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Full text of "An illustrated manual of British birds"

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1869 
THE LIBRARY 



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ILLUSTRATED MANUAL OV BRITISH BIRDS. 



i 76 



6 '' 



^ AN ILLUSTRATED MANUAL 



BRITISH BIRDS 



BY 

HOWARD SAUNDERS, F.L.S., F.Z.S, &c. 

EDITOR OF THE THIRD AND FOURTH VOLUMES OF " VARRELL'S HISTORY OF 
BRITISH BIRDS," FOURTH EDITION'. 

WITH 384 ILLUSTRATIONS AND 3 COLOURED MAPS. 

SECOND EDITION, REVISED AND ENLARGED. 




LONDON : 
GURNEY AND JACKSON, i, PATERNOSTER ROW, 

(Successors to Mr. Van Voorst.) 
iSqq. 



PRINTED BY 

WOODFALL AND KINDER, LONG ACRE 

LONDON 



"Z^ r Z. t r". ■ ■— • • 

AMD k'2 ?v_-vj-- 



BATICS 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 



The First Edition, consisting of rather more than 3,000 copies, 
was completed in November 1889, and exhausted early in 1897. 
The species which were then considered as British numbered 367, 
but in this Second Edition the total has been raised to 384; the 
additions (with illustrations) being the Subalpine Warbler, Pallas's 
Willow-Warbler, Greenish WiUow-Warbler, Radde's Bush-Warbler, 
Melodious \\'arbler, Siberian Meadow-Bunting, Gyr-Falcon, Caspian 
Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Madeiran Fork-tailed Petrel, Frigate- 
Petrel, Collared Petrel, and Black-browed Albatross ; a new cut and 
description of the Little Dusky Shearwater are substituted for those of 
Piiffinus obscurus ; and the Rufous Turtle-Dove, Siberian Pectoral 
Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Herring-Gull, and Levantine Shearwater are 
also added, although they are not figured, because of their close re- 
semblance to species already illustrated. In the case of many of the 
species named in the first list, the identical British specimens have 
been portrayed by Mr. G. E. Lodge, who has also furnished new 
illustrations of the Yellow-browed Warbler, Icterine ^V■arbler, Reed- 
Warbler and nest, Marsh-Warbler and nest. Red-throated Pipit, 
Short-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, Little Owl, Golden Eagle, Honey- 
Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Hobby, Red-footed Falcon, Osprey, 
Little Bittern, Mallard, Black-headed Gull, White-billed Northern 
Diver, Black-throated Diver and Red-throated Diver. 

Of the 384 species now described, those which have bred within 
the United Kingdom during the present century may be taken as 
199 (if the extinct Great Auk is included); about 74 non- 
breeding wanderers have occurred fewer than six times, and 66 
others are more or less infrequent visitors ; while 45 species 
annually make their appearance on migration or during the colder 
months, in some portion of our long, narrow group of islands or upon 
the surrounding waters. 

It is hoped that the three coloured ]Maps will be useful for 
reference, especially to the traveller. The first of these shows the 



VI PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 

comparative elevation of the land in the United Kingdom and the 
depth of the surrounding seas ; while, although on a small scale, it will 
serve as a guide to the relative positions of the various groups of 
islands. It may also remind the reader that, owing to the indenta- 
tions of our coast, very few places in the British Islands are fifty 
miles distant in a straight line from tidal or brackish water : a cir- 
cumstance which exercises a modifying influence on our climate — 
and consequently on our bird-life — during the winter months, and is 
in strong contrast with the extreme conditions prevalent over 
compact Continental areas, even further to the south. The North 
Polar Chart embodies the latest discoveries by Dr. Nansen and 
others, and it is hoped that it will be of assistance in estimating 
the range of the birds which breed in the Arctic regions. 

The letter-press has required considerable alteration, owing to the 
large amount of information rendered accessible during the last 
nine years by such works as the ' Faunas of the Inner Hebrides and 
Argyll,' of the 'Orkneys,' and of the 'Moray Basin,' all three by 
Messrs. Harvie-Brown and T. E. Buckley; the 'Birds of Devon,' by 
Messrs. D'Urban and Mathew ; the 'Birds of Pembrokeshire,' by 
the Rev. M. A. Mathew ; the ' Fauna of Lakeland,' by the Rev. 
H. A. Macpherson ; the ' Birds of Northamptonshire,' by the much- 
regretted Lord Lilford, and other works ; not to mention various 
compilations, in which there is material of value. In 1896 appeared 
Mr. W. Eagle Clarke's digest of the ' Observations on the Migra- 
tions of Birds at Light-houses and Light-vessels from 1 880-1 887,' 
a marvel of condensed facts ; and some of these observations are 
very destructive of former beliefs. For instance, it used to be 
supposed that the regular east-to-west migration which reached 
Heligoland in autumn would be in some degree continued to the 
British Islands, and that a reflex movement would take place in 
spring ; but the abstract shows that such intermigrations are the 
rare exception and not the rule. It is proved, however, that there 
is much movement from the south-east and east towards the north- 
west and west in autumn — and reversely in spring — across the 
narrowest portion of the North Sea. Another former fancy was that 
the migration of many species of birds depended upon the direc- 
tion of the wind ; but this, again, is only true to a very limited 
extent, and it has been demonstrated that certain meteorological con- 
ditions at the point of departure are the prime factors controlling 
the seasonal movements. Practically the wind is not of great im- 
portance, for although birds cannot fly in the teeth of an absolute 
gale, they can sail uncommonly close to any reasonable wind. 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. Vll 

The grant from the British Association in aid of these observations is 
no longer given, but the light-keepers continue to take an interest in 
the subject of migration, and excellent reports are still received 
privately from many localities, especially in Scotland and Ireland. 
Mr. R. M. Barrington has kindly placed the schedules for Ireland 
at my disposal, and many valuable facts, expressed perhaps in this 
book in only two or three words, are derived from these records. 
As regards foreign countries, the geographical distribution of many 
species has been re-written, owing to increase of knovvledge ; but 
the inexorable limits of space will not permit of the enumeration of 
the authors nor the titles of their communications. As bearing 
upon general ornithology, one recent master-piece may be men- 
tioned — Professor Newton's ' Dictionary of Birds.' 

One of the most pleasing circumstances connected with the 
progress of this Edition has been the generous manner in which 
information and assistance have been absolutely pressed upon me. 
I cannot give the names of all who have placed me under obliga- 
tions, but I should like to mention Col. H. W. Feilden, Lieut.- 
Col. H. L. Irby, the Rev. H. A. Macpherson, Professor Newton, 
Dr. R. B. Sharpe, the Rev. H. H. Slater, Messrs. O. V. Aplin, R. M. 
Barrington, E. Bidwell, F. E. Blaauw, G. Bolam, T. E. Buckley, 
Abel Chapman, J. Cordeaux, H. S. Davenport, W. H. Dobie, 
H. E. Dresser, E. A. S. Elliot, Henry Evans (Derby), W. R. Ogilvie 
Grant, J. H. Gurney, G. H. Caton Haigh, J. E. Harting, J. A. 
Harvie-Brovvn, R. J. Howard, Reginald Lodge, E. C. Phillips, 
H. L. Popham, Thomas Southwell, and Robert Warren. There 
are four more who deserve special thanks : — namely, Mr. R. J. 
Ussher, who has taken great pains to furnish me with the latest 
information respecting Irish birds ; Messrs. W. Eagle Clarke and 
William Evans, who have not only sent valuable notes and criticisms, 
but have also read a large portion of the proofs ; and Mr. A. H. 
Evans of Cambridge, who has gone over every proof-sheet, as he did 
in the First Edition. And in thanking all my correspondents, I 
express the hope that our joint labours may be of service to the 
student of ornithology. 

H. S. 

7, Radnor Place, Hyde Park, W. 
nth April, 1899. 



INTRODUCTION. 



The scientific arrangement followed in this work is mainly in 
accordance with that of ' The List of British Birds compiled by a 
Committee of the British Ornithologists' Union.' There are, of 
course, differences of opinion respecting the relative position of 
some of the Families which make up the Order Passeres, such as 
the Corvidae ; but nearly all modern systematists are agreed that 
the highest avian development is attained in that Order. The 
Passeres therefore, as being the most specialized of birds, should 
occupy either the first place in a descending arrangement (such 
as that set forth by Mr. P. L. Sclater in 'The Ibis' for 1880 and 
widely adopted in the Old World), or else the last in a scheme of 
ascent from the lowest and most reptilian birds. Nearly fifteen 
years ago, the latter found favour, even in a somewhat crude form, 
in the United States; and it has received increasing acceptance 
in Europe, owing to its elaboration by Professor Bronn, Dr. Hans 
Gadow and Professor Fiirbringer, while it has been adopted by Mr. 
A. H. Evans in his new volume ' Birds,' of the Cambridge Natural 
History. There is much to be said in its favour, but such a 
complete change would hardly commend itself to the readers of 
a work which has been playfully named ' The Boy's Yarrell ' ; 
and it therefore seems preferable to adhere to the highly-sanctioned 
scheme of commencing with the Passeres. To attain some 
approach to uniformity, my own views have been subordinated to 
those of the majority of the Committee of the B.O.U. as regards 
the positions of the Corvidte and the Alaudidae, as well as on some 
other unessential points. 

It must be remembered that this work is merely a Manual, 
intended to convey as much information ?// to date as may be 
practicable in o>ie volume ; and it would be foreign to my purpose 
to increase its bulk by a treatise on the Orders and Families of 
Birds ; yet a brief outline has been given of the characteristics 
of the Genera, although even this forms no essential part of the 
scheme of the work. The beginner will do well to bear in mind 
that, although systematists may be fairly agreed as regards the com- 



X INTRODUCTION. 

ponents of the Orders and Families, much diversity of opinion 
exists respecting the validity of many of the Genera which have 
been proposed and even adopted ; nor is this surprising, for, after 
all, a generic name is mainly — and often purely — a matter of con- 
venience. According to the Rules for Nomenclature which are 
known as the Stricklandian Code, a genus should be based upon 
some structural character ; but pattern of coloration and even general 
habits have often been allowed to carry weight when anatomical 
distinctions would have proved insufficient by themselves to attain 
the desired end — namely, generic separation. On the other hand, 
important structural characters have often been passed over when 
these were not apparent in preserved skins ; and finally, there are 
many genera which are highly artificial. 



Order PASSERES. 

Family TURDID.E. 

Subfamily TuRDix.?;. 

Young in first plumage differ from the adults in having the upper and under 
parts spotted. Only one moult, in autumn. 

TuRDUS, Liuiuzus. — Bill moderate, straight, convex above ; point of the upper 
mandible compressed, notched, and slightly decurved ; gape furnished with a 
few hairs. Nostrils basal, lateral, oval, partly closed by a membrane. 
Wings with the first or ' bastard ' quill very short ; the second shorter than 
the third or the fourth, one of which is generally the longest of all. Tail 
rather long. Tarsus longer than the middle toe ; outer toe connected with 
the middle toe at the base (p. i). 

MOXTICOLA, Boie. — Bill stout, straight, 'the ridge arched towards the point ; 
gape almost hairless. Nostrils basal, round, partly covered with hairs. 
Wings moderate ; the first quill short, the second a little shorter than the 
third, which is longest. Feet moderately stout. Tail short and even (p. 17). 

Saxicola, Bechstein. — Bill straight, broad at the base ; the upper mandible 
receding towards the forehead, compressed towards the tip, which is decurved 
and more or less indented. Nostrils basal, supernal and oval. Gape with 
a few hairs. Wings with the first quill very short, the third or fourth the 
longest ; coverts and scapulars short. Tarsus long, covered in front by one 
long scale, to which succeed two or three shorter scutellse ; the outer toe 
partly united to the middle toe ; hind claw short, strong and curved (p. 19). 

Pratincola, K. L. Koch. — Bill shorter and broader than in Saxicola ; bristles 
at the gape strongly developed. Wings and tail rather short (p. 27). 

RUTICILI.A, C. L. Brehni. — Bill slender, compressed towards the point, a little 
deflected and very slightly emarginated ; gape with tolerably large bristles. 



INTRODUCTION. XI 

Nostrils Ijasal, supernal and nearly round. Wings moderate ; the first quill 
short ; the second equal to the sixth ; the third, fourth and fifth nearly equal, 
and one of them the longest. Legs slender, the tarsus longer than the middle 
toe, and covered in front by a single scale and three inferior scutellte (p. 31). 

Cyanecula, C. L. BrehiH. — Differs from the above in having few and very small 
bristles at the gape, four inferior scutellse on the tarsus, and a short middle toe. 
Practically, this genus is based on the blue colour of the throat, and a desire 
to separate the members of this little group from the Redstarts (p. 35). 

Erithacus, Ciivier. — Bill narrow and depressed at the base, inflected towards 
the point, the upper mandible slightly notched. Nostrils basal, lateral and 
oval. Gape beset with bristles. Wings rounded ; the first quill only half as 
long as the second, which is shorter than the third ; the fourth, fifth and 
sixth nearly equal, and longest. Legs long and slender ; the tarsus with a 
single scale in front and three inferior scutellas ; the outer toe a little longer 
than the inner, and united at its base to the middle toe ; the hind toe longer 
and stronger than the others. Plumage generally soft (p. 37). 

DAtJLiAS, Boie. — Bill moderate, straight ; the tip slightly deflected and emar- 
ginated. Nostrils basal, supernal and round. Wings moderate ; the first 
quill very short, the second longer than the fifth, the third the longest. Tail 
rounded. Tarsus long and slender, covered in front by a single scale and 
four inferior scutellte ; toes long ; claws rather short (p. 39). 

Subfamily Sylviin.*:. 

Young on leaving the nest differ very slightly in colour from the adults. 

Sylvia, ScopoU. — Bill rather stout, short, not very broad at the base ; uj^per 
mandible decurved from the middle towards the point, which is slightly 
emarginated ; nostrils basal, lateral, oval and exposed ; gape furnished with 
bristles. Wings moderate ; the first quill very short. Tail of twelve feathers, 
generally rounded. Tarsus scaled in front and longer than the middle toe ; 
toes and claws short (p. 41 J. 

Regulus, Ciivier. — Bill slender, straight, the edges dilated at the base, com- 
23ressed towards the point, which is notched. Nostrils basal, supernal and 
oval, covered by a single bristly feather directed forwards ; the internasal 
ridge stout ; the gape beset with hairs. Wings rather long ; the first quill 
nearly half the length of the second, the fourth the longest. Tail of twelve 
pointed feathers, slightly forked. Tarsus slender and rather long, covered 
in front by a single scale ; toes moderate, the outer and middle toes joined at 
their base ; claws much curved (p. 57). 

Phylloscopi's, i>o/t?.— Bill slender, rather short, upper mandible decurved from 
the middle and compressed towards the slightly notched tip ; nostrils basal, 
lateral, oblong and partly operculate, the membrane clothed with small 
bristle-tipped feathers, the internasal ridge very thin ; gape beset with hairs. 
W^ings rather long ; the first quill comparatively large, the third or fourth 
the longest. Tail slightly forked. Tarsus scaled in front and rather long, as 
are also the toes ; claws curved (p. 61). 

AeDON, Boie. — Bill long and strong, with the culmen curved and much com- 
pressed at the tip, hardly notched ; nostrils supernal, small and oval ; the 



XU INTRODUCTION. 

gape without bristles. Wings with the first quill short, the second nearly 
equal to the third and fourth, which are longest. Tail long and rounded. 
Tarsus long, with broad scales in front ; the inner toe nearly as long as the 
outer (p. 73). 

LusciNlOLA, G. R. Gray. — Bill stout, rictal bristles strong, supplementary 
feathers do not cover the nostrils as in Phylloscopiis ; bastard primary about 
half the length of the second, third to fifth about equal and longest (p. 73*). 

Hypolais, C. Z. Brehni. — Bill stout, very wide at the base, the edges straight, 
somewhat compressed towards the tip, which is slightly emarginated. Nostrils 
basal, oblique, oval and exposed. Wings rather long and pointed, the first 
quill very short, the third usually the longest. Tail slightly rounded. Tarsus 
short ; toes small ; the claws short but much curved (p. 75). 

ACROCEl'HALUS, J. A. Naiiiiiaun. — Bill more or less straight, with the culmen 
elevated, wide and flattened at the base, compressed towards the tip, and 
slightly emarginated ; nostrils as above ; bristles at the gape moderately 
developed, f'orehead narrow and depressed. Wings rather short ; the first 
quill minute, the third generally the longest. Tail rounded and rather long. 
Legs long ; toes large and stout, the hind toe strong ; claws long and 
moderately curved (p. 79). 

LOCUSTELLA, Kaitp. — Diff'ers from the above chiefly in having the bristles at the 
gape very small, a more rounded call, and longer under tail-coverts. Prof. 
Newton states that the tendons of the tibial muscles are - strongly ossified in 
this genus (p. 89). 

Subfamily AccENTORlN^. 

Accentor, Bcchsteiu. — Bill strong, broad at the base, rather conical ; the upper 
mandible overlapping the lower and slightly notched near the tip. Nostrils 
basal, oblique and linear. Wings moderate, more or less rounded ; the first 
quill very short, the third generally the longest. Legs strong ; the tarsus 
feathered at the upper end, and covered in front with several broad scales ; 
the outer toe joined at its base to the middle toe ; the claw of the hind toe 
much the longest (p. 93). 

Family CINCLID.E. 

ClNCLtrs, Bechstein. — Bill moderate, slightly ascending, angular, and higher than 
broad at the base ; straight, compressed and rounded near the tip ; the upper 
mandible slightly decurving at the point. Nostrils basal, lateral, placed in 
a depression, cleft longitudinally, and partly covered by a membrane. Gape 
very narrow, and without bristles. Wings short, broad and convex ; the first 
quill very short ; the second not so long as the third or fourth, which are 
nearly equal. Tail short. Legs feathered to the tibio-tarsal joint ; tarsus 
longer than the middle toe ; the lateral toes equal in length, the outer toe 
slightly connected with the middle toe. The whole body closely covered 
with down. Sternum with the posterior margin entire (p. 97). 

Family PANURID.E. 

Panurus, K. L. Koch. — Bill short, subconical, upper mandible convex above, 
decurved from the base, broader and considerably longer than the lower, 



INTRODUCTION. Xlll 

which is almost straight ; the edges of both somewhat inflected and not 
notched. Nostrils basal, oval, pointed in front, and partly covered by re- 
flexed bristly feathers. Wings with ten quills, the first almost obsolete, the 
third longest, but the fourth and fifth nearly equal to it. Tail very long and 
graduated. Tarsus long and scutellated in front ; claws not much hooked 
(P- 99)- 

Family PARID.E. 

ACP.EDULA, K. L. Koch. — Bill very short, strong, much compressed, both man- 
dibles curved, the upper considerably longer than the lower. Nostrils basal, 
round, concealed by the plumage. Eyelids with broad bare margins. Wings 
with ten quills, gradually increasing in length from the iirst to the fourth and 
fifth, which are the longest. Tail very long, narrow and graduated, the 
outer feathers being only about one-third of the length of the middle pair. 
Tarsus long and scutellated ; toes moderate ; the anterior toes united so far 
as the second joint, the outer toe longer than the inner, the hind toe stout and 
armed with a long hooked claw (p. loi). 

Farits, Liuiuius. — Bill strong, straight, rather conical, slightly compressed, upper 
mandible hardly longer than the lower and not notched. Nostrils basal, 
round, covered with reflexed bristly feathers. Wings with ten quills, the 
first short, the fourth or fifth the longes'. Tail moderate, even or slightly 
rounded. Tarsus moderate and scutellated ; toes as in preceding genus 
(p. 103). 

Family SITTID/E. 

SiTTA, Linnatts. — Bill moderate, strong, and slightly conical, the lower mandible 
ascending from the angle to the point. Tongue short and horny, the tip 
abrupt and furnished with strong bristles. Nostrils basal, rounded, placed 
in a deep hollow, covered by hairs and short feathers. ^Vings rather long ; 
the first quill much^horter than the second, the fourth or- fifth the longest. 
Tail short, flexible, broad, and nearly square. Legs short and stout, the 
tarsus scutellated ; toes long and strong — the hind toe especially, the outer toe 
joined at its base to the middle toe ; claws large and much hooked (p. II3). 

Family TROCLODVTID.E. 

Troglodytes, Vieillot. — Bill moderate, compressed, slightly curved, without 
any notch, and pointed. Nostrils basal, oval, partly covered by a membrane. 
Wings very short, concave, rounded ; the first quill rather short, the fourth 
or fifth the longest. Tail generally short ; its feathers soft and rounded. 
Tarsus rather long and strong ; the middle toe united at the base to the 
outer toe, but not to the inner toe ; hind toe rather long ; claws long, stout 
and curved. Plumage long and soft (p. 115). 

Family CFRTHIID.E. 

Certhia, Linn(cus.—Wi\ rather long, slender, compressed, curved downwards 
and pointed ; nostrils basal, lateral, elongated and partly covered by a mem- 
brane. Wings moderate and rounded ; the first feather short, the fourth and 
fifth the longest. Tail of twelve feathers, long, stiff, pointed, and slightly 
curved downwards. Feet large, the tarsus slender ; the fore toes long and 



xiv INTRODUCTION. 

united at the base as far as the first joint, their claws moderate but much 
curved ; the hind toe short, but with a long curved claw. Plumage soft 
and thick, especially on the upper parts (p. 117). 

TiCHOUROMA, Illiger. — Bill long, slender, slightly decurved and pointed ; nostrils 
elongated. Wings long and broad. Tail of twelve rounded feathers and 
sfjuare in shape. Tarsus rather slender ; toes long ; claws much curved, 
especially the long hind claw (p. 119). 

Family MOTACILLID.E. 

(Wings with only nine clearly visilile primaries). 

MOTACILLA, Linmvus.—WA slender, nearly straight, very slightly notched at 
the tip ; the mandibles nearly equal in length and their edges slightly com- 
pressed inwards. Nostrils basal, lateral, oval, and partly concealed by a 
membrane. Wings moderate ; the first quill acuminate and nearly obsolete, 
the second, third and fourth nearly equal and one of them the longest, the 
fifth considerably shorter ; inner secondaries very long, one of them about 
equal to the fifth primary. Tail of twelve feathers, long and nearly even. 
Tarsus scutellated in front, much longer than the middle toe, which is joined 
to the outer toe at its base ; toes moderate ; claws short, except that of the 
hind toe which is somewhat elongated (p. 121). 

Anthus, Bechsteiii. — Bill and nostrils as in the above genus. Wings moderate : 
the first primary acuminate and nearly obsolete, the second, third and fourth 
nearly equal and one of them the longest, the fifth in some species almost 
as long ; outer secondaries short, inner secondaries very long, equal to or 
occasionally exceeding the fifth primary. Tail of twelve feathers, moderate 
and slightly forked. Tarsus scutellated in front, about as long as the middle 
toe, which is joined to the outer toe at its base ; toes rather long ; claws 
moderate, except that of the hind toe which in some species is very much 
elongated (p. 131). 

Family ORIOLID.^. 

Oriolus, Linmsns. — Bill moderately long, conical, and decurving to the point, 
near which it is notched ; nostrils basal, lateral, naked, pierced horizontally in 
an extended membrane. Wings long ; the first quill much shorter than the 
second, the third the longest. Tail moderate, slightly rounded. Tarsus 
covered in front with broad plates ; toes with large scutellK ; claws arched, 
and laterally grooved (p. 145). 

Family LANIID.E. 

Lanius, LiniucHs. — Bill short, thick and straight at the base, compressed ; upper 
mandible hooked at the point, with a prominent tooth ; base of the bill beset 
with hairs directed forwards. Nostrils basal, lateral, oval. Wings of 
moderate size ; the first quill shorter than the second, the third usually the 
longest. Tarsus longer than the middle toe, which is united at its base to 
the outer toe (p. 147). 

Family AMPELID.F:. 

Amtelis, Linii<€iis. — Bill strong, short and straight ; broad at the base ; both 
mandibles slightly hooked at the tip, and the upper one notched. Gape 



INTRODUCTION. XV 

wide, without bristles. Nostrils basal, oval and large, partly concealed by 
closely-set feathers directed forwards. Feathers of the head forming an 
elongated erectile crest. Wings long, with ten primaries, the first very 
minute, the second the longest, but the third nearly equal to it. Tail short 
and almost even. Tarsus scutellated in front, and shorter than the middle 
toe with its claw ; toes stout. Plumage very soft (p. 155). 

Family MUSCICAPID.F:. 

MusciCAl'A, Linuicus. — Bill of moderate length, broad and depressed at the 
base ; compressed and slightly curved towards the point. Nostrils basal, 
lateral, and partly concealed by the frontal plumes. Gape beset with bristles. 
Wings long and pointed ; the first primary very short, the second rather 
shorter than the third, fourth and fifth, which are the longest. Tarsus about 
the same length as the middle toe, which is much longer than the lateral 
toes ; all the toes small (p. 157). 

Family HIRUNDINID.^. 

(Wings with nine clearly visible primaries, long and pointed). 

HiRUNDO, Liiuuviis. — Bill short, depressed, and very wide at the Ijase, com- 
missure straight. Nostrils basal, oval, partly closed by a membrane. Tail 
deeply forked, of twelve feathers, the outermost greatly elongated and 
abruptly attenuated. Tarsus slender and bare ; toes rather long, three in 
front, one behind ; claws moderate (p. 163). 

Chelidon, Boie. — Bill short, depressed, and very wide at the base, commissure 
slightly decurved. Nostrils basal, oval, partly closed by a memlirane and 
opening laterally. Tail forked, of twelve feathers, the outermost not 
abruptly attenuated. Tarsus slender, closely feathered above the toes, which 
are rather long, three in front, one behind ; claws moderate, sharp (p. 165). 

COTILE, Boie. — Bill short, depressed, and very wide at the base, commissure 
straight. Nostrils, wings and tail as above. Tarsus slender and bare, 
except a tuft of feathers on the tarsus just above the hallux ; toes moderate, 
three in front, one behind ; claws strong (p. 167). 

Family FRINGILLID^. 

(Wings with nine clearly visible primaries). 

Subfamily Fringillix.^^.. 

Bill strong, the outline of the commissures even. 

LiGURiNUS, K. L. Koch. — Bill hard, short, conical, compressed towards the tip, 
with a scarcely perceptible notch at the point ; nostrils basal, concealed by 
stiff feathers directed forwards. Wings rather pointed, the first quill obsolete, 
the second, third and fourth nearly equal and longest. Tail rather short, 
slightly forked. Tarsus scutellated in front ; toes moderate ; claws arched 
and laterally grooved (p. 169). 

COCCOTHRAUSTES, Brissoii. — Bill nearly conical, very thick at the base, tapering 
rapidly to the point ; culmen more or less rounded ; the mandibles nearly 
equal, edges inflected and slightly indented. Nostrils basal, lateral, oval. 



XVI INTRODUCTION. 

nearly hidden by projecting and recurved frontal plumes. Wings with the 
first quill obsolete, the third and fourth primaries nearly equal, the sixth, 
seventh, and eighth curved outwards. Tail short, and nearly square. 
Tarsus scutellated in front, covered at the sides with a single plate, stout and 
short ; claws moderately curved, rather short and strong (p. 171). 

Carduelis, Brisso;!.—'Bi\\ nearly conical but slightly compressed, the point 
slender and sharp. Nostrils basal, lateral, round, and hidden by projecting 
and recurved plumes. Wings rather long and pointed ; the first primary 
obsolete ; the second, third, and fourth nearly equal, but the second the 
longest. Tail more or less moderate, and forked. Tarsus short and rather 
stout, scutellated in front, covered at the sides by a single plate ; claws 
moderate (p. 173). 

Serin'US, A'. L. KocIi.— '&lW strong, short, somewhat conical, but very broad at 
the base and with the distal half suddenly diminishing to the tip ; mandibles 
nearly equal in size, but the upper a little longer than the lower ; edges 
plain. Nostrils basal, supernal, round, and hidden by projecting and re- 
curved frontal plumes. Gape straight. Wings with the first primary so 
small as to seem wanting ; the second, third, and fourth nearly equal, but the 
third a trifle the longest. Tail moderate, rather deeply forked. Tarsus 
slender, and shorter than the middle toe, scutellated in front, covered at the 
sides by a single plate ; claws small and rather weak (p. 177). 

Passer, Brisson. — Bill somewhat conical, but bulging above and below, longer 
than deep ; upper mandible larger than the lower, edges nearly plain. Nostrils 
basal, lateral, rounded, almost hidden by projecting and recurved frontal 
plumes. Gape straight. Wings with the first primary small and attenuated 
but distinctly developed, the third or fourth rather the longest, but the 
second, third and fourth - sometimes even the fifth -not very unequal. 
Tail moderate or short, and nearly square. Tarsus stout, nearly as long 
as the middle toe, scutellated in front, covered at the sides by a single plate ; 
claws moderately curved, rather short (p. 179). 

PRINGILLA, Linnaits.—'WA hard, straight, somewhat long, nearly conical, but 
bulging slightly, and pointed ; mandibles nearly equal, edges plain. Nostrils 
basal, lateral, oval, partly hidden by projecting and recurved frontal plumes. 
Gape straight. Wings with the first primary obsolete, the second always 
shorter than the third, which, or the fourth, is longest in the wing. Tail 
moderately long and decidedly forked. Tarsus stout, rather short, scutellated 
in front, covered at the sides with a single plate ; claws moderately curved, 
rather short (p. 183). 

LiNOTA, Zz;/ ;/«-/«. — Bill hard, nearly conical, but slightly swollen ; the point 
slender and sharp. Nostrils basal, round, and hidden more or less by pro- 
jecting and recurved plumes. Gape nearly straight. Wings long^ somewhat 
pointed ; the first primary obsolete, the second, third, and fourth nearly 
equal, and either the second or third the longest in the wing. Tail rather 
long and forked. Tarsus short, scutellated in front, covered at the sides by a 
single plate ; toes stout ; claws moderate, the hind claw rather large (p. 1S7). 

Pyrrhula, Brisson. — Bill hard, short, broad, and thick at the base, bulging at 
the sides ; culmen rounded ; upper mandible considerably longer than the 
lower, and overhanging its point. Nostrils basal, round, hidden by plume- 
lets. Gape slightly arched. Wings rather short ; the first primary obsolete, 



INTRODUCTION. XVU 

the third or fifth the longest in the wing. Tail moderate, square or forked. 
Tarsus scutellated in front, covered at the sides by a single plate ; toes stout ; 
claws moderately curved, rather short (p. 195). 

LoxiA, Linmtus. — Bill hard, strong, thick at the base, much compressed towards 
the tip, the lower mandible curving upwards and its point crossing that of 
the upper mandible. Nostrils round, basal, hidden by thick projecting 
bristly plumes. Wings long, pointed ; the first primary very small but 
visible, the second generally the longest. Tail short, forked. Tarsus short 
and stout, scutellated in front ; toes short ; claws moderately curved (p. 201). 

Subfamily Emberizin.i^. 

Angle of the lower mandible strongly marked, and a distinct gap in the outline 
of the closed bill. 

Emeeriza, Linnaus. — -Bill hard, conical and short ; the upper mandible not 
wider than the lower, the edges of both inflected and those of the latter 
gradually cut away ; the palate generally furnished with a projecting bony 
knob. Nostrils oval, basal, and placed somewhat near the culmen, partly 
hidden by small feathers. Gape angular. Wings moderate ; first primary 
minute, second, third and fourth nearly equal. Tail rather long and slightly 
forked. Tarsus scutellated in front, covered at the sides with an undivided 
plate forming a sharp ridge behind, almost as long as the middle toe ; claws 
considerably curved, that of the hind toe of moderate length (p. 205). 

Calcarius, Bechstein. — Bill with considerably inflected cutting edges ; claws of 
the front toes short and slightly curved ; hind claw nearly straight and 
elongated ; other characters much as in the previous genus (p. 223). 

Pi.ECTROPHENAX, Stejneger. — Bill with the upper mandible narrower than the 
lower, the edges of both inflected and those of the latter sinuated ; the 
palate furnished with a projecting bony knob. Nostrils as in Einberiza. 
Wings long and pointed ; the first primary minute, second and third nearly 
equal and the longest in the wing, but the fourth considerably longer than 
the fifth. Tail moderate and slightly forked. Tarsus about as long as the 
middle toe. Front claws rather long and curved ; hind claw considerably 
curved and elongated (p. 225). 

Family STURNID^. 

Sturnus, Liniiitus. — Bill as long as the head, almost straight, blunt at the tip, 
depressed so as to be wider than high ; edges of the upper mandible extend- 
ing over those of the lower, and both quite smooth. Nostrils basal and partly 
covered by an operculum. Gape angular and free from bristles. Feathers 
of the head and anterior part of the body pointed and elongated. Wings 
long, pointed, with ten primaries ; the first minute and attenuated, the second 
and third nearly equal and the longest. Tail short, the feathers diverging at 
the tip. Tarsus scutellated in front, covered at the sides by an undivided 
plate, forming a sharp ridge behind ; claws short and moderately curved 
(p. 227). 

Pastor, Teminimk. — Bill moderate, convex above, straight beneath, compressed, 
the upper mandible notched and slightly decurved. Nostrils basal, partly 
closed by a membrane covered with small feathers. Feathers on the crown 

b 



XVlll INTRODUCTION. 

pointed and elongated, forming a crest. Wings as in Sfiirnits. Tail moderate, 
the feathers mostly rounded at the tips. Tarsus scutellated in front, covered 
at the sides by an indistinctly divided plate, forming a sharp ridge behind ; 
claws rather more curved than in Slitrnits (p. 229). 

Family CORVID.^i. 

Pyrrhocorax, TitnstaU. — Beak slender, compressed, arched and pointed. 
Nostrils basal, hidden by small, closely-set feathers. Wings long and 
graduated ; the first primary much shorter than the second, and about half as 
long as the third, the fourth the longest. Tail nearly even. Tarsus longer 
than the middle toe, to which the outer toe is united as far as its first joint ; 
claws strong and much curved (p. 231). 

NuciFRAGA, Brisson. — Beak alDout as long as the head, hard, stout and straight, 
dilated at the base ; both mandibles terminating obtusely. Nostrils basal, 
round, hidden by stiff feathers directed forwards, leathers of the crown 
short. Wings graduated, the fifth primary being the longest. Tail slightly 
rounded. Tarsus longer than the middle toe, to which the outer toe is 
united at the base (p. 233). 

Garrulus, Brisson. — Beak shorter than the head, hard, stout and compressed, 
straight at the base, sharp at the edges, commissure straight. Nostrils basal, 
hidden by stiff feathers directed forwards. Feathers of the crown long and 
erectile. Wings moderate, rounded ; the first primary short and not 
attenuated, the fourth, fifth and sixth nearly equal, and one of them the 
longest in the wing. Tail moderately long and rounded. Nostrils, tarsi 
and toes much as in Niicifraga (p. 235). 

Pica, Brisson. — Beak stout and compressed, straight at the base, arched towards 
the point, and slightly notched near the tip of the upper mandible. Nostrils 
as in Niicifraga. Wings short and rounded ; the first primary attenuated 
for two-thirds of its length and very short, the fourth or fifth the longest. 
Tail very long and graduated. Tarsus longer than the middle toe, to which 
the outer toe is united as far as its first joint (p. 237). 

CORVUS, Linndiis. — Beak more or less stout, compressed, straight at the base, 
arched towards the point and sharp at the edges. Nostrils basal, generally 
hidden by stiff feathers directed forwards. Wings long and graduated ; the 
first primary much shorter than the second, the fourth the longest. Tail 
more or less graduated. Tarsus longer than the middle toe, to which the 
outer toe is united as far as its first joint (p. 239). 

Family ALAUDID.E. 

Tarsus scutellated behind as well as before. 

Alauda, Linnceiis. — Bill moderate to stout, slightly compressed at the edges ; 
upper mandible more or less arched from the middle and without notch. 
Nostrils basal, oval, covered by bristly feathers directed forward. Gape 
straight. Wings long : the first primary usually short but sometimes well 
developed ; second, third and fourth nearly equal, but the third generally 
the longest. Tail moderate and slightly forked. Tarsus longer than the 
middle toe ; claws slightly curved and moderate, except that of the hind toe, 
which is often elongated and nearly straight (p. 249). 



INTRODUCTION. XIX 

Otocorys, Bonaparte. — Bill rather short, subconic ; upper mandible slightly 
arched. Head — in the adult male — with a tuft of long, erectile feathers on 
either side of the occiput. Wings long ; the first primary infinitesimal, the 
second the longest, the fourth decidedly shorter ; outer secondaries short and 
emarginate at the tip. Tail rather long, slightly forked. Tarsus shorter 
than the middle toe ; claws moderate and very slightly curved, that of the 
hind toe being comparatively straight (p. 259). 



Order PICARIiE. 

Family C Y P S E L I D .E. 

Cypselus, Illiger. — Bill very short, wide, triangular at its base and depressed ; 
culmen and commissure much decurved ; gape extending behind the eyes. 
Nostrils longitudinal, the edges raised and furnished with small feathers. 
Wings with ten curved primaries, very long and pointed, the first shorter 
than the second, but a little longer than the third. Tail of ten feathers, 
somewhat deeply forked. Tarsus very short, feathered in front ; toes four, 
all ordinarily directed forwards, the middle and outer with three phalanges 
only ; claws short, large, and much curved (p. 261). 

ACANTHYLLIS, Boie. — Wings very long, narrow and pointed. Tail short,- even ; 
the feathers terminated by long sharp spines. Tarsus bare in front and not 
scutellated ; one toe directed backwards. Otherwise much as in preceding 
genus (p. 265). 

Family CAPRIMULGID.^. 

Cai'RIMULGUS, Linnatis. — Bill very short, flexible, broad at the base, much 
compressed at the point ; gape very wide ; upper mandible decurved at the 
tip, and beset on each side with a row of moveable bristles directed forward ; 
lower mandible upturned at the tip, so as to meet the upper at the point, 
leaving an open space further back. Nostrils basal, with a prominent 
membranaceous rim, clothed with very small feathers. Wings long, with 
ten primaries, the second the longest. Tail of ten feathers, long and 
slightly rounded. Tarsus short, feathered in front for two-thirds of its 
length ; feet with three toes before and one behind, the anterior united as far 
as the first joint, the posterior turned inwards at right angles, inner and outer 
toes equal, the latter with but four phalanges ; claws short, except that of 
the middle toe, which is long and pectinated on the inner edge (p. 267). 

Family PICID.E. 
Subfamily Iyngin^. 

Iynx, Liniuviis. — Bill shorter than the head, straight, nearly conical, sharp at 
the tip. Nostrils basal, linear, partly closed by a membrane. Tongue 
capable of protrusion, the tip horny and smooth. Wings moderate ; the first 
primary minute, the third or fourth the longest. Tail rounded, of twelve 
feathers, the outer pair minute, with straight shafts and webs of ordinary 
character. Tarsus strong, slightly feathered above in front ; toes, two before 
and two behind, the fourth — which is turned backwards — about as long as 
the third ; a peculiar heel-pad ; claws hooked, grooved and sharp (p. 271). 

b 2 



XX INTRODUCTION. 

Subfamily PiciN^.. 
Gecinus, Boie. — Bill about as long as the head, hard, broad at the base, com- 
pressed at the tip ; upper mandible slightly arched, ending abruptly, with a 
shallow groove on each side running parallel to and near the culmen, and 
longer than the lower mandible, which is pointed, and has the gonys nearer 
the tip than the base, and the tomia rounded. Nostrils basal, oval, covered 
with hair-like feathers directed forwards. Tongue capable of great protru- 
sion, beset at the tip with horny barbs. Wings moderate ; the first primary 
very short, the fourth longest, but the fifth nearly equal to it. Tail of twelve 
graduated feathers ; the outer pair very short and overlying the next, which, 
with the rest, are pointed and have stiff, decurved shafts with hard webs. 
Tarsus strong, slightly feathered above in front ; toes, two before and two 
behind, the fourth — which is turned backwards — equal to the third ; claws 
strongly hooked, grooved and very sharp. Prevailing colour of the plumage 
greenish (p. 273). 

Dendrocopus, K. L. Koch. — Bill pyramidal, laterally bevelled at the tip. The 
fourth toe much longer than the third. Otherwise much as in preceding 
genus. Prevailing colours, black, white and red (p. 275). 

Family ALCEDINID^. 

Alcedo, Liiinmts. — Bill long, hard, straight, quadrangular and acute. Nostrils 
basal, oblique, nearly closed by a bare membrane. Wings short and rounded, 
of ten primaries ; the second or third the longest, but the first nearly equal 
to them and longer than the fourth. Tail very short, of twelve feathers. 
Tarsus short ; toes, three before and one behind, the middle united to the outer 
toe as far as the second joint and to the inner as far as the first joint, hind 
toe not much shorter than the inner (p. 279). 

Family CORACIID.-E. 

CORACIAS, LinniTiis. — Bill stout, hard, compressed, with cutting edges slightly 
inflected ; upper mandible decurved at the tip ; gape wide. Nostrils lateral, 
linear and oblique, partly hidden by a plumose membrane. Lores beset in 
front by a row of stiff bristles. Post-ocular space bare. Wings long, of ten 
primaries ; the first a little shorter than the second or third — which are the 
longest — but rather longer than the fourth. Tail of twelve feathers, rather 
long. Tarsus short, broadly scutellated in front ; toes free, three before and 
one behind ; claws stout (p. 281). 

Merops, Linmviis. — 'S\\\ rather long, slightly decurved, and tapering to a point, 
the culmen elevated. Nostrils basal, lateral, oval, covered by hairs directed 
forwards. Wings long, of ten primaries ; the second and third the longest. 
Tail rather long, of twelve feathers, the central pair elongated and pointed. 
Tarsus short ; toes small, three before and one behind, the middle united to 
the outer toe as far as the second joint, and to the inner as far as the first 
joint (p. 283). 

Family UPUPID^. 

Upupa, Linnaiis.—l^xW long, slender, slightly arched, sharp, and much com- 
pressed. Nostrils basal, oval, partly concealed by feathers. Tongue very 
short and heart-shaped. Head with an erectile crest of oblong feathers set 



INTRODUCTION. XXI 

regularly in pairs for the whole length. Wings moderately long and very 
broad, with ten primaries ; the first about half as long as the second, which 
is nearly an inch shorter than the third, the fourth or fifth the longest. Tail of 
ten feathers, almost square at the end. Tarsus scutellated behind as well as 
in front ; three toes before and one behind, the outer and middle united as 
far as the first joint (p. 285). 

Family CUCUI.ID.E. 

CucuLUS, LinncTus. — Bill short and sub-cylindrical, culmen somewhat decurved, 
upper mandible slightly notched near the tip, lower mandible nearly straight 
beneath ; gape wide. Nostrils basal, circular, with a prominent membrana- 
ceous rim. Wings with ten primaries ; the third longest, the innermost 
three shorter than the first. Tail of ten feathers ; the outer three pairs 
graduated, the middle two nearly equal. Tarsus short and feathered for 
nearly half the length ; toes, two before and two behind (p. 2S7). 

CoccYSTES, Glogcr. — Bill moderate, compressed towards the tip, culmen decurved, 
cutting edges smooth ; lower mandible slightly decurved beneath ; gape 
moderate. Nostrils basal, oval, the upper part closed by a membrane. 
Head crested. Wings with ten primaries ; the third longest, but the fourth 
nearly its equal, the ninth as long as — and the tenth shorter than — the first. 
Tail of ten feathers, long and graduated. Tarsus strong and long, bare 
behind, slightly feathered above in front ; toes, two before and two behind 
(p. 289). 



Order STRIDES. 

Family STRIGID.F. 

Strix, Linmeies. — Bill straight at the base, decurved only towards the point ; 
cutting-margins of the upper mandible nearly straight, under mandible 
notched. Nostrils oval, oblique. Facial disk large and complete, narrowing 
rapidly below the eyes towards the beak. Auditory opening square, large, 
and furnished with a large and nearly rectangular operculum, stiffened with 
the shafts of small feathers. Head smooth, not furnished with tufts. Wings 
long and ample ; the first and third quills equal and nearly as long as the 
second, which is the longest. Tail short. Legs long and slender, clothed 
with downy feathers to the origin of the toes, which are furnished only on 
the upper surface with a few bristle-like feathers ; hind toe reversible ; claws 
long and grooved underneath, that of the middle toe pectinated on the inner 
edge (p. 291). 

Asio, Brisson. — Bill decurved from the base ; cere large ; under mandible 
notched. Nostrils oval, oblique. Facial disk complete. Conch of the ear 
extremely large, with a semicircular operculum running the whole length in 
front, and a raised margin behind ; auditory openings asymmetrical. Wings 
long, the second quill generally the longest. Legs and toes feathered to the 
claws. Head furnished with two tufts, more or less elongated (p. 293). 

Syrnium, Savigiiy. — Bill decurved from the base. Nostrils large. Facial disk 
large and complete ; auditory openings large and symmetrical, furnished in 
front with a large crescentic operculum. Wings short and rounded ; the first 
quill very short, the fourth the longest. Tail long, concave beneath. Legs 
and toes feathered. Head large, round and without tufts (p. 297). 



XXn INTRODUCTION. 

Nyctala, C. L. Brehm. — Bill short, decurved from the base ; cere rudimentary ; 
nostrils nearly circular ; under mandible notched. Ear-conches large, asym- 
metrical, and furnished in front with a well-developed operculum. Head 
large, the asymmetry of the aural region extending to the skull. Facial 
disk large and nearly complete. Wings long, rounded. Tail short. Tarsus 
and toes thickly feathered (p. 299). 

Athene, Bote. — Bill decurved from the base ; cere short and swollen ; nostrils 
oval ; lower mandible sinuated. Auditory conch large, the orifice small and 
without an operculum. Facial disk not well defined. Wings large, the third 
and fourth quills nearly equal in length. Tarsus long, covered with short 
feathers ; toes above with bristles only, instead of feathers. Head round, 
large, and without tufts (p. 301). 

Nyctea, Stephens. — ^Bill decurved from the base ; nostrils large, oval ; cere 
short ; upper mandible smooth, lower mandible notched. Facial disk 
incomplete. Orifice of the ears moderate, without operculum. Wings of 
moderate size ; the third quill the longest, second and fourth nearly equal. 
Tail rounded and of moderate length. Tarsus and toes thickly covered with 
feathers. Head large, round, not furnished with tufts of feathers (p. 303). 

SURNIA, DumtSril. — Bill decurved from the base and much hidden by feathers ; 
no.strils small and rounded ; cere short ; upper mandible slightly undulated ; 
lower mandible notched. Facial disk nearly obsolete. Orifice of the ears 
small, without operculum. Wings short ; first quill equal to seventh, second 
longer than fifth, third and fourth longest and nearly equal. Tarsus rather 
short and — with the toes — thickly feathered. Tail long and graduated. 
Head flat and without tufts (p. 305). 

Scors, Savigity. — Bill much decurved from the base, cere small, under mandible 
notched. Nostrils round. Facial disk incomplete above the eyes ; auditory 
conch small, and without an operculum. Wings long, reaching to the end 
of the tail. Tarsus rather long, feathered in front ; the toes naked. Head 
furnished with two tufts of feathers (p. 307). 

Bubo, Dunu'ril. — Bill short, strong, curved, compressed at the point. Nostrils 
pierced in the cere, large, oval or rounded. Facial disk incomplete. 
Auditory opening small, oval, without an operculum. Wings rather short. 
.Tarsus and toes covered with feathers ; claws long. Head furnished with two 
tufts of feathers (p. 309). 



Order ACCIPITRES. 

Family \'ULTURID.E. 

Gyps, Savigiiy. — Bill strong, thick, and deep, with a short cere, culmen some- 
what abruptly hooked. Nostrils naked and oval. Head slender and covered 
with short down, as is most part of the neck ; above the shoulders a rufl'of 
elongated feathers. Wings long ; the first quill short, the fourth the longest. 
Tail of twelve or fourteen feathers. Legs and feet strong ; claws slightly 
hooked ; toes long, the middle toe rather exceeding the tarsus and united 
at its base to the outer toe by a membrane (p. 311). 

Neophron, Savigny. — Bill straight, slender, elongated, rounded above, encircled 
at the base by a long naked cere ; upper mandible with straight edges. 



INTRODUCTION. XXlll 

hooked at the tip ; under mandible blunt, and shorter than the upper. 
Nostrils near the middle of the beak, elongated, longitudinal. Head and 
neck partly bare of feathers. Wings rather pointed, the third quill the 
longest. Tail of fourteen feathers. Tarsus reticulated ; three toes before, 
one behind ; anterior toes united at the Ijase (p. 313). 

Family FALCONID.i:, 

Circus, Lac^pMe. — Bill small, bending from the base, compressed and elevated ; 
cutting-edges of the upper mandible with a slight festoon. Cere large. 
Nostrils oval, partly concealed by the hairs radiating from the lores. Lower 
part of the head surrounded by a ruff of small thick-set feathers. Wings 
long ; the first quill very short, the third and fourth the longest. Tail long. 
Tarsus long, slender, and naked ; toes rather short, and not very unequal ; 
claws slightly curved, and very sharp (p. 315). 

BuTEO, Lacdpede. — Bill rather small and weak, bending from the base, part of 
the cutting edges of the upper mandible slightly projecting ; cere large ; 
nostrils oval. Wings with the first quill short, about equal in length to the 
seventh, the fourth the longest ; the first four feathers with the inner edge 
deeply notched. Tarsus short, strong, usually scaled, but occasionally 
feathered and reticulated ; toes short, claws strong (p. 321). 

Aquila, Bi'isson. — Bill strong, of moderate length, curved from the cere, 
pointed, the cutting edges nearly straight. Nostrils oval, lateral, directed 
obliquely downward and backward, or sometimes circular. Wings large and 
long, the fourth quill the longest. Tarsus feathered to the junction of the 
toes, hind surface reticulated ; toes strong, the last phalanx of each toe 
covered by large scales ; claws hooked (p. 325). 

Haliaetus, Savigny. — Bill elongated, strong, straight at the base, curving in a 
regular arc in advance of the cere to the tip and forming a deep hook, upper 
ridge broad and rather flattened. Nostrils oval, perpendicular. Wings 
ample, the fourth quill the longest. Tarsus feathered to the joint ; the front 
of the naked part scutellated, and the sides and back reticulated. Toes 
divided to their origin ; claws strong and hooked, grooved beneath ; the claw 
of the hind toe larger than that of the inner, which again exceeds either 
of the others (p. 329). 

AsTUR, Lact'pede. — Bill short, bending from the base ; cutting edge of the upper 
mandible forming a festoon. Nostrils oval. Wings short, reaching only to 
the middle of the tail-feathers, the fourth quill the longest. Tarsus stout, 
covered in front with broad scales. Toes moderate : the middle toe some- 
what the longest, the lateral toes nearly equal, but the inner claws consider- 
ably larger than the outer claw (p. 331). 

ACCIPITER, Brissoii. — Bill bending from the base, short, compressed, superior 
ridge rounded and narrow, cutting margin of the upper mandible with a 
distinct festoon. Nostrils oval. Wings short ; the fourth and fifth quill- 
feathers nearly equal in length, and the longest. Tarsus long, slender, and 
smooth. Toes long and slender, particularly the middle toe ; clav/s curved 
and sharp (p. 333). 

MiLVUS, Ladpcde. — Bill straight at the base, curved from the cere to the point, 
cutting margin with a slight festoon. Nostrils oval, oblique. Wings long, 
the third or fourth quill the longest. Tail long and forked. Tarsus short. 



XXIV INTRODUCTION. 

Toes short and strong ; the outer toe united at its base to the middle toe, but 
slightly reversible. Claws moderately long and curved (p. 335). 

Pernis, Citvier. — Bill slender, rather weak, curved from the base, the cutting 
edges of the upper mandible nearly straight ; cere large ; nostrils elongated, 
placed obliquely ; lores closely covered with small scale-like feathers. 
Wings long and large ; the first quill short, the third and fourth the longest ; 
inner webs of the first four deeply notched. Tail long. Tarsus short, half 
of it plumed, the rest reticulated ; toes of moderate length and strength ; 
claws slender and only slightly curved (p. 339). 

Palco, Liniucits. — Bill short, curved from its base ; a strong projecting tooth on 
each cutting edge of the upper mandible. Wings long and pointed ; the 
first and third quills of equal length, the second longest. Tarsus short, 
robust, reticulated ; toes long, strong, armed with curved and sharp claws 
(P- 341)- 

Pandion, Savigny. — Bill short, strong, rounded and broad ; cutting edges nearly 
straight. Nostrils oblong-oval, oblique. Wings long, second and third 
quills longest. Legs strong and muscular ; tarsus short, reticulated. Toes 
free, nearly equal, the outer toe reversible ; all armed with strong, curved, 
and sharp claws ; under surface of the toes rough and covered with small 
pointed scales. Feathers wanting the aftershaft (p. 359). 



Order STEGANOPODES. 

Family PELECANID/E. 

Phai.acrocorax, Brissoii. — Bill moderate or long, straight, compressed, culmen 
rounded ; upper mandible much curved at the point, hooked ; the base 
connected with a membrane which extends to the throat. Face and throat 
naked. Nostrils basal, linear, hidden. Wings moderate, the third quill the 
longest. Tail of twelve or fourteen stiff and rigid feathers. Legs strong, 
short, placed far back ; three toes in front, and a hind toe articulated on the 
inner surface of the tarsus, all four united together by membranes ; claw of 
the middle toe serrated on the inner edge (p. 361). 

SlTLA, Brisson. — Bill strong, long, forming an elongated cone, very large at its 
base, compressed towards the point, which is slightly curved ; edges of the 
mandibles serrated ; angle of the gape behind the line of the eyes. Face 
and throat naked. Nostrils basal, obliterated. Wings long, first quill the 
longest. Tail wedge-shape. Legs strong, short, placed rather far back ; 
three toes in front, and a hind toe articulated to the inner surface of the 
tarsus, all four united by membranes ; claw of the middle toe pectinated 
(P- 365). 



Order HERODIONES. 

Family ARDEID.F. 

Ardea, Brisson. — Bill long, strong, straight, compressed in a lengthened cone ; 
upper mandible slightly grooved on each side ; nostrils lateral, basal, 
pierced longitudinally in the groove, and half closed by a membrane. Wings 
moderate, the second quill the longest. Tail of twelve feathers, short, nearly 
even. Legs long, slender, naked above the tarsal joint ; tarsus scutellated in 



INTRODUCTION. XXV 

front ; three toes in front, the outer united to the middle one by a distinct 
membrane, one toe behind, directed inwards ; claws long, compressed, 
sharp, the middle claw pectinated on the inside (p. 367). 

Nycticorax, Stephens. — Bill about the same length as the head, bulky, strong, 
broad, and dilated at the base ; upper mandible with the culmen curved, and 
notched near the tip ; under mandible straight. Nostrils longitudinal, 
lateral, but little in advance of the base of the beak, placed in a groove, 
and partly covered by a membrane ; lore and orbits naked. Tail of twelve 
broad and moderately hard feathers. Legs of moderate length, bare for a 
short distance above the tarsal joint ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, with 
hexagonal scutellre in front ; the outer and middle toe united by a membrane ; 
claws short, that of the middle toe pectinated (p. 379)- 

Ardetta, G. R. Gray. — Bill longer than the head, slender, pointed, serrated. 
Nostrils basal, linear, longitudinal ; space in front of the eye bare. Wings 
broad, rather rounded ; the second quill barely longer than the first, and a 
little longer than the third. Tail of ten soft feathers, short and rounded. 
Legs rather short, the tibia feathered nearly to the joint ; tarsus anteriorly 
scutellated ; the middle toe and claw about the length of the tarsus, and its 
claw pectinated on the inner edge (p. 381). 

BOTAURUS, Stephens. — Bill rather longer than the head, strong, higher than broad, 
the mandibles of equal length, upper mandible curved downwards. Nostrils 
basal, linear, longitudinal, lodged in a furrow, and partly covered by a naked 
membrane. Wing long, rather rounded, the first three quills the longest and 
nearly equal. Tail of ten soft feathers. Legs of moderate length ; tarsi 
scutellated ; toes long and slender, all unequal, the middle toe and claw 
longer than the tarsus ; hind toe long, articulated with the inner toe and 
on the same plane ; claws long, especially the hind claw, that of the middle 
toe pectinated (p. 383). 

Family CICONIID.-E. 

CicoxiA, Brisson. — Bill longer than the head, straight, strong, and pointed. 
Nostrils pierced longitudinally in the horny substance. Eyes surrounded by 
a naked skin. Wings rather large, the first quill shorter than the second, the 
third and fourth quills the longest in the wing. Plumage without powder- 
down tracts. Tail short and slightly rounded. Legs long ; feet with four 
rather short toes, the three in front united by a membrane as far as the first 
joint, the hind toe elevated ; claws short, broad, obtuse, the middle claw not 
pectinated (p. 387). 

Family IBIDID.E. 

Plegadis, Kaup. — Bill long, slender, decurved, 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 the membrane which covers part of the aperture. Face 
and lores without feathers. Wings moderate ; the first quill shorter than 
the second and third, which are the longest. Tail of twelve feathers, 
moderate, even. Legs rather long, naked above the tarsal joint ; tarsus 
plated in front ; three toes in front, one behind ; the anterior toes united by 
a membrane, hind toe long and resting its length on the ground. Plumage 
more or less Stork-like, wanting the powder-down tracts of the Herons 
(p. 391)- ■ ■ 



INTRODUCTION. 



Family PLATALEIU.E. 



Platalea, Linnaus. — Bill long, and much flattened, dilated at the point and 
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, lores, orbits 
and chin naked. Wings rather large ; the third quill nearly as long as the 
second, which is the longest. Legs long and robust ; three toes in front, 
united as far as the second articulation by a membrane, the marginal edge of 
which is deeply incised ; hind toe long (p. 393). 



Order ODONTOGLOSS-SJ. 

Family PHCENICOPTERID.E. 

Phcexicopterus, Brisson. — Bill longer than the head, abruptly bent in the 
middle ; edges of both mandibles furnished with fine transverse plates 
(lamellos). Nostrils, linear, sub-basal. Neck very long and slender. Wings 
moderately long, the first quill slightly the longest ; the inner secondaries 
longer than, and folding over, the closed primaries. Tail short, even. Legs 
very long and slender ; the chief portion of the tibia bare ; tarsus broadly 
scutellated ; toes short, the three anterior ones palmated, with incised webs ; 
hind toe elevated, free, and small ; claws flattened and obtuse (p. 395). 



Order ANSERES. 

Family ANATID.E. 

AnseR; Brisson. — Bill nearly as long as the head, sub-conical, elevated at the 
basal portion, which is covered with a cere or skin ; a conspicuous nail 
(unguis) at the tip ; under mandible smaller than the upper. Nostrils lateral, 
placed towards the middle of the beak. Wings large, the second quill 
longest. Tail of sixteen feathers. Tursus moderately long ; the hind toe 
free, without a lobe, articulated upon the tarsus ; the three anterior toe 
united by a membrane. Sexes alike in plumage (p. 397). 

Chen, Boie. — Bill shorter than the head, very robust, and higher than broad 
at the base ; culmen slightly convex, the outline of the lower mandible 
decidedly so, leaving an elliptical space displaying the lamellje. Nostrils 
sub-basal. Feathers on the neck less conspicuously furrowed than in true 
Anse): Wings long, full, the second quill the longest. Tail rather short 
and rounded. Tibia feathered to the joint ; tarsus moderately long, reticu- 
lated ; three anterior toes connected by a membrane ; hind toe short and 
elevated. Sexes alike in plumage (p. 405). 

Bermcla, Boie. — Bill much shorter than the head, sub-conical, higher than 
broad at the base, narrowing to the tip ; nail broadly ovate ; edges of the 
bill nearly straight, scarcely showing the margins of the lamellse. Nostrils 
oval, placed in the anterior portion of the nasal depression, near the centre 
of the bill. Feathers on the neck narrow, blended. Wings large, the second 
quill usually the longest. Tail short, rounded. I^egs short and stout, the 
tarsus reticulated ; the three anterior toes long, united by a membrane ; hind 



INTRODUCTION. XXVll 

toe small and elevated ; claws small, that on the middle toe broadly rounded. 
Sexes alike in plumage (p. 407). 

Cygnits, Beclistei)!. — Bill of equal breadth throughout its length, higher than 
wide at the base, depressed at the point ; both mandibles furnished along the 
sides with transverse lamellae. Lores chiefly naked. Nostrils oblong, 
lateral, near the middle of the beak. Neck slender and very long. Legs 
short, the tarsus reticulated ; the three front toes fully webbed ; the hind toe 
small, free, and without lobe. Sexes alike in plumage (p. 413). 

Tadorna, Fleming. — Bill about the length of the head, higher than broad at the 
base, depressed or concave in the middle, breadth nearly equal throughout ; 
under mandible much narrower than the upper, and the latter grooved near 
the tip ; nail decurved, forming a hook ; both mandibles furnished with thin 
transverse lamella;. Nasal groove near the base of the beak ; nostrils oval, 
lateral, pervious. Wings of moderate length, the second quill the longest. 
Legs moderate ; the tibiae naked for a short space above the tarsal joint ; three 
toes entirely webbed in front, and one behind free. Sexes nearly alike in 
plumage (p. 419). 

Anas, Brisson. — Bill about as long as the head, broad, depressed, sides parallel, 
sometimes partially dilated ; both mandibles furnished on the inner edges with 
transverse lamellffi. Nostrils small, oval, lateral. Wings rather long, pointed. 
Tail wedge-shaped. Legs rather short, placed under the centre of the body ; 
tarsus somewhat rounded ; three toes in front, connected by membranes ; 
hind toe free, without pendant lobe or membrane. The sexes differ in 
plumage (p. 423). 

Spatula, Boie. — Bill much longer than the head, compressed at the base, widen- 
ing towards the end ; lamellte projecting conspicuously from the base to near 
the broadest part. Wing pointed, the first and second quills the longest. 
Tail short, graduated, of fourteen pointed feathers. Legs very short ; hind 
toe small, free, without a lobe. The sexes differ in plumage (p. 427). 

Dafila, Stephens. — Bill about as long as the head, the edges nearly parallel, but 
widening a trifle towards the end ; lamellae not very strongly defined. Neck 
long and slender. Wings long and pointed, the first and second quills sub- 
equal and longest, the rest rapidly graduated. Tail sharply pointed, the central 
feathers considerably elongated in the male. Legs rather short ; hind toe 
small ; margin of web to anterior toes slightly emarginate. The sexes differ 
in plumage (p. 429), 

Nettion, Kaiip. — Bill moderate ; not gradually tapering towards the tip, where 
it is somewhat broad and rounded, no crest, nor any falcate inner secondaries. 
Otherwise similar to Qnerqueditla. 

QuERQUEDULA, Stephens.— 'Wi], about as long as the head, wider towards the 
end ; nail broad and large. Nostrils small and oblong. Wings rather long, 
pointed, the first and second quills sub-equal and longer than the rest ; 
scapulars and inner secondaries elongated and pointed. Tail of sixteen 
feathers, short and rounded. Legs short ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly 
scutellated ; hind toe very small, outer toe much shorter than the third, 
middle toe rather long ; interdigital membrane emarginated ; claws small, 
somewhat curved. The sexes differ in plumage (p. 434). 



XXVlll INTRODUCTION. 

Mareca, Stephens. — Bill considerably shorter than the head, higher than broad 
at the base, gradually depressed and narrowed towards the point ; culmen 
slightly concave ; lamella: only just visible. Wings rather long and pointed ; 
the first and second quills longer than the rest. Tail short and pointed. 
Legs short, the lower part of the tibia bare ; hind toe with a very narrow 
lobe ; feet rather small. Sexes differ in plumage (p. 437). 

Netta, Kaiip. — Bill long, tapering ; the upper mandible indentated ; lamellce 
broad, prominent and distant. Nostrils about one-third of the distance from 
the base to the tip. Wings of moderate length, pointed. Male with a well- 
developed occipital crest. Otherwise as in Fiiligitla (p. 441). 

Fuligula, Stephens.— WA not longer than the head, luit slightly elevated at the 
base, depressed towards the tip, sides parallel ; both mandibles laminated, 
lateral edges of the upper mandible enclosing the edges of the under one. 
Nostrils at a short distance from the base. Wings rather short, pointed. 
Legs with the middle and outer toes longer than the tarsus, which is 
flattened laterally ; feet large, webbed ; the hind toe with a broad lobe. 
Sexes differ in plumage (p. 443). 

Clangula, Leach. — Bill much shorter than the head, higher than broad at the 
base, depressed towards the nail, which is elliptical and decurved at the tip ; 
lamella hidden by the overhanging edge of the upper mandible. Nostrils 
near the middle of the bill. Wings rather short, pointed ; the first quill the 
longest. Tail of sixteen feathers, moderately long, rounded. I^egs short, 
placed far back ; tarsi scutellated in front ; hind toe small, slender, broadly 
lobed ; webs full. Sexes differ in plumage (p. 451). 

Harelda, Stephens. — Bill much shorter than the head, its outlines tapering 
rapidly to the tip, which has a broad, prominently decurved nail ; lamellce 
slightly exposed along the gape-line. Nostrils oblong, sub-basal. Feather- 
ing at the base of the bill forming an oblique line, advancing furthest 
forward on the forehead, and scarcely interrupted by the re-entrant angle so 
prominent in most Ducks. Wings rather short, pointed ; scapulars much 
elongated and lanceolate in the adult male. Tail of fourteen feathers, short 
and graduated, except the two central feathers, which are very long and 
tapering in the adult male. Legs short, placed far back ; hind toe small 
but broadly lobed. Sexes differ in plumage (p. 455). 

CosMONETTA, Kaiip. — Bill rather short, narrowing rapidly to the tip, which is 
occupied by a large decurved nail ; a small lobe on each side at the base of 
the upper mandible; lamella; concealed. Nostrils oblong, median. Wing 
short, pointed, the first and second quills nearly equal in length. Tail of 
fourteen rather pointed feathers, much graduated. Legs short and placed 
far back ; hind toe slender, with a large lobe ; anterior toes fully webbed. 
Sexes differ in plumage (p. 457). 

SOMATERIA, Leach. — Bill swollen and elevated at the base, which extends far up the 
forehead, where it is divided by an elongated, descending, angular projection 
of feathers down the surface. Nostrils lateral, oval, smaH. Wings moderate, 
with the first and second quills sub-equal. Tail short, of fourteen feathers. 
Legs short ; three anterior toes broadly webbed ; hind toe with a deeply 
lobated membrane. Sexes differ in plumage (p. 459). 



INTRODUCTION. XXIX 

CEdemia, Fkj>niig.— 'B\\\ swollen or tuberculated at the base, large, elevated, 
and strong ; the tip much depressed, and terminated by a large flat nail, 
rounded and slightly deflexed at the extremity ; lamella; broad, strong, and 
widely set. Nostrils lateral, elevated, oval, placed near the middle of the 
bill. Wings rather short, pointed. Tail short, graduated, acute. Legs far 
back ; tarsus short ; three toes in front and one behind ; the outer toe as 
long as the middle one and much longer than the tarsus ; hind toe with a 
large lobed membrane. Sexes differ in plumage (p. 465). 

Mergtjs, Linnceiis. — Bill about as long or longer than the head, straight, slender, 
rather pointed, the base large, forming an elongated and almost cylindrical 
cone ; point of the upper mandible curved and, with the horny nail, forming 
a hook ; edges of both mandibles furnished with saw-like teeth, the points 
directed backwards. Nostrils lateral, longitudinally elliptic. Wings moder- 
ate, the first and second quills nearly equal. Legs short, placed rather far 
back ; three toes in front weighed, hind toe with a pendant lobe. Sexes 
differ in plumage (p. 471). 



Order COLUMBJE. 

Family COLUMBID.E. 

COLUMBA, Linnaus.— WiX moderate, straight at the base, compressed, the point 
deflexed. Base of the upper mandible covered with a soft skin, in which 
the nostrils are pierced. Wings long, broad, rather pointed ; the second 
quill-feather longest. Tail of twelve feathers, nearly even. Tarsus short, 
anteriorly scutellated ; three toes in front, entirely divided from one another, 
one toe behind (p. 479). 

TuRTUR, .S'(7/;i'.— Bill rather slender, the tip of the upper mandible gently 
deflexed, that of the lower scarcely exhibiting the appearance of an angle ; 
base of the upper mandible covered with two soft, tumid, bare swellings 
over the nostrils. Tail of twelve feathers, rather long and considerably 
rounded or graduated. Wings rather long and pointed, the first quill a little 
shorter than the second, which is the longest. Tarsus rather shorter than the 
middle toe ; inner toe longer than the outer (p. 485). 



Order PTEROCLETES. 

Family PTKROCLID.E. 

Syrrhaptes, Illiger. — Bill small, gradually decurved from the base to the point. 
Nostrils basal, hidden in the feathers. Wings very long, pointed, the first 
primary the longest. Tail of sixteen feathers, cuneate, the two central 
rectrices long and tapering. Tarsus very short and strong, covered with 
downy feathers to the three anterior toes, which are united by a membrane 
as far as the claws ; hind toe obsolete ; soles rugose ; claws broad and obtuse 
(p. 488). 



XXX INTRODUCTION. 

Order GALLINJE. 

Family T E T R A O N I D .E. 

Tetrao, Limtceiis. — 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 covered with red i^apilla;, and fringed. Wings short and rounded ; 
the fifth quill the longest. Tail of eighteen feathers. Tarsi feathered to the 
junction of the toes, which are naked ; the three in front united as far as the 
first joint ; one toe behind, short ; the edges of all pectinated (p. 491). 

Lagopus, Brisson. — 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 Tetrao. Wings 
short, concave, with the third and fourth quills the longest. Tail of sixteen 
feathers, 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 ; 
claws long and nearly straight (p. 495). 

Family PHASIANID.'E. 

Phasianus, Brisson. — 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 surrounding 
the ejes destitute of feathers, and with a verrucose red covering in the male. 
Wings short ; the first quill narrow towards the tip, the fourth and fifth 
feathers the longest in the wing. Tail of eighteen feathers, long, wedge- 
shaped, graduated. Feet with three anterior toes united by a membrane as 
far as the first joint ; the hind toe articulated upon the tarsus, which is 
furnished with a horny, conical, and sharp sjnir, in the male (p. 499). 

Perdix, Brisson. — Bill short, strong, naked at the base ; upper mandible convex, 
deflected towards the tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, the orifice partly con- 
cealed by an arched naked scale. Wings short, concave, rounded in form ; 
the first three quills shorter than the fourth or fifth, which are the longest 
in the wing. Tail with sixteen feathers in the same plane, short, rounded. 
Feet with three toes in front and one behind, those in front united by a 
membrane as far as the first joint (p. 501). 

Caccabis, Kaup.-V^iW short, stout, naked at the base; upper mandible de- 
curved to the tip. Nostrils basal, lateral, partly covered by an oblong 
horny scale. Wings short, rounded ; the first three feathers shorter than 
the fourth and fifth, which are the longest. Tail of fourteen feathers, 
short, rounded. Tarsus anteriorly scutellated, and — in the male- armed with 
blunt spurs ; three toes in front united at their bases by a membrane ; one 
toe behind (p. 503). 

COTIIRNIX, Boiutaterre. — Bill strong, shorter than the head, upper mandible 
curved. Nostrils basal, lateral, half closed by an arched membrane. Wings 
moderate, the first quill the longest. Tail short, rounded, almost hidden 
by the tail-coverts. Tarsus without a spur. Feet with four toes, those 
anterior connected by a membrane as far as the first joint (p. 505). 



INTRODUCTION. XXXI 

Order GRALLiE. 

Suborder FULICARLE. 

Family RALLID.F.. 

Crex, Bechstei>i.—V,\\\ shorter than the head, thick at the base, compressetl ; 
the culmen gradually deflexed from the forehead to the point of the bill ; 
lateral furrow of the upper mandible broad, and occupying more than half its 
length ; angle of the under mandible bending upwards ; both mandibles of 
an equal length. Nostrils concave, lateral, linear, ovoid, pierced in a mem- 
brane occupying the furrow in the middle of the bill. Wings armed with a 
spine, and having the second and third quills the longest. Legs strong, 
of moderate length, with the lower part of the tibia naked ; the three 
anterior toes long, slender, and without any lateral membrane as far as 
the base ; the hind toe resting almost wholly on the ground ; claws arcuate, 
compressed and sharp (p. 507). 

POKZANA, rieiHot. — lViW shorter than the head, slightly higher than broad at the 
base, compressed, tapering towards the point. Nostrils linear and oblong, the 
nasal groove reaching to the middle of the bill. Wings shorter than in Crex ; 
the second quill the longest. Tail short, rounded, the feathers narrow, weak, 
and slightly curved. Tibiae bare on the lower part ; tarsi short, scutellated 
in front ; toes long and slender ; claws long and acutely tapering (p. 509). 

Rali.us, Brisson. — Bill longer than the head, slender, slightly decurved, com- 
pressed at the base, cylindrical at the point ; upper mandible grooved at 
the sides. Nostrils pierced longitudinally in the lateral groove, partly 
covered by a membrane. Wings moderate, rounded ; the first quill much 
shorter than the second, the third and fourth the longest. Legs long and 
robust, with a small naked space above the tarsal joint ; the three anterior 
toes divided to their origin, the hind toe articulated upon the tarsus (p. S^S)- 

Gallinui.A, Brisson. — Bill thick at the base, compressed, slightly swollen 
towards the tip, subconic, as short as the head. Upper mandible convex, 
with the culmen extended and dilated, to form a naked, oblong frontal plate 
or shield ; lateral furrow wide ; mandibles nearly equal in length ; angle of 
the lower one ascending. Nostrils lateral, pervious, pierced in the mem- 
brane of the furrow in the middle of the bill, longitudinal and linear. 
Wings short, concave, rounded, armed with a small, sharp, recumbent spine. 
Legs long, naked for a short space above the tarsal joint ; tarsi scutellated in 
front, reticulated behind. Toes, three before and one behind, long, divided 
and bordered along their whole length by a narrow membrane (p. 517). 

FULICA, Brisson. — Bill and frontal plate much as in Galliniila. Wings of 
moderate size ; the first quill shorter than the second or third, which are the 
longest in the wing. Tail short. Legs rather long, naked above the tarsal 
joint ; three toes in front, one behind ; all the toes long, united at the base, 
and furnished laterally with lobed membranes (p. 519). 

Suborder GRUES. 

Family GRUID/F. 

Grus, Bechstein. — ^\\\ longer than the head, straight, strong, compressed and 
pointed. Nostrils placed longitudinally in a furrow, large, pervious, closed 
posteriorly by a membrane. Wings moderate and rounded ; the first quill 



XXXU INTRODUCTION. 

shorter than the second, the third the longest in the wing. Legs very long, 
robust, 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 (p. 521). 

Suborder OXIDES. 
Family OTIDID.^. 

Otis, Linnivus. — 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. Wings of moderate length, rather rounded in form ; the 
third quill the longest. Legs long, naked above the tarsal joint. Toes 
three ; all directed forward, short, united at the base, and edged with 
membranes (p. 523). 



Order LIMICOLJE. 

Family CEDICNEMID.F;. 

CEdicxemus, Temmiiick. — Bill stout, strong, and straight, a little depressed at 
the base ; ridge of the upper mandible elevated, under mandible with a sharp 
angle at the gonys. Nostrils in the middle of the beak, extending longi- 
tudinally as far forward as the horny portion, open in front, pervious. Wings 
moderate, the second quill longest. Tail much graduated. Legs long, 
slender ; three developed toes, directed forwards, united by a membrane as 
far as the second joint (p. 529). 

Family GLAREOLID.^. 

Glareola, Brisson. — Bill short, convex, compressed towards the point, the 
upper mandible curved throughout the distal half of its length. Nostrils 
basal, lateral, pierced obliquely. Wings very long, the first quill the longest. 
Tail forked. I^egs 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 (p. 531). 

'CuRSORiUS, Latham. — Bill rather shorter than the head, straight to the end of 
the nasal furrow, then decurved to the tip, which is pointed. Nostrils oval. 
Wings long, rather pointed ; the first and second quills the longest in the 
wing. Tail rounded. I^'gs long and slender ; three toes only, all in front, 
the middle toe almost as long again as the lateral toes (p. 533). 

Family CHARADRIID.E. 

EUDROMIAS, C. L. Brehjn. — V>\\\ rather slender, compressed, shorter than the 
head, nasal furrow extending about half the length of the upper mandible, 
which is horny and slightly decurved towards the tip. Nostrils sub-basal, 
lateral, linear. Tail rather long, slightly rounded. Wings of moderate length, 
pointed, the first quill the longest ; inner secondaries very nearly as long 
as the primaries. Legs of moderate length, scutellated, rather slender, naked 
for a short distance above the tarsal joint. Toes three only, all directed for- 
wards, the outer and middle toes connected at the base by a slight web ; 
■claws short, curved, slender (p. 535). 



INTRODUCTION. XXXIU 

^OIAI.ITIS, Boie. — Bill much shorter than the head, rather slender ; straight to 
the end of the nasal furrow, which extends beyond the middle of the bill, then 
slightly raised, but bent downwards at the tip. Nostrils small and linear. 
Wings long, pointed, the first quill the longest ; the inner secondaries 
reaching to the tip of the third primary. Tail broad, slightly rounded. Legs 
moderately long, slender, bare for a short distance above the tarsal joint ; 
tarsus reticulated. Toes three only, slightly webbed at the base (p. 537). 

Charadrius, Lifiii(Cits. — Bill shorter than the head, straight, rather slender, the 
upper mandible straight to the end of the nasal furrow, then slightly raised, 
and decurved to the pointed tip. Nostrils sub-basal and linear. Wings long 
and pointed, the first quill the longest ; inner secondaries much shorter than 
in Eudrornias and somewhat shorter than in yEgialitis. Legs of moderate 
length, slender, bare for a short distance above the tarsal joint ; tarsus reticu- 
lated. Toes three only, all directed forwards, slightly webbed at the base 
(p. 547). 

Squatarola, Leach. — Bill nearly as long as the head, rather strong, upper 
mandible straight to the end of the nasal groove, which is long and wide, 
then raised and decurved to the tip. Nostrils sub-basal, linear. Wings long, 
pointed, the first quill the longest. Legs moderate, slender ; lower part of 
the tibia naked, tarsus reticulated. Toes four in number ; three directed 
forward and slightly webbed at their base, the fourth behind, and minute, but 
distinct and elevated (p. 551). 

V.A.N'ELLUS, Brissoii. — 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 
membrane of the nasal groove. Wings large, tuberculated or spurred in 
front of the carpal joint ; the first and second quill-feathers shorter than the 
third and fourth, which are about equal, and the longest in the wing. Legs 
slender, with the lower part of the tibia; naked ; tarsi reticulated behind, 
scutellated in front ; the three anterior toes united at the base by a membrane ; 
hind toe short, articulated upon the tarsus (p. 553). 

Strepsilas, Illiger. — 'RiW as short as the head, strong, thick at the base, tapering 
gradually to the point, forming an elongated cone ; the upper mandible the 
longer, rather blunt at the end. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear, pervious, 
partly covered by a membrane. Wings long, pointed, the first quill-feather 
the longest. Three toes in front, united by a membrane at the base and 
furnished with narrow rudimentary interdigital membranes ; a hind toe 
articulated upon the tarsus and just reaching the ground (p. 557). 

H.^MATOrus, Liinhriis. —'QiW 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 lateralg roove on each side for half the 
length of the bill ; mandibles nearly equal in size and length, with the thin 
ends truncated. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear, pierced in the membrane of 
the mandilxdar groove. Legs of moderate length, naked for a short space 
above the tarsal joint ; tarsi strong. Three toes only, all directed forward, 
united at their base by a membrane ; claws broad (p. 559). 

Recurvirostra, Liiiiiteiis.—BWX very long, slender, weak, depressed for nearly 
its whole length, flexible, pointed, and curving upwards ; the upper mandible 

C 



XXXIV INTRODUCTION. 

grooved aloni; the upper surface, under mandible grooved along the sides. 
Nostrils near the base of the upper surface of the beak, linear, long. Wings 
pointed, the first quill the longest. Legs long and slender, a great portion of 
the tibia naked ; three toes in front, united as far as the second joint by a 
membrane, the margin of which is incised ; hind toe minute, articulated 
high up on the tarsus (p. 561). 

HiMANTOPUS, Brisso/!. — B\]\ long, slender, slightly recurved at the tip, 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. Wings very long, the first quill considerably the longest. Legs 
very long and slender ; three toes only, all in front, the middle united to the 
outer toe by a membrane of considerable size and to the interior toe by a 
smaller membrane ; claws small and flat (p. 563)- 

Phai.AROPUS, Brisson. — Bill rather long, weak, straight, depressed, and blunt ; 
both mandibles grooved throughout their whole length ; the upper mandible 
slightly curved at the point. Nostrils basal, lateral, oval, with an elevated 
margin. Wings long and pointed, the first quill the longest. Legs rather 
short, slender ; tarsus compressed ; three toes in front, furnished with 
extensions of the membrane laterally, forming lobes slightly serrated at the 
edges ; a small hind toe articulated on the inner side of the tarsus (p. 565). 

ScOLOPAX, Bi-isson. — Bill long, straight, compresssd, slender, soft, slightly 
curved at the point ; both mandibles grooved along the basal half of their 
length ; point of the upper mandible extending beyond that of the lower 
mandible, the curved part forming a slight crook ; superior ridge elevated at 
the base, prominent. Nostrils lateral, basal, pierced longitudinally near the 
edges of the mandible, covered by a membrane. Wings moderate, the first 
quill the longest. Tail short, rounded. Legs rather short, the tibia feathered 
nearly to the tarsal joint ; three toes before and one behind, the anterior toes 
almost entirely divided (p. 569). 

Gallinago, Leach. — Bill very long, straight, slender, flexible, slightly elevated 
towards the tip of the upper mandible, which is decurved at the point and 
projects beyond the lower ; both mandibles grooved along the basal half of 
their length. Nostrils lateral, linear, basal, covered by a membrane. Tail 
slightly rounded. Wings moderate, pointed, the first quill the longest ; 
inner secondaries very long. Legs rather long and slender ; naked space on 
the tibia short ; tarsus scutellated ; three toes before, long, slender, divided to 
the base ; hind toe slender, elevated ; claws slender, acute (p. 571). 

LiMicOLA, K. L. Koch. — Bill much longer than the head, nearly as broad as high 
at the base, very flat and wide up to the tip, where it is gradually rounded 
obtusely, with the terminal portion slightly decurved ; nostrils oval, 
oblique, placed in a depressed membrane. Wings long, pointed, the first 
quill the longest ; inner secondaries long and pointed. Tail moderate, 
doubly emarginated. Legs rather short, slender, bare on the lower part of 
the tibia ; tarsus scutellated ; the three anterior toes long and slender, slightly 
webbed at the base ; the hind toe moderate (p. 577). 

Tringa, Brisson. — YaW rather longer than the head, sometimes decurved, rather 
flexible, compressed at the base, depressed, dilated, and blunt towards the 
point, both mandibles grooved along the sides. Nostrils lateral, placed in 
the membrane of the groove. Wings moderately long, pointed, the first 



INTRODUCTION. XXXV 

quill the longest. Legs moderately long, slender, lower part of tibia naked ; 
three toes in front, divided to their origin ; one toe behind, small, and articu- 
lated upon the tarsus (p. 579). 

Caliuris, Illiger. — Bill as long as the head, straight, slender, flexible, com- 
pressed 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 the longest. Tail of twelve feathers, short, doubly emarginated. Legs 
rather short, naked for some distance above the tarsal joint. Three toes 
only ; all directed forwards, with a very small connecting membrane at 
their base (p. 597). 

Machetes, Cuvier. — 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, the first quill the 
longest. Legs moderate, the tibia naked for a considerable space above the 
tarsal joint. Toes, three before and one behind ; the outer toe united to the 
middle one by a small web ; hind toe short, barely touching the ground. 
During the breeding-season the head and neck of the male are adorned with 
long plumes, which, when raised, form a large ruff around the head, and the 
face is covered with small fleshy warts or papilla; (p. 599). 

Tringites, Cabanis. — Bill shorter than the head, slender, straight, decurved, 
acute and hardened at the tip ; nasal groove long ; nostrils basal, linear, 
rather large. Gape extensive. Wings pointed, the first quill the longest. 
Tail rounded, with projecting central feathers. Legs moderate, slender, the 
tibia bare for a considerable distance ; tarsus compressed, slender, scutellated, 
anterior toes free nearly to their bases ; hind toe small, elevated ; claws small, 
arched, slender, slightly acute (p. 601). 

Bartramia, Lesson. — Bill scarcely longer than the head, moderately slender, 
straight, the nasal groove extending nearly to the tip, which is narrowed but 
obtuse ; nostrils linear, basal. Gape very wide and deep. Wings not 
reaching to the end of the tail, pointed ; the first quill the longest, the inner 
secondaries rather elongated. Tail of twelve feathers, long, much rounded. 
Legs rather long and slender, the tibia bare for a considerable distance ; 
tarsus scutellated ; toes, three in front, long and slender, a slight web between 
the outer and the middle ; hind toe elevated (p. 603). 

ToTANUS, Becksteiii. — Bill longer than the head, straight or very slightly recurved, 
soft at the base, hard, solid 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 slightly bent towards the under 
one. Nostrils lateral, linear, pierced longitudinally in a groove. Wings 
moderate ; the first quill the longest ; inner secondaries elongated. Tail 
rather short ; somewhat rounded. Legs moderate or long, slender, naked 
above the tarsal joint ; three toes in front, one behind ; the middle toe united 
to the outer toe by a membrane (p. 605). 

Macrorhami'HUS, Ixach. — Bill long, straight, rounded, rather slender in the 
middle, the tip dilated, slightly incurved and rugose. Nostrils lateral, basal. 
Wings long and pointed. Tail of twelve feathers. Lower part of the tibia 



XXXVl INTRODUCTION. 

naked ; toes four in number, the third and fourth connected at their base by 
a membrane ; the hind toe touching the ground at the tip (p. 621). 

LlMOSA, Brisson. — Bill very long, rather thick at the base, compressed, 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 the longest. Tail short and even. Legs long and slender, a 
great part of the tibia naked. Three toes in front, one behind ; outer 
and middle toes united at the base by a membrane, the inner toe nearly 
free ; middle claw dilated, recurved, and pectinated ; hind toe short, and 
articulated fairly high upon the tarsus (p. 623). 

NuMENius, Brisson. — Bill long, slender, and decurved to the point, which is 
hard ; upper mandible rather longer than the lower, rounded near the end 
and grooved along three-fourths of its whole length. Nostrils lateral, linear, 
pierced in the groove. Wings moderate, the first quill the longest. Legs 
rather long, slender ; tibia partly naked ; three toes in front, united by a 
membrane as far as the first joint ; one toe behind, articulated low upon the 
tarsus and touching the ground (p. 627). 



Order GAVI.^. 

Family LARID.F:. 

Bill without a cere ; sternum with two notches on each side of the posterior 
margin ; toes partially or fully webbed ; claws feeble or moderate. 

Subfamily Sterxi.n'^. 

Hydrochelidon, Boie. — Bill about as long as the head, nearly straight, tapering. 
Wings long and pointed, the first quill the longest. Tail short, very slightly 
forked. Legs short ; the tibia bare for some distance ; the tarsus compressed, 
anteriorly scutellated ; three toes in fiont connected by deeply scalloped webs ; 
hind toe small and elevated ; claws long, slender, curved (p. 633). 

Sterna, Brisson. — Bill longer than the head, nearly straight, compressed. 
Wings long, pointed, the first quill-feather the longest. Tail distinctly forked 
in varying degrees. Legs slender, naked for a short space above the tarsal 
joint ; the three toes in front united by membranes which are concave in 
front or semi-palmated ; hind toe free ; claws curved (p. 639). 

Angus, Stephens. — Tail moderately long, rounded, slightly emarginated. Three 
anterior toes united by a very full web, hind toe small ; claws strong and 
curved. Otherwise much as in Sterna (p. 655). 

Subfamily LARI^■.^•:. 

Xema, Leach. — Bill rather shorter than the head, moderately stout ; the upper 
mandible decurved from beyond the nostrils to the tip, the gonys angular 
and advancing upwards. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear. Wings long, the 
first quill the longest. Tail distinctly forked. Legs moderately long ; the 



INTRODUCTION. XXXVII 

lower part of the tibia bare for some distance ; tarsi tolerably strong ; three 
toes in front entirely webbed, hind toe small, elevated (p. 657). 

Rhodostethia, Mac gill iv ray. — Bill very short, rather slender ; the upper man- 
dible decurved towards the tip, the lower mandible narrow. Wings long and 
pointed, the first quill the longest. Tail cuneate, the central feathers much 
longer than the lateral. Legs rather short, the tibia bare for a short distance ; 
tarsus anteriorly scutellated, rough posteriorly ; hind toe very distinct, with 
a large curved claw ; the three anterior toes entirely webbed ; claws rather 
large, and curved (p. 659). 

Larus, Liuimus.—V^\\\ of moderate length, strong, hard, compressed, cutting, 
slightly decurved towards the point, lower mandible shorter than the upper, 
the symphysis angular and prominent. Nostrils lateral, near the middle of the 
beak, pierced longitudinally, pervious. Wings long, the first and second 
quills varying slightly in their relative length, but nearly equal. Tail square 
at the end. Legs moderately slender, lower part of the tibite naked, tarsus 
rather long ; three toes in front entirely palmated, the hind toe free, short, 
but not rudimentary, articulated high upon the tarsus above the line of the 
other toes (p. 661). 

RiSSA, Stephens.— ^\\\ rather short and stout, the upper mandible considerably 
decurved to the tip, the lower mandible compressed. Nostrils median, linear, 
oblong. Wings long, pointed, the first primary slightly exceeding the second. 
Tail slightly but perceptibly forked in the young, nearly square in the adult; 
tarsus very short in proportion to the foot ; hind toe minute and usually 
obsolete ; claws rather small, slightly curved (p. 683). 

Pagophila, Kaitp. — Bill shorter than the head, robust, compressed, straight, the 
upper mandible decurved towards the tip, lower mandible narrower. Nostrils 
basal, linear, oblong, wider in front, covered above and behind with a sloping 
thin-edged plate. Wings long, pointed, the first quill longest. Tail rather 
long, slightly graduated. Legs short, bare for a short distance above the 
tibia ; tarsi broadly scutellated in front, and minutely at the sides and back ; 
interdigital membranes emarginated and serrated ; claws strong and curved ; 
hind toe furnished with a large claw, and connected on the inside with the 
tarsus by a well-defined web (p. 6S5). 



Family STERCORARIID.E. 

Bill with a cere ; tip of the upper mandible hooked ; sternum with only one 
notch on each side of the posterior margin ; creca much larger than in Laridce ; 
toes fully webbed, furnished with large, strong, hooked and sharp claws. 

Megalestrls, Bonapa7-te. — Size larger, form robust ; length of the bill at the 
exposed base nearly equal to the length of the cere ; tail short, the central 
pair of feathers projecting about half an inch (p. 687). 

Stercorarius, Bi-isson. — Size smaller, form more slender ; depth of the bill at 
the exposed base decidedly less than the length of the cere ; the central pair 
of tail-feathers projecting three inches or more in adults (p. 689). 



XXXVIU INTRODUCTION. 

Order A L C ^. 

Family ALCID.E. 
Subfamily Alcin^. 

Alca, Liniuciis. — Bill straight, large, compressed, very much decurved towards 
the point, basal half of both mandibles covered with feathers, grooved towards 
the point, the superior mandible hooked, the under one forming with it a 
salient angle. Nostrils lateral, marginal, linear, near the middle of the beak, 
the aperture almost entirely closed by a membrane covered with feathers. 
Wings short. Tail pointed. Legs short, very far back ; only three toes, all 
in front and entirely webbed ; claws slightly curved (p. 695). 

Uria, Brisson. — Bill of moderate length, strong, straight, pointed, compressed ; 
upper mandible slightly curved near the point, with a small indentation or 
notch in the edge on each side. Nostrils basal, lateral, concave, pierced 
longitudinally, partly closed by membrane, which is also partly covered with 
feathers. Wings short, first quill the longest. Tail shorter than in Aha. 
Legs short, slender, placed behind the centre of gravity in the body ; only 
three toes, all in front and entirely webbed (p. 699). 

MERGtiLUS, Vieillot. — Bill shorter than the head, thick, broader than high at the 
base ; ciilmen arched ; upper mandible indistinctly grooved, under mandible 
with the symphysis very short and oblique ; the tips of both notched ; com- 
missure arched. Nostrils lateral, round, situated at the base of the bill, and 
partly covered with small feathers. Wings and tail short. Legs far back, 
short ; three toes, all directed forward and united by a membrane (p. 705). 

Subfamily Fraterculin.^. 

Fratercula, Brisson. — Bill higher than long, much compressed ; both mandibles 
arched, transversely grooved, notched towards the point. Nostrils lateral, 
naked, almost closed by a membrane. Wings and tail short. Legs far back ; 
feet with three toes, all in front and fully webbed ; claws curved (p. 707). 



Order PYGOPODES. 

Family COLYMBID.E. 

CoLVMBUS, Linnceits. — Bill about as long as the head ; strong, straight, rather 
compressed, pointed. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear, perforated. W'ings 
short, the first quill the longest. Tail short and rounded. Legs thin, 
compressed, placed very far backwards, and closely attached to the posterior 
part of the body ; three toes in front united by membranes, one toe behind 
with a small membrane, articulated upon the tarsus ; claws flat (p. 709). 

Family PODICIPEDID.E. 

PODiciPES, Latham. — Bill of n\oderate length, straight, hard, slightly com- 
pressed, pointed, forming an elongated cone. Nostrils lateral, concave, 
oblong, open in front and perforated, closed behind by a membrane. No true 
tail. Wings short, first three primaries nearly equal and the longest in the 



INTRODUCTION. XXXIX 

wintr. Legs and feet long, attached behind the centre of gravity ; tarsi very 
much compressed ; three toes in front, one behind ; anterior toes very much 
flattened, united at the base, surrounded by a lobated membrane ; hind toe 
also flattened, articulated on the inner surface of the tarsus ; claws large, 
flat (p. 717). 



Order TUBINARES. 

Family PROCELLARIID.K. 

Nostrils united externally above the culmen ; margin of the sternum even ; 
manubrium of furcula long ; coracoids long, comparatively narrow across the Imse 
and slightly divergent ; second primary the longest (Salvin). 

Proceli.aria, Liniuviis. — Bill small, robust, much shorter than the head, straight 
to the nail, which is decurved ; nostrils dorsal. Wings long, narrow ; the 
second quill-feather slightly exceeding the third ; the first quill shorter 
than the fourth. Tail of moderate length, slightly rounded. Legs 
moderate, the tarsi anteriorly reticulate, and a little longer than the feet ; 
webs emarginated ; claws rather short (p. 727). 

OcEANODROMA, Reicheuhach. — Bill shorter than the head, moderately stout, 
compressed, rising slightly at the nail, then decurved ; nostrils dorsal. 
Wings long and narrow ; the first quill-feather shorter than the second 
and also than the third, and about equal to the fourth. Tail long and 
deeply forked. Legs short, slender ; tarsi anteriorly reticulated ; hind toe 
minute, front toes long and slender with webs slightly emarginated (p. 729). 

OcEANiTES, Keyserling d~' Blasiiis. — Bill small and weak, the nail gradually 
decurved ; nasal tubes perfectly horizontal. Wings exceedingly long, the 
second quill much the longest, the first quill being shorter than the fourth, 
and slightly exceeding the fifth. Tail almost square. Legs long and slender, 
bare for a considerable distance above the tarsal joint ; feet nearly as long as 
the tarsi, membranes emarginated, hind toe absent ; claws sharp, spatulated, 
not much flattened (p. 733). 

Pelagodroma, Reicheuhach. — Much as in Oceain'tes, but claws flattened and 
wide ; first primary decidedly shorter than the third (p. 735). 

Family PUFFIN I D^. 

Nostrils united externally, or nearly so, above the culmen ; margin of the 
sternum uneven ; distinct pterygoid processes ; manubrium of furcula very short ; 
coracoids short, wide at the base and divergent ; first primary the longest, or 
not shorter than the second (Salvin). 

PUFFINUS, Brissoii.—WA rather longer than the head, slender ; mandibles com- 
pressed and decurved. Nostrils tubular, with two separate orifices. Wings 
long and pointed, the first quill slightly the longest. Tail graduated. Tarsi 
compressed laterally ; three toes in front, rather long, webbed throughout ; 
hind toe rudimentary (p. 737). 

CEstrelata, Bonafaiie. — B\\\ rather'shorter than the head, stout, compressed, 
straight for some distance, then ascending at the commencement of the unguis, 



xl INTRODUCTION. 

which is sharply decurved, with an acute tip ; nasal tubes moderately long, 
elevated, conspicuous, the dorsal outline straight, the orifice subcircular. 
Wings long and pointed, extending beyond the tail when folded ; the first 
quill a trifle longer than the second. Tail moderately long and graduated. 
Tarsi reticulated ; feet and front toes of moderate size ; hind toe small and 
elevated (p. 745). 

Bui.WERiA, Bonaparte. — Bill about as long as the head, stout at the base, com- 
pressed, rising at the nail, which is large ; nostrils tubular, dorsal, rather 
short. Wings long, pointed, the first quill slightly the longest. Tail long 
and cuneate. Legs slender ; the tibiae bare for a short distance above the 
joint, the tarsi reticulated ; hind toe minute, elevated ; feet fully webbed, the 
inner toe shorter than the middle and outer toes, which are about equal ; claws 
curved (p. 749). 

FULMARI-TS, Stephens. — Bill not so long as the head ; the upper mandible com- 
posed of four portions, divided by lines or indentations, the whole together 
large and strong, curving suddenly towards the point ; the under mandible 
grooved along each side, bent at the end, with a prominent angle beneath ; 
the edges of both mandibles sharp ; those of the lower mandible shutting 
just within those above. Nostrils prominent along the upper ridge of the 
upper mandible, but united, enclosed, and somewhat hidden within a tube 
with a single external orifice, within which the division between the two 
nasal openings is visible. Wings rather long, the first quill the longest in 
the wing. Tarsi compressed ; feet moderate, three toes in front united Iiy 
membranes, hind toe rudimentary with a conical claw (p. 751). 

Family DIOMEDEID.E. 

Nostrils lateral, separated by the wide culmen, each in a separate horny sheath 
opening forwards ; margin of the sternum uneven, the sternum itself short com- 
pared with its width ; no pterygoid processes ; manubrium of furcula short, very 
wide at the base and widely divergent ; first i)rimary the longest (Salvin). 

DiOMEDEA, Linntviis.— Sides of the mandible without longitudinal sulcus ; base 
of the culminicorn wide, joining the proximal end of the dorsal edge of the 
latericorn : tail short, rounded (p. 753). 



Remarks. — In this Edition, the length of a liird is measured from the point of 
the bill to the end of the tail ; and in all cases average measurements are to l)e 
understood. 

The upper mandible is often called the maxilla, and the tarsus is strictly the 
tarso-metatarsus ; but I have adhered to old-fashioned terms. 




GURNEY &. JACKSON, 1 P 




Jo}m. B artlLolomew & Co.XcBil^ 



NOSTER ROW, LONDON. 



"S^L A Jf 



25 20 IB 10 6 o 6 10 16 




GURNEY & JACKSON, 1 PA 



25 50 56 40 46 60 S5 



.yrr\-\\.^ 




JOSTER ROW, LONDON. 



Jolm B artlioloine^w & Co.-Hilin? 




GURNEY &, JACKSON, 1 




Jolm B anioloinew & CcEditil^ 



OSTER ROW, LONDON, 



BRITISH BIRDS 




THE MISTLE-THRUSH. 



TuRDUs viscivoRUS, Linnasus. 



Owing perhaps to the increase of plantations during the present 
century, the Mistle-Thrush, the largest resident species of the genus, 
has extended its breeding-range northward to Caithness, Suther- 
land and West Ross, as well as to some of the Hebrides ; but to 
the Orkneys it is chiefly a wanderer, very rarely breeding, and has 
seldom been recorded from the Shetlands. Until about the year 
1800 it was unknown in Ireland, where it is now sedentary and 
increasing ; while in England and Wales it is of general distri- 
bution, though commoner in the wooded districts. Emigration 
takes place from the colder portions of our islands in autumn and 
winter, when, on the other hand, large flocks arrive froni the 
Continent. 

This species breeds from Bod5 in Norway southward, throughout 
suitable portions of temperate Europe to the extremity of the 

B 



2 MISTLE-THRUSH. 

Spanish Peninsula, and e\cn in Northern Africa; eastward, in 
Turkey, the Caucasus, and the mountain forests of Asia down "to 
the north-western Himalayas, and up to 9,000 feet ; attaining in the 
last its palest colour and largest dimensions. In temperate Siberia 
it is found eastward to Lake Baikal; migrating in winter to 
Northern India, Persia, and Africa north of the Sahara. 

In the south of England the Mistle-Thrush sometimes begins to 
lay in February, while even in the north it often has eggs in March. 
The nest, which when placed in a wide fork of a tree has a 
considerable foundation of mud, is lined with dry grasses and 
composed externally of bents and lichens, but although the colour 
of the latter may resemble that of the branch on which the structure 
is placed — bushes being seldom resorted to — there is often no 
attempt at concealment. Exceptionally the nest has been found on 
the ground or in a hole of a wall. The 4-5 eggs are greenish- to 
tawny-white, blotched with reddish-brown and lilac : measurements 
I '2 5 in. by '85 in. In the south two broods are generally produced 
annually, but in the north the fine weather is too short for more 
than one. From its habit of singing early in the year in defiance of 
rough weather, the Mistle-Thrush is often called the ' Storm-cock ' ; 
also ' Holm-screech,' from its partiality to the berries of the Holm 
or Holly, and its harsh churr-\x\g note. Its trivial name is a 
contraction of Mistletoe-Thrush, owing to the fact that it eats the 
berries of that parasite ; but in Great Britain it seems to prefer those 
of the yew, holly, mountain-ash, hawthorn, ivy, &c., fruit when 
obtainable, worms, snails and insects. Although shy of man, 
except when its nest is approached, the Mistle-Thrush is a bold 
bird, fearlessly attacking Magpies, Jays, and other species superior 
to it in size. Its flight is rapid but jerky, and on the wing its large 
size, greyish tint, and white tips to the outer tail-feathers serve to 
distinguish it from any other Thrushes. 

The adult male has the upper parts ash-brown ; under parts 
buffish-white, with bold fan-shaped spots, smaller and more acute 
on the throat ; under wing and axillaries white ; bill horn-brown, 
yellowish at the base ; legs pale brown. Total length 1 1 in. ; wing 
6 in. The female is slightly paler than the male. In the young 
the arrow-shaped markings on the throat and breast are more 
pronounced ; the upper wing-coverts broadly tipped with white, and 
the under parts, especially the flanks, suffused with golden-buff. 
In this plumage it has been mistaken for the rare A\'hite's Thrush, 
but its hvelve tail-feathers distinguish it : White's Thrush having 
fourteen. 



TURDIN^. 




THE SONG-THRUSH. 



TuRDUS Musicus, Linn?£us. 



The Song-Thrush — known in the North as the Throstle or the 
Mavis — is generally distributed throughout the British Islands, 
being equally at home in summer in the cultivated regions of the 
south, or amongst the storm-swept, surf-lashed rocks of the Outer 
Hebrides (where the birds are small and dark, like the Hebridean 
Lepidopterd). In the Shetlands, however, it is of rare occurrence, 
and has seldom been known to nest. Especially in the north, a 
migratory movement takes place among our native birds in autumn, 
when considerable numbers visit us from the Continent. 

Northward the Song-Thrush has wandered to the desolate island 
of Jan Mayen (between Iceland and Spitsbergen, about 70° N. lat.). 
From Norway it breeds (chiefly in the forest region) across Europe 
and Asia to Lake Baikal ; sparingly and at increasing elevations in the 
south of Europe, down to the Pyrenean chain, the north of Italy, 
and the Caucasus ; while in winter it visits Madeira, the Canaries, 
Northern Africa, Nubia, Asia Minor, and Persia. 

The Song-Thrush is an early breeder, and young birds may some- 
times be found by the end of March. The well-known nest, with 
its smooth water-tight lining of rotten wood and dung, is generally 

1! 2 



4 SONG-THRUSH. 

placed in the middle of a thick bush or among ivy, and not un- 
frequently in a moss-covered bank ; occasionally, but rarely, on 
level ground. The 4-6 eggs are of a shining greenish-blue, 
blotched with black or rusty-brown ; spotless varieties being not 
uncommon : measurements i in. by 78 in. The female sits very 
closely, and is assisted to some extent by the male in the task of 
incubation, which lasts about a fortnight ; two and sometimes three 
broods being produced in the season, and the young, presumably of 
the fast, aiding in rearing the second. I have known a pair of 
Thrushes take possession of a Blackbird's nest, and hold it in 
despite of the owners. The much-admired song, characterized by 
a distinct repetition of its three or four component notes, may be 
heard on a warm bright day very early in the year, continues 
until the moulting season, and is often resumed in autumn ; it is 
frequently uttered on fine nights. The Song-Thrush also readily 
adopts the notes of other birds. For nine months of the year it 
feeds on wild berries, insects, worms, and snails, the shells of the 
latter being broken against some convenient stone ; but when fruit 
is ripe, the bird varies its diet, and in the vine-countries it feeds 
largely on grapes ; while on the sea-coast whelks and other " shell- 
fish " are eaten, and this may have something to do with the dark 
colour of the Hebridean birds. Migration takes place at night, 
when flocks of this species drop suddenly and almost perpendicularly 
into wooded places, where numbers are frequently snared for the 
table, especially in Belgium, and also on Heligoland. It may be 
mentioned that although the Song-Thrush is called " Mavis " in 
Scotland, yet the French Maiivis is the Redwing. Mr. J- H- 
Gurney informs me that Mr. Bilham of Cromer, kept a Song-Thrush 
alive about fifteen years. 

The adult male has the upper parts olive-brown, the wing-coverts 
with buff tips which form two bars ; under parts whitish, and tawny 
on the breast and sides, which, with the ear-coverts and cheeks, are 
streaked and spotted with dark brown ; axillaries and under wing 
golden-buff; bill horn-brown, yellowish at lower base; legs pale 
brown. Length 9 in. ; wing 4"6 in. The female is rather smaller 
and paler on the under parts. The young before the first moult are 
mottled above with buff; afterwards like the parents, but more 
golden-tinted. Varieties with more or less white in their plumage 
are not uncommon. 



TURDIN.B. 




THE REDWING. 



TuRDus iLiACUS, Linnaeus. 



The Redwing resembles a small Song-Thrush, but it may easily 
be distinguished by the broad whitish streak over the eye, and by 
the rich orange-red of the flanks and under-feathers of the wing : 
whence the bird's trivial name. The Redwing has been obtained 
in the British Islands on striking against lighthouses, from the 
beginning of August onwards, but large flocks seldom arrive before 
the middle of October. Although the most delicate of the 
European Thrushes, the Redwing can resist a considerable amount 
of frost, but should this be followed by a heavy fall of snow, such a 
combination of hardships proves very destructive. In winter, there- 
fore, though the species is generally distributed, and even abundant 
in the Midlands, large numbers go past our shores, while com- 
paratively few return by the same route on the spring migration. 
Not many remain in the south after the early part of April, but in 
the Shetlands they pass up to May, and though individuals are said 
to have lingered occasionally through the summer, there is no proof 
that the Redwing has ever bred in any part of our islands. 

The nest of the Redwing has been found by Herr Miiller in the 
Faeroes, which are on the line of migration to and from Iceland. 
This is the only Thrush that breeds on that island, and it is gener- 
ally distributed there during the short summer ; while wanderers 



6 REDWING. 

have been obtained in Jan Mayen and Greenland. The bird nests 
freely in Norway, Sweden, and the northern part of Russia ; 
sparingly in East Russia, and perhaps in Poland, Austrian Gahzia, 
and even Anhalt, near the Hartz Mountains ; while eastward the 
breeding-range extends across Siberia to the Yenesei. In winter 
the Redwing reaches Madeira, the Canaries, North Africa, and Asia 
as far south as North-western India and eastward to Lake Baikal. 

Owing to the Gulf stream the climate is comparatively warm in 
Norwa)', and there the Redwing sometimes breeds early in ]May, but 
elsewhere later. In the forest-region the nest is placed on bushes 
or low trees, and a colony of Fieldfares will frequently have a nest 
or two of Redwings on the outskirts ; but in the barren districts, 
sloping banks, hollows between stones, and low fences are selected. 
The structure is composed of twigs and earth, lined with dried 
grasses, and is frequently ornamented externally with lichens, 
especially reindeer-moss. The eggs, generally 6, are of a peculiar 
and evanescent green, closely streaked with reddish-brown, resem- 
bling small varieties of the eggs of the Blackbird, but without the 
bold markings of those of the Fieldfare : measurements -98 in. by 
•75 in. Two broods are frequently reared in the season. The 
parents show great anxiety when the nest with young is approached, 
snapping their bills angrily as they flutter round the head of the 
intruder. The song, which has been unduly eulogized, consists of 
several clear flute-like notes which may be syllabled as trui, fnii, 
trui, tritritri ; the call is see-iou. The food consists of insects, 
small snails, and berries, but the Redwing seems to be less partial 
to the last than are its congeners. Its flight is remarkably rapid. 

The adult male has the upper parts olive-brown ; wing-feathers 
rather darker, with paler edges ; a broad whitish streak over the 
eye ; under parts dull white, closely streaked with dark brown 
on the throat, breast, and part of the flanks, the inner portion of 
the last being of a rich chestnut-red ; under wing and axillaries 
somewhat paler ; bill dark brown above, lighter at the lower base ; 
legs pale brown. Length 875 ; wing 4-4 in. The female has the 
plumage slightly duller than the male. The young bird is spotted 
on both upper and under parts, and, after the first autumn moult, 
it has well-defined pale tips to the wingcoverts. 



TURDIN.t. 








THE FIELDFARE. 

TURDUS PILARIS, LinilffiUS. 

The Fieldfare is one of the regular visitors to our islands, the 
date of its arrival depending upon the autumnal temperature in 
those northern regions of Europe which form its principal breeding- 
ground. Its appearance in Scotland and in eastern England has 
been recorded from the middle of September onwards, but on the 
west side, in Wales and in Ireland, it is usually about the middle of 
October. Every one must be familiar with the large flocks of Felts, 
" Blue Felts," or " Felfers," which during the winter are generally 
distributed throughout the United Kingdom, seeking their food 
over the fields and pasture-lands during open weather, and resorting 
to the berry-producing hedges when frost hardens or snow covers 
the ground. In backward springs the Fieldfare remains until the 
middle of May, and, exceptionally, till the beginning of June ; but 
there is no proof that it has ever nested in this country. 

An irregular visitor to the Fceroes, this species has wandered to 
Iceland, and once to the island of Jan Mayen. It breeds abun- 
dantly in Scandinavia, Finland, Northern Russia, and Siberia as far 
as the Yenesei, beyond which it becomes rarer : in smaller numbers 
in Central Russia, the Baltic provinces. East Prussia, and Poland ; 
and of late in Moravia, Bohemia, and Bavaria ; while increasing 
colonies have established themselves in Central Germany, especially 



8 FIELDKARE. 

near Halle on the Saale. Its line of migration is more easterly 
than that of the Redwing, the Fieldfare being rare in Spain and in 
the Canaries, but it winters in North Africa, and in Western Asia 
to Northern India. 

In Northern Europe Fieldfares often breed in colonies — and in 
such assemblages the late Mr. A. C. Chapman and others have 
found old nests with eggs of the Merlin. Especially in birch, 
but also in fir woods, gardens and orchards the nest is in a fork 
between the trunk and a large branch ; further north, where the 
birds become less gregarious, heaps of firewood, fences, shepherds' 
huts, (Sec, are utilized ; while on the treeless tundras of Siberia the 
nest is placed on the ground, on the edge of a rock or a bank. In 
Poland breeding commences in April, but northward hardly before 
the middle of May. The 4-6, and even 7, eggs resemble very hand- 
some Blackbird's, but they vary greatly, some being boldly blotched 
with reddish-brown like Ring-Ouzel's, while others have a light blue 
ground colour: dimensions i'2 by "85 in. Two broods are gene- 
rally produced in the season. The old birds are very noisy when 
the breeding-place is approached, uttering their harsh cries of tsak, 
tsak ; the call-note or love song, uttered by the male when on the 
wing, is a softer warbling qui, qui. The food of the young consists 
principally of insects until the wild strawberries and other fruits are 
ripe, and owing to its fondness for the juniper, this species is known 
in Germany as the ' "Wachholder-drossel ' ; in fact it is a great eater 
of berries. It generally roosts in trees, and sometimes in reed-beds, 
or on the ground in stubble-fields. 

The young Fieldfare on leaving the nest is spotted on the back 
like the young of other Thrushes, moulting again, as do the parents, 
before migration. The birds arrive in this country with light mar- 
gins to the feathers of the lower parts, but by the following spring 
these edges have disappeared and the spots become more clearly 
defined, leaving the bird in its nuptial dress. The head is then slate- 
grey, streaked with black ; mantle chestnut-brown ; rump con- 
spicuously grey; wings and tail dark brown ; tljroat and breast golden 
brown streaked with black, the flanks boldly marked with very dark 
brown ; centre of the belly white ; under wing and axillaries pure 
white ; the bill (which was darker in winter) is now yellow ; the legs 
and toes are dark brown. The female is somewhat duller in colour 
than the male. Length 10 in. ; wing 5*5 in. I^ike many of its 
congeners, this Thrush exhibits a few slender hair-like filaments 
on the nape, and to the accident of these being noticed in this species 
the ndiiwe fii/aris is probably due. 



TURDIN^.. 




THE BLACK-THROATED THRUSH. 



TuRDUS ATRiGULARis, Temminck. 



The first recorded occurrence of this eastern species in Britain 
was a young male, obtained in the flesh by Mr. T. J. Monk of 
Lewes, shot near that town on December 23rd, 1868. Subse- 
quently, in 'The Ibis' for October 1889, the late Lt.-Col. H. M. 
Drummond-Hay stated that he had identified an example of this 
species, shot by Mr. Robert Gloag after a prolonged snowstorm, 
on the banks of the Tay, in February 1879, when it was in company 
with another bird of the same kind ; it has been presented to the 
Museum at Perth. 

It is not improbable that other stragglers to this country may 
have been overlooked, for the species has several times occurred at 
no great distance from our shores. In December 1S86 an example 
was obtained in Norway ; one has been taken in Denmark, several 
in Northern Germany, Belgium, and France, and at least three in 
Tyrol and Northern Italy. In Central and Eastern Europe its 
occurrences, as might naturally be expected, become more frequent 
in proportion as its Siberian home is approached ; nevertheless it 
has only once been obtained in the Caucasian district, near Len- 
koran. Beyond the Ural Mountains the species becomes more 
abundant, breeding in Eastern Turkestan up to an elevation of 



lO BLACK-THROATED THRUSH. 

4,000 feet, and probably in the valley of the Ob ; and although 
too late for eggs, the late Mr. Seebohni obtained three young not 
fully-fledged in the valley of the Yenesei between 60° and 63° N. 
lat., early in August. Herr Tancre's collectors have obtained a 
series of eggs in the Altai Mountains which "exhibit the same 
variation in colour as the eggs of the Blackbird, and measure from 
1-2 to 1-15 in. in length, and from -S to 75 in. in breadth" (See- 
bohni). This Thrush winters in Northern Persia, Afghanistan, 
Turkestan, Baluchistan, and India, as far south as Assam ; its range 
extending eastward to Lake Baikal. There it meets with the Red- 
throated Thrush, T. ritficollis, a species which has wandered to 
Heligoland and Saxony. 

The food of this species is stated by Dr. Scully to consist in 
winter chiefly, of the berries of Eleagnus, a diet varied with 
insects and worms. Favourite haunts in the cold season are sand- 
hills, low scrub, and trees bordering watercourses ; while Seebohm 
found that in summer a marked preference was shown for pine- 
trees, and the neighbourhood of the banks of the river where the 
forest had been cut down for fuel. The song of this species is 
undescribed. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the throat and breast 
black ; belly white, turning to greyish-brown on the sides and flanks ; 
upper parts olive-brown, darker on the wings and tail. In winter 
the throat-feathers have light margins, and the general plumage is 
duller. The young male resembles the adult female, in which the 
feathers of the throat and breast are not completely black, but have 
merely dark centres, forming a streaked gorget ; under parts dull 
creamy-white. In both sexes the under-wing and axillaries are 
golden buff. Bill dark brown above, pale below \ legs and feet pale 
brown. Length about 975 in., wing 5-45 in. 

Turdus migratoriits, commonly called in North America ' the 
Robin,' owing to its ruddy breast, has been obtained at Dover ; 
but, like the Wydah-bird and other exotic species obtained in that 
locality, it had probably escaped from some ship passing through 
the narrow seas. An example taken near Dublin in May 1891, and 
another from Leitrim, Dec. 1894, are both in the Dublin Museum, 
while one was obtained alive near Leicester in Oct. 1893. The 
species has occurred once at Heligoland, on the high road of vessels 
for Bremen and Hamburg ; and it is not unfrequently brought to 
Europe as a cage-bird. 



TURDIN.^. 







WHITE'S THRUSH. 



TuRDUS VARius, Pallas. 



This boldly-marked species, rather larger than the Mistle-Thrush, 
belongs to a group known as the 'Ground' Thrushes {Geockhla), 
characterized by a partiality for woodland glades, where insects, 
which constitute their principal food, are obtained among the dead 
leaves. Owing to this habit, the large size, mottled plumage, 
and low undulating flight, several of the White's Thrushes obtained 
in this country have at first been mistaken for AVoodcocks. The 
earliest recorded British example was shot in January, 1828, in 
Hampshire ; receiving a scientific as well as a trivial name in 
honour of White of Selborne, from Eyton, who supposed the 
species to be undescribed. Other individuals have since been 
obtained in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Shrop- 
shire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Yorkshire, and Durham ; once in Berwick- 
shire ; and in Ireland in counties Cork, Longford, and INIayo. 
Most of these occurrences have been in the winter, and only one in 
October. 

