flight, and have also, as might be 
expected, extensive geographical range. They associate 
and perform their various migrations in flocks, which are 
more or less numerous, depending on the species, and are 
only found in pairs during their season of reproduction. 
Some of the species are remarkable for assuming in the 
spring, and retaining during summer, a plumage differing 
considerably from that which distinguishes them from the 
time of the autumn moult through the winter till the 
following spring. This alteration of colour, which is 
common to both sexes, consists, in the Golden Plover, 
of a decided change from a dull greyish white to black, 
which pervades the whole of the under surface of the 
bird from the chin to the belly. Some new feathers are 
obtained in the spring, which are black, while the old 
white feathers of winter may be seen in change to black, 
some of them bearing almost every possible proportion of 
well defined black and white on the same feathers, the 
colouring secretions having equal influence over the old 
as well as the new feathers ; such birds are said to be 
subject to a double moult, but the spring moult is only 
partial, not affecting the strong feathers of the wings and 
tail ; the entire moult, including the flight and tail-feathers, 
only occurs once in each year, and that in the autumn.* 
Male birds are frequently observed to have acquired an 
alteration in the colour of their feathers more rich and 
perfect than that of the females ; but this is not always the 
case, as the extent and perfection of the change appears 
to depend upon the constitutional vigour and powers of the 

* See observations on the laws which appear to influence the assumption and 
changes of plumage in birds in the Transactions of the Zoological Society, vol. i. 
page 13. 



GOLDEN PLOVER. 449 

individual bird, whether male or female, and I have occa- 
sionally seen female specimens in a summer dress as rich 
and as perfect as that of the finest male. The plumage, 
during this assumption of colours or tints peculiar to the 
breeding-season, is called by French naturalists Plumage 
des Noces ; by some English authors it has been styled the 
nuptial dress, and I once heard a poulterer call them the 
bird's wedding feathers. The French term Plumer is said 
to have been applied to the Plover, "pour ceqvton le prend 
mieux en temps pluvieux quun nulle autre saison" Our 
word Plover is derived from the French Plumer. 

The Golden Plover is found during summer breeding on 
the high hills and swampy grounds of the North of Eng- 
land and Scotland. Mr. Thompson of Belfast, says it is 
common in Ireland, breeding in the least-frequented bogs 
throughout that country. It visits the Cheviot Hills, and 
other high ground of the border counties in the North of 
England every year. Mr. Don says it breeds on the hills 
of Forfarshire, as noticed in his account of the native plants 
and animals of that county, appended to Lightfoot^s Flora 
Scotica, which was published at the expense of Pennant. 
Mr. Selby says of this bird in Sutherlandshire, that "it is 
plentiful throughout the county, but particularly abundant 
in the district between Lairg and Tongue, the parish of 
Durness, Scourie, &c. Sutherland appears to be one great 
breeding-station of this species." In the Hebrides, Mr. 
Macgillivray observes, " I have often gone out to shoot 
them at night by moonlight, when they seem as actively 
engaged as by day, which was also the case with the 
Snipes ; but I seldom succeeded in my object, it being 
extremely difficult to estimate distances at night. The 
numbers that frequent the sandy pastures and shores of the 
outer Hebrides is astonishing. Dr. Neill, Mr. Salmon, and 

VOL. II. G G 



450 CHARADRIID.E. 

Mr. Dunn, have recorded it as common in the Orkney and 
Shetland Islands. 

Professor Nilsson and Mr. Lloyd mention the Golden 
Plover as annually visiting Sweden ; Mr. Hewitson saw it 
in flocks on the cultivated ground in the south-western part 
of Norway ; Mr. William Christy saw it at Hammerfest, 
and Linnaeus mentions having seen plenty during his tour 
in the Lapland Alps. It goes to the Faroe Islands, to 
Iceland, and Greenland every summer ; and was seen on 
different occasions by the Arctic voyagers from this country 
as far to the northward and westward as the North 
Georgian Islands and Felix Harbour. Dr. Richardson, in 
the Fauna Boreali- Americana, says, " that the breeding 
quarters of this well-known bird are the barren grounds 
and the coasts and islands of the Arctic Sea. It hatches 
early in June, and retires southwards in August. Numbers 
linger on the muddy shores of Hudson"^ Bay, and on the 
sandy beaches of rivers and lakes in the interior, until the 
hard frosts of September and October drive them away. 
At this period they are very fat, and are highly prized 
by the epicures of the fur countries. They make but a 
short stay, in Pennsylvania, and are said to winter beyond 
the United States." There appears, however, to be some 
doubt whether the bird which goes so far south as to 
winter beyond the United States is the true CJi. pluvialis 
of European naturalists. Sir William Jardine, Bart., in 
the second volume of his illustrated edition of Wilson's 
American Ornithology, has given the specific characters of 
Ch. plumaUs and Ch. mrginianus in parallel columns : the 
distinctions are conspicuous ; and the Prince of Musig- 
nano has not included the Ch. pluvialis in his recently 
published List of the Birds of North America. Two 
examples of Golden Plover from North America in the 



GOLDEN TLOVER. 451 

Museum of the Zoological Society differ from our British 
bird, and appear to me to be identical with the Golden 
Plover found in Asia, to be hereafter referred to. North 
America may produce two species of Golden Plover ; 
but the figure of the Golden Plover in Wilson's work 
exhibits in the beak, in the lengthened legs, and in 
the extent of the bare part above the joint, as well as some 
other particulars, the characters of the Golden Plover of 
Asia, and one specimen of a Golden Plover from South 
America at the Zoological Society, is similar to those 
received from the Society Isles and from Sydney, which do 
not differ from the Asiatic bird. 

Our Golden Plover lays but four eggs, which are large 
in proportion to the size of the bird, but it has only one 
brood in the season. The eggs are of a yellowish stone 
colour, blotched and spotted with brownish black ; the 
length two inches by one inch four lines in breadth. About 
the end of May, or beginning of June, Mr. Selby observes, 
the females begin to lay, making but little artificial nest, a 
small depression in the ground amidst the heath being 
generally taken advantage of, and lined with a few dry 
fibres and stems of grass. The young, when excluded, are 
covered with a beautiful parti-coloured down of yellow and 
brown ; they quit the nest as soon as hatched, and follow 
their parents till able to fly and support themselves, which 
is in the course of a month or five weeks. The old birds 
display great anxiety in protecting their young brood, 
using various stratagems to divert the attention of an 
enemy. They feed on worms, slugs, and insects in various 
states. They have a shrill whistling note, and may be 
deceived and decoyed within shot by a skilful imitation. 

In autumn the various broods associate, forming flocks, 
and together wing their way southwards. They are ob- 

G G 2 



452 CHARADRIIDJE. 

served in great numbers through the winter on moors, 
heaths, downs, and large open fields, in most of the south- 
ern counties, and many resort to the sea shores. They are 
excellent birds for the table. 

The Rev. Eichard Lubbock, in his Fauna of Norfolk, 
says of these birds, " a great many are shot in the marshes. 
The early dawn is the time at which our fen-men seek 
them ; they then fly about in close bodies, and will pass 
very near to any one remaining perfectly still. In the 
middle of the day they are very difficult of access. They 
seem to divide their time between the marshes and the 
uplands. If they are in a marsh all day they often move 
off to a ploughed field just as it is dusk, and vice versa ; if 
upon arable land, they go down to the marsh for the night, 
and it is truly called pluvialis, from its restlessness before 
bad weather. A few years back, one day in the end of De- 
cember, I stood upon an eminence overlooking a level of 
marshes ; the day was beautifully mild and bright. I was 
struck by the perpetual wheelings, now high, now low, of 
large flocks of this bird and the Peewit. They were not 
still for a moment, and yet I could discover no cause of 
disturbance. Some hours afterwards I went again to the 
same hill, and found them in the same perturbed state. I 
was so persuaded that this restlessness was the harbinger 
of stormy weather, that I wrote a letter excusing myself 
on that plea from fulfilling an engagement at a distance. 
The next morning came, calm and mild as the preceding ; 
the plovers, however, had all departed, not one was to be 
seen. About 5 P.M. the wind began to howl, signs of tem- 
pest came on, and before morning so much snow fell, that 
in the lanes were drifts six and seven feet in depth." 

From the northern parts of the European Continent they 
also return after the breeding- season, inhabiting for a time 



GOLDEN PLOVER. 453 

France, Provence, Sardinia, Italy, Sicily, and the shores 
of Africa. The Zoological Society have received speci- 
mens from Trebizond ; and the Russian naturalists found 
them on the plains between the Black and the Caspian 
Seas. 

I have not been able to trace our Golden Plover farther 
to the eastward than this. After a close examination of 
various examples in the collections of the Linnean and Zoo- 
logical Societies from India, Java, New Holland, and the 
Society Isles, I believe, with Sir William Jardine and Mr. 
Selby, that the Asiatic Golden Plover is a species distinct 
from our bird, but identical with that of the American 
continents, in which the bird, though smaller, has a longer 
beak and longer legs, with a greater extent of naked space 
above the joint, the yellow spots on the feathers of the 
lower part of the back more oval in shape than triangular, 
and the axillary plume is always ash brown, while that of 
our European bird is as invariably elongated and pure 
white.* 

The adult bird in its summer plumage has the beak 
black ; the irides very dark brown, almost black ; on the 
forehead a band of white ; top of the head, the nape of 
the neck, the back, wing-coverts, tertials, rump, and upper 
tail-coverts, greyish black, the edges of all the feathers 
varied with triangular-shaped spots of gamboge yellow ; 
wing-primaries almost black ; tail-feathers obliquely barred 
with shades of greyish white and brownish black ; the lore, 
chin, sides of the neck, throat, breast, and all the under 
surface of the body as far as the vent, jet black, bounded 

* M. Temminck, in the Fourth Part of his Manual, says, " Les sujets tue"s 
dans les regions intertropicales de TAncien-monde sont toujours revetus du 
plumage d'hiver ; il ne nous est pas parvenu d'individus en livree paifaite des 
noces. La race de ces climats est constamment plus petite dans toutes ces di- 
mensions que celle de nos contres." 



454 CHARADRIID^E. 

on the sides with a band of white below the wing ; ax- 
illary plume elongated, and pure white ; under tail-coverts 
white. 

In winter the chin is white ; front of the neck and the 
breast, white, tinged with dusky, and spotted with dull 
yellow ; the upper surface of the body nearly as in sum- 
mer ; before and after the breeding-season the adult birds 
may be seen for a time with the breast of a mixed plumage 
of black and white. 

The whole length of an adult bird rather more than 
eleven inches. From the carpal joint to the end of the 
wing seven inches and three-quarters ; the form of the wing 
pointed ; the first quill-feather the longest of the whole. 

The plumage of adult birds of both sexes is nearly alike 
at the same season of the year ; but young birds of the 
year during their first autumn have the breast much darker 
in colour than the same part of the old birds in winter, 
and may be distinguished throughout their first winter 
from parent birds by the greater proportion of dusky grey 
on the breast and belly. 



DOTTEREL. 



GRALLATORES. 



455 
CHARADRIIDM. 







THE DOTTEREL. 

Charadrius morinellus. 



Charadrius morinellus, Dottrel Plover, 
The Dottrel, 

,, The Dotterel, 

T/ie Dottrel, 

The Dotterel, 

Dotterel Plover, 

The Dottrel, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 102. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 378. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 113. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 236. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 178. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ii. 



Pluvier guignard, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 537. 

THE DOTTEREL is a summer visiter only to this country, 
making its appearance in the south-eastern counties of Eng- 
land towards the end of April, and does not seem to go in 
any numbers far to the westward. Mr. Thompson says it 
is a rare visitant to Ireland ; it has not been seen more 
than once or twice in Cornwall, and only occasionally in 



456 CHARADRIIDJl. 

Devonshire and Dorsetshire. In Wiltshire, Berkshire, 
Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk, small 
flocks, or trips as they are called, of Dotterel are seen in 
the spring on their way to their breeding-ground, which, 
in many instances, is very far north, and those or others 
are again seen in the autumn on their return, their numbers 
then reinforced by the addition of the young birds of the 
year. On the chalk hills about Eoyston on the borders of 
Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, these birds have been 
observed for many years to make their first appearance in 
each season by the 20th of April ; they are seen for about 
ten days, some probably moving on to the northward, and 
their places being supplied for a time by other arrivals 
from the south. They are found generally on the fallows, 
or newly ploughed lands near the edges of the downs, or 
sheep walks, where they appear to feed on worms, slugs, 
insects, and their larvae. From these counties the birds 
pass on to more northern localities, and are seen in Lin- 
colnshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Westmore- 
land, Cumberland, Northumberland, and various parts of 
Scotland, always inhabiting high ground. They are gene- 
rally seen in these northern districts in May. Dr. Beck 
of Copenhagen told me that the Dotterel pass the islands 
at the mouth of the Baltic about the 1st of June, and dis- 
perse over Scandinavia. Professor Nilsson mentions their 
annual visit to Sweden : Mr. Hewitson saw some on the 
ploughed fields of Norway ; and my friend Mr. Dann gave 
me two eggs taken in that country. Linnaeus says they 
are frequent in Dalecarlia and the Lapland Alps; and 
they are known to go as high as the sixty-seventh degree 
of north latitude. They are said to breed also in Russia, 
Siberia, and Northern Asia. 

The best account of the habits of this species at its 



DOTTEREL. 457 

breeding ground has been supplied by T. C. Hey sham, 
Esq. of Carlisle, from which the following is an extract : 
" I will now narrate," says this gentleman, " as suc- 
cinctly as possible, what has fallen under my own obser- 
vation relative to the habits and economy of this bird. In 
the neighbourhood of Carlisle, Dotterels ' seldom make 
their appearance before the middle of May, about which 
time they are occasionally seen in different localities, in 
flocks which vary in number from five to fifteen, and al- 
most invariably resort to heaths, barren pastures, fallow 
grounds, &c. in open and exposed situations, where they 
continue, if unmolested, from ten days to a fortnight, and 
then retire to the mountains in the vicinity of the lakes to 
breed. The most favourite breeding-haunts of these birds 
are always near to or on the summits of the highest moun- 
tains, particularly those that are densely covered with the 
woolly fringe-moss, Trichostomum lanuginosum, Hedw. 
which indeed grows more or less profusely on nearly all the 
most elevated parts of this alpine district.* In these 
lonely places they constantly reside the whole of the breed- 
ing-season, a considerable part of the time enveloped in 
clouds, and almost daily drenched with rain or wetting 
mists, so extremely prevalent in these dreary regions : and 
there can be little doubt that it is owing to this peculiar 
feature in their economy, that they have remained so long 
in obscurity during the period of incubation. The Dot- 
trel is by no means a solitary bird at this time, as a few 
pairs usually associate together, and live, to all appearance, 
in the greatest harmony. These birds do not make any 
nest, but deposit their eggs, which seldom exceed three in 
number, in a small cavity on dry ground covered with 

* " The favourite breeding-stations of the Dottrel are frequently called smittle 
places, by some of the guides and anglers at Keswick." 



458 CHARADRIID^E. 

vegetation, and generally near a moderate sized stone, or 
fragment of rock. In early seasons old females will occa- 
sionally begin to lay their eggs about the 26th of May ; 
but the greater part seldom commence before the first or 
second week in June. It would appear, however, from the 
following facts, that they vary exceedingly in this respect. 
On the 19th of July 1833, a perfect egg was taken out of 
a female, which had been recently killed on Robinson ; and 
on the 26th of May 1834, I received four Dottrels from 
Keswick, which had been shot on Great Gavel the day 
before. In the ovary of one of them I found an egg al- 
most quite ready for exclusion, being a difference of nearly 
eight weeks. So great a discrepancy in all probability is 
of very rare occurrence ; yet it will subsequently appear 
that eggs recently laid, and a young bird, a few days old, 
were found on the same day, at no great distance from 
each other. The males assist the females in the incubation 
of their eggs. How long incubation continues I have not 
yet been able to ascertain ; but I am inclined to think that 
it rarely lasts much longer than eighteen or twenty days. 
A week or two previous to their departure, they congregate 
in flocks, and continue together until they finally leave this 
country, which takes place sometimes during the latter 
part of August, at others not before the beginning of Sep- 
tember. A few birds no doubt are occasionally seen after 
this period ; but they are either late broods, or birds that 
are returning from more northern latitudes. This autumn 
I visited several breeding-stations on the 25th of August, 
and again on the 2nd of September, but in neither instance 
could I observe a single individual. 

" Anxious as I have been for several years past to pro- 
cure the eggs of the Dottrel for the purpose of adding 
undoubted specimens of so rare an egg to my cabinet, as 



DOTTEREL. 



459 



well as to prove beyond all doubt that this bird breeds in 
Cumberland ; yet it was not until the present year that I 
had the gratification of accomplishing an object which I 
have had so long in view. After repeated excursions 
through the lake district this summer for the express 
purpose, I was so fortunate as to obtain their eggs in 
two different localities, namely, three on Whiteside, con- 
tiguous to Helvellyn, on the 29th of June, and two on the 
5th of July on Robinson, in the vicinity of Buttermere. 
The former had been incubated twelve or fourteen days ; 
the latter were only recently laid ; and, in both instances, 
the birds were seen to leave their eggs : one, on quitting 
them, immediately spread out its wings and tail, which it 
trailed on the ground a short distance, and then went 
away without uttering a single note. On this day, 5th 
of July 1835, a young bird, a few days old, was also 
captured. 




460 CHARADRIID.E. 

" Having spent a considerable portion of several days on 
Robinson, in company with a very able assistant, searching 
for the eggs of the Dottrel, I had, of course, ample opportu- 
nities of observing their manners ; and I flatter myself that 
the following particulars will be interesting to some of my 
ornithological readers. On the 3rd of July we found three 
or four pair near the most elevated part of this mountain ; 
and on all our visits thither, whether early in the morning 
or late in the afternoon, the greater part were always seen 
near the same place, sitting on the ground. When first 
discovered, they permitted us to approach within a short 
distance, without showing any symptoms of alarm ; and 
frequently afterwards, when within a few paces, watching 
their movements, some would move slowly about and pick 
up an insect, others would remain motionless, now and 
then stretching out their wings, and a few would occasion- 
ally toy with each other, at the same time uttering a few 
low notes, which had some resemblance to those of the 
Common Linnet. In short, they appeared' to be so very 
indifferent with regard to our presence, that at last my 
assistant could not avoid exclaiming, c What stupid birds 
these are ! ' The female that had young, nevertheless, 
evinced considerable anxiety for their safety, whenever 
we came near the place where they were concealed, and 
as long as we remained in the vicinity, constantly flew 
to and fro above us, uttering her note of alarm. 

" As soon as the young birds were fully feathered, two 
were killed for the purpose of examining their plumage in 
this state ; and we found that after they had been fired at 
once or twice, they became more wary, and eventually 
we had some little difficulty in approaching sufficiently 
near to effect our purpose. The moult appears to commence 
somewhat early in old birds ; a male that was killed on the 



DOTTEREL. 461 

25th of July, was completely covered with pen feathers, 
and the belly, from incubation, almost entirely bare. The 
stomachs I dissected were all filled with the elytra, and 
remains of small coleopterous insects, which, in all proba- 
bility, constitute their principal food during the breeding 
season. 

" These birds, I understand, are getting every year more 
and more scarce in the neighbourhood of the lakes ; and 
from the numbers that are annually killed by the anglers 
at Keswick and the vicinity, their feathers having long 
been held in high estimation for dressing artificial flies, it 
is extremely probable that in a few years they will become 
so exceedingly rare, that specimens will be procured with 
considerable difficulty. I have subjoined the names of 
some of the principal mountains in this county on which 
Dottrels have been known to breed, and I have also added, 
as far as practicable, their elevation above the level of the 
sea, under the idea that this information may prove of 
some utility t naturalists who may hereafter feel inclined 
to investigate the manners of this species in the same 
district. The relative positions of these mountains may 
be seen at a single glance, on referring to Greenwood's 
excellent Map of the County of Cumberland. 

Feet above the Feet above the 

level of the sea. level of the sea. 

Helvellyn . 3055 Carrock Fell . 2110 

Whiteside Grasmoor . . 2756 

WhatsonDod Robinson . 2292 

Great Dod Gold Scalp . 1114 

Saddleback . 2787 Great Gavel . 2925 

Skiddaw . . 3022 

Those mountains whose elevations are not given, exceed 
that of Carrock Fell." 

The Dotterel is said to breed on the Mendip Hills in 



462 CHARADRIID^E. 

Somersetshire, besides the various mountains of the lake 
counties, as stated by T. C. Heysham, Esq., and formerly 
also by his father, Dr. Heysham, in his Catalogue of Cum- 
berland Animals. There is no doubt, also, that they breed 
on some of the mountains in Scotland. Braemar, in Aber- 
deenshire, has been named. Colonel Thornton, in his 
Sporting Tour, mentions having seen several pairs in 
Scotland in the middle of August; and Montagu saw 
them in pairs in that country sufficiently late in spring 
to warrant the conjecture that they bred there. An egg 
in my own collection was obtained on the Grampian Hills ; 
this example is of a yellowish olive colour, blotched and 
spotted with dark brownish black : one inch seven lines 
and a half in length, by one inch two lines and a half 
in breadth. 

Dotterel were more numerous than usual in the London 
market during the spring of the present year, 1845 : I 
counted seventeen couple at the shop of a poulterer at one 
time. In July I heard of one nest of four eggs having 
been taken on Saddleback. 

M. Temminck says the Dotterel is rare in Holland ; that 
they are found, but only in small numbers, on the highest 
mountains of Bohemia and Silesia, at elevations from four 
thousand five hundred to four thousand eight hundred feet. 
In France, according to M. Vieillot, they are only seen on 
their passage in spring and autumn ; and they are included 
in the Catalogues of the Birds of Provence, Genoa, and 
Italy. They are seen in the Grecian Archipelago and the 
Levant ; and the Zoological Society have received a speci- 
men sent by Messrs. Dickson and Hoss from Trebizond. 
Some are said to pass the winter in the south of Italy, 
in Sicily and the Levant. 

The Dotterel are well known as most excellent birds for 



DOTTEREL. 463 

the table ; those that in spring and autumn are sent to 
the London market, find ready sale at seven or eight shil- 
lings a couple. They are reckoned very foolish birds, 
so that a dull fellow is proverbially called a Dotterel. 
Authors seem to have had this latter quality in their view 
when they called the bird morinellus, which is probably 
derived from the Greek moros, or the Latin morio, a fool, 
adding the diminutive, meaning a little fool. The gun has 
long since superseded the net, as a means of obtaining 
Dotterel ; the bird was said to imitate the actions of 
the fowler : but its various qualities are referred to by 
several old writers ; thus Drayton, in his Polyolbion says 

" The Dotterel, which we think a very dainty dish, 
Whose taking makes such sport, as no man more can wish. 
For as you creep, or cower, or lie, or stoop, or go, 
So, marking you with care, the apish bird doth do ; 
And acting everything, doth never mark the net, 
Till he be in the snare which men for him have set." 

The adult bird, in its summer plumage, has the beak 
nearly black ; the irides brown ; the top of the head and 
nape of the neck very dark brown, bounded on the sides 
and behind by a band of pure white ; the ear-coverts, the 
neck and back, ash colour ; the scapulars, wing-coverts and 
tertials, ash brown edged with buff; wing-primaries ash 
grey, the first with a broad white shaft ; tail-feathers 
greyish brown ; those in the middle tipped with dull white, 
the three outside feathers with broad ends of pure white ; 
the chin and sides of the neck white ; the front and sides 
of the neck below ash grey ; from shoulder to shoulder, 
across the breast, is a band of white, margined above and 
below with a dark line ; breast rich fawn colour, passing 
to chestnut ; belly black ; vent and under tail-coverts 
white, tinged with buff ; under wing-coverts and axillary 



464 CHARADRIID^E. 

plume greyish white ; legs and toes greenish yellow ; the 
claws black. 

The whole length nine inches and a half. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, six inches ; the wing in 
form pointed ; the first quill-feather the longest ; the 
average weight about four ounces : I have seen one ex- 
ample that weighed six ounces and a half. 

I have occasionally seen specimens early in May that 
had not obtained their summer dress ; the breast is then 
white, but slightly tinged with buff. 

Mr. Heysham^s description of a young female, three 
weeks or a month old, killed on Robinson July 25th ] 835, 
is as follows : " Forehead, throat, and sides of the face, 
cream-yellow, covered with small spots and fine streaks of 
greyish brown. Crown of the head, occiput, and also the 
feathers on the back, dark brown, all more or less broadly 
edged with buff orange. Scapulars and wing-coverts olive 
green, deeply edged with reddish white; tail the same, 
finely margined with white, the centre feathers broadly 
tipped with reddish white, and the three lateral ones on 
each side ending in a large irregular whitish spot. Sides of 
the neck, flanks, and a broad band above each eye, buff 
orange, the former finely streaked with greyish brown. 
Breast cinereous, slightly tinged with reddish white, and 
marked on each side with large spots of olive green. Belly 
white, finely spotted here and there with greyish brown. 
Bill black. Irides dark brown. Legs pale olive green ; 
soles bright yellow." 



RINGED PLOVER. 465 

OR A LLA TORES. CHARADRJIDM. 




THE RINGED PLOVEE. 

Charadrius hiaticula. 

Charadrius hiaticula, Ringed Plover, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 105. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
Dotterel, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. L p. 380. 
Plover, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 113. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 240. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 179. 
Ring Dottrel, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. vi. 
Grand Pluvier a collier, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 
529. 

THIS prettily marked Plover is found throughout the 
year on most of the shores of the British Islands, but more 

VOL. II. H H 



466 CHARADRIIDjE. 

particularly frequents bays and flats along the coast where 
the sea at its ebb retires to a distance, leaving extensive 
surfaces of sand or shingle. These birds also frequent the 
sides of large rivers, and are not unfrequently found about 
the margin of inland lakes and large ponds. As a species 
it is numerous, and its habits are lively and interesting. It 
is recorded that Mr. Scales found them breeding on the 
warrens at Beechamwell and Elston, near Thetford in 
Norfolk ; and the late Mr. Hoy sent me word, also, that 
many breed on the sandy warrens of Norfolk and Suffolk, 
at a considerable distance from the sea. They pair in 
May ; but making no nest, deposit their four eggs in 
any accidental depression on a bank of sand, broken shells 
or shingles above high-water mark. The eggs are one 
inch five lines long, by one inch and half a line in breadth, 
of a pale buff or cream-colour, spotted and streaked with 
ash blue and black. The parent birds are greatly attached 
to their young, and practise various devices to draw off any 
intruder from their charge, while from the great similarity in 
colour to the surrounding materials, either the eggs or the 
young are very difficult to find. They feed on worms, 
insects, and, when at the edge of the sea, on the various 
species of the thinner-skinned Crustacea, as shrimps, sand- 
hoppers, &c., with which almost every little salt-water 
pool abounds. The note of this bird is a shrill whistle. 

The Ringed Plover is even more numerous on our shores 
in winter than it is in summer, probably from the number 
that come to this country from high northern latitudes, 
which they visit during the breeding-season. Thus M. 
Nilsson says they are only seen in Sweden, and on the 
shores of the Baltic from March to October. Mr. Hewit- 
son saw them in Norway in summer. Linnaeus found them 
in several parts of Lapland during his tour, and as far 



RINGED PLOVER, 467 

north and west as the Lapland Alps. They are included 
among the Birds of Iceland ; Mr. Scoresby, in his Journal, 
mentions having seen them on the east coast of Greenland, 
and our Arctic voyagers observed them on the west coast 
of Greenland, at Prince Eegenfs Inlet, and at Hecla 
Cove. 

Pennant says it is found in summer in Russia and Siberia. 
In Germany it lives on the banks of rivers ; it is abundant 
in Holland on the sea-shore ; and is found in France, 
Provence, Italy, and Sicily. I have seen specimens from 
Malta; and Mr. Fellowes obtained examples in Asia 
Minor. M. Temminck includes this species among the 
Birds of Japan. 

The male in summer has the beak black at the point, 
orange-yellow at the base ; the irides brown ; forehead 
white, with a black band above it reaching to the eyes 
on each side ; lore, space under the eyes, and the ear- 
coverts, black ; top of the head and nape of the neck 
hair brown ; below this, and all round the neck a collar 
of white ; below this a collar of black ; the back, 
wing-coverts, and tertials, hair-brown ; the wing-coverts 
tipped with white, forming a continuous bar of that 
colour, which is conspicuous when the bird is on the 
wing; the primaries almost black, the distal portion of 
each quill-shaft white ; upper tail-coverts and the base of 
the tail-feathers hair-brown, passing into greyish black 
towards the end, the middle pair the longest, the next 
four on each side tipped with white ; the outer feather on 
each side entirely white ; chin and throat white ; across 
the neck a broad collar of black ; breast, belly, vent, and 
under tail-coverts, white ; under wing-coverts and the 
axillary plume white ; legs and toes orange ; the claws 
black. 

H H 2 



468 



CHARADRIIDjE. 



The whole length of the adult bird seven inches and 
three-quarters. From the carpal joint to the end of the 
wing, five inches and a half : the wings pointed in shape ; 
the first quill-feather the longest. 

Adult females in summer have the black bands and collar 
narrower than in the males, and the colours not quite so 
decided ; both sexes in winter have the black and the 
white less pure in colour. 

Young birds of the year have the beak almost entirely 
black ; they have no black band over the white one on the 
forehead; the lore, ear-coverts, and the collar round the 
lower part of the neck are only dusky brown ; legs and toes 
pale yellow. 

The vignette below represents the breast-bone of the 
Golden Plover, showing by the depth of the keel, and the 
consequent large size of the pectoral muscles, the powers of 
flight in the family of the Plovers. 




KENTISH PLOVER. 469 

GRALLA TORES. CHA RADRIID&. 




~&~ 

.V?*3w 



THE KENTISH PLOVER. 

Charadrius Cantianus. 

Charadrius Cantianus, Kentish Plover, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 382. 

FJLEM. Brit. An. p. 114. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 243. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 1 80. 
EYTON, Rarer Brit. Birds, p. 1 00. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. v. 

Pluvier a collier interrompu, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. 
ii. p. 544. 

THIS little Plover was first described and named by Dr. 
Latham, in the second supplementary volume to his General 
Synopsis of Birds, page 316, from specimens sent him by 
Dr. Boys, which were killed at Sandwich in Kent in the 
year 1787 and 1791, and this species has several times 
since been obtained from the same locality. Mr. George 



470 CHARADRIIDjE. 

Clayton, of Eochester, in May 1830, found this species in 
pairs at Pegwell Bay, and on the Sandwich Plats ; it is 
also found on the shelly bank towards Sandhurst Castle 
and Deal, from whence I have seen specimens. The 
Ringed Plover is common in the same localities ; but the 
Kentish Plovers may be distinguished from the Ringed 
Plovers, when on the ground, by their smaller size ; but 
though they mix together when feeding, Mr. Clayton says 
the two species do not fly together. 

Mr. Francis Plomley, who resides at Lydd in Romney 
Marsh, a favourite locality for birds, has been kind enough 
to supply me with a catalogue and notes of more than 
one hundred birds found in that vicinity. The Kentish 
Plover, this gentleman observes, is numerous in that 
locality ; it arrives in April, breeds on the shingle, and 
departs in August. 

Colonel Montagu, judging from his collection of birds, 
still preserved with care in the British Museum, appears 
never to have obtained an adult male in summer of this 
species, or he could have had no doubt that the bird was 
perfectly distinct from the Ringed Plover, last described ; 
indeed his collection appears to have included but one 
young bird. The Kentish Plover has since been killed 
in various places on the coast of Sussex from Rye along the 
flat shingle-covered shore towards Hastings, where I have 
reason to believe it breeds every year ; Mr. Gould mentions 
that specimens have been killed at Selsey, a few miles 
farther westward in the same county ; and at Great 
Yarmouth, in Norfolk, it appears to have been obtained 
both by Mr. Eyton and Mr. Gould, farther north than 
which it has not been observed in this country, that I am 
aware of. 

M. Temminck says the Kentish Plover is abundant in 



KENTISH PLOVER. 471 

the northern parts of Germany, and on the shores of Hol- 
land. Mr. William Borrer, jun., of Henfield, in a series of 
Ornithological notes, with which he has very kindly sup- 
plied me, mentions having seen three of these birds at St. 
Owen's Bay in the Island of Jersey, one of which he 
obtained. M. Vieillot says it is found in France on the 
shores of Picardy ; it is found also in Provence, in Italy, 
and along the shores of the Mediterranean generally. Mr. 
Selby says it inhabits Egypt, Nubia, and Tartary, and M. 
Menetries, the Russian Naturalist, includes it among the 
birds found at the base of the Caucasian range. Mr. Blyth 
has obtained it in the vicinity of Calcutta. M. Temminck 
says it is found in the Indian Archipelago, but that he had 
not received it from Japan. Dr. Horsfield includes it in 
his Catalogue of the Birds of Java. 

The habits and food of this little Plover resemble those 
of the species last described. The female makes no nest, 
but lays her four eggs in a small hollow in the sand, or 
amongst fine shingle and broken shells. The egg is 
correctly figured by Mr. Hewitson in his well-known work 
on the eggs of British Birds. I possess two eggs of this 
species, given me by Dr. Pitman, obtained with others of 
the same bird from the Sussex coast : these are one inch 
three lines in length, by eleven lines in breadth, of a 
yellowish stone colour, spotted and streaked with black. 

When at Hastings in 1833, I learned from collectors 
that dogs were trained to hunt for nests and eggs over the 
extensive tracts of breeding-ground on the shores of Kent 
and Sussex. On finding a nest of eggs, which they did by 
scent, the parent birds in some instances being upon the 
nest, the dog stopped till the master came up to examine 
the ground, and this done, the dog went off again, upon 
signal, pointer-like, to hunt as before. 



472 CHAKADRIHLE. 

The adult male in summer has the beak wholly black ; 
the irides brown ; the forehead white, the same colour being 
continued over the eye and a little beyond it over the ear- 
coverts ; above the white on the forehead is a patch of 
black, which extends only to the edge of the white, not to 
the eye-lid : top of the head and the occiput rich reddish 
brown ; from the base of the beak to the eye a black 
streak ; ear-coverts also black ; nape of the neck white ; 
back, scapulars, wing-coverts, tertials, upper tail-coverts, 
and the base of the tail-feathers ash-brown or light hair- 
brown ; the wing-primaries dusky black ; the distal part of 
the shafts of the quill-feathers white ; the two middle tail- 
feathers the longest, and dusky black at the end ; the two 
outer tail-feathers on each side wholly white ; chin, cheeks, 
sides of the neck and the throat, pure white ; just in 
advance of the carpal joint, or point of the wing, on each 
side, is a patch of black, not continued round the front ; 
the breast, belly, vent, and under tail-coverts white ; under 
wing-coverts and axillary plume white ; legs, toes, and 
claws, like the beak, black at all ages. 

Whole length almost seven inches. From the carpal 
joint to the end of the wing, four inches and one quarter : 
the wing pointed ; the first quill-feather the longest. 

In the adult female the dark colour on the head and 
neck is less decidedly black, and occupies a rather smaller 
surface. 

Young birds of the year have no black colour above the 
white on the forehead ; and the lore, as well as the ear- 
coverts and the patch in front of the bend of the wing, are 
dusky brown ; the beak, legs, and toes, black. 

The illustration at the head of this subject represents an 
adult male killed in summer, and a young bird of the year 
killed in autumn. 



LITTLE RINGED PLOVER. 473 

GRALLATORES. CHARADRHDJE. 




THE LITTLE RINGED PLOVER. 

Charadrius minor. 

Charadrius minor, Little Ringed Plover, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 179. 

Little Ring Dottrel, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xi. 

Petit Pluvier a cottier, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith vol. ii. p. 542. 

