RECORD: Richardson, John. 1829-1836. Fauna Boreali-Americana. 3 vols. London: John Murray. Volume 2.

REVISION HISTORY: OCRed by AEL Data 04.2014. RN1

NOTE: This work formed part of the Beagle library. The Beagle Library project has been generously supported by a Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1 grant and Charles Darwin University and the Charles Darwin University Foundation, Northern Territory, Australia.

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Stamford Street.

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MR. SWAINSON'S contributions to the following pages have the letters Sw. subjoined, except in one or two instances, where they have been accidentally omitted. It is to be understood, however, that all the remarks on natural arrangement are his, and that the specific names and synonymes are given on his authority, having been either supplied or revised by him.

In the descriptions, "Werner's Nomenclature, by Syme," has been adopted as the standard for the names of the colours, the specimens having been invariably compared with the coloured patterns previous to noting down the hue of the plumage. The measurements are in inches and lines, or twelfth parts of an inch. The total length of the bird is measured from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail, the neck being on the stretch. In the FALCONIDÆ and STRIGIDÆ, the length of the longest quill when plucked from the wing is given; but this having been found inconvenient in practice, the length of the folded wing from the tip of the longest feather to the bend of the carpal joint is recorded in the descriptions of the succeeding families. The dimensions of the bill are generally taken both from the feathers of the forehead, following the curve of its ridge,—and from the rictus or angle of the mouth, in a straight line to the tip. The tail is measured from its extremity to the insertion of the quills in the coccyx; and in the length of the tarsus are included its articular cartilages; that is, the points of the compasses were placed in the centres of the tarsal and metatarsal joints. The lengths of the toes are given separately from the nails.

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Presented to the ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY by order of the Right Hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Aquila chrysaëta. Haliæetus leucocephalus. Circus cyaneus. Strix cinerea. Bubo Virginianus. B. arcticus. Strix funerea. Strix Tengmalmi. Lanius borealis. L. excubitorides. Tyrannus intrepidus. Tyrannula Saya. Tyr. pusilla. Tyr. Richardsonii. Cinclus Americana. Merula minor. M. Wilsonii. M. solitaria. Orpheus meruloides. O. rufus. O. felivox. Sialia arctica. Sylvicola æstiva. S. maculosa. S. petechia. S. striata. Vermivora rubricapilla. V. peregrina. Setophaga Bonapartii. Parus atricapillus. Seiurus aurocapillus. S. aquaticus. Anthus aquaticus. Vireo olivaceus. Bombycilla Americana. Alauda cornuta. Plectrophanes Lapponica. P. picta. Eniberiza pallida. Fringilla leucophrys. F. Pennsylvanica. F. iliaca. F. hyemalis. Pipilo arctica. Loxia leucoptera. Fringilla purpurea. Linaria tephrocotis. L. minor. Agelaius xanthocephalus. Scolecophagus ferrugineus. Garrulus brachyrhynchus. Picus tridactylus. P. arcticus. Troglodytes ædon. Tr. hyemalis. Tr. palustris. Hirundo Americana. H. lunifrons. Tetrao obscurus. T. Canadensis. T. Franklinii. T. saliceti. T. rupestris. T. leucurus. T. phasianellus. Strepsilas interpres. Grus Canadensis. Ardea lentiginosa. Numenius Hudsonius. N. borealis. Tringa Douglasii. T. alpina. T. Schinzii. Totanus semipalmatus. T. vociferus. T. flavipes. T. Bartramius. T. chloropygius. Limosa Hudsonica. Scolopax Novoboracensis. Sc. Drummondii. Rallus Carolinus. Fulica Americana. Phalaropus Wilsonii. Podiceps cornutus. Sterna nigra. Larus glaucus. L. zonorhynchus. L. brachyrhynchus. L. Franklinii. L. Bonapartii. Lestris Richardsonii. Anas discors. Mareca Americana. Oidemia perspicillata. O. fusca. Fuligula Vallisneria. F. ferina. F. rufitorques. F. rubida. Clangula Barrovii. CI. histrionica. Harelda glacialis. Mergus cucullatus. Colymbus glacialis. C. septentrionalis. [In all 130 specimens.]

Presented to the Museum of the University of Edinburgh.