On Heligoland more than a dozen have been taken in September 
and October, and on the return migration up to the 23rd of April. 



12 WHITES THRUSH. 

Many stragglers have been obtained, mostly in autumn, from 
Norway and Sweden southwards to Italy and the Pyrenees. Dr. 
Menzbier thinks that White's Thrush breeds no further off than the 
Ural, as three specimens have been obtained there in summer; and 
eastward this species, which might be more appropriately called 
the " Golden " Thrush, extends through Siberia from about the line 
of Krasnoiarsk on the Yenesei to Lake Baikal and Northern China ; 
the winter migrations reaching to Southern China, the Philippines, 
and even Sumatra. In Japan it is common in Yokohama market in 
winter, and having been obtained in July on the volcano of Fuji, it 
was probably breeding there. A nest built on a pine-branch, close 
to which a pair of birds were seen, was obtained by Swinhoe near 
Ningpo, and one of the eggs figured by Seebohm ('British Birds,' 
pi. S) has a greenish-white ground with minute reddish spots : 
measurements 12 by '9 in. White's Thrush is mostly insectivorous, 
but in China banyan and other berries are consumed. Its note is a 
soft plaintive see, audible at a long distance. 

In the adult the bill is brownish ; legs and feet yellowish-brown ; 
upper plumage yellowish-brown tipped with black, darker on the 
wings ; under parts white tinged with buff, and boldly marked with 
black crescentic spots ; a distinct light-coloured patch in the middle of 
the underside of the wing; tail oi fourteen feathers, the central four 
yellowish-brown and the rest dark brown, all tipped with white. 
Length 12 in.; wing 6"45 in. An Australian species, T. lunulatus, 
with only tivelve tail-feathers, has not unfrequently been passed off 
as White's Thrush. 

An example of the Siberian Thrush {T. sibirieus, Pallas), said to 
have been shot in Surrey in the winter o( 1S60-61, and originally 
supposed to be a melanism of the Redwing, was in the collection of 
the late Mr. F. Bond, who bequeathed it to the British Museum : 
while I fully believe that another was picked up exhausted at Bon- 
church, I. of Wight, in the winter of 1S74 ; but the evidence as yet 
is not sufficient to warrant the introduction of this species into the 
British list. Like White's Thrush, it has the light-coloured patch 
on the underside of the wing. The adult male is dark slate-grey, 
with a conspicuous white eye-streak, and white abdomen ; the 
female is olive-brown above, and whitish-buff barred with brown 
beneath ; both sexes having white patches at the tips of t'he tail- 
feathers. ^^'anderers have occurred as near our shores as France, 
Belgium and (icrmanv. 



TURDIN.t:. 



13 



''^.. 







THE BLACKBIRD. 



TuRDUS MERULA, Linnseus. 



The Blackbird, "' the Ouzel-cock so black of hue " of Shakespeare, 
is of general distribution throughout the British Islands, where it 
ma)' be considered as a resident, excepting in some of the bleaker 
islands ; but even in the Outer Hebrides it is increasing as a breeding- 
species, and it now nests in Orkney, and is said to have done so in 
Shetland, to which it is chiefly an autumn and winter visitor. Like 
the Mistle-Thrush, and probably for the same reasons, the Blackbird 
has spread northward and westward of late years ; in several places 
supplanting the Ring-Ouzel : Avhile in addition to our native-bred 
birds, some of which are partially migrator}-, large numbers visit 
us in autumn and winter. 

In the Faroes the Blackbird has occurred in spring , it un- 
doubtedly wandered to Iceland in the winter of 1877, and it has 
been recorded from the island of Jan INIayen. About 67° N. lat. in 
Norway appears to be its highest breeding-range ; south of which it 
is found nesting down to the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries, both 
sides of the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, and even in the sultr}- 
depths of the Ghor in Palestine. In Russia it does not appear to 



14 BLACKBIRD. 

range further north or east than the valley of the Volga ; being 
represented in Turkestan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir by a larger 
resident species or form, which Seebohm named Mcriila maxima. 
In winter its numbers in southern countries are considerably increased 
by migrants from the north. 

The usual nesting-places selected by the Blackbird are bushes, 
especially evergreens and hedge-rows ; occasionally the ground ; but 
the nest differs from that of the Thrush in being lined with dry 
grasses. The 4-6 eggs are of a greenish-blue, spotted and streaked 
with reddish-brown : measurements i"i by '85 in. Blue varieties 
resembUng eggs of the Starling are sometimes met with, but 
Mr. R. M. Christie has brought forward (Tr. Norw. Soc, iii, p. 588, 
and iv, p. 582) some evidence indicating that the Blackbird and the 
Song-Thrush may occasionally inter-breed, and it has been suggested 
that these blue eggs may be the result of such a union. Several 
broods are hatched during the season, the first often by the end of 
March. The old birds are much more shy during the breeding- 
season than is the Song-Thrush, but the cock, especially at pairing- 
time, is very quarrelsome. The food consists of worms, insects and 
their larvae, slugs and snails, with seeds, hawthorn- and other berries 
m winter, and fruit in summer. The Blackbird's powerful song — 
heard at its best after an April shower — makes it a favourite for the 
cage, and it is further gifted with a considerable power of mimicry ; 
while its noisy, rattling alarm-note, as it flits from the hedge-rows or 
copses to which it is partial, must be familiar to every one. A 
peculiarity by which the Blackbird may be recognized, even in a bad 
light, is its habit of sharply raising its tail the moment it perches. 
As in the case of the Song-Thrush, the young of this species some- 
times assist the parents in feeding the second brood. 

The adult male has the entire plumage glossy-black ; bill and 
edges of the eyelids orange-yellow ; legs and feet brownish-black. 
Length lo'i in. ; wing 5 in. The female is umber-brown, paler 
and more rufous on the throat and breast, with darker streaks — some 
mountain forms being exceptionally light-coloured ; bill and legs 
brownish. The young male can be distinguished in the nest by its 
stouter bill and darker hue, especially along the carpal joint ; and if 
a few of the first brown feathers of the breast be pulled out, these 
will be reproduced of a black colour. Later, the plumage is 
blackish-brown above, with pale shaft-streaks ; under parts lighter. 
Even after assuming the adult plumage, young males of the year 
have blackish bills until their second year. Pied varieties and 
albinisms are by no means uncommon. 



TURDIX.^. 



15 




THE RING-OUZEL. 



T URDUS TORQUATUS, Linna;us. 



The Ring-Ouzel is the only one of our breeding Thrushes which 
is absent as a rule from our islands during the winter. It is true that 
individuals have been known to remain till after Christmas in 
England, Scotland, and Ireland, but the majority leave, m September 
and October, the wilder and more elevated districts in which they 
have passed the summer ; and, after a comparatively short stay in 
the lowlands to feed upon the autumnal berries, they depart for the 
south. In April the Ring-Ouzel returns, and pairs are said to have 
nested occasionally in Hampshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Warwickshire, 
and similar counties, but as a rule its breeding-places are in the wild 
and hilly districts of Cornwall, Devon, Somersetshire, the Pennine 
backbone of England and its spurs; in Wales; and in the greater part 
of Scotland, including the Orkneys, and most of those islands which 
present suitable features ; to the Shetlands it is comparatively a 
rare visitor. In Ireland it frequents the mountainous districts in 
varying numbers during the summer. 

There are two races of Ring-Ouzel. Our rather dark form also 
breeds in Scandinavia from about 58° to 70° N. lat., and thence east- 
ward in suitable localities as far as portions of the Ural Mountains, 
beyond which the steppes appear to act as a barrier ; and it is said to 



1 6 RING-OUZEL. 

nest sparingly in the south of Holland and Belgium. This form is 
found on migration over the whole of Europe, going down to North 
Africa and Egypt, Syria and Persia. In, and south of the mountains 
of Central Europe, the birds which breed have more or less white 
centres (as well as edges) to the feathers of the breast and under tail- 
coverts, and their appearance is decidedly spangled ; but inter- 
mediate forms are frequent. This race also migrates southward to 
some extent, and it makes its nest in fir-trees ; it has been named 
T. alpestris by C. L. Brehm. 

On our moors the Ring-Ouzel begins to breed in the latter part of 
April, making its nest, similar to that of a Blackbird, in tall ling 
and heather, on the ledges of rocks, or in broken banks ; sometimes 
at a moderate distance underneath fallen rocks ; while the sides of 
streams or watercourses are favourite localities ; and occasionally 
stunted bushes are selected. The 4, seldom 5, eggs are greenish-blue, 
flecked and spotted with reddish brown ; bolder and handsomer as 
a rule than those of the Blackbird, and more like those of the P'ield- 
fare : average measurements I'l by "85 in. Not unfrequently a 
second brood is produced in July. Few birds are bolder when their 
young are approached, the parents flying round the intruder, uttering 
their sharp alarm note of iac-tac-tac, tac-tac-iac ; but the song is some- 
what monotonous, and derives its principal charm from the scenery 
in which it is heard. The food consists of worms, slugs, and 
insects ; the bird being also partial to moorland berries and 
those of the rowan or mountain-ash. The Ring-Ouzel frequently 
descends to gardens in the vicinity of its haunts, and is extremely 
bold in its attacks upon fruit : while in the vine-countries it feeds 
largely on grapes. 

The adult male has the upper parts brownish-black, the outer 
margins of the wing-feathers grey ; under parts blackish, except a 
broad white gorget ; under wing and axillaries mottled with grey 
and white ; bill black at the tip, the rest yellowish ; legs and feet 
brownish black. Length 10 in. ; wing 5*5 in. The adult female is 
lighter and browner, with a narrower and duller gorget, which is 
scarcely perceptible in young females. A cock, little more than a 
nestling, in the British Museum, shot in Nairnshire on ist September, 
is blacker than any adult. In autumn both sexes have the feathers 
conspicuously margined with grey. 



TURDIN.E. 



n 







THE ROCK-THRUSH. 



MoNTicoLA SAXATiLis (Litinajus). 

The claim of the Rock-Thrush to a place in the British list rests 
upon an example shot on the 19th May, 1843, at Therfield, in Hert- 
fordshire, and figured as above by the late Mr. Yarrell, who examined 
it before it was skinned ; the bird is now in the collection of Mr. F. 
d'Arcy Newcome. Some other occurrences are recorded, but are 
not authenticated. 

The individual in question had no doubt deviated on its spring 
migration to the westward of its usual course, but some of the 
regular haunts of this species are at no great distance from our 
shores ; the central and side valleys of the Rhine, Moselle, Upper 
Meuse, and some portions of Alsace being visited every summer. 
The bird also breeds sparingly in the Hartz Mountains, Thuringia, 
and other suitable situations in Germany ; while it has occurred 
several times in Normandy, Belgium, and Heligoland. In Switzer- 
land and southwards it is generally distributed throughout suitable 
rocky districts, although often local ; and where, as in Southern 
Spain and Northern Africa, its congener the Blue Rock-Thrush 
{Monticoia cyanus) predominates, it retires to higher ground. From 

c 



l8 ROCK-THRUSH. 

the Carpathians eastward it breeds in Greece, Turkey, Southern 
Russia, Asia Minor, Persia, Turkestan, Southern Siberia, MongoHa, 
and North China ; its migrations extending to the Gambia on the 
west coast of Africa, Egypt, Nubia, Abyssinia, and Southern Arabia ; 
also to Tibet, Northern India, and Upper Burma. 

The nest is placed in a hole among rocks, vineyard-walls, forti- 
fications or ruins, and occasionally in a tree-stump. Moss, roots, 
and dried grass — without any clay — with a finer lining of bents, are 
the materials employed ; and the 4-5 eggs are pale greenish-blue, 
sometimes slightly speckled with light brown : measurements i in. 
by 75 in. Two broods are often reared in the year, incubation com- 
mencing early in May ; and the parents display considerable anxiety 
when the nest is approached. The Rock-Thrush has a sweet and 
varied song, and, being also an excellent mimic, is highly esteemed 
as a cage-bird. During courtship the male from time to time rises 
singing into the air, then drops down almost vertically, and travels 
for some distance along the rocks. In fact all the Rock-Thrushes 
in their mode of nesting and in many of their actions resemble the 
Wheatears or Chats, thus forming a link between these and the true 
Thrushes, from which they differ in the comparative shortness of the 
leg and tail. The food consists of earth-worms, snails, insects and 
their larvce, and wild berries. 

The adult male has the head, neck, and throat greyish blue, 
passing into blackish-blue on the upper back ; a white patch covers 
the centre of the back and dorsal scapulars ; wings dark brown ; 
lower back bluish-slate, mottled with grey ; tail-feathers chestnut, 
the two centre ones chiefly brown ; under parts bright chestnut ; 
bill black ; legs and feet brown. Length 7*5 in.; wing to end of 
the third and longest primary 475 in., the bastard primary being 
very small. In winter the white patch is less conspicuous, and the 
feathers have lighter margins. The young male, late in September, 
is much mottled with light brown and slate-grey on the upper parts, 
and has no white patch on the back ; wing-feathers and coverts 
broadly tipped with buffish-white ; breast and abdomen chestnut, 
barred with black, and with broad whitish edges which gradually 
wear off The female is mottled ash-brown above, with but little grey 
about the head and back ; chin and throat whitish ; lower parts 
orange-buff marbled with brown ; tail chestnut. 

The Blue Rock-Thrush {MoiUicoIa cyaiius) has been erroneously 
recorded as having occurred at Westmeath in Ireland ; for complete 
refutation of the statement, see 'The Zoologist,' 1880, p. 67. 



TURBINE. 



19 




THE WHEATEAR. 



Saxicola (ENanthe (Linnreus). 



The Wheatear, one of the first of our spring-visitors, usually 
arrives in the second week in March ; any birds seen earlier being 
probably those which, as exceptions, have wintered in mild portions 
of our islands. From early spring onwards the Wheatear is to be 
seen in suitable localities, jerking its white tail as it flits along, 
uttering its sharp chack, chack, on open downs, warrens, and poor 
land generally, while it ascends our mountains almost to their 
summits. Numbers still frequent the Soi:th Downs, especially on 
migration in August ; but by the beginning of October nearly all 
have left us. 

In summer this species is very widely distributed, ranging to the 
Faeroes, Iceland, Jan Maycn, and Greenland ; while it has been 

c 2 



20 WHEATEAR. 

recorded from 80'^ N. lat. (Feilden), Boothia Felix, and Point 
Barrow. Greenland appears to be the breeding-place of a large 
race which passes through our islands from the middle of April 
onwards, and seems to be somewhat addicted to perching on trees. 
Our ordinary form breeds throughout Europe, Siberia, Mongolia, 
and, at suitable elevations, in Asia INIinor and North Africa ; it visits 
the Canaries, and has of late years established itself in the Azores. 
The smallest examples are those found in Syria. In winter 
it migrates to a little south of the Equator. Crossing Bering 
Sea it visits Alaska ; and accidentally it has occurred in Colorado, 
the eastern portions of the United States and Canada, and the 
Bermudas. 

About the middle of April a loose nest of dry grass, lined with 
rabbits' fur, hair, and feathers, is placed in rabbit-burrows, crevices of 
stone walls, and peat-stacks on the moors, or under rocks and fallow- 
clods, in discarded tins and kettles, and even in old artillery-shells. 
The 5-6, often 7, eggs are very pale blue, sometimes minutely 
dotted with purple : measurements "8 by "6 in. Two broods are 
produced in the season. The old birds are wary and do not easily 
betray the situation of their treasure. The song of the male, often 
uttered on the wing, is rather pretty ; and the bird also displays 
considerable powers of imitating other species. Its food consists of 
small spiders, insects — often captured flying — and their larvje. The 
name has no connection with wheat, but is a corruption of white, 
and of the Anglo-Saxon cers, for which the modern equivalent is 
'rump'; and in fact as " white rumps " this species and its 
congeners are known in most of the European language. 

Adult male in summer : forehead and eye-streak white ; lores and 
ear-coverts black ; head, neck and back grey ; wings nearly black ; 
rump white ; the two central tail-feathers black nearly to the base, 
the others white with broad black tips ; under parts white, with only 
a faint tinge of buff on the throat in old birds ; under wing-coverts 
and axillaries mottled with dark grey and white ; bill, legs and 
feet black. In autumn the new feathers are so broadly margined 
with rufous-brown that the male much resembles the female ; and 
even on the spring arrival many of the upper feathers still retain 
buff margins. Length 6 in. ; wing to tip of third and longest quill, 
375 in. The female differs in having the ear-coverts dark brown ; 
upper parts hair-brown ; under parts buff, not unlike the south- 
eastern S. isabellina, in which, however, the under wiiig-coverfs are 
white. The young are slightly spotted above and below, with buff 
tips and margins to the tail- and wing-feathers. 



TURDIN.t. 




^^■'^ 



THE ISABELLINE WHEATEAR. 



Saxicola isabellina, Riippell. 



My friend the Rev. H. A. iNIacpherson brought to me in the 
flesh for identification a bird shot by Mr. Thomas Mann, on a 
ploughed field and quite alone, at x\llonby, Cumberland, on nth 
November 1887 ; it proved to be the Isabelline Wheatear, and was 
exhibited at a meeting of the Zoological Society on December 6th. 
This south-eastern bird had not previously been recorded from 
Heligoland or any part of Western Europe, but it so closely re- 
sembles the female of the previous species that it might easily 
escape notice. The specimen, a female, is figured above, and Mr. 
Macpherson subsequently presented it to the British Museum. 

The Isabelline Wheatear is an early spnng-visitor to South-eastern 
Russia, especially the province of Astrachan and the arid plains of 
the Caspian, and to Asia Minor. From the above, after breeding, 
it takes its departure in autumn ; but in Palestine, Egypt, Eastern 
Africa down to Somali- and Masai-land, Abyssinia, and Arabia, it 
appears to be a resident. Eastward it is found in summer across 
Asia — south of 56° N. and up to 10,000 feet above sea-level — to 



2 2 ISABELLINE WHEATKAR. 

Northern China and the Upper Amur ; migrating to Northern 
India, &€. 

The nest is generally placed in burrows ; those of such rodents 
as Lagomys ogotona and Spermophilus eversvianni being utilized on 
the steppes of Daiiria ; while near Smyrna the extensive tunnels 
formed by the Asiatic mole-rat [Spalax typhhis) afford a convenient 
retreat. The eggs are pale blue, similar to those of the Common 
Wheatear, but a trifle larger: measurements "82 by •65 m. Breed- 
ing commences in February in Abyssinia ; while by the middle of 
May young are to be found nearly fledged in Asia Minor. Two 
broods are probably reared in the season, as Canon Tristram obtained 
eggs in Palestine in June. ]\Ir. Danford observed this Wheatear 
frequenting barren ground, bushy hillsides, and even fir-woods in 
Asia Minor, where it arrived on March gth ; and he describes its 
notes as very peculiar, " the most striking being a cry resembling 
that of a Sandpiper, which is uttered as the bird descends, after its 
hovering flight and lark-like song." The call-note is zri^ zri, zri. 

Adult male : upper parts pale sandy-brown ; a buffish-white streak 
from the base of the bill upwards to the back of the eye ; lores 
black ; ear-coverts pale-brown ; upper tail-coverts white ; the two 
central tail-feathers blackish-brown almost to their bases, which are 
white ; the remainder white for the basal third, and blackish- 
brown, narrowly tipped and margined with buff, on the lower 
two-thirds ; wings brown, edged with buff, especially on the 
secondaries and coverts ; under parts bufiish-white, deeper on the 
neck and breast ; under iving-coverts and axillaries ivhite ; the ufider- 
side of the qjiills being also conspicuously paler than in the Com- 
mon Wheatear. Bill and legs black. Length 6*5 in. ; wing to the 
tip of the third and longest quill, 3-9 in. ; tarsus i"2 in. Female: 
duller in plumage and slightly smaller than the male. Young : 
streaked with dark brown on the head, neck and breast ; wings and 
tail broadly margined with rufous-buff. In autumn, as with other 
Wheatears, the buff margins to the wing-feathers are very pro- 
nounced. 

The distinguishing characteristics of the Isabelline Wheatear may 
be thus summed up : — it is larger, more tawny, and has more black 
in its comparatively short tail than any Common Wheatear ; the 
colour of the under-wing is much lighter, and the bill and tarsi are 
longer. 



TURDIN.E. 



23 




ff/» 



THE BLACK-THROATED WHEATEAR. 



Saxicola stapazina, Vieillot. 



A male in adult plumage of this handsome South-European 
species was shot about the 8th of May 1875, near Bury in Lanca- 
shire, and subsequently recorded by Mr. R. Davenport, who, as 
should always be done in the case of such rare visitors, sent the 
specimen for exhibition at a meeting of the Zoological Society 
(P. Z. S. 1878, pp. 881, 977). A bird, probably of this species, was 
seen and sketched by Mr. H. B. Hewetson near Spurn, Yorkshire, 
on September i8th 1892 (Zool. 1892, p. 424, and 1895, p. 57). 

Although some occurrences formerly recorded under this name in 
Heligoland were really those of the Desert-Wheatear, yet the 
present species seems to have been obtained there once ; while 
Schlegel records it from Haarlem, Holland. It breeds regularly 
about as far north as the line of the Loire in France ; southward, in 
the Spanish Peninsula, Morocco, Algeria and Italy. In the latter 
country it meets with S. inelanoleiica, Giildenstadt : a form which 
some ornithologists consider to be specifically distinct, characterized 
by a whiter back and larger amount of black on the throat. This 
form occupies Greece, South Russia, Asia Minor, Palestine and 
Persia ; both races migrating wholly or partially to more southern 



24 ELACK-THROATED WHEATEAR. 

regions in winter, and meeting in Tunisia. The extremes of each 
are distinguishable in adult males, but there appear to be numerous 
intergradations, and I have therefore treated the bird under one 
heading. 

The Black-throated Wheatear is very common in Southern 
Europe from the middle of March ; making a loose nest of bents 
and grass in holes and crevices, especially in old ruins ; and the late 
Mr. Seebohm found it breeding in the Parnassus up to an elevation 
of 3,000 feet. The eggs, rather elliptical-ovate in shape, are of a pale 
sea-green colour, freckled with brown: measurements, 75 by "6 in. 
In song, habits and food, this species resembles the Common Wheat- 
ear. The name stapazina refers to its noisy scolding note. 

The adult male in spring has the forehead white, the crown and 
upper back golden-buff, becoming paler as the season advances ; 
throat, lores and ear-coverts black ; wings nearly black ; lower back 
white ; the two central tail-feathers black almost to their bases, the 
rest white, margined with an amount of black which is subject to 
great diminution and partial disappearance with age ; under parts 
buffish-white ; under wi/igcoverts black ; bill, legs and feet black. 
In July and August, when the autumn moult takes place, the crown, 
nape, upper back and breast are rich buff; the wing-coverts and 
secondaries broadly margined with pale buff. Length 5 "6 in. ; wing 
3*5 in. The female differs in having the throat merely mottled with 
black ; the head streaked with hair-brown ; upper back sandy- 
brown ; wings dark brown ; under parts dirty buff. The young 
resemble the female in general, but are rather more rufous ; and 
they have less white on the tail than the adults of the respective 
sexes. 

To obviate the perpetuation of confusion, it must be remarked 
that the species here described is the one which Mr. Dresser in his 
'Birds of Europe' called "^'c/avV^/^ r/(/(Z (Russet Chat)" ; but the 
bird was re-instated under its old and well-known name by the 
Committee of the British Ornithologists' Union. Unfortunately 
Mr. Dresser transferred the specific name stapazina to the Eared 
Wheatear, S.albicollis (Vieill.), S. aiirita (Temm.), another southern 
species, which has not yet visited our islands. 



TURDIN.t. 




5 l-C^d^z 



THE DESERT-WHEATEAR. 



SaxIcola deserti, Riippell. 



Although the Desert-Wheatear has a still more southern habitat 
than the preceding species, it has undoubtedly been obtained on 
three occasions in Great Britain. The first example, a male in 
autumn plumage, shot on the 26th November 1880, near Alloa in 
Clackmannanshire, was sent for exhibition at a meeting of the 
Zoological Society (P. Z. S. 18S1, p. 453), by its owner, Mr. J- J- 
Dalgleish. The second, a bird in female plumage, obtained on 
the Holderness coast, Yorkshire, October 17th 1885, was sent for 
exhibition by Mr. W. Eagle Clarke (P. Z. S. 1885, p. 835), 
and is in the collection of Mr. J- H. Gurney. A third — apparently 
a young male — was shot near Arbroath on December 28th 

1887, and was exhibited at a meeting of tne Zoological Society 
of London on March 6th 18S8, on behalf of the late Lt.-Col. 
H. M. Drummond-Hay, who published details in 'The Ibis,' 

1888, p. 283. 

Three wanderers of this species have been obtained on Heligo- 
land : a male on October 26th 1856 ; a female on October 4th 
1857 (these being originally and erroneously recorded as ^. siapa- 



2 6 DESERT-WHEATEAR. 

ziun) ; and an adult male in full breeding-plumage, June 23rd 
1880. The above appear to be the only notices of the occurrence 
of the Desert-Wheatear in Europe. 

As the name implies, this species is to be found in dry, sandy 
regions, such as North Africa, Egypt, Nubia, Arabia, Palestine, 
Persia, Afghanistan, the plains of Turkestan up to an elevation of 
over 12,000 feet, and the mountain ranges to the north of Kashmir. 
In winter the bird occurs in North-western India, Scind, Baluchistan, 
Southern Persia, Somali-land and Abyssinia. Mr. J. H. Gurney 
describes it as the most universally distributed member of the genus 
in the Algerian Sahara. 

The nest of the Desert-Wheatear is placed in crevices of rocks, 
walls of wells, in burrows, or under bushes. The eggs are of a 
greenish-blue, paler than those of the Black-throated Wheatear, with 
liver-coloured spots round the larger end : measurements 75 by 
•5 in. The food appears to be ants and other insects ; the stomach 
of the bird shot at Alloa contained small flies. In its movements this 
species is even more restless than the Common Wheatear ; and its 
song is said to be short and pleasing. The individuals observed by 
Mr. J. H. Gurney were estimated by him as being in the proportion 
of about eight in male plumage to one in female dress. 

The male in spring has the crown sandy-grey, shading into buff on 
the back and lower wing-coverts ; secondaries, brown in the centre, 
with pale margins ; primaries blackish, with light margins to the 
inner webs, very conspicuous on the underside ; under wing-coverts 
and axillaries black tipped with white ; tail-coverts white ; tail black, 
almost to the base ; under parts white, washed with buff on the 
breast ; throat and sides of neck to the shoulders black ; a whitish 
streak above and behind the eye. Bill, legs and feet black ; the 
latter small for the size of the bird. Length 5*6 in. ; wing to the tip 
of 3rd and longest quill 3 "6 in. The female is duller and greyer on 
the upper parts ; the wings are brown, the under surface is buff, and 
the black throat is absent ; but the large amount of black in the tail 
is always a feature. The young is like that of S. stapazina, except 
for its characteristic blackish-brown tail. 

The members of this group are frequently denominated ' Chats,' 
but I have used the term ' Wheatear ' to emphasize the difference 
between the longer-tailed, white-rumped species, and the shorter- 
tailed, streaked-rumped ' Bush-chats ' of the genus Pratincola. 



TURDIN.'E. 








■i«^ 




THE WHINCHAT. 



Pratincola rubetra (Linnreus). 

The Whinchat generally arrives in the south of England rather 
before the middle of April, but seldom reaches the north of its 
range before the beginning of May ; after which, until its departure 
in the early part of October, it is fairly distributed throughout 
England and Wales. It is, however, somewhat local in the west, 
becoming rare in Cornwall, and only occurring in the Scilly Islands 
during the autumnal passage. In Scotland, although absent in some 
districts, it may be said to range from the border counties to 
Caithness, and is very common in Sutherlandshire and the Moray 
basin ; while it breeds sparingly in the Outer Hebrides and the 
Orkneys; and Mr. A. H. Evans identified it in the summer of 1887 
in the Shetlands. In Ireland it is a summer visitor to the northern 
half and Kilkenny, visiting the south on migration. 

A very rare straggler to the Fteroes, the Whinchat breeds from 
about 70° N. lat. in Scandinavia southwards, in many parts of 
Northern and Central Europe ; and, seeking in the mountains 
appropriate climatic conditions, it nests down to Sicily. In the 
countries bordering the Mediterranean it is, however, principally a 
migrant ; wintering in Africa, down to Fantee on the west side and 
Abyssinia on the east, as well as in Arabia, Asia Minor, and Northern 
India. The Ural Mountains appear to form its eastern boundary in 
European Russia. 

The breeding-season is from the beginning of May : the nest is 



28 WHINCHAT. 

on the ground, or at most a few inches above it, among the stems 
of a small bush, or in coarse herbage and thick meadow-grass. 
It is a loose structure of dry grass and moss, with a lining of finer 
materials ; the eggs, usually 6 in number, being greenish-blue, 
sometimes dotted or zoned with rust-colour: measurements, 72 by 
•6 in. Two broods are reared in the season. The call note is a 
sharp ii-tick^ and the bird has also an agreeable song, uttered on the 
wing or while sitting on some low branch, accompanied by a 
fanning movement of the tail. Although, like the Stonechat, it 
frequents heaths and commons, the two species are seldom abundant 
in the same neighbourhood ; and the Whinchat exhibits a partiality 
for pastures, whence the bird's local name of ' Grass-chat.' Its 
food consists of beetles, flies, and other insects — often sought for 
late in the evening ; worms, especially the wire-worm, and small 
mollusks. It roosts on the ground. 

The adult male has the lores, ear- coverts and cheeks dark brown ; 
a clear white streak above the eye ; crown and upper parts mottled 
with about equal proportions of sandy-buff and dark brown, more 
rufous on tail-coverts ; base of tail white (except the two central 
feathers, which are dark brown), terminal-half dark brown, tipped 
and margined with buff; wing brown, the upper part showing a con- 
spicuous white patch contrasted against a nearly black outer portion 
of the coverts ; a smaller white patch on spurious wing ; bastard 
primary smaller than in the Stonechat ; under parts buff, turning to 
bright fawn-colour on the breast and throat ; chin white, with a streak 
of the same running below the blackish cheeks to the sides of the 
neck. Bill black (stouter than in the Stonechat), legs and feet 
black. Length 5-25 in. ; wing to the end of the 3rd and longest 
primary 3 in. 

The female is duller in colour ; the speculum smaller ; the eye- 
streak buff ; the upper breast slightly spotted. The young have the 
feathers margined with rufous and bufT; the breast much more spotted 
than in the female, which otherwise they resemble. By September 
the young males have the wing-patches well defined. 

In autumn the Whinchat assumes a duller plumage, leading to 
confusion with the Stonechat ; and to this, perhaps, may be ascribed 
the records of the occurrence of the former in winter in the British 
Islands. In spring, according to Meves and other observers, it 
not only loses the paler tips of the feathers by abrasion, but has a 
distinct moult : an exception to the rule among the Turdince. White 
and pied varieties of this bird have been obtained. 



TURDIX.t. 



29 




THE STONECHAT. 



PratIncola rubicola (Linngeus). 

Unlike the preceding migratory species, the Stonechat is a 
resident in the greater part of our islands, although a partial 
movement takes place from the colder to the more sheltered 
situations in winter ; at which season there is an influx of visitors 
from those parts of the Continent where the climate is too severe to 
allow of a stay. The Stonechat is somewhat local in its distribution 
and also erratic ; frequenting a place for a few seasons, and then 
suddenly abandoning it. It breeds sparingly in the Orkneys, and is 
only a visitor to the Shetlands, but it is found to the extreme 
western limits of the Outer Hebrides, for I observed it on St. Kilda 
in August 1 886. In Ireland it is common and resident. 

The northern range of the Stonechat in Europe is no:: neaily so 
extensive as that of the Whinchat, and scarcely reaches to the south 
of Sweden ; while in the north of Germany the bird is uncommon 
beyond the Elbe and unknown beyond theWeser,as well as of irregular 
distribution. In Central Europe it is unaccountably local ; but in 
the south it is common, breeding in Spain even in the hot plains 
below Seville. Migrants from the north go down in winter to the 
shores and islands of the Mediterranean, North Africa, Asia Minor, 
and Palestine ; and examples have been obtained to the south of 
Senegal. In South Africa the representative species is P. torquata, 
with white rump and deeper chestnut on the breast ; North-eastern 



STONECHAT. 



Africa is inhabited by P. heniprichi, with more white than black in 
the tail ; while east of the valley of the Volga the place of our 
species is taken by F. niaiira, characterized by a white rump and a 
predominance of black in the under wing-coverts and axillaries. 

The nest, constructed very early in April, is concealed amongst 
the herbage on broken ground, or at the foot of some thick furze or 
other bush, and is composed of dry grass and moss with a lining of 
bents, hair, and feathers. The 5 or 6 eggs are of a bluish-green 
(greener than those of the Whinchat), spotted and zoned with pale 
reddish-brown : average measurements 7 by '58 in. The parent 
birds display considerable anxiety when the nest is approached, 
flitting from bush to bush and uttering a sharp chack, but it 
requires great patience to eye the female to her nest. Two broods 
are produced during the season. The song, commenced early in 
the spring, continues until the latter part of June, and, although 
short, is rather pleasing ; but the scolding note, h-weef, Jiir, jnr, 
uttered by the male as — -conspicuous by his black head, white neck, 
and ruddy breast — he darts from spray to spray on some furze- 
covered moor, is the most familiar indication of the presence of 
this sprightly bird. The insect-prey of the Stonechat, including 
small moths and butterflies, is often taken on the wing ; grubs, 
worms and beetles forming its principal diet, with the addition of a 
few seeds. 

Adult male in May : — the head, throat, nape and back, black ; 
the feathers of the latter edged with brown ; tail coverts white, 
spotted with dark brown ; tail and wings dark brown ; a conspicuous 
white patch on the wing-coverts ; sides of the neck white ; breast 
bright rufous, lighter on the abdomen ; under wing coverts and 
axillaries mottled black and white ; bill, legs and feet black. In 
autumn the under parts are paler, and the upper feathers are 
margined with reddish-brown. Length 5 in. ; wing to the end of 
the fourth and longest primary 2-55 in. ; bastard primary much 
longer than in the Whinchat. In young males the crown of the 
head is brown streaked with black. Female : — striped brown upper 
parts ; throat merely mottled with black ; rump reddish-brown ; the 
white wing-patch smaller than in the male and under parts much 
duller. Young : — throat bufifish-white ; feathers of the upper parts 
much tinged and margined with rufous-brown ; otherwise as in the 
female. 



TURDIN.f;. 



31 




THE REDSTART. 



RUTICILLA PHCENICURUS (LinncCUs). 

The date of the arrival of the Redstart is to some extent in- 
fluenced by the prevaihng temperature in the early spring : in 
1893 I watched a male on March 31st, while several were recorded 
by other observers on ist April. As a rule, however, it is not until 
the middle of April that the males attract attention by their bright 
plumage, as they flit, with lateral movements of the tail, from one 
low branch to another, along the skirts of the English woodlands. 
Although generally diffused throughout Great Britain, especially in the 
south, the Redstart is often unaccountably partial in its distribution ; 
being uncommon to the west of Exeter, an unusual breeder in 
Cornwall, only an autumn visitor to the Scilly Islands, and rare in 
Pembrokeshire, though fairly plentiful in other parts of Wales. 
In Scotland it has of late years spread northwards ; now breeding 
freely in the Moray basin, and only less so in Sutherland, Caithness 
and West Ross ; but its visits to the Orkneys and Shetlands are chiefly 
autumnal, and in the Hebrides it is as yet unrecorded. In Ireland 
several pairs are now known to nest annually in co. Wicklow, and 
the bird has recently been found breeding in co. Tyrone. 

On the Continent the Redstart is found in summer from the 
North Cape to the wooded regions of Central, and even Southern 
Europe, although better known in the latter on its spring and 



32 REDSTART. 

autumn migrations. Eastward it stretches in summer as far as 
Lake Bailcal ; in winter it migrates to Madeira, the Canaries, 
the northern half of Africa, Arabia, and Persia; and INIr. E. 
Lort PhilHps recently found it breeding on the high ground of 
North Somali-land. In Cyprus, Asia Minor, Persia, and the 
Caucasus— wandering to Turkey and Greece — the representative 
species is R. jnesoleuca, the male of which has a white patch on the 
wing, like the Black Redstart ; from the Lebanon eastward pre- 
dominates the Indian Redstart, i?. mfivenfris, with black throat 
and mantle and chestnut underwing ; in the Caucasus and Armenia, 
R. ochrunes, with a diack underwing, prevails. 

The nest is generally placed in hollow trees or in the holes of 
walls ; exceptionally in such localities as the inside of an inverted 
flower-pot, or in the gable ends of inhabited buildings. It is rather 
loosely constructed of moss, dry grass, and fine roots, with a lining 
of hair and feathers ; the eggs, usually 6, being of a light blue- 
paler than those of the Hedge Sparrow — occasionally speckled with 
reddish : measurements 7 by '55 in. Nesting commences early in 
May, and while the female is sitting the male is conspicuous in the 
vicinity, uttering his slight but pleasant song, or, when alarmed, a 
plaintive wheet. The food consists of flies, gnats, small butterflies, 
and other insects, spiders, &c. ; the young being fed largely on 
caterpillars. Departure for the south takes place in September. In 
many parts of England this bird is known as the ' Firetail ' ; the 
second syllable of the name Redstart being derived from the Anglo- 
Saxon steort, a tail. 

Adult male : forehead and eye streak white ; crown, nape and 
upper back slate-grey ; wings brown, with pale outer edges ; rump 
and tail chestnut, except the two central feathers, which are brown ; 
chin, throat and cheeks jet black ; breast and axillaries chestnut ; 
abdomen buff; bill black ; legs and feet dark brown. Total length 
5*4 in; wing to the end of the third and longest primary 3'i in. 
The female has no bright colours on the head, being greyish-brown 
above, and lighter on the under parts, while the chestnut of the tail 
is less brilliant. Occasionally, however, a plumage resembling that 
of the male is assumed, and a bird exemplifying this was caught on 
her eggs in June 1882 (Tr. Norw. Soc. iv. p. 182). Birds of the 
year resemble the female. The nestlings are spotted above and 
below, and, but for the chestnut tail, are rather like young Red- 
breasts. In autumn the new feathers of both sexes are broadly 
tipped with white, producing a greyish appearance, but these edges 
disappear by the following spring. 



TURDIN/E. 



33 




THE BLACK REDSTART, 



RUTICILLA TITVS (Scopoli). 



The Black Redstart, formerly considered a rare bird, is now a 
well-known visitor to many parts of the English coasts in autumn 
and winter, being, in fact, tolerably common at those seasons in the 
southern counties, especially in Devon and Cornwall, and remaining 
till March or April. In the Humber district, and at Flamborough, 
it is sometimes numerous on both migrations (J. Cordeaux). It 
has also occurred later in spring, and I saw an adult male at Erping- 
ham, Norfolk, on May 15th, 1872; but as yet (1897) there is no 
really satisfactory evidence that the species has bred in this country. 
In Wales, it occurs irregularly in Pembrokeshire, but rarely else- 
where. In Scotland it is seldom noticed, the most northerly 
instance being on the Pentland Skerries, March 31st, 1884, and, 
perhaps, Kirkwall, Orkney. To Ireland it is not an unfrequent 
winter-visitor, and seventeen individuals were obtained at the light- 
houses on the south and south-east coast from 1884-1895 (R. M. 
Barrington). 

As a straggler the Black Redstart has been recorded in Iceland 
(once), the Faeroes, Southern Scandinavia, and Denmark. It is 
common in Western Germany, where it arrives about the middle of 
March, but is not plentiful in the north-eastern districts. From 
Holland southward it is, however, abundant in summer, migrating 
from the countries on the north of the Alps in winter, but becoming 

D 



34 BLACK REDSTART. 

more or less sedentary in Southern Europe, and even in the 
mountains of North Africa, where it breeds at a considerable 
elevation. Eastward its range appears to extend to the Southern 
Ural, Asia Minor, and Palestine ; in winter, to Nubia. 

Breeding begins early in May ; the nest, composed of dried grass, 
moss, and fine roots, with a lining of hair and feathers, being placed, 
with little attempt at concealment, in sheds, holes of walls, chalets, 
or clefts of rocks, up to 7,500 feet. The 5-6 eggs are of a pure 
shining white, sometimes with a very faint tinge of blue, and 
occasionally speckled with brown : measurements 75 by "58 in. 
Two broods are usually produced in the season. The call-note is a 
soft sit or fitz, and the male has a rather rich song, which he 
commences very early in the morning. In Belgium he begins to 
sing again in October. From his familiar habits the Black Red- 
start is one of the most conspicuous species on the Continent, as, 
jerking his tail, he flits along the sides of ravines in the country or 
the roofs of houses in cities ; even in London one frequented the 
grounds of the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, from 
November, 1885, until the snow-fall of January 6th, 1886. Refuse, 
manure-heaps and sea-tangle seem to have great attractions for 
this bird. Its food consists principally of insects, caterpillars, and, 
on our sea-coasts, of small crustaceans. 

Adult male : frontal band and lores black ; crown, nape and back 
dark slate-grey ; wings brownish, with a conspicuous white patch 
formed by the broad white margins to the secondaries ; rump and 
tail, except the two brown central-feathers, bright bay ; chin, throat, 
cheeks and breast black, passing into grey on the belly; vent buff; 
bill, legs and feet black. In younger males the wing-patch is less 
pronounced. After the autumn moult the black feathers of the 
under parts have grey margins, which so soon wear off that in Spain 
I have seen old males in splendid black plumage by the end of 
November. Length 575 in. ; wing, to the tip of the fourth and 
longest primary, 3-4 in. Female: greyer on both upper and lower 
parts than the female Common Redstart, and her axillaries and 
under wing-coverts grey instead of buff The young resemble the 
female. Young males often breed in their immature grey plumage ; 
and owing to this, a supposed distinct psecies, since withdrawn, was 
described by Gerbe under the name of R. cairii. The full black 
plumage is not attained by the male until the second autumnal 
moult, and even then the intensity of the dark colour is considerably 
modified by the long grey margins of the feathers. 



TURDIN.-E. 



35 




^7 ^"^ ' >?r^--^^ -^^ 




\r 



THE BLUETHROAT. 



Cyanecula suecia (Linnreus). 

There are two, and perhaps three, forms of the Bluethroat. The 
first, which has its breeding-grounds in Arctic and sub- Arctic Europe 
and Asia, exhibits a red spot in the centre of the blue gorget of the 
adult male ; the second form, which breeds south of the Baltic, has 
the spot ivhite ; in the third and rarer form, the gorget is unspotted 
blue, but as the feathers, on being raised, show white at their bases, 
it seems probable that this last is an intensified development of the 
white-spotted form, with which alone it is associated as regards its 
geographical distribution. I am not aware of any distinctive 
characters by which the females and young of these forms may be 
separated. 

The Red-spotted form is the only one which has been proved to 
visit this country ; for although an entirely blue-throated bird is 
said to have been observed by the late Capt. Hadfield in the Isle of 
Wight, it was not obtained. Since 1826 this Arctic race has been 
recorded in England at irregular intervals, generally on the 
autumnal migration, and sparingly in spring ; sometimes on the 
southern, but more often on the eastern, coasts. In September, 1S83, 
considerable numbers were observed on our east coast, especially in 
Norfolk, where a much larger flock dropped in the same month of 
1884. ]Most of these visitors are immature, and they merely stay to 



36 BLUETHROAT. 

rest themselves after their flight from Scandinavia. Five are 
recorded from Scotland, one of these from the Monach Island light- 
house, Outer Hebrides, in October : another Pentland Skerries, 
Orkney, on May 12th, 1890. Not yet obtained in Ireland. 

The Red-spotted Bluethroat breeds in the northern portions of 
Scandinavia and Russia, the elevated Pamir region, and Siberia as 
far as Kamchatka, and has even crossed to Alaska ; migrating to 
China, India, Arabia and North-eastern Africa. On the spring 
passage this form does not pass along the west coast of Norway, 
but enters that country from the east. From Egypt westward the 
White-spotted Bluethroat appears, and predominates in North- 
western Africa and South-western Europe ; breeding in France, 
Belgium, Holland, Germany, Western Russia, and as far south and 
east as Armenia and Afghanistan. 

The nest, similar to that of the Redbreast, is placed in the side of 
a hummock among swampy thickets ; the 5-6 eggs, laid about the 
middle of June, are pale olive with minute rufous spots : measure- 
ments "75 by "55 in. The food consists of insects — especially 
mosquitoes — and their larvae, earthworms and small seeds. The 
song, as heard during the nightless summer of the Arctic regions, 
is described as rivalling that of the Nightingale in richness, ending 
with a metallic ting ting. The cock is frequently bold and con- 
spicuous, while the female skulks among the undergrowth, and is 
very seldom seen. In its habits the Bluethroat resembles the 
Redbreast rather than the Redstart. 

Adult male, Arctic form : lores dark brown ; a white stripe above 
the eye ; upper parts clove-brown ; bright bay tail-coverts and basal 
part of tail-feathers, except the two central ones, which are dark brown, 
like the lower half of the tail ; chin, throat and gorget ultramarine- 
blue, with a large central spot of red bay ; below the blue successive 
bands of black, white and bay ; remaining under parts buffish-white ; 
wing-coverts and axillaries golden-buff; bill black; legs and feet 
brown. Length 5-3 in. ; wings to end of 3rd-4th, and longest 
primaries, 2-85 in. Female: differs in having the whole of the 
under parts tawny-white, except a dark brown band across the 
chest ; but old examples show some blue and bay feathers there. 
Young : like the female ; the nestling streaked with black, similar to 
a young Redbreast, but with the base of the tail bay. In autumn 
the new feathers have grey tips, which are shed by the following 
spring. 



TURDIN.B. 



37 




THE REDBREAST. 



Erithacus rubecula (Linnsus). 

The Redbreast, familiarly known as the Robin, is probably the 
most characteristic of our British species ; for, in addition to the 
early and legendary associations which combine to render it a 
favourite, it is also a resident species, conspicuous from its bright 
plumage. Generally distributed throughout the British Islands, it 
has undoubtedly increased in the north with the spread of planta- 
tions, and it is now found breeding in some of the Hebrides and 
sparingly in the Orkneys, although as yet only a migrant in the Shet- 
lands. In autumn the young are, to some extent, driven away and 
forced to emigrate by their parents, who, in their turn, when pressed 
for food in winter, resort to the vicinity of our dwellings, where 
they are almost universally welcome. At this season numbers arrive 
from the Continent : shunning the cold of the northern regions where 
they have passed the summer, even within the Arctic circle. 



38 REDBREAST. 

The Redbreast has been observed in May on the island of Jan 
Mayen, but it has not yet been recorded in Iceland, though it visits 
the Faeroes in autumn. Southwards it breeds throughout Europe 
down to the South of Spain (where it is very local), North-western 
Africa, the Canaries, Madeira and the Azores ; eastward, across 
Russia — where it is not abundant — to the Ural Mountains. Its 
winter migrations extend to the Sahara, Egypt, Palestine, Asia 
Minor, North-western Turkestan and Persia ; but in the last-named 
country we also find E. hyrcajius : a somewhat larger form — of 
doubtful specific validity — with ruddier breast, and chestnut margins 
to the upper tail-coverts. On migration the Redbreast is by no 
means treated with the same consideration as with us, being snared 
in large numbers for the table on the Continent, where, perhaps 
in consequence, it frequents woodlands and mountains, and is less 
familiar. 

The nest, made of dead leaves and moss, lined with hair and a 
few feathers, is placed in banks, holes of walls, amongst ivy, and in 
hollow trees ; but pages might be filled with details of the extra- 
ordinary sites sometimes selected. The 5-6, often 7 eggs, are 
usually white with light reddish blotches, but sometimes they are 
pure white : measurements, "8 by "6 in. Nesting begins in March, 
and two, or even three broods are produced in the year. The song, 
musical but of little compass, is resumed after the moult. The 
food is mostly insects and worms, but berries and fruit are by no 
means despised, and in winter, as is well known, bread-crumbs, 
meat, &c. are acceptable. A more pugnacious and domineering 
species than the Redbreast it would be difficult to find. 

In the adult male the upper parts are olive-brown ; frontal band, 
lores, chin, throat and upper breast reddish-orange, bordered with 
bluish-grey on the sides of the neck and shoulders ; lower breast 
and belly dull white ; flanks and lower tail-coverts pale brown ; 
bill black ; legs and feet brown. Length 575 in. ; wing to the end 
of the 5th and longest quill 3 in. The female is usually duller 
than the male, but I have seen carefully sexed examples which were 
quite undistinguishable. The nesding — shown in the figure in the 
background — has a spotted appearance, the smaller feathers of the 
upper and under parts being yellowish-brown in their centres with 
blackish tips ; but after the first moult, in August or early Septem- 
ber, the young bird is like the adult, except that the orange-red of 
the breast is paler. Albino, grey, and mottled varieties of the 
Redbreast are on record. 



TURDIN.^i. 



39 




THE NIGHTINGALE. 
Daulias luscinia (Linngeus). 

This noted songster comes to us in the first or second week in 
April ; the males preceding the females by several days. Although 
generally distributed over the greater part of England, it becomes 
rarer in the west, until in Devonshire a line is reached beyond 
which the bird is absolutely unknown ; and, although it visits 
Herefordshire occasionally, the same may be said of Wales, except 
Glamorganshire and Brecon. A straggler to Cheshire, of question- 
able occurrence in Lancashire, and unknown in Westmoreland or 
Cumberland, it has bred more than once near Scarborough, and it 
has probably visited the valley of the Derwent, in Yorkshire ; while 
in the exceptionally hot spring of 1893 Mr. G. Bolam saw and heard 
a male in the north of Northumberland. As regards Ireland, a 
specimen, said to have been shot near the Old Head of Kinsale, is 
in the museum of Queen's College, Cork. 

On the Continent, Northern Germany appears to be the highest 
authenticated latitude for our Nightingale ; south of which it is 
generally distributed throughout Central Europe. In such southern 
countries as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, it abounds 
in suitable localities ; while it breeds also in North Africa, Palestine 
and Asia Minor. Its north-eastern limit in Europe appears to be 
the valley of the Vistula ; and in Russia it is confined to the 



40 NIGHTINGALE. 

southern provinces. From the Caucasus eastward to Turkestan and 
Persia, is found a closely allied form, D. golzii — rather more olive- 
coloured, with longer bill and tail ; while in Scandinavia, Denmark, 
and Eastern Europe our bird is replaced by the rather larger 
" Sprosser," D. philomela : — a distinct species, less russet in hue, 
slightly spotted on the breast, and with a viimile bastard primary. 
In autumn our Nightingale leaves Europe and even Asia Minor : 
wintering as far south as Abyssinia and the Gold Coast. 

The nest, commenced early in May, is composed of dead leaves 
of the oak and other trees, and is usually placed on or near the 
ground in low underwood and close hedgerow bottoms — always on 
the warmer side. In Spain I have found it fully five feet from the 
ground, in the tops of broad hedges and the sides of clipped 
cypress and myrtle trees. The 4-6 eggs are mostly of an olive- 
brown, but some birds, which often return to the same place, lay 
eggs of a blue-green mottled with reddish-brown, somewhat 
resembling those of the Bluethroat : measurements "8 by "6 in. 
The young are hatched in June ; after which the male discontinues 
his melodious song — uttered hitherto by day as well as by night in 
genial weather — and merely retains a harsh croak. Spiders, ants, 
and small green caterpillars are the food of the nestlings, and in 
July and August the young frequent fields planted with peas and 
beans ; the adults live on worms, insects, ants' eggs, fruit and 
berries, especially those of the elder. Favourite resorts are small 
woods at no great distance from water and the coppices bordering 
damp meadows. The Nightingale does not bear captivity well, yet 
birds have been kept through the winter, and have even reared 
young in confinement. The well-known song needs no description ; 
the alarm-note being a wate, ivate, cur-cur. In August the young 
take their departure, the old birds remaining till September to com- 
plete their moult. Migration is supposed to be performed singly 
and not in flocks; but Mr. T. J. Monk states that on April 13th, 
1872, Nightingales were resting in numbers under the bathing- 
machines along the whole length of the shore at Brighton. 

In the adult the upper parts are russet-brown shading into reddish- 
chestnut on the tail-coverts and tail, the colour of the latter being 
very noticeable in flight ; under parts greyish-white, turning to buff 
on the flanks and breast ; bill, legs and feet brown. The sexes are 
alike in plumage. Length 6-5 in. ; wing to tip of 3rd and longest 
primary 3-35 in. The young in first plumage are darker, with 
yellowish-brown shaft-streaks to the upper feathers and greyish- 
brown bars on the under parts. 



SYLVIIN.^^;. 



41 




THE \\' H I T E T H R O A T. 



SvLviA ciXEREA, Bechstcin. 

The Whitethroat arrives about the second week in April, 
remaining until the beginning of September. Throughout England, 
Wales and Ireland, it is the most generally distributed and plentiful 
of the Warblers ; while in Scotland it is also common, and has 
extended its breeding range to the Dornoch Firth and West Ross. 
In the Outer Hebrides it is now known to nest near Stornaway, 
and its autumnal occurrence in the Orkneys has recently been 
authenticated, but its appearance in the Shetlands is exceptional. 

The Whitethroat breeds up to about 65° N., in Scandinavia, and 
southwards throughout Europe down to the Mediterranean. In 
Asia Minor it is only found in summer, although said to be resident 
in Palestine. It frequents the Canaries and Northern Africa in 
winter, and its migrations extend down the west coast to Damara- 
land. Eastward, it breeds in Turkestan and South-western Siberia, 
wintering in Egypt, Abyssinia, and Arabia ; its place being taken in 
the Altai and Tian-Shan Mountains, and North-western India, by 
a larger, darker, and greyer form, distinguished as .S". fuscipilea. To 
the north of the Caspian, the arid steppes beyond the Ural 
Mountains appear to form the eastern boundary of our Whitethroat. 

E 



42 



WHITETHROAT. 



Hedge-rows and thickets overgrown with brambles are favourite 
resorts of this lively bird, and owing to its predilection for beds of 
nettles it is commonly known by the name of " Nettle-creeper." In 
May the slight but rather deep nest, made of fine grass-stems and 
lined with bents and horsehair, is usually placed low down in almost 
any kind of coarse vegetation, or in straggling hedges ; the 4-6 
eggs are greenish-white or stone-colour, blotched and sometimes 
zoned with violet-grey and light brown : measurements 7 by "55 in. 
The food consists largely of Tipuhe and other insects ; also fruit 
and berries during the season. The alarm-note is harsh and scold- 
ing : the male showing considerable annoyance at the presence of 
an intruder on his domain, and often following the pedestrian for 
some distance along a hedge-row, flitting from branch to branch 
with every feather on the throat and crest extended, agitating the 
outspread tail, and anon shooting almost perpendicularly into the 
air. The female is less demonstrative, and generally skulks amongst 
the herbage. The sweet but somewhat monotonous song of the 
male, uttered in snatches with great energy, is frequently to be heard 
by night as well as by day in May and June. 

Adult male in spring : head and neck smoke-grey ; mantle and 
wings brown, with broad rufous margins to the secondaries ; tail- 
feathers brown, except the outer pair, which are mostly dull white, 
the next pair having broad white tips ; chin and throat white, 
passing into vinous-buff on the breast ; abdomen brownish-white, 
darker on the flanks ; under wing smoke grey ; bill brown, lighter on 
lower mandible ; legs and feet pale brown. Length 5-5 in.; wing 
to end of 3rd and longest quill 2 '8 in. The female is duller, and 
has the head brown like the back, while the vinous tint of the breast 
is absent. The young are rather more tawny-brown and rufous. 

Those Whitethroats which breed in the south of Europe, and 
which migrate only a short distance southwards, are rather small in 
size and brilliant in the contrast of their colours. A further step in 
the process of evolution has produced a perfectly recognizable 
species in the shape of Sylvia conspicillaia ; much smaller, with 
more conspicuous ear-coverts, and far brighter colours ; but other- 
wise, in habits, colour of eggs, t\:c., a miniature reproduction of 
our bird. Everyone of ornithological tastes who has visited 
Gibraltar, Malta, or almost any place in the Mediterranean basin, 
will remember the Spectacled U'arbler, and appreciate the force of 
the comparison. 



SYLVIIN.E. 



43 




THE LESSER WHITETHROAT. 

Sylvia curruca (Linnaeus). 

The Lesser Whitethroat, as its name implies, is a smaller bird 
than its congener ; and although it arrives in England about the 
same time, or a trifle later, its distribution in our islands is decidedly 
less extensive. Tolerably abundant in the southern, eastern and 
midland counties, it becomes rarer in the west, and though it nests 
in Somerset and Devon, it only visits Cornwall on migration. It 
breeds regularly in Brecon, and its nest has been taken near 
Cardigan Bay. To Cheshire and Lancashire it is a well-known 
though not very numerous summer-visitor, and it is generally dis- 
tributed in Yorkshire ; but it is local in the Lake district ; very rare 
in Durham ; while, as regards Northumberland, Mr. G. Bolam has 
recorded two examples in September, i88r, near Berwick-on Tweed. 
In Scotland Mr. R. Service informs me that it is seldom met with 
in Kirkcudbrightshire, although better known in the eastern part of 
Dumfriesshire and down by the Borders, and he has only twice 
found its nest ; it is said to breed sparingly and locally as far as 
Stirlingshire ; but to the northern counties and in the outlying 
islands it is at most a rare visitor. One is stated in the ' Scottish 
Naturalist ' to have been shot by Mr. G. Sim in Aberdeenshire, on 
November 4th, 1880, and Mr. Allan Briggs has recently recorded 
two obtained on North Ronaldshay, Orkneys, in autumn. In 



44 LESSER WHITETHROAT. 

Ireland the first and only recorded example was taken at the 
Tearaght lighthouse on October ist, 1S90. 

In Scandinavia the Lesser Whitethroat breeds up to about 65° 
N. lat ; while southward it is found in summer over the greater part 
of temperate Europe. It is, however, rare in the south-west, though 
I recently saw an individual in the Western Pyrenees, but a few pass 
the winter to the east of Malaga, and in some years the species is 
fairly common on migration about Valencia and Murcia. In Italy 
it is very local ; but eastward it becomes more abundant, and in 
Transylvania its numbers far exceed those of its relative. Beyond 
the valley of the Lower Volga the doubtfully distinct Siberian form 
^. affinis, replaces it ; in Kashmir, the Himalayas and the north- 
west of India comes 6". althea ; while the Afghan S. miniiscula, Hume, 
makes yet a fourth. Our typical bird winters in Northern and 
Central Africa, Arabia, Palestine and Persia. 

The nest is a shallow structure of dried grasses, lined with hair, 
and is frequently placed in brambles or small bushes ; a predilection 
being shown for hazel and thorn-hedges, whence the bird's Lan- 
cashire name of ' Hazel-Linnet.' The 5-6 eggs, laid in May, are 
creamy-white, blotched with brown, and with under-spots of grey : 
measurements "65 by "5 in. The female sits very closely. The song 
of the male is continued very late into the summer, and has been 
syllabled as sip, sip, sip, frequently uttered in sultry weather ; the 
alarm-note is check, check. The food consists of insects and their 
larvK, and fruit in the season. The autumn departure generally 
takes place in the latter part of September, but exceptional captures 
up to November are on record. 

Adult male : crown smoke-grey ; lores and ear-coverts dark 
brown ; nape, back and tail-coverts brownish-grey ; wing-feathers 
ash-brown, with paler tips and margins, but without the rufous 
edgings to the secondaries, which are so conspicuous in the larger 
species ; outer tail-feathers greyish brown with white outer webs ; 
the rest of the feathers dark brown ; under parts white, with a faint 
rosy tinge, fading into buff on the flanks ; bill blackish ; legs, which 
are short and stout, slate-colour; iris white. Length 5-25 in. ; wing 
to the tip of the 3rd and longest primary 2-6 in. The female is 
rather smaller and generally duller in colour. The young are like 
the female, except that the pale margins of the wing-feathers are 
more pronounced, and the irides are reddish-brown. 

Sundevall states that this species, the Greater Whitethroat, and 
the Barred AVarbler, all have a spring moult. Mr. J. Young, who 
has kept the Lesser Whitethroat for several years, confirms this as 
regards some of the quill-feathers, but not all. 



SYLVIIN^. 



45 




THE ORPHEAN WARBLER. 

Sylvia 6rphea, Temminck. 

According to the late Sir William M. E. Milner a female Orphean 
Warbler was shot, and her mate observed, on July 6th, 1848, in a 
small plantation near Wetherby, Yorkshire ; and from the state of 
her plumage she was believed to have been incubating. Virtually, 
however, the authority for this statement was Graham of York, a 
bird-stufifer and purveyor of rarities ; but the bird is correctly named. 
In June, 1866, as recorded by Mr. J. E. Harting, a young bird 
unable to fly was caught near Holloway, in Middlesex, and having 
been kept alive by Sergeant-major Hanley for nearly six months, 
it was identified as an Orphean Warbler by the late Mr. E. Blyth. 
Nests and eggs erroneously supposed to be those of this species 
have been taken, but no other birds have as yet been identified. 

In France the Orphean Warbler breeds sparingly in the Brenne 
district, beyond the Loire ; more frequently in Poitou ; and com- 
monly in the south-eastern provinces. In Portugal and Spain it is 
abundant wherever the olive grows, and also among woods of 
conifers. It is local on the mainland of Italy, and very rare in the 
islands ; visits Savoy in summer, and is said to pass annually up the 
valley of the Rhone to the Vosges, the vicinity of Metz, and 
Luxembourg. It has never been obtained, though said to have 
been seen, in Heligoland, Belgium, or Normandy. Rare in Tyrol, 



46 ORPHEAN WARBLER. 

it occurs regularly in Dalmatia, Greece, Southern Russia, Turkey, 
Asia Minor and Palestine; while a form known as S. Jerdoni, with 
a somewhat larger bill and brighter colouration, is found in Persia, 
Turkestan and Northern India. South of the ^Mediterranean the 
Orphean Warbler breeds in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia ; visiting 
Egypt, and pushing its winter migrations as far south as Nubia. 
None remain in Europe during the winter. 

The nest, a tolerably compact structure of dry grass, lined with 
finer bents, thistle-down and the down of the cotton-grass, is 
generally placed in bushes, such as tamarisks, or in young cork- 
trees, about twelve feet from the ground. The eggs, usually five, 
are greyish-white, blotched and slightly scrolled with various shades 
of brown ; much resembling those of the Lesser Whitethroat, but 
as large as those of the Garden-Warbler : measurements 78 by "6 in. 
Nests which I obtained near Malaga often contained one, and 
sometimes two eggs differing from the others in their abnormal size, 
and microscopic examination of the texture of their shell by Mr. 
Sorby, F.R.S., subsequently proved these to be eggs of the Cuckoo. 
Incubation begins late in April, and while the female is sitting the 
cock utters his song, louder and harsher than that of the Blackcap, 
from some neighbouring branch. The food consists principally of 
insects, varied by fruit in the season. 

Adult male : head to below the eyes black, paler on the nape ; 
upper parts dark brownish grey, with paler margins and tips to the 
secondaries ; the outside pair of tail-feathers white on the outer 
half ; the second and third pairs spotted with white at the tips ; the 
remainder of all the feathers blackish-brown ; throat white ; breast 
and flanks buffish-white ; under-tail coverts buff; bill nearly black, 
paler at the base ; legs and feet dark brown ; iris straw-yellow. The 
female differs merely in having less contrasted and browner tints. 
The above descriptions are taken from a pair of birds obtained, with 
their nest, at Malaga on May 23rd, 1869. Young birds resemble 
the female. Length 6 in. ; wing, to the tips of the 3rd-4th and 
longest primaries 3T in. The white on the outer tail-feathers will 
always serve as a distinction between this species and the Blackcap. 

Mr. W. D'Urban has stated that on April i6th, 1S90, he watched 
in his garden at Exmouth a Warbler smaller than a Blackcap (which 
was close by), with jet black head and pure white breast and under- 
parts. The description suits Sylvia nielanocephala, a species which 
is common in the South of France and the Peninsula, and which 
might easily be swept up with the tide of migration. 



SYLVIIN^. 



47 




THE BLACKCAP. 



Sylvia atricapilla (Linn^us). 

The principal arrival of this songster, hardly inferior to the 
Nightingale, takes place in England about the middle of April ; 
but occasionally some Blackcaps remain with us through the winter, 
not only in the mild south-west, but even as far north as Berwick. 
Even after a severe winter I once watched a male at a very short 
distance, in Surrey, on March 5th, and Mr. Borrer has several times 
heard its note as early as the ist of that month. The majority 
depart for the south in September. Although somewhat local, the 
Blackcap appears to be of tolerably general distribution throughout 
England and Wales. In Scotland it becomes scarce as a breeder 
beyond the Firths of Clyde and Forth, but its nest has been found 
as far north as Ross shire ; while a pair attempted to establish 
themselves in a garden in Unst, in the Shetlands, to which group, 
as well as to the Orkneys, Caithness, Sutherland, and the Outer 
Hebrides the bird is a visitor, chiefly on the autumn migration. In 
the mild, moist climate of the south-west it remains until late in the 
year, and Mr. R. Service captured one near Dumfries on November 
29th, 1881 ; while Mr. H. Evans informs me that it is found in 
Jura till December, and he believes it to be a resident. In Ireland 
it occurs sparingly in summer, the nest having been found in the 
counties of Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, 



48 ' BLACKCAP. 

and Mayo ; while in winter its presence has been recorded several 
times, especially in the south. 

From Scandinavia below 66° N. lat., the Blackcap is found breed- 
ing in every country of Europe, as well as in North Africa and 
Palestine ; in fact, allowing for migration of individuals, the Black 
cap appears to be a resident species in the basin of the Medi- 
terranean. In the Cape Verd Islands a form breeds in January, 
but later in the Canaries. In Madeira and the Azores, where it 
appears to be resident, a variety with much more black on the 
head and shoulders of the male bird is not unfrequent. Its winter 
migrations have been traced to the Gambia, Abyssinia, and the Red 
Sea ; Omsk in Siberia being its somewhat doubtful eastern limit. 

The small but tolerably compact nest, built of dry grasses and 
lined with horsehair, is generally placed a few feet from the ground 
among bushes; a privet hedge being rather a favourite site. The 
4-5 eggs, laid from May 9th onwards, are sometimes light yellowish- 
brown blotched with a darker shade (like those of the Garden- 
Warbler, though a little smaller ; ) in another variety the ground- 
colour and the blotches are suffused with a beautiful reddish hue : 
measurements 73 by "58 in. Two broods are reared in the season, 
and the male takes his turn at incubation, chiefly in the daytime. 
The food consists of insects, often taken on the wing ; berries of 
the rowan, elder, &c. ; and fruit, especially raspberries and red- 
currants, for the sake of which the nest is often placed in or near 
orchards and gardens. In the south the bird also pecks figs and 
oranges, and eats the berries of the pepper-tree. 

Adult male: upper part of the head jet-black; nape ash grey ; 
back, wings and tail ash-brown ; chin greyish-white ; throat, breast 
and flanks ash grey ; belly white ; bill horn-brown ; legs and feet 
lead-colour. Length 575 : wing to the end of the third and 
longest quill 275 in. The female, which is somewhat larger, 
has the top of the head bright reddish-brown, and the rest of 
the plumage is browner than in the male. The young at first 
resemble the female, but the males acquire the black head, with 
merely brownish margins, during the first autumn. 

It has been stated that in winter adult males assume the plumage 
of the females ; but I have seen hundreds of birds with black heads 
in the markets of Southern Europe at that season ; and Mr. John 
Young, who kept a pair of Blackcaps alive for four years, assures 
me that the male never changes colour after the first autumn moult. 
In spring some, if not all, of the tail-feathers are said to be renewed, 
but Mr. Young states that this is not his experience. 



s^•LVII^■.T".. 



49 




THE GARDEN-WARBLER. 



Sylvia hortensis, Bechstein. 



Later in its arrival than the Blackcap, the Garden- Warbler seldom 
comes to us before the end of April or beginning of May, and is 
far more local than that species, although generally distributed over 
the greater part of England. It is not known to breed in the 
western portion of Cornwall, nor in Pembrokeshire, though it does 
so in other counties of Wales, especially Merioneth, Cardigan and 
Brecon. In Scotland, although it does not appear to be generally 
distributed, Mr. R. Service informs me that it is more abundant in 
the Solway district than the Blackcap ; it has been recorded as 
nesting in Perthshire ; an example was obtained on Barra, Outer 
Hebrides, on November 25th; and several have been taken on 
North Ronaldshay, in the Orkneys, in autumn. In Ireland the 
Garden-Warbler breeds in Fermanagh, Sligo, Roscommon, along 
the Shannon Valley, and probably in other districts (Ussher). The 
majority leave our islands about the end of September. 

The Garden- Warbler is only a wanderer to the Faeroes ; but south 
of 70° N. in Norway and about 65° N. in Finland and Russia, it 
is found breeding through Europe down to the shores of the 

F 



50 GARDEN-WARr,LER. 

]\Iediterranean ; it is, however, locally distributed, and although 
common in Southern Spain, is not known to breed in Sicily or 
Greece, yet it does so in Palestine. On migration it leaves Europe 
by the middle of October, and, passing through Asia Minor and 
Northern Africa, is found in winter down to Cape Colony. East- 
ward its range appears to be bounded by the Caspian and the Ural 
Mountains ; but possibly it may extend as far as Omsk, on the 
Irtisch, in Siberia. 

The nest, rather loosely made of grass stems externally, but with 
a well-shaped inner cup of finer materials, is generally placed in low 
brambles, shrubs and ferns ; sometimes among peas or in goose- 
berry-bushes in a garden. The 4-5 eggs, laid from May 14th 
onward, are white, marbled and blotched with shades of greenish- 
and buffish-brown ; a good deal like one variety of those of the 
Blackcap, but never, as in that species, suffused with a reddish tint : 
they are also on the average a trifle larger and the shell is less 
glossy : measurements 75 by "6 in. Incubation lasts 13 days, and 
only one brood is, as a rule, reared in the season. The nestlings 
are fed largely on insects, particularly on the caterpillar of the white 
cabbage-butterfly ; but later, peas, fruit of all kinds and berries, are 
largely consumed. From its partiality to figs this bird has acquired 
the Italian name of Beccafico, which is, however, used as a compre- 
hensive term for many other small species. Its song is continuous 
and mellow, though softer and less rich than that of the Blackcap ; 
the alarm-note being a harsh teck, resembling the sound made by 
knocking two small pebbles together. In its habits the Garden- 
Warbler is rather more shy and skulking than most of its congeners; 
and it appears to be intolerant of rivalry, for it is often scarce in 
those districts where the Blackcap abounds, and common where that 
bird is scarce. 

Adult male in May : entire upper parts olive-brown, with a paler 
eye-streak ; quill-feathers darker brown with narrow whitish tips and 
margins ; under parts mostly buffish-white, purer in the centre of 
the belly, and darker on the flanks ; bill brown, paler at the base ; 
legs and feet lead-colour with yellowish soles to the latter ; irides 
hazel; eyelids white. Length 575 in. ; wing to the tip of the 3rd 
and longest quill 3 in. The female is slightly paler. The young 
are rather more greenish-olive than the adults, and have well-defined 
pale margins to the secondaries. 



SYLVIIN.t. 



51 




THE BARRED WARBLER. 



Sylvia nisoria (Bechstein^ 



On ]March 4th, 1879, Professor Newton exhibited at a meeting 
of the Zoological Society a specimen of the Barred Warbler which 
had been shot many years previously in a garden near Queen's 
College, Cambridge. Since attention was thus drawn to this species 
as a visitor, eleven more examples have been obtained in the British 
Islands. Between 1884 and 1896, four occurred in East Yorkshire 
at dates varying from August 28th to November 13th, and three 
near Blakeney, Norfolk, from August 31st to September loth. In 
Scotland, one was shot at Broadford, Isle of Skye, on August i6th, 
1884, and another was taken at Dhuheartach light, Argyll, on 

F 2 



52 BARRED WARBLER. 

September Sth, 1S96. In Ireland, the late Dr. Birkett obtained one 
at Belmullet, co. Mayo, on September 24th, 1884, and another, 
taken at Rockabill light on September 25th, 1896, was sent to 
Mr. R. M. Barrington in the flesh. 

The Barred Warbler is a summer visitor to suitable localities in 
the south of Sweden, Denmark, Germany east of the Rhine valley 
— especially East Prussia, and Central Europe generally ; while in 
the Mediterranean Nice is its western limit on migration, and in 
Italy it appears to be restricted to the northern and north-eastern 
provinces. It also nests in Bulgaria, Turkey, Southern Russia, 
Persia and Turkestan ; in the latter at an altitude of 6,000 and 
even up to 10,000 feet. In October or November it leaves Europe, 
and probably winters in Central and North-Eastern Africa, having 
been met with in Nubia and Northern Sennaar, among thorn-hedges 
and thickets along the Nile. 

Towards the end of May the nest, which is more neatly and 
firmly constructed than is usual among the Warblers, is placed in a 
bush, or on the branch of a tree near the ground, in a plantation ; 
occasionally, however, at the height of some twenty-five feet. The 
eggs, generally 5 in number, are buffishwhite marbled with grey, 
not unlike those of the Grey Wagtail : measurements "85 by '62 in. 
Only one brood is reared in the season. The food is principally 
insects, but in summer and autumn fruit and wild berries are freely 
eaten. The song is said to be little inferior to that of the Garden- 
Warbler ; the call is a sharp chek and the alarm-note a rattling rhar. 
Plantations, thickets and thorn-growth are favourite resorts. 

Adult male in spring : upper parts ashy-grey, brighter on the head 
and rump, browner on the wings ; upper tail-coverts barred with 
dark slate and white ; upper wing-coverts slightly barred and tipped 
witn white ; inner secondaries with broad white tips ; tail-feathers 
tipped and margined on the inner webs with white, except the two 
central ones, which are ashy grey with faint darker bars ; under 
parts greyish-white with numerous grey transverse bars, deeper on 
the flanks ; axillaries, under wing- and under tail-coverts mottled 
white and grey ; bill brown, paler at the base ; legs and feet 
brownish; iris pale yellow. Length 6-5 in. ; wing 3-4 in. Female : 
browner and less barred. At first the young bird is hardly barred 
at all, and much resembles a large Garden-Warbler with unusually 
pale tips to the flight-feathers ; but subsequendy bars appear on the 
buffish flanks and under tail-coverts, as well as on the rump, the 
breast remaining dull white till the spring. 



SYLVIIN.t:. 



53 



■J^' 




SUBALPINE WARBLER. 



Sylvia subalpina, Bonelli. 

At a meeting of the British Ornithologists' Club on December 
19th, 1894, Dr. R. Bowdler Sharpe exhibited a specimen of this 
Warbler, forwarded to him by Mr. J. Steele Elliott of Dudley, who 
had shot it on the island of St. Kilda, in the Outer Hebrides, in 
June of the same year. In 'The Zoologist,' 1895, p. 282, 
Mr. Elliott says : — " I first noticed it haunting the Minister's garden 
on June 13th, busily employing itself searching for food along a row 
of young peas ; and it frequently flew to a parsnip in seed that grew 
in one corner of the garden, and which seemed to attract a greater 
number of insects. This little bird allowed people to approach 
quite close to it; and remained throughout Sunday until the 
following day, when I shot it in the presence of Mr. Fiddles and 
Mr. McKenzie, the factor. It was at once placed in spirits and 
forwarded direct to Mr. J. Cullingford, of Durham, for preservation. 
Its sex could not be ascertained with certainty. Its presence was 
probably caused by the great gale that blew across the island on 
June 12th, from the south-west." 

The Subalpine Warbler, as its name implies, is a southern species ; 
its nearest breeding-places being in the south-eastern districts of 
France and in Savoy, where it arrives regularly about the middle of 
April ; while it occasionally reaches Geneva and even Neuchatel. 
In Spain I observed it in Murcia, and obtained birds, with nests 
and eggs, from Malaga, as well as from the vicinity of Madrid ; 
Col. Irby saw a small party at Cadiz on INIarch 27th, and the late 



54 SUBALPINE WARBLER. 

Lord Lilford took the nest south of Seville early in May. On the 
African side of the IMediterranean this species is found from 
Tangier to Egypt : it is local in Italy, chiefly haunting the western 
slope of the Apennines ; common in Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and 
other islands ; abundant in Greece and the Archipelago ; and 
extends to Asia Minor and Palestine. Its winter quarters seem to 
be in Northern Arabia, Kordofan and Senegambia ; but its reported 
occurrence in the Canaries seems to be erroneous, and due to a 
confusion with the Spectacled Warbler, to which allusion has been 
made on p. 42. 

The nest, of dry grass with a finer lining, is placed in a low bush ; 
the 4-5 eggs vary from greenish-white with brown spots, to reddish- 
white with violet-brown spots and streaks ; measurements "55 by 
•48 in. In Savoy only one brood is reared in the season, but I 
think that further south the bird is double-brooded, many nests 
being found in June. The male ceases to sing in July, when 
moulting begins. The bird is very active, working its way through 
low bushes like a mouse, then suddenly appearing and as rapidly 
dropping into cover again. 

The mature male has a red ring round the eye ; crown, ear- 
coverts and back dull grey ; wings browner ; tail-feathers greyish- 
brown, with a good deal of white at the tips of the outer pair ; a 
broad white moustache-like streak stretching from the base of the 
bill backward ; throat and breast warm chestnut-red, flanks paler^ 
centre of belly whitish. Less mature birds have paler underparts. 
Length 47 in., wing 2 '3 in. The female is less grey and more 
inclined to brown on the upper parts ; there is little sign of ruddy 
colour on the throat, and the flanks are nearly buff. The young 
birds resemble the female at first, but the males begin to show red 
on the throat before emiairatino;. 



SYLVIIN.S. 



55 




THE DARTFORD WARBLER. 



Sylvia undata (Boddaert). 

This Warbler derives its trivial name from the fact that it was first 
obtained near Dartford in 1773, by Latham; but subsequent 
research has shown that, although local, it is more generally distri- 
buted in England than was for a long time supposed. Allowing for 
a little wandering, it may be described as a resident species in the 
south, chiefly frequenting furze covered commons ; and, apparently, 
extending its range both westward and northward of late years. It 
is known to breed in nearly all the southern counties from Corn- 
wall to Kent inclusive, especially in Hampshire (and the Isle of 
Wight), Surrey and Sussex ; sparingly in the valley of the Thames, 
and perhaps in some of the ]\Iidland counties ; while it has been 
observed in Cambridgeshire and undoubtedly nests in Suffolk and 
Norfolk. It is a skulking little bird, especially in dull rainy weather ; 
and a patch of gorse holding two or three pairs may be easily passed 
over, even by a careful observer, as untenanted. In Ireland it has 
never been seen. 

It is possible that our stock of Dartford Warblers may be 
replenished from Normandy and the Channel Islands, though the 
bird is rather rare in the latter ; but as a rule it migrates little, and 
no specimens exist to prove that it occurs in Belgium, Llolland, 
Germany, or Heligoland. It is found throughout France in suitable 
localities, especially from the foot of the Western Pyrenees eastward ; 



56 DARTFORD WARULER. 

in many parts of Portugal and Spain it is common, and I have 
watched it singing among the orange-gardens of Murcia, while it 
nests in the sierras of the south at elevations of from 1,000 to 
3,000 feet. In Morocco and Algeria it is also resident, and it has 
been recorded from Lower Egypt and Palestine ; but in Europe its 
eastern range is hardly known to extend beyond Italy and Sicily, 
the bird seldom reaching Malta. In Liguria, Corsica, Sardinia, and 
the Balearic Islands, it is to a great extent replaced by a close ally, 
S. sarda, of a nearly uniform grey tint. 

The nest in this country is placed among the branches of the 
thickest furze ; but on the Continent, especially in the south, 
broom and heather are selected. The materials are principally 
goose-grass and the softer shoots of furze, with a little wool and 
moss ; the second nest of the season being generally more flimsy 
than the first, though on the whole the structure is tolerably com- 
pact. The 4-5 eggs are greenish-white, with olive or reddish-brown 
markings — bolder than on those of the Whitethroat : measure- 
ments "68 by "5 in. The first nest is built about the middle of 
April ; the second in June or July. The food of both old and young 
consists principally of moths and other insects ; but in autumn wild 
fruits are added. In its habits the Dartford Warbler is a restless 
bird, flitting from the top of one furze bush to another, with a quick 
and very undulating flight, and alighting in an abrupt manner as if 
the action were the result of an after-thought ; the long meagre tail 
being spread for an instant, as if to aid the bird in an effort to 
retain its balance. On the wing the adult looks very dark : like a 
black long-tailed AVren. The usual note is a pit-it-chou, whence the 
French name Pitchou ; but a scolding cha-cha is emitted when the 
bird is irritated. In severe winters its numbers are liable to be 
greatly reduced. 

Adult male : upper parts dark slate-grey ; wings dark: brown with 
paler margins to the secondaries \ the long dark fan-shaped tail with 
white outer margins and tips to the two exterior feathers ; chin, 
throat, breast and flanks rufous-chestnut in spring, but streaked and 
spotted with white in autumn ; lower breast and belly dull white ; 
bill horn-brown at the tip, yellowish at the base ; legs and feet pale 
brown ; irides and eyelids orange-yellow. Length 5-1 in. ; wing to 
the tip of the 4th and longest quill, 2-2 in. The female is rather 
smaller, browner, and shows less chestnut on the breast. The young 
are still paler, and whiter on the lower parts ; irides brown. 

Owing to its short, rounded wing, and comparatively long tail, this 
species has been made the type of a genus, Melizophilus, Leach. 



SYLVIIN.t. 57 




















THE GOLDEN-CRESTED WREN. 

Regulus cristatus, K. L. Koch. 

This tiniest of British, and indeed of European birds, is generally 
distributed throughout our islands; breeding, as a rule, wherever it is 
found, except in the Outer Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands, which 
it visits, but in which there are few plantations of conifers to invite 
its residence. On the mainland of Scotland there has been a marked 
increase in its numbers of late years, owing to the cultivation of firs 
and larches. It has been noticed since 1822 that in autumn immense 
flocks sometimes arrive on our east coast, extending quite across 
England and St. George's Channel into Ireland; in 1882 a migration- 
wave of this description, commencing on August 6th and lasting 92 
days, reached from the Channel to the Faeroes; in 1883 the migration 
lasted 82 days ; and again, in 1884, for a period of 87 days. Similar 
'waves' passed over Heligoland, with the exception of the last year, 
when, strange to say, the numbers were below the average. An 
unusual spring 'rush' took place in March and April, 1882. On 
such occasions bushes in gardens on the coast are covered with birds 
as with a swarm of bees ; crowds flutter round the lanterns of light- 
houses, and the rigging of fishing-smacks in the North Sea is 
thronged with weary travellers. In April a return migration ensues. 



58 GOLDEN-CRESTED WREN. 

From about 67° N. lat., the limit of the fir-woods in Scandinavia, 
and from Archangel and the Ural Mountains in Russia, the Golden- 
crest is generally distributed over Europe down to the Mediterranean 
and Black Seas ; it is also a regular migrant to INIalta in spring and 
autumn, on its way to and from North Africa. Eastward, it stretches 
across Asia to the Amur ; examples from Asia Minor, Turkestan 
and the Himalayas being intermediate between our form and 
R. cristatus var. japo?iicus, with a greyish-brown nape, resident in 
Japan. At the other extremity of its range, a local race named by 
Seebohm R. cristatus var. azoricus, distinguished by its much larger 
bill, stouter legs, and longer tail, is found in the Azores ; but the 
Canaries appear to be frequented by the typical form. 

The beautiful nest of the Golden-crested Wren is generally placed 
beneath the extremity of a branch of a fir, yew, cedar, or other 
evergreen ; the almost spherical structure being upheld by the 
lateral twigs. Occasionally it has been found upon the upper sur- 
face of a branch, or against ivy-covered trees, and even in a low 
bush. Built of the softest moss, felted with spiders' webs, wool, 
and a few lichens, and having a lining of small feathers, it is 
frequently ready for eggs by the latter part of March. These, 5-8 
and even 10 in number, are buff-white, minutely freckled, especially 
at the larger end, with reddish-brown : measurements '52 by '4 in. 
The female sits very close. The sweet, but rather weak song of the 
male, uttered almost incessantly in fine weather, is often commenced 
in February ; the call note is a rather shrill si-si-si. Insects seem to 
form the chief food of this sociable little bird, which may often be 
seen in winter searching for the means of subsistence in the woods 
and groves, together with Tits and Tree-Creepers. 

Adult male : forehead to above the eye, greyish-white, surmounted 
by a dark brown frontal streak, deepening into a black line below 
each side of the crest, which is bright yellow in front and rich 
orange further back ; neck and back yellowish olive-green ; tail- 
feathers ash-brown, with yellowish margins ; wings ash-brown, with 
white spot-like tips to the secondaries, and a black bar across the 
upper part, contrasting with the white margins of the median and 
greater wing-coverts ; under parts greenish-buff, whiter on the belly ; 
bill very dark brown ; legs and feet brown : irides hazel. Length 
3*6 in. ; wing to the tip of the 5th and longest primary 2-1 in. The 
female is duller than the male, with narrower black streaks below 
the crest, which is only lemon-yellow. The young bird has no 
crest, but the crown is rather darker in colour than the back. 



SVLVIIN.t. 59 



THE FIRE-CRESTED WREN. 
Regulus ignicapillus (C. L. Brehm). 

The Fire-crested Wren can only be considered an irregular 
visitor to our shores, and Mr. J. H. Gurney, in an excellent analysis 
of its supposed occurrences ('Zoologist,' 1889, p. 172) throws 
justifiable doubt on the correctness of some of the identifications, 
notably the first, near Cambridge in 1S32, on the strength of which 
the species was admitted to the British list. However, between the 
months of October and April in various years, many genuine 
examples have been obtained on our southern and eastern coasts, 
chiefly in Cornwall and the Scilly Islands ; more than twenty in 
Sussex ; and some in every littoral county up to Yorkshire ; a few in 
Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Shropshire ; and one (coll. E. Bidwell) 
near Pwllheli, North Wales, on March 24th, 1878. There are no 
authenticated records for Scotland or Ireland. 

The Fire-crested AVren has a much less extended range northward 
than its congener ; it is unknown in Scandinavia ; barely reaches 
Denmark, though often visiting Heligoland ; and does not occur to 
the north-east of the Baltic Provinces of Germany. It is rather 
partial to some parts of the Rhine district in summer ; and, although 
local in its distribution, breeds in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, 
Central and Southern Germany, Greece, Turkey, and Southern 
Russia ; while in the Taurus range of Asia Minor it is more abundant 
than the Golden-crest. In the mountain-forests of Algeria, and in 
some parts of Southern Europe, the Fire-crest is resident throughout 



6o FIRE-CRESTED WREN. 

the year ; its numbers being augmented in winter by migrants 
from the north. In Madeira it is represented by R. maderensis, 
with dull-gold crest, dark grey nape, and no black streak behind the 
eye ; while a form with greyish-white lores found in the Canaries 
was distinguished by Seebohm as -R. teneriffce. 

The nest of the Fire-crest is similar to that of the Golden-crest ; 
but the 7-10 eggs may always be recognized by the much redder 
tinge of their ground-colour and spots : measurements '52 by "42 in. 
In Germany the branches of a fir-tree are almost invariably selected, 
the nest being seldom found in larches ; and the same trees are 
frequented year after year. In the above country nesting does 
not begin before May ; but in the south of Spain the young are 
able to fly by the middle of that month. Insects and spiders 
constitute the food. In the Pyrenees, with excellent opportunities 
for observing the habits of both species, I noticed that the Fire- 
crest was much more restless and erratic in its movements, darting 
away suddenly after a very short stay upon the gorse-bush or tree 
where it was feeding, and being often seen alone or in parties of two 
or three at most ; whereas the Golden-crests, five or six together, 
would work steadily round the same bush, and, if I remained quiet, 
would stop there for many minutes. The note of the Fire-crest is 
a soft s/V, zit. 

The adult male has a golden frontal band, which unites on each 
side with a white streak passing above and behind the eye, and 
separating a parallel black line from the broader and blacker upper 
bands which enclose the rich orange yellow crest. This black line 
through the eye is one of the principal features which distinguish 
the Fire-crest from the Golden-crest; another important characteristic 
being the sulphur-green tint on the sides of the neck and shoulders. 
From the gape runs a third and smaller black streak. Mantle olive- 
green ; wings and tail brown, margined with yellowish-green ; the 
former doubly barred on the upper parts with brown and white ; 
under parts dull buffish-white ; bill black ; legs and feet brown. 
Length 37 in.; wing 2\ in. The female differs in having a paler 
crest. The young bird has no crest until after the first moult, but 
the characteristic triple band is always indicated. 

An example of the American Ruby-crowned Wren, R, calendula, 
now in the British Museum, is said to have been shot near Loch 
Lomond in 1852, by the late Dr. Dewar, in whose cabinet this very 
conspicuous bird lay unrecorded for six years, when it was recognized 
by the late R. Gray ! 



SYLVIIN.1-:. 6l 




THE YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER. 
Phylloscopus superciliosus (J. F. Gmelin). 

This wanderer from Asia was introduced to the British list by the 
late John Hancock, who shot an example, now in the Newcastle 
Museum, on September 26th, 1838, on the sea-banks near Hartley, 
Northumberland, about four miles north of the Tyne. A second 
example, recorded by Gould as having been obtained near Chelten- 
ham on October nth, 1867, by Mr. J. T. White, passed into the 
collection of the late Sir John Harpur Crewe, while in the same 
month and year Mr. Pechell shot two in Scilly. On Septem- 
ber 25th, 1886, the first Scottish specimen was taken at the lantern 
of Sumburgh Head lighthouse, Shetland, by Mr. James Young- 
clause, as recorded by Mr. Harvie-Brown, to whom it was sent in the 
flesh ; on October 14th, 1890, the first Irish example was recorded 
from the Tearaght light by Mr. R. M. Barrington ; on October 7th, 
1892, Mr. G. H. Caton Haigh shot the bird now figured near Great 
Cotes, Lincolnshire ; three appear to have been taken near Beverley, 
Yorkshire, and one in Norfolk, in October, 1894 ; others are said 
to have been seen in Holderness, as well as in South Devon. 

On the Continent identified examples have been obtained, at 
intervals, near Berlin, A-^ienna, the Hague, Leyden, Hjelm in Den- 
mark, and on the Riviera ; while on Heligoland the Yellow-browed 
Warbler has been taken or seen more than eighty times between 
1846 and the end of 1887 — on its autumn migrations, with the 
exception of two in April and May (Gatke). Its summer home 
appears to be in the pine-forests of North-eastern Siberia, from the 
valley of the Yenesei eastward to the Pacific, and from the moun- 



62 YELLOW-F.ROWED WARBLER. 

tains of Lake Baikal northward to the .Vrctic circle. The bird 
passes through Mongolia and North China on migration, and winters 
in South China, Assam, Burma and North-eastern India (Seebohm). 
Canon Tristram obtained it at Jericho ; and Severtzoff found it 
nesting in Turkestan up to about 8,500 feet. 

The account of the finding in Kashmir of a nest and eggs supposed 
to belong to this species, was given by Mr. W. E. Brooks in ' The 
Ibis' for 1872; and reproduced in the 4th Edition of ' Yarrell's 
British Birds,' as well as in Mr. Dresser's ' Birds of Europe ' ; but 
the parent bird was subsequently distinguished by Mr. Brooks 
himself as P. hwnii. Seebohm obtained the first authenticated nest 
of the typical Yellow-browed Warbler, on June 26th, 1877, in the 
forest between the Kurayika and the Yenesei. It was built in a 
slight tuft of moss and bilberry, domed, exactly like the nest of 
our Willow-Wren, and composed of dry grass and moss, with a 
lining of reindeer-hair. The eggs, 6 in number, are pure white, 
thickly spotted at the larger end with reddish-brown ; measurements 
•6 in. by '45 in., one of them being figured by Seebohm on PL 10 
of his ' British Birds,' a work which contains the best account 
extant of this Warbler. In its habits, says Gatke, this bird has little 
affinity with the restless Golden-crests, which it only resembles in 
size and the double bar across the wings ; and in Heligoland it is 
universally known by a name equivalent to ' Barred AVillow-AVarbler.' 
When it alights on a tree, it begins at the lower branches and works 
steadily up to the top, searching for its insect food. Gatke describes 
the note as hyiif^ a little drawn out. 

The bird in autumn has the crown olive-brown, with a very pale 
ill-defined line down the centre ; a strong yellowish-white stripe 
over the eye from the base of the bill to the nape ; a short streak of 
the same colour beneath the eye, and a narrow dusky band passing 
through the eye to the ear-coverts ; neck, back and rump olive- 
green ; ridge of the wing bright lemon-colour ; wing-feathers dusky, 
with pale yellow edges which become broader and whiter on the 
secondaries ; two conspicuous bands of lemon-colour across the 
coverts (in the Golden-crest these markings are spot-like) ; tail 
brown, the inner web of the outer feathers edged with white ; under 
parts pale yellow on the flanks, whiter on the belly, bill brown, paler 
at the base ; legs and toes brown, with the under surface of the toes 
inclining to yellow. In summer the green and yellow of the plumage 
have largely suffered from abrasion, and the general tints are olive- 
grey. Length 3-8 in. ; wing 2 "15 in. 



SYLVIIX.^L. 




PALLAS'S WILLOW-WARBLER. 

Phylloscopus proregulus (Pallas). 

On October 31st, 1896, a specimen of this small Warbler was shot 
by Mr. Ramm, amongst the long grass by the sea-wall at Cley-next- 
the-Sea, Norfolk, and proved on dissection to be a female, probably 
adult. It was recorded by Mr. T. Southwell ('Zoologist,' 1896, 
p. 467), exhibited by Mr. Dresser at a meeting of the Zoological 
Society of London on December ist, and full details have since 
appeared in 'The Zoologist' for 1S97, pp. 5-12; as well as in the 
Tr. Norw. Soc, vi. pp. 210-290, from Mr. Dresser, who has added 
valuable notes on other rare Warblers. 

Pallas's Warbler was for some time known to us by Gould's trivial 
name of " Dalmatian Regulus," commemorative of the reported 
place of capture of the first European example, in 1829. Hancock's 
A^ellow-browed Warbler, shot near Newcastle in 1838, was supposed 
to be this species until 1S63, when Swinhoe pointed out the error, 
and Hancock subsequently rectified his identification (' Ibis ' 1867, 
p. 252). On October 6th, 1845, Glaus Aeuckens, of Heligoland 
(then a lad), killed a small Warbler with a stone, completely 
crushing it, but he brought an undamaged wing and " a portion of 
the lower back with part of the lemon-yellow plumage still adhering to 
it" to the late H. Giitke, and in 1879 comparison with a Siberian 
skin of Pallas's Warbler showed that the wanderer to Heligoland 
was that species. Another was watched at short distance by 
Aeuckens and his nephew, on October 2gth, 1875, but the bird was 
sheltering under the edge of the cliff from a violent east wind, and 



SYLVIIN^,. 65 




THE GREENISH WHXOW-WARBLER. 
Phylloscopus viridanus, Blyth. 

On September 5th 1896 IMr. G. H. Caton Haigh shot a female 
of this Warbler at North Cotes, Lincolnshire, and this specimen, 
having been exhibited at the Meeting of the British Ornithologists' 
Club on October 21st, forms the subject of the present illustration. 
Mr. Haigh has remarked that " the weather prevailing at the time 
of its appearance was such as usually results in a great immi- 
gration of small birds ; the wind backing to the east on the night 
of September 3rd, and blowing from that quarter on the 4th and 
5th, with heavy rain commencing to fall on the afternoon of the 
4th, and continuing without intermission for twenty-four hours." 
Ornithologists who deliberately go out to search for birds under such 
circumstances richly deserve the success which may reward one 
excursion out of a hundred. 

On Heligoland the Greenish Willow-Warbler was obtained on 
September 25th 1878, May 30th 1879, ^"d June 3rd 1880. No 
other occurrences are known as yet in the Western half of Europe, 
but in Russia the species is found no farther off than the Olonetz 
department — a trifle to the north-east of St. Petersburg, Jaroslav 
and Kazan. Its true summer home is, however, more to the east- 
ward, on the wooded slopes of the Ural Mountains and the banks 
of the river of the same name, in Transcaspia, Turkestan, the 
Tian Shan Mountains (probably the Altai), and the Himalayas; 
while in winter the bird visits the greater part of the peninsula of 
India, and Ceylon. 

A newly-made nest, found by Mr. W. E. Brooks in Kashmir, at 

G 



66 GREENISH WILLOW-WARBLER. 

an elevation of about ii,ooo feet, is described as domed and placed 
on the steep side of a ravine full of small birch trees ; but it was 
empty, and the eggs are still undescribed. According to Dr. Scully, 
Blyth, and other observers, this Warbler frequents small bushes and 
is of restless habits ; its note is said by them to be weak and 
resembles tiss-yip, tiss-yipp, often repeated ; while Sabanaeff says 
that — in the breeding-season — its note is a very shrill psi, psi. The 
bird is the Greenish Tree-Warbler of Jerdon. 

The adult is similar to our Willow- AVren (p. 70), but is greener 
on the upper parts and decidedly less yellow below, the under edge 
of the wing being nearly white ; the tips of the greater wing-coverts 
are yellowish-white, and form a conspicuous single bar; bill brown 
above, yellowish-brown below; tarsi dark olive. Length, 4'25 in. ; 
wing 2*25 in. 



SYLVIIN.tE. 



67 




THE CHIFFCHAFF. 



Phylloscopus rufus (Bechstein). 

The Chiffchaff is the earUest visitor among our spring migrants ; 
the familiar note, from which its name is derived, being some- 
times heard at the beginning of March, while a few birds often 
pass the winter in various sheltered portions of our islands, 
especially in Devon and Cornwall. Tolerably abundant in summer 
in our southern counties, and particularly so in the south-west and 
midlands, the Chiffchaff is somewhat rare, or local, in Norfolk, 
Lancashire and the north-west of Yorkshire ; but more frequent in 
Cumberland, Westmorland, Durham and Northumberland. In 
Scotland it is everywhere much scarcer than the Willow-Wren, and 
very rare to the north-west of the Great Glen, while merely a 
straggler to the Outer Hebrides and Orkneys. In Ireland it breeds 
in every wooded district. 

In Northern Europe the Chiffchaff ranges in summer to a little 
above the Arctic circle and as far east as the valley of the Volga, 
beyond which it is replaced by the Siberian Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus 
tristis, a rather smaller bird, browner and duller in coloration. South- 
ward, our Chiffchaff is generally distributed in suitable localities 
as far as the shores and islands of the Mediterranean, and is 
more or less resident south of the Pyrenees and the Alps ; while 
its numbers are largely augmented at the times of migration and in 
winter. At the latter season it is abundant in some parts of Africa 
down to Abyssinia ; also in Arabia, Palestine, Asia Minor and 

G 2 



68 CHIFFCHAFF. 

Persia. In the Canary Islands a smaller form, P. foriunatus of 
Canon Tristram, is resident. 

The nest of the Chiffchaff is usually placed near to, but a little 
above the ground, in rank vegetation or ferns ; occasionally in ivy 
against a wall, at an elevation of a couple of feet or so, while 
instances are on record in England of the nest having been found 
from three to nine feet up, in laurel, holly, bramble, and other 
bushes. In this country nidification begins about the end of April ; 
the oval domed nest, with a hole rather nearer the top than the 
middle, being composed of dry grass, leaves and moss, with an 
abundance of feathers as a lining. The eggs, commonly 6 in num- 
ber, are of a pure or creamy-white, spotted with purplish-brown, 
and sometimes with underlying blotches of violet-grey ; occasionally 
they are spotted with pale red : average measurements "6 by '45 in. 
A second brood is produced in June. The song, if such it may 
be called, ends in May, to begin again in September, and by 
it the presence of the bird is often betrayed while the owner of the 
voice is invisible, for the Chiffchaff frequents the branches of loftier 
trees than the Willow-Wren does ; groves of tall elms and larches 
being peculiarly attractive. Its food consists of insects and their 
larvffi. By October the autumn migration from our islands may be 
said to have terminated, except for those individuals which, as 
already stated, remain till December or even through the winter, 
and these, if severe weather sets in, pay the penalty for running 
such a risk. 

Adult in spring : — olive-green on the upper parts, rather yellower 
on the rump ; a pale yellow streak above the eye, passing into 
white behind the ear-coverts ; wing-coverts, quills and tail-feathers 
dull brown, edged with olive-green ; chin, throat, breast, belly and 
lower tail-coverts dull white, tinged with greenish-buff; under wing- 
coverts pale yellow ; bill brown ; iris hazel ; legs and feet very dark 
brown. Length 4-6 in. ; wing 2-35 in. ; tarsus '6 in. The plumage 
is alike in both sexes. The young are slightly greener than the 
adults and the eye-streak is fainter. After the autumn moult the 
yellow tint in the plumage is much more pronounced. 

The Chiffchaff may be distinguished from the Willow- Wren by its 
smaller size, duller hue, darker legs, and more rounded wing. The 
2nd quill is equal in length to the 7th, and the outer webs are 
emarginated near their tips up to the 6th inclusive. In the Willow- 
Wren thisemargination only reaches to the 5th, and the 2nd is equal 
in length to the 6th quill. 



SYLVIIN.T. 



69 







THE WILLOW-WREN. 



Phylloscopus trochilus (Linnaeus). 



The Willow-Wren makes its appearance in the southern portions 
of this country about the first week in April, and from that time 
until the middle of September it is by far the most abundant of 
the three species of small greenish-yellow Warblers which annually 
visit us. In England it is generally distributed, although somewhat 
local in Cornwall ; and it is common in suitable parts of Wales. 
To the mainland of Scotland it is a regular and abundant summer- 
visitor, and in the northern districts its numbers have considerably 
increased of late years ; but to the Outer Hebrides, Orkneys and 
Shetlands (as well as the Faeroes) it appears to be only a wanderer, 
chiefly in autumn. In Ireland it is very common. Occurrences of 
this bird in winter, in the milder districts of our islands, have often 
been recorded. 

The Willow-Wren ranges nearly as far as the northern extremity of 
the Continent in summer, while southward it breeds throughout the 
greater part of Europe down to the Straits of Gibraltar, and eastward 
to the Caucasus ; in Siberia to as far as the valley of the Yenesei. 
Its winter-quarters may be said to begin in the south of France, and 
extend throughout the basin of the Mediterranean ; but the majority 



70 WILLOW-WREN. 

of birds pass on to the oases of Africa, and some even to Cape 
Colony. It is not improbable that a limited number pass the 
summer in suitable localities in Northern Africa. 

The domed nest, loosely constructed of dry grass, and always 
lined with feathers, is generally placed among long herbage on the 
ground, but sometimes at the foot of a bush; exceptionally up to four 
feet from the ground, or even in a hole in a wall. The shape of the 
nest has procured for this species and its congeners the name of 
"Oven-birds"; while in many places the Willow- Wren is also known 
as the " Hay-bird," from the dry materials employed, or perhaps 
from the fact that the nest is often found in the corner of a hay-field. 
The 6-8 eggs are white, blotched and speckled with much lighter 
red than is the case with the eggs of the Chiffchaff, but exceptionally 
they are pure white: average measurements '62 by 46 in. In 
England the first brood is hatched about the middle of May, a second 
being often produced in June. The merry song of the Willow- 
Wren, consisting of a few often-repeated notes, may be heard during 
the season in nearly every coppice ; and sometimes calls attention 
in our London parks to a begrimed songster which would otherwise 
be almost unrecognizable. When the bird is aware that its nest is 
approached, or when calling its young together, its usual note is a 
plaintive wJdt or tewy, and at such times great solicitude and dis- 
regard of danger are displayed. Inasmuch as its food consists 
chiefly of flies, aphides^ and other insects, this species is useful to 
the gardener, although it pecks and damages currants and other fruit 
to an unimportant extent. 

The adult male in spring has the upper parts olive-green, yellower 
on the rump ; a yellowish streak over the eye and ear-coverts ; 
wings and tail olive-brown, margined with greenish-yellow ; under 
parts yellowish-white, more sulphur-coloured on the flanks ; under 
wing-coverts brimstone-yellow ; bill, legs and feet brown. Length 
4*9 in. ; wing 27 in. ; tarsus 7 in. The sexes are alike in plumage. 
In autumn the general tint is yellower, especially in young birds. 

Varieties of the Willow- Wren are uncommon ; but in May 1861 
a primrose-coloured bird was shot in Surrey (Harting), and in 
August of the same year a similar example was shot in Suffolk 
(Stevenson). 

The Willow-Wren may be distinguished from the Chiffchaff by its 
larger size, generally yellower tinge, paler tarsi, and by having the 
outer edges of the primaries emarginated as far only as the 5th 
inclusive ; whereas in the Chiffchaff the 6th is also emarginated. 



sylviina:. 



71 




THE WOOD-WREN. 
Phylloscopus sibilatrix (Bechstein). 

The Wood- Wren, the largest of the three members of the genus 
which habitually visit us, is the latest to arrive, seldom appearing 
even in the south of England before the middle of April ; while in 
September it departs for the winter. Owing to its marked prefer- 
ence for woods — especially of beech and of oak — it is more local 
in its distribution than the two preceding species ; for example, 
although very common in some of the eastern parts of Cornwall, it 
is of rare occurrence in the west of that county. It is to be found 
in suitable localities throughout England, and, locally, in Wales (abun- 
dantly in Merioneth) ; while in St. Leonard's and Tilgate Forests 
in Sussex, the New Forest, Sherwood Forest, and the woodlands of 
Cumberland, Westmorland, Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland 
it may be called numerous. In Scotland it is fairly distributed, 
and has apparently spread northward of late years, being recorded 
by Messrs. Harvie-Brown and Buckley as breeding in the south-east 
of Sutherlandshire, and as having been identified at Dunbeath in 
Caithness, and in West Ross. The late Mr. A. C. Chapman 
recognized it on North Uist, in the Outer Hebrides. In Ireland its 
eggs have been found in Galway, while the bird has frequently been 
observed in Wicklow, and occasionally in some other counties. 

The Wood-Wren has only once been proved to visit Norway, but it 
is found in Sweden as far north as Upsala ; while it is very common 



72 WOOD-WREN. 

in the Baltic provinces, though rarer in South Finland, and only a 
straggler to Archangel. Eastward it can be traced to Kazan, the 
lower valley of the Volga, the Caucasus, and the western shore of 
the Caspian. In Palestine, Asia Minor, and Greece, it chiefly 
occurs on migration : but it breeds in Turkey and the greater part 
of Europe, although rarely in the extreme south ; while it is only a 
migrant in Spain, and almost unknown in Portugal. Tt appears 
probable that a few remain during the summer in the mountain forests 
of the Atlas ; the winter migrations extending to Madeira, the 
Canaries, and the Gold Coast on the west side of Africa, as well as to 
Abyssinia on the east. Notwithstanding its comparatively long 
wings, the ^^'ood-Wren appears to hug the land on passage far more 
closely than is customary with the Willow- Wren and the Chiffchaff, 
thousands of which annually visit Heligoland on their migrations ; 
whereas the A\'ood-Wren is seldom met with there. 

Like its congeners, this species makes a domed nest of dry grass, 
but there is }to lining of feathers. Sloping wooded banks are 
favourite situations for the nest, which often is not merely 07i the 
ground, but is actually set in some natural hollow among scanty 
undergrowth and dry leaves. The hen at times sits very closely, 
and when fairly beaten out she will feed in an unconcerned manner 
for a quarter of an hour or more, uttering a Xq-^ pi-b ; after which she 
works round to a branch above her nest, drops down abruptly, and 
enters it in an instant. The 5-7 eggs, laid about mid-May, are white, 
thickly spotted and frequently zoned with purplish-brown and violet- 
grey : average measurements "65 by '55 in. {P. bonellii — a miniature 
Wood-Wren, common on the Continent, especially in the south — lays 
similar but much smaller eggs.) The food is principally insects, 
often taken on the wing, and berries in the season. The call-note 
is dee-ur, dee-ur, dee-ur ; the shivering song, which may be syllabled 
as chit, chit, chit, chit, chitr, tr-tr-tr-tr-tr-tre, is accompanied by rapid 
vibrations of the wings and tail. 

In spring the adult has a broad and characteristic sulphur-yellow 
streak above and behind the eye ; the upper parts yellowish-green ; 
wings greyish-brown, edged with yellowish, turning whiter on the 
inner secondaries ; tail greyish-brown ; belly and under tail-coverts 
white ; breast and throat sulphur-yellow ; bill, legs and feet brown. 
Length 5-2 in. ; wing, to the tip of the 3rd and longest quill, 3-1 
in. ; the first or bastard quill being very short ; tarsus 7 in. In 
plumage the sexes are alike ; the young differ in being rather 
yellower than the adults. The coloration, larger size, and propor- 
tionately long wing distinguish this species from its allies. 



I 



SYLVIIN.^. 



73 




THE RUFOUS WARBLER. 



Aedon galact6des (Temminck). 

The Rufous Warbler is a southern species, which has been 
obtained in England, as a straggler, on three occasions. The first 
example was shot by the late Mr. Swaysland near Brighton on 
September i6th 1854, and according to Mr. W. Borrer of Cowfold, 
who recorded it, the bird was a male preparing to moult. On 
September 25th 1859, after the prevalence for a w-eek of a strong 
southerly wind, a very thin bird, which had lost its tail, was shot at 
the Start, in Devonshire, by Mr. W'. D. Llewellyn, who presented it 
to the British Museum. A third was obtained in a turnip-field near 
Slapton, Devon, on October 12th 1876, as recorded by Mr. H. 
Nicholls (Zool. s.s. p. 5179). These occurrences, all in autumn, 
show that the individuals in question were merely wind-driven waifs 
from the south ; nor is it likely that many others have escaped 
observation, the bird being conspicuous by its plumage and habits. 
It resembles a large pale-coloured Nightingale, with white tips and 
black spots on a broad fan-shaped tail. 

The Rufous Warbler does not appear to visit France, or even the 



74 RUFOUS WARBLER. 

northern portions of the Peninsula ; but in Southern Portugal and 
Spain it is abundant from the third week in April until the end of 
September. To the mainland of Italy it is a somewhat rare 
straggler ; but it visits Malta on its migrations to and from Northern 
Africa, where, from Morocco to Egypt, it is generally distributed 
throughout the greater part of the year. In winter it goes to 
Abyssinia, and has been found in the mountains of that country in 
May at an elevation of 3,500 feet. In April, according to Canon 
Tristram, it arrives in Palestine, and breeds to the south of Beyrout ; 
but north of the Lebanon we meet with a very closely-allied species, 
Aedon familinris, which is much less rufous on the upper parts, 
and has the central pair of tail-feathers brown instead of chestnut. 
The latter breeds in Asia Minor, Persia, Turkey, Greece, the 
Caucasian district, and Turkestan ; wandering, strange to say, across 
the line of Aedon galacfodes, to Italy, Nice, and even Heligoland. 

Breeding begins by the end of May ; the rather bulky nest being 
often placed, without any attempt at concealment, at some distance 
from the ground, on a branch or in a fork of a tamarisk bush ; some- 
times between the roots of a tree in a bank-side ; and frequently in 
the cactus-hedges which border vineyards. Wool, hair, feathers and 
any soft materials are used for the lining, amongst which a piece of 
snake's-skin is generally to be found. The eggs, usually 5 in 
number, are pale grey, streaked and blotched with ash-brown and 
dull violet, much resembling those of the Tawny Pipit : measure- 
ments -88 in. by -Gt, in. In its habits this bird is lively and restless, 
constantly flirting its expanded tail ; whence its Spanish names of 
' Alza-cola,' and ' Alza-rabo.' I have not found it to be at all shy, 
until it becomes conscious of being watched and followed : a pro- 
ceeding which it naturally resents, as do most birds. The original 
English name of Rufous Sedge Warbler is remarkably inappropriate, 
as the bird is never seen in sedges, and is rather partial to arid 
places. Its food consists of insects. The song resembles that of 
the Redbreast, delivered in Thrush-like jerks (Aplin). 

Adult male : upper parts chestnut-brown ; a broad whitish streak 
above the eye to the nape ; quills brown with reddish-bufif margins ; 
tail rich chestnut with a narrow blackish terminal band on the two 
central feathers, and a broad sub-terminal black band with increasingly 
large white tips from the centre to the outer feathers ; under parts 
sandy-white, more tawny on the breast and flanks ; bill, legs and 
feet brown. I^ength 6-5 in. ; wing to the end of the 3rd and longest 
quill 3-5 in. The female is slighdy, if at all, smaller and paler than 
the male. 



SVLVIJNyt. 



73 




RADDE'S BUSH-WARBLER. 



Luscim'ola schwarzi (Radde). 

For the discovery in England of this wanderer from Eastern 
Siberia ornithologists are indebted to the persistent researches of 
Mr. G. H. Caton Haigh. On the ist of October 1898, according 
to his custom at the time of migration, Mr. Haigh was diligently 
" working " the hedgerows which border the long sea-banks on the 
Lincolnshire side of the Humber, and, when near North Cotes 
(where he obtained the first British specimen of the Greenish 
Willow-Warbler), he was attracted by a strange and particularly 
powerful note. Thereupon the hedgerow was thoroughly beaten 
out, and the owner of the loud voice proved to be the Warbler in 
question — a bird about the size of a Wood-Wren. Easterly winds 
had been prevalent for some time. The illustration is taken from 
this specimen, kindly lent for the purpose. 

Radde discovered this Warbler in a kitchen-garden at Kulus- 
sutajevsk, near the Tarei-nor, Transbaikalia, on the 22nd of 
September 1856, and named it Sylvia {Phyllopneuste) sc/nvarzi, 
after his friend the astronomer to the expedition (Reis Siid. 
Ost-Sibir Bd. ii. pp. 260-263, t^^- ^"- ^g^- ^"3)- He afterwards 
found it in theChingan Mountains; Dybowsky met with it in 
Daiiria and the Ussuri country ; Schrenck in the Amur Valley, and 
Dr. Nikolski in the south-western forests of the Island of Saghalien. 
From the dates at which specimens were obtained the bird evidently 
breeds in the above districts, but nothing is known of its nidifica- 
tion. The most detailed account of this Warbler is by Godlewski, 
who writes to the following effect : — On its migrations this species 



74 RADDES BUSH-WARBLER. 

is common throughout South-eastern Siberia and in J)auria, and is 
widely distributed in autumn ; but it is rarer in Ussuria, though it 
appears to nest there, for it sings all through the summer. In the 
early part of August, during our journey across the Government of 
Yeniseisk, on the road between Irkutsk and Tomsk, it was also 
singing, so that it probably nests there. On passage it frequents the 
bushy margins of the forests, and it arrives early in June. Its song 
is short and not very agreeable, but loud, and the alarm-note maj- 
be rendered as gibout-gibout. We did not find its nest. It leaves 
Ussuria about the middle of September. 

In winter Radde's Bush-Warbler visits Southern China, Pegu, and 
the northern and central portions of Tenasserim (Oates, Fauna 
Brit. India, i. pp. 399-400). Its large bastard-primary indicates its 
connection with the genus Lnsciniola, in which Seebohm placed it ; 
but Mr. Oates finds this genus too comprehensive, and relegates 
the bird to Herbivoaila of Swinhoe. The upper plumage is 
olive-brown, tinged with tawny, especially on the rump ; wings and 
tail brown, edged on the outer webs with the colour of the back ; 
supercilium very distinct and reaching to the nape ; lores and 
feathers behind the eye dark brown ; ear-coverts buff and brown ; 
lower plumage rich tawny-buff, paling on the throat and abdomen ; 
axillaries and under wing-coverts buff. In summer the lower parts 
are nearly white, merely tinged with yellow or buff, more especially so 
on the vent and under tail-coverts. Bill horn-colour, the base fleshy- 
white and the gape yellow ; iris brown ; legs and feet fleshy-yellow. 
I.ength about 5-6 inches, wing 2 '45, tarsus 0-9 inch, bill from gape 
0-65. The 2nd primary is equal to the Sth, or intermediate between 
the 7th and Sth ; the ist (or bastard) primary is very long, measur- 
ing 0-85 inch in length (Oates). 

The young bird, like Mr. Haigh's specimen, from which the 
figure is taken, is decidedly more olivaceous on the upper-parts. 
The bill is stout and deep for that of a Warbler, and the three rictal 
bristles on each side are very strong, but the supplementary hairs do 
not extend up the culmen nor cover the nostrils as in Phylloscopus. 
(From 'The Ibis,' 1899, pp. 1-3.) The broad and abrupt 
termination of the white superciliary stripe is very characteristic of 
this species. 



SYLVIINvE. 



75 




THE ICTERINE WARBLER. 



Hypolais icterina (Vieillot). 



Although common on the Continent, even within sight of 
our shores, this member of a well-marked genus — not remotely 
allied to the group of Reed-Warblers — is only a rare visitor to 
England and Ireland. The first example was killed on June 15th 
1848, at Eythorne, near Dover ; a second (now in the Dublin 
Museum), on June 8th 1856, at Dunsinea on the banks of the 
Tolka, CO. Dublin ; a third was shot by Mr. F. D. Power on 
September nth 1884, near Blakeney, Norfolk; a fourth near New^- 
castle-on-Tyne, June 20th 1889 ; a fifth at Easington, Holderness, 
Yorkshire, on May 28th 1891 ; a sixth at Wells, Norfolk, September 
4th, 1893 ; and a seventh at Cley, Norfolk, September 7th 1896. 
Lastly, Mr. A. F. Ticehurst exhibited at the British Ornithologists' 
Club, on May 19th 1897, a female which had been shot at Burwash, 
Sussex, on April 30th. All these examples have been examined and 
identified by competent authorities ; the significance of which will 
be apparent hereafter. 