OF this rare British Bird, Mr. Gould says, " We are in- 
debted to our friend Mr. Henry Doubleday of Epping, for 
the loan of an example of this elegant little Plover, which 
he informs us was taken at Shoreham in Sussex. From the 
extreme youth of the specimen transmitted to us, it is clear 
that it must have been bred on the spot ; and it is worthy 
of notice that the person who killed it affirms that he has 
long suspected the present bird to be a resident on that 
part of the coast, from having remarked that he could 
always perceive a difference in the note of this bird from 
that of either of the other species. Whether this Plover 



474 CHARADRIID^E. 

habitually resorts to our shores or not, it may now reason- 
ably claim a place in the Fauna of our Island, and we are 
glad of the opportunity of introducing it to the notice of 
British Ornithologists, and still more so that the only 
British- killed specimen should have fallen into the hands of 
an individual so zealous in the collection of our native birds 
as the gentleman above mentioned." 

The Rev. Richard Lubbock, in his recently published 
Fauna of Norfolk, says, that " two specimens of this bird 
in the Norwich Museum, were believed by Mr. Denny, the 
curator, to have been killed in the county ; but the fact 
was not noted down at the time."" 

On the Continent it is by no means a scarce bird. M. 
Nilsson says that both this species and the Kentish Plover 
occasionally visit Sweden in summer. M. Temminck says 
it is found in Germany, and the central portions of Europe ; 
it inhabits Provence, Italy, and some of the islands of the 
Mediterranean ; the Zoological Society have received 
specimens sent by Messrs. Dickson and Ross from Erze- 
room, where it appears to be numerous about the middle of 
June on the sandy and pebbly banks of the Aras at Hassen 
Kaleh, eighteen miles east of Erzeroom. B. Hodgson, 
Esq., includes it in the birds of Nepal, Mr. Blyth has 
obtained it at Calcutta ; and M. Temminck includes it 
among the Birds of Japan. 

This species bears considerable resemblance to the 
Ringed Plover, Ch. Jiiaticula, and is likely to be occa- 
sionally overlooked ; it is, however, to be distinguished 
readily, on examination, by its smaller size ; its much 
more slender form, being one fourth lighter in weight ; its 
black beak, its more slender and lighter-coloured legs, by 
the broad white shaft of the first quill-feather only of each 
wing ; and by the dusky spot which is present at all ages 



LITTLE RINGED PLOVER. 475 

on the inner web of the outer tail-feather on each side, 
which feather in the Ringed Plover is wholly white, with- 
out any spot, and there are two white feathers on each out- 
side of the tail in the Kentish Plover. 

M. Temminck says that the Little Ringed Plover ex- 
hibits some difference in its habits also, preferring the sides 
of rivers rather than the shores of the sea. On this point 
also Mr. Hoy, who has attended to the distinguishing 
peculiarities of this species on the Continent, remarks, 
" The Little Plover appears to be very rarely found on the 
sea coast ; but frequents in preference the banks of rivers, 
where it breeds. It lays its eggs on the sand, not a particle 
of grass, or other material being used. It is very partial to 
sand banks, forming islands, which are often met with in 
some of the larger rivers of the Continent, It may also 
frequently be found during the breeding-season upon those 
large extents of sand, which are met with at some little 
distance from the borders of rivers, overgrown in part with 
a coarse wiry grass." 

The egg of this bird is figured by Mr. Hewitson, from 
whose excellent work the previous extract was made. The 
egg measures one inch and one-eighth in length, by seven 
eighths of an inch in breadth ; it is of a pale yellowish 
stone colour, with numerous small spots of three colours, 
bluish ash, red brown, and dark brown. I have also seen 
an egg of this bird in the collection of Lady Rachel Russell, 
of which I was permitted to have a drawing. This ex- 
ample exactly agrees with the egg figured by Mr. Hewit- 
son in size, colours, and markings ; the spots being only less 
numerous, but rather larger. 

The food is similar to that of the other two species, 
namely, aquatic insects in their various stages, and small 
worms. 



476 CHARADRIID.E. 

In the adult bird, the beak is black ; the irides brown ; 
the forehead white, with a black patch above it extending 
to the eye on each side ; top of the head and the occiput 
ash brown ; lore and ear-coverts black ; nape of the neck 
white ; back, scapulars, wing-coverts, tertials, rump, and 
upper tail-coverts, ash brown ; primary and secondary 
wing-feathers dusky brown ; these and the greater wing- 
coverts edged with white ; the first primary quill-feather 
only with a broad white shaft ; tail-feathers ash brown at 
the base, darker towards the end ; the five outer tail- 
feathers on each side white at the end, this colour increas- 
ing in extent on each lateral feather, the outer one on each 
side having only a dusky spot on the inner web, but this 
appears to be constant at all ages ; chin and throat white, 
this colour extending from the latter round the nape of the 
neck ; below this and above the breast is a collar of black ; 
the breast itself, the belly, vent, and under tail-coverts, 
pure white ; legs and toes flesh colour tinged with yellow ; 
the claws black. 

Adult specimens generally measure six inches and one 
quarter. From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, four 
inches and three-eighths ; the first quill-feather but very 
little longer than the second, and the longest in the wing. 

The representation of the adult bird in Mr. Gould's 
plate wants the pale brown colour of the back extended 
over the feathers of the rump and the upper tail-coverts. 

Adult females have the white and black frontal bands 
narrower than the males, according to M. Temminck, and 
they are also less perfectly defined. 

Young birds of the year want all the decided black 
markings which distinguish old birds, and the ash-brown 
feathers of the back and wing-coverts have buff-coloured 
margins. 



GREY PLOVER. 



GRALLATORES. 



477 

CHARADRIWM. 




THE GREY PLOVER. 

Squatorala cinerea. 

Tringa squatarola, Grey Sandpiper, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 69. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

Plover, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 87. 

Squatarola cinerea, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 111. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol ii. p. 227. 

Vanellus griseus, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 181. 

Squatarola cinerea, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. viii. 

Vanellus melanogaster, Vanneau Pluvier, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 547. 

SQUATAROLA. Generic Characters. Bill rather strong, cylindrical, straight, 
nearly as long as the head ; the tip, or horny part, about half the length of the 
whole bill, tumid, and arched, with the tomia bending inwards. Nasal groove 
wide, half the length of the bill ; mesorhinium depressed below the level of the 
tip ; nostrils longitudinally pierced in the membrane of the groove, linear, 



478 CHARADRIID^. 

oblong. Wings rather long, acuminate, with the first quill-feather the longest. 
Legs slender, of mean length, naked above the tarsal joint. Feet four-toed, 
three before and one behind ; front toes joined at their base by a membrane, 
that portion of it between the outer and middle toe being the longest ; hind toe 
very small, or rudimental ; tarsi reticulated. Plumage thick, close, and ad- 
pressed. Selby. 

IN its habits, its general appearance, and in its double 
moult, or periodical change to black on the under surface of 
the body during the breeding-season, the Grey Plover very 
closely resembles the Golden Plover, but the presence of a 
hind toe, though small, prevents its being included in the 
genus Charadrius. 

The Grey Plover is by no means so plentiful a species as 
the Golden Plover, and may be considered a winter visiter 
rather than a native resident, being much more common at 
the end of autumn, through the winter, and in the spring, 
than in summer, retiring to high northern latitudes during 
the breeding-season, and reappearing in small flocks when 
that season is over. I have sometimes obtained a speci- 
men in the London market in the full black plumage at the 
end of May. Mr. Selby says, " I have occasionally met 
with one or two of these birds on the Fern Islands in June, 
but could never detect any of their young. These indi- 
viduals, probably from some accidental cause, had been un- 
equal to the usual migration." Dr. Fleming says he has 
reason to believe that it breeds in the high grounds of Kin- 
cardineshire. Mr. Thompson tells me it is a regular 
autumnal visitant in Ireland, and it is more common in the 
winter half year all round our shores than inland. Its food 
is similar to that selected by the Golden Plover, and it is 
an excellent bird for the table. 

M. Nilsson, the Swedish naturalist, considers that this 
bird goes very far north to breed, returning through Swe- 
den in August. It is known to visit Norway, the Faroe 



GREY PLOVER. 479 

Islands, Iceland, and Greenland. In the Natural History 
Appendix to Captain Parry's Second Voyage, written by 
Dr. Richardson, it is stated that this bird was found breed- 
ing on Melville Peninsula in June. Captain James Boss, in 
the Appendix to the Narrative of the Second Voyage of 
Sir John Ross, says this bird " was found by us breeding 
near the margins of the marshes immediately to the south- 
west of Fury Point, in considerable numbers. Some speci- 
mens were also obtained near Felix Harbour." In the 
Fauna Boreali-Americana, Dr. Richardson says, " This 
bird is observed in the Fur-countries in similar places to 
those frequented by the Golden Plover, though it is not 
equally common. It breeds in open grounds from Penn- 
sylvania to the northern extremity of the continent. Its 
eggs are oil-green, spotted irregularly with different shades 
of umber brown : the spots crowded and confluent round 
the obtuse end." 

Nearer home this bird is found in Russia and Siberia ; 
but less abundant in Germany than in Holland or France. 
It is found in Spain, at Genoa, and in Italy, on its passage 
visiting Sicily, when coming from, or going to, Africa. Dr. 
Andrew Smith brought specimens from Algoa Bay, where 
he saw it all the breeding-season, but says that it does not 
attain any black colour on the breast. Mr. Selby mentions 
that it is found in Egypt. Mr. Blyth has obtained it at 
Calcutta. M. Temminck remarks that he has received this 
species from Japan in summer and winter plumage ; but 
that specimens from the Island of Sunda and New Guinea, 
though killed at different seasons, had no indications of 
summer plumage. Dr. Horsfield includes this species in 
his Catalogue of the Birds of Java. 

The adult bird in summer plumage has the beak black ; 
the irides very dark brown ; the forehead and top of the 



480 CHARADRIID.E. 

head white, the latter slightly speckled with greyish black ; 
nape of the neck a mixture of dusky grey and white ; the 
whole of the back, scapulars, wing-coverts, tertials, rump, 
and upper tail-coverts, black and white, the base of each 
feather being black, the ends white ; the wing-primaries 
greyish black, the shafts white ; tail-feathers white, with 
numerous greyish black transverse bars ; the chin, cheeks, 
throat, sides of the neck, breast, and belly, black ; vent and 
under tail-covers white ; axillary plume elongated and black 
at all ages and seasons ; under wing-coverts white ; legs, 
toes, and claws, black. In this state, as to colour of 
plumage, it is the Helvetica and melanogaster of authors. 

The whole length very nearly twelve inches. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, seven inches and five- 
eighths ; the first quill-feather three-eighths of an inch 
longer than the second, and the longest in the wing. 

In winter the feathers on the upper surface of the body 
are dusky grey, edged with dull white ; the throat, breast, 
and sides, lighter in colour than the back, the feathers but 
slightly streaked with dusky grey; the belly, vent, and 
under tail-coverts, dull white, with few or no marks. 

In spring the black feathers begin to appear on the 
breast, and the birds may be observed in various degrees of 
change from white, with only a few black feathers, to entire 
and perfect black. The breeding- plumage is generally 
complete by the end of May. 

Young birds of the year in autumn are darker than old 
birds in winter, having a larger proportion of black above 
and grey below. 



PEEWIT. 



OR A LLA TORES. 



481 
(VIARADRIIDJE. 




THE PEEWIT, OR LAPWING. 

Vanellus cristatus. 

Tringa vanellus, Lapwing Sandpiper, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 66. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 83. 

I'ancllus cristatus, Common Lapwing, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 11. 

Crested or Green Lapwing, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 221. 

lapwing, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 182. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xii. 

Vanneau huppe, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 550. 

VANELLUS. Generic CJiaracters. Bill shorter than the head, straight, slightly 
compressed ; the points of both mandibles horny and hard. Nasal groove wide, 
and reaching as far as the horny tip. Nostrils basal, linear, pierced in the mem- 
brane of the nasal groove. Legs slender, with the lower part of the tibiae naked. 
Feet four toed ; three before, one behind, united at the base by a membrane ; 
hind toe very short, articulated upon the tarsus. Tarsi reticulated. Wiiigs 
large, tuberculated or spurred in front of the carpal joint ; the first three quill- 
feathers shorter than the fourth and fifth, which are the longest in the wing. 

VOL. II. I I 



482 CHARADRIID^E. 

THE LAPWING or PEEWIT is one of the best known among 
our native birds ; the first name suggested by its peculiar 
mode of flight, a slow flapping of its long wings ; the 
second name having reference to the frequently-repeated 
note of the bird, which the sound of the word peeweet 
closely resembles. The French, in imitation of the sound 
of its note, call this bird dixhuit. This species, like the 
rest of the Plovers, inhabits marshy ground near lakes and 
rivers, wild heaths and commons, or the hills of an open 
unenclosed country. In such localities this bird is often 
very numerous, and during the months of April and May 
their eggs are sought after as a luxury for the table in all 
the districts where the birds are common. The marshes of 
Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and Kent, 
afford a large proportion of the quantity with which the 
the London market is supplied. Mr. Selby says, " The 
trade of collecting them continues for about two months ; 
and great expertness in the discovery of the nests is shown 
by those accustomed to it ; generally judging of their situa- 
tion by the conduct of the female birds, who invariably, 
upon being disturbed, run from the eggs, and then fly near 
to the ground for a short distance, without uttering any 
alarm cry. The males, on the contrary, are very clamor- 
ous, and fly round the intruder, endeavouring, by various 
instinctive arts, to divert his attention." On this subject, 
also, Mr. Salmon observes, " So expert have some men 
become, that they will not only walk straight towards a 
nest, which may be at a considerable distance, but tell the 
probable number of eggs it may contain, previous to inspec- 
tion ; generally judging of the situation and number of eggs 
by the conduct of the female bird." In some counties, 
however, all the most likely ground is carefully searched 
for eggs, once every day, by women and children, without 



TEEWTT. 483 

any reference to the actions of the birds. Mr. Plomley 
sends me word that two hundred dozens of Plovers 1 eggs 
were sent from Romney Marsh to Dover in the season 
of 1839 ; and that dogs are trained for the purpose of 
finding the eggs. A slight depression in the ground, and a 
few dried bents serve for a nest, in which, if not interfered 
with, four eggs are generally deposited ; these are about 
one inch eleven lines long, by one inch four lines in 
breadth, of an olive-coloured ground, blotched and spotted 
nearly all over with blackish brown. The young, when 
hatched, are covered with a yellowish fawn-coloured down, 
mixed and spotted with brownish black, and like the chicks 
of the Dotterel and Ring Plover, with a light-coloured 
collar round the neck. They soon follow the parent birds, 
who lead them to the softer parts of the soil, where food is 
more abundantly obtained. They feed on earth-worms, 
slugs, and insects in their various stages. From their 
services in this way, Peewits are frequently kept in gardens, 
and become very interesting pets. Dr. Latham says, " I 
have seen this bird approach a worm-cast, turn it aside, 
and after walking two or three times about it, by way of 
giving motion to the ground, the worm come out, and the 
watchful bird, seizing hold of it, draw it forth. The habit 
of the Peewit of flying and screaming over the head 
of any one who happens to go near their eggs or young, 
was productive formerly of two very opposite feelings 
towards them. Charles Anderson, Esq., of Lea, near 
Gainsborough, to whom I am indebted for many notes 
on the Birds of Lincolnshire, sends me word that a very 
ancient Lincolnshire family, the Tyrwhitts, bear three Pee- 
wits for their arms ; and it is said, from a tradition, that it 
was in consequence of the founder of their family having 
fallen in a skirmish, woimded, and being saved by his fol- 

n2 



484 CHARADRIID.E. 

lowers, who were directed to the spot where he lay by the 
cries of these birds, and their hovering over him. The 
notice, however, so frequently given by these birds was 
sometimes productive of very different consequences. Mr. 
Chatto, in his agreeable " Rambles in Northumberland and 
the Scottish Border," refers to " the persecution to which 
the Covenanters were exposed in the reign of Charles the 
Second and his bigoted successor ; " and quoting Dr. Ley- 
den, alludes to the tradition that u they were frequently 
discovered to their pursuers by the flight and screaming of 
the Lapwing ; in consequence of which the Lapwing is 
still regarded as an unlucky bird in the south of Scot- 
land." 

In the autumn they collect in flocks, and from that time 
till the end of winter are excellent birds for the table. 

The Peewit is common and indigenous to Ireland, and is 
abundant in suitable localities throughout the British 
Islands to the most remote of the Shetlands. It is found 
in Denmark ; M. Nilsson says it is plentiful in Sweden 
and in Scandinavia generally ; it goes to the Faroe Islands, 
and even to Iceland. Pennant, in his Arctic Zoology, says 
it is frequent in Russia, and southward over the European 
continent it is found as far as Spain, Provence, and Italy. 
It inhabits Egypt : Mr. Strickland found it at Smyrna ; 
the Zoological Society have received specimens from Erze- 
room ; and the Russian naturalists found it on the plains 
between the Black and the Caspian Seas. It may be traced 
from thence to Astrachan, and to the vicinity of Lake 
Baikal. Mr. Blyth has obtained it at Calcutta ; Mr. Selby 
mentions having seen examples from China which did not 
differ from our English specimens ; and M. Temminck in- 
cludes it among his Birds of Japan. 

The beak is black ; the irides hazel ; forehead, crown, 



PEEWIT. 485 

and occiput, black, forming a cap or hood, which ends 
behind in a tuft of six or seven elongated, slender feathers, 
slightly curved upwards, which the bird can elevate or 
depress at pleasure ; behind the eye, on the cheeks and 
sides of the neck, and reaching to the nape beneath the 
plume, white, speckled with black ; an oblique streak of 
black below the eye ; back, scapulars, wing-coverts, and 
tertials, green, glossed with purple and copper-colour ; the 
primaries black, the first three or four in each wing greyish 
white at the end ; upper tail-coverts reddish chestnut ; the 
basal half of the tail-feathers white, the rest black, the pro- 
portion of white greater in the two or three outer feathers, 
the extreme outside feather almost entirely white ; chin, 
throat, and upper part of the breast shining black ; lower 
part of the breast, belly, and vent, white ; under tail- 
coverts fawn colour ; legs and toes dull orange brown ; 
claws black. 

In winter the chin and throat are white ; the change to 
the black of the breeding-season is obtained in April. The 
sexes in plumage resemble each other, but the female has 
the shorter occipital plume. 

The whole length a little more than twelve inches. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing nine inches : 
the first quill-feather shorter than the fourth, but a little 
longer than the fifth ; the second and third feathers equal 
in length, and the longest in the wing. 

In young birds of the year, the plumage of the body 
above is edged with buff. 

White, cream-coloured, and mouse-coloured varieties of 
the Peewit have occasionally been obtained. 



486 

GRALLATORES. 



CHARADRHDjE. 



CHARADRHDjE. 







THE TURNSTONE. 



Tringa interpres, 



The Turnstone, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 83. 

Hebridal Sandpiper, p. 84. 



The Turnstone, 



Strepsilas interpres, Common Turnstone, 



coUaris, Tlie 



MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 116. 

P- I 18 - 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 110. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 204. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 182. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. vi. 



Tourne pierre a collier, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 553. 

STREPSILAS. Generic Characters, Beak as short as the head, strong, thick at 
the base, tapering gradually to the point, forming an elongated cone ; upper man- 
dible the longest, rather blunt at the end. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear, pervious, 
partly covered by a membrane. Wings long, pointed, the first quill-feather the 
longest. Feet four-toed, three in front, one behind ; the anterior toes united by a 
membrane at the base, and furnished with narrow rudimentary interdigital mem- 
branes ; hind toe articulated up the tarsus, and only touching the ground at the tip. 



TURNSTONE. 487 

THE name of Turnstone has long been applied to this 
species from the method adopted by these birds of searching 
for food by turning over small stones with their strong 
beaks to get at the marine insects that lurk under them. 
The habit is not more singular than the species, which is 
the only one of the genus hitherto discovered by naturalists, 
and is remarkable for the beauty and variety of its plumage. 
Tt inhabits the sea shore and the margins of lakes and large 
rivers, occasionally associating with some of the smaller 
Plovers or the Sanderling, next to be described, which 
it more resembles in its manners than the Sandpipers. It 
feeds on the smaller Crustacea, and the soft-bodied animals 
inhabiting thin shells, turning over stones, and searching 
among sea-weed for its food ; but is observed to dwell 
longer in one place, if not disturbed, than the Plovers, 
and is said to utter a loud twittering note when on the 
wing. 

It frequents our coast either singly or in small flocks of 
four or five in number, from August throughout the winter 
till May, when it leaves us to go northward to breed, and 
returns in August with its young, which at that time have 
none of the fine, rich, red, black, or white colours, so con- 
spicuous in the adult birds. Dr. Fleming says it is station- 
ary in Zetland, and from having seen it there at all seasons, 
concluded it bred there. When on the coast of Norway, 
Mr. Hewitson says, " We had visited numerous islands 
with little encouragement, and were about to land upon a 
flat rock, bare except where here and there grew tufts 
of grass, or stunted juniper clinging to its surface, when our 
attention was attracted by the singular cry of a Turnstone, 
which, in its eager watch had seen our approach, and 
perched itself upon an eminence of the rock, assuring us, by 
its querulous, oft-repeated note, and anxious motions, that 



488 CHAEADRIID^E. 

its nest was there. We remained in the boat a short time, 
until we had watched it behind a tuft of grass, near which, 
after a minute search, we succeeded in finding the nest in a 
situation in which I should never have expected to meet 
with a bird of this sort breeding ; it was placed against a 
ledge of the rock, and consisted of nothing more than the 
dropping leaves of the juniper bush, under a creeping 
branch of which the eggs, four in number, were snugly con- 
cealed, and admirably sheltered from the many storms by 
which these bleak and exposed rocks are visited, allowing 
just sufficient room for the bird to cover them. We after- 
wards found several more nests with little difficulty. All 
the nests contained four eggs each. The time of breeding 
is about the middle of June. The eggs measure one inch 
seven lines in length, by one inch two lines in breadth, of 
an olive green colour, spotted and streaked with ash blue 
and two shades of reddish brown." 

The Turnstone inhabits the shores and islands of the 
Baltic, and was also one of the birds found by M. Von 
Baer at Nova Zembla. During the various northern 
expeditions from this country, these birds were seen at 
Greenland, on Winter Island, at Felix Harbour, and along 
the coast between Victoria Harbour and Fury Point, about 
the middle and towards the end of June. I have seen 
specimens of old and young birds from Iceland ; and Dr. 
Richardson says, " This species reaches its breeding-quarters 
on the shores of Hudson's Bay, and of the Arctic Sea, up 
to the seventy-fifth parallel, in June, and quits them again 
in the beginning of September. It halts in October on the 
shores of the Delaware, but proceeds farther south when 
the cold weather sets in." 

The Turnstone is well known to the ornithologists of the 
United States ; and interesting accounts of its habits will 



TURNSTONE. 489 

be found in the works of Wilson and Mr. Audubon : the 
latter says, " My worthy friend, Dr. Bachman, once had a 
bird of this species alive. It had recovered from a slight 
wound in the wing, when he presented it to a lady, who 
fed it on boiled rice, and bread soaked in milk, of both of 
which it was very fond. It continued in a state of captivity 
upwards of a year, but was at last killed by accident. It 
had become perfectly gentle, would eat from the hand of its 
kind mistress, frequently bathed in a basin placed near it 
for the purpose, and never attempted to escape, although 
left quite at liberty to do so." So far south does the 
geographical range of this species extend in the New 
World, that Mr. Charles Darwin obtained specimens 
during the survey with the Beagle in the Straits of Magel- 
lan. On the continent of Europe this bird is found from 
Russia southward to Italy, and is observed at Sicily and 
Malta in spring and autumn on its way from and to Africa. 
It has been noticed as occurring at Madeira, in the vicinity 
of Senegal ; and Dr. Andrew Smith, as well as others, 
have obtained specimens at the Cape of Good Hope. M. 
Temminck includes the Turnstone among the Birds of 
Japan, and mentions having received specimens also from 
Sunda, the Molucca Isles, and from New Guinea. The 
Linnean Society possess specimens from New Holland. 

The adult bird in summer has the beak black ; the irides 
dark brown ; the forehead black, reaching to the eye on 
each side ; below the eye a black patch, which curving 
forward and upward, goes to the base of the lower mandi- 
ble, encircling a white spot at the base of the upper mandi- 
ble ; top of the head, the occiput, and back of the neck, 
white, streaked with black ; sides of the neck and the 
scapulars rich black ; interscapulars, and smaller wing- 
coverts, dark red ; greater wing-coverts black edged with 



490 CHARADRIID.E. 

red ; wing-primaries greyish black, with pure white shafts ; 
tertials nearly black, tipped and spotted with red ; the 
back white ; rump with a transverse band of black ; upper 
tail-coverts and the base of the tail-feathers white; the 
other part greyish black ; all, except the two middle ones, 
tipped with white ; chin white ; sides of the neck, the 
throat, and upper part of the breast, rich black ; lower 
part of the breast, belly, vent, under tail-coverts, under 
surface of the wing, and the axillary plume, pure white ; 
legs and toes rich orange red, approaching vermilion red ; 
claws black ; the hind toe articulated on the inner surface 
of the tarsus, and directed inwards towards the other leg, 
not backwards as in most other birds. 

The whole length of the bird nine inches and a half. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing six inches ; 
the first quill-feather a little longer than the second, and 
the longest in the wing. 

The sexes do not differ much in plumage ; but in winter 
the black, white, and ferruginous portions of the plumage 
are not so rich in colour. 

In young birds of the year the whole of the plumage of 
the upper surface of the body, and round the throat in 
front, is dull brownish black ; the feathers of the body 
edged with yellowish white ; those of the wing-coverts and 
tertials edged with reddish buff-colour; the chin, breast, 
belly, and under tail-coverts, white ; the legs and toes pale 
orange, almost flesh colour. 



SANDERLING. 



Git ALLA TORES. 



491 
CHARADR1IDJE. 







. -&r^ 



THE SANDERLING. 

Calidris arenaria. 



CJiaradrius calidris> Sanderling Plover., 

T/ie Sanderling^ 

r 11 11 11 

Calidris arenaria. Common 
Arenaria calidris, 

Calidris arazana, Tlie 

Arenaria calidris, 

Calidris arenaria, Sanderling variable^ 



PENN. Brit. Zool, vol. ii. p. 106. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 385. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 112. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 208. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 183. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xix. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 522. 



CALIDRIS. Generic Characters. Beak as long as the head, straight, slender, 
flexible, compressed at the base, with the point dilated and smooth. Nostrils 
basal, lateral, narrow, longitudinally cleft in the nasal furrow, which extends to 
the smooth point of the beak. Wings of moderate length, pointed, the first quill- 
feather the longest. Legs of mean length, naked above the tarsal joint. Feet 
with three toes, all directed forwards, with a very small connecting membrane at 
their base. 



492 CHAKADRinLE. 

THE SANDERLING, represented by the figure in front in 
its summer dress, and by that behind in the grey plumage 
peculiar to winter, is pretty well known on most of the 
sandy shores of the seas of Great Britain and Ireland, 
where it is usually found, at the edge of the water, in 
company with the Purre, but is not so plentiful ; it is 
occasionally seen also associated with the smaller Plovers, 
which it resembles in its habits, frequenting the harder 
parts of the sandy shore, running or flying with equal ease 
and rapidity. It is occasionally killed in the vicinity of 
large pieces of fresh water. 

I have obtained specimens on our southern and eastern 
coast, or in the London market, in the months of January, 
April, June, at the end of August, and again in October ; 
yet this bird is not considered to breed in this country, and 
I am not aware of any collection that is known to contain 
unquestionable examples of its eggs. Mr. Heysham, of 
Carlisle, says, that so late as the fourth of June several 
Sanderlings were killed on the coast in the vicinity of 
Brow-Houses, in full summer livery. The few that came 
under his inspection were so extremely fat, that upon some 
parts of the body it was nearly one quarter of an inch 
in thickness. The stomachs of two or three that were 
examined contained the remains of shrimps, sandhoppers, 
&c., and had the very strong marine scent peculiar to sea- 
shore feeders. 

The Sanderling obtains its food principally by probing 
the moist sands of the sea-shores, and the contents of 
the stomach of those shot while thus occupied, were slender 
sea-worms, minute shell-fish and gravel, small shrimps, and 
other Crustacea. 

The Sanderling has been observed early in June on the 
west coast of Scotland by Mr. Symmonds, and by Mr. 






SANDERLING. 493 

Bullock at the northern extremity of Scotland, as late as 
the end of June, but was believed to go still farther north 
to breed. M. Nilsson says it visits the shores of Sweden, 
and breeds farther north. Faber states that it appears 
in Iceland, but leaves and goes farther north to breed 
on the coasts of Greenland and Labrador. Major Sabine, 
in the Appendix to Sir Edward Parry's First Arctic 
Voyage, says, " The Sanderling breeds in considerable 
numbers on the North Georgian Islands; several pairs 
were killed at different periods of the breeding-season, the 
males and females of which were invariably found to differ 
in their plumage ; the general colour of the female being 
lighter, and having more cinereous and less of black and 
reddish marking than that of the male : this is especially 
the case on the chin, throat, and fore part of the neck ; 
which may be described in the female as white, with a very 
slight sprinkling of dark spots, and scarcely any appearance 
of red ; whereas in the males, the dark colours greatly pre- 
dominate." Dr. Richardson says this bird breeds on the 
coast of Hudson's Bay as low as the fifty-fifth parallel. 
Mr. Hutchins informs us that it makes its nest in the 
marshes, rudely of grass, and lays four dusky-coloured 
eggs, spotted with black ; incubation commencing in the 
middle of June. The Sanderling is very well known to 
the Ornithologists of the United States, who mention that 
it goes very far to the south in winter; and Mr. Gould 
says it is very plentiful in Brazil, from whence he has 
received specimens which did not present the slightest 
difference either from those of our own island, or from 
Africa and Asia. 

M. Temminck says this bird is abundant in spring and 
autumn on the coast of Holland ; it is found also on the 
shores of France and Italy, and occurs occasionally at Nice 



494 CHARADRIID.E. 

and Genoa in every state of plumage. It is sometimes 
seen in Sicily in the spring on its passage northward. It 
has been met with on the shores of the Black Sea : Dr. A. 
Smith brought specimens from South Africa ; it has been 
found in India, M. Temminck has received it from Japan, 
and the island of Sunda and New Guinea. 

An adult male in summer plumage, killed on the 12th 
of June, the bird from which the figure was drawn, has the 
beak black ; irides brown ; the feathers on the top of the 
head and back of the neck black in the centre, edged with 
rufous ; interscapulars, scapulars, tertials, back, and rump, 
black, each feather edged with red ; wing-coverts greyish 
black ; wing-primaries black on the outer web, greyish 
white on the inner web, the shaft white ; middle tail-fea- 
thers rather pointed and greyish black, the others greyish 
white ; chin, throat, sides of the neck and upper part of 
the breast, covered with small spots of rufous and black on 
a white ground ; all the under surface of the body and 
wings pure white ; axillary plume white ; legs, toes, and 
claws, black ; under surface of the toes dilated and flat. 

In this state of plumage it is the Ruddy Plover of 
authors. 

The difference between the male and female when in 
their summer plumage, has been pointed out in the re- 
marks of Major Sabine. The females are rather larger than 
the males. 

The whole length of an adult bird is about eight inches. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, four inches 
and seven-eighths : the first quill-feather a little longer than 
the second, and the longest in the wing. 

In winter the plumage on the upper surface of the body 
is of a very light ash grey, almost white, the shaft of each 
feather forming a darker streak ; carpal portion of the 






SANDERLING. 495 

wing and the primary quill-feathers almost black ; tail- 
feathers ash colour, edged with white ; chin, throat, and all 
the under surface of the body, white ; beak, legs, toes, and 
claws, black. 

There is little or no difference in the plumage of the 
sexes at this season that I am aware of. 

The appearance of the Sanderling in spring when in 
change to the plumage of summer, is prettier than at any 
other season ; each feather on the upper surface of the 
body exhibits a portion of black in the centre, edged partly 
with rufous and partly with the remains of the white pe- 
culiar to winter ; by degrees the white edging gives place 
to the red ; the neck in front becomes speckled, but the 
under surface of the body remains white all the year. 

A female killed at the end of August has the upper 
surface of the body darker than in the spring, but mixed 
with dull black, some red, and greyish white ; almost all 
the red colour of the breeding-season has disappeared, but 
the autumn moult having commenced, a few of the greyish 
white feathers of the winter plumage appear intermixed 
with the faded remains of the tints of summer. A bird 
killed on the 25th of October had completed its winter 
dress. 

Not possessing a young bird of the year in the plumage 
previous to its first autumn moult, I copy the following de- 
scription from the Manual of the Rev. L. Jenyns : " Fea- 
thers on the crown of the head, back, scapulars, and wing- 
coverts, black, edged and spotted with yellowish ; between 
the bill and the eye a cinereous brown streak ; nape, sides 
of the neck, and sides of the breast, pale grey, with fine 
undulating streaks ; forehead, throat, fore part of the neck, 
and all the under parts, pure white : wings and tail as in 
the adult." 



496 

GRALLATORES. 



CHARADRIID^E. 



CHARADRIIDM. 




THE OYSTER-CATCHER, 



Hcemaiopus ostralegus, 



OR SEA-PIE. 



Hamatopus ostralegus. 



Tlie Oyster-catcher, 
Pied 

v> 

Common 



Pied 


Huiterier Pie^ 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 112. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 121. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 115. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 200. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 184. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xv. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 53L 



H^MATOPUS. Generic Characters. Beak longer than the head, straight, 
strong, the point much compressed, forming a wedge ; culmen of the anterior part 
slightly convex ; upper mandible with a broad lateral groove, extending one half 
the length of the bill ; mandibles nearly equal in size and length, with the thin 



OYSTER-CATCHER. 497 

ends truncated. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear, pierced in the membrane of the 
mundibular groove. Legs of moderate length, naked for a short space above the 
Uirsal joint ; tarsi strong. Feet with three toes only, all directed forward, united 
at their base by a membrane ; claws strong, broad, not very much pointed. 



THE OYSTER-CATCHER is well known on the shores of our 
coast, and is also common and indigenous to Ireland ; it 
appears to prefer sandy bays and wide inlets bounded with 
banks of shingle, as favourable localities for the production 
of the various mollusca upon which it principally subsists ; 
the vertical edge of its truncated, wedge-like beak, seems 
admirably adapted /or insertion between the two portions 
of a bivalve shell : and this bird is said to be able to detach 
limpets from the surface of a rock with ease and certainty. 
Its food appears to be the mollusca generally, worms, and 
marine insects. As observed by Mr. Selby, the Oyster- 
catcher is a handsome bird, when seen on the wing, from 
the well-marked contrast, and the purity of the black and 
white colours of its plumage ; it runs with rapidity and 
can swim and dive with ease ; may frequently be observed 
to swim short distances when searching for its food, but 
seldom dives unless to avoid or escape from an enemy. It 
deposits its eggs, usually four in number, on the bare 
ground on a shingly beach above high water- mark ; the 
eggs are of a yellowish stone colour, spotted with ash grey 
and dark brown ; two inches two lines in length, by one 
inch six lines in breadth. The female sits about three 
weeks, during which the male keeps watch, and becomes 
clamorous on the approach of an enemy ; his mate attends 
to the signal, leaves her nest in silence, and after a circuit- 
ous flight, joins him in his endeavours to scold or decoy 
away the intruder. The young, when hatched, are covered 
with a greyish brown down. 

Montagu was certainly mistaken in supposing that the 

VOL. II. K K 



498 CHARADRIID.E. 

Oyster-catcher never quits the coast. Four examples are 
recorded to have been shot at Godalming, which is many 
miles from the sea ; I have known this bird killed as high 
up the Thames as Oatlands, which is at least fifty miles 
from the mouth of the river. Dr. Fleming says, " Though 
usually considered as a shore bird, I have observed it breed- 
ing on the islands in the Tummel, at Moulincarn, between 
Dunkeld and Blair Athol." A correspondent in the Maga- 
zine of Natural History, vol. vi. p. 151, in reference to this 
subject, says, " During summer some may be always seen 
along the Don, from twenty-five to thirty miles from the 
sea ; and I have been told that they breed about Kil- 
drummy, a few miles higher up." Thomas M. Grant, Esq. 
of Edinburgh, also sends me word that they breed at Bal- 
lindalloch, a Highland district at least twenty miles from 
the sea. 