Accipiter palumbarius, male & fem. Buteo borealis. B. lagopus. Circus cyaneus, male, fem. & young. Strix otus. S. brachyota. S. cinerea. S. Virginiana. S. funerea. S. Tengmalmi. Tyrannus intrepidus. Tyrannula Saya. Cinclus Americanus. Merula migratoria. M. Wilsonii. Sylvicola maculosa. Setophaga ruticilla. Parus atricapillus. Anthus aquaticus. Bombycilla garrula. B. Americana. Fringilla leucophrys. F. Pennsylvanica. F. graminea. Pipilo arctica. Dolichonyx oryzivorus. Agelaius phœniceus, male & fem. A. xanthocephalus. Sturnella Ludoviciana. Icterus Baltimore. Quiscalus versicolor, male & fem. Scolecopliagus ferrugineus, male & fem. Corvus corone. C. pica. Picus pileatus. P. villosus, male & fem. P. pubescens. P. varius. P. arcticus. P. tridactylus, male & fem. Colaptes auratus, male & fem. Caprimulgus Virginianus. Hirundo purpurea. Alcedo alcyon. Tetrao umbellus, male & fem. T. obscurus. T. Canadensis, male, fem., & young. T. saliceti, spring and wint. T. leucurus, summer and wint. T. phasianellus. Charadrius vociferus. C. pluvialis. Strepsilas interpres. Ardea lentiginosa. Tringa Douglasii. T. Schinzii. Totanus semipalmatus. T. vociferus. T. flavipes. T. Bartramius. T. chloropygius. Limosa fedoa. L. Hudsonica. Rallus Carolinus. Phalaropus Wilsonii. P. hyperboreus. Podiceps cornutus. Sterna nigra. Larus zonorhynchus. L. Franklinii. L. Bonapartii. Anas clypeata, male & fem. A. strepera. A. crecca. A. discors, fem. & young. Mareca Americana. Oidemia perspicillata, male & young. O. fusca. Fuligula Vallisneria, male & fem. F. marila. F. rufitorques, male & fem. F. rubida. Clangula vulgaris, male & young. C. albeola, male & fem. Harelda glacialis, male & fem. Mergus merganser. M. cucullatus.—86 species, in addition to 40 specimens collected on the first Expedition, and also preserved in the Edinburgh Museum.

Twelve specimens were likewise sent to the Plymouth Museum, pursuant to his Majesty's commands; and between 70 and 80 species have been presented to Mr. Swainson, by permission of the Right Hon. the Secretary of State for Colonial affairs*.

* Mr. Swainson has deposited specimens from his own collection, of the true Vireo olivaceus and Tyrannula rapax, in the British and the Edinburgh Museums. To the former he has also sent Vireo Bartramii.

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INTRODUCTION, by Dr. Richardson ix
List of Species that frequent the North-west Coast (note) xvi
Table of Temperatures (note) xviii
Table of Species, with their Distribution, and references to the pages of the Fauna in which they are described xxii
Lists of Birds resident in the Fur-countries (Tables II., III., IV.) xxxiv
Lists of migratory Birds that visit the Fur-countries (Tables V., VI., VII., VIII.) xxxv
List of Pennsylvanian Birds supposed to visit the Fur-countries, but not seen by the Expedition (note) xxxvii
List of resident Pennsylvanian Birds that do not reach the Fur-countries (note) xxxvii
List of the Birds of the North Georgian Islands (Table IX.) xxxviii
List of Greenland Birds (note) xxxviii
Comparative Table xxxix
List of Species common to the northern parts of the New and Old Continents xxxix
PREFACE, by Mr. Swainson lvii

N. B.—For a systematic List of the Species, with reference to the pages, see Table I.,
Introduction, p. xxii.

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No.* Page
25 FALCO ÆSALON, female 37
27 BUTEO VULGARIS, male 47
29 CIRCUS CYANEUS, var. AMER. male 55
33 LANIUS BOREALIS, female 111
35 TYRANNUS BOREALIS, female 141
46 TYRANNULA PUSILLA, upper figure 146
51 PYRGITA (PIPILO) ARCTICA, male to face each other between 260
57 PICUS ARCTICUS, male 313
59 TETRAO OBSCURUS, male to face each other between 344
60 TETRAO OBSCURUS, fem. 345
62 TETRAO CANADENSIS, female 346
63 LAGOPUS LEUCURUS, summer 356
64 LAGOPUS RUPESTRIS, female 354

* Continued the First Volume.