In Norway the Icterine Warbler breeds up to a little beyond the 
Arctic circle, although in Sweden, Finland and Russia, its northern 
range is less extensive. Eastward, the Ural and the valley of the 
Tobol form its known limits, while further south it has been obtained 
at Lenkoran, on the western side of the Caspian. In Asia Minor, 



76 ICTERINE WARBLER. 

and South-eastern Europe as far as Malta, it is only known on its 
migrations to and from Africa — where it winters down to about 25° 
S. lat. ; but in Sicily and on the mainland of Italy, where it arrives 
in April, it remains to breed ; though Sardinia and Corsica are 
seldom, if ever, visited. In Central and Northern Europe, up to 
the Baltic provinces, Denmark, Germany, Holland and Belgium, it 
is common from the middle of May until autumn. In the north- 
east of France it is very abundant, and extends westward as far 
as the valley of the Seine, in and beyond which is found the next 
species, H. polyglotta, often confounded with our bird both as 
regards specimens and nomenclature. The Icterine Warbler appears 
to be rare in Savoy and unknown to the westward. Both species 
meet in Tunisia. 

The nest, generally placed in the fork of a small tree or lilac bush 
in a slightly moist locality, is a firm, deep, and often beautiful 
structure of dry grass, wool, thistle-down, lichens &c., lined with 
horsehair. The 4-5 eggs are dull rose-pink, blotched, and some- 
times scrolled with dark purplish-brown : average measurements 
•72 by "55 in. In Holland incubation begins about the end of May 
or early in June, almost every garden containing a pair ; and the 
presence of an intruder of his own, or any other small species, is 
promptly resented by the male. The song has been much admired 
for its variety, and its supposed imitation of the notes of other 
birds — whence the German name Spotivogel or Mocking-bird ; but 
Seebohm, who was gifted with a fine ear for notes and who had 
enjoyed considerable experience, saw no reason for supposing the 
bird to be more of a mocker than the Song-Thrush or the Night- 
ingale, When the nest is approached a soft pi-ti-ii-y is uttered ; 
the alarm-note being an angry tek, tek, tek. The food of the Icterine 
Warbler is principally insects and small snails, but in summer and 
autumn fruit and berries are freely consumed. 

The adult male in spring has the lores and a streak over the eye 
yellow ; upper parts greyish-olive ; quills brown, broadly margined 
and tipped with buffish-white on the secondaries, bastard primary 
very small; tail brown, slightly tipped with buff; under parts lemon- 
yellow ; bill, brown above, yellowish below ; legs and feet slate- 
brown. Length 5-2 in. ; wing 3-1 in. The female is a trifle paler; 
the young bird is browner, with wider pale margins to the quills. 



SYLVIIN/E. 



77 




THE MELODIOUS WARBLER. 



Hypolais polyglotta (Vieillot). 



In 'The Zoologist' for July 1897 (p. 333), Mr. A. F. Ticehurst 
stated that on April 30th, the same day as the Icterine Warbler 
already mentioned (p. 75), a smaller bird was also obtained at Bur- 
wash, Sussex, and he hinted that this might be the Melodious Warbler. 
Mr. G. Bristow, of St. Leonard's, having obligingly sent up the bird 
for identification, it has been examined by several ornithologists, 
and there can be no doubt that it is an example — a male by dis- 
section — of If. polyglotta. 

It is satisfactory to have the occurrence of this species thoroughly 
authenticated, because the event has for some time been expected. 
On May 26th 1886 the Rev. Allan Ellison saw and heard a bird 
which probably belonged to this species in co. Wicklow, Ireland, 
and during the very same month and year the Rev. M. A. Mathew 
frequently watched and listened to a similar bird at Stone Hall, in 
Pembrokeshire. In May 1897 (Zool. p. 332) Mr. Mathew Hstened 
to the song of another bird (or two) in East Devon, but this he 
identified as that of the Icterine Warbler, and he is to be con- 
gratulated on his powers of discrimination. An egg, which, from its 
small size and bright pink colour, belonged probably to the 



7 8 MELODIOUS WARBLER. 

Melodious Warbler, was sent to me in 1893 as having been taken 
near Lancing, Sussex, where the species was stated to have bred 
two or three years in succession. 

The Melodious Warbler does not penetrate so far north as its 
larger relative, and its range is western. In winter it is found as far 
south as Senegambia, and its breeding-grounds begin in North 
Africa, extending from Tangier to Tunisia. A comparatively small 
portion of the birds which cross the Mediterranean visit both sides 
of the Adriatic, and wanderers have been recorded from South 
Tyrol, Bohemia and Moravia ; while Italy is regularly visited, 
especially the western side. But the bulk pass the summer in the 
Iberian Peninsula, where the species is abundant, as well as in 
France up to Normandy, the boundary of its eastern distribution 
being, roughly, a line from Savoy to the valley and mouth of the 
Seine. It is much if a straggler has occurred in North-eastern 
France or in Belgium ; on Heligoland Gatke obtained one, on 
May 23rd 1846. 

Col. Irby gives April 25th as the earliest date of the arrival of this 
Warbler in the south of Spain, and May 14th for eggs ; two broods 
are, however, produced in the season, as I have had eggs taken up 
to July 25th. The deep and cup-shaped nest is chiefly composed 
of down from willows and thistles, and is placed in bushes or low 
trees, generally at no great distance from water ; the 4-5 eggs are 
rose-pink (brighter than those of the Icterine Warbler), with small 
blackish spots, and often with a large amount of fine hair-lines : 
measurements 7 by "5 in. The song is similar to that of the pre- 
ceding species, but, having heard both, I agree with Mr. J. I. S. 
Whitaker and Mr. Aplin in considering that of the Melodious 
Warbler to be far finer, though less loud. The food consists of 
insects and fruit. 

The adult may be distinguished from the Icterine Warbler by 
its smaller size ; the absence of any pale margins to the inner 
wing-quills (except just after the autumn moult) ; its proportionally 
short wing; its larger bastard primary; and by the 2nd primary 
being shorter than the 5th (in H. icterma the 2nd is decidedly 
longer than the 5th). Length 4*9 in. ; wing only 2-5 in. 



SYLVIIN.^. 



79 




THE REED-WARBLER. 



ACROCEPHALUS STREPKRUS (Vieillot). 



The Reed- Warbler arrives in England regularly in the latter part 
of April ; and from that time until September it is common in most, 
but not all, of the localities apparently suited to its habits, in the 
southern, midland, and eastern districts. In the extreme south- 
west it is rare, seldom visiting Cornwall or the Scilly Islands, but 
it breeds freely in South Devon ; while in Wales it is fairly common, 
at least as far west as Breconshire, and especially about Llangorse 
Lake, where there is abundance of reeds (Phillips). It is plentiful 
in like situations in Cheshire (Nicholson) ; but in Lancashire, 
where suitable spots are few, it is naturally local, and in Lakeland it 
is rare. In Yorkshire it is abundant at Hornsea Mere in the East 
Riding, while it breeds up to the vicinity of Ripon, and also 
near Leeds; but northward it is rare. There is as yet no proof 
of its occurrence in Scotland. In Ireland it is said to have been 
once obtained — near Dublin, on December 21st, 1843 (!), but not 
since ; while wings sent from lighthouses, and attributed to this 
species, have proved to be those of Blackcap and Garden-Warbler. 

The south of Sweden, and about 58° N. lat., mark the northern 



8o REED-WARBLER. 

summer limits of the Reed-Warbler in Europe ; but below this line 
the bird has been found breeding in suitable localities down to the 
extreme south of Spain and Italy, and perhaps in Algeria. Large 
numbers pass the winter in the basin of the Mediterranean, whilst 
others go down to Central Africa. Eastward, it is found as far as 
the countries between Baluchistan and South-western Siberia. 

In the breeding-season the Reed-Warbler is by no means re- 
stricted to reeds, or even to the immediate proximity of water ; and 
Mr. R. H. Mitford has given an account of the nesting of several 
pairs annually in lilac-trees in his garden at Hampstead. On the 
Thames and elsewhere the slender branches of willows and alders 
are frequently selected ; the nest being often ten feet above the 
ground or water, and sometimes at a far greater elevation. Excep- 
tionally nests have been found in hedges fringing a river. Where 
reeds are abundant, as in the Eastern Counties, they are usually 
preferred ; and in every case the nest is supported by from two to 
four reeds or twigs, as the case may be, woven into the sides of the 
nest, which is so deep that the eggs will not roll out in the strongest 
wind. Begun when the reeds are quite short, the nest is often a 
full yard above the water by the time that the young birds are 
hatched. The materials employed are dry grasses and moss, with a 
little sheep's-wool, feathers, and horsehair for a lining, but occasion- 
ally there is so much wool or flowering grass that the nest seems 
to be made of them. The 4-5 eggs are greenish-white, clouded, 
blotched or freckled with dark olive, ash-colour, and black : average 
measurements 72 by -53 in. The Cuckoo is partial to the nest of 
this Warbler, and I have more than once found two eggs of that 
parasitical bird in the same nursery. Incubation begins about May 
22nd. During the summer the varied song of the Reed Warbler 
may be heard at intervals during the day, except in windy weather ; 
but it is loudest and most attractive during the long twilight of 
evening. The food consists of aquatic insects — especially small 
dragon-flies — -and their larvs, spiders, slugs and worms, varied in 
the season by fruit and berries. 

The adult male has a pale buff streak over each eye ; upper parts 
brown, tinged with chestnut, especially on the rump ; under parts 
white, turning to buff on the sides, thighs, and under tail-coverts. 
In autumn the chestnut and buff are more pronounced. Bill horn- 
brown above, yellowish-brown below ; legs and feet purplish-brown. 
Length 5-25 in. ; wing to end of 3rd and longest quill 2-5 in. The 
female, according to my experience, is decidedly less rufous during 
the breeding-season. The young are very tawny underneath. 



SVLVIIN.^i. 




r(iyr' 



THE MARSH-WARBLER. 

AcROCEPHALUS PALUSTRis (Bcchstein). 

It is difficult to show in a wood-cut the points of difference 
between this species and the Reed-Warbler ; nor, for that matter, 
can much be said in favour of many of the coloured illustrations 
which are supposed to represent the Marsh-W^arbler. Gould's 
coloured plate in the ' Birds of Great Britain ' undoubtedly repre- 
sents a Reed- Warbler ; so does, in my opinion, one in the late 
Lord Lilford's ' Birds of the British Islands ' ; while in Mr. 
Dresser's plate of the two species in his ' Birds of Europe ' the 
respective tints are inadequately rendered, and the legs of the 
Marsh- Warbler are wrongly coloured stone-grey, although accurately 
described in the letterpress. The legs of the Marsh- Warbler are 
pale brownish flesh-colour ; the general hue of the upper parts is at 
all times less rufous than in the Reed- Warbler, and distinctly greenish 
olive brown ; while, except when much abraded, the wing-feathers 
are more tipped and margined with pale buff. The under parts are 
tinged with sulphur-buff: not rufous-buff, as in the Reed- Warbler. 

The Marsh-Warbler was first noticed in England as a spring- 
visitor in small numbers to Somersetshire, particularly to the neigh- 
bourhood of Taunton ; several nests have since been found near 
Bath, as well as in Gloucestershire, while in Oxfordshire the 

H 



82 MARSH-WARBLER. 

bird has been watched year after year by Mr. W. Warde Fowler 
and others. The late Mr. F. Bond had a genuine nest and eggs of 
this species, which he took some years ago in Cambridgeshire, but 
the pair of birds which he obtained at the same time and place are 
simply Reed-\\\arblers (Coll. Brit. Mus.). 

Denmark, and Revel in Esthonia, appear to be the northern 
limits of the breeding-range of the Marsh- Warbler ; while eastward 
it extends across Russia to South-western Siberia, Turkestan and 
Persia ; the bird wintering in many parts of Africa, as far south as 
Natal. South of the Baltic it is generally distributed in suitable 
localities throughout Europe, except in the extreme west, respecting 
which further information is desirable. The ' Verderolle,' as it is 
appropriately named in French, undoubtedly breeds in Picardy, and 
as far west as Normandy ; but as yet no specimens are forthcoming 
from the Spanish Peninsula, where the Reed- Warbler breeds freely. 
In the low ground of Switzerland, as at Interlaken, Brienz, Lucerne, 
&c., the Marsh- Warbler may always be observed j as well as along 
the valley of the Rhine, especially near Coblenz (J. H. Salter), and 
in Holland. 

The Marsh- Warbler does not frequent reeds, but often breeds in 
cornfields, far away from any water except a small brook, though 
usually in some swampy thicket or osier-bed. The nests never over- 
hang the water, although often close to it, in low bushes, or among 
rank meadow-sweet, cow-parsnip and nettles ; those which I have 
examined were composed of fine round grass-stalks and lined with 
horsehair. The 5-7 eggs are much whiter in their ground-colour 
than those of the Reed- Warbler, with spots and blotches of olive- 
brown and violet-grey: measurements 73 by '55 in. Only one 
brood is reared in the season, but if the nest be taken, another is 
soon built, and fresh eggs have been found in the beginning of July. 
The male bird is often conspicuous at some distance from the 
nest ; not skulking like the Reed- Warbler, but boldly pouring out 
a song far more melodious and imitative than that of its congeners. 
The food is similar to that of the Reed-Warbler. 

The adult is olive-brown above, with a faint buffish-white streak 
over the eye; under parts white, tinged with sulphur-buff; wing- 
feathers olive-brown, tipped and margined with pale-buff; bill horn- 
brown above, paler below; legs and feet brownish flesh-colour. 
Length 5-25 in. ; wing to the end of the 3rd and longest primary 
27 in. : longer than in the Reed-Warbler. In fresh and fully 
moulted birds the 2nd quill infinitesimally exceeds the 4th : the 
reverse being the case with the Reed- Warbler. 



SYLVIIN^,. 



83 




THE GREAT REED-WARBLER. 

AcROCEPHALUS TURDOiDES (Meyer). 

The Great Reed-Warbler is another migratory species which, like 
the Icterine Warbler, is so common on the Continent that it is 
a marvel its visits to our shores are so few and far between. It is 
not a bird likely to escape notice : on the contrary, its powerful 
chattering song and large size would at any time attract attention ; 
yet the fact remains that it has been very rarely obtained in 
England. The first on record was obtained near Newcastle on May 
28th 1847 by Thos. Robson (afterwards well known as a collector 
at Ortakoi, near Constantinople) ; three are stated — though on the 
authority of a dealer whose traffic with Holland was notorious — to 
have been obtained in Essex and Kent about 1853 ; Mr. Goodchild 
informs me that an example shot near Sittingbourne is in the 
collection of Mr. G. Thomas ; Mr. W. O. Hammond shot one near 
Wingham, Kent, on September 14th 1881 ; and one was obtained 
near Ringwood, Hampshire, on June 3rd 1884. Statements as to 
the finding of eggs supposed to belong to the bird are not wanting, 
but none of them are authenticated. In YarrelFs ' British Birds,' 
until the 4th Edition, this species was called the Thrush-like 

H 2 



84 GREAT REED-WARBLER. 

Warbler ; and by some authors it is inappropriately termed the 
Great &^^''f- Warbler. 

The Great Reed- Warbler is only a rare migrant as far as the 
lower portion of Sweden, while the islands at the mouth of the 
Gulf of Riga appear to be its northern limit, but in suitable 
localities south of the Baltic it is abundant in summer throughout 
Europe ; also occurring on the Caspian and in Turkestan. In 
Morocco and Algeria it is to a great extent resident ; its winter 
migrations extending almost to the extreme south of Africa. In 
Egypt, and eastward to India, its line is crossed by that of A. 
stentoreus, a close ally. The Great Reed- Warbler nests annually as 
near to us as Calais, and is quite common in Belgium and Holland. 

In the breeding-season this species may be looked for among tall 
reeds and bulrushes, whether on the banks of streams and lakes, or 
on small ponds. The nest, seldom finished before the end of May, 
is a compact cup-shaped structure, some five inches deep, composed 
of dry reeds and grass, with a lining of the finer portions and the 
flowers of the same ; the whole being closely bound to several 
upright reed-stems, or sometimes willow-twigs. The 4-5, often 6 
eggs, are pale greenish-blue, blotched and speckled with ash-grey, 
russet-brown and dark olive : measurements "9 by '65 in. Only one 
brood is reared during the season, and by the beginning of September 
the southward migration has taken place. In its habits the bird is 
generally bold, and it is conspicuous, as it flits from one clump of 
reeds to another, or sits high upon one of the upper stems, uttering 
its loud harsh song, karra-karra karra, karee-karee-karee, charra- 
charra-charra ; it has also a croaking note when alarmed. It sings 
from early morning till late at night. Its food consists principally 
of insects and their larvae, especially reed-beetles {Donacia) ; but in 
autumn it is said to eat elder-berries, &c. 

The adult male has a dull whitish streak from the nostrils over 
each eye ; the upper parts are warm olive-brown, with paler tips and 
margins to the feathers of the wings and the graduated tail ; under 
parts warm buff, whiter on the throat and belly ; bill brown, 
yellowish at the base ; inside of the mouth orange-yellow ; irides 
brown; legs pale horn-colour. Length 7-8 in. ; wing to the tip of 
the 3rd and longest quill (the first or bastard being very small) 
375 in. The female is slightly smaller. The young are more 
fulvous on the under parts, and are slightly striated on the sides of 
the neck and throat. 



SYLVIIN.-E. 



85 




THE SEDGE-WARBLER. 

AcROCEPHALUS PHRAGMiTis (Bechstcin). 

The Sedge-Warbler or Sedge-bird arrives in our islands during 
the latter half of April, and from that time it is the most abundant 
and generally distributed member of the genus until the latter part 
of September ; while occasionally examples have been observed late 
in October and even in winter. It breeds throughout the mainland 
of Great Britain, although somewhat locally in the extreme north, 
and exceptionally in the Isle of Skye ; while it occurs in Barra, 
Outer Hebrides ; breeds increasingly in the Orkneys ; but is not yet 
recorded from the Shetlands. To Ireland it is a regular and widely- 
distributed visitor in summer, and is frequently killed by striking 
against the lighthouses. 

In Norway the Sedge-Warbler is found as far north as lat. 70° ; 
and eastward, it can be traced across Sweden, North Russia, and 
Siberia to lat. 67° in the valley of the Yenesei. Southward, its 
breeding-range extends to the Altai, AVestern Turkestan, Palestine, 
Greece, and the central part of Italy ; but in Sicily and the southern 
part of the Mediterranean basin westward to Spain it is principally 
known as a migrant. In the latter country I obtained examples in 
spring and autumn, and, although not found breeding, 1 have adults 
shot at Malaga on July 25th. Throughout the rest of Europe this 
species is tolerably abundant in suitable situations, especially in 



86 SEDGE-WARBLER. 

the north, although sometimes unaccountably local. In winter it 
migrates as far as South Africa. 

While partial to the banks of streams, lakes and ponds, where 
rushes and osiers abound, the Sedge-Warbler is by. no means 
restricted to such, or even to moist situations ; indeed it may often 
be found among copses and hedge-rows far from water. The 
nest is never suspended, like that of the Reed-Warbler, but is 
concealed among the lower branches of a shrub, or in the rank 
herbage by some stream or ditch, or even in a mossy hollow in the 
ground. Mr. A. H. Evans and I found one in the middle of a 
gooseberry bush in a garden by Hickling Broad ; and Mr. M. 
Browne has recorded another which was placed quite ten feet up, at 
the top of a ' bullfinch ' hedge, in Leicestershire. The foundation 
of moss is surmounted by grass and coarse bents, with a slight 
lining of horse-hair and seed-tufts of plants, and occasionally 
feathers. The 5-6 eggs are of a yellowish clay-colour, clouded or 
mottled with a brownish-shade, and often streaked and scrolled at 
the larger end with black hair-lines (much like those of the Yellow 
Wagtail) : measurements "68 by "52 in. The young are hatched 
early in June. Aquatic insects and their larvae, small slugs and 
worms, form the principal food of the Sedge-^^'arbler ; but in 
autumn, like its congeners, it appears to be partial to elder-berries. 
Its babbling notes, cheep, cheep, chissock cheep, are loud and merry, 
though somewhat harsh (for which reason the bird is known as the 
' Chat ' on the Thames) ; while in the summer it sings day and night, 
being more often heard than seen ; it is also a great imitator. 

The adult male in spring has the lores and ear-coverts brown, 
surmounted by a broad yellowish-white streak above each eye ; 
crown streaked with dark brown on a paler ground, forming a sort 
of cap ; neck, back and wing-coverts reddish-brown clouded with 
darker brown ; rump and tail-coverts tawny brown ; tail dark brown, 
with paler edges ; wings nearly the same ; chin and throat white ; 
breast and under parts buff ; bill dark brown above, lighter below ; 
legs and feet pale brown. Length 5 in. ; wing to the end of the 3rd 
and slightly longest primary 2-5 in. ; the bastard primary being very 
small. The latter character serves to distinguish the Sedge-^^'arbler 
from the Moustached ^^'arbler {A. melaiiopogott), which is found in 
the south of Europe, and is similar in general appearance, but has a 
long bastard primary. The female Sedge-^^'arble^ is less rufous on 
the rump, and is generally of a duller brown than the male. The 
young are distinctly spotted with pale brown upon the throat and 
upper part of the breast. 



SYLVIIN/E. 



87 




THE AQUATIC WARBLER. 

AcROCEPHALUS AQUATicus (J. F. Gmeliii). 

Owing to the similarity of the Aquatic \\'arbler to the preceding 
species, all the earlier examples obtained in England appear to 
have been originally overlooked. Professor Newton was the first 
to recognize a specimen in the collection of Mr. W. Borrer, who said 
that it had been shot on October 19th 1853, while creeping about 
among the grass and reeds in an old brick-pit near Hove, Sussex. 
This example having been exhibited before the Zoological Society 
(P. Z. S. 1866, p. 210), it was subsequently examined by Mr. Harting, 
who announced (Ibis 1867, p. 469) that he also possessed an Aquatic 
Warbler, obtained near Loughborough, in Leicestershire, in the 
summer of 1864, and forwarded to him by a friend, under the 
impression that it was a Grasshopper-Warbler. In February 1871, 
Mr. J. H. Gurney detected in the Museum at Dover a third example, 
which the Curator, the late Mr. C. Gordon, stated that he had shot 
near that town. Mr. Gurney has further pointed out that the bird 
figured as a Sedge- Warbler in Hunt's ' British Ornithology ' was 
undoubtedly an Aquatic Warbler, in all probability obtained in 
Norfolk about the year 1815. Lastly, an example was shot at 
Blakeney, Norfolk, on September 8th 1896. The conspicuous buff 



S8 AQUATIC WARBLER. 

Streak down the middle of the crown in the Aquatic Warbler is 
an unfailing mark of distinction between this species and the 
Sedge-Warbler. 

The Aquatic Warbler seldom visits Heligoland ; though it breeds 
sparingly in the southern part of Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein, and 
on the southern side of the Baltic. In Holland and Belgium it is 
of rare occurrence ; but in France it is found annually in the 
departments of Somme and Nord. In the Brenne and beyond the 
Loire it arrives about the third week in April to breed ; while further 
south, in the Camargue and similar marshy districts, it is not 
uncommon. Eastward, it is fairly distributed throughout Germany, 
becoming abundant in Silesia as well as in some parts of Poland, 
and only less so in Austria-Hungary. It breeds in many parts of 
Italy, Sicily and Sardinia ; but in the Spanish Peninsula I have 
obtained it only in September. In North Africa it is probably 
resident. In the eastern portion of the basin of the Mediterranean 
it appears to be merely a migrant or a winter-visitor ; and the 
marshes of the Southern Ural form its boundary in that direction. 

According to Naumann, the nest is placed in more open localities 
than that of the Sedge- Warbler, and generally about a foot from the 
ground, in a bunch of sedge, or amongst dwarf willow-growth, but 
never among reeds overhanging the water. It is similar to that of 
the Sedge-'\\'arbler, and the eggs, 4-5 in number, are slightly less 
yellow in their ground-colour than those of that bird : measurements 
■65 by "51 in. Breeding commences in the middle of May. In its 
habits this species is remarkably shy, concealing itself on the 
least alarm and running like a mouse along a branch or on the 
ground. Its food consists of insects. The song, uttered from the 
end of April to July, is shorter and less varied than that of the 
Sedge-Warbler. 

In the adult the forehead is rufous-buff; the lores and ear-coverts 
are pale brown, surmounted by a buff stripe over and behind each 
eye ; above this, on each side, is a broad blackish stripe, followed 
by a conspicuous buff streak along the middle of the crown ; nape 
and back tawny-brown striped with black ; rump rufous-brown, 
with black streaks ; tail-feathers brown, darker along the shafts ; 
under parts yellowish-buff, darker on the flanks, which, with the neck 
and throat, are more or less striated ; bill brown above, yellowish 
below ; legs and feet yellowish-brown. In the autumn the buff tint 
becomes more intense. Length 4-9 in. ; wing to the tip of the 3rd 
and longest primary 2-4 in., the bastard quill being very small. 



SYLVIIN.t. 



89 




THE GRASSHOPPER-WARBLER. 

LocusTELLA nAvia (Boddaert). 

This Warbler owes its trivial name to a rapid trilling song, which 
somewhat resembles the chirping of the grasshopper or the mole- 
cricket ; but in many parts of England it is also known as the 
' Reeler,' from a fancied similarity to the noise of the old-fashioned 
implement used by wool-spinners, or of the running-out of the 
line on a fisherman's reel. The bird arrives from the south about 
the second half of April, departing in September ; and between those 
months it is of tolerably general distribution in suitable localities 
throughout England and Wales ; being often supposed to be rarer 
than is really the case, owing to its skulking habits. Fens and 
partially reclaimed land are favourite situations, but heaths, commons, 
and tangled hedge-rows are also frequented, while the moist 
shoulders or ' dips,' near the summits of some of our highest hills, 
such as the Cheviots, are situations to which it seems to be partial ; 
in fact Northumberland and Durham are two of the counties in 
which it is abundant in some summers. In Scotland we trace 
it, in gradually diminishing numbers, as far as Arisaig, below the 
Sound of Sleat, and, across that water, to the Isle of Skye. It is 
found almost all over Ireland. 

The Grasshopper-Warbler is only a rare visitor to Heligoland, 
and is hardly known to cross the Baltic, but in Russia it is found as 
far north as St. Petersburg. Over the greater part of Europe it 
seems to be generally distributed, although seldom common ; but it 



90 GRASSHOPPER-WARBLER. 

is not improbable tliat it may often be overlooked. In Italy it is 
said to be rare ; but in the south of Spain I found it fairly abundant 
in autumn and winter ; and in the latter season it appears to visit 
Morocco and Algeria. Eastward, it can be traced in Europe to 
Transylvania, and the south-east of Russia ; perhaps to the Altai, in 
Siberia ; but beyond the Ural Mountains its line is crossed by 
allied species : — Z. lanceolata in Siberia, and Z. straminea in 
Turkestan. 

The nest may be looked for in clumps of dry fen-grass, the 
bottoms and sides of thick hedge-rows, rank herbage on hill-sides, 
or in young plantations. When flushed from her nest the bird 
flies off with a very peculiar drooping movement of her outspread 
tail, and, if not pursued, she will usually not fly far. On her 
return she will sometimes come stealing back again with the 
mouse-like action so often insisted upon as a characteristic, but 
neither Mr. A. H. Evans nor I have noticed this performance on 
her leaving the nest. This, a compact and rather deep structure, 
is principally composed of moss and dry grass, with a finer lining 
of the latter ; the 5-7 eggs are pale pinkish-white, freckled and 
zoned with darker reddish-brown : measurements 7 by "54 in. 
Two broods are sometimes reared in the season ; the first eggs being 
laid about the third week in May ; while they have been taken fresh 
in the first week of August. The song, already described, may be 
heard to advantage on a still summer's evening, or during the two or 
three hours after dawn ; the bird perching on the topmost spray of 
a bush or the point of a tall reed to utter it, but taking refuge in the 
herbage on the smallest alarm, although perhaps only for a moment. 
The alarm-note is a sharp tic, tic, tac. The food consists of dragon- 
flies — taken on the wing — and other insects, with their larvae. This 
species appears to migrate in large parties, for Booth observed several 
hundreds at daybreak early in May, all congregated on a small patch 
of some dozen or twenty acres of mud-banks covered with marsh- 
samphire and other weeds, near Rye in Sussex, and evidently making 
their way inland. 

The adult is greenish-brown above, with darker striations down the 
centre of each feather ; quills and tail brown, with faint bars on the 
latter ; under parts pale brown, with darker spots on the neck and 
breast ; under tail-coverts very long, and streaked along the shafts 
with dark brown ; bill brown ; legs and feet pale yellowish-brown. 
Length 5-4 in.; wing to tip of 3rd and longest quill 2-4 in. The 
sexes are alike in plumage. The young are more suffused with buff 
on the under parts, and have larger bastard primaries. 



SYLVIIN.E. 



91 




SAVrS WARBLER. 

LOCUSTELLA LUSCINIOIDES (Savi). 

As remarked by Professor Newton, in the best account extant of 
Savi's Warbler (Yarrell's British Birds, 4th Ed., i. p. 389), there can 
be Httle doubt that this bird was a regular (though never a very 
abundant) summer-visitant to England, until the drainage of the 
fens and meres of the Eastern Counties unfitted large districts for 
its habitation. The first example ever brought to the notice of 
naturalists — still at the Norwich Museum — was shot in Norfolk 
during the month of May, in the early part of this century ; but 
having been submitted to Temminck it was pronounced by him to 
be a variety of the Reed- Warbler ; while some subsequent confusion 
in his mind was, doubtless, the cause of his w^holly erroneous state- 
ment that Cetti's Warbler (a very different species, with only ten tail- 
feathers) had been killed in England. Not until 1824 was the 
specific distinctness of Savi's Warbler recognized by the Italian 
ornithologist after whom it is named. In after years about six 
examples of the bird, and one or two of its nests, were taken in 
Norfolk ; while in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire a larger 
number of both were obtained in fens which are, at the present day, 
with two exceptions, completely drained. The last British specimen 
was obtained at Surlingham, Norfolk, in June 1856 ; and none are 
known to be in existence except those from the Eastern Counties, 



92 SAVI S WARBLER. 

where the bird used to arrive about the middle of April, and at its 
first coming was not shy. There is some evidence that this species 
was noticed in May 1897 in the Humber District (Cordeaux), as 
well as near Olney, Bucks. 

In Holland, Savi's ^^'arbler has become rarer of late years, owing 
to drainage ; so that at the present time it appears to be very local, 
and almost restricted to the reed-beds of the Maas district. It is 
also found in summer in similar localities in the Camargue, at the 
mouth of the Rhone ; in some parts of Andalucia in Spain ; the 
swamps of ]\Iassaciuccoli in Tuscany ; Austria-Hungary ; the Balkan 
States ; Southern Russia as far as the Caspian ; and Western 
Turkestan. It has been obtained in Cyprus, and once in Palestine ; 
while it appears to pass the winter in Egypt, where Capt. Shelley 
found it tolerably abundant and generally distributed, frequenting 
the most luxuriant growth in the cornfields, as well as the reedy 
marshes. Canon Tristram observed it in the oases of the Sahara 
as far south as 32° N. lat. ; while northward, in Algeria, Mr. Salvin 
met with it breeding in the marshes of Zana ; and it has occurred 
in ^Morocco. In the islands of the Mediterranean it appears to be 
rare, even on migration. 

The deep cup-shaped nest, placed in sedges and reed-beds, or in 
tufts of spiky rushes which flourish in wet ground, is composed 
of interwoven sedge-blades, and may be compared with that of a 
Crake in miniature. The 4-6 eggs are white or pale buff in 
ground-colour, thickly freckled, and generally girdled, with ashy- 
brown and violet-grey spots : measurements "78 by '57 in. In 
Andalucia nesting begins early in May, but in Galizia and Holland 
not until the end of that month ; both sexes incubating. Count 
Wodzicki says that in the breeding-season the male is excitable and 
quarrelsome, displaying also much curiosity on the appearance of 
an intruder ; he sings all day in calm clear weather, but seldom at 
night, and generally at the top of some commanding reed. From its 
monotonous note this ^^'arbler was formerly known to our fen-men 
by the names of ' red craking reed-wren ' and ' reel-bird ' ; while in 
Holland it is called Sivorr and in Germany Schirrvogel. The call- 
note is a short krr. The food consists of insects and their larvae. 

In the adult the upper parts are reddish-brown ; the fan-shaped tail 
(of 1 2 broad feathers) shows in certain lights some faint transverse 
bars ; throat and centre of abdomen white ; upper breast, flanks, and 
under tail-coverts buff; bill brown above, paler below; legs and feet 
pale brown. Length 57 in. ; wing to the tip of the 2nd and longest 
primary 2-6 in. The young are slightly paler on the under parts. 



ACCENTORIN/E. 




THE HEDGE-SPARROW. 



Accentor nodularis (Linnoaus). 

The Hedge-Sparrow is resident and generally distributed through- 
out the British Islands : the exceptions being the bleakest of the 
Outer Hebrides and the Shetlands, for in the Orkneys it has bred 
since 1887, and is increasing. In Sutherland and Caithness it is 
extending its range wherever plantations are springing up ; while in 
winter it comes nearer to houses, where a more plentiful supply of 
food is attainable. On the east coast it is a regular migrant, 
extraordinary numbers sometimes arriving on the coast of Lincoln- 
shire and Yorkshire in September and October ; while return parties 
have been noticed in spring. The Hedge-Sparrow is known by a 
variety of names, such as ' Dunnock,' 'Dykie,' 'Smokie,' and 
' Shuffle-wing ' (the last from its peculiar action). Chaucer called 
it ' Haysogge,' and to this day it is known in Surrey as ' Isaac ' ; 
while some well-meaning writers name it the Hedge-Accentor, to 
show that it is no relative of the obnoxious House-Sparrow. 

In Norway the Hedge-Sparrow breeds as far north as the limit of 
forest growth, and eastward it occurs sparingly up to 60° N. lat. in 
the Ural Mountains ; but from the greater part of these northern 
regions it migrates southwards in autumn ; large numbers passing 
by Heligoland. Throughout Europe, south of the Baltic, it is 



94 HEDGE-SPARROW. 

generally distributed in summer down to the northern districts of 
Spain, and Mr. Tait found it nesting in the valley of the Douro, in 
Portugal ; but in Southern Spain its familiar eggs have not yet been 
seen. In the latter country, and, in fact, along the northern shores 
of the Mediterranean, it is a winter-visitor ; wandering to the islands 
and to Algeria; Canon Tristram say.s that it is resident in the 
Lebanon ; and Von Heuglin found it in winter in Arabia Petrcea. 
Its south-eastern breeding limit appears to be the Caucasus. 

The nest is seldom placed far from the ground, and is generally 
in hedge-rows and in tangled bushes, or among heaps of dry 
sticks ] less frequently in ivy. In a wet cave on Ailsa Craig the late 
R. Gray found one placed on a ledge of rock, at the root of some 
hart's-tongue fern. Roots and green moss, with hair and wool for 
the lining, are the materials employed ; and the 4-6 blue eggs, 
measuring about 78 by '56 in., may frequently be found early in 
March ; two. and sometimes three broods being reared in the season. 
An old and popular belief, alluded to by Chaucer, and, long after, 
by Shakespeare, is that the Hedge- Sparrow is usually selected by 
the Cuckoo as a foster-parent for its young ; while the observations 
of Jenner and others on the behaviour of nestling Cuckoos, have 
tended to strengthen the idea, for, owing to the situations adopted, 
the nests of the Hedge-Sparrow are easily found and watched ; yet 
it may be doubted whether the nests of the Meadow-Pipit and Pied 
Wagtail are not greater favourites. The food consists of spiders, 
small beetles and other insects, worms, seeds, and, in severe weather, 
any crumbs and sweepings obtainable in the neighbourhood of 
habitations. The short song of the Hedge-Sparrow is commenced, 
even in our islands, as early as February, and in the south of 
Europe it may be heard all through the winter. 

The adult male has the head and nape slate-grey, streaked with 
brown ; ear-coverts brown ; back and wings rufous-brown, with 
umber streaks ; the lower wing-coverts with buffish-white tips, which 
form a narrow but distinct bar ; quills and tail dusky brown ; 
chin, throat and upper breast slate-grey ; belly dull white ; sides 
and flanks pale reddish-brown, with dark streaks ; bill brown, lighter 
at the base; legs and feet yellowish-brown. Length, 5*5 in.; wing 
to the tips of 3rd-5th and longest primaries 275 in. The female 
is somewhat less in size and duller in colour, and the streaks about 
the head, neck and shoulders are smaller and more numerous. The 
young have no slate-grey on the head and throat, and are browner 
and more spotted than the adults. 



ACCENTORIN^.. 



95 




THE ALPINE ACCENTOR. 



Accentor collaris (Scopoli). 

As might be expected, this mountain-loving species is only an 
exceptional visitor to England. Its first recorded occurrence was at 
Cambridge, where two of these birds were noticed climbing about 
the buildings or feeding on the grass-plots in King's College, one of 
them being shot on November 22nd 1822 ; previously, however, 
an example had been obtained near Walthamstow, Essex, by Mr. 
Pamplin, in August 18 17. Subsequently several birds have been 
taken — or their occurrence recorded by competent observers : one 
near Lowestoft, Suffolk ; one at Wells, Somerset ; four in South 
Devon ; one near Cheltenham ; one near Scarborough ; two near 
Lewes, Sussex ; and one on the Llanberis side of Snowdon, on 
August 20th 1870. The last bird was exceedingly tame, hopping 
about a small stone-enclosure, where I watched it as long as I could 
without attracting attention. 

As a wanderer the Alpine Accentor has occurred in Heligoland, 
Northern Germany, Belgium, and the north of France, especially 
Normandy ; while along the cliffs of the Loire it is to be found with 
tolerable regularity in autumn (Bureau). Its home is, however, in the 
mountains of Savoy and the ranges which, under various names, 
stretch from the Alps to the Carpathians inclusive ; the Apennines ; 
Sicily ; Sardinia ; the Pyrenees and their Cantabrian continuation ; 
the Guadarrama and other Spanish ranges down to the Sierra 
Nevada ; Greece ; Asia Minor ; the Caucasus, and Northern Persia. 
Eastward, the distribution of this bird can with difficulty be traced, 



96 ALPINE ACCENTOR. 

owing to a chain of forms of questionable distinctness, leading to 
well-defined species in those highlands of Asia which form the 
head-quarters of the 01d-A\'orld genus Accentor. 

The nest, built towards the end of May, is placed on the ground, 
among crevices of rocks, or under some small bush ; it is round, 
compact, and somewhat shallow, the materials consisting of dry 
grass-stems, with a slight lining of fine moss, and sometimes a few 
feathers. The 4-5 eggs are of a pale blue, like those of the other 
members of the genus: measurements "95 in. by '68 in. In summer 
the bird is to be found up to the edge of the snow-line, and 
seldom below the altitude of 4,000 feet : while on the Tatra 
Mountains of Galizia, Count Wodzicki met with breeding colonies 
of from twenty to forty pairs ; an unusual gregariousness, though in 
autumn small flocks collect. In summer this species feeds on 
beetles and other insects, while in autumn it gets as fat as a 
Bunting on the seeds of Alpine plants ; nor does it leave the 
mountains until snow covers the seeds, and forces it downwards 
to the villages and even to the coast. It creeps about in the same 
sly way as our Hedge-Sparrow does ; like that bird, it undoubtedly 
hops, and does not run, as some writers have asserted ; nor does it 
duck its head and jerk up its tail every time it utters its note, after 
the manner of the Chats. Seebohm saw it at least fifty times 
without perceiving the habit alluded to, and the same is my own 
experience. He describes the song as a rich liquid chick, ich, ich, 
ich ; the call-note is a plaintive tri, tri, tri. 

The adult has the head, nape, and earcoverts greyish-brown with 
darker streaks ; back rather browner, with broader streaks down the 
centre of each feather ; wing-coverts dark brown, tipped with white 
spots, which form a double bar ; secondaries margined and tipped 
with rufous ; primaries dark brown ; tail dark brown, with buffish-white 
tips, which are larger on the inner webs and almost absent on the 
central feathers ; chin and throat white, spotted with black ; breast 
and centre of abdomen greyish-brown ; flanks mottled with dark 
chestnut ; bill black above, yellowish at the base ; legs and feet 
pinkish-yellow, in life. The sexes are alike in plumage. The young 
bird has the feathers of the back edged with rufous ; there is no 
mottled white patch on the throat ; and the under parts are of a 
very dusky yellowish-brown. Length 7 in. ; wing to the tip of the 
3rd and longest primary 4-1 in. ; the bastard primary is compara- 
tively small. 



L 



CINCLID.*. 



97 



/ .'\K 




THE DIPPER. 
CiNCLUs AQUATicus, Beclisteiii. 

It may fairly be said that the Dipper, Water-Ouzel or " Water- 
Crow " is found in the British Islands wherever there are rapidly 
running rivers, or brooks rippling over rocks and stones, while, as a 
wanderer, it occurs on the margins of more sluggish streams ; the 
mouths of tidal rivers, and the sea-shore being favourite resorts in 
winter. Eocalities suitable to its habits present themselves in Corn- 
wall, Devon and Somerset (where the bird is known as the ' Water- 
Colly ' i.e., Water-Blackbird), Wales and the bordering counties, and, 
northwards, to Scotland, where every river or burn of any consequence 
is frequented by several pairs ; the range extending to the Outer 
Hebrides, and occasionally to the Orkneys. In Ireland the species is 
resident in the mountainous districts and some of the lower valleys. 

Our Dipper is naturally of rare occurrence in the flat eastern 
counties of England ; but these are sometimes visited in winter by 
the Black-bellied Dipper, Cindus 7?ielanogasfer, Brehm ; a form 
which some naturalists consider entitled to specific rank. This 
has little or no chestnut colour in the breast-band, and is found 
in Scandinavia, and Northern Russia ; visiting Denmark, Heligo- 
land, Northern Germany, and Holland. After examining a 
considerable number of Dippers, including the fine series in the 

I 



98 DIPPER. 

British Museum, it appears to me that C. melanogaster is merely a 
dark form which inhabits the northern countries of Europe, as well 
as the higher mountain regions of the south. Even in Derbyshire 
the Dippers from the Peak district at 1,500 feet are darker than birds 
from 1,000 feet lower down ; and examples from the iipper portions 
of the narrow valleys of the Pyrenees above Luz, as well as the 
lofty Cantabrian Mountains, in North-western Spain, are indistin- 
guishable from Scandinavian specimens. At lower elevations, and 
also on the river Genii near Granada, the Dippers have a broad 
chestnut band, and belong to a race intermediate between our 
British form and another — paler on the back — called by separatists 
C. albicollis ; the last-named inhabiting the Alps, the Carpathians, 
Italy and Greece. From the Caucasus and Asia Minor eastward to 
Tibet, intergraduating races lead to the browner-backed C. cash- 
viiriensis ; while in the Atlas Mountains is found yet another form, 
distinguished by Canon Tristram as C. minor. Judging from the 
above I still (1897) consider it advisable to treat both the forms of 
Dipper which occur in our islands under one heading, while admitting 
that the extremes of each race are recognizable. 

The nest is a large oval ball of moss, grass or leaves, and 
generally lined with dead leaves; the entrance being low down in the 
side. It is placed in a hole under a bridge, in the wall of a mill-dam, 
in a bank, or on a ledge of rock, often behind a cascade of water ; 
sometimes in the boughs of low trees overhanging a river. The 
4-6 eggs are of a dull white: measurements i in. by 75 in. Fully 
fledged young have been found on March 21st; and not only are two 
and even three broods reared in the season, but a second or even third 
clutch of eggs is occasionally deposited in the same nest. The song, 
begun in autumn, may frequently be heard throughout the winter, and 
always early in spring. The food consists of soft-shelled molluscs, 
spiders, aquatic beetles and other insects, with their larvje, many of 
which are known to be destructive to the spawn of trout and salmon. 
The bird sinks in a peculiar way, without taking a " header "; in pursuit 
of its prey, it employs both legs and wings, using the latter like oars, 
and the young are able to swim freely as soon as they leave the nest. 

Adult : head and nape umber-brown ; back and tail-coverts slate- 
grey, mottled with brown ; tail and wing-feathers dark brown ; chin, 
throat and upper breast white ; lower breast dark chestnut-brown, 
passing into black on the flanks and lower belly ; bill brownish- 
black ; legs and feet brown. Length 7 in.; wing 3-6 in. The 
sexes are alike in plumage. The young are greyish-brown above, 
and have no chestnut-brown on the under parts. 



PANURID/E. 



99 




THE BEARDED TITMOUSE. 



Panurus biarmicus (Linnjeus). 

The drainage of the reedy fens and meres has destroyed the 
former breeding-grounds of the Bearded Tit in Sussex, Kent, Essex, 
Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Lincolnshire ; perhaps — 
aided by the greed of collectors — even in Suffolk. The places where 
the bird can now be observed in the nesting-season are mostly in the 
Broad-district of Norfolk, with, perhaps, one locality in Devonshire. 
As a visitor it has twice occurred in Cornwall ; while it has been 
recorded in Dorset, and along the Thames valley to Gloucestershire ; 
as well as in Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire. It is a resident 
species in England, seldom wandering far from its usual haunts ; and 
if our indigenous birds should be exterminated, there is little hope 
of their place being supplied by migrants from the Continent. 

An exceptional wanderer to Heligoland, and rare in Holstein and 
Germany east of the Moselle, the Bearded Tit becomes compara- 
tively common in the great reed-beds of Holland ; visiting Belgium 
in autumn and Luxembourg in winter, to escape the severity of the 
weather. In France it is principally found in the valley and the 
delta of the Rhone, and in the marshes below Narbonne. In Spain 
I observed it in considerable numbers on the Albufera lake, near 
Valencia, where it is resident ; as it is also in the marshes of Italy 
and Sicily. It is found in suitable situations in Poland, Austro- 

I 2 



lOO BEARDED TITMOUSE. 

Hungary, South Russia — especially in the marshes of the Black and 
Caspian Seas — Turkestan, Yarkand and Southern Siberia : the 
coloration of specimens becoming gradually paler from England 
eastward to Central Asia. The bird has also been observed in 
Albania, Greece and Asia Minor. 

On the Norfolk Broads the 'Reed Pheasant,' as it is called, 
often begins to lay early in April ; the nest being placed near the 
water, in sedge, crushed-down reeds, or aquatic plants, but never 
suspended from the stems. It is composed of flat grass-blades, 
sedges, and dead flags, with a lining of the flower of the reed. The 
5-7 eggs are shining creamy-white, sparingly streaked with short wavy 
lines of reddish-brown : average measurements 7 by -55 in. Some- 
times two hens occupy the same nest, each laying an egg daily until 
a total of 10 is reached. Two broods are produced in the season, 
fresh eggs being obtainable up to the early part of August. The 
note is a clear, ringing ping, ping; and when the nest is approached 
a plaintive ee-ar, ee-ar is uttered. Even in the winter the birds are 
lively and musical, and at that season they may be seen in flocks of 
forty or fifty together ; often roving from the frozen inland waters to 
those which are kept open by the influence of the tide. The food 
consists largely of the seed of the reed in winter ; but in summer 
the crops of some individuals have been found closely packed with 
such small shell-bearing molluscs as Snccinea amphibia. In its diges- 
tive organs and other points of internal structure this bird shows no 
real affinity to the Tits, and some writers have advocated its relation- 
ship to the Finches ; it is, however, as Professor Newton remarks, 
a perfectly distinct form, with no very near relations, and quite 
entitled to be regarded as the representative of a separate family, the 
Pamii idcE. 

The adult male has the crown bluish-grey ; a black loral patch 
descends diagonally from below the eye and terminates in a pointed 
moustache; nape, back and rump orange-tawny; secondaries longitu- 
dinally striped with bufiish-white, black, and rufous ; primaries brown 
with white outer margins ; tail mostly rufous ; chin and throat 
greyish-white turning into greyish-pink on the breast ; flanks orange- 
tawny ; under tail-coverts jet black ; bill yellow ; legs and feet black. 
Length 675 in. ; wing 2'25 in. The female has the head brownish- 
fawn, and no black on the lores, cheeks, or under tail-coverts ; the 
back is somewhat streaked, but in other respects she is merely duller 
than the male. The young bird is like the female, but the crown 
of the head and the middle of the back are streaked with black. 



PARID.t. 




THE LONG-TAILED TITMOUSE. 



AcREDULA CAUDATA (Linnjeus). 

The Long-tailed Titmouse is one of those species which exhibit 
a strong tendency to variation under cHmatic or other conditions ; 
and ornithologists must exercise their individual discretion in classing 
each form as a race, a sub-species, or a completely segregated 
species. In the adult bird found in Scandinavia, Northern Germany, 
Austria and Russia — extending across Siberia to Japan — the head is 
white ; the purity and extent of that colour attaining the maximum 
in the far north. This is the true A. caudata, as restricted by some 
authors, which has been obtained once in Northumberland, and 
which seems to have occurred in some of the Scottish forests ; while 
intergradations between this and the next form have been observed. 
In the Netherlands, Germany west of Cassel, and part of France, 
A. caudata meets and interbreeds with the form which represents it 
generally in the British Islands, and which is distinguished by its 
duller tints as well as by having the white on the head restricted 
to the crown. If separated specifically, this dull form is A. rosea. 
In the south of France and the north of Italy, the latter meets 
and intergrades with the greyer-backed A. trbii, which becomes 
the representative in Sicily and Spain. Although it is difficult to 



I02 LONG-TAILED TITMOUSE. 

separate any but adult examples of these two races, Herr Lorenz 
has not hesitated to describe A. irbii var. caitcasica ! Space fails for 
the enumeration of the Siberian, Chinese and Japanese forms of 
Long-tailed Tit upon which specific names have been conferred ; 
but I may observe that from the Balkan Peninsula to Persia occur 
two distinct species, A. tephronota and A. macedonica, in both of 
which there is a black patch on the throat. 

Our form of the Long-tailed Tit is resident and tolerably abundant 
throughout England and Wales, wherever the localities are suited to 
its habits ; and, although somewhat more partial in its distribution 
in Scotland, it is by no means uncommon there ; ranging as far west 
as Skye, and wandering to the Shetlands. In Ireland it is resident 
and common. 

The nest is oval, with a small hole in the upper part of the side, 
and is composed of silvery lichens, green moss, wool and spiders' webs, 
felted together, and lined with a profusion of feathers. Its form has 
procured for its architect the name of ' Bottle-Tit ' ; while, owing to 
the lining, the bird is frequently called the 'Feather-poke.' The 
nest is often placed in the middle of a thick whitethorn, holly, or 
furze-bush ; sometimes in ivy, or high up in the lichen-covered 
branches of a tree ; occasionally in tangled masses of brambles and 
creepers. The eggs, usually laid about the middle of April, are"white, 
generally more or less speckled and streaked with light red, but some- 
times merely suffused with that tint : measurements •53 by "42 in. 
In number they are usually from 7 to 10 ; but 16 young birds have 
been found in the same nest, without any evidence of their being the 
produce of more than one female. When sitting, the long tail of the 
bird is turned over its back, and often projects above its head through 
the entrance-hole. Two broods are often reared in the season, and 
subsequently the family may be seen flitting in single file from one 
hedge-row to aiiother with a remarkably dipping motion. The usual 
note is a shrill zee, zee, zee. The food consists of insects and their larvae. 

Adult male (British) : front and crown white, bordered on each 
side by a black line, running from the base of the bill over the eye 
to the nape and upper back, which are also black ; scapulars and 
lower back dull rose ; wings dark brown, margined with white on 
the secondaries ; tail-feathers black, the three outer pairs broadly 
tipped and margined with white ; cheeks and throat dull white ; 
upper breast white with a few black streaks ; belly and flanks dull 
rose; bill, legs and feet black. Length 5-5 in. ; wing 2*45 in. The 
female has rather more black about the head ; the young are duller 
in colour and have no rosy tint on the upper parts. 



I03 




THE GREAT TITMOUSE. 



Parus major, Linngeus. 

This species, often called the Ox-eye, is resident and generally 
distributed in suitable localities throughout England and Wales, 
Ireland, and the greater part of Scotland ; but in the northern and 
western portions of the latter it becomes uncommon ; being only a 
rare visitant to the Isle of Skye, Sutherland, the Orkneys, and, 
perhaps, the Shetlands. 

In the comparatively mild climate of Norway the Great Titmouse 
is found as far north as the Arctic circle ; but in Russia it has not 
been recorded beyond lat. 64° N., while in the valley of the Yenesei 
Seebohm did not find it above 58° N. Eastward it is met with in 
the wooded districts of Siberia as far as Transbaikalia. In Mongolia, 
China and Japan, its representative is P. minor : slightly smaller, 
with the under parts buffish-white instead of yellow. Our species is 
common over the whole of Europe ; being migratory in the more 
northern countries, but resident in the temperate and southern, 
down to the Mediterranean. In most of the islands of that sea it 
is also found, though seldom in Malta ; it occurs in the Canaries, 
is resident throughout a great part of North Africa, and abounds in 
Asia Minor, Palestine and Persia. 



I04 GREAT TITMOUSE. 

The nest is often commenced in March, though usually in April ; 
a hole in a tree or wall being commonly selected ; but many curious 
situations are on record, such as the inside of a pump in constant 
use, a letter-box, a shelf in a three-cornered cupboard, or the 
interior of an inverted flower-pot ; one of such, in the British 
Museum, containing three new nests ! Sometimes the foundations 
of old abodes of other birds, as Crows, Rooks and Magpies, or 
squirrels' dreys, are utilized (but more frequently on the Con- 
tinent than in this country). The structure consists of soft moss, 
surmounted by a warm bed of hair, fur, wool and feathers. The 
6 and even 12 eggs are white, spotted and blotched with light 
red: measurements, 7 by '55 in. Two broods are produced in the 
season. The Great Titmouse may often be seen roving from tree 
to tree in our gardens and sheltered districts ; sometimes hanging 
by its strong claws with its back downwards, while searching for 
insects, its principal food. No doubt the bird destroys buds ; but 
in many cases these already contain grubs which would not only 
put a stop to the growth of the sprouts, but would inflict further 
damage upon the trees. It is fond of peas, while in the autumn 
and winter it cracks and eats nuts and hard seeds, but on the 
whole its predilections are decidedly for ' animal ' food. In cold 
weather the lover of birds may enjoy watching the actions of this 
species and its kin, by suspending a piece of raw meat, a bone, or a 
lump of suet, from some bough or iron standard outside the 
windows. The Great Titmouse will attack small and weakly birds, 
splitting their skulls with its powerful beak in order to get at their 
brains ; and it has even been known to serve a Bat in this manner. 
Its usual note in spring resembles the sound produced by sharpening 
a saw with a file, and may be heard at a considerable distance ; its 
call-note is a low zee ; and some individuals display great power of 
imitating other birds. 

Adult male : crown, nape, and throat bluish-black ; cheeks white ; 
on the nape a small spot of whitish, which reaches the yellowish- 
olive of the mantle ; wing-coverts bluish-grey, with white tips which 
form a bar ; quills dark brown with paler margins ; tail-feathers slate- 
grey, the outer pair tipped and margined with white ; a black stripe 
from the throat to the vent ; sides and flanks dull sulphur-yellow ; 
bill black ; legs and feet lead-coloured. Length 575 in.; wing to 
the tip of 4th and longest primary 2 "85 in. The female is duller 
in colour than the male ; the young bird has a tinge of yellow on 
the cheeks. 



I 



PARID.E. 



^05 




THE COAL-TITMOUSE. 

Parus ater, Linnffius. 



In the Coal-Titmouse, as in the Long-tailed Titmouse, there are 
gradual variations, the extremes of which become, in the opinion 
of some ornithologists, entitled to specific distinction. As Parus 
britaiinicits, Messrs. Sharpe and Dresser have separated our race 
from that of the Continent, because the upper back is olive-brown 
in the PJritish bird, and slate-grey in the Continental form ; but, 
while I admit that a difference in tint is often recognizable, there are 
intergradations, and these are even noticeable in specimens from 
some of the forests of Scotland, in which the bird is abundant. 
Examples from Norfolk- — indistinguishable from those of the Conti- 
nent — may, of course, be foreign immigrants ; and so may the 
specimens in the British Museum, from Perthshire, which are identical 
with birds from the Vosges, although less purely grey than those 
from Japan. Against the migration-hypothesis must, however, be 
set the experience of Mr. Gurney and the late Mr. Booth, who never 
observed the Coal-Tit at sea off the east coast, nor received a wing 
of it out of numbers sent from the light-ships, as well as the fact 



Io6 COAL-TITMOUSE. 

that it seldom visits Heligoland. I have therefore treated these 
forms as climatic races. 

The Coal-Tit is a resident species in England, Wales and Ireland, 
and appears to have increased during the present century ; although 
it is still, as a rule, less numerous than the Great and Blue Tits. In 
Scotland, on the contrary, it is the commonest of the family in the 
north, and is fairly distributed, except in the Outer Hebrides, 
Orkneys and Shetlands. On the Continent the greyer-backed race 
is found in summer as far north as lat. 65°, a partial migration taking 
place in winter ; but in the central and southern portions of Europe 
the bird is generally distributed as a resident. In Algeria the 
representative is P. ledouxi, with yellow cheeks, nuchal spot and 
under parts — much like the young of our bird. In the mountains 
of Cyprus Dr. Guillemard obtained a form described by ]\Ir. Dresser 
as F. Cypriotes (Ibis 1888) ; distinguished by a tint on the back even 
browner than in British specimens, a nearly obsolete nuchal patch, 
and a greater amount of black on the throat. In the Caucasus 
occurs a larger form, P. michaloivskii, intermediate in tint between 
that of our islands and the typical race of the Continent ; and under 
various other names, according as the bird increases in brightness of 
colour and length of crest, the Coal-Tit is found across Asia to 
Kamchatka, China and Japan. 

The nest, commenced in iNIarch or April, is placed in a hole in 
a tree, a crevice in a wall, a mouse's, mole's or rabbit's burrow 
in a bank or the level ground, foundations of crows' nests, &c. ; 
while Bond found one on the branch of a fir-tree, close to the bole. 
Moss and wool, rabbits' fur, or deer's hair and feathers, are the 
materials ; the 7-1 1 eggs being white, spotted with light red : 
measurements "6 by, '45 in. The note is decidedly more shrill than 
that of its congeners. The young are fed largely upon green cater- 
pillars, but besides these, insects, nuts and seeds are eaten. 

Adult male : crown, nape, throat, and upper breast glossy blue- 
black, with a large white nuchal spot ; cheeks and sides of the neck 
white ; back grey, tinged with olive in most British specimens ; rump 
brownish-fawn ; quills ash-brown, with dull white margins to the 
secondaries ; wing-coverts with white tips, which form two bars ; tail 
ash-brown ; breast dull white, passing into fawn on the belly and 
fianks ; bill, legs and feet dark horn-colour. Length 4*25 in. ; wing 
2 "4 in. Female: slightly duller in colour. Young: no gloss on 
the head ; cheeks, nape-spot and under parts suffused with sulphur- 
yellow ; upper feathers tinged with olive. The white patch on the 
nape readily distinguishes the Coal-Tit from the Marsh-Tit. 



PARID.E. 



107 



V>^ 




THE MARSH-TITMOUSE. 



Parus palustris, Linnaeus. 

The Marsh-Titmouse is another of our resident species ; but with 
the exception of the Crested Titmouse it is the least plentiful and 
the most local of the genus. Its name is somewhat misleading, for 
the bird may often be seen in orchards and gardens, and even in 
pine-woods ; but it is partial to the vicinity of rivers, and to the 
alders and pollarded willows which flourish on swampy ground. In 
England, and in suitable parts of Wales, it is fairly common ; but in 
Scotland it is local, and was not known to breed to the north of the 
valley of the Forth, until in 1893, Mr. W. Evans found it nesting in 
Strathspey. In Mull it was abundant in October 1878. In Ireland it is 
rare ; it has been recorded from cos. Antrim, Kildare, and Dublin. 

British examples are somewhat browner on the upper parts and 
flanks than Continental specimens, and, according to Dr. Stejneger, 
they have also shorter tails. Nevertheless those ornithologists who 
have admitted the British Coal-Tit to be a distinct species, have not 
been equally courageous as regards the British Marsh-Tit, although 
the differences between the dull insular and the bright Continental 
forms are quite as marked. Dr. Stejneger has emphasized his 
opinion of this omission by naming our bird P. palustris dresseri ; 
and, as I agree with him that it is inconsistent to recognize specific 
distinctness in the former case and to reject it in the latter, I have 



Io8 MARSH-TITMOUSE. 

treated the variations in both as merely those of race. In 
Scandinavia north of lat. 6i°, Northern Russia, the Alps and the 
Carpathians, the Continental form is mainly represented by a larger 
and still greyer sub-species, P. horealis, variations of which are 
found across Asia to Japan. The typical form is distributed through- 
out Central and most of Western Europe down to the Pyrenees ; 
but in Portugal it has not yet been identified, and in Spain, I only 
observed it at Granada and Cordova, as did the late Lord Lilford at 
Santander ; while it is rare in Southern Italy and Greece. In the 
latter country, as well as in the rest of South-eastern Europe, Asia 
Minor, and Northern Persia, it is almost replaced by P. /ugubris, a 
larger bird, with a dark brown head and a stout bill. 

From the middle of April to May the Marsh-Titmouse makes its 
nest in holes in trees — especially willows and alders, in decayed 
stumps near the ground, or behind loose bark, or in burrows made 
by rats and mice in banks. The bird has been observed to hew 
out its own abode, carefully removing in its bill the chips of wood 
that would otherwise betray the site, and leaving a very narrow- 
entrance, although the hole is often of considerable size inside. The 
nest itself is composed of moss, wool, rabbits' fur and hair felted 
together, and is often lined with willow-down ; the 5-8 eggs are 
white, spotted with dull red — sometimes almost liver-colour: measure- 
ments •61 by '47 in. The alarm-note is a rapidly uttered tay, tay, 
tay, tay, much more metallic than in other species ; the song being 
a simple sis, sis, sis, see. The food consists largely of insects, in 
pursuit of which the bird has been seen to thrust its bill under the 
scales of the rough bark of a Scotch fir, and to prize them off with 
a forcible jerk ; in the autumn and winter however, seeds (especially 
those of the sun-flower), beech-mast and berries are consumed ; the 
bird holding them in its claw like a parrot, while getting out the 
edible parts. Its habits during the breeding-season are more retiring 
than those of other Tits. 

Adult : upper part of head and nape glossy black ; cheeks dull 
white, turning to buff on the sides of the neck ; back olive-brown, 
inclining to grey in Continental specimens ; rump rather browner 
olive ; quills and tail ash-brown with the outer margins paler ; chin 
and throat black ; remaining under parts dull white, turning to buff 
on the flanks ; bill black ; legs and feet lead-colour. Length 4*5 in. ; 
wing to the tips of the 4th — 5th, and longest quills 2*45 in. The sexes 
are alike in plumage ; in the young the colours are duller and more 
olive-brown. 



T09 




THE BLUE TITMOUSE. 



Parus c.eruleus, Linnffius. 

The Blue Titmouse is one of the best known of British birds, 
and is generally distributed throughout the greater part of our 
islands. In Scotland, however, it does not appear to reach the 
Outer Hebrides, though found in Jura, Mull, &c. ; while it is very 
local in the north-west, resident in Sutherland and Caithness, and 
only a wanderer to the Orkneys and Shetlands. In Ireland it is the 
commonest of the genus. In autumn considerable numbers of Blue 
and Great Tits arrive on our east coast ; and still larger flocks pass 
by Heligoland. 

In Norway the Blue Titmouse breeds as far north as lat. 64°, but 
further east its range does not extend beyond 61^ N., nor is the bird 
found in Russia beyond the Ural Mountains. It is generally dis- 
tributed over the remainder of Europe, except in some of the Greek 
islands, and is common in Asia Minor ; but in Persia it is replaced 
by P. persitits^ a much paler bird, with broader white margins to the 
greater wing-coverts. Continental specimens of the Blue Titmouse 
are brighter than those of our islands, and attain the maximum of 
brilliancy in the south of Spain ; while on the other side of the 
Mediterranean, in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, we find P. ultra- 
7nariniis, and in the Canaries the insular form P. teneriffm : birds 



no BLUE TITMOUSE. 

with the same pattern, but with bluish-slate backs, blue-black crown, 
and more intense coloration. In Central Russia our Blue Titmouse 
meets P. pleskii, a pale blue-backed form, with the belly pure white, 
and only a pale yellow spot on the breast ; while in Siberia, Russia, 
and Poland, and, as a wanderer, in Eastern Germany, we find the 
larger and very beautiful Azure Titmouse, F. cyamis, in which pale 
blue and white are the prevailing colours. I mention this bird 
because live specimens are not unfrequently brought to England, 
and, sooner or later, there will probably be an attempt to add it to 
the British list. 

The Blue Titmouse makes its nest in April, and generally selects 
a hole in a wall or a tree ; but, exceptionally, curious sites, too 
numerous to mention, have been recorded. The bird defends its 
dwelling with great pertinacity, hissing like a snake, and pecking at 
the fingers of the intruder in a way which has gained for it the name 
of " Billy-biter." The nest is composed of wool and moss, with 
feathers and hair in varying proportions. The eggs, usually 7-8 
(though as many as 18 are on record), are white, spotted with light 
red — more minutely than those of our other Tits ; measurements 
•58 by "45 in. This species and the Great Titmouse may be 
encouraged to almost any extent by hanging up suitable nesting- 
boxes. The young are fed largely with larv?e of the gooseberry- and 
winter-moths. Aphides and other insects ; while the parents also 
prey on the grubs of wood-boring beetles, the maggots from oak- 
galls, spiders, &c. In summer and autumn the Blue Titmouse may 
perhaps damage fruit to a small extent ; in winter a meat-bone hung 
up will always prove an attraction. The note is a harsh chee, chee, 
chee. 

Adult male : forehead, and a line which runs backward over each 
eye and encircles the crown, white ; crown, cobalt-blue ; a blue-black 
stripe runs through the eye to the nape, where it meets a dark blue 
band which crosses the nape, encircles the white cheek.s, and joins 
the bluish-black throat ; mantle and rump yellowish-green ; tail and 
wings blue, the coverts and inner secondaries of the latter tipped 
with white ; breast and abdomen sulphur-yellow, with a bluish-black 
streak down the middle ; bill blackish ; legs and feet bluish-grey. 
Length 4"3 in. ; wing to the tips of 3rd — 4th and longest quills 2 "4 in. 
The female is somewhat duller in colour. The young exhibit less 
blue and more yellow in their comparatively dingy plumage. 



PARID/E. 




;||;; 



THE CRESTED TITMOUSE. 



Parus cristatus, Linnaeus. 

It seems probable that the Crested Titmouse has been for ages a 
resident species in the old forests of Scotland, which now survive 
principally in the valley of the Spey. Probably the bird does not 
breed at the present time outside Strathspey. It has occurred in 
Perthshire in winter, but, as a rule, it wanders little from its usual 
haunts, and one recorded example in Argyll and another near 
Dumbarton, appear to be the only instances in Southern Scotland. 
In England few of the cases on record can be substantiated, but 
there need be little doubt that from time to time a wanderer arrives 
from the Continent. A bird in the Museum of Whitby, Yorkshire, 
was obtained in that vicinity in March 1872, and one, examined 
by Mr. E. Butterfield, was shot in August 1887 near Keighley, in 
the same county ; one appears to have been killed in Suffolk about 
1873, two or three have been taken in the Isle of Wight and 
Hampshire, and Baron A. von Hiigel observed a bird at Bourne- 
mouth on March 26th 1874. For details, a careful paper by Mr. 
J. H. Gurney (Zool. 1890, p. 210) may be consulted. 

It is not remarkable that the Crested Titmouse should occasion- 
ally visit England, for it is resident in Normandy ; while it breeds 



I I 2 CRESTED TITMOUSE. 

sparingly in several districts of Holland, principally in oak-trees, for 
abroad it is by no means restricted to conifers. It inhabits the pine- 
forests of Scandinavia and Russia up to about 64° N. lat. ; and 
eastward it can be traced as far as the valleys of the Don and 
the Volga. In Germany and in the higher districts of France it 
is tolerably abundant wherever firs are plentiful ; while in the Jura, 
Alps, Carpathians, and other ranges down to the Balkans it is 
generally distributed, though it does not go far into Italy. In some 
parts of the Lower Pyrenees I found it common ; and in the south 
of France, as well as in Spain, it may often be observed among 
trees close by the sea. In the latter country it breeds in the cork- 
woods in the vicinity of Gibraltar, as well as on higher ground ; it is 
also frequent in Portugal. It has not yet been obtained in North 
Africa, Greece, or Asia Minor. 

In Scotland, the nest of the Crested Titmouse is often placed in 
the rotten stump of a fir, a hole being bored in the tree, from 
two to eight feet above the ground ; it may be in old stumps of 
large trees within six inches of the soil, sometimes in gate-posts, 
iron supports of fences, and fissures in living firs. In Germany, the 
deserted nests of Magpies, Crows, and squirrels are also utilized ; 
and the bird has been seen by an excellent observer to occupy nests 
built in bushes, apparently those of the Wren and the Long tailed 
Titmouse. The materials are moss, deer's hair, wool and fur, felted 
together; the eggs (usually laid in Scotland at the end of April or 
early in May), are from 5-8 in number, and are white, boldly 
spotted or zoned with light red : measurements "62 by '48 in. Two 
broods are sometimes produced in the season. The food of this 
bird consists of insects and their larvae, small seeds, and berries. The 
note is zee-zee. The bird is very lively in its habits, flitting rapidly 
from one pine to another, and it may often be seen during winter 
in company with Tree-Creepers, Golden-crested Wrens and Tits. 

In the adult male the feathers of the head are dull black, broadly 
edged with greyish-white, and prolonged into a conspicuous crest ; 
on either side a black streak runs from the eye to the back of the 
head ; these join, and descend behind the cheeks (which are mottled 
with black and white) till they meet the black throat and upper 
breast ; back and wings olive-brown ; quills and tail hair-brown ; 
abdomen dull white, turning to buff on the flanks ; bill black ; feet 
and legs lead-colour. Length 4^5 in. ; wing to the tip of the 4th 
and longest primary, 2-5 in. The female has a shorter crest and 
less black on the throat ; and the young are like her, but have 
hardly any crest. 



k 



SITTID.«. 



113 



,1 "■ ', ' 



%:^^-l. , 







THE NUTHATCH. 

SiTTA ci:siA, Wolf. 

The Nuthatch is tolerably common in most of the districts in the 
south-east and centre of England which contain old timber. In the 
west it is rarer beyond Herefordshire, though perhaps increasing, 
as it is in Brecon, Radnorshire and some other parts of Wales, 
where it was formerly considered a very uncommon bird. In 
Lancashire it is seldom seen, and in Yorkshire it is mostly restricted 
to the large old parks ; while in the more northern counties it seems 
to have decreased during the present century, and is now very rare. 
In Scotland it has been obtained in Haddington-, Berwick- and 
Roxburgh- shires, and observed in Skye ; it is also said to have 
occurred on Bressay, in the Shetlands. In Ireland the Nuthatch is 
as yet unknown : an attempt by Col. Cooper to introduce it at 
Markree Castle, Sligo, seeming to have failed. 

On the Continent the northern limit of this species appears to be 
the peninsula of Jutland, where it meets its close ally, S. europcra 
(With nearly white under parts), which replaces S. ccesia in Scandi- 
navia, Northern Russia and Siberia. From the Baltic southwards 
to the Mediterranean and Black Seas, our bird is generally 
distributed ; Loche records it from Algeria and Capt. S. G. Reid 
from North-western Morocco ; and it has been obtained in Asia 
Minor and Palestine. Eastward, it cannot with certainty be traced, 

k; 



114 NUTHATCH. 

owing to the presence of some questionably valid species. Our 
bird is absent from Malta, Sardinia and Corsica ; but in the last- 
named island it is represented by a very distinct species, S. white- 
headi, with white under parts and — in the male — a jet-black head, 
named by Dr. R. B. Sharpe after its discoverer. 

The Nuthatch begins to breed about the middle of April ; 
generally making its nest in some hole in a limb of a tree, and 
occasionally between the buttresses of a trunk, close to the ground. 
A hole in a wall is sometimes selected ; and, in many instances, the 
aperture is filled up with clay and small stones, leaving only a 
narrow orifice for entrance. An extraordinary nest in the British 
Museum, presented by the late Mr. F. Bond, was placed in the side 
of a haystack, and measured thirteen inches by eight, the weight of 
the clay being eleven pounds. Some distance inside the cavity is a 
bed of dry leaves or of the scales of the Scotch fir, on which the 5-7 
eggs are deposited. These are white, spotted with reddish-brown — 
larger and more boldly blotched than those of the Great Titmouse : 
measurements 77 by "56 in. In spring the male utters a loud and 
shrill whistle, as well as tiii-tui-tui ; there is also a bubbling or churring 
note. When courting he spreads his tail, displaying the white spots, 
and puffs out the feathers of the breast. In autumn the bird feeds 
largely on hazel-nuts, which it fixes in some crevice, and then 
proceeds to hammer with its bill until the shell is broken, each 
stroke being delivered with the full weight of the body, working from 
the hip joint ; whence the names of Nuthatch (/>., Nuthack) and 
Nutjobber. It is also partial to beech-mast, and will eat many kinds 
of hard seeds, as well as acorns, and even corn in times of scarcity ; 
but during a considerable portion of the year it feeds on insects, 
for which it searches on trees and on the ground. At such times 
its motions resemble those of a mouse rather than of a bird, being 
upward, sideways or downward, with equal facility ; while, according 
to Jardine, and also Blyth, the head and back are sometimes down- 
wards, when roosting. 

Adult male : the upper parts generally of a bluish-slate colour ; 
quills browner ; central tail-feathers slate-grey, the remainder black at 
their bases, barred and tipped with white and grey ; a black streak 
running from the base of the bill through the eye to the side of the 
neck ; above the eye a narrow white streak ; chin and cheeks white ; 
throat and belly rich buff; flanks and under tail-coverts streaked 
with dark chestnut ; bill horn-colour, lighter at the base ; legs and 
feet brown. Length 57 in.; wing 3-4 in. The female is rather 
duller in colour, and the young are decidedly so. 



TROGLODYTID^. 



115 







THE WREN. 



Troglodytes parvulus, K. L. Koch. 



I 



The Wren, a bird as famih'ar by traditional associations as the 
Robin Redbreast, is generally distributed throughout the British 
Islands. Although sedentary with us, its numbers are largely 
increased by autumnal immigration ; many being found in October, 
according to Mr. Cordeaux, on and near the treeless coasts of 
Lincolnshire and the south of Yorkshire, and, perhaps less 
abundantly, in Norfolk. In our remoter islands, the resident birds 
have become somewhat different from those of the mainland. 
A single example from St. Kilda was described by Seebohm 
as T. hirte?isis (Zool. 1884, p. z?>2>) '^ but Mr. Dresser, who sub- 
sequently examined seven examples, considers that the supposed 
points of difference are all to be found in specimens from various 
parts of Europe, and that the bird is not worthy of specific rank 
(Ibis 1886, p. 43). Mr. Barrington considers that the slightly larger 
Wren resident in Shedand is very close to a dark and more barred 
form found in the Faeroes, which, with the Iceland bird, has been 
separated as T. borealis ; while Dr. Stejneger has distinguished the 
Wren found in the south-west of Norway as T. bergetisis. 

With the above exceptions the typical form of Wren inhabits the 
whole of Europe ; breeding up to the Vefsen fjord in Norway, to 64° 
N. in Sweden, and nearly as high in Finland and Russia. East- 
ward, the Ural Mountains appear to be its boundary, and in the 



Il6 WREN. 

Volga district the Wren is chiefly observed in winter. It is found in 
Morocco and Algeria, although absent from Egypt ; and it has 
been met with in the Caucasus, Northern Persia, Asia Minor and 
the north of Palestine ; the representative species in Central Asia 
being T. pallidiis. 

The Wren begins to breed very early, making its nest in shrubs, 
bushes overgrown with brambles, hedges, banks, the sides of walls 
covered with ivy, trees, hayricks, thatched roofs and other situations. 
The materials employed are principally leaves and moss, although 
dry grass is often used ; sometimes there is a lining of feathers. 
The structure, which is comparatively large, is domed, and has a 
small hole in the side ; the eggs, about 6-8 (though i6 young have 
been found in one nest), are white, generally spotted with red : 
measurements "67 by "5 in. Two broods are produced in the 
season. It is a common belief — and one not to be rashly dis- 
countenanced — that if the inside of a Wren's nest is touched the 
bird will desert it ; but if care be used such is by no means invari- 
ably the case. Imperfect nests are frequently found near an 
occupied one, and owing to the notion that they are built by the 
male bird for his lodging at night, they are commonly known as 
" cocks' nests." In winter, however, old nests and holes in walls or 
thatched roofs are undoubtedly resorted to by Wrens in some num- 
bers for warmth and shelter. The song, loud for the size of the 
bird, may be heard during the greater part of the year ; the alarm- 
note is a sharp clicking chit. The food consists principally of 
insects, for which search is made in all sorts of crannies, but in winter 
the bird will eat seeds and any odd scraps. 

The adult has a dull white streak over the eye \ upper parts red- 
dish-brown, with narrow transverse darker bars ; outer quills umber- 
brown, barred with buff and dark brown on the exterior webs ; under 
parts bufifish-white on the chin and throat, becoming browner on the 
belly and flanks, the latter being somewhat barred ; bill dark brown 
above, paler below, legs and feet light brown. Length 3 "5 in. ; wing 
I '9 in. The female is smaller, duller above and browner beneath, 
and has paler legs. The young are less distinctly barred. 



CERTHIID.*:. 



117 







THE TREE-CREEPER. 



Certhia familiaris, Linnceus. 



Although tolerably numerous, the Tree Creeper is not very fre- 
quently observed, owing to its small size, modest colours, and the 
quickness with which it shifts its position on the trunk or branch of 
the tree where it is seeking for spiders and other insects that lurk 
in the crevices of the bark. It is generally distributed throughout 
Great Britain from Cornwall to Caithness, occasionally wandering to 
the Orkneys and Shetlands, and residing in Skye, though not found 
in the Outer Hebrides. In Ireland it is common in every county 
where timber prevails. 

In Norway the Tree-Creeper is abundant in all the lower conifer- 
woods up to Trondhjems-fjord ; while eastward it occurs in Sweden, 
Russia, and across Siberia, as far north as trees flourish, to the 
Pacific. Southward, it is found in Japan, Northern China, and 
Asia down to the Himalayas, in and south of which several distinct 
species replace it ; westward, it inhabits Persia, Asia Minor, Tunisia, 
Algeria, and the basin of the Mediterranean generally as far as 
the Spanish Peninsula ; and central it is distributed throughout 
Europe in suitable localities. Mr. Hartert (' Novitates Zoological,' 



Il8 TREE-CREEPER. 

iv. pp. 136-139) distinguishes by trinomials five subspecies in 
Europe, an indefinite number in Asia, and five in North America, 
from about 50° N. lat. to Mexico and Guatemala. 

Towards the middle of April the Tree-Creeper makes its nest ; 
usually selecting a crevice between the partially detached bark 
and the trunk of a tree, or a narrow cleft in the bole ; but not 
unfrequently placing it behind loose plaster, or under the eaves 
of a shed or dwelling ; sometimes in the foundations of the nests 
of Birds of prey and Rooks, and in piles of timber or bricks. Fine 
straw or twigs, roots, grass and moss are the materials employed, with 
a lining of wool, feathers, and strips of inside bark — often that of 
the birch-tree. The 6-9 eggs are white, spotted, zoned and blotched 
with reddish-brown and dull purple, especially towards the larger 
end : measurements "62 by '47 in. Incubation is assiduously per- 
formed by the female, who is, however, rather shy, slipping off her 
nest if she sees an intruder ; but sometimes when the young are 
fledged, even though still in, or close to their home, the parents 
show remarkable indifference. Two broods are often reared in 
the season. The food, as already observed, consists principally 
of insects, and occasionally of seeds of the Scotch fir. The 
song of this little bird is shrill, but rather pleasing ; and I have 
noticed that in the bright climate of the south of Europe, in the 
gardens of the Alhambra at Granada, for instance, it is much more 
prolonged and joyous than in the north. The call-note is a feeble 
cheeps cheep. When climbing, the stiff-pointed feathers of the tail 
are depressed ; the bird ascending by their assistance and by that of 
its long curved claws, with a short jerking movement, and generally 
in spiral curves. In winter the Tree-Creeper may often be 
observed in company with various species of Titmouse, or with 
Golden- and Fire-crested Wrens. 

The adult has a dull white streak over the eye ; feathers of the 
head, neck, and back dark brown with pale centres ; lower back 
rufous-brown ; wing-quills dark brown, barred and margined ex- 
teriorly with buffish-white ; tail of twelve stiff-pointed feathers, dull 
reddish-brown, with paler shafts ; chin to belly silvery-white ; flanks 
and vent suffused with buff; the rather long, slender, curved bill 
dark brown above, yellowish below ; legs and feet, light brown. 
Length about 475 in. ; wing 2-5 in. The sexes are alike in plumage. 
The young have a more rufous-yellow tinge than the adults. 



CERTHIID.B. 



IT9 




ri.l'^^'- f 



THE WALL-CREEPER. 

TiCHODROMA MURARiA (Liniijeus). 

This inhabitant of the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia 
is a very unusual wanderer to England. The first authenticated 
instance was furnished by the late Thomas Bell, who published 
(Zool. s.s. p. 4664, and Tr. Norfolk and Norw. Nat. Soc. ii. p. 180) 
a letter from Robert Marsham of Stratton-Strawless, Norfolk, to 
Gilbert White of Selborne, dated October 30th 1792, containing an 
accurate description of a Wall-Creeper which had just been shot 
v-'hilst flying about his house. Eighty years later Mr. F. S. Mitchell 
stated (Zool. s.s. p. 4839) that one, then in his possession, was shot 
on May 8th 1872, at Sabden, at the foot of Pendle Hill, in 
Lancashire, when flying around a tall chimney, and attracting the 
attention of the mill-hands by its crimson-banded wings. Mr. 
W. R. Butterfield recorded (Zool. 1896, p. 302) the occurrence of an 
adult in breeding-plumage some years ago near Winchelsea, Sussex. 



I20 WALL-CREEPER. 

On migration the Wall-Creeper has occurred several times at 
Rouen and in other parts of Normandy, while along the Loire it is 
not uncommon, and seven or eight examples have been obtained as 
far west as Nantes ; most of them on the walls of the old chateau 
which overlooks the busy wharves. It breeds sparingly in suitable 
localities in the Vosges and the Jura ; while stragglers have occurred 
on the Rhine as far north as Coblentz, and in the valleys of the 
Moselle and the Meuse. In the mountains of Savoy and Switzer- 
land it is generally distributed, being perhaps more abundant in the 
Grisons than in any other district ; it is also resident in the Basses- 
Alps, Provence, the mountainous regions of the mainland of Italy, 
Sicily, Sardinia and Elba ; while Professor Giglioli has observed it 
climbing about walls in Florence. Throughout the Pyrenees and 
the Cantabrian chain, and in the mountains of the Peninsula 
down to the Sierra Nevada, it is comparatively abundant. East of 
the Alps we find it in Tyrol, Styria, the Carpathians, Greece, the 
Caucasus, and the mountains of Asia as far as China ; while 
Riippell has recorded it from Egypt and Abyssinia. 

The nest, composed of moss, straw, and grass, lined with hair, 
wool and feathers, is placed in some crevice of the rocks ; and the 
3-5 eggs are white, very finely spotted with reddish-brown : measure- 
ments 78 by "56 in. Two broods are sometimes produced in the 
season ; incubation devolving upon the female. The call-note is a 
shrill pli-pli-pli-pli-pli, like that of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. 
The food consists of spiders, insects and their larvae generally, in 
search of which the bird may be seen climbing up the face of a 
cliff by vertical jumps ; the wings being nearly closed, though 
spread when the bird is basking ; the tail is not used as an aid to 
progression. 

Adult male in breeding-plumage : slate-grey above, darker on the 
head and still darker on the rump ; wing-coverts mostly crimson ; 
quills blackish, tipped with dull white, the 2nd to 5th each with 
a basal and a sub-apical white spot on the inner web, the 6th 
with only a buff basal spot ; outer webs of nearly all the primaries 
rich crimson ; tail black, tipped with grey and white ; throat and 
breast black ; remaining under parts dark grey ; bill, legs and feet 
black. Length 6 in. (bill '6 in.); wing 3-9 in. The female has 
rather less black on the throat. In winter that part becomes 
greyish-white in both sexes, while the head is browner and the upper 
parts are paler. The young bird at first exhibits less crimson, has 
a shorter bill, and the throat is grey like the shoulders, though the 
black throat is acquired the first spring. 



MOTACILLID^. 



121 







THE PIED WAGTAIL. 



MoTACiLLA LUGUBRis, Temminck. 

The Pied Wagtail was first distinguished from the White Wagtail 
of the Continent by Temminck, who conferred upon it, in 1820, the 
above scientific name ; in ignorance of which, Gould, seventeen years 
later, called our bird M. yarrelli. Throughout the British Islands 
this is a common and generally distributed species ; visiting the 
extreme north of Scotland in March and remaining to breed, but 
migrating southwards, as a rule, on the approach of winter. It 
nests, sparingly, in some of the Hebrides, and from the Orkneys it is 
now never absent, but in St. Kilda, as also in the Shetlands, it is only 
known to occur on the spring and autumn migrations. In Ireland 
it is common and, on the whole, resident, though partially migratory 
as regards the northern districts ; while even in England, though 
always present, there is a general movement southward in autumn, and 
northward in spring. The late Mr. A. E. Knox observed large flocks, 
mainly composed of young of the year, early in September, travelling 
along the coast of Sussex in the direction of Kent, whence the transit 
to the Continent is shortest ; while from the middle of March numer- 
ous small parties, consisting of old males (the females being later), 
have been seen to arrive from the sea where the Channel is wider. 

L 



122 PIED WAGTAIL. 

On the Continent the Pied Wagtail is ahaiost restricted to the 
western portion. It occurs, and perhaps breeds, in the south-west 
of Scandinavia ; visits Denmark ; passes over Heligoland, Holland 
and Belgium on the spring migration, and nests sparingly in the north- 
west of France ; while in the south-west I observed that males of 
this species and of the White Wagtail were in full plumage from 
the latter part of December to the end of March, after which 
both disappeared. The Pied Wagtail arrives in Portugal about 
October 20th, and leaves in March, in the which month I obtained 
an adult male at Seville, Spain ; and it occurs near Tangier in 
Morocco. Eastward, it has been met with irregularly in autumn 
from Nice to Sardinia, Sicily, and Malta 

Breeding generally begins early in April ; the nest — of moss, dry 
grass and roots, lined with hair and feathers — being in some cleft of a 
bank, wall, rock or quarry, a decayed or pollarded tree, the thatch 
of a building, a faggot stack, or even an open field. The Cuckoo 
often places her egg in it. The 4-6 eggs are greyish-white, closely 
speckled and streaked with ash-brown : measurements "8 by '6 in. 
Two broods are often reared in the season. The bird feeds 
principally on insects obtained in the meadows, moist ground, and 
shallow water, to which it is partial ; on the coast it eats the flies 
&c. found amongst the sea-drift, and Mr. Tait observed it hovering 
over the water to pick up the floating ova of a small crab, while 
Booth says that it is fond of glow-worms. The call-note is a sharp 
chiz-zic; the song, seldom heard except in spring, is short but agree- 
able. The quick running movements of this pretty bird, and the 
lively motion of its long tail, must be familiar to every one. 

Adult male in breeding-plumage : forehead and sides of the head 
and neck pure white, contrasting strongly with the deep black of the 
crown, nape, throat and breast ; mantle, rump and wing-coverts 
black, the latter with white margins which form a double bar; quills 
blackish, the inner secondaries — nearly as long as the primaries — 
margined with white on the outer edge ; tail-feathers black, except 
the two outer pairs which are mainly white ; belly white ; sides and 
flanks blackish; bill, legs and feet black. Length 7-3 in.; wing 
3 "5 in. The female has a shorter tail, the back is lead-grey with 
somewhat darker streaks, and the black on the crown and breast is 
less extensive. After the autumn moult both sexes lose the black 
chin and throat, and become greyer on the back. The young are 
like those of M. alba, next to be described, but darker on the upper 
parts. 



MOTACILLID.t. 



123 




THE WHITE WAGTAIL. 



MoTACiLLA ALBA, Liiinseus. 

This Continental representative of the famih'ar species already 
described was first recognized in England by the late Mr. F. Bond, 
who found two pairs at Kingsbury Reservoir, Middlesex, in the latter 
part of May 1841. Since that date it has occurred in a good many 
counties of England, being not uncommon in Cornwall in spring ; 
Mr. Haigh found it numerous in North Wales on the spring passages 
of 1 89 1 and 1897 ; and it is said to have nested in Devon, the Isle of 
Wight, Kent, Middlesex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Huntingdon- 
shire. Of a pair of birds obtained with their nest and young in 
Norfolk, presented to the British Museum by Lord Walsingham, the 
male is a White and the female is a Pied Wagtail ; Dr. Giinther has 
informed me of a similar case of interbreeding in Suffolk ; and Mr. 
Aplin has recorded another, with the sexes reversed, in Oxfordshire. 
Mr. Cordeaux mentions several occurrences in Lincolnshire, in 
spring ; competent observers have noticed the species in Notting- 
hamshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumberland ; and on May 
24th 18S5 I watched an adult, probably a male, by some lead-works 
near Langley Castle in Northumberland. In Scotland the White 
Wagtail has been observed in some of the southern counties ; while 
pairs have been noticed near Gairloch, in Ross-shire ; Booth saw 
several couples in April on the river bank at Inverness, and a number 
on the island of Lewis early in May 1877, after rough weather; 



124 WHITE WAGTAIL. 

moreover it appears that there is a regular spring-migration through 
Coll, Tiree, and some of the Outer Hebrides. Saxby says that he 
obtained the White ^^'agtail in Shetland in May and June. In Ireland 
it is as yet little known ; Mr. R. Warren shot one in co. Mayo on 
April 25th 1 85 1, and another on April 29th 1893, while Mr. 
Barrington has a specimen obtained on Achill Island in May 1894. 

The White Wagtail is a regular visitor to the Faeroes and Iceland, 
wandering to the Island of Jan Mayen and the south of Greenland. 
It is found over the whole of Europe and of Northern Asia ; the 
Siberian birds, which are of a purer grey on the upper parts, wintering 
in India and Burma ; while the ordinary form occurs in Asia Minor, 
Palestine and Northern Africa in summer and winter, visiting 
Madeira, the Canaries and Senegambia on the west, and Zanzibar 
on the east, in the latter season. It is one of the earliest species 
to return to those northern summer-quarters from which cold and 
want of food have forced it to migrate at the end of autumn ; the 
males arriving about a week before the females. 

The sites for the nest are similar to those chosen by the former 
species ; but the White Wagtail has further been known to breed 
in the burrow of a Sand-Martin, and also to make its nest in 
an open place in the middle of a strawberry-bed. The 5-7 eggs 
are sometimes of a rather bluer grey, with bolder ashy markings, 
than those of the Pied Wagtail ; but frequently they cannot be 
distinguished, and the average measurements are identical. In 
general habits, food and haunts, the ^^'hite Wagtail hardly differs 
from our indigenous bird ; I have seen flocks whitening the furrows 
in Spain and the south of France, as Mr. Gurney has in Algeria. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the forehead and the 
sides of the head and neck white ; crown and nape black ; back 
and rump ash-grey ; upper wing- and median coverts tipped with 
white ; quills blackish, the long inner secondaries edged outside 
with white ; tail-feathers black, except the two outer pairs which 
are mainly white ; chin, throat, and breast black ; abdomen Avhite ; 
flanks grey; bill, legs and feet black. Length 7-5 in. ; wing 3-5 in. 
The female has a shorter tail ; her colours are less pure, and the 
black portions are more restricted. After the autumn moult the 
chin and throat are white, and the black is reduced to a crescentic 
band. In the young the white forehead, cheeks and throat are 
tinged with yellow, and the head and mantle are olive-grey, but 
males soon show white on the forehead and black on the throat. 
Long before the following spring the olive tint has disappeared, 
and the young have a light appearance. 



MOTACILLID.'E. 



125 




THE GREY WAGTAIL. 



MOTACILLA MELANOPE, PallaS. 

This beautiful species, easily recognizable by the yellow tints of 
its under parts and its exceptionally long tail, is resident, or partially 
migratory, throughout those portions of the British Islands where 
streams are found in the vicinity of mountains, or even hills ; 
but to the flat country and the sea-coast it is chiefly a visitor on 
migration and in winter. It breeds regularly in Cornwall, Devon, 
Somerset, Dorset and Wilts ; and sparingly in Hampshire, Surrey, 
Sussex, Kent, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire and 
Lincolnshire. In Wales and the Marches, as well as on both sides of 
the Pennine range, it is common, increasing in numbers to the north- 
ward. In Scotland it is generally distributed, although not very 
abundant in Sutherland and Caithness ; it nests in small numbers in 
Skye, and occasionally visits the Outer Hebrides, Orkneys and 
Shetlands. It breeds throughout Ireland, where it is a familiar 
species. 

On the Continent the Grey Wagtail barely reaches the extreme 
south of Sweden, and is very rare in Northern Germany, while in 
Russia it is hardly found beyond the latitude of Moscow ; but in 
the mountainous and even rolling ground of the central and 
southern parts of Europe it is fairly common ; breeding down to 
the basin of the Mediterranean, where it is a resident, as it is 
also in the Canaries, Madeira and the Azores. Eastward, it is 



126 GREY WAGTAIL. 

found in summer across Asia (south of about 67° N. lat.) to Persia, 
Turkestan, the Himalayas, Northern China and Japan ; wintering as 
far south as the Indo-Malayan islands, and down to Somali-land in 
Africa. 

The nest is placed usually near a stream, in some rugged portion 
of a bank, occasionally among the stems of a shrub, frequently in a 
rough stone wall or some crevice of the rocks. In the Pyrenees, 
where the Grey Wagtail is very abundant, I observed a nest behind 
a pair of votive crutches at the entrance to the grotto at Lourdes. 
The materials employed are moss, soft grass and fine roots, with 
abundance of hair for a lining. The eggs, usually 5 in number, are 
greyish-white, mottled with pale clay-colour, and sometimes marked 
with a few black hair-streaks at the larger end : measurements 75 
by -55 in. Two broods are occasionally reared in the season; the 
first eggs being laid in April ; and the male takes his share in the 
task of incubation. The food consists of aquatic and other insects, 
small molluscs and crustaceans ; and at the baths of Dax in the 
Landes, a pair of birds which frequented the courtyard of the hotel 
used to enter the open windows of the thronged corridors, with the 
utmost familiarity, in search of flies. The call-note is a sharply 
uttered zis zi. In its constant and rapid movements this species 
resembles its allies, but it is decidedly more addicted to perching on 
trees by the side of streams. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the crown and ear-coverts 
slate-grey, with a narrow white streak above the eye ; below the lores, 
which are black, a broad white line runs on each side to the nape, which 
is slate-grey, as are the mantle and rump ; wing-feathers brownish- 
black, the long secondaries margined with bufhsh-white ; upper tail- 
coverts greenish-yellow ; the outside pair of tail-feathers white, the 
next two pairs also white wath a black stripe along part of the outer 
web, the remainder brownish-black ; chin and throat black ; breast 
to lower tail-coverts sulphur-yellow ; bill dark brown ; legs and feet 
pale brown. Length from 7 to 7 -5 in., depending upon the length 
of the tail, which is variable; wing t^-t^ in. The female has a 
shorter tail than the male, and her tints are duller and greener, while 
on the throat she has far less black, and usually none at all. That 
part becomes white in both sexes in autumn, when a buff tint 
appears on the breast. The young bird is browner than the female, 
and its eye-stripe is buff. This species has bred, in captivity, with 
the Pied Wagtail, and the hybrids proved fertile. 



MOTACILLID.E. 



127 




THE BLUE-HEADED WAGTAIL. 
MoTACiLLA FLAVA, Liiinseus. 

In 1832 it was pointed out by Gould that the Blue-headed Wag- 
tail of the Continent was distinct from the Yellow Wagtail, which is 
a regular visitor to our islands ; two years later Doubleday shot an 
example of the former at Walton-on-the-Naze ; and since that date 
a considerable number have been obtained or observed, mostly in 
the south-western, southern, and eastern counties of England ; while 
the bird nested on several occasions near Gateshead, Durham 
(Hancock); and Mr. Haigh shot one in Merionethshire on April 22nd 
1897. As a rule, however, the Blue-headed Wagtail can hardly 
be considered as more than an irregular visitor on migration ; 
generally in spring, but not unfrequently in autumn. In Scotland it 
has been shot near Edinburgh and Dunbar, as well as on the 
Pentland Skerries, south of the Orkneys ; while Saxby states that he 
obtained it on the autumn migration in Shetland. 

The Blue-headed Wagtail has wandered to the Faeroes ; and I 
have examined a specimen in the British Museum obtained by 
Gould in summer as far north in Norway as the Dovrefjeld. 
Southward, it is found throughout Europe ; breeding in the west 
down to the shores of the Mediterranean, where it is partially 
resident, and pushing its migrations in winter to the south of Africa. 
Eastward, it is found across Asia to the Pacific ; and also in Alaska, 
where it breeds up to 64° N. lat. This Wagtail runs to varieties 
which are, in the opinion of some ornithologists, entitled to take 
rank as species ; but upon this iniricate question I must refer my 



128 BLUE-HEADED WAGTAIL. 

readers to Dr. Sharpe's views (Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. x. pp. 516-532). 
I have only room for the broad statement that in Upper Scandi- 
navia, Northern Europe, and Siberia, migrating as far as the south 
of Africa and India, there is a form (the male of which has a nearly 
black crown and no eye-streak) known as J/, viridis of Gmelin, or 
better as M. borealis of Sundevall ; two examples of which are said 
to have occurred at Penzance. In the basin of the INIediterranean 
is found a close ally, M. cinereicapilla of Savi, with grey crown but 
very little eye-streak ; while in South-eastern Europe and Central 
Asia there is an easily recognizable race with a very black head and 
no eye-stripe, known as M. feldeggi or M. melanocephala : and when, 
as in Hungary, this black-headed bird exhibits a narrow white eye- 
stripe, it is called M. paradoxa. 

Breeding commences in the latter half of May ; the nest being 
placed on the ground among herbage in meadows and corn-fields. 
It is composed of fine roots, grass and moss, lined with horsehair 
and a few feathers ; the 4-6 eggs being yellowish-white, clouded 
with pale brown, and sometimes scrolled with black at the larger 
end : measurements 78 by "56 in. The food consists of insects 
and their larvae ; and the bird is very partial to small flies, in pursuit 
of which it may be seen strutting and fluttering within a few inches 
of the muzzles of grazing horses or cattle ; whence the German 
name ' Kuh-stelze.' The call-note is a shrill chit-up. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the crown and nape 
bluish-grey ; lores and ear-coverts dark slate-grey ; over each eye and 
ear-covert a white streak \ mantle olive, tinged with yellow ; wing- 
coverts dark brown, with yellowish-white tips, forming a double bar ; 
secondaries margined with the same colour ; quills dark brown ; tail- 
feathers blackish-brown, except the two outer pairs, which are white 
with black edges to the inner webs ; chin and a line below the lores 
white ; throat, breast and tail-coverts bright gamboge-yellow ; bill, 
legs and feet black. Length 6 "3 in. ; wing 3*2 in. The female is 
rather shorter ; the head has a more olive tint, and the yellow of the 
under parts is less pronounced. In autumn both sexes acquire an 
olive-brown tinge. The young are greenish-brown above, with a 
rough V-shaped line of brown spots from the nape to the breast, 
while the under parts are only pale yellow ; but the ivhite eye-stripe 
which serves to distinguish typical examples of this species from our 
Yellow Wagtail is always present. Young males often display in 
their first spring some dark mottlings on the throat, grey patches on 
the head, and a considerable amount of yellow on the shoulders. 



MOTACILLID^. 



129 



rK^-mSM^ 







THE YELLOW WAGTAIL. 
MoTACiLLA RAii (Bonapartc). 

The Yellow Wagtail is a regular summer-visitor to the British 
Islands, arriving early in April, and leaving again in September. In 
Cornwall and Devon it is chiefly seen on migration, though it nests 
in the latter ; but from Somersetshire onwards, it is generally 
distributed throughout England as a breeding-species in wet 
meadows and other suitable situations. In Wales it is local, and 
chiefly noticed on migration. In Scotland it has nested as far as 
Perthshire, and perhaps up to the south-west of the Great Glen, but is 
rarely found beyond the latter ; while a wanderer has been obtained 
in North Ronay, Outer Hebrides, and the bird is said to have 
occurred in the Shetlands. In Ireland it breeds regularly about 
Lough Neagh, in Ulster, as well as on Loughs Corrib, Mask and 
Carra, in Connaught ; the nest has also been obtained once near 
Dublin, where the species occurs on migration, as it has done in 
CO. Wexford (Ussher). 

Although the Yellow Wagtail has occurred on Heligoland, 
Borkum, and the coast of Holland, it is only west of Belgium that 
it is known as a regular visitor, while even in the north of France 
the Blue-headed Wagtail prevails in the breeding-season as far as 
Dieppe. Westward our Yellow Wagtail is said to predominate ; 
and on passage it visits the south of France and both sides of 
the Iberian Peninsula with great regularity, though only of rare and 

M 



130 YELLOW WAGTAIL. 

accidental occurrence in Italy, Sicily, and Malta ; while southward, 
its migrations extend down the coast of W. Africa as far as the 
Gaboon. A large and isolated colony is said to inhabit the valley 
of the Lower Volga, the Caspian region, and Turkestan as far east 
as the Altai Mountains ; the migrations of this section reaching 
along the eastern side of Africa as far as Natal. In Eastern Asia 
the representative species is M. taiva?m. 

The nest, built early in May and generally well concealed, is 
placed in a depression or a small furrow of the ground in a meadow 
or corn-field ; sometimes in a bank, or at the foot of a wall, among 
the long rank herbage. Even in the same locality there is con- 
siderable variation in the materials employed ; moss and dry grass 
being generally used for the exterior, while the lining may be of 
feathers, hair, rabbit's-down, or fine roots. The 4-6 eggs are 
greyish white mottled with clay-brown, and often have some black 
hair-streaks : measurements 78 by "56 in. A second brood is 
sometimes reared in the season. The food consists of the small 
thin-shelled molluscs found among water-meadows, and various 
kinds of insects ; and the bird is as partial as the Blue-headed 
Wagtail to the proximity of grazing cattle. In its note and in the 
bold curves of its flight, it also resembles that* species ; it is, how- 
ever, rather more addicted to perching on low bushes and fences. 

Adult male in breeding-plumage : lores, ear-coverts and back, 
greenish-olive ; the forehead yellower ; a sulphur-yellow streak over 
the eye and ear-coverts on each side ; wing-coverts and quills dusky- 
brown, tipped and margined with pale buff; tail-feathers blackish- 
brown, except the two outer pairs which are white, merely edged 
with black on the inner webs ; under parts rich sulphur-yellow ; bill, 
legs and feet black. Length about 6 "2 5 in. ; wing 3-15 in. The 
female is browner on the upper parts, and the eye-streak and under 
parts are less yellow. In autumn the adults of both sexes become 
much paler. The young in the first and nestling-plumage, which is 
only worn for a short time, are greenish-brown on the upper parts, 
and buff on the breast, much resembling young Pipits ; later they 
turn yellow on the vent and under parts, and gradually become like 
their parents, though the sides of the neck and the breast are spotted 
with dark brown for some time. 

For those Wagtails which exhibit a prevalence of yellow in their 
plumage and have also a longer hind-claw than the Black-and-white 
Wagtails, Cuvier established the genus Budytes ; and, inasmuch as 
the Grey Wagtail presented intermediate characters, Kaup invented 
for it the genus Calobates. 



M0TACILL1D.«. 



131 




THE TREE-PIPIT. 



Anthus trivialis (LinncTus). 

The Pipits superficially resemble the Larks, but differ from them 
considerably in structure and some of their habits ; while they agree 
with the Wagtails in almost every respect, except in the coloration 
of the plumage. Like the latter birds, Pipits moult twice in the year 
- — partially in spring — and they are equally fond of bathing ; while 
I-arks have only an autumnal moult, and usually dust themselves 
over, instead of washing. 

The Tree-Pipit generally arrives in the southern portions of 
England early in April ; and, except in the west of Cornwall, it 
is fairly distributed throughout the country in summer ; while in 
Wales it is very common in the moist, wooded valleys suited to its 
habits. In Scotland, where it is often mis-named " Wood-Lark," it 
is plentiful in the south-west districts, while it appears to be fairly 
diffused in other parts of the country, but it is rarer in the north, is 
very local in Aberdeenshire, has only been detected breeding in 
Sutherlandshire since 1875, and is merely a wanderer to the Orkneys. 
In Ireland its reported occurrence has not yet been authenticated. 
The majority depart for the south during the month of September, 
but in the west the late Mr. Cecil Smith observed a flock of about 

M 2 



132 



TREE-PIPIT. 



a score preparing to migrate from the cliffs near Exmouth on the 
26th of October. 

A specimen of the Tree-Pipit is said to have been brought by the 
Austrian Expedition from Jan Mayan [?] On the Continent this 
species breeds as far north as Tromso in Norway, and southward to 
the Pyrenees, the higher grounds of Nortliern Italy, and the 
Crimea; below which it is principally know^n as a migrant in 
spring and autumn, or as a resident in winter; as it is also in the 
northern portion of Africa, from the Canaries and Morocco on the 
west, to Egypt, Nubia and Abyssinia on the east. It occurs in Siberia 
in summer as far east as Krasnoiarsk in the valley of the Yenesei, 
where it meets with A. maculatus, a closely-allied form, more olive- 
green in colour and with few dusky streaks on the upper parts. In 
winter the Tree-Pipit has been found in India, as far south as 
Belgaum and as far east as Chutia-Nagpur (Oates). 

About the middle of May the nest, placed on the ground among 
herbage, is constructed of moss, dry grass and roots, lined with fine 
bents and a little hair. The 4-6 eggs are subject to much 
variation ; some being greyish-white, mottled with deep brown ; 
others rich reddish-brown; some almost lilac-pink; and ogain a 
not uncommon variety resembles the egg of the Reed-Bunting : 
measurements '82 by "6 in. Two broods are sometimes reared in 
the .season. The food consists principally of insects, with small 
seeds. The song of the male, see-ar, see-ar, see-ar, is generally 
begun on the topmost branch of a tree, after which the bird rises 
and hovers in the air, and descends — still singing — to his perch. 

Adult male : eye-stripe buff; upper parts clear sandy-brown with 
distinct dark brown streaks ; wing-coverts and secondaries dark 
brown with paler edges ; primaries dull brown ; outer pair of tail- 
feathers white, with a dark brown stripe on part of the inner webs ; 
the second pair merely tipped with white, and otherwise dark brown, 
like the remaining rectrices ; chin dull white; throat buff, with a dark 
line on each side from the bill to the gorget ; sides of the neck, breast 
and flanks buff, with elongated spots and streaks of dark brown ; 
belly dull white ; bill brown above, lighter below ; legs and feet pale 
flesh-colour in life, but yellowish-brown in preserved specimens. 
Length 6 in. ; wing y^ in. The female is slightly smaller, and less 
distinctly spotted on the breast. In autumn the buff tint is more 
pronounced ; and in young birds the spots and streaks are smaller 
in size, but more numerous. The Tree-Pipit may always be distin- 
guished from the Meadow-Pipit by its somewhat larger size, warmer 
buff tint, paler legs, and much shorter and more curved hind claw. 



MOTACILLID.^. 



133 







THE MEADOW-PIPIT. 



Anthus pratensis (Linnaeus). 

The Meadow-Pipit — generally known as the Titlark, and locally 
by the names of Titling, Moss-cheeper, Ling-bird &c. — is the 
smallest and most abundant member of the genus throughout the 
British Islands. During summer it is nearly as much at home on 
elevated moors as on lowland pastures ; but in winter the bleaker 
situations are deserted for more sheltered localities, especially those 
in the vicinity of the sea-coast. In autumn considerable numbers 
leave our shores altogether, and a return migration takes place in 
spring. 

In the Faeroes and Iceland the Meadow-Pipit is common in 
summer, while in South Greenland a solitary wanderer was obtained 
in 1845. The breeding-range extends over the greater part of Europe, 
from the North Cape to the Pyrenees, the northern portions of 
Italy and the Carpathians, and perhaps to some of the elevated 
regions still further south ; but in the basin of the Mediterranean 
the bird is principally known as a visitor on passage or in winter. 
Eastward, it is found in Asia Minor, Palestine, Western Turkestan, 
and the valley of the Ob in Siberia ; Avhile its southern wanderings 
reach North Africa, from Morocco to Egypt. In the Canary 
Islands and Madeira there is a resident insular form known as 
A. bertheloti, smaller in size, with paler and less marked upper part.s, 
narrowly striated under parts, and no green tint in its plumage. 

Our resident Meadow-Pipits begin to breed early in the spring. 



134 MEADOW-PIPIT. 

but the migratory individuals which arrive from the south in April 
are somewhat later. The nest, placed among sheltering herbage in 
a depression of the level ground or the side of a bank, and often in 
ling, is constructed of dry grass with a lining of finer materials ; the 
eggs, usually 4-6 in number, being greyish-white — sometimes with a 
green and at others with a pinkish tint — thickly mottled with 
different shades of brown, and occasionally having a few hair-streaks 
at the larger end : measurements 78 by "57 in. Two broods are 
generally reared in the season. In many districts, especially on 
the moorlands where other small species of birds are comparatively 
scarce, the Cuckoo commonly places her egg in the nest of the 
Meadow-Pipit. The rather shrill song is generally uttered on the 
wing, but sometimes from a stone or low bush. The food consists 
of insects, worms, small snails and molluscs, with seeds in winter ; 
and in search of these the bird may be seen working its way among 
grass or heather with a slow creeping movement, varied by an occa- 
sional quick run. Its flight is jerky and wavering. The scent 
emitted by the Titlark is very strong, and dogs 'point' it more 
frequently than they do any other ground-bird. 

Adult male : eye-stripe narrow and dull white ; upper parts olive- 
brown, with dark stripes down the centre of the feathers ; quills dark 
brown, v/ith a greenish-yellow tint on the margins of the outer webs; 
wing-coverts and inner secondaries (the latter being shorter than the 
primaries) brown, edged with dull white ; tail dark brown, except 
the outer pair of feathers which are white on the terminal part, while 
the second pair have a white spot near the tip ; under parts dull 
white, streaked with brownish-black on the throat, gorget and flanks ; 
bill dark brown above and at the tip, the rest paler ; legs and feet 
pale brown ; hind claw longer than the hind-toe, and only slightly 
curved. Length 575 in. ; wing yi in. The female is less richly 
spotted below. After the autumn moult, the upper as well as the 
under parts are suffused with a yellowish-buff tint ; and in spring 
this hue is very noticeable on the throats of fresh arrivals from the 
Continent. The young are even more buff-coloured, but the streaks 
on the under parts are smaller and browner than in the adults. 



MOTACILLID/E. 



135 




THE RED-THROATED PIPIT. 



Anthus cervinus (Pallas). 

On March 13th 1884 a Red-throated Pipit was brought by a 
bird-catcher to the late Mr. Swaysland, the well-known bird-stuffer 
at Brighton, and was examined in the flesh on the following day by 
Mr. J. H. Gurney, who recorded the occurrence in ' The Zoologist ' 
for that year (p. 192). In the same volume (p. 272) Mr. Walter 
Prentis stated that, in April 1880, he shot an example of this 
species at Rainham in Kent, whilst it was feeding and singing along 
the freshly-turned furrows behind his plough, and sent it, as merely 
a bright-coloured Meadow-Pipit, to Dover for preservation. Both 
these specimens were forwarded to Dr. R. B. Sharpe, who exhibited 
the former — now in the possession of Mr. T. J. Monk of Lewes — 
at a meeting of the Zoological Society, April ist 1884. Up to that 
year no thoroughly authenticated British-killed example was known, 
although the late Mr. Bond possessed a genuine specimen of the 
bird, labelled "Unst, May 4th 1854," purchased at the sale of the 
collection of the late Mr. Troughton. Subsequently, as recorded by 
Mr. F. Coburn (Zool. 1896, p. loi), an example was obtained near 
St. Leonards, Sussex, on Nov. 13th 1895, and this was exhibited at 
the meeting of the British Ornithologists' Club in the following 
December. 

The Red-throated Pipit is one of the species which, throughout 
the year, enjoy the maximum of sunshine. Amidst the continuous 
daylight which reigns in summer to the north of the Arctic circle, it 
breeds in many parts of Scandinavia, especially in East Finmark ; 
while eastward we find it — in augmented numbers beyond the limit 



136 RED-THROATED PIPIT, 

of forest-growth — from Novaya Zemlya, across Siberia to Kamchatka 
and Bering Island. It even appears to have crossed the Pacific to 
Alaska and Lower California ; and its migrations undoubtedly 
extend to Southern China, Borneo, Burma, India, Persia and Egypt. 
In the last-named country and in Nubia the bird is exceedingly 
abundant in winter, and up to the month of April, by which time it 
has assumed full breeding-plumage, ^^'est of Tunisia, in North 
Africa it becomes much rarer, though occasionally found near 
Gibraltar; but the main line of the spring-migration passes through 
Eastern Europe, curving round to Scandinavia, and the species is 
undoubtedly scarce to the west of Heligoland. 

The Red-throated Pipit makes its nest in the sides of the 
tussocky ridges of the bogs or tundras of the north ; dry grass being 
the material employed, with a finer lining of the same. The eggs, 
4-6 in number, vary from a nearly uniform rich mahogany colour to 
a greenish-grey with dark brown mottlings : measurements 75 by 
•58 in. In late springs breeding does not commence before the last 
week in June, so that only one brood can be reared in the season. 
The note is louder, fuller, and richer than that of the Meadow-Pipit. 
The food consists principally of insects and their larvae, small 
worms, molluscs and grass seeds. In its winter quarters the Red- 
throated Pipit is gregarious ; and frequents planted fields where 
suitable cover exists. 

The adult male, in breeding-plumage, is browner on the upper 
parts than either the Meadow- or the Tree-Pipit, and the black 
streaks are more pronounced ; the eye-stripe is broad and of a 
rufous-buff ; the tail-coverts are more striped ; the inner secondaries 
nearly equal in length to the primaries, as in the Tree-Pipit ; the 
chin, throat, sides of the neck and breast vinous-chestnut ; the 
gorget has fewer and smaller spots, but the flanks and under tail- 
coverts are broadly streaked ; abdomen buff ; bill dark above, 
yellowish below ; legs and feet light brown ; hind-toe as in the 
Meadow-Pipit. Length 5-8 in.; wing 3*5 in. In the female the 
vinous-chestnut only extends to the throat, and her breast and flanks 
are more streaked with black ; she is also smaller in size. In winter 
the red throat is only found in mature birds, and at that season the 
feathers of the mantle are margined with white ; the general tint 
being greyish-brown, without the olive-green of the Meadow-Pipit. 
Birds of the year are very buff in colour on both upper and lower 
parts ; but even by December there is a little rufous round the eye 
and on the cheeks, and that tint is slightly apparent on the throat. 



MOTACILLTD.«. 



137 










THE TAWNY PIPIT. 

Anthus camp^stris (Linnaeus). 

The Tawny Pipit was first noticed as a wanderer to our islands by 
the late Mr. G. Dawson Rowle}', who recognized two examples shot 
in autumn near Brighton, one of which had previously been taken 
for a Richard's Pipit (Ibis 1863, p. 37). Since that time about a 
score have been obtained, at the same season of various years, in 
Sussex ; one at Trescoe, Scilly Islands, in September 1868 ; one at 
Bridlington, Yorkshire, on November 20th 1S69; and one near 
Lowestoft, September 2nd 1890; while other occurrences may have 
been overlooked. 

It is somewhat remarkable that the Tawny Pipit should not have 
been noticed on our shores in spring ; inasmuch as it is an annual 
visitor, for the purpose of breeding, to the sandy dunes of the north 
of France and Holland, and suitable dry wastes inland. Rare 
in Denmark, it passes over Heligoland on migration, and is not 
uncommon in the south of Sweden ; while on the islands and the 
south-eastern side of the Baltic as far as Riga it is generally 
distributed in summer. Southward it occurs, either breeding or on 
passage, in most of the stony and arid districts of Europe down to 
the Mediterranean ; north of which sea it is not found in winter. 
In Northern Africa it is probably a resident species ; while its 
migrations are known to extend to the Canaries and down to 



138 TAWNY PIPIT. 

Damaraland on the west side of Africa, and the Lake districts on 
the east. From Palestine and Asia Minor we trace it to Turkestan 
and the plains of North-western India ; while from Central Asia to 
Eastern Siberia it is represented by a smaller race of doubtful 
specific distinctness. It is essentially a desert-loving species, and 
even when migrating will seldom be found on fertile or well-watered 
soil, but on plains sprinkled with a little coarse herbage it is 
usually abundant, up to an elevation of about 5,000 feet in Southern 
Europe. It crosses the Mediterranean from the end of March 
onwards, and reaches the shores of the Baltic late in April ; while 
the return migration takes place in August and September. 

The nest is placed at the foot of a shrub or bush — on the lee-side 
where there is a prevalent wind — and sometimes among growing 
barley ; the materials being roots and dry grass, with a lining of 
horsehair. The eggs, 5-6 in number, are of a greyish-white, 
blotched and streaked with darker grey and purplish-brown ; 
resembling, as already observed (p. 74), those of the Rufous 
Warbler : measurements "85 by "62 in. The food consists of small 
insects, but seldom or never of seeds. This species does not 
collect in large flocks, like other Pipits. The call-note is a short 
whit ; and the song, usually uttered during a brief fluttering flight, 
is poor and monotonous. 