I have been favoured by James Harley, Esq., of Leices- 
ter, with the following extract from his unpublished Cata- 
logue of the Grallatorial Birds of Leicestershire and the 
Midland Counties. " Pied Oyster-catcher ; rather rare. 
This bird is occasionally killed on the Trent. In Janu- 
ary 1838, one was killed on the banks of that river; 
and a few years ago, a pair of these birds were killed by 
Mr. Bowman off Melbourne Pool, on the borders of this 
county. 11 

The young birds are frequently kept tame, and will 
associate with domestic poultry : many persons will re- 
collect the flock which some years ago used to run about 
inside the railing on the grass in front of the Pavilion at 
Brighton. 

These birds in a wild state unite towards winter, forming 
small flocks, and are then very shy and difficult to approach. 
In spring they separate again, forming pairs ; but of these 






OYSTER-CATCHER. 499 

pairs many associate and breed together at particular and 
favourite localities. Montagu says they appear to be more 
abundant on some parts of the sandy flat coasts of Lincoln- 
shire than on any other part he was acquainted with. 
Near Skegness, on that coast, at a point called Gibraltar, 
there is an isolated part of a marsh, where Oyster- catchers 
bred in such abundance, that a fisherman informed him he 
had collected a bushel of eggs in a morning. 

The Oyster- catcher is to be seen, as before noticed, all 
round our coast, from the Scilly Islands to those of Shet- 
land. Mr. Selby mentions having observed them breeding 
on the Fern Islands, and upon most of the salt water firths 
and lochs of Sutherlandshire. 

It is common in Denmark, Sweden, and on all the shores 
of Scandinavia, particularly on the west coast of Norway 
from spring to autumn, visiting the Faroe Islands and Ice- 
land. Pennant, in his Arctic Zoology, says this bird inha- 
bits all Russia and Siberia; that it breeds on the great 
Arctic flats, and extends its range to Kamtschatka. Pen- 
nant adds, that the Fins hold this bird in the utmost detes- 
tation ; for they suppose that when they are engaged in 
the seal-chase, it gives notice to the seals of the approach 
of the hunters, and by that means frightens away the 
game. 

The Oyster-catcher inhabits all the coasts of the southern 
parts of Europe, passing to North Africa by the line of 
Italy and Sicily. B. Hodgson, Esq., includes it in his 
birds of Nepal, and M. Temminck includes it among the 
Birds of Japan. 

The beak is three inches long, of a deep orange at the 
base, lighter in colour towards the tip, greatly compressed, 
and ending in a thin vertical edge ; the irides crimson ; the 
eye-lid reddish orange, with a white spot below the eye ; the 

K K 2 



500 CHARADRIIDjE. 

whole of the head, the neck all round, the upper part of the 
breast, scapulars, inter-scapulars, smaller wing-coverts, quill- 
feathers, and the distal half of the tail-feathers, black ; the 
back, great wing-coverts, part of the inner web of the 
primaries, upper tail-coverts, the basal half of the tail- 
feathers, the lower part of the breast, all the under surface 
of the body, under surface of the wings, and the axillary 
plume, pure white ; the greater coverts forming a white 
bar on the wing ; the legs and toes purplish flesh colour ; 
the claws black. 

The whole length rather more than sixteen inches. From 
the carpal joint to the end of the wing, nine inches and 
three quarters : the first quill-feather about half an inch 
longer than the second, and the longest in the wing. 

In the winter half year adult birds have a white gorget 
round the front of the neck. I have known this mark as- 
sumed early in September, and borne through the winter, 
and over a great portion of the spring. 

Young birds of the year have the feathers of the back 
and wings margined with brown, and they do not obtain a 
white gorget during their first winter. 



COMMON CRANE. 



501 



ORALLATORES. 




THE COMMON CRANE. 

Grus cinerea. 

Ardeagrus, The Crane, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 7. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 2. 

Urns cinerea, Common Crane, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 97. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 4. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert* p. 185. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. vii. 

Grue cendree, TEMM. Man, d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 557. 



502 GRUIDJl. 

GRUS. Generic Characters. Beak longer than the head, straight, strong, com- 
pressed, and pointed. Nostrils placed longitudinally in a furrow, large, pervious, 
closed posteriorly by a membrane. Legs long, strong, naked above the joint ; 
three toes in front ; middle toe united to the outer toe by a membrane ; hind toe 
articulated high up on the tarsus. Wings moderate, rounded in form ; the first 
quill-feather shorter than the second ; the third the longest in the wing. 

THOUGH at the present time only an occasional and very 
rare visiter to this country, the Crane was formerly much 
more frequent. Dr. Turner states that he had often seen 
the young birds in our marshes. Sir Thomas Browne 
of Norwich, who wrote in the time of Charles the Second, 
says in his works, " Cranes are often seen here in hard 
winters, especially about the champain and fieldy part. 
It seems they have been more plentiful, for in a bill of fare, 
when the mayor entertained the Duke of Norfolk, I met 
with Cranes in a dish." * In the Norfolk Household Book, 
already quoted, under the articles on the Pheasant and 
Great Bustard, I find three separate notices of Cranes ; the 
first for a Crane and vi Plovers, xxc?. ; the second, four 
Mallards and a Crane killed with the Crossbowe ; the 
third, item, on Thursday for a Crane, vie?. ; while in 
Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales, as quoted at page 366, we 
find that the price of a Crane in London was 10s. Leland, 
in his Collectanea, includes in the bill of fare at the feast of 
Archbishop Neville, two hundred and four Cranes; and, 
according to Sir David Lindsay, Cranes formed also part of 
the bill of fare at a grand hunting entertainment, given by 
the Earl of Athol to James the Fifth of Scotland and the 
Queen Mother, on the banks of the Loghaine, in Glen Tilt. 
Ray mentions the winter visits of this large bird ; and 
Willughby, in an abridgment of some statutes relating to 
the preservation of fowl, refers at page 52 to a fine of 
twenty pence levied as a forfeit for every egg of a Crane or 

* Wilkin's edition, vol. iv. p. 314. Pickering, 1835. 



COMMON CRANE. 503 

a Bustard taken and destroyed. Smith, in his History of 
the County of Cork, vol. ii. p. 342, says the Crane was 
seen in that county during the remarkable frost of 1 739 ; 
and the editor of the last edition of Pennant's British 
Zoology, mentions four instances of the occurrence of the 
Crane within his memory. 

Dr. Edward Moore, in his Catalogue of the Wading 
Birds of Devonshire, says a fine specimen of the Crane was 
shot in September 1826 in the parish of Buckland Mona- 
chorum, near Plymouth, which is now in Mr. Drew's col- 
lection ; it was wounded in the wing, and made a most 
desperate resistance. Mr. Selby refers to one killed in 
Oxfordshire in December 1830, and Frederick Holme, Esq., 
had the kindness to send me word that a Crane was shot 
at Chimney-ford, on the Isis, in Oxfordshire, in December 
1831. Dr. Fleming mentions that a small flock appeared, 
during harvest in 1807, in Tingwall, Zetland, as he was 
informed by the Rev. John Turnbull, the worthy minister 
of the parish, who added, that they fed on grain. Mr. 
Robert Dunn, in his Ornithologist's Guide to Orkney and 
Shetland, says, that this bird is an occasional visiter in 
severe winters or stormy weather, arid that two examples 
were shot in Shetland between his first visit in March 1831, 
and the following spring. 

M. Nilsson mentions that the Crane is seen in Sweden in 
spring and autumn, and that it goes to the marshes of 
Scania to breed ; it is also said to breed in Norway, which 
has been confirmed to me by Richard Dan, Esq. ; and Lin- 
naeus, in his Tour, mentions their appearance in Lapland. 
Pennant says they also visit Russia and Siberia. Mr. 
Gould says, " Flocks of these birds are seen at stated times 
in France and Germany, passing northwards and south- 
wards, as the season may be, in marshalled order, high in 



504 GRUID^. 

the air, their sonorous voices distinctly heard even from 
their elevated course. Occasionally they descend, attracted 
by newly sown fields, or the prospect of finding food in 
marshes, on the borders of rivers, or even the shores of the 
sea, but generally they continue their flight unchecked 
towards their destined resting-places." 

These birds are seen also periodically in Spain, in Pro- 
vence, at Genoa, and in Italy. M. Malherbe says that in 
Sicily, on the occurrence of the first fine weather in spring, 
Cranes are seen at a great height in the air on their way 
north from Algeria ; a few remaining for a short time 
to rest, and then pursue their route. Egypt, and various 
parts of Africa, are said to be their winter quarters. They 
are seen in Syria. Mr. Strickland, in his enumeration of 
birds at Smyrna, includes a flock of Cranes seen in the 
plain of Sardis at the end of April 1836 ; and M. Hohe- 
nacker includes the Crane among the birds of the country 
between the Black and the Caspian Seas. This species is 
found in Thibet, Nepal and Calcutta, and M. Temminck 
says that specimens from Japan exactly resemble those of 
Europe. 

The Crane, having a strong and thick muscular stomach, 
its food is of a more variable nature than is usual among 
waders generally ; it will feed occasionally on grain and 
aquatic plants ; at other times it makes a meal of worms, 
reptiles, and mollusca. 

The nest is usually placed among reeds, thick osier-beds, 
or the luxuriant vegetation of morasses, and the borders of 
lakes, but sometimes also on the top of old buildings or 
ruins, where solitude promises security. The Crane lays 
but two eggs : these are rare in collections. I possess one, 
given me by Mr. W. I. Tuke, of York : this egg mea- 
sures four inches in length, by two inches and three-eighths 



COMMON CRANE. 



505 






iii breadth, of a pale brown colour, blotched and spotted 
with two shades of darker brown. 

The singular structure of the windpipe and its convolu- 
tions lodged between the two plates of bone forming the 
sides of the keel of the sternum in this bird have long been 
known. The first illustration here given is a representation 
of the breast-bone of a young male Crane, in which the 
trachea, or windpipe, quitting the neck of the bird, passes 
downwards and backwards between the branches of the 
furcula, or merrythought, towards the inferior edge of the 
keel, which is hollowed out to receive it ; into this groove, 
formed by the separation of the sides of the keel, the trachea 
passes, and is firmly bound therein by cellular membrane, 
and after making three turns, passes again forwards, then 
upwards, and ultimately backwards to be attached to the 
two lobes of the lungs by the bronchial divisions. 

The second representation, in the next opening, is taken 
from the sternum of an old female Crane, and exhibits the 
trachea still farther extended, and occupying nearly the 
whole cavity between the two bony plates forming the 
keel : a portion of the plate nearest the observer in both 







506 GRUID.E. 

these illustrations being represented as cut away to show 
the character and depth of the insertion. 

The usual form of furcula, or merrythought, it will be 
observed, does not prevail in this bird : it is not here, as in 
most other birds, a single, slightly-attached bone, but has 
the point of union of the two branches firmly ossified to 
the keel, or may be considered as a prolongation of the 
anterior portion of the keel itself extended to the head 
of each clavicle, and affording a firm support to the 
wings. 

In the adult male, the beak is greenish yellow at the 
base, lighter in colour towards the point ; the irides red ; 
the forehead, crown, nape, and back of the neck, dark 
bluish ash ; chin, throat, and front of the neck, of the same 
dark colour, but descending four or five inches lower in 
front ; from the eye, over the ear-coverts, and downwards 
on the side of the neck, dull white ; general colour of the 
back, wings, rump, tail-feathers, and all the under surface 
of the body, ash grey ; wing-primaries black ; the tertials 
elongated, the webs unconnected, and reaching beyond the 
ends of the primaries. The well known plumes of the 
Crane are these tertial feathers, with their unconnected 
webs forming long hair-like filaments, which the bird can 
elevate or depress at pleasure. They were formerly much 
worn as ornaments on the head. These and the tail- 
feathers are varied and tipped with bluish black ; under 
surface of wings and the axillary plume light grey ; legs 
and toes bluish black ; claws black. 

The whole length of the bird described four feet. From 
the carpal joint to the end of the wing, twenty-one inches ; 
the first quill-feather a little shorter than the fourth, but a 
little longer than the fifth ; the second and third feathers 
nearly equal in length, and the longest in the wing. The 



COMMON CRANE. 



507 



beak measured four inches and a half; the tarsus nine 
inches, the bare part above it four inches. 

The sexes, when old, are alike in plumage, but the males 
are larger than the females. Young birds have less varia- 
tion in colour about the head, and the ash grey plumage of 
the body is mixed with dull brown. 




508 

GRALLATORES. 



ARDEIDJE. 



\ V 




THE COMMON HERON. 

Ardea cinerea. 

Ardea cinerea, Common Heron, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 10. 



major, 



cinerea, Com 



Heron cendre, 



MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol ii. p. 8. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 95. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 11. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 186. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. viii. 

TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 567. 



ARDEA. Generic characters. Beak long, strong, straight, compressed in a 
lengthened cone ; upper mandible slightly channelled, ridge rounded. Nostrils 
lateral, basal, pierced longitudinally in the groove, and half closed by a membrane. 
Legs long, slender, naked above the tarsal joint. Toes three in front, the two 
outer united by a membrane ; one toe behind, directed inwards : claws long, com- 



COMMON HERON. 509 

pressed, sharp, the middle claw denticulated on the inside. Wings of moderate 
size ; the h'rst quill-feather a little shorter than the second or third, which are the 
longest in the wing. 

THE COMMON HERON is one of the most numerous, as well 
as the best known, of the group of truly wading birds now 
under consideration ; and formerly, in the palmy days of 
falconry, the places where they bred were almost held 
sacred ; the bird was considered royal game, and penal 
statutes were enacted for its preservation. Now, however, 
the Heron is disregarded, and left to depend on its own 
sagacity for its safety. During winter the Heron is watch- 
ful, shy, and solitary, seldom more than one being seen at 
the same time or place ; but early in spring numbers are 
seen together, resorting to a favourite wood, which they 
have probably occupied during their breeding season for 
years in succession. At this time of the year they resemble 
the Rooks in many of their habits, building like those well- 
known birds on high trees, generally upon large oaks or tall 
firs, and in such numbers do they associate, that Pennant 
mentions having himself counted more than eighty nests 
upon one oak at Cressy Hall, near Spalding in Lincolnshire, 
an estate then belonging to the Heron family, one of the 
most ancient in this country. Sometimes Herons build on 
precipitous rocks near the coast, as at South Stack Light- 
house, near Holyhead, mentioned by Mr. Eyton, and at 
the Great Orme^s Head ; they are said also to build occa- 
sionally on the ground, among reeds and rushes. The nest 
is of large size, having much the appearance of that of the 
Rook, but rather broader ; it is formed of sticks, and lined 
with wool. The female lays four or five eggs, of a uniform 
sea green colour, two inches three lines in length, by one 
inch nine lines in breadth, and incubation lasts about 
twenty -eight days. When the young are hatched, both 



510 ARDEIDJl. 

parents assist in providing them with food until they are 
able to fly, and have learned to supply themselves. Pre- 
vious to this time, when the heronry is visited by strangers, 
the old birds leave their nests, and skimming in circles, 
high above the trees, betray great anxiety till the party 
have retired. The food of the Heron consists of fish, 
reptiles, and small mammalia. When the Heron has only 
himself to provide for, he usually fishes late in the evening, 
and very early in the morning, sitting the whole day 
perched on the branch of a large tree. 

When fishing, the Heron stands motionless in shallow 
water, with the head drawn back towards the shoulders, 
ready to strike or seize with his sharp beak whatever may 
happen to come within his reach. If an eel chance to be 
the object caught, the Heron has been seen to quit the 
water to make the more sure of his prey, by beating it 
against the ground till it is disabled. Mr. Dunn has 
observed " in Orkney and Shetland, where Herons are 
very plentiful, that this bird, let the wind be high or low, 
invariably selects the lee side of the island or rock on which 
the wind may be setting." 

A pair of Herons, kept by Dr. Neill in his garden at 
Canonmills, near Edinburgh, produced two sets of eggs ; 
during incubation the male frequently took his place on the 
nest when the female went off to feed, but unfortunately 
both the female and the eggs were destroyed by accident.* 
Dr. Neill adds, " a large old willow tree had fallen down 
into the pond, and at the extremity, which is partly sunk 
in the sludge, and continues to vegetate, Water Hens 
breed. The old cock Heron swims out to the nest, and 
takes the young if he can. He has to swim ten or twelve 
feet, where the water is between two and three feet deep. 

* Mr. Selby's British Ornithology, vol. ii. p. 13. 



COMMON HERON. 511 

His motion through the water is slow, but his carriage 
stately. I have seen him fell a rat at one blow on the back 
of the head, when the rat was munching at his dish of fish." 

The Heron is said to be very long lived, and was 
formerly in considerable estimation as an article of food. 
Heronries are occupied by the birds from spring till 
August : during winter a few stragglers only are to be 
seen, as though they were left, or paid occasional visits, to 
maintain the right of occupation. The late Dr. Heysham, 
in his Catalogue of Cumberland Animals, attached to 
Hutchinson's history of that county, refers to the annual 
battles which took place at Dalham Tower in Westmor- 
land, between two flocks of Herons and Rooks for the pos- 
session of particular trees* 

Some portion of Ornithological interest being attached to 
Heronries, I have added a brief catalogue of those I have 
been able to ascertain, collected from various sources, ar- 
ranged in alphabetical order of English counties. 

Berkshire. Windsor Great Park, two. 

Cheshire. Dunham Massey, the seat of the Earl of 
Stamford ; Combermere Abbey, belonging to Lord Com- 
bermere; Hooton, on the Mersey, the seat of Sir T. M. 
Stanley, Bart. ; Ardley Hall, the residence of R. E. War- 
burton, Esq. ; and at Oulton Park, the seat of Sir Philip 
Grey Egerton, Bart. 

Cumberland. Gowbarrow Park, near Ulswater Lake ; 
and at Graystock, or Graystoke. 

Devonshire. Powderham Castle ; another at Sharpham 
on the Dart, and a third at Warleigh on the Tamar, the 
seat of the Rev. W. Radcliff. 

Dorsetshire. Brownsea Island, near Poole. 

Durham. Ravensworth Castle, the seat of Lord Ravens- 
worth. 



512 ARDEID^E. 

Essex. Wanstead Flats. 

Kent. Cobham Hall, the seat of Earl Darnley ; and at 
Penshurst Park. 

Lincolnshire. Formerly at Cressy Hall, near Spalding, 
a very large one now destroyed, but two others established 
in the neighbourhood. Downington. Manby, near Brigg, 
belonging to Lord Yarborough ; another at Skill ingthorpe 
Wood, near Lincoln. 

Middlesex. Osterley Park. 

Norfolk. Didlington, the seat of Colonel Wilson. 

Northampton. Althorpe, the seat of Earl Spencer. 

Northumberland. Chillinghani Park, the seat of Lord 
Tankerville. 

Shropshire. At the Mere, near Ellesmere. 

Somersetshire. Picton, belonging to the Earl of Carnar- 
von, and at Brockley Woods, near Bristol. 

Surrey. Cobham Park, the seat of H. Coombe, Esq. ; 
and at Ashley Park, Wai ton-on- Thames, the seat of Sir 
Henry Fletcher, Bart. 

Warwickshire. Warwick Castle, the seat of the Earl of 
Warwick. 

Westmoreland. Dalham Tower, the seat of Colonel 
Wilson. 

Yorkshire. One at the seat of E. Thompson, Esq., near 
Boroughbridge ; another at Walton Hall, the residence of 
Charles Waterton, Esq. ; and at Hutton, near Beverly, 
the seat of Mr. Bethel. 

The Heron visits Scandinavia in summer, going occasion- 
ally as far north as the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and the 
south coast of Greenland ; it is found also in Russia and 
Siberia, and southward over the European continent, being 
most abundant in Holland. It is seen at Corfu, Sicily, 
Malta and Crete, on its passage between the two con- 



COMMON HERON. 513 

tinents. It is found in North Africa, at Madeira, and is 
said to visit the Cape. The Russian naturalists include it 
among the hirds observed at the foot of the Caucasus , it 
inhabits India, China, and Japan ; and Dr. Horsfield in- 
cludes it in his Catalogue of the Birds of Java. 

In the adult bird the beak is yellow, darkest in colour 
towards the point ; the lore yellowish green ; irides yellow ; 
head and cheeks greyish white ; the elongated occipital fea- 
thers forming the plume dark slate blue : upper surface of 
the body and wings delicate French grey ; the wing- 
primaries black ; the tail-feathers slate grey ; the neck 
white, varied in front throughout its length with dark 
bluish grey, forming elongated spots ; the white feathers at 
the bottom of the neck, before the chest, elongated : under 
surface of the body greyish white, streaked with black ; 
legs and toes greenish yellow ; claws brown. 

The whole length, from the point of the beak to the end 
of the tail, about three feet. From the carpal joint to the 
end of the wing, seventeen inches : the first and the fifth 
quill-feathers equal in length ; the second, third, and 
fourth, also nearly equal in length, and the longest in the 
wing. 

Adult females resemble the males in plumage, but the 
colours are not quite so pure and bright. 

Young birds during their first and second year, have no 
elongated feathers at the back of the head, or at the bottom 
of the neck in front ; head and neck ash colour, with dull 
dusky grey streaks in front ; the upper mandible of the 
beak greenish brown, the under mandible yellow ; the legs 
darker in colour, almost brown, and the grey plumage on 
the upper surface of the body and wings tinged with brown. 



VOL. II. L L 



514 

GRALLATORES. 



ARDEID^E. 



ARDEIDJE. 




THE PURPLE HERON. 



Ardea caspica, African Heron, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 28. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

purpurea, Purple-crested Heron, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 15. 

African Heron, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 96. 

Crested Purple Heron, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 15. 

Purple Heron, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 1 86. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xx. 

Heron pourpre, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 570. 

THIS species is found in the temperate and warmer parts 
of Europe, in Africa, and in Asia : and since the days of 



PURPLE HERON. 515 

Pennant and Montagu so many instances have been re- 
corded of the occurrence of this bird, in different states 
of plumage, in this country, on the southern coast by Dr. 
Edward Moore of Plymouth, and of other examples on our 
eastern coast by Mr. Selby and Mr. Hoy, that no doubt 
can remain of the propriety of including it in a History of 
British Birds. Mr. Couch, of Polperro, sent Bewick a 
drawing taken from a specimen which alighted on a fishing- 
boat two or three leagues from the coast of Cornwall. The 
bird was caught and brought on shore alive, but soon died. 
Dr. Edward Moore notices two examples, both young 
birds, in Devonshire ; and in February 1839, Plumptre 
Methuen, Esq., sent me word that he had obtained a speci- 
men shot near Plymouth. Mr. Selby, who published in 183.3, 
says, "I may mention that in the month of May 1830, 
a fine male Purple Heron, that was killed in Norfolk, came 
into my possession, and its mate into that of Sir William 
Jardine ;" and in a note, adds, " since writing the above, 
I have heard of three other specimens, two killed in 
Norfolk, and another near to London/ 1 Mr. Hoy, in the 
Magazine of Natural History for 1837, vol. x. p. 116, says, 
" some time in the month of November 1835, a Purple- 
crested Heron was obtained on the borders of a large piece 
of water, known by the name of King's Fleet, near the 
mouth of the Woodbridge river, in Suffolk. The bird rose 
from the thick reeds which skirt the water, and was at first 
supposed to have been a Bittern by the person who shot it. 
This bird was in the plumage of the first year. From the 
redness of its colours, at this age, it may be readily mis- 
taken for the Bittern when first seen. I have known two 
other instances of this species of Heron occurring in this 
county ; I have also known two or three individuals to 
have been met with in Norfolk, within a few years." Mr. 



516 ARDEID^E. 

Thompson has also made known one instance of this bird 
having been killed in Ireland. 

The Purple Heron may even be considered rather com- 
mon in Holland, from whence adult birds and their eggs 
are not unfrequently sent to the London market. 

The habits of the Purple Heron are more like those 
of the Bittern than of the Heron last described, preferring 
dense reed beds, morasses, and marshy swamps, abounding 
in luxuriant vegetation, under cover of which it conceals 
itself, and among which it makes its nest on the ground, 
laying three eggs of pale asparagus-green colour, two inches 
four lines long, by one inch seven lines in breadth. The 
food of this species consists of small mammalia, reptiles, 
fishes, and aquatic insects. 

The Purple Heron is found occasionally in Germany, is, 
as before observed, rather common in Holland, and in the 
low marshy districts of France. M. Necker says they are 
most frequently seen in Switzerland at the end of April or 
the beginning of May, and some few remain in that country 
to breed ; it is found also in Provence and in Italy. It 
visits Corfu, Sicily, Malta and Crete, in spring and autumn. 
It inhabits Nubia, and has been taken in other parts 
of Africa as far south as the Cape of Good Hope. East- 
ward of Europe, the Russian naturalists found it in the 
countries near the Black and the Caspian Seas ; it inhabits 
the marshes of the rivers and lakes of Tartary ; Major 
Franklin, B. Hodgson. Esq., and Mr. Blyth, have obtained 
it in different parts of India. Mr. Selby says it is found in 
the Philippine Isles ; and Dr. Horsfield includes it among 
the Birds of Java. 

The adult bird has the beak yellow, darkest in colour at 
the base ; the lore and irides yellow ; the top of the head, 
the occiput, and the elongated occipital plumes, black, 



PURPLE HERON. 517 

tinged with blue ; cheeks and sides of the neck fawn colour, 
with descending streaks of bluish black ; back and wing- 
coverts dark slate grey ; the elongated filamentous feathers 
chestnut ; tail-feathers bluish grey, the two central feathers 
dark slate grey ; the chin pale buff ; the neck reddish buff, 
the elongated feathers at the bottom of the neck in front a 
mixture of pale buff, chestnut, grey, and black; under 
wing-coverts chestnut, the colour appearing round outside 
the point of the shoulder ; the breast rich maroon colour ; 
the belly a mixture of maroon and dark slate grey ; the 
flanks ash grey ; thighs reddish buff ; legs and toes dark 
reddish brown ; the claws black. 

Whole length from the beak to the end of the tail 
twenty-nine inches. From the carpal joint to the end of 
the wing fourteen inches : the first quill-feather shorter 
than either of the next four ; the second, third, fourth, and 
fifth, equal in length, and the longest in the wing. 

The adult of both sexes are alike in plumage. 

The young birds, till their third year, are without the 
occipital crest, as well as the elongated feathers at the base 
of the neck, and on the scapulars. The chin is white ; the 
forehead blackish grey ; the crown and occiput grey, tinged 
with reddish brown. The neck is pale reddish brown, 
without the black lists. The front of the neck is yellowish 
white, with longitudinal black spots. The back, scapulars, 
wings, and tail, deep grey; the feathers margined with 
reddish brown. The belly and thighs are reddish white. 
The upper mandible is blackish brown ; the under one, the 
lores, and eyes, are pale yellow. 



518 

GRALLATORES. 



AUDEIDyE. 



ARDEIDJE, 




THE GREAT WHITE HERON. 
Ardea alba. 

Ardea alba, White Heron, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 19. 

Great White Heron, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

>> 11 BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 12. 

egretta, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 95. 

alba, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 1 8. 



Great Egret, 



JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 187. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xix. 



egretta, Heron Aigrette, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 572. 



CHEAT WHITE HERON. 519 

THE Great White Heron can only be considered as an 
accidental visitor. Dr. Latham refers to one example 
killed in Cumberland not many years ago. Montagu, in 
his Supplement, says, " A White Heron made its appear- 
ance on the borders of the river Avon, in Devonshire, 
in the autumn of the year 1805, where it was frequently 
observed in company with three or four of the common 
species, and sometimes alone. The Eev. Mr. Vaughan, 
who had frequent opportunities of observing it, and used 
every means to procure it, thinks, from its apparently 
superior size, it must have been Ardea alba, and not a 
variety of the Common Heron ; but its extreme wariness 
disappointed the many attempts to shoot it, although it 
continued within the range of a few miles for two months." 
The Rev. Revett Sheppard, and the Rev. William Whit- 
ear, in their catalogue of the Norfolk and Suffolk 'Birds, 
published at the commencement of the fifteenth volume of 
the Transactions of the Linnean Society, say, " that on the 
3rd of October 1834, in a walk on the banks of the river 
Stour, we observed a large White Heron cross over from 
the Suffolk to the Essex side of the river. It appeared to 
be pure white, and to stand up rather taller than some 
Common Herons, which were feeding not far off. A similar 
bird was observed in the spring on the Oakley shores ; 
and, subsequently to our observation, one was seen on the 
banks of the river Orwell." But the most valuable addi- 
tion to our knowledge of the occurrence of this species in 
England, was supplied by Mr. Arthur Strickland in a com- 
munication made to the Natural History Section of the 
British Association, at its meeting at Newcastle in August 
1838, as published in the seventh volume of the Reports. 
Mr. Strickland stated, " that this bird had been unjustly 
excluded from the catalogue of occasional visiters to this 



520 ARDEID^E. 

country by late authors, as he could prove on unquestion- 
able authority that it had been killed of late years in more 
cases than one. The first instance was twelve or thirteen 
years ago : a bird of this species was seen for some weeks 
about Hornsea Moor, in the East Biding of Yorkshire ; it 
was some time after presented to the author, in whose col- 
lection it is at present, in perfect preservation. Another, 
in full summer plumage, was killed by a labourer in the 
fields of James Hall, Esq., of Scarborough, near Beverley, 
about three years ago, and is now in the possession of that 
gentleman. Another specimen of this bird is in the collec- 
tion of Mr. Foljambe, of Osberton, with a label on the 
case stating it to have been killed near that place. A care- 
ful examination of these specimens will, Mr. Strickland has 
no doubt, prove that this bird is properly separated from 
the large Egret of North America, which has been fre- 
quently placed in our collections for the British species." 
To these I may add a notice of one killed in Lincolnshire, 
but where the specimen is deposited I do not know ; and 
lastly, Mr. Frederick Holme sent me the measurements of 
a specimen shot on the Isis in Oxfordshire, in September 
1833. 

A splendid specimen of the Great White Egret was 
killed in June 1840 on the sands near the village of 
Tyningham, in the Frith of Forth, about seven miles from 
Haddington. 

This beautiful species of Heron was included in the 
Swedish Fauna by Linnaeus and Retzius, who say of it, 
Habitat in Scania, visa ad Araslof. M. Nilsson, who is 
now Professor of Natural History at Lund, the capital of 
Scania, says, in his Ornithology of Sweden, vol. ii. p. 38, 
that it has not been found there since within his knowledge. 
It is an accidental visiter to Germany, France, Provence, 



GREAT WHITE HERON. 521 

and Italy. Has been taken in Corsica and Sardinia ; but 
is more common among the islands of the Grecian Archi- 
pelago, in Turkey, and in Hungary. Mr. Strickland says 
it frequents the salt marshes west of Smyrna. Messrs. 
Dickson and Ross saw a few at Erzeroom, about the river 
from the beginning of May till October, sometimes in flocks, 
and sometimes solitary ; and the Russian Naturalists found 
this bird in the spring on the borders of the salt lakes at 
Bakou. Large White Herons, brought from India by 
Colonel Sykes and Major Franklin, were considered to be 
of the same species as the European bird, although a little 
smaller in size. It feeds on small fish, reptiles, mollusca, 
and aquatic insects, and breeds on the ground among reeds 
and herbage, producing four or five large bluish green 
eggs. 

Adult birds have the beak yellow at the base, black 
towards the point ; the lore and bare space round the eye, 
pale green ; irides yellow ; the whole plumage white ; the 
feathers of the back of the head, and bottom of the neck in 
front, elongated ; the interscapulars and dorsal feathers very 
much elongated and filamentous; legs, toes, and claws, 
almost black. 

Adult males and females are alike in plumage. 

The whole length from the point of the beak to the end 
of the tail exceeds three feet by a few inches. From the 
eye to the end of the beak, four inches seven-eighths ; bare 
part of the tibia three inches and a half; length of the 
tarsus six inches and a half; middle toe and claw four 
inches and one quarter. 

Young birds do not acquire the elongated feathers during 
their first or second year. 






522 



ARDEID^E. 



(1RALLATORES. 



ARDE1DM. 




THE LITTLE EGRET. 
Ardea garzetta. 



Ardea garzetta, Egret Heron, 

The Egret, 

TJie TMle Egret, 

Little Egret Heron, 

The Little Egret, 

Heron garzette, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 21. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 96. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 1 8. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 21. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 187. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. v. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 574. 



PENNANT says, " We once received out of Anglesey the 
feathers of a bird shot there, which we suspect to be the 
Egret; this is the only instance, perhaps, of its being 



LITTLE EGRET. 523 

recently found in England. One was shot in Ireland in the 
year 1793. That it was formerly very frequent here, 
appears by some of the old bills of fare : in the famous 
feast of Archbishop Nevil, we find no less than a thousand 
Asterides, Egrets, or Egrittes, as it is differently spelt. 
Perhaps the esteem they were in as a delicacy during those 
days, occasioned their extirpation in our islands ; abroad 
they arc still common, especially in the southern parts of 
Europe, where they appear in flocks."" Dr. Fleming re- 
marks, " that it is possible the Lapwing may have been 
there referred to, as the most common bird with a crest." 
To this opinion Mr. Selby subscribes. Aigrette and egret 
are common terms for a tuft of feathers ; and the Little 
Egret appears to have been much too rare a species in this 
country to have afforded the supply. That the Little 
Egret ought, however, to be retained in our catalogues as a 
British Bird, which has been denied, the following evi- 
dence will sufficiently prove. 

Mr. Templeton in his Catalogue of the Vertebrate Ani- 
mals of Ireland, says of this bird, " There is a specimen in 
the Dublin Museum, which was shot in the harbour of 
Cork, in 1792." 

The Rev. L. Jenyns, in his Manual of British Vertebrate 
Animals, says of this bird, " In April 1824, two specimens 
are recorded to have been killed at Penzance in Cornwall, 
and one of them to have been preserved." In this case, I 
believe, Mr. Couch, the author of the Cornish Fauna, was 
the authority. 

J. C. Dale, Esq., the well-known Entomologist, has re- 
corded his memorandum of one having been shot near the 
river Stour, at Christchurch, Hants, in the beginning of 
July 1822, by the late Mr. William Lockyer, who sold it 
to Mr. Barrow, of Christchurch, by whom it was preserved. 



524 ARDEID.E. 

The late W. Christy, jun., published the following para- 
graph in the Magazine of Natural History for 1836, page 
647 : " I have a very fine specimen of the Egret, said to 
have been shot at or near Button Coldfield, in Warwick- 
shire. I bought it of a very respectable bird-stuffer, who 
assured me he had received the bird direct from the person 
who shot it. Still I confess I had my doubts, and bought 
the skin more for its beauty than as an authentic British 
specimen. However, during a visit in April last to Lord 
Mount Norris, at Arley Hall, I happened to meet with a 
gentleman, who assured me that within the last few years 
he had known of three specimens of the Egret, and two of 
the Little Bittern, having been shot at Sutton Coldfield. 
I therefore think there is no doubt of its occurrence in 
this country, though it must be classed among our rarest 
birds." 

The Rev. Robert Holdsworth, of Brixham, to whom I 
am indebted for many valuable communications in Natural 
History, sent me word that in 1816 a bird was shot on 
Flatoars, a shoal in the river Dart, dry at low- tide, which 
exactly corresponded with the description of the Egret in 
Montagu's Ornithological Dictionary as a bird of the 
second year, being tinged with grey on the neck and 
breast. 