Representing parts of the following birds.

Falco æsalon 67
Accipiter (Astur) palumbarius 68
Buteo vulgaris 69
„ lagopus 69
„ (Circus) cyaneus 70
„ „ „ young 70
Strix otus 74
„ cinerea 80
„ nyctea 91
„ funerea 94
Vireo olivaceus 235
Alanda cornuta 246
Plectrophanes Lapponica 250
Fringilla graminea 254
Fringilla leucophrys 256
„ Pennsylvanica 257
„ iliaca 258
„ hyemalis 259
Linaria tephrocotis 266
Pyranga rubra 273
Quiscalus versicolor 286
Scolecophagus ferrugineus 287
Garrulus brachyrhynchus 297
Picus pileatus 305
„ villosus 307
„ pubescens 309
„ tridactylus 312
Troglodytes ædon 317
Troglodytes palustris 320
Caprimulgus Virginianus 339
Tetrao umbellus 344
„ obscurus, male 346
„ „ female 346
„ Canadensis 348
„ Franklinii 350
„ saliceti 353
„ rupestris 356
„ leucurus 357
Tyrannus borealis 498
Tyrannula pusilla 499
„ Richardsonii 499

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SCIENCE is indebted to the exertions of the Hudson's Bay Company for almost all that is known of the Ornithology of the American Fur-countries; under which term we comprehend generally the whole country north of the forty-eighth parallel of latitude. The French Canadians were the first, indeed, who penetrated into the regions beyond the Great Lakes in pursuit of peltry; but the few journals of their proceedings that have come down to us, though rich in personal adventure, contribute nothing to Natural History, beyond incidental anecdotes of the animals that are objects of chase. In like manner, the earlier English navigators, who, in exploring Hudson's Bay and the Arctic Seas, aided in laying the foundation of the naval glory of their country, limited their notes on Zoology to brief remarks on the animals used for food, but seldom or never gave descriptions sufficiently characteristic to identify the species.

The first collections of Hudson's Bay birds of which I can find any record, are those formed by Mr. Alexander Light, who was sent out, ninety years ago, by the Hudson's Bay Company, on account of his knowledge of Natural History; and by Mr. Isham, who, during a long residence, as Governor of various forts or trading-posts, employed his leisure hours in preparing the skins of beasts, birds, and fishes. These two gentlemen returning to England, about the year 1745, fortunately for the advancement of Ornithology, entrusted their


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specimens to Mr. George Edwards, who did them ample justice, in his splendid "Natural History of Birds*," the most original and valuable work of the kind in the English language. In the first volume, he has figured and described with accuracy ten of Mr. Light's birds, and in his third volume, which appeared in 1749, thirty-two of Mr. Isliam's are equally well illustrated†.

In that year also, Ellis published his account of the voyage of the Dobbs and California, wherein he mentions some of the animals that came under his notice in the winter of 1747, which he passed in Hayes River‡; and a narrative of the proceedings of the same voyage, by Mr. Drage, Clerk of the California, is still more full on points relating to Natural History. During the next twenty years, no additional information was obtained of the Zoology of those parts; but Mr. William Wales having been sent to Hudson's Bay, in 1768, to observe the transit of Venus, Mr. Graham, Governor of the Company's post at Severn River, embraced the opportunity afforded by his return to England, of transmitting a collection of quadrupeds, birds, and fishes to the Royal Society. These being described by John Reinhold Forster, in the Philosophical Transactions for 1772§, excited the attention of the scientific world; and, by desire of the Royal Society, directions were given by the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company that objects of Natural History should be annually sent to England. Mr. Humphrey Martin, accordingly, sent home several hundred specimens of animals and plants, collected at Albany Fort, of which he was Governor; and Mr. Hutchins, who succeeded him in that office, was still more industrious,

* Edwards presented a copy of this work, coloured by his own hand, to the Royal Society; and another copy, which he sent to Linnæus, returning to England again when Sir James Smith acquired the invaluable museum and library of that prince of naturalists, is now in the possession of the Linnean Society. The Linnean specific names are added to it in manuscript.