The adult male in spring is sandy-brown tinged with grey on the 
upper parts, with dull darker centres to the feathers, more marked 
on the crown, but almost obsolete on the rump ; over the eye a 
buffish-white streak; ear-coverts ash-brown ; wing-coverts dark brown 
with buff edges ; quills and secondaries umber-brown, with tawny 
margins ; the outer pair of tail-feathers dull white, with a large 
portion of the margin of the inner web brown ; in the second pair 
the brown extends nearly to the shaft, which is also brown, as are 
the remaining tail-feathers ; from the base of the bill to the eye a 
faint dusky stripe ; chin and throat tawny-white ; breast warmer buff, 
slightly striated with brown ; lower parts paler ; biU brown above, 
yellowish below ; legs and feet yellowish-brown. Length 6 "5 in ; 
wing 3 -6 in. The female is slightly smaller than the male, and is 
said to be often without the streaks on the breast, but the least 
spotted bird in a series before me is a male. From the autumn 
moult to the early part of the following spring the tints are much 
more tawny, and, in young birds, are pronounced on the margins of 
the wing and tail-feathers, while the brown markings of the upper 
parts and of the breast are more intense. 



MOTACILLID^. 



139 



''/ fe'^^f^ 




RICHARD'S PIPIT. 

Anthus richardi, Vieillot. 

This large Pipit, distinguishable by its length of limb and 
extremely long hind claw, is an Eastern species which visits Western 
Europe irregularly on migration, and generally in autumn. At least 
sixty occurrences are on record in Great Britain — but none in Ireland 
— since 1824, when Vigors announced the bird as a visitor to our 
shores. The majority of these have been in the southern districts 
of England, especially on the Sussex coast ; but six specimens have 
been obtained near Yarmouth in Norfolk, three in Northumberland, 
one in Shropshire, one — in summer — near Fleetwood in Lancashire, 
two in Cumberland, two in Warwickshire, and one in Kent. In 
Scotland the only authenticated example is one obtained by Mr. 
J. G. Millais, near Dunkeld, on August 2nd 1880. 

It is only as a rare visitor that Richard's Pipit has been met with 
in the southern districts of Norway and Sweden ; but on Borkum, 
and along the coasts of Holland, Belgium and France, it is not 
so infrequent on migration, while on Heligoland it is abundant in 
autumn and not unknown in spring. In Central Europe it is rare, 
though in the south of France, especially in Provence, it is well 
known ; near Malaga and throughout the south of Spain it is 
in some years tolerably common from November to April ; while it 
occurs irregularly in Italy and in the basin of the Mediterranean, 
occasionally visiting North Africa. Its usual breeding-grounds are 
not to be found west of Turkestan ; in the valley of the Yenesei 



I40 RICHARDS PIPIT. 

Seebohm found both old and young in August, up to 58^^ N. lat. ; 
and the bird nests abundantly on the elevated steppes of Eastern 
Turkestan, the Lake Baikal district and Mongolia. In winter it 
visits South China, Burma, and the Indian region to Ceylon. 

The nest is built during the early part of June, in some depression 
in a meadow or grass-field ; and the eggs, which, judging from the 
clutches obtained by Dybowski, are generally 5 in number, are 
greyish-white blotched with various shades of brown : measurements 
•86 by "68 in. In Daiiria the Cuckoo frequently deposits her egg in 
the nest of this Pipit. Two broods are sometimes reared in the 
season ; and in September the southward migration commences. 
In winter the bird is described by Mr. Brooks as frequenting paddy- 
grounds and vetch-fields in Bengal, where it is very wary, keeping a 
sharp look-out, with head erect and outstretched neck ; but Col. 
Legge found it very tame in the wet pastures of Ceylon. Its usual 
call-note is loud, and calculated to attract attention, while it has also 
a soft double chirp like that of a Bunting. The ordinary flight 
is undulating and strong. Col. Legge says this bird feeds on 
worms and grasshoppers, and often seizes a passing butterfly or 
insect on the wing. The name was conferred in honour of 
M. Richard, of Luneville in Lorraine. 

The male in breeding-plumage has the feathers of the upper 
parts sandy-brown with dark centres, producing a mottled Lark- like 
appearance ; rump nearly uniform brown, tail-coverts striated ; wing- 
coverts tipped with reddish-buff; secondaries broadly — and primaries 
faintly — margined with huffish- white ; outer pair of tail-feathers 
nearly white, with only a narrow dusky margin to the inner web ; in 
the second pair the dusky margin extends nearly to the tip, and 
the shaft also is brown ; remaining tail-feathers very dark brown, 
with pale and often huffish margins to the central pair ; chin white ; 
a dotted line of brown spots from the base of the bill down each 
side of the neck to the gorget, which is still more spotted on a buff 
ground-colour extending down the flanks ; abdomen dull white ; 
bill dark brown above, yellowish below ; legs and feet yellowish- 
brown : hind claw generally longer than the toe. Length 7*25 in. ; 
wing 375 in. The female is smaller, but similar in plumage. In 
autumn a decidedly more rufous tint pervades the upper and, still 
more, the under parts. In the young the pale margins to the upper 
feathers and the streaks on the under parts are more pronounced. 
A specimen in my collection, which I take to be a bird of the 
previous year, obtained at Malaga on March 15th, is renewing its 
tail-feathers. 



MOTACILLID/E. 



141 




THE WATER-PIPIT. 

Anthus spipoletta (Linnceus). 

The true Water-Pipit is an unusual visitor to England ; its 
occurrences having been estimated as more frequent than was really 
the case, owing to a confusion with the Scandinavian form of the 
Rock-Pipit, which occasionally visits us. The first authenticated 
examples of the Water-Pipit were recorded by Mr. Pratt of Brighton, 
in 1864, when one killed near that town, and another taken near 
Worthing, were sent to Gould for identification ; while subsequently 
three have been obtained at Shoreham and one at Lancing, on 
the spring and autumn migrations. On April 5th 1895, Mr. G. H. 
Caton Haigh shot one at Tetney, Lincolnshire, and on April 5th 
1897 he obtained another at the mouth of the Glaslyn, Carnarvon- 
shire. Both these specimens were exhibited at meetings of the 
British Ornithologists' Club. 

During the breeding-season the Water-Pipit is to be found on 
the Alps and the mountain ranges of Germany and Central Europe, 
the Pyrenees, and some of the higher regions in the Spanish 
Peninsula, even in the extreme south. Two examples are said to 
have been obtained on Jan Mayen Island early in June by the 



142 WATER-PIPIT. 

Austro-Hungarian expedition. On passage it occurs throughout 
Europe south of the Baltic, down to the Mediterranean and Black 
Seas. In Russia it breeds in the Ural ]\Iountains up to 64° N. lat, 
and in the Caucasus ; as it does in the high ranges of Asia Minor, 
Persia, Baluchistan, Turkestan, and in the Altai. In winter it visits 
the North of Africa, and Asia to Western India ; being replaced to 
the eastward by a smaller form, A blakistoui. In Japan the repre- 
sentative is A. Japoniais, doubtfully distinct from A. pennsylvanicus 
— also known as A. ludovicimtus — which is found throughout North 
America and in Greenland ; the latter has also been identified in 
Heligoland, and is said, but on insufificient evidence, to have 
occurred in Great Britain. 

The Water-Pipit returns to its breeding-quarters as soon as the 
elevated regions are sufficiently free from snow ; and quite early in 
May I observed large numbers in the Valle'e du Lis, above Luchon. 
The nest, loosely composed of dry grass and plant-stems, lined with 
a few hairs and feathers, is placed on the ground among stones, or 
under the shelter of a low bush ; the eggs, usually 5 in number, are 
greyish-white mottled with brownish-olive : measurements '8 by 
•6 in. In some localities two broods are reared in the season. The 
song of the male is an often-repeated ///, tit, tit, uttered in the air 
or from the top of some bush. The food consists of insects, minute 
snails, and small seeds. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has a white stripe over the 
eye and the greyish-brown ear-coverts ; upper parts greyish-brown, 
turning to brown on the rump ; wings dark brown with pale edges to 
the coverts and secondaries ; the exterior pair of tail-feathers white 
on the outer portion, the second and third pairs brown tipped with 
white, the remainder brown ; chin w^hite ; throat and breast warm 
vinaceous-buff ; belly paler, and flanks rather browner, with a few 
dark streaks; bill, legs and feet brown. Length 6 "5 in.; wing 
3'6 in. The sexes are alike in plumage. In autumn the vinous 
tint is lost, and the sides of the neck and breast are spotted with 
dark brown. The young bird is still more spotted, and the outer 
webs of the exterior pair of tail-feathers are pale brown. 

The Water-Pipit may always be distinguished from the Rock- 
Pipit by the distinctly ivhite colour of the outer part of the exterior 
pair of tail-feathers, and the white tips to the second pair ; and, 
although in young birds this white is not so pure as has been 
asserted, it is sufficiently so for the distinction of the species from 
even the Scandinavian form of the Rock-Pipit, which, in its turn, is 
much brighter than our resident bird. 



MOTACILLID.E. 



143 




THE ROCK-PIPIT. 



Anthus obscurus (Latham). 



The Rock-Pipit is a resident species in the British Islands, where 
it is essentially a shore-bird ; generally frequenting, during the 
breeding-season, those portions of the sea-coast which are of a rocky 
nature ; although during autumn and winter it is found on salt- 
marshes and in the muddy estuaries where there is sea-weed. 
Along the east coast a migration southwards has been noticed in 
October. In Scotland and Ireland the bird is abundant in suitable 
localities. 

The Rock-Pipit inhabits the Faeroes, but has not been obtained 
in Iceland or Greenland. Along the western side of Scandinavia, 
and in Denmark, is found a race which, in the breeding-season, 
exhibits a vinous tint on the breast, approaching the hue of that 
part in the Water-Pipit ; and birds belonging to this form have been 
distinguished as A. ntpestris. Booth says that this used to arrive in 
Sussex in considerable numbers from March to April, though it never 
remained to breed ; while it has also occurred on the east coast of 
Great Britain. Hancock said that he had an example shot from the 
nest at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, on April iSth 1854; several 
from Wales and also from Northumberland are in the British 
Museum, and Mr. J. H. Gurney has one which he obtained near 



144 



ROCK-PIPIT. 



the Land's End. A woodcut of this form is given below. Our 
dull-coloured race is found in the Channel Islands and along the 
northern and western shores of France ; while it is represented by 
the Scandinavian form to the eastward and in the Baltic. 

The nest, generally in a clump of sea-pink, a grassy bank, or a 
crevice of the rocks on the sea-shore, is made of dry grasses and 
sometimes sea-tang ; the 4-5 eggs are usually greenish-grey mottled 
with olive-brown, but I have seen reddish ones, like those of a 
Tree-Pipit : measurements "8 by "6 in. Two broods are produced 
in the season. The food consists of marine insects, flies, small 
molluscs and crustaceans, for which the bird may be seen searching 
among the heaps of sea-weed on the shore at low water. 

The adult is olive-brown with darker streaks above ; the under 
parts being dull ochreous-olive streaked with brown on the breast. 
At its best the plumage is much like that of the Water-Pipit in 
winter, but more olive, and the exterior tail-feathers have smoke- 
coloured outer webs, so that the under side of the tail seems nearly 
uniform brown. The young are more striated. Length 6 "2 5 in. ; 




Pycnonotid.b. — An example of the South-African Bulbul or 
" Gold- vented Thrush," Fyawtiotiis cape7isis, was shot near Water- 
ford, Ireland, in January 1838, and skinned by the late Dr. R. 
Birkett. Considering the natural habitat of the bird, and the time 
of year, it is only reasonable to suppose that it had escaped from 
confinement. 



ORIOLID.^. 



145 




THE GOLDEN ORIOLE. 



Oriolus galbula, Linnffius. 

This handsome bird is an annual spring-migrant to Cornwall 
and the Scilly Islands, where as many as forty have been seen in 
a single April, and it is an irregular but not infrequent visitor to 
the southern and eastern counties of England ; while nests have 
been found— or the birds seen under circumstances which left little 
doubt that they were breeding — in Norfolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, 
Northamptonshire, Surrey, and especially in Kent. The most 
authentic instances have been at Dumpton Park, Isle of Thanet, where 
a pair of birds, protected by the proprietor, Mr. Bankes Tomlin, 
reared a brood (Harting, 'Our Summer Migrants,' p. 268) in 1874, 
and again in 1875. ^^^ ^ •'"1'^' however, the bright plumage of this 
bird attracts the attention of the destroyer, and the species is thus 
prevented from nesting with us annually, as it would otherwise do ; 
for migrants generally return to the localities in which they were 

N 



146 GOLDEN ORIOLE. 

hatched. In Scotland its occurrences have been few, and mostly in 
the southern districts ; but one is recorded from Lerwick, Shetland, 
in October 1882, and one from Sanday, Orkney, in ]\Iay 1893. Fo^ 
Ireland about forty are on record ; the majority from cos. Waterford 
and Cork, but several from the north and west. 

The Golden Oriole is a mere wanderer to the south of Sweden, 
and is only known to have visited Heligoland once in the last fifty 
years ; but it breeds in South Finland, and in Russia rather further 
north than St. Petersburg. In the rest of Europe it is a common 
species during the summer, except in the eastern half of the 
Mediterranean basin, where it is better known as a migrant. East- 
ward it is found in Asia — north of the great mountain ranges — as 
far as Irkutsk ; but in the Indian region it is represented by 
O. kuadoo, in the adult male of which the black loral streak extends 
behind the eye, and the outer tail-feathers are entirely yellow. In 
North Africa the Golden Oriole breeds sparingly, but winters 
regularly ; its migrations extending to South Africa. As a straggler 
it has been found in Madeira and the Azores ; also in the Faroes, 
in May 1893 ; but Kjaerbolling's assertion that one was picked up 
dead in the north of Iceland in December 1S43, is incredible. 

The nest is placed in, and suspended from, the horizontal fork of 
a small branch of some tree — frequently an oak or fir — in a shady 
grove or thick wood, and is made of strips of pliable bark, wool, 
slender grass stems &c., carefully woven together; the 4-5 eggs 
are glossy white, blotched with reddish-purple: measurements 1-2 
by "84 in. Although fond of shade, the Oriole is not a shy bird, and 
often breeds in the gardens of large towns. Its food consists of 
insects and their larvae, the young birds being principally fed on 
caterpillars ; but fruits, especially cherries, are also eaten. The 
French name ' Loriot ' indicates the flute-like call of the male ; the 
alarm-note being a harsh khrr. 

Adult male : most of the plumage golden-yellow ; lores black ; 
quills and wing-coverts black, tipped and margined with yellowish- 
white ; tail-feathers yellow at the tips and black at the bases, except 
the central pair which are mostly black ; bill dull red ; iris bright 
red ; legs lead-grey. Length 9*5 in. ; wing 6 in. I have tried in 
vain to obtain any proof of Blyth's theory that the mature female 
assumes the plumage of the adult male ; she certainly has a blackish 
loral streak, but the yellow is far less intense than in the male, and 
the under parts are striated with greyish, while in less mature birds 
the upper parts are merely greenish-yellow. The young are duller in 
colour than the female. 



LANIID.«. 



147 




THE GREAT GREY SHRIKE. 



k 



Lanius excubitor, Linnceus. 

The Great Grey Shrike is a conspicuous and fairly regular visitor 
from the Continent to the British Islands in autumn and winter ; 
while it has occasionally been observed in spring and even in 
summer, though there is no evidence that it has ever bred with us. 
It is naturally more frequent on the eastern side (especially in the 
Humber district, where it pursues the small migrants) than on the 
west; but though records are wanting from the Hebrides, it has 
occurred in Argyll and often in the Orkneys, while it was seen by 
Saxby in the Shetlands. In Ireland it is an irregular visitor in 
winter. 

Many of the specimens obtained in winter have a white bar on 
the primaries only, the bases of the secondaries being black ; 
whereas in the typical L. excubitor the bases of the secondaries are 
white, and the wing exhibits a double bar. The form with only one 
bar is the L. major of Pallas, and, as shown by Prof. CoUett (Ibis 
1886, pp. 30-40) it meets and interbreeds with L. excubitor in 
Scandinavia, typical examples of both races being actually found in 
the same brood, while intermediate individuals are not uncommon. 
Where the sexes have been determined by dissection the double- 
barred bird has generally proved to be a male and the single- 
barred a female. The typical L. excubitor breeds as far east as 
St. Petersburg, beyond which, and in Western Siberia, L. ?iiajor 

N 2 



148 GREAT GREY SHRIKE. 

becomes the representative form. In the valley of the Yenesei 
the latter meets, but does not interbreed with, the whiter-winged 
L. leticopterus ; the last ranging through Turkestan to Southern 
Russia, where, by its union with the typical L. exciibito>% it seems 
to have produced an intermediate race, known as L. homeyeri. Space 
will not allow me to say more. 

A Grey Shrike of some kind was seen in Iceland in 1845 by John 
Pell the falconer ; and, as already shown, two forms occur and inter- 
breed in Northern Europe, even up to lat. 70°. In winter both are 
forced to leave the high north, but in Central Germany the typical 
L. excubitor often remains throughout the winter, and comparatively 
few individuals of either form extend their migrations to the shores of 
the Mediterranean, although more numerous in the Black Sea region. 
The south-east of France and the Spanish Peninsula are occupied 
by a distinct and resident species, L. meridionah's, with vinous- 
coloured breast, while in Morocco and Algeria we find Z. algeriensis ; 
these two species seldom, if ever, crossing the Mediterranean. The 
Great Grey Shrike with the double white bar breeds in the north of 
France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Central Europe. 

From the middle of May onward, the rather bulky nest of twigs, 
roots and moss, lined with wool, hair and feathers, is built usually at 
the top of a fir, or high up on the forked bough of some other tree. 
The 5-7 eggs are greenish-white, spotted and zoned with olive- 
brown and violet-grey: measurements i"i by -8 in. The food 
consists largely of lizards, mice, shrews, birds up to the size of a 
Redbreast, frogs, and insects, especially beetles and grasshoppers ; 
the indigestible portions being thrown up in pellets. Eike other 
members of the family, this species impales its prey on long sharp 
thorns — whence the name of " Butcher-bird"; while its fondness for 
sitting, like a sentinel, on a lofty and conspicuous perch has earned 
for it the name of excubitor. The alarm-note is a sharp shake, 
shake : the call-note fna'i. 

Adult male : forehead and a line over each eye white ; lores, 
cheeks and ear-coverts black ; upper parts pearl-grey, turning to white 
on the scapulars ; wing-feathers black with white bases to the 
primaries, and — in the typical Z. exciibilor — also to the secondaries, 
which, with the inner primaries, are tipped with white; outer tail- 
feathers chiefly white ; in the others the black at their bases increases 
until the central ones are black to their tips ; under parts white ; bill, 
legs and feet blackish. Length 9-5 ; wing 4-3 in. Female : duller, 
and the breast faintly marked with greyish semilunar bars. Young : 
dull grevish-brown above, and more barred on the under parts. 



LANIID^E. 



149 




THE LESSER GREY SHRIKE. 
Lanius minor, J. F. Gmelin. 

The Lesser Grey Shrike is an annual summer-visitor to' the 
southern and central portions of Europe, and, on migration, it 
occasionally wanders to England. Early in November 185 1, a 
female was killed in the Scilly Islands; in the spring of 1869 an 
adult was received by the Rev. Murray A. Mathew from Great 
Yarmouth, where another was taken in May 1875 ; on September 
23rd 1876, a bird of the year, identified by the late Mr. Gatcombe, 
was taken alive near Plymouth ; the Rev. M. A. Mathew has 
recorded (Zool. 1894, p. 345) the discovery of an adult, which had 
been shot at Heron Court in September 1842 ; and Mr. F. W. 
Frohawk states (Field, p. 839) that he identified one with binoculars 
in Mid-Kent on May 15th 1897. 

It is doubtful if the Lesser Grey Shrike has occurred in the south 
of Sweden or in Denmark ; while it is distinctly rare on passage 
in Heligoland, and only less so in Holland, Belgium and the 
north of France. Eastward, it is not uncommon along the southern 
shores of the Baltic, and has even wandered to Finland ; while in 
the south it is generally distributed over Europe as far west as the 



150 LESSER GREY SHRIKE. 

valley of the Rhone and Provence. It is common in Italy, Sicily, 
Dalmatia, Greece, Turkey, Asia Minor and Palestine, where it 
frequents the outskirts of cultivation on the lower grounds, but does 
not ascend to the elevated regions. In all the above countries it is 
only known in summer or on migration ; and its winter-quarters 
appear to be in South Africa. In Asia it is found from Persia to 
Omsk in 57° N. lat., and eastward to Lake Zaisan in long. 84° E. It 
arrives in Germany between April 24th and May 7th, remaining till 
between August i8th and September loth (Dr. Rey) ; but in south- 
eastern Europe it stays until October. 

The nest, commenced about the middle of May, is generally 
placed at least ten feet from the ground, in an oak, wild pear or 
crab, and in Greece frequently in an olive-tree. It is composed 
of twigs, dry roots, aromatic field-flowers and green grasses, with a 
lining of wool, hair and feathers ; the eggs, 5-7 in number, are pale 
bluish-green, blotched with olive-brown and ash-colour : measure- 
ments '98 by 77 in. Incubation, shared by both sexes, lasts fifteen 
days, and during the breeding-season the birds are very pugnacious, 
driving even Crows and Magpies from the vicinity of their nest. 
Like most Shrikes, this species is fond of perching on the topmost 
branch of a tree or other elevated position, whence it darts with 
rapidity upon its prey, sometimes gliding with extended wings 
for a short distance. Its food consists of beetles and other 
insects, seldom impaled on thorns, but devoured while held in the 
bird's foot : in the season, however, cherries, figs and other fruits 
are eaten, llie note is described by Naumann as a harsh kjdck, 
kjdck, but the song of other birds is often imitated. 

Adult male : forehead, line above the eye and ear-coverts black ; 
cheeks white ; nape and back grey, rump rather paler ; wing-feathers 
black, slightly tipped with white on the secondaries, and with white 
bases to the primaries, forming a broad single bar ; central tail- 
feathers black except at their bases ; in the others the bases and tips 
are white, which gradually encroaches upon the black until the outer 
pair are entirely white ; under parts white, suffused with a rosy blush 
on the breast and flanks; bill, legs and feet blackish. Length 8*5 in.; 
wing 4 '6 in. The female and the immature male have less black on 
the forehead. The young bird — the upper figure in the woodcut — 
has no dark frontal band, and the under parts are dull yellowish- 
white, mottled with grey transverse lines. This species may be 
distinguished from all other Grey Shrikes by its wing formula ; 
the I St or bastard primary being very short, while the 2nd nearly 
equals the 3rd and longest primary. 



151 




THE RED-BACKED SHRIKE. 

Lanius coLLURio, Linnaeus. 

This, by far the commonest of our British Shrikes, arrives in the 
south of England very early in May, and is irregularly distributed 
during the summer throughout the wooded districts of the southern 
and central portions, and in Wales. In Norfolk, however, it 
appears to be decreasing ; in Lincolnshire and south-east Yorkshire 
it nests very sparingly ; while northward it is of irregular occurrence, 
and is said to be rarer than in former years. In the south-east of 
Scotland it has occasionally been known to breed, as well as at 
Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, in 1893 ; but beyond the Forth it is rare, 
though migrants have been taken at Rattray Head, Dee, as well as 
on the Pentland Skerries. In the Shedands Saxby says that he 
shot a young male on October 5th 1866, and that on June 9th 
(probably a slip {ox July) 1870, he saw a female Red-backed Shrike 
followed by three young birds already tolerably strong on the wing. 
In Ireland the only example on record was shot on August loth 
1878, near Belfast. For details respecting the distribution of this 
species, Mr. O. V. Aplin's paper (Tr. Norw. Soc. v. pp. 286-310) 
should be consulted. 



152 RED-BACKED SHRIKE. 

In summer the Red-backed Shrike is found in Scandinavia and 
Northern Europe as high as about 64° N. lat., and southward 
throughout the greater part of the Continent : but in the south-west 
it appears to be rare, for Mr. Tait only once obtained it, with its 
nest, in the north of Portugal ; while one shot by Mr. Abel Chap- 
man on April loth is the only specimen recorded from Southern 
Spain, though in the north the bird is found from Catalonia to 
Santander. Comparatively few, in fact, remain to breed in the 
basin of the Mediterranean, although the species is common in 
some parts on passage ; but eastward it is found nesting on the 
high grounds of Hermon, Lebanon, and the Altai Mountains. In 
winter its migrations extend to Natal and Cape Colony. 

In the second half of ]May the nest, large for the size of the bird, 
is placed usually about five or six feet from the ground, in a thick 
thorn-bush or strong hedge, and is made of stalks of plants, moss, 
and roots, with a lining of bents, wool and hair. The 4-6 eggs vary 
considerably, some having the ground-colour of a greenish-white, 
others of a yellowish-clay, and some of a salmon tint ; they are 
spotted and zoned with brown, olive or lilac, or blotched with two 
shades of light red and violet-grey : measurements "88 by '65 in. 
Only one brood is reared in the season : the majority taking 
their departure in August in family parties, before their moult, 
though the capture of a young bird is recorded on November nth 
1869, when in pursuit of a Wren. This Shrike feeds on mice, 
lizards, beetles, humble-bees, wasps and other insects ; it has 
been seen to strike down and carry off a Sand-Martin on the wing; 
while, like its congeners, it impales its prey on thorns, whence its 
trivial name of " Flusher," i.e.^ Flesher. The alarm-note is a harsh 
chack, but the male has a rather sweet song, and is also a good mimic. 

The adult male has the frontal band, lores and ear-coverts black ; 
crown and nape grey ; mantle chestnut-brown ; wing-feathers brown 
edged with rufous ; tail-coverts grey ; tail-feathers (except the two 
central pairs, which are mostly black) white at their bases and 
black on the lower portion, with black shafts and narrow white 
tips; chin white; under parts rose-buff; bill, legs and feet black. 
Length 7 in.; wing 37 in. The female ordinarily has the upper 
parts and tail russet-brown with famt crescentic bars on the mantle, 
and the under parts bufifish-white with greyish-brown semilunar bars; 
but mature females lose the bars, and even assume a plumage like 
that of the male. The young bird is whiter on the forehead, 
duller and less rufous-brown on the upper parts, more barred both 
above and below, and has iron-grey legs. 



LANIID.li. 



^53 







THE WOODCHAT. 

Lanius pomeranus, Sparrman. 

Although a common species during the breeding-season on the 
opposite shores of the Continent, the Woodchat Shrike only crosses 
the narrow seas at irregular intervals, and not more than about 
thirty-five examples are known to have been obtained in England 
during the last hundred years. The majority of these have been 
noticed in the southern and eastern districts, and generally at the 
time of migration ; but there is evidence that the bird has nested 
twice near Freshwater in the Isle of Wight, while westward it has 
been known to occur as far as Cornwall. Northward, it has been 
identified on rare occasions up to Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumber- 
land and Northumberland ; but there is no proof that it has visited 
Scotland or Ireland. Mr. O. V. Aplin published an excellent 
summary in 'The Zoologist' for 1892, pp. 345-352. 

On the Continent the Woodchat breeds from Normandy north- 
eastward as far as the line of the Baltic and the valley of the Vistula, 
beyond which it is of accidental occurrence ; while southward 
it is generally distributed throughout Europe, and in the countries 



154 WOODCHAT. 

on both sides of the Mediterranean is abundant. Even there, 
however, it is only a visitor ; arriving about the end of March, 
or early in April, and leaving again between August and October. 
Eastward, it breeds in South Russia, Turkey, Asia Minor, Palestine 
and Persia ; while in winter it occurs in Arabia, and down the East 
African coast to about 5° N. lat., also on the west side in the 
Canaries, and to the Gambia and the Gold Coast. Throughout 
North Africa it is abundant in summer, arriving from the southern 
side of the Sahara in March. 

The nest, composed of a variety of materials and frequently 
adorned with the flowers of aromatic plants, is placed in the fork of 
a branch of almost any tree, without the slightest attempt at con- 
cealment. The eggs, usually 5 in number, are, as a rule, rather 
larger than those of the Red-backed Shrike, though similar in colour ; 
the exception being the red variety, which is comparatively rare : 
average measurements '92 by '68 in. In its habits and food this 
species resembles other Shrikes, though insects of various kinds, 
especially grasshoppers and beetles, appear to form a larger propor- 
tion of its diet ; it is also very fond of bathing. The note usually 
heard is a harsh krah kack krah; but the male has also a low and 
rather pretty song in spring, and shows great capacity for imitating 
the notes of other birds. 

The adult male, represented in the lower figure, has an elongated 
white spot above each nostril ; forehead, lores, ear-coverts, sides of 
neck and back black; crown and nape chestnut-red; scapulars 
conspicuously white ; wing-feathers blackish, with white bases to the 
primaries, forming a single bar ; coverts and secondaries tipped with 
buffish-white ; lower back grey ; tail-coverts nearly white above, 
turning to grey below ; tail-feathers chiefly black, with white tips and 
with white outer webs and bases to the exterior pair ; under parts 
buffish-white, darker on the flanks. Length yi in. ; wing 3'8 in. 
The female has all the colours less bright and the upper parts are 
tinged with rufous and buff. The young bird (the upper figure in 
the cut) is russet, streaked and mottled with darker brown and dull 
white on the upper parts, and with wide rufous margins to the 
quills ; under parts much barred with brownish ; bill yellowish-horn. 

ViREONiD.^. — Mr. Edwin Brown (Mosley's Nat, Hist, of Tut- 
bury, p. 94 and p. 385, pi. 6) described and figured a male of the 
American Red-eyed ' Flycatcher,' Vireo olivaceus, which a Derby 
bird-catcher known as ' Hatter Dick ' asserted that he had captured, 
with a female not preserved, at Chellaston in May 1859. [I] 



AMPELID.t. 



155 




THE WAXWING. 

Ampelis garrulus, Linnasus. 

For upwards of two centuries this beautiful bird has been known 
to visit our islands at irregular intervals, and sometimes, as in the 
winters of 1686, 1830-31, 1834-35, 1849-50, 1866-67, 1872-3, and 
1892-93, in considerable numbers. As might be expected in the 
case of an inhabitant of the Arctic regions, the visits of the Waxwing 
have been more frequent to the northern and eastern portions of 
Great Britain than the western side ; and although they have 
reached Argyll and Skye, they have not extended to the Outer 
Hebrides, while occurrences in the Orkneys and Shetlands have been 
rare. In Ireland, also, they have been few and far between. In 
England the Waxwing has been obtained in almost every county, 
including the south and the extreme south-west ; and, on the spring 
migration, in Norfolk up to the first week in May. Its visits depend 
on the severity of the weather on the Continent, but it does not 
follow that the same winter should be rigorous in the British Islands. 

The wanderings of the Waxwing are not known to extend in a 
south-westerly direction as far as the Pyrenees or the Spanish 
Peninsula ; but from Provence, in the south-east of France, they 



156 WAXWING. 

can be traced across the northern districts of Italy to Turkey. In 
summer the bird inhabits the Arctic regions,. within the Hmits of tree- 
growth, in Europe and Asia ; but it is very erratic, nesting for some 
seasons in large numbers in certain districts and then suddenly 
abandoning them. Its breeding-range extends across Bering Strait 
to Alaska and the Rocky ]\Iountains, while in winter the United 
States — exceptionally as far south as 35° N. lat. — are visited. The 
representative species in temperate North America is the Cedar-bird, 
A. cedforum (erroneously stated to have visited Great Britain), which 
is rather smaller, without any white or yellow on the wings. Our 
Waxwing occurs in winter in Japan and Northern China, but there 
the resident species is A. phanicoptera, which has red markings on 
the wings and tail, but no wax-like tips. 

The best account of the discovery of the breeding of the Waxwing, 
with which the name of Wolley will always be associated, has been 
given by his friend and sometime companion Professor Newton, in 
' The Ibis ' for 1861 (pp. 92-106), and in the 4th Edition of ' Yar- 
rell's British Birds.' The first nests and eggs were found in Russian 
Lapland in 1856, since which a great many have been taken ; and 
the breeding-range is now known to extend westward to the north- 
eastern portion of Norway, and southward to about 65^ N. lat., on 
the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia. Open portions of the forest 
appear to be preferred ; the rather large nest being placed on the 
branch of a spruce, Scotch fir, or birch, and mainly composed of the 
lichen known as tree-hair, on a platform of dead twigs. The 5-7 
eggs are pale purplish-grey, blotched and streaked with several shades 
of brown and lilac : measurements "97 by '68 in. In summer the 
food consists of crane-flies and other insects ; later, hips, juniper- 
mistletoe- and other berries are eaten, and are usually swallowed 
whole. The note of this bird is a low cir-ir-ir-ir-re. 

Adult male : frontal band, lores, eye-region and chin black ; fore- 
head and sides of the crest chestnut-brown ; general plumage light 
greyish-brown, shading into ash-grey on the rump and abdomen ; 
wing-coverts black, tipped with white : secondaries spotted with 
white at the end of the outer web, and with tips to some 8 of the 
shafts like red sealing-wax; primaries black, with V-shaped yellow and 
white borders; tail blackish, terminated by a broad yellow band, and, 
in mature birds, with small red wax-like tips ; under tail-coverts 
chestnut; bill, legs and feet black. Length 7-5 in. ; wing 4*5 in. 
Female : rather duller, with (as a rule) fewer wax-like tips, and 
generally without the white edges to the inner webs of the primaries. 
Young : browner and without the black throat. 



MUSCICAPIDiE. 



157 




THE SPOTTED FLYCATCHER. 



MUSCICAPA GRI'SOLA, LinilKUS. 

The Spotted Flycatcher is often said to be one of the latest spring- 
visitors to our islands ; nevertheless it has been observed exception- 
ally in our eastern counties as early as April 23rd, and at Carlisle one 
day earlier, while the usual date of its appearance in the south is 
about the first week in May ; and even in the remarkably cold back- 
ward spring of 1888, I watched an evidently new arrival feeding in 
Kensington Gardens on the ist of that month. During the summer 
this species is generally distributed throughout Great Britain, be- 
coming rarer towards the north ; although even there it has been 
found nesting in Sutherland, Caithness, and as far westward as Skye; 
occasionally in the Orkneys, which it sometimes visits in autumn, 
as well as the Shetlands. Mr. Ussher says that in Ireland it breeds 
in every county, even in the remote west. 

The Spotted Flycatcher breeds as far north as Tromso in Norway 
and Archangel in Russia ; while southward it is tolerably abundant 
throughout Europe, nesting down to the northern shores of the 
Mediterranean ; also on the African side, and in Asia Minor, Pales- 
tine, Persia, Turkestan, and Siberia as far as Irkutsk. In winter it 
visits India, Arabia, and Africa to Cape Colony. It leaves our 
islands and the northern portion of Europe in September, but in the 
south the abundance of insect food enables it to remain later ; and 
in Asia Minor it has even been obtained late in November. 



158 SPOTTED FLYCATCHER. , 

The nest is frequently placed among creepers or trellis-work, or in 
a hole in a wall or a tree ; occasionally behind loose bark ; often on 
a beam in a verandah or an out-building, whence the name of " Beam- 
bird " ; and sometimes in such odd situations as the top of a door- 
hinge, the inside of a lamp or of a stove, &c. The structure, which 
is rather neat, and generally assimilated to its surroundings, is of 
moss, lichens, and a few strips of bark, warmly lined with wool, hair 
and feathers. In the eggs, which are 4-6 in number, the ground- 
colour varies from bluish-white to pale green, spotted and clouded 
with rusty-brown: measurements 75 by "55 in. Incubation begins 
about the third week in May, and is said to devolve entirely upon 
the female, who is fed by the male ; two broods are not unfrequently 
produced in the season, the first being hatched early in June. There 
is evidence that the Spotted Flycatcher occasionally makes use of 
old nests of other birds, without alteration or addition {Cf. C. Wolley 
Dod, 'The Field' August 14th 1897, p. 307). This is one of the 
few species which nest in some of our London parks and gardens. 
Its food consists principally of insects, and the bird may often be 
seen sitting on a fence or branch, whence it darts upon some fly or 
gnat, returning with a graceful sweep to the spot it has just quitted. 
It can even manage a tolerably large moth, such as the Yellow 
Underwing, and it will dash at the Small White butterfly {Pieris 
rapcv), though it always declines that insect on closer acquaintance ; 
while in the autumn it has been known to feed on berries, especially 
those of the mountain-ash, to which so many species of birds 
are partial. The song is very faint and low, and the call-note is a 
zt-chick. 

The adult has the crown light brown, with dark streaks down the 
centre of the feathers ; upper parts hair-brown, slightly darker on the 
wings and tail, and paler on the margins of the wing-coverts and 
secondaries ; chin and under parts dull w^hite, with brown streaks on 
the throat, breast and flanks ; bill dark brown ; legs and feet blackish. 
The sexes are alike in plumage. Length 5"S in. ; wing y^ in. The 
young are very much spotted ; the feathers of the upper parts have 
pale centres with broad dark margins, and the wing- and tail-coverts 
are conspicuously tipped with buff, as are also the secondaries. 



MUSCICAPID,€. 



^59 



'/ ' 




THE PIED FLYCATCHER. 

MusciCAPA ATRiCAPiLLA, Linnceus. 

Although far less numerous than the preceding species, the Pied 
Flycatcher is a regular visitor to Great Britain, arriving in the latter 
part of April and returning southward in autumn. Large numbers 
have sometimes been observed during the first week in May on the 
Pentland Skerries, the Isle of May, and at Flamborough and Spurn in 
Yorkshire ; while a return migration has been noticed in August and 
September. During the breeding-season this is a very local species, 
and although nests are said to have been found occasionally in some 
of the southern counties, its favourite haunts are rather in the west 
and north. In portions of Wales, such as Brecon, Carmarthen, 
Merioneth and Denbigh, as well as in the English counties on the 
Welsh border, it breeds annually ; also in Lancashire, some parts of 
Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland ; but its head-quarters are 
in Westmoreland and Cumberland, where it appears to be on the 
increase. In Scotland this species is much rarer, but it has bred as 
far north as Inverness-shire, and has often occurred in the Orkneys 



l6o PIED FLYCATCHER. 

on migration. In Ireland an adult female was shot by Mr. 
R. Warren at Moyview, co. Sligo, on April 19th 1875, and since 
1886 six examples have been killed by striking against the Tearaght, 
Fastnet, and Tuskar lighthouses (Barrington). 

A wanderer to the Freroes, the Pied Flycatcher breeds regularly up 
to 69° N. lat. in Scandinavia, 65° in Finland, and about 60° in 
Northern Russia as far as the Ural Mountains ; southward, in suitable 
wooded localities, throughout the greater part of Europe down to the 
centre of Spain ; eastward, as far as Palestine, while it has been 
met with in Northern Persia. In Algeria it is said to be a resident ; 
its migrations extending to the Canaries, as well as down the west 
side of Africa to the Gambia and on the east to Egypt. 

The nest is generally placed in a fairly deep hole of a tree in thin 
or detached groves of oaks, birches, ashes, alders or aspens, the same 
area being resorted to in successive seasons ; occasionally holes in 
walls are utilized. It is made of dry grass and roots, with a lining of 
hair ; the 6-9 eggs, laid from the middle of May to the first week in 
June, are pale blue, with, occasionally, a few fine specks of reddish- 
brown : average measurements "68 by "52 in. Like its congener, the 
Pied Flycatcher feeds principally upon insects, but it does not so often 
catch them on the wing, preferring to take up its position at the 
extremity of a dead bough, whence it can dart upon them in the grass 
beneath ; and it is frequently to be seen among the highest branches 
of forest trees (H. A. Macpherson). The note is tzii-tzit-tzif, trui, 
trui, trui. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the upper parts black, 
with a white frontal band, conspicuous white outer margins to the 
secondaries, and a mottled band of grey and white across the rump ; 
under parts white; bill, legs and feet black. Length 5 in. ; wing 3"i in. 
Less mature males show some white on the outer margins of the two 
exterior pairs of tail-feathers. After the autumn moult the upper 
parts are somewhat browner, but the white frontal patch is always 
present. In the female the frontlet, wing-patches and under parts are 
buffish-white, and the upper parts are olive-brown. The young bird 
in nestling-plumage is mottled on the back like the Spotted Fly- 
catcher, but the white on the wings is very conspicuous in the male. 
The upper figure in the cut represents a male in breeding-plumage ; 
the lower one a young male killed in September. 

The AVhite-collared Flycatcher, M. coildris, was figured by Gould 
in his ' Birds of Great Britain,' but there is no proof of its occur- 
rence in England. The male has a white frontlet and collar. 



MUSCICAPID/F,. 



i6i 




THE RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER. 

MusciCAPA PARVA, Bechstcin. 



This small Flycatcher is one of those species which, like the 
Isabelline and Desert Wheatears, have their usual habitat to the east 
of our island, but in autumn and winter often migrate in a westerly 
direction. Its occurrence in England was first noticed near Fal- 
mouth, where two examples were seen for several days, and one — a 
female — was shot on January 24th 1863. In the October following, 
two were obtained in the Scilly Islands, and a third on November 
5th 1865 ; on October 5th 1883, a young male was killed by Mr. 
G. Bolam in his garden at Berwick-on-Tweed ; at Scarborough one 
was obtained on October 23rd 1889; in Norfolk, one at Cley on 
September 13th 1890 and another on October 4th 1894, and a third 
at Rollesby Broad on December loth 1896. For Scodand the 
only record as yet is from the Monach lighthouse, off North Uist, on 
October 22nd 1893. Ireland furnishes one from the South Arklow 
light, off Wexford ; one from the Tearaght light, and one from Tory 
Island ; all three in October of various years. 

As a wanderer the Red-breasted Flycatcher has been taken in 
Holland, Denmark, and off the south of Sweden, while a good many 
examples have been obtained in autumn on Heligoland. It breeds 

o 



1 62 RED-BREASTED FLY-CATCHER. 

sparingly in North-eastern Germany and in the St. Petersburg 
district ; south of which, in Central Europe, it hecon\es more plenti- 
ful in summer, though very local. To the south-east of France it is 
an occasional visitor ; and, from the accurate description of a careful 
observer, I have little doubt of its irregular occurrence, during winter, 
in the south-west of Spain. Though only a migrant to Italy, the 
islands of the Mediterranean, Greece, and the Black Sea region, it 
breeds in Southern Russia, the Caucasus and Northern Persia ; while 
eastward, it occurs in Turkestan, and in Siberia as far north as 
Yeneseisk, and eastward to Lake Baikal, where it probably nests. 
In winter it visits India, as far south as Mysore, and in Africa its 
migrations extend to Nubia. 

The Red-breasted Flycatcher arrives in Northern Germany in May 
(generally leaving early in Septeml:)er) ; and it appears to be partial to 
woods of beech and hornbeam, or those where beech and fir are mixed. 
The nest, built early in June, is rather deep and cup-shaped, neatly 
formed of moss and a few lichens, with a lining of dry grass and 
hair. It is usually placed in a hole in the trunk or some rotten 
branch of a beech-tree, but occasionally in a fork against the stem, 
from six to ten feet from the ground. In appearance the eggs, 5-7 
in number, are intermediate between those of the Redbreast and the 
Spotted Flycatcher ; having a very pale greenish ground-colour, with 
mottlings of rusty-brown : measurements -63 by -5 in. The young 
are hatched towards the end of June, and their food, like that of the 
adults, consists of insects, in search of which the birds soon leave 
their breeding-grounds in the forests for gardens and orchards in 
the vicinity. The habits of this species are lively and active, and in 
pugnacity, as in plumage, the male resembles our Redbreast. It has 
a pleasant song, resembling the syllables tivi several times repeated, 
while the alarm note is a c\td.r piiik^ pink. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the cheeks ash-grey ; 
crown and nape browner grey ; upper parts in general wood-brown ; 
tail (of twelve feathers) rather darker brown, with conspicuous white 
bases to the four outer pairs ; chin, throat and upper breast reddish- 
orange ; belly white ; sides and flanks pale buff ; bill brown ; legs 
dark brown. Length 5-1 in. ; wing 2-8 in. The female has no ash- 
grey on the head and her throat is merely reddish-buff. The young 
bird has a spotted nestling-plumage, and later the wing-coverts and 
secondaries become tipped with buff ; otherwise it resembles the 
female. The male pairs in the immature plumage of the first year; 
the orange-red on the throat does not extend to the breast until 
the third moult. 



HIRUNDINID/E. l6' 




THE SWALLOW. 

HiRUNDO RUSTiCA, Linnffius. 

This well-known visitor has been known to arrive in the southern 
portions of our islands in some numbers by March 21st, while 
from April loth forward it is generally distributed, although some- 
what scarce and local in the extreme north, and decreasing in the 
north-west. It visits the Outer Hebrides, and will probably be 
found to breed there exceptionally, as is the case in the Orkneys 
and Shetlands. . Emigration usually begins early in September, and 
most birds have left us by the middle of October, but there are 
many records up to the end of December, and a few in January 
and February ; while one out of two laggard Swallows survived the 
exceptionally mild winter of 1 895-1 896, at Masham, Yorkshire. 

The Swallow occurs in the Faeroes in ISLiy, and has been known to 
stray to Iceland, South Greenland, Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya. 
It nests in Scandinavia up to "jo" N. lat., but not quite as far as the 
Arctic circle in Russia ; eastward and southward, its breeding-range 
extends over Europe, Asia (north, as a rule, of the great mountain 
ranges), and Northern Africa ; while during winter it is found through- 
out the Indian region as far east as Burma and the Malay peninsula, 
and all over Africa. My space will not permit a discussion of its con- 
geners, and I must refer my readers to Dr. R. B. Sharpe's excellent 
remarks (Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. vol. x., especially pp. 126-127).; 

o 2 



104 SWALLOW. 

merely observing that, by way of Asia, a connection appears to be 
established near Lake Baikal with the North American Swallow, 
H. erytkiogaster of Boddaert, better known as JI. horreorum. The 
latter, although found in Greenland, does not cross the Atlantic to 
Britain, nor has our bird been observed further west than about 180 
miles beyond the Azores. In Egypt there is a resident subspecies, 
H. savigiiii, with the under parts nearly as ruddy as the throat. 

The nest was, no doubt, originally built in caves, and even now 
these are sometimes resorted to, but at the present day it is usually 
placed about human habitations or buildings of some kind ; often it 
is in chimneys, though almost any ledge or projection will serve ; 
while exceptionally it has been found in forked boughs of trees, and 
in even more remarkable sites. Mud, with a mixture of short straws, 
and a lining of fine grasses and feathers, is the material employed, 
and the structure has generally the shape of half a saucer ; the eggs, 
laid from May i8th onwards, and usually 4-6 in number, are white, 
blotched and speckled with several shades of grey and brown : 
measurements "82 by "54 in. Two broods are produced in the season, 
but I have known even three hatched by the same pair of (marked) 
birds, although I believe that the last brood, still in the nest on 
October 23rd, was not reared. To the extreme south of Europe the 
Swallow returns by the end of Ja^nuary, and below Seville I found 
many nestlings by April i6th. With us large flocks collect together 
in autumn, prior to their departure for the south, and are then 
conspicuous on roofs, trees and telegraph-wires, especially in the 
vicinity of water. The food consists mainly of gnats and crane-flies 
in spring, with small beetles in summer. The soft, low twittering 
.song can hardly be described ; the alarm-note may be syllabled as 
feet-a-feet, feet-a-feetit. 

The adult male in spring has the forehead and throat dark chest- 
nut ; crown, upper parts and pectoral band deep metallic blue ; 
quills dark bluish-green ; tail-feathers bottle-green, with white patches 
on the inner webs of all except the central pair, the long outside 
streamers often two inches longer than the next ; belly and under 
wing-coverts buff; under tail-coverts pale chestnut ; bill, legs and feet 
black, and very small. Length 7*5 in.; wing 4*9 in. The female 
has the tail shorter, the forehead less chestnut, and the under parts 
whiter. The young are duller in colour ; the frontlet and throat are 
pale chestnut, and the spots on the tail are tinged with rufous. The 
moult takes place in winter, and I noticed that the birds which were 
breeding in the south of Spain in April had not then attained the 
warm buff tint on the under parts, which I observed later. 



HIRUNDINID^. 165 



THE MARTIN. 
Chelidon urrica (Linnaeus). 

The Martin, sometimes called the House-Martin to distinguish it 
from the Sand-Martin, usually arrives a few days later than the 
Swallow, and is of general distribution during the summer through- 
out the British Islands. In the north, however, it is rather local and 
even of irregular occurrence, while in some parts of the north-west it 
has become decidedly scarcer of late years. It seldom visits the Outer 
Hebrides, and only breeds sparingly in the Orkneys and Shetlands. 
In Ireland it is local, and less common than the Swallow. By the 
middle of October the bulk of the Martins have left this country, but 
considerable flocks have been noticed up to the middle of November, 
and birds — generally young — have been obtained in December. 

The Martin is a rare visitor to Iceland, but in the Faeroes it is not 
uncommon on the spring migration. In Scandinavia it breeds as far 
north as about lat. 70°, but in Russia its range in that direction is less 
extensive ; while eastward our bird is not known beyond the valley of 
the Ob, its place being taken in Siberia by C. lagopoda, a species 
with a shorter and squarer tail and entirely white upper tail-coverts. 
In the Himalayas the representative species, C. cashmiriensis, is 
smaller, with shorter and less deeply-forked tail ; but our bird is 
found during the breeding-season in North-western India, Turkestan, 



1 66 MARTIN. 

Persia, Palestine, Asia Minor, and throughout Europe, except in the 
Basque Provinces, where, for some mysterious reason, it is ahiiost 
unknown. It also breeds abundantly in North Africa ; visits the 
Canaries and Madeira ; and probably winters in Central Africa, 
inasmuch as examples have been obtained in Abyssinia on the east 
side, and off the coast of Guinea on the west. 

The nest, constructed of mud, is not left open at the top like that 
of the Swallow, but is shaped like the quarter of a cup, and is fixed 
against a wall, bridge or rock, beneath eaves or other projections ; 
the hole for entrance being in the top or corner of the side. On 
rocky coasts, and in mountain districts, especially those where lime- 
stone prevails, the nests are often placed in large numbers against 
the cliffs ; while I have also found House-Martins nesting well inside 
crevices, in Wales (near Fishguard), the Pyrenees, and in Norway. 
Upon a lining of pieces of straw and feathers, the 4-5 eggs, of a pure 
white, are deposited about the last week in May: measurements 
79 by '52 in. Incubation lasts a fortnight, and two, or, occasionally 
three, broods are produced in the season, for young have been found 
in the nest up to October 17th : the same spot being occupied year 
after year. The food of the Martin consists entirely of insects, and 
it is a pity that this beneficial bird should be dispossessed and 
driven from its home, as it often is, by the detrimental House- 
Sparrow. This has lately happened to several colonies in the West- 
end of London. The note is a low twitter, sounding like spritz. 

The adult has the upper part of the head, nape and back glossy 
blue-black ; rump white, as are the upper tail-coverts, except those 
next the tail, which are bluish-black ; wings and the forked tail sooty- 
black ; under parts white, as are also the feathers which cover the 
legs and toes ; bill black. Length 5"3 ; wing 4*25 in. The sexes 
are alike in plumage. The young bird is sooty-brown above, with 
hardly any gloss ; the rump and under parts are dull white ; the tail 
is shorter and less forked ; and some dark feathers on each side of 
the neck form an incipient collar. 

An American Purple Martin, Progne purpurea, said to have been 
shot near Kingstown in 1839 or 1840, is in the Museum of Science 
and Art, Dublin. An American Tree-Swallow, Tachycintta bkolor, 
said to have been killed at Derby in 1850, is now in the Museum at 
Norwich. There are no other instances of the occurrence of these 
species in Europe ; and, even assuming the correctness of the state- 
ments, the birds had probably received " assisted passages." 



HIRUNDINID/E. 



167 




THE SAND-MARTIN. 

CoTiLE RiPARiA (Liimaeus). 

The Sand-Martin, the smallest member of the family that visits 
our islands, is one of the earliest species to arrive in spring, often 
making its appearance by the third week of March. It is also one 
of the first to quit our shores, its southward emigrations commenc- 
ing in August and terminating in October ; but, exceptionally, it has 
been noticed in various localities up to the end of November. 
Owing to the nature of its haunts it is somewhat locally distributed 
throughout the British Islands, but upon the whole it is widely diffused, 
extending regularly to some of the Outer Hebrides and breeding 
sparingly in Orkney; while in 1887, Mr. A. H. Evans ascertained 
that it nested near Lerwick in the Shetlands. In Ireland, according 
to Mr. R. J. Ussher, it is more widely distributed than the House- 
Martin. 

In the Faeroes and Iceland the Sand-Martin has not yet been 
obtained, but on the Continent it is generally distributed from 70° 
N. lat. to the Mediterranean in summer ; while it also breeds spar- 
ingly in the northern districts of Africa, and abundantly in Egypt 
and Palestine. Eastward, it is found across Asia to Kamchatka ; on 
the American continent it breeds in large colonies in Alaska and 
up to 68° N. lat. on the Mackenzie River ; while it can be traced to 



1 68 SAND-MARTIN. 

Newfoundland. In winter it visits Mexico, Central America and 
the valley of the Amazon ; and — in the Old World — China, the 
Indian region, and South-eastern Africa down to Zanzibar. Occasion- 
ally it wanders to the Canary Islands. 

Early in May it makes a nest, generally in banks — whether 
natural, such as earth-cliffs and chalk-holes by the sides of rivers 
and lakes, or artificial, such as railway-cuttings, sandpits and gravel 
quarries— or even in huge heaps of sawdust. In such situations 
galleries slanting slightly upwards are bored, and, in a somewhat 
wider chamber at the end, the nest is formed of a little dry grass with 
an abundance of feathers. The eggs, usually 4-6 in number, are 
pure white : average measurements 7 by '48 in. In some parts of 
Norway the Sand-Martin burrows into the turf-covered roofs of 
the peasants' houses ; while in this country holes in old walls are not 
unfrequently utilised, and Mr. R. Warren found nests in the crevices 
of a ruin on I-ough Cullen. Small colonies are often ousted by the 
overbearing House-Sparrows, but where large numbers congregate, 
they are able to defy intruders. Two broods are generally produced in 
the season, and after leaving their flea-haunted nest, the young betake 
themselves to the vicinity of water, where they feed all day upon the 
gnats and other insects found in such localities, and roost at night 
in large numbers in the reed-beds and plantations. The male has a 
low twittering song, but the alarm-note is rather harsh. 

The adult male is hair-brown above, slightly darker on the crown 
and lighter on the rump ; wings and tail blackish-brown ; under 
parts white, except a mottled brown pectoral band ; bill black ; legs 
dark brown, with a tuft of pale buff-coloured feathers above the hind 
toe. Length 4-8 ; wing 4 in. The female has a rather narrower 
band across the throat. The young bird, shown in the upper figure 
of the woodcut, has the feathers of the upper parts tipped with dull 
white, and the under parts tinged with buff 

In the rocky gorges and mountainous regions of Central and 
Southern Europe many of my readers may have noticed a rather 
larger bird, resembling our Sand-Martin in the colour of its upper 
parts, but displaying white spots on its outspread tail. This is the 
Crag-Martin, Cot'ile rupeslris, a bird which has not yet been found 
in the British Islands, but which may possibly stray to our shores, as 
it breeds regularly no further off than Switzerland and the Pyrenees. 
This species has not the small tuft of feathers on the metatarsus, 
and its eggs are spotted, like those of the Swallow. 



FRINGILLIN.t. 



169 




THE GREENFINCH. 

LiGURiNUS CHLORis (Linnffius). 

The Greenfinch, sometimes called the Green Linnet, is a common 
and well-known resident species in the cultivated and wooded dis- 
tricts of Great Britain and Ireland. In the bleaker portions of our 
islands it is, naturally, less abundant ; but it has spread with the in- 
crease of plantations of late years, and even in some of the Orkneys 
it now breeds freely, although to the Shetlands, as well as to the 
Outer Hebrides, it is still a mere visitor, chiefly in autumn. Large 
flocks annually arrive on our east coast in October. 

To the Faeroes the Greenfinch is only a rare wanderer ; but south 
of 65° N. lat. in Norway and 60° in the Ural Mountains it is more 
or less sedentary in suitable localities throughout Europe. In Spain, 
Northern Africa, Palestine and Asia Minor, our comparatively large 
and dull-coloured bird is only observed during the winter months, 
and the race which breeds is distinctly smaller, and — especially on 
the forehead — more brightly coloured. Extremes of this form have 
been named L. chloroticus ; while intermediate examples have been 



17° GREENFINCH. 

Styled L. aiiraiitiiventris. Eastward, the Greenfinch is found as far 
as the north-west of Persia and Turkestan ; but in Eastern Siberia, 
China and Japan, the representative species is L. sinicus, with 
greyish head, brown mantle, and yellowish-brown under parts. As a 
straggler the Greenfinch has occurred in Madeira, and as an intro- 
duced species in the United States. 

The nest is placed in hedges, shrubs and evergreens, often in 
tolerably tall trees or amongst ivy, and occasionally in such unusual 
situations as a cavity in a tree or a hollow at the top of a gate-post. 
It is commonly a rather loose and slovenly structure, built (without 
much attempt at adaptation to the surroundings) of coarse fibrous 
roots, moss and wool, with a lining of finer materials, hair, and feathers. 
The eggs, 4-6 in number, are pale greenish-white, blotched, spotted, 
or even zoned with reddish-brown and purplish-grey : measure- 
ments -83 by -55 in. Not unfrequently several nests may be found 
in proximity. The first laying takes place at the end of April 
or early in May, and two broods are often reared in the season. 
The young are fed upon caterpillars and other insects, and soft 
seeds ; later, berries of various kinds are also consumed ; and in 
autumn flocks may be seen on the stubbles. The song is poor, 
while the call-note is a long-drawn twe e-eer, reiterated by the male 
as he sits on the top of a bush. In confinement the Greenfinch is 
easily domesticated, and shows a moderate capacity for learning 
the songs of other birds, while it interbreeds with several species 
of Finch ; also, in a wild state, with the Linnet. 

The adult male has the lores dusky-black ; forehead greenish- 
yellow ; a golden-yellow stripe over each eye ; crown, neck and 
mantle olive-green, turning to yellow on the rump; secondaries 
brownish-grey, darker on the shafts and inner margins ; quills greyish- 
brown with yellow outer webs ; central tail-feathers and terminal 
portion of the rest blackish-brown with greyish edges, the basal por- 
tions yellow ; under parts greenish-yellow, greyer on the flanks ; bill 
dull flesh-colour, darkest at the tip ; legs and feet pale wood-brown. 
Length of the large form about 6 in., and wing 3-5 in. ; but a brilliant 
specimen of the smaller race, now before me, measures rather less 
than 5 in. and the wing hardly 3-2 in. The female is somewhat 
smaller and far less brightly coloured than the male, the head and 
mantle being greenish-brown with darker striations ; the outer webs 
of the primaries barely edged with yellow; and the under parts 
generally dusky, with very little yellow. The young are dull brown, 
tinged with yellow, and spotted and streaked with darker brown. 



FRINGILLIN.t. 



171 




THE HAWFINCH. 

COCCOTHRAUSTES VULGARIS, Pallas. 

The Hawfinch is a bird of shy and retiring habits, and unless 
attention be attracted by the shrill and — when once heard — unmis- 
takable whistle, its presence may easily escape detection. There 
can be no doubt it has been steadily increasing in numbers during 
the last fifty years, and, though still local in distribution, the nest 
has been found in every county in England, excepting Cornwall, 
even as far north as the Lake district and Northumberland, though 
there the bird becomes rare. From Worcester and Hereford it has 
now spread to Brecon, where it breeds, but in the rest of Wales it 
is still uncommon. In spite of the extension of the metropolis, the 
Hawfinch has not quite ceased to nest in Middlesex, and it is com- 
paratively common in some parts of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Herts, 
Bucks, Berks and Surrey, while in Kent it may almost be called 
abundant. In Scotland, a young bird obtained near Edinburgh 
was, in the opinion of Mr. W. E. Clarke, bred in the neighbour- 
hood, and the species has been taken in winter in the Solway 
district, while said to have been seen in Sutherland. To Ireland 
this Finch is only a rare and irregular wanderer in winter, and has 
never been obtained at any of the lighthouses. 

Even to the south of Scandinavia the Hawfinch is only an 
occasional visitor, but in Russia it has been found nesting as far north 
as the St. Petersburg district Over Central Europe, in suitable 



172 HAWFINCH. 

localities, it appears to be generally distributed, although nowhere 
very common ; but in the south, from Spain to Turkey, as well as in 
Asia Minor, it is a more abundant resident species. In North-western 
India we find Dr. R. B. Sharpe's paler species, C. /uiinii, while a 
slightly different subspecies, C. japonicus, inhabits Eastern Siberia, 
North China and J^iP'^in- In Morocco the Hawfinch is rare ; but it 
breeds sparingly in Algeria, occurs in Tunisia, and has wandered to 
Egypt and Palestine. 

The nest, built at the end of April or early in May, is generally 
placed in trees overgrown with grey lichens, such as old hawthorns, 
apple- and pear-trees ; the horizontal branches of oaks, beeches 
and spruce firs, the heads of pollarded hornbeams, and holly 
bushes are also selected. It is a rather flat structure, built of twigs 
mixed with grey lichen, and lined with fine roots and a little hair. 
The eggs, 4-5 in number, are pale olive- or bluish-green, spotted 
and streaked irregularly with dark olive- and greyish-brown : 
measurements "98 in. by 72 in. Only one brood is reared in the 
season, but if the first nest is interfered with, another is built. 
The young are fed largely on caterpillars, but otherwise the food of 
this species consists largely of peas, the kernels of cherry-stones 
(which are crushed by the powerful bill), and of the seeds of the 
hornbeam and other trees, beechmast, haws and similar berries. In 
winter small parties and even flocks are formed, and a certain 
amount of movement — hardly to be called migration — takes place 
in England. The song is short and poor ; the call-note is a prolonged 
whistle repeated four times. 

The adult male in spring has the lores, a narrow frontal line con- 
necting them, and also the throat, deep black ; head orange-brown ; 
nape grey ; back dull brown, paler on the rump and tail-coverts ; 
upper wing-coverts blackish, followed by a line of white which turns 
to brown on the secondaries; quills black, with white patches on the 
inner webs, and with steel-blue tips, which, from the fifth inwards, 
are jagged ; tail-coverts orange-brown, and very long ; tail-feathers 
black at the bases and dark on the outer webs, their ends white; under 
parts vinous-brown ; bill dull black at tip, leaden-blue at the base ; 
legs and feet flesh-colour. Length 7 in. ; wing nearly 4 in. Female : 
less orange-brown on the head and duller in colour. In winter the 
bill in both sexes is pale horn-colour. The young bird has the head 
and cheeks yellowish-brown ; mantle mottled brown ; under parts 
dirty white, spotted and barred with dark brown ; throat white, 
tinged with yellow ; bill olive. By August black feathers begin to 
appear on the throat. 



FRINGILLINzE. 



173 




THE GOLDFINCH. 

Carduelis elegans, Stephens. 

Owing to the arts of the bird-catcher, as well as to improve- 
ments in cultivation which have done away with many of the tracts 
formerly covered with thistles and other weeds, the Goldfinch has 
undoubtedly decreased in numbers during the last half century; 
nevertheless, the Wild Birds' Preservation Act, and perhaps agricul- 
tural depression, have somewhat operated in its favour during the 
past twelve years. Though local, and principally to be found 
during the breeding-season in the neighbourhood of gardens and 
orchards, it still nests in every county in England — not except- 
ing Northumberland, where it has bred at Greenhead ; while 
it is tolerably common along the Eden valley in Cumberland, 
although in the northern and western counties a comparatively rare 
bird. Beyond the Border it has almost disappeared from the 
Lothians, owing to the influence of high farming ; but I am 
informed by Mr. R. Service that, after a marked diminution, it is 
again on the increase in the Solway district. It is now very 
scarce beyond the Great Glen ; but on one occasion it has 
nested in the south of Skye, while as a straggler it has occurred 
in Mull and Eigg (Macpherson), as well as in the Orkneys. 
In Ireland it is widely distributed. A large proportion of 
the Goldfinches which inhabit England during the summer, as 



174 GOLDFINCH. 

Avell as flocks which have arrived from the Continent, cross the 
Channel in October, and return northward in April. 

South of about 64° N. lat. in Norway, and 60° in the Ural 
Mountains, the Goldfinch is found breeding throughout Europe, 
although rare in the north ; while in Spain and other southern 
countries it is exceedingly abundant and very bright in colour. It 
is a resident in Madeira, the Canaries and Northern Africa ; visits 
Egypt in winter; and ranges eastward to Persia. There, and 
generally to the east of the line of the Urals, we find a larger form, 
known as C. major, with nearly white rump and flanks ; and in 
Southern Siberia this meets and interbreeds with C. caniceps, which 
has no black on the crown and nape, but more white on the wing. 

The compact nest— like that of the Chaffinch, but smaller, neater, 
of finer materials, and without the conspicuous lichens — is built 
about the middle of May, and is often placed in a fork of a fruit- 
tree or a horse-chestnut ; sometimes in a hedge or evergreen shrub. 
The 4-5 eggs are greyish-white, spotted and streaked with purplish- 
brown : measurements "66 by "5 in. Two broods are produced in 
the year, and young have been found in the nest in September. At 
first they are fed with insects and their larvK : but later the principal 
food consists of seeds of the thistle, knapweed, groundsel, dock and 
other plants. The song of this favourite cage-bird is well known ; 
its call-note is a sharp twif. In captivity it breeds with several 
other species of Finch. 

Adult male : feathers at the base of the bill and lores black ; fore- 
head and throat glossy crimson-red ; cheeks and lower throat white ; 
crown and the parts behind the cheeks black ; on the nape a narrow 
line of white : back wood-brown ; wings black, tipped with white on 
the inner quills and barred with bright yellow : tail-coverts white 
with black bases ; the three outer pairs of tail-feathers black with white 
central spots, the remainder black, tipped with white ; breast white, 
banded with brownish-buff, with a yellow tint posteriorly ; flanks 
buff; belly and under tail-coverts white; bill whitish with a black 
tip; legs and feet pale flesh-colour. Length 5 in.; wing 3 in. In less 
mature males, only the ist and 2nd pairs of tail-feathers have white 
spots. The female has a more slender bill and less crimson on the 
throat. The young, known as "grey-pates," "bald-pates" and 
"branchers," are greyish-brown on the upper parts ; the wing tips 
are buffish-white, and only the outer pair of tail-feathers show the 
white spot. Some birds, called "cheverels," have the throat white ; 
examples from Morocco have the back isabelline, and there are 
several other varieties. 



FRINGILLIN^. 



175 




^^ ^^■ 



THE SISKIN. 

Carduelis spinus (Linnreus). 

The Siskin, or Aberdevine as it has been called since the time of 
Albin, is principally known in England and Wales during winter 
and on its migrations to and from its more northern breeding- 
quarters ; but there is evidence that it has bred, exceptionally, in 
Surrey, Sussex, and perhaps some other southern counties. In the 
north, where fir-woods are more abundant, it has nested in the 
county of Durham ; while a few pairs breed regularly in some parts 
of Cumberland, and in the Solway district in Scotland. From 
Perthshire northward, it nests freely in some of the old fir-wood 
districts, and suitable localities up to Caithness ; in East Sutherland 
it is said to be resident, and it breeds in Ross-shire ; but on the 
western side generally it is only a somewhat rare winter-visitor, and 
has not yet been traced to the Outer Hebrides nor the Orkneys, 
although it occurs on both passages in the Shetlands. In Ireland 
it nests in many counties where pine-trees flourish, especially in 
Wicklow and Waterford ; while in winter it is tolerably common. 

In Northern Europe the breeding-limit of the Siskin coincides 
with that of conifer-growth ; and southward, the bird nests in some 
of the fir-woods of Germany, South Holland, France, Switzerland, 
Northern Italy as far as the vicinity of Florence, Austria, and 



176 SISKIN. 

the Caucasus ; while it is found on migration down to the Mediter- 
ranean, and in winter sometimes visits Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. 
Eastward it has been met with in Asia Minor, Northern Persia, and 
across Siberia to Northern China and Japan, being a favourite cage 
bird in the last country. In the Indian region, from Kashmir to 
Western China, the representative species is C. spinoides. 

The Siskin generally produces two broods in the year, and St. 
John found well-fledged young near Nairn as early as April 26th. 
Firs of some kind or birches are the trees usually selected, and the 
nest, while occasionally placed at the top against the main-stem, 
is generally high up and at the end of a long lateral branch ; yet 
sometimes it is built in gorse and other bushes. Fir twigs, fine roots 
and green moss are the materials employed to form a tolerably neat 
structure, which is lined with horsehair and a few feathers. The eggs, 
usually 5 in number, are slightly smaller than those of the Goldfinch, 
rather bluer in ground-colour, and speckled with dull lilac and 
reddish-brown: measurements •65 by "47 in. Siskins not unfrequently 
breed in captivity, but there is a difficulty in rearing the young, 
as in the earlier stages they appear to require Aphides^ such as 
infest the leaves and green shoots of the alder. Later in the year, 
beechmast, and seeds of rag-weed and other plants are eaten. 
The call-note is loud and clear, resembling the word zeisig, whence 
the bird's German name ; the song is pretty and varied. 

The adult male has the crown, chin, and lores black : cheeks and 
ear-coverts dusky-greenish ; above and behind each eye to the nape 
runs a broad streak of yellow, which unites with the same colour on 
the upper breast ; feathers of the mantle greenish-olive, with dusky 
shaft-streaks ; rump yellow ; the central pair of tail-feathers dusky- 
black, the others black near the tips, yellow at the bases and on the 
inner webs ; wing-coverts black, tipped with yellow ; quills blackish, 
with yellow margins and bases forming two irregular bars ; belly 
white ; flanks yellowish, streaked with black ; bill pale brown : legs 
dull brown. Length 4-6 ; wing 2-8 in. In autumn the colours are 
duller, and there is hardly any black on the chin. The female 
has dusky streaks on the crown, and very little yellow on the rump, 
wings and tail ; the under parts are yellowish-white, with ash-brown 
stripes. The young bird is still duller and greyer in appearance. 

An example of the North American Spiiius tristis is said to have 
been taken on Achill Island in September (Zool. 1894, p. 396). 



FRINGILLIN.t:. 



177 




THE SERIN. 
Serinus hortulanus, K. L. Koch. 

The occurrence of the Serin in England was first recorded from 
the neighbourhood of Portsmouth (NaturaHst, 1853, p. 20), by the 
Rev. W. Hazel ; and subsequently, about eight examples have been 
obtained by bird-catchers in Sussex — most of them near Brighton ; 
one or two near London, two in Norfolk, one in Somersetshire, and 
one in Devon ; while Mr. G. C. Swailes saw and heard a male singing 
near one of his aviaries containing Serins, outside Beverley on 
April 26th 1897. In Ireland one was taken near Dublin, on January 
2nd 1893. Almost all of these were noticed either in spring or in 
autumn ; and although the Serin is a very common cage-bird abroad 
and likely to be imported, yet, considering that it breeds no further 
off than Luxemburg, it is probably a genuine visitor to our shores. 

In Holland, where the Serin was formerly rare, it is now captured 
almost every autumn (Blaauw) ; it has wandered to Schleswig ; at 
least a dozen examples have been obtained on Heligoland ; and its 
northern breeding-range extends to Darmstadt and the upper portions 
of the Rhine and Moselle valleys. Southward, it is found — generally 
at the foot of mountains skirting the plains — throughout the greater 
pari of Europe, and on both sides of the Mediterranean ; in Asia 
Minor it is resident and extremely abundant, and it has been 
traced to Sinai and Egypt. It visits the coast of Palestine in 
winter, but in the higher regions of that country the representative 
species is S. canonicus, a larger, paler and much yellower bird ; 
while in the Lebanon, Taurus and other mountain ranges, reaching 

p 



178 SERIN. 

to North-western India, is found S. pusilliis, the male of which has 
a red forehead and black throat and cheeks. The Serin has been 
introduced in the United States. 

The nest, placed in the fork of some tree or about breast-high 
in a bush, is built of fine roots, bents, lichens and grey moss, with 
a lining of softer materials. The 4-5 eggs are pale greenish-white, 
with light reddish-brown spots and a few darker blotches : measure- 
ments ■61 by '47 in. The food chiefly consists of various kinds of 
seeds. The song resembles the word zi-zi often repeated, and a 
flock of birds settled in a tree produces a peculiar buzzing or 
almost hissing sound. 

Adult male in breeding-plumage : forehead, a line over each eye, 
rump, throat and breast, bright yellow ; cheeks and upper parts olive, 
with dark brown streaks ; greater wing-coverts and secondaries edged 
with dull white ; quills and tail brown, margined with pale yellow ; 
belly white ; flanks boldly streaked with brown ; bill horn-brown ; 
legs pale brown. Length 4*5 ; wing 27 in. Female: much less 
yellow and more striated. In winter both sexes are duller in colour ; 
while the young in their first autumn exhibit hardly any yellow tint. 

Examples of the subspecies Seriitus canaria, peculiar to the 
Canaries, Madeira and the Azores, have been taken in England, 
and, although cages-full are known to be imported, there are persons 
who wish to believe that the individuals captured are not escaped 
birds, but genuine wanderers from a warm to an inhospitable climate ! 
The aforesaid Rev. W. Hazel has stated (Nat. 1853, p. 20) that the 
African Serinus icterus ( Crithagra chrysopyga of Swainson), was taken 
near Portsmouth. Mr. Langton has recorded (Zool. 1886, p. 490) 
that, among the rarities obtained by the late Mr. Swaysland of 
Brighton, there was a " Citril Finch" taken alive on October 14th ; 
but on examination the bird proved to be a freely-imported South 
African species, Serums canicollis, another specimen of which has 
since been captured. Montagu mentioned an example of the American 
Cyattospiza ciris, taken near Portland in 1802, which he, with his 
accustomed good sense, naturally presumed to have escaped from 
confinement. Another American species, the " White-throated 
Sparrow," Zonotrichia albicoUis (which is really a Bunting), having 
been obtained near Aberdeen, was included and figured by the 
late R. Gray in his ' Birds of the West of Scotland.' A second 
example has been taken near Brighton ; and Mr. Cordeaux has 
recorded (Zool. 1893, p. 149) an adult male shot in Holderness, on 
February 13th, while feeding with other "pensioners." 



FRINGILLIN/E. 



179 




THE HOUSE-SPARROW. 
Passer domesticus (LiniiKus). 

The House-Sparrow is generally distributed throughout Great 
Britain and Ireland wherever human habitations are to be found, 
except near some of the high moorland farm-houses and a few of 
the most elevated villages. In proportion as land is brought under 
cultivation, the Sparrow makes its appearance and rapidly increases, 
so that it is now established in the Inner Hebrides, the Orkneys, 
the Shetlands, and other places where it was formerly unknown. 

As yet the House-Sparrow does not appear to have reached the 
Faeroes, but in Scandinavia it occurs, in suitable localities, up to and 
a little beyond the Arctic circle ; while eastward it can be traced 
across Russia, and along the inhabited portions of Siberia to 
Daiiria ; but not to Japan or China. A smaller and paler race 
(known as P. indicus, but not considered by the best authorities as 
entitled to specific distinction) inhabits Cochin, Siam, Burma and the 
Indian region, as far west as Southern Persia ; whence gradations 
lead back to the typical bird, which is found almost all over Europe 
where grain will grow. In Italy, and on the island of Corsica, the 
representative species is P. italice, the male of which has the crown 
chestnut instead of grey ; but although this species has been found 
for a considerable distance up the Brenner Pass, it has not yet 
infringed upon the territory of our bird, which, on the northern 

p 2 * 



I bo HOUSE-SPARROW. 

side, reaches Innsbruck. In Sardinia, Sicily and Malta we find 
only P. hispanioknsis, also widi a chestnut head, but much blacker 
on the throat and flanks. In Spain our bird keeps to the towns, 
and does not seem to clash with P. hispanioknsis, which there 
breeds in the woods, often occupying the foundations of inhabited 
nests of large birds of prey. ^Vestward, the House-Sparrow occurs 
in Madeira, but apparently not in the other Atlantic islands. In 
Africa it is found from Morocco to the Albert Nyanza ; while it 
swarms in South Arabia and at Aden. Introduced, like the rabbit, 
through officious ignorance, in Australia, New Zealand, and the 
United States, it has become such a curse that special legislation has 
been loudly invoked for its destruction. 

The well-known nest, of straw, hay, dry grass and all sorts of odd 
materials, thickly lined with feathers, is placed indifferently in trees, 
among climbing plants, under the eaves of roofs, in the spouts of 
water-pipes, in holes in walls, and those in banks originally excavated 
by the Sand-Martin ; in fact almost everywhere. The 5-6 eggs 
are pale bluish-white, blotched, speckled or suffused with ash- and 
dusky-brown and black : measurements "9 by "6 in. Three broods 
are frequently reared in the season. The young are fed upon cater- 
pillars and the larvae of various destructive insects, and in this 
respect the Sparrow is beneficial ; but there is abundant evidence 
that during the greater part of the year an enormous amount of 
grain &c., is devoured, and the consensus of opinion appears to be 
that, while extermination is not advocated (nor practicable), the 
increase of this species should be checked. By deferring the 
destruction of the insect-fed young until they are fledged, the greatest 
amount of usefulness may be extracted from this bird, which causes 
incalculable harm by dislodging the House-Martin and other insec- 
tivorous species. 

Adult male : lores black ; a narrow streak of white over each eye \ 
crown, nape and lower back ash-grey ; region of the ear-coverts 
chestnut ; back chestnut-brown streaked with black ; wings brown, 
with a bar of white on the middle coverts ; tail dull brown ; throat 
and breast black, sometimes suffused with bright chestnut ; cheeks 
and sides of the neck white ; belly dull white ; bill bluish-black ; 
legs pale brown. Length 6 in. ; wing 3 in. In winter the colours 
are duller and the bill is yellowish-brown. In the female the upper 
parts are striated with dusky-brown ; there is no black on the throat 
or grey on the crown, and the under parts are brownish-white. The 
young bird is deeper brown both above and below ; the middle 
wing-coverts are tipped with buff; the bill is dull yellow. 



FRINGILLIN.C 



l8l 




THE TREE-SPARROW. 



Passer montanus (Einnaeus). 

The Tree-Sparrow is rarer and more local than the preceding 
species, but it is undoubtedly extending its range, having recently 
been found in the Outer Hebrides, including St. Kilda, and in 
North Ronay, as well as in many other places where it was unknown 
in former times. In the south-west of England it is as yet un- 
common, and it is not abundant in Wales, although it breeds in 
Brecon; while it is very local in Eancashire and Cumberland. It is 
probably more abundant in Cambridgeshire and some of the eastern 
and midland counties than elsewhere ; but it is difficult to sketch its 
distribution with accuracy, owing to the strong probability that, from 
its resemblance to the House-Sparrow, it has often been overlooked. 
Large numbers arrive from the Continent upon our north-east coast 
in autumn. On the mainland of Scotland its settlements are mostly 
along the eastern side, from the Border to Sutherland. Unknown 
in Ireland until 1852, it is now a resident and increasing species 
near Dublin ; Mr. H. M. Wallis has stated that he saw a pair in 
May 1886 on Aranmore Island, off Donegal ; and a bird has been 
taken at the Tuskar lighthouse. 

About 1869 the Tree-Sparrow reached the Faeroes, where it has 
multiplied exceedingly ; and in Norway, although still local, it has 
now spread beyond the Arctic circle. Throughout the rest of 
northern and temperate Europe it is generally distributed ; in Hun- 
gary and Slavonia it is more abundant than the House-Sparrow ; 
and, although local, it may be said to be common in most parts of 



1 02 TREE-SPARROW. 

the south, except in the islands of the Mediterranean. I have 
specimens from Valencia and Malaga in Spain, but the bird has not 
yet been obtained in Portugal. It is rather common in some parts of 
the south of France, and breeds in many towns, but is very local in 
the Pyrenees. In Algeria and Tunisia it is rare, but it is said to visit 
Egypt and Arabia ; it is found throughout the greater part of Asia 
south of about 58° N. lat., down to the Philippines and the Malay 
Peninsula ; and in Java, where it was introduced less than a century 
ago, it has already varied so much from the type as to be named var. 
inalaccensis by M. Dubois. Imported specimens, or their descend- 
ants, have been obtained in North America. 

The nest is often placed at some distance from habitations, 
in the rotten wood of pollard-willows and other trees ; but in 
many districts it is built in the outer side of the thatch of barns 
and outhouses, and beneath the tiles of roofs, as well as under the 
coping of old walls and in sea-cliffs ; in fact almost any hole will 
serve. The materials employed are mostly dry grass and feathers ; 
the 4-6 eggs, smaller and more glossy than those of the House- 
Sparrow, are greyish-white, generally freckled all over with rich 
hair-brown: measurements 75 by "54 in. Two, and even three 
broods are reared in the season ; the first being hatched about the 
middle of April. The young are fed on caterpillars and other 
insects, soft vegetables &c., but later, both they and their parents 
live principally upon small seeds ; while in winter both young and 
old frequent rick-yards, highroads and even streets of towns, for the 
horse-droppings. The male has a slight, though somewhat pleasant 
song, but the ordinary call-note is a shrill chirp. In captivity — and 
exceptionally in the wild state^this species has bred with the 
House-Sparrow. 

Unlike the preceding species, the sexes are alike in plumage. The 
adult has the lores and a streak under each eye black, crown and 
nape warm reddish-brown ; cheeks and ear-coverts white, with a 
triangular black patch ; mantle, wings and tail much as in the male 
House-Sparrow, but both upper and lower wing-coverts tipped with 
white, forming two distinct bands ; chin and throat to upper breast 
black ; under parts greyish-white, brownish on the flanks ; bill 
black; legs and feet pale brown. Length 5*6 in. ; wing 275 in. 
In the young bird the plumage is duller, and the bands on the 
■wings are tinged with buff. As shown by the above measurements 
it is a decidedly smaller species than the House-Sparrow. 



FRINGILLIN.E. 




THE CHAFFINCH. 

Fringilla ccelebs, Linnaeus. 

The Chafifinch is a common and generally distributed species 
throughout the cultivated or wooded portions of the British Islands, 
especially in the north of England ; it may even be found nesting 
in low bushes in some of the treeless Outer Hebrides, as well as the 
Orkneys, and also at a considerable elevat'ion on the mountains of 
Scotland, where it is undoubtedly increasing. As yet it has not 
been recorded as breeding in the Shetlands, although it visits them, 
especially in October, and some birds remain for the winter. At 
that season large flocks arrive from the Continent on our east coast, 
while other bands, from the north of our island, spread themselves 
over the inland provinces. Owing to a partial and temporary 
separation of the sexes at this time, the name ccelebs, or bachelor, 
was used by Linnaeus in reference to the deserted males. Mr. 
Barrington considers it the commonest passerine bird in Ireland. 

As a wanderer the Chaffinch has been obtained in the Faeroes, 
and in summer it occurs, in comparatively small numbers, nearly up 
to the North Cape ; while south of the Arctic circle it is generally 



1,84 CHAFFIN'CH. 

distributed during the breeding-season throughout the temperate 
regions of Europe down to the Mediterranean. Colonel Irby found 
it breeding near Gibraltar, but in the south of Spain it must be very 
local in summer, though common in winter. At that season it visits 
Egypt as well as the coast of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, but 
inland, the representative species is F. spodiogenys, the male of which 
has a bluish-grey head and nape, greenish back, and under parts of 
a vinaceous white, while the female is much greyer than our bird. 
Dr. Sharpe distinguishes the IMadeiran Chaffinch as F. niaderensis, 
and considers F. morekti of the Azores and F. tintillon of the 
Canaries as subspecies ; the dark grey F. teydea, found on the Peak 
of Teneriffe, being distinct. Our Chaffinch breeds on Hermon, 
Lebanon, and in the forest region of Persia ; and has been found as 
far east as Omsk in Siberia. 

About the middle of April, the nest, almost too well known to 
need description, may be found at a moderate height from the 
ground, in a fork of the lower branches of a tree or in a bush, and 
is artfully composed of wool, green moss, lichens and other 
substances felted together, with a lining of hair and feathers. The 
eggs, 4-6 in number, are usually of a pale greenish-blue, clouded 
with reddish- and spotted with purplish-brown, but occasionally they 
are unspotted blue: measurements '8 by "57 in. Two broods are 
generally reared in the- season. The call-note is chissick. The alarm- 
note or challenge is the familiar spink, spink, spiuk, to which the bird 
owes one of its many local names ; the song varies much in different 
localities, one of the commonest renderings being toll-toll, pretty- 
little de-dr. Both young and old feed largely on insects and the 
seeds of weeds, so that in spite of pilfering of fruit, vegetables 
and newly-sown seeds, the Chaffinch may be considered as one of 
the gardener's best friends. 

Adult male in spring : forehead black ; crown and nape bluish- 
grey ; back reddish-brown ; rump yellowish-green ; upper wing- 
coverts white, greater coverts black, tipped with yellowish-white, 
forming two conspicuous bars ; quills dull brown, slightly fringed 
with greenish-white ; central tail-feathers dark grey, the rest black, 
with broad white patches on the two exterior pairs ; cheeks, throat 
and under parts rich reddish-brown, paler on the belly : bill bluish- 
lead ; legs dull brown. Length 6 in. ; wing 3 '4 in. Li autumn the 
bill is brownish, and the head is tinged with rufous. Female : head 
and back light yellowish-brown : breast pale yellowish-grey. Young : 
similar to the female, but with paler tints at first ; the males, how- 
ever, begin to show brighter colours within a fortnight. 



FRINGILLIN^. 



t8: 




THE B RAMBLING. 



Fringilla montifringi'lla, Linnaeus. 

This species is said to pass through the Shetlands on both migra- 
tions, but its appearance is decidedly irregular in the Orkneys, as 
well as in the west of Scotland generally ; while even on the east 
side it is seldom abundant to the north of the Firth of Forth, 
though immense flocks are sometimes observed in the Lothians. 
Throughout October many arrive annually on the north-east coast 
of England, especially the Humber district, but further south the 
relative abundance of the Brambling — or Mountain-Finch as it is 
sometimes called — depends upon the severity of the weather on the 
Continent. In hard winters the species may be very numerous, 
especially in the vicinity of beech-woods, but in other years it is not 
noticed ; while in Cornwall and Wales its appearance is very un- 
certain. By the middle of March almost all have returned to their 
northern breeding-grounds, but exceptionally a few birds have been 
known to remain behind. To Ireland this bird's visits are very 
irregular, and it is little known there, but at long intervals large 



l86 BRAMBLING. 

flocks have been observed in the beech-woods of Armagh and the 
north-eastern districts, and also in co. Cork. 

To the Faeroes the Brambhng is only an exceptional visitor. On 
the mainland it breeds throughout the sub-Arctic pine and birch 
forests, from Norway to Kamchatka ; while on migration it occurs in 
Japan, China, Northern India, Asia Minor and the whole of Europe ; 
but it is only in very severe winters that it pushes its wanderings to 
the African side of the Mediterranean. Immense flocks sometimes 
visit Belgium, Holland, Germany and Heligoland ; but statements 
that this species has nested in the Pyrenees, the Alps, or the 
Ardennes, are as yet unconfirmed. 

As a rule, the Brambling breeds at higher altitudes than those 
frequented by the Chafifinch ; and its nest, usually placed where a 
branch meets the stem of a birch- or fir-tree, but sometimes in small 
juniper bushes, is bulkier, less compact, and largely composed of 
birch-bark. Several pairs generally breed in company. The eggs, 
6-7 in number, laid late in May or early in June, are, as a rule, rather 
greener than those of the Chaffinch and have more defined markings, 
but many of each species are quite indistinguishable : measurements 
•8 by "6 in. The Brambling has bred several tmies in captivity. Its 
food consists of insects, small seeds — especially those of the knot- 
grass, beechmast, and the kernels of nuts. The call-note is a harsh 
cMb ; the male during the breeding-season utters a long, wearisome 
and oft-repeated cree, much louder than that of the Greenfinch. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the head, cheeks, nape 
and back glossy blue-black with white bases to the feathers, which 
sometimes show in the form of an irregular collar ; upper wing- 
coverts orange-buff, tipped with white ; greater coverts black, 
margined with white, which forms a conspicuous bar ; quills mostly 
brownish-black, with whitish exterior margins ; rump white, mottled 
with black ; tail-feathers black, with a little white at the base of the 
outer pair ; throat and breast reddish-fawn-colour ; belly dull white ; 
flanks spotted with black ; under wing-coverts bright yellow ; bill 
bluish-black ; legs brown. Length S'l in. ; wing 3 "6 in. In autumn and 
winter the black feathers of the head and back have ample margins 
of reddish-brown (as represented in the woodcut), which are shed in 
spring ; a warm orange-brown pervades the wing- and tail-coverts, 
breast and flanks ; and the bill is yellow, with a black tip. The 
female is dull brown on the upper parts and has none of the rich 
black and chestnut markings of the male. Young birds at first 
resemble the female, but the males soon show signs of black on the 
head and back, and the under parts are brighter fawn-colour. 



FRINGILLIN.'E. 



187 



M ,V-4- 




THE LINNET. 

LiNOTA CANNABiNA (LiiinL-eus). 

Owing to its seasonal changes of plumage this species is often 
known as the Grey Linnet ; also as the Red or Brown Linnet, to 
distinguish it from the Greenfinch, which is frequently styled the 
Green Linnet. It is widely distributed throughout the greater part 
of the British Islands, especially on uncultivated lands and furze- 
covered tracts ; but in the mountain-regions of Scotland it is repre- 
sented by the Twite. Near Gairloch in Ross-shire it is almost 
unknown, and it appears to be local in the Hebrides, though 
common enough in the Orkneys ; while in Shetland it was identified 
by Mr. Harvie-Brown in October 1892. In autumn large flocks 
from the Continent arrive on our east coasts, and a general move- 
ment southward occurs among our home-bred birds. 

The Linnet does not breed north of lat. 64° in Scandinavia, nor 
beyond 60° in East Russia ; but southward, it is found as a resident 
all over Europe, as well as in North-western Africa, the Canaries 
and Madeira. Eastward, it appears to range as far as the Altai 
Mountains ; but the representative which breeds in Asia Minor, 
Hermon and Lebanon nearly up to the snow-line, as well as in 
Persia and Northern India, is more ash-coloured, with bright scarlet 
on the breast and more defined coloration, and is known as 



L. fringilVirostris or L. hella. In winter one or both visit Egypt 
and Abyssinia. 

Breeding begins about the middle of April ; the nest being made 
of fine twigs, moss and grass-stalks, and lined with wool, hair, 
vegetable-down and sometimes a few feathers. It is generally 
placed in gorse or juniper bushes, though often in hedges, and 
sometimes in low trees. The eggs, 4-6 in number, are bluish- 
white, blotched, speckled and streaked with reddish-brown and 
purplish-red : measurements 7 by '53 in. Two broods are often 
reared in the season. The food consists of soft seeds, especially those 
of an oily nature, as in the case of the various species of flax and 
hemp ; grains of charlock, knot-grass, and other weeds are also 
largely consumed ; while in winter various kinds of berries and even 
oats are devoured. In autumn the different families unite in large 
flocks, which may be seen crossing the stubbles with swift dipping 
flight, uttering their musical and rapidly-repeated twit, twit. At this 
season large numbers are taken by bird-catchers, as the prisoners 
then adapt themselves more easily to captivity than if captured in 
the spring. The natural song is sweet, although somewhat irregular, 
but it is the capacity for learning the notes of other species which 
makes the Linnet so great a favourite for the cage. In our cold, 
dull climate, captive males seldom acquire in sprmg the fine crim- 
son tints on the head and breast ; but abroad, under the influence 
of warmth, bright sunshine and good food, Mr. J. Young has 
known them do so, while in Madeira the wild males appear to 
undergo hardly any eclipse. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the forehead and centre 
of the crown crimson ; rest of the head, nape and sides of the neck 
mottled brownish-grey; mantle chestnut brown; wing-feathers dull 
black, with white outer edges which form a conspicuous elongated 
bar ; upper tail-coverts dark brown, with broad whitish margins ; 
tail-feathers black, narrowly edged with white on the outer and 
broadly on the inner web ; chin and throat dull white, striped with 
greyish-brown ; breast crimson, occasionally with a decided yellow 
tinge ; belly dull white ; flanks fawn-brown ; bill horn-colour, legs 
brown. Length 5"5 ; wing 3T5 in. In autumn the bill is brownish, 
the crimson feathers are concealed by wide grey margins, and the 
under parts are more striated. The female is rather smaller and 
duller in colour, with no crimson on the head and breast, and little 
white on the wings, while both upper and under parts are much 
streaked with dark brown. The young at first resemble the female. 



FRINGlLLINili. 




THE MEALY REDPOLL. 



LiNOTA LiNARiA (Linnteus). 

The logical separation of the various species or races of Redpolls 
is one which presents unusual difficulties. Dr. R. B. Sharpe 
considers (Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. xii. pp. 245-257) the typical Mealy 
Redpoll, Linota linaria, as a main stem, if I may use the term, with 
three subspecies, viz. : L. holboelli, rather larger and with a very 
much longer bill, found " in Northern Europe from Scandinavia tg 
Eastern Siberia,'"' and, as a wanderer, twice in Norfolk ; Z. rostrata, 
" only distinguishable by the coarser striping of the under parts and 
by the stouter and more obtuse bill," inhabiting Greenland and 
North-eastern America ; and our smaller and ruddier Lesser Redpoll, 
L. riifescens, of which more hereafter. L. exilipes, with greyer rump, 
Dr. Sharpe considers to be a good species, with a range extending 
from Northern Scandinavia across Siberia and throughout Northern 
America ; while he puts down as a subspecies of L. exilipes the 
rather larger Z. /ionie»ian?ii, of Eastern North America, Greenland, 
Iceland, Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen, one example of which was 
recorded by Hancock, under the name of Z. canescens, as having 
been obtained near Whitburn, Durham, on April 24th 1855, and 
another by Mr. Cordeaux from the Humber district (Zool. 1895, 
p. 58). The whole question is incrusted by a voluminous literature, 
in which hardly two authors agree as regards specific value ; but, 



igo MEALY REDPOLL. 

for the sake of convenience, I treat the Mealy Redpolls under one 
heading, and take our small, dark. Lesser Redpoll separately. 

The typical Mealy Redpoll is a common visitor to Shetland from 
September onwards, while the line of its migration appears to be 
principally along the east coast in Scotland and the north of 
England, for the bird is rarer and of more uncertain occurrence on 
the west side. South of Durham its visits become irregular ; in the 
Eastern Counties it has occasionally been obtained in spring, and 
exceptionally in summer ; and in some years large flocks have been 
noticed down to the Channel, though in Devon and Cornwall it is 
almost unknown. In Ireland it has been taken in Kildare and 
Mayo ; while the Tearaght light has furnished several examples of 
the subspecies Z. rostrata in various autumns, from 1889 to 1893. 

In Europe and Asia the Mealy Redpoll nests rather farther north 
than the limits of birch-growth, but southward, it may be doubted 
if it reaches below 58° N. lat. ; for the bird found breeding in 
the mountain-regions of Central Europe is, probably, our Lesser Red- 
poll. The Mealy Redpoll has been obtained on Kolguev Island 
(Pearson), and on migration it is irregularly abundant down to the 
Alps, but rare in the south of France, Italy, (ireece and Southern 
Russia. As already stated, one or two races breed in Arctic 
America, and a large form in Greenland, Iceland and Spitsbergen. 

The nest, neatly built of bents, lichens and shreds of bark, with 
a lining of catkins, hair and feathers, is usually placed in the low 
fork of a tree or a bush, and sometimes in a tuft of grass. The 5-6 
eggs are greenish-blue, spotted with reddish-brown : measurements 
•7 by '5 in. The young feed on insects and their larvre ; afterwards 
on seeds, like the parents. 

The adult male in spring has the lores black ; forehead and part of 
the crown blood-red ; upper parts dark brown, mottled and streaked 
with greyish-white, especially on the rump, which is tinged with 
pink ; tail-feathers dark brown, with pale edges ; chin black ; sides 
of neck and breast carmine ; lower parts dull white, streaked with 
dark brown on the flanks ; bill horn-colour, yellowish at the base ; 
legs dark brown. Length 5'i in. ; wing 2*9 in. The female is 
smaller, darker on the upper parts, and more streaked on the lower ; 
with less red on the head and none on the breast. The young have 
the upper feathers margined with buff and have no red on the fore- 
head, but are otherwise like the female. After the autumn moult 
the new feathers have broad yellowish-grey margins, which, in the 
male, conceal the carmine, and the general appearance is very pale ; 
whence the name of ' Mealy,' and, perhaps, of ' Stone-Redpoll.' 



FRINGILLINi^. 



191 




THE LESSER REDPOLL. 

LiNOTA RUF^scENS (Vieillot). 

The Lesser Redpoll, the smallest of our British Finches, may be 
distinguished from the preceding by its size, and by its darker and 
more rufous colouring. Throughout the greater portion of the year 
it is generally distributed over the British Islands, and large numbers 
are taken by bird-catchers from autumn to spring ; but in the 
breeding-season it is rather local. Its distribution at that time in 
Scotland appears to be somewhat dependent upon woods and 
plantations, and is consequently irregular, extending to the Orkneys 
and to the Inner Hebrides, but not to the Outer group ; though 
in winter the bird is generally dispersed and partially migratory. In 
Wales and England it nests, more or less commonly, in and north of 
Brecon, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Leicestershire and Norfolk ; 
locally in Suffolk, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire ; sparingly 
in Gloucestershire and along the upper parts of the Thames valley ; 
and more frequently than is generally supposed in the counties of 
Middlesex, Surrey and Kent, even in the vicinity of London. In 
Hants, Wilts, Dorset and Devon, it is a very local breeder, and in 
the extreme south-west it is rare at any time ; while it has never 
been obtained on migration from any of the light-ships on the east 
coast of England. It nests commonly in many parts of Ireland, 
and large flocks are sometimes seen in winter. 



192 LESSER REDPOLL. 

On the Continent the Lesser Redpoll is unknown to the north of 
the Baltic, but it visits Heligoland (where a pair nested in 1872), 
Western Germany, Holland, Belgium, and France down to the 
Pyrenees. Bailly stated long ago that it bred in Savoy ; Mr. S. B. 
Wilson says that he found it nesting on the Engstlen Alp (6,100 
feet) as well as in other parts of Switzerland ; and Professor Giglioli 
maintains that it breeds on the Italian side ; while even Dr. 
Stejneger admits ('Auk' 1887, p. 144) that examples from the 
Austrian Alps are practically identical with British specimens. There 
are, however, some ornithologists who question the identification. In 
severe w-inters our bird extends its migrations to the south of Spain. 

In the southern half of England the nest is often built in April, 
but nearly a month later in the north. The situation selected varies 
a good deal ; in Norfolk, for instance, a small fruit-tree is often 
chosen, while a good many pairs may be found breeding in low 
alders and willows, down in the marshes ; again, small plantations 
of conifers, shrubberies, and hazel are much frequented. Fine 
twigs and grass stems, with a little moss and wool, are the 
materials employed for the exterior of the nest, the inside being 
beautifully lined with vegetable-down (principally from the catkins 
of the willow), hair and feathers. The 4-6 eggs are pale blue, 
spotted with reddish-brown : measurements "63 by '48 in. Two 
broods are usually produced in the season, and unfledged young 
have been found in the nest as late as September 14th. In autumn 
the various family parties unite to form large flocks, and rove about 
in search of food, which consists mainly of seeds. At all times of 
the year the Lesser Redpoll is a tame and confiding bird, allowing 
a near approach ; and it is also sociable, being frequently found in 
the company of Siskins and other species. The usual note is a con- 
tinuous twitter, but the love-song of the male is rather loud and clear. 

The adult male in spring has the lores and throat black, forehead 
and crown blood-red ; upper parts of a darker and warmer colour 
than in the Mealy Redpoll — especially the pink-tinted rump, while 
the bands on the wings are rufous-buff, not white ; breast carmine- 
red ; plumage otherwise as in the Mealy Redpoll, and colour of soft 
parts the same ; but the dimensions less, our bird measuring only 
475 in., and wing 275 in. After the autumn moult the red tints 
are generally less brilliant, owing to the pale edges of the new 
feathers; but I have seen old males with plenty of crimson in 
October. The female is smaller than the male, and has no red on 
the rump or breast, but only on the forehead ; while the young bird 
is even duller in colour, inasmuch as it has no red on the head. 



FRINGILLIN.E. 



193 







THE TWITE. 

LiNOTA flavir6stris (Linnceus). 

The Twite, or Mountain-Linnet as it is often called, may be 
distinguished from the Redpolls by its longer tail, more slender 
appearance, and the absence of any crimson tint on the head or 
breast. During the breeding-season it is an inhabitant of most of 
our moorlands from the Midlands northward, and, although more 
frequent in the hilly districts, it nests at the lower level of the 
mosses in Lancashire and elsewhere ; it is, however, rather local, 
and only a few pairs seem to breed in the Lake district. Li 
Cumberland it has, for some unaccountable reason, decreased 
during the last thirty years. On the mainland of Scotland the 
" Hill-Lintie" or "Yellow-neb Lintie," as it is called, becomes more 
abundant, especially where there is a sufficiency of long rank 
heather ; while in the neighbourhood of the shore, on the long arms 
of the sea so numerous on the west coast, as well as in the 
Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands it is resident and numerous. In 
Ireland it breeds commonly on the mountains, and especially on 
the elevated coast, from Waterford in the south to Donegal in 
the north. On the approach of cold weather the higher districts 
are abandoned, and flocks, which gradually increase, descend to 
the sea-shore and spread themselves over the country, large numbers 
occurring on the Lincolnshire coast in the first half of October ; 
but in the south and east of England their appearance is somewhat 
irregular, while in Cornwall the species is, like the Lesser Redpoll, 

Q 



194 TWITE. 

extremely rare, and it seems to be unknown in Pembrokeshire as 
well as Merionethshire, in Wales. 

On the Continent the Twite is found in summer among the 
islands and along the coast of Norway up to about 70° N. lat., but 
in Sweden it is scarce even in the sub-alpine districts, and it is 
somewhat doubtful if it nests in Northern Russia. On migration it 
visits Denmark and Northern Germany (sometimes passing in large 
numbers over Heligoland), Holland, Belgium and France ; but it 
seldom goes far south, and its occurrences in Spain, Italy and 
Southern Russia, have been few and far between. In the east, how- 
ever, from the Caucasus and Asia Minor to Tibet, it is represented 
by L. b?-evirostris, which is little more than a paler form. 

The nest is often placed in heather, or in low fruit and other 
bushes ; sometimes in ivy, or among the grass growing on rocks 
by the sea-shore, or again, beneath a strip of turf which has been 
nearly reversed in ploughing or in road-making ; while on Rathlin 
Island I found one on the ledge of a cliff, Soo feet high, when 
seeking eggs of the Manx Shearwater. Fine roots for the outside, 
with an ample lining of wool, a little hair and a few feathers, are the 
materials employed ; the eggs, usually 3-4, but sometimes 6 in 
number, being pale greenish-blue, blotched with reddish-brown, and 
rather more inclined to streakiness than those of the Linnet : 
measurements 7 by '5 in. Nidification commences about the 
middle of May, and two broods are sometimes produced in the 
season. The food consists largely of the seeds of charlock and 
other weeds, but in the Shedands the bird is said to be somewhat 
destructive to the newly-springing turnips and cabbages. Its call- 
note is indicated by its monosyllabic name. The Twite is usually 
more shy than the Lesser Redpoll. 

The adult male in spring has the lores, cheeks and throat 
reddish-buff; crown, nape and mantle hair-brown with paler edg- 
ings ; wings dark brown, with whitish margins — very noticeable in 
flight — to the greater coverts, inner primaries and some of the 
secondaries ; rump rose-red ; tail-feathers brown, with whitish inner 
edges to the three outer pairs ; breast and flanks bufifish-white 
streaked with hair-brown; belly dull white; l)ill pale yellow; legs 
dark brown. Length 5 in. ; wing 3 in. In winter the general 
appearance is greyer, and the bill is less yellow. The female has 
no carmine on the rump; the bar on the wing-coverts is buff; and 
the bill is dusky-brown at the tip. The young are somewhat duller 
in colour. 



FRINGILLIN.'E. 



195 





X :x 



THE BULLFINCH. 



PVRRHULA EUROP.EA, Vicillot. 



During the greater portion of the year the Bullfinch is a 
frequenter of wooded districts, in which, unless the white rump and 
—in the male — the bright colour of the breast should catch the 
eye, the bird may often escape notice, and thus be considered rarer 
than is really the case. In spring, however, it frequently attracts 
the attention of the gardener by its visits to his fruit-trees, and 
although the damage done to the young buds may sometimes be 
over-estimated, it cannot be denied that there is apparent ground 
for complaint. Throughout suitable localities in England and 
Wales the Bullfinch is generally distributed, especially on dry, 
sandy soils ; and, although rather more local in Scotland, it has of 
late years spread to some of the Hebrides — especially to the south- 
eastern part of Skye, but to the Orkneys and Shetlands it is a rare 
visitor. In Ireland it is common, except in treeless districts, and in 
the south is increasing. 

In Northern and Eastern Europe and in Siberia, migrating south- 
ward in winter, is found a large and brilliant race, which has been 
separated by Brehm as P. major, and this has been freely imported 
and has been taken in Yorkshire ; but our smaller bird inhabits 



196 BULLFINCH. 

the countries south of the Baltic and west of Central Russia, 
as far as the northern portions of the Spanish Peninsula, while 
in Italy it reaches Naples and Sicily; wandering occasionally 
to several islands in the Mediterranean, and even to Algeria. In 
the mountainous portions of St. Michael's, one of the Azores, is 
found P. murinus, a large insular species, in which the sexes are 
nearly alike in plumage, both of them being of a dull grey without 
any white on the rump ; a remarkable development, as no connect- 
ing link is known in the Canaries or in Madeira. 

The unmistakable nest of the Bullfinch is a platform of fine twigs 
of the birch, beech, fir &c., surmounted by fine roots and a little 
hair woven into a shallow cup for the eggs. These, laid in the 
early part of May, are 4-5 in number, of a clear greenish-blue, 
speckled and streaked with purplish-grey and dark brownish-purple, 
especially at the larger end : measurements 73 by -55 in. A white- 
thorn hedge, or a fork near the extremity of a low branch in some 
leafy tree or evergreen (yew and box being favourites), are among the 
sites selected. The duties of incubation devolve upon the female. The 
young are fed partly on insects and their larvK, and partly on seeds 
softened by the parent ; but later in the year I have seen both old 
and young birds feeding upon the berries of the rowan-tree, dog- 
rose, hawthorn &c., while the seeds of such weeds as the dock, 
thistle, ragweed, groundsel, chickweed and plantain, are largely con- 
sumed. It is open to doubt whether the Bullfinch's destructiveness 
to buds in spring may not originate in a search for concealed 
insects, but in any case a charge of shot fired into the tender branches 
of a fruit-tree does far more damage than the depredations of the 
bird. The call-note is a soft ivheoii. 

The adult male has the forehead, lores, throat, and head above 
the eyes, glossy blue-black ; mantle smoke-grey ; larger wing-coverts 
black, tipped with white, which forms a conspicuous bar: quills dark 
ash-colour, with narrow whitish edges to the emarginate portions of 
the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th ; secondaries glossy blue-black ; rump 
pure white ; tail glossy blue-black ; cheeks and under parts bright 
brick-red ; vent white ; bill black ; legs and feet dark brown. 
Length 6 in. ; wing 3-25 in. The female is of a browner grey on 
the upper parts, and the under parts are vinous-brown. The young 
differ from the female in having no black on the head, and the bar 
on the wing is butfish-white. An entirely black nestling, found with 
three other young birds of the ordinary colour, attained after 
moulting the plumage of the female. 



FRINGILLIN.5. 



197 




THE SCARLET GROSBEAK. 



Pyrrhula erythrina (Pallas). 

The Scarlet Grosbeak is an Eastern species which has noticeably 
extended its range in a westerly direction of late years, and on two 
occasions has been known to stray to England. The first instance 
on record was that of a female, captured on the downs near Brighton 
in September 1S69, which subsequently lived until June 1876 in the 
aviary of Mr. T. J. Monk of Lewes, in whose collection it is now 
preserved. On October 5th 1870, another female, in the collection 
of the late Mr. F. Bond, was taken near Caen Wood, Hampstead. 
Other examples have probably occurred from time to time, and have 
been overlooked ; for young birds or females of this species might 
easily be mistaken for Greenfinches. 

As a straggler, the Scarlet Grosbeak has visited Finmark, South 
Sweden, Sylt, Schleswig, Heligoland, Holland, Belgium, France 
(especially Provence), the south of Spain (whence I possess a speci- 
men, killed on November 15th 1874, and have seen another), 
Austria, Italy and IVLilta. In North eastern Germany it is not un- 
common on migration, and on one occasion it has been known to 
nest in Silesia ; but the western limits of its usual breeding-range 
appear to be Finland, the Baltic Provinces of Russia, East Prussia 
and Poland. Eastward, it nests throughout the marshy forests of 



I go SCARLET GROSBEAK. 

Northern Siberia to Kamchatka ; further south, in the elevated regions 
of the Caucasus, Asia }vlinor, Turkestan, the Himalayas, and Central 
Asia to Northern China. In winter it is very common throughout 
the greater portion of the Indian region. It is rather late in return- 
ing to its northern breeding-quarters in Europe, and near Warsaw it 
does not arrive until about the middle of !May ; but in the drier 
climate of Siberia it is earlier. It leaves towards the end of August 
or early in September. 

The nest, which is rather deep, and slenderly constructed of dry 
grass-stalks with a lining of horsehair, is placed in the fork of a small 
bush, generally in the neighbourhood of water. The eggs, usually 
5 in number, are laid about the middle of June, and of a deeper 
greenish-blue than those of the Bullfinch, sparsely marked with 
reddish-brown and almost black spots : measurements 75 by "57 in. 
The food consists of seeds, grain and berries, and Col. E. A. Butler 
says that the bird is partial to the ^yatery nectar in the flower of the 
Indian coral-tree, while Jerdon observed it eating bamboo-seeds ; the 
young are probably fed on insects. The song, generally uttered 
from the top of a bush or low tree, is a loud clear whistle, tu-ivhif, 
tu-tii-i, several times repeated in rapid succession, whence the Hindoo 
name ' Tuti.' 

The adult male has the top of the head glossy carmine-red ; 
mantle warm brown with a reddish tinge ; quills and tail dark brown, 
with paler huffish margins ; rump and upper tail-coverts carmine-red ; 
chin and throat rich rose-red ; breast rose-pink, fading to brownish 
on the flanks ; bill yellowish-brown ; legs reddish-brown. Length 
5"5 in. ; wing 3'25 in. The female has no red tints, the general 
colour of the upper parts being dull striated olive-brown, but the wing- 
coverts and inner secondaries are much more conspicuously edged 
with dirty white than in the male ; the lower parts are dull white 
with a huffish tinge on the throat and breast, and numerous hair- 
brown streaks from the latter to the flanks ; a brown stripe descends 
from either corner of the lower mandible. The young are at 
first rather greyer in tint than the female, but cock birds soon begin 
to show a distincdy yellowish tinge on the ear-coverts, rump, and the 
outer margins of the quills and tail-feathers. It seems probable that 
the rosy hue is not assumed until after the second moult. 

This species has been separated by some modern authors from 
Pyrrhula, under the generic name Ca)-podacHS of Kaup ; the dis- 
tinctions consisting mainly in the shape of the bill and in the smaller 
amount of covering; to the nostrils. 



FRINGILLIN.B. 



199 







THE PINE-GROSBEAK. 

PvRRHULA ENUCLEATOR (Linnaeus). 

The Pine Grosbeak is at the utmost a very rare visitor to the 
British Islands, and although about forty so called ' occurrences ' 
are on record, critical examination by Mr. J. H. Gurney (Zool. 
1877, PP- 242-250 and 1890 pp. 125-129), and Professor Newton 
(4th Ed. Yarrell's B. B.), has disposed of many as unworthy of belief, 
although the identification of the specimens still existing is correct. 
Live birds have often been brought to England, and, according to 
Dr. A. G. Butler, few species are more likely to be turned out of 
aviaries, on account of their voracity and bad habits ; while dead 
specimens have frequently been sent over frozen, a notable consign- 
ment being in March 18S9. Where so much deception is known to 
have been practised, suspicion is inevitable, and may, perhaps, be 
carried too far. Mr. J. Whitaker has a male in rosy plumage shot 
on October 30th 1890, in Nottinghamshire (Zool. 1890, p. 464); 
while a female, recorded by Mr. J. H. Gurney (Zool. 1893, p. 150), 
was captured alive near Yarmouth on September 3rd 1892, moulted 
in October, and was alive up to January 24th 1893. In Heligoland 
an adult male was obtained on October 20th 1890. 



200 PINE-OROSBEAK. 

To Denmark the Pine-Grosbeak is only a rare winter-visitor, and 
its occurrences, even in the suitable conifer woods of North-eastern 
Germany, Silesia, and Poland, are irregular. Accepting the records 
without criticism, the bird has strayed at long intervals to Holland, 
Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Southern Germany ; while, prob- 
ably following the line of the mountain pine-woods, a solitary example 
appears to have crossed the Alps to the Trentino in the winter of 
1876. Its home is principally in the conifer region near the Arctic 
circle ; but sometimes, as at Pulmak in Lapland, it extends to the 
birch woods as far as 70° N. lat. ; while eastward, the bird is plenti- 
ful in Northern Russia, across Siberia to Kamchatka, and as far south 
as Lake Baikal ; as a straggler it has also been obtained in the Kuril 
islands, to the north of Japan. In America it occurs throughout 
the Arctic and sub-Arctic forests, migrating southward in winter to 
California, Colorado and the northern portions of the Eastern States. 

For the first knowledge of the nesting and eggs of the Pine- 
Grosbeak, we are indebted — as in many other cases — to the 
researches of the late John Wolley, who discovered the breeding- 
haunts of this bird in Lapland. The nest, similar to that of the 
Bullfinch, consists externally of interlaced birch-twigs, with a lining 
of fine stiff grass, and is usually placed on the horizontal branches of 
a fir or a birch-tree, near the bole. The 4 eggs are deep greenish- 
blue, spotted with brownish-purple : measurements i in. by 72 in. 
The food consists partly of insects, but mainly of buds, birch-catkins, 
seeds and various berries. The song has been described as loud and 
flute-like ; the flight is undulating. 

The adult male has the feathers of the head, back and rump 
suffused with rich rose-red, upon a ground-colour of slate-grey ; 
wings ash-brown, with broad pinkish-white tips to both sets of wing- 
coverts, and white margins to the secondaries ; tail dusky-brown ; 
under parts rose-red, turning to grey on the flanks and vent ; bill 
dark brown, paler at the base of the lower mandible ; legs blackish- 
brown. Length 8'25 in. ; wing 4*25 in. In the female the rose tint 
is replaced by a more or less golden-yellow, except on the back, which 
is slate-grey. The young have a greyish-green tinge. The late Mr. 
A. C. Chapman found a pair of birds breeding in this greyish-green 
plumage, the male having rather more of the yellow colour than the 
female ; another nest belonged to a couple of greyish-green birds ; 
while at a third nest a male in full rosy plumage was paired with an 
ash-grey female. 

Many authors have accepted the genus Piiiicola of A^ieillot for this 
species. 



FRIN'GILLIN.E. 




THE CROSSBILL. 



LoxiA CURVIROSTRA, Linnceus. 



In England the Crossbill is generally noticed from autumn to 
spring, in family parties which sometimes unite to form flocks ; but 
numerous instances are known in which this essentially nomadic 
species has bred among conifers, e\"en in the southern and eastern 
counties, although such situations as its habits require are less 
frequent there than in the north. From the Lake district upward 
it nests in many localities, chiefly in the old pine-forests of Scotland; 
but it seldom strays to the Outer Hebrides, and is an uncertain 
visitor to the Orkneys, though of regular occurrence in the Shetlands. 
In Ireland it has been found breeding in many counties, owing to 
the increase of fir plantations of late years. Throughout the British 
Islands it occurs irregularly on migration, from July onward. 

R 



202 CROSSBILL. 

The Crossbill nests throughout the pine-forests of Europe, from 
Lapland to Spain, the Balearic Islands, and Greece, as well as in the 
mountains of Africa (the southern residents having noticeably weaker 
bills than northern examples) ; and it also frequents the conifer 
growths of Siberia as far as Kamchatka, wintering in North China. 
The pine-woods of Scandinavia and Northern Russia are simul- 
taneously inhabited by a large stout-billed race, formerly distinguished 
as the Parrot-Crossbill, Loxia pityopsittacus, but now esteemed by 
modern authorities as merely one of several forms which Dr. Sharpe 
(Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. xii. p. 439) " does not consider to be worthy 
of even subspecific rank." This extreme phase merely differs from 
the type in its tendency to larger size, and in the fact that its food 
consists largely of the seeds of the Scotch fir, whereas the smaller 
and commoner form also feeds on the spruce, larch, stone-pine &c. 
The large-billed birds are occasionally obtained in our islands and 
in Central Europe, though they do not migrate far south. Forms 
slightly smaller than the ordinary Crossbill are found in the 
Himalayas and Tibet, Japan, and in North America, but the high- 
lands of Mexico produce a rather larger race. 

The nest, frequently built in February or March, is generally 
placed on the horizontal branch of a fir, often close to the stem, and 
is formed of twigs, surmounted by a cup-shaped structure of dry 
grass, moss, wool and lichen, with a lining of similar but softer 
materials. The eggs, usually 4, and rarely 5 in number, are greyish- 
white, sparsely spotted with several shades of reddish-brown, like 
those of the Greenfinch, but larger : measurements "9 by '66 in. ; 
those of the Parrot-Crossbill hardly exceeding these dimensions. In 
summer both young and old birds eat caterpillars and the larvae of 
insects, but later their food is obtained from larch and fir cones, 
while rowan and other berries, apple-pips and buds are also 
consumed. The note is a gip, gip, gip, chi, chi. 