The Little Egret has occurred occasionally in Germany 
and in France ; there is a specimen in the Museum at Ge- 
neva that was obtained in Switzerland : it occurs in Spain 
and in Provence, at Genoa occasionally in the month of 
May, and in Italy, in Sardinia, in Sicily, from whence I 
have seen a specimen very lately, the Grecian Archipelago, 
and in Turkey. Messrs. Dickson and Ross have sent the 
Zoological Society an example from Erzeroom, and M. 
Hohenacker, the Russian naturalist, includes it among the 



LITTLE EGRET. 



525 



birds of the country between the Black and the Caspian 
Seas. 

The Little Egret breeds in marshes, and produces four or 
five white eggs. 

The adult bird has the beak black ; the lore green ; the 
irides yellow ; the whole of the plumage a pure and delicate 
white ; the feathers of the occiput and the bottom of the 
neck in front elongated ; those of the back greatly lengthen- 
ed and filamentous ; the legs black ; toes blackish green ; 
claws black. 

Whole length twenty-four inches. From the beak to the 
feathers on the forehead, three inches and a half; from the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, eleven inches and a 
quarter ; the first and fourth quill-feathers equal in length ; 
but not so long as the second and third, which are also 
equal in length, and the longest in the wing ; length of 
tarsus four inches ; bare part above two inches and a 
half. 

Young birds are said to be greyish white, and without 
the elongated plumes. 

The vignette below represents the breast-bone of the 
Common Heron, about one-third less than the natural size. 




526 

URALLATORES. 



ARDEID^E. 



ARDEIDM. 




THE BUFF-BACKED HERON. (Adult.) 

THE LITTLE WHITE HERON. (YoUDg.) 

Ardea russata. 

Ardea cequinoctialis, Red-billed Heron, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 25. 

,, Little White Heron.! MONTAGU, Suppl. to Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 20. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 97. 

russata, Buff-lacked Heron, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 24. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 188. 

Rufous-lacked Eyret, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xx. 

Heron aiyrette doree, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. pt. iv. p. 377. 

THE first, and, as far as I am aware, the only notice of 
the occurrence of this tare bird in England was communi- 



BUFF-BACKED HERON. 527 

cated to the Liimeaii Society by Colonel Montagu on the 
5th of May 1807, and appears in the ninth volume of the 
Transactions of that Society, page 197. A more detailed 
account was afterwards published by Montagu in the Sup- 
plement to his Ornithological Dictionary, from which some 
of the following particulars are derived. 

"This elegant little species of Heron, which was shot 
near Kingsbridge in Devonshire in the latter end of October 
1805, had been seen for several days in the same field, 
attending some cows, and picked up insects, which were 
found in its stomach. It was by no means shy, and was 
fired at a second time before it was secured. The situation 
where it was shot is the southern promontory of Devon, 
very near the coast, between the Start and the Prawl." I 
have since learned from the Rev. Robert Holdsworth, that 
this ornithological prize was shot by Mr. F. Cornish, at 
South Allington, in the parish of Chivelstone. It was 
placed in Colonel Montagu's collection by Mr. Nicholas 
Duscombe, of Kingsbridge, and the specimen is still pre- 
served in the British Museum. It is a young bird, and 
proved on dissection to be a female. 

This specimen, Colonel Montagu observes, " appears to 
be allied to that variety found at Bologna in Italy, which is 
described to have the top of the head and the neck nearly 
of a saiFron colour; the breast the same, but paler, per- 
haps a sexual distinction. The legs in that variety are 
said to be saffron colour : it must, however, be recollected, 
that the colour of the fleshy parts, as well as the plumage, 
sometimes depend on age." 

The plumage here referred to resembles that of the adult 
bird of this species, which is now ascertained to be found in 
the warmer parts of Europe, and also in Asia, but is not an 
inhabitant of America, the Ardea aqumoctialis, with which 



528 ARDEID^E. 

it has been confounded, being a distinct species, and con- 
fined to that continent. 

M. Temminck says that the Buff-backed Heron visits the 
mouths of the Danube, where an adult specimen has been 
killed ; a young bird has been killed in the Crimea ; it is 
said also to be found in Turkey and in Dalmatia. M. Ho- 
henacker met with it in the Caucasian country. M. Tem- 
minck says it is common in India ; in proof of which there 
are many instances. Mr. Gould mentions that it is plenti- 
ful in the Himalaya, and in Nepaul. Major Franklin 
includes it in the birds found in the mountain chain of 
Upper Hindoostan, and on the banks of the Ganges, where 
it is called the Caboga Heron, the term Caboga being a cor- 
ruption of the Indian term Gao-buga, the Cow or Cattle 
Heron, in allusion to its being frequently seen amongst 
cattle. Colonel Sykes also includes it in his Birds of the 
Dukhun, where, he says, it is called Batty Bird by the 
Europeans, that it attends oxen while grazing, and picks 
insects from them. It is also Le Crabier de la cote de Goro- 
mandel of Buffon, PI. Enl. 910, one of the very few figures 
of this species. M. Temminck says it is found in Japan. 
Dr. Horsfield includes it among his Birds of Java, under 
the name of Ardea qffinis, and M. Temminck adds that it 
is found at Sunda and its islands. 

Beyond what has been already stated, the habits, food, 
and nidification, are unknown. 

M. Temminck's description of the adult bird is as follows : 
The head, occiput, cheeks, neck, and breast, orange colour, 
but the base of each feather is white ; the orange-coloured 
ends formed of the loose unconnected filaments of the web ; 
from the middle of the back another patch of feathers, the 
filaments of which are sufficiently elongated to reach beyond 
the ends of the closed wings ; these feathers, as also those 



BUFF-BACKED HERON. 529 

of the occiput, and others hanging from the bottom of the 
neck in front, are of a brilliant orange colour ; all the rest 
of the plumage is of a shining white ; the lore and irides 
are of a fine yellow colour, but the naked skin does not en- 
circle the eye ; the upper mandible is slightly curved ; the 
beak yellow ; the legs are yellow, but the joints and the 
toes are darker, and tinged with lead colour. 

Males and females are alike in plumage. 

The young specimen obtained by Montagu is thus de- 
scribed : The length is about twenty inches ; the bill two 
inches long to the feathers on the forehead, and of an orange 
yellow ; the lore and orbits the same ; irides pale yellow. 
The whole plumage is snowy white, except the crown of 
the head, and the upper part of the neck before, which are 
buff : legs three inches and a half long, and one inch and a 
half bare space above the joint ; these parts are nearly 
black, with a tinge of green ; the toes and claws are of the 
same colour ; the middle claw pectinated. 

The skin was of a very dark colour, almost black, so that 
on the cheeks and sides of the neck, where the feathers are 
thin, it is partly seen, or at least gives a dingy shade to the 
white plumage of those parts. 

On the back of the head the feathers are a little elongat- 
ed, but scarcely to be called a crest ; on the lower part of 
the neck before, the feathers are more elongated, and though 
not slender, hang detached over the upper part of the 
breast : the tail when closed is in a slight degree forked, 
and so short as to be entirely covered by the wings when 
they are folded. 



VOL. ii. M M 



530 ARDEID.E. 

GRALLATORES. 



ARDEID&. 




THE SQUACCO HERON. 

Ardea comata. 

Ardea comata, Squacco Heron, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 26. 

MONTAGU, Suppl. to Ornith. Diet. 

Buff-coloured Egret, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii p. 25. 

ralloides, Squacco Heron., FLEM. Brit. An. p. 96. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 25. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 189. 

comata, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. iii. 

Heron Crabier, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 581. 

THIS beautiful Heron has now been taken in Somerset- 
shire, Cornwall, Devonshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Suffolk, 
Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Lincolnshire. In several of 



SQUACCO HERON. 531 

the counties named it has occurred more than once, and 1 
am indebted to the Rev. E. L. Davis, of Halwell House, 
near Kingsbridge in Devonshire, for the knowledge of the 
occurrence of one that was shot in that neighbourhood so 
recently as the month of July last, 1840. 

The native locality of this species appears to be along the 
south-western parts of Asia, in Egypt, and Nubia. It has 
been found in the countries bordering the Caspian Sea, in 
the Grecian Archipelago, in Turkey, and in Italy. The 
Zoological Society received a beautiful specimen from Sicily 
in June last. It is obtained occasionally at Genoa and 
Geneva, in Provence, in the middle of France, and in Ger- 
many ; but, I believe, it has not been known to extend its 
migrations into more northern regions. It inhabits the 
banks of stagnant waters, morasses, the sides of rivers, and 
low lands near the sea-shore. One of the specimens 
obtained on the coast of Norfolk was caught alive, having 
entangled itself in some fishing nets hung on stakes to 
dry. 

The Squacco Heron feeds on small fishes, mollusca, and 
insects, and is said to build on trees, but the eggs are un- 
known. 

The adult bird has the beak greenish brown, darkest in 
colour towards the point ; the lore naked and green ; the 
irides bright yellow ; the feathers on the top of the head 
pale yellow brown, streaked longitudinally with dark lines, 
the feathers becoming elongated towards the occiput, with a 
dark line along each outer edge ; the feathers forming the 
occipital plume are eight or nine in number, and from four 
to six inches in length, lanceolate, pointed, pure white along 
the centre, bounded on each side with a black line, with a 
very narrow terminal margin of white ; the sides, front of 
the neck at the bottom, and the back, rich buff colour ; in- 

M M 2 



532 ARDEID.E. 

terscapulars reddish brown ; the feathers of the back 
elongated ; the webs disunited, each filament having the 
appearance of a single hair, from which circumstance the 
term comata, hairy, has been applied to more than one 
species ; the colour a pale reddish brown in those upon the 
surface, passing into a delicate buff colour in those under- 
neath ; the wings white, the ends of some of the coverts 
and tertials being tinged with buff; rump, upper tail-coverts 
and tail-feathers white ; chin, throat, belly, under surface 
of the wings, the axillary plume, vent, and under surface of 
the tail-feathers, pure white ; legs yellowish brown ; toes 
brown above, yellow underneath ; claws black. 

Whole length from the point of the beak to the end of 
the tail, about nineteen inches. From the carpal joint to 
the end of the wing, nine inches : the first and third quill- 
feathers are equal in length, and only a very little shorter 
than the second, which is the longest in the wing. 

The sexes in plumage resemble each other at the same 
age. 

In a younger bird, the descending dusky grey streaks on 
the feathers of the neck are longer and broader, and the 
lighter ground colour more mixed with brown ; the wing- 
coverts tinged with buff ; but the plumage of the back, and 
the ends of the tertials are reddish brown ; and I have ob- 
served that the younger the specimen the darker are the 
feathers along the middle line of the back. 

I have just heard by a communication from Sir George 
Musgrave, to Mr. Jesse, that a specimen of the Squacco 
Heron was shot during the second week of the present 
month, July 1845, near Kirkoswald, a village on the Eden, 
Cumberland. The bird was observed in a meadow, close 
to the river. 



LITTLE BITTERN. 



QRALLATORES. 



533 

MiDEIDM. 







THE LITTLE BITTERN. 

Botaurus minutus. 

Ardea minuta, Little Bittern Heron, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 18. 



Little Bittern, 



V> V) V> 

Botaurus minutus, 

Ardea minuta, Heron, 

Botaurus minutus, Bittern, 

Ardea minuta, Heron Blongios, 



MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 27, 

adult. 

on 

11 M M M *> 

young. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 97- 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 36. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 189. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. x. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 584. 



BOTAURUS. Generic Characters. Beak as long, or rather longer, than the 
head, strong, higher than broad, the mandibles of equal length, upper mandible 
slightly curved downwards. Nostrils basal, linear, longitudinal, lodged in a 
furrow, and partly covered by a naked membrane. Legs of mean length ; toes 
long and slender, all unequal, the middle toe as long as the tarsus ; hind toe long, 



534 ARDEIILE. 

articulated with the interior toe, and on the same plane: claws long, that of the 
middle toe pectinated. Wing long, rather rounded, the first three quill-feathers 
the longest, and those nearly equal. 

THE LITTLE BITTERN is the smallest British example of 
the family to which it belongs, and will be perceived to 
differ from the true Herons in having little or no bare 
space above the tarsal joint, and that its toes are also much 
longer. M. Temminck does not admit the generic distinc- 
tion of the Bitterns proper, but separates them from the 
Herons as a section. Pennant, who plainly saw that the 
Little Bittern possessed some of the characters of both 
Herons and Bitterns, called this bird the Little Bittern 
Heron. Some authors have originated a genus for the 
reception of the birds intermediate in character between the 
true Herons and the true Bitterns ; I have, however, with 
Mr. Selby and Mr. Gould, included our bird among the 
true Bitterns. 

The Little Bittern is a native of the southern parts of 
Europe, the south-western parts of Asia, and probably of a 
large portion of Africa, being found in Barbary, where Dr. 
Shawe says it is called Boo-onk (long-neck) ; it is found at 
Madeira, and as far south as the Cape of Good Hope, from 
whence specimens were brought by Dr. Andrew Smith. 

In this country, the Little Bittern may be considered 
rather as a summer visiter, most of the recorded examples 
having been obtained between spring and autumn. The 
Rev. Richard Lubbock, however, sent me word that the 
specimen mentioned by Mr. Paget, in his sketch of the Na- 
tural History of Yarmouth, page 7, as in the collection of 
Mrs. J. Baker, is in immature plumage ; was caught by a 
water-dog at Hickling, near Ludlam, during the extreme 
frost of 1822-3, and was given by himself to Mrs. Baker's 
brother, the late Mr. Girdlestone. 



LITTLE BITTERN. 535 

Some, if not prevented, would probably have bred in 
this country. Montagu, in his Supplement, says, " A fe- 
male of this rare species was shot contiguous to the river 
Credey, in Devonshire, in the month of May 1808. It was 
only wounded in the wing, and was kept alive for two 
days ; and it was observed to sit with its neck contracted 
like the Common Heron, but with the bill pointing up- 
wards. Upon dissection, about forty eggs were counted in 
the ovaries, some of which were so considerably enlarged, 
as to induce an opinion that a brood would have been pro- 
duced in this country, especially as a male was afterwards 
shot not very distant, and had been previously seen near 
the same place. A third was also killed in the same neigh- 
bourhood during that summer. 

Early in September 1839, Mr. Heysham of Carlisle, sent 
me word that about two months previous to the date of his 
letter, a beautiful pair of adult Little Bitterns were shot at 
or near South Waltham, where it was supposed they had 
a nest ; and in the summer of 1826, a young specimen of 
the Little Bittern was shot on the banks of the Thames, 
near Windsor; it was believed to have been bred there 
from the situation being favourable, and the circumstance 
of a second bird in the same state of plumage being seen 
about the same spot for several days at that time. 

The Little Bittern inhabits marshes by the sides of 
rivers, plantations of osiers, and other moist situations in 
which reeds and aquatic herbage grow luxuriantly. They 
feed upon the fry of fish, frogs, and other small reptiles, 
mollusca and insects. The note of the male, M. Vieillot 
says, resembles the barking of a large dog, when heard at 
a distance. The nest is formed upon the ground of flag- 
leaves and bits of grass, the nest itself being attached to 
upright growing reeds. The female lays four or five eggs, 



536 ARDEID^B. 

one inch five lines in length, by one inch and half a line in 
breadth, of a uniform dull white. 

So many examples of the Little Bittern have now been 
taken in various parts of this country, that a brief enume- 
ration only will be necessary. Montagu mentions that one 
was shot from the stump of a tree on the bank of the 
Avon, near Bath ; and H. E. Strickland, Esq. sent me 
notice of one that was shot in the spring of 1838, at 
Shobden Court, in Herefordshire ; and this bird has also 
been killed in Shropshire, and in South Wales. It has 
been killed in Cornwall, and several times in Devonshire. 
One has been recorded as having been killed at Lytchet, in 
Dorsetshire, and one is also recorded to have been killed 
near Christchurch in Hampshire. Berkshire has been 
named as producing one ; and a specimen in my own col- 
lection was killed some years since on Uxbridge Moor in 
Middlesex. In Norfolk several specimens have been ob- 
tained. The figure at the head of this subject was drawn 
from a very fine specimen in the collection of Dr. Thack- 
eray, at King^s College, Cambridge ; a specimen has been 
killed in Yorkshire, another at the mouth of the Tyne, and 
another in Northumberland, now in the collection which 
belonged to the late Sir M. W. Ridley, Bart = From this 
last-mentioned bird Bewick^s figure of the adult Little 
Bittern was taken. Dr. Fleming mentions one that was 
shot at Sanda, in Orkney; and Mr. William Thompson, 
in his recorded notes of the birds of Ireland, mentions that 
a Little Bittern, shot in the county of Armagh, is pre- 
served in the cabinet of William Sinclair, Esq. of Belfast. 
Specimens have also been obtained in the east and south 
of Ireland. 

The Little Bittern has been killed as far north as 
Sweden. It occurs occasionally in Germany, is rather 



LITTLE BITTERN. 537 

common in Holland, and is found in France, Provence, and 
Italy. It is seen at Genoa on its passage northward ; and 
M. Necker says that it is annually observed in Switzerland, 
where some few stop to breed. It is observed every year 
between spring and autumn, at Corfu, Sicily, Malta, and 
Crete. The specimen from which Edwards drew the figure 
in his Gleanings came from Aleppo ; it inhabits Arabia, 
and M. Hohenacker, the Russian naturalist, includes the 
Little Bittern among the birds found in the countries 
of the Caucasus, between the Black and the Caspian 
Seas. 

In the adult bird, the beak, lore, and irides, are yellow ; 
the top of the head, the occiput, the shoulders, the wing- 
primaries, and the tail-feathers, are of a shining bluish 
black ; all the wing-coverts buff-coloured ; the cheeks and 
sides of the neck, throughout its whole length, buff; the 
back of the neck is almost bare in the Bitterns, but the 
feathers of the sides of the neck passing obliquely back- 
wards and downwards hide the almost naked space; the 
chin and the neck in front white, partially tinged with 
buff; the feathers at the bottom of the neck in front are 
elongated, but the Bitterns have no true occipital plume, 
or elongated feathers, on the back, like the Herons ; on 
the lower part of the neck on each side, just in advance of 
the carpal joint of the wing, when the wing is closed, a 
few of the feathers have dark centres with buff-coloured 
margins ; breast, belly, thighs, and under tail-coverts, buff, 
with a small patch of white about the vent ; under wing- 
coverts and the axillary plume pale buff; the legs, toes, 
and claws greenish yellow. 

Males and females, when adult, are alike in plumage. 

The whole length about thirteen inches. From the car- 
pal joint to the end of the wing, five inches and three- 



538 



ARDEID.E. 



quarters ; the first three quill-feathers very nearly equal in 
length, and the longest in the wing. 

A young bird in its first plumage, but with some down 
still remaining upon it, has the top of the head of dark 
brown ; the feathers of the neck white at the base, pale 
yellow brown towards the end, with a streak of dark brown 
in the line of the shaft ; the feathers of the back dark 
brown, with buff-coloured edges ; the wing-primaries and 
tail-feathers greyish black ; the outer web of the first 
quill-feather chestnut ; the carpal surface of the wing and 
the tertials reddish brown ; the wing-coverts buff ; breast 
pale buff, with long streaks of dusky brown in the line of 
the feather ; thighs in front pale buff, without streaks, but 
varied with brown streaks behind ; vent, under tail-coverts, 
and under wing-coverts, pale buffy white ; legs, toes, and 
claws, reddish brown. 

The dark-coloured streaks on the neck and breast, and 
the broad light-coloured margins of the feathers on the 
upper surface of the body are lost by degrees. 




COMMON BITTERN. 



(IRA LLA TORES. 



539 
ARDE/Dtf. 




THE COMMON BITTERN. 

Botaurus stellaris. 

Anlea stellaris, Bittern Heron, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 14. 
Tlie Bittern^ MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

,, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, voL ii. p. 24. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 95. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 30. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 190. 



Botaurus Common 
Ardea 

Botaurus 



GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xviii. 



Ardea 



Heron Grand Butor, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 580. 



540 ARDEIDJE. 

FORMERLY, as Mr. Gould observes, when large portions 
of the British islands were uncultivated, and extensive 
marshes and waste land afforded the Bittern abundance of 
retreats congenial to its habits, it was plentifully distri- 
buted over the country ; but as cultivation has extended, 
and the marshes have been drained, its numbers have gra- 
dually decreased, and although not absolutely a rare bird, 
its presence is not always to be reckoned upon, for in one 
year it may be tolerably common, and then for several suc- 
ceeding seasons scarcely to be procured at all. 

In proof of the correctness of these remarks, Mr. Selby 
observes that at the present day the capture of a Bittern is, 
in many parts of England, a subject of great interest ; yet 
in the winter of 1830-31, he was credibly informed that no 
less than ten were exposed for sale in one morning at Bath. 
Mr. Allis of York sent me word some time ago that in the 
winter of 1837, a bird-preserver in that city had a dozen 
Bitterns through his hands in a comparatively short space 
of time ; and Mr. Heysham of Carlisle has recorded that 
during the month of December 1831, and those of January 
and February 1832, no less than eight specimens of the 
Bittern were killed in that part of Cumberland, which was 
the more remarkable, as only a single specimen had been 
met with in the same district for ten or twelve years pre- 
vious. 

I am able to refer to only three recent records of the 
breeding of the Bittern in this country. Mr. Eyton, in his 
Fauna of Shropshire, says, a hatch of these birds came off 
at Cosford Pool, near Nufnal, in 1836, and during the 
same summer, and in the same county, a pair of Bitterns 
bred at Tonglake, Albrighton, in a reedy pond of half an 
acre, surrounded by bushes, about half a mile from the 
Holyhead road ; two young birds about half grown, were 



COMMON BITTERN. 541 

caught by a farmer's boy. The authors of the catalogue 
of Norfolk and Suffolk Birds, published in the fifteenth 
volume of the Transactions of the Linnean Society, men- 
tion, that they had once obtained an egg of this bird in the 
marshes of Norfolk. 

Mr. Lubbock, in his Fauna of Norfolk, mentions several 
instances of the young of the Bittern taken in Norfolk ; 
and Mr. W. R. Fisher has given me a drawing of one taken 
at Ranworth, by Mr. D. B. Preston, with an addled egg. 

The Bittern constantly feeding at night, is therefore 
seldom seen on wing in the day, but remains, with head 
erect, in thick beds of reeds, or conceals itself among flags, 
rushes, or other rank aquatic vegetation, which afford it a 
solitary and secure retreat ; from such situations it is with 
difficulty made to take flight, and when at length obliged 
to get on wing, the pace is dull and flagging, and seldom 
sustained to any great distance. M. Vieillot says, that in 
France it is occasionally found in woods. In the spring, 
and during the breeding-season, the Bittern makes a loud 
booming or bellowing noise, whence, probably, the generic 
term Botaurus was selected for it ; but when roused at 
other times, the bird makes a sharp, harsh cry on rising, 
not unlike that of a Wild Goose. Specimens are not un- 
frequently shot from some of the numerous beds of reeds 
growing by the sides of the Thames on the shores of Kent 
and Essex. When on the ground wounded, the Bittern 
will strike at dog or man ; and some care is necessary when 
about to handle one, to avoid a hard blow from the point 
of its sharp beak. If a dog advances upon one that is not 
entirely disabled, the bird throws itself on its back, like a 
Hawk, and fights with its claws as well as with its beak. 
Mr. Maxwell, in his Wild Sports of the West of Ireland, 
describing the sport enjoyed by a friend and himself while 



542 ARDEID^E. 

shooting over a fen in Ireland, says, " Out of seventy head, 
we reckoned one Woodcock, and a brace of old Grouse 
that we found among the heathy banks bordering the fen. 
We shot six couple of Teal ; and, with one exception, the 
remainder of the count were Snipes, of which at least a 
fourth were jacks. In the most impassable section of the 
morass, old York pointed with more than customary steadi- 
ness ; and, it might be fancy, actually looked round with 
peculiar expression, as if he would intimate that no com- 
mon customer was before him. I got within twenty yards, 
and encouraged the old setter to go in ; but he turned his 
grizzled and intelligent eyes to mine, and wagged his tail 
as if he would have said, ' Lord ! you don't know what I 
have here.'' A tuft of earth flung by one of the aides-de- 
camp obliged the skulker to get up, and to our general 
surprise, a fine Bittern rose. I knocked him over ; but 
though he came down with a broken wing and wounded 
leg, he kept the old dog at bay until my companion floun- 
dered through the swamp and secured him. On this ex- 
ploit I plumed myself, for Bitterns are here extremely 
scarce, and in Ballycroy they are seldom heard or found." 

The Bittern was formerly in some estimation as an 
article of food for the table : the flesh is said to resemble 
that of the leveret in colour and taste, with some of the 
flavour of wild fowl. Sir Thomas Browne says that young 
Bitterns were considered a better dish than young Herons. 

Mr. Selby says the nest is composed of sticks, reeds, &c. 
and is generally placed on the ground near the water's 
edge, among the thickest herbage ; the eggs are four or five 
in number, of a uniform pale brown colour. The young 
are produced in about twenty-five days ; they are fed by 
the parents until fully fledged, and do not quit the nest till 
they are nearly able to provide for themselves. The eggs 






COMMON BITTERN. 543 

are of uniform shape at both ends ; two inches two lines in 
length, by one inch six lines in breadth. 

In the choice of its food the Bittern is not very par- 
ticular, feeding on small mammalia, small birds and fishes, 
warty lizards and frogs, which are usually swallowed whole. 
Sir William Jardine has mentioned that he once took a 
whole Water Rail out of the stomach of a Bittern. In the 
stomach of one examined by myself in January 1826, I 
found the bones of a pike of considerable size, and the 
stomach of another examined in February 1820, contained 
a Water Rail whole, and six small fishes. In the stomachs 
of two examined by Mr. Blyth, two dace, the remains 
of other fish, and some large coleopterous insects were 
found. 

The specimen from which the representation of the Bit- 
tern here given was taken, was killed some years ago in 
Denny Bog, in the New Forest, and the bird was sent me 
by my friend Major Gilbert of Bartley, near Lyndhurst. 
Mr. Anderson says, that Manton Common and Twigmoor, 
near Brigg, were favourite localities for the Bittern in Lin- 
colnshire. It is sometimes killed in Scotland. Mr. Thomp- 
son says gome few breed in the most extensive bogs in Ire- 
land, and are occasionally met with elsewhere, but be- 
coming gradually more scarce. 

The Bittern visits Denmark, and Scandinavia generally, 
during summer ; and, according to Pennant, is found in 
Russia and in Siberia, as far north as the river Lena. 
Southward the Bittern is found generally over the Euro- 
pean continent, inhabiting Spain, Provence, and Italy. It 
is found at Corfu, and is resident in Sicily all the year. 
Visits Malta in its passage to Tunis. It is found in Bar- 
bary; and Dr. A. Smith brought specimens from South 
Africa. The Zoological Society have received specimens 



544 ARDEID.E. 

sent by Keith Abbott, Esq. from Trebizond, and the Rus- 
sian naturalists, who went with the expedition to the Cau- 
casian range of mountains, found the Bittern inhabiting the 
countries between the Black and the Caspian Seas. It is 
found in the north western part of India, at Bengal, and in 
China. Colonel Sykes says it is rare in the Dukhun ; but 
that the species is identical with the European bird ; and 
M. Temminck includes our Bittern in his Catalogue of the 
Birds of Japan. 

The beak is greenish yellow, the upper mandible varied 
with dark horn colour towards the point ; the lore green ; 
the irides yellow ; the top of the head black, tinged with 
bronze green ; the occipital feathers varied with transverse 
bars of black and pale buff; all the upper surface of the 
body pale brownish buff, irregularly marked with black 
and dark reddish brown ; the primary quill-feathers mottled 
with greyish black and chestnut colour ; tail-feathers red- 
dish brown, varied with black ; the cheeks buff; the sides 
of the neck the same, but with narrow transverse lines of 
dark brown ; chin pale buffy white ; from the angles of the 
mouth, and down the neck in front, are large longitudinal 
streaks of dark brown and reddish brown ; the feathers of 
the breast blackish brown in the centre, with broad margins 
of buff; under surface of the body buff, with narrow streaks 
of dark brown ; legs and feet grass green ; claws pale horn 
colour, the middle claw pectinated. 

Whole length of an adult bird from twenty-eight to 
thirty inches. From the carpal joint to the end of the 
wing, fourteen inches ; the first four quill-feathers nearly 
equal in length, and the longest in the wing. 

Neither the females nor the young of the year differ 
essentially from the males in their plumage. 



AMERICAN BITTERN. 



GRALLATORES. 



545 

ARDEIDM. 




THE AMERICAN BITTERN. 

Botaurus lentiginosus. 



Ardea lentiginosa, Freckled Heron, 

> M M 

Botaurus Mokoho, American Bittern, 
Ardea lentiginosa, 

Botaurus lentiginosus, ,, 



MONTAGU, Suppl. Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 23. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 34. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 191. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xx. 



Ardea lentiginosa. Heron lentigineux, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. pt. iv. p. 381. 

THE bird from which Colonel Montagu's description and 
figure were taken was shot by Mr. Cunningham, in the 
parish of Piddletown, in Dorsetshire, in the autumn of 1804. 

Mr. Cunningham stated, that when in pursuit of some 
Pheasants, among the high banks, between the broad 



VOL. II. 



N X 



546 ARDEIDJl. 

ditches of some rich water meadows, about half a mile 
distant from the river Froome, this bird rose, and he shot 
it. The flight was said to be rather rapid, and the bird 
made a noise something like the tap on a drum, which in- 
duced him to believe it was the Common Bittern, and as 
such he sent it to Colonel George of Penryn, in Cornwall, 
who was at that time making a collection of birds. The 
specimen was quite fresh when it arrived at Penryn, where 
it was preserved ; but the sex was not noted. When 
Colonel George disposed of his collection, this bird was 
bought for Colonel Montagu, and was afterwards, with 
his other birds, transferred to the British Museum, where 
this example is still preserved. 

Dr. Edward Moore, in his Catalogue of the Wading 
Birds of Devonshire,* besides referring to Montagu's bird, 
says, " I have been so fortunate as to obtain a specimen, 
shot at Mothecombe, near Plymouth, December 22, 1829." 

I am indebted to the Rev. H. D. Fussell of Ellingham, 
near Ringwood, Hants, for the knowledge of the occur- 
rence of a Freckled Heron, near Christchurch, in 1836. 
This gentleman obtained for me a description of this spe- 
cimen from Mr. William Mott, of Christchurch, who pre- 
served the bird, which is now in the collection of Mr. 
Sloman, in that neighbourhood. 

From Mr. J. R. Wallace, of Douglas, in the Isle of 
Mann, who possesses a considerable collection of preserved 
birds, and other subjects in Natural History, I have also 
received a letter, stating that a bird, which was believed 
to be the Freckled Heron of Montagu, had been killed on 
that island very recently. 

At the end of October 1844, Sir William Jardine sent 
me word that a specimen of the American Bittern had 

* Magazine of Natural History, vol. x. p. 320. 



AMERICAN BITTERN. 547 

been killed on the moor near his residence in Dumfriesshire, 
during the preceding week, and was preserved in his col- 
lection. Mr. Gould was on a visit at Jardine Hall at the 
time. This is probably the first example shot in Scotland. 
This species is well known to American Naturalists, and 
is found at different seasons of the year from Hudson's 
Bay to Carolina. It has various names in different states ; 
such as Indian Pullet, Indian Hen, and Dunkadoo, a 
word, says Wilson, probably imitative of its common note. 
In the markets of New Orleans, Mr. Audubon tells us, 
it is bought in autumn by the poorer classes to make gom- 
bo soup. In its habits and in its voice, it bears consi- 
derable resemblance to our Common Bittern. It makes 
its nest in swamps, laying four cinereous green eggs, ac- 
cording to Hutchins, among the long grass. The young 
are said to be at first black. Mr. Audubon says the egg 
of this bird measures two inches in length, by one inch 
and a half, and is of a broadly oval shape, rather pointed 
at the smaller end, and of a uniform dull olivaceous tint. 
Wilson says also of this American Bittern, that the bird 
when fat is considered by many to be excellent eating. 
The stomach is usually filled with fish and frogs. Dr. 
Richardson says, " It is a common bird in the marshes 
and willow thickets of the interior of the fur-countries up 
to the 58th parallel. Its loud booming, exactly resembling 
that of the Common Bittern of Europe, may be heard 
every summer evening, and also frequently in the day. 
When disturbed, it utters a hollow, croaking cry. 11 The 
term mokoho, applied to this species by Vieillot, Wagler, 
and others, has reference probably to the name by which 
this bird is known among the Cree Indians. The specimen 
from which Edwards drew the representation given in his 
Gleanings, plate 136, came from Hudson's Bay. 

N N2 



548 ARDEID.E. 

The beak is brownish yellow ; the upper mandible dark 
brown along the upper ridge, and at the point : the lore 
green ; the irides yellow ; crown of the head brown, tinged 
with red ; from the forehead, before, over, and behind the 
eye, a streak of light yellow brown ; occiput and nape 
brown ; all the back of the neck below the nape bare ; in- 
ter-scapulars, back, scapulars, and wing-coverts, rich brown, 
the centre of each feather the darkest and most uniform 
in colour, the edges freckled with the darker brown on a 
ground of yellow brown ; all the primaries except the first 
three and all the secondaries brownish black, tipped with 
chestnut, which is also freckled with brownish black ; all 
the shafts black ; tertials freckled dark brown, red brown, 
and buff ; upper tail-coverts buff, freckled with two shades 
of brown ; tail-feathers almost uniform reddish brown ; 
chin and front of the neck a mixture of white, buff, and 
dark brown in streaks ; ear-coverts, and a line descending 
therefrom, yellow brown : between this and the throat in 
front an elongated descending streak of black ; the loose 
elongated feathers of the front and sides of the neck down 
to the breast, are brown along the centre, bounded by a 
darker line, and with broad edges of pale buff: breast and 
belly buff, each feather with an elongated brown central 
patch ; vent and under tail-coverts uniform buff ; legs and 
toes greenish brown ; the claws darker ; the middle claw 
pectinated. 

Whole length about twenty-seven inches. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing eleven inches and a 
half: the first three quill-feathers nearly equal in length, 
and the longest in the wing ; the first quill-feather differs 
in form from the second and third, being remarkably point- 
ed at the end, while the second and third are rounded. 



NIGHT HERON. 



GRALLA TORES. 



549 

ARDEJDJE. 




THE NIGHT HERON. 

Nycticorax Gardeni. 



Ardea nycticorax, NigU Heron, PENN. Brit Zool. vol. ii. p. 23, adult. 

Gardeni, Gardenian Heron, p. 27, young. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet, young. 

nycticorax, Night adult. 

M BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 13. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 96. 

Nycticorax Europasus, Common Nit/lit Heron, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 39. 
Ardea nycticorax, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 191. 

Nycticorax Europ&us, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xvi. 

Ardea nycticorax, BUioreau a manteau noir, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 

577. 

Nycticorax ardeola, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. pt. iv. p. 

384. 



550 ARDEIDJl. 

NYCTICORAX. Generic Characters. Beak about the same length as the head, 
bulky, strong, broad and dilated at the base ; upper mandible slightly bending 
and curved at the point ; under mandible straight. Nostrils longitudinal, lateral, 
but little in advance of the base of the beak, naked, placed in a groove, and partly 
covered by a naked membrane ; lore and orbits naked. Legs of moderate length, 
naked for a short distance above the tarsal joint ; tarsus longer than the middle 
toe ; the outer and middle toe united by a membrane ; claws short, that of the 
middle toe pectinated. 

ACCORDING to Pennant, the first specimen of the Night 
Heron killed in England was shot near London in May 
1782, since which more than a dozen examples have been 
killed and recorded in various counties of England ; it has 
been obtained twice in Ireland, and twice, if not more, in 
Scotland. 