†In four instances Edwards devotes separate plates to the males and females, which reduces the number of species of birds from Hudson's Bay, introduced into his work, to thirty-eight.

‡York Factory is situated on the alluvial point of land which separates this river from the more, important stream of Nelson's River, and is the place where the principal part of the waders and water-fowl collected on Sir John Franklin's first Expedition were procured.

§ The species of birds enumerated by Forster are fifty-seven, of which twenty-two had been previously made known by Edwards; while sixteen, figured by the latter, do not enter Forster's list.

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not only in preparing many specimens, but in drawing up minute descriptions of all the quadrupeds and birds he could obtain, adding their native names, with notices of their nidification, food, and habits. His observations*, which, in fact, embrace almost all that has been recorded of the habits of the Hudson's Bay birds up to the present time, being communicated to Latham and Pennant, are incorporated in the "General Synopsis of Birds," and in "Arctic Zoology." Indeed, Pennant, in some instances, appears to have adopted Mr. Hutchins's descriptions, though unaccompanied by specimens, prefixing the names of nearly-resembling European birds, which an actual comparison would have shown to have been quite distinct; and in this way several species have been enumerated in systematic works as natives of Hudson's Bay, which do not actually exist there. On the other hand, Mr. Hutchins has distinctly noticed a few species which have been but very lately admitted into the ornithological systems.

Captain Cook's third voyage, in 1777-8, contains some information respecting the animals of the north-west coasts of America and Behring's Straits, but, unfortunately, no figures of the birds were published; and the compendious notices which are contained in the works of Pennant and Latham, defective as they are in details of structure, are, in many instances, insufficient to enable us to identify the species, or to ascertain their proper situation in the system. The specimens themselves, collected on this and Cook's other voyages, of unrivalled extent and interest, which ought to have been carefully preserved for reference in a national museum, have either gone to enrich foreign collections, or are entirely lost to science.

Pennant's "Arctic Zoology," which appeared in 1785, contains the fullest account of the birds of Arctic America which has hitherto been published. It embraces the species introduced by Latham in his "Synopsis," which was then in course of publication; but, in common with other ornithological works of that period, it includes many specific names, attached merely to a different state of plumage,

* In one volume folio, in the Library of the Hudson's Bay Company.

b 2

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resulting from age or sex. Exclusive of these nominal species, Pennant describes seventeen from the north-west coast and Behring's Straits, collected on Captain Cook's Expedition, and eighty-three from Hudson's Bay, of which seventy-three had been previously made known by Edwards and Forster. Umfreville's "Account of Hudson's Bay," and Hearne's "Journey to the Coppermine River," published in 1795, give some interesting details of the habits of the more common birds.

There is no evidence in the Philosophical Transactions, of the orders of the Hudson's Bay Company, in 1772, above alluded to, having been beneficial to science through the channel of the Royal Society; but their instructions served to acquaint the residents with the value set, in England, upon the natural productions of the northern regions; and collections, chiefly of birds, have continued to be transmitted annually to London up to the present time, as presents either to the Governor and Committee or to the personal friends of the parties. The former, besides forming a museum of the Hudson's Bay productions, which is liberally open to the public, have presented numerous specimens to the British Museum and Zoological Society. Private museums have also been greatly enriched from these sources, among which that of Joseph Sabine, Esq., is particularly deserving of notice. This gentleman has long studied the Ornithology of Hudson's Bay, and it is to be regretted that he has hitherto laid before the public only a part of the extensive information he has acquired on the subject. His Appendix to the Narrative of Sir John Franklin's first Journey shows how well he could have performed the task had he found leisure. He has lately transferred his rich museum to the Andersonian Institution of Glasgow. Mr. Leadbeater's invaluable collection also contains an extensive suite of birds from Hudson's Bay, some of which have been recently figured in the American Ornithology of the Prince of Musignano, and are among the most interesting novelties in that splendid work.

The voyages of Vancouver, Portlock, Meares, and Langsdorff, to the north-west coast, added little to Ornithology; nor is there much cer-

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tain information to be derived from the notices of Lewis and Clark of the birds they saw on the banks of the Columbia. They were unable to bring many specimens across the mountains, and their descriptions are in general too vague for scientific purposes, which is, perhaps, attributable to the untimely death of Governor Lewis previous to the publication of the work.