The adult male has most of the upper and under parts dull 
crimson, which is brightest on the rump (younger birds are orange- 
yellow) ; wings brown, with a pale bar along the edges of the 
coverts ; tail brown ; bill, legs and feet dark brown. Average 
length 6 '5 in. ; wing 3 "8 in. In the female the red is represented 
by greenish-orange, and her plumage is more striated, especially 
before maturity. The young bird is greenish-grey, with a little 
yellow on the rump, and also on the gorget in the cock ; under parts 
much striated ; in the nestling stage the general colour is ash-brown, 
and at three weeks old the bill is still straight, the lower mandible 
shutting within the upper. 



FRINGILLIN.t. 




THE TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL. 



LoxiA BiFASCiATA (C. L. Brchm). 



This species — sometimes called the European White-winged 
Crossbill, to distinguish it from the American form — inhabits the 
coniferous forests of Northern Russia and Siberia as far as Kam- 
chatka and the Pacific ; wandering in autumn and winter to South 
Sweden, Denmark, Heligoland, North Germany, Holland, Belgium, 
the north of France, Switzerland, North Italy, Austria and Poland. 
In our islands the first recorded specimen was obtained near Belfast, 
Ireland, on May nth 1802, and in July or August 1868, a s&cond 
was obtained in co. Dublin. A few years prior to 1843 one was 
killed in Cornwall ; between November ist 1845 and March 25th 
1846 eleven were shot in the neighbourhood of Brampton in 
Cumberland; in May 1846 two or three were killed from a flock 
near Bury St. Edmund's, Suffolk ; and about the same time the late 
H. Doubleday shot a bird at Epping. Others seem to have been 
observed from time to time in various parts of the United Kingdom, 
and in the autumn of 1889 another invasion took place, many birds 
being observed from Yorkshire to Surrey. On June i8th 1894 an 
adult male was shot]at North Ronaldshay, Orkneys, while in February 
1895 there were occurrences in Somerset and in co. Fermanagh. 



::04 TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL, 

The forests of America, from Alaska to Labrador, are inhabited 
by a bird known as the White-winged Crossbill, Loxia leucoptera, 
which Dr. Sharpe considers to be only entitled to subspecific 
distinction ; and after examining many specimens, including those 
in the British Museum, I agree with him that the only difference of 
any moment between the European and American forms consists in 
the darker scapulars of the latter ; to which I may add that the 
red in the male has a pinker tint, and the bill in both sexes is 
weaker. A hen, ascribed to the American form, in the Strickland 
Collection at Cambridge, was killed near Worcester in 1838 ; a red 
male was picked up dead at Exmouth on September 17th 1845 ; 
and a female, which lived in the late Mr. Stevenson's aviary at 
Norwich till December 1874, was stated by the dealer of whom it 
was purchased by Mr. J. H. Gurney to have been captured — it was 
not said where — on the rigging of the vessel " Beecher Stowe," which 
arrived at Great Yarmouth in October 1870. Even from Greenland 
only five occurrences are on record during nearly sixty years, and 
none from Iceland or the Faeroes. As it is notorious that American 
White-winged Crossbills, captured at sea comparatively near their 
own coast, have been brought to the British Islands and have then 
escaped or been liberated, I do not consider that a claim has been 
made out to a place in the British list. 

A nest of the Two-barred Crossbill sent to Mr. Dresser, with the 
parent birds, from the Archangel district, is described as rather 
smaller and slighter than that of the Common Crossbill, while the 
eggs are somewhat darker in colour and less in size. In food and 
habits this bird resembles its congener, but its song being of a 
superior quality, it is a greater favourite as a cage-bird. 

Adult male : head, neck, mantle and rump carmine-red, slightly 
mottled with black ; wings black, with white tips to the inner 
secondaries, and broad pinkish-white edges to the greater and 
median wing-coverts ; tail-feathers brownish-black, narrowly edged 
with reddish-white ; under parts carmine red, which fades into 
white on the belly ; bill horn-colour, lighter on the lower mandible ; 
legs dull brown. Length 6-25 in. ; wing 37 in. In less mature 
birds the pink tinge on the wing-bands is wanting, and the flanks are 
striated. Female : upper parts greenish-grey, with a yellow tint, and 
dusky-brown streaks ; rump pale yellow ; under parts greyish-yellow, 
paler on the throat and abdomen, and streaked with dusky-brown 
Young bird in August : much striated on a greyish ground, with 
hardly any tinge of yellow ; white upper wing-bar very narrow ; 
quills and tail-feathers distinctly margined with greenish-white. 



EMBERIZIN.li:. 




BLACK-HEADED BUNTING. 



Emberiza melanocephala, Scopoli. 



The Black-headed Bunting — not to be confounded with our com- 
mon Reed-Bunting, which is sometimes called by this name — is an 
inhabitant of the south-eastern portions of Europe ; but from time to 
time it wanders westward, and, owing to the increased attention now 
paid to ornithology, its presence has been detected on four occasions 
in Great Britain. The first example, an adult female, identified by 
the late Mr. Gould and now in the collection of Mr. T. J. Monk of 
Lewes, was shot near Brighton while following a flock of Yellow 
Buntings, about November 3rd 1S68. The Rev. J. R. Ash worth has 
recorded (Zool. 1886, p. 73) the acquisition of an identified speci- 
men in June or July 1884, stated to have been shot in Nottingham- 
shire. A third example, said by the dealer from whom it was 
purchased to have been captured alive near Dunfermline about 
November 5th 1886, was recognized by the Rev. H. A. Macpherson 
at the Bird Show of February 15th 1887, held at the Crystal Palace 
(Zool. 1887, p. 193), where I saw it again in 1888, when in nearly 
adult male plumage. Mr. W. R. Butterfield has recorded (Zool. 
1897, p. 273) the occurrence of an adult female, picked up near 
Bexhill, Sussex, on November 3rd 1 894. The fact that the females 
and young are dull-coloured birds, and therefore not likely to be 
imported, favours the assumption that these histories are substantially 
correct. 

On Heligoland the Black-headed Bunting has occurred about 



2o6 BLACK-HEADED BUNTING. 

fifteen times, in May and June, and once in August ; but I do not 
find it recorded from Northern Germany, though it sometimes visits 
Austria. It has also occurred near Marseilles, and along the Riviera 
to Liguria ; while in Verona, as well as down the east side of Italy, 
it is not uncommon and breeds occasionally, as it does abundantly 
in Dalmatia on the further side of the Adriatic. To Sicily and Malta 
it is only a rare visitor, and it does not seem to cross to Africa. In 
Greece, Turkey, the Danubian Provinces, Southern Russia, Asia 
Minor, Palestine and Northern Persia it is common from the end of 
April to autumn, after which it migrates to its winter-quarters in 
North-western and Central India, where immense flocks are found 
during the cold season. 

The Black-headed Bunting seldom ascends the mountains to any 
great elevation, preferring the flat ground planted with vines, olive- 
trees, pomegranates <S:c., near the sea-shore. The nest is generally 
in climbing plants, rose-bushes or brambles, and, in Turkey, often 
among peas, which are allowed by the gardeners to stand until the 
time that the young are fledged. It is rather loosely constructed of 
the stalks of small flowering plants, with a lining of dry grass, roots 
and hair. The eggs — difi'erent in appearance to those of any other 
European Bunting — are pale greenish blue, speckled with ash-brown, 
and are 4-6 in number : measurements "85 by 7 in. In summer 
both young and old feed on grasshoppers and other insects, and on 
fruit ; but in India, during autumn and winter, considerable havoc 
is made in fields of grain. Canon Tristram says that this bird has 
nothing of the Bunting in its habits or character, whereas Seebohm 
asserts that in its habits and song it is a typical Bunting. The call- 
note of the male is a vibrating monotonous chiririri. 

The adult male has the head and ear-coverts black ; back and 
rump orange-brown ; wings hair-brown, with dull whitish margins to 
the coverts and secondaries ; tail-feathers hair-brown, with a narrow 
white streak to the inner webs of the outer pair ; under parts and 
sides of the neck bright gamboge-yellow ; bill greyish horn-colour ; 
legs and feet pale brown. Length 675; wing 37 in. After the 
autumn moult the bright tints, although perceptible at the bases of 
the feathers, are obscured by the new dull brown edges. The female 
is sandy-brown on the upper parts, with darker striations on the head 
and back, and buffish-white margins to the wing-coverts and quills ; 
rump slightly tinged with yellow ; tail-feathers hair-brown with paler 
margins ; throat and belly dull white ; breast and flanks sandy-buff 
with narrow brown streaks ; under tail-coverts pale yellow. The 
young resemble the female. 



EMBERIZIN.^.. 



:o7 



C"^ K' ^ K 




THE CORN-BUNTING. 



Emberiza miliaria, Linnaeus. 

This species is frequently called the Bunting-Lark, and by many 
authors it has been styled the Common Bunting ; but the use of the 
latter name is hardly to be encouraged, as the bird, although widely 
distributed throughout the British Islands, is decidedly local and 
not nearly so common as the Yellow Bunting. It is principally to 
be found where grain of some kind is grown, and when arable land 
is turned into grazing-ground the Corn-Bunting becomes scarce, or 
even disappears. Low lands and the vicinity of the sea are the 
districts most affected in Scotland and its islands, where it ranges as 
far west as St. Kilda ; while northward it is found breeding freely on 
the Shetlands, even on Foula, the remotest. In Ireland it is 
common in suitable districts, but local In autumn our home-bred 
birds become gregarious, and to a certain extent migrants ; at the 
same time considerable accessions are made to their numbers, 
especially on our east coasts, by visitors from the Continent. 

In Scandinavia the Corn-Bunting is only known in the extreme 
south ; but from Denmark and the hither side of the Baltic it is 
generally distributed over the open portions of Europe in summer, 
while partially migratory in winter from the northern and central 
districts. In the Spanish Peninsula and other grain-producing coun- 
tries of the south, as well as in North Africa and the Canaries, it is 
resident and extremely numerous ; it is also found in Palestine, Asia 
Minor, Persia and Western Turkestan ; and in winter as far south as 



20"8 CORN-BUNTING. 

Xubia, Arabia Petrsa, Bushire and Sind. In forest and mountain 
regions it is practically unknown. 

The Corn-Bunting is a late breeder, and in this country it is 
usually futile to search for its eggs before the latter part of May. 
The nest may often be found in rough herbage, or at the foot of a 
low shrub, but is generally placed well towards the middle of a field 
of clover, grass, or peas, or under a clod among young corn ; while 
some umbelliferous plant, sufficiently strong to afford a perch for 
the bird, will probably be at no great distance from it. Straw, a 
little moss, roots and dry grass, with hair for a lining, are the 
materials employed to form the somewhat loose structure ; the eggs, 
4-5 in number, are of a dull purplish-white, or sometimes ochreous, 
blotched and streaked with dark purple-brown : measurements 
•98 in. by "7 in. The hen sits closely, whilst the male utters 
his harsh and monotonous iic-iic-teese on a perch, which varies in 
elevation from the top of some tall tree or a hedgerow to a clod in 
the fallows. The flight is heavy and laboured, the legs of the bird 
hanging down at first, as if broken. The young are fed on insects ; 
the adults have been seen to eat cockchafers, and they undoubtedly 
devour numbers of small beetles ; but in autumn and winter grain 
is largely consumed, and the birds become so fat that, in the south 
of Europe, they are much in request for the table. Many are taken 
in nets, together with Larks, owing to their habit of roosting on the 
ground, and Booth says that near Shoreham numbers resort in the 
evening to the beds of marine weeds which grow on the mud-flats 
above high-water mark. 

The adult male has the lores, and a line above and behind the eye 
buffish-white ; ear-patches, head, neck, mantle and upper tail coverts 
pale hair-brown, .streaked with darker brown down the middle of each 
feather ; wing-coverts dark brown with buff margins ; quills dusky- 
brown ; tail-feathers rather lighter brown with pale edges ; throat 
buffish-white, with brown spots at the side which form a streak ; 
remaining under parts buffish-white, freely spotted on the breast and 
streaked on the flanks with brown ; bill yellowish-brown, with a dark 
stripe along the ridge of the upper mandible ; legs pale flesh-colour. 
Length 7 in. ; wing 3 '6 in. The sexes are alike in plumage. The 
young bird is darker, with broad fulvous margins to the wing-coverts 
and secondaries, and the under parts are tinged with buff. Some 
Continental specimens — especially those from the east— are very pale 
in colour. Albinistic varieties are not uncommon. 



EMBERIZIN.E. 



209 



^^s- *\ 



/''J^'w^i 





THE YELLOW BUNTING. 



Emberiza citrixella, Linnaeus. 

The Yellow Bunting is familiarly known as the Yellow Hammer ; 
the latter portion of the name having, no doubt, a common origin with 
' Ammer,' the modern German word for a Bunting ; but our form of 
spelling has now been in print for upwards of two centuries, and 
few, even among purists, will risk the imputation of a solecism by 
omitting the aspirate. The species is for the most part common 
and resident throughout the British Islands ; it even nests in the 
Outer Hebrides and the Orkneys, but as yet is not known to do so 
in the Shetlands, although a winter-visitor to that group. As regards 
Ireland Mr. Barrington remarks that, considering its abundance, the 
birds which strike against the lighthouses are comparatively few in 
number. 

In Norway the Yellow Bunting is found breeding up to about 
70^ N. lat., but eastward, its northern summer range gradually 
declines to 64° on the Ob, in Siberia, and even less in the valley of 
the Yenesei, where the bird is not known eastward of Krasnoiarsk ; 
while to the south-westward, it occurs in Turkestan, Persia and 
Asia Minor. In temperate Europe this species is generally dis- 
tributed, and, except in the northern districts, is resident ; but its 
breeding-range does not appear to extend southward of the Pyrenees 
and the Cantabrian Mountains, nor the northern portions of Italy ; 
while, even in winter, the bird is almost unknown in the islands of 
the Mediterranean, Southern Italy, and the south-west of Spain, 

s 



2ro YELLOW BUXTIXG. 

though said to occur in the Canaries. In Palestine, according to 
Canon Tristram, its place is taken by a very distinct species, E. cassia, 
which occasionally wanders to Heligoland ; where, by the way, the 
Yellow Bunting is common on migration in spring and autumn. 

The nest, constructed of dry grasses and a little moss, with a 
lining of finer material and hair, is usually placed on or near the 
ground, in the side of a bank, or among tangled herbage ; but 
often it is built in a bush, and in plantations of young spruces ; 
while exceptionally at a height of seven feet. The well-known 
eggs, 4-5 in number, are subject to considerable variation in 
shade of colour, but as a rule they are purplish-white, streaked, 
spotted and clouded with reddish-purple, and scrawled with long 
hair-like markings, from which, in some parts, the bird has acquired 
the name of "Writing Lark": measurements "85 by -6t, in. Incu- 
bation, in which the male takes part, lasts fourteen days, and at least 
two broods are produced in the year ; the first eggs being laid about 
the middle of April, while nestlings are not uncommon in Septem- 
ber. The Cuckoo not infrequently deposits its egg in the nest of this 
species. The familiar song, often rendered as ' Little-bit-of-bread- 
and no cheese,' may be heard from morning till night during the 
hottest weather, and even on bright days in winter. In summer 
both young and old feed largely on insects ; in autumn they are 
partial to blackberries and other wild fruits ; while seeds and grain 
form their principal sustenance in winter, at which season large flocks 
frequent stubble-fields and even farm-yards. During severe weather 
the late Mr. Booth observed a flock feeding on the carcase of a horse 
hung up at some kennels, in Perthshire. In many places this pretty 
Bunting has been displaced by the House-Sparrow. 

The adult male has the throat and head lemon-yellow, streaked 
with dusky-brown, especially above and behind each eye ; feathers 
of the mantle, coverts, and secondaries reddish-brown with blackish 
central stripes ; quills dusky-brown with narrow yellowish margins ; 
rump and tail-coverts chestnut ; tail-feathers chiefly dark brown, with 
elongated white patches on the lower portions of the two outer pairs : 
under parts lemon-yellow, with dusky chestnut streaks on the breast 
and flanks ; bill bluish : legs light brown. Length 6-5 in. ; wing 
3 "3 5 in. In autumn the colours are duller, owing to the pale 
margins of the new feathers. The female is less yellow and more 
streaked with brown, while the chestnut tints are nearly absent. 
The young are much streaked on the under parts, and show no 
vellow until after their first moult. 



EMBERIZIX.t. 




THE CIRL BUNTING. 

Emberiza cirlus, Linnaius. 

The Cirl Bunting is a resident in the south of England, and was 
added to the British list by Montagu, who found it breeding in Devon- 
shire ; while subsequent observations have considerably extended 
our acquaintance with its range. Upon this point a valuable paper by 
Mr. Aplin (Zool. 1892, pp. 121-128 and pp. 174-181) should be 
consulted for details. The bird is known to be fairly common — 
though very local — from Cornwall to Kent, and upon the slopes of 
the valleys of the Thames and its tributaries as far as Gloucester- 
shire; also on the chalk-hills of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, 
especially in the neighbourhood of Tring ; it has also been found 
breeding in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Salop. 
In Wales it has decidedly spread of late, and is known to have nested 
in Brecon, Glamorgan, Cardigan, and Denbighshire, while it has 
occurred in other parts of the Principality. In East Anglia it is 
rare, only five examples being recorded for Norfolk ; in North- 
amptonshire and the Midland counties it is of accidental occurrence, 
and to Yorkshire it is a rare visitor; while in Durham, Northumber- 
land and Cumberland it is unknown, though it has strayed to Lan- 
cashire. In Scotland, at long intervals, three stragglers have been 
taken : one near Edinburgh, one in x'Vberdeenshire, and one in Rox- 
burghshire. In Ireland no authenticated example has been obtained. 

s 2 



212 CIRL BUNTING. 

The Cirl Bunting has only twice been obtained (in spring) on 
Hehgoland, and is of rare occurrence in Holland and Belgium. In 
summer it is found from France on the west to Bohemia on the 
east ; while southward it is resident from the Spanish Peninsula to 
Greece, Southern Russia, Turkey, Asia Minor, and the islands of the 
Mediterranean. The late Lord Lilford found it breeding up to 
4,000 ft. in the mountains of Algeria, and in winter it is partially 
migratory from the north as far as the south of its range. 

The nest, similar to that of the Yellow Bunting, but often with 
rather more moss, is placed in a bank among the stems of a 
hazel or other bush, though sometimes in furze or juniper at a little 
distance from the ground. The eggs, 4-5 in number, are purplish- 
grey with almost black markings, bolder, as a rule, than on those of 
the preceding species and with fewer hair-lines : measurements "85 
by "63 in. The first clutch is laid in May, the second in July ; and 
on the chalk-hills of Surrey, where the bird is not uncommon, I 
have found that the Cuckoo is rather partial to its nest. The young 
are fed chiefly on moths, grasshoppers, and other insects ; but later, 
grass seeds and grain are eaten, while in the south of France, 
during snowy weather, I have seen small flocks feeding, along with 
Sparrows and other Finches, on the refuse in the streets. Although 
unobtrusive, my experience is that the Cirl Bunting is anything but 
a shy bird ; on the contrary it will at all seasons allow a very near 
approach and close inspection, while if disturbed it does not fly 
far. The note is like that of the Yellow Bunting, but without the 
" no cheese,'"' and is nearly expressed by the French name for the 
bird, " zizi." In the bright climate of the south the song may be 
heard throughout the greater part of the year, except when the 
bird is moulting. 

The adult male has a lemon-yellow streak from the forehead over 
each eye ; lores and ear-coverts black ; crown and nape olive 
streaked with black ; upper wing-coverts greenish-grey ; mantle and 
secondaries darker chestnut-brown and the rump decidedly less 
rufous than in the Ye'low Bunting ; quills and tail-feathers about 
the same as in that species ; throat black, followed by a pale sulphur- 
coloured collar : below this a broad olive grey band, succeeded by 
chestnut-brown stripes which run down the flanks ; belly sulphur- 
yellow ; bill dark horn above, bluish below : legs yellowish. Length 
6'5 in. ; wing 3'25 in. The female has the throat pale buff, no 
yellow on the crown, and hardly any on the breast or under parts, 
which are streaked with dark brown ; upper parts less rufous than in 
the male. The voung are rather duller than the female. 



EMBERIZIX.E. 



/// // 1 1 




THE ORTOLAN. 



Emberiza hortulana, Linnaaus. 



This Bunting was first described as a visitor to England from a 
bird taken alive in Marylebone Fields, a little before 1776, and this 
is now in the Museum of Newcastle-on-Tyne, as well as a specimen 
caught on board a collier off the Yorkshire coast in May 1822. 
In November 1827, a male was killed near Manchester. In Sussex 
four or five examples have been taken in spring and autumn since 
1841 ; and an immature bird was killed in the Scilly Islands early 
in October 1851. Several have been captured near London since 
1837, and from that time onwards such increasingly large numbers 
of live Ortolans have been annually imported from the Continent 
that occurrences in the home-counties are open to suspicion, as 
escapes are notorious. One was killed on Lowestoft Denes in May 
1859; an immature bird was shot from among some Linnets, at 
Cley, Norfolk, on September 12th 1884, another on September 5th 
1889, and a third on September 15th 1892; while at Easington, 
Yorkshire, one was obtained on October nth 1889. In Scotland 
two examples were obtained in November 1863 near Aberdeen, 
while two males were shot on the Isle of May, on May 2nd and 5th 



214 ORTOLAN. 

1885. A. G. More states that in the Museum of Science and Art 
at Dubhn there is a specimen said to have been taken in co. Clare 
previous to May 1852. 

The Ortolan visits Heligoland in large numbers on the spring as 
well as the autumn passage, and is found in summer as far north as 
the Arctic circle in Scandinavia ; but eastward, its northward range 
gradually recedes to about lat. 57° in Russia. South of the Baltic the 
bird is irregularly distributed throughout Europe, and, though local, 
it is fairly common at no greater distance from this country than 
some districts in the north of France, Flanders, Dutch Brabant Szc. 
It is an eminently migratory species. Even in the south of Europe 
(where it is rather partial to low bushes on stony hill-sides) it is only 
a summer-visitor ; in Northern Africa, where it breeds in compara- 
tively small numbers, it goes as far southwards as Abyssinia for the 
winter; while in Palestine, Asia Minor, Persia, Turkestan, and 
Siberia as far as the valley of the Irtish, it only passes the summer, 
occasionally visiting the north-west of India. I have known the 
Ortolan to arrive on the French side of the Pyrenees as early as 
March 23rd; the return begins in August. 

The nest, built in the latter half of May, of dry grass and roots 
with a lining of fine bents and hair, is always on the ground, and 
generally in open fields, though sometimes among coarse herbage 
or under small bushes. The eggs, 4-6 in number, are pale purplish- 
grey, distinctly spotted and very little scrawled with purple or black : 
measurements 78 by '62 in. The natural food consists of beetles 
and other insects as much as seeds, but in confinement the bird 
feeds greedily upon oats and millet, until it attains the fatness which 
is proverbial. The note, which is rather metallic, may be syllabled 
as tsee-ah, isee-ah, tsee-ah, tyiir. 

The adult male has the crown and nape greenish-grey ; cheeks 
dusky ; feathers of the back, wing coverts and secondaries fulvous- 
brown, with dark central stripes ; rump reddish-brown ; tail- 
feathers brown, with oblong patches of white on the three outer 
pairs ; throat sulphur-yellow, with a dusky streak from the gape 
downwards on each side ; pectoral band olive-grey ; lower breast, 
belly and under tail-coverts warm chestnut ; bill dull red ; legs 
brownish-orange. Length 6'25 in. ; wing yTy in. Males in their 
first spring have the rump dull striated brown ; no white on the third 
inner pair of tail-feathers ; paler under parts. The female has 
the head greener and more streaked ; upper parts duller; gorget 
yellowish-buff streaked with brown ; under parts yellowish-buff. 



EMBERIZIN^. 



■^5 




THE SIBERIAN MEADOW-BUNTING. 



Emberiza cioiDES, Brandt. 



In 'The Ibis' 1889, pp. 293, 294, Canon Tristram stated that 
Mr. R. W. Chase, of Birmingham, had lately obtained a specimen 
of this species obtained at Flamborough, Yorkshire. It was said to 
have been taken by a fisherman named William Gibbon, in November 
1886, and was mounted from the flesh by Mr. Matthew Bailey, the 
well-known bird- preserver at Flamborough (Yorkshire ' Naturalist ' 
1889, p. 356). I have lately had an interview with Mr. Bailey, 
and the history of the specimen appears to be quite satisfactory. 

The Siberian Meadow-Bunting has not yet been obtained on 
Heligoland, nor in any part of the Continent. Taczanowski says 
that it is widely distributed in Turkestan, Western and Eastern 
Siberia, Mongolia, Manchuria, Corea, and over a great part of China. 
It must be mentioned, however, that the bird which breeds at 
Kiukiang on the Yangtse (see Styan, 'Ibis' 1891, p. 354) is dis- 
tinguished by some ornithologists as E. castaneiceps, and Seebohm 
('Ibis' 1889, p. 296) expressed an opinion that the Flamborough 
specimen approached the Chinese rather than the typical Siberian 
form. I have examined many examples in the Natural History 
Museum, and, without expressing an opinion as to the very fine 
distinctions, I treat the two forms as constituting one species in the 
present article. 

Mr. Kibort, who collected for Seebohm, obtained this Bunting in 



2l6 SIBERIAN MEADOW-BUNTING. 

summer and autumn at Krasnoiarsk, in lat. 56° N. on the Yenesei, 
and accounts of its breeding in Southern Baikalia, Dai.iria, and Mon- 
goha are furnished by Godlewski, Dybowski, and Prjevalski. The 
nest, built in the second half of May, of dry bents with a lining of 
hair and finer materials, is placed at the foot of a bush — frequently 
a wild apricot — often on a ledge of some precipice or steep hill- 
side. The eggs, usually 4 and seldom 5 in number, are white, 
with a violet tinge, spotted and scrawled with dark brown or black : 
measurements about "86 by '62 in. The song of the male is said to 
be pleasant, though interrupted, like that of most Buntings. 

The adult male has the lores black ; crown and nape chest- 
nut-brown ; a whitish stripe above and behind each eye ; cheeks 
rather deeper in colour than the crown ; from the gape to the cheek 
passes a dull white stripe, and below this a broad black moustache-like 
streak ; chin and throat white, merging into grey on the sides of the 
neck ; across the breast a deep chestnut band, flanks paler, belly 
whitish ; mantle chiefly chestnut, streaked on the upper back ; inner 
secondaries with blackish centres and warm buff edges ; quills ash- 
brown ; middle tail-feathers chestnut, the next three pairs umber- 
brown, and the two outer pairs black at their bases with white 
terminal halves ; legs pale flesh-brown. Length 6 "5, wing 3 "4 in. 
The female has little more than streaks of chestnut on the crown 
and a very slight pectoral band, while her general colours are paler. 
The young male is at first similar to the female, but by December 
the warm chestnut-colour becomes marked and characteristic. 



EMBERIZIN.t. 



217 




THE RUSTIC BUNTING. 



Emberiza rustica, Pallas. 



The first example of the Rustic Bunting known to have occurred 
in England was caught near Brighton, on October 23rd 1867, and 
was shown alive to the late Mr. G. D. Rowley ; it is now in the 
collection of Mr. T. J- Monk of Lewes. A second, identified and 
recorded by Mr. W. E. Clarke (Zool. 18S1, p. 465), exhibited at a 
meeting of the Zoological Society, and now in the York Museum, 
was shot on the Holderness coast, Yorkshire, on September 17th 
1 88 1, the same day on which a young bird of this species was 
obtained at Heligoland by Giitke. The late Lord Lilford stated 
(Zool. 1883, p. 2^) that a young male was sent to him in the 
flesh, which had been taken by a bird-catcher at Elstree reservoir, 
near London, on November 19th 1882. 

The Rustic Bunting is an eastern species which is gradually 
extending its range westward, and is nov/ known to wander to 
Sweden, while it occurs annually and even breeds in East Finland. 
Giitke possessed eight specimens taken on Heligoland (two of them 
in April), and as many more have been obtained there ; while 
stragglers have occurred from time to time in Holland, Germany, 
Austria, the south of France, the north of Italy and twice in the 
south-east (Apulia), and once near Constantinople. From Arch- 
angel eastward it is found, increasingly, across Siberia, visiting 
Kamchatka and even Bering Island ; while the late Dr. von Mid- 
kendorff found it paired and apparently nesting in the Stanovoi 



2l8 RUSTIC BUNTING. 

^lountains, and it is common in Transbaikalia and Amurland. 
Southward, it is abundant on passage in Mongolia, and, according 
to Blakiston, it is common in the southern part of the main 
island of Japan in winter, as well as on Yezo in summer. In 
the cold season it is found in China as far south as Shanghai ; and 
it is supposed to breed in the mountainous regions to the north of 
Mongolia, and in Turkestan, as well as in Northern Siberia. In 
Western Siberia it appears to be very local. 

Nothing was known to Taczanowski of the reproduction of this 
Bunting in Siberia up to 18S9; but Mr. Dresser informs me that he 
has examined three clutches of eggs taken on 4th-5th June by Mr. 
Sandman, who discovered the breeding-haunts in North East Fin- 
land in 1886. In these clutches, of 5-6 eggs, the general colour 
is greenish-grey, with olivaceous brown blotches (not distinct spots), 
but without any scrawling, while sometimes the ground-colour is 
reddish : average measurements 78 by "58 in. The bird arrives in 
Northern Russia about the beginning of May, and frequents the 
open portions of swampy fir-woods, where it is supposed to nest, as 
in such situations Meves met with two broods in July. The young 
are said to feed upon oats and other grain. The song is described 
by von Middendorff as rich and melodious, while the call-note is a 
sharp cry, not unlike that of the Redwing. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the lores, crown, and 
ear-patches black ; from above each eye to the side of the neck 
a broad white stripe, and a small patch of the same colour on the 
nape ; mantle, upper wing-coverts and rump rusty-chestnut, with 
some blackish streaks on the upper back ; greater and middle 
wing-coverts with broad white tips, which form two conspicuous 
bars ; secondaries with dark brown centres and rufous margins ; 
quills ash-brown ; tail-feathers chiefly dark brown, but the exterior 
pair with the greater part of their webs white, and the second pair 
with a long white streak from near the base to the tip of the inner 
web ; throat and belly white ; breast broadly banded with rusty- 
chestnut, and flanks streaked with the same colour ; bill dark brown 
above, yellowish below j legs pinkish-yellow. Length 5*45 in. ; wing 
3'i in. In the female the head and ear-patches are brownish, 
mottled with black, the chestnut tints on the back and chest are 
less pronounced, and the dark streaks are conspicuous. The young 
bird in August has the upper parts warm tawny-brown with blackish 
streaks ; under parts dull white, streaked with dark brown, and 
suffused with rufous-buff, with a faint chestnut tinge on the breast 
and flanks. 



E.MBEP.IZIX.t. 



219 




THE LITTLE BUNTLXG. 



Emberiza pusi'lla, Pallas. 



The only British example yet recorded of this smallest of 
European Buntings was brought, on November 2nd 1864, to the 
late Mr. Swaysland of Brighton, and was identified alive by the late 
Mr. G. D. Rowley. It was subsequently exhibited before the 
Zoological Society, and now forms part of Mr. T. J. Monk's fine 
collection of Sussex birds. Other wanderers may have occurred 
and been overlooked. 

The Little Bunting has been obtained near Lund, in Sweden, on 
the spring migration of 181 5 ; also once in East Prussia ; at long 
intervals four or five specimens have been taken in Holland ; 
two near Antwerp, in Belgium, in autumn ; and on Heligoland 
about thirty passed through Gatke's hands, chiefly in September 
and October. In the south-east of France the bird is said to occur 
almost every autumn, and along the Riviera to Liguria and Northern 
Italy it is not very uncommon on passage, while its wanderings 
extend to Apulia and the Island of Sardinia ; and stray examples 
have been obtained in Germany, Austria, the neighbourhood of 
Constantinople, Smyrna and Beyrout, as well as twice in Algeria. 
In summer the bird is found in Northern Russia as far west as 
Onega, while eastward from Archangel and the valley of the Dwina 
it increases as far as the Taimyr Peninsula, and reaches across 
Siberia to the mountains beyond Lake Baikal, and the Amur dis- 
trict. On passage it visits Mongolia, and winters in China, Burma, 
Assam, the Andaman Islands, and the hill-districts of India. 



220 LITTLE BUNTING. 

Von Middendorfl^ was the earliest discoverer of the eggs of the 
Little Bunting. Seebohm found the species extremely abundant in 
the valley of the Yenesei from June ist onwards, before the snow had 
sufficiently melted to make the forest penetrable, and took his first 
nest on the 23rd of that month, on the south bank of the Kuraika, a 
tributary of the Yenesei. The structure was in a hole made in the 
dead leaves, moss and grass, carefully lined with fine dry bents, and 
contained 5 eggs; two other nests afterwards obtained were lined 
with reindeer-hair, and contained respectively 5 and 6. Those of 
the first clutch are described as almost exact miniatures of Corn- 
Bunting's eggs : the ground-colour being of a pale grey, with bold 
twisted blotches and irregular spots of very dark grey, and equally 
large underlying shell-markings of paler grey ; the others were 
redder or browner in ground-colour ; measurements "63 by '56 in. 
Mr. H. L. Popham obtained a far larger series on the Yenesei in 
1895, and again in 1S97 ; the variation in colour and markings 
being remarkable. As a rule the bird was extremely tame in its 
breeding-haunts, though in winter the late W. R. Davison found it 
excessively wild in Tenasserim, when in flocks ; in summer it appears 
to be partial to the younger woods composed of a mixture of pines, 
firs, alders and birches. All travellers, who have had the opportunity 
of observing it, describe its song as low and sweet, more like that of 
a Warbler than of a Bunting, while the call-note resembles the 
words tick, tick, tick. The food consists of insects in summer and 
of seeds in winter. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the crown and sides of 
the head rich rust-colour, with a broad black stripe from above 
each eye to the nape, behind which is a dull whitish collar ; mantle 
and rump reddish-brown with blackish streaks ; wing-coverts brown, 
tipped with buffish-white ; quills ash-brown ; tail-feathers the same, 
with longitudinal white terminal patches on the two outer pairs ; 
chin and throat pale chestnut ; upper breast and flanks dull white, 
thickly streaked with black ; belly whitish ; bill horn-brown ; legs 
pale brown. Length 5*25 in. ; wing 275 in. In the female the black 
on the head is duller, the median stripe is less pronounced, and the 
general tints are paler. Li the young bird the central stripe on the 
crown is buff, and the two side stripes are reddish-brown with dark 
streaks ; the secondaries are broadly edged with rufous-brown, and 
the under parts are more streaked and mottled with black. 



EMBERIZIN.^. 



t^ : 




jj^'Mi 



THE REED-BUNTING. 

Emberiza schceniclus, Linnaeus. 

This bird is often called the Reed-Sparrow, and has, unfortunately, 
also been known as the Black-headed Bunting, which has led 
to confusion with the totally different species already described 
(p. 205). It is resident and generally distributed throughout Great 
Britain and Ireland, breeding sparingly even in the Outer Hebrides 
and the Orkneys, though only a rare visitor to the Shetlands. In 
summer it frequents fairly damp spots, whether on the banks of 
sluggish streams bordered by alders, osiers and sedge, or rush-grown 
places on swampy moorlands. In winter it sometimes assembles 
in flocks, and Booth found from forty to fifty birds roosting on 
patches of reeds by small marsh dykes ; at that season also, in search 
of food, it often shifts its haunts to stubbles and other places at 
some distance from water. At intervals large numbers have been 
known to cross the North Sea from the Continent and visit our east 
coast in autumn, while a similar migration has been noticed on the 
shores of Ireland. 

The Reed-Bunting inhabits suitable localities in Europe from the 
vicinity of the North Cape to the Mediterranean, though in the 
northern portions it is partially migratory, while it occurs irregularly 
on Heligoland. In Spain and the extreme south, however, it is chiefly 
observed during the winter, and comparatively few remain to breed. 
It occurs in North-western Africa, yet in the North-east and in 
Egypt it seems to be uncommon, and to Asia Minor it is only a 
winter-visitor. Eastward, it is found across Siberia to Kamchatka ; 



222 REED-EUNTIXG. 

but South-eastern Siberia, ^Mongolia and China are inhabited by a 
smaller race, which has been called E. passerina, with the black and 
white colours in stronger contrast and the rufous less pronounced. 
In Southern Spain, Southern Italy and Sicily, a resident form with 
a larger bill has received the name of E. paJjistris ; while further 
east, from Astrakhan to Turkestan and Yarkand, a bird with a still 
larger bill, and also paler in colour, is distinguished as E. pyrrhtddidcs. 
Few authors agree as to the nomenclature of these supposed species, 
or where the lines of distinction between them are to be drawn ; 
nevertheless Dr. Sharpe (Cat. Birds Brit. INIus. xii. p. 473) has 
placed the two last with a Japanese form in the genus Pyrrhiilo- 
rhyncha^ which Professor Giglioli instituted in 1S65. 

The nest, commenced in the latter part of March or early in 
April, is usually placed upon the ground, at the foot of a tuft of 
rushes or of the stems of young willows and shrubs ; frequently in 
herbage on the side of a bank ; occasionally on young spruce-firs or 
on bunches of reeds, at varying elevations. The materials employed 
are dry grass, moss and withered flags for the exterior, with bents, 
hair and the feathery tops of reeds for the lining. The eggs, 4-6 in 
number, are purplish-grey — sometimes with a huffish tinge — boldly 
spotted and streaked with darker purple brown : average measure- 
ments 77 by '59 in. The Cuckoo is moderately partial to the nests 
of this species. Two, and occasionally three broods are produced 
in the season. The hen sits very closely, and both she and the male 
feign lameness and practise other devices to divert attention from 
the young. In summer the food consists of insects, such as cater- 
pillars and small white moths, also small fresh-water crustaceans and 
molluscs ; later in the year, seeds of marsh-plants and grain'are con- 
sumed. The song of the male is loud and stammering, ending with 
a long-drawn zississ ; the call-note resembles the word tschec. 

The adult male has the head and throat deep black, with a 
broad white line from the base of the bill joining a collar of the 
same colour ; mantle, wing-coverts and secondaries warm reddish- 
brown, with dark centres to the feathers ; quills dull brown ; tail- 
feathers blackish, with oblique white patches on the two outer 
pairs ; belly whitish ; flanks dusky, streaked with brown ; bill and 
legs dull brown. Length 6 in. ; wing 3'i in. In autumn the 
black on the head and throat is obscured by the buffish-brown tips 
of the feathers. The female is rather smaller, much duller in colour, 
and has a reddish-brown head with darker streaks, while the eye- 
stripe is buffish-white and the throat is merely streaked with black 
on a huffish ground. The young resemble the female. 



EMBERIZIX.t. 







THE LAPLAND BUNTLVG. 
Calcarius lapponicus (Linnasus). 

The Lapland Bunting or " Longspur " was first recognized as a 
visitor to our islands by Selby early in 1826, when one was sent 
from Cambridgeshire, with some Larks, to Leadenhall Market ; while 
subsequently, at long intervals, examples have been obtained near 
London, in Lancashire, Westmoreland and Durham, near Whitby 
on the spring migration, in Lincolnshire and Norfolk, near Shrews- 
bury, and several on the coasts of Kent, Sussex and Hants. Only 
about forty specimens had, however, been taken in England (almost 
all on the autumn migration) up to 1892, when there came a great 
invasion, chiefly on the East coast, followed by larger numbers in 
1893, when flocks were observed near Flamborough and in Lincoln- 
shire. In Scotland two specimens are said to have been obtained 
in Caithness, and in October 1892 others were taken in the Orkneys 
and Shetlands. In Ireland Mr. Barrington received a female from 
the Fastnet Rock, on October i6th 1887. 

In summer the Lapland Bunting inhabits the greater part of the 
circumpolar regions, being found on both sides of Greenland up 



224 LAPLAND BUNTING. 

to 75° N., in Jan ^Nlayen, Arctic Europe (Kolguev abundantly, 
Vaigatch, Novaya Zemlya and Franz, Josef Land sparingly), Arctic 
Asia to the Liakov Islands, and in Arctic America. To Iceland, 
however, it is merely a wanderer from Greenland, while it has not 
been recorded from Spitsbergen. It is only at considerable eleva- 
tions, such as the Dovrefjeld in Norway, that it is found breeding 
to the south of the Arctic circle ; but it becomes abundant in 
Lapland, while in Northern Siberia it is, perhaps, the commonest 
bird on the tundras. In Asia it migrates further south than in 
Europe, and reaches 30° N. lat. in China; whereas it is rare in 
South Russia or Northern Italy, and unknown in Spain. In Central 
Europe its occurrences are accidental, but further north they are 
more frequent, and are regular on Heligoland in autumn. In 
North America this species breeds up to lat. 73°, and winters in 
South Carolina, Kansas and Colorado. 

Swampy moorlands — beyond the limit of forest growth — with 
tussocks of grass and stunted willows or birches, are the favourite 
summer-haunts of the Lapland Bunting, but occasionally it inhabits 
dry and bushy spots. The nest, built early in June, is placed in a 
hollow of some little mound or grass-clump, and is made of dry 
bents and roots, but its thick lining of feathers at once distinguishes 
It from nests of the Red-throated Pipit and other birds frequenting 
such localities. The 4-6 eggs are pale greyish- or reddish-brown, 
spotted, blotched and slightly scrawled with darker shades of brown : 
measurements "82 by "58 in. The song of the male is generally 
uttered on the wing ; the bird rising from some low bush, and 
hovering above it, like a Tree-Pipit. The call-note is a plaintive 
whistle. The food consists of insects as well as seeds in summer, 
and of the latter, with larvfe, in winter. 

The adult male in summer has the crown, cheeks, throat and 
breast black ; a broad white streak over each eye and down the 
sides of the neck ; hind neck broadly banded with bright chestnut ; 
feathers of the back, rump, wing-coverts and secondaries tawny- 
brown, with blackish centres and paler margins ; quills dull brown ; 
tail-feathers dark brown, with long white patches on the inner webs 
of the two outer pairs ; belly white, with broad black streaks on the 
flanks ; bill yellow, with the point black ; legs black ; hind claw 
nearly straight, and longer than the toe. Length 6-25 in.; wing 3'6 in. 
In the female the crown, ear-coverts and chestnut collar are streaked 
with brown and black ; the upper parts paler ; throat white, with an 
irregular blackish gorget. The young bird is still duller in colour. 
In winter both sexes have pale rufous margins to the upper feathers. 



EMBERIZIN^. 



225 




THE SNOW-BUNTING. 

Plectrophenax nivalis (Linnaeus). 

The Snow-Bunting is principally a cold-weather visitor to the 
British Islands, frequenting the Shetlands from September onward, 
though seldom reaching the east coast of England until October, 
and generally returning northwards in March or April. For more 
than a century, however, pairs had been noticed in summer on 
several of the higher mountains of the Scottish mainland, where 
they undoubtedly bred, but it was not until July 1886 that Messrs. 
Peach and Hinxman discovered the nest and young in Sutherland. 
Next, Mr. J. Young took a nest with five eggs in June 1888 ; while 
in 1893 a nest was found by several ornithologists in the Cairn- 
gorms, and the species is evidently on the increase there, as well 
as on Ben Nevis and other mountains. In the Shetlands, Saxby 
had already obtained a nest with three eggs on Unst, and others 
have been taken on Yell. 

In the Faeroes many Snow-Buntings breed, and in winter they 
are abundant there, as they are throughout the year in Iceland ; 
while northward. Col. Feilden found them nesting on Grinell Land 
in 82° 33' N. In Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, 
Siberia, and the Arctic regions generally, this species is widely 
distributed in summer ; migrating southwards in winter to Georgia 

T 



226 SNOW-BUNTING. 

in North America, Japan, Northern China, Turkestan, South Russia, 
the shores of the Mediterranean, Malta, Northern Africa, and 
occasionally to the Azores. It is of annual occurrence as far as the 
central portions of Europe, but its visits south of the Alps are 
exceptional. 

Near the southern extremity of its breeding-range the Snow- 
Bunting builds in the " screes " or stony sides of mountains, but 
in the Fseroes, Spitsbergen, and the high north, the nest is often 
but little above sea-level, generally in some crevice behind or under 
rocks and boulders, or among the piles of drift-wood which fringe 
the shores of the Arctic Sea, though sometimes fully exposed. It 
is formed of dry grass and moss, lined with a few hairs and many 
feathers — especially those of the Ptarmigan ; the 4-6 eggs are 
greyish-white, spotted and blotched with brownish-red and purplish- 
black : measurements "86 by "62 in. While the female is sitting the 
male utters a low and melodious warble, often hovering in the air ; 
the call-note is a long-drawn tsee. In summer both young and old 
feed principally on mosquitoes and other insects, but in autumn and 
winter they live on seeds, and do some damage to newly-sown corn. 
On the ground the Snow-Bunting runs with rapidity ; it also hops, 
and has frequently been observed to perch on trees. 

The adult male in breeding-plumage has the mantle, inner 
secondaries, terminal part of primaries, and the six central tail- 
feathers, black ; the rest of the plumage mostly white ; bill, legs and 
feet black ; hind claw shorter than its toe. Length 6"65 in. ; wing 
4'4 in. In the female the head and neck are streaked with greyish- 
black, and the upper parts are dull black, except the secondaries, 
which are chiefly white. In autumn the bird (as figured) has the 
feathers of the upper parts broadly edged with pale chestnut, and 
the bill yellow with a black tip : in this state it has been called the 
"Tawny Bunting." In winter the chestnut margins are abraded and 
are succeeded by white. The j'oung bird is greyish-brown, with 
darker spots on both upper and under parts ; a specimen is figured 
in Messrs. Harvie-Brown and Buckley's 'Fauna of Sutherland &c.' 

Males of the introduced American Red-winged Starling, Agehnus 
phafiiceus, have been captured in this country ; while Icterus 
baltitnore has been recorded from the Shetlands (Zool. 1890, p. 457). 
Attempts have also been made to swell the British list by including 
in it escaped examples of the American Meadow-Starling, Stiirnella 
magna ; the American Rusty Gxs.c'^Xe, Scokcophagiis ferrugitieits ; and 
the Indian Mynah, Gracida religiosa. 



STURNID^. 



227 




THE STARLING. 

Sturnus vulgaris, Linnaeus. 

The Starling or Stare, now generally distributed throughout the 
United Kingdom, has materially increased during the last forty 
years both as regards numbers and range, in Wales, the west and 
north of England, and Ireland. In Scotland also, it is now common 
in many districts in which it was either rare or unknown within the 
memory of persons hardly past middle-age ; in the Shetlands and 
Orkneys, however, it has been resident for at least a century, and 
for little less in the Outer Hebrides {Cf. Harvie-Brown, Ann. Scott. 
Nat. Hist. 1895, pp. 2-22). Large flocks arrive on our east coasts 
in autumn, at which season there is also a marked migration west- 
ward, and localities in the interior of this country which have been 
frequented during the summer are then almost deserted, while great 
numbers seek winter quarters in the south and west of Ireland. 

In the Faeroes, where this species is common and resident, the 



228 STARLING. 

birds have, as a rule, large and particularly broad beaks. In Iceland 
a solitary specimen was obtained in December 1878, and as long ago 
as 185 1, Holboll procured one in Greenland. In Norway the species 
occurs as high as Tromso, but eastward we find its northern exten- 
sion gradually diminishing, until in the Urals and across Siberia 
it does not exceed 57" N. lat. Throughout Europe our Starling is, 
with few exceptions, generally distributed, and breeds as far south 
as the central provinces of Italy ; but throughout the greater part 
of the Mediterranean basin it is a visitor — often in vast numbers — 
during the cold season, when it reaches the Canaries. In the 
Spanish Peninsula, Southern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia &c., the bird 
found in summer is the unspotted S. ii7iicoIor ; while from Asia 
Minor to the Altai range and North-western India the representa- 
tives are S. purpurascens and other closely-allied species. 

The nest is usually built in some hole in a tree, cliff, bank, or 
wall ; also (as many persons know to their cost) in chimneys, water- 
pipes, and under eaves ; more often than generally known it is open 
to the sky in a fir or other tree ; while in places where suitable 
timber is wanting, holes in peat-stacks and even in the turf itself, 
heaps of stones for mending roads, rabbit-burrows &c., are selected. 
A large untidy mass of dry grass or straw, sometimes with a little 
moss, wool and a few feathers for lining, forms a receptacle for the 
4-7 pale blue eggs, which measure about V2 by "85 in. When 
successively removed, as many as forty eggs have been obtained 
from the same nest in the season. The Starling feeds principally 
upon worms, slugs, small molluscs, insects and their larvK ; it also 
eats voles, the young and eggs of other birds, cultivated fruit and 
wild berries. Its song, imitative powers, habit of congregating in 
large flocks at roosting time, and aerial evolutions have been 
described at length elsewhere. 

In summer, the adult male has almost the whole plumage glossy 
black, with rich metallic purple and green reflections ; the feathers 
of the upper parts being tipped with triangular buff-coloured spots ; 
quills and tail-feathers dark brown, with bufiish margins; bill 
lemon-yellow ; legs and feet reddish-brown. After the autumn 
moult the feathers of the upper parts are deeply margined with 
buff, and those of the under parts are tipped with white. Length 
8"6 in. ; wing 5*2 in. The plumage of the female is less brilliant 
and the terminal spots are larger. Until autumn the young bird 
is uniform greyish-brown above, clouded with white below ; in which 
plumage it is the " Solitary Thrush " of Montagu and others. 



STURDINiE. 



229 




THE ROSE-COLOURED STARLING. 

Pastor roseus (Linnsus). 

This handsome species, which was first recognized as a visitor 
to the British Islands in 1742, when Edwards figured an example 
killed near Norwood, has subsequently occurred at intervals in many 
parts of England, occasionally in Wales, and often in Devon and 
Cornwall ; though more frequently on the eastern side of the island. 
As a rule its arrival has taken place between May and October, 
and the visitors to our shores appear to have been birds which 
had separated from flocks of their own species and joined those of 
Starlings &c. In Scotland, the Rose-coloured Starling has rather 
frequently been noticed in the Orkneys, and has occurred in every 
district except the Outer Hebrides ; in Ireland, though rarer, it 
has wandered to the extreme west. 

As might be expected in the case of a species which has casually 
visited the Shetlands, the Rose-coloured Starling has reached the 
Faroes ; but up to the present time it has not strayed to Iceland. 
In Norway one occurred near Trondhjem in 1885, and one at 
Sitskoven in 1894, while several examples have been obtained in 
Sweden, Finland and Denmark, and on Heligoland nearly fifty have 
been noticed in as many years. Over the rest of Europe the bird is 
an irregular migrant, increasing in frequency to the southward ; and, 
though rarer in the extreme west, it has been found near Seville 



230 ROSE-COLOURED STARLING. 

in Spain. Until June 3rd 1875 it was merely known as an almost 
annual summer-visitor to Italy, but on that day commenced an 
irruption of flock after flock, following up large flights of locusts, 
and the ruined castle of Villafranca in the province of Verona was 
soon occupied by some twelve or fourteen thousand Rose-coloured 
Starlings, which speedily ejected the original feathered inhabitants. 
The first eggs were laid about June 17th ; by July loth the young 
were fledged; and by the 14th all had taken their departure. In 
Bulgaria, the Dobrudscha, Southern Russia, the vicinity of Smyrna 
in Asia Minor, and in other places, large colonies have been found 
nesting, though not regularly ; while localities inhabited by thousands 
in one year may be absolutely deserted the next. Eastward, the 
Rose-coloured Starling extends through Turkestan to Lake Saisan ; 
numbers winter in India ; vast flocks traverse Palestine in spring ; 
and on migration the bird has occurred at intervals in North Africa. 
The nest, composed of dry grass with a few feathers, is generally 
placed in some suitable crevice in ruins, railway-cuttings, quarries 
and cliffs, or among loose stones on the side of a ravine being occa- 
sionally open to the sky. The 5-6 eggs are glossy bluish-white : 
measurements I'l by '83 in. The female sits very closely, and is 
fed by the male with locusts, apparently the favourite food of old 
and young ; for which reason the bird is protected in the Caucasus 
and other districts. In India, however, it is destructive to grain 
during the cold season, and it also devours mulberries, while it will 
eat cockroaches in confinement. The note is a harsh and con- 
tinuous babble, which is described by Canon Tristram as deafening 
when uttered by dense flocks in rapid flight. Although so con- 
spicuous in colour when on the ground or perched upon a tree, yet 
a small party of birds will suddenly become almost invisible by 
dropping among oleander bushes, the pink flowers of which exactly 
match the colour of the breast. 

The adult male has the long crest, head, neck and throat glossy 
violet-black ; wings and tail metallic greenish-black ; back, shoulders, 
breast and belly rose-pink ; bill yellowish-pink, black at the base ; 
legs yellowish-brown. Length 8-5 ; wing 5 in. The female is less 
brightly tinted and has a smaller crest. The young bird at first 
is greyish-brown above, with buff margins to the wing- and tail- 
feathers ; the throat is white, the lower parts are striated buffish- 
white, the bill is brown ; but in September the moult into the adult 
plumage commences. In June 1890 a bird with a r^^ instead of a 
black head was taken alive in Bulgaria (P.Z.S. 1890, p. 590). 



CORVID.^. 




THE CHOUGH. 

Pyrrhocorax graculus (Linnpeus). 

The Chough is not only a local but also, apparently, a very 
capricious species ; localities formerly inhabited by it being some- 
times abandoned, without any assignable reason. In England at 
the present day it is not known to breed to the east of the cliffs of 
Dorsetshire, while westward as far as Cornwall its distribution is 
irregular. In North Devon there were formerly many small 
colonies ; but in 1887 I found that the bird had almost disappeared 
from Lundy Island, where about forty pairs used to nest, owing in 
a great measure to the Peregrine, which, in default of Pigeons, is 
very partial to Choughs — especially the young. On the sea-cliffs 
and in some inland localities of Wales it is not rare, while it is still 
resident in the Isle of Man. In Scotland it has long ago quitted 
St. Abb's Head, and has almost vanished from the Wigtownshire 
coast and western mainland, but it breeds on Islay, Jura, and other 
islands of the Inner Hebrides, up to Skye, and was obtained in 
September 1896 near Stornoway; though of accidental occurrence 
on the east side and inland. In Ireland it nests along the rocky 
coasts and sometimes in the mountains of the south, west and north. 



232 CHOUGH. 

In several of the Channel Islands the Chough was formerly 
common, and it breeds in some of the rocky portions of the north- 
western and west coasts of France, as well as in those of the 
Peninsula. Mountainous situations in the Alps, Carpathians, Par- 
nassus, Urals, Apennines, Pyrenees, Cantabrian range, and the 
south of Spain, are, however, its favourite haunts, while on the 
rocky islands of the Mediterranean it is plentiful ; it is also resident 
in the hill-regions of Northern Africa, Abyssinia, Arabia, Asia 
Minor, the Caucasus and Persia, and throughout the mountain 
ranges of Asia as far as North-eastern China. As a rule this species 
is little given to wandering. 

The nest, built from the latter part of April to the middle of 
May, is composed of long wiry stems of heather, or of some 
deciduous plant, and is well lined with wool and hair. It is 
frequently placed in some cavity in the roof of a cave ; but some- 
times in vertical fissures, holes in ruins and grassy banks, or disused 
lime-kilns. The 3-5 eggs are greyish-white with occasionally a 
yellow or greenish tinge, spotted and streaked with several shades 
of dark grey and pale brown : measurements i"5 by i"i in. When 
flying, the Chough performs a series of curves in the air, alternately 
rising with a scream and then suddenly dropping with almost closed 
wings, but on the ground its movement is a short and very quick 
run. The usual cry is a clear metallic kling, but in autumn I 
have heard flocks uttering chough-chough very plainly. The food 
consists of insects and their larvae (in search of which stones are 
often turned over), and occasionally of grain. 

In the adult male the plumage is glossy bluish-black, with a 
slight green tint on the primaries ; bill, legs, and feet cherry-red. 
Length 16 in. ; wing 11 in. The female only differs in being some- 
what smaller. In the nestling the beak and legs are dull orange, 
but by September those parts have become as red as in the parent. 

A yellow-billed Alpine Chough, P. alpinus, shot near Banbury, 
Oxfordshire, on April 8th 1881, and examined in the flesh by Mr. 
O. V. Aplin, is now in the collection of Mr. J. Whitaker. The 
species is eminently sedentary, and it is unlikely that an individual 
should have wandered so far from its home in the mountains of 
Central and Southern Europe ; on the other hand I believe that 
Lady Dorothy Nevill, who has been successful in inducing our 
species to breed in confinement, has purchased importations from 
the Continent, and it is probable that the bird in question had 
escaped. 



CORVID.«. 



233 




THE NUTCRACKER. 

NUCIFRAGA CARYOCATACTES (LilinEeUs). 

The Nutcracker is an irregular visitor to England and Wales, but 
about thirty fairly authenticated occurrences are on record, princi- 
pally in the southern half of our island, and all of them, so far as is 
known, in autumn. In Scotland one was shot at Invergarry and 
one in Orkney, both in October 1868; while Sir Herbert E. Max- 
well has recorded an occurrence in Wigtownshire in 1891. As yet 
there is no evidence that the bird has visited Ireland. 

C. L. Brehm and others have recognised several subspecies of 
Nutcracker. A form with a stout bill (as in the engraving) breeds 
in the coniferous forests south of lat. 67° in Scandinavia, some of 
the islands of the Baltic, West Russia, East Prussia, the Hartz 
Mountains, the Jura, the Black Forest, the French, Swiss and 
Italian Alps, and eastward, by the Carpathians, to Transylvania. 
This form is said to be resident. In Siberia, from the Ob and the 
Yenesei eastward — -perhaps to portions of China — occurs a form 
with a slender bill and with a greater developement of white spots ; 



'■34 



NUTCRACKER. 



while in birds from Manchuria, Corea, Japan and the Kuril Islands, 
the bill is moderate, though incHned to be thick. The Siberian 
form, with slender bill, is known to wander westward in autumn, at 
irregular intervals and sometimes in large numbers ; and there is 
evidence that this is the chief visitor to Western Europe, including 
Great Britain. Some form of Nutcracker occurs in the Pyrenees 
and has been observed in Estremadura ; it has also been found in 
Sicily and Sardinia ; but not yet in Greece, Turkey, or the Caucasus. 
In Kashmir the representative is IV. imiltipunctata, and in the 
Himalayas N. hemispila. 

The Nutcracker often begins to breed early in March, when the 
forests are still difficult of access owing to the snow ; and although 
eggs were obtained in the French Alps by the late Abbe Caire as 
long ago as 1846, it was not until after 1862 that English ornitholo- 
gists became acquainted with some specimens taken on the island 
of Bornholm, followed by others from Germany, Switzerland, &c. 
The rather bulky nest, composed of twigs, with grass, roots, and a 
little moss and lichen for a lining, is placed from fifteen to thirty 
feet from the ground in a spruce fir, close to the stem. Sometimes 
the bird will sit upon only two eggs, but 3 are usual ; they are pale 
bluish-green, spotted with ash-brown, like some light varieties of 
those of the Magpie : measurements v^, by '95 in. Seebohm was 
mistaken in supposing that the Nutcrackers on the Yenesei retired 
in June to breed ; they disappeared because it was time to moult, 
and nearly all his specimens are immature birds. The seeds of 
fir-cones are a favourite food, especially those of the arolla pine 
{Pitms cembra) ; also hazel-nuts, of which the bird can carry a 
dozen in its dilatable pouch and oesophagus ; while scraps of meat 
and refuse are freely eaten. Its flight is dipping, but less laboured 
than that of the Jay. One of the notes is gurre, gurre, and another 
resembles the noise made by springing a rattle ; but before nesting 
begins the birds become silent and very wary. 

The adult male is umber-brown above and below, profusely 
spotted with drop-shaped white markings on the back and breast, 
and more sparingly on the throat ; quills glossy black ; tail-feathers 
greenish-black, with broad white tips to all except the central pair ; 
under tail-coverts white; bill and legs black. Length 12 "5 in.; 
wing 7-3 in. The female generally shows a rather browner tint on 
the quills. The fledgling is covered with filamentous hair-brown 
feathers with white streaks down their centres ; but almost as soon as 
the quills are developed, the back and breast are covered with brown 
feathers spotted with white, as in the adult. 



corvida:. 



235 




THE JAY. 

Garrulus glandarius (Linneeus). 

The Jay is less abundant than formerly, owing chiefly to the dis- 
like entertained for it on account of its egg-stealing proclivities, but 
partly to the esteem in which its blue wing-feathers are held for 
making artificial flies. Being, however, an inhabitant of woodlands, 
and a wary as well as a wandering bird, it manages to hold its own, 
and is still tolerably common throughout England and Wales. 
Flocks from the Continent occasionally visit our east coast in 
autumn. In Scotland the Jay is very local, and its numbers have 
decreased, though its range has extended northward with the spread 
of plantations, and now reaches to Glengarry, Inverness-shire. 
Messrs. Harvie-Brown and Buckley have not found it in Sutherland 
or Caithness ; it is not recorded from the Outer Hebrides or the 
Orkneys ; and Saxby is the sole asseverator of its occurrence in 
the Shetlands. In Ireland it is very local, and almost confined to 
the eastern and southern districts. 

South of the Arctic circle in Scandinavia, and of about 63° N. lat. in 
Russia as far east as the valley of the Volga, the Jay is found through- 



236 JAY. 

out the suitable wooded portions of Europe, down to the Mediter- 
ranean and Black Seas. In North Africa it is represented by 
G. minor, and also by G. cervicalis which has a black crown, \vhite 
ear-coverts, and deep rufous nape ; while forms, to which specific 
rank has been accorded by some authorities and denied by others, 
are found intergrading, from the Urals, the Caucasus, Asia IMinor 
and Persia eastward, until the extreme of differentiation is reached in 
G. brandii of Southern Siberia, North China, and the North Island 
of Japan. The race inhabiting the South Island of Japan differs 
from the European bird in having some black on the lores. 

The nest, often commenced early in April, and fairly well con- 
cealed, is an open, cup-shaped structure of short twigs, neatly lined 
with fine roots and grasses ; it is usually not more than twenty feet 
above the ground, in the branches or the outgrowth of the side of a 
tree, or in some high bush. The 5-6 eggs are greenish-grey, 
thickly speckled and often zoned towards the larger end with olive- 
brown, and sometimes scrolled with a few black hair-lines : measure- 
ment I '2 by "9 in. The young at first go about in family parties, 
but subsequently they often unite with others and form bands which 
at times migrate in large streams, chiefly in a westerly direction. 
Thus in the autumn of 1876, and again in that of 1882, immense 
numbers, apparently coming from the great forest regions of Eastern 
Germany, were observed crossing Heligoland during three consecu- 
tive days. The food of the Jay consists chiefly of worms, insects, 
berries, nuts, beechmast, acorns and fruit, but also to some extent 
of the eggs and young of other birds. The natural note is a harsh 
screech, but, as is well known, the bird possesses considerable 
imitative powers. 

The adult male has the head covered with a whitish crest, each 
feather tipped or striped with black ; ear-coverts, nape and back 
light vinous-brown ; rump white ; tail-feathers black, the exterior 
pair brownish ; primaries dull black with white margins to the outer 
webs ; secondaries deep black with long white basal patches, the 
innermost rich chestnut tipped with black ; wing-coverts barred 
alternately with black, white and pale blue; chin pale buff; 
from the base of the bill backwards a black streak ; under parts 
buffish-white, turning to rufous on the flanks ; bill dark horn-colour ; 
iris bluish-madder; legs and feet pale brown. Length about 
14-25 in. ; wing 7-25 in. The female resembles the male, and the 
young differ little from the adults except in having brown irides. 



CORVIDiE. 













THE MAGPIE. 
Pica rustica (Scopoli). 

In East Anglia and other game-preserving districts of Great 
Britain the Magpie is a rare bird, but it is plentiful in Wales and 
the Marches, as well as m many of the ' hunting-counties,' and may 
be described as irregularly distributed up to the north of the 
mainland of Scotland, while it has occurred in the Orkneys. In 
Ireland, where its appearance was first recorded in 1676 in co. 
Wexford, it is now very common. 

The Magpie seldom visits Heligoland, but from the North 
Cape in Scandinavia southward it occurs, more or less plentifully, 
throughout Europe, except in the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. 
It is not recorded from Palestine, although found in Asia Minor. 



238 MAGPIE. 

Eastward— subject to a variation in the amount of white in the 
plumage, which has led to the creation of several species— the 
Magpie is found across Asia to India, China and Japan, as well as in 
the northern portion of America from the Pacific to Michigan ; but 
in California it is represented by P. niiftaHi, with yellow bill and 
ear-patch. Algeria and Morocco are inhabited by F. inauritanica, 
which has a bare blue ear-patch and no grey on the rump ; and 
although Magpies in Spain down to Seville are identical with 
those from Norway, yet examples from the Alpujarras, where a 
geologically-recent connection with Africa existed, are distinctly 
intermediate between the typical and the African species. 

The nest, large and domed, is often begun towards the end of 
March, and is made of thorny sticks on a foundation of turf and 
clay plastered with earth inside, fine roots and dry grass being the 
lining. It is generally placed at some height in the fork of a tree, 
but often in tall — though sometimes in very low — hedges and thorn- 
bushes ; while in Norway it is occasionally under the eaves of houses 
or on the ground. The late Lord Lilford found several nests in the 
papyrus of the Anapo, near Syracuse. The eggs, usually 6 but 
sometimes 9 in number, are bluish-green or yellowish-white in 
ground-colour, closely freckled with olive-brown : measurements 
I "4 by I in. In its food, the Magpie is almost omnivorous; the 
benefits it confers by devouring slugs, snails, worms, rats and 
mice, as well as the eggs of Ring-Doves, probably counter- 
balancing its destructiveness to the eggs and young of game and 
poultry. As showing its boldness, the late Lord Lilford has 
recorded (Zool. 1888, p. 184) an instance of fourteen or fifteen 
Magpies attacking a sore-backed donkey in snowy weather, while, 
after its death from natural causes, several were shot in the act of 
feeding upon its body. The note is a harsh chatter, kept up inces- 
santly as long as any obnoxious person or animal remains in its 
haunts ; while the manner in which the bird will swoop at an 
exhausted fox must be a familiar sight to many sportsmen. 

The adult male has the head, neck, back and breast black, glossed 
with green and violet ; rump grey ; scapulars and belly white ; 
secondaries black, with violet lustre ; primaries black, glossed with 
green, and having an elongated patch of white on their inner webs ; 
tail black, iridescent with greenish-bronze ; bill, legs and feet 
black. Average length 18 in., of which the longest tail-feathers 
sometimes measure 11 in.; wing 775 in. The female is slightly 
smaller and less brilliant in plumage, and has a shorter tail ; while 
the feathers of the young have comparatively little sheen. 



CORVID^:. 




THE JACKDAW. 

C6rvus monedula, Linnaeus. 

The Jackdaw is a familiar resident throughout England and 
Wales. It is also common over the greater part of Scotland, but in 
the north-west it is somewhat rare, and although it breeds sparingly 
in Skye it has seldom been noticed in the Outer Hebrides ; again, 
there are now several large and increasing colonies in the Orkneys, 
but in the Shetlands the bird is as yet an accidental visitor. 
In Ireland it is, as a rule, abundant ; but in Kerry, Donegal and 
other wild portions of the coast, its place is — or was — taken by the 
Chough, and it is exceptionally that the two species are found 
breeding within the same area. The same holds good of Guernsey 
in the Channel Islands, and on Lundy Island there used to be no 
Jackdaws ; in fact, although generally distributed along our coasts 
as well as in town and countr)', this species is sometimes unaccount- 
ably absent. Large numbers arrive on our east coast in autumn, 
and a similar migration occurs at Heligoland. 

To the Faeroes and Iceland the Jackdaw rarely wanders, and in 
Norway it is not found breeding north of Trondhjems fjord ; though 
in Russia it occurs at Mezen, near the Arctic circle. As a rule, it 
is resident throughout the rest of Europe ; but in the south of 



240 JACKDAW. 

France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and some other portions of the 
Mediterranean basin, including Morocco and Algeria, it is extremely 
local. After heavy gales from the south-east it has been found in 
the Canaries. The examples obtained in Eastern Europe, Turkestan, 
Kashmir, and the valley of the Yenesei in Siberia, have remarkably 
white and well-defined collars ; but from the Altai Mountains to 
Eastern Siberia and China, the representative species is C.dauria/s, 
which has the nape, sides of the neck, lower breast and belly ashy- 
white. 

For its breeding-place the Jackdaw chooses holes and cavities in 
rocks, churches and castles — ruined or not, the chimneys of in- 
habited houses, rabbit-burrows and hollow trees ; while sometimes 
the nest is among stalks of coarse ivy on cliffs, or in spruce firs, 
open to the sky. It is usually a substantial, and sometimes a 
monstrous, pile of sticks, warmly lined with wool, rabbit's-fur and 
other soft materials. The 4-6 eggs, laid towards the end of April, 
are of a pale bluish-green, boldly spotted and blotched with black, 
olive-brown and violet-grey ; sometimes the ground-colour is greyish- 
white and the markings are very scanty : measurements i "4 by i in. 
The warm lining is often pulled over the eggs, so as to conceal 
them ; and the late Mr. C. B. Wharton found a clutch smeared and 
apparently disguised with a coating of clay, taken from a lump 
which was in the nest. At Cambridge great inconvenience was 
formerly caused by the appropriation of the labels from the old 
Botanic Gardens by the Jackdaws ; no fewer than eighteen dozen 
being discovered in one chimney. The food consists largely of 
insects and their larvae, worms, and the parasites found on sheep, 
upon the backs of which the bird may often be seen perched ; but 
the Jackdaw is also a terrible egg-stealer. The flight is rapid but 
wavering, numerous evolutions being performed in the air to the 
accompaniment of a short clear note, sounding like cae. Although 
it generally flies in pairs the Jackdaw is at all times more or less 
gregarious, and especially so in winter. 

The adult male has the lores and crown of the head glossy 
purplish-black ; ear-coverts, nape and sides of the neck grey, in- 
clining to white, and producing the effect of a collar ; rest of the 
upper parts glossy black ; under parts dusky-black ; bill, legs and 
feet black. Length about 14 in. ; wing 9-3 in. The female is 
somewhat smaller and the grey collar is less defined. The young 
are dull black, with very little grey on the head and nape. The iris 
is white at all ages. 



CORVID.'E. 



241 




THE RAVEN. 



CoRvus coRAX, Linn^us. 

Although a diminishing species, in consequence of the hatred 
entertained for it by sheep-farmers and the ease with which it can 
be trapped, the Raven still maintains itself in the British Islands. 
In the south its numbers are somewhat influenced by the prices paid 
for young birds ; but even now, from Kent to Cornwall, and along 
the rocky coasts of North Devon and Wales there is hardly a suitable 
headland in or near which a pair does not at least attempt to breed 
annually ; while nests built in trees, although far rarer than formerly, 
are less uncommon than might be supposed at short distances 
inland. Not long ago several pairs frequented Essex, but the Raven 
is now rare in the eastern counties and throughout the interior of 
England. On the hills and fells of the west and north it is still 
to be found ; while in Scotland, and especially in the islands, it is 
by no means uncommon, provided there are cliffs suitable for its 
protection. In Ireland it is still resident in the wilder parts, but 
its numbers have decreased of late years. 

The Raven is stationary in the Faroes, where pied birds (occa- 
sionally met with in the British Islands and elsewhere) are rather 

u 



242 RAVEN. 

frequent. It very rarely visits Heligoland. In Iceland and Scandi- 
navia the bird formerly sacred to Odin is abundant, and it is said to 
have been observed once in Spitsbergen ; while southward it is dis- 
tributed all over Europe, especially in the wooded and mountainous 
districts, and along the sea-coast. It inhabits the northern half of 
Asia down to the Himalayas ; but between Palestine and the 
Cape Verde Islands it is represented by the smaller Brown- 
necked Raven, C. laitbrinus, or by C. affinis, which has the nasal 
bristles pointing upwards and very long secondaries. North-western 
Africa, the Canaries and Madeira, are inhabited by another small 
species, C. tingitanus. In America the Raven is found across the 
continent from the Pacific to Greenland, and southward to Guate- 
mala, but it is local and not common to the east of the Mississippi 
Valley. 

The nest, often built or repaired early in February, though later 
on the fells, is generally a bulky structure when placed in a crag, 
but when in trees it is, according to my experience, smaller and 
more compact. The foundation is a mass of sticks, stems of 
heather &c., while the lining is of wool, rabbit's-fur, deer's-hair and 
other soft substances. The eggs, 3-5, rarely 6 or 7 in number, are 
bluish-green, flecked with olive-brown, sometimes sparingly, but at 
other times so thickly as to produce an almost uniform ash-brown 
appearance ; exceptionally they are reddish-white, blotched with 
rufous-brown: average measurements 1-9 by i"32 in. In defence 
of its nest the Raven is very bold, attacking even an Eagle ; while 
its harsh, defiant, barking whow, whozv, when once heard, will never 
be forgotten. It has, however, softer and more musical notes, 
generally uttered early in the year, while the bird is performing 
aerial evolutions and frequent somersaults ; and its imitative and 
linguistic powers in confinement are well known. There is a bold 
sweep in its flight unrivalled by that of any other Corvine bird. In 
its food it is omnivorous ; and where it is persecuted on account of its 
supposed depredations among lambs and game it is shy and difficult 
of approach ; but in other places it is very tame, and in Majorca I have 
seen pairs following the peasants, like Rooks, when the ground under 
the olive-trees was being ploughed. It is a great destroyer of rats. 

The plumage of the adult is black, glossed with purplish-blue 
on the upper parts and the acuminate feathers of the throat ; tail 
slightly rounded; bill, legs and feet black. Length about 25 in. ; 
wing 17 in. The female is slightly smaller than the male, the 
feathers on the throat are less developed, and her plumage, like that 
of the young, is less lustrous. 



CORVID/E. 



243 




THE CARRION-CROW. 



CoRVUS cor6ne, Linnccus. 

In spite of the constant persecution which this species undergoes 
from those interested in the preservation of game, it is still fairly 
common in most of the wooded districts of Southern England and 
Wales ; especially in the neighbourhood of low-lying coasts, estuaries, 
lakes, and somewhat sluggish rivers. Near London, where it is 
comparatively unmolested, it is by no means rare, and a few pairs 
are distributed among the Parks. In the north of England, 
especially in the Lake district and on the Cheviots, as well as in 
the south of Scotland and as far north as Perthshire, it is common ; 
beyond which, and in the west (though it has nested in Islay), the 
prevailing form is the Hooded Crow : the two not unfrequently 
interbreeding. The Carrion-Crow is recorded from Coll, and is 
resident, though scarce, in Skye ; is said to have occurred in the 
Orkneys ; and visits the Shetlands at long intervals. In Ireland it 
is extremely rare, its place being taken by the Hooded Crow. Con- 
siderable accessions to its numbers take place on the east coast of 
Great Britain in autumn. 

The Carrion-Crow is seldom found in Iceland, and even to the 
southern portions of Scandinavia it is a very irregular visitor. Its 

u 2 



244 CARRION-CROW. 

reported existence near Archangel is open to question, and in the 
interior of Russia it is decidedly uncommon, though frequent in 
the Caucasus, the Black Sea district, the valley of the Danube, 
Greece, and Southern Germany. It rarely visits Heligoland. In 
Northern Ciermany its eastern summer-limits are approximately 
indicated by the valley of the Elbe ; while to the west and south 
it is found breeding as far as the Mediterranean coast of France, 
the Spanish Peninsula, Northern Italy, Corsica and Sardinia. In 
Asia, it nests in Turkestan and Kashmir, while in Western Siberia 
it meets and interbreeds freely with the Hooded Crow ; again pre- 
vailing, as a larger form, in the forest district between the Yenesei 
and the Pacific, as well as in Northern China and Japan. The 
occurrence of our Carrion-Crow in North Africa is doubtful, but 
visits to Madeira are recorded. 

This species seldom makes its nest before the first week in April, 
generally selecting for the purpose some moderately tall tree which 
affords a good look-out, or a ledge of rock ; but it will also build in 
a low bush, and even on the ground. The structure is composed 
of sticks, fine twigs &c., with a warm lining of wool and other soft 
materials ; the eggs, usually 4-5 in number, are bluish-green, spotted 
and blotched with olive-brown : measurements I'y by i'2 in. The 
Carrion- Crow probably pairs for life, and is generally to be seen in 
couples, quartering the ground carefully, with somewhat heavy 
flight, in quest of food. Carrion, poultry, the eggs of game and 
water-fowl, leverets, moles, rats, fish, mussels and the refuse of the 
shore — nothing comes amiss to it ; but it will also eat insects, 
grubs, grain and fruit, like the Rook, and I have seen it on the hill- 
sides in the Pyrenees as well as in Switzerland in considerable 
flocks. Its ordinary note is a hoarse croak, but it sometimes emits 
sounds which may almost be called musical ; while in confinement 
it develops some capacity for imitation. 

The adult male has the entire plumage black, glossed on the upper 
parts with purple and tinged with green on the head, neck and 
throat ; the nostrils are covered with thick bristly feathers, directed 
forwards; bill, legs and feet black. Length 19 in.; wing 13 in. 
The female is less glossy, and has sometimes a brown tinge on her 
plumage. The young bird is still duller in colour. The inside of 
the mouth is always pale flesh-colour : whereas in the young Rook 
it is dark flesh-colour, soon turning livid and afterwards slate-colour. 
The Rev. H. A. Macpherson has recorded a bird of a reddish- fawn 
colour, the rest of the brood being normal ; and Mr. ^V. Eagle 
Clarke has described a brindled-grey variety. 



CORVID^. 



245 




THE HOODED CROW. 

CoRVUS coRNix, Linnaeus. 

This bird, often called the Grey or Royston Crow, is a regular 
and numerous visitor to England, especially the eastern districts, 
from October onwards ; but as a rule it departs in spring, though 
instances are on record of its having remained to breed, and cases 
of hybridism with the Carrion-Crow are not infrequent in the 
north. In Wales it is rare, but in the Isle of Man it nests 
annually. On the mainland of Scotland it is only too abundant, 
predominating in the north and west, and becoming the represen- 
tative form in the Outer Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands. In 
Ireland also it is common, and increasing, especially in the south. 
The majority of the large numbers found in our eastern dist/icts 
arrive from the Continent, and apparently from Scandinavia. 

In the Faeroes the Hooded Crow is resident, and it occasionally 
visits Iceland. In Scandinavia, Finland, Northern Russia, and East 
Prussia it is common, migrating from the higher latitudes in autumn, 
at which season large flocks pass over Heligoland and winter in 
Northern Germany west of the Elbe. These, as a rule, take their 
departure in March, although some occasionally remain to inter- 
breed with the Carrion-Crow. Colonies of the Hooded Crow are 
dotted about Central Germany, are frequent in Galizia, and extend 



246 HOODED CROW. 

to Slavonia ; but in Switzerland, France and Spain, the bird is only a 
winter-visitor. It nests, however, in the islands of Majorca, Corsica 
and Sardinia ; while on the mainland of Italy, Sicily and in the 
Cyclades, it is resident. To North-west Africa it is merely a visitor, 
but in Egypt it is very abundant where trees exist, breeding in 
February and March ; it is also found in Syria ; while eastward it 
can be traced as far as the Persian Gulf, where it meets with the 
whiter C. capellamis. A third race, drab-grey on the lighter parts 
(named by Mr. Oates C. sharpii), visits North-west India in winter, 
and inhabits Afghanistan, Turkestan, and Siberia as far as Tomsk. 
The area between that place and Krasnoiarsk — about 350 miles 
east — is said to be occupied by hybrids between this bird and a 
large form of the Carrion-Crow ; the latter becoming the repre- 
sentative in Eastern Siberia. 

In the south of Ireland the Hooded Crow sometimes has eggs 
by the middle of March (Zool. 1883, p. 337), but in Scotland it is 
later in breeding. According to circumstances, the nest is placed 
on inland rocks, sea-cliffs, tall trees, low bushes, clumps of papyrus, 
on the ground among heather, or even on the roofs of huts. The 
materials are similar to those used by the Carrion-Crow, and the 
eggs, 4-5 in number, cannot with certainty be distinguished, but 
they are often slightly longer, paler, and of a brighter green ground- 
colour. The habits and food of the two Crows are similar, though 
perhaps the Hooded Crow is rather the bolder robber ; while I have 
seen a young one greedily devouring the carcase of a recently shot 
member of the same brood. The call-notes are said to be quite 
distinguishable by practised ears. 

The thoroughbred Hooded Crow has the head, throat, wings, tail 
and thighs black, glossed with greenish-purple ; the rest of the body 
ashy-grey of varying tint, with a few dark streaks down the centre of 
the breast-feathers ; the remainder as in the Carrion-Crow, the grey 
colour forming the sole distinction. To some extent the hybrids 
are fertile, and Seebohm found every intermediate state of plumage 
between the two forms : a large case of specimens illustrating 
these gradations has been presented by him to the Natural History 
Museum at South Kensington. Northern examples of the Hooded 
Crow are rather larger than those resident in the south of Europe, 
and also, as a rule, than Carrion-Crows from Scotland. Professor 
Newton has expressed with his usual perspicacity the reasons for 
not admitting the specific distinctness of these Crows ; but it has 
seemed expedient to treat them under separate headings in the 
present work. 



CORVID^. 



247 




THE ROOK. 

CoRVUS FRUGiLEGUS, Linnseus. 

The Rook is even better known than the Jackdaw, owing to its 
custom of Hving in noisy flocks throughout the year, and its tendency 
to select the vicinity of human habitations for its breeding-places. Few 
rookeries now exist in London, and the same may be said of other 
spreading cities ; but as regards the country, the Rook is generally 
distributed throughout England and Wales, being especially numerous 
north of the Tees. In Scotland it has for some years been increasing 
in numbers and northward range, breeding in Caithness and Suther- 
land, the Outer Hebrides since 1895, ^"<^ the Orkneys; while in 
Skye there are several rookeries. In the Shetlands, where trees are 
scarce, the Rook is at present only a visitor. The increase of this 
species is not regarded with favour in Scotland, for in default of 
other food it undoubtedly pilfers eggs, and in the small area of 
Renfrewshire it has been held responsible for 6,000 eggs in one 
year. In Ireland it is common. Numbers from the Continent visit 
our east coast (regularly) and our south-west districts (irregularly) in 
October and November, and a considerable return migration has 
been observed early in the spring. 



248 ROOK. 

Flocks of Rooks made iheir appearance towards the end of 
November 1880 in IceLind, and the Faeroes are sometimes visited. 
In Scandinavia — whence, as a rule, this species emigrates in winter — • 
it breeds below the line of the fells ; it also nests in Finland on the 
frontier of the St. Petersburg district, and eastward, sparingly, as far as 
Archangel. During summer it is generally, though somewhat irreg- 
ularly distributed throughout the rest of Northern and Central 
Europe; nesting southward down to the vicinity of Biarritz in 
France, Modena and Venetia in Italy, the Dobrudscha, and the 
Crimea; but it is only known as a winter-visitor to the Iberian 
Peninsula and the countries in the Mediterranean basin, where, 
during summer, the soil is usually too hard to be bored for grubs &c. 
It nests in the wooded districts of Northern Persia, Turkestan, and 
Siberia as far as the valley of the Irtish ; visiting Afghanistan, 
Kashmir, North-western India, and Palestine in winter, at which 
season it is also found in Egypt as far south as Memphis, and occa- 
sionally in Algeria. In Eastern Siberia, China and Japan the repre- 
sentative species is C. pastinator, in v;hich the throat is feathered, 
and the plumage purplish-black. 

The nest, usually built about the middle of March, and composed 
of twigs and turf, with a lining of roots and straw, but seldom — if 
ever — any wool, is generally placed in tall trees, but sometimes in 
pollard-willows, firs, laurustinus and holly-bushes ; occasionally on 
chimney-tops and ornaments of church-spires, and exceptionally on 
the ground. In the Orkneys dry tangle and fish-bones are used as 
building material. The 3-5 eggs are bluish-green, blotched and 
streaked with olive-brown, like those of the Carrion-Crow but 
rather smaller: measurements i'6 by 1-15 in. The food consists 
chiefly of insects and their larvae, but practically the Rook will eat 
anything, and in dry seasons, when protective herbage is scanty, it 
not only takes eggs if occasion offers, but hunts for them regularly 
and sytematically, like a Crow. Its note is the well-known caw. 

In the adult the general plumage is black with a blue gloss ; the 
forehead, lores and throat are bare of feathers, and show a greyish 
warty skin ; bill, legs and feet black ; inside of mouth slate-coloured. 
Length 19 in.; wing 12-65 i"- In the young, until the second 
moult, the base of the bill is bristly, as in the Crow, but the bill 
itself is more slender, and the inside is deep flesh-colour; the 
feathers have greyer bases, and the plumage has a bluish tint. The 
bird does not breed until it is nearly two years old. White, pie- 
bald and chocolate-brown varieties are not uncommon ; while 
curious malformations of the bill have been noticed. 



ALAUDID^. 



>49 




THE SKY-LARK. 

Alauda arvensis, Linneeus. 

This favourite songster, known also as the Laverock, is distributed 
throughout the British Islands (though local in the north of Scot- 
land), and is especially abundant in the vicinity of arable or pasture 
land. A considerable emigration takes place from the northern 
districts in autumn ; and at that season the flocks of our home-bred 
birds are augmented by hordes from the Continent, which are some- 
times observed arriving on our east coast for days in succession. Li 
Ireland a similar invasion from England takes place. 

The Sky-Lark only breeds in small numbers in the Faeroes, 
but flocks sometimes visit that group of islands in autumn. In 
Scandinavia it nests as far north as lat. 70°, but is comparatively 
rare beyond the Arctic circle ; while eastward it is found, in suitable 
localities, across Russia, Siberia, and Asia generally north of the 
Himalayas, as far as the coast of the Pacific, the Kuril and other 
islands, and Japan. In winter it visits China, North-western India, 
Afghanistan, Persia, Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt. During the 
summer it is found throughout Europe, and even breeds sparsely in 
the southern portions of the Spanish Peninsula, while in the north- 
west dark-coloured residents are found on the higher grounds. In 
autumn a general southward movement takes place, and few Sky- 



250 SKY-LARK. 

Larks remain on the northern side of the Baltic ; on Heligoland as 
many as 15,000 have been caught in a single night, and immense 
numbers are taken on passage, as well as in winter, in the south of 
Europe. The Sky-Lark visits Northern Africa, where a few breed 
on the slopes of the Atlas ; its migrations extending regularly to 
the Canaries and occasionally to Madeira. An example was shot 
at Hamilton, Bermudas, on June 12th 1850 ; while the importation 
of this species to the United States, Australia and New Zealand is 
notorious. 

The nest, often commenced in the first half of April, and placed 
on the ground in ' a hollow among growing crops, or under the 
shelter of some tuft, clod of earth &c., is made of dry grass, with a 
finer lining of the same. The 3-5 eggs are dull grey, thickly 
mottled and often zoned with olive-brown : measurements '94 by 
•68 in. Incubation lasts fourteen days, and two broods are generally 
produced in the season. The food consists of insects and worms, 
with seeds of various kinds during the colder portion of the year, 
and some grit to aid digestion. When the germination of wheat 
is delayed, and before the leaf is "in two blades," the Sky-Lark 
does harm by biting the plantlet ; but sentimental persons who 
own no wheat consider the bird's song to be ample compensation 
for the injury to farmers. Every one must be familiar with the 
rapturous thrill of the Sky-Lark, as, rising from the ground, it soars, 
still singing, until almost lost to sight ; but it sometimes utters its 
song while on the ground, and, exceptionally, I have seen a bird — 
unmistakably of this species and not a Tree-Pipit— giving forth its 
joyous carol while swaying in the wind on the topmost branch of a 
tree some twenty feet in height. Like other members of the family, 
the Sky-Lark is fond of dusting itself to get rid of insect parasites. 

The adult in spring has the general plumage of the upper parts 
warm yellowish-brown, streaked with dark brown, especially on the 
crown and back; over the eye a buffish-white streak; quills dark 
brown with buff outer margins and greyish-white tips, bastard 
primary very small ; tail-feathers with dark brown centres and tawny 
edges, except the outer pair, which are chiefly white, while the 
.second pair have white outer webs; under parts bufifish-white, 
streaked with dark brown on the throat, breast and flanks ; bill 
dark brown above, paler below ; legs yellowish-brown. The dimen- 
sions vary greatly: average length 7-3 in. ; wing 4-3 in. The sexes 
are alike in plumage, but the female has shorter wings. In the 
young bird the feathers are broadly tipped with buff ; in autumn 
both young and old have a tawny tint. 



ALAUDID^. 



251 




THE WOOD-LARK. 



Alauda arb6rea, Linnaeus. 

The Wood-Lark is a locally distributed species in England and 
Wales, being chiefly found during the breeding-season on warm, 
dry, light soils, especially on undulating ground studded with copses 
or plantations. Although nowhere plentiful, it is most frequent in 
some of the southern counties, such as Devon, Dorset, Wilts, and 
Gloucestershire ; it occurs on the Chiltern Hills, and is also fairly 
distributed along the dry, wooded and rising ground on both sides 
of the valley of the Thames, as well as over the line of the chalk 
formation which runs from Buckinghamshire to West Norfolk and 
Suffolk. In the midland counties it is very local, and northward it 
gradually becomes scarce ; comparatively few breeding in Yorkshire, 
Lancashire, Cumberland and the Lake district. Up to that point 
it appears to be a resident in some localities and an irregular 
migrant in others, while it is a species which has suffered consider- 
ably from the persecutions of bird-catchers and to some extent from 
severe winters ; but few records for even the south of Scotland are 
authentic, and it may be well to remember that the term "Wood- 
Lark " is often misapplied to the Tree-Pipit. In winter considerable 
companies are sometimes found in the southern districts of England, 
especially in snowy weather, but there does not appear to be any 
important immigration from the Continent. In Ireland this species 
has bred in cos. Wicklow and Cork. 

The Wood-Lark rarely visits Heligoland. In summer it inhabits 
the southern portion of Scandinavia, as well as Russia below about 



252 WOOD- LARK. 

60' N. lat., as far east as the Ural Mountains; while it is common 
in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. It is also found, in 
places suited to its habits, in Switzerland, the P)Tenees up to 4,000 
feet. Central Spain, and Southern Europe generally, to the Medi- 
terranean, Black and Caspian Seas ; its numbers being increased 
by accessions from the north in winter. At that season it also visits 
Northern Africa and Palestine, while in the former, and probably 
in the latter, it breeds on the high ground. 

The nest, rather firmly constructed of grass and a little moss, 
with fine bents for a lining, is generally placed in a depression of 
the ground, sheltered by a low bush or a tuft of grass, but sometimes 
in smooth turf. The 4-5 eggs are said by Prof. Newton to be often 
laid by the middle of March ; they are white or pale greenish-white, 
finely spotted and often boldly zoned with warm brown and violet- 
grey : average measurements "83 by ■63 in. They are quite unlike 
eggs of the Sky-Lark, rather resembling some of those of the Crested 
Lark. Two broods are produced in this country', but on the Con- 
tinent the bird does not appear to nest so early as with us ; while 
in autumn young and old rove about in family parties. The food 
consists principally of insects, supplemented by small seeds and 
tender herbage. The sweet and flute-like song, fairly indicated by 
the French name " Lu-lu " repeated several times, is very attractive, 
and is uttered by day — and not unfrequently by night^almost 
throughout the year, except during the moulting season ; the bird 
hovering in the air and descending spirally with half-closed wings. 
This .species is partial to sandy or light soils, rough and barren hill- 
sides sprinkled with bushes, sheep-walks, and stony table-lands. 

The adult male resembles the Sky-Lark in the general mottled- 
brown colour of its upper parts, but it may always be distinguished 
from that species by its smaller size, more pronounced crest, much 
shorter tail, more slender bill, and by the very broad buffish-white 
stripes which run backward over each eye to the nape, where they 
join and show up the dark ear-coverts ; the bastard primary is much 
longer than in the Sky-I^rk, and there is a conspicuous triangular 
patch of dark brown tipped with bufifish-white on the larger wing- 
coverts ; the tail-feathers are chiefly brownish-black with triangular 
white tips ; the throat and breast are yellowish-white streaked with 
dark brown; belly yellowish-white; legs and feet flesh-brown. 
Length 6 in. ; wing 37. The female has shorter wings and shows 
less crest ; the young are more rufous and have light buff tips to 
their feathers. 



ALAUDID.E. 




THE CRESTED LARK. 



Alauda cristata, Linnaeus. 

The Crested Lark is a tolerably common bird just across the 
Channel, for instance at Boulogne, Wimereux and Cape Oris Xez 
(J. H. Gurney), yet authenticated specimens have seldom been 
obtained, even in the south of England. The late Mr. Bond had 
an example obtained at Littlehampton, Sussex, pre\-ious to 1845, 
and another was taken alive near Shoreham on October 20th 1S63 ; 
while in Cornwall, at intenals, four have been killed in autumn and 
winter, and one on June 12th iSSo. The late CapL Hadfield's 
assertion that one was captured in the Isle of Wight, as well as state- 
ments that a bird had been taken from the nest near Cambridge and 
that the species had bred near Dover, lack the requisite confirmation. 
There are no authentic records from Scotland. In Ireland, a Crested 
Lark appears to have been shot in co. Dublin prior to Februar}- 
1836, by Sir W. H. Russell, the celebrated war-correspondent. 

The Crested Lark flourishes best in warm countries, but it can 
bear cold well, though snow interferes with its means of subsistence, 
and it is resident in small numbers as far as 6o~ X. laL in Sweden 
and Russia. In Denmark, Northern Germany, Holland and Bel- 
gium, it becomes more frequent : in the north of France it is fairly 
common ; while in Central and Southern Europe it is abundant. 



2 54 CRESTED LARK. 

especially on dry sandy soils, except in Corsica, Sardinia and Malta, 
in which it is nearly unknown. It is numerous in North Africa, and 
as far south as Senegal on the west ; but there and elsewhere an 
approach to the desert is generally accompanied by a more sandy 
tint, and sometimes by an increase of size and a greater develop- 
ment of bill. Allowing for these and other climatic variations, 
which have led to the fabrication of at least thirty species and sub- 
species, the Crested Lark may be said to range eastward from 
Morocco to Abyssinia, Arabia, and Northern China. 

The nest, often commenced early in March, is usually placed in 
some depression of the dry ground, such as a hoof-print, or amongst 
herbage, but at times on an old wall or bank of earth, or even on 
the ridge of a low thatched shed in the fields ; the materials employed 
being dry grass and roots. The eggs, 4-5 in number, vary from 
greyish-white distinctly spotted with brown and violet-grey, to 
greenish-grey mottled with olive-brown : measurements "95 by "69 in. 
Incubation, in which the male takes part, lasts a fortnight. The 
Crested Lark is a tame and conspicuous bird, frequenting sandy 
roads — in which it is fond of dusting itself — and running with great 
rapidity : I have actually seen it glide beneath a horse when at a 
slow walk, rather than take wing. Its flight is undulating and 
resembles that of the Wood-Lark. The bird is not gregarious, and 
is generally seen singly, or in pairs and family parties. The short 
but rather liquid, flute-like and melodious song of the male is 
generally uttered on the ground, though often during a short flight, 
and occasionally from a bush ; the call-note may be syllabled as 
coo-hai. The young are fed on insects and their larvae, but seeds 
and grain form the principal food of this species, and in snowy 
weather it may be seen examining horse-droppings &c. 

The general colour of the upper parts is greyish-brown with 
darker streaks, and often with a sandy tint ; while the under parts 
are buffish-white, with dark streaks on the gorget, and pale brown 
markings on the flanks. The characteristics of this species are the 
long, drooping, pointed crest, large bastard primary, orange-tawny 
hue of the under side of the wing and inner portion of the quill- 
feathers, and the absence of white from the tail — the feathers of 
which are tawny brown and black. Owing to the shortness of its 
tail and wings, the dimensions — length 7 in., wing 4-2 in. — are less 
than those of the Sky-Lark, though the bird is rather more bulky. 
The female is slightly smaller and darker than the male ; the young 
bird has the feathers of the upper parts broadly margined with 
white and buff, and fewer spots on the breast. 



ALAUDID/E. 



255 




THE SHORT-TOED LARK. 

Alauda brachydactyla, Leisler. 

The Short-toed Lark is a rare wanderer to England, and the 
authenticated instances of its occurrence appear to be : — one near 
Shrewsbury, two near Brighton, one near Southampton, one on the 
Scilly Islands, one near Cambridge, and one in South Breydon 
Marshes, Norfolk — all in autumn ; and one killed near Brighton in 
April 1858 by a person who saw it alight and begin dusting itself 
in the road. On July 27th 1888, Mr. Cooper, the taxidermist, of 
Radnor Street, E.C., showed me a live bird said to have been taken 
at Amberley, Sussex, on the i8th of that month. In Ireland one 
was obtained on the Black-rock light-house, co. Mayo, on October 
nth 1890, and was sent to Mr. R. M. Barrington in the flesh. 

Although this species has been recorded as a visitor to Heligoland, 
it can only be considered a straggler to Northern or even Central 
Germany, Belgium, or France north of Paris ; but at Blois the late 
Sir Edward Newton found it breeding, and it is a regular summer- 
visitant to the districts further south, though said to emigrate in 
winter. In the Spanish Peninsula it is abundant and — in the 
southern portions at least — resident ; it is so also in North-western 
Africa, but in the north-east, as far south as Abyssinia, it is only 
found in winter and on passage, when it is very numerous, and 
occurs in large flocks. To Italy it is only a summer-visitor, although 
abundant in the south, but in Malta it is sedentary, and it is found 



256 SHORT-TOED LARK. 

more or less throughout the year in Greece, Turkey, Southern 
Russia, Asia Minor and Palestine ; while further east we trace it to 
Persia, Turkestan, the northern half of India, and as far east as 
Lake Baikal. 

The nest is placed at the foot of a tuft of grass, or in a cavity, such 
as a hoof-print ; bleached grass, with a few feathers, wool and hair as 
a lining, forming the materials. The 4-5 eggs are dull white, mottled 
and freckled with greyish-brown : measurements 78 by '58 in. 
During the breeding-season the bird frequents dry and sandy soil, 
and plains where the herbage is somewhat scanty ; while its tame- 
ness is such as often to cause difficulty in shooting a specimen for 
identification without blowing it to pieces, and I have seen a bird 
cut down with a whip in the road. The male utters his short and 
rather feeble song while perched on some clod or low wall, or during 
a brief, undulating, and somewhat jerky flight. In autumn and 
winter large flocks are formed, and in India, according to Jerdon, 
they darken the air. The food consists principally of small seeds. 

The adult has the upper parts pale rufous-brown with darker 
streaks ; a white line over each eye ; central tail-feathers dusky- 
brown, the rest blackish-brown, except the outer pair which are 
broadly margined with buffish-white ; under parts white, with a few 
brown spots and streaks on the side of the neck, and a huffish 
tinge on the breast and flanks. The short and conical bill is 
yellowish-brown ; the legs are pale brown ; the hind claw is straight 
and, as a rule, short, but subject to considerable variation. After the 
moult both upper and under parts have a warm rufous tint, which is 
sometimes retained until the middle of the following IMay. Length 
575 in. ; wing 3*5 in. The sexes are alike in plumage. The 
young bird has the feathers of the upper parts, including the tail, 
broadly margined and tipped with buff. 

This Lark is one of a group of allied species which have been 
placed by some systematists in the genus Calandrella, characterized 
by the absence of crest, a stout conical bill, comparatively short 
hind-toe, and an infinitesimal bastard primary. Several of its con- 
geners are found over portions of the same area : for instance, Calan- 
drella bci'tica in the extreme south of Spain, C. minor in North 
Africa and the Canaries, and C. pispoletta in the steppe-region east 
of the Volga. These three, however, are more closely related to one 
another than to our bird, being distinctly marked with numerous 
dark brown streaks on the throat and breast ; their eggs, moreover, 
have bold spots on a creamy white ground. 



ALAUDID^. 



257 




WHITE-WINGED LARK. 



Alauda sibirica, J. F. Gmelin. 

An example of this Eastern species, which had been captured ahve 
near Brighton on November 22nd 1869, when associating with a 
flock of Snow-Buntings, was recognized on the same day by the late 
Mr. G. Dawson Rowley and subsequently exhibited at a meeting of 
the Zoological Society. It proved to be a female, and is now in the 
collection of Mr. T. J. Monk of Lewes. 

An occasional visit from the White-winged Lark is not surprising, 
for three specimens have already been obtained in Belgium : one in 
October 1855 near Liege, another at Malines (or Mechlin) in 1856, 
and a third near Namur. On Heligoland one was taken on August 
2nd 1 88 1, and, although the occurrence of this species is not yet 
authenticated in Northern Germany, its visits to Poland and Galizia 
are not infrequent ; while stragglers have been recorded — always on 
the autumn migration — from Trent in Tyrol, as well as Verona and 
Bergamo in Italy. On the 'black-earth' plains of Russia as far 
north as Saratov on the Volga this Lark is a common breeding 
species, and it visits Southern Russia and portions of Turkey in 
winter ; while eastward, it can be traced through the Kirghis steppes 
to the Altai Mountains, and as far north as to Omsk on the Irtish. 

X 



258 WHITE-WINGED LARK. 

The nest, generally built early in May, is placed on the ground, 
sheltered under a tussock of grass, and the 3-5 eggs are yellowish- 
white, spotted and mottled with several shades of brown and violet- 
grey : measurements '95 by "65 in. In Russia the bird does not 
arrive until after the grass is green, and, according to Eversmann, 
prefers those portions of the steppes which are most clothed with 
herbage ; while Pallas, who was the first to observe this species on 
the banks of the Irtish, describes it as frequenting the road-sides 
and uttering its song — similar to that of the Skylark but shorter — 
when hovering at a moderate height from the ground. During the 
cold season it is found in large flocks and is very tame. The food 
is probably similar to that of other Larks. 

The adult male has the top of the head and ear-coverts pale 
chestnut ; lores and eye-stripe dull white ; back tawny-brown, with 
dark stripes down the centre of each feather ; upper wing-coverts 
chestnut, the rest rufous-brown ; outer quills dull brown, the inner 
primaries and the secondaries chiefly white (exhibiting a large and 
conspicuous bar or patch) ; tail-coverts and central tail-feathers 
broadly edged with chestnut, the outer pair of tail-feathers white 
and the rest chiefly dark brown ; under parts white, with brown and 
rufous spots on the throat, gorget and flanks ; under wing-coverts 
white ; bill horn-colour ; legs yellowish-brown. Length 7 in. ; 
wing 4-6 in. The female is smaller (wing 4-2 in.), with hardly a 
tinge of rufous on her brown streaked crown, and little on the 
wings, tail or breast. After the autumn moult the plumage is 
tinged with buff. The young resemble the female. The chestnut 
tint, white wing-patch, and white under-wing-coverts are sufficiently 
distinctive of this species. 

The White-winged, the Calandra, and other stout-billed Larks 
have been placed in several genera, the favourite one being Melano- 
corypha ; but that name is, at best, misleading, for the Calandra, 
which is the type, has not a black crown, nor would it be easy to 
define the characters which distinguish that genus from Cala7tdrella. 

Two examples of the Calandra Lark, Alauda calandra, said to 
have been killed in England, have been recognized in the shops of 
bird-stuffers at Devonport and Exeter respectively ; but the evidence 
is not sufficient to warrant the introduction to the British list of 
a species which is very tolerant of confinement and one of the 
commonest cage-birds in Spain and Italy. 



ALAUDID.I-:. 



259 




THE SHORE-LARK. 

Otocorys alpestris (Linnaeus). 

The Shore-Lark was first noticed as a visitor to England in 
March 1830, when one was obtained on the coast of Norfolk. 
Subsequently the species occurred, at irregular and sometimes 
long intervals on the eastern and southern shores of England 
(seldom on the western side) until the winter of 1869-70, when a 
considerable visitation took place, chiefly along the east coast. 
From that time onward, especially in 1879-80 and 1882-83, i^-^ 
numbers have considerably increased, and autumnal arrivals on the 
coast of Yorkshire are almost annual, while some birds remain 
throughout the winter, and examples have been obtained on the 
northward migration in spring as late as April 22nd. In Scotland, 
where the first specimen was shot in East Lothian by the late 
Mr. W. W. Evans on January loth 1859, this species has occurred 
as far north as St. Andrews, but not on the west coast ; while from 
Ireland it is as yet unauthenticated. 

The present species, a member of a well-defined and widely- 
distributed genus, has undoubtedly spread westward from America 
in recent times, and is still extending its range in that direction. In 
the Old World it now passes the summer in the northern regions 
(or those elevated above the limits of forest-growth) of Scandinavia, 
Finland and Russia, Kolguev, Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land, and 
Siberia to the Sea of Okhotsk. On migration it occurs irregularly 
throughout the greater part of Europe, and occasionally down to the 

X 2 



26o SHORE-LARK. 

Black and Mediterranean Seas, though not recorded up to the 
present from the Spanish Peninsula ; while eastward, it descends to 
Baikalia, Mongolia and Northern China. The area between Bosnia 
and the Altai Mountains is inhabited by a recognizable species, 
O. petticillata, in which the black on the ear-coverts joins the black 
on the throat ; while a paler Tibetan form has been distinguished as 
O. lortgirostris. In the desert region betvveen Morocco and Arabia 
Petrsea there is a resident and well-marked tawny species, O. hilopka. 
Our bird occurs in Greenland, and the eastern portions of Arctic 
America, but, according to American trinomialists, no fewer than 
eleven sub-species are distributed over the remainder of the Western 
Continent ; while O. peregrina inhabits the high lands of Colombia. 
The nest, slightly made of grass and plant-stalks, with willow- 
down and reindeer-hair for a lining, is placed in some hollow of 
the ground, or among stones on a hillside. The eggs, 4-5 in 
number, are greenish-white, minutely freckled and often boldly 
zoned with olive-brown, and occasionally scrolled with black hair- 
lines : measurements "9 by '63 in. Breeding often begins in Nor- 
way and Lapland by the middle of May, and two broods are 
produced during the season. In autumn small flocks are formed, 
which rove about in search of food, principally seeds, though in 
summer beetles and other insects are eaten ; the Shore- Lark is also 
partial to the small molluscs and crustaceans found on the sea- 
shore. It is a tame and confiding species, frequently entering the 
streets of towns and villages in the north of Europe, and up to the 
end of June it may be heard uttering its pleasant and rather mellow 
song from some post, rail or barn-top, or while hovering in the air. 

The adult male has the lores and cheeks black ; throat, forehead, 
and the eye-stripe enclosing the ear-coverts and joining the throat, 
yellowish-white ; across the front of the crown a black band, termi- 
nating in an erectile tuft of black feathers on each side of the 
head ; nape and mantle pinkish-brown ; wing-coverts tipped with 
white, quills brown ; middle tail-feathers warm brown, the rest 
nearly black, with whitish margins to the outer pair ; upper breast 
broadly banded with black ; under parts dull white, with brown 
streaks on the flanks ; bill greyish-black ; legs black. Length 7 in. ; 
wing 4-3 in. The female is smaller (wing barely 4 in.), with less 
black on the head \ the erectile tufts are wanting, and her general 
colour is duller. The young male resembles the female ; the nest- 
ling is dark brown mottled with buff, but the black ear-patches are 
conspicuous. In the adults after the moult the feathers on the 
head are much tinged with yellow. 



CYPSELID.^. 



261 




THE SWIFT. 

Cypselus apus (Linnaeus). 

The Swifts, with which we enter upon the Order Picarl«, were 
formerly placed among the Passeres, and close to the Swallows ; 
but it is now generally admitted that in spite of a similarity in 
habits and appearance, the Swifts have as little structural affinity 
with the latter as with any other Passerine family. They have no 
true song-muscles, and their note is a harsh scream. Their powerful 
wings are very long ; while their four toes are directed forward, 
and, though well adapted for clinging, are so small that walking is 
difficult. Contrary, however, to the popular belief, birds sometimes 
succeed in raising themselves from fairly level ground. 

The Swift, often called " Screecher " and " Deviling," is an 
abundant migrant to the British Islands. It usually makes its 
appearance in the south towards the end of April ; but Prof. 
Newton and his brother, the late Sir Edward Newton, observed a 
Swift near Lowestoft as early as March 26th 1897. The majority 
have taken their departure by the end of August, but laggards have 
been recorded up to October, November and even December ist. 



262 SWIFT. 

To the extreme north of Scotland this species is somewhat 
irregular in its visits, and it is only seen occasionally in the Orkneys 
and Shetlands ; while on the west side it is not numerous in the 
Inner Hebrides and is rare in Skye, as well as in the Outer group. 
To Ireland it is a regular visitor, and, though uncommon in some 
parts of the west, it is plentiful in Mayo and Sligo. 

To the Faeroes the Swift is an occasional visitor, but it is found in 
Scandinavia up to 70^ N. lat, and in Russia as far as Archangel. 
In Asia it breeds to the north of the Western Himalayas ; while on 
migration it visits the Punjab and has occurred in the Andaman 
Islands. A pale race inhabits Mongolia and Northern China ; 
between India and Tunisia the white-rumped C. affinis seems to 
be resident ; in portions of Northern Africa our bird is either asso- 
ciated with or represented by the Pallid Swift, which visits Southern 
Spain and the Canaries ; and the latter islands are also inhabited by 
the smaller and darker C. iinicolor. Throughout Europe our Swift 
is abundant in summer, often arriving in the sunny south early in 
March, though not until June in Lapland ; while on migration it 
visits Madagascar and the extreme south of Africa, and is said to 
breed in Natal. 

Holes under the eaves of cottages and other buildings, church 
towers, crevices in sea-cliffs, quarries, chalk-pits, as well as hollow 
trees, are the sites selected by the Swift for breeding ; and to these 
it returns year after year. A few bits of straw and grass, with some 
feathers, collected on the wing and glued together by the viscous 
secretion of the bird, form its usual nest, but it sometimes robs 
of their dwellings Martins, House-Sparrows, and even Starlings. 
The eggs, laid late in May or early in June, are 2 in number, and 
when more are found in the same nest, they may be the produce 
of two females ; they are oval, rough in texture, and dead-white : 
measurements i in. by -65 in. Incubation lasts eighteen days, and 
as a rule only one brood is produced in the season ; backward 
young being abandoned by their parents when the time arrives for 
emigration. Insects taken on the wing form the food, and the 
indigestible portions are rejected in the shape of pellets. The wild, 
screeching note is sometimes startling when uttered by birds 
sweeping by at lightning speed, and often in the worst of weather, 
for the Swift seems to revel in the storm. 

The plumage of the adults is a bronzed blackish-brown, with a 
small greyish patch under the chin ; bill, toes and claws blackish. 
Length (to the tip of the tail) 6-75 in. ; wing 6-8 in. The young 
have more white on the throat, and paler margins to the feathers. 



CYPSELID^. 



263 




THE ALPINE SWIFT. 

Cypselus melba (Linnccus). 

This large Swift was first noticed as one of our occasional visitors 
about midsummer 1829, when one was shot off the coast of 
Ireland ; and since that time three or four more have been 
obtained, at long intervals, in that island. Upwards of a score of 
instances are on record from various parts of England : mostly from 
the southern half, though one of them occurred as far north 
as Alnmouth in Northumberland. No captures have as yet been 
made in Scotland. With the exception of a bird taken near Dublin 
in March 1833, the occurrences authenticated have been between 
June and October ; and for several reasons, coupled with the fact 
that I once captured an example on board ship in the Bay of Biscay 
early in August, I incline to the belief that the birds which come to 
us are from the Pyrenees or the Cantabrian range. 

The Alpine Swift is a very rare visitor to Heligoland, Germany, 
and the north of France, although it breeds no further off than the 
cliffs at Nolay on the western frontier of Burgundy. It also nests 
sparsely in the Vosges and the Jura; while in some parts of Savoy, and 
more plentifully in Switzerland, it annually resorts to high crags and 
towers, arriving at the end of April and leaving in September or 
October. All the high mountains of Central and Southern Europe 
are frequented by it during the summer ; as well as the ranges 
of North Africa, Asia Minor, Palestine, Persia, Turkestan, and India 
as far east as Assam. In the cold season, and during a considerable 



264 ALPINE SWIFT. 

portion of the year, it is found in Ceylon ; also in suitable situations 
down to the extreme south of Africa, where it is supposed, though 
not yet proved, to breed. 

A new spire now (1897) replaces the old tower of the cathedral at 
Berne, where many ornithologists have studied the breeding-habits 
of the Alpine Swift ; but several places in that city still afford suit- 
able resorts, while there are many such in Friburg, the cliffs of Mont 
Saleve, and other localities. "The nests are circular, substantial, 
saucer-like structures, built up of sticky mud, and further welded 
together by the birds' saliva, bound with straw, bents of grass, 
pieces of paper and morsels of cloth" (J. H. Gurney, Tr. Norw. 
Soc. vi., p. 258). I believe that the eggs are normally 2 in 
number, but as 3 and 4 are sometimes found, perhaps two birds lay 
in the same nest ; the colour is dead-white : measurements i '2 in. by 
■77 in. May 20th is the earliest date on which I have found eggs. 
The Rev. H. A. Macpherson noticed some green grass in many of 
the nests. Only one brood is reared in the season ; the male and 
female taking turns in the duties of incubation. The food consists 
of insects : among these the pernicious Tabaniis bovinus. The note 
is louder than that of the Common Swift, and the flight is more 
powerful ; while the large size, browner colour and white belly are 
distinctive characters. 

Excepting a blackish patch in front of the eye, the upper parts, 
sides of the neck, gorget and under tail-coverts are of a nearly 
uniform mouse-brown, with a metallic lustre on the wings and tail ; 
throat and belly white ; bill black ; feet brown ; length (from the tip 
of the bill to the end of the tail) 8 in. ; wing 8"45 in. The sexes are 
alike in plumage. In the young the feathers are slightly margined 
with greyish-white. 

The vignette below represents the breastbone and foot of the 
Common Swift. 





CYPSELID.E. 



265 




THE NEEDLE-TAILED SWIFT. 

AcANTHYLLis CAUDACUTA (Latham). 

An example of this Asiatic species was shot at Great Horkesley, 
near Colchester, on July 8th 1846, having frequented that neigh- 
bourhood for two days, and was examined in the flesh by Doubleday 
and Yarrell. The latter did not include it in his 3rd Edition of 
' British Birds,' being probably under the impression — then generally 
prevalent — that the species was a native of Australia, to which it is 
now known to be merely a winter-visitor. On July 26th or 27th 
1879, another specimen was obtained near Ringwood, in Hampshire, 
having for a few days before been seen flying with a companion over 
the river Avon by Mr. Corbin, on whose behalf the specimen was 
exhibited by Prof. Newton at a meeting of the Zoological Society. 

This fine Swift has not yet been noticed in any other part of 
Europe, and its western breeding-limits are probably in the moun- 
tains to the south of Krasnoiarsk, in the upper valley of the Yenesei, 
whence Seebohm received specimens. The late General Prjevalsky 
found it in summer up to 62° N. at Yakutsk on the Lena ; while it 
is moderately abundant round Lake Baikal, and rather plentiful on 



266 



NEEDLE-TAILED SWIFT. 



the Amur River, as well as about Lake Hanka, near Vladivostok, on 
the Sea of Japan. It is also met with in Mongolia, Manchuria, and 
the mountains of the Chinese Empire ; while in the cold season it 
migrates as far as Eastern Australia and Tasmania. It is said to 
return to its breeding-quarters about the end of April or early in 
May ; departing for the south in August and September ; and 
Prjevalsky has described its bands as passing overhead in an almost 
incessant stream at the time of the autumn migration in Mongolia. 
In the Himalayas and Assam the representative species is A. nudipes. 

Several pairs are stated by the above-mentioned Russian explorer 
to breed in close proximity, the nests being placed in cliffs, or in 
hollow trees ; the eggs are probably white. The food consists of 
insects ; the note is described as feeble ; while all observers agree in 
eulogizing the unrivalled vigour of the bird's flight. Gould remarks 
that the keel of the breast in this species is more than ordinarily 
deep, and that the pectoral muscles are more developed than in any 
bird of the same weight with which he was acquainted. 

The adult has the forehead dull white ; crown, nape and sides of 
the head dusky black, with a greenish gloss ; back dusky brown, paler 
in the middle ; wing-coverts and secondaries bottle-green ; inner 
secondaries chiefly white on the inner webs ; primaries blackish ; 
tail-feathers bottle-green, with projecting spinous shafts; throat, breast 
and under tail-coverts white ; belly sooty-brown ; lower flanks white, 
mixed with glossy blue-black ; bill black ; legs and feet dark brown, 
with one claw directed backwards : in which respect birds of this 
genus differ from the true Swifts. Length 8 in. ; wing S'l in. 

The vignette below represents the head and left foot of the Night- 
jar, the next species. 





CAPRIMULGID^. 



267 







THE NIGHTJAR. 

Caprlmulgus europ.'EUS, Linnaeus. 

The Nightjar is the latest of our regular summer migrants to 
arrive, and is seldom noticed before the middle of May ; while it 
usually leaves us in September, though it has been known to remain 
until November in the mild south-west of England. Uncultivated 
ground more or less covered with ferns, gorse or heather, and 
the cool shade of woodland glades, are its favourite haunts, and 
the species is consequently local ; but it is distributed as far as 
the northern extremity of the mainland of Scotland, as well as in 
the western islands, except the Outer Hebrides, to which, as to the 
Orkneys and Shetlands, it is only an irregular visitor. In Ireland it 
is rather common in some of the southern and central counties, but 
rare in the north and west. 

The Nightjar sometimes visits the Freroes, and in Scandinavia it 
has been found nesting up to about 63^ N. lat; but in Russia it has 
a less extensive range, while eastward it does not reach beyond 
Lake Baikal in Siberia. Throughout the summer it is found over 
the greater part of Europe, down to the elevated districts of Spain ; 
but in the south of that country (though common on passage early 
in May, and obtained as late as December nth), its place is chiefly 



268 NIGHTJAR. 

occupied by the Red-necked Nightjar, C. ruficoUis. On migration 
from Africa our Nightjar crosses Malta, where large numbers are 
shot for the table in spring. It breeds on the high grounds of Asia 
Minor, Palestine, Persia, Turkestan, and Afghanistan — where its 
plumage shows a tendency to paleness ; and it also nests on the 
mountains of North Africa, while in winter it is found in that Con- 
tinent down to Natal, as well as in Arabia and North-western India. 