The Night Heron has an extensive geographical range, 
being found in Europe, Africa, and Asia ; it is most nu- 
merous in the warmer parts of each, and does not go to 
the very cold or high latitudes on either of the continents 
of the Northern hemisphere. It inhabits marshes, fens, 
and the margins of lakes or rivers, which are thickly grown 
over with reeds or bushes. These birds are nocturnal in 
their habits, secreting themselves by day among the reeds, 
flags, rushes, or other rank vegetation of morasses, and take 
wing on the approach of evening, with harsh disagreeable 
notes, to visit their feeding-ground. They seek small rep- 
tiles, fishes, and aquatic insects, which are swallowed 
whole. They build on trees, and lay four pale greenish 
blue eggs, rather more than two inches in length by one 
inch and a half in breadth. The young bird is brown, 
with elongated yellowish white spots, as shown in the 
wood-engraving at the head of this subject. From the 
great difference in colour when compared with the adult 
Night Heron, the young bird was considered as a different 
species, and named Ardea Gardeni, and Gardenian Heron, 
and was called by Dr. Latham the Spotted Heron. Gmelin 



NIGHT HERON. 551 

conferred a service in suggesting the scientific name of 
Nycticorax Gardeni for the Night Heron, as it had the 
effect of uniting two birds, parent and offspring, which had 
previously heen considered as two distinct species. The 
Zoological Society are seldom without living specimens of 
this bird in different states of plumage : and in January 
1 834, as will be seen by the printed Proceedings of the 
Society for that year, page 27, three examples were ex- 
hibited at the evening meeting, one of which supplied the 
interesting link in this species, being a young bird which 
united in its plumage the brown spotted wing of the Gar- 
denian Heron, with the black head and ash-coloured back 
of the Night Heron : thus exhibiting the change from the 
young to the adult bird. 

The Night Heron has been killed in Sussex, Dorsetshire, 
Devonshire, Flintshire, Anglesey, and in Ireland. In the 
inland counties of Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, and Ox- 
fordshire, and on the eastern side of our island in Kent, 
Suffolk, Norfolk, and twice in Scotland. Since the pub- 
lication of the first edition of this work, a fine male was 
shot at Radipole near Weymouth, as I learn by a com- 
munication from George Frampton, Esq. " A pair, pro- 
bably male and female, had been observed flying about and 
pitching on the trees in that village. 11 

Another was shot in April 1844, in the fish-pond of the 
Rev. J. C. Crowley, at St. John's, Cornwall, as recorded in 
the Zoologist, vol. ii. page 575. 

Specimens have been obtained in France, Spain, Por- 
tugal, Provence, and Italy. Adult specimens of the Night 
Heron are seen in spring at Candia, Malta, Sicily, and 
Corfu. In autumn they are seen on their return to Africa, 
with their young birds of the year. 

The Zoological Society have received specimens from 



552 ARDEHLE. 

Erzeroom, and M. Menetries found it near the Caspian 
Sea. It has also been brought by different naturalists from 
the Cape of Good Hope. It inhabits Nepal, and the coun- 
try about Calcutta, and is found in China, and Japan. 

The adult Night Heron has the beak nearly black above 
and at the point ; the base of the lower mandible and the 
naked skin around the eyes, green ; the irides crimson : 
the top of the head and the back of the neck black ; the 
elongated occipital plumes white, and generally three in 
number, but in very old birds it is said that the number is 
greater ; scapulars, inter-scapulars, and back, nearly black, 
glossed with green ; wings, wing-coverts, all the quill-fea- 
thers, secondaries, tertials, and tail-feathers, ash grey ; 
throat and neck almost white, passing into dull greyish 
white on the sides ; breast, belly, thighs, flanks, and under 
tail-coverts, nearly pure white ; legs and toes yellowish 
green ; the claws black. 

Adult males and females differ but little in colour. The 
whole length, from the point of the beak to the end of the 
tail, about twenty-three inches : from the carpal joint to 
the end of the wing twelve inches ; the first and fourth 
quill-feathers equal in length, and a little shorter than the 
third feather ; the second feather the longest in the wing. 

The young Night Heron has the upper mandible of the 
beak of a dark brown, the edge on each side lighter in 
colour, and, like the under mandible and the naked skin 
around the eye, of a pale greenish brown; the irides 
brown ; no elongated occipital plumes ; the top of the 
head, back of the neck, inter-scapulars, shoulders, wing, 
and wing-coverts, clove brown, the centre of each feather 
being pale wood-brown, extending to the tip, but bounded 
on the sides with darker brown ; all the primaries, secon- 
daries, and tertials, clove brown, tipped with pale wood- 



NIGHT HERON. 



553 



brown ; rump, and upper tail-coverts, a mixture of ash 
grey, pale brown, and clove brown ; tail-feathers greyish 
brown ; chin, throat, neck in front, breast, and under sur- 
face of the body, dull white, with elongated patches of 
greyish brown; legs and toes brown, tinged with green, 
claws dark brown. 

I am indebted to the kindness of the Rev. W. Alderson, 
of Ashton, near Sheffield, for the use of a clever drawing, 
from which the vignette below was taken. A Heron was 
seen one evening going to a piece of water to feed ; the 
spot was visited the next morning, when it was discovered, 
that the Heron had struck its sharp beak through the 
head of an eel, piercing both eyes ; the eel thus held had 
coiled itself so tightly round the neck of the Heron, as to 
stop the bird's respiration, and both were dead. 




554 

GRALLATORES. 



ARDEIDM. 




THE WHITE STORK. 

Ciconia alba. 

Ardea ciconia, White Stork, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

The BEWICK. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 5. 

Ciconia alba, White FLEM. Brit. An. p. 97. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 45. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 192. 

., GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. vi. 

Cigogne blanche, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 560. 

CICONIA. Generic Characters. Beak longer than the head, straight, strong, 
and pointed. Nostrils pierced longitudinally in the horny substance. Eyes sur- 
rounded by a naked skin. Legs long ; feet with four toes, three in front, united 



WHITE STORK. 555 

by a membrane as far as the first joint. Wings rather large ; the first quill-fea- 
ther shorter than the second ; the third and fourth quill- feathers the longest in 
the wing. 

IN the days of Merrett, Willughby, and Ray, the White 
Stork was considered a very rare visiter to this country. 
Dr. Turner even mentions that he had only seen it in con- 
finement; but Sir Thomas Browne, writing at Norwich, 
says I have seen this bird in the fens, and some have been 
shot in the marshes between this and Yarmouth. Bewick 
says that Wallis, in his History of Northumberland, men- 
tions one which was killed near Chollerford Bridge, in the 
year 1766. Its skin was nailed up against the wall of the 
inn at that place, and drew crowds of people from the ad- 
jacent parts to view it. The winter -quarters of the White 
Stork are the northern parts of Africa, and more particular- 
ly Egypt, from whence it migrates in March or April to 
France, Holland, Germany, Poland, and Russia. Others, 
taking a more westerly direction, visit Sweden, and even 
gain a high northern latitude in Scandinavia, returning 
southward early in August. It is common in Spain and 
Turkey. 

This species is said to have been killed in Ireland. Dr. 
Edward Moore on the authority of Mr. Gosling, says, that 
three birds have been obtained in Devonshire within the 
last fifteen years. One was killed in Hampshire in 1808 by 
the gamekeeper of John Guitton, Esq., of Little Park, near 
Wickham. One has been killed near Salisbury. Two have 
been killed in Kent ; one of them in Romney Marsh, the 
second near Sandwich. One was killed near Mildenhall, in 
Suffolk, in 1830. Three have been killed in Norfolk, the 
last in 1817. I learn from Frederick Holme, Esq., that a 
flock of four or five White Storks haunted the pools of 
Kedby Common in the East Riding of Yorkshire, for some 



556 ARDEID.E. 

time in the spring of 1830, and one of them was shot. One 
specimen has heen killed in Scotland, communicated to me 
by Thomas M. Grant, Esq., and two examples are said to 
have been killed in Shetland. 

W. B. Fisher, Esq., sent me word that a White Stork 
was shot at Halvergate, seven miles from Yarmouth in 
May 1842 ; and Thomas Thornhill, Esq., favoured me with 
a notice of one killed in Essex during the same month. 

" The White Stork, from its familiarity, and the services 
which it renders to man in some countries by the destruc- 
tion of reptiles and the removal of oifal, has ever secured 
for itself an especial protection, and an exemption from the 
persecution which is the lot of the less favoured of the fea- 
thered tribes. Its periodical return to its accustomed sum- 
mer-quarters to its nest, the home of many generations, 
has ever been regarded with feelings of pleasure ; and its 
visits to the habitations of man have not only been per- 
mitted, but sanctioned with welcome. In various parts of 
Holland, the nest of this bird, built on the chimney top, 
remains undisturbed for many succeeding years, and the 
owners constantly return with unerring sagacity to the 
well-known spot. The joy which they manifest on again 
taking possession of their deserted dwelling, and the attach- 
ment which they testify towards their benevolent hosts, are 
familiar in the mouths of every one." In Holland particu- 
larly, in some parts of Germany, and indeed in all countries 
where it breeds it is protected ; boxes are provided for 
them on the tops of the houses ; and in several continental 
cities, he considers himself a fortunate man whose roof the 
Stork selects for its periodical resting-place. Its nest, 
formed of a mass of sticks, and other coarse materials, is on 
some part of the house top, or a tall chimney, a steeple, or 
an old tower, and sometimes on the summits of the loftiest 



WHITE STORK. 557 

trees in the immediate neighbourhood of the most frequent- 
ed place. It stalks about in perfect confidence along the 
busy streets and markets of the most crowded towns, and 
seeks its food on the banks of rivers, or in fens, in the 
vicinity of its abode. Storks devour indiscriminately small 
mammalia, reptiles, fishes, the young of water-fowl, aquatic 
insects, and worms. The Stork generally lays three or four 
eggs, which are white, slightly tinged with buff colour, of a 
short oval form, about two inches ten lines in length, by one 
inch eleven lines in breadth. After a month's incubation, 
Mr. Selby says, the young are hatched, and, with great 
care, attended and watched alternately by the parents until 
fully fledged and able to provide for themselves. The old 
birds feed their young by inserting their own beak within 
the mandibles of the young bird, and passing from their 
own stomach the half digested remains of their last meal. 

Their affection for their young, as observed by Mr. 
Bennett, is one of the most remarkable traits in their cha- 
racter : it is only necessary to mention the history of the 
female, which, at the conflagration of Delft, after repeated 
and unsuccessful attempts to carry off her young, chose 
rather to remain and perish with them in the general ruin, 
than to leave them to their fate. 

The adult bird has the beak red ; the bare skin around 
the eye black ; the irides brown ; the whole of the plumage 
white, except the greater wing-coverts, the primary quill- 
feathers, secondaries, and tertials, which are black ; legs 
and toes red ; the claws brown. The whole length three 
feet six or eight inches. From the carpal joint to the end 
of the primaries, twenty-three inches. Young birds have 
the quill-feathers dull black ; the beak and legs dark 
brownish red. 



558 
GRALLATORES. 



ARDEIDJi. 



ARDEWM. 




THE BLACK STORK. 

Ciconia nigra. 

Ardea nigra, Black Stork, MONTAGU, Linn. Trans, vol. xii. p. 19. 

Ciconia FLEM. Brit. An. p. 97. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 48. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 193. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. vi. 

EYTON, Rare Brit. Birds, p. 33. 

Cigogne noir, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 561. 

THE first occurrence of the Black Stork in a wild state in 
this country, was made known by Colonel Montagu in a 
paper read before the Linnean Society on the 2nd of May, 



BLACK STORK. 559 

1815 ; and I am not aware that more than three other ex- 
amples of this bird have occurred since. The first of these 
three was shot on the Tamar in November 1831, and the 
circumstance has been recorded by Dr. E. Moore in Devon- 
shire, and by Mr. Couch in Cornwall. Dr. Moore saw this 
bird while warm, and it is now in the collection of Mr. 
Drew. The second is recorded in the seventh volume of 
the Magazine of Natural History, page 53 : it was shot in 
October 1832, in the parish of Otley, about eight miles 
from Ipswich. The third is of still more recent date. In 
reference to this bird, I received two communications on 
the same day : one from the Earl of Malmesbury, who had 
purchased the specimen for his own collection at Heron 
Court, near Christchurch, and to whom I have the honour 
to acknowledge my obligations for various interesting parti- 
culars of British Birds : the other from my friend, William 
Thompson of Lytchet, near Poole, but a short distance 
across the water from the spot where the bird was obtained. 
This Black Stork was shot in the Isle of Purbeck by a 
clay-boat man in a marshy field on the banks of the Middle- 
burg creek, at the south side of Poole Harbour, on Friday 
the 22nd of November, 1839. 

Colonel Montagu's bird was captured by means of a slight 
shot wound in the wing, which did not break the bone, and 
the bird lived in his possession more than twelve months, in 
excellent health. It was shot in West Sedge Moor, ad- 
joining the Parish of Stoke St. Gregory, Somersetshire, on 
the 13th of May, 1814 ; and what is remarkable, another 
very rare bird, the White Spoonbill, was shot on the same 
moor, by the same person, in November of the preceding 
year. 

The habits of Colonel Montagu's bird in confinement are 
thus related in the communication to the Linnean Society 
that has already been referred to. 



560 ARDEID^E. 

Like the White Stork, it frequently rests upon one leg ; 
and if alarmed, particularly by the approach of a dog, it 
makes a considerable noise by reiterated snapping of the 
bill, similar to that species. It soon became docile, and 
would follow its feeder for a favourite morsel, an eel. 
When very hungry it crouches, resting the whole length of 
the legs upon the ground, and supplicantly seems to solicit 
food by nodding the head, flapping its unwieldy pinions, 
and forcibly blowing the air from the lungs with audible 
expirations. Whenever it is approached, the expulsion of 
air, accompanied by repeated nodding of the head is pro- 
voked. The bird is of a mild and peaceful disposition, 
very unlike many of its congeners ; for it never makes use 
of its formidable bill offensively against any of the com- 
panions of its prison, and even submits peaceably to be 
taken up without much struggle. From the manner in 
which it is observed to search the grass with its bill, there 
can be no doubt that reptiles form part of its natural food ; 
even mice, worms, and the larger insects, probably add to 
its usual repast. When searching in thick grass, or in the 
mud, for its prey, the bill is kept partly open : by this 
means I have observed it take eels in a pond with great 
dexterity : no spear, in common use for taking that fish, 
can more effectually receive it between its prongs than the 
grasp of the Stork's open mandibles. A small eel has no 
chance of escaping when once roused from its lurking place. 
But the Stork does not gorge its prey instantly like the 
Cormorant ; on the contrary, it retires to the margin of the 
pool, and there disables its prey by shaking and beating 
with its bill, before it ventures to swallow it. I never ob- 
served this bird attempt to swim ; but it will wade up to 
the belly, and occasionally thrust the whole head and neck 
under water after its prey. It prefers an elevated spot on 



BLACK STORK. 561 

which to repose : an old ivy-bound weeping-willow, that 
lies prostrate over the pond, is usually resorted to for that 
purpose. In this quiescent state the neck is much shorten- 
ed by resting the hinder part of the head on the back : and 
the bill rests on the fore part of the neck, over which the 
feathers flow partly so as to conceal it, making a very 
singular appearance. 

The Black Stork, perhaps, is not more delicate in the 
choice of its food than the White species : fish appears to 
be preferred to flesh ; but when very hungry any sort of 
offal is acceptable. 

All birds that pursue their migrative course by night in 
congregation, have undoubtedly some cry by which the 
whole assembly is kept together : yet it would appear that 
at other times the Black Stork is extremely mute ; not a 
single note has been heard to issue from the bird in ques- 
tion since its captivity. 

Colonel Montagu's specimen is still preserved, with his 
other British Birds, in the British Museum. 

Like the species last described, the Black Stork is also a 
migratory bird, passing the winter in the southern parts of 
Europe. In the spring it advances to high northern lati- 
tudes to pass the summer, occasionally visiting Sweden : 
M. Nilsson, of Lund, naming several localities in which it 
had been seen, and particularly describing one bird that 
came under his examination in the month of August. 
Pennant, in his Arctic Zoology, quoting Linnaeus, says that 
this bird goes to Russia and Siberia, as far as the Lena, 
where lakes and morasses abound. The Black Stork 
seldom comes so far to the westward as its generic com- 
panion, the White Stork, as it is almost unknown in Hol- 
land, and, according to M. Vieillot, very rare in France, 
though not uncommon in Switzerland and some parts of 

VOL. II. O O 



562 ARDEIDJE. 

Germany, and said to be abundant in Hungary and Poland. 
M. Polydore Boux considers it a bird of Provence ; it is 
found in the salt marshes of Italy ; inhabits Turkey ; and 
the Eussian naturalists enumerate it in their catalogue of 
the birds found in the countries between the Black and the 
Caspian Seas. It has been found in Nepal and at Calcutta. 
It probably inhabits, during the winter, a great part of 
Northern Africa, since Dr. Heineken included it among the 
birds of Madeira, and its southward range is extensive, Dr. 
Andrew Smith having brought specimens with him from 
the Cape of Good Hope. 

The character of the Black Stork, as observed by Mr. 
E. T. Bennett, and others, is in one respect diametrically 
opposed to that of the White Stork. Instead of domesti- 
cating itself, as it were, with man, it shuns his society, and 
makes its temporary dwelling in the most secluded spots, 
frequenting impenetrable morasses, or the banks of such 
rivers and lakes as are seldom disturbed by the presence of 
intruders, and building its nest on the summits of the 
loftiest pines. It lays two or three eggs, of a buify white 
colour, about two inches seven lines long, by one inch and 
eleven lines in breadth. 

A very fine specimen of the Black Stork has lived in the 
menagerie of the Zoological Society in the Regent's Park 
for the last ten or twelve years ; it seems perfectly quiet, 
never using its powerful beak as a weapon of offence against 
its fellow-prisoners, and makes no noise except the clatter- 
ing sound which it produces by the snapping of its man- 
dibles. 

This Black Stork has stood for his portrait to illustrate 
the Ornithological works of Mr. Bennett, Mr. Selby, Mr. 
Gould, Mr. Meyer, and my own. 

In the adult bird, the beak, and the naked skin around 



BLACK STORK. 563 

the eye, are red, tinged with orange ; the irides reddish 
brown; the head, neck all round, upper surface of the 
body, wings, and wing- coverts, are glossy black, varied 
with blue, purple, copper coloured and green reflections ; 
the primary quill-feathers and the tail black ; the whole of 
the under surface of the body, from the bottom of the neck 
to the ends of the under tail-coverts, white ; the legs and 
toes orange red ; the claws black. 

There is no difference in the plumage of the sexes. 

The whole length of the specimen killed in Dorsetshire, 
was three feet four inches. From the carpal joint to the 
end of the wing, twenty-one inches ; the length of the beak 
from the point to the angle of the gape, seven inches ; 
length of the middle toe four inches ; of the tarsus eight 
inches ; of the naked part above, four inches and a half. 

The colours in this specimen, which are not those of 
mature age, are thus described. Head and neck dusky 
brown ; wings, tail, and back, black or dusky brown, with 
purple reflections ; lower part of breast and belly white ; 
bill and orbits bright orange ; irides hazel ; legs and toes 
pale red. 

According to M. Temminck, in very young birds the 
beak, the naked skin around the eyes and the legs are olive 
green, the head and neck being then of a reddish brown. 



o o 2 



564 

GRALLATORES. 



ARDEID^E. 



ARDEWJE. 







THE WHITE SPOONBILL 

Platalea leucorodia. 



Platalea leucorodia, T/ie Spoonlill, 
White 

The 

Common 

White 



Spatule blanclie, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 3. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 31. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 94. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 51. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 193. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ii. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 596. 



PLATALEA. Generic Characters. Bill very long, strong, very much flattened, 
dilated at the point, rounded in the form of a spoon ; upper mandible channelled 
and transversely grooved at the base. Nostrils on the upper surface of the beak, 
near together, oblong, open, bordered by a membrane. Forehead, lore, orbits and 
chin naked. Legs long, strong, three toes in front, united as far as the second 



WHITE SPOONBILL. 565 

articulation by a membrane, the marginal edge of which is deeply concave ; hind 
toe long. Wings rather large ; the first quill-feather nearly as long as the second, 
which is the longest in the wing. 

THE beak of the Spoonbill is one of those very singular 
modifications of an organ which nature sometimes exhibits 
as if to show the many diversities of form which can be 
rendered applicable to one purpose ; for notwithstanding 
the difference so conspicuous in this instrument, the food of 
the Spoonbill is very similar to that of the Herons, the 
Bitterns, and the Storks, and the bird itself is in other 
respects very closely allied to the Waders already de- 
scribed. 

The Spoonbill is recorded as a British bird by Merrett, 
on the authority of Dr. Turner, and by Sir Robert Sibbald 
as an accidental visiter to Scotland : he states having re- 
ceived it from Orkney. Sir Thomas Browne, who was 
contemporary with Merrett and Sibbald, says, " the Platea 
or Shrovelard build upon the tops of high trees. They 
formerly built in the H emery at Claxton and Rudham ; 
now at Trimley in Suffolk. They come in March, and are 
shot by fowlers, not for their meat, but their handsome- 
ness ; remarkable in their white colour, copped crown and 
spoon, or spatule-like bill." Record is also made of a flock 
of these birds which migrated into the marshes near Yar- 
mouth, in April 1774. Spoonbills have since been killed 
on many occasions, and but for the recent, and almost 
universal practice of draining in this country, to bring fen 
land into successful cultivation, these birds might still be 
numbered among our constant summer visiters. Mr. 
Thompson of Belfast was informed by Mr. Ball of Dublin, 
that three Spoonbills were seen near Youghall in Ireland, 
in the autumn of 1829, and one of them was shot. Mr. 
Eyton has noticed one that was killed at Aberystwith in 



566 ARDEIDJ!. 

January 1838. This species has occurred in Worcester- 
shire and in Gloucestershire. Several specimens have been 
killed in Devonshire and in Dorsetshire, one of which hap- 
pened near Poole. Four are known to have been killed in 
Suffolk, one of them at Aldborough, the other three at 
Thorpe, out of a flock of seven. Several have been ob- 
tained recently in Norfolk, particularly about Yarmouth. 
Two examples were received in London from Lincolnshire 
in 1826. Sir Eobert Sibbald, as before observed, has re- 
corded their occurrence in Orkney, and Dr. Fleming men- 
tions one that was shot in Zetland. 

In September 1843 a Spoonbill was shot at Lynn ; and 
E. H. Rodd, Esq. furnished the following notice to the 
Zoologist soon after. {See page 364.) " On the evening of 
the 13th of October 1843, a flock of eleven White Spoon- 
bills was seen to fly over Hayle, in the western part of 
Cornwall ; they were at length observed to alight in some 
marshy ground in the parish of Gwithian, on the north 
coast, a little to the eastward of St. Ives. Seven of them 
were shot, four of which I have had an opportunity of 
examining, and in their general appearance they display a 
more adult cast of plumage than either of the two Cornish 
examples which I have succeeded in obtaining before. The 
plumage of those at present under notice is free from any 
impurity in its whiteness, and there is a roseate blush ob- 
servable in some of the dorsal feathers, towards their roots, 
this tint being especially apparent in, and as it were ra- 
diating from, the shafts of the feathers. Some of the 
specimens possess a much more extended bill than others, 
the excess amounting to an inch at least. The whole are 
without an occipital crest, or dorsal plumes, and it may be 
a question whether those specimens having bills so much 
longer than the others, may not be old birds in winter 



WHITE SPOONBILL. 567 

plumage. There is no yellow tint in any portion of the 
bills of any of the specimens ; the colour being dark livid 
with a shade of flesh-colour." 

Muller includes the Spoonbill among his birds of Den- 
mark, and M, Nilsson says it is an occasional visiter to 
Sweden. Pennant, in his Arctic Zoology, says, "it in- 
habits the Faroe Isles ; and on the continent is sometimes 
found in summer as high as West Bothnia and Lapland. 
Inhabits also the temperate parts of Russia and Siberia, 
both in flocks and solitary, frequenting the vast lakes of 
the country. Is seen even beyond lake Baikal. Winters 
in the south." I do not, however, find the Spoonbill in- 
cluded in the more modern catalogues of the birds of Lap- 
land, Norway, or the Faroe Islands. 

Like many of the wading birds with which it is allied, 
the Spoonbill is a migratory species, quitting the north of 
Europe, and more particularly Holland, which is its fa- 
vourite summer resort, to pass the winter in the wanner 
parts of Europe, and has been found as far south in Africa 
as the Cape of Good Hope. It is found in Italy, where 
it passes the winter in the salt marshes, or in flocks on the 
sea coast. Pennant says that Aleppo is one of its winter 
retreats. Messrs. Dickson and Ross found this bird at 
Erzeroom in May, at the river, where it breeds ; several 
nests are placed near each other, about the middle of the 
river. They are made of reeds, bound together by weeds, 
which are piled up a few inches above the water's edge. 
Over this foundation dried reeds are placed in various di- 
rections, to form the body of the nest, which is not lined 
with anything, and is just large enough to allow one bird 
to sit, and the other to stand beside it : we found four eggs 
in each. The Spoonbill was also found by the Russian 
Naturalists on the banks of the rivers, and in the marshes 



568 ARDEID.E. 

of the country between the Black and the Caspian Seas. 
Colonel Sykes brought specimens from India, which al- 
though three or four inches longer, were otherwise identical 
with the European bird. These specimens were obtained 
in the Dukhun, one hundred miles from the sea, and at an 
elevation of two thousand feet. Mr. Blyth has obtained it 
near Calcutta. 

These birds build in some countries on high trees ; in 
default of trees, they make their nests among reeds or 
rushes in the marshes, or near the lakes to which they 
resort. The materials have been already noticed in the 
floating nests seen by Messrs. Dickson and Ross. The 
eggs are four, two inches five lines long, by one inch eight 
lines broad, white, spotted with pale reddish brown. The 
birds feed on small reptiles, small fishes, mollusca, aquatic 
insects, shrimps, sand-hoppers, &c. many of which they 
find when feeding at pools on the seashore. Their flesh is 
dark in colour, but it is said to be of good flavour, and 
without any fishy taste. They are quiet and inoffensive in 
captivity, and, in common with the various species to which 
they are allied, will feed on any sort of offal. 

In the adult male bird the beak is black, except the 
rounded part near the point, where it is yellow ; the naked 
skin under the tongue and on the throat is also yellow ; the 
irides red ; the whole of the plumage pure white, except a 
band of feathers at the bottom of the neck in front, which 
is of a buff colour, and this tint extends upwards on each 
side in a narrow stripe to the top ; the feathers of the 
occiput are elongated, forming a conspicuous plume ; the 
legs, toes, and claws black ; the toes connected by a con- 
siderable expanse of membrane which is concave at the 
margin between the toes. 

The whole length of the bird, from the point of the beak 



WHITE SPOONBILL. 569 

to the end of the tail, about thirty-two inches ; of which, 
the beak in an old male will measure near nine inches ; 
from the carpal joint to the end of the wing fourteen inches 
and a half; the first quill-feather not quite so long as the 
fourth ; the second and third equal in length, rather longer 
than the fourth, and the longest in the wing. 

The females are not so large at the same age as males, 
and have a smaller occipital crest ; but they are not other- 
wise dissimilar in plumage. 

In young birds the beak is not so large, it is softer in its 
texture, more flexible and of a lighter colour ; the naked 
parts about the head paler ; the irides ash colour ; the 
shafts and the ends of the quill-feathers are black, and 
there is no indication of the elongated occipital feathers, 
which at mature age are borne by both sexes. 

The Spoonbill possesses a peculiarity of internal structure 
much too interesting to be passed over. This bird is one 
of the very few which has been found to possess no true 
muscles of the organ of voice, and no modulation of a single 
tone appears to be possessed by the bird. The figure in- 
serted on the next page is a representation of part of the 
inside of this bird, with the figure of 8 like convolutions of 
its singular windpipe in the natural situation in front of the 
lungs ; the insertion of the bronchiee into the lobe of the 
lungs on each side is shown, but if compared with the re- 
presentations of the organs of voice in birds at pages 71, 
74 and 76 of the present volume, it will be seen that no 
particular ossification at the junction of the bronchiae with 
the bottom of the tube of the trachea exists, nor any mus- 
cles by which variations in the length of the trachea or the 
bronchia can be effected. In a young Spoonbill taken 
from the nest, and examined by Willughby in reference to 
this particular structure, which is said to have been first 



570 



ARDEID.E. 



noticed by Aldrovandus, this peculiarity was not found, 
and I have been told of another instance in which this 
structure was wanting, though the bird was examined by 
those who had found this anatomical peculiarity in every 
example of the species they had previously examined. I 
am therefore induced to suppose, that as this formation of 
the vocal organs is known to exist in old females as well 
as in old males, that, like the occipital crest, neither sex 
obtain it till they have acquired a certain degree of ma- 
turity. 

The representation below is one third less than the na- 
tural size. 




GLOSSY IBIS. 



GRALLATORES. 



571 

ARDEIDM 




Ibisfalcindlus, 



THE GLOSSY IBIS. 

Ibis falcinettus. 

Tantalus falcinellus, The Glossy Ibis, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 30. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 35. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 102. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 56. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 194. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xii. 

Ibisfalcinelle, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 598. 

IBIS. Generic Characters. Beak long, slender, curved, large at the base, the 
point depressed, obtuse, rounded ; upper mandible deeply grooved throughout its 
length. Nostrils on the upper surface and near the base of the beak, oblong, 
narrow, pierced, in a membrane which covers part of the aperture. Face, lore, 
and sometimes the chin naked, without feathers. Legs rather long, naked above 
the tarsal joint ; three toes in front, one behind, the anterior toes united by a 



572 ARDEID.E. 

membrane as far as the first joint ; hind toe long and resting its length on the 
ground. Wings moderate, the first quill-feather shorter than the second and 
third, which are the longest in the wing. 

THERE is good reason to believe that the Green, the 
Glossy, and the Bay Ibis of authors, with the various syste- 
matic names in use among ornithologists, refer only to 
various states of the same bird, depending on age or season, 
the difference in appearance inducing the names. Colonel 
Montagu, who paid great attention to the changes in the 
colours of plumage dependent on age, sex, and season, ap- 
pears to have first pointed out the identity of these supposed 
species of Ibis, and gives the details at considerable length 
in the Supplement to his Ornithological Dictionary. 

The appearance of the Glossy Ibis in this country, though 
not uncommon, is still accidental ; the course of its migra- 
tion for the summer towards the north of Europe being con- 
siderably to the eastward in a line from Egypt to Turkey, 
Hungary and Poland, to the southern parts of Russia. It 
is also occasionally seen on its passage from northern Africa 
in Crete, in the Grecian Archipelago, at Corfu, in Sicily, 
Sardinia and at Genoa. A straggler is sometimes found in 
Switzerland, Provence, France and Holland, but it is con- 
sidered a rare bird. 

Three specimens have been killed in Ireland, as recorded 
by N. A. Vigors, Esq., in the first volume of the Zoological 
Journal. One occurred some years ago in Lancashire, and 
is preserved in the collection of the Earl of Derby in that 
county. According to Montagu " the Ibis is adopted as a 
part of the arms of the town of Liverpool. This bird is 
termed a Liver, from which that flourishing town derived 
its name, and is now standing on the spot where the Pool 
was, on the verge of which the Liver was killed." The 
arms of the town of Liverpool are, however, comparatively 



GLOSSY IBIS. 573 

modern, and seem to have no reference to the Ibis. The 
bird has been adopted in the arms of the Earl of Liverpool, 
and in a recent edition of Burke's Peerage is described as a 
Cormorant holding in the beak a branch of sea-weed. In 
the Plantagenet seal of Liverpool, which is believed to be 
of the time of King John, the bird has the appearance of a 
Dove with a sprig of olive, apparently intended to refer to 
the advantages that commerce would derive from peace. 
For a drawing of this ancient seal, with various other par- 
ticulars, and also for a notice of the recent occurrence of an 
Ibis near the town of Fleetwood, on the river Wyre, I am 
indebted to the kindness of John Skaife, Esq., of Black- 
burn. 

The Kev. Hugh Davis, the friend of Pennant, has noticed 
that a flock visited Anglesey, of which four or five were 
shot. Mr. Couch, in his Cornish Fauna, says that several 
specimens of the Ibis have occurred in Cornwall. Besides 
three formerly killed in Devonshire as recorded by Montagu, 
three others are mentioned by Dr. Edward Moore, and one 
by Mr. Bellamy ; this last was obtained in October 1835 at 
Brideston in South Devon. I heard of one that was killed 
in Poole Harbour in October 1839 from the Earl of Malmes- 
bury, and also from J. C. Austin, Esq., of Ensbury near 
Wimbourn. Montagu mentions one that was killed in 
Berkshire ; another was killed at Whitmore-pond, near 
Guildford, in March 1833, and J. C. Hurst, Esq., of Dart- 
ford, sent me notice in 1837 of a specimen in his own collec- 
tion that had been shot on the bank of a fish-pond in that 
neighbourhood. Many specimens have been obtained in 
Norfolk. The Rev. Richard Lubbock remarks that the 
Ibis was probably fifty years back more common in the 
neighbourhood of Lynn, Yarmouth, &c. : the old gunners 
used to talk of having, in their youth, often seen small 



574 ARDEID^E. 

parties of what they called " Black Curlews." Mr. Selby 
mentions one example, a young bird, now preserved in his 
own collection, that was obtained on the Coquet near Roth- 
bury, in the autumn of 1820 : from this specimen the re- 
presentation of the Ibis published in some of the later 
editions of Bewick's British Birds was taken. 

A fine adult bird of this species was killed on the borders 
of the Loch of Kilconquhar on the coast of Fife, in Septem- 
ber 1842. Mr. Hepburn, who shot the bird, called upon 
me and made the communication. I believe this is the 
first record of the capture of the Glossy Ibis in Scotland. 

Still further north, Muller includes the Ibis as a bird of 
Denmark. M. Nilsson says it sometimes visits Sweden, 
but very rarely, and it has appeared on some of the islands 
of the Baltic. Wagler, in his Sy sterna Avium, page 182, 
enumerates Iceland among the northern localities visited by 
the Ibis ; but this bird is not included in the catalogues, by 
the Fabers, and others, of the birds of Lapland, Norway, 
the Faroe Islands, or Iceland. 

Specimens of this bird have been obtained by Dr. Andrew 
Smith, nearly as far south in Africa as the Cape of Good 
Hope. It is migratory in Egypt, where it appears to have 
been held in the same veneration formerly as the Sacred 
Ibis of authors : both species appear in the hieroglyphics of 
that country, and many bodies of both preserved by em- 
balming have been found at Memphis and Thebes. 

This bird appears to have been seen frequently by Messrs. 
Dickson and Eoss in the vicinity of the river at Erzeroom ; 
and the Naturalists with the Russian expedition met with 
it in the countries between the Black and the Caspian 
seas. 

Dr. Latham considered it a bird of India on the authority 
of drawings made in that country, and Colonel Sykes has 






GLOSSY IBIS. 575 

since brought specimens from the Dukhun. It has also 
been found at Thibet, Nepal and Calcutta. According to 
M. Temminck specimens of this same Ibis have been ob- 
tained at Java, at Sunda, and some of the neighbouring 
islands in the eastern seas. In the seventeenth part of his 
fine work on the Birds of Australia, Mr. Gould has figured 
an adult and a young bird, and observes that this species 
has been found in every part of the vast continent of Aus- 
tralia at present known to us. 

The Glossy Ibis was first made known as an inhabitant 
of the United States of North America, by Mr. George 
Ord, the friend, the companion, and the biographer of 
Alexander Wilson. Though a rare bird in the Northern 
States, several examples have been obtained. Mr. Nuttall, 
in his Ornithology of the United States and Canada, says, 
that a specimen has occasionally been exposed for sale in the 
market of Boston. Mr. Audubon says, " it exists in vast 
numbers in Mexico. In the spring of 1837 I saw flocks in 
the Texas, but even there it is only a summer resident 
along the grassy margins of the rivers and bayous, and ap- 
parently going to and from its roosting places in the interior 
of the country." The bird figured by Mr. Audubon in his 
splendid work was obtained in Florida, and this Ibis has 
been figured as the Brazilian Curlew from specimens ob- 
tained in Brazil. 