All this, however, would have been compensated by the indefatigable researches of Mr. David Douglas, which would have made the birds of the north-west coast equally familiar to Europeans with those of Hudson's Bay, had not his extensive collections gone to decay, through the length of the voyage and other causes beyond his control. He is now a second time exploring that interesting country, and we look with much anxiety for the rich harvest he is sure to reap.

Eschscholtz and Chamisso, the naturalists who accompanied Kotzebue on his voyages to the Russian-American settlements and Behring's Straits, doubtless acquired a knowledge of the birds of the places they visited; but only some detached notices of their discoveries in Natural History have as yet reached this country. The more recent voyage of Captain Beechey has also been productive of much advantage to natural science; and I rejoice that Mr. Vigors has undertaken the task of bringing the ornithological discoveries before the public*.

Almost the only information we have of the birds of the extreme northern coasts of America is contained in the Natural History Appendices to the voyages of Ross and Parry. Having had access to many of the specimens procured on these voyages, and preserved in the British and Edinburgh Museums, I have described them in the present work†.

* I should gladly have availed myself of the kindness of the Author, who entrusted me with the proof-sheets, to have rendered this work more complete, by giving a list of the species that frequent the north-west coast; but very few of the specimens brought home on that Expedition had notes attached to them to indicate their locality, so that the native places of many are uncertain.

† I embrace the opportunity here afforded of again returning my sincere thanks to Charles König, John George Children, and John Gray, Esqrs., of the British Museum; to Robert Jameson, Esq., Regius Professor of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh; and Nicholas Aylward Vigors, Esq., Secretary to the Zoological Society; for the great facilities they have invariably afforded me of consulting the museums under their charge, and the desire they have constantly manifested of furthering my researches by every means in their power. I am, likewise, under many obligations for similar kindnesses to the Governor, Deputy-Governor, and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company, and to Mr. Smith, their Secretary; and also to William Yarrell, Esq., and Mr. Leadbeater, for the liberal access they have given me to their collections.

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As the specimens obtained on Sir John Franklin's two Expeditions furnish almost the whole of our authentic information of the Ornithology of the interior of the Fur-countries, it remains that I should add to the preceding brief notice of the sources of our knowledge of the feathered tribes that frequent the coast line of Arctic America a few remarks on the circumstances under which the collections were made. The reader will thus be better enabled to form some opinion on the proportion which the species described in this work bear to the whole that frequent the Fur-countries.

In the first place, I have to state that, in neither Expedition, did Ornithology occupy much of our attention. The want of means of transport for bulky packages in the overland marches, and the difficulty of preserving from injury recent specimens of birds, on the numerous carrying places which occur on the canoe route, induced us to devote the whole of our spare time during the journey to Botany and Mineralogy. As the entire summer of each year was spent in travelling, we did not reach our winter quarters until after almost all the migratory birds had retired to the southward. Nothing could, therefore, be done beyond securing examples of the few resident birds, until the following spring, when the interval of a month or six weeks, which occurred between the first melting of the snow and the commencement of the summer journey, was devoted almost exclusively to collecting birds. Many of the specimens were shot by the other officers, but they were all prepared by Mr. Drummond or myself.

The collection made on the first Expedition was formed in the several springs of 1820, 21, and 22, on the Saskatchewan, at Fort Enterprise, and on Great Slave Lake respectively; and in the autumn of 1822, at York Factory (lat. 57°), Hudson's Bay. We arrived at the latter place on the 14th of July; and betwixt that date and our departure for England, in the beginning of September, we had an opportunity of

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obtaining a very considerable number of birds, chiefly waders, which assemble in flocks at the mouth of Hayes River, previous to taking their departure southwards on the setting in of the frost*. Mr. Sabine, who wrote the Zoological Appendix to the Narrative of that Expedition, notices seventy-one species of birds. Want of leisure, however, caused him to omit several of the waders, and a portion of the collection never reached him, being lost after its arrival in England.

On the second Expedition specimens of birds were collected at Fort Franklin, on Great Bear Lake, in the spring of 1826, between the 8th of May and 14th of June, being the periods of the first arrival of the migratory birds and the commencement of our voyage to the coast; and, in 1827, the months of April and May and one-half of June were devoted to the same purpose at Carlton and Cumberland House, on the banks of the Saskatchewan. Having the able assistance of Mr. Drummond in the latter period, the bulk of the collection was then formed. Mr. Drummond also shot two or three species on the declivity of the Rocky mountains that were not seen elsewhere; and a very few were prepared in the course of our summer journeys.