From May 23rd onward the eggs, 2 in number, may be found on 
the bare ground or short moss, and often on dead gorse-needles in 
open patches among furze. They are oblong and equally rounded 
at each end ; and creamy-white, marbled and veined with brownish- 
black and lilac-grey : measurements i -2 by "85 in. Fresh eggs have 
been found as late as August 12th. Incubation lasts eighteen days. 
The nestlings, at first covered with a thick greyish down, sometimes 
display a precocious activity approaching that of the young of 
Gallinaceous and other ground-breeding birds ; but they are depen- 
dent upon their parents for food, and do not attempt to feed 
themselves in confinement. The Nightjar lives entirely upon insects, 
and these it may be seen to take upon the wing in the twilight or 
when the moon is shining, though it hawks for them on dark nights as 
well ; it is not, however, averse to light, and is fond of basking where 
the rays of the sun fall. The wings are sometimes brought into con- 
tact and produce a loud clap ; the male also utters a sharp whistle 
during flight, as well as a bubbling note, while the well-known, 
vibrating churr is emitted while the bird is stationary ; the female's 
note is chuck. When reposing on a branch the bird sits lengthways, 
with the head level with or lower than the tail ; the use of the 
pectinated claw has yet to be determined. From early times and in 
almost every European language the Nightjar has been stigmatized 
by some name equivalent to "Goat-sucker"; in England it is known 
by the equally unfortunate designation of " Night-hawk," as well as 
" Dor-Hawk," " P^ern-owl " and " Churn-owl." 

In the adult male the general plumage is ashy-grey, streaked, 
spotted and barred with dark brown and warm buff ; on the throat 
are some white patches ; near the centre of each of the three outer 
primaries are well-developed white spots ; and the two lateral pairs 
of tail-feathers are broadly tipped with white. These pure white 
spots on the wings and tail are wanting in the female, and her 
tints are less rufous. Length 10-5 in. ; wing 7-55 in. In the young 
the pectination of the claw of the middle toe is not pronounced, and 
the wing- and tail-spots in the male have a buffish tint. Albinisms 
are occasionally obtained. 



CAPRIMULGIDiE. 269 



THE RED-NECKED NIGHTJAR. 

Caprimul(;us ruficollis, Temminck, 

A freshly-killed example of this southern species was recognized 
in the flesh by that eminent ornithologist, the late John Hancock, 
in the shop of Mr. Pape, at Newcastle, on October 6th 1856. It 
was stated to have been shot the previous day at Killingworth, and 
is now in the Newcastle Museum. 

Up to the present time the Red-necked Nightjar has not been 
noticed elsewhere in Northern Europe ; but in Languedoc and Pro- 
vence, in the south-east of France, it has been obtained on several 
occasions. Though not yet recorded from the mainland of Italy, 
one was taken at Spalato, Dalmatia, in March 1875, and Mr. 
C. A. ^Vright has mentioned two captures in Malta during May, in 
different years. In summer this species is common in the southern 
half of the Spanish Peninsula, where it frequents the cool chequered 
shade of the woods during the greater part of the day ; it is also 
said to be a regular visitor to some of the Canary Islands ; while 
eastward it is found throughout North Africa as far as Tunisia. 

The eggs, 2 in number, are placed on the bare ground, and 
resemble those of our Common Nightjar ; on average they are less 
boldly marked, and are also a trifle larger, as might be expected 
from the superior size of the bird. I am not aware of any distinctive 
points deserving mention as regards the food and habits. 

In general pattern of coloration the Red-necked Nightjar resembles 
the preceding species, but its tint is paler, and is more rufous on the 
wings as well as the under parts ; a conspicuous tawny collar encir- 
cles the head, and the throat exhibits large white patches ; the white 
spots on the three outer primaries increase in size with the age of the 
bird, and are small and tinged with buff in the young. These 
patches are not confined to the male, as they are in our Nightjar, 
but are common to both sexes, and there is no perceptible difference 
in plumage ; the two lateral pairs of tail-feathers are broadly tipped 
with white. Length 12 in. ; wing 7 "8 in. 

It has not been considered necessary to give an illustration of 
this rare visitor, nor would a wood-cut do justice to its distinctive 
charat;ters. Coloured illustrations are in Gould's ' Birds of Great 
Britain,' Mr. Dresser's ' Birds of Europe,' and the late Lord Lilford's 
' Coloured Figures of the Birds of the British Islands.' 



270 CAPRIMULGID.1-:. 

THE EGYPTIAN NIGHTJAR. 

Caprimulous .t:GVPTius, Lichtenstein. 

On June 23rd 1883 a gamekeeper in the employ of Mr. J. 
Whitaker. of Rainworth Lodge, near Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, 
shot a Nightjar, the light colour of which attracted his attention ; 
and on his mentioning the fact to his master, who takes a special 
interest in albinisms and pale varieties, the bird, which had mean- 
while undergone very rough treatment and then been thrown aside, 
was submitted to competent authorities. It proved to be an exam- 
ple of the Egyptian or Isabelline Nightjar (Zool. 1883, p. 374). 

The occurrence of this south-eastern species in Europe is not 
unprecedented ; Seebohm having discovered in Heligoland a 
specimen (now in the Gatke collection) which was shot on 
June 22nd 1875, and had been passed over as a pale variety 
of the Common Nightjar. Subsequently Professor Giglioli recog- 
nized in the Museum of the University of Malta, three examples 
obtained in 1876 ; while in Sicily a bird, which was probably an 
Egyptian Nightjar, was shot at Girgenti, and an undoubted speci- 
men was obtained at Modica in 1879. The breeding-places of this 
species are the sandy parts of Trans-Caspia, Turkestan, Baluchistan, 
Egypt, Nubia and Tunisia ; to which Dr. A. Koenig has recently 
added the district of Biskra, in Eastern Algeria. The winter- 
quarters of this species appear to be still further south. 

An egg, taken near Biskra on April 14th 1892, is figured by Dr. 
Kcenig in the Journal fiir Ornithologie for 1896, pi. vi. fig. 2. It 
measures 1-22 by -86 in. and is greyish-white, with faint lavender 
mottlings. ^'on Heuglin says that 2 eggs form the complement, and 
are placed in a depression in the sand or under a low shrub. The 
old bird sits very closely and rises unwillingly, often running with 
puffed-out throat from one bush to another, uttering meanwhile a 
curious note. Captain Shelley found flocks in Egypt in spring and 
autumn, and it would appear that the sexes separate on migration. 

The plumage of the adult is sandy-grey finely marked with black, 
the pattern being generally the same as in the Common Nightjar ; 
there are, however, no white spots on the upper surface of the tail 
or wings, but the inside webs of the primaries are pure white. 
Length io'5 in. ; wing 8"i in. 

For the reasons mentioned on the preceding page, I have not 
considered it expedient to give a wood-cut of this species ; it is well 
figured in Mr. Dresser's ' Birds of Europe,' vol. iv. pi. 262. 



lYNGINiE. 



271 




THE WRYNECK. 

Iynx torqui'lla, Linnaeus. 

This bird resembles the Nightjars in its delicately pencilled 
plumage, though allied to the Woodpeckers in its structure. It is 
a regular spring-visitor to England, sometimes arriving in the south 
by the middle of March, though usually about the first half of April; 
whence the names " Cuckoo's-mate " or " Cuckoo's-leader," which 
have their equivalent in several European languages. In the south- 
eastern counties it is more numerous than in the west, while it is 
rare in Wales ; Lancashire has seldom been visited by it of late 
years, and to Cumberland it is now merely a straggler ; in Yorkshire 
and Durham it is very local, and it becomes rare in Northumberland. 
Statements that it has nested in Scotland require confirmation, but 
at intervals it has been known to occur in Caithness, the Orkneys, 
and the Shetlands ; while it visits the entire east coast on the spring 
and autumn migrations. In Ireland it has been taken in co. Water- 
ford in October 1877 ; on Aran Island, off Galway Bay, on October 
6th 1886 ; in co. Wicklow, May 1895 ; at Rockabill in September 
1896, and probably in Donegal in October 1878. By the latter part 
of September it has usually left England for the south, but there are 
assertions that the bird has been seen and heard in winter. 



272 WRYNECK. 

The Wryneck has been known to visit the Faroes. In Scandi- 
navia and Finland it has been found up to about 64° N. lat., and in 
Russia it visits Archangel ; but across Siberia to Kamchatka its 
range does not extend so far north. In summer it inhabits the 
Japanese islands, as well as suitable localities on the mainland of 
Asia down to the Himalayas and the Altai Mountains ; while in the 
cold season it visits India and Burma. In Africa its winter-quarters 
extend to Kordofan on the east and Senegambia on the west, but 
it appears probable that a limited number go no further than Algeria. 
Some may even remain in the south of Europe, where, however, the 
bird is chiefly known on passage ; in summer it is generally distri- 
buted over the rest of the Continent. 

About the middle of May the Wryneck makes use of any con- 
venient hole in a tree, at no great height, or occasionally in an earth- 
cutting or sandbank. The eggs are usually from 7-10 in number, 
but the bird has been induced to go on laying until, as recorded by 
Mr. Frank Norgate, the maximum of 4 2 was reached ; they are pure 
white, rather larger, less glossy, and thinner in shell than those of 
the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker : measurements "8 by "6 in. When 
disturbed, the sitting bird makes a loud hissing, calculated to induce 
the belief that a snake is concealed in the hole — a practice which 
has led to the popular name of " Snake-bird " ; it also erects the 
feathers of the head and twists its neck in a way which is equally 
characteristic of the above name ; while, when taken in the hand, it 
will often feign death. Its loud note, which somewhat resembles 
that of a Kestrel, and may be syllabled as qui, qui, qui, or /«>', pay, 
pay, is heard from the time of the bird's arrival until midsummer. 
The food consists almost entirely of insects, many of which are 
obtained on the trunks and branches of trees : chiefly of ants 
and their pupae, sought on the ground, the bird shooting with 
marvellous velocity its long, retractile, vermiform tongue (covered 
with a glutinous secretion) into ant-hills. In autumn the Wryneck 
is said to eat elder-berries. In its habits it is skulking and unob- 
trusive ; its flight is short and undulating. 

The general colour of the upper parts is variegated grey and rufous- 
brown, streaked on the nape, back and scapulars, with brownish- 
black ; quills dark brown, with buff bars on the outer webs ; tail- 
feathers soft at the tips, greyish-brown with darker bars ; throat 
warm buff, with narrow black bars ; breast and flanks dull white, 
with small spots and bars. Length 7 in. ; wing 3-4 in. The female 
is rather smaller and duller in plumage than the male ; the young 
are more strongly marked with blackish-brown on the under parts. 



PICIN^. 



273 




''\ :n%\ 




THE GREEN WOODPECKER. 

Gecinus viridis (Linnffius). 

This largest and best known of our British Woodpeckers occurs 
in most of the wooded districts of England as far north as 
Lancashire and Yorkshire ; beyond which it becomes rare, being 
only occasionally found breeding in Durham, Northumberland, 
Westmoreland or Cumberland. Across the Solway it is said to 
have been killed in Kirkcudbrightshire, but other records from 
Scotland require confirmation ; a bird is said to have been seen at 
Kirkwall, Orkney, in July 1885. In Ireland — where all the Wood- 
peckers are uncommon — this species has only twice been obtained 
up to 1898. Even in England it is often unaccountably local, and 
has decreased of late years without any assignable reason in some 
districts, while, on the other hand, it has become common in the 
extreme west of Cornwall, without reference to trees or woodlands 
(Rodd). In Wales it is abundant in Pembrokeshire, and fairly 
numerous further north. 

In Norway the Green Woodpecker breeds up to about 63° N. lat. : 

Y 



2 74 GREEN WOODPECKER. 

but in Sweden and in the islands of the Baltic it does not range so 
far north ; in Russia, it is very rare about St. Petersburg and is 
uncommon in the forests of the central provinces, though it reaches 
the Urals. In Denmark it is scarce, and in Heligoland it has only 
once been taken ; but southward it is generally distributed through- 
out most of Europe down to Turkey, as well as in the Caucasus, 
Asia Minor and North Persia ; it is, however, very local in Greece, 
unknown in Sardinia and Corsica, and rare in Sicily, though 
common on the mainland of Italy. It is abundant in the French 
Pyrenees, but in the Iberian Peninsula its representative is the grey- 
cheeked G. sharpli, which links our bird to G. vaillaiiti of North 
Africa (with no red on the lower cheek-patch of the male), and, less 
closely, to G. canus of the Continent (the male of which has little 
red on the head, while the female has none). 

Early in April an old abode is occasionally utilized, but usually 
a new circular hole is hewn in a trunk or branch of some tree 
whose wood is not necessarily decayed ; the excavation running 
horizontally till the heart is reached, and then turning downwards 
for a short distance, when it is enlarged to form a suitable 
receptacle for the 5-7 pure glossy white eggs, slightly pyriform 
in shape : measurements i "3 by "88 in. The discarded chips of 
wood are rarely removed from below, and often serve to indicate 
the position of the nest. The note most frequently heard is the 
loud laughing pleu, pleu, pleu, popularly supposed to foretell rain, 
for which reason " Rainbird " is a common name in some parts, as 
well as "Yaffle" and " Woodwale." In search of timber-haunting 
beetles, spiders and other insects, this ^^'oodpecker may be seen 
climbing obliquely up some trunk or branch with short jerking 
movements, assisted by the stiff-pointed feathers of the tail, until, 
on arriving at the top, it passes with dipping flight to some other 
tree ; it also feeds to a great extent on ants in summer, and on 
other ground-insects during the great part of the year, while it has 
been said to eat nuts and acorns. 

The upper plumage of the male is chiefly olive-green, shading 
into yellow on the rump : under parts pale greyish-green ; crown 
and nape crimson ; lores black ; on each lower cheek an elongated 
patch of crimson edged with black. Length 12-5 in. ; wing 6-4 in. 
The female has less crimson on the head, and the cheek-patches 
are black. In the young the under parts are barred. The nestling 
is mottled on the back, and profusely spotted with arrow-headed 
markings on the under parts. 



PICIN/t. 275 

'I 




GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 

Dendrocopus major (Linnaeus). 

The Great Spotted Woodpecker is often supposed to be rarer 
than it really is, in consequence of its retiring nature and its habit 
of confining itself to the higher branches of trees ; but nowhere in 
the British Islands can it be considered abundant. It is, however, 
fairly distributed throughout the wooded portions of England, and 
though naturally rare in the treeless parts of Cornwall, and scarce in 
Wales (where it is increasing in Brecon), it is not infrequent in 
many of the southern and midland counties. North of Durham it 
becomes rare as a breeding species ; and in Scotland, where it 
formerly nested up to the Moray basin, it has only recently been 
found breeding in the south-east. Unlike our other Woodpeckers, 
this species is an irregular migrant from the Continent, and occurs 
in autumn from the Shetlands and Orkneys southward, especially 
along the east coast : sometimes in considerable numbers. In 
Ireland it is not known to breed, but examples have been obtained 
at long intervals ; several having been taken in the autumn of 1886, 
one in February 1887, many in 1889, and one in 1890. 

This Woodpecker has wandered to the Faroes, and is the only 



276 GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 

member of the family which regularly visits Heligoland in autumn ; 
doubtless on its migration from Scandinavia, where it breeds up to 
70" N. lat. In Russia it is common up to about 64° N. lat. ; and, 
allowing for an increase in the extent or purity of white in its 
plumage, this species can be traced to the Sea of Japan. Between 
the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean other forms are observed, 
which show in addition a tendency to develop a crimson band 
on the breast — a coloration which reaches its highest point in 
D. numidiciis of North Africa ; though Continental and even British 
examples sometimes exhibit distinct signs of a red pectoral band. 
In the Canaries our northern form occurs. 

The nesting-hole, smaller than that made by the preceding species, 
is generally hacked out in a similar manner ; but, according to good 
authorities, a natural cavity in a dead branch is sometimes prolonged 
and utilized, and several holes are often cut out before the bird is 
satisfied. The 6-7 eggs, laid on the bare wood about the middle of 
May, are creamy-white in colour, and in shape rather less pyriform 
than those of the Green Woodpecker : measurements "98 by 75 in. 
Both sexes take part in incubation, which lasts about a fortnight. 
It has been noticed in captivity that this bird descends by a series 
of jerks with the tail downwards, but in the wild state the mode of 
progression is usually diagonally or spirally upwards. The food 
consists of insects and their larvae, but in autumn the berries of 
the mountain-ash, nuts, acorns &c. are eaten. The note is a sharp 
keek or gick, and sometimes a low, reiterated tra, but the male often 
makes a loud vibrating noise by rapidly hammering with his bill on 
the bark of a tree. 

The male has the upper parts chiefly black ; forehead dull white ; 
cheeks and ear-coverts white : nape crimson ; scapulars white ; 
wing-feathers barred with white on the outer webs; under parts dull 
white ; vent crimson. Length 9-4 in. ; wing 5-5 in. The female is 
slightly smaller and has no red on the head. The young of both 
sexes have the crotvn of the head red. In ignorance of this fact, 
a bird obtained in the Shetlands during the migration of 1861 
was supposed by Saxby to be the Middle Spotted Woodpecker, 
D. viedius, and was afterwards figured by Gould as the White 
backed Woodpecker, D. kuconotus ; but it has been pronounced by 
Prof. Newton and other authorities to be a slightly albescent 
D. major ! 

An example of the American Hairy \Voodpecker, D. villosus, is 
said to have been obtained in Yorkshire more than a century ago, 
and another near Whitby in 1849. 



PrCIN/E. 



277 




"^ \t\^v ^^'' 



THE LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 

Dendrocopus minor (Linnceus). 

Owing to its small size and its partiality for tall trees, such as 
elms and poplars, this little " Barred " Woodpecker frequently 
escapes observation ; but, though less widely distributed than the 
preceding species, it is the more numerous in many parts of the 
southern half of England; being, in fact, rather common near 
London and along the valley of the Thames, as well as in the 
midlands, especially Northamptonshire. In Yorkshire it becomes 
scarce and very local, as it is in Wales ; while in Lancashire and 
more northern counties it is extremely rare. Mr. Service informs 
me that three examples have been obtained in the Solway district, 
at long intervals, since i860. In L'eland only six or seven occur- 
rences are on record ; and none of them are recent. 

In Scandinavia the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker breeds as far 
north as lat. 70°, while in Russia it is found up to Archangel and to 
lat. 67° in the valleys of the Petchora and the Ob; though eastward, 
to the Pacific, its northerly range is rather less extensive. Forms 
which vary slightly from the type are found in Kamchatka, Japan, 
and Northern China, but their southern limits in Asia are as yet 
undefined ; while in Asia Minor another occurs, and yet another in 
the Caucasus. Our bird is generally distributed throughout the 
greater part of Europe ; but, though common in Southern Russia 



278 LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER. 

and Turkey, yet in other parts of the south it is either comparatively 
rare or has been overlooked. There also it is to a considerable extent 
a migrant, but in the Azores, strange to sa}', it is a resident. 

The nest-hole is often made in the highest branches of poplars 
and other tall trees, but sometimes at very moderate elevations in 
oaks, chestnut- and fruit-trees, hawthorns, or pollard willows. The 
6-7 eggs, laid about the middle of May, resemble those of the 
Wryneck ; but their texture is more ivory-like and their colour more 
creamy-white, while they are slightly smaller: measurements 75 by 
•57 in. The food consists almost entirely of timber-haunting 
insects. The usual note is an often repeated keek, but the male 
further produces a vibrating noise like that made by the preceding 
species. In flight and general habits this bird hardly differs from 
its congener, except perhaps in its extreme restlessness. 

The adult male has the forehead buff; crown of the head pale 
crimson ; nape and lower cheek-stripe black ; cheeks white ; upper 
parts black, broadly barred with white ; central tail-feathers black, 
the rest black barred with white ; under parts buffish-white, with 
black streaks on the flanks. Length 6 in. ; wing 37 in. In the female 
the crown is whitish instead of crimson, and the under parts are 
more striated. The young male has a crimson crown, as in the adult ; 
but in the young female only the fore part of the head is red, 
while the black and white chequerings of the back are less pure. 

The Rev. O. Pickard-Cambridge has a specimen of the North 
American Uowny \\'oodpecker, D. pubescens, supposed to be a bird 
which he shot at Bloxworth in Dorset, in December 1836; and an 
example of this species has also been killed near Elbeuf, in Nor- 
mandy : — American ' Spotted Woodpeckers ' are, however, known 
to have been brought to Europe and turned loose more than a 
century ago {Cf. Prof. Newton in 'Yarrell,' 4th Ed., ii. p. 485). 
An American Golden-winged Woodpecker, Colaptes auratus, is said 
to have been shot at Amesbury, Wilts, in 1836. As regards the 
Black Woodpecker, Ficiis martins, Mr. J. H. Gurney and Prof. 
Newton have, I think, conclusively shown that in the British 
Islands there is not one of its numerous recorded occurrences 
sufficiently authenticated ; while a bird undoubtedly shot in York- 
shire on September 8th 1897, may be suspected of being one of 
the individuals liberated by the late Lord Lilford. Donovan's 
statement in 1809, that an example of the Three-toed Woodpecker, 
Picdides iridactylus, had " lately" been shot in the North of Scotland 
is unsubstantiated. 



ALCEDINID.*: 



279 




THE KINGFISHER. 

Alcedo ispida, Linnaeus. 

The Kingfisher is resident and generally distributed throughout 
England and Wales ; also in the greater part of Scotland, though of 
irregular occurrence in Sutherland and the west as far as Skye, and 
very rare in the Outer Hebrides. In Ireland, though breeding in 
almost every county, it is scarce and local (Ussher). In few places 
can it be considered an abundant species ; mainly owing to the fact 
that it is shot on account of its bright plumage, but partly for its 
feathers, used in making artificial flies. The banks of lakes, 
ponds, and streams of all sizes (provided the current be not too 
rapid) or even the sea-shore, especially a rocky coast, are its usual 
haunts ; and there it may frequently be seen darting in a straight 
line over the water, or sitting patiently on some convenient perch, 
awaiting an opportunity for the sudden plunge by which it secures 
its prey. 

Even in the southern portion of Scandinavia the Kingfisher is of 
accidental occurrence, though known to have nested there on one 
occasion; to Denmark it is merely a visitor; while in Russia it is 
rarely found as far north as St. Petersburg. In Northern Germany 



28o KINGFISHER. 

— where, from its habit of congregating on the ice round any open 
water, it is known by the name of ' Eisvogel ' — it is uncommon ; but 
southward it is found in suitable locah'ties throughout Europe down 
to the Mediterranean. It breeds near Gibraltar, and is said to do 
so in Morocco and Algeria ; while it visits Egypt in winter, and 
occurs in the Canaries and Madeira. Variations from the type are 
noticed between Asia Minor and South-western Siberia, while those 
from further south, as far as the Malay Archipelago, have been 
called A. bengalensis ; but the differences are very trifling. 

For a nesting-place a hole in a bank is either bored or selected ; 
generally near water, but sometimes in a dry sand-pit, and occasion- 
ally in some crevice in a wall. It usually slopes upward from the 
entrance, and at the end, upon the bare earth or upon a layer of 
small fish bones, the roundish glossy-white eggs, 6-8 but sometimes 
lo in number, are deposited : measurements '9 by 75 in. The 
young are known to have been out of the nest by March nth, and 
they have been found inside as late as July 24th, so that two 
broods are produced in some seasons. The food consists of small 
crustaceans, insects (such as dragon-flies and water-beetles), minnows, 
sticklebacks, and the small fry of other fishes ; the quantity con- 
sumed being extraordinary. In autumn the young are driven by 
the parents from the nesting-place and become partially migratory. 
The note is a shrill tit, tit, tit, somewhat like that of the Common 
Sandpiper. The legends and superstitions relating to this bird are 
too numerous for mention here. 

The adult male has the lower cheek-stripe, head and wings dark 
greenish-blue, slightly mottled ; lores and ear-coverts chestnut ; back 
cobalt-blue ; tail dark blue ; throat white ; under parts chestnut ; bill 
black, orange at the base; feet reddish-brown. Length 7*5; wing 
3 in. The female is slightly greener and duller; the young bird 
further differs in having a wholly black bill. 

Two examples of the North-American Belted Kingfisher, Cer)>ie 
alcyon, are, respectively, in the Museum of Science and Art, and in 
Trinity College, Dublin. One of these is said to have been shot in 
CO. Meath on October 26th 1845, and the other in co. Wicklow the 
following November. This species has not been obtained in 
Greenland, Iceland, or on the Continent of Europe ; and it seems 
inexpedient to admit to the British list an American land-bird 
which— even assuming the accuracy of the records— had probably 
escaped from confinement. 



CORACIID.E. 



281 




THE ROLLER. 



CORACIAS GARRULUS, LilinffiUS. 

This bright-plumaged bird was first recorded as a visitor to our 
islands by Sir Thomas Browne, who described a specimen obtained 
in Norfolk in May 1644. Since then, upwards of a hundred 
examples have been noticed, chiefly in the southern and eastern 
counties of England and Scotland ; some, however, have visited 
Caithness and the Orkneys, while in the west one has even reached 
St. Kilda. In Ireland there have been seven or eight occurrences, 
at long intervals. The majority of appearances in the British 
Islands have been in the autumn, but a fair proportion during the 
spring migration. 

To the Faeroes and the north of Norway the Roller is only a 
straggler, and it is scarce in any part of the latter country ; but in 
Sweden it breeds annually up to about 61° N. lat, and in Russia, 
sparingly, as far north as St. Petersburg. In Northern Germany 
it is not uncommon in summer, though rare in Denmark, Holland, 
Belgium and Northern France ; it is tolerably abundant in Central 
Europe ; while in Spain and other countries bordering the 
Mediterranean it is very numerous, arriving in the Peninsula from 
the middle of March onwards, and leaving by November at the 
latest. It is plentiful in Turkey, Southern Russia, Asia Minor, 

z 



282 ROLLER. 

Palestine, Persia, and temperate Asia as far to the north-east as 
Omsk in Siberia ; while southward, it is found in Kashmir and 
North-western India, where it meets with the closely allied C. i?idiais, 
the breast of which is vinous-purple instead of blue. In the north 
of Africa it is common in summer, but even there it does not pass 
the winter ; nor does it breed in Egypt, though it traverses that 
country on its way to and from South Africa. During the cold 
season it inhabits the lower half of that continent down to Cape 
Colony and Natal. 

In wooded districts the nesting-place selected is some hollow in a 
tree, but quite as often it is in the wall of a ruined fortress or in 
a high bank ; in these a bedding of roots, grass, feathers and hair 
is accumulated, but when in trees, the bare wood or a few chips 
suffice. The 5-6 eggs, often globular, but sometimes elongated, are 
glossy white : measurements i'4 by i"i in. Incubation lasts nearly 
three weeks, commencing early or late in May, according to the 
country. During the breeding-season the male indulges in some 
extraordinary tumbling antics, turning somersaults in the air, and 
uttering a harsh cry which the Germans syllable as racker-7-ackei- 
and the Spaniards as carlaiico-carlanco ; but at other times the bird 
is merely restless, flying from branch to branch with flapping, 
uncertain flight ; while, like the Bee-eater, it may frequently be seen 
sitting on telegraph-wires. The food consists of beetles and other 
insects captured on the ground. On migration the Roller is 
observed in large flocks. 

The adult has the head and nape greenish-blue , mantle chestnut- 
brown ; upper wing-coverts dark blue ; greater wing-coverts and 
bases of primaries light blue, quills black ; tail-feathers dark blue 
at the bases and in the middle, and pale blue on the lower portions; 
chin white ; under parts light blue ; bill dark horn-colour ; legs and 
feet yellowish-brown. Length 12 in. ; wing 77 in. The sexes are 
alike in plumage ; the young bird is much more dull and less 
pronounced in colour. 

The late Dr. Bree stated that a male of the Ab}ssinian Roller was 
killed near Glasgow about 1857, and a female later, some forty 
miles off ; the former was preserved by Mr. Small of Edinburgh, 
and is said to be in the Paisley Museum. In October 1883 a bird 
shot near Louth, Lincolnshire, was identified at a taxidermist's by 
Mr. Cordeaux as our C. garrulus, but in 1890 a specimen, said to be 
the very same bird, proved on examination to be the Indian Roller, 
C. indiais (Ibis 1891, p. 147). 



MEROPID/E. 



283 




THE BEE-EATER. 



Merops apiaster, Linnreus. 

The first British-killed Bee-eater on record was obtained in Nor- 
folk in ]une 1793, and since that time over thirty examples have 
been obtained (while many others have been noticed) south of 
Derbyshire in England and Pembrokeshire in Wales : chiefly on the 
spring migration. Further north its visits have been rarer. Mr. 
W. Eagle Clarke mentions a bird picked up exhausted near Filey in 
Yorkshire on June 9th 1880 ; while in Scotland, one was captured 
in October 1832 near the Mull of Cialloway, two or three are said 
to have been taken in the north-east, and one of a couple was shot 
in Caithness on May 12th 1897. In Ireland, to the south of co. 
Dublin, this species has occurred on seven or eight occasions, even 
in small flocks ; six birds having been found resting in a snipe-bog 
on November 2nd 1892. 

The Bee-eater has wandered as far north as Muonioniska (within 
the Arctic circle), but its visits to Sweden, Denmark, and Northern 
( 'icrmany, are few and irregular, and on Heligoland it has only once 
been obtained. It is said to have bred in Central and Southern 
(iermany, as well as near Abbeville in the north of France, while 
it nests not infrequently in Languedoc and Provence ; but north 
of the Alps and Carpathians, and of about lat. 55^ in Russia, it 
only does so exceptionally. In Southern Russia, Turkey, Greece, 



284 BEE-EATER. 

along the valley of the Danube, and in Southern Italy, the Bee-eater 
is abundant ; and in the Spanish Peninsula it swarms from the 
beginning of April until the latter part of August. It visits the 
Canaries and Madeira, and is common throughout the basin of the 
Mediterranean and in North Africa, while in winter it is found as 
far south as Cape Colony. In Egypt it is abundant on migration, 
though few remain to breed, the representative species being the 
Blue-cheeked M. persicus. Eastward, it reaches the Altai Mountains 
in summer, and North-western India in winter. 

The Bee-eater generally breeds in colonies, like the Sand-Martin, 
and banks by the side of rivers or dried-up watercourses may be seen 
honeycombed with its excavations, commenced soon after arrival ; 
the bill of the bird being sometimes worn down by the operation. 
In the great plains below Seville holes are often bored diagonally or 
even vertically in the ground ; and as the shafts vary from three or 
four to eight or nine feet in depth, the eggs, placed in a smaller 
chamber at the end, are not reached without labour. These, 
generally 5-6 in number, are laid upon the bare earth, though after- 
w-ards surrounded by castings and the wing-cases &c. of coleop- 
terous insects ; they are pure glossy white, nearly globular in shape : 
measurements i in. by -9 in. Though sometimes found by the end 
of April, the middle of May is the usual time, and only one brood 
appears to be reared in the season. SacksfuU of birds are taken in 
Spain by spreading a net over the face of an occupied bank and 
pouring water into a parallel trench cut at some distance back ; for 
the Bee-eater is hated by the peasants, owing to the ravages inflicted 
upon their numerous hives, though it also destroys large numbers 
of wasps, locusts, grasshoppers, beetles and other insects. The 
flight is light and undulating ; the note is a sharp quilp. 

The adult male has the lores and ear-coverts black ; forehead 
white below, pale green above ; head, neck, upper back and a broad 
bar on the secondaries, chestnut-brown ; remaining quills chiefly 
bluish-green ; lower back tawny-yellow ; tail green, the two elongated 
central feathers tipped with black ; throat bright yellow, with a 
black band ; under parts greenish-blue ; bill black ; feet reddish- 
brown. Length ii*25 in.; wing 6 in. The female is greener on 
the back, duller in colour, and has the central tail-feathers shorter. 
In the young these feathers scarcely project ; the upper parts are 
greenish-brown ; and there is no black gorget. 

An identified adult Blue-tailed Bee-eater, M. philippinus, is said to 
have been shot near Seaton Carew, Northumberland, in August 1862. 



UPUPID.-E. 



285 













THE HOOPOE. 
Upupa epops, Linnaeus. 

The Hoopoe has been noticed for more than two centuries as a 
visitor to Great Britain, and in spring it arrives so regularly on our 
southern and eastern coasts that, if unmolested, it would soon become 
one of our regular breeding species. The appearance of this tame 
and conspicuous bird is, however, the signal for its persecution unto 
death, and I am afraid to say how many have been slain in certain 
localities in Sussex and Kent where they alight after crossing the 
Channel. In spite of their inhospitable reception a few pairs 
manage to escape, and some have nested from time to time in 
Devon, Dorset, Wilts, Hants, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, and probably 
other counties. In autumn many individuals are observed in our 
eastern counties, especially on the coast after gales ; some even in 
winter : for instance, a bird frequented Scampston in Yorkshire for 
a week in the early part of January 1S96; while several were 
noticed in the exceptionally mild January of 1898. In the west of 
England and in South Wales the Hoopoe is not rare, but north- 
ward it is seldom seen ; though it has occurred irregularly in Scot- 
land as far as Sutherland and Caithness, as well as in the Orkneys, 
Shetlands, and Outer Hebrides. To Ireland it is an almost annual 
visitor in small numbers, principally to the southern portion. 

Accidentally the Hoopoe has been taken in the Freroes, Spitsber- 



286 HOOPOE. 

gen, and the north of Norway and Russia ; while in the south of 
Sweden and in Denmark it breeds sparingly, though in the latter its 
numbers have diminished owing to the eradication of the old hollow 
trees in the forests. Southward it is generally distributed through- 
out Europe, wherever there are swampy woods and timber-fringed 
meadows suited to its habits ; v.-hile in the countries bordering the 
Mediterranean and Black Seas it is abundant and almost ubiquitous, 
being especially numerous at the periods of migration. It is found 
in the Azores and Madeira, while common (and partially resident) 
in the Canaries, Northern Africa, Egypt and Nubia ; its most 
southern winter-quarters being, as far as is known, between Abyssinia 
and Senegambia. It is widely distributed through temperate Asia 
up to Mongolia, and has occurred in Japan. 

A hole in the decayed wood of some tree — frequently a willow 
or ash — is usually selected, and the slight materials of which the 
nest is composed are generally surrounded or cemented by ordure 
of some kind, which causes an intolerable stench, subsequently 
increased by the droppings of the female and young. Some- 
times a crevice in a wall or rock is made use of ; in China holes in 
exposed coffins are occupied ; and Pallas found a nest in the chest 
of a rotting corpse loosely covered with stones. The 4-7 eggs are 
pale greenish-blue when first laid, but later they become greenish- 
olive : measurements i in. by 7 in. The food consists of worms, in- 
sects and their larvae — especially those found in dung — and flies, 
which are taken on the wing. The flight is undulating. The 
movements of the Hoopoe are particularly graceful at the time of 
courtship, when the male struts about with crest erect, uttering a 
note resembling a soft hu-bu (whence the Spanish term " abubilla ") 
or hoop-hoop, to which, and not to the crest, it owes its English and 
French names ; when excited, however, the bird emits a harsh croak 
(W. Eagle Clarke). 

The adult has the plumage pale cinnamon on the head, shoulders 
and under parts ; the long, erectile crest-feathers richer in tint 
and tipped with black ; quills black, broadly barred with white, 
and striped with buff on the inner secondaries ; lower back barred 
with black, white and buff ; tail black, with a broad white bar across 
the centre and descending towards the tips on the outer pair of 
feathers ; the long, slightly decurved bill is black, flesh-coloured at 
the base; feet dusky-brown. Length from base of bill 975 in.; 
bill 2-5 in. ; wing 6 in. The female is rather smaller, duller in 
plumage, and has less crest. The young bird has a shorter bill, and 
the colours are not so rich. 



CUCULID^. 



2S7 




THE CUCKOO. 

CucuLUS CANORUS, Liniijeus. 

The male Cuckoo, which precedes the female by a few days, 
seldom arrives even in the south of England before April 6th, when 
his presence is announced by the well-known cuck-00 note, often 
uttered at night as well as by day. In June, according to the 
familiar adage, he " changes his tune " and becomes hoarse, while 
by August most of the adults have taken their departure, though 
the young sometimes remain until October. In summer the bird is 
found throughout the United Kingdom, inclusive of the islets. 

Though an accidental visitor to the Freroes, the Cuckoo ranges 
almost to the North Cape in Norway ; nearly as far north in 
Russia ; and across Northern Asia up to lat. 67°. Over Europe it 
is generally distributed, and a comparatively small number breed in 



288 CUCKOO. 

the countries bordering the Mediterranean, as well as in North 
Africa ; but to the Canaries and Madeira the Cuckoo is only an 
irregular visitor. In Asia it breeds down to the Himalayas and 
perhaps further south ; while in winter it reaches the Philippines, 
Celebes, Burma and Ceylon, as well as Natal in Africa. Allied 
species occur in both the above continents. 

The female, which resorts to the same locality year after year, 
deposits her egg on the ground, and then conveys it in her bill to 
the nest of some bird destined to act as foster-parent. In this 
country the latter is commonly the Meadow-Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 
Hedge-Sparrow, Sedge- Warbler and Reed-\\'arbler ; less frequently 
the Yellow- and Cirl-Bunting, with many others. In ' The Ibis,' 
i8g6, p. 397, is an interesting list of these, compiled by Mr. Bidwell. 
The egg, which averages about S^ by 75 in., varies considerably, 
and, though usually of a greenish- or reddish-grey, with darker 
cloudings and spots, it sometimes, but not always, resembles the eggs 
of the foster-bird. For instance. Cuckoo's eggs placed in the nest of 
the Orphean \A'arbler, Garden ^^'arbler, and Blackcap (supra, p. 46), 
are chiefly distinguishable by their size ; while eggs of a pale blue 
have been found, though these have not invariably been located in 
nests of the Hedge-Sparrow or the Redstart. From 5-8 are 
produced by the female in the season ; and 12-13 days are required 
for incubation. There is a statement, made in Germany, that 
exceptionally the Cuckoo hatches its own eggs. When only thirty 
hours old, the intruder begins to eject the other nestlings by the aid of 
a cavity in its back, which fills up after the twelfth day ,; and when two 
Cuckoos are in the same nest the struggle for existence is sometimes 
severe. The food consists of insects and their larvK, especially hairy 
caterpillars ; the indigestible portions being thrown up in pellets. 
Up to June 20th the male calls on the wing, as well as when 
perched ; the female utters a water-bubbling or whistling note. 
The superficial resemblance of the Cuckoo to a Hawk undoubtedly 
proves deceptive to other birds ; while ignorant persons frequently 
assert that " Cuckoos turn to Hawks in winter." 

The adults of both sexes are greyish-ash above and on the throat, 
with small white spots on the darker grey tail, and dusky bars on the 
white under parts; irides, legs and feet, yellow. Length 13 in.; 
wing 8"5 in. The female sometimes shows a slight rufous tinge on 
the breast. The young has the upper parts clove-brown ; a white 
spot on the nape ; irides brown. Birds of both sexes are sometimes 
found in spring of a rich chestnut-brown, like a female Kestrel, and 
this form has been distinguished as C. riiftis. 



CUCULID.^;. 



289 




THE GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO. 

COCCVSTES GLANDARIUS (LinnKUS). 

An example of this southern species was captured alive in an 
emaciated condition on the island of Omey, off the coast of Con- 
nemara, probably in March 1842 ; it was subsequently secured for 
the Museum of Trinity College, Dublin, where I noticed that it was 
in immature plumage. Another, shot near Bellingham, Northumber- 
land, on August 5th 1870, and now in the Newcastle Museum, is a 
young bird. On October i8th 1S96, an immature male was obtained 
on the Denes near Yarmouth ; while from the description sent to 
Mr. R. M. Barrington by Mr. T. King, lightkeeper at the Skellig 
Rock, CO. Kerry, there can be little doubt that a bird in nearly adult 
plumage was observed there on April 30th 1897. 

The Great Spotted Cuckoo has occurred exceptionally in Germany, 
more frequently in the south of France, and several times in spring 
in Italy as far north as Liguria ; but it is rare in Malta, and unre- 
corded from Sardinia or Corsica. In Southern Spain I found that it 
arrived by March 2nd, and it is common throughout the summer in 
the Peninsula as far north as the vicinity of Madrid, wherever there 
are woods suited to the habits of the Magpie, in the nests of which 

A A 



290 GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO. 

this Cuckoo deposits its eggs. It is not known to Ijreed in any 
other part of Europe, though it visits Greece and Southern Russia ; 
in Asia Minor, Palestine, and Northern Persia, however, it occurs in 
summer. It breeds throughout the wooded districts of Northern 
Africa, Egypt, Nubia, and Somali-land : while it wanders to the 
Canaries on its way to South Africa, where it winters. 

In Spain, as already mentioned, it generally selects the Magpie as 
foster-parent, and I have found as many as four of its eggs with six of 
those of that bird, in the same nest, while occasionally a Raven's or 
Blue-winged Magpie's is made use of. Mr. E. Lort Phillips, however, 
found eight eggs of this parasitical bird in the same nest w-ith four 
of Con'ifs affinis, in Somali-land ; in Egypt the Hooded Crow's nest 
is chosen, and in Algeria the Moorish Magpie's. The Cuckoo takes 
the egg in her l)ill, and, after placing it in the nest, often ejects an 
egg of the foster-parent to make room for her own. The egg is pale 
green, streaked and spotted with russet and dull lilac, sometimes 
closely resembling that of the Magpie, but more elliptical as well as 
of a much firmer and smoother texture : measurements i'2 by "96 in. 
A female shot on April 6th had a well-formed egg in her oviduct, but 
early May is the usual time for laying. The food consists of insects. 
The note of the male is a harsh kark-kark ; that of the female hurroo- 
burroo. Col. Irby gives August 7th as the latest date for Spain. 

The adults of both sexes have the crown grey with a long-pointed 
crest ; upper parts greyish-brown with white tips to most of the 
feathers ; tail-feathers, except the central ones, largely tipped with 
white : neck buffish-white ; under parts dull white. Length 15-5 in. : 
wing 8 in. The young bird has a nearly black head and nape, buft^ 
neck and breast, and chestnut on the upper parts of the primaries. 

An example of the American Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus 
atnericaiuis, was shot in co. Cork in the autumn of 1825 ; another 
near Dublin in 1832 ; a third in Pembrokeshire, also in the 
autumn of 1832; a fourth near Aberystwith in October 1870: a 
fifth at Lundy Island in October 1874 ; while a sixth was picked up 
dead near Bridport on October 5th 1895. ^^ the Continent, one 
was obtained in Belgium in October 1874, and another near Turin 
in 1883. Admitting that these occurred at the time of migration, 
I cannot believe that they crossed the Atlantic without human 
assistance. The same remark applies to the American Black-billed 
Cuckoo, C. erythropthalmits, a specimen of which was shot near 
Belfast about September 25th 1871 ; while in Italy one was killed 
near Lucca in 1858. 



STRI01D.4':. 



291 




THE BARN-OWL. 

Strix flammea, Linnceus. 

This species, also known as the White, Screech- or Church-Owl, 
is generally distributed throughout England, Wales and Ireland ; it 
might even be common, but for the persecution it suffers from game- 
keepers, ignorant farmers, and dealers in plumes for ladies' hats, fire- 
screens &:c. In Scotland it is not often found above the Lowlands, 
though it breeds in small numbers as far as Caithness and the 
Inner Hebrides, including Skye ; in the Orkneys and Shetlands it 
is almost — if not quite — unknown. Immigrants, usually of the 
dark phase which prevails in Denmark, are noticed at intervals, as 
in 1859, and again in 1891. 

The Barn-Owl Avas observed by the late Mr. D. Meinertzhagen 
at Muonioniska, in May 1897, but it is not known to nest 
beyond the south of Sweden, to which it has spread from Den- 
mark, where the bird is tolerably common. To Heligoland it is a 
rare visitor. It is resident in Courland and not scarce in Poland ; 
while in Central Russia it is found sparingly as far east as Tula and 
Orel, becoming abundant in the southern provinces of Podolia and 
Bessarabia. In Austro-Hungary and the greater part of Germany 

A A 2 



292 BARX-OWL. 

it is fairly numerous, though somewhat local in its distribution ; 
and throughout Western Europe it is a well-known species. It is 
found in the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries, and the Cape Verde 
Islands, Northern Africa as far east as Egypt, and in Palestine ; in 
the north-eastern portion of the Mediterranean basin, however, it is 
seldom met with, though occurring in Mesopotamia and down to 
the head of the Persian Gulf Over the above-mentioned area light 
as well as dark phases are found. Making allowance for climatic 
varieties which Dr. R. B. Sharpe and other authorities do not con- 
sider entitled to specific distinction, this Owl may be described as 
ranging over the African region inclusive of Madagascar, the Indian, 
Malayasian, Australian and Polynesian regions ; as well as in 
America and its islands, from about 40" N. to 40° S. lat. 

The Barn-Owl takes up its abode in church-towers and belfries, 
farm- and other buildings, hollow trees, dovecotes, and clefts in walls 
or cliffs. It makes no nest, though castings may be found round 
the eggs. These are sometimes laid in pairs ; six, nearly fresh, 
having been found alongside of three nestlings, while two or three 
stages of the latter may occur simultaneously. Incubation occa- 
sionally begins towards the end of March, though usually in April 
or May, while it has been known to take place up to November afid 
December. The eggs are dull white : measurements i'6 by i"2 in. 
There is no evidence that this species does any harm to eggs or 
pigeons in the dovecotes which it often inhabits, while it feeds 
chiefly on voles and field-mice, thereby entitling itself to protection 
on the part of the agriculturist; it also eats rats, bats, small birds, 
insects, and occasionally small surface-swimming fish. During the 
daytime the Barn-Owl generally remains concealed, though when 
disturbed I have seen it flitting in no uncertain manner in the 
brilliant sunshine of the south ; but it seeks its food in the dusk of 
evening and at nights. Its cry is a loud weird .shriek, and a snoring 
sound is emitted by young and old. 

The typical adult has the upper parts orange-buff, minutely varie- 
gated with brown, grey and white ; facial disk white with a brownish 
rim ; under parts white. The dark form has the upper parts greyer, 
with darker spots and vermiculations ; the facial disk tinged with 
orange, and its rim blackish : under parts warm orange-buff with 
clearly-defined blackish-grey spots. Bill white ; operculum (or skin 
which covers the orifice of the ear) large ; legs covered with white 
hair-like feathers. Length 13-5 in; wing 11-25. The female is slightly 
larger than the male. The young bird, at first covered with white down, 
hardly differs from the adult after its feathers have been assumed. 



STRIGID.t:. 



293 




^ Vr^^^^ -" 



A.;(A^V 



THE LONG-EARED OWL. 

Asio 6tus (Linnaeus). 

The Long-eared Owl is more abundant than is generally sup- 
posed, and it is found throughout the year in the wooded districts 
of Great Britain, especially in fir-plantations ; its numbers being 
increased in autumn by migrations from the Continent. Where 
suitable cover is available it breeds in the Inner Hebrides, and has 
been obtained in North Uist ; while it is now known to nest in the 
Orkneys, and occurs in the Shetlands on migration. In Ireland it 
is common and resident. 

This Owl has wandered to the Faeroes and Iceland, and is a 
well-known visitor to Heligoland. It breeds in Scandinavia and 
Russia as far as 63° N. lat., though rare and local at the northern 
extremity of its range ; but south of 59° in the Ural Mountains it 
is more or less numerous down to the northern slopes of the 
Caucasus ; while westward, it is generally distributed throughout the 
woodlands of Europe. In the south it is more abundant in winter 
than in summer, and the birds which breed in Spain and Italy gene- 
rally resort to the wooded mountains. Mr. Godman obtained a 



2 94 LONG-EARED OWL. 

nestling in the Azores ; while in the Canaries this species breeds in 
the palm-trees of the warm valleys as well as in the mountain forests ; 
it is also found in North Africa from Morocco to Egypt. Eastward, 
it has been recorded from Arabia ; it inhabits the wooded por- 
tions of Asia north of the Himalayas as far as China and the Sea of 
Japan, though it has not been found in Kamchatka ; and in winter 
it visits Northern India. In North America it is represented by a 
subspecies, A. ivilsoniiDiiis (Lesson), which has darker upper parts 
and more closely barred under parts. 

The Eong-eared Owl usually deposits its eggs in an old squirrel's 
drey, or some former nest of a Ring-Dove, Magpie, Crow, Rook, 
Heron, and, on the Continent, of a Buzzard, Kite &c.j a little lining 
of small thin sticks and rabbit's fur being often added. It lays very 
early in the season, and even in Northumberland clutches of eggs have 
been taken by February 22 nd. These, 4-6 in number, are white, 
with a rather smooth but not glossy surface : measurements i '6 by 
I "3 in. Several pairs may be found in close proximity, and I once 
knew of eight broods in a fir-plantation which stretches along a 
commanding ridge in Surrey. On May loth 1897, Mr. Ogilvie Grant 
and Capt. Savile Reid found a nest on the ground on an island 
in Eoch Syre, Sutherland (Irby). This Owl is nocturnal or crepus- 
cular in its habits, and during the daytime is seldom to be found 
in the open fields, except just after immigration. The pellets which 
I have examined show that it feeds principally upon field-mice, young 
rats, and birds up to the size of a Blackbird, though beetles and 
other insects are sometimes eaten. The old birds occasionally make 
a barking or ' quacking ' noise, while on the wing as well as when 
perched ; but as a rule this species is rather silent, and certainly 
does not ' hoot ' like the Tawny Owl. The nestlings utter a loud 
mewing ; they often leave the nest before they can fly, and climb up 
again, by the aid of their bills (R. J. Howard). 

The adult male has the upper parts buff, mottled and vermiculated 
with brown and grey, and streaked with dark brown, especially on 
the long erectile ear-tufts ; facial disk buff, with a greyish-black 
margin and outer rim, and dark markings round the eyes ; under 
parts warm buff and grey, with broad blackish longitudinal streaks 
and minute transverse bars ; bill blackish ; operculum semicircular ; 
legs covered to the toes with fawn-coloured feathers. Eength 14 in. ; 
wing 11-5 in. It has been stated that the female is more rufous in 
tint than the male. In the young the facial disk is yellower and the 
markings on the under parts are more defined. 



STRIGID.E. 



295 




THE SHORT-EARED OWL. 

Asio ACCiPiTRiNUS (Pallas). 

Unlike the preceding arboreal species, the Short-eared Owl is an 
inhabitant of the open country, especially upland moors, fens, heather 
or furze-covered hillsides, and more or less damp places ; while in 
the latter part of the year it is often met with in turnip-fields and 
stubbles. Owing to the fact that large numbers arrive regularly from 
the Continent in autumn, and remain for the winter, this bird is 
frequently flushed by sportsmen, and is often called the Wood- 
cock-Owl, from the coincidence of the time of its appearance, and, 
perhaps, from its twisting flight ; in some years it is much more 
plentiful than in others. Normally, it may be said that a few pairs 
nest in the south-west of England, as well as in Whales, while, in 
spite of drainage, some breed in East Anglia, and more freely on 
the moorlands northward. At long intervals, however, coincidently 
with irruptions of field-voles, Short-eared Owls flock to the infested 
spots, where they remain as long as food continues plentiful. This 
was notable during the plague of short-tailed voles in the south- 
west of Scotland in 1S90-1891, when a wonderful increase was 
noticed, not only in the breeding birds, estimated at four hundred 
pairs, but also in the abnormal number of eggs laid. Under ordinary 
conditions the species nests in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, as 
well as in the Orkneys, and sometimes the Shetlands. In Ireland 
the Short-eared Owl has not yet been recorded as breeding, but it 
is as common there in winter as it is in the rest of the United 
Kina:dom. 



296 SHORT-EARED OWL. 

This migratory species is a wanderer to the Faeroes, and its 
occurrence has been twice authenticated in Iceland ; while it is the 
commonest of the Owls visiting Heligoland. From 70° N. lat. to 
the shores of the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas, it is gene- 
rally distributed throughout Europe, breeding in suitable localities 
down to the south of Russia, Italy, Sicily and Malta. In the 
Spanish Peninsula it has not yet been known to nest, though 
abundant there in winter, while in jNIorocco it meets with an African 
species, Asio capensis (which visits Spain) ; it occurs on the Salvage 
Islands (between Madeira and the Canaries), and is found far south 
in Africa. Its breeding-range extends over Northern Asia to 
Kamchatka ; while in winter the species has been obtained in China 
down to Canton, and in Singapore, as well as in the Sandwich, 
Ladrones and Caroline groups. On the continent and islands of 
America it occurs from Greenland to the Straits of Magellan ; nest- 
ing where suitable food and conditions exist, and following-up 
invasions of small rodents. 

In the fens the nest is a mere hollow formed on the top of a clump 
of sedge or in the side of a mass of mown reeds ; but on the moors the 
eggs are laid among heather; they are usually 6 in number — though 
up to 12 were frequent during the vole-plague — and are rather smooth 
in texture, and creamy-white in colour : measurements i"6 by i"25 in. 
They are generally laid early in May, though young may be found 
unable to fly in August. The food consists of rats, field-mice, voles, 
lemmings, and other rodents, birds from the size of a lark to that 
of a plover, and occasionally of bats, fish, reptiles, and large insects. 
This Owl pursues its prey in daylight, and has been known to pick 
up and carry off wounded birds. . 

In the adult the plumage of the upper parts is similar to that of 
the preceding species ; but it is more blotched than streaked, the buff 
tint is more pronounced, the facial disk and the rim are browner, and 
the ear-tufts, though erectile, are short and invisible, except when the 
bird is excited ; the under parts are streaked longitudinally with 
blackish-brown, but are not transversely barred or vermiculated ; 
bill black ; operculum semicircular. Length i4"5-i5 in. : wing 
about 12 in. ; the female being slightly larger than the male. The 
young bird is browner and darker, with bolder markings, and is 
very tawny on the under parts, while the iris is pale sulphur-yellow, 
instead of the rich yellow found in the adult. Pallid forms of this 
Owl are not uncommon, and specimens from different parts of the 
enormous area inhabited vary considerably in tint. 



STRIGID/E. 



2q; 




THE TAWNY OWL. 

Syrnium aluco (Linnaeus). 

The Tawny, Brown, or Wood-Owl familiarly called " the Hooter," 
is tolerably abundant in England and Wales, wherever there are 
woods or crags suited to its habits ; it is in fact commoner in some 
places than the White or Barn-Owl, though decreasing in others. 
In the south of Scotland it is well-known, while it is quite the most 
numerous Owl in the Moray basin, and has extended its range on 
the mainland to Caithness and Sutherland ; in the west, it occurs in 
Skye and several of the Inner Hebrides. In Ireland its presence 
has not yet been authenticated. 

Erom the Faeroes this exceptionally migratory species was recorded 
in January and again in March, 1871 : on the latter occasion in 
company with some Long-Eared Owls. In Norway it is numerous 
up to the Trondhjemsfjord, above which it becomes rare ; but in 
Sweden its northern range is less extensive, though the bird is com- 
mon in the southern parts of that country. In Heligoland it has 
only once occurred in half a century. Below 6o°-6i° N. lat. in 
Russia it is generally distributed as far as the western slopes of the 
Ural Mountains, but on the east side it is scarce, and is as yet 



298 TAWNY OWL. 

unknown in Siberia. Throughout temperate Europe the Tawny 
Owl is found in suitable localities, but in the south it is very local, 
being almost confined to the higher wooded districts in the Spanish 
Peninsula and Italy, while it has not yet been obtained in Corsica 
or Sardinia. In North Africa and Asia Minor it is known to breed 
in small numbers, and Canon Tristram met with it among the 
cedars of Lebanon. At least six other members of the genus 
occupy the area between Turkestan and China. 

The Tawny Owl breeds early, sometimes having eggs at the end 
of February and often by the middle of March in England, though 
later in the north of Scotland. A hollow in the trunk of some 
decayed tree, especially when covered with ivy, is a favourite site ; but 
old nests of Rooks (even in frequented rookeries), Crows, Magpies 
and other birds are often occupied, and ruins, barns, out-buildings, 
disused chimneys &c. are occasionally resorted to ; while instances 
of eggs being laid in rabbit-burrows, on ledges of root-trellised crags, 
or on the bare ground under shelter of fir-branches, are common. 
The 3-4 and even 6 white eggs are rather smooth in surface and 
nearly round in shape : measurements i'8 by i*5 in. The clicking 
note of the young resembles the word kee-'wick ; the old birds may 
be heard to utter their loud hoo-hoo, whoo-it, or tit-zvhit, to-who 
as it is rendered by Shakespeare, chiefly in the evening, but also 
shortly before dawn. During the day this species remains con- 
cealed, and appears to dislike the sunlight more than any other 
British Owl ; while it depends largely upon its sense of hearing. 
Some bold individuals resent an approach to their nest, and cases 
are known of distinct aggressiveness. The food consists chiefly 
of voles, rats, mice, shrews, squirrels, moles, and occasionally of 
small birds, insects, and surface-swimming fishes. 

The adult male has the upper parts of varying shades of ash-grey 
mottled with brown, with large white spots on the outer webs of the 
wing-coverts ; tail barred with brown and tipped with white ; under 
parts buffish-white, mottled with pale and streaked with dark brown ; 
facial disk greyish, with a dark brown border ; operculum large ; legs 
feathered to the claws. Length about 15 in.; wing 10 in. The 
female is much larger, and often more rufous in plumage. This 
species is, however, subject to dichromatism, and there are two 
distinct phases— a red and a grey— the colour of which is indepen- 
dent of sex ; the ruddy form being, perhaps, the more common in 
this country. The nestlings are covered with greyish down ; after- 
wards the plumage is generally more rufous than in the adults. 



STRIGID.T.. 



>99 




TENGMALM'S OWL. 

Nyctala tengmalmi (J. F. Gmelin). 

This small Owl, with thick and downy plumage, is an inhabitant 
of northern or elevated forest-regions, whence it migrates in severe 
weather ; and, at long intervals, it has wandered to Great Britain in 
autumn and winter, as well as in spring, presumably on its return 
northwards. Since the beginning of this century about twenty 
examples have been taken in England — chiefly in Northumber- 
land, Yorkshire, Norfolk and Suffolk ; specimens have, however, 
been obtained as far south as Kent and Somerset (though a so- 
called Sussex example proved to be a Little Owl) ; also in Shrop- 
shire (once) ; near Preston in Lancashire (once) ; and in Cumber- 
land on November 3rd 1876. In Scotland one was captured alive 
in December i860 on Cramond Island, Firth of Forth ; and an 
adult female was recorded from the vicinity of Peterhead on 
February 3rd 1S86. As yet there is no record from Ireland. 

On Heligoland Tengmalm's Owl has occurred about thirty times 
in fifty years. It inhabits Scandinavia, Lapland, Finland and 
Russia, almost up to the northern limit of the forests ; while its 
southern breeding-range in the latter country coincides with the 
growth of Pinus sylvestris, and reaches as far as Saratov and Oren- 
burg. In winter its migrations extend to Guriev, where the Ural 
River empties into the Caspian ; but Dr. Menzbier does not believe 
in its asserted existence in the Crimea. It breeds in the higher 



300 tengmalm's owl. 

forests of the various branches of the Carpathians and the Alps, 
from Styria and the Tyrol westward, as well as in the A^osges, the 
Jura, and the mountains of Dauphine ; while it has occurred on 
both sides of the Pyrenees, though not further south in Spain. In 
other parts of Europe it is chiefly a migrant. Eastward, it appears 
to range through the forests of Siberia down to the Altai Mountains, 
and eastward to Baikalia, and even to the Sea of Japan, though not 
observed in Kamchatka ; while in Arctic America it is represented 
by a slightly darker form, known to separatists as Nydala richardsoni . 

Our earliest knowledge of the breeding-habits of this, as of so 
many other Arctic species, was derived from ^^'olley, who found that 
in Lapland it occupied the tyllas or inis (nesting-boxes, formed of 
logs hollowed out at either end, with a hole cut in the side) set up by 
the inhabitants for the use of the Golden-eye Ducks ; it also deposits 
its eggs in holes in trees, and often in some former abode of the 
Black Woodpecker. The smooth white eggs, laid between the 
beginning of May and the end of June, are 4-6, and exceptionally 
10 in number: measurements 1*28 by i in. The food, which con- 
sists of lemmings, mice and other rodents, with large beetles and 
small birds, is generally procured during the latter half of the day ; 
though sunshine does not incommode a bird which passes the 
summer in the continuous light of the high north. The call-note is 
a soft, long-drawn whistle. 

The adult male has the upper parts umber-brown, with small 
white spots on the top of the head, large white patches on the back 
and wing-coverts, and five lines of spots — forming bars — on the tail- 
feathers ; facial disk nearly complete, dull white with a dark outer 
ring ; under parts greyish-white, irregularly barred and streaked with 
brown ; legs and toes thickly covered with whitish brown-speckled 
feathers (in the Little Owl the feathers on the legs are short and the 
toes have merely bristles) ; bill yellowish-white. Length 9 in. ; wing 
6-5-7 in. The female is slightly larger than the male, but has the 
white spots less pronounced ; the young are much darker than the 
adults, and the spots are chiefly on the wings and tail. A charac- 
teristic of this Owl, as shown by Prof. Collett of Christiania, is that 
the ear-regions in the skull itself, as well as the orifices, are unequal 
in size, and hence the skull is not symmetrical. 

The late Sir William M. E. Milner recorded (Zool. p. 7104) the 
occurrence of the North American Saw-whet Owl, Nyctala acadica, 
near Beverley in Yorkshire. He was probably mistaken or imposed 
upon. 



STRIGID.^,. 




THE LITTLE OWL. 

Athene noctua (Scopoli). 

In 1758 Edwards figured a Little Owl caught alive in a 
chimney near the Tower of London, and since that date many 
examples have been obtained in England ; but such numbers are 
known to have been imported from the Continent and intentionally 
liberated — to say nothing of those which have escaped from confine- 
ment — that it is impossible to say whether any of our visitors have 
been really wild. In May 1843 Waterton turned out five Little 
Owls near Wakefield, which he had brought from Italy the previous 
year ; subsequently Mr. St. Quentin in Yorkshire, and Mr. Meade- 
Waldo in Hampshire, introduced many others which have bred at 
large, though in gradually diminishing numbers ; while in 1888 
the late Lord Lilford established quite a colony in Northampton- 
shire. Cages-full, brought from Holland, may often be seen in 
Leadenhall Market ; and, without disputing the claim of this species 
to a place in the British list, it must be said that in the countries it 
inhabits, it is not much addicted to migration. As yet it has not 
been recorded from Scotland or Ireland. 

Throughout Gatke's long experience the Little Owl was only once 
obtained on Heligoland. It is of exceptional occurrence in Sweden, 
while in Russia the Baltic Province of Courland marks its northern 
breeding-limit ; but south of lat. 56° it is a generally distributed 
resident in Europe ; especially in the countries washed by the 



302 LITTLE OWL. 

Mediterranean. Examples from Greece are paler than those from 
Western Europe ; and an increase in sandy tint has led to the separa- 
tion of the form which inhabits North Africa and Egypt as A. glaiix 
or A. nieridionaUs. Other variations in tone are found in South 
Russia and in Asia Minor ; while between the Ural Mountains and 
Northern China there is a fairly distinct species, A. bactriana, which 
has the toes covered with feathers instead of hairy bristles. 

In April or May the Little Owl deposits its 3-5 white eggs in holes 
in ruins, farm out-houses and other buildings, hollow trees, disused 
rabbit-burrows, or rocks: measurements i "4 by i'i5 in. Mr. 
Meade-Waldo informs me that incubation lasts twenty-eight days ; 
that the bird feeds largely on insects, and frequents lawns in the 
evening to collect earth-worms ; while in winter it catches birds at 
roost, and devours a large number of Thrushes ; eating also mice 
and other small mammals. Early in the spring the male is very 
noisy, and repeats its note of cu or sometimes cu-cii, with exasperating 
monotony, and I have heard it do so again in autumn. This Owl 
is comparatively diurnal, and is therefore liable to be mobbed by 
small birds ; for which reason it is often used as a lure by Con- 
tinental bird-catchers. Its habit of alternately ducking down and 
drawing itself up to its full height is extremely grotesque. 

The adult has the upper plumage brown, with triangular white 
stripes on the head, white spots on the nape and wings, and four 
bands of dull white on the tail ; under parts dull white streaked 
with brown ; facial disk greyish-white and ill-defined ; no oper- 
culum : irides yellow ; toes covered with hairy bristles. Length : 
male 9 in., wing 6 in. ; female 9-5 in., wing 6-5 in. The young 
have a more rufous tinge than the adults. 

According to the least elastic interpretation of the often dis- 
regarded laws of nomenclature, the generic name Athene is inadmis- 
sible, inasmuch as it has been previously employed in Entomology, 
and Cariue should therefore be adopted : but many will agree with 
me that the point should be conceded, if only to preserve an associa- 
tion with Pallas Athene, to whom this bird was sacred. The specific 
name passerina, sometimes employed, is distinctly inadmissible ; for 
the Sfrix passerina of Linnseus {Glaucidiiim passerimim of recent 
systematists) is the Pigmy Owl, a bird hardly larger than a Sparrow, 
and one which has never occurred in the British Island.s, nor is 
likely to occur, unless introduced. 



strigida:. 



503 




THE SNOWY OWL. 

NVCTEA SCANDIACA (Lillliailis). 

This conspicuous bird was first noticed in Britain by the late 
Dr. Edmondston, who recognized it in 181 1 on Unst, the most 
northern of the Shetland Islands, to which, as well as to the Orkneys, 
it is now known to be an almost annual visitor in the cold season, 
especially after northerly gales ; while its occurrence in the Outer 
and the Inner Hebrides, as well as on the mainland of Scotland, is 
by no means unusual. In England it has been obtained on several 
occasions in Northumberland and Yorkshire, nine times in Norfolk, 
once in Suffolk, and about five times in Devon, while one on Exmoor 
may be given to Somerset. To Ireland its visits have been less fre- 
quent, but at intervals it has been observed in several counties 
during the winter months. In a wild state it has never been known 
to breed in the British Islands, though it has done so in captivity. 

To the Fceroes and Iceland the Snowy Owl is only a straggler : 



304 SNOWY OWL. 

but it is resident on Jan Mayen, and is only absent for a few months 
in winter from Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, 
Vaigatch, and the Kola Peninsula. Where small mammals are 
wanting it feeds on birds, and on the fells of Scandinavia it follows the 
lemmings on their migrations ; while of late years it has been found 
breeding in many places where it had previously been unnoticed. 
In Russia it inhabits the tundras, nesting down to the Governments 
of St. Petersburg, Livonia, and even Orenburg; while in winter 
it occurs as far as the Caspian and Azov Seas. In the western 
half of Europe, it visits Pomerania, the north of Germany and 
Denmark in some numbers during cold weather, though hardly 
known on Heligoland ; and its wanderings have extended to Hol- 
land, France, and Lower Austria. In Asia, it is found across 
Siberia to Kamchatka and Bering Island ; while in winter it regu- 
larly visits Turkestan, and an example has even been obtained at 
Mardan, not far from Peshawur. On the American continent it 
breeds on the barren-grounds and the verge of the wooded districts, 
from Alaska to Labrador ; on Grinnell-Land Col. Feilden found it 
nesting as far north as 82° ^:^', though it abandoned those high 
latitudes at the end of August to reappear on March 29th ; and it 
inhabits Greenland. In winter it has occurred in Texas, as well as 
the Bermudas ; while a flock, perched on the spars of a vessel, has 
voyaged from Labrador half way to Ireland. 

The Snowy Owl deposits its eggs on the bare ground or in a 
mere hollow scraped in the reindeer-moss, generally on some slight 
eminence. The white eggs, 10 of v.-hich have been found together, 
are often laid in pairs and at intervals, and are rather more elongated 
than usual: measurements 2-3 by 175 in. Prof. Collett .says that 
the female and young are fed by the male, which exhibits great 
boldness and even ferocity when the nesting-place is approached. 
The food consists of lemmings and other rodents, Arctic hares. 
Ptarmigan, Willow- and other Grouse, Little Auks &c. ; wounded 
birds being often picked up before the sportsman can reach them ; 
carrion is also eaten, and the bird is an expert catcher of fish. Its 
flesh is highly esteemed by the inhabitants of the Arctic regions. 
The cry is a loud and repeated krau-au. 

The plumage is white, barred and spotted with an amount of black 
or dark brown which varies greatly in different individuals; the 
female being more profusely marked than the male. Small but 
almost invisible tufts exist ; there is no operculum ; bill black ; iris 
orange-yellow. Length : male 22 in., wing 15-5 in. ; female 25 in., 
wing 17-5 in. 



STRIGID.t. 




THE HAWK-OWL. 



SuRNiA FUNEREA (Liiinjeus). 

An example of this rare wanderer to Great Britain was taken in an 
exhausted state off the coast of Cornwall in March 1830 : a second 
was shot near Yatton, in Somersetshire, while hawking for prey on a 
sunny afternoon in August 1847 ; a third on Unst, in the Shetland 
Islands, in the winter of 1860-61 ; a fourth near Glasgow in December 
1863 ; and a fifth near Greenock in November 1868. Those of the 
above now available for critical examination belong to the North 
American form — distinguished by trinomialists in the United States 
as S. uliila caparoch — in which the dark transverse bands of the 
under parts are more ruddy than in the European, while the white 
on the upper parts is rather more pronounced ; and there can be 
little doubt that these birds had received aid from vessels bound for 
Bristol or the Clyde. An example of the European form was, 
however, obtained near Amesbury, Wilts, and identified by Dr. R. B. 
Sharpe (P. Z. S., 1876, p. 334) ; while the Shetland bird (destroyed 
by moth) was also, judging by the description, from the Old World. 

The Hawk-Owl does not migrate to any extent, and neither of the 

B B 



3o6 HAWK-OWL. 

forms has been found in Greenland or Iceland. The European race 
inhabits the pine-forests of Scandinavia and Northern Russia, in 
the latter up to 68° N. lat. ; and though only breeding occasionally 
in the Baltic Provinces, it does so regularly as far south as the 
Governments of Moscow and Smolensk, and in the mountain 
forests of the Ural down to Orenburg. Thence it moves in winter 
to Poland and Northern Germany ; very rarely to Heligoland ; 
occasionally to Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Northern France, 
Lorraine, and Alsace ; exceptionally to Austria. In Siberia, where 
it is found from the Ural to Kamchatka, and down to 43° N. in 
winter, its colours are purer and more strongly contrasted — as in the 
case of many other species ; while this North-Siberian form, Surnia 
doliata (Pallas), occurs in Alaska. There it meets with the American 
race already mentioned, which ranges eastward to Labrador, and as 
far south as Pennsylvania in severe winters. 

The Hawk-Owl begins to breed by the middle of April ; and 
Wolley, to whom we owe the earliest details respecting its habits, 
found that it occupied holes in trees and the nesting-boxes set up 
by the peasants for the use of Ducks, in which it lays from 5 to 
8 white eggs: measurements i"55 by i"2 in. In Arctic America 
these are said to be deposited in nests built of small sticks and twigs, 
in pine-trees : doubtless the deserted habitations of other birds, such 
as are utilized by the Long-eared Owl. The male bird fiercely 
attacks any intruder upon its domain, and both sexes appear to take 
part in the task of incubation. Adults are in full moult before the 
young can fly (Wheelwright). The cry is similar to that of a 
Hawk: a bird which, from its long tail, sharp wings and quick flight, 
this species much resembles in appearance. It flies much in the 
day-time and has been seen to strike down the Siberian Jay on the 
wing ; its food consists of lemmings and other rodents, large insects, 
and birds up to the size of Ptarmigan or a Willow-Grouse ; to obtain 
the latter of which it will sometimes attend upon the sportsman. 

The general colour of the upper parts is dark brown, spotted with 
white ; facial disk incomplete ; tail long and graduated, narrowly 
barred and broadly tipped with white ; under parts white, barred 
with dark reddish-brown ; feet covered to the claws with greyish- 
white feathers ; bill yellowish-white ; irides straw-yellow ; no oper- 
culum. Length 15 to 16 in. (tail about 7-5 in.) ; wang 9'2-9-5 in. ; 
the female being larger than the male, and having the dark bars on 
the under parts slightly broader as well as more rufous. 



STRIGID.^. 



307 







THE SCOPS-OWL. 

Scops giu (Scopoli). 

This Owl, the smallest which occurs in the British Islands, was 
first noticed as a visitor in the spring of 1805, when specimens 
were obtained in Yorkshire. Since that time examples have been 
recorded from Northamptonshire, Essex, Middlesex, Bucks. Berks, 
Wilts, Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumber- 
land ; four occurrences are authenticated in Norfolk, and there are 
records from the south-east of Yorkshire. The often-repeated story 
of the breeding of the Scops-Owl at Castle-Eden Dene in Durham 
is untrue. One was killed in Sutherland late in May 1S54 ; the late 
Col. Drummond-Hay has recorded a pair shot at Scone in May 1864 ; 
Mr. G. Sim says that one was picked up dead near Kintore on 
September 2nd 1891 ; and one was taken alive at the lighthouse 
on North Ronaldshay, Orkneys, on June 2nd 1892. Li Ireland one 
was killed in co. Meath in 1837, one in Wexford in the spring of 
1847, a third near Belfast in November 1883, and a fourth in 
Wexford on May 31st 1889. 

The Scops-Owl is only a summer-visitor even to the temperate 
portions of Europe, exceptionally extending its migrations to 
Heligoland (once), Holland, Belgium, Northern France and Switzer- 
land. South of the Alps and Carpathians it is not uncommon ; 
while in Southern France, the Spanish Peninsula, Italy, and east- 
ward to Greece, Turkey and Southern Russia, it becomes abundant. 

B B 2 



3o8 SCOPS-OWL. 

In fact, it is found in summer as far, north as the grape annually 
ripens, but it is most numerous in those warmer countries in 
which the olive-tree also grows, though there it may ascend to 
elevations far above the oil-producing zone. On migration, numbers 
are taken in Malta and served at table (Lilford). In the Mediter- 
ranean basin it appears to be to some extent resident, as it is also in 
portions of Northern Africa ; but the majority pass onward, to winter 
in Abyssinia and Senaar. Our Scops-Owl is common in summer in 
Asia Minor, Palestine, Persia and Turkestan ; but in the Indian and 
African regions it has several representatives of greater or less specific 
distinctness. 

About the middle of May this Owl usually lays its white eggs 
(5-6 in number and measuring about i"25 by i in.) in some hollow 
cork- or olive-tree, though elms, poplars and willows are used ; 
sometimes, however, it resorts to a hole in a wall or a roof ; while 
in the south of France it is said to make use of old Magpies' nests. 
It is partial to cork- and olive-woods as well as to groves of trees on 
the banks of rivers ; and its note may frequently be heard in the 
gardens of large cities, such as Seville and Florence. To my ear, 
its cry is a clear, metallic, ringing ki-oii — whence the Italian names 
Chiu or Ciii. This Owl is particularly nocturnal, and, although it 
can face the sunlight, yet, except when disturbed, I never saw it on 
the wing in the day-time, during which it remains perched across a 
branch, often close to the stem. It then resembles, beneath the 
shady foliage, some gnarled stump or knot, but, on a tap being given 
to the trunk, this supposed knot will be seen to shoot up to double 
its former height and exhibit a pair of ear-tufts. So abundant is 
this quaint little bird on the wood-fringed banks of the Tagus and the 
Jarama that I have found over a score in an afternoon's ramble. 
It feeds on beetles, grasshoppers, large moths and other insects ; 
perhaps also on mice and small birds, but it is chiefly insectivorous. 

The general colour of the plumage is grey, with a dark centre to 
each feather and vermiculations of various shades of brown ; facial 
disk incomplete above the eyes; ear-tufts conspicuous when erected; 
legs feathered, but feet bare ; beak black ; irides yellow ; operculum 
wanting. Length : male 7-5 in., wing 5-8 in. ; female 8 in., wing 
6-1 in. The female is often rather more rufous than the male, while 
the young are decidedly so. 

Examples of the American Scops asio are said to have been 
obtained in Yorkshire and Norfolk, but no credence need be attached 
to these statements. 



STRIGID.-E. 



309 




THE EAGLE-OWL. 



Bubo ignavus, T. P'orster. 

From time to time examples of this large and handsome species 
have been recorded in Great Britain ; but some of these individuals 
are known to have escaped from that semi-captivity in which they 
are often kept, while suspicion attaches to others. Birds which 
were probably genuine migrants from Northern Europe have, 
however, been obtained, at long intervals, in the Orkney and 
Shetland Islands, and also on the mainland of Scotland ; while in 
England a female which showed no sign of having been in con- 
finement was shot near Stamford in Lincolnshire, in April 1879, 
Mr. Cordeaux records an individual seen near Easington, Holder- 
ness, in the winter of 1879-1880, as well as another noticed several 
times in October 1888, and no more likely district for a wanderer 
from Scandinavia can be imagined. There is no evidence that the 
Eagle-Owl has ever visited Ireland ; but in the Science and Art 



3IO EAGLE-OWL. 

Museum, Dublin, there is an example of the South African Bubo 
macitlosus, said to have been brought in the flesh to the late Dr. 
Birkett of Waterford on January 27th 1851 (probably an imported 
bird), and at one time this specimen was erroneously identified as 
the American B. virginianiis. 

The Eagle-Owl inhabits the forest-covered, rugged and mountain- 
ous districts of Europe, from Scandinavia, Lapland and Northern 
Russia to the Mediterranean ; as well as Africa north of the Atlas 
Mountains. Specimens from beyond the A^olga are pale in colour, 
while east of the Ural Mountains and across Siberia to the Sea of 
Okhotsk a still paler form, B. sibiricus, occurs ; but birds from 
China to the Sea of Japan seem to be identical with those from 
Europe. In Central Asia, through the Himalayas to Tibet, its 
representative is the rather smaller B. turcomanus ; while B. blakis- 
toui is the species found in Japan ; and B. ascalaphus (with shorter 
ear-tufts) inhabits Syria, Egypt and North-east Africa. America is 
occupied by B. virgiinamis and its sub-divisions. 

In the forest-regions the Eagle-Owl deposits its eggs in some 
wide fork or other convenient place in a large tree, or makes use of 
an old nest of another bird ; but in the mountains it selects ruins, 
slightly overhung ledges, or the roots of trees on crags, and the 
sides of narrow gorges, while it is not averse to the proximity of a 
cottage ; and in the steppes it lays its eggs on the open ground. 
Incubation often commences early in April ; the 2-3 nearly round 
eggs being creamy-white : measurements 2 -3 by i "9 in. No nest is 
originally made, but the young are often found upon an accumula- 
tion of castings, mingled with fur from rats, rabbits, hares, &c., 
which, with birds, form the food of this predatory species. In 
Spain and the Pyrenees the peasants make a practice of robbing the 
nest of the game supplied daily to the young by the parent birds, 
and substituting any available offal ; for which reason the position is 
seldom revealed to strangers until the young are nearly ready to fly. 
The Eagle-Owl seeks its prey by day as well as by night ; its cry, 
chiefly uttered early in the spring, is a loud boo, boo. In confinement 
this species breeds freely and has been known to live to a great age. 

The general colour of the upper parts is dark brown or black, 
mottled with tawny-yellow ; wings and tail transversely barred ; 
under parts yellowish-brown with dark streaks and bars ; head with 
long ear-tufts ; operculum absent ; legs thickly feathered to the toes ; 
irides bright orange. Length : male 24 in., wing 18 in. ; female 
25 in., wing 18-5 in. Northern examples are larger than those from 
the south. 



VULTURID^:. 



311 




THE GRIFFON-VULTURE. 
Gyps fulvus (J. F. Gmelin). 

In the spring of 1843 a bird of this species (presumably gorged 
or injured) was caught dive on the rocks near Cork Harbour, 
and is preserved in the collection at Trinity College, Dublin. It 
was described by Thompson as being in adult plumage ; but, after 
examination, I have no hesitation in saying that it is immature. 
There is no other instance of the capture of this Vulture in the 
British Islands ; but an eminently cautious ornithologist, who is 
familiar with Griffons, informed me that some years since he had 
watched one soaring near Southampton Water. 

The Griffon-Vulture was obtained near Utrecht in Holland about 
1830 ; while it has been observed on several occasions in Normandy, 



312 GRIFFON-VULTURE. 

and has been captured on the chffs to the north-west of Cherbourg. 
It annually visits the south of France in autumn ; breeds in small 
numbers on the Spanish frontier in the Western Pyrenees ; and is 
common in the mountainous portions of the Iberian Peninsula, as 
well as in most of the situations suitable to its habits in Southern 
Europe and the basins of the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian 
Seas. In Switzerland and the Carpathians it is of very rare occur- 
rence, though it has been obtained in Poland, and in Germany as 
far north as East Prussia ; while in Russia it is found up to about 
lat. 50°, and has considerably extended its range northward along 
the Ural Mountains during the last forty years. In Asia it can be 
traced to Turkestan and the mountains of Northern India, where, 
however, it meets with a larger form which has been separated as 
G. himalayensis ; while in Africa it is resident as far south as 
Nubia (though represented by G. kolbi in the south), and is found 
in the Red Sea district down to Aden. 

Towards the end of January the Griffon- Vultures may be seen 
building or repairing their nests with branches of trees and claws- 
full of grass torn up by the roots. Their usual resorts are over- 
hung ledges, cavities and fissures, such as are especially frequent in 
limestone ranges, and these are seldom accessible from above with- 
out a rope ; while owing to thick scrub the base of the cliff is often 
unattainable. Exceptionally a nest has been found in a tree. In the 
latter part of February, though sometimes not till the end of March, 
I and not rarely 2 eggs are laid ; these are rough in texture, and 
usually white in colour, but some are more or less marked with 
genuine blotches of a rusty-brown, as well as with blood-stains : 
measurements 37 by 2-8 in. A strong and unpleasant musky smell 
pervades the eggs, nest, and the whole dung-splashed ledge. Like 
other Vultures, this species hunts by means of its keen sight ; the 
alteration in the flight of the nearest bird, on the discovery of a 
carcase, being quickly noticed and followed-up by more distant 
individuals. During the lambing-season I have seen it on the 
ground, assiduous in its attendance upon the ewes \ but it is an 
arrant coward and I never knew of its touchmg any living creature. 
It is at all times somewhat gregarious. 

The general colour is bufifish-brown, with black on the wings and 
tail ; the head and neck are covered with whitish down ; and there 
is a broad ruff, which is composed of long whitish filaments in the 
adult, but of brownish acuminate feathers in the young ; under parts 
striated buff in the adult, warm fulvous in the young. Length about 
42 in., wing 28 in. ; the female being slightly smaller than the male. 



VULTURID.^. 




THE EGYPTIAN VULTURE. 



Neophron percnopterus (Linnceus). 

In October 1825 two birds of this species are said to have been 
observed near Kilve, Bridgewater Bay, Somersetshire, when one, 
which had been feeding on the carcase of a sheep, was shot, and 
proved to be in immature plumage. Another immature example 
was killed on September 28th 1868, in a farm-yard at Peldon, Essex, 
whither it had been attracted by the blood of some geese. 

The Egyptian Vulture has wandered to Norway and Germany, but 
its most northern nesting-places seem to be in Savoy ; while further 
south it is not uncommon in summer, arriving in Provence and the 
Pyrenees early in March. It is usually seen in pairs and never 
breeds in colonies ; but a couple or two are to be noticed near 
almost every mountain-range in the Spanish Peninsula, as well as in 
Southern Europe generally, especially in the basins of the Mediter- 
ranean, Black and Caspian Seas. To Madeira it is only a wanderer, 
but it inhabits the Canaries, the Cape Verde Islands, and North 
Africa from Morocco to the Red Sea ; while in winter it goes as far 
as Cape Colony. From Asia Minor it can be traced to Persia and 



314 



EGYPTIAN VULTURE. 



North-west India, but eastward its representative is a smaller form, 
JY. gingittianus, which has a yellow bill. 

The nest, built of branches, and warmly lined with hair and wool, 
has sometimes as a foundation a former abode of the Bearded 
Vulture, Raven or other large bird, and is usually placed on a ledge 
of rock ; but in Turkey it is often in cypress and other trees, while 
in Spain it is sometimes on the ilex. The 2 eggs are seldom laid in 
Europe before April loth ; they are creamy-white, blotched and 
often richly suffused with chocolate-red : measurements 2 '5 by 2 in. 
This Vulture feeds on the lowest animal and vegetable refuse, dung 
of all kinds, and bones from which the Griffons have stripped the 
flesh ; it may also be seen following the plough, with long, slow 
strides, for what it can pick up. But though repulsive in its habits 
it appears to advantage on the wing, circling round without a flap of 
its outspread pinions, or at times sweeping low over the ground, like 
a Harrier. 

The adult is white, with black primaries ; the fore part of the 
head and neck being yellow and devoid of feathers ; bill horn-brown ; 
irides crimson ; legs and feet flesh-colour. Length 26 in. ; wing 
19 in. The young bird (represented in the vignette) is dark brown, 
with greyish head and neck ; irides brown. In confinement the 
full plumage is not attained until the third year. 




FALCONID^. 



315 




THE MARSH-HARRIER. 

Circus ^ruginosus (Linnteus). 

This species, known as the Moor-Buzzard so long as ' moor ' 
retained a signification alhed to ' mire ' or ' marsh,' can now be 
barely included among our indigenous birds. The principal cause 
of its decrease in England has been the drainage of the fens in 
the eastern districts, and the reclamation of the marshy wastes in 
Somerset, Dorset, Shropshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire and some other 
counties, where it used to breed until within the last thirty or forty 
years. Sometimes a pair or two attempt to rear their broods in the 
Broad-district of Norfolk, but are rarely, if ever, allowed to succeed, 
and I know of no other county in which this Harrier has recently 
nested ; though migrants from the Continent occur in spring and 
autumn, reaching Western England and Wales. In Scotland the 
Marsh-Harrier is very rare, even in the Solway district which is not 
altogether unsuited to its habits ; the only example Booth ever saw 
was an immature bird in East Lothian ; single instances are on 
record from Dumbartonshire as well as from Scalpa, near Skye ; 
Mr. Macleay of Inverness has received but one in all his long 
experience ; Mr. G. Sim of Aberdeen tells me that only a solitary 



3l6 MARSH-HARRIER. 

male, shot on May 12th 1881, has passed through his hands in thirty 
years; and on November 28th 1883 Mr. J. d. Millais shot a bird of 
the year in Hoy, Orkneys. In Ireland the species was formerly 
common about Lough Erne in co. Fermanagh, and along the valley 
of the Shannon, as well as in co. Cork and other districts ; but now 
it is only known to nest in Queen's County (where it is protected 
by Lord Castletown) and a few other areas. 

In Norway the Marsh-Harrier is of accidental occurrence, but it 
breeds in Denmark and the south of Sweden, while it is found sparingly 
in summer up to Archangel. In Middle and Southern Russia it is 
common, and resident in the latter, but from the northern districts 
it migrates in the cold season, as it does — at least partially — from its 
summer-haunts in Poland, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium 
and the north of France. In the marshes of the Spanish Peninsula, 
Italy, and the rest of Southern Europe it is abundant throughout 
the year, as it is in North Africa, from Morocco to Egypt ; while in 
winter it has been observed in Abyssinia, and perhaps even in the 
Transvaal. Eastward, it passes the summer in the temperate por- 
tions of Asia as far as the valley of the Ob, Turkestan and Kashmir ; 
migrating in the cold season to India, Ceylon and Burma. 

The nest, built of reeds and dry grass, is often a large firm 
structure, on a mass of sedge, but sometimes slight, and occasion- 
ally on the lower branches of a tree in or on the confines of a 
marsh. The eggs, 3-5 and even 6 in number, are pale bluish-white, 
seldom — if ever — with distinct brown markings : measurements i "9 in. 
by I "5 in. In the season the Marsh-Harrier is a sad destroyer of 
the eggs and young of waterfowl, while it also takes small mammals 
and birds ; but during the greater part of the year it feeds largely 
on frogs and reptiles, and the scarcity of these when the marshes 
are frozen is one of the causes of its departure from the north of 
Europe. 

The mature male has the head creamy-white, streaked with 
umber; mantle brown; primaries blackish; rest of the wings and 
the tail silvery-grey ; under parts buff, striped with brown on the 
breast and with chestnut on the belly and thighs ; under-wing white. 
In the female the tail and under parts are brown. Young birds are 
chocolate-brown, but the males have the entire crown of the head 
buffish-white, while the females have a yellowish patch streaked 
with brown, on the nape only. In subsequent stages the plumage 
of this species varies greatly. Length: male 21 in., wing 16 in. ; 
female 22*5 in., wing 16 -5 in. 



FALCONID.'E. 



3^7 




THE HEN-HARRIER. 

Circus cyaneus (Linnceus). 

The Hen-Harrier frequents higher and less marshy ground than 
the preceding species, and although it used to breed in (or on the 
rising ground above) the fen-district of Eastern England, before the 
spread of agricultural improvements, it was probably never common 
there, Montagu's Harrier being often mistaken for it. Of late years 
its numbers have been so far thinned by game-preservers that in 
England and Wales it is now only to be found nesting on a few of. 
the wildest and most extensive moorlands and wastes. Even in Scot- 
land and its islands, where this Harrier was formerly numerous, it is 
rapidly decreasing as a breeding-species ; but young birds are some- 
times fairly abundant as migrants in autumn, when the adults also 
come down from the moors to the lowlands, and the male (sometimes 
called " the Goshawk ") attracts attention by his pale grey plumage. 
These remarks apply equally to Ireland. Few — and those chiefly 
adults — are to be met with in the British Islands during winter. 

In Scandinavia and Northern Russia the Hen-Harrier is found in 
summer about as far north as lat. 69°, though rare near that limit ; 
and it is only south of 62'' that it becomes at all numerous in the 



3l8 HEN-HARRIER. 

last-named country. From March or April until autumn it is to be 
found in suitable localities in Denmark, Holland, Germany, &c., 
down to the Alps and the Carpathians. In France — where from its 
abundance on migration in November it is called Biisard Saint- 
Martin — a few breed on the high ground, down to the Pyrenees ; 
while a fair number nest in the north of the Spanish Peninsula, as 
well as in Italy. Throughout the basin of the Mediterranean the 
Hen-Harrier is chiefly known on passage and in winter, when it 
visits Morocco, Algeria, and North-eastern Africa as far south as 
Abyssinia. Eastward it is found across Asia, except Kamchatka, 
up to a little above the Arctic circle (though rare beyond 60° N.) in 
summer, and down to Canton in winter. Over the northern half of 
America it is represented by a closely-allied species, C. hudsonius. 

When placed on a bare hill-side the nest is often a slight struc- 
ture, though, if in deep heather or a dried-up marsh, it is frequently 
a mass of roots and plant-stems a foot high ; while in Germany a 
grain-field is a favourite site : whence the name Korn-weihe. The 
4-6 eggs are bluish-white, exceptionally with genuine yellowish-brown 
markings or even bold rusty blotches : measurements i"8 by i"45 
in. Incubation, which devolves upon the female, seldom commences 
before the latter part of May, and lasts three weeks. Like other 
Harriers, this species quarters the ground with great regularity in 
search of the small mammals, birds and reptiles which form its food ; 
but, though destructive to game, there is no evidence that it is — or 
ever was — an especial scourge of the poultry-yard, as might be 
inferred from its trivial name. The flight is particularly buoyant, 
and often low ; the light-coloured rump being very noticeable when 
the bird is soaring or hovering. 

The adult male has the upper parts pale slate-grey ; rump white ; 
throat and breast bluish-grey ; remaining under parts white. In 
younger males there are five ashy bars on the tail, and brown streaks 
on the flanks, thighs and nape. Cere, irides and legs yellow. Length 
19 in., wing 13-5 in. The female is brown above, streaked with 
white on the nape and on the edges of the distinct facial ruff; rump 
white, marked with rufous ; tail brown, with five darker bars — whence 
this sex was formerly called the Ring-tail, and was considered a 
distinct species ; under parts buffish-brown, with darker stripes. 
Length 21 in., wing 15 in. The young resemble the female, and 
have, like her, brown irides, but their plumage is more rufous in tint. 

In this and the preceding two species — and, I believe, in all 
except Montagu's and the Pallid Harrier — the outer webs of the 
primaries to the 5th inclusive are emarginated. 



FALCONID.'E. 



319 




\V^^ 



MONTAGU'S HARRIER. 

Circus cineraceus (Montagu). 

This species, first distinguished from the Hen-Harrier by Mon- 
tagu, is smaller and more slender than that bird, with proportionately 
longer wings ; and in any stage of plumage it may infallibly be recog- 
nized by the outer web of its 5th primary having no emargination. 

Montagu's Harrier was never a resident in the British Islands, as 
erroneously stated by Seebohm ; on the contrary, it is merely a spring 
and summer visitor to Europe (hardly excepting the Mediterranean 
basin), and its northerly range is not extensive. To us it comes in 
April, and a pair or two make their nest — often fruitlessly — almost 
every year in East Anglia ; while instances are on record of it 
having bred of late years in Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Hants — 
including the Isle of Wight — and other counties of England, as well 
as in Wales ; and it even reaches to Yorkshire, beyond which it is 
rare. In the Solway district a female, which had evidently been 
sitting, was shot, according to Mr. R. Service, on June 15th 1882, 
and there have been a few other occurrences ; but the species is un- 
known in Scotland, except in the south, and statements that it has 
bred in Sutherland or visited Caithness are unfounded. In Ireland 



320 MONTAGUS HARRIER. 

six examples have been obtained since 1849, from co. Dublin south- 
ward ; one of these on May 21st, one on July 3rd, and the others 
in autumn. 

The St. Petersburg district and the Gulf of Finland appear to 
mark the extreme northern breeding-limits of this Harrier ; but it is 
abundant in summer in Central and Southern Russia, and on the 
steppes of the latter a few remain throughout the winter. It seldom 
visits Heligoland, and is not numerous in Denmark or Northern 
Germany ; but to the central and southern districts of the latter it is 
a regular visitor, arriving in March and leaving in October ; while in 
Holland, Belgium, and many parts of France it is more or less 
common ; large flocks often congregating at the time of migration. 
A considerable number breed in the Spanish Peninsula and other 
parts of the south of Europe, passing through in autumn and again 
in spring, and many are killed in Malta on their migrations to and 
from Africa. Montagu's Harrier also nests in Morocco and Algeria, 
while in winter it visits the Canaries and occurs in Africa as far 
south as Cape Colony. In Asia its range extends to Turkestan and 
the south-west of Siberia in summer, and to India, Ceylon and 
Burma in winter. 

The nest is ofcen a mere hollow lined with dry grass and bordered 
with twigs, in the middle of a small clearing in gorse or heather, 
and, on the Continent, in a field of grain ; but in the fens it is more 
substantially built of sedge. The 4-5 eggs, laid at intervals of two 
or three days, towards the end of May, are usually pale bluish-white, 
but sometimes spotted with reddish-brown : measurements, 1 7 by 
1-3 in. I never found the male bird on the nest. Like other 
Harriers, this species eats small mammals and birds, but its food 
consists principally of grass-snakes, vipers, lizards and other reptiles, 
large insects, such as grasshoppers and locusts, and, during the season, 
eggs of ground-nesting birds. From the crop of a male I once took 
two unbroken eggs of the Crested Lark, and the crushed remains of 
others. The flight is very light and elegant. 

The adult male has the upper parts slate-grey, with a black bar 
across the secondaries ; tail-feathers greyish, with five dark bars, 
except on the middle pair ; throat and breast ash-grey ; lower parts 
white streaked with rufous. Varieties ranging to an entirely sooty- 
black are not uncommon in this sex, but rare in the female. The 
latter is usually brown above, and buffish-white streaked with rufous- 
brown below ; the young are similar, but almost chestnut on the 
under parts. Length: male about 18 in., wing 14 in.; female 
19-25 in., wing 15-4 in. 



FALCONID^.. 




THE COMMON BUZZARD. 

BuTEO VULGARIS, Leach. 

As regards the British Islands, the epithet ' common ' is annually 
becoming less and less applicable to this species ; but there are 
districts in England — especially in the west — as well as Wales, where 
the bird may still be seen circling high in the air, and be heard 
uttering its plaintive mewing cry. Sixty years ago it used to breed 
in Norfolk and other eastern counties abounding with Partridges and 
ground-game, without being considered incompatible with their 
existence; but with the increase of Pheasant-worship the doom of 
the Buzzard was sealed. In Scotland it is chiefly found in the 
centre and west of the mainland, and a few pairs breed in the Inner 
Hebrides, but the bird is very rare in the Orkneys and of doubtful 
occurrence in the Shetlands. In Ireland it is almost extirpated as a 
nesting-species, but is an occasional visitor from autumn to spring. 

The Common Buzzard appears to reach its northern breeding-limit 
at about lat. 66° in Sweden ; while in Russia it is seldom found to 
the east of the Baltic Provinces or of the Vistula, beyond which its 
place is taken by the more rufous African Buzzard {B. deserioriun of 
many authors) ; and Dr. Menzbier thinks that where the two forms 
or species meet they interbreed. From Poland westward, however, 
the Common Buzzard is generally distributed throughout Europe ; 

c c 



322 COMMON BUZZARD. 

migrating to some extent even from Northern Germany during the 
colder months, but residing in the central districts. Small flocks 
pass over Heligoland throughout the year, except in June and July. 
In the south of Europe, though sometimes seen on passage in large 
numbers, the Buzzard is rather local as a breeding-species ; while in 
Western Asia, Egypt, and North Africa, the resident form is the 
aforesaid B. desertoriim. Our Buzzard, however, inhabits the Cape 
Verde Islands, Canaries and Madeira, while the Azores owe their 
name to its abundance when the Portuguese discovered that group. 

Cliffs, especially those covered with ivy or scrub, are favourite 
resorts in Wales, the Lake country and Scotland ; but in wooded 
districts the nest is usually built in a tree, and, when placed in a 
fork, is frequently a deep, bulky structure of sticks, with a slight 
cavity on the top, lined and surrounded with green leaves, which 
are renewed from time to time. The 3-4 eggs are greyish-white, 
blotched and streaked with reddish-brown and pale lilac ; measure- 
ments 2*25 by 175 in. Both birds take part in incubation, which 
usually begins about the middle of April and lasts four weeks. 
There is no evidence that this species is destructive to game, its 
ordinary food consisting of field-mice, moles and other small mam- 
mals, frogs, reptiles, grasshoppers, and even earth-worms ; but it 
takes small birds when it can pounce upon them unawares. Unless 
pressed by hunger, it is sluggish in its habits, though when on the 
wing its spiral gyrations are remarkably graceful. 

The plumage varies greatly, irrespective of sex or locality. Very 
old birds are dark brown above and below, with a few light 
markings on the breast ; tail brown, with twelve darker bars ; legs 
bare of feathers and yellow in colour. Length: male 21 in., wing 
i4'5 in. ; female 23 in., wing 16 in. Very handsome varieties — 
ranging from cream-colour mottled with brown to pure white — are 
often found on the Continent. The young bird has the upper 
parts paler ; throat brown, streaked with white ; breast blotched with 
brown on a white ground. 

A bird said to have been killed at Everley, Wiltshire, in September 
1864, was considered by the late Mr. J. H. Gurney to be 
B. desertorum ; and to this species he also ascribed two examples, 
obtained near Newcastle, in the Hancock collection. 

The American B. borealis is said to have been shot in Notting- 
hamshire in the autumn of i860 ; and a dealer's specimen of the 
American B. lineatus is stated to have been obtained near Kingussie 
on February 26th 1863. 



FALCONID^K. 



323 




THE ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD. 

BuTEO lag6pus (J. F. Gmelin). 

The Rough-legged Buzzard — distinguishable at a glance from 
the preceding species by having the front and sides of the legs 
feathered to the toes — is an irregular autumnal visitor to England ; 
considerable numbers, chiefly of immature birds, sometimes making 
their appearance in the eastern counties, and remaining, if 
unmolested, for the winter. In the south and west it is less 
frequent ; but it is not rare in the midlands and northward, its line of 
migration appearing to follow the Pennine range. In some of the 
northern and eastern parts of Scotland it is of almost annual 
occurrence; and in the winters of 1875-76, 1880-81, and the 
autumn of 1891, it was numerous down to the east and even the 
south of England. To Ireland, however, its visits have only been 
recorded about ten times : two of these in 1891 and one in 1895, 
all three in November. The often-repeated statement, made in 
1836, that the Rough-legged Buzzard nested, "year after year, on 
the ground, amongst the heather, in the moor-dells," near Hackness, 
in Yorkshire, rests upon a gamekeeper's recollection of twenty-four 

c c 2 



324 ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD. 

years earlier, and is contrary to the known habits of the bird ; 
while the assertion by Thomas Edward that the nestlings were taken 
from a wood near Banff in 1864, is probably as incorrect as many 
of his other records. 

The Rough-legged Buzzard is the commonest bird of prey in the 
higher districts of Scandinavia, and — beyond the wooded region — in 
Russia, nesting in the latter, irregularly, as far south as lat. 56°, as 
well as in the Baltic Provinces ; while in winter it goes down to the 
northern shores of the Caspian and to the Asiatic side of the Black 
Sea. Eastward it breeds in Siberia down to Baikalia and up to 
Kamchatka ; it is found in Alaska ; and it visits Northern Japan as 
well as Turkestan during the cold season. AVanderers have occurred 
as far south as Malta and other islands of the Mediterranean, and 
the bird is an occasional winter-visitor to the Pyrenees, though 
only frequent to the north of the Alps and the Carpathians. In 
North America it is represented by the more rufous and darker 
B. sancfi-johannis, fondly believed to visit England by owners of 
deep-coloured examples of the European bird. 

The nest is of large sticks when placed in trees, but when on a crag 
it is a slighter structure, lined with grass. The 3-5 eggs, often laid 
by the middle of May, are similar to those of the preceding species, 
but the average dimensions are a trifle larger and the markings are 
sometimes still more handsome. This Buzzard feeds, to some extent, 
on frogs, reptiles and birds, but largely on such small mammals as 
lemmings, moles and mice ; it can even manage an Arctic hare, and 
its partiality for rabbits has often proved fatal to it on the warrens 
of Norfolk and Suffolk. Open or marshy moorlands are more to its 
taste than wooded districts, in which respect it differs from the 
Common Buzzard ; its flight is bolder ; and in the air the white on 
the tail forms a good distinction. By some authorities this and 
other species with feathered legs have been placed in a separate 
genus, Archibuteo. 

The adult has the head and neck creamy-white, streaked with 
rusty-brown ; mantle dark brown ; basal part of the tail white, with 
a broad brown subterminal bar and several narrower bars on a 
mottled ground ; under parts huffish, barred with rufous brown, 
thickly on the abdomen and flanks ; legs feathered to the toes on 
the front and sides. Length 23-26 in.; wing i7-2-i8-5 in.; the 
female being larger than the male. The immature bird (represented 
in the woodcut) is browner in plumage and has less white on the 
tail ; the under parts are streaked rather than barred with brown. 



FALCONID^. 



325 




J^/|f^f7'P 



'III! I l^^V 



THE SPOTTED EAGLE. 

Aquila maculata (J. F. Gmelin). 

In January 1845 two examples of this wanderer to the British 
Islands were shot near Youghal in Ireland, and one of them — an 
immature bird — is preserved in the Museum of Trinity College, 
Dublin. Two young males were shot in Cornwall on December 4th 
t86o and early in November 1861, as recorded by the late E. H. 
Rodd ; and on December 28th 1861 a male was shot near Somerley, 
Hants, by a keeper of Lord Normanton's. Mr. W. A. Durnford 
states that a bird of this species was picked up dead on Walney 
Island, Lancashire, in 1875 ; and on October 31st 1885 an example 
was obtained in Northumberland. In 1891 no fewer than four 
were taken in Essex and Suffolk between October 29th and 
December i6th. 

A small form of Spotted Eagle breeds in the forests of Northern 
Germany and the Baltic Provinces of Russia, wanders to Sweden, 



326 SPOTTED EAGLE. 

and can be traced through Poland to Bessarabia. A larger form 
(which breeds occasionally in East Prussia, Poland, Galizia and 
Transylvania), occupies the forest-region of Russia eastward and 
southward as far as the steppes, as well as the Caucasus, Central 
Asia to Northern China, some parts of India, Persia, and Asia 
Minor. This is the form which nests in Turkey, the districts 
watered by and south of the Danube, suitable localities in Italy and 
the islands of the Mediterranean, and, sparingly, in North Africa ; 
while, though not common in the south of Spain, I have frequently 
seen and heard it in the Pyrenees. To Northern France, Belgium, 
Holland, and even the wooded valleys of the Moselle and the 
Rhine, both races are rare visitors. In winter they migrate 
entirely from their northern — and partially from their southern 
— haunts in Europe ; numbers ascending the Nile valley to 
Abyssinia. The chief difference in the adults is that of size ; an 
average male of the larger form being equal to a female of the 
smaller. In the young of the smaller form there is usually a more 
defined huffish patch on the nape, while the pale spots of the upper 
parts are limited to the secondaries and wing-coverts : whereas in 
the larger form these spots are also found on the scapulars and 
rump. It is chiefly — if not entirely — the larger which has visited 
the British Islands, and Mr. W. T. Blanford has decided that for 
this the proper name is A. maculata : Gmelin's Falco ncEvius being 
probably a Buzzard. A later name, A. clanga of Pallas, has been 
confusingly applied, especially on the Continent, to a larger and 
distinct species, namely the Steppe-Eagle, A. orientalis. 

The nest, almost invariably built in a tall tree, is a large flat 
structure of sticks, with a slight lining of fresh twigs, leaves or 
grass ; the 2-3 eggs, laid early in May, are greyish-white, streaked 
and often boldly blotched with ruddy brown : measurements 
2 "5 by 2'i in. Nests found on the ground in the Dobrudscha and 
South Russia, and formerly ascribed to this species, have proved 
to be those of the above-mentioned Steppe-Eagle. The food con- 
sists largely of frogs, but also of reptiles, grasshoppers, small birds and 
mammals. The loud and shrill cry is repeatedly uttered in spring. 

The general colour of the adult is warm coffee-brown or greyish- 
brown, according to the age of the feathers. The young bird is 
purplish-brown, with pale edges to the upper feathers — as shown in 
the cut — and ochreous streaks on the under parts. Length of 
wing : male 19-20 in. ; female 21-23 i"- The nostrils are round, not 
oval ; the legs (feathered to the toes) are rather long and slender. 



falconida:. 



327 




THE GOLDEN EAGLE. 



Aquila chrysaetus (Linnceus). 

As regards England, authenticated occurrences of this species in 
the south are exceedingly rare ; the birds recorded as " Golden " 
Eagles generally proving to be examples of the White-tailed or Sea- 
Eagle in the tawny-brown plumage of immaturity. At long intervals 
single specimens have been obtained in Sussex (Charleton Forest, 
prior to 1752), Norfolk (Stiff key, November 1868), Lincolnshire 
(November ist 1881 and October 29th 1895), and Northampton- 
shire (October 1849); while somewhat further northward this species 
is not much more frequent, although about two centuries ago it 
bred in Derbyshire and Wales, and almost within the last hundred 
years in the Cheviots and the Lake district. Across the Border, 
as Mr. R. Service informs me, there were eyries up to 1833 in the 
Moffat Hills, and for some years after 1850 in Ayrshire and Kirkcud- 
brightshire; but to the Lowlands of Scotland the Golden Eagle is now. 



328 GOLDEN EAGLE. 

at best, a rare visitor in the cold season. Its present breeding- 
places are confined to the Highlands and to the islands off the 
western coast, where, owing to the protection afforded by many of 
the proprietors of deer-forests, its numbers have, to some extent, 
recovered from the destructiveness of grouse-preservers. It no 
longer, however, nests in the Orkneys, and has never been known 
to do so in the Shetlands. In Ireland a few pairs remain in the 
north and west, but their years are numbered. 

The Golden Eagle inhabits the mountains as well as some of the 
forests of Europe, from Lapland to the Mediterranean ; North 
Africa; Asia, as far east as the Amur and Southern Japan, and south- 
ward to the Himalayas ; and also America north of lat. 35°; but it is 
unknown in Iceland or Greenland. Over this vast area considerable 
variations in size and plumage are observed : — examples from 
Western Europe being darker than those from the Central and 
Southern portion ; while adults as well as young from the eastern 
half of Russia have a great deal of white at the base of the tail. 
The maximum of size appears to be attained in the lofty ranges of 
Central Asia and the Himalayas, but some American birds are 
very large. Four distinct species — one of which is divided into five 
varieties — are recognised by some Russian naturalists ! 

The nest — placed on the ledge of a crag in mountainous regions, 
but often in a tree, and occasionally on the ground — is usually a large 
platform of sticks, lined with softer materials and the fresh tufts of 
Liizula sylvatica. The eggs, laid early in April, are 2 and some- 
times 3 in number, while an exceptional instance of 4 was recorded 
by the late Sir J. ^^^ P. Campbell-Orde. Some are dull greyish- 
white or mottled-buff; others are streaked, blotched, or even richly 
suffused with shades of reddish brown and lilac ; and at times only 
one white egg will be found in the nest: measurements 2*9 by 
2'3 in. In Scotland the "Black Eagle," as it is called (and some 
equivalent of that name prevails wherever the bird is known), feeds 
to a great extent upon mountain-hares, while on the Continent it 
eats marmots and similar animals ; it also takes grouse and other 
birds, lambs, occasionally fawns and the ' calves ' of red deer, and, 
when pressed by hunger, it does not refuse carrion. Its note is a 
shrill squeal, ending in an abrupt bark. 

The general colour is dark brown, tawny on the nape ; the tail is 
mottled with dark grey in the adults, but the basal half is white in 
the young, which have also white bases to their body-feathers ; 
thighs dark brown ; legs feathered to the toes. Length 32-36 in. ; 
wing 24-27 in. ; the female being decidedly larger than the male. 



FALCON I D^. 



329 




THE WHITE-TAILED EAGLE. 

Haliaetus albicilla (Linnaeus). 

Immature examples of this species — also called Erne, Cinereous or 
Sea-Eagle — are not unfrequently observed in the maritime counties 
of England in autumn and winter, at the time v.-hen the birds reared 
in the northern parts of Europe are on their migration southward, 
but adults are of very rare occurrence. Within the last hundred 
years the White-tailed Eagle bred in the Isle of Man and the Lake 
district ; in comparatively recent times in Galloway, Dumfriesshire, 
and other places on the south-western mainland of Scotland, and not 
long ago in Argyll ; but now its eyries are confined to some of the 
western and northern islands. In Ireland, where it was formerly 
more numerous than the Golden Eagle, its propensities for carrion 
have led to its destruction by poison, and only on the west coast 
can a pair or two be found. 



53° 



WHITE-TAILED EAGLE. 



The White-tailed Eagle is now only a visitor to the Faeroes ; but 
it is a resident in Iceland, and also in the south of Greenland, 
visiting the northern districts of the latter in summer. In North 
America it is represented by the Bald Eagle, II. leucocephalus, a 
species with a pure white head and neck, which has erroneously 
been stated to occur in Iceland, Scandinavia, and even in Ireland ! 
Our White-tailed Eagle occurs on Novaya Zemlya (Pearson), and 
inhabits the neighbourhood of salt or fresh water in Scandinavia, 
Denmark, Northern Germany, Russia, the valley of the Danube, 
and Turkey ; visiting the rest of Europe, the Canaries, and 
Northern Africa ; it even breeds in the reed-beds of Lake Menzaleh 
in Lower Egypt ; while eastward we trace it across Asia to Kam- 
chatka, Manchuria, and China down to 28^ N. in summer; and in 
winter to Japan and India. Though it wanders to the Commander 
Islands, the representative species in the long chain of the Aleutian 
Islands appears to be the American Bald Eagle. 

The nest, similar to that of the Golden Eagle, is often placed on a 
sea-cliff, but sometimes on an inland rock ; frequently in a tree or 
wide-spreading bush on some small island in a loch; occasionally on 
the ground. When built in swamps, as in Lower Egypt, it resembles 
a gigantic nest of the Marsh-Harrier, being raised to a considerable 
height above the deep surrounding mud. The eggs, usually 2 in 
number, dull white in colour, and measuring about 2*85 by 2 "2 in., 
are laid in Scotland in April ; but as early as February in the south- 
east of Europe, and by December or January in Egypt. Few kinds 
of fish, flesh, fowl or carrion come amiss to this species. The cry 
is a loud yelp. 

Very old birds have the head and neck nearly white streaked with 
ash-brown ; mantle brown ; primaries nearly black; tail wedge-shaped, 
and white in colour ; under parts dark brown ; beak, cere, irides, legs 
and feet yellow. Length : male 33 in., wing 24 in. ; female 36 in., wing 
26 in. The young bird is dark brown, mottled with fulvous on the 
mantle and wings ; tail dark brown ; beak black ; cere and irides 
pale brown. The full plumage is not attained till the fifth or sixth 
year. Varieties of a uniform bluish-grey, yellowish-grey, and silvery- 
white are on record. 

In the White-tailed Eagle the lower part of the tarsus is bare of 
feathers, while the whole length of each toe is covered with broad 
scales. In the foot of the Golden Eagle the tarsus is clothed with 
feathers to the base of the toes, each of these being covered with 
small reticulations as far as the last joint, beyond which there are 
three broad scales. 



FALCONID^.. 



331 




THE GOSHAWK. 

AsTUR PALU.MBARius (Liniiaeus). 

Adult examples of the Goshawk are rarely obtained in the British 
Islands ; but immature birds have occurred, at long intervals, in 
autumn and winter, and sometimes in spring. These visitors are, 
naturally, most frequent on the east coast of England and Scotland ; 
but instances are on record from the vicinity of London, the southern, 
the midland, and even the western counties. In Saxon times, and as 
late as 1472 (Paston letters), falconers used to turn their Goshawks into 
the woods in spring, in order that young might be obtained later, but 
it may be doubted if the species was ever numerous in England. In 
Scotland, prior to 1804, Colonel Thornton received a nestling from 
the forest of Rothiemurchus, and saw some eyries in the old fir- 
woods in the valley of the Spey ; but there is no later proof that 
this species has bred in any part of Great Britain. Neither Mr. R. 



332 GOSHAWK. 

Service nor the veteran taxidermist Mr. Hastings have ever met with 
an example anywhere in the Solway district ; and it must be 
remembered that in many parts of Scotland (and elsewhere) the 
Peregrine Falcon is often miscalled ' Goshawk.' It is unknown ni 
Sutherland, and nearly so in Caithness and the Shetlands ; but in 
the Outer Hebrides a young male was shot in December 1887 or 
January 1S8S. In Ireland only three occurrences are authenticated. 

The Goshawk is a rare visitor to Heligoland. It is common in 
the forest-regions of Scandinavia and Russia, down to the Black 
and Caspian Seas ; it is also abundant in the wooded districts of 
Germany and Central Europe generally, and not rare in many 
parts of France, especially Normandy. In Italy, as well as in the 
Spanish Peninsula, it is rather scarce and local, though it breeds as 
far south as Andalucia ; it even nests in Morocco ; while in winter it 
visits Egypt and Palestine. Eastward it ranges across Asia to the 
Sea of Okhotsk, Japan, and China. The young migrate from the 
northern districts ; the adults rarely do so. 

Though the old nest of some other species is occasionally repaired, 
the bird frequently builds its own, which is a large structure of sticks, 
placed in a tree — generally on the outskirts of a forest or near a 
clearing, and used year after year. The 4 eggs, laid in April or early 
in May, are pale bluish-grey, occasionally with a few rusty markings: 
measurements 2*3 by i'8 in. The Goshawk is a bold and rapacious 
species, preying upon hares and smaller mammals, water-fowl, game- 
birds and poultry ; the shortness of its wings and the steering power 
given by its comparatively long tail enabling it to follow with 
marvellous rapidity every turn of its quarry, which it takes in a 
style called trussing by falconers. Its hearing is very acute. 

The adult has a narrow white line above the eye and ear-coverts ; 
upper parts ash-brown, with four broad dark bars on the tail ; under 
parts white, thickly barred with dull black ; cere, iris, and legs 
yellow. Male: length 20 in., wing 12 in.; female: length 23 in., 
wing 14 in. The young bird has the upper parts brown, and five 
dark bands on the tail ; under parts warm buff, with numerous 
drop-shaped markings of dark brown ; iris pearl-white. 

A specimen of the American Goshawk, Asfiir atricapiUiis, said 
— on somewhat slight evidence — to have been obtained in Perth- 
shire in 1869, is in the Edinburgh Museum ; and another, shot in 
Tipperary in 1870, is in the Dublin Museum. This distinct, though 
nearly allied species, has closely freckled — not barred — under parts ; 
it is not likely to be a genuine visitor to the British Islands. 



FALCON I D^. 



333 




THE SPARROW-HAWK. 



AcciPiTER Nisus (Linnffius). 

The Sparrow-Hawk is generally distributed in Great Britain and 
also in Ireland, wherever there are woodlands suited to its tastes. 
It is emphatically an arboreal species, and is, naturally, of rare 
occurrence in the Orkneys, Shetlands, and Outer Hebrides, where 
the long-winged Kestrel often bears the name — as elsewhere it 
suffers for the delinquencies — of this dashing short-winged species. 

In autumn the Sparrow-Hawk is frequently observed at our light- 
ships and stations on the east coast ; and large numbers sometimes 
cross Heligoland on their way from higher latitudes — the young 
passing first, and the adults following. The breeding-range extends 
northward to the limits of forest-growth, and southward to the 
Mediterranean ; comparatively few birds, however, remain to nest in 
Spain or Italy, where this species is chiefly noticed on passage, when 
following the flocks of small birds on which it preys. It occurs in 
Madeira, the Canaries, North Africa, and Egypt as far up the Nile 
as Assouan, and migrates to Kordofan. In Asia it is found across 
Siberia to Kamchatka and Japan, and breeds, sparingly, down to 
Kashmir and the Himalayas, while in winter its range extends to 
the latitude of Canton. There are many other members of this 
genus, possessing a well-defined geographical range ; but the 



334 SPARROW-HAWK. 

only one which need be noticed is the Levant Sparrow-Hawk, 
A. brevipes^ which inhabits the area between Central Russia and 
Syria, and appears to be extending its range in a westerly direction ; 
it may be recognized by its much shorter legs. 