In Europe the Glossy Ibis lives principally on the banks 
of rivers, and on the shores of lakes or muddy flats which 
are occasionally flooded over ; feeding on small reptiles, the 
fry of fishes, small Crustacea, aquatic insects, worms and 
other soft-bodied animals. Of its nidification or its eggs 
little that I am aware of is known. Montagu says that 
it builds in trees, but for this, though very probable, no 
authority is named. 



576 ARDEID.E. 

In the adult bird the beak is dark purple brown, the lore 
and the naked skin around the eyes olive green, tinged with 
grey ; the irides hazel ; the head, the neck all round and 
the interscapulars deep reddish brown ; wing-coverts and 
tertials dark maroon brown with brilliant green and purple 
reflections ; wing-primaries dark brownish black, tinged 
with green ; tail-feathers brownish black, tinged with 
purple ; breast, sides and belly deep reddish brown, like 
the neck ; the under surface of the wings, the flanks and 
under tail-coverts dark brown ; the legs and toes green, the 
claws olive brown. 

The whole length of the bird about twenty-two inches. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing ten inches and 
three-quarters ; the first and fourth quill-feathers equal in 
length, but shorter than the second and third, which are 
also equal in length and the longest in the wing. 

M. Temminck says that females, at the same age, only 
differ from males in being smaller in size. 

In young birds the head, cheeks, and upper part of the 
neck behind are dull clove brown, intermixed with short 
hair-like streaks of greyish white ; on the throat in front, 
one and sometimes more patches of dull greyish white, 
placed rather transversely ; the whole of the body above 
and below, the wings and the tail, dull uniform liver brown, 
with very little of the glossy tints observable in older birds, 
which are obtained gradually. 

An opportunity occurred lately of obtaining some ex- 
amples of the eggs of this Ibis. I possess one which 
measures one inch and seven-eighths in length, by one 
inch three-eighths in breadth ; in form pear-shaped, the 
colour uniform bluish green, No. 51, of Werner's nomen- 
clature by P. Syme. 



GRALLA TORES. 



COMMON CURLEW. 



577 

SCOLOPACID&. 




THE COMMON CURLEW. 

Numenius arquata. 

Numenius arquata, Common Curlew, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p 34. 

Scolopa,v MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

The BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p 38. 

Numenius Common FLEM. Brit. An p. 101. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 62. 

JENVNS, Brit. Vert. p. 195. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiv. 

Grand Courtis cendrg, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 603. 

NUMENIUS. Generic Cliaracters. Beak long, slender, curved and compressed, 
the point hard and slightly bent ; upper mandible rather longer than the lower, 
rounded near the end and grooved along three-fourths of its whole length. Nos- 
trils lateral, linear, pierced in the groove. Face and lore covered with feathers. 
Legs rather long, slender, tibia, partly naked ; three toes in front, one behind ; 

VOL. II. P P 



578 SCOLOPACID^E. 

the toes in front united by a membrane as far as the first articulation ; the hind 
toe articulated upon the tarsus and touching the ground. Wings moderate, the 
first quill-feather the longest in the wing. 

THE Curlew is so common a bird as to be well known on 
almost every part of our coast, where it obtains a living 
from the middle of autumn, through the winter, till the 
pairing season of the following spring. It frequents the 
sea-shore and its extensive sandy flats during the ebb tide, 
seeking for small Crustacea, marine insects, worms, &c., 
with which to satisfy its hunger, retiring to open fields in 
the vicinity when the rising tide covers the feeding ground. 
Sir William Jardine has described from personal observa- 
tion the habits of these birds on the Solway. " They re- 
tired regularly inland after their favourite feeding places 
were covered. A long and narrow ledge of rocks runs into 
the Frith, behind which we used to lie concealed, for the 
purpose of getting shots at various sea-fowl returning at 
ebb. None were so regular as the Curlew. The more 
aquatic were near the sea, and could perceive the gradual 
reflux ; the Curlews were far inland, but as soon as we 
could perceive the top of a sharp rock standing above water, 
we were sure to perceive the first flocks leave the land, thus 
keeping pace regularly with the change of the tides. They 
fly in a direct line to their feeding grounds, and often in a 
wedge shape ; on alarm, a simultaneous cry is uttered, and 
the next coming flock turns from its course, uttering in re- 
petition the same alarm note. In a few days they become 
so wary, as not to fly over the concealed station. They are 
one of the most difficult birds to approach, except during 
spring, but may be enticed by imitating their whistle.*" 
One cry peculiar to the Curlew sounds like corlieu or 
courlie ; whence its English and French name. 

Early in April the Curlews begin to retire from the coast 



COMMON CURLEW. 579 

and seek the breeding grounds. Mr. Selby feels assured 
from observations lie has been able to make, that this move- 
ment is not so confined in extent as is supposed ; that the 
winter visiters of the coast of Northumberland do not satisfy 
the migrative impulse by a flight of a few miles into the in- 
terior ; but that these retire to the Highlands, or northern 
parts of Scotland and its isles, and many visit high northern 
latitudes to be hereafter mentioned, thus giving place upon 
the moors and open grounds of the border counties to those 
birds which have wintered in the southern parts of the king- 
dom. Mr. Thompson says the Curlew breeds in some of 
the large bogs of Ireland. Mr. Eyton says it breeds near 
Holyhead, and on Whixan moss in Shropshire. Mr. 
Couch, in his Cornish Fauna, says some few breed on the 
high grounds in Cornwall. Montagu states that they bred 
in his time on the high hills of Exmoor ; and Mr. Bellamy 
says that this bird now breeds on Dartmoor. Montagu 
also mentions that he had taken the young on the moun- 
tains of Northumberland and in the low swampy grounds of 
the Isle of Mull in Scotland. Mr. Selby mentions the 
Curlew as very abundant during the breeding-season in all 
the central parts of the county of Sutherland, where heath 
and marshy tracts prevail. Mr. Dunn says the Curlew is 
rather plentiful in Orkney and Shetland, resorting to the 
most retired parts of mossy hills, in which situation it lays 
its eggs, procuring its food from the muddy banks of lakes. 
Throughout Scotland and its isles the Curlew is called a 
Whaap, or Whaup, which in Jamieson's Scottish Diction- 
ary is said to be a name for a goblin, supposed to go about 
under the eaves of houses after nightfall, having a long beak. 
Sir Walter Scott refers to this supposed connection of a 
long beak with a suspicious character in his Black Dwarf 
(chap, ii.), in a dialogue between Hobbie Elliott and Earns- 

p r2 



580 SCOLOrACID^E. 

cliff, in the evening on Mucklestane Moor : the former says, 
" what need I care for the Mucklestane Moor ony mair 
than ye do yoursel, Earns-cliff ? to be sure they say there "s 
a sort o 1 worricows and lang nebbit things about the land, 
but what need I care for them?" and this enables us to 
understand the fag end of a Highlander's prayer to be saved 
harmless, " from witches, warlocks,* and aw lang-nebbed 
things." 

The Curlew inhabits Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, 
during summer. In the latter country Mr. Hewitson, and 
the party with him, were surprised to see this long-legged 
bird alight on the top of a pine, and frequently afterwards 
pass from tree to tree uttering its loud note. This bird 
also in summer visits the Faroe Islands and Iceland. In 
an account of the Faroe Islands lately published it is stated 
that the Curlew even winters occasionally in the most 
southern of these islands, where the bays are never covered 
with ice, except in the coldest years ; nor does the snow cover 
the ground above a week at a time, and is never deep. 

The nest of the Curlew is slight : a few leaves or other 
dry materials, carelessly brought together among long grass 
or heath, or in a tuft of rushes, is all that appears. The 
eggs are four in number, pear-shaped and generally placed 
with the smaller ends together : the egg measures two 
inches seven lines in length, by one inch eleven lines in 
breadth, and is of an olive-green, blotched and spotted with 
darker green and dark brown. The young run almost as 
soon as hatched, but are unable to fly for a considerable 
time. In confinement these birds become tame enough to 
follow their feeder for the usual meal, and Montagu ob- 
served that they could swim with ease, but did not take 
the water without being driven. 

* A warlock, or wizzard, a man who is supposed to be in compact with the 
devil. Jamieson's Dictionary. 



COMMON CURLEW. 581 

Besides the localities and countries already mentioned, 
Dr. Andrew Smith brought specimens from southern Africa, 
and the bird is found in various parts of the south of 
Europe. Mr. Strickland includes it among the birds seen 
by him at Smyrna, and M. Hohenacker found it in the 
countries bordering on the Caucasus. Our bird is found in 
Nepal and Calcutta ; and M. Temminck says the European 
Curlew is found at Pondicherry, Japan, and the Islands 
of the Indian Archipelago, where another Curlew is also 
found that is still larger than our bird, and has a longer 
and more slender bill. Mr. Gould mentions having re- 
ceived skins of our Curlew from China. 

The plumage of the male and female is very similar. 
The beak is dark brown, except the basal portion of the 
under mandible, which is pale brown ; the irides dark 
brown ; head and neck pale brown, the centre of each 
feather bearing a longitudinal streak of dark brown ; the 
feathers on the upper part of the back brownish black, with 
pale brown edges; the lower part of the back and the 
rump white ; upper tail-coverts white, with a lanceolate 
streak of dark brown towards the end ; tail-feathers barred 
with dark brown and dull white ; the smaller wing-coverts 
blackish brown with almost white edges, making this part 
of the wings appear lighter in colour than the back ; the 
greater wing-coverts and the first five primary quill-feathers 
black, the latter with white shafts ; the secondary wing- 
feathers and the tertials blackish brown in the centre, and 
barred transversely on the edges with dark and light 
brown ; the chin white ; front of the neck and upper part 
of the breast pale brown, streaked longitudinally with dark 
brown ; lower part of the breast nearly white, and spotted 
rather than streaked with dark brown ; vent and under 
tail-coverts white, the latter with an occasional duskv 



582 



SCOLOPACID.E. 



streak ; legs and toes pale blue, becoming lead blue a few 
days after death. 

Among the Curlews, the Godwits, Snipes, Sandpipers 
and others, the females are the largest, and, in a pair of 
the species now under consideration, remarkably so : the 
female measured twenty-six inches ; the wing twelve 
inches and one quarter : the male in the whole length 
twenty-one inches, the wing eleven inches and a half. 
The first quill-feather of the wing the longest in both. 

The vignette represents the young of the Curlew, for the 
opportunity of figuring which I am indebted to the kind- 
ness of T. C. Heysham, Esq. of Carlisle. 




WHIMBREL. 



ORALLATORES. 



583 

SCOLOPACIDJE. 




THE WHIMBREL. 



Numenius pJwevpus, Whimbrel Curlew, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 36. 

Scolopcur, ., TVje Whimbrel, MONTAGU, Omith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 40. 

Numenius, Whimbrel Curlew, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 101. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 65. 

T/ie Whimbrel, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 195. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xxi. 

Courlis corlieu, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 604. 

IN its plumage, its haunts, habits and food, the Whim- 
brel very closely resembles the Curlew last described, but is 
by no means so numerous as a species, and is also very 
considerably smaller in size, so much so that it has in some 
counties obtained the names of Half-Curlew and Jack- 



584 SCOLOPACIDjE. 

Curlew in reference to its diminished comparative propor- 
tions. Though to be seen occasionally on many parts of 
our shores in winter, it is generally most plentiful in May, 
and again in Autumn, when these birds are on their way 
to and from the northern localities where they resort during 
the breeding season, and in which they produce their young. 

The eggs of the Whimbrel are rare in collections, and 
I have never heard of any being obtained in the southern 
counties. Mr. Thompson, of Belfast, sends me word that 
these birds are only seen in Ireland in spring and autumn. 
They are seen also at the same periods on the Grampians 
and other high grounds of Scotland. Mr. Selby mentions 
that the Whimbrel was seen in the summer of 1834, upon 
the margin of Loch Shin in Sutherlandshire, but no eggs 
or young were obtained. Mr. Salmon, who visited the Isle 
of Hoy, in Orkney, says the Whimbrel breeds there, but 
goes to nest early, as the eggs were all hatched by the 3rd 
of June. Dr. Fleming says this bird breeds in Shetland, 
where it is called Tang-Whaap ; the nest is placed on ex- 
posed parts of the heath. Mr. Hewitson names two of the 
Shetland Isles, Yell, and Has-cosea, where they breed, but 
the birds are in small and rapidly decreasing numbers, 
their eggs being there considered a delicacy. Mr. Dunn, 
who has more than once visited both Orkney and Shetland, 
says, the Curlew and the Whimbrel do not associate to- 
gether, although he has found their nests within a gun-shot 
of each other. The latter birds leave these islands imme- 
diately after the breeding season is over. 

The eggs are four in number, of a dark olive brown, 
blotched with darker brown ; they are pear-shaped, and 
very much like those of the Curlew, but smaller, measuring 
two inches five lines in length, by one inch eight lines in 
breadth. The birds feed on insects and worms, and their 



WHIMBREL. 585 

note is said to resemble the words tetty, tetty, tetty, tet, 
quickly repeated. 

To the northward of our own country the Whimbrel 
visits Denmark and Sweden. Mr. Hewitson saw it occasion- 
ally in the western parts of Norway. Richard Dann, Esq. 
tells me that a few breed annually in Lapland, as high 
as 65 N. lat.; and this bird is included among the constant 
summer visiters to the Faroe Islands, and to Iceland. 

The Whimbrel is found as far south in the winter as 
Madeira, and the line of North Africa, and is seen on its 
passage on various islands of the Mediterranean, in Italy, 
Genoa, Spain, Provence, France, Holland, and Germany, 
but is more common in Holland, than in France or Ger- 
many. It was found by M. Menetries, the Russian Na- 
turalist, on the borders of rivers in the Province of Cau- 
casus. It is found in various parts of India ; and M. 
Temminck says, that specimens from Japan do not differ 
from those of our European bird. 

The beak is brownish black, pale brown at the base of 
the under mandible ; the irides dark brown ; the top of the 
head dark brown, with a light brown streak passing back- 
wards over the top to the occiput ; from the angle of the 
gape to the eye a dark brown streak ; over that, and pass- 
ing in continuation over the eye and the ear-coverts, is a 
light coloured streak ; the feathers of the neck, all round, 
dull brownish white, with dark central streaks; inter- 
scapulars, scapulars, and wing-coverts dusky brown, with 
dull brownish white margins ; wing primaries greyish 
black, the secondaries barred with white ; rump white ; 
tail-feathers pale brownish white, transversely barred with 
darker brown ; chin white ; chest pale brown, each feather 
with a dark brown central streak ; breast and belly nearly 
white ; flanks dull white, barred transversely with brown ; 



586 



SCOLOPACID^J. 



under tail-coverts nearly white, with brown longitudinal 
streaks ; legs and toes bluish black ; claws black. 

The female, from which the representation was taken, 
measured eighteen inches ; the beak, from the point to the 
commencement of the feathers on the top, three inches and 
a half. 

An adult male measured sixteen inches ; the beak three 
inches ; the wing, from the carpal joint to the end of the 
longest primary quill-feather, nine inches and a half; the 
first quill-feather the longest in the wing. 

In young birds of the year the beak is very short, not 
exceeding two inches in length ; but the sexes, whether old 
or young, do not differ much either in tints or markings. 

The flesh of the Curlew and the Whimbrel are alike 
excellent. 

The figure below represents the breast-bone of the Cur- 
lew, one-third less than the natural size. 




SPOTTED REDSHANK. 587 

CU.\ LLA TORES. SCOLOPA CIDM. 




THE SPOTTED REDSHANK. 



Scolvpax totanus, Spotted Snipe, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 59. 

Redshank, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

Snipe, Supplement. 

,, Redshank, BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 73. 

Totanus fuscus, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 102. 

Dusky Sandpiper, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 69. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 196. 

Spotted Redshank, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. ix. 

Chevalier arlequin, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 639. 

TOTANUS. Generic Cliaracters. Beak of moderate length, sometimes long, 
straight, or very slightly curved, soft at the base, hard, solid and cutting at the 
point, compressed throughout the whole length, ending in a sharp point ; both 
mandibles grooved at the base ; the extreme end of the upper mandible slightty 



588 SCOLOPACID^E. 

bent towards the under one. Nostrils lateral, linear, pierced longitudinally in a 
groove. Legs long, slender, naked above the tarsal joint ; three toes in front, one 
behind ; the middle toe united to the outer toe as far as the first articulation by a 
membrane, which sometimes extends as far as the second articulation. Wings 
moderate ; the first quill-feather the longest. 

ALTHOUGH but few records of the occurrence of this bird 
appear in print, and it is considered rare as a species, it is 
not uncommon in the London market in autumn and in 
winter ; where, however, specimens in the singular sooty 
black colour of the plumage assumed in summer are un- 
known. It is seen occasionally in spring, on the way to its 
breeding ground in high northern latitudes ; but young 
birds of the year are more frequently obtained on their 
return, and in some instances a parent bird is taken, still 
bearing a portion of the darker colour which pervades both 
sexes during the breeding season. Pennant records a speci- 
men killed in Anglesey. Mr. E. H. Rodd, of Penzance, 
has in the autumn of the present year 1840, obtained one, 
a young bird of this season, in Cornwall. Montagu notices 
two, both killed in Devonshire. Mr. Wm. Borrer, jun., 
sent me notice of one obtained in April 1838, in the Isle of 
Ely. The authors of the Catalogue of the Norfolk and 
Suffolk Birds mention four: three shot in the vicinity 
of Yarmouth, the fourth near Ipswich. Bewick and Mr. 
Selby mention two killed in Northumberland. Mr. Hey- 
sham has recorded two, both killed in autumn, in the 
vicinity of Carlisle ; a third is mentioned to have occurred 
on the coast near Whitehaven, and Mr. Thompson shot one 
in Belfast Bay, in August 1823. The latest recent specimens 
I have seen were two in the possession of Mr. Bartlett, ob- 
tained in the autumn of the present year 1840, one of which 
was an adult bird in an interesting state of change from the 
summer to the winter dress, the whole of the under surface 
of the bird being a mixture of black and white. The figure 



SPOTTED REDSHANK. 589 

in the foreground of the representations here given is from 
an adult bird in its perfect winter plumage, obtained in the 
London market ; the figure in the background is from a 
specimen in summer plumage, obtained some years since in 
the fens of Cambridgeshire. The finest specimens in summer 
plumage I have yet seen are in the collection of Richard 
Dann, Esq., who in several summer excursions, when fish- 
ing and shooting in Norway and Lapland, found these birds 
breeding in stagnant mosses within the Arctic circle. Mr. 
Dann says, that though close search was made for their 
nests he was unable to find their eggs ; several pairs of the 
birds were obtained, which, while on the wing, utter two 
short notes (wee wit) in quick succession. M. Nilsson says 
the Spotted Redshank breeds in various parts of Scandina- 
via, but the eggs are also unknown to him. Old and young 
leave the high northern ground in August, and are seen in 
Sweden on their passage southward in small families. Muller 
includes this species in his Zoologia Danica, and from 
these northern shores it may be traced southwards to Hol- 
land, France, Spain, Provence, Switzerland, and Italy, in 
each of which countries it is seen on its passage in spring 
and autumn. It inhabits the sea-shore, the borders of rivers 
and lakes, morasses and water meadows, feeding on worms, 
aquatic insects, and small testacea. The stomachs of Mr. 
Bartletfs specimens contained only very minute spiral uni- 
valves. 

This species is found in Nepal and in the vicinity of 
Calcutta. 

The adult bird in its winter plumage has the beak black, 
except at the base, where it is bright red ; the irides dark 
brown ; from the nostril to the eye a dusky grey streak : 
above that a white streak as far as the eye ; top of the 
head, back of the neck, and upper part of the back, ash 



590 SCOLOPACID^E. 

grey : lesser wing-coverts ash grey, margined with white ; 
greater coverts, the secondaries and tertials, also ash grey, 
with well-defined triangular spots of pure white along the 
sides of each feather ; wing primaries greyish black, without 
spots ; rump white ; upper tail-coverts barred with dusky 
grey and white ; middle tail feathers plain ash grey, the 
outer feathers on each side, like the upper tail-coverts, are 
barred with dusky grey and white ; the chin white ; sides 
and front of the neck white, tinged with ash colour ; breast, 
belly, vent, and under tail-coverts pure white ; flanks 
slightly tinged and streaked with ash grey ; legs and toes 
vermilion red, claws black. 

The adult bird in summer has the beak nearly black, but 
the base of the lower mandible is dark red ; the irides dark 
brown ; over the eye the eyelid is white ; the whole of the 
head, and the neck all round, sooty black : back, scapulars, 
all the wing-coverts, secondaries and tertials, sooty black, 
with well defined triangular spots of pure white along the 
margin of the web of each feather, which is also tipped 
with white ; the primaries black, with white shafts, but no 
white spots ; breast and belly black, a few of the feathers 
with white tips ; under wing-coverts white, with dusky grey 
spots ; axillary plume pure white ; under tail- coverts barred 
black and white ; legs and toes dark red, claws black. 

Males and females do not differ in plumage, but the fe- 
males are rather larger than the males. An adult male 
measured in whole length twelve inches and a half; from 
the carpal joint to the end of the wing six inches and a 
half; the first quill-feather the longest in the wing. 

In young birds of the year the plumage on the upper 
surface of the body is tinged with brown, and the white 
colour of the under surface of the body is clouded with ash 
grey : the legs orange red. 



COMMON REDSHANK. 591 

GRA LLA TORES. SCO LOP A C1DM. 







THE COMMON REDSHANK. 

Totanns calidris. 



Scolopax calidris, Common Redshank, 



Totanus* 



The 

W M 

Redshank Sandpiper^ 

n 

The Redsliank, 
C/ievalier gambette, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 57. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 75. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 102. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 72. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 196. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. v. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 643. 



THE Common Redshank is much more numerous, and ac- 
cordingly much better known, than the species last describ- 
ed, and is resident in many parts of this country all the 
year. In the winter season it frequents and feeds on the 
sea-shore, over those extensive flats which are left bare by 
every receding tide, and the birds are then seen in flocks ; 



592 SCOLOPACIDJS. 

in the spring, however, they retire to fens and marshes, 
near pools or lakes, and to the banks of rivers, where during 
the breeding season they are only seen singly or in pairs. 
They feed on aquatic insects, and on marine or other worms, 
which they probe for with their beaks in soft mud. Mr. 
Thompson says they are common in Ireland, and a writer 
in the first volume of the Naturalist, mentions " that they 
are very numerous in Dublin Bay, where it is stated these 
birds may sometimes be seen in very large flocks, frequent- 
ly amounting to one hundred and fifty or two hundred ; 
and the larger the flock, the more shy and difficult were 
the birds of approach ; they are always on the look out, 
and take wing on the least alarm or any appearance of 
danger ; when running along the sands, the Redshank has 
the same kind of dipping motion for which some of the 
smaller Sandpipers are so remarkable. I was very much 
struck with the curious manner in which they dart their 
bills into the sand nearly its whole length, by jumping up, 
and thus giving it a sort of impetus, if I may use the word, 
by the weight of their bodies pressing it downwards." 

Redshanks are not uncommon in Cornwall, Devonshire, 
and Dorsetshire. They still frequent Romney Marsh as 
they did in the days of Montagu, for the purpose of breed- 
ing. Mr. Jesse sent me a specimen killed at Hampton in 
autumn. The authors of the catalogue of the Norfolk and 
Suffolk birds say, u the Redshank is found in considerable 
numbers in many of the marshes both of Norfolk and Suffolk 
during the breeding season. It is indeed more common than 
any other kind of wader. To sportsmen it is very trouble- 
some, flying around them and uttering an incessant shrill 
whistle, which alarms all the other birds near the spot." 

The Redshank is found, as might be expected, in Lin- 
colnshire. Mr. Selby says it is common in Durham and 



COMMON REDSHANK. 593 

Northumberland. Several have been killed in Cumberland. 
Mr. Don says it breeds on the heaths of Forfarshire. Mr. 
Selby says, "the Redshank was found breeding on the 
marshy margin of Loch Doulich, near Lairg, and at the 
head of Loch Naver, in Sutherlandshire. When disturbed 
from its nest, and as long as the young are unable to fly, 
the old birds are very vociferous, and wheel around the 
intruder in circles, making frequent stoops, as if to strike at 
the head, like the common Lapwing. 1 ' Redshanks are not 
numerous, according to Mr. Dunn, either in the islands of 
Orkney or Shetland. It is found in Denmark, Sweden, and 
Norway, where it is a summer visiter, appearing in April ; 
and also visits Lapland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland. 
Dr. Richardson, in his Fauna Boreali Americana, says, 
there is a Redshank in the British Museum from Hudson's 
Bay. Pennant says it is found eastward as far as Siberia, 
it inhabits India, and M. Temminck says it is found in 
Japan. 

In the south of Europe it is found in Provence and Italy, 
Corfu, Sicily, Malta and Crete. The Zoological Society 
have received specimens in winter plumage from Tangiers, 
and also from Trebizond, and Mr. Strickland says it is a 
common bird in the marshes of Smyrna. 

The Redshank can swim well, and sometimes perches on 
trees. Montagu says it makes a slight nest with coarse 
grass near the moist parts, or most boggy places in fens, 
and begins to lay early in May : the egg is pale reddish 
white, tinged with green ; blotched, spotted, and speckled 
with dark red brown ; the length one inch six lines and a 
half, by one inch and two lines in breadth. 

In winter the beak is black at the point, dark red at the 
base ; the irides brown ; from the angle of the mouth to the 
eye a dusky streak, over that and the eye a white streak ; 

VOL. II. Q Q 



594 SCOLOPACIDjE. 

the top of the head, the back of the neck, the whole of the 
back and wing-coverts, ash brown ; the wing-primaries 
almost black ; the rump white ; the tail-feathers white, 
barred transversely with dusky grey ; the chin, the neck in 
front, breast, belly, and under tail-coverts white, with a few 
slight dusky streaks in the line of the shafts of the fea- 
thers ; legs and toes red ; the claws black. 

In its spring plumage, the state in which it is here repre- 
sented, when assuming by degrees the darker markings 
peculiar to the breeding season, the greater coverts and 
tertials are varied with spots, brownish black on the edges, 
and the white parts of the front of the neck, and all the 
under surface of the body, sides and flanks are spotted and 
streaked with brownish black. 

By the first week in June, the lighter ash-coloured edges 
of the wing-coverts and tertials are more strongly marked 
with brownish black ; a few dark coloured feathers appear 
on the back ; the general plumage of the back is tinged 
with brown, and the black streaks and spots on the white 
surface of the neck and breast are more conspicuous. 

With the moult which succeeds the breeding season, 
these birds assume again the plumage of winter. 

Males and females resemble each other in their colours, 
but the females are larger than the males. 

The whole length of an adult female is about eleven 
inches. From the carpal joint to the end of the wing six 
inches and three quarters ; the first quill-feather the longest 
in the wing. 



GRALLATORES. 



GREEN SANDPIPER. 



595 

SCOLOPAClDjE. 




>::'* 



THE GREEN SANDPIPER. 

Totanus ochropus. 



Tringa ochropus, Green Sandpiper, 



Totanus 



Chevalier cul blanc, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 86. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 89. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 103. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 75. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 197. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xv. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 656. 



THE habits of the Green Sandpiper in this country are 
not yet perfectly understood. These birds appear to be the 
most plentiful in spring and autumn ; a few remain here to 
breed, but the greater part go for a time to the North of 
Europe, probably returning with their young. Examples 
not unfrequently occur in the various months of winter. 
They frequent the sides of shallow streams, the banks of 
rivers, canals, or lakes inland, and are not usually found so 
near the sea as some of the other Sandpipers. They are 

Q Q 2 



596 SCOLOPACHLE. 

observed when running, to spread and flirt the tail up like 
our Common Sandpiper. Their food consists of worms and 
insects, and their note is a shrill whistle, whence it is by 
some called the Whistling Sandpiper. Colonel Sykes says 
the note resembles the word cheet, cheet, cheet. 

The Rev. Richard Lubbock has sent me several notices 
of the habits of this bird in Norfolk, from which the fol- 
lowing are extracts. " Sir Thomas Beevor told me that 
one of these Sandpipers built in a hollow on the side of 
a clay-pit upon his estate, in the autumn of 1839, and 
hatched four young, which, to his vexation, were taken by 
a shepherd^s boy. They are common during summer and 
autumn upon a small stream which runs through his pro- 
perty near Attleburgh. I have noted this bird as ob- 
served at the end of October 1824, on the twenty- third 
of December, 1832, and the ninth of December, 1836. 
I killed a specimen in most severe weather on the fourth 
of January, 1837, deep snow on the ground, and all 
the Snipes driven out of the country by stress of 
weather. This Sandpiper has probably the loudest note, 
for its size, of any of our fen birds." In a letter, re- 
ceived on the fifteenth of September last, 1840, this 
gentleman says, "after observing these birds about the 
neighbouring streams for several seasons continuously, I 
am nearly certain that they remain here all the year, with 
the exception of that period in spring and early summer, 
during which they withdraw to hatch and rear their young. 
I have shot them in extreme frosty weather, and have 
always seen one here and there during the Snipe shooting, 
in March, but the eleventh of April is the latest time in 
spring at which I have observed them. This year I re- 
quested my nephew, who is often about the rivulet look- 
ing for fish, to let me know as soon as he perceived their 



GREEN SANDPIPER. 597 

return. On the twenty-third of July he told me that he 
had seen six together, and on the twenty-sixth of the 
same month I found them near the place he had men- 
tioned. By creeping on my hands and knees, I obtained 
a good view of them as they walked about on a mud bank, 
and believe from the duller look of the plumage of some, 
that they were two old birds with a brood of young ones. 
They appear to separate soon after their arrival, or to 
unite for a day or two as fancy leads them." 

The authors of the catalogue of Norfolk and Suffolk 
birds, say, " we cannot positively affirm that this species 
breeds here, though it seems probable that it sometimes 
does so, as five Green Sandpipers were constantly found 
one summer near the old decoy at Levington in Suffolk."" 
Mr. Salmon believes that the Green Sandpiper breeds in 
Norfolk. It has been killed in Cambridgeshire in May 
and in August. The specimen from which the figure at 
the head of this subject was drawn, was given me by my 
friend Thomas Wortham, Esq. of Royston, who shot it at 
Bassingbourne Spring in Cambridgeshire, a favorite locality, 
where several other examples have been killed. The bird 
is seen in these eastern counties throughout the winter. 

Mr. Blyth considers that the Green Sandpiper breeds in 
Surrey, having seen a very young one shot near Godal- 
ming with its primary quill-feathers incompletely deve- 
loped. The same observer saw both adult birds and young 
broods of three or four birds each in the first week of 
August 1837, frequenting muddy water courses on a small 
salt-water marsh near Yarmouth, in the Isle of Wight, 
and has known one specimen to have been killed in Feb- 
ruary. It is not uncommon along the whole line of the 
southern marine counties from Romney Marsh in Kent, to 
Sussex, Hampshire, and thence to the Land n s End. Mr. 



598 SCOLOPACID.E. 

Edward Doubleday saw several pairs about small streams 
in the vicinity of Snowdon, in summer, and two pair were 
observed near Capel Carig. This bird is a summer visiter 
to Ireland, and specimens are to be seen in several collec- 
tions. John Skaife, Esq. of Blackburn in Lancashire, has 
in his collection a male and female that were shot at the 
end of July 1837, on a small brook that falls into the 
Darwen about three miles and a half south of Blackburn : 
circumstances induced the belief that this pair of Green 
Sandpipers had bred in that neighbourhood. Mr. Hey- 
sham has recorded several instances of the occurrence of 
this bird in Cumberland, but these have generally happened 
from August to October. H. Bickley, Esq. sends me word 
that this species, as also Tringa Jiypoleucos^ frequent brooks 
about Melton in Leicestershire in summer. A specimen has 
been killed in May near Newcastle. Mr. Selby mentions 
three that have been killed in autumn in Northumberland, 
and adds that John Murray, Esq. of Murraythwaite in 
Dumfriesshire, possesses a male and female, shot by him 
when together, near that place in the spring of 1829. 

Mr. Henry Doubleday sent me word lately, that on the 
2nd of November 1840 he shot a Green Sandpiper in the 
vicinity of Epping, but never saw one there so late in the 
season before. " As the bird was only slightly wounded in 
the wing I did not kill it, and it is still alive ; it is not at 
all shy, and feeds readily upon small worms, first dipping 
them in a pan of water ; it runs about the room rapidly, 
and is constantly moving its tail up and down like a 
Wheatear. Mr. Selby observes that this bird when flush- 
ed utters a shrill whistle, and generally flies low, skimming 
over the surface of the water, and following with precision 
all the bends and angles of the stream." The nest is on 
the bank, or among grass by the side of a stream. The 



GREEN SANDPIPER. 599 

eggs are four in number, and are figured by Dr. Ludwig 
Thienemann in his Work on the Eggs of the Birds of 
Europe, tab. xvii. figure 6, as one inch and a half long, by 
one inch and one-eighth broad, of a pale brown tinged 
with green, and spotted over the broad end with blackish 
brown. The flesh of the Green Sandpiper is said to be 
excellent. 

This bird visits Scandinavia in spring, and remains till 
August. It is not included among the Birds of the Faroe 
Islands or Iceland, but one or two examples are said to 
have been obtained as far to the North West as Hudson's 
Bay. In spring and autumn it is found over Europe gene- 
rally ; in France it is esteemed for its delicate taste, and it 
is caught with limed twigs placed near its haunts. The 
bird is seen in Switzerland, Provence, Italy, and several 
islands of the Mediterranean. Mr. Strickland observed it 
at Smyrna ; M. Vieillot says it is found in Egypt. The 
Zoological Society has received specimens from Trebizond ; 
and M. Menetries has included it in his catalogue of birds 
found south of the Caucasus. Colonel Sykes, Major Frank- 
lin, B. Hodgson, Esq., and Mr. Blyth, obtained specimens 
in different parts of India ; and M. Temmiuck says it in- 
habits Japan. 

The beak is greenish black ; the irides hazel ; from the 
beak to the eye a dusky brown streak ; over that and over 
the eye a white one ; top of the head, back of the neck, 
back and wing-coverts, dusky green, slightly undulated 
with darker shades ; primary quill-feathers uniform dusky 
black ; scapulars and tertials greenish brown, with nume- 
rous small light-coloured spots along both edges of the 
scapulary feathers and on the outside margin only of the 
tertials ; upper tail-coverts white ; tail-feathers for the 
greater part white ; the outside feather on each side, with 



600 SCOLOPACIDvE. 

one small dark spot on the outer web near the end ; the 
next feather with two dark spots ; the third and fourth 
with two rather broad dark bands ; the fifth and sixth 
with three or four dark bands, but all the marks are on the 
distal half of the tail-feathers, leaving the basal half pure 
white; chin white; throat, front and sides of the neck 
white, streaked downwards with dusky lines ; breast, and 
all the under surface of the body white ; sides and axillary 
plume greyish black, with narrow angular white bars; 
under wing-coverts greyish black, with narrow transverse 
bars of white ; legs, toes, and claws, greenish black. 

The whole length nine inches and a half. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing, five inches and five 
eighths ; the first quill-feather the longest in the wing. 

The young have rather more of the ash colour in their 
plumage, and less of the dark green. 

Of the two representations of feathers given below, the 
upper one is from the axillary plume, the lower one from 
the middle tail-feather of the Green Sandpiper, to show 
the distinction between these feathers and two others from 
the same parts in the Wood Sandpiper, as inserted at 
page 606. 





WOOD SANDPIPER. 



GKALLATORES. 



601 
SCOLOPACID^E. 




THE WOOD SANDPIPER 

Totanus glareola. 



Tringa glareola, Wood Sandpiper, 



Totanus 



Chevalier sylvain, 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 88. 
MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 
BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 99. 
FLEM. Brit. An. p. 103. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 77. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 198. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xv. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 654. 