It is evident, from the short time allotted to the task, that we could hope to obtain only the more common birds. The Prince of Musignano enumerates a somewhat greater number of species in his Synopsis of American Birds, than those contained in Temminck's Manual of European Ornithology; and as the country we traversed north of the Great Lakes exceeds in extent the whole of Europe lying higher than the forty-eighth degree of latitude, we shall not, perhaps, err greatly in ascribing to the Fur-countries as great a variety as Europe presents within the same parallels.

The present work contains two hundred and forty species, and above twenty-seven in addition are described by Pennant and Vigors

* This was the only autumn collection made on either Expedition, and we regret that we have not been able to avail ourselves of it, so much as we could have wished, in drawing up the present work. Exclusive of the specimens above alluded to as having been entirely lost, many were destroyed by moths in London; and the only portion of the collection which I can now trace are forty specimens, which were presented to the Museum of the University of Edinburgh, and are still in good order.

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as inhabitants of the north-west coast*, making in all two hundred and sixty-seven. Now, according to Temminck's Manual, there are three hundred and twenty-six† birds which range in Europe to the northward of the forty-eighth parallel; so that the number of species that remain to be detected in the Fur-countries will not, probably, much exceed sixty; and we have some reasons, connected with the circumstances under which the collections were made for believing, that the majority of these will prove to belong to the families of Sylviadæ, Fringillidæ, and Charadriadæ. Several of the Procellariæ are also known to inhabit Hudson's Bay and the Arctic Sea; but, from our want of means of identifying the species, they have been omitted.

The same causes that tended to limit our means of collecting operated, together with my previous ignorance of Ornithology, to prevent my recording the habits of the species to the extent and with

* List of species that frequent the north-west coast of America, from Pennant's Aretic Zoology; with references to those described in this work:—
139 Steller's Crow, Nootka Sound. (Garrulus Stelleri, Sw., p. 294, hujus operis.)
151 Unalaschka Oriole.
160 Red-headed Woodpecker. (Melanerpus erythrocephalus, p. 316.)
168 Three-toed ditto, Norton Sound. (Picus (Apternius)——, p. 311? 313?)
169 Belted Kingfisher. (Alcedo alcyon, p. 339.)
177 Ruffed Honey-sucker, Nootka. (Trochilus (Selasphorus) rufus, p. 324.)
186 Norton Sound Bustard.
197 Varied Thrush. (Orpheus meruloides, Sw., p. 187.)
202 Unalaschka Thrush.
207 Chatterer, lat. 64° 30′. (Bombycilla garrula, p. 237.)
229 Unalaschka Bunting. (Fringilla arctica, VIGORS, Beechey's Birds, p. 20?)
230 Black-crowned ditto, Nootka Sound.
232 Unalaschka ditto (second species).
251 Ferruginous Finch, (a variety,) Unalaschka.
256 Norton ditto.
260 Cinereous Finch.
381 Black Snipe. (STELLER.)
394 Gambet Sandpiper, lat. 69½°.
397 Little ditto, Nootka Sound.
413 Tringa fulicaria. (Phalaropus fulicarius, p. 407.)
415 Plain phalarope. (p. 408.)
430 Antient Auk.
432 Tufted ditto. (Mormon cirrhatus, BON., Syn., No. 378.)
431 Pigmy ditto, Behring's Straits.
433 Perroquet ditto, ditto. (Phaleris psitaccula, BON.,
435 Dusky ditto, Syn., No. 376.)
434 Crested ditto, ditto. (Phaleris cristatella, ID. p. 426.)
436 Marbled Guillemot. (Uria marmorata, ID. No. 372.)
457 Ivory Gull, Behring's Straits.
463 Fork-tail Petrel, ditto.
473 Bering Goose. (STELLER.)
497 Western Duck.
510 Gannet.
534 Giant Petrel.
The Prince of Musignano and Mr. Vigors give, in addition to the above,
Charadrius pluvialis, Chamisso Island, (p. 369.)
Mormon glacialis, Behr. Straits. (BON., Syn., No. 379.)
Cerorhinca occidentalis, ditto. (In.)
Larus Sabiuii, Behr. Straits, (p. 428)
Diomedea fuliginosa, Aleutian Islands. (VIG, Beechey's Birds, p. 89.)
Lewis and Clark, and the authors we have mentioned in the text, indicate several others.