Like the Goshawk, this species usually builds its own nest, 
composed of sticks with a slight lining of twigs, and invariably 
places it in a tree, often on the branches close to and sheltered by 
the bole, or near the top : sometimes, however, it adapts and adds to 
the deserted abode of a Crow, Wood-Pigeon, or other bird. The 
4-6 eggs are pale bluish-white, blotched, mottled, and often zoned 
with various shades of reddish-brown : measurements i-6 by i"25 in. 
In this country they are generally laid early in May, at intervals 
of two days, and incubation lasts nearly seven weeks. When 
urged by the necessities of a clamorous brood the Sparrow-Hawk is 
even more bold and rapacious than at other times, and is then 
especially dangerous to the young of game and poultry ; but it 
feeds principally on other birds, even Magpies and Wood-Pigeons, 
snapping them up in an instant, as it glides with rapid though stealthy 
flight along hedges or the skirts of woods. Like all the other short- 
winged species, it feeds on the ground — usually under shelter of a 
tree, bush or hedge-row, and the small heap of feathers unmis- 
takably marks the spot where it has dined ; for, unlike the Falcons, 
the Hawks require both feet to secure their quarry and do not seem 
to know where its life lies, so that perching is then awkward for 
them (Delme'-Radcliffe). In India and Japan the Sparrow-Hawk is 
still prized by native falconers ; and in this country it has been 
trained to take Quails, Partridges, &c. 

The adult male has the upper parts slate-blue, mottled with white 
on the nape ; tail greyish-brown, with from three to five dark bars ; 
cheeks and ear-coverts bright rufous ; under parts buff, barred with 
reddish brown ; cere greenish yellow ; irides orange ; legs and feet 
yellow; middle toe very long and slender. Length 13 in., wing 
775 in. The female is much larger, measuring i5'4 in., wing 9 in.; 
her breast is usually greyish white, barred with ash-brown, and there 
is a rufous patch on the flanks ; when very old, however, she attains 
the plumage of the adult male. The young are sepia-brown above, 
with rufous edges to the feathers : and the under parts are white, 
with rufous-brown bars, so broad on the throat as almost to deserve 
the name of spots ; iris pale yellow to orange. Both sexes have 
been known to breed in immature livery. Few birds vary so much 
in plumage and size as the Sparrow-Hawk. 



FALCONID.-E. 



335 




THE KITE. 

MiLvus ictInus, Savigny. 

This species— the Anglo-Saxon Cyta (Newton), and also known as 
the Gled or Glead, in allusion to its gliding flight — may, from the 
colour of its tail and upper plumage, conveniently be called the Red 
Kite, when the necessity arises for distinguishing it from its con- 
geners. Within the recollection of persons still living it was tolerably 
common in many of the wooded districts of England and Wales, 
but for many years it has not been known to breed in the south- 
eastern counties ; one of the last nests known in Lincolnshire — a 
former stronghold — was in 1870 ; and in the few spots still inhabited 
in the Western Midlands, the Marches, and Wales, this handsome 
bird will soon be exterminated by the collector of British specimens 
unless the most stringent measures are taken. In Scotland it 
survives in a few localities, though there the value of its tail-feathers 
for salmon-flies adds to the risk which it elsewhere incurs from the 
gamekeeper ; while, exceptionally, stragglers have reached the 
Orkneys, and perhaps the Shetlands. The Kite is not, however, 



336 KITE. 

much addicted to migration. At long intervals single birds or pairs 
— wanderers from the Continent — are observed in the eastern por- 
tion of Great Britain ; but as the Kite is not often permitted to 
pass westward, the gaps left by the destruction of our indigenous 
and resident birds have little chance of being filled. In Ireland, 
according to the late Mr. More, it has only been observed five or 
six times. 

To Heligoland the Kite is a very rare visitor. In Scandinavia it 
is not known to breed north of lat. 6i°, whence it emigrates on the 
approach of cold weather ; as it does also from Denmark and 
Germany, where it is common in summer. In Russia it is not 
found to the east of the Governments of Tula and Orel, or of the 
river Dneiper. Over the rest of Europe it is generally distributed, 
and in the Mediterranean basin it is resident, as it is in the 
Canaries. It is not rare in North Africa as far east as Tunis, but 
in Egypt it is represented by M. cegyptiiis ; it breeds, however, in 
Palestine and Asia Minor, though more abundant there in winter. 

The nest, which is usually placed in a tree — though in North 
Africa it has been found in crags — is composed of sticks, mixed with 
a variety of rubbish — such as bones, fragments of newspapers and 
old rags, as well as the " lesser linen " for which the Kite's pre- 
dilection was well known to Shakespeare. The eggs, laid in April 
or early in May, and rarely more than 3 in number, are dull white 
or very pale blue, spotted, blotched, and sometimes streaked with 
reddish brown: measurements 2"25 by 175 in. The food is offal, 
small mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, and fish ; but though the Kite 
is detrimental to very young game and poultry (especially when it 
has to satisfy a brood), and is emphatically a " snapper-up of uncon- 
sidered trifles," it is not a powerful species. On the wing the wide 
circles of its flight are remarkably graceful ; either side of the out- 
spread tail being raised or depressed at will, and serving to govern 
the bird's course. In the "search for prey a large extent of ground 
is daily covered. The cry is a shrill whhv, heh-heh-heh. 

The adult has the head and neck white, striped with black \ mantle 
rufous-brown ; primaries blackish ; tail rufous and much forked ; 
under parts rusty red, striped with dark brown on the breast ; under 
side of wings whitish, with a dark patch (very conspicuous in 
flight); legs and feet yellow; iris yellowish-white. Length about 
25 in., wing 20 in. The male is a trifle smaller than the female, but 
his colours are brighter and his tail is longer and more forked. The 
young are paler and more mottled on both upper and under parts. 



FALCONID.t. 



337 




THE BLACK KITE. 

MiLvus MIGRANS (Boddaert). 

Although the Black Kite is a regular summer-visitor to the 
valleys of the Rhine and the Moselle, as well as to other districts of 
the Continent at no great distance from our shores, yet only one 
example is known to have been obtained in Great Britain. This, an 
adult male, now in the Newcastle Museum, was taken in a trap in 
the deer-park at Alnwick, and brought in a fresh state to the late 
Mr. John Hancock on May nth iS66. 

On Heligoland the Black Kite has seldom been identified, but 
it arrives on the southern side of the Baltic about the end of March, 
and leaves again in September. Owing to its partiality for marshy 
forests, open valleys and the vicinity of water, it is local in its 
distribution, and it is only an irregular visitor to Holland, Belgium 
and the north of France ; but it breeds annually, in suitable 
localities, in Germany, the lake-districts of Switzerland, and the 
southern half of France ; while it is abundant in Spain from the 
beginning of March until October, though not numerous on the 
mainland and islands of Italy, or in Greece. It is distributed over 
Central Europe, and is found in Russia, from Finland and the 

D D 



338 BLACK KITE. 

province of Archangel down to the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. 
In Asia it breeds as far east as Southern Afghanistan, though as a 
rule the representative species beyond the Ural Mountains are 
M. govinda and M. inelanotis. In Egypt the resident bird is the 
yellow-billed M. cBgyptius, but in winter the Black Kite visits South 
Africa and INIadagascar (Newton). It breeds in Africa north of the 
Atlas, and is resident in the Cape Verde Islands. 

The eggs, seldom laid before the beginning of May, are usually 
2 in number, similar in appearance to those of the Red Kite, but 
rather smaller. The nest is frequently placed in a crag in Algeria, 
particularly one studded with bushes or scrub ; in Europe, towers, 
ruins, and especially trees — even in populous towns like Pera — are 
selected, and in Spain I have found ten or more nests in a small 
patch of marshy wood. At Bayonne the Black Kite may often be seen 
crossing the streets and steering its way among the telegraph wires, 
or picking up offal and small fish from the river Adour. The latter, 
which it often devours while on the wing, are favourite food ; also 
reptiles, frogs, grasshoppers, small birds and mammals. 

The adult male has the throat and forehead whitish and the 
crown pale rufous, streaked with black ; mantle umber-brown ; tail 
rather rufous-brown with blackish bars ; under parts rufous-brown, 
especially the flanks ; bill black. Length 24 in. ; wing 18 in. The 
female is slightly larger. The young bird is paler in colour, and 
the upper feathers have pale edges. The term ' Black ' is not 
inapplicable to this bird as observed flying, when the dark under- 
surfaces of the wings and the general sombre hue of the plumage 
are noticeable ; the tail is much less forked than in the Red Kite. 

An example of the American Swallow-tailed Kite, Elanoides 
furcatus, was taken alive during a heavy thunderstorm, near Hawes 
in Yorkshire, on September 6th 1805, but afterwards made its 
escape, and there is ground for suspecting that it had previously 
been in confinement. There are other records of the occurrence in 
Great Britain of this chiefly Neo-tropical species, but none of these 
are, to my mind, satisfactory, and the species has never occurred on 
the Continent. 

I have examined an immature specimen of the Black-winged 
Kite, Elanus cccrukus, said to have been shot about 1862, in co. 
Meath ; but it was unrecognized for ten years, and the evidence is 
insufficient. The species is semi-tropical. In the Museum at 
Dieppe is (or was) a specimen said to have been obtained on 
September ist 1841, after a gale from the south-west. 



FALCONID.^. 



539 




THE HONEY-BUZZARD. 



Pernis APivoRUS (Linnceus). 

The Honey-Buzzard is an annual summer-visitor to those wooded 
districts of Europe which lie between 43° N. lat. and the Arctic 
circle, and a limited number pass as far west as Great Britain in 
May and June ; while the fact that some nested with us has 
been known since the days of Willughby. On the return-passage 
in autumn, examples, mostly young, have been obtained in England 
up to the latter part of November, as well as on the east coast of 
Scotland. To V\'ales this species rarely wanders, but it has bred 
several times as far west as Herefordshire, and its nests have been 
found at intervals in various counties, from Hampshire up to 
Aberdeenshire and East Ross-shire. About i860 it became known 
that several pairs annually resorted to the New Forest ; ^5 soon 
became the standard price which collectors of ' British ' specimens 
were willing to pay for a couple of well-marked eggs ; and nearly 
^40 were given for a pair of old birds with their nestlings. By 
about 1870 most of the birds had been killed ; and it is with difficulty 
that the few which still visit us are preserved. In the Shetlands the 

D D 2 



340 HONEY-BUZZARD. 

Hoiiey-Buzzard has occurred several times on migration, and probably 
in the Orkneys. To Ireland it is a rare visitor, chiefly in autumn. 

In Norway the Honey-Buzzard does not breed above the south- 
eastern districts ; but in Sweden, Finland and Russia it extends up 
to, and even a little beyond, the Arctic circle. Large numbers pass 
over Heligoland. Southward, this species is distributed throughout 
Europe during the summer, to Bulgaria, Italy as far as the Adriatic, 
the Pyrenees, and the mountain forests of Northern Spain ; but 
in the rest of the Peninsula, and, in fact, throughout the Mediter- 
ranean basin, it is principally known on passage. Vast flocks have 
been observed traversing the Straits of Gibraltar from Morocco 
early in [May and repassing in September ; while the species is a 
regular migrant in Tunisia, less frequent in Egypt, passes by Sinai, 
and crosses the Bosphorus to and from Asia Minor. Eastward 
it can be traced through Turkestan to Eastern Siberia, where it 
becomes rare, as it is also in China and Japan. In the Indian region 
its representative is the Crested Honey-Buzzard, P. ptilorhyiichiis. 
Our Honey-Buzzard visits South Africa and Madagascar in winter. 

The nest, usually placed upon the remains of the former abode of 
some other large bird, and often in the main fork of an oak or a 
beech, is well lined — and sometimes sheltered — with fresh twigs 
and leaves of the latter. The round and glossy eggs, generally 2, 
sometimes 3, and exceptionally 4 in number, are laid in June, 
and are creamy-white, blotched and often deeply suffused with rich 
brown or red : measurements i'9 by 17 in. Both male and female 
incubate, the sitting bird being regularly fed by the other. Wasps, 
wild bees and their larvae form the principal food of this species in 
summer, but other insects are also eaten, as are, occasionally, birds, 
mice and other small mammals, slugs, worms and caterpillars. 
Owing to the thickness of the foliage at the time of its visits, and 
the fact that its prey is chiefly obtained upon the ground, this species 
is by no means conspicuous, except during migration. It runs with 
ease and rapidity. The cry, seldom uttered except by the young, 
is a shrill kee. 

The adult male has the head ashy-grey; upper parts brown; three or 
four distinct blackish bars on the tail ; under parts white, barred and 
spotted with brown on the breast. The female is slightly larger, 
and the grey on the head is usually limited to the lores. Length 
from 22 to 25 in., wing 17-18 in. The young bird has a whitish 
head and pale edges to the upper feathers ; the under parts being 
white streaked with brown : a dark brown form, however, occurs, 
while varieties are not rare. 



J 



FALCONID^. 



341 




THE GREENLAND FALCON. 

Falco candicans, J. F. Gmelin. 

Considerable difference of opinion has long existed respecting the 
specific distinctness of some of the large Northern Falcons, for 
which several systematists have adopted the genus Hierofako ; and 
the late ]\Ir. John Hancock was the first to show that in the Green- 
land Falcon the prevailing ground-colour is white at all ages, whereby 
it may always be distinguished from the Iceland Falcon, or any 
other member of the group which occurs in Europe. Being a 
summe-r-inhabitant of Arctic regions, where food is almost unobtain- 
able in winter, this species is forced to migrate, and consequently 
examples have been taken from time to time in the British Islands. 
These have naturally occurred with greater frequency in Scotland and 
the north of England than in the south, though an immature bird, 
the subject of the present figure and now in the British Museum, 
was shot in Pembrokeshire, and examples have been obtained in 



342 GREENLAND FALCON. 

Breconshire, Sussex, Devon and Cornwall. Ireland, as might be 
expected from its geographical position, has not been unfavoured : 
Mr. R. J. Ussher informs me that nineteen examples have been 
identified, and that on eight occasions birds which seemed to be 
pairs were noticed, while the records for April are twice as numerous 
as for any other month, though the winter of 1883-84 afforded 
eight. There are also eleven Irish records which cannot definitely 
be referred to this or the next species. 

It may be doubted whether the true Greenland Falcon nests to 
the south of the Arctic circle. It was obtained on Jan Mayen 
Island, and is probably the species which has been seen on Spits- 
bergen, as well as Novaya Zemlya ; while its head-quarters are in 
the northern portion of the country whence it takes its name. 
Mr. Chichester Hart, of H.M.S. 'Discovery,' saw a pair nesting on 
Grinnell Land, in 79° 41' N. lat. ; while westward a 'white' Falcon 
can be traced through Arctic America to Alaska, across Bering 
Straits to Kamchatka and Arctic Siberia, and, in spring, to the 
Amur. ]Mr. Barrett-Hamilton brought from Bering Island a white 
bird which seems to be F. candicaus. No example has been 
obtained on Franz Josef Land. In the British Museum are 
specimens, presented by Mr. J. G. Millais, from Akureyri and 
Reykjavik in Iceland ; and from that island were brought (probably 
in transit) the 'white falcons' which were accepted as tribute or 
gifts worthy of royalty in the Middle Ages. Greenland Falcons 
have visited Norway, Sweden and Heligoland, and have even 
ranged as far south as the French side of the Pyrenees in winter. 

The eggs, sometimes 4 in number, are pale orange-red in 
ground-colour, w'ith darker mottlings and spots : measurements 2 '2 
by I '8 in. ; they are placed on a bare ledge of rock, or on the old 
nest of some other bird. In the north the food of this species consists 
of Ptarmigan and Willow-Grouse, lemmings and other mammals. 

The adult is chiefly white, with blackish streaks and elongated 
spots on the upper parts ; the under parts being pure white or only 
slightly spotted, and the flanks devoid of bars ; but the individual 
variation is very great. In the first plumage the markings are 
brownish and very broad above, but drop-shaped below, the tail 
being more or less barred. The adult dress is assumed at the first 
complete moult, and never varies afterwards. Length of the male 
21 in. ; wing 14-5 in. ; female 23 in. ; wing 16 in. Cere, bill, legs 
and feet pale yellow in the adult ; light bluish-grey in the young. 
In this, as in all true Falcons, the irides are dark hazel : — not 
yellow, as in the short-winged Hawks. 



FALCONID^. 



343 




THE ICELAND FALCON. 

Falco islandus, J. F. Gmelin. 

In the Iceland Falcon the prevailing colour is either brown or 
grey, according as the bird is young or old, and in the adult the 
flanks are always more or less barred. The occurrences of this 
species in the British Islands appear, so far as evidence goes, to be 
less frequent than those of the Greenland Falcon, possibly because 
there is not the same necessity for migration ; but identified 
specimens have been obtained in the Shetlands, Orkneys, Outer 
and Inner Hebrides, and in several localities on the mainland of 
Scotland ; also in Northumberland, Westmoreland, Yorkshire, and 
on Herm in the Channel Islands. In Ireland authentic examples 
have been captured in Donegal, Antrim, and near BelmuUet and 
Westport in co. Mayo — the last in 1883. 

The typical form of this Falcon inhabits Iceland, where it breeds 
in precipitous cliffs above the numerous lakes — especially near 



344 ICELAND FALCON. 

My-vatn, whence the late W. Proctor of Durham used to receive 
eggs and a few skins almost every year, after he had visited that 
locality. In Greenland, south of the Arctic circle, there is a 
representative form which is known as F. holboelli ; this is w^hiter 
than the typical Icelander, though darker than the Greenlander, 
and has some bars on the flanks, while there is a little yellow at the 
base of the bill. Either this, or else the true Icelander, occurs on 
Jan Mayen Island, as well as the Greenland Falcon. Labrador is 
inhabited by F. obsoletus of American systematists, a very dark 
greyish-brown bird, easily recognizable. I cannot find any conclusive 
evidence of the occurrence of the typical Icelander in Germany, 
Holland, or France, but the species has been taken in Norway. 

In Iceland the eggs, 3-4 in number, and similar in size and 
appearance to those of the Greenland Falcon, are deposited on the 
ledge of a cliff, or on the former abode of some other bird, 
frequently a Raven. The food consists of water-fowl, waders, and 
largely of Arctic species of Grouse (often called ' Ptarmigan '), 
which are captured on the wing. 

The adult is represented by the front figure in the engraving ; 
the prevailing colour of the upper parts being brownish-grey on a 
creamy ground, while the under parts are of a purer white ; the bill 
is bluish horn-colour, the legs and feet are yellowish. The young 
bird (in the rear) is ashy-brown above, while the under parts are 
marked with dark drop-shaped spots ; the feet are more inclined to 
yellow than they are in the young Greenland Falcon. Length of 
the female 23 in., wing 16 in. ; of the male 21 in., wing i4"5 in. 
There is great individual variation, and some examples show a 
greyish ground-colour which closely approaches that of the next 
species. 

Among the Northern Falcons there is great individual variation, 
from the nestling stage onward. The first moult usually begins in 
April, when the bird is nearly a year old, and after that moult is 
completed — as it should be by October— there will be no further 
change in the pattern or character of the plumage. That is to say, 
the bird which then exhibits numerous dark markings will reproduce 
them at each successive moult to the end of its life, while a pale 
bird will remain so. The intensity of the markings may perhaps 
become fainter when the feathers are old and ready to be cast. 
These remarks equally apply to the Peregrine Falcon. 



FALC0NID.1i. 



545 




THE GYR-FALCON. 

F.\LCO GYRFALCO, Linnffius. 

Careful examination of the Northern Falcons has convinced me 
of the recognizable distinctness of the representative of the Iceland 
Falcon resident in Scandinavia, although at one time I was sceptical 
on this point, owing to want of experience as well as of material. 
The true F. gyrfako of Linnaeus is rather smaller in the head and 
body than the Icelander (though its tail is longer) and its wings are 
shorter in proportion, the grey of the ground-colour is of a more 
decidedly lavender tint ; the crown and sides of the head are much 
darker, the lower cheek-patch or stripe being sometimes so strongly 
developed that the bird resembles a large Peregrine ; while the 
flanks and under surface are very strongly barred. 

In the collection of Mr. W. Borrer, of Cowfold, Sussex, there is a 
fine example of this species, shot at Mayfield, in January 1845, 



346 GYR-FALCON. 

during severe weather, when in the act of devouring a pigeon on 
the top of a wheat-stack. Mr. EUman, its original owner, was 
for a long time under the impression that it was a light-coloured 
Peregrine, until Mr. Borrer convinced him that it belonged to the 
group of Northern Falcons ; it was then assigned to F. islatidus^ and 
was subsequently recognized as F. gyrfalco by that great authority, 
the late Mr. J. H. Gurney (Borrer's B. Sussex, pp. 5, 6). I had the 
pleasure of examining this specimen on INIarch 5th 1898; it is in 
adult plumage. An immature example, shot near Orford, Suffolk, 
in October 1867, has been assigned by Dr. R. B. Sharpe to this 
species. 

The Gyr-Falcon inhabits Norway and Sweden, while, according to 
Dr. Menzbier, it is common and resident about the Varanger Fjord, 
and occasionally breeds in Russian Lapland ; in fact Mr. H. J. 
Pearson found a nest containing two young birds on a cliff near 
Sviati Nos, on the Murman coast, in June 1895. It does not 
appear to migrate regularly or to any great extent, but from time to 
time birds referable to this species have been obtained further south 
in Russia than the district of St. Petersburg, as well as in Poland, 
Northern Germany and Holland. 

The late Mr. John WoUey was, I believe, the first naturalist who 
gave, from his own observations (chiefly in West Finmark), any 
particulars of the breeding of this species, and for full details 
reference should be made to Prof Newton's ' Ootheca Wolleyana,' 
Pt. i., pp. 87-98, pi. viii (eggs) ; also pi. C (birds). In the majority 
of cases the nests in which the eggs were deposited were on ledges 
of rocks, but sometimes in trees; subsequently. Prof. R. CoUett found 
that in the portions of West Finmark which he visited, as well as in 
the Dovrefjeld, nests in trees were more often used. The eggs, up to 
4 in number, resemble those of the Iceland Falcon, but are a trifle 
smaller. 

The distinctive characters of the plumage of the adult have already 
been sufficiently described ; the cere is yellow ; the bill dark bluish ; 
tarsi and toes yellow. Length : male 19-5 in., wing 14 in. ; female 
22 in., wing 15 in. The young birds can hardly be distinguished 
from those of the preceding species, except by experts. 

All these Northern Falcons were formerly esteemed in Europe for 
hawking ; but the experience of our modern falconers is that they 
become " soft " and sluggish in our cHmate. 



FALCONID.E. 



347 




THE PEREGRINE FALCON. 

Falco peregrinus, Tunstall. 

This fine species, the Falcon, par excellence, of those devoted to 
the ancient sport of hawking, is still fairly common throughout our 
islands, and considerable numbers of immature birds, technically 
known as Red or Passage-Hawks, annually occur between autumn 
and spring, especially on the eastern side. From several of its 
former haunts the Peregrine has been banished ; but many of 
its eyries may still be found — though some of them are yearly 
robbed — from Kent to Cornwall, and more frequently along the 
coast of Wales ; while in the mountainous districts of the north of 
England these are on inland-rocks as well as in sea-cliffs. In Scotland 
the Peregrine is widely distributed over the mainland and the 
islands, as far as the Shetlands. In suitable localities in Ireland it 
may be considered quite a common bird ; and though, as a rule, 
each pair asserts its supremacy over a tolerably wide area, yet eyries 
exist there at no great distance apart. 

To the Fceroes the Peregrine is a rare visitor, and it has not been 



348 PEREGRINE FALCON. 

obtained in Iceland ; but it was found on Jan ^Mayen in April, and 
breeds regularly in Greenland up to about 70° N. lat., as well as 
at Cumberland Island, on the western side of Davis Strait. On the 
mainland of North America is found F. anatum, a closely-allied 
species with ruddier breast. In Europe, our bird is found from 
Scandinavia and the Northern Island of Novaya Zemlya (Lutke 
Land) down to the Mediterranean, but in the basin of that sea it 
is only known in winter: the resident race being the small F. puniais. 
Across Asia the Peregrine — allowing for sub-species — is found as 
far east as Kamchatka, the Kuril Islands, and Japan ; in fact, 
under one form or another, it is met with almost all over the world. 

This Falcon does not build a nest, but deposits its eggs, often 
early in April, on some overhung ledge of a cliff covered with a 
coating of earth, in which a hollow is scratched ; or on an old nest 
of a Raven, Crow, Heron &c., in rocks or trees (usually pines). It 
also resorts to church-towers and steeples, while it lays its eggs on 
the bare ground in Lapland and Siberia. The 2-4 eggs vary from 
freckled orange-brown to rich brick-red : measurements 2 in. by i '6, 
The same spot is resorted to year after year ; and one in Connemara, 
known in 1684 to have been frequented from time immemorial, is 
still inhabited. Both sexes incubate ; and should one of the birds 
be killed the survivor soon finds another mate. The young are driven 
away by their parents in August, and in autumn numbers have been 
captured on the heaths near Valkenswaard in Holland for hawking. 
The Peregrine varies its diet according to locality and individual 
taste, preying on ducks, waders, sea-fowl (especially Puffins), Pigeons, 
Grouse, Partridges, Lapwings, Hooded-Crows, Rooks, Choughs, 
Magpies, Jays, and even Kestrels ; while it sometimes sweeps young 
rabbits off the side of a cliff. In many districts it is known as the 
' Hunting-Hawk,' and, erroneously, as the ' Goshawk ' ; by falconers 
the male is called the Tiercel (corruptly Tassel), and the female the 
Falcon. The cry is a loud and repeated hek, hek, hek. 

The adult has the crown, cheeks and stripe blackish ; upper 
parts slate-grey (paler on the rump) with darker bars ; under parts 
bufifish-white to warm rufous, barred with a very variable amount of 
black ; iris hazel-brown ; bill bluish ; cere and legs bright yellow. 
Length: male 15 in., wing 12-5 in.; female 18 in., wing 14 in. 
Young : upper feathers brown with buff margins ; under parts 
ochreous, with dark brown streaks ; cere and legs livid-grey. 

For remarks upon the moulting of this and other species of 
Falcons, reference may be made to the last paragraph on p. 344. 



FALCOXID.E. 



349 




THE HOBBY 



Falco subeuteo, Linnaeus. 



The Hobby belongs to a group of Falcons {Hypotriorchis of many 
authors) characterized by remarkably long wings, comparatively short 
tail, and soft plumage. It arrives in England in small numbers 
about the middle or latter half of May, and has been found breed- 
ing in the southern counties as far west as Devon, especially in 
Hampshire ; at one time with tolerable regularity in Essex ; less 
frequently in Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk ; not 
uncommonly in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire ; 
occasionally in the midlands, and exceptionally in Yorkshire ; while 
in Cornwall, Wales, and the west it is seldom noticed. In Scotland, 
where it has occurred as far north as Sutherland, Caithness and the 
Shetlands, it is rare even on migration, and was not known to nest 
until, in August 1887, the late Sir Edward Newton discovered an 
adult and three young nailed up at Kinnaird House, Perthshire. 
In Ireland nine examples have been obtained, most of them in May 
or June. As a rule, the Hobby leaves the British Islands in 
September, but many occurrences during our ' winter ' months are 
on record. 

The Hobby visits Heligoland annually, and has been recorded as 



350 HOBBY. 

far north as the Arctic circle in Lapland, while in Russia it is found 
throughout the wooded districts from 65° N. lat. down to the mouth 
of the Volga ; but in no part of the Continent does it remain during 
the cold season. From Scandinavia southward it is generally 
distributed over Europe to the Mediterranean, though most 
numerous from Bulgaria eastward ; it nests in the pine-woods in the 
extreme south of Spain, and visits the Canaries, Morocco, Algeria 
and Egypt, though rare in the last. Eastward from Asia Minor we 
trace it in summer across the wooded portions of Siberia to Kam- 
chatka, and southward to Kashmir ; while in winter it occurs in 
China, and in India down to Belgaum. In Africa it ranges as far 
south as Cape Colony. Its representative in the Indian region is 
7^ severus, while in South Africa it is K cuvieri. 

The Hobby is a very late breeder, seldom having eggs before the 
early part of June, and often not till the end of that month. It 
does not make a nest for itself, but adds slightly to one built in 
a tree by a Crow, Magpie, or other bird. The eggs, usually 3 in 
England, but up to 5 in number on the Continent, are often 
yellowish-white, closely freckled w'ith rufous, and can then be easily 
distinguished from those of the Kestrel ; but sometimes they are 
suffused with reddish-brown and are therefore not so recognizable : 
measurements i"6 by i'2 5 in. Previous to laying, the female is said 
to sometimes brood on an empty nest or upon eggs of the Kestrel. 
I have known a Hobby, taken as a nestling in 1849, which lived 
for fifteen years. Dragonflies, cabbage-butterflies, cockchafers and 
other insects, form its principal prey in summer ; but it also takes 
birds, especially Starlings ; while it has been known to catch Swifts, 
and is the terror of Swallows and Martins. Larks are especially 
subject to its harassing attacks in autumn, when it leaves the wood- 
lands and frequents the more open country ; it will also accompany 
sportsmen and seize Quails in front of them. 

The adult has the upper parts slate-grey, nearly black on the 
head, with a black moustache-like streak and slightly rufous nape ; 
cheeks and throat white ; under parts buftish-white, broadly striped 
with black ; vent and thighs rust-red ; cere, orbits and legs yellow, 
iris dark brown. The sexes are alike in plumage, but the female 
is larger, though less vivid in colour. Length: male 12 in., wing 
10 in.; female 14 in., wing 11-25 '"• The young bird has the 
crown of the head mottled with buff, and a decided tinge of that 
colour on the cheeks and under parts ; upper feathers brown, 
edged with ochreous-white ; tail with a broad pale tip ; vent and 
thighs only pale rufous. 



FALCONID^. 



351 







THE MERLIN. 
Falco ytSALON, Tunstall. 

The Merlin, the least of the indigenous British Falcons, has not 
been proved to breed on the moorlands of Cornwall, Devon, and other 
counties in the south of England, but from Pembrokeshire north- 
ward its nest has often been found in many parts of Wales. In and 
beyond Derbyshire the Merlin is distributed, in suitable localities, 
up to the Shetlands ; while in Ireland it is tolerably frequent in the 
mountainous districts, as well as in some of the great red bogs of 
the central plain (Ussher). In autumn it descends to the low 
grounds, bays and coasts, where Snipe, Dunlins and other waders, 
with small birds, generally afford abundant prey ; while during the 
winter it is generally distributed throughout the British Islands, 
though the examples then obtained are chiefly immature. 

The Merlin is a resident in the Faeroes, but only a summer- 
visitor to Iceland ; an example has, however, been taken at sea not 
far from the coast of Greenland, and one actually at Cape Farewell 



352 



MERLIN. 



in May 1875. In North America it is represented by F. colutnlmrius, 
with fewer bars on the tail. In Scandinavia the Merhn is common 
in the northern districts from April to October, and it has been 
observed as far as Yugor Strait, 69° N. lat. ; while southward it nests 
in Central Russia, on the high ground of Germany, in the Alpine dis- 
tricts of Central Europe, and in the Pyrenees. It is the commonest 
of the ' passage-hawks ' on Heligoland, and elsewhere it is well known 
on migration ; the proportion of adults to immature birds being 
unusually great in the basin of the Mediterranean. During the 
cold season it inhabits North Africa and abounds in Egypt, its 
migrations extending to Nubia and Sennaar. Eastward, it frequents 
the northern portions of Asia as far as Ussuria in summer, wintering 
in Northern India and China. 

In the British Islands the nesting-place is usually a mere hollow 
scratched in the moorland ground, often on the side of a bank, and 
it is but seldom that even a few twigs of heather are found as a border. 
In the Faeroes, Norway, and also in the Pyrenees, ledges of precipitous 
cliffs are resorted to ; while in Scandinavia (frequently), in Scotland 
(occasionally), and perhaps in England oftener than is supposed, an 
old nest of some other species, built in a tree, is utilized. In the 
Museum at Oxford may be seen a hen bird with her eggs and the 
old nest of a Heron or a Crow in which these were deposited, from 
a cliff near Milford Haven. The 4-6 eggs, laid in May, are deep 
reddish-brown or purplish-red, without gloss : measurements i'5 by 

I "2 in. The Merlin preys chiefly on Dunlins, Meadow-Pipits, 
Thrushes, Larks, &:c. ; while it has been seen in pursuit of a 
Swallow, whose rapid evolutions it followed as if moved by the same 
impulse. By falconers it was, and still is, used for flying at Larks ; 
in swiftness, however, it does not approach the Hobby, or even the 
wild Peregrine. Owing to its habit of perching on rocks, it is 
known in some parts as the ' Stone Falcon.' 

Adult male: crown and mantle slate-colour, and nape rufous, with 
black shaft-streaks ; throat white, and under parts bufifish, striped with 
dark brown ; tail bluish-grey, broadly banded with black near the 
end and tipped with white; cere, legs and feet yellow. Length 

II in. ; wing 7-8 in. Female: upper parts dark liver-brown; tail- 
feathers brown, crossed with five narrow paler bands and tipped 
with white ; nape, cheeks and under parts dull white, streaked with 
brown. Length 12-5 in. ; wing 8-6 in. Old females sometimes 
attain the male plumage. The young resemble the female, but are 
more rufous in tint. 



FALCONID.Ii. 



353 




THE RED-FOOTED FALCON. 



Falco vespertinus, Linnaeus. 



This small species (sometimes misnamed the Orange-legged 
Hobby, though it is more nearly akin to the Kestrel) is merely a 
summer-visitor to Europe, in the eastern portions of which it has 
an extensive northerly range, though in the west its appearance is 
irregular. Its appearance in the British Islands was first noticed in 
Yorkshire in April and in Norfolk in May of 1830, and subsequently 
about thirty specimens have been obtained. Most of these have 
been taken in the eastern and southern counties, but examples have 
been recorded from Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, Denbighshire, Salop 
and Lancashire ; while Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland have 
been visited. In Scotland, one was shot in Aberdeenshire in May 
1866, and another in May 1897, one in Fifeshire in September 1880, 
and one near Jedburgh in June 1888. In Ireland, a bird now in the 
Dublin Museum, was taken in co. Wicklow during the summer of 
1832. Most of the authenticated occurrences have been in spring 
or summer, with a few in autumn, and exceptional instances in the 
winter months. 

The Red-footed Falcon seldom visits Heligoland. It has been 

E E 



354 RED-FOOTED FALCON. 

found in the south of Sweden, and as far north as lat. 65° in 
Finland ; but Dr. Menzbier thinks that it has only extended its 
migration to the northern provinces of Russia within the last fifty 
years. During the same period a gradual diminution in its numbers 
— as a breeding species — has taken place in the south, especially 
near Odessa, where immense flocks used to arrive early in April 
and afterwards disperse, reuniting in autumn previous to departure. 
On the steppes of Orenburg this decrease has partially coincided 
with remarkable immigrations of the Lesser Kestrel, previously a 
very rare bird there. The Red-footed Falcon breeds in Siberia as 
far as Yeneseisk and even Lake Baikal ; but eastward the repre- 
sentative is F. anmrensis (the adult male of which is white beneath 
the wing instead of grey), and this visits Lidia. On migration our 
species is found in Asia Minor and South-eastern Europe ; while in 
the Danubian provinces and Hungary it breeds in considerable 
numbers ; but westward it is only a straggler, and in Spain it is rare, 
though it has visited the Canaries in spring. In winter it is found 
in Africa down to Damara Land. 

In May or June this species appropriates the old nest of a Crow, 
Magpie or Rook, in which it deposits 4-6 eggs, of a yellower red 
than those of the Kestrel and smaller in size : measurements i "45 
by I '15 in. Five or six nests so occupied maybe found in one 
tree ; and in its general habits this Falcon is remarkably gregarious, 
numbers roosting close together. The food consists chiefly of 
dragonflies, large moths, beetles, grasshoppers and other insects; 
also of lizards, shrews and field-mice. The flight resembles that of 
the Kestrel, and lacks the dash of that of the Hobby ; the note is 
a clear, shrill ki, often repeated, especially towards evening, at which 
time the bird usually seeks its prey. 

The adult male has the head, shoulders, breast and tail nearly 
black ; mantle and under wing-coverts lead-grey ; quills paler, with 
black shafts ; thighs, vent and under tail-coverts rich chestnut ; bill 
dark horn-colour ; cere, orbits, legs and feet reddish ; claws nearly 
white. Length w$; wing 97 in. The female has the head, nape 
and under wing-coverts chiefly chestnut ; mantle and tail slate-grey, 
with darker bars ; principal quills brownish, barred on the inner 
webs with bufifish-white ; length 12 in.; wing 10 in. The young bird 
has the throat and forehead whitish ; crown pale chestnut ; upper 
surface tinged with ruddy brown ; tail-feathers distinctly barred, and 
the bars on the primaries tending to coalesce. The male soon 
begins to assume his dark plumage. 



FALCONID^E. 



355 

















THE KESTREL. 
Falco tinnunculus, Linnaeus. 

The Kestrel— also familiarly known as the Wind-hover, from its 
habit of hanging almost motionless in air against the wind— is the 
most abundant of the British birds of prey ; and would be still more 
numerous than it is, but for its persecution by persons who ought 
to be aware that it feeds principally upon rodents, and is, therefore, 
one of the best friends of the agriculturist. It is generally dis- 
tributed throughout the United Kingdom ; but in Scotland, where its 
harmlessness and utility are now recognized by the more intelligent 
gamekeepers, it migrates, as a rule, from the northern districts in 
winter ; at which season its numbers in England are further increased 
by visitors from the Continent, chiefly on passage. 

To the Faroes the Kestrel is only a wanderer, and it has not 



356 KESTREL. 

been obtained in Iceland; but on September 27th 1887 a female 
was shot near Nantucket, Massachusetts, and examined in the flesh 
by Mr. C. B. Cory. Its eggs have been found even as far north 
as lat. 68° in Scandinavia, but there, and in Finland, it is not 
plentiful near the limits of its range, while in Russia its occurrence 
at Archangel is accidental. Throughout the rest of Europe, however, 
it is common, migrating more or less from the northern districts in 
winter, but residing during the entire year in the south. Nowhere 
is it more abundant than in Spain, and swarms may be seen, 
especially towards sunset, circling round the lofty church-towers of 
C6rdova and Seville ; while above the great plains watered by the 
Guadalquivir many hundreds are often visible at the same moment, 
alternately hovering and dropping down on their prey, which there 
consists principally of beetles. The Azores, ]\Iadeira, Canaries, and 
Northern Africa to Abyssinia, are inhabited by a slightly smaller 
and darker race ; while southward, the Kestrel ranges beyond the 
Equator. In Asia it reaches from the Mediterranean to the con- 
fines of Eastern Siberia, and down to the Himalayas and Burma 
in summer ; while in winter it pervades the whole Indian Empire. 
In America the representative species is F. sparverius, an example 
of which is said, though on very incomplete evidence, to have been 
shot in Yorkshire in May 1883. 

The Kestrel either makes use of the former nest of a Crow, 
Magpie, Wood-Pigeon &c., or else deposits its eggs in cavities in 
cliffs, chalk-pits, quarries, buildings and hollow trees, and excep- 
tionally on the ground. These, often laid early in April in England, 
and 4-6 in number, are usually brownish-red, but sometimes have a 
mottled yellowish-white ground-colour : measurements i-6 by 1-25 in. 
In northern countries the Kestrel preys chiefly on mice, birds being 
seldom taken ; to the southward it feeds largely on beetles, grass- 
hoppers and other insects. Its graceful flight, as well as its shrill 
cry kee, kee, kee, are familiar. 

The adult male has the head, neck, lower back and tail bluish- 
grey, the latter broadly banded subterminally with black and tipped 
with white : back pale chestnut, with small black spots ; under parts 
buff, streaked and spotted with black ; cere, legs and feet yellow. 
Length 14 in.; wing 9-5 in. The female— which is not appreciably 
larger— has the upper parts rufous, barred with black ; on the tail 
several narrow bands of black, with a broad one near the tip. Very 
old hens partially assume the male plumage, and have more or less 
blue on the rump and tail. The young resemble the female, but 
are somewhat lighter in colour. 



FALCONID/E. 



357 




THE LESSER KESTREL. 



Falco- cenchris, Naumann. 



The claim of this species to a place in the British list was formerly 
received with suspicion, but no fewer than five occurrences are now 
(1898) authenticated. An example in the York Museum was 
shcvt in the middle of November 1867, by Mr. John Harrison of 
Wilstrop Hall, who noticed the bird flying about his farm ; in May 
1877 ^" adult male, with one leg injured, was captured alive near 
Dover, and presented by Mr. E. P. Robinson to the Museum of 
that town ; on February 20th 1891 an adult male was shot near 
Dublin ; early in March of the same year another adult male was 
obtained near Tresco, Scilly Islands ; and lastly a female is recorded 
by Mr. G. Sim as having been shot at Boynalie, Aberdeenshire, on 
October 25th 1897. It may be added that two examples, which 
had been captured in the Mediterranean, escaped from the s.s. 
' Irthington ' : one of them on April 27th 1894, near Blyth, and the 
other on May 5th, near Belfast (Ibis 1894, p. 451). 

It will not appear so remarkable that the Lesser Kestrel should 
occasionally visit our islands, when we consider that it is a regular 



358 LESSER KESTREL. 

migrant to Europe, has been obtained as far nortli as Calvados in 
Normandy; Anhalt in Germany, and has probably occurred on 
Heligoland. According to Taczanowski, it is abundant during the 
breeding-season in the southern provinces of Poland, but does not 
reach W'arsaw. To Savoy, and even to the south of France, it is 
only an occasional visitor, and statements respecting its breeding 
on this side of the Pyrenees require confirmation ; while it is not 
common on the mainland of Italy, though abundant and partially 
resident in Sicily and some other islands of the Mediterranean. In 
the southern parts of the Spanish Peninsula it is very numerous, 
especially in Andalucia, where a few remain through the winter, 
though the majority arrive in February and leave early in October. 
In Greece and the south-east of Europe it is common in summer, 
and since 1877 thousands have annually invaded the Orenburg 
district, where, either as a consequence or a coincidence, the Red- 
footed Falcon has become rarer. Eastward it is found as far as 
Bokhara ; while an allied species, F. pekifie?isis, breeds in China 
and winters in India. Asia Minor, Palestine, Egypt and North 
Africa are regularly visited by the Lesser Kestrel in summer, while 
its migrations in the cold season extend to Cape Colony. 

No nest is built, but the eggs are deposited in holes in cliffs, banks, 
walls or roofs of inhabited buildings as well as in ruined towers, 
churches &c., and sometimes old nests of other birds in trees. In 
Andalucia, Col. Irby found eggs as early as April 26th, and Dr. 
Kriiper has taken them by the end of that month in Greece. The 
complement is 4-5, exceptionally 7 ; the ground-colour is usually 
yellowish-white, mottled with much paler reddish-brown than are eggs 
of the Common Kestrel: measurements i"4 by i"i in. The food 
consists of insects, especially cockchafers and other beetles, and 
grasshoppers ; the stairs and other approaches to the towers fre- 
quented by this and the larger species being often covered with a 
deep accumulation of wing-cases and ejected pellets of indigestible 
matter; small lizards are also eaten. The cry has been syllabled 
as vev-ai, and also as psche, psch, psche, wsche. 

The Lesser Kestrel much resembles our common species, but is 
smaller in size and has ivhite clatvs. The male has no black spots 
on the back, and the innermost secondaries are slate-grey instead 
of chestnut. Length 12 in. ; wing 9-1 in. The female can only 
be distinguished from the Common Kestrel by her smaller size and 
her white claws : length 12-25 i'"*- J ^^'i'lg 9"2 in. 



FALCONID.E. 



359 




THE OSPREY. 

Pandi'on haliaetus (Linnaeus). 

The Osprey is at times not uncommon on the sea-shores and 
inland waters of our islands, especially in autumn : for instance no 
fewer than ten were recorded between the Tyne and the Thames in 
the months of September and October iS8i ; but the majority of 
these visitors are immature birds, some of which would doubtless 
remain on our coasts, if unmolested, until the following May. 
Estuaries are favourite haunts ; and in those of Sussex and Hamp- 
shire the bird is known as the Mullet-Hawk, owing to its partiality 
for that fish. Tradition states that it formerly bred on the south 
coast of England, and the Rev. H. A. Macpherson believes that it 
did so in Lakeland until the end of the last century. In Scotland 
there were at least two eyries in Galloway up to about i860, but at 
the present day those which are known to exist are confined to the 
Highlands, where their safety depends upon protection ; while to 
the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands, the Osprey is only an acci- 
dental visitor. Mr. R. J. Ussher informs me that he has fifty 



360 OSPREY. 

records for Ireland, where the bird occurs chiefly on the autumn 
migration or in winter ; but it has never been known to breed 
in that island, though many of the inland waters appear suitable. 

This species does not occur in Iceland or Greenland, but it is very 
abundant in North America ; while it is generally distributed over 
the Old World as far south as Australia, so that it may almost be 
termed cosmopolitan. In Europe it breeds — either in forests near 
lakes, or on sea-cliffs — from Lapland to Spain, and eastward to 
Greece and Southern Russia ; as well as from the north coast of 
Africa down to the Red Sea on the east side, and the Canaries and 
Cape Verde Islands on the west ; likewise in suitable localities 
throughout Asia. Its distribution is, in fact, restricted by two con- 
ditions only : the bird must be in the vicinity of waters inhabited by 
fish which swim sufliciently near the surface to supply it with food, 
and the proximity of mankind is a decided objection. 

The nest is a bulky structure of sticks, sometimes mixed with turf; 
and on the top is a small cavity lined with moss for the reception of 
the eggs. These, 2-3 in number, are often very beautiful, having 
the ground-colour of white or buff, with rich blotches of chestnut- 
red or claret-colour and underlying blurs of purplish-grey : average 
measurements 2-5 by i'8 in. In the northern hemisphere they are 
usually laid towards the end of April or early in May. In wooded 
districts trees are generally preferred, and Booth stated that all the 
nests he had recently visited in the Highlands were in Scotch-firs ; 
but old buildings and rocky islets in lochs are also utilized. In 
North America the Osprey is gregarious, and as many as three 
hundred pairs have been seen nesting on one small island. Until 
taught caution by molestation it is a very unsuspicious bird, as 
every one must be aware who has read St. John's ' Tour in Suther- 
land.' The food consists of fish, upon which the bird plunges, 
often from a considerable height, and bears its prey away in its 
claws ; these are remarkably curved and sharp, the outer toe being 
reversible and the soles of the feet very rough. 

The adult male has the head and nape white, streaked with brown ; 
upper plumage umber with a purplish tinge ; under parts white, with 
a band of brown spots across the breast ; cere, legs, and toes 
greenish-blue. Length 22 in. ; wing 19 in. The female is larger, 
and more marked with brown on the breast ; length 24 in. ; wing 
2 1 in. The young bird has pale edges to the upper feathers and 
the tail distinctly barred ; the adult plumage is not attained until 
the third or fourth year. The irides are yellow in young and old. 



pelecanida:. 



361 




THE COMMON CORMORANT. 

Phalacrocorax carbo (Linnceus). 

The Great, or Black Cormorant, as it is sometimes called to 
distinguish it from the smaller Green Cormorant or Shag, is 
common and generally distributed along the greater part of the 
British coast-line, and until 1825-27 some 50 or 60 pairs used to 
nest on the trees at Fritton, Suffolk. From Flamborough northward 
to Caithness it is more abundant, as a rule, than the Shag ; though in 
the Shetlands, Orkneys, Hebrides, and along the western side of 
Scotland, it is usually in a minority ; while in Wales it is again in the 
ascendant as far as Pembrokeshire, where, as in the south-west of 
England, the Shag predominates. It is widely distributed in Ireland. 
Apart from the sea-coast, the Cormorant not infrequently nests 
inland : notably on the bold rock near Towyn known as Craig-y- 
deryn, and on several lakes in Ireland, sometimes breeding in com- 
pany with Herons on trees. 

F F 



362 COMMON CORMORANT. 

This species is found in tlie Faeroes, Iceland, and Greenland up 
to about 70° N. lat. ; while it is generally distributed over Europe, 
and breeding-colonies are to be found in situations widely different 
in character, such as ledges of cliffs, the swampy meres of Holland, 
and the inundated forests of the valley of the Danube. It is found 
all over Asia — except in the high north — and usually nests on trees ; 
while in Australia and New Zealand the representative is a doubt- 
fully distinct form, P. novcE-hollandiiT:. Our bird is said to have 
occurred in South Africa, and is common in the north of that 
continent. In America it inhabits the Atlantic coast, from Hudson 
Bay to New Jersey, but it has not yet been noticed on the Pacific. 

The nest is a large structure composed of sticks and grass or water- 
plants, mixed, when near the coast, with masses of sea-weed ; the 
eggs, laid in this country in the latter half of April or in May, and 
3-5 in number, are oblong, rough in texture, and have a pale blue 
under-shell with a chalky-white coating: measurements 275 by 
I '6 in. Many birds usually congregate at the breeding-places, 
which, as already indicated, are to be found on high cliffs, low islets, 
bushes or trees. In 1882 a pair hatched two young in the 
Zoological Society Gardens, Regent's Park, and it was observed that 
after the male had been fed and retained the fish for about an hour, 
he mounted the side of the nest and opened his capacious mouth, 
which the young bird entered as far as its outstretched wings would 
allow, and helped itself to the macerated food in the old one's crop. 
The parents had been trained by Capt. F. H. Salvin for catching 
fish : a practice pursued as a sport in this country since the time of 
the Stuart sovereigns ; while, as a business, it has been followed in 
China and Japan from time immemorial. The nestlings are blind 
for a fortnight or more after being hatched. 

The adult has the upper head and neck black, with many hair- 
like white feathers, and those on the occiput lengthen and form a crest 
in spring ; throat white \ gular pouch yellow ; mantle bronze-brown 
and black ; quills, and the tail of fourteen feathers, black ; under 
parts rich bluish-black, except a white patch on the thigh, which is 
assumed very early in spring and lost in summer ; irides emerald- 
green. The sexes are alike in plumage, but the male is larger, brighter 
in colour, and has the longer crest. Length about 36 in. ; wing 
14-5 in. The young bird is dark brown above, dull white mottled 
with pale wood-brown below ; irides brown the first year, then pale 
bluish-green, changing to emerald at the end of the second year. 
There are records of varieties tending to albinism, and even of pure 
white birds with light-coloured bills and feet. 



PELECANID^. 



3(^3 




THE SHAG, OR GREEN CORMORANT. 

Phalacr6corax graculus (Linnceus). 

The Shag, also known as the Scart, Scarf, or Crested Cormorant, 
may be distinguished from the preceding species by its smaller size, 
and, when adult, by its prevailing green colour. The illustration is 
taken from a bird in autumn plumage ; the crest, which is assumed 
very early in spring and only retained for a few months, is tuft-shaped 
and curved forward. The young are not so easily recognized on the 
wing, but may be distinguished on examination by the tail-feathers, 
which, in this species, are only twelve in number. The Shag is 
essentially marine, and seldom wanders inland, or to fresh water ; 
its favourite haunts being rugged coasts, especially those honey- 
combed with caves, or shores margined with fallen rocks and large 
boulders, amongst which it often makes its nest. Such situations 
are frequent on the west coast of Scotland and its islands up to the 
Shetlands, and to a great extent along Ireland, as well as in South 
Wales, and in England from the Isle of Wight westward ; and in 
these the Shag is, on the whole, more abundant than the Cormorant. 
By fishermen and seaside folk, however, the trivial names are fre- 
quently interchanged, while the term ' Diver ' is sometimes applied 
to both birds, and these facts should be borne in mind. 



364 SHAG, OR GREEN CORMORANT. 

Westward of Iceland the Shag has not yet been found, and, 
although it is common in the Faeroes and on the coast of Norway, 
as well as on the islands along the Murman coast of Russian Lap- 
land, it is scarcely known to enter the Baltic, and is rare on the 
German shores of the North Sea. It breeds in the Channel 
Islands, and along the Atlantic coasts of France, Spain, Portugal, 
and Morocco ; while a somewhat brighter form, found throughout 
the Mediterranean and known as F. des/iiaresti, does not appear to 
me to be specifically distinct. 

The nest, formed of sea-weed and grass matted and plastered 
together, and emitting a horribly frctid smell, is often placed in cliffs, 
or among fallen rocks and large boulders ; but frequently it is on 
a ledge near the roof of a cave, and so far in that the sitting bird 
can scarcely be discerned amidst the gloom and spray-mist. The 
3-4 eggs — like those of the Cormorant in colour and texture, but 
smaller, and more variable in shape — are laid in April on our south- 
west coasts, and Mr. Ussher has found young birds as early as the 
14th of May; but in the north incubation is later. The nestlings, 
at first bare and purplish-black in colour, are afterwards partially 
covered with down, which is of a browner black than that of the young 
Cormorant. The mode of feeding is identical in the two species. 
The Shag lives principally upon sea-fish, for which it dives; the action 
beginning with a spring out of the water ; and it has the power of 
descending to a considerable depth, for it has been caught in a 
crab-pot fixed at twenty fathoms below the surface. The note is 
kroak, kraik, kroak. 

The adult has the bill black, the base of the under mandible and 
inside of the mouth chrome-yellow, and the naked skin about the 
gape black, thickly studded with small round yellow spots ; irides 
green ; the forehead bears a crest which curves forward, assumed in 
January and lost by the beginning of May ; crown, neck, and under 
parts rich dark green with purple and bronze reflections ; feathers of 
the mantle dark green with blackish margins ; quills and the twelve 
tail-feathers black, as are also the legs, toes, and their membranes. 
Length 27 in. ; wing io'75 in. The sexes are alike in plumage, but 
the male is the larger. The young bird has a very slender bill, with 
yellow lower mandible ; the upper parts brown, tinged with green ; 
the under surface brownish-ash, mottled with brown. 

A male example of the American Darter, Plotus anhinga^ is said to 
have been shot near Poole, Dorset, in June 1851, as recorded by 
the Rev. A. C. Smith (Zool. [1852] p. 3601 fig. and p. 3654). 



PELECANID,«. 



565 



v,^#ifll*fc - ., 







-"♦^ji^jx 



THE GANNET. 

SuLA BASSANA (Liiinseus). 

The Gannet, or Solan Goose, is a resident within British waters, 
though its abundance in different localities varies with the season of 
the year. On Lundy Island, its ancient and only breeding-place in 
England, it is now almost, if not quite, exterminated ; but in Wales 
there is a colony on Grassholm, off Pembrokeshire. In Scotland 
there are well-known stations on the Bass Rock on the east, and 
Ailsa Craig on the west side ; also at two stacks off Boreray in the 
St. Kilda group ; at Sulisgeir, about 35 miles north of the Butt of 
Lewis ; and at Suliskerry, nearly 40 miles west of Stromness, which 
is frequented by an unusually large number of immature liirds. In 
Ireland there is a colony on the Bull Rock, off Dursey Head, co. 
Cork, and a larger and increasing one on the Little Skellig. 



366 GANNET. 

In the Faroes this species breeds on Myggenaes, the most western 
island of the group ; while in Iceland it has several colonies. 
Thousands nest on the Magdalen Islands, as well as on some other 
rocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Kumlien says that he saw 
the bird up to 65° N. In winter the Gannet ranges over the Atlantic, 
down to North Africa, the Canaries and Madeira on this side, and 
the Gulf of Mexico on the other ; but it seldom enters the Baltic 
or goes far up the Mediterranean, though after stormy weather it 
has occasionally been taken at a considerable distance inland. 

The nest is a mass of sea-weed and grass, on which is deposited a 
single egg ; this (like that of the Cormorant) has a pale blue under- 
shell overlaid with a chalky-white coating, but soon becomes soiled : 
measurements 3'25 by i"9 in. When unmolested, Gannets are very 
tame during incubation, and will allow themselves to be stroked by 
the hand without any sign of impatience except a low guttural grog, 
grog; but at times they are very vociferous, and as they are con- 
tinually interfering with each other, or taking advantage of the 
absence of their neighbours to pilfer the materials of their nests, a 
constant noise is kept up, which may be syllabled as carra, crac, 
era. The immense numbers which throng Stack-an-Armin and 
Stack Lii, off Boreray, form a sight never to be forgotten. The 
food consists of surface-swimming fish, such as herrings, pilchards, 
sprats and anchovies, upon which the Gannet plunges perpendicu- 
larly with closed wings from a considerable height ; the birds fish in 
company, and many become entangled at times in the meshes of 
the fishermen's long sea-nets. In some districts of Scotland the young, 
collected in August, are plucked, cleaned, half-roasted, and sold for 
food, the fat is boiled down, and the feathers are used for stuffing beds. 

The adult has the crown and nape buff-colour ; the rest of the 
plumage white, except the primaries, which are black. In the bird 
of the first year, the under plumage is mottled with dusky-ash and 
buff, while the upper parts are blackish-brown flecked with white ; 
in each successive year the dark markings diminish until the sixth, 
when the adult dress is attained. Length 34 in. ; wing 19 in. The 
nestling is at first naked and black, but is afterwards covered with 
down, which is most persistent on the head and hind neck, giving the 
bird the appearance of wearing a long wig. 

A Tropic-bird, Phaethon aefherci/s, is said to have been found 
dead in Herefordshire more than forty years ago (J. H. Gurney, Tr. 
Norfolk Soc. v. p. 659). 



ARDEID.«. 



367 




THE COMMON HERON. 



Ardea cinerea, Linneeus. 



This bird is no longer protected as in the days of Falconry, but 
it is still generally distributed throughout the British Islands ; and 
in England the number of its colonies has suffered no diminution, 
though many of them are seriously reduced in size as compared 
with former times. In Scotland there never were many large 
heronries, but small ones are scattered over the greater part of the 
mainland as well as some of the outlying islands. The latter remark 
applies to Ireland, where, however, there are also some important 
assemblages in trees in cos. Cork, Waterford, Dublin, Down, 
Donegal, Mayo and Galway. 

The Heron sometimes visits the Fseroes and Iceland, and a young 
bird was picked up dead in South Greenland in 1856. On the coast 
of Norway it ranges to 68° N. lat., though it does not reach beyond 
57" in Sweden and Russia ; while southward it is found, in suitable 
localities, over the greater part of Europe, and considerable numbers 
breed in colonies in the marshes of Northern and Central Italy, the 
valley of the Danube, and Southern Russia. In France there is one 



368 COMMON HERON. 

very large heronry at Ecury-le-grand, near Champigneul, in Marne ; 
while scattered pairs are found in many districts. Migrants bearing 
the labels of the Loo Hawking Club, Holland, have been shot from 
time to time near Perpignan. To the Spanish Peninsula, the Azores, 
Madeira, the Canaries, the Mediterranean basin, Africa as far as 
Cape Colony, Ascension Island, the islands of the Indian Ocean, 
and Australia, the Heron is either a winter-visitor or a wanderer; 
but it breeds throughout Asia, from about 60° N. down to Ceylon. 

In January, if the season is very mild in England, but as a rule in 
February, Herons resort to their breeding-places, and these are often 
occupied for years in succession ; while, like the Rooks, in whose 
vicinity they often build, they usually nest in company. According 
to circumstances they avail themselves of high trees, precipitous 
sea-clififs, crags covered with ivy and shrubs, bare hill-sides, the walls 
of ruins, the level ground, low bushes, or reeds and bull-rushes. 
The nest is fiat, rather broad, and formed of sticks, with a lining of 
small twigs, roots and dry grass ; the 3-4 eggs are uniform bluish- 
green : measurements 2*5 by 17 in. Incubation lasts 25-26 days 
(W. Evans) ; and a second clutch of eggs is sometimes laid while the 
first brood is still in the nest. Heronries are occupied from spring 
to August,' and are occasionally visited in the winter, but except 
in the breeding-season the bird is often solitary and shy. The 
food consists of reptiles, molluscs, crustaceans, worms, insects, small 
mammals — such as water-rats and field-mice, and still more largely 
of eels, pike, flounders and other coarse fish, but trout and the 
young of water-fowl are not despised. Young Herons are helpless 
for some time after they are hatched ; when fledged they are good 
eating, and were formerly esteemed for the table. The alarm-note 
\?> Q.\o\idfrajik, frank, which is especially startling to other birds, 
but at the nest it is a prolonged kronk or kraak. When flying, this 
species is easily recognized by the slow flapping of its rounded wings. 

The adult male has the crest bluish-black; upper parts chiefly slate- 
grey ; forehead, cheeks and neck white, the last being streaked with 
dark bluish-grey and terminating in long white feathers ; under parts 
greyish-white; bill yellow. Length 36 in.; wing 17 "25 in. The 
female is smaller, and her colours are less bright, while the plumes 
are shorter, as they are also in the young birds ; in the latter the under 
parts are ash-colour, and there are no long feathers at the bottom of 
the neck. Varieties are sometimes obtained. 

The members of this family have the breast and lower flanks 
furnished with well-developed powdery tufts of decomposed feathers, 
the use of which is not known. 



ARDEID.B. 



569 







THE PURPLE HERON. 

Ardea purpurea, Linnaeus. 

Although the Purple Heron is comparatively abundant on the 
neighbouring shores of the Continent, it is only of irregular occur- 
rence on the east coast of England, and is even less frequent in the 
south, from Sussex to the Scilly Islands. In Wales and along the 
west side it has seldom been noticed ; while the only example 
on record for Ireland is one killed at Carrickmacross in 1834, 
now in the Warren collection at the Dublin Museum. In Scotland 
this species is said to have occurred in Caithness and Aberdeenshire 
more than forty years ago, and Mr. W. Evans has a young bird shot 
near Prestonpans, East Lothian, in October 1872. Altogether about 
fifty specimens have been obtained in the British Islands, the majority 
of these being in immature plumage. 

The Purple Heron is only a wanderer to the south of Scandinavia, 
Heligoland (once), Northern Germany and Poland. Its nesting- 
places nearest to our shores are in Holland, where it is still by no 

G G 



37° PURPLE HEROX. 

means uncommon, though lately interfered with by drainage ; but, 
while principally a visitor on passage to Belgium, it breeds in con- 
siderable numbers in the marshy districts of the Loire, and in some 
parts of the south and east of France. In the Spanish Peninsula 
it nests freely, as it does also from Central Germany to the swampy 
parts of Southern Russia ; migrating, as a rule, in the cold season 
from all the countries on the northern side of the Mediterranean. 
It is found in ^Madeira, the Canaries (rarely) and Cape Verde 
Islands, as well as in Northern Africa, while in Abyssinia it has been 
obtained at an elevation of 9,000 ft., and it inhabits suitable locali- 
ties down to Cape Colony and Madagascar. In Asia, to the east of 
about long. 50*^, it is represented by A. vianillcnsis^ which has no 
streaks on the fore neck. 

Its breeding-places are usually difficult of access, being situated 
in flooded swamps, or in the midst of dense masses of reeds. Mr. 
Philip Crowley describes the nests at the Naarden Meer, near 
Amsterdam, as placed about three feet above the water, and made 
by bending down twelve or fifteen reeds to form a platform, on 
which some smaller pieces were arranged crosswise, and this agrees 
with my experience in Spain. The bluish-green eggs, usually 3 in 
number, are smaller than those of the Common Heron : measure- 
ments 2' 2 by I "5 in. In its habits the Purple Heron is shy, and 
crepuscular or even nocturnal in its time of feeding. From the 
thinness of the long snake-like neck, the birds are with difficulty 
distinguished when they are standing in a reed-margined lake, nearly 
up to the belly in water; for their bodies, in the shimmering sunlight, 
exactly resemble tussocks of rushes. The note is more guttural than 
that of its congener. The food consists of small mammals, reptiles, 
fishes (especially eels) and aquatic insects. 

The adult has the crown and long plumes glossy purplish-black ; 
cheeks and sides of the neck fawn-colour, streaked with bluish-black; 
back and wing-coverts dark slate-grey ; elongated filamentous dorsal 
feathers chestnut ; tail grey ; neck reddish-buff with a line of black 
down each side, terminating in a mass of chestnut, grey and black 
elongated feathers ; under wing-coverts chestnut ; breast rich 
maroon-red ; thighs rufous ; bill yellow ; toes very long. Length 
about -^2) '"• (bill 6 in.); wing i4'25. The sexes are alike in 
plumage, but the male is the larger. In winter the long 
plumes are absent. In the young, until the second moult, the 
occipital crest, as well as the elongated feathers at the base of the 
neck and on the scapulars are absent ; the general colour above is 
rust-red, and the under parts are brownish-white. 



ARDEID/E. 



371 




THE GREAT WHITE HERON. 



Ardea alba, Linnaeus. 



The Great White Heron is a rare visitor to Great Britain, and it 
would appear from Mr. J. H. Gurney's careful revision (Tr. Norfolk 
Soc. V. p. 186) that out of thirty-two "records," only five examples 
are authenticated or available for examination. Two of these were 
obtained in Yorkshire, and one of them is in the Museum of the 
county city ; one, killed in East Lothian on June 9th 1840, is in 
the collection of the Earl of Haddington at Tyninghame House ; 
one (with the long back-plumes) shot on Thorney Fen, Cambridge- 
shire, is now in the possession of Col. Charles Isham Strong, of 
Thorpe Hall, Peterborough; and one, killed at Loch Katrine, 
Scotland, in May 1881, and also having the dorsal-train fully 
developed, is in the Edinburgh Museum. Others are said to have 

G G 2 



372 GREAT WHITE HERON. 

been observed, but some of them were probably Spoonbills ; while 
several records are unworthy of serious consideration. 

The Great White Heron occasionally visits the south of Sweden, 
and the north-east of Prussia, but is of very rare occurrence in 
Poland ; although near Glogau, in Silesia, a pair was found breeding 
by A. von Homeyer in 1863. Over a great part of the area drained 
by the Danube and its tributaries it was formerly plentiful in 
summer, but owing to persecution for the sake of its plumes, its 
numbers have been much reduced of late years ; in the Black Sea 
district, however, and the south of Russia, it is still common. 
Throughout the basin of the Mediterranean and in the marshy 
parts of Italy it is not infrequent, especially in winter ; it visits the 
south (and exceptionally the north) of France, and the east of 
Spain ; and sometimes wanders to the Azores. It inhabits the 
warmer portions of Asia as far as Burma, but in the Indian region 
a smaller species, A. intermedia, predominates. In North Africa it 
occurs principally in winter, and has been found, like the Purple 
Heron, on the high table-lands of Abyssinia ; while it has been 
obtained as far south as the Orange Free State. Its representative 
from Japan to Australia and New Zealand has the bill yellow through- 
out the year ; whereas our bird has the bill black in summer, and 
yellow at other times. In America a closely-allied species, A. egretta, 
has the bill yellow and the tarsi and tibiae black at all seasons. 

The nest found by Homeyer was slightly built and placed in an 
old fir-tree, and three recently hatched birds were found in it on 
June 28th. In Northern India and Burma the nests are built from 
June to August in half-submerged groves, but in the Carnatic and 
Ceylon, this and all Herons breed from December to February 
(Blanford). The 3-4 eggs are pale greenish-blue : measurements 
2 "5 by I '5 in. The food consists of small fish, reptiles, molluscs 
and aquatic insects. 

The adult has the whole plumage white ; the feathers at the 
bottom and sides of the neck in front fairly developed ; dorsal train 
very long and filamentous in spring, but absent in autumn ; bill 
black during the breeding-season, but afterwards yellow ; lores and 
orbits pale green ; irides yellow ; tarsi and toes blackish ; the tibiae 
being paler. Length of the European bird to end of tail about 
35 in. (bill 6 in.) ; wing 17 in. The males are the larger, and have 
the plumes more developed. In the young bird the bill is yellowish, 
the legs are paler, and the elongated feathers are not acquired until 
the second spring. 



ARDEID/E. 



173 




) ' 



THE LITTLE EGRET. 



Ardea garzetta, Linn?eus. 

The Little Egret has a more southern habitat than the preceding 
species, and, as might be expected, its visits to the British Islands 
are very uncommon. When subjected to critical examination almost 
all the records of its occurrence are more or less unsatisfactory; and, 
as far as I can learn, the only example about which there can be no 
doubt, is an adult examined and recorded by the late Mr. J. 
Gatcombe, killed at Countess Weir, on the Exe, on June 3rd 1870, 
and belonging to Mr. E. H. Harbottle, of Topsham, near 
Exeter. It is not improbable, however, that one has been obtained 
in Sussex ; while the late Lord Lilford(B. Northamptonsh. ii. p. 118) 
adduced some evidence that two were shot near Whittlesea about 
1849. There is no specimen in existence to prove Thompson's 
assertion that the Little Egret has visited Ireland on three occasions. 

This species has not been found to the north of the Baltic, and 
it seldom wanders to Germany, Holland, or the north of France, 
though not uncommon in the southern and eastern portions of the 



374 LITTLE EGRET. 

latter. It is tolerably abundant in suitable localities in the 
Spanish Peninsula, Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and generally 
throughout the Mediterranean region. The northern limit of its 
breeding-range appears to be in the wooded swamps of Slavonia, 
where Mr. W. E. Clarke found it nesting towards the end of May 
1883 on the Obedska 'bara,' a marsh on the river Save, not far 
from Semlin. In the same year Messrs. Seebohm and Young found 
it breeding in colonies on the Lower Danube ; and it is common 
during the summer in Turkey and Southern Russia. Across Asia it 
is distributed as far east as China and Japan ; in India and Ceylon 
it is resident ; it visits the Philippines and Malayasia ; and a near 
ally ranges from Java to Australia. To the west, it occurs in the 
Azores and Canaries, and breeds in the Cape Verde Islands ; while 
in Africa it is found as far as Cape Colony. Its representative in 
the warmer districts of America is A. candidissima, distinguishable 
by the large bunch of occipital feathers and by the yellow basal 
portion of the bill. 

The nests of the Little Egret are usually placed in bushes and 
trees, in company with those of other swamp-loving species ; the 
material consisting of sticks and a few reeds, on which are deposited 
the 3-6 eggs, of a pale bluish-green, somewhat pointed at both ends : 
averaging 175 by i"25 in. In Andaluci'a Mr. R. B. Lodge found 
them on May 5th. Dr. H. Gadow shot examples of this bird on 
April 17th 1884, round an isolated rock on the south coast of Por- 
tugal, on the inaccessible summit of which it appeared to be 
breeding, in company with some Gulls ; and Mr. Boyd Alexander 
took its eggs from nests made of acacia twigs on May loth, 
on ledges or in recesses of sea-cliffs, in the Cape Verde Islands. 
The note of alarm or defiance resembles the syllables ak, ark, and 
ork. The food consists of small fishes, aquatic insects, frogs and 
worms. 

The adult in spring and summer has the beak black j lores 
lavender ; irides varying from yellow to pale lavender ; the entire 
plumage pure white ; on the nape two long narrow feathers ; some 
lanceolate plumes at the bottom of the neck in front ; dorsal plumes 
greatly lengthened and filamentous ; legs mostly black, with yellowish 
spots on the toes ; claws black. For some time after the 
autumn moult the dorsal and occipital plumes are absent, and 
the legs and feet are nearly black. Length to end of tail 2 1 in. 
(bill 4 in.) ; wing 11 '25 in. Mr. J. H. Gurney says that the plumes 
are sometimes as much developed in the females as in the males. 
Young birds have a greyish tinge, and no elongated plumes. 



ardkid.t:. 



175 




THE BUFF-BACKED HERON. 

Ardea bubulcus, Audouin. 

A young Buff-backed Heron, which proved on dissection to be a 
female, was shot towards the end of October 1805 near Kingsbridge 
in Devonshire, where it had been seen for several days in the same 
field, following some cows, and picking up insects ; it was by no 
means shy, and was fired at a second time before it was secured. 
The occurrence was recorded by Montagu, to whom the specimen 
was presented by Nicholas Luscombe, of Kingsbridge, and it is still 
(i8g8) preserved in the Natural History Museum at South Kensing- 
ton. No other authenticated British-killed example is known to 
exist. Col. Irby assures me that the bird mentioned in ' The 
Zoologist' p. 31 16 [1851] came from a well-known dealer, and that 
no reliance can be placed upon the date or locality assigned. 

The Buff-backed Heron is essentially a southern bird ; and an 
adult male, shot on the Obedska 'bara,' on May 29th 1883, is 
recorded by Mr. W. E. Clarke as the first instance known in 
Hungary ; while on the Danube, as well as in Poland and Southern 
Russia, it is extremely rare. Even in the south of France, Italy, 



376 BUFF-DACKED HERON. 

Sicily, Malta and Greece it is seldom found, though not infrequent 
in Cyprus. Its only known breeding-haunts in Europe are in the 
southern portions of the Spanish Peninsula, and from March to 
autumn it is very common in the marshes of Andaluci'a, where 
thousands may be seen amongst cattle or on their backs, picking 
off ticks ; whence the name " Purga-bueyes," a corruption of 
" Espulga-bueyes," meaning " cattle-cleaners," and also " Garra- 
patosa," i.e., " tick-eater." It has occurred in Madeira and the 
Canaries, and it appears to be resident in suitable localities from 
Morocco to Egypt ; while southward, it is found in Arabia and 
Persia, and over the whole of Africa, as well as in Madagascar. At 
the Caspian we touch the western range of a closely-allied species, 
A. coro/naiida, in which a rich orange-colour pervades the head and 
neck ; and this representative extends across the warmer parts of 
Asia to South Japan ; two examples of it are said to have been shot 
near Turin in May 1S62, and one of them has been identified by 
Prof. Giglioli. 

Like its congeners, the Buff-backed Heron breeds in colonies, 
making a nest of dry sticks and twigs on tamarisk-bushes in swamps, 
on trees, or sometimes in gardens. Mr. J. H. Gurney describes 
a colony of about five hundred birds in the Faioum, the nests being 
in a large bed of dead tamarisks, and from two to five feet above 
the water ; but none of these contained young in June, while 
many were in course of building. Mr. R. B. Lodge found eggs 
in Andalucia on May 5th. The 3-5 eggs are very pale blue, and 
rounded at both ends; measurements I'S by i'3 in. The food 
consists of cattle ticks {Acari), beetles and other insects turned up 
by the plough, grasshoppers, locusts, and frogs. The note may be 
syllabled as gi-ah. In Egypt this species is often made to do duty 
for the Sacred Ibis with the tourist, and is to some extent respected 
by the peasants. 

The adult in summer has the crown, crest, fore nape, and the 
plumes of the back and neck saffron-buff; the rest of the plumage 
white, somewhat creamy on the wing-coverts ; lores, orbits, and 
irides golden-pink ; beak reddish at the base, yellow at the tip ; 
legs yellowish-red. Length about 20 in. ; wing 9 '5 in. The 
female is rather smaller than the male, and her plumes are less 
developed. After the autumn moult, and until the following 
spring, the elongated buff feathers are wanting, and the bird is 
almost pure white. In the young bird the skin about the base of 
the bill is very dark ; the plumage shows little buff-colour, and the 
legs are dull olive. 



ARDEID.^. 



377 




THE SQUACCO HERON. 

Ardea ralloides, Scopoli. 

About fifty examples of this little Heron have been taken in the 
British Islands since 1775, when a specimen was killed in Wiltshire. 
The other counties visited by it are Hants (and the Isle of Wight), 
Dorset, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall (about a dozen instances), 
Montgomeryshire, Denbighshire, Brecon, Salop, Notts, Suffolk, 
Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Cumberland. In Scotland, one 
was shot on the Forth and Clyde Canal, another near Edinburgh, and 
a third on Sept. 7th 1896 in the Orkneys. In Ireland, Mr. Ussher 
informs me that nine or ten have been obtained at long intervals, 
between May and November 23rd. With very few exceptions, 
however, these visitors have arrived in spring or summer, and have 
been in immature plumage. 

On the Continent the Squacco Heron is only a straggler to Poland, 
Northern Germany, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and the north of 
France ; but it is not uncommon in the valley of the Loire, where 
I believe it breeds. South of that line and of the Alpine ranges, it 
is generally distributed in suitable localities throughout Central and 



378 SQUACCO HERON. 

Southern Europe, from spring to autumn. In Spain it arrives in 
April, though in the valley of the Danube it does not do so 
before the middle of May. From the Canaries we find it 
numerous and resident in North Africa — including Egypt, and it 
inhabits that vast continent as far south as Namaqua Land, the 
Transvaal and Natal ; while the late Sir Edward Newton obtained 
it in Madagascar. Persia appears to be its eastern limit in Asia. 

The Squacco Heron breeds in colonies, in company with other 
members of the family; building a slight nest of sticks, on bushes 
or trees in flooded marshes. Mr. W. E. Clarke in Slavonia, and 
Messrs. Seebohm and Young on the Lower Danube, found eggs by 
^Liy 26th ; in Andalucia, however, Mr. R. B. Lodge found nests with 
their full complement by ^Nlay 8th in 1897. The 4-6 eggs are 
greenish-blue — smaller and darker than those of the Buff-backed 
Heron: measurements i"5 by i"i in. Li its breeding-haunts this 
species is very pugnacious towards its congeners. The food consists 
largely of water-beetles and other insects, small crabs, molluscs, frogs, 
minute fish, and occasionally small mammals : an entire shrew having 
been found in the crop of one examined by the late Mr. Rodd. In 
its habits this bird is somewhat inactive, passing the greater portion 
of the day in one position, the head being drawn in between the 
shoulders like that of a Bittern ; and in Spain Col. Irby noticed 
that it did not frequent the grazing-grounds after the manner of the 
Buff-backed Heron. It is usually very silent, but occasionally 
utters a harsh rarr. In dry seasons the nuptial dress is sometimes 
not assumed until late in the spring, and in Andalucia in 1868 (a 
very dry season) I found that even on May 21st some birds were 
still rather bare on the neck. 

The adult in breeding-plumage has the head and hind neck pale 
buff, streaked with dark lines ; the occiput furnished with eight or 
nine long lanceolate plumes, which are pure white in the centre 
and margined with black ; sides and front of the neck warm buff; 
back more vinaceous ; dorsal plumes elongated and filamentous ; 
wing-coverts pale buff; rest of plumage white; bill cobalt-blue at the 
base, black at the point ; lores naked and green ; irides yellow ; legs 
yellowish-pink ; soles yellow. Length 20 in. ; wing 9 in. In the 
immature plumage — ^most frequently seen in this country — the streaks 
on the neck are longer and broader, and the ground-colour is mixed 
with ashy-brown ; the back, and the ends of the inner secondaries 
are wood-brown ; and the younger the specimen the darker are the 
feathers alon2; the middle of the back. 



ARDEID.«. 



179 




THE NIGHT-HERON. 



Nycticorax GRiSEUS (Linnaeus). 

The first specimen of the Night-Heron recorded in England was 
shot near London in May 1782; since which time many examples 
have been obtained in the British Islands, and the species may be 
considered as an almost annual visitor in spring and autumn. In the 
south-western counties it would probably have bred, if unmolested, 
for in 'The Zoologist' (p. 252S), the late Rev. C. J. Bulteel gave 
details of his unrivalled success in destroying eight adult birds — four 
males and four females — in Devonshire, between May 23rd and 
June 22nd 1849. Both old and young have been taken along the 
south coast as far west as Cornwall ; more than twenty in the 
eastern counties, and a good many inland ; fewer from Yorkshire 
northward ; while to the western side of the island its visits have 
been infrequent. In Scotland, four occurrences in the south, one in 
Aberdeenshire, several in Argyllshire, and one in the Outer Hebrides 



3oO NIGHT-HERON. 

are on record ; while in Ireland about twenty examples have been 
obtained in various localities, from Cork to Donegal. 

The Night-Heron occasionally wanders to the Fteroes, South 
Sweden and Denmark, but even on the southern side of the Baltic 
it is rare, and of late years has gradually been driven from many of 
its nesting-places in the northern portions of Germany and Holland. 
In France it is chiefiy known on migration, though it breeds 
sparingly in the south ; it nests in the Spanish Peninsula, as well 
as on the mainland of Italy — which it leaves in autumn, though 
resident in Sardinia ; while on passage it visits the coasts and other 
islands of the Mediterranean. Large colonies are found on the 
Danube, and throughout the districts of the Black and Caspian Seas. 
Eastward, it is distributed throughout temperate and southern Asia, 
as well as over the whole of Africa ; in fact it is almost cosmopolitan, 
inasmuch as slightly varying forms inhabit America, from the Fur 
Countries down to the Falkland Islands. In Australia, and north- 
ward to the Pelew Islands and Celebes, the representative is iV^ 
cakdonicus, which has the upper parts of a bright cinnamon-colour. 

The Night-Heron breeds in colonies, usually building a nest of 
small sticks radiating from the centre, on trees or tamarisk-bushes in 
swamps ; but in China, where it is held sacred, large groves are 
selected, and Swinhoe has described a vast assemblage round the 
great Honam Temple at Canton, where the nests are placed thickly in 
some venerable banyans. In some parts reed-beds are chosen, and 
in the swamps of Lake jNIichigan dead rice-stalks are built up into 
solid structures. The 3-5 eggs are very pale greenish-blue, slightly 
pointed at both ends : measurements 2 by i"4 in. The bird com- 
mences sitting at once, and there is an interval of some two days 
between the laying of each egg. In Andalucia Mr. R. B. Lodge 
found eggs by May 8th, but further north incubation is later. The 
food consists of water-insects and their larvK, worms, snails, small 
fishes and frogs. The note is a mournful qua-a, seldom uttered in 
the daytime, though after dark the birds are very noisy. 

The adult male has the crown, nape, and middle of the back 
greenish-black ; neck, wings and tail grey ; under parts greyish- 
white ; at the nape three to ten long white plumes ; bill blackish 
above, lower mandible and lores lead-colour ; iris brick-red ; legs 
and feet yellow. Length about 23 in. ; wing 12 in. The female is 
duller in colour and has shorter nuchal plumes. The young bird has 
the upper plumage umber-brown, with paler streaks and white spots ; 
under parts striped with white, buff, and brown ; no crest. Young 
males are capable of reproduction while still in immature plumage. 



ARDEin-^s. 



-^8i 




THE LITTLE BITTERN. 



x\rdetta minuta (Linn^Eus). 

This small species has been obtained in nearly every county of 
England, especially in the eastern and southern districts ; while there 
can be little doubt that it bred on some of the Broads of Norfolk 
comparatively recently, and formerly did so in other localities. In 
Wales, and on the west side of the island, it is of rare occurrence, 
as it is also to the north of Yorkshire ; while to Scotland its visits 
are very irregular, though extending as far as the Orkneys and 
Shetlands. Mr. Ussher informs me that he has at least twenty-four 
records for Ireland, the majority from the southern counties. Most 
of the instances recorded in the British Islands have been between 
spring and autumn, but a few in the winter months. 

The Little Bittern is only a rare wanderer to the Faroes, Iceland, 
Norway and Sweden ; and although it has been obtained on several 
occasions in Denmark as well as the district of St. Petersburg, its 
usual migrations do not extend beyond the Baltic. Southward, it is 
found during summer in suitable situations throughout Europe ; but 
even from Spain, Italy and Greece it takes its departure in autumn, 
to return in April. It occurs in the Azores, Madeira and the 
Canaries, as well as in North Africa, where its numbers are 
augmented by migrants from the north in winter — at which season 
it visits Egypt and Nubia. In Southern Africa it is represented by 
the smaller and more rufous Ardetta podicipes. In Asia, our Little 



382 LITTLE BITTERN. 

Bittern is found breeding from the shores of the Caspian to Kashmir 
and Sind, while it occurs in Nepal and North-western India ; but 
eastward and southward it is represented by A. sinensis, the back of 
which is brown instead of black, and also by A. cinnamoiiiea ; while 
allied species inhabit Australia and America. 

The nest, made of flags and blades of grass, is placed among 
growing reeds, and very little above the water ; or in tamarisk- 
bushes ; but sometimes it is in pollarded willows, and occasionally 
the bird makes use of the former abode of a Magpie, in bushes or 
hedges near a swamp. The eggs, normally 4-5 in number, though 
9 are said to have been found, are usually laid in the latter half 
of May, are uniform dull white, with a greenish-grey tinge : 
measurements i"4 by i in. When disturbed from her nest the 
female utters a sound like ^ett, gett ; but the male emits a peculiar 
grunting wof, wough. The food, obtained chiefly by night, consists 
of small fish and their fry, frogs, reptiles, molluscs and aquatic 
insects. During the day the Little Bittern skulks in reed-beds, 
plantations of osiers, and other moist situations ; and, when disturbed, 
climbs among the branches, and threads its way through the 
tangled vegetation with great celerity. The late Lord Lilford 
observed that on its arrival in Corfu and Epirus it frequented 
gardens, orange-groves and olive-trees. It often endeavours to 
escape notice by remaining motionless, with crossed legs, outstretched 
neck, and bill pointing upwards : thus resembling a dry reed or a 
dead bulrush. Mr. H. M. Wallis informs me that at Lake Varese 
a bird had such confidence in its powers of assimilation that it 
remained until grasped, and afterwards it sat quietly upon the 
gunwale of his boat. 

I'he adult male has the crown, nape and back greenish-black ; 
primaries and tail browner black ; cheeks and neck warm buff", wing- 
coverts paler ; throat and under parts buff, with a few dark streaks 
on the breast and flanks ; bill yellow ; legs and feet greenish-yellow. 
Length about 13 in. ; wing 6 in. The female is a trifle smaller, and 
diff'ers in having a brown tinge on the head, the cheeks and hind 
neck rufous, back brown, wing-coverts brownish-buff; under parts 
buff, much streaked with wood-brown and umber. The young at 
first resemble the female, but the upper parts are duller in colour. 

The members of the genus Ardetta resemble the true Bitterns 
in having only ten soft tail-feathers and two pairs of powder-down 
tracts, whereas the Herons have twelve tail-feathers and three pairs 
of powder-down tracts. 



ARDEID.'E. 



383 












THE COMMON BITTERN. 

BoTAURUS STELLARis (Liiinceus). 

The extensive reed-swamps and marshes, to which the Bittern 
resorts during the breeding-season, have greatly decreased of late 
years in England, owing to drainage and cultivation ; nevertheless, 
its eggs were occasionally found in the Broad-district of Norfolk 
down to March 30th 1868, and as recently as August 1SS6 a 
young bird with down still adhering to it was obtained there. Before 
the reclamation of the East Anglian fens the ' Butter-bump,' as it 
was called from its note, bred in them annually, as it did also in 
other suitable portions of England and Wales ; while, even at the 
present day, so many of the birds which visit us are shot in spring, 
that, if a little forbearance were exercised, the ' boom ' of the Bittern 
might again be regularly heard in our land. To the mainland of 
Scotland the species is only an irregular visitor, occasionally wander- 



3cS4 COMMON BITTERN. 

ing to the Outer Hebrides, the Shetlands, and, perhaps, the Orkneys. 
In Ireland it is now chiefly found in winter, especially in co. Cork, 
though it used to breed in the south up to the first quarter of this 
century. 

The Bittern is a rare visitor to the southern portion of Norway, 
but it is a spring-migrant to Sweden up to about 60° N. lat. ; while 
in Eastern Russia it can be traced to 57°, and in Western Siberia 
to Yeneseisk. Southward, it is distributed in summer through- 
out the Pal^earctic region, from Japan and China to the Azores ; and 
it is resident in the warmer portions of Europe, where its numbers 
are augmented in winter by visitors from the north. It is found in 
Northern Africa, but is represented in the south by B. capensis. 

Extensive reed-beds are the usual nurseries of this skulking 
species ; but sometimes it selects swamps on the margins of 
unfrequented lakes. The nest, placed on the ground amongst the 
thickest herbage, is composed of dry reeds heaped together ; the 
eggs, often laid in March or April, and usually 4 in number, are of 
a uniform brownish-olive colour, sometimes with a green tint when 
fresh : measurements 2"i by i"5 in. They are laid at intervals of 
several days, and incubation lasts about 25 days; while the young 
do not quit the nest till nearly able to provide for themselves. The 
Bittern usually feeds at night, and is seldom seen on the wing in 
the day, during which it remains in thick beds of reeds ; but 
I have seen it take shelter in a tree on the skirt of a marsh. 
The flight is dull and flagging, and seldom sustained to any 
great distance, except on migration. In the breeding-season the 
male makes a loud booming or bellowing noise, whence, probably, 
the term Botaurits ; but at other times the bird utters a sharp, harsh 
cry. The food consists of small mammals, birds, fish, water-beetles, 
lizards, frogs, and almost anything that can be swallowed. The 
Bittern has been described as a solitary bird ; but forty to fifty have 
been observed on the wing in a flock, and in Lower Egypt Capt. 
Shelley got close to about a score reposing among the reeds. When 
wounded, the bird lies with the neck drawn in, but this can be shot 
out with startling rapidity and effect. 

The adult has the crown and nape black ; general colour buff, 
irregularly barred above and streaked below with black ; feathers of 
the neck long and forming an erectile ruff; tail of 10 soft feathers ; 
primary-coverts and quills barred with black and chestnut ; bill 
greenish-yellow ; legs and feet grass-green. Length 28 in. ; wing 13 in. 
The sexes are alike in plumage. In the young bird the colour of 
the quills and coverts is nearly uniform. 



ARDEID.t. 



385 




r'^ r \\ yr 



THE AMERICAN BITTERN. 



BoTAURUS LENTiGiNosus (Montagu). 

It is difficult to refuse a place in the British list to a bird which, 
although an inhabitant of America, has been obtained on some thirty 
occasions in our islands, and which was first distinguished as a new 
species by Montagu, from a specimen killed in Dorsetshire in 1804. 
Since that date examples have been recorded from Kent, Sussex, 
Hants, Devon, Cornwall, Pembrokeshire, Anglesea, Lancashire and 
Yorkshire ; in Scotland, from Dumfriesshire, Islay, Elgin, Aberdeen- 
shire and Caithness ; in Ireland about twelve : from cos. London- 
derry, Down, Armagh, Louth, Kildare, Carlow, Wexford, Tipperary and 
Cork. As far as is known, all these, with the exception of one shot 
in Dumfriesshire on March 25th 1878, have been obtained between 
October and February : dates which coincide with those of the 
bird's well-known annual migrations. Although an example was 
killed in Guernsey on October 27th 1870, the American Bittern has 
not yet occurred on the Continent ; but this may be accounted for 
by the fact that the greater part of the trade across the North Atlantic 
is to the British Islands, which are, also, the nearest land eastward. 

H H 



38(5 AMERICAN BITTERN. 

There can be little doubt that many, and probably most of our visitors, 
have been aided on their passage by being able to rest on the yards 
of vessels ; especially on those of steamers, the square-sails of which 
are seldom set, so that a bird might easily remain, unobserved and 
undisturbed, by day as well as by night, while each twenty-four hours 
would find it, even on cargo-boats, some 300 miles further on its 
way across. It could probably exist without food for far longer than 
is necessary for such a transit ; moreover, if hungry, or dislodged 
from its ship, its long slender feet would enable it to alight on 
patches of sargasso and other masses of floating sea-weeds found on 
the line of the Gulf Stream, and among these it would find small 
fish, crustaceans, and other sustenance, until another vessel passed 
by. Doubtless numbers perish for one that reaches our shores. 

An exhausted example of this species was captured by dogs at 
Egedesminde in Greenland, in 1S69 ; and in America its range on 
the MacKenzie River extends to the Arctic Ocean, though the bird 
is probably rare so far north. South of the 58th parallel in the 
Fur-countries, it is found, as a breeding-species, down to Texas ; 
while on its extended and bold autumnal migration it is a regular 
and sometimes an abundant visitor to the Bermudas, where it also 
occurs, though with less frequency, on its passage northward in 
March. In winter it visits the West Indian Islands and Guatemala. 

When situated on dry ground, the nest is a very slight structure of 
reeds and grass ; but in places liable to inundations it is sometimes 
considerably elevated. The eggs, 4-7 in number, are equally 
obtuse at either end, and are of a uniforni drab colour : measure- 
ments I "9 by I "45 in. This Bittern usually feeds on frogs, lizards, 
and small mammals, but it is almost omnivorous. The note of the 
male in the early part of the breeding-season is a deep choking 
croak, resembling the noise made by driving a stake in boggy soil, 
whence its common name of " Stake-" or " Post-driver." 

This species resembles our Old A\'orld bird in general plumage, 
but is smaller in size ; its bill, legs and feet are more slender ; the 
feathers of the upper parts are more finely vermiculated ; and the 
primaries are uniform leaden-hrozvn. Length about 24 in. ; wing 
1 1 in. The young have a ruddier tinge and coarser mottlings. 

A specimen of the American Buiorides viresce?is, said to have 
been shot in Cornwall in October 1889, was exhibited at the 
Linnean Society in April 1890, by Sir C. Sawle {Cf. Zool. 1890, 
p. 105 and p. 181). 



J 



CICONIID/E. 



387 




'V 



ill 



^ ~ J, 






THE WHITE STORK. 

Cic6nia alba, Bechstein. 

It does not appear that the White Stork has ever been more than 
an irregular wanderer to the British Islands ; and as long ago as 
1544 Dr. William Turner, writing at Cologne, expressed his surprise 
that a bird so common in Germany should be unknown in England. 
Later, it was considered by Merrett, Willughby and Ray a very rare 
visitor, but Sir Thomas Browne remarked on its occurrence in the fens 
and marshes of Norfolk, where, from the proximity of Holland — in 
which the species has long been protected — more examples have 
been obtained than in all the rest of Great Britain. An adult 
female, shot about May 17th 186 1 at Woodbastwick, contained an 
egg ready for exclusion, which was cracked by the fall of the bird ; 
and more than thirty specimens have been recorded from East 
Anglia, chiefly in the spring. Several have been noticed from 
Northamptonshire southward, and on April 23rd 1884 a flock of six 
passed over the town of Newbury in Berkshire, flying m a north- 

H H 2 



388 WHITE STORK. 

easterly direction. Northward, the occurrences of this species 
become less frequent, and in Scotland they are rare, though extend- 
ing to the Orkneys and Shetlands ; while still fewer are known on 
the west side of Great Britain. In Ireland six are on record. 

In Norway the White Stork has been found as far north as Bergen, 
and is a yearly visitor to the south, where, however, it is not 
encouraged to breed, as it is in Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Germany 
and the greater part of Central Europe. In France, Italy, Sicily, 
Sardinia and ^Slalta it is of irregular appearance ; but in the Spanish 
Peninsula it nests freely on the towers and belfries of churches in 
towns, and on the ' almiares ' or stacks of the farm-houses, as well as 
on trees. It is equally abundant in Slavonia and the Danubian 
Provinces, although not specially protected there ; as well as in 
Turkey and Southern Russia ; but in Greece and the Archipelago it 
is less common. It breeds in Asia Minor, and sparingly in Palestine, 
which it visits in great numbers (Canon Tristram says tens of 
thousands) on migration ; while it ranges to Central Asia and India, 
Mr. Parker having even found it nesting as far south as Ceylon, in 
December. In China and Japan the representative species is 
C. boyciana, with black bill and red lores. In the west, the White 
Stork is a wanderer to the Canaries, and it is numerous from early 
spring to autumn in North Africa, where a few remain during the 
winter ; but the majority pass southward — immense numbers 
migrating through Egypt — as far as Natal and Cape Colony. 

The nest, built of sticks, and added to year by year, is usually 
placed on buildings, or on cart-wheels set up for the use of the bird, 
in Holland and other parts of the Continent ; but trees and the 
ledges of cliffs are also utilized. The eggs, 3-5 in number, are 
pure white : measurements 2*8 by 2*1 in. The yolk is of a very 
deep orange-colour. Incubation, which lasts a month, begins by 
March 25th in Morocco, but is later in the north. The old bird feeds 
the young by inserting its beak within the mandibles of the nestling, 
and then disgorging the food ; this consists of frogs, reptiles, fish, 
grasshoppers and other insects, worms, small mammals and young 
birds. During the breeding-season Storks keep up a constant 
clattering with their bills. The pleasing legend of the conjugal 
fidelity of this species is quite unfounded on fact. 

The adult has the bare skin round the eye black ; plumage white, 
except the quills, which are black frosted with grey ; bill, legs and 
feet red. Length 40 in. ; wing i-x, in. In the young the quills are 
dull black, while the feet and legs are brownish-red. 




389 



THE BLACK STORK. 

CicoNiA NIGRA (Liiiiiaeus). 

The Black Stork is a far rarer visitor to England than its con- 
gener, and there is no authentic record of its occurrence in 
Scotland or Ireland. In May 1814 a bird, disabled by a slight 
shot-wound, was captured on West Sedgemoor, Somersetshire, and 
lived in the possession of Montagu for more than twelve months ; 
it is now in the British Museum. Since that time examples have 
been obtained, at long intervals, between the months of May and 
November, in the Scilly Islands (i), Devon (i), Dorset (2), Kent (2), 
Middlesex (i), Oxfordshire (i), Essex (i), Suffolk (i), Norfolk (2), 
Yorkshire (i), and Durham (i). 

This species is only a straggler to Norway ; but it breeds sparingly 
in the forests of the south of Sweden, Denmark, Brunswick, Hanover, 
Pomerania, East Prussia and some other parts of Germany ; also 
in Poland, Central and Southern Russia, the Danubian Provinces, 
Turkey and Spain. In the rest of Europe it occurs as a migrant, 



390 BLACK STORK. 

and is even said to visit Madeira. Eastward it breeds in Palestine, 
and can be traced — through Persia, Turkestan, Siberia up to 55° N. 
lat., and Mongolia — to China, where it nests on cliffs in the moun- 
tains near Pekin ; while flocks winter in India as far south as the 
Deccan. It is found throughout Northern Africa, from Morocco 
to Egypt, Nubia and Abyssinia ; and appears to be generally 
distributed during our cold season down to Cape Colony. 

Unlike the White Stork, which frequents the society of man, the 
Black Stork has its breeding-haunts in the most secluded spots, and 
generally in marshy woods, where it builds its nest in high trees. 
Mr. H. J. Elwes has described one in Jutland as a large and heavy 
mass of sticks, lined with tufts of green moss, and situated about 
thirty-five feet from the ground, in a good-sized beech ; another 
was on an old nest of the White-tailed Eagle, in a smaller tree 
overlooking a wide swampy valley in the forest ; and the late Mr. 
Seebohm found similar structures in oaks and firs. In Spain, 
Bulgaria and Turkey, clefts and ledges of cliffs are also used. The 
4-5 eggs are coarse in texture and of a dull greyish-white colour, 
while, when the shell is held up to the light the lining membrane 
shows gree?i, whereas it is yellowish in the egg of the White Stork ; 
the dimensions also are smaller, being about 2*6 by 2 in. The male 
stands by the female whilst she is sitting, and little fear of intruders 
is shown. Incubation commences in the latter half of April, and, 
as a rule, the Black Stork arrives at its northern breeding-stations 
rather earlier than its congener ; while it leaves later in the autumn, 
and has once been obtained in Sweden in winter. Its food consists 
largely of fish ; but frogs, reptiles, small mammals, and aquatic 
insects are also eaten. The young utter a peculiar guttural note ; 
the adults, however, merely make a clattering noise with their 
bills. The illustration was taken from a bird which lived in the 
gardens of the Zoological Society in the Regent's Park for about 
thirty years. 

The adult has the head, neck, upper breast and mantle glossy 
black, with blue, purple, copper-coloured and green reflexions ; under 
parts below the breast white ; bill, orbits, pouch, legs and feet coral- 
red. Length 38 in. ; wing 21 in. The sexes are alike in plumage. 
In the young bird the upper feathers are dull metallic-brown, 
margined with dirty-white; and the bill and legs are olive-green, 
afterwards turning to orange-red. 

The Storks, Ibises, and Spoonbills have no powder-down tracts. 



ibidld.t:. 



391 




THE GLOSSY IBIS. 
Plegadis falcixellus (Linnaeus). 

The Glossy Ibis is now only of accidental occurrence in the 
British Isbnds, but towards the end of the last century- its \isits 
appear to have been more frequent, and near L5Tin in Norfolk it 
was known to gunners and fishermen as the 'Black Curlew.' In the 
eastern and midland counties and on the estuaries of the south 
coast it has been obser\-ed more often than in the west, though it 
has occurred in Pembrokeshire and Lancashire : it is even popularly 
— and erroneously — supposed to be the bird called the Liver, figured 
in the arms of Liverpool. Northward it is decidedly rare, and only six 
examples seem to have been obtained in Scotland : one of them near 
Kirkwall, Orkney, and one at Unst in the Shetlands. In Ireland it 
has occurred at least twent)- times, either singly or in small flocks, 
chiefly in the southern and eastern counties, and once near Belfast. 
As a rule the visits of this species have been in autumn or early 
winter, but occasionally in spring. 

To the Faeroes, Iceland, Scandina\"ia, Denmark, and the Baltic 
Provinces the Glossy Ibis is a mere wanderer ; and north of the 
Alpine ranges of Central Europe its appearance can only be con- 



392 GLOSSY IBIS. 

sidered irregular. Southwards it becomes common, and in Spain 
it nests freely in the marshes of Andalucia. Its most northern 
colonies appear to commence in Slavonia, and are to be found along 
the valley of the Danube, extending thence throughout the Black Sea 
district to the Caspian. In Asia it ranges to 48° N. lat., and breeds 
as far south as Ceylon ; while in winter it passes down the Eastern 
Archipelago to South Australia. It nests in suitable localities in 
North Africa, and on the east side of that continent its migrations 
extend to Natal. Our Glossy Ibis appears to be found in the 
Eastern United States, but the representative species in Neo-tropical 
America is P. guarauna, which has a white margin of feathers 
surrounding the bare space on the forehead. 

Mr. W. Eagle Clarke found the Glossy Ibis breeding by thousands 
in the great bird-colony on the Obedska ' bara ' in Slavonia ; its 
nests, constructed of sticks and a few reeds, being placed among the 
lower branches of sallow-bushes (tamarisks in Spain), either on 
the surface of the water or very little above it. The eggs, 3-4 in 
number, are oval, and are of a dark greenish-blue, slightly 
pitted : measurements 2 in. by i "5 in. In India and Ceylon the 
nests are built in trees, and Col. Legge describes the young as 
climbing actively among the branches, and clinging so firmly with 
their feet as to be removed with difficulty. The food consists of 
small amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, &c., obtained on the muddy 
banks of rivers and estuaries ; also of locusts, scorpions and beetles. 
In flight the pinions are first moved rapidly, and produce a whizzing 
sound, after which the bird skims for some distance. 

The adult has the head, neck and under parts deep reddish- 
brown ; back, wings and tail brownish-black, glossed with metallic- 
green and purple ; bill dark brown ; bare skin round the eyes 
greenish-grey ; irides hazel ; legs and feet bronze-brown. Length 
about 22 in. ; wing 1075 in. The sexes are alike in plumage, but 
the female is slightly smaller. The young bird has no glossy tints ; 
and the head, cheeks and neck are streaked and patched with 
greyish-white. 

The family of the Ibises, of which Pkgadis forms a somewhat 
outlying genus, has no affinity to the Curlews, with which, owing to 
a superficial resemblance in the shape of the bill, it was formerh' 
associated; its relationship is with the Storks i^Ciconiidcc)^ ano, 
more closely, with the Spoonbills {Plataleidie). The egg of the 
Sacred Ibis is similar to that of the Spoonbill, and so are, probably, 
the eggs of the other typical species. 



PLATALEID^. 



393 







THE SPOONBILL. 

Platalea leucor6dia, Liniiceus. 

Prof. Newton has shown (Tr. Norfolk Soc. 1896, p. 158) that in 
the time of Edward L (1300) the Spoonbill was known, under the 
name of "Popeler," to breed in Norfolk; while up to the days of 
Willughby and Sir Thomas Browne it used to nest on trees — in 
company with Herons — in that county and Suffolk. Mr. Harting 
has drawn attention to breeding-places near Goodwood in Sussex, 
and at Fulham in Middlesex (Zool. 1877, p. 425; 1886, p. 81) 
in the sixteenth century, when its usual name was "Shoveler," or 
"Shovelard"; and Owen, in 1602, describes it as nesting on high 
fees in Pembrokeshire. Even now the bird frequently visits East 
;)Lnglia, and is found from time to time along the south coast, 
?gpecially in Cornwall ; while occasionally it wanders up the 
Thames valley. In Pembrokeshire and on the flats of Cardigan Bay 
: is often seen, though on the west side it is rare. Nine specimens 
lave been recorded from Yorkshire, but northward it is of rare 
ccurrence ; stragglers have, however, been obtained in the Inner 



394 SPOONBILL. 

Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands. Tn Ireland, Mr. Ussher informs 
me that he has records of ^^ occurrences in the maritime counties, 
principally in the southern districts and especially in co. Cork. 

The Spoonbill seldom visits Scandinavia or Northern Russia, and 
was first obtained in Heligoland on July 14th 1892 ; but south of 
56° N. lat. it breeds in suitable localities, even as near us as Holland, 
where, however, its haunts are rapidly being drained. Its arrival is 
usually in April, and it remains till September, or a little later. To 
France it is now merely a wanderer, though in the time of Belon it 
used to nest on trees in Brittany and Poitou ; but it breeds in the 
south of Spain, as well as along the Danube and in the Black Sea 
district, whence it emigrates in winter. Westward it wanders to the 
Azores, Madeira and the Canaries ; while eastward, it ranges to 
India, Ceylon, and Northern China ; in Africa it appears to be 
resident as far south as Socotra. Representatives are found in South- 
east Asia, South Africa, and Australia ; but the Roseate Spoonbill 
of America belongs to a different genus, Ajaja. 

The nests, formed of broken-down and piled-up reeds, may be on 
the surface of the water, as in Holland and Spain : on the submerged 
branches of willows, as in Slavonia &c. ; or on trees, as already 
mentioned ; the last being a favourite site in India and Ceylon. In 
Southern Europe laying sometimes begins very early in May, the eggs, 
4-6 in number, being deposited at considerable intervals ; they are 
rough in texture, very variable in shape, and dull white, streaked and 
spotted with reddish-brown, in colour : measurements 2*5 by i"8 in. 
The food consists of small fish, frogs, molluscs, aquatic insects and 
crustaceans, obtained in shallow pools \ and WoUey noticed that 
the bird, while feeding, kept its bill immersed, upon which, as on a 
pivot, a movement in a semi-circle was rapidly maintained by the 
whole body. In captivity the Spoonbill is inoffensive to other 
species, and will eat any sort of offal. Mr. R. B. Lodge heard the 
bird emit a few low notes while flying round its nest ; but it has no 
true vocal muscles, though a singular figure-of-8-like convolution of 
the windpipe is found in old birds of both sexes. 

The adult male in spring has the plumage white, with a tinge of 
yellow on the occipital plumes and fore neck ; bill yellow at the tip, 
the rest black, barred with yellow ; gular region orange ; irides red ; 
legs and feet black. Length 36 in. (bill 8"5 in.) ; wing 14*5. The 
female is slightly smaller and has less crest. In winter the plumes 
are absent. The young has the bill narrower at the tip, more 
flexible, and of a livid flesh-colour ; irides ash-colour ; shafts and 
ends of the quill-feathers black, and no occipital plumes. 



i 



t 



PHCENICOPTERID.«. 



395 




THE FLAMINGO. 

PHrENICOPTERUS ROSEUS, PallaS. 



Early in September 1881 an adult Flamingo was seen for a week 
or so on the estate of the late Sir John H. Crewe, in the northern 
part of Staffordshire ; but having crossed the river Manifold to 
another property, it was captured and taken to the owner of the 
land, by whom it was kept alive for a few days, and then killed. 
Another adult bird, recorded by Lord Henry Scott (Zool. 1884, 
p. 338), was shot on November 26th 1883, on the mud banks outside 
the Beaulieu river, Hampshire, which it had frequented for about a 
fortnight after a great gale from the south-west. Capt. G. E. Shelley 
has informed me that on August 12th 1884, when waiting near New 
Romney for the evening flights of Curlews, an adult Flamingo flew 
past him, having been put up by his two nephews, who got within 



396 FLAMINGO. 

about fifty yards of it. Inquiries failed to show that any bird of this 
species had escaped from menageries about the above dates ; but 
one which was shot in the Isle of Sheppey on August i6th 1873, 
may have been an individual which escaped from the London 
Zoological Gardens on July 19th. 

The visits of the Flamingo to England are not nearly so remark- 
able as are those of many other southern species, for stragglers have 
been obtained in Pomerania and Hesse-Darmstadt ; single birds, 
and even flocks, have been observed from time to time along the 
Lower Rhine ; and varying numbers often ascend the valley of the 
Rhone, visiting the lakes of Switzerland, Savoy, and the /'fangs of 
La Brenne in Central France. Flocks still resort to the lagoons of 
the Rhone delta, and in years when there is plenty of water they 
breed on the etang de Valcares ; while still larger communities are 
found at the mouth of the Guadalquivir in the south of Spain, and 
at Tunis and other suitable places in North Africa. The Flamingo 
also breeds in the Cape Verde Islands ; ranges over the whole of 
Africa ; and inhabits Asia from the Caspian to Lake Baikal. 

It had long been known that Flamingoes bred in colonies, 
depositing their eggs on nests built of mud, and raised to heights 
varying from a few inches to about two feet, according to thr 
liability of the soil to inundation ; but Mr. Abel Chapman was the 
first to prove, from personal observation (Ibis, 1884, pp. 86-89), that 
the birds sit with their long legs doubled under their bodies, and 
do not stand astride of their nests, as popularly supposed and erro- 
neously pictured. The eggs, laid about May 24th, are 2 in number, 
and have a very chalky-white surface, beneath which the shell is 
greenish-blue: measurements y6 by 2-25 in. Mr. W. Eagle Clarke 
found that in the Camargue the food consisted of minute crustaceans 
{Artonia salina), &c. Flamingoes feed by day ; their cry, formation 
in flight, and moult are Anserine, and they swim with ease. 

The adult has the general plumage rosy-white, with scarlet wing- 
coverts and black quills ; irides and bare skin next the eye yellow ; 
bill rosy at the base, black at the tip ; legs and feet pinkish- red. 
The length to the tip of the tail varies, irrespective of age or sex, 
from 50-60 in. ; wing 16-17 in- I" the young of the first year the 
pink is absent, except a slight trace of it on the wings ; the 
secondaries are irregularly barred with black, and the bill, eyes, legs 
and feet are dull lead-colour. The nesding is covered with greyish- 
white down ; the bill is nearly straight. 



ANATID^. 



397 







THE GREY LACx-GOOSE. 



Anser cinereus, Meyer. 

This species is generally supposed to be the principal source from 
which our domestic race has sprung, and, according to Prof. Skeat, 
the trivial name indicates that it is the species of ' Grey ' Goose which 
in former days lagged behind to breed in our fens, when its congeners 
had betaken themselves to more northerly regions ; Mr. Harting, 
however, suggests that "lag" is derived from "leag" or "lea," and 
means " field-" (goose) as distinctive from the '•' rut-" or root-eating 
species, such as the Brent. Nestlings were taken in the Cambridge- 
shire fens up to 1773, and breeding continued in Lincolnshire up to 
the early part of this century ; but this species is no w rare along the east 
coast, while of very irregular occurrence in the south and west, even 
in winter. Even in the Solway district and throughout the greater 
part of Scotland it is seldom met with ; but it still breeds, though in 
rapidly decreasing numbers, in Ross, Caithness, Sutherland, and, 
more abundantly, in the Hebrides, especially on the outer islands ; 
being the only kind of Wild Goose which nests in Scotland. 
To the Orkneys and Shetlands it is only an accidental visitor. In 
Ireland, a colony of semi-domesticated birds has for many years 
been resident on the lake at Castle Coole (Lord Belmore's), and 
from autumn till late spring some numbers are to be found, chiefly 



398 GREY LAG-GOOSE. 

in the southern and western counties, though the species is less local 
than is generally supposed. There can, however, be little doubt 
that the majority go past our islands, to the south of Europe. 

Though now only a visitor to the Faeroes, the Grey Lag-Goose 
breeds in the south of Iceland, and is tolerably numerous during 
summer in Scandinavia ; also in Russia as far south as the Caspian, 
as well as in the Black Sea district and along the valley of the 
Danube. A limited number breed in Denmark, and — very locally 
—in Holland and North Germany. Occasionally it has been 
known to nest in the south-west of Spain, where vast flocks are 
found in winter ; in the Mediterranean basin, however, as well as 
over Central Europe, it is chiefly observed in cold weather. In 
Asia it seldom reaches the Arctic circle, and Mr. Popham did not 
meet with it on the Yenesei, while southward it (or a closely-allied 
form, A. rubrirostris of Hodgson), extends to Canton in China, and 
Central India. 

The nest, generally placed among coarse grass or rank heather, 
though sometimes on a ledge of a crag, is composed of heather, small 
twigs, reeds, or moss, without any lining until the female has laid her 
eggs, which she then surrounds with down plucked from her breast. 
These, usually 5-6 in number, though 1 2 are said to have been found, 
are dull yellowish-white : measurements 3-5 by 2*4 in. In Scotland 
incubation generally begins about the middle of April, and after the 
females begin to sit the males leave them and collect in flocks at the 
nearest water. This Goose feeds on grass and other vegetable 
substances which are found inland, and — unless very much harassed 
— always by day ; at night it betakes itself to promontories, sand- 
banks, and other spots difficult of access. On long flights, a change- 
able but more or less wedge-shaped formation is often assumed by 
flocks of this, as well as of all the other ' Grey ' species, whence the 
term ' a skein of Geese ' ; while old sportsmen usually spoke of a 
' gaggle ' : the latter term having reference, no doubt, to the noise 
made by the birds. 

The adult has a few white feathers round the base of the bill ; 
the general plumage of the head, neck and upper parts greyish- 
brown ; lower breast and abdomen dull-white, with a few black spots. 
The distinguishing characteristics of the species are the bluish-grey 
rump and wing-coverts, flesh-coloured bill with a white nail at the 
tip, and flesh-coloured legs and feet. Length : male 34 in. ; wing 
17*5 ; female 30 in., wing 16 in. Weight 8-10 lbs. The young are 
darker than the adults, and have no black spots on the under parts. 



ANATID.^^. 



399 




/sTz-^^W 



^^^Sr^^jasij 



THE WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE. 

Anser albifrons (Scopoli). 

The White-fronted — or, as it is sometimes called from its hoarse 
note, the Laughing — Goose, is a smaller bird than the preceding 
species, which, however, it resembles in having a white nail at the 
tip of the bill. It is a winter-visitor to the British Islands, and 
large flocks occasionally arrive in England, especially in the south 
and south-west ; but it is not plentiful on the east coast, and is 
local in its distribution. It annually visits some of the bogs in Wales, 
as well as Swansea Bay, and is the species found in large numbers 
on the Severn, especially near Berkeley, from December to 
March. It is uncommon on the east side of the mainland of 
Scotland, except near the Moray Firth ; while on the west it occurs 
but sparingly in the Outer Hebrides, though in Islay it is the 
commonest of the ' Grey ' Geese, arriving early in October, and 
remaining till the middle of April. It is irregularly plentiful in the 
Shetlands, and is the commonest species in the Orkneys. In 
Ireland it is abundant, and more widely distributed inland than any 
other member of the genus. 

The true White-fronted Goose has occurred in the Faroes and 
throughout Iceland ; and although it is not known to nest in 
Norway or Sweden, yet in winter it visits their coasts, as well as 



400 WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE. 

those of Denmark and Western Europe as far as the Mediterranean. 
It goes rather far north to breed ; for Mr. Pearson found it on both 
islands of Novaya Zemlya, and Mr. Popham informs me that it is 
plentiful on the Lower Yenesei. Middendorff describes it as the 
commonest Goose in the Taimyr district, whence, in the cold season, 
it migrates as far south as Shanghai and Northern India. Westward, 
its lines of migration seem to be down the Volga and other great 
river-valleys to Syria, Egypt and Nubia. This species was domesti- 
cated by the ancient Egyptians, as shown by paintings on a slab 
from Maydoom, as well as on others in the temple of Amada in 
Nubia, and in the British Museum. 

The bird which breeds in the northern districts of Scandinavia 
and on the fjelds, is characterized by smaller size, somewhat darker 
plumage, and a short bill straight ridged from the tip to the forehead, 
on which the white extends beyond the line of the eye. By those 
who admit its claim to specific rank this is known as the Lesser 
White-fronted Goose, Anser erythropus of Linnaeus, and a young 
male of this was shot by the late Mr. A. C. Chapman at Holy 
Island in Northumberland, on Sept. i6th 1886. The late Mr. 
Seebohm obtained this form — as I consider it — on the Yenesei, and 
the area which it visits on migration appears to be nearly identical 
with the range of the larger and more numerous bird. The White- 
fronted Goose which is found in Greenland and in America up to 
72° N. lat. {A. gambeli), is a very large bird, with a great deal more 
black on the breast, abdomen, and flanks, and much darker under 
wing-coverts ; it occurs as far west as Alaska, and visits the northern 
Asiatic coast. 

The nidification of the White-fronted Goose is like that of its 
congeners; the 5-7 creamy-white eggs measure 3 in. by 2 in. For 
its feeding-grounds this species appears to prefer fields of grass and 
clover to stubbles. It breeds in captivity, and has been known to 
produce a brood by union with a Bernacle Goose. 

The adult male has a white frontal band ; upper plumage brownish- 
ash ; breast and belly brownish-white, broadly barred with black ; bill 
orange-yellow, with a white nail at the tip ; legs, toes and webs 
orange. Length 27 in. ; wing 16 in. Good weight, 6| lbs. The 
female is rather smaller and has less black on the breast. The 
young are darker and more uniform in colour, and the feathers at 
the base of the upper mandible do not show any white till January ; 
while there are no black markings on the breast in females ; and 
the bill-nail is light brown. 