THE WOOD SANDPIPER was first discovered as a British 
Bird by Colonel Montagu, who clearly pointed out the spe- 
cific differences between this species and the Green Sand- 
piper last described. The birds are certainly somewhat 
alike, not only in their appearance, but also in their habits, 
and have been considered by some authors as merely va- 
rieties of the same species ; no doubt, however, now re- 
mains that these two Sandpipers are perfectly distinct, and 



602 SCOLOPACID.E. 

the species now under consideration has the greater geogra- 
phical range of the two. The Wood Sandpiper has even 
become of much more frequent occurrence of late years in 
this country than it was formerly. It is considered a sum- 
mer visiter to the south of Ireland, having been seen by 
Mr. B. Ball for several years about the month of June, 
frequenting a stream in Glenbower wood, near Youghal. 
E. H. Rodd, Esq. of Penzance, sent me word that seven 
specimens were obtained in one day in the month of August 
last, 1840, near the Land's End ; one of these birds, very 
beautifully preserved, was soon afterwards presented to me 
by him, and proved to be a young bird of the year ; the 
others were also reported to be young birds of the year. 
In reference to the visits of the Wood Sandpiper and some 
other allied species to the shores of Cornwall, Mr. Rodd 
makes the following remarks. "On the 21st of April a male 
specimen of the Wood Sandpiper was shot on the seashore : 
I am not aware of the occurrence of this species in this 
neighbourhood at an earlier period of the year. On the 
20th of May 1840, a female was killed at the Land's End, 
in which were the rudiments of eggs. In June of the same 
year another was killed in the same locality ; and in the 
month of August of the same year, a flock of seven were 
killed in the same parish, which proved to be birds of that 
year, and have been noticed above. At this period of the 
year, I have observed that birds of the Tringa, Totanus, 
and Limosa genera, which migrate from the continent, as 
well as from our own country, northward to breed, com- 
mence their return movement very early in the autumn, 
and the first flights consist almost entirely of the young 
birds of that year." This species has been killed in the 
spring in Essex. A pair of these birds, as I learn from 
Mr. Henry Doubleday, were observed at a pond on Weald 



WOOD SANDPIPER. 603 

common, near Epping, in May last, 1840 ; the female was 
shot and brought to him : on examination the eggs were 
found to be much enlarged. Specimens have been killed 
in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk ; Mr. W. B. Fisher 
has recorded the recent capture of this species at Yar- 
mouth ; and Mr. Selby has recorded three instances that 
have occurred in Durham and Northumberland. 

Some particulars of the habits of this bird, as observed by 
the late Mr. Hoy, and communicated to Mr. Hewitson, are 
thus detailed in his work on the eggs of our British Birds. 
" This species is migratory, making its appearance in April, 
and retiring in September. That it breeds rather early I 
infer, from having met with the young, feathered, and ca- 
pable of flying a short distance, on the llth of June. 
I regret that I did not discover the bird till late in the 
season." 

A great portion of Dutch Brabant, more particularly the 
southern and eastern parts, are covered by large tracts of 
heath ; the soil of a light sandy nature. A great number 
of peat bogs and shallow pools of water are dispersed over 
this district. Most of the small streams are skirted by 
swampy ground, where the bog myrtle grows in the great- 
est luxuriance, with stunted bushes of alder and willow. 
These situations are the favourite haunt of this Sandpiper 
during the breeding season. While the hen bird is sitting, 
the male flies round in wide circles, and at a considerable 
elevation. The female sits close ; and the nest is extreme- 
ly difficult to find. 

If you approach the spot when they have young, and 
especially if a dog is with you, the old birds will fly round 
in the most anxious manner, and will hover over the dog- 
within a few feet ; then suddenly darting off, mount high in 
the air, pouncing down again with great rapidity on the in- 



604 SCOLOPACID.E. 

truder. If you have observed the actions and manoeuvres 
of the Redshank, during the breeding season, you will have 
seen very much the habits of the Wood Sandpiper. 

It is far from being numerous in the localities where I 
met with it ; yet many pairs are dispersed over these dis- 
tricts, where they have long been known to breed, from in- 
formation which I obtained from several intelligent sports- 
men, to whom the bird was well known. 

Although I met with the young in a downy state, and 
partially feathered, I only obtained one nest with eggs. 
The nest is generally placed at a short distance from the 
water, among stunted heath, or scrubby plants of the bog 
myrtle, or among coarse grass and rushes. It is placed in 
a hollow, and is formed of dry grass and other plants. 
The eggs are four in number. An egg is figured by Mr. 
Hewitson in his work. One egg of the Wood Sandpiper 
in my own collection measures one inch seven lines in 
length, by one inch and half a line in breadth ; pointed in 
shape, of a pale greenish white, spotted and speckled par- 
ticularly over the broad end with dark reddish brown. 
This rare egg was given me by Richard Dann, Esq., who 
obtained two or three in Norway, with the eggs of some 
other very rare birds to be hereafter referred to. 

M. Nilsson says the Wood Sandpiper is found occasion- 
ally in Sweden, inhabiting swampy woods during summer ; 
and there is no doubt that this bird breeds every season as 
far north as the Arctic circle, both in Norway and Lap- 
land. The food consists of worms and insects ; and Mr. 
Hoy told me he had seen it perch on the upper twigs of a 
bush, which appears to be the habit of the Redshank and 
some others of the same genus. 

The Wood Sandpiper is found in some of the provinces 
of Germany, but only a few of these birds are seen in Hoi- 



WOOD SANDPIPER. 605 

land or France, and then in woody marshes. It is seen in 
Provence, at Genoa, in Italy, and in Sicily. Dr. Calvert 
gave me a specimen which he ohtained in Malta. Mr. 
Selby mentions having seen specimens from the Cape of 
Good Hope ; and Dr. Andrew Smith also brought speci- 
mens from South Africa. In the extensive collection of 
Sir William Jardine, Bart. I saw skins of this bird which 
had been received from India, and Colonel Sykes and 
Major Franklin also brought specimens from different parts 
of India. The Totanus affinis of Dr. Horsfield, included 
among the birds of Java, is considered to be our Wood 
Sandpiper ; and Mr. Gould mentions having seen skins of 
this bird from Chili and the Islands of the Pacific. 

This bird is a little smaller than the Green Sandpiper ; 
the beak greenish black, except at the base of the lower 
mandible, which is pale brown; the irides dusky brown; 
from the base of the upper mandible to the eye a dusky 
patch ; over that and over the ear- coverts a white streak ; 
the top of the head, and back of the neck, wing-coverts, 
and tertials, greenish brown, each feather with buffy white 
spots on the margin, some of which are triangular in shape, 
others more elongated ; primaries uniform greenish black ; 
upper tail- co verts white : tail-feathers with six or more 
narrow transverse white bars, on a ground colour of green- 
ish black ; chin white ; sides of the neck, throat, and 
breast, streaked downwards with ash brown lines on a 
ground of dull greyish white ; belly, vent, and under tail- 
coverts white ; sides, axillary plume, and under wing- 
coverts white, with a few transverse dusky bars ; legs, toes, 
and claws, olive green. 

The whole length not quite nine inches. From the car- 
pal joint to the end of the first quill-feather, which is the 
longest in the wing, five inches. 



606 



SCOLOPACHLE. 



Some specimens of these birds in the collection of 
Richard Dann, Esq., obtained in Norway in the breeding- 
season, have the streaks and lines on the neck and breast, 
and the feathers on the back and wings so black in colour, 
and extending over so large a space in each feather, as to 
exhibit but little of the light-coloured spotting observed in 
the plumage of the specimens generally obtained in this 
country, and give the bird something of the dark appear- 
ance of the Spotted Redshank, figured at page 587. 

Beneath are representations of a feather from the axillary 
plume and middle of the tail in the Wood Sandpiper. 







COMMON SANDPIPER. 607 

CRALLATORES. SCOLOPACIDJE. 




THE COMMON SANDPIPER, 

OR SUMMER SNIPE. 

Totanus hypoleucos. 

Tringa hypoleucos, Common Sandpiper, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 90. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 101. 

Totonm FLEM. Brit. An. p. 104. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol ii. p. 81. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 199. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiii. 

Clievalier guignette, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 657. 

THE COMMON SANDPIPER is a summer visiter to this country, 
appearing in April, leaving us again by the end of Septem- 
ber, and is very generally known by the name of the Sum- 
mer Snipe. Mr. Thompson sends me word that this bird 
is also a regular summer visiter to Ireland. It is common 
in Wales, not uncommon in Cornwall, and is found in 



608 SCOLOPACID.E. 

Devonshire, Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Kent, Essex, and the 
north-eastern counties to Durham, and Northumberland. 
Dr. Fleming mentions it as a constant summer visiter to 
the most northern parts of the mainland of Scotland ; but 
according to Mr. Low, Dunn, and others, it is not found in 
Orkney and Shetland. Mr. Selby says, "it is very abun- 
dant upon the shores of the Scottish fresh water lakes, and 
upon Loch Awe in July, when the young broods begin to 
fly, I have at one view seen three or four families on the 
wing, crossing over or skimming along the edges of the 
lake." Mr. Selby also observed this species very abundant 
upon the margins of all the numerous locks and rivers in 
Sutherlandshire. 

The habits of this Sandpiper are interesting, its actions 
are lively, and it is mostly seen while running nimbly along 
the gravelly margins of rivers, brooks, lakes, or ponds. 
When on the ground it is in constant motion, flirting the 
tail up and down, and almost as frequently stretching out, 
and again withdrawing the head and neck. When dis- 
turbed and flushed, this bird utters a piping note on taking 
wing, which has been compared by Colonel Sykes to the 
sounds, wheet, wheet, wheet ; and Mr. Selby says, that from 
the resemblance to its well-known note one of the provincial 
names of this species is Willy Wicket. 

The food of this Sandpiper is worms and insects. It is 
seldom seen on the sea-shore. It makes a slight nest of 
moss and dry leaves in a hole on a bank near fresh water, 
generally under shelter of a bunch of rushes or a tuft of 
grass, and sometimes in a corn-field, if it happens to extend 
near enough towards the water. The eggs are four, reddish 
white in colour, spotted and speckled with umber brown ; 
one inch four lines in length, by one inch in breadth. If 
disturbed during the period of incubation, Mr. Selby ob- 



COMMON SANDPIPER. 609 

serves, the female quits the nest as quietly as possible, and 
usually flies to a distance, making at this time no outcry ; 
as soon, however, as the young are hatched, her manners 
completely alter, and the greatest agitation is expressed on 
the apprehension of danger, and every stratagem is tried, 
such as feigning lameness, and inability of flight, to divert 
the attention of the intruder from the unfledged brood. A 
writer in the vicinity of Clitheroe, in Lancashire, says,* 
" The Common Sandpiper breeds with us ; and I this year 
started an old one from her nest, at the root of a fir tree. 
She screamed out, and rolled about in such a manner, and 
seemed so completely disabled, that, although perfectly aware 
that her intention was to allure me from her nest, I could 
not resist my inclination to pursue her, and, in consequence, 
T had great difficulty in finding the nest again. It was 
built of a few dried leaves of the Weymouth pine, and con- 
tained three young ones, just hatched, and an egg, through 
the shell of which the bill of the young chick was just 
making its way ; yet, young as they were, on my taking 
out the egg to examine it, the little things, which could not 
have been out of their shells more than an hour or two, set 
off out of the nest with as much celerity as if they had 
been running about a fortnight. As I thought the old one 
would abandon the egg if the young ones left the nest, I 
caught them again, and covering them up with my hand 
for some time, they settled down again. Next day all four 
had disappeared." The adult Sandpiper can swim and 
dive well, however inapplicable to such a purpose the feet 
of this little bird may appear to be ; and Mr. Selby men- 
tions, that the young too, when three weeks or a month old, 
just before they are able to fly, if discovered and attempted 
to be caught, boldly take to the water, diving repeated- 

* Magazine of Natural History, vol. vi. p. 148. 
VOL. H. 11 R 



610 SCOLOPACHLE. 

ly, and to a considerable distance ; a provision wisely 
granted, as being so well adapted to insure their safety in 
the unfledged state. The authors of the catalogue of the 
Norfolk and Suffolk Birds, say, " Some years since we saw 
a Sandpiper flying across a river attacked by a hawk, when 
it instantly dived, and remained under water until its 
enemy disappeared. It then emerged, and joined its com- 
panions. This bird when flushed, sometimes utters a note 
resembling, as near as possible, that of the Kingfisher." 
Montagu says, having shot at and winged one of this 
species as it was flying across a piece of water, it fell, arid 
floated towards the verge, and as we reached to take it up, 
the bird instantly dived, and we never saw it rise again 
to the surface. A correspondent in a midland county, 
writes me word, that he has seen this bird perch occasion- 
ally upon projecting roots and stumps of trees by the river 
side ; that when diving, it uses its wings under water the 
same as in flying ; and on one occasion when he had shot 
at, and slightly wounded, a bird that fell about twenty 
yards on the opposite side of a brook, no sooner was it 
down than it turned back, and made direct for the water as 
still affording the chance of escape. 

M. Nilsson says this species is common in Scandinavia 
from April to August. Linnaeus, in his Tour in Lapland, 
mentions having found a nest with four eggs near the water 
side at Flaskesele, in Lycksehe Lapland, on the 31st of 
May 1732, old style. This species is also known to visit 
the west coast of Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and 
Greenland. 

The Common Sandpiper is seen over the greater part of 
Europe from the spring till its autumn migration, when it 
goes southward, and is observed in Provence, Italy, Sicily 
and Malta. The Zoological Society have received speci- 



COMMON SANDPIPER. 611 

mens from Tangiers ; and Mr. Fellows mentions having 
shot specimens at Xantlms, in Asia Minor. Colonel Sykes, 
Major Franklin, B. Hodgson, Esq., and Mr. Blyth, have 
found specimens in different parts of India. Dr. Horsfield 
includes it in his catalogue of the Birds of Java, and M. 
Temminck says that the great numbers of this species 
killed at Java, Sumatra, at Timor, and Japan, proves that 
it is there a migratory bird over these islands. This species 
is not found on the Continent of North America, though it 
has been sometimes so stated. 

The beak of the Common Sandpiper is dark brown to- 
wards the point, pale yellow brown at the base ; the irides 
dusky brown ; from the beak to the eye a brown streak, 
over that, over the eye, and over the dark coloured ear- 
coverts, a light coloured streak ; the top of the head, back 
of the neck, the whole of the wing-coverts, the back, upper 
tail-coverts, and the four central tail-feathers, greenish 
brown, with a dusky greenish black stripe across the centre, 
and along the line of the shaft of each feather ; wing pri- 
maries almost black, with a greyish white patch on the 
inner web of all but the first ; the secondaries tipped with 
white ; the tail graduated, the central feathers being the 
longest, and all twelve barred with greenish black ; the four 
outer tail-feathers on each side tipped with white ; the two 
outer tail-feathers on each side with the outer webs white, 
barred with greenish black ; the chin white ; the sides of 
the neck and the upper part of the breast streaked with 
dusky black, on a ground colour of pale ash ; the lower part 
of the breast and all the other parts of the under surface of 
the body of a delicate and uniformly unspotted white, hence 
the systematic specific name of the bird ; the legs and toes, 
ash green ; the claws, brown. 

The whole length of the bird seven inches and a half. 

R R 2 



612 



SCOLOPACID^E. 



From the carpal joint to the end of the wing, four inches 
and one-quarter; the first quill-feather the longest. 

Young birds of the year have the front of the neck white, 
with dark streaks on the sides only ; the white streak over 
the eyes more conspicuous ; the wing-coverts darker in co- 
lour; the feathers on the back edged with reddish buff, 
spotted with black. 

The chick soon after leaving the egg has all the upper 
surface of the body covered with down of an ash-brown 
colour, with a black stripe on the head, nape, and down the 
back ; the under surface of the body greyish white ; the 
legs pale green. 

For the means of figuring the young bird in this state, I 
am indebted to the kindness of T. C. Heysham, Esq., of 
Carlisle. 




SPOTTED SANDriPEK. 613 

(iRA LLA TORES. SCOLOPA CIDM. 




' 



THE SPOTTED SANDPIPER. 



Tringa macularia, Spotted Sandpiper, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 79. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet, and Supplt. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 105. 

Totanus FLEM. Brit. An. p. 103. 

macularius, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 84. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 199. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. viii. 

macularia, Chevalier perle, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 656. 

THE SPOTTED SANDPIPER has hitherto been included in our 
catalogues and histories of British Birds, on the authority of 
Edwards and Bewick ; but believing with Mr. Selby, the 
Rev. Mr. Jenyns, and others, that the birds from which 
Edwards and Bewick drew their representations, were only 
specimens of our Common Sandpiper, Totanus hypoleucos, 
the species last described, I had intended not to have 



614 SCOLOPACID^:. 

included the Totanus macularius in the present work. It 
will be recollected that Montagu states in his Supplement 
that he had never met with this species. 

Mentioning this intention to my friend Mr. Heysham 
during his recent visit to London, he immediately told me 
that on his route from home he had visited Norwich, and 
had seen in the collection of J. H. Gurney, Esq., the Banker 
of that city, a British killed specimen of the Spotted Sand- 
piper, an adult hird, which had been received in the 
flesh, and preserved for him by Mr. George Johnson of 
Norwich. 

Mr. J. H. Gurney, with whom I have had the pleasure 
of being acquainted some years, no sooner knew my wishes 
on the subject, than he requested Mr. Johnson to send me 
notice of the place and time of the capture of the recently 
killed Totanus macularius^ and the following is an extract 
from Mr. George Johnson's obliging communication. 

" The Bird in question came to me in the meat. It was 
shot between Eunton and Sherringham on the north east 
coast of Norfolk, in company with a flock of the Common 
Sandpiper, five or six of which came into my hands with it. 
It was killed about the 26th of September, 1839 ; the birds 
were bought by a friend residing at Cromer, about four 
miles from Sherringham, who sent them to me not being- 
aware that any of them were scarce or at all valuable. 
Your friend Mr. Gurney saw the bird immediately after I 
had skinned it, and I am extremely happy to afford you 
any information of the first British specimen of the Spotted 
Sandpiper that has come to your notice." 

M. Nilsson, in his Fauna of Scandinavia, says that this 
bird comes often into the North of Europe, and that speci- 
mens have been killed in the south of Sweden, on the 
islands in the Baltic, and in Gottland. M. Temmick states 



SPOTTED SANDPIPER. 615 

that it has been killed in Germany and on the banks of the 
Rhine, but not in Holland. Messrs. Meyer and Wolf, 
and M. Brehm include it in their Birds of Germany. 

The Spotted Sandpiper is a common bird in the United 
States,* where, however, it is only a summer visiter, going 
southward in October. During the breeding season it in- 
habits the banks of rivers and lakes, where its actions, 
habits and food, are observed to accord so closely with those 
of our Common Sandpiper in this country, as to make quo- 
tation from American authorities unnecessary. One extract 
from Mr. Audubon's Ornithological Biography I hope to be 
excused from copying, because it refers to a power possessed 
by birds, which has been doubted ; that of being able to 
move their eggs when danger threatens. " My esteemed 
friend Thomas Macculloch of Pictou, Nova Scotia, having 
transmitted to me a curious account of the attachment of 
one of these birds to her eggs, I here insert it with plea- 
sure. Being on an excursion to the Hardwood Heights, 
which rise to the west of Pictou, my attention was at- 
tracted by the warble of a little bird, which appeared to 
me entirely new, and which proceeded from a small thicket 
a short way off. Whilst crossing an intervening meadow, 
I accidentally raised a Spotted Sandpiper from its nest, and 
having marked the spot I hastened forwards ; but the shyness 
of the object of my pursuit rendered all my efforts unavail- 
ing, and returning to the nest I had just left, I expected to 
find it still unoccupied ; but the Sandpiper had again re- 
sumed her place, and left it with great reluctance on my 
near approach. The nest contained four eggs, which I 
determined to remove on my return at night, and for the 
purpose of preventing the bird sitting again upon them, I 

* Mr. Audubon says this species has a very extensive range; from Labrador 
even to Texas. 



616 SCOLOPACHLE. 

placed a number of stones in a slanting position over the 
nest, and so close that it was impossible for the bird to get 
into it. On my return in the evening, however, I observed 
the little creature rise from beside the stones apparently in 
greater trepidation than ever, and more anxious to draw me 
away by the exhibition of all those little arts which they 
practise for this purpose. On examining the spot I was 
very much surprised to find that the poor thing had not 
only hollowed out a new nest, but had actually succeeded in 
abstracting two eggs from the other nest. How the bird 
had contrived to remove the eggs I cannot conceive, as the 
stones remained unaltered. This attachment to its nest and 
eggs appeared to me more singular as the bird had but just 
commenced incubation, the eggs exhibiting very little ap- 
pearance of the young." 

Two eggs of the Spotted Sandpiper, given me by Mr. 
Audubon, very closely resemble those of our Common Sand- 
piper, being about one inch four lines long, by one inch in 
width ; of a pale reddish white, spotted and speckled with 
ash grey, and two shades of reddish brown. 

This bird is smaller than our Common Sandpiper, but so 
like it in the general colour and markings of the plumage on 
the upper surface of the body, that the distinctions only 
need be noticed. The beak is shorter and paler in colour 
both at the point as well as at the base ; the dark streak 
on the feathers of the back seems more confined to the 
transverse direction, and is not so often conspicuous down 
the line of the shaft of the feather ; the secondaries are 
tipped with white as in the Common Sandpiper, but the 
feathers are longer ; in the tail five feathers on each side 
have white tips, and only one feather on each outside of the 
tail has the outer web white, barred with greenish black ; 
the chin white ; the throat, neck, breast, and all the under 



SPOTTED SANDPIPER. 017 

parts, even to the ends of the under tail-coverts white, but 
ornamented with numerous well defined round spots of 
dusky greenish brown ; the legs and toes, flesh colour ; the 
claws, brown. 

The whole length about six inches and three-quarters. 
From the carpal joint to the end of the wing four inches ; 
the first quill-feather the longest in the wing. 

The whole length measurement assigned by M. Temminck 
in his Manual for Totanus liypoleucos, is seven inches three 
lines, French ; that for Totanus macularius eight inches, 
French ; surely this last must be a misprint. I have never 
seen a specimen of T. macularius that approached to eight 
inches, and all authors agree that T. hypoleucos is the larger 
bird of the two. 

The young chicks on leaving the shell are covered with 
down of a dull drab colour, marked with a single streak of 
black down the middle of the back, and with another behind 
the ear. 

M. Temminck, in the fourth Part of his Manual, page 
418, says, " the young of the year of this species are easily 
distinguished from those of the Common Sandpiper, 
because the under parts always bear some indications 
of the brown oval shaped spots disposed over the breast 
and belly, notwithstanding these spots do not appear till 
the winter season ; in the early part of autumn the under 
parts are wholly white." 

This Spotted Sandpiper, Totanus macularius, of Tem- 
minck, must not be confounded with the Totanus maculatus 
of Bechstein, which is only another systematic name for our 
Spotted Redshank, figured at page 587. 



618 

GRALLATORES. 



SCOLOPACID.E. 



SCOLOPACIDJE. 




THE GEEENSHANK. 

Tetanus glottis. 

Scolopax glottis, The Greenshank, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 55. 

canescens, Cinereous Godwit, 50. 

glottis, T7ie Greenshank, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 71. 

canescens, Cinereous Godwit, 68. 

Totanus glottis, The Greenshank, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 104. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 86. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 200. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xv. 

Chevalier aboyeur, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 659. 

THE GREENSHANK is not very numerous as a species, and 
like the Green Sandpiper, the Wood Sandpiper, and the 
Summer Snipe, may be considered rather as a summer 



GREENSIIANK. 619 

visitor, but is most frequently seen and obtained about the 
periods of their vernal and autumnal migration, on their 
passage to and from those northern localities in which they 
pass their breeding season. They are to be found most 
frequently in the London market towards the end of April 
and in May, their plumage then exhibiting to some extent 
the darker streaks and spots which mark their summer 
dress. In Ireland they are seen in autumn, Mr. Thomp- 
son informs me, in very small parties, but generally singly ; 
and they are recorded as having been killed in autumn, and 
sometimes early in winter, in the counties along the line of 
our southern coast. These birds are occasionally met with 
in inland counties. Mr. Jesse sent me notice of one that 
was killed near Ascot Heath, not far from the house of Mr. 
Davis, the well known hunstman of her Majesty's stag 
hounds; and Rusticus has mentioned one that was shot 
near Grodalming. Specimens have also been killed in Cam- 
bridgeshire, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire. In the vicinity of 
Carlisle, Mr. Heysham says that during the month of 
August 1832, three or four of these birds were occasionally 
seen on Brugh, and Rockcliff salt marshes, and on the 25th 
a young male and female were procured. These two birds 
had been feeding upon Smelts and Shrimps. A third speci- 
men, which was killed about ten days earlier in the same 
month, on the banks of the river Eden, near Botchardby, 
had recently swallowed a bearded Loche. 

Mr. Macgillivray furnished the following notice of the 
habits of the Greenshank as observed in the Hebrides to his 
friend Mr. Audubon.* The Greenshank is seen in the 
outer Hebrides early in spring, and generally departs in 
October, although I have observed individuals there in 
November. Previous to the commencement of the breeding 

* Ornithological Biography, vol. iii. p. 483. 



620 SCOLOPACID^E. 

season, and after the young are fledged, it resorts to the 
shores of the sea, frequenting pools of brackish water at the 
head of the sandfords, and the shallow margins of bays and 
creeks. Its habits are very similar to those of the Red- 
shank, with which it associates in autumn. It is extremely 
shy and vigilant, insomuch that one can very seldom shoot 
it, unless after it has deposited its eggs. Many individuals 
remain during the summer, when they are to be found by 
the lakes in the interior, of which the number in Uist, 
Harris, and Lewis is astonishing. At that season it is very 
easily discovered, for when you are perhaps more than a 
quarter of a mile distant, it rises into the air with clamor- 
ous cries, alarming all the birds in its neighbourhood, flies 
round the place of its nest, now wheeling off to a distance, 
again advancing towards you, and at intervals alighting by 
the edge of the lake, when it continues its cries, vibrating 
its body all the while. I once found a nest of this bird in 
the island of Harris. It was at a considerable distance 
from the water, and consisted of a few fragments of heath 
and some blades of grass, placed in a hollow cavity scraped 
in the turf, in an exposed place. The nest, in fact, resem- 
bled that of the Golden Plover, the Curlew, or the Lap- 
wing. The eggs placed with their narrow ends together, 
were four in number, pyriform, larger than those of the 
Lapwing, and smaller than those of the Golden Plover, 
equally pointed with the latter, but proportionally broader 
and more rounded at the larger end than either. The 
dimensions of one of them, still remaining with me, are two 
inches exactly, by one inch and three eighths : the ground 
colour is a very pale yellowish green, sprinkled all over 
with irregular spots of dark brown, intermixed with blotches 
of light purplish grey, the spots, and especially the blotches, 
more numerous on the larger end. Although in summer 



GREENSHANK. 621 

these birds may be seen in many parts of the islands, they 
are yet very rare, a pair being to be met with only at an 
interval of several miles. In other parts of Scotland they 
are seen chiefly in autumn, but are of rare occurrence. 
Mr. Selby, when in Sutherlandshire, in June 1834, says of 
this bird ; " We detected this species breeding in various 
parts of the country, generally in some swampy marsh, or 
by the margin of some of its numerous lochs. It is very 
wild and wary, except when it has tender young, at which 
time, when first disturbed, it sometimes approaches pretty 
near, making a rapid stoop like the Redshank at the head 
of the intruder. If fired at and missed, which is frequently 
the case even by a good marksman, as the stoop is made 
with remarkable rapidity, it seldom, at least for that day, 
ventures again within range. A pair which had their nest 
in a marsh near Tongue, after having been once fired at, 
could not again be approached ; but we obtained one of the 
young, apparently about a fortnight old, by means of a 
water dog. Another pair were shot near Scourie, by the 
margin of a small loch, where, from their violent outcries 
and alarm, they evidently had their nest or young, though 
we were unable to find either." The Greenshank was 
observed by Mr. Hewitson and his friends when in Norway, 
and, to their great surprise, was seen more than once seated 
above their heads on the top of a tall tree. Muller and M. 
Nilsson include it as a summer visiter to Denmark and 
Sweden; and from the state of the plumage of several 
specimens in the collection of Richard Dann, Esq., obtained 
in the northern part of Scandinavia, there is no doubt that 
this species breeds every season as far north as the Arctic 
circle, in Lapland. Their note sounds like, chio, cJiio. 

They feed on small fish, worms, insects, besides crusta- 
ceous and molluscous animals. 



622 SCOLOPACID^E. 

This bird visits Russia, and has been found in Germany, 
on the banks of the Rhine ; is occasionally obtained in Hol- 
land, but only seen on its passage in France, Provence, 
Switzerland, and Italy. It is observed also in spring and 
autumn at Corfu, Sicily, Malta and Crete. Mr. Strick- 
land says it visits Smyrna in winter, and he obtained a 
specimen, but it was considered rare. The Zoological 
Society have received specimens from Trebizond, by favour 
of Keith Abbott, Esq. M. Julian Desjardins communi- 
cated to the Zoological Society, in 1833, a description of 
this bird taken from a specimen killed in Mauritius : the 
bird not being known to have previously occurred in the 
island. There is but little doubt that the species found in 
various parts of Asia, and described under the term glottoides, 
is our Greenshank. Dr. Horsfield includes the Greenshank 
in his catalogue of the Birds of Java; and M. Temminck 
remarks, that the examples of this bird received by 
him from the island of Sunda, and the Moluccas, in every 
respect resemble those of Europe, but are always in the 
plumage of winter. Montagu, in his Ornithological Dic- 
tionary, said that this bird had been observed in America, 
in the province of New York ; and Mr. Audubon has since 
found it in Florida. 

The beak of the Greenshank is about two inches long, 
nearly black, and very slightly curved upwards ; the irides 
hazel ; the upper part of the head, the cheeks, the neck on 
the sides and behind, marked with well defined dark lines, 
on a ground colour of greyish white ; the back, wing- 
coverts, and tertials, ash brown, edged with buiFy white ; 
quill-primaries uniform dusky black ; tail-feathers white, 
those in the middle barred transversely, the outer feathers 
striped longitudinally with ash brown ; chin white ; front 
of the neck to the breast, and the sides, under the wings, 



OREENSIIANK. 



623 



white, slightly marked longitudinally with ash colour ; 
breast, belly, vent, and under tail-coverts, pure white ; legs 
and toes, olive green ; claws, black. The specimen from 
which our figure was taken was killed at the beginning of 
May ; the dark streaks and spots on the neck are well 
defined, and almost black ; the centre of some of the fea- 
thers on the back, is in change to greenish black, which is 
the prevailing tint on the upper surface of the body when 
the plumage of the breeding season is confirmed, and" the 
light-coloured margins of the greater wing-coverts, and the 
tertials especially, are varied with dark spots. The more 
uniform ash grey is the plumage of winter ; the well- 
defined dark lines and spots assumed in summer, are not 
produced by any partial moulting, or the production of 
new feathers, but by an alteration in the colour of the 
old feather. 

The whole length of the adult Greenshank is about 
twelve inches ; from the carpal joint to the end of the wing 
seven inches ; the first quill-feather the longest. 

The representation below is from the skeleton of the Com- 
mon Sandpiper, and exhibits the form of the breast bone in 
the species of the genus Totanus. 





624 

GRALLA TORES. 



SCOLOPACID^E. 



SCOLOPACWM. 




THE AVOCET. 

Recurmrostra avocetta. 



Recurmrostra avosetta, The Avoset, 



avocetta Scooping, 



T7ie 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 143. 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 124. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 101. 

SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 90. 

JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 201. 

GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. iv. 



Avocette a nuque noir, TEMM. Man. d'Oraith. vol. ii. p. 590. 

RECUR vi ROSTRA. Generic Characters. Beak very long, slender, weak, de- 
pressed throughout its whole length, flexible, pointed and curving upwards; the 
upper mandible grooved along the upper surface ; under mandible grooved along 
the side. Nostrils on the upper surface of the beak, near its base, linear, long. 



AVOCET. 625 

Legs slender, long, great portion of the tibia naked; three toes in front, him! tot- 
small, articulated high up on the tarsus, the anterior toes united as far as the 

second articulation, by a membrane, the margin of which is concave. Wings 

pointed ; the first quill-feather the longest in the wing. 

THE AVOCET is certainly a singular looking bird ; both in 
reference to its beak as well as its feet ; but it is also as 
handsome as it is singular. The beak is curved upwards, is 
slender, pointed and flexible, having very much the appear- 
ance of a thin piece of elastic whalebone, and is, to the 
bird, I have no doubt, a delicate organ of touch ; while the 
semi-palmated feet seem only intended to support the bird 
on soft mud, as it never attempts to paddle or swim when 
out of its depth, but allows itself to float along motionless. 
This bird is apparently more rare now than formerly. Sir 
Thomas Browne says they were not uncommon in his time 
in the marshy lands of Norfolk, and some years ago I was 
told that more than twenty specimens were received at 
Leadenhall market for sale within one month ; but now 
scarcely an example appears once in a year : the last I 
heard of was in the spring of 1837. 

Mr. Thompson says it is a very rare visiter to Ireland ; 
one or two have been killed in Cornwall, and they were 
noticed formerly in Gloucestershire and in Shropshire. 
Four are recorded as having been obtained in Devonshire ; 
one or two in Dorsetshire. Mr. Markwick, in his catalogue 
of the Birds of Sussex, printed in 1795, says, this bird is 
not uncommon on our sea-coast in summer ; but whether it 
is to be found here in winter I cannot tell, as I do not re- 
collect to have ever seen it at that season. That it breeds 
here I have been an eye-witness, for I remember that seve- 
ral years ago, I found in the marshes near Bye a young 
one of this species, which appeared to have been just hatch- 
ed, and I took it up in my hands, whilst the old birds kept 

VOL. II. S S 



626 SCOLOPACID.E. 

flying round me. I have also seen it in the summer on the 
sea- coast at Bexhill. 

They formerly visited Eomney Marsh, but I find no re- 
cord of them there at present ; they are also rare now in 
Norfolk. The authors of the catalogue of Norfolk and 
Suffolk Birds, say, that during the breeding season the 
Avocet used to frequent the marshes at Winterton ; and in 
the summer of 1816 we saw one there which had young. 
This bird made several circles round us, uttering a shrill 
note, and then alighted in the middle of a pool of water, on 
which it floated ; then took several turns on wing, and 
again alighted on the water, where it sat motionless. The 
bill of the Avocet is so flexible that it is totally unfit for a 
weapon of offence, and the bird itself has a peculiarly 
harmless and meek appearance. 

W. B. Fisher, Esq. has recorded the occurrence of three 
specimens of the Avocet in the neighbourhood of the 
Broads near Yarmouth, in Norfolk, in 1842 and 43; and in 
reference to these Broads the Rev. Mr. Lubbock says, " At 
the beginning of the present century, the Avocet used to 
breed constantly and in considerable numbers at Horsey, 
but has not done so of late years. On the authority of an 
old and respectable fen-man, it bred regularly forty years 
ago near the seven mile-house on the North river; and 
occurs still sometimes upon Breedon. The last I know of 
positively in the fens, was a small flock which visited Sut- 
ton Broad in 1828. They used formerly to breed at Salt- 
house near Holt, but are now extinct there ; they were 
much harassed, as their feathers are valuable to make arti- 
ficial flies with." 

A. E. Knox, Esq. of New Grove, Petworth, says, that 
" at a late period a flock of five Avocets were seen at Pag- 
ham harbour, about six miles from Chichester. They were 



AVOCET. 627 

particularly tame ; when fired at two were killed and one 
wounded ; the survivors, however, did not attempt to fly 
away, till the shooter advanced to pick up the dead birds. 
Two of these Avocets are now in the Chichester Museum ; 
the third, the wounded one, was purchased by Mr. Tuff- 
nell, of Mundham, who placed it in his garden, where it 
was killed by a cat." Zoologist , vol. i. 