† The whole number of European birds described in Temminck's Manual is three hundred and eighty, of which two hundred and thirty-five are land-birds. Bonaparte's Synopsis of the Birds of the United States contains three hundred and eighty-two species, of which two hundred and fifteen are land-birds; and one hundred and sixty-seven belong to the orders of Grallatores and Natatores.

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the accuracy required for the purposes of science. With the view of obviating this defect in some degree, and of rendering the work more popular, I began by introducing occasional extracts from the lively and accurate pen of Wilson. I soon found, however, that a continuance of this practice would have swelled the work to an undue size, and have left no room for Mr. Swainson's important and interesting observations on natural arrangement. It was, therefore, laid aside; and, at the suggestion of Mr. Swainson, the succeeding descriptions were much and advantageously compressed*.

The discovery of the laws which regulate the distribution of the species over the face of the globe, being one of the most important ends of the publication of local Faunæ, the scanty contributions of facts that we have been enabled to make are thrown, for the greater facility of reference, into a tabular form. The New World is peculiarly adapted for researches of this kind; its two extremities, and almost every intermediate zone, are accessible, and, it is to be hoped, will hereafter be minutely investigated for the purposes of natural science. When accurate lists of the resident birds in each region, and of the summer and winter visiters, are obtained, many highly interesting and unexpected deductions will doubtless be made, and much theoretical reasoning exploded. The Prince of Musignano has performed a great service to science in furnishing such a list for the neighbourhood of Philadelphia†, of which we have availed ourselves in the construction of the following table. Had it been in our power to have drawn up an equally complete list for the Fur-countries, the general movements of the feathered tribes through North America would have been rendered apparent.

Birds are usually divided into migratory and resident, though comparatively few in the Fur-countries are strictly entitled to the latter appellation. The Raven and Canadian and Short-billed Jays are, indeed, the only species which we recognized as being equally nume-

* The announcement at this period of two editions of Wilson's inimitable work, by different editors, at a price which will place them within the reach of every ornithologist, was a further inducement to us to abstain from borrowing from it.

† Specchio Comparativo delle Ornitologie di Roma e di Filadelfia, di C. L. Bonaparte, Principe di Musignano. Pisa. 1827.

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rous at their breeding-places in winter as in summer; and they pair and begin to lay eggs in the month of March,—nearly three months earlier than any other bird in those quarters.

The distribution of the migratory and resident birds is evidently governed, as far as climate is concerned, by very different laws. The winter temperature, regulating the depth and duration of the snow and ice, and consequently the supply of vegetable productions, insects or fish at that season exerting a principal influence on the number of resident birds, whose distribution may be considered as bearing much analogy to that of quadrupeds. While the influx of migratory birds into the northern regions for the purpose of rearing their young is more connected with the high summer temperature of those parallels, the mean annual heat, which is very low, being no criterion as to the number or variety of summer visiters*.