AXATID.t. 



40 T 




THE BEAN-GOOSE. 



Anser secetum (J. F. Gmelin). 

This species and the Pink-footed Goose, next to be considered, 
may usually be distinguished from the two preceding by the black 
nail at the tip of the bill. The Bean-Goose does not breed in any 
part of the British Islands, but it comes to us in autumn, and is 
widely, though not abundantly, distributed along our coasts during 
the winter; a return migration being observable early in spring. 
On the eastern side, and also in Lancashire, it is decidedly less 
plentiful than the Pink-footed Goose ; but in Cornwall it is said 
to predominate. On the mainland of Scotland and in some of the 
islands it is comparatively rare, while its reported occurrences in the 
Outer Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands require confirmation. In 
Ireland it is at times numerous in the midlands and west, though 
rare in the south, and ranks next in abundance to the White-fronted 
Goose. 

The Bean-Goose has not been identified in Iceland, and I strongly 
suspect that the '■'■A. segetuni" recorded from East Greenland by the 
Danish Expedition of 1891-92 is the next species. It breeds freely 
in Scandinavia to the north of lat. 64°, and also in North Russia, 

I I 



402 BEAN-GOOSE. 

where Messrs. Harvie-Brown and Seebohm found it nesting on the 
'tundras' of the Petchora, while at Dvoinik, on July 27th, several 
hundred old Geese and about as many young were observed march- 
ing like a regiment of soldiers, most of them being in full moult 
and unable to fly. According to Mr. Trevor-Battye, Admiral 
Markham, Mr. H. J. Pearson, and others, this species is abundant 
on Kolguev, Waigats, and both islands of Novaya Zemlya ; in fact, 
it is the predominating 'Grey' Goose on Kolguev (Trevor-Battye), 
and Mr. H. L. Popham makes a similar remark respecting the 
Yenesei. Eastward of about 115° long, in Siberia, the representative 
is A. serrirosfris, a larger bird with some tawny colour on the head 
and neck, large flocks of which visit Japan and China in winter. 
Our bird is not known to reach India, but it occurs in Palestine and 
the basin of the Mediterranean, and is common in Russia down to 
the Caspian and Poland ; while, though rare in the Iberiau Penin- 
sula, it is said to have been obtained in Madeira. 

The nest is built early in June, in a tussock of sedge or upon a 
hillock in an islet ; the eggs, up to 6 in number, are dull creamy- 
white, and are smaller and lighter in weight than those of the Grey 
Lag-Goose: measurements 3 "2 by 2*2 in. The Bean-Goose is 
decidedly herbivorous, feeding by day on pastures : and its name is 
probably owing to the long and repeated confusion of this species 
with the Pink-footed Goose, which is graminivorous. Sir R. Payne- 
Gallwey says that Bean-Geese are the slaves of weather ; when frost 
sets in they are driven to the neighbourhood of tidal-waters ; con- 
tinued rain and wind keep them inland ; a north wind unsettles 
them ; a north-east wind, again, will bring them to the coast in 
anticipation of frost ; a change, and they are on their travels once 
more. He adds that Geese are not very wary at night, nor do they 
appear to possess the power of vision of other wild-fowl. In con- 
finement, this species has bred with the Pink-footed Goose. 

The adult is characterized by its somewhat slender shape, long, 
weak bill — orange in the centre, and black at the base and on the 
nail — pinkish-yellow legs and feet, and the absence of any black 
on the breast; the general plumage is darker than in the two 
preceding species, and there is no bluish-grey on the shoulder. 
Though less bulky than the Grey Lag-Goose, it is nearly as long, 
being a slim bird : male 33-34 in. ; wing long in proportion, and 
averaging nearly 19 in.; weight, 7,^-8 lbs. The female is rather 
smaller. Young birds are generally darker, their markings are less 
distinct, and the neck has a tawny tinge. 



I 



ANATIDyE. 



40: 




THE PINK-FOOTED GOOSE. 



Anser rrachyrhynchus, Baillon. 

The late Mr. A. D. Bartlett was the first to call the attention of 
British ornithologists to the distinguishing marks of this species, in a 
paper read before the Zoological Society of London on January 8th 
1839 ; although the name which he then proposed had to give way 
to one conferred in 1833 by Baillon of Abbeville. Subsequent 
observation has shown that the Pink-footed far exceeds the Bean- 
Cioose in abundance on the east coast of England from the end 
of September onward through the colder months ; for instance, 
nearly all the large flocks of ' Grey ' Geese which frequent the 
marshes and uplands of Holkham and Burnham in Norfolk are of 
this species, while similar testimony is given respecting the Humber 
district by Messrs. Cordeaux, H. Sharp and F. Boyes, the eastern 
part of Yorkshire by the late A. Strickland and Mr. W. Eagle 
Clarke, and Northumberland by Mr, Abel Chapman. On the west 
side its predominance is less decided, while in the south its 
occurrences are not so frequently noticed. It is found in winter 
on the east coast of Scotland ; as also on the west, and sparingly 
in the Outer Hebrides, but it is rare in the Orkneys, and not yet 
recognized in the Shetlands. In Ireland it was obtained and 
identified for the first time near Belfast, on October 21st 1891. 

The Pink-footed Goose breeds in the north of Iceland, and is the 

I I 2 



404 PINK-FOOTED GOOSE. 

only ' Grey ' Goose found breeding in Spitsbergen ; but there is as 
yet no evidence of its presence in Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya 
and the vicinity, Arctic Siberia or Kolguev. It visits Norway, but 
accurate information is scanty respecting its distribution in Sweden, 
Denmark, Russia and the greater part of Europe, for up to the 
present day some Continental writers on ornithology are unable to 
distinguish this species from the Bean-Goose ; identified examples 
have, however, been obtained on passage in Holland, Belgium, and 
France. The reported occurrence of the Pink-footed Goose in 
India, or further east, in winter, is not yet confirmed by authenti- 
cated specimens. 

The nest is said to be placed in situations commanding an exten- 
sive view, and the male is constantly on the watch to warn his mate 
of any approaching danger. Messrs. A. H. Cocks and Abel Chap- 
man found three pairs with goslings in the yellow downy state at 
Magdalena Bay, Spitsbergen, on July 29th, by which date the adults 
had recovered the use of their wings, being more advanced in their 
moult than the Brent Geese. The white eggs are rather smaller 
than those of the Bean-Goose, measuring 3-15 by 2-15 in. In 
captivity the Pink-footed Goose is said to keep apart from its 
congeners. Its voice differs from that of the Bean-Goose in being 
sharper in tone, and the note is also repeated more rapidly. This 
species is partial to grain dropped in the stubbles, as well as young 
white clover, trefoil, &c. 

The late Mr. Cecil Smith, who kept this and other ' Grey ' Geese 
for many years, remarked that the Pink-footed Goose had the upper 
mandible pink in the centre with the base and edges black, and the 
nail (usually) black, while the legs and feet were pink ; but the colours 
of the soft parts were not always constant, some of the birds which he 
bred having the light parts of the bill and the legs and feet orange 
(as bright and decided an orange as in the Bean-Goose). They were, 
however, slightly different in plumage, having the white markings 
on the tail broader, and the shoulder more blue-grey : in this 
respect resembling the Grey Lag-Goose, though the blue is darker 
than in that bird. To this may be added that the Pink-footed 
Goose is smaller than the Bean-Goose, the length being barely 
28 in., wing 17 "5 in., and the bill is markedly shorter in proportion ; 
while Bartlett has pointed out that the formation of its sternum 
more closely resembles that of the White-fronted than that of the 
Bean-Goose. Weight 5^-7 lbs. 



I 



ANATID.i:. 



405 







THE SNOW-GOOSE. 

Chen hyperboreus (Pallas). 

On November 9th 187 1 my attention was called to two immature 
Snow-Geese in Leadenhall Market ; and subsequent investigation, 
carried out with the assistance of the late Sir Victor Brooke, showed 
that they had been shot a few days before, on the lake of Tacum- 
shane, co. Wexford, while a third was killed soon after in Wexford 
harbour, but not preserved. In October 1877, as recorded by Mr. 
Harting (Zool. 187 8, p. 419), a flock of seven were seen near Bel- 
mullet, CO. Mayo, two of which were captured, and one — a gander — 
subsequently paired with a Common Goose and had young. Having 
met with its death by an accident in the spring of 1884, it was presented 
by Mr. J. R. Crampton to the Museum of Science and Art, Dublin, 
the authorities of which courteously sent it to me to be ligured, and 
its portrait by Mr. C. Whymper is at the head of the present article. 
There is some evidence that three birds sold at the dispersal of the 
Knowsley menagerie (Lord Derby's) had been obtained in Ireland. 



4o6 SNOW-GOOSE. 

In 1884, and again in the severe winter of 1890-91, birds and even 
flocks, were recognized on the wing by the Rev. H. A. Macpherson 
and Mr. D. L. Thorpe in Cumberland, by Mr. G. Bolam and Sir 
Ralph Payne-Gallwey in Northumberland, and by Mr. H. Sharp in 
Yorkshire, while three appear to have visited Berkeley on the 
Severn ; but no examples were obtained. 

The home of the Snow-Goose is in North America, where two 
forms are found, differing only in size. The larger nests in the 
Hudson Bay region, migrating southward — chiefly along the 
Atlantic coast — in winter. The smaller, to which the specimens 
obtained in Ireland clearly belong, breeds in Western Arctic 
America and Alaska, visiting the country between the Pacific and 
the Mississippi valley during the cold season. It is this race which 
occurs in Japan and was obtained in North-eastern Siberia by 
Pallas, who described it under the specific name hyperboreits {Clien 
albatus of Cassin) ; and to this probably belong the Snow-Geese 
which have from time to time been noticed in the Ural district, 
(ireece, Germany down to Silesia, Heligoland and Holland. A 
female was shot near Lister, South Norway, on September 24th 1889 ; 
and in Southern France two have been procured out of flocks. One 
or both forms go as far south as the Bermudas, Texas and Cuba. 

Mr. R. MacFarlane describes the nests as being placed near lakes, 
in hollows formed in the sandy soil, and well lined with down ; 
the eggs, usually 5 in number, are chalky-white : measurements 
3*4 by 2*2 in. The young fly in the middle of August, and by the 
end of September all have departed south. The food in summer 
consists of green rushes, insects &c., and in autumn of berries, 
especially those of Empetrum nigrum. Another member of this 
genus, C. ccenilescens, differs only in having a varying amount of 
lead-coloured markings irregularly disposed over its plumage ; and 
it has been suggested that this and the Snow-Goose may be 
coloured and white phases of the same bird, like those that exist in 
the case of some of the American Herons. There is a third white 
species, C. rossi, a very small bird. 

The adult has the quill-feathers black, greyish at the base, as are 
also the coverts ; remaining plumage pure white, the forehead some- 
times stained with orange-rust colour ; bill red, commissures black, 
nail whitish ; legs and feet red. Length : male 28-30 in., wing 
17-18 in. ; female 23-3-24 in., wing 15-16 in. The young bird has 
the upper parts dull brownish-grey with darker centres to the feathers 
of the back and wing-coverts ; under parts greyish-white ; bill black ; 
legs and feet lead-colour. 



I 



ANATID.«. 



40; 




THE RED-BREASTED GOOSE. 
Berni'cla rufic6llis (Pallas). 

This small and richly-coloured Goose is a very rare wanderer as 
far west as Great Britain, and almost all our authenticated specimens 
in existence have been obtained on the east side of the island. 
The first recorded occurrence is that of a bird shot near London 
early in 1776 during a severe frost, and now in the Museum of 
Newcastle-on-Tyne ; while another, taken alive near Wycliffe in 
Yorkshire about the same time, lived until 1785. One, killed near 
Berwick-on-Tweed in 18 18, is in the British Museum (Natural 
History) ; and a fine example sent from Maldon in Essex, on 
January 6th 187 1, is in the possession of Mr. Wilfrid Marshall of 
Norton Manor, Taunton. Two are said to have been obtained in 
South Devon and one in Norfolk. There are other records, but 
unsubstantiated. 

During the summer the Red-breasted Goose inhabits those dis- 
tricts of Siberia which lie to the north of the limit of forest-growth 
in the valleys of the Ob and the Yenesei, and eastward to about 
long. 105°. In the former Dr. Finsch found it not uncommon ; in 
1877 the late Mr. Seebohm secured a bird which had been shot from 



408 RED-BREASTED GOOSE. 

the nest in 70" 30' N. lat. on the Yenesei, along the banks of which 
he afterwards saw adults with their broods ; while on the Boganida, 
115° E. long., jNIiddendorff had long ago obtained the first authenti- 
cated eggs, and as a straggler this species has occurred as far east 
as Irkutsk. An important line of migration in autumn is between 
the Aral and the Caspian, and on the latter, according to Dr. Radde, 
large numbers are often caught in nets or shot on some grassy 
islands near the south-western shore, during the winter. The 
ancient Egyptians were acquainted with this handsome Goose, for it 
is accurately portrayed in colours on the Maydoom slab already 
mentioned (p. 400), and repeatedly, according to ]Mr. E. C. Taylor, 
at Thebes. I have seen a specimen in the collection of the late 
Lord Lilford, labelled by the late Mr. S. Stafford Allen "Alexandria, 
December 2nd 1874," and skins said to be from Algeria were 
offered for sale in 1SS4. Three examples have been obtained in 
Italy, five or six in France, several in Holland, and a few in 
Northern Germany, Denmark, and Sweden ; while in Russia the 
bird is said to visit Archangel in spring and to pass through the 
Central Provinces, in small numbers. 

On the Yenesei, in 1S95, Mr. H. L. Popham found four nests, 
all placed at the foot of cliffs occupied by either a Peregrine or a 
Rough-legged Buzzard (possibly for protection from foxes), and well 
supplied with down; the 7-9 eggs being creamy-white : measurements, 
279 by I "93 in. (Ibis 1897, p. 99). The call-note is syllabled by 
Pallas as shak-voy, whence comes, according to Dr. Finsch, the local 
name at Obdorsk. The food consists of grass and green vegetables, 
and water is frequently taken. In a wild state this species is 
exceedingly gregarious, and in confinement it is very tame and 
sociable. A female, which lived in the Gardens of the Zoological 
Society from 1S58 to 1870, paired with a Brent Goose, and, judging 
by its skin, now in the British Museum, the plumage is as brilliant 
in this sex as in the male. 

The adult has a white patch in front of the eye; the crown, 
throat, hind-neck, and lower part of the breast black, bordered by 
narrow lines of white ; ear-patches and breast rich chestnut ; upper 
parts almost black, with greyish-white edges to the wing-coverts ; 
tail black ; belly white, barred with black on the flanks ; bill, legs 
and feet very dark brown. Length 21-22 in.; wing i4'5 in. In 
the young bird the ear-patch is whitish, with rufous in the centre ; 
the chest is merely tinged with reddish ; and the rest of the upper 
and under parts are dusky-brown, except the abdomen and the tail- 
coverts, which are white. 



\ 



ANATID.E. 



409 



.^- 




THE BERNACLE GOOSE. 
Bernicla leucopsis (Bechstein). 

Competent observers seem to agree that the Bernacle Goose 
is a rather uncommon winter-visitor on the east coasts of England 
and Scotland, and chiefly occurs there when the weather is very 
severe on the Continent ; while on the shores of the English 
Channel as well as inland, it is decidedly rare. On the west side, 
from Cornwall northward, it is not infrequent, and it is of regular 
occurrence in Lancashire and Cumberland ; and in the upper part 
of the Solway Firth thousands are sometimes seen from the end of 
September — when they begin to arrive from the north-west — until the 
latter part of March. The same may be said of the Outer and Inner 
Hebrides and the neighbouring mainland, except that the birds are 
later in leaving for their breeding-grounds. To the Orkneys this 
species is a tolerably regular visitor, and Mr. Harvie-Brown found it 
plentiful in autumn in the south of Shetland, where, however, it 
does not pass the winter. In Ireland it is somewhat local, but 
rather abundant on the north and north-west coasts, as well as along 
Dundalk Bay on the east. There is, however, some difficulty in 
tracing its distribution, inasmuch as the Brent Goose is often 
misnamed " Bernacle." 

In the Faeroes and Iceland this species is of irregular occurrence ; 
while it is unknown in Arctic i.\merica except as a very rare visitor 



4IO BERXACLE GOOSE. 

to the southern end of Hudson Bay. Three individuals obtained, 
respectively, in Nova Scotia, New York and North Carolina are 
suspected of having escaped from semi-domestication. That the 
Bernacle was an annual autumnal visitor to South Greenland has 
long been known, while Graah recorded its occurrence on the 
East coast of that vast island, and the Danish Expedition of 1891-92 
found it breeding in considerable numbers up the extensive Fjords 
of Scoresby Sound, above 70° N. lat. From the evidence of Mr. J. 
Lament, Mr. Leigh Smith's party, and Mr. Trevor-Battye, it occurs, 
and possibly breeds, in some parts of the Spitsbergen archipelago ; 
but its existence is not proven on Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, 
or the islands to the south, except Kolguev, where Mr. Trevor- 
Battye saw five birds. No specimens were brought by the ' Vega ' 
expedition from any part of Arctic Siberia nor by recent travellers. 
The nesting of a pair for several successive years on Borgevajr, one 
of the Lofoten Islands, off the coast of Norway — as recorded by Prof. 
Collett — may be looked upon as exceptional. On migration this 
species visits Russia, Scandinavia, Denmark, and the north-western 
coasts of Europe, with even the large rivers : for example, the Weser 
above Bremen, and far up the Vistula ; accidental visitors have 
been obtained at the mouth of the Guadalquivir in Spain, and near 
Foggia in Italy ; and Mr. C. A. Payton says that he saw a couple on 
November 3rd 1887 as far south as Mogadon 

The Bernacle breeds freely in captivity, its eggs being white and 
measuring 275 by i'9 in. It feeds on the grass pastures near the 
sea, and always at night, except when very much harassed by gunners 
during moonlight. While feeding, the flocks are noisy and keep up 
a constant cackling, while sentinels are posted to give the alarm. 
The name is attributable to the vulgar belief that this species and 
the Brent were hatched from bernacles {Lepadidcr) attached to logs 
of wood floating in the sea, as often described up to the date of a 
paper published by the Royal Society in 1678. 

The adult has a black stripe between the eye and the bill, while 
the head, neck and throat are also black ; forehead, cheeks and chin 
white ; mantle lavender-grey, barred with bluish-black and white ; 
quills and tail-feathers almost black ; breast and belly greyish ; vent 
and tail-coverts pure white ; flanks barred with grey ; bill, legs and 
feet black. Length 27 in. ; wing 16 in. The female is slightly 
smaller than the male. The young bird has the white of the 
cheeks varied with black, rufous edges to the feathers of the 
mantle, darker bars on the flanks, and paler legs. 



I 



ANATID.t. 



411 







THE BRENT GOOSE. 
Bernicla brenta (Pallas). 

The Brent is the most abundant and generally distributed of the 
Geese which visit us ; and is found, in varying numbers, on the 
coasts of Great Britain— particularly the east and south— throughout 
the cold months of the year. Unless wounded, it is seldom seen on 
inland waters, and it passes a great part of the day and night at sea ; 
while at other times it frequents the extensive mud-flats and sand- 
bars on the shore which are exposed at every ebb-tide. Immense 
flocks resort to the vicinity of Holy Island on the Northumbrian 
coast, and multitudes have been observed in some seasons on the 
Cromarty and Dornoch Firths. In the Orkneys it is common, 
though local, while it visits the Shetlands annually ; but in the 
Hebrides and along the west side of Scotland it is less numerous 
and less regular in its visits than the Bernacle. Vast quantities 
occur in many places on the shores and estuaries of Ireland. 

In cold weather the Brent Goose migrates to the Fseroes, the 
coasts of Scandinavia, and the shores of Europe generally; 
occasionally reaching the Asiatic and African portions of the 
Mediterranean, and even as far south as Mogador (Payton;. It 
seldom occurs in Iceland, and the Danish Expedition did not 
obtain it in East Greenland, but it breeds on the west side and on 
the opposite shores of Grinnell Land up to 82^ 30' N. In varying 



412 BRENT GOOSE. 

numbers it nests in the Spitsbergen archipelago, Franz Josef Land, 
Novaya Zemlya, Kolguev, and the coasts and islands of Arctic 
Siberia ; near Kolguev, indeed, it must be abundant, judging from 
Mr. Trevor-Battye's experiences. On the Pacific side of North 
America its representative is B. nigricans, in which the white on the 
neck forms a nearly complete collar, while the black extends to the 
lower breast ; this is the species which visits Jap-'in. Throughout 
Arctic America eastward of Alaska our bird is found ; though in 
American examples the under parts are, as a rule, somewhat lighter 
than in the majority of birds obtained in Novaya Zemlya &c. Both 
of these forms visit the British Islands, but the darker usually— 
though not invariably — predominates on the east coast south of the 
Humber. Exceptionally the Brent has been taken in Central Europe. 

Col. Feilden describes a nest in Grinnell Land as composed of a 
foundation of grass, moss and stems of saxifrage, with a warm bed 
of down for the eggs, laid by June 21st and usually 4 in number, 
smooth and creamy-white in colour: measurements 27 by i'8 in. 
The Brent Goose is a day-feeder, searching on the ooze, or with 
head and neck extended below the surface of the water in shallow 
places, for aquatic plants and sea-ware, especially grass-wrack and 
laver: whence the local names "Ware-Goose" and "Road-Goose," 
i.e., Root-Goose. The call-note is a loud cronk or honk. 

The adult has the bill, head, throat, and neck black, except a 
small white patch on each side of the last ; mantle brownish-black, 
with paler edges, which in August, after the moult, are tinged with 
rufous-brown ; quills, rump and tail black, tail-coverts white ; upper 
breast black; lower breast and belly slate-grey: legs black (exception- 
ally with a reddish tinge). Length 22 in.; wing 13 in. Females 
are rather smaller than males. The young bird has little or no 
white on the sides of the neck, and the colours are less contrasted. 

The Canada Goose, Bernicla canadensis, has been domesticated 
in this country for more than two centuries, and stragglers are 
occasionally shot out of the hundreds of unpinioned birds now in 
existence ; but there is no evidence that wild American birds visit 
us, and it is significant that occurrences in Ireland are far rarer than 
in England. The Egyptian Goose, Chenalopex cegyptiaca, is another 
introduced species, examples of which often wander and are killed ; 
though in a wild state it is not known to cross the Mediterranean. 
The Spur-winged Goose, Plectropterus ganibe?isis, was introduced 
prior to 1678, and two examples have been killed in this country ; but 
the species is not found wild in Africa north of the tropic of Cancer. 






ANATID^. 



413 




-^^ 



THE WHOOPER SWAN. 



CvGNUs jNiusicus, Bcchstein. 

This species is also called the Whistling Swan, both names refer- 
ring to the peculiarity of its note ; while by way of distinguishing it 
from its larger domesticated congener the prefix ' Wild ' is frequently 
employed. Not much more than a century ago this fine bird 
used to nest in the Orkneys, but at the present day it is only 
a migrant or winter-visitor to the British Islands. In numbers 
which vary according to the mildness or severity of the weather 
prevalent in Northern Europe, it annually resorts to the coasts and 
islands of Scotland from November onwards, while in spring 
individuals out of passing flocks have been observed to 
linger until May about the old breeding-haunts. In hard frosts 
Whoopers are often abundant on the shores of England as 
far south as the Channel, where Poole Harbour and other suit- 
able localities are favourite resorts ; while in Wales, though the bird 
is no longer a regular visitor, a lake with an island in the middle, 
near Solva, still bears the name of Llyn-yr-Alarch or Swan-lake. 
On the coasts of Ireland the Whooper is an irregular winter-visitor, 
but far less common than the smaller Bewick's Swan. 

The Whooper is now only a visitor to the Faeroes, but is generally 
distributed during the breeding-season in Iceland ; and it occa- 



414 WHOOPER SWAN. 

sionally wanders to South Greenland, where it used to nest up to 
Godthaab, 64- N., until exterminated by the natives. In Norway it 
is seldom known to breed below the Arctic circle, but in Sweden, 
Finland, and Northern Russia it is found in summer down to 
lat. 62° N., while, up to 67°, at which Dr. Theel found it on the 
Yenesei, it can be traced across Siberia to Kamchatka and the 
Commander Islands. On migration it visits the estuaries and 
inland waters of Europe, as far south as the Mediterranean, Black 
and Caspian Seas, while in severe winters it reaches the lakes of 
Algeria, Lower Egypt, and Palestine ; it has once been obtained in 
Nepal, and occurs in Japan, Corea and China during the cold 
season. 

The nest is a large structure of coarse herbage, and is generally 
placed on an island in a lake, concealed in willow- or other scrub 
where such covert is available. The eggs, up to 7 in number, are 
pale yellowish-white: measurements 4*5 by 2*9 in. Incubation 
often begins in the latter part of May ; and Dr. Palmen states that 
the young grow so slowly as to be unable to fly until the end of 
August, or even later. The food consists of the roots and stems 
of aquatic weeds, and of grass. The note is a loud and trumpet- 
like whoop, 7vhoop-whoop, whoop, and, when uttered during flight, 
often forms a rhythmical accompaniment to the strokes of the pinions. 

The adult has the entire plumage white, with occasionally an 
adventitious ochreous tint on the feathers of the head ; legs, toes 
and their webs black. The anterior part of the beak is depressed 
and black, while the basal portion is quadrangular and yellow ; this 
latter colour extending forward beyond the openings of the black 
nostrils. Whole length of a male 60 in. (bill 4"2) ; wing 25*5 in. ; 
weight 22 lbs. The female is smaller. The young bird has the 
beak of a dull flesh-colour, tipped and margined with black ; the 
upper plumage ash-brown ; and the under parts paler as far as the 
flesh-coloured legs, the vent being white. Fairly adult plumage is 
attained by the second winter, but the shafts of the feathers on the 
back are dusky until the next moult. 

The Whooper (like all the other species of the genus found in the 
northern hemisphere — except the Mute or Tame Swan), has a 
remarkable cavity in the keel of the sternum into which the tube 
of the trachea passes and forms a parallel loop. In the Mute Swan 
the keel is single and unprovided with a cavity. Some further 
remarks will be found at the end of the next article. 



ANATID.€. 



415 



.^ 






BEWICK'S SWAN. 



Cygnus bewicki, Yarrell. 

This Swan — which is one-third less than the Whooper, and pre- 
sents noticeable differences in the smaller size and distribution of 
the yellow patch at the base of the bill — was recognized as a visitor 
to this country by Yarrell in 1829, and almost simultaneously by 
R. Wingate of Newcastle. Subsequent experience has shown that 
Bewick's Swan is of fairly frequent occurrence in severe winters on 
some parts of the coasts of England and Wales, although rarer than 
its larger congener; while in Scotland it is sometimes abundant — 
especially in the Outer Hebrides — and occurs in the Orkneys. All 
over Ireland, as already remarked, it is far more numerous than the 
Whooper; Mr. R. Warren writes that on December 17th 1880 
more than two hundred were seen together on Lough Cullen, 
CO. Mayo; and during the unexampled frost of 1881 eight hundred 
were observed at one time on the lake of Castle Gregory in 
CO. Kerry ; while even thousands are said to have been counted in 
other localities. Sir R. Payne-Gallwey states that there is a strong 
feeling in Ireland — especially in the west — against slaying a Swan, 
and the majority of fowlers cannot be induced to fire at one. 

Bewick's Swan has not been found in Greenland or Iceland, and 



41 6 Bewick's swan. 

it is only an irregular visitor to Norway, though rather more frequent 
in P'inland. Its summer habitat is decidedly more northerly and less 
westerly than that of the Whooper, no nesting-places being known 
to the south of about 68^, or to the west of the White Sea, and it 
was only near the mouth of the Petchora that Messrs. Harvie-Brown 
and Seebohm obtained the first identified eggs on record. In 1894 
Mr. Trevor-Battye found it nesting a little further west, namely on 
Kolguev Island, where afterwards Mr. H. J. Pearson's party were the 
first to obtain the young in down ; and it occurs in Novaya Zemlya 
and some other localities in the Arctic Sea. On the Yenesei the 
late Mr. Seebohm, as well as Mr. H. L. Popham, recognized no other 
Swan to the north of the Arctic circle ; and it ranges eastward to 
beyond the Lena, but has not been obtained in Kamchatka. In 
the cold season it visits Japan and China ; while in Europe it has 
occasionally been found as far south as the Mediterranean. 

The nest resembles that of the Whooper, but the eggs are smaller 
than those of that bird, and have rather less gloss : measurements 
3'9 by 2 '6 in. The note sounds like fong or boo?ig quickly uttered, 
and is very different from that of the larger species. The food 
consists chiefly of aquatic plants. 

The adult is pure white ; the irides dark ; legs, toes and webs 
black ; the distribution of black and orange-yellow on the beak is 
shown in the illustration. The young bird is greyish-brown, but the 
white plumage is acquired in the second winter, when the irides are 
yellow. Length from 46-50 in. (bill 3"5) ; wing about 21 in. ; 
weight 13 lbs. 

An immature Swan shot near Aldeburgh in October 1866 and 
now in the Ipswich Museum, is, in the opinion of Professor Newton, 
an example of the American Trumpeter-Swan, C. buccinator : a larger 
species than the Whooper, with a black bill. It has long been 
naturalized in this country and has repeatedly hatched its young in 
captivity. Another North-American species which has been stated — 
on weak evidence — to have been found at long intervals in the shops 
of Edinburgh poulterers, is C. columbiamis : a bird smaller than the 
Whooper, though larger than Bewick's Swan, and resembling the 
latter in having patches of small size at the base of the bill, though 
these are of a deep orange-colour. In the adults of our Whooper 
and the American Trumpeter-Swan the loop of the trachea between 
the walls of the keel takes a vertical direction, whereas in Bewick's 
Swan and in C. cohiinbicuius the bend is horizontal ; but in immature 
birds these distinctions are less marked and more variable. 



ANATID/E. 417 




THE MUTE SWAN. 
Cygnus olor (J. F. Gmelin). 

The Mute or Tame Swan is said to have been brought to England 
from Cyprus by Richard I. ; but be this as it may, the species is 
now generally distributed throughout the British Islands in a semi- 
domesticated condition, and of late years it has even been introduced 
in some of the Outer Hebrides, where it breeds, and the birds fly 
about as if wild. There is a celebrated ancient swannery at Abbots- 
bury, in Dorsetshire ; large numbers inhabit the streams and broads 
of Norfolk ; and the presence of this handsome bird on the Thames 
and other waters m.ust be familiar to every one. In Ireland it 
maintains itself on lakes and rivers in many counties, and it has 
been obtained as far west as Achill Island. 

The individuals which are occasionally shot during winter in 
Britain are often assumed to be some of our home-bred birds which 
have strayed from their usual haunts ; but such is not necessarily 
the case, for the Mute Swan still breeds in a perfectly wild state at 
no greater distance from us than Denmark and the south of Sweden, 
whence it is forced by cold to migrate in winter ; while in a free 
(as well as in a half-protected) condition it is found in many parts 
of Germany, especially in East Prussia. Thoroughly wild birds nest 

K K 



4l8 MUTE SWAN. 

in considerable numbers in Central and Southern Russia, and on 
the Lower Danube ; sparingly on some of the lakes in Greece ; 
more abundantly in the vicinity of the Black and Caspian Seas, and 
in Turkestan. In winter the Mute Swan occurs on the waters of the 
greater part of Europe, and is a regular visitor to the lakes of Algeria 
and Egypt : it can also be traced through Asia to Mongolia, and to 
North-west India. 

According to the late Mr. H. Stevenson, Swans pair for life, and 
build a fresh nest each season : this is generally on a small island or 
peninsula, and is a large structure of reeds or coarse herbage. The 
females do not lay until their second year — some not till the third 
or fotjrth — and commence with 3-5 eggs, but later the clutch some- 
times consists of 10-12, which are dull greenish-white, averaging 
4 in. by 2-9 in. With wild birds incubation begins in IMay, but it is 
earlier in a state of semi-domestication. The young are hatched in 
about 36 days and are carefully tended by their mother, who 
frequently carries them on her back, to which she sometimes raises 
them with her foot, at the same time sinking her body low in the 
water. The food consists of water-plants (such as Chara), aquatic 
insects (S:c., also of grain, and bread. The note of the wild bird in 
pairing-time is loud and trumpet-like, but it is fainter in tame 
individuals. 

The adult male has the greater part of the bill reddish-orange, 
nail, nostrils, lores and the basal tubercle or " berry " black ; plumage 
white; legs and feet black. Length 56-60 in.; wing 27 in. The 
female is smaller and has far less tubercle. The cygnet is sooty- 
grey above, and paler below, with lead-coloured bill and legs. 

In the so-called " Polish " Swan, C. immuiabilis of Yarrell, the 
cygnets are white, while the adult is said to have a less developed 
tubercle and ash-grey legs and feet ; but neither the late Mr. A. D. 
Bartlett nor I could find these distinctions in old birds in the 
Zoological Gardens which had been white as cygnets, ^^'ith the 
exception of a bird obtained in Holland in December 1840, few — if 
any — specimens of the " Polish " Swan are known to have occurred 
outside the British Islands ; and it is now generally considered by 
ornithologists to be a mere variety as regards the colour of the young. 
As pointed out by Prof. Newton, white cygnets were noticed on the 
Trent 200 years ago, while in 1885, 1886, and 1887 a pair of Swans 
at Cambridge produced broods in which some of the young were 
abnormally white (Zool. 1887, p. 463; 1888, p. 470); and Count 
Salvadori states that "none of the characters attributed to 
C. itnmiiiabilis are constant" (Cat. B. Brit. Mus. xxvii. p. 38). 



ANATID^. 



419 




THE COMMON SHELD-DUCK. 



Tad6rxa cornuta (S. G. Gmelin). 

This handsome species frequents, as a rule, salt or brackish water, 
and is to be found on the coast during the whole year, especially on 
flat shores, sand-bars and links. In such localities it occurs along 
the east of England, and also on the west of the island, notably in 
Wales, though the increase of population and commerce has inter- 
fered with it in Lancashire and Cheshire ; while in the south a 
limited number nest in Devon, Somerset, Dorset, and Hampshire. 
The east side of Scotland, where the bird is an abundant resident, 
is visited, especially in winter, by large flocks escaping from the cold 
of the Continent, and although the " Stock-annet," as it is trivially 
named, is somewhat local on the west and in the islands, it is 
tolerably numerous during the summer in most of the Hebrides and 
the Orkneys, and it is said to have nested in the Shetlands. In 
Ireland it breeds in many counties, especially in Sligo, Mayo, Clare, 
Waterford and A\'exford, becoming more plentiful in winter. 

The Sheld-Duck rarely visits the Faeroes, and the first record for 
Iceland was in January 1894. It nests on the coast of Norway 
up to about 70° N. lat., and is abundant in Sweden, Denmark, the 
Baltic, the North Frisian Islands and Holland, while it also breeds on 
the shores of France, and, sparingly, in the Spanish Peninsula ; but 

K K 2 



420 COMMON SHELD-DUCK. 

to the interior of Europe and the basin of the Mediterranean it is 
chiefly a migrant or winter-visitor. It is, however, resident in the 
basins of the Black and Caspian Seas, and is found on the salt-lakes of 
the temperate — or the elevated — districts of Asia, as far east as Japan ; 
while its winter-range extends southward to the tropic of Cancer. 

The nest, made of grass or leaves, and profusely lined with down, 
is placed at distances varying from a few feet to three or four yards 
up a rabbit-burrow — whence the name " Burrow-Duck," or at the 
end of a tunnel (made by the bird) which occasionally forms a 
nearly complete circle. Sometimes it is in holes in bridges, or 
among rocks near high-water mark, and, exceptionally, in a dense 
covert of furze. The 7-12 eggs, laid in May, are of a smooth 
creamy-white, and measure about 275 by 1*9 in. In the Frisian 
Islands and some parts of Denmark artificial burrows are made by 
the natives, the eggs being taken up to June iSth, after which the 
birds are allowed to sit. Incubation lasts from twenty-eight to 
thirty days, and when the young are hatched they follow their 
parents, being sometimes carried by the female on her back to the 
water. The feeding-grounds are mussel-scalps and sandy shores, on 
which the bird obtains minute molluscs, crustaceans, and marine 
insects, with sea-weed ; but in captivity grain, soaked bread, and 
vegetables are eaten. The note of the male is a shrill whistle; 
but the female, which is far more noisy, utters a harsh bark, 
sometimes followed by several distinct quacks. The flesh is dark in 
colour, and unpleasant in smell and flavour. In confinement the 
natural preferences of this species must be consulted, or else it will 
not breed readily. The prefix " Sheld " is given by Ray (1674) as an 
East Anglian equivalent for particoloured. 

The adult male in spring has the beak and basal knob bright red ; 
head and upper neck dark glossy-green, followed by a white collar, 
below which is a rich chestnut band ; wing-coverts white ; wing-spot 
on the outer webs of the secondaries green ; scapulars and primaries 
nearly black ; rump and tail-feathers white, the latter tipped with 
black ; a dark brown line down the middle of the breast and belly, 
the rest of the under parts white; legs and toes, with the webs, flesh- 
pink. Length 25 in. ; wing 13 in. The female is rather smaller, 
duller in colour, and has no knob at the base of the bill. The 
young has the head and neck blackish; face, wing-coverts and 
all the under parts white ; inner secondaries white, edged with 
chestnut, and with little green on the speculum ; beak flesh-colour ; 
legs and feet livid lead-colour. The bird does not breed till it is 
nearly two years old. 




421 



THE RUDDY SHELD-DUCK. 
Tadorna casarca (Linnaeus). 

The Ruddy Sheld-Duck was first recorded as a British bird from 
a specimen now in the Newcastle Museum, killed near Blandford, 
Dorset, during the severe winter of 1776. The species was long 
ago introduced on many of our ornamental waters, and some birds 
shot in Norfolk, Northamptonshire and other places were either known 
or strongly suspected to have escaped from semi-captivity ; though 
there was less doubt about an example shot from a party of four in 
Romney Marsh, Kent, on September 8th 1884, as well as a few 
obtained in Scotland and Ireland. These, however, need not now 
be specified, for in 1892 — a year of very severe drought in south- 
eastern and southern Europe — the Ruddy Sheld-Duck appeared in 
such numbers as to preclude any reasonable doubt of a genuine 
migration. According to the interesting record given by Mr. F. 
Menteith Ogilvie (Zool. 1892, pp. 392-398), not only single birds, 
but flocks of 10-15 ^^d even 20 were observed in June and July in 
several parts of Ireland, the Solway district, and between Sutherland 
and Norfolk. A few others have subsequently occurred. 

This emigration in 1892 did not stop at the British Islands, for 
some wanderers actually found their way to Iceland and even to 
Greenland ; while solitary examples have been recorded from 
Norway, Sweden, Bornholm in the Baltic, and Lake Ladoga ; but 



422 RUDDY SHELD-DUCK. 

as a rule the Ruddy Sheld-Duck is almost unknown to the north of 
the Alps and the Carpathians. Individuals have been obtained near 
Toulouse in France, and a few breed in the extreme south of Spain, 
but otherwise the Ruddy Sheld-Duck is rare in the Mediterranean 
to the west of the Adriatic. Eastward it becomes more abundant, 
nesting in Macedonia, the Danubian and Black Sea districts, 
Southern Russia, Tibet and other elevated districts of Asia up to 
16,000 ft., and as far as Japan and China. In India, where it is known 
as the " Brahminy Duck," it is very common during the cold season ; 
while it is resident in suitable localities throughout Northern Africa 
from Egypt to Morocco. In South Africa it is represented by the 
grey-headed T. ca?ia, and by other forms in Australia and New 
Zealand. 

The nest, well lined with down, is placed in almost any sort of 
hole : sometimes in the middle of a corn-field, or in a marmot's 
burrow on the plains, sometimes in clefts of precipitous rocks, 
the deserted abodes of birds of prey, hollow trees, the fireplaces 
of abandoned Mongol villages, &c. The eggs, 9-16 in number, 
are similar to those of the preceding species, but a trifle 
smaller: measurements 2 "6 by i"8in. When uttered on the wing 
the call may be syllabled as d-ouiig, but the usual note is kark or 
kape, several times repeated. The Ruddy Sheld-Duck differs from 
its congener in being partial to fresh-water. Though usually found in 
pairs during the summer, it is gregarious at other seasons, thousands 
being mentioned by Jerdon as frequenting the Chilka Lake in April. 
In its style of walking it resembles a Goose ; and it feeds in a similar 
manner, grazing in fields of young corn and eating grass freely, 
as well as molluscs and crustaceans. It often breeds in confinement, 
and has produced offspring with the Egyptian Goose {Chenalopex 
cegyptiaca) : that genus is, in fact, nearly allied to the SheldT)ucks, 
as indicated by the formation of the trachea. 

The adult male in spring has the beak lead-colour ; irides yel- 
lowish-brown ; head, cheeks and chin buff-colour, darkening to 
orange-brown on the neck — which is encircled by a black ring, 
(absent from autumn to spring) ; back, breast and under parts 
orange-brown ; wing-coverts buffish-white ; primaries dark lead-grey ; 
secondaries paler, with a brilliant bronze-green wing-spot ; rump and 
tail lead-colour; legs, toes and webs blackish. Length 25 in. ; wing 
i4"5 in. The female is rather smaller and has a whitish forehead ; 
she never has a black collar ; and this ornament is also absent 
from the young male. The young are like the female, but duller in 
colour. 



ANATID.t:. 




THE MALLARD. 



Anas boscas, Linnceus. 

The Mallard, or Common Wild Duck, was formerly more numerous 
in the British Islands than — owing to the progress of drainage and 
the consequent extension of agriculture — it is at present; yet, thanks 
to protection, its numbers have increased of late. As a rule it 
is resident during the year in suitable localities throughout the 
United Kingdom, but the birds which breed with us are few in 
proportion to the numbers which annually arrive from the Continent 
during the cold months ; and there are still places where decoys are 
worked with profit, as shown by Sir R. Payne-Gallwey in his ' Book 
of Duck Decoys,' to which the reader is referred for information on 
that interesting subject. 

This species visits Greenland, and is abundant during the summer 
in Iceland ; while it is generally distributed throughout Europe south 
of the Arctic circle, and breeds in suitable localities down to the 
Mediterranean, as well as in Northern Africa. The range of the 
migrants from the north extends to the Canaries, Madeira, and the 
Azores, a few pairs remaining to nest in the last-named group. In 
Asia the Mallard is found — -wherever the water does not freeze for 
any length of time — from Turkestan to China and Japan ; it breeds 
as far south as Kashmir, and visits India and Upper Burma in the 
cold season. It inhabits the temperate portions of North America, 
wintering as far south as Panama ; but in the north-east of that 
continent its place is in some degree taken by the closely-allied 



424 MALLARD. 

Dusky Duck, Anas obscitra, both sexes of which much resemble the 
female of our bird. 

Incubation often begins in the second half of March in the 
south of England, and a little later even on the bleak moors of 
Northumberland. The nest, made of grass and lined with down, is 
usually on the ground near fresh-water, though not infrequently 
at a distance from it ; but grain-fields, hedge-rows, stacks of faggots, 
forks or hollows of trees, and even the deserted nests of other birds 
are more or less utilized. The 8-12 eggs are pale greyish-green 
or greenish-buff: measurements 2*25 by i"6in. Two months or 
ten weeks elapse before the young can fly. In the wild state the 
Mallard is partially monogamous, but the domestic forms which have 
sprung from it are all polygamous ; and, as remarked by the late 
Mr. C. M. Adamson, the half-wild breeds get duller in colour, and 
have coarser feet, while the wings — which in a wild bird reach nearly 
to the end of the tail — become shorter in proportion to the body. 
The Mallard is almost omnivorous and strictly a night-feeder. 

The male in full plumage has the bill yellowish-green ; head and 
neck glossy-green, followed by a narrow white ring ; hind-neck and 
breast dark chestnut ; across the secondaries a greenish-purple 
wing-spot, fringed above and below with white ; rump bluish-black, 
the four central upper tail-coverts black and up-curled, the rest 
greyish ; belly and flanks greyish-white ; under tail-coverts velvet- 
black ; legs, toes and webs orange-red. Length 23 in. ; wing 11 in. 
Towards the end of May the male begins to assume a brown plumage 
similar to that of the female, but not identical with it, while the bill 
retains its yellowish tint ; the quills are cast simultaneously, so that 
the bird is incapable of flight ; but by the middle of October he has 
again acquired his full dress. Very old drakes — in semi-captivity at 
least — lose the white collar, and half-bred birds often do not show 
it at all. The female is smaller, and has an olive-green bill and dark 
brown crown, general plumage mottled-brown and buff, alar speculum 
dark green; the drake's plumage is occasionally assumed. The 
young at first resemble the female. In a wild state the Mallard not 
infrequently breeds with the Pintail, and in captivity with almost 
any Duck ; varieties are not uncommon, but albinoes are rare. 

Technically the word "Mallard" may be applicable only to the 
drake, but, on the other hand, " Wild Duck " is vague, and I agree 
with American ornithologists in employing "Mallard" for this 
species, and thereby avoiding ambiguity. 



ANATIDif':. 



425 




THE GADWALL. 
Anas strepera, Linnaeus. 

This species is a comparatively rare visitor to the British Islands ; 
but the descendants of a pair of pinioned birds, introduced nearly 
fifty years ago at Narford Hall, have greatly multiplied on the 
carefully preserved estates of Lord Walsingham and elsewhere 
in Norfolk, and have also induced perfectly wild Gadwalls to 
remain and breed. Except in the above county and one or two 
spots in the Midlands, this Duck is, however, uncommon ; though 
it may be found in the London markets in spring and occasionally 
in autumn. Its occurrence has been recorded in Radnorshire and 
Breconshire, Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire, but in the west of 
England it is rare at any time of year. In Scotland it is now and 
then met with on the east, while in the west and in some of the 
Hebrides it is not infrequent, and is even abundant on Tiree in 
winter ; and it is an occasional visitor to the Orkneys. In Ireland 
its distribution is irregular, but the bird appears to be more 
numerous than is supposed, especially in the west. 

The Gadwall breeds sparingly in the My-vatn district of Iceland ; 
and, though not known to nest in Norway, it does so rather freely 
in the south-east of Sweden, while there is evidence that it has been 
found in Russia as far north as Archangel in summer. In Holland, 
Belgium and France it chiefly occurs on migration and in winter ; 
but in Spain it undoubtedly nests near the mouth of the Guadal- 
quivir, while throughout the basin of the Mediterranean it is not 



42 6 GADWALL. 

uncommon during the cold season in suitable localities, such as 
rush-grown lakes and pools ; its migrations extending to the inland 
waters of Northern Africa and up the Nile valley to Nubia. To 
Northern (iermany it is chiefly a summer-visitor, becoming more 
abundant in Central and Eastern Europe ; while in Asia up to 
60'^ N. it is met with as far as the Pacific, and it is one of the 
most plentiful species in Northern India during the cold season. 
Across North America it is generally distributed, passing southward 
to the West Indies and Mexico in winter. 

The nest, made of grass and lined with down, is generally in a dry 
place at a little distance from the water ; the eggs, 8-13 in number, 
are of a buffish-white : measurements 2'i by i'5in. The Gadwall 
is a lover of fresh-water, and much addicted to concealing itself 
among thick reeds and aquatic herbage. Its migrations are 
nocturnal, and it also feeds by night — chiefly on seeds, grain (rice in 
India), and other vegetable matter ; consequently its flesh is excel- 
lent. The call-note is a curious rattling croak. 

The adult male in spring has the head and upper neck greyish- 
brown with darker mottlings ; back with crescentic markings of light 
grey on a dark ground ; median wing-coverts chestnut, greater coverts 
almost black ; primaries brown ; secondaries brown and black — the 
outer webs forming a ivhite wing-spot; inner secondaries pointed and 
of two shades of brownish-grey, the darker colour occupying the 
centre of each feather, the lighter colour forming the margin ; rump 
and upper tail-coverts bluish-black ; tail-feathers dark brown, with 
paler edges ; lower neck dark grey, each feather with lighter 
crescentic margins; breast and belly white; flanks and vent marbled 
with two shades of grey ; under tail-coverts bluish-black ; bill 
blackish ; legs, toes and webs dusky yellow-orange. In summer an 
approach to female plumage is made. Length 20 in. ; wing 10 '5 in. 
The female has the head and upper neck spotted with dark brown, 
on a paler surface ; the crescentic bands on the lower part of the 
neck alternately dark and light brown, but broader than in the male, 
under parts white ; feathers of the lower hind-neck and upper parts 
brown, with paler margins ; wing-spot white, as in the male ; tail- 
feathers dark brown, with pale edges ; under tail-coverts spotted. 
The young are of a more uniform reddish-brown colour above, 
speckled with dark brown ; the middle of each feather also is dark 
brown ; and the characteristic white wing-spot is always present. 

Owing to the pronounced developement of the comb-like " teeth " 
of the bill, this species has been made the type of the genus 
Chatilelasvms. 



ANATID.t. 



427 








THE SHOVELER. 
Spatula clypeata (Linnceus). 

This species — sometimes called the " Spoon-bill " or " Broad- 
bill " — is chiefly a visitor to this country during cold weather ; but 
since the Act for the Preservation of Wild Fowl was passed in 1876 
increasing numbers have remained to breed with us, though less 
frequently in our southern and western counties, where localities 
suited to their habits are few. It nests regularly in some parts of 
Norfolk and Lincolnshire, and sparingly in Yorkshire, Durham and 
Northumberland ; while in Nottinghamshire and some parts of the 
Midlands it is becoming more abundant ; and, though rarer in Wales, 
and on the west side of England, a few pairs inhabit the marshes 
on the Cumberland side of the Solway. In Scotland it nests in 
Kirkcudbrightshire, Roxburgh, and some other southern counties, but 
its principal breeding-haunts are between the Forth and Tay, while 
nests have been found up to Sutherland and the Orkneys, as well 
as on Tiree in the Inner Hebrides, though the bird is almost 
unknown in the Outer islands (W. Evans). In Ireland it is not 
uncommon in the south, and nests freely in Queen's Co., Lough 
Derg on the Shannon, Lough Portmore in co. Antrim, in co. 
Dublin, and other localities. 

In summer the Shoveler seldom goes further north than the Arctic 
circle, but from Denmark, the Baltic, and even Archangel south- 



428 SHOVELER. 

ward, it nests down to the African side of the Mediterranean, where 
numbers of migrants appear in winter, and some visit the Canaries. 
In the cold season the Shoveler is abundant in Egypt and Nubia ; 
it is even said to be resident in the elevated regions of Abyssinia ; 
and its migrations extend to Cape Colony. Across Asia south of 
68° it is found in suitable localities, visiting India, China, Japan, 
the Malay Archipelago, Australia, and even the Gilbert Islands 
during cold weather ; while in America this widely-distributed 
species breeds from Alaska to Texas, wintering as far south as 
Panama. 

The nest is usually on dry ground, among heather, rank vegetation 
or tufts of sedge, and is made of fine grass, with a lining of down 
plucked by the female from her body after she begins to sit. The 
eggs, 8-14 in number, are of a pale greenish-buff colour : measure- 
ments 2 by I "4 in. The note in pairing-time may be syllabled as 
took, took ; otherwise the bird is comparatively silent. The Shoveler 
feeds on grasses, worms, slugs, snails, aquatic and other insects, and 
small crustaceans ; its flesh is well-flavoured, rivalling that of the 
Gadwall or the American Canvas-back. With all Ducks, however, 
diet is an important factor, and even a Canvas-back, when it has 
not been feeding on the succulent Vallisnerla so abundant in the 
Chesapeake river, is a very ordinary bird for the table. In confine- 
ment the Shoveler has bred with the Garganey. 

The adult male has the bill lead-colour, dilated towards the tip ; 
irides yellow ; head and upper neck green ; lower neck and scapu- 
lars white ; feathers of the middle-back dark brown with paler 
margins ; shoulders pale blue ; greater wing-coverts white ; second- 
aries dark brown with a green wing-spot ; primaries, rump, upper 
tail-coverts and tail-feathers almost black; breast and belly rich 
chestnut ; flanks freckled with dark brown on a paler ground ; vent 
white ; under tail-coverts black ; legs, toes and webs reddish-orange. 
Length 20 in. ; wing 9-5 in. In summer the drake assumes a dress 
approaching that of the duck, but more rufous, and the blue on 
the wing-coverts is not lost. The female has the head and neck 
mottled with two shades of brown ; the feathers of the upper parts 
dark brown in the centre, with lighter edges ; under parts pale 
brown ; irides brown. The young drake at first resembles the mother- 
bird. The nestling has a proportionately longer, narrower, and 
more slender bill than the young Mallard or Gadwall, but at the age 
of three weeks there is an obvious increase in length and breadth, 
especially in drakes. 



ANATID/E. 



429 










THE PINTAIL. 

Dafila acuta (Linnaeus). 

This slender and elegant Duck — locally known from the length 
of its tail as the " Sea Pheasant " — is a regular visitor to Great 
Britain, from September onwards. In the northern districts it 
seldom lingers long, while its numbers on the east coast are subject 
to considerable variation, and on the west it is rather uncommon ; 
its principal resorts being our southern shores and estuaries, though 
its appearance on inland waters is not unusual. As a rule the 
Pintail leaves us in April ; but in the east of Scotland it has now 
estabhshed itself as a breeding-species, six or seven pairs of birds 
and four of their nests having been discovered on Loch Leven this 
summer by Mr. W. Evans (Ann. Scott. Nat. Hist., 1898, p. 162). 
In the west the Pintail is rare, though there is some evidence that it 
has bred in the Hebrides, and it is uncommon in the Orkneys 
and Shetlands. To the south and west of Ireland it is a winter- 
visitor, and it is said to have nested, exceptionally, at Abbeyleix in 
Queen's County, but on the whole it is local and not numerous. In 
spring its numbers are increased by migrants from the south. 

The Pintail has nested in the Faeroes, and is generally distributed 
in Iceland during the summer months, sometimes wandering to 
Greenland. It breeds abundantly in the northern portions of 
Europe ; in tolerable numbers in Holland ; and, decreasingly, down 



430 PINTAIL. 

to lat. 50" ; while Messrs. Eagle Clarke and Laidlaw found pairs, 
apparently nesting, in the Rhone delta. During the cold season it 
is found over the rest of the Continent, as well as in Northern 
Africa, Egypt, Asia Minor, the Indian region as far south as Borneo, 
China and Japan ; its summer-range northward in Asia extending up 
to lat. 72*^ on the Yenesei (Popham). In America also it has been met 
with up to 72^^ N. lat. in Alaska, and thence eastward to Labrador; 
its winter migrations reaching to the West Indies and Panama. 

The nest — generally placed among coarse herbage in a dry 
situation, and often at a little distance from water — is deep and well 
lined with down; the eggs, 7-10 in number, being pale bufhsh- 
green in colour and rather elongated in form : measurements 2'i by 
1*5 in. Incubation commences in May or June, according to the 
locality. In winter this species resorts to salt-water estuaries ; or to 
large open sheets of fresh-water, in the shallow portions of which it 
finds succulent plants (and wild rice abroad), as well as insects 
and their larvae, and small molluscs ; its flesh is therefore excel- 
lent in flavour. It feeds with its head below the water, its long 
tail being then raised in the air, and it is notoriously partial to the 
company of Wigeon. By day it is rather a silent bird, but it utters 
a low-toned quack at night, and in the pairing-time a short double 
whistle. In confinement it breeds freely, and has been known to 
pair with the Wigeon ; an interesting case is also on record of a male 
Pintail and a Common Duck producing young half-breeds which 
had offspring again by the father, while the three-quarter birds bred 
again with the pure species. Its frequent hybridization with the 
Mallard in a wild state has already been mentioned ; the half-bred 
drake being a remarkably handsome bird. 

The adult male in spring has the head brown, shading into 
greenish-black on the nape ; upper neck bronze, with a white stripe 
down the neck on each side and meeting the white breast and belly ; 
back and flanks mottled grey ; greater wing-coverts buff, followed 
by a bronze-green wing-spot margined with black and white ; 
tail black, the two central feathers much elongated ; under tail- 
coverts black ; bill, legs and feet chiefly slate-grey. In July a 
plumage like that of the female is assumed, and is retained until 
October, but the bronze-green wing-spot is always present. Whole 
length 26-29 in. (the central tail-feathers being sometimes 8'5 in.) ; wing 
II in. The female is mottled-brown above and greyish-white below; 
the long slender neck, greenish-bronze wing-spot, and the oblique 
bufiish bars on the brown tail-feathers sufficing to distinguish her from 
any other species. The young are like her in their first plumage. 



ANATID.«. 



431 




'J^^^ 

.^"^M 







THE TEAL. 

Nettion crecca (Linnaeus). 

It is chiefly between September and the following spring that this, 
the smallest of our indigenous Ducks, is really abundant throughout 
the British Islands ; but it nests, sparsely, throughout the south of 
England, and even occasionally along the valley of the Thames. In 
the eastern counties it is a fairly numerous breeder, while north of 
the Trent it becomes more frequent; and it finds suitable retreats in 
the Welsh bogs, as well as in the ' mosses ' of I-ancashire and 
Cumberland. Except in the Outer Hebrides, where it is rare even 
in winter, it is a widely distributed breeding-species in Scotland, 
including the Orkneys and Shetlands. It breeds in every county 
of Ireland, where a great influx takes place during the cold season. 

During summer the Teal is common in Iceland and the north of 
Europe, while a few pairs nest locally as far south as the Mediter- 
ranean, and even in the Azores. In cold weather it is found all 
over the Continent wherever fresh-water does not freeze for any 
length of time ; it visits Madeira, the Canaries and North Africa ; is 
numerous in Egypt ; and goes as far south as the highlands of 



432 



TEAL. 



Abyssinia. It is distributed over Asia, from 70° N. in summer to 
Siam in winter ; in all probability it breeds on the islands of the 
Aleutian chain, and it has been obtained in Alaska in June. 
Throughout North America, however, its representative is N. 
carolinense, the subject of the next article ; but our Teal is an 
occasional wanderer to the eastern seaboard, from Labrador down 
to North Carolina ; and has been obtained in Greenland. 

The nest — placed in tufts of heather or herbage, or under low bushes 
on the borders of morasses and pools — is composed of dry grass and 
leaves, to which a lining of down is added during the progress of 
incubation. The 8-10 and even 15 eggs, usually laid early in May, 
are buffish- or creamy-white with a faint tinge of green : measure- 
ments I "8 by I "2 in. Many instances are on record of the affection 
of this bird for its brood, and a female has even been known to 
follov,' her ducklings into captivity. The food, obtained by night, 
on or near fresh-water, consists chiefly of the seeds of aquatic 
grasses, grain, rice (in warm countries), worms, slugs and insects. 
The Teal has repeatedly bred in the Gardens of the Zoological 
Society and elsewhere ; while in the wild state hybrids between it 
and the Gadwall, as well as the Wigeon, are sometimes produced ; 
one of the latter being the " Bimaculated Duck" of some authors. 

The adult male has the bill blackish ; crown, nape, cheeks and 
throat rich chestnut ; round and behind the eye an elongated patch 
of purplish-green enclosed within narrow lines of buff, while a stripe 
of the latter colour runs from the forehead to the base of the bill ; 
upper parts delicately vermiculated with black and white; on the 
secondaries a wing-spot of green and purplish-black, tipped 
with buff; rump and tail-coverts almost black ; tail-feathers 
ash-brown ; chin black ; front of neck spotted with black on 
a warm buff ground ; breast and belly white ; flanks delicately 
vermiculated with black and white ; under tail-coverts black in the 
centre and warm buff on each side ; legs and toes brownish-grey. 
Length 14*5 in.; wing 7-25 in. From the middle of July till 
October the drake is in female dress, and I have found brown feathers 
on the back as late as December. The female is mottled with brown 
on the upper parts, and has a less brilliant wing-spot. The young 
resemble her, but have darker centres to the under feathers and 
paler edges to the wing-coverts. 

The North American Summer-Duck, Aix spoiisa, is kept and 
breeds freely on many ornamental waters, and wanderers are some- 
times shot. 



ANATID.E. 433 



THE AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL. 
Nettion carolinense (J. F. Gnielin). 

An adult male of this species was shot on November 23rd 1879 
on an arm of the Kingsbridge estuary, South Devon ; and was ex- 
hibited by me on behalf of its owner, Mr. H. Nicholls, at a meeting 
of the Zoological Society on December 4th 1888. In 'The Zoo- 
logist ' for 1852, Mr. (now Colonel) John Evans recorded the occur- 
rence of an adult male near Scarborough in November 1851 ; 
a specimen which passed into the collection of the late Lord Hill. 
Mr. Arthur Fellowes stated (Zool. 1880, p. 70) that he possessed an 
example shot by his father 'more than forty years ago' at Hurst- 
bourne Park, Hants, and he correctly described the essential feature 
of its plumage. The species has never been kept in the Gardens of 
the Zoological Society of London, nor, as far as I am aware, in 
any other part of Europe up to the present (July, 1898). 

The Green-winged Teal, so called to distinguish it from the Blue- 
winged representative of our Garganey in America (the subject of 
the next article), is generally distributed over the northern portions 
of the New World in summer, and also visits Greenland ; while in 
winter its migrations extend to the Bermudas and West Indies, 
Mexico and Central America. Its nidification and general habits 
resemble those of our Common Teal ; and owing to the superior 
quality of its food, which consists of rice, wild oats, fallen grapes &c., 
its flesh is remarkably delicate. The eggs, 7-12 in number, are 
buffish-white : measurements I'S by i"2 5 in. 

The adult male differs from our Teal in having a broad crescentic 
band of finely vermiculated greyish-white feathers on each side of 
the breast in front of the folded wing, while the buffish-white lines 
which run from the beak to and round the green eye-patch are very 
slightly defined ; the pencilling of the whole plumage also is more 
minute. Length i4'5 in. ; wing 7-25 in. The female so closely 
resembles that of our Teal that I am unable to give any specific 
characters. 



L L 



434 



BLUE-WINGED TEAL. 



THE BLUE-WINGED TEAL. 

QuERQUEDULA Di'scoRS (Linnaeus). 

In 'The Naturalist,' viii. (1858). p. 168, Mr. W. G. Gibson, writing 
from Dumfries, says, without naming any month, " a specimen of 
the Blue-winged Teal {A?ias discors) was shot here a few weeks ago." 
This bird, erroneously stated by the late Mr. R. Gray to have been 
killed in January 1863, afterwards passed into the collection of 
the late Sir William Jardine, and was subsequently acquired by the 
Edinburgh Museum ; it is a male and undoubtedly genuine. The 
same cannot be said for the bird recorded under this name in ' The 
Zoologist' for 1882 (p. 92), which is an immature male of our 
Garganey. 

According to Mr. Oluf Winge, an adult male was shot near Saby 
in Denmark, about the middle of April 1886. I am not aware 
that this species has yet been introduced on ornamental waters in 
Europe; for the bird mentioned in my ist Edition (p. 422), as 
having been sent from Tours, proved to be the Cinnamon Teal, 
Q. cyanoptera. 

The Blue-winged Teal has a more southern habitat than the pre- 
ceding, being seldom met with north of lat. 60°, while it is very local 
on the Pacific coast. It breeds, in suitable localities, from Labrador 
to Florida, and from the Saskatchewan to Mazatlan, as well as abund- 
antly in the Mississippi valley ; and in winter its migrations extend 
to the Bermudas, Mexico, the West Indies, and Guatemala. The 
eggs, 8-12 in number, are pale buff: measurements i"85 by 1*35 in. 
The food and habits do not differ materially from those of the pre- 
ceding species. 

The adult male has the throat, forehead and crown dark lead- 
colour ; in front of the eye a long crescef-ific patch of white ; cheeks 
and neck dull lavender-grey ; back mottled with reddish-buff; lesser 
wing-coverts lapis-lazuli blue (far more vivid than in our Garganey) ; 
on the wing a white bar, followed by a bronze-green patch ; under 
parts pale reddish; bill black; feet yellowish. Length i6in. : 
wing 7*5 in. The female is mottled with dull brown and buff, and 
has only an indistinct eye-stripe. 



I 



ANATID^. 



435 







THE GARGANEY. 

QuERQUEDULA ciRCiA (LinncGus). 

This very local species visits England early in March, and, if un- 
molested, remains in a few suitable spots to breed (whence it is often 
called the Summer-Teal) ; while it is again observed on the migra- 
tion southward in autumn. It nests regularly in the ' broad ' district 
and other parts of Norfolk — where, owing to protection, it is on the 
increase, also sparingly in Suffolk, probably in ^Varwickshire, Hants, 
and some other counties ; visits Lincolnshire in April ; has been 
found nesting in Holderness, Yorkshire ; and used to breed in 
Northumberland before the drainage of Prestwick Car. Elsewhere 
its occurrences are irregular, and in Wales and the west they are 
decidedly infrequent. The same may be said of the mainland of 
Scotland, and its visits to the Orkneys and Shetlands, as well as to 
Barra in the Outer Hebrides, are exceptional. In Ireland, Mr. 
Ussher informs me that he has records of twenty-six occurrences 
between January and August, but chiefly during March and in the 
south and west. 

The Garganey seldom visits the Faroes or even the south of Nor- 
way, but it breeds rather plentifully in Denmark, Sweden up to about 
lat. 60°, Finland, and Russia as far as Archangel ; while it is very abund- 
ant in East Prussia, and generally distributed in summer through- 
out the rest of Europe, especially in the east, down to the Caspian, 
Black and Mediterranean Seas, though of irregular occurrence in 



436 GARGANEY. 

the western portion of the Spanish Peninsula. It is, however, during 
the cold season that it is most abundant in the south ; its winter 
migrations reaching to North Africa, Egypt, Somaliland, and portions 
of Arabia. In Siberia Mr. Popham obtained it as far north as 
Yeneseisk, and eastward it reaches Kamchatka and the Commander 
Islands ; while it is common down to the Himalayas in summer, 
and very abundant during winter in India (where it is known as 
the Blue-winged Teal) ; and it also occurs sparsely in Japan, the 
PhiUppines, China and the Malay Archipelago. 

The nest is sometimes placed among rough herbage, or in sedge 
intermixed with coarse grass ; but also in heather, and in high, 
fairly-drained — as well as open — situations. Laying begins in the latter 
half of April or early in May, and the eggs, usually 8, though some- 
times as many as 13 in number, are more creamy than those of the 
Common Teal, with no tinge of green: measurements i"85 by 
I "35 in. The food chiefly consists of small fish, aquatic insects 
and molluscs, with little vegetable matter, and the bird is not, as 
a rule, good for the table. Its usual note is a harsh knacky but in 
spring the drake makes a peculiar jarring noise, like a child's rattle, 
whence the name of " Crick " or " Cricket-Teal " in East Anglia. 
This bird is rapid in its flight, and when swimming sits very high 
in the water. 

The adult male in March has the forehead, crown and nape dark 
brown, with a white stripe on each side from the eye and ear-coverts 
to the back of the neck ; cheeks and neck nutmeg-brown, varied 
with short hair-like lines of white ; back dark brown ; elongated 
scapulars black with a central stripe of white ; wiiig-cove?-fs bluish-grey ; 
patch on the secondaries green between two white bars ; primaries 
and tail dull brown; chin black; breast pale brown, with dark 
crescentic bands ; belly white ; flanks varied with transverse black 
lines bounded by two broad bands ; under tail-coverts mottled black 
and white ; bill black ; legs, toes and webs greenish lead-colour. 
Mr. J. H. Gurney states that the male Garganey remains for an 
unusually long period in the plumage of the female. Length 16 in. ; 
wing 7 '8 in. The female is smaller, and has the head brown with 
darker spots and lines ; over the eye a light yellowish-white band 
mantle dark brown with rufous edges ; wing-coverts greyish-brown 
speculum dull metallic-green between two bars of white ; chin white 
breast varied with two shades of brown on a surface of greyish 
white ; sides and flanks j)ale brown, varied with darker brown 
Young males in their first plumage, as usual, resemble females. 



ANATID/K. 



437 







THE WIGEON. 

Mareca PENELOPE (Linnaius). 

Small parties of Wigeon begin to make their appearance on our 
coasts about the end of August, but the bulk of the immigrants 
arrive from the middle of October onwards, and immense numbers 
are often to be found in sheltered bays and tidal waters until the end 
of February, while in March and April the return migration from the 
south sets in. In Scotland the ^^'igeon has long been known as a 
partially resident species, breeding in some numbers over the greater 
part of Sutherland, and sparingly in Caithness, Ross and Cromarty, 
while eggs have been taken in the Orkneys and Shetlands, and of late 
Perthshire and Selkirkshire have been added to its nesting-area. In 
1897 a nest was found near Scarborough, and there is presumptive 
evidence that the bird has bred exceptionally in the very south of 
England. In Ireland it is common during the colder part of the 
year, and it seems possible that a few pairs may nest in cos. Fer- 
managh and Tyrone (Ussher). 

This Duck is a summer-visitor to the Faeroes and Iceland, occa- 
sionally wandering to Greenland. It is very abundant in Scan- 
dinavia and Finland, but Kolguev and AVaigats (70° N.) are about 
its limits ; while it breeds in Russia as far south as Ekaterinburg ; 
and sparingly in Denmark, Holland, and Northern Germany. On 



43^ WIGEON. 

passage it visits the rest of Europe, going as far west as the Azores ; 
and in Africa it is found down to Abyssinia. In Asia its range 
extends from about 71" N. to Mongolia in summer, and in winter 
over the rest of that continent and its islands down to Borneo ; 
a specimen has even been obtained in the Marshall group, Poly- 
nesia. From Siberia we trace this species across Bering Sea, by 
way of the Aleutian Islands, to Alaska ; and it is not infrequent on 
the coast of California, while in the east portion of the United 
States it occurs almost every winter, especially between Virginia 
and the Carolinas. 

The nest, placed in a tuft of rushes, coarse herbage or heather, is 
warmly lined with down, and may contain from 7-10 cream- 
coloured eggs: measurements 2 "3 by i '5 in. On their arrival the 
birds, when undisturbed, feed by day on aquatic plants and grass, 
but after November they become nocturnal, and subsist largely 
upon Zostera marina. The call-note of the male is a shrill whistling 
whee-yoii, whence the local names " Whew Duck " and " Whewer" ; 
but the female utters a low purr or croak ; while both sexes 
rise in silence. Although it is a surface-feeder and does not dive 
for food, the Wigeon can submerge itself easily and turn rapidly 
under water when wounded and pursued. No other species offers 
such attractions to the punt-gunner ; and it is taken in large 
numbers in those of our decoys which, as in Essex and in Pem- 
brokeshire, are situated near the sea, though flocks sometimes 
resort to waters as much as 30 miles inland. In confinement it 
breeds occasionally, though not very freely ; and it has been known 
to cross with the Pintail, Mallard, Gadwall and Teal. 

The adult male has the forehead and crown buff; cheeks and 
hind-neck chestnut, minutely spotted with bottle-green ; chin black ; 
throat and upper neck chestnut ; breast white passing into grey on 
the under parts, the flanks being pencilled with dark grey ; mantle 
chiefly of a finely vermiculated grey ; shoulder white with a terminal 
bar of black, followed by a green wing-patch tipped with black below ; 
quills and tail dark brown ; bill bluish-lead colour ; legs and toes 
dark brown. Early in July a plumage like that of the female is 
assumed, but the tints of the drake are always the brighter. Length 
i8"5 in.; wing io'5 in. The female is smaller; the upper parts 
are mottled with greyish-brown, and the shoulders nearly white ; 
the wing-patch is greyish-green, and the under parts are buflish- 
white. As usual, the young bird resembles the female ; the latter 
occasionally assumes nearly full male plumage. 



ANATID^. 



439 




THE AMERICAN WIGEON. 



Mareca AMERICANA (J. F. Gmelin). 



The occurrence of this bird in a London market during the 
winter of 1837-8 was thus noticed by Blyth, in the third volume of 
N. Wood's 'Naturalist,' p. 417: — "The American Wigeon is a 
novelty which was obtained by Mr. Bartlett. He selected it from 
a row of Common Wigeons, deeming it, at the time, to be only an 
accidental variety of the species ; there was a female along with it, 
which, after some hesitation, he unfortunately left, considering it 
only as a variety, but insufficiently diverse to be worth preserving ; 
he has since, however, positively recognized the female of the 
American Wigeon to be identical with the bird he thus passed over 
hesitatingly in the market." This specimen — a male— is now in the 
collection of Mr. J- H. Gurney, and we may fairly assume that it 
was really taken in this country. Thompson believed on hearsay 
evidence that one, not preserved, was killed in February 1844 on 
Strangford Lough near Belfast ; Thomas Edward, of Banff, has 
enumerated, among his many unauthenticated rarities, another, shot 
on the Burn of Boyndie in January 1841, but afterwards thrown 
away ; while two records in ' The Zoologist ' are so utterly unsub- 
stantiated as to be unworthy of serious consideration. In February 
1895, however, Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey obtained in the flesh 
a young male, which had been recently selected from a number of 



44° AMERICAN WIGEON. 

Common Wigeon at a Leeds game-stall, and its portrait appears in 
the late Lord Lilford's ' Coloured Figures of British Birds.' 

In J'rance, according to MM. Marmottan and Vian, a female, 
now in the collection of the former, was taken at Le Crotoy, Somme, 
on April 13th 1875 ; and Mr. O. H. Howarth has informed me 
of a specimen in a collection at St. Michael, Azores. Dr. L. 
Stejneger has stated that a very lean and moulting female was found 
dead on Bering Island on May ist 1883. 

Li North America this Wigeon is found in summer from Alaska 
eastward throughout the Fur-countries to Hudson Bay ; and on 
migration it occurs over the greater part of that continent, being 
numerous on the Chesapeake, where, like the Canvas-back, it feeds 
on the Vallisneria. Audubon says that it is abundant during winter 
at New Orleans, where it is much esteemed on account of the juici- 
ness of its flesh, and is best known by the name of "Zinzin." In 
the West and in most parts of the Eastern and Middle States 
it is called "the Bald Pate." It frequents the rice-fields of the 
South, wanders to the Bermudas, and is an annual winter-visitor to 
Mexico, the West India Islands and Central America. 

The nest of this species is stated by Kennicott to be always on 
high dry ground, among trees or bushes, at a considerable distance 
from water ; it is a comparatively small depression among the dead 
leaves, lined with down, and contains from 7-10 ivory-white eggs, 
measuring 2"i by i -5 in. The note is a soft, gentle whistle. 

The adult male has the forehead and crown dull white ; a broad 
green streak passing backward from the eye ; cheeks and neck 
whitish, freckled with black ; mantle brownish-grey vermiculated 
with black ; lesser wing-coverts white, and the greater ones tipped 
with black ; on the secondaries a green patch ; tail greyish-brown ; 
upper breast to flanks mottled reddish-brown ; belly and vent 
white ; bill black at the tip, the rest greyish-blue ; legs and feet 
bluish. In younger males the plumage is duller, and the soft parts 
are darker in colour. Length 19 in. ; wing 10 "5 in. The female 
has the head and neck yellowish-white speckled with black (decidedly 
whiter than in our Vvlgeon), very little rufous on the breast, 
and a dark brown back. The young are much like the females in 
the first season, but in the drakes the wing-pattern is better defined 
and the colours are more pronounced. 



ANATID.t. 



441 



^■:iS3(^*^^ 




> ^' / , 



THE RED-CRESTED POCHARD. 



Netta rufina (Pallas), 



The Red-crested Pochard is a southern and eastern species which 
was first noticed as a wanderer to the British Islands by J. Hunt, who 
figured a female killed in Norfolk in July 181S; and eight or nine 
examples have since been obtained in that county, chiefly in winter. 
Others have been taken along the east coast between Berwick-on- 
Tweed and the mouth of the Thames ; Devon and Cornwall have 
each contributed one ; there is a specimen in the British Museum 
from Pembrokeshire ; and a male was shot on October 9th 1897 in 
Westmoreland. In Scotland one was obtained in Argyllshire in 
January 1862 ; in Ireland one in co. Kerry on January i8th 1881. 

This Pochard seldom occurs on the waters of Denmark, Northern 
Germany, Holland or Belgium, while in Switzerland it is chiefly 
found on the lakes of the eastern cantons ; but though rare in the 
north of France, it is not uncommon in the Rhone delta, where 
Messrs. W. E. Clarke and T. Laidlaw found it breeding. In the 
Spanish Peninsula it is almost confined to the lakes on the east side 
and those in the Balearic Islands. In the southern half of Italy it 

M M 



442 RED-CRESTED POCHARD. 

is not uncommon, and more than two centuries ago Willughby 
obtained it in the marlcet at Rome, while it is also resident in Sicily 
and Sardinia. It breeds in small numbers in Central and Southern 
Germany ; more frequently along the valley of the r)anul)e, and 
abundantly in some parts of South Russia ; while in winter it is 
found throughout the basins of the Mediterranean, Black and 
Caspian Seas. In Africa it nests in many of the lakes to the north 
of the Sahara, though very rare in Egypt. In Asia its summer- 
haunts are in Northern Persia, and Turkestan as far east as the 
Lob-nor, but do not reach Siberia ; its winter-range extends to 
Northern and Central India (where thousands are sometimes seen 
on large sheets of wMter), and occasionally to China. A young 
male was found in the New York market on February 2nd 1872. 

Mr. W. E. Clarke describes a nest found in the Camargue on 
May 17th as placed in the centre of a dense mass of purslane, and 
consisting of a broad rim of down, with a few short tamarisk twigs : 
it contained 10 fresh eggs. These are clear pea-green in their colour 
(which soon fades): measurements 2 "3 by i"6 in. The food — 
obtained very largely by diving — consists of water-weeds, frogs, 
small fish, insects &c. ; the flesh of this bird is generally held in 
high estimation. The call-note, seldom heard by day, is a deep 
grating hirr^ but occasionally the male utters a sort of whistle. 

The adult male in spring has the beak crimson, with a paler nail ; 
irides reddish ; crown and erectile crest golden-bay, rest of head 
and upper neck vinaceous-chestnut ; throat, lower neck, breast 
and belly brown-black ; flanks white, with a tinge of salmon-pink ; 
mantle yellowish-brown ; lesser coverts and a band across the 
secondaries white, with a greyish border to the inner secondaries ; 
primaries brown at the tip, and whitish above ; tail-feathers ash- 
brown ; legs and toes vermilion-red ; webs blackish. In less mature 
birds the soft parts are duller in colour. Length 22 in. ; wing 
io'5 in. The female has no crest, and the top of the head is dark 
brown ; the cheeks and throat are greyish-white ; the upper and 
under parts pale rufous to greyish-brown ; the point of the shoulder 
and the wing-patch dull white ; the beak and legs dull red. Young 
drakes at first resemble the females, but the crest and the red colour 
of the bill soon become apparent. 

This species is the type of the genus Netta, Kaup, which differs 
from Fiiligula in having 16 tail-feathers in place of 14, a longer bill, 
and some other points. Like the rest of the group of Diving 
Ducks, it has a broadly lobed hind-toe. In adopting Netta I have 
followed Count Salvadori, Dr. AV. T. Blanford and others. 



ANATIDiE. 



443 




THE COMMON POCHARD. 



FULIGULA FERINA (LilinffiUS). 

This species is also known by the names " Red-headed Poker " or 
" Red-eyed Poker " in the case of the male, while that of " Dun-bird ''' 
is usually, but not exclusively, bestowed upon the female or the 
young. The Pochard is in the main a cold-weather visitor to 
England, though very irregular both as regards numbers and 
localities. It usually appears early in October and leaves again in 
spring ; but a good many now remain to breed on some of our 
inland waters, where, owing to efficient protection, they have 
increased of late. Such is the case at Merton and in other parts of 
Norfolk, at Hornsea Mere in Yorkshire, in Lancashire, Dorsetshire, 
Hertfordshire, and some localities which need not be named. In 
Scotland this species is generally distributed, except in the Outer 
Hebrides, though it breeds in Tiree ; and it nests in Ross, Moray, 
Perthshire, Fifeshire, Roxburghshire, and in the Orkneys ; visiting 
the Shetlands. In Ireland it is widely distributed over inland waters 
in winter, and there is evidence that it has nested in many counties. 

The Pochard is only a wanderer to the Faeroes and Iceland, while 
it is not common in any part of Scandinavia ; but in Russia it 
breeds as far north as Lake Ladoga, and southward to the Caspian. 



444 COMMON POCHARD. 

A tolerable number nest in Denmark, Germany, Poland and suit- 
able localities throughout the rest of Europe, sojourning on the 
lakes of the High Alps on their way to the Mediterranean, to 
which, and to North Africa as far as the Egyptian lakes, large flocks 
resort in winter ; while a few visit the Canaries. Eastward, the 
Pochard extends in summer across temperate Asia to the Baikal 
district, but not further north ; and southward in winter it reaches 
Japan, China, and India down to lat. 15° N. In America the 
representative is a closely-allied species, F. aniericana^ with no black 
at the base of the bill, greyer back, and whiter belly. The famous 
Canvas-back also belongs to this genus, and is sometimes sent over 
from America in ice. 

The nest is placed among rushes, sedge or other coarse herbage, 
near the margins of meres and pools ; the greenish-drab eggs being 
7-10 or even 13 in number: measurements 2"4 by 1*7 in. The 
Pochard is excellent for the table so long as it eats the plants which 
grow below the surface of our inland waters, but when on the sea it 
becomes coarse, owing to a diet of crustaceans and molluscs. It 
feeds principally towards dark, at which time large numbers are 
captured in nets set for the purpose, but from decoys its diving- 
powers often enable it to escape. The usual note of the male is a 
low whistle, but the alarm-cry of both sexes is a rough ciirre, whence 
comes one of the bird's local names. In captivity it has been 
known to breed, but not freely. Wild birds have several times been 
obtained which appear to be hybrids between this species and the 
Ferruginous Duck. One of these is the so-called ' Paget's Pochard ' 
described by W. R. Fisher (Zool. p. 1137 and p. 1778), shot on 
Rollesby Broad, Norfolk, and now in the possession of Mr. J. H. 
Gurney, who has a second example, shot in the same county in 
February 1859. A third is in the Booth collection; and a fourth, 
caught alive at Saham-Toney Mere on January 9th 1897, is still 
(August 1898) living at Keswick Hall, Norwich. This hybrid has 
been named F. homey eri and F.ferinoides. 

The adult male has the head and neck chestnut-red ; breast and 
upper back black ; mantle finely freckled with lavender-white and 
black ; wing-patch grey but inconspicuous ; under parts greyish- 
white ; tail-coverts black : bill black with a broad band of blue across 
the middle ; iris ruby-red; legs and toes bluish-grey. Length 19 in. ; 
wing 8 '2 5 in. The female has the iris brown ; head, neck and breast 
dull brown; chin white ; the rest of the plumage being browner 
than in the male. The young at first resembles her; the black 
breast is not assumed by the drake during his first year. 



AN ATI D^.. 



445 



:-4U- 




THE FERRUGINOUS DUCK. 



FuLiGULA NYROCA (Giildenstadt). 



This species — also called the White-eyed Duck, from the colour 
of its irides — is an irregular visitor to England, principally in winter 
and spring. More than twenty examples have been obtained in 
Norfolk, a few in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Yorkshire, and along the 
Trent valley up to Nottinghamshire ; Northumberland and Lanca- 
shire being each credited with one. Those exposed for sale in the 
London markets are open to the suspicion of having been brought 
from Holland (whence live birds are also sometimes sent) ; but 
four have been killed near Oxford, one in Dorset, and two in 
Devon ; while a remarkably tame bird was observed on a pond in 
Radnorshire during the latter part of 1858 and up to March 1859. 
In Scotland this Duck has been obtained once (perhaps twice) in 
the Firth of Forth in winter, and two were killed on the Tay early 
in 1 85 7 (W. Evans). In Ireland six occurrences have been noted, 
from January to March inclusive (Ussher). 

The Ferruginous Duck is not known to breed to the north of 
Holland, Schleswig - Holstein, East Prussia, or Moscow, but in 
Poland, Hungary, and Slavonia it is very abundant from April to 
autumn ; on passage it visits the lakes of the Upper Engadine ; and 
it is a resident of general distribution in the southern portions of 
Europe, from Spain to the Volga. It visits the Canaries, nests in 



446 FERRUGINOUS DUCK. 

North Africa, and in winter is found in large flocks on the lakes of 
Egypt, and thence to Abyssinia. In the temperate and elevated 
regions of Asia it is generally numerous, and Mr. Hume says that 
boat-loads of its eggs are brought into the market of Srinagar, in 
Kashmir. During cold weather it is found over India down to 
lat. 17° N., and as far east as Arrakan ; but in Eastern Siberia, 
China and Japan it is represented by F. baeri. 

A nest found in Spain by the late Lord Lilford was placed amongst 
high rushes, at a short distance from the water, and was composed 
of dry water-plants with a lining of brownish-white down and a few 
white feathers. Mr. W. E. Clarke describes the down as l^rownish- 
black, with greyish tips at the point of insertion. The eggs, 7-14 
in number, are whitish or pale buff-colour, sometimes with an 
evanescent greenish tinge : measurements 2'\ by i-5 in. The food, 
sought by day, consists partly of vegetable matter, but largely of 
insects and their larvae, small molluscs, crustaceans &c. ; and there 
is consequently great variation in the fitness of this Duck for the 
table. Its diving powers can hardly be surpassed; it rises, however, 
somewhat heavily, striking the water repeatedly with its feet, like a 
Coot ; and it is not remarkably rapid \vhen on the wing, at which 
time it has a very dark appearance, whence its Spanish name 
" Negrete." By this fact and by its white wing-bar it may easily be 
recognized. It is seldom seen on large open sheets of water, but 
prefers weedy lakes and ponds, where it can find reeds and other 
cover suited to its skulking nature ; in fact its resorts are somewhat 
similar to those of a Little Grebe. The note is a harsh kirr, kere, 
kirr. Mr, J. H. Gurney has known a drake live in captivity for 
fifteen years. 

The adult male has the bill bluish-black ; irides white ; head, 
neck and upper breast rich chestnut-brown, with a narrow brown 
collar, and small white spot on the chin ; back and wing-coverts 
umber brown with a tinge of green ; quills dusky black, part of 
the inner webs white ; on the secondaries a white patch bordered 
with black ; tail sooty-black ; lower breast and belly white ; flanks 
chestnut-brown, vent greyish-brown, under tail-coverts white ; legs 
and toes lead-colour, the webs darker. Length 16 in. ; wing 775 in. 
The female is rather smaller ; her irides are not so white ; the head 
and neck are of a darker brown, less rich in tone ; and the lower 
breast and belly are seldom — though occasionally — as white as in 
the male. The young bird of the year has even less of the chestnut 
tint than the adult female. 



ANATID/E. 



447 







THE TUFTED DUCK. 



FuLiGULA CRiSTATA (Leach). 



The Tufted Duck is well known as occurring between autumn and 
spring on our low-l3-ing coasts, estuaries and lakes, where it is often 
found in company with Pochard, Scaup, Golden-eye, and other 
diving-ducks ; but considerable numbers remain to breed with us, 
and in few areas more abundantly than in Nottinghamshire, 
especially on the ponds at Newstead, Clumber, Welbeck, Rufford 
and Rainworth : the last — the property of Mr. J. Whitaker — having 
been visited by many ornithologists. Nests have also been found 
in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Norfolk, Sussex, Hants, 
Dorset, and some other counties which afford suitable resorts. In 
Scotland the Tufted Duck is now known to breed on more than 
forty lochs, and plentifully on some of them ; while its nests have 
been found as far west as Tiree and as far north as Hoy, and the 
bird has been seen in the Shetlands in summer. In Ireland, increas- 
ing numbers nest on the lakes of Ulster, the central counties and the 
Shannon valley, while in winter the species is generally distributed. 

This Duck is said to have bred in the Fjeroes, and it is found in 
small numbers on the rivers and lakes of Norway in the warmer 
months, becoming more abundant in Sweden, Finland and Russia, 
though comparatively rare beyond the Arctic circle. Southward, it 
nests in suitable localities down to about lat. 50° N., while over the 
rest of Europe it is found (even in the High Alps) on migration, and 



448 TUFTED DUCK. 

in winter ; at which season it ranges through Africa as far as 
Abyssinia. In summer it frequents Northern Asia, nearly up to 
Lit. 70", and during cold weather large numbers visit Japan, China, 
and India down to Coimbatore, while wanderers reach the Malay 
Archipelago and even Eastern Polynesia. 

As a rule incubation begins towards the end of May or early in 
June, the nest being concealed under a bush, in a tuft of grass or 
sedge, and sometimes in a peat hole ; the 8-13 eggs are of a greenish- 
buff colour: measurements 2 "3 by i"5 in. Incubation lasts about 
23 days. The call-note on alighting is rendered by Mr. Whitaker 
as currugh^ airrii^h, uttered gutturally ; and he called my attention, 
when at Rainworth, to the fact — ^which he believed to be invariable 
— that the female is the first to rise when both birds are together 
on the water. The Tufted Duck dives freely and frequently. For 
the table it is tolerably good when it has been eating aquatic plants, 
but as soon as it has taken to animal food, either on fresh or salt 
water, the result is not satisfactory. Feeding takes place soon after 
twilight, and also in the early morning. Pinioned birds have bred 
on the ponds of the London Zoological Gardens and other orna- 
mental waters ; and at the former a Tufted crossed with a Ferruginous 
Duck in 1849, the hybrids afterwards breeding either inter se or 
with the parents till 1861. In the British Museum there is a 
hybrid presented by Mr. R. J. Howard from a brood produced 
between the Tufted Duck and the Pochard in 1886 on a reservoir 
in Woodfold Park ; and a similar bird is in the Belfast Museum. 

The adult male has the elongated crest, head and neck glossy 
purplish-black ; breast and upper parts duller black, with a green 
tinge on the secondaries ; wing-patch white with a black border ; 
belly and flanks white, washed with grey towards the vent ; under 
tail-coverts black ; bill slate-grey with a black nail ; irides brilliant 
golden-yellow (whence the bird is sometimes called " Golden-eye ") ; 
legs and toes slate- blue, webs black. Length 17 "2 5 in. ; wing 8 in. 
Mr. Whitaker says that a paired male began to change into female 
plumage in May, but an unattached drake was as bright as ever 
until the end of August, when he became less white on the flanks. 
It is, perhaps, not generally known that the drakes of many other 
species retain nearly full dress throughout the summer, when they 
have not mated. The female is rather smaller, and is sooty-brown 
on those parts which are black in the male, the under surface being 
brown barred with grey ; immature females (as well as young males) 
have the forehead sprinkled with white after the autumn moult until 
the following April. 



ANATID.E. 



449 




THE SCAUP-DUCK. 



FuLiGULA MARiLA (Liiinjeus). 

The Scaup-Duck makes its appearance on the southern coast of 
Great Britain about the end of October or the beginning of Novem- 
ber, though somewhat earher in the north. It is common during 
the winter on low oozy shores as well as in sheltered rocky bays, 
but the great majority take their departure in spring, and assertions 
respecting the breeding of this species in Scotland lack con- 
firmation ; while, though generally distributed in the cold season, 
it is not plentiful in the Orkneys or the Outer Hebrides. In 
Ireland large flocks visit the coasts and tidal waters of the north and 
west, but comparatively few^ are noticed in the south. 

The Scaup is common in autumn and winter in the Faeroes, 
where a few only remain to nest ; but in Iceland it breeds in great 
abundance, as it does up to lat. 70° N. in Scandinavia, Arctic 
Russia, and Siberia as far as Bering Island. According to Blasius 
it has nested on one occasion at the Hiddensee in Brunswick, but 
as a rule it is not found south of the Baltic exxept on passage or 
in winter, when it visits the Swiss lakes. It reaches the Mediter- 
ranean, but is rare in the western portion, though not uncommon 
in the east and the Levant, as well as on the Black and Caspian 
Seas. It is unknown in Turkestan and rare in India, though 
occasionally found as far south as Bombay ; the mountains and 

N N 



45° SCAUP-DUCK. 

elevated table-land of Central Asia diverting its line of migration to 
the east of the meridian of Lake Baikal, whence it can be traced 
southward to Japan, China and Formosa. Across North America, 
from the Pacific to the Atlantic, it is distributed north of lat. 50^ in 
summer, and down to Mexico and the West Indies in winter ; but 
in Greenland it is of rare occurrence. There is also a smaller form 
— of doubtful specific distinctness — known as the American or 
Lesser Scaup, F. affinis of Eyton {F. niariloides of Vigors) ; but the 
example figured as the above in the earlier editions of ' Yarrell,' and 
once in the collection of the late Mr. F. Bond, appears to be a 
hybrid between the Scaup and the Pochard, and is certainly not the 
American bird. 

The nest is placed in rough herbage, or among stones in the 
vicinity of water; the pale greenish-grey eggs are usually 6-1 1 
in number, though as many as 22 have been found together, the 
joint produce of more than one female: measurements 2*6 by 
175 in. The note is remarkably hoarse and discordant, resembling 
the word skai/p, and its utterance is accompanied by a peculiar toss 
of the bird's head. The food during winter consists chiefly of 
molluscs, small crustaceans, and sea-plants, obtained by diving 
over beds of oysters and mussels (known as " scalp "), or from reefs 
on which tangle grows ; the bird is therefore unpalatable to most 
people, and, not being an object of pursuit, is, as a rule, rather 
tame. 

The adult male has the head, neck and upper breast glossy 
greenish-black ; mantle with fine wavy cross-lines of black and 
white ; on the secondaries a white patch with a greenish-black 
border ; quills, rump and tail-feathers dull brown ; belly white ; bill 
pale greyish-blue ; nail black ; irides light yellow ; legs and toes 
lead-blue. Length igin. ; wing 8-5 in. The female has a broad 
white band round the base of the lead-coloured bill ; head and 
neck sooty-black ; breast and back brown, with greyish vermicu- 
lations ; belly dull white ; flanks and under tail-coverts mottled 
with brown. The young drake at first resembles the female, and 
does not attain the full glossy black head until he is more than 
three years old. 



ANATID/E. 



451 




■•^■'^'^^-^v^^^, m 



THE GOLDEN-EYE. 

Clangula glaucion (Linnaeus). 

The Golden-eye generally arrives on our coasts about the middle 
of October ; and so long as the inland waters are not frozen it 
frequents many of our lakes, as well as rivers and tidal estuaries. 
Immature birds sometimes remain until the end of May, and the 
Rev. H. A. Macpherson states that he saw a year-old male in 
North Uist, on July loth 1886. As a rule, however, the species is 
comparatively scarce in the Outer Hebrides, though common in 
winter in the Orkneys and Shetlands. In Ireland it is well known 
on the estuaries, and especially on the fresh-water loughs. The young 
and the females are often called ' Morillons,' and are considered 
by many fowlers as quite distinct from the far rarer mature males. 

This species is uncommon in the Faeroes, and still more so in 
Iceland ; being represented in the latter island, as well as in Greenland, 
by the larger Barrow's Golden-eye (C islandica), the male of which 
has a greater developement of crest and a more purple gloss on the 
head, while the female is barely recognizable by her average 
superiority in size. In Scandinavia our Golden-eye is common in 
summer as far north as lat. 70° even where the trees — in which it 
usually makes its nest — are hardly large enough to provide holes 

N N 2 



452 GOLDEN-EYE. 

suitable for occupation ; while it breeds regularly down to about lat. 
58° in Russia ; and sparingly, it is said, in Holstein, Mark Branden- 
burg and East Prussia. Drs. Fatio and Studer assert that it has 
nested on the Lake of Wallenstadt and in other parts of Switzerland, 
to the waters of which it is certainly a regular visitor. Southward it 
is found in cold weather over the rest of Europe, but only severe 
winters drive it to the western portion of the Mediterranean or to 
North Africa, though it is not infrequent in Greece, the Black Sea, 
and the Caspian district. Throughout Siberia it remains up to 67"^ N. 
as long as it can find open water, and it also inhabits the lakes of 
the Pamirs, Kashgaria and Mongolia; while on migration it visits 
Japan, China, and, occasionally, Upper India. In North America 
a larger form, identical in plumage, is found. 

When in a hollow tree or a hole previously tenanted by a Black 
Woodpecker, the nest often has an opening so small that a man's 
hand can with difficulty be inserted ; but to obtain the eggs the 
Lapps and Finns place boxes or hollowed logs in convenient situa- 
tions, especially in the neighbourhood of falls and rapids, to which 
this bird seems partial. The eggs, usually 10-12 in number, are 
bright green, though the colour soon fades: measurements 2 "4 by 
I '6 in. The food, obtained by diving, consists of crustaceans and 
molluscs, as well as sea- "grass", which is brought to the surface 
and eaten. The Golden-eye rises from the water with great 
rapidity, and, from the noise produced during its flight, is often 
known by the names of "Rattle-wing" and "Whistler." In the 
wild state hybrids between this and several species, including the 
Smew and the Hooded Merganser, have been obtained. 

The adult male has the head and upper neck glossy greenish-black, 
the feathers on the crown being slightly elongated ; a conspicuous 
oval white patch under each eye; chin, throat, and back black; 
lower neck, elongated scapulars, large wing-patch and under parts 
white ; thighs dark brown ; legs and toes yellow with blackish webs ; 
bill bluish-black ; irides golden-yellow. In summer a plumage 
similar to that of the female is assumed, but a little white remains 
at the base of the bill, and a good deal on the wing. Length 18-5 in. ; 
wing 8*25 in. In females and young males there is no white spot 
between the eye and the bill ; the head is umber brown, nearly 
separated by a paler collar from the greyish neck, gorget and 
shoulders ; the wing-coverts are tipped with black, so that the white 
wing-patch is divided into three portions; the back and flanks are 
dark brown, and the belly is white. 



ANATID/E. 



453 




THE BUFFEL-HEADED DUCK. 



Clangula albeola (Linnaeus). 

About the winter of 1830 an adult male of this North American 
species was shot near Yarmouth, and is now in the Norwich 
Museum, having been purchased at the dispersal of the late Mr. 
Rising's collection. In ' The Birds of the West of Scotland ' (p. 
396), the late Mr. Robert Gray stated that he had examined a male 
shot on the Loch of Loriston, Aberdeenshire, in January 1865, as 
well as a bird of the same sex in the Banff Museum, obtained many 
years previously on the Loch of Strathbeg ; while a bird — also a 
mature male — from Bridlington, Yorkshire, taken in the winter of 
1864-65, is now in the collection of Mr. J. Whitaker of Rainworth. 
Some other records are unauthenticated, while one of them is 
known to be essentially untrue. 

The Buffel-headed Duck is not known to have occurred on the 
shores of the Continent, and even in Greenland Reinhardt was only 
aware of the occurrence of a female at Godthaab, about the year 1830. 
In America this species is found during the summer as far south as 
the States of Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, and across the 
Fur-countries to the Pacific, though rare in Northern Alaska. In 
autumn, and again in spring, an important line of migration is 



454 BUFFf:L-HEADED DUCK. 

afforded by the great Mississippi valley. A single specimen was 
obtained by Dr. Stejneger in January 1883, on Bering Island, off 
Kamchatka, being the only instance yet recorded from the Asiatic 
side. This Duck migrates to California — where it is very abundant 
between October and April, Texas, Mexico, the ^^'est Indies, and 
occasionally to the Bermudas. 

A nest found by Mr. Lockhart on the Yukon River was in a 
poplar, about twenty feet from the ground, and on July 7th con- 
tained 10 eggs ; their colour was of an ivory-white, with a faint tinge 
of green : measurements 2 by i'5 in. Mr. A. C. Stark describes a 
nest from which he shot the female on May 27th 1882, in West 
Minnesota, as being in a hole in an oak-tree, which was only a few 
inches deep, and partly filled with decayed wood, whereon lay 8 eggs 
nearly buried in down. The stomach of the above bird was crammed 
with small red worms ; but snails, leeches, grasses and aquatic plants 
are also eaten, while on the sea-coast shrimps and molluscs are 
obtained by diving. From its fatness this species is generally known 
in North America by the name of "Butter-ball"; and it is also 
called the "Spirit-Duck," owing to the alacrity with which it dis- 
appears beneath the water. Its note is a mere croak, like that of 
the Golden-eye, but more feeble. It is very tolerant of cold, and 
has been seen on the Ohio when that river was thickly covered with 
floating ice. 

The adult male has the forehead metallic-green, with a dash of the 
same colour on the back of the neck, while the crown and throat 
are iridescent purple ; from behind the eye to the nape extends a 
large triangular white patch which terminates in a sort of crest ; 
below the purplish-green neck comes a narrow white collar which 
meets the white under parts ; back, rump and inner secondaries, 
black ; outer secondaries, speculum and coverts chiefly white, 
variegated with black ; tail slate-grey ; bill bluish ; irides dark 
brown ; legs and feet yellowish-pink. Length 15 in. ; wing 675 in. 
The female is smaller ; her head and neck are ash-brown, with 
a white patch behind the eye ; the upper parts are chiefly 
greyish-brown ; the white on the wing is less defined, and the under 
parts are tinged with brownish-grey on the sides. The young at first 
resemble the female. 



ANATID/E. 



455 




THE LONG-TAILED DUCK. 



Har^lda glacialis (Linnreus). 



Although this species is somewhat uncommon in the south and 
south-west of England, it was exceptionally numerous in the winter 
of 1887-88 ; but on the west coast it is local, and adults are seldom 
seen. On the east side, young birds are not infrequent, and two 
adult males have been shot in East Anglia in June and a female 
even in July ; while northward this Duck becomes tolerably abun- 
dant from November to April. In Scotland it is to be met with in 
winter from Berwickshire to Caithness, and on the west side it is 
very common in the Outer and Inner Hebrides. In the Orkneys 
and Shetlands, where the bird is well known by the name of "Calloo," 
from the loud musical note of the male, it occurs on nearly all the 
inlets or voes ; there is even some evidence that it has bred on 
Sanday, and there can be little doubt that it nests occasionally in the 
Shetlands. To the north and west of Ireland its visits are irregular, 
and in the south they are exceptional. 

It is probable that the Long-tailed Duck nests, though sparingly, 
in the Faeroes, and it does so in considerable numbers in Iceland. 
In Scandinavia it breeds on the streams and lakes of the fells as far 
south as lat. 60°, though it only becomes numerous to the north of the 
Arctic circle ; while in winter it is very abundant along the coasts. 
It also breeds in Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen, Novaya Zemlya, North 



45^ LONG-TAILED DUCK. 

Russia, Siberia, and throughout Arctic America, as well as in Green- 
land ; in fact its summer range is circumpolar. In cold weather it 
migrates southward to about 40° N., visiting the Swiss and Italian 
lakes as well as the Adriatic ; in Asia it reaches Japan and North 
China; while in America it is found to lat. 37" N., and is widely 
known as the "South-southerly" and "Old Squaw," from its 
gabbling cry. In this connection it may be mentioned that in 
many parts of Scotland the call-note is rendered by "Coal an' 
can'le licht." 

The nest, generally placed among herbage, low bushes by the 
side of fresh-water, is composed of a few stems of grass, with a thick 
lining of down, which is little inferior to that of the Eider. The 
eggs, of a somewhat elongated oval form, are pale greyish-green, and 
measure about 2'i by i'45 in. On a small flat island in My-vatn, 
Iceland, Messrs. Shepherd and Upcher counted more than twenty 
nests, and observed a Long-tailed Duck and a Scaup sitting together 
on one which contained several eggs of the two species. The food 
consists of animalculee which swim at various depths, and of small 
molluscs, crustaceans &c., chiefly picked off sea-weed ; in summer 
aquatic plants and insects are eaten. 

The adult male in early spring has the cheeks brownish-grey ; 
below, on each side of the neck, an oval patch of dark brown ; 
forehead, crown and rest of the neck pure white ; back and 
rump blackish ; elongated scapulars, inner secondaries, and short 
exterior tail-feathers white ; central tail-feathers black, and some- 
times 5 in. longer than the rest ; breast, wing-coverts and primaries 
brownish-black ; belly and flanks white ; bill pale rose-colour in the 
middle (when fresh) ; nail and the basal-half black ; irides varying 
from yellow to hazel and red ; legs and toes pale lead-colour, webs 
blackish. Length (inclusive of the central tail-feathers) 22-26 in. ; 
wing 8*8 in. In the summer-plumage, assumed by the end of May, 
the space round the eye is pale buff mixed with a little white, the 
rest of the head, neck, back and breast being dark brown, while the 
feathers of the scapulars and the secondaries have broad rufous 
margins with black centres. In the depth of winter there is more 
white about the head than in spring ; and every intermediate stage 
between these plumages is to be found. The female has the crown 
and upper parts dark brown ; a dull white stripe behind the eye ; 
cheeks, throat and upper breast ash-brown ; under parts white ; no 
long tail-feathers. The young male resembles her, but soon becomes 
darker on the back. A thoroughly mature female has the neck 
white. 



ANATID^. 



457 



'"•la^ ^^^--- —, ' -.^ 




THE HARLEQUIN DUCK. 

CosMONETTA HisTRioNiCA (Linnaeus). 

As shown by Prof. Newton in 'The Ibis,' 1859, pp. 162-166, 
and also by Mr. J. H. Gurney in his ' Rambles of a Naturalist,' 
pp. 263-269 (1876), the majority of the birds which have from 
time to time been recorded as Harlequin Ducks obtained in Great 
Britain have been proved — where proof was possible — to be Long- 
tailed Ducks, American Wood-Ducks, or some other species. It 
appears probable, however, that the specimens figured by James 
Sowerby in his 'British Miscellany' (1806), were procured in 
Scotland ; the collection of Mr. J. Whitaker of Rainworth contains 
a male bird obtained by Mr. Roberts of Scarborough from some 
fishermen who had found it dead on the shore at Filey in the 
autumn of 1862 ; while on December 2nd 1886, three individuals 
were observed near the Fame Islands, off the coast of Northumber- 
land, and two young males which were secured are, respectively, in 
the collections of Mr. R. W. Chase and the Rev. Julian Tuck. 

A male Harlequin Duck in the Upsala collection is supposed to 



458 HARLEQUIN DUCK. 

have been obtained on the Swedish coast ; and I have examined, in 
a private collection at Lausanne, a bird of that sex, shot on Lake 
Leman on September 12th 1865, while occurrences are recorded on 
the lakes of Morat, Zurich and Constance. This species has not 
been observed in Spitsbergen, Novaya Zemlya, nor in Siberia as far 
as the Lena delta, but eastward it is found on the waters of the 
highlands from Lake Baikal to the Stanovoi Mountains and Kam- 
chatka, whence, by way of the Kuril Islands, it can be traced to 
Northern Japan in winter. It inhabits the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, 
California down to the head-waters of the Stanislaus at about 4,000 
feet of elevation, the Fur-countries (except the Barren Grounds) and 
Newfoundland ; migrating as far south as St. Louis, Missouri, in 
winter. In Greenland it has been observed on both coasts and up to 
about lat. 70° N. on the east. In Iceland it appears to be resident, 
migrating from the northern to the southern districts in winter. 

Mr. Shepherd observed this species in considerable numbers in 
the north-west of Iceland, frequenting the Laxa and other rapid 
streams ; its nests were in holes in the banks, and, near Myvatn, in 
the lava, or under stones ; while in the south-east Mr. H. J. Pearson 
found them also under wild angelica and trailing plants. The eggs, 
normally 7 in number, are of a warm creamy colour : measurements 
2 '2 by 17 in. The food consists of small molluscs, crustaceans and 
marine insects in winter ; and in summer the bird hunts for the 
larvae of Ephemerides among the stones in the shallows of the swiftest 
rivers (H. H. Slater). 

The adult male has a large white patch on each side of the base 
of the bill, separated by a median black line running to the nape 
and margined with white and chestnut ; behind each eye a white spot, 
and lower down a stripe of the same colour ; rest of the head, throat 
and neck bluish-black, with an imperfect collar of white margined 
with black ; in a line with the closed wing a broader but much shorter 
crescentic half-band of white (the collar and bands are too extensive 
in the wood-cut) ; upper parts chiefly bluish-black, with some white 
stripes and spots on the scapulars, secondaries and wing-coverts ; 
wing-patch purple ; breast and abdomen dark greyish-brown ; flanks 
rich chestnut ; a small white spot on each side of the tail-coverts ; 
bill bluish-black ; i rides orange ; legs and feet lead-colour. Length 
1 7 in. ; wing 8 in. The female is smaller, of a nearly uniform brown- 
colour above, mottled on the front of the neck ; at the base of the 
bill and behind each eye are patches of white, varying in purity ; 
belly dull white. 



ANATID.^. 



459 




--Aw-A'\'"^'^^^' ■ 



.. N^\,S\K\.^\ 7 



THE EIDER DUCK. 

SoMATERiA MOLLissiMA (Linnceus). 

The Eider Duck is only a winter-visitor in somewhat small 
numbers to Wales and the western and southern coasts of England, 
but along the east side it gradually becomes more abundant north- 
ward, and along the coast of Northumberland, especially on the 
Fame Islands, it has been known for centuries as a breeding bird. 
In Scotland it nests in suitable localities up to the Orkneys and 
Shetlands ; while in the Outer Hebrides it is decidedly increasing, 
and it breeds freely on Tiree, as well as on Colonsay, Jura and Islay, 
and in some localities in Argyll. On the Irish coast only about 
thirty-six examples have been obtained, chiefly in cold weather. 

This species is abundant in Iceland, the Faeroes, and Norway, 
where it is protected by law ; thence northward it can be traced to 
Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land. It also breeds on 
both islands of Novaya Zemlya, but it is rare at the mouth of the 
Yenesei ; while eastward it is not known to extend beyond Cape 
Chelyuskin, and has not been found by recent travellers at the 
mouth of the Lena or in Kamchatka. Bering Sea is inhabited by a 



460 EIDER DUCK. 

larger species, Soniateria v-nignon, the male of which has a black 
chevron under the chin. A form distinguished as S. mollissima 
horealis inhabits Greenland up to kit. 81° N., and goes westward as 
far as the Coppermine River in Arctic America ; while in Southern 
Labrador, and down to the Delaware in winter, is found S. dresseri, 
Sharpe, which has the bare space near the base of the bill rounded 
rather than triangular, and the sides of the crown greener ; an 
example of this form, obtained by Mr. T. M. Pike in Holland, is in 
Mr. Hart's museum at Christchurch, Hants. In winter our Eider 
occurs irregularly on the coasts of Europe, and exceptionally as far 
south as the Adriatic and other portions of the Mediterranean ; 
occasionally on inland waters. 

The nest is usually among coarse herbage on low islands at no 
great distance from water ; but it has occasionally been found a mile 
or even more inland, and also at upwards of 1,000 feet above sea- 
level. The materials are grasses, fine sea-weed, and sometimes 
heather, while during incubation, which lasts about 28 days, the 
celebrated down is gradually added. The duck, when disturbed, 
squirts a stinking liquid over her eggs ; these, 5-8 in number, vary 
from greenish-grey to bright green : measurements 3 in. by 2 in. 
Towards the end of May, when the ducks begin to sit, the drakes 
leave them and form small parties. The food, obtained by 
diving, consists of mussels — some of which, swallowed entire, are 
2\ in. in length — crustaceans, and sea-weed ; while, in confinement, 
worms, slugs and the raw flesh of other birds are freely eaten. 
Several broods have been hatched in the Zoological Gardens. 

The adult male in very early spring has the bill greenish ; down 
its centre halfway to the nostrils there reaches a wedge of black 
feathers, like those of the sides of the bill, forehead and crown, 
the last being bisected by a white line running to the pale green 
nape and divided by another white line from a green patch on each 
side of the neck ; cheeks, back and wing-coverts white ; long sickle- 
shaped secondaries yellowish-white ; quills, rump and tail nearly 
black, with a patch of white on each side of the last ; breast rosy- 
buff; belly black; legs and toes dull green. In summer the white 
feathers are shed, and the back becomes nearly black. Length 
23 in. ; wing 11 in. The female is chiefly buff with dark bars, but 
is very ruddy in first plumage ; quills and tail-feathers dull black. 

The front figure in the wood-cut represents an old male, and an 
immature bird of the same sex is in the background. The male 
does not attain full plumage until the third spring. 



ANATID7E. 



461 




THE KING-EIDER. 



SoMATERiA SPECTABiLis (Linnseus). 

The King-Eider is an inhabitant of the Arctic regions, and its 
visits to our coasts are rare, though naturally more frequent in the 
north than in the south. Mr. J. H. Gurney has a female which was 
purchased — freshly killed — in Leadenhall Market by the late Mr. 
Gatcombe, who had previously seen an immature bird at Plymouth ; 
in Norfolk a young male was obtained in January 1888, and two 
females were shot in November 1890; and a bird was killed at 
Bridlington in Yorkshire as long ago as August 1850. At the Fame 
Islands, which seem very attractive to this species, adults of both 
sexes have been observed from time to time in summer, and mature 
drakes were secured in November 1873 and April 1885, respectively. 
In Scotland birds have been obtained or identified by competent 
observers off the coasts of Haddingtonshire and the Firths of Forth 
and Tay ; while in the Orkneys four have been taken (two of them 
in spring). In Ireland, Kingstown Harbour, Belfast Lough, Rathlin 
Island and Achill Island have each yielded a specimen ; all of them 
in winter and at long intervals. 

Even on the shores of Holland, Denmark and the Baltic the 
King-Eider is very rare ; but there is a specimen in the Museum 



462 KINCx-EIDER. 

at Boulogne, and one was obtained near Venice on August 21st 1888. 
It is only a visitor to Iceland, the Faeroes and the coast of Norway, 
and there is as yet no proof of its breeding in Spitsbergen, which, 
however, it frequents ; but it nests on Kolguev, Novaya Zemlya, and 
along the Arctic shores of Siberia as far as Bering Sea. Crossing 
eastward to America, it has been found in summer nearly as far 
north as man has penetrated, and its southern nesting-limit is in 
the Province of Quebec ; while in winter it occurs on the coast of 
America as well as on the great fresh-water lakes, down to the latitude 
of New York, and it has been recorded from California. In West 
Greenland it nests near Godhavn and Upernavik, though by no 
means so plentiful there as the Common Eider. 

The nest is similar to that of our Eider, and the eggs, which are 
not known to exceed 6 in number, present the same varied shades 
of green ; but they are decidedly smaller, measuring about 2 "6 by 
I "9 in. The food consists chiefly of crustaceans and molluscs. 

The adult male has the bill and the naked basal tubercle orange- 
red, the latter margined with black ; cheeks sea-green and white ; 
top of the head and nape bluish-grey ; neck buffish-white ; upper back 
whiter ; wing-coverts white, showing conspicuously on the otherwise 
sooty wing ; the elongated black inner secondaries falling in curves 
over the primaries ; lower back and upper tail-coverts black ; tail- 
feathers dark brown ; under the chin a black chevron ; front of neck 
white ; upper breast rich buff; lower breast, belly, and under surface 
black, except a white patch on each flank ; legs and toes orange-red, 
webs darker. Length 21 in. ; wing 10-5 in. The female has the beak 
greenish ; the entire plumage of two shades of brown, the darker 
colour occupying the centre of each feather of the back, while the 
margins are bright rufous ; the brown on the head and neck being 
rather lighter. She is smaller than the female of the Common 
Eider, and the central lines of feathers on the upper mandible run 
as far as a line with the nostrils, though more in the direction of 
the commisures of the bill, whereas in the female Common Eider 
these lines hardly reach half way. The plumage of the young drake 
is at first like that of the female, but afterwards the head and neck 
become yellowish-grey, spotted with black, and a great deal of the 
latter colour appears on the upper as well as the under parts, while 
the buff gorget becomes well defined, but no white appears on the 
wing-coverts till much later. The male does not attain full plumage 
until nearly four years old. 



ANATID.^. 



463 




STELLER'S EIDER. 

SOMATERIA STELLERI (Pallas). 

This Arctic species, formerly called Steller's Western Duck, occa- 
sionally wanders to the temperate portions of Europe in winter, and 
has twice occurred in England. The first example, a male in nearly 
adult plumage, was killed on February loth 1830, at Caistor in 
Norfolk, and having been afterwards presented to the Norwich 
Museum by the Rev. George Stewart, formed the subject of 
Yarrell's (and the present) illustration. The second was shot while 
sitting alone on the sea off Filey Brigg, Yorkshire, on August 15th 
1845, by the late Mr. G. N. Curzon, and is in the collection of his 
brother, Lord Scarsdale, at Kedleston, where I have examined it. 
This bird was beginning to moult, the white feathers on the head 
and the black marks on the chin and neck — characteristic of the 
male — being just visible ; but the upper parts are still in the imma- 
ture plumage, which resembles that of the female. 

Steller's Eider is said to have been obtained in 1855 between 
Calais and Boulogne ; four examples have been shot off Heligoland, 
and two in Denmark ; while in the Baltic it is sometimes not 
uncommon. To the unfrozen waters on the coast of Norway it is an 
annual winter-visitant, and its most westerly breeding-place is said 



464 STf:LLER's EIDER. 

to be on the Varanger Fjord, just east of the North Cape ; it is, 
moreover, reported as nesting on the coast of Russian Finmark, and 
eggs and down are asserted to have been taken at Petschinka in 1870. 
There is, however, no record of it on Novaya Zemlya, nor along 
the Arctic coast of Siberia until the Taimyr Peninsula is reached, 
where Middendorff found the bird common and breeding on the 
'tundras.' Dr. A. Bunge saw flocks in June at Great Liakoff Island, 
lat. 73° N., to the east of the Lena delta, and had two eggs brought to 
him on July 4th ; and the ' Vega ' expedition procured specimens in 
July close to Bering Strait, north of which this species is common ; 
while it can be traced down the coast of Kamchatka — where the 
bird was first obtained by Steller — to the Kuril Islands in winter. 
In the Aleutian Islands and the north of Alaska it is very abundant, 
but eastward it is only sparsely distributed along the American shores 
of the Arctic Sea to Davis Strait ; while it is very rare in West 
Greenland, and unknown on the east side. 

Middendorff describes the nest as cup-shaped and lined with 
down, placed in the moss on the fiat ' tundras ' ; the eggs, 7-9 in 
number, are of a pale greenish-grey colour : measurements 2 "2 by 
I "6 in. The f