Mr. Selby records one that was killed at Hartley in 
Durham, and Dr. Fleming says it is only an occasional 
straggler into Scotland. 

The food of the Avocet consists of worms, aquatic in- 
sects, and the thinner-skinned crustaceous animals which 
these birds search for on soft mud and sand, occasionally 
wading deep when at their feed. It is said that the par- 
ticular marks made by the singular form of the beaks of 
these birds in the sand while searching for food are recog- 
nisable, while their stooping mode of action, and the cha- 
racter of the beak itself, have induced the provincial names 
of Scooper, and CoblerVawl Duck. Bewick mentions that 
when the female is frightened off her nest, she counterfeits 
lameness, flying round with the legs hanging down and the 
neck extended, uttering a sound like twit, twit, repeatedly, 
from which they are sometimes called Yelpers ; but when 
necessity prompts, the flight is powerful and rapid. 

The nest is said to be made in a small hole in the drier 
parts of extensive marshes ; the eggs are said to be only 
two in number, of a clay coloured brown, spotted and 
speckled with black, about two inches in length, by one 
inch and a half in breadth. 

M. Nilsson states that this bird visits Sweden but rarely, 
yet it is said to breed in Holstein, and the eggs are occa- 
sionally brought to this country for sale by dealers from 
Hamburgh. M. Temminck says that the Avocet isabund- 

s s 2 



628 SCOLOPACID.E. 

ant in the North of Holland, but is more rare on the coast, 
and is seen at the periods of its migrations in Provence, 
Switzerland, Italy, Corfu, and Sicily. It probably inhabits 
great part of Africa, since Dr. Andrew Smith has found it 
as far south as the Cape of Good Hope ; it is found also in 
Egypt and at Smyrna. M. Hohenacker includes it among 
the birds seen between the Black and the Caspian Seas ; 
and Mr. Selby mentions as a locality for it the salt lakes of 
Tartary. Our bird is also found in Nepal and Calcutta. 

The specimen from which the figure and description here 
inserted were taken, was obtained in the London market in 
the spring of 1814. The beak black, about three inches 
and a half in length, has very much the appearance of two 
thin flat pieces of whalebone coming to a point and curving 
upwards ; the irides reddish brgwn ; top of the head, occi- 
put, nape, and back of the neck, black ; interscapulars and 
upper part of the back, white ; scapulars, lesser wing- 
coverts, and the wing-primaries, black ; all the other parts 
of the plumage pure white ; legs and toes pale blue. 

The whole length nearly eighteen inches. From the 
carpal joint to the end of the wing eight inches and a half; 
the first quill-feather the longest in the wing. 

In young birds of the year the dark-coloured parts of 
the plumage are tinged with brown ; the scapulars edged 
with reddish brown. During the second year, till the 
autumn moult, some of the elongated dark feathers are still 
reddish brown at the end. 



BLACK WINGED STILT. 629 

CRA LLA TORES. SCOLOPA CIDM. 








BLACK WINGED STILT. 

Himantopus melanopterus. 

Charadrius himantopus, Long-legged Plover, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 1 00. 
w MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 374. 

Himantopus Plinii, Long Legs, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 112. 

melanopterus, Black ivinged Stilt, SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 247. 
Long Shanks, JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 201. 

Long-legged Plover, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. iii. 

n EcJiasse a manteau noir, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 528. 

HIMANTOPUS. Generic Characters. Beak long, slender, cylindrical, flattened 
at the base, compressed at the point, both mandibles grooved on the sides along 
the basal half of their length. Nostrils lateral, linear, elongated. Legs very long 



630 SCOLOFACID.E. 

and slender, three toes in front, the middle toe united to the outer toe by a mem- 
brane of considerable size, and to the interior toe by a membrane of smaller size ; 
claws or nails very small, flat. Wings very long, the first quill-feather conside- 
rably the longest in the wing. 

SIR ROBERT SIBBALD first recorded the Black Winged 
Stilt as a visiter to these islands from two specimens that 
were killed in Scotland, and Mr. Don, in his account of the 
native plants and the animals of Forfarshire, has noticed 
two others, also killed in Scotland, one on the mountains of 
Clova, and the other on Ben Lawers in Perthshire. The 
appearance of this bird, though not unfrequent, is still acci- 
dental, and seems to have no reference to any particular 
season of the year. White of Selborne notices five that 
were killed out of a flock of six, that visited Frinsham 
Pond, a large piece of water lying between Wolmer Forest 
and the town of Farnham, during the last week of April 
1779 ; arid Pennant mentions one that was obtained near 
Oxford. Mr. Thompson of Belfast mentions that one of 
these birds was seen by Mr. Robert Ball at Youghall, in 
the winter of 1823. Montagu, in his Supplement, notices 
one that was killed at Anglesea. It has been obtained in 
Devonshire, and in Dorsetshire, the latter near Poole. Mr. 
William Borrer, Jun. sent me word that an adult specimen 
had been shot near Havant in Hampshire, which had been 
prepared, and was now in the possession of F. Hopkins, 
Esq. of Hubborne Lodge, near Christchurch. 

Of some specimens killed in Norfolk, the Rev. Richard 
Lubbock sent me an account as follows. " On the ninth 
of June 1822, I was returning in the evening from fishing 
upon Hickling Broad, when a bird of this species flew past 
the boat within thirty yards. The legs were extended be- 
hind, even more in proportion than those of a Heron ; the 
wings were much arched ; the flight vigorous and regular ; 
the colour and the length of limb made me guess what it 



BLACK WINGED STILT. (J31 

must be. I asked the fenman who was with me what he 
guessed it to be. He considered it a Ruff which had been 
caught, as is sometimes the case in our marshes by a horse- 
hair snare, and had broken away with it. When I told 
him that I believed it to be a very rare and valuable bird 
he wished to go in immediate pursuit ; but I over-ruled 
that, as there was not more than half an hour's light re- 
maining, and the bird, if shot at ineffectually, might leave 
the country in the night. We searched for it early the 
next morning and found it precisely in the same place as 
the evening before. When shot, it was standing in a shal- 
low pool of water mid leg deep, apparently snapping at 
insects in the air as they buzzed round it. Since then a 
pair was shot by Mr. Salmon at Stoke Ferry, in the spring 
of 1826, the female had eggs within her in a forward 
state ; one of these last is now in the collection of Mr. 
Lombe." 

Mr. Gould, who has had opportunities of observing the 
actions of birds of this genus in Australia, thus writes of 
them. Although the extreme length of the legs of this 
bird, as compared with the small size of its body, would 
seem incompatible with easy carriage and graceful deport- 
ment, this in reality is not the case, for I never saw a bird 
which combined more grace of movement and elegance of 
appearance than the White -headed Stilt, which I, for the 
first time, observed near Mr. Edward Uhr's station on the 
banks of the river Mokai, where it was associated in small 
flocks of from six to twenty in number, and which by their 
picturesque appearance as they ran along the margin, and 
knee-deep in the shallows of the stream, added greatly to 
the beauty of the scene. They ran about with great cele- 
rity, displaying many graceful, lively actions, and were 
feeding entirely on insects and small shelled snails. 



632 SCOLOPACIDJE. 

My own specimen, from which the figure and description 
here given was derived, was obtained in the London market 
in July 1824, and was sent up for sale from Lincolnshire : 
while this bird was in the hands of Mr. Leadbeater for 
preservation, another was received from Norfolk. In the 
intestines of this last specimen, which I examined, was a 
species of tape worm, six inches in length, broad, flat, and 
jointed. T. H. Gurney, Esq. and Mr. W. E. Fisher have 
each noticed a specimen killed at Yarmouth in May 1842. 

Interesting accounts of an American Stilt, with a black 
neck, will be found in the works of Wilson, Mr. J. J. Au- 
dubon, and Dr. Nuttall, with which, in its habits, the 
European species most likely agrees . Our bird appears to 
prefer the margins of lakes rather than the sides of rivers : 
it lays four eggs, which have been figured by Dr. Thiene- 
mann, and are represented of a pale blue colour, blotched 
and spotted with ash green, and dark brown ; one inch 
nine lines in length, by one inch three lines in breadth. 
Its food consists of aquatic insects. 

M. Temminck says this bird is never seen in Holland, 
but has been taken in Germany. M. Vieillot does not in- 
clude it in his Birds of France. White of Selborne says 
that a most accurate observer of nature assured him that 
he had found it on the banks of the streams in Andalusia. 
It is seen on its passage at Genoa and Italy in spring, and 
M. Temminck says that it breeds in Sardinia. Specimens 
have been brought to this country from South Africa both 
by Captain Spiller and Dr. Andrew Smith ; and again 
quoting White of Selborne, " Hasselquist says that it 
migrates to Egypt in the autumn.' 11 It is seen in Sicily 
on its passage northwards in March, and has been known 
to winter in Malta, remaining there from November till 
spring. It has been found at Tripoli. The Zoological 



BLACK WINGED STILT. 633 

Society have received specimens from Trebizond, presented 
by Keith Abbott, Esq.; and Messrs. Dickson and Ross; 
and the Russian naturalists, M. Menetries and Hohenacker, 
found this bird also on the margins of lakes between the 
Black and the Caspian Seas. Colonel Sykes and Major 
Franklin brought specimens from different parts of India ; 
B. Hodgson, Esq. includes it among the birds of Nepal. 
M. Temminck says it is found in Japan, and Dr. Horsfield 
includes it in his Birds of Java. 

The beak is black ; the irides red ; the whole of the 
head, the neck all round, the breast, all the under parts 
of the body and the tail-feathers white, with a few dusky 
streaks behind the eyes and on the occiput ; the back and 
wings nearly black, tinged with green ; the legs and toes 
pink, 

The whole length about thirteen inches. From the car- 
pal joint to the end of the wing eight inches ; the first quill 
feather the longest. 

Females have the black colour on the back less pure, and 
not tinged with green ; the dark streaks about the occiput 
are more numerous. 

Young birds have the feathers of the back and wings 
brown, edged with white, and more dark feathers about 
the back of the head ; the legs orange. 



634 

GRALLATORES. 



SCOLOPACIDJE. 



SCOLOPACIDJE. 




THE BLACK-TAILED GODWIT. 

Limosa melanum. 



Scolopax Lapponica, Red Godwit Snipe, 
limosa, Jadreka Snipe, 
Lapponica, Red Godivit, 
limosa, Jadreka Snipe, 
Lapponica, Red Godwit, 
limosa, Jadreka Snipe, 

Limosa cegocepliala, Black-tailed Godwit, 
melanura, 



Barge a queue 



PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 51. 

,, >> n 53 ' 

MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

Supplt. 

BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol ii. p. 66. 
70. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 107. 
SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 94. 
JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 203. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xiv. 
TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 664. 



BLACK-TAILED GODWIT. 635 

LIMOSA. Generic Characters. Bill very long, rather thick at the base, com- 
pressed, slightly curved upwards; both mandibles grooved laterally to within a 
short distance of the point, which is somewhat dilated and blunt ; tip of the 
upper mandible projecting beyond the lower one. Nostrils basal, placed in the 
lateral groove, narrow and longitudinal. Wings pointed, of moderate length, the 
first quill-feather the longest. Legs long and slender, a great part of the tibia 
naked Feet four-toed, three in front, one behind ; the outer toe united by a 
membrane to the middle toe as far as the first joint, the inner toe nearly free ; 
hind toe short, and articulated upon the tarsus. 

GODWITS, of which in Britain there are two species, ap- 
pear to have been more common formerly than they are at 
present. Sir Thomas Browne, when writing some of his 
notes on Natural History, two hundred years ago, says, 
" Godwits are taken chiefly in marsh-land ; though other 
parts are not without them : they are accounted the 
daintiest dish in England." This bird was considered an 
article of luxury in Ben Jonson's time. 

Your eating 

Pheasant and Godivit here in London, haunting 
The Globes and Mermaids ; wedging in with lords 
Still at the table. 

Dev. an Ass^ iii. 3, 

And Thomas Muffet, that " ever famous doctor in phy- 
sick," as he is called in his title-page, says in " Health's 
Improvement," page 99, " but a fat Godwit is so fine and 
light meat, that noblemen, yea, and merchants too, by 
your leave, stick not to buy them at four nobles a dozen." 
Nares's Glossary. 

It is still the practice of some of the fenmen in Lincoln- 
shire to fat a few Godwits on bread and milk with the 
Ruffs as formerly, when they happen to catch any, and I 
have seen several within the last five or six years that had 
been sent up to the London market for sale after having 
been thus fed and fatted ; but though considerably larger 
than the Ruff, they are not in such high estimation as an 
article for the table. 



636 SCOLOPACIDiE. 

The changes in colour our two Godwits undergo in 
spring, during the gradual assumption of the perfect dress 
of summer, and the autumnal moult producing again in its 
turn the plumage of winter the general similarity in the 
colours of the two species, and the difference in the size of 
the two sexes of the same species, the females being con- 
siderably larger than the males, led to some confusion in 
the works of some of the earlier British writers on Birds ; 
but in several of the species of the extensive family of the 
Scolopacida, now under consideration, the tail-feathers 
alone supply good specific distinctions, as shown in the in- 
stance of the Green and Wood Sandpipers lately described. 
The Godwit of the present article may be known at all 
ages and seasons from the smaller one that here follows it, 
by the tail-feathers, the terminal two-thirds of which are 
invariably black ; while in the next species the tail-feathers 
are as invariably barred throughout their whole length 
with black and white. These permanent distinctions have 
suggested the names now in use. 

The Black-tailed Godwits are most frequently seen in 
spring and autumn ; the first yearly visiters being adult 
birds on their way to the breeding grounds in high northern 
latitudes ; in the autumn more examples are seen than in 
spring, but these are mostly young birds of the year going 
for the first time to their southern winter quarters. A few 
pairs annually resort to the marshes of Norfolk and the fens 
of Lincolnshire ; but they are rarely permitted to breed 
unmolested, their large size and peculiar actions being sure 
to attract the notice both of the sportsman and the egg 
gatherer. The Rev. Richard Lubbock says, it still breeds 
occasionally in some of our Norfolk marshes, return- 
ing to the same locality, I think, year after year, being 
found in only two or three situations to my knowledge, 



BLACK-TAILED GODWIT. 637 

near Buckenham ferry, and at Thurne Mouth near 
Oby. 

Its flight in the breeding season resembles that of the 
Redshank, like which bird it at that time flies round any 
intruder in the marsh, but in more distant circles and much 
higher in the air. It is called provincially " Shrieker," but 
its note, though loud, is far from inharmonious. It be- 
comes more scarce in the breeding season every year. Mr. 
Hewitson says the Black-tailed Godwits commence laying 
their eggs early in May. The nest is composed of dry 
grass and other vegetables, and is concealed amongst the 
coarse herbage of the swamps and low meadows. Mr. 
Hoy mentions, that when disturbed, they are clamorous, 
flying round and vociferating the cry of grutto, grutto, 
grutto, by which name the bird is known among the coun- 
try people in Holland. The eggs are four in number, of a 
light olive brown, blotched and spotted with darker brown, 
the length two inches two lines by one inch six lines in 
breadth, and rather pear-shaped. The food of these birds 
consists of insects and their larvae, worms, and almost any 
other soft bodied animals. 

The Black-tailed Godwit is only seen in Ireland occa- 
sionally in autumn, as I learn from my friend, Mr. W. 
Thompson. It has been obtained in Devonshire ; I have 
heard of its having been killed at Cardington in Bedford- 
shire ; and Mr. Bond, who has very kindly furnished me 
with a list of birds obtained or seen in the vicinity of 
Kingsbury Reservoir, a large piece of water but a few 
miles north of London, includes three instances of this 
species appearing there in spring. Living specimens 
brought from Holland are frequently to be bought in the 
London markets, and are amusing pets when kept within a 
walled garden. This species occurs occasionally in Cam- 



638 SCOLOPACID^E, 

i 

bridgeshire, and, as before stated, in Suffolk and Norfolk. 
Mr. Selby has noticed their appearance in Northumberland, 
and Mr. Heysham has recorded two occurrences, both 
during autumn, in the vicinity of the Sol way Frith. This 
bird is found during summer in Denmark, and visits in con- 
siderable numbers various parts of Scandinavia, particularly 
Lapland, and going even as far north as Iceland and Green- 
land. 

On the European Continent it is most frequently seen in 
spring and autumn. It is well known in Spain, and the 
Zoological Society have received a male and a female in 
their winter plumage from Tangiers, where they are said 
not to be uncommon, besides some specimens from Tunis 
and other localities in North Africa. In Switzerland, M. 
Schinz says in his Fauna Helvetica, this species is occa- 
sionally seen on its passage, and a pair may sometimes 
remain there and go to nest, as a bird in perfect summer 
plumage has been taken. It is seen at Genoa and in Italy 
in May and August, but most numerous in August on its 
return from the North. In Sicily it is said to be rare, but 
more common at Malta when on its passage. It has been 
found in Tripoli. Messrs. Dickson and Ross sent the 
Zoological Society a young bird of the year from Tre- 
bizond ; M. Hohenacker, a Russian Naturalist, includes it 
among the birds obtained in the vicinity of the Caucasus. 

Bryan Hodgson, Esq., includes this Godwit in his cata- 
logue of the birds of Nepal, and Mr. Blyth has obtained it 
in the vicinity of Calcutta. 

M. Temminck says it is found in Japan and on the Isles 
of Sunda. 

This Godwit, in the winter plumage, has the beak black 
for one-third of its length, the basal portion pale yellowish 
brown ; the irides hazel ; before and over the eye a white 



BLACK-TAILED GOD WIT. 639 

patch ; the whole of the head and neck ash brown ; the 
scapulars, wing-coverts, hack, and tertials, ash brown, the 
coverts and tertials with lighter coloured edges ; primary 
quill-feathers dusky black, the shafts white, with some 
white at the base of all beyond the second, forming a bar 
across the wing ; basal third of the tail-feathers white, the 
terminal two-thirds black, except the outer tail-feather on 
each side, which have a larger proportion of white ; chin, 
breast, and belly, light greyish ash ; vent and under tail- 
coverts white ; legs and toes dusky brown, the claws black. 

The whole length of a female seventeen inches ; of the 
beak alone four inches. From the carpal joint to the end 
of the first quill-feather, which is the longest in the wing, 
nine inches ; length of the tarsus three inches ; of the 
naked part above, one inch and three-quarters. 

The male in summer has the beak black for half its 
length from the point, the basal half pale orange ; irides 
hazel ; from the gape to the eye a dark streak produced by 
small black spots on feathers of a reddish brown ; over this 
and around the eye a ring of pale brown ; top of the head 
and the ear-coverts reddish brown streaked with black ; 
the neck all round, before and behind, a reddish fawn 
colour ; the feathers on the back in spring become dark 
brown, almost black at the base and on the centre ; the 
ends, which were of an ash colour in winter, become rufous 
by degrees till the darker feathers with reddish margins 
pervade the whole of the back : the wing-primaries are 
more decidedly black, the white coloured portion more 
pure and conspicuous ; the tail the same at all seasons ; the 
breast white, barred across with rufous brown and dark 
brown ; the thighs and belly more sparingly barred with 
dark brown only ; vent and under tail-coverts white ; 
legs, toes and claws, brownish black. 



640 



SCOLOPACID/E. 



Whole length of a male sixteen inches ; beak alone three 
inches and a quarter. 

Young birds of the year are during their first autumn 
tinged with red on the neck, and may be distinguished 
throughout their first winter from old birds by their smaller 
size, and by the ash brown tint which pervades their neck 
and the upper part of the breast : the white of the lower 
part of the breast is also clouded with ash grey. 

In the illustration at the commencement of the account 
of the Black- tailed God wit, the figure in the front squatting 
down represents the male in summer plumage ; the larger 
figure behind is the female in the more uniform and sombre 
plumage of winter. 

In the family of the Plovers the males are the largest ; 
but among the Godwits, Snipes, and Sandpipers, this cha- 
racter is reversed, and the females are the largest. 




BAR-TAILED GODWIT. 641 

OR A LLA TORES. SCOLOPA CIDJE. 




THE BAR-TAILED GODWIT. 



Limosa rufa. 



Scolopax cegocepliala, 



Godwit Snipe, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 47. 

Common Godwit, MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

novel)oracensis, Red breasted Snipe, Supplt. 

' BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 61. 

cegocephala, The Godwit, 64. 

Limosa rufa, Bar-tailed Godwit, FLEM. Brit. An. p. 107. 

Red SELBV, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 98. 

Bar-tailed JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 202. 
GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. xv. 

Barge rousse, TEMM. Man. d'Ornith. vol. ii. p. 668. 

THE BAR-TAILED GODWIT is in its habits in this country 
very similar to the Black-tailed Godwit last described, with 
two exceptions ; the Bar-tailed Godwit very rarely, if ever, 
remains to breed, and more frequently stops with us through 

VOL. II. T T 



642 SCOLOPACID^E. 

the winter. In Ireland, Mr. Thompson tells me, it is a 
regular autumnal visitant. Small flocks are occasionally 
seen in spring, and in the beginning of summer, in Corn- 
wall and in Devonshire, as noticed by Mr. Couch, Dr. 
Edward Moore, and Mr. Bellamy, and a few are seen in 
winter. In Komney Marsh, on the Kentish coast, Mr. 
Plomley says the same occurrences take place. The 
authors of the catalogue of the Norfolk and Suffolk Birds, 
say, " We have examined specimens of this bird killed in 
Norfolk in various states of plumage. Those met with in 
autumn have been in the dress of the Common Godwit 
of English authors ; but when the individual was killed 
early in the spring, it was in a state of change between 
that bird and the Red-breasted Snipe of Montagu." 

Some years since many beautiful examples of this species, 
in various states of plumage, were brought from Yarmouth 
to London by Mr. Harvey, for sale, from one of which the 
figure of the male bird, in perfect summer plumage as here 
represented, standing up, was taken. Mr. Selby includes this 
species among his Birds of Durham and Northumberland, 
and Mr. Heysham has recorded one that was shot on the west 
coast near Bowness in October, but considers it a rare bird. 

M. Savi, and other authorities, consider it a very rare 
bird in Italy. It is only seen on its passage in Switzer- 
land and France. A few are said to breed in the flat 
marshy parts of Germany, and M. Temminck says that it 
has bred in Holland. It visits Finland and the countries 
to the eastward, but is very seldom seen on the islands, 
or on the western shores of the Baltic ; nor in Gottland, 
nor on the Danish islands west of the Sound. 

I believe this Godwit is not found in Lapland, nor do I 
find it included among the Birds of Iceland or of Greenland 
in any catalogue, unless it has been confounded with the 



BAR-TAILED GODWIT. 643 

Black-tailed God wit. It is found on the shores of the Cas- 
pian sea ; it was obtained by M. Menetries the Russian Na- 
turalist on the scientific expedition to the Caucasus, and M. 
Temminck says it is found in India, at Java, and Timor. 

The egg of this Godwit is figured by Dr. L. Thienemann, 
and I have in my collection one egg obtained in Yarmouth 
market, which so exactly resembles the coloured figure of 
the egg in the work referred to, that I venture to describe 
its size, colours, and markings, but without any other 
authority than that I have named for its being the egg of 
the Bar-tailed Godwit. This egg measures one inch 
eleven lines in length, by one inch and four lines in breadth, 
of a pale yellowish wood brown, speckled, spotted, and 
blotched with clove brown, and umber brown. 

The food of this species is aquatic insects, worms, and 
molluscs. In winter these birds are seen on various parts 
of our sea coast. At this time of the year the beak is 
black at the point, the basal portion pale reddish brown ; 
irides dusky brown ; top of the head, and back of the 
neck, ash brown, each feather with a central streak of 
darker brown along the line of the shaft; back, and 
scapulars, dark brown, edged with pale wood brown ; all 
the wing-coverts, secondaries and tertials, dark brown, 
with greyish white edges ; primary quill-feathers dusky 
black, with white shafts, the shorter ones edged with 
white ; rump, and upper tail-coverts white, barred with 
brown ; tail-feathers barred throughout their whole length 
with dark brown, and greyish white in nearly equal 
breadth ; neck in front, ash brown ; breast, belly, and 
vent, white ; under tail-coverts white, with only one or 
two transverse bars of brown towards the end ; legs, and 
toes, dark blue, the claws black. 

A female, which, as in the Black-tailed Godwit, is larger 

T T 2 



644 SCOLOPACID^E. 

than the male, measured sixteen inches ; the length of the 
beak, three inches and three-quarters ; from the carpal 
joint to the end of the first quill-feather, which is the 
longest, eight inches and a half. The legs of this species 
are much shorter in proportion to the size of the hird than 
those of the Black-tailed Godwit, and become another mark 
of distinction. In the female described, the tarsus mea- 
sured but two inches in length, and the naked part of the 
tibia above it only one inch. 

A male, apparently in the perfect plumage of summer, 
killed during the second week of May 1821, has the beak 
nearly black, reddish brown at the base ; irides dusky 
brown ; head and neck rich bay, or chestnut red, the 
feathers on the forehead, top of the head, and down the 
back of the neck, streaked longitudinally with black : the 
space between the base of the beak and the eye, 
and the feathers forming the ear-coverts, spotted with 
black ; the upper part of the back, the shoulders, lesser 
wing-coverts and tertials, black, the edges of the feathers of 
a pale reddish wood brown ; greater wing-coverts, as in 
winter, dark brown edged with greyish white ; primary 
quill-feathers almost black, those nearest the secondaries 
tinged with dusky brown on the inner webs, and edged 
with white ; lower part of the back white, with a few small 
feathers of a dark colour intermixed ; upper tail-coverts 
barred with black, on a ground colour of pale reddish 
brown ; tail-feathers nearly as in winter, but the white is 
tinged with bay ; neck in front, breast, belly, vent, and 
under tail-coverts, nearly uniform rich bay, with a few 
dark streaks before the carpal joint of the wing ; legs, toes, 
and claws, nearly black. 



RUFF. 



GRALLATORES. 



645 

SCOLOPAC1DM. 




THE RUFF. 

Maclietes pugnax. 

Tringa pugnax, Tfie Ruff, PENN. Brit. Zool. vol. ii. p. 71. 

M MONTAGU, Ornith. Diet. 

w BEWICK, Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 79. 

FLEM. Brit. An. p. 110. 

Maclietes SELBY, Brit. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 130. 

Tringa JENYNS, Brit. Vert. p. 207. 

Machetes pugnax, GOULD, Birds of Europe, pt. x. 

Tringa Becasseau combatant, TEMM. Man. d'Oniith. vol. ii. p. 631, 

Machetes Combatant variable, Supplt. pt. iv. p. 411. 



646 SCOLOPACID.E. 

MACHETES. Generic Characters. Bill straight, rather slender, as long as the 
head, with the tip dilated and smooth ; upper mandible laterally sulcated for four 
fifths of its length ; culmen rounded. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear, placed in the 
commencement of the groove. Wings long, and pointed, with the first and 
second quill-feathers of equal length, and the longest in the wing. Legs long and 
slender, the tibia naked for a considerable space above the tarsal joint. Feet four- 
toed ; three before and one behind ; the outer toe united to the middle one by a 
membrane as far as the first joint ; the inner toe free ; hind toe short, articulated 
upon the tarsus, with the tip of the claw barely touching the ground. In plum- 
age, the head and neck of the male, during the breeding season, are adorned with 
long plumose feathers springing from the occiput and throat ; which, when raised, 
form a large ruff or shield around the head ; and the face of the male bird, during 
the same period, is covered with small fleshy warts or papillae. Selby. 

THE RUFF differs in so many points from the species in- 
cluded in the genera Totanus, Scolopax, and Tringa, that 
the generic division and term, Machetes* in reference to 
its pugnacious habits, proposed for it by Baron Cuvier, in 
the Edition of his Regne Animal, dated 1817, has been 
admitted by many systematic writers, and adopted by 
M. Temminck in the fourth Supplementary Part of his 
Manual, as already quoted. The most marked distinc- 
tions of this species, which up to the present time is the 
only one of the genus known, are, the periodical assump- 
tion by the males of the Ruff about the neck, which has 
led to the English name : that scarcely any two of these 
males can be found of the same colour, which is very un- 
usual among wild birds, while the females are uniform in 
colour, or nearly so : that the males are polygamous, and 
about one third larger than the females, in both of which 
points the Ruffs differ from the characters of the genera 
named. 

The Ruff, like several of the species lately described, may 
be considered only as a summer visiter to this country, 
making its appearance in April and departing again in au- 
tumn, at which time the young birds of the year, in small 
flocks, are also seen, and single birds are occasionally killed 

* Pugnator. 



RUFF. 647 

iii winter. Formerly many of the adult birds remained 
with us during the summer, and bred in the fens of Cam- 
bridgeshire, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire. 

Montagu made a tour through Lincolnshire that he might 
become intimately acquainted with all the history of this 
singular species that could be obtained. " He found that 
the birds were much more scarce than they had been before 
a large tract of the fens was drained and enclosed, and 
would probably, as agriculture increased, be entirely driven 
from the island. A few he observed are still found about 
Crowland, but the north fen near Spalding, and the east and 
west fens between Boston and Spilsby, are the only parts 
that appear to produce them with certainty, but by no 
means plentiful." 

That these birds were formerly very numerous may be 
inferred from the fact that a fenman told Pennant he once 
caught six dozen in one morning. The Rev. James F. 
Dimock wrote me word that some Reeves (the name ap- 
plied to the females) still breed in Cawlish Wash, near 
Spalding. I have a note of ten dozen of these birds, fatted 
for the table, coming to Leadenhall market on the same 
day in the year 1824. 

Montagu observes that " the trade of catching Ruffs is 
confined to a very few persons, and scarcely repaid their 
trouble and the expense of nets. These people live in ob- 
scure places on the verge of the fens, and are found out 
with difficulty, for few, if any, birds are ever bought but by 
those who make a trade of fattening them for the table. 
Mr. Towns, the noted feeder at Spalding, assures us his 
family had been a hundred years in the trade ; that they 
had supplied George the Second and many noble families 
in the kingdom. He undertook, at the desire of the late 
Marquis of Townsend, when that nobleman was Lord 



648 SCOLOPACID^E. 

Lieutenant of Ireland,* to take some Ruffs to that country, 
and actually set off with twenty seven dozen from Lincoln- 
shire, left seven dozen at the Duke of Devonshire's at 
Chatsworth, continued his route across the kingdom to 
Holyhead, and delivered seventeen dozen alive in Dublin, 
having lost only three dozen in so long a journey, confined 
and greatly crowded as they were in baskets, which were 
carried upon two horses. During our stay at Spalding we 
were shown into a room where there were about seven 
dozen males and a dozen females, and of the former there 
were not two alike. Our intrusion to choose some birds, 
drove them from their stands, and compelling some to 
trespass upon the premises of others, produced many battles. 
It is a remarkable character of these birds that they feed 
most greedily the moment they are taken ; a basin of bread 
and milk, or boiled wheat placed before them is instantly 
contended for, and so pugnacious is their disposition, that 
they would starve in the midst of plenty, if several dishes 
of food were not placed amongst them, at a distance from 
each other. Their actions in fighting are very similar to 
those of a game cock : the head is lowered and the beak 
held in a horizontal direction ; the ruff, and indeed every 
feather more or less distended, the former sweeping the 
ground as a shield to defend the more tender parts ; the 
auricles erected, and the tail partly spread, upon the whole 
assuming a most ferocious aspect. When either could 
obtain a firm hold with the bill, a leap succeeded, accom- 
panied by a stroke of the wing ; but they rarely injured 
each other." 

" Few Buffs, comparatively speaking, are taken in the 
spring, as the old birds frequently pine, and will not readily 
fatten. The principal time is in September, when the 

* Appointed in Oct. 1 767. 



RUFF. 649 

young birds are on the wing; these are infinitely more 
delicate for the table, more readily submit to confinement, 
and are less inclined to fight. If this plan was generally 
enforced by the proprietors of fen-land, or made a bye-law 
amongst themselves, the breed would not be so reduced ; 
but there are still fowlers who make two seasons, and by 
catching the old birds in the spring, especially the females, 
verify the fable of the goose and the golden eggs : the de- 
struction of every female in the breeding season is the pro- 
bable loss of four young." 

" The manner of taking these birds is somewhat different 
in the two seasons : in the spring the Ruffs hill, as it is 
termed, that is, they assemble upon a rising spot of ground, 
contiguous to where the Beeves propose to deposit their 
eggs ; there they take their stand, at a small distance from 
each other, and contend for the females, the nature of 
polygamous birds. This hill, or place of resort for love 
and battle, is sought for by the fowler, who from habit 
discovers it by the birds having trodden the turf somewhat 
bare, though not in a circle as usually described. When a 
hill has been discovered, the fowler repairs to the spot 
before the break of day, spreads his net, places his decoy 
birds, and takes his stand at the distance of about one 
hundred and forty yards, or more, according to the shyness 
of the birds. The net is what is termed a single clap-net, 
about seventeen feet long and six feet wide, with a pole at 
each end ; this, by means of uprights fixed in the ground, 
and each furnished with a pulley, is easily pulled over the 
birds within reach, and rarely fails taking all within its 
grasp ; but in order to give the pull the greatest velocity, 
the net, if circumstances will permit, is so placed as to 
fold over with the wind : however, there are some fowlers 
who prefer pulling it against the wind for Plovers. As the 



650 SCOLOPACID.E. 

Ruffs feed chiefly by night, they repair to the frequented 
hill at the dawn of day, nearly all at the same time, and 
the fowler makes his first pull according to circumstances, 
takes out his Birds, and prepares for the stragglers who 
traverse the fens and have no adopted hill; these are 
caught singly, heing enticed by the stuffed birds. These 
stuffed skins are sometimes so managed as to be moveable 
by means of a long string, so that a jerk represents a jump, 
a motion very common among Ruffs, who at the sight of a 
wanderer flying by, will leap, or flit a yard off the ground, 
by that means inducing those on wing to come and alight 
by him." 

" When the Reeves begin to lay, both those and the 
Ruffs are least shy, and so easily caught, that a fowler 
assured us he could, with certainty, take every bird in the 
fen in the season. The females continue this boldness, and 
their temerity increases as they become broody ; on the 
contrary, we found the males at that time could not be ap- 
proached within the distance of gun-shot. The females, 
the Reeves, begin laying their eggs the first or second week 
in May ; and we have found their nest with young as early 
as the third of June. By this time the males cease to go 
to MIL The nest is usually formed upon a tump in the 
moist swampy places, surrounded by coarse grass, of which 
it is also formed. The eggs are four in number, of an olive 
colour, blotched and spotted with clove and liver brown : 
one inch seven lines in length, by one inch one line and a 
half in breadth. The young, while covered with down, are 
prettily spotted, soon leave their nest, and are difficult to 
find without a good dog. The autumnal catching is usually 
about Michaelmas, at which time few old males are taken, 
from which an opinion has been formed, that they migrate 
before the females and young. It is, however, more pro- 



RUFF. 651 

bable that the few which are left after the spring fowling, 
like other polygamous birds, keep in parties separate from 
the female and her brood till the return of spring." Montagu 
took the trouble of transporting several of these birds, both 
males and females, with him from Lincolnshire into Devon- 
shire, some of them lived three years in captivity, and one 
of them four years : the changes they underwent will be 
noticed under the description of plumage. Montagu says, 
that " in confinement the males paid no attention to the 
Beeves, except to drive them from their food ; they never 
attempted to dispute with any other species, but would 
feed out of the same dish with Land Rails, and other 
birds confined with them, in perfect amity." In a wild 
state they feed upon insects and worms. 

In Ireland, as recorded by Mr. Thompson, the Ruff ap- 
pears occasionally in spring and autumn. A few are ob- 
served in various parts of England, generally in autumn. 
A considerable flight, supposed to be young birds, were 
seen near Godalming in Surrey, on the 20th of August, 
1836. The Rev. R