* The following Table gives a view of the temperatures of various stations in North America, the extremes being forty-five degrees of latitude apart. Our limits do not admit of the Table being more extended, but the reader who wishes to enter fully into the subject, may consult Dr. Lovell's valuable tables, appended to the Narrative of Long's Expedition to St. Peter's River, from which the temperatures for Fort St. Philip and Philadelphia have been extracted, and the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal for April, 1825, or the Appendices to Sir Edward Parry's and Sir John Franklin's several Narratives, which furnished the materials for the rest of the Table. It may be observed, that the mean annual temperature decreases as we advance northwards 1½° F. for each degree of latitude, while the decrease of mean heat in July does not exceed 1°. The three last lines are omitted in this calculation, as the observations recorded in them were made among fields of ice, which reduce the summer temperature greatly below what it is even a few miles inland. The snow is perpetual in no part of the Fur Countries, except on the elevated peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
Places. Portion. Mean temperature of the Air. Max. in the Year. Min. in the Year.
Lat. N. Long. W. Height above the Sea in feet. Annual. Summer. June, July, August. Winter. December, January, February. Warmest Month, July.
Fahr. Fahr. Fahr. Fahr. Fahr. Fahr.
Fort St. Philip 29° 29′ 89° 21′.. +70°.07 +82°. 89 +54°. 08 +81°. 53 +92°.0 +28°.0
Philadelphia 39 57 75 9. +53.38 +72.75 +29.77 +75.32 + 87.0 −0.7
Penetauguishene 44 48 80 40 600 +45.28 +69.91 +22.68 +73.15 +92.0 −20.0
Cumberland House 53 57 102 17 800 +32.01 +67.80 −4.02 +69.80 +87.0 −44.0
Fort Chipewyan 58 43 111 18 500 +30.00 +62.41 +3.67 +63.42 +97.0 −31.0
Fort Enterprise 64 0 113 6 850 +14.19 +51.71 −23.03 +53.20 +78.0 −57.0
Fort Franklin 65 12 132 13 230 +17.50 +50.40 −16.81 +52.10 +80.0 −58.0
Winter Island 66 11 83 30.. +6.84 +35.00 −24.90 +30.34 +54.0 −42.5
Igloolik 69 19 82 30.. +2.20 +34.63 −26.76 +40.04 +50.0 −50.0
Melville Island 74 45 111 0.. −1.71 +30.44 −33.02 +42.41 +60.0 −55.0

[page] xix

The nature of the country, whether prairie or wooded, rocky and barren, or marshy, must also be taken into account in all speculations on the distribution of the feathered tribes. Several of the Grallatores, for instance, that feed by thrusting their bills into soft marshy soil, frequent the Saskatchewan prairies only in spring, and as soon as the warm and comparatively early summer renders the soil dry and unfit to yield them support, they retire to their breeding-quarters in the Arctic lands. There, the frozen sub-soil acted upon by the rays of a sun constantly above the horizon, keeps the surface wet and spongy during the two short summer months which suffice these birds for rearing their young. This office performed, they depart to the southward, and halt in the autumn on the flat shores of Hudson's Bay, which, owing to accumulations of ice drifted into the Bay from the northward, are kept in a low temperature all the summer, and are not thawed to the same extent with the more interior Arctic lands before the beginning of autumn. They quit these haunts on the setting in of the September frosts, and passing along the coasts of the United States, retire within the Tropics in the winter.

Many species, which are purely summer visiters of the high latitudes, are resident within certain parallels of the United States, detachments advancing to the north in the spring for the purpose of rearing their young and retiring to the south of the resident stations in winter. It is obviously very difficult to ascertain whether the individuals of these species which breed in the higher latitudes are the same that retire farthest southwards in winter, those remaining in the intermediate districts in winter being the pairs which bred there, though from analogy we are led to think that such is the case. Of the strictly resident birds in Europe it is known that many (the House-Sparrow, for instance) shelter themselves in winter in their nests and summer haunts; and of the migratory ones, the same pair have been observed to build several successive seasons in the same spot. Some species seem to claim a right of property within a certain beat, chasing away with great pertinacity all the other birds that they can master. In the instance also of the Falconidæ and some other

c 2

[page] xx

tribes, which present a marked difference in the plumage of the old and young, we observe that the latter are expelled by their parents from the breeding-places, and appear both in summer and winter in districts which none of the old birds visit. From a consideration of these and similar facts, we are inclined to believe that, of the species which are found all the year within certain parallels, the younger individuals make the widest excursions in search of food or proper breeding places, and that, as their strength is matured by age, they fill up the casual vacancies which occur in the districts best adapted for their constant residence.

A number of species, which rear two or more broods within the United States, raise only one in the Fur-countries, the shortness of the summer not admitting of their doing more. The Passenger Pigeons do not visit the Fur-countries, where they breed, until after they have reared a brood, and quitted the breeding-places in Kentucky. It is probable that some other birds also breed in succession in different districts; and it is even possible that a few of the Falconidæ and some species of certain families of Grallatores, after spending the short summer of a high northern latitude in rearing one family, may gain a similar climate in the southern hemisphere for the purpose of rearing another brood, passing, of course, nearly one half of the year in the transit to and from these breeding-places*. This hint is thrown out as simply conjectural; but, in the families to which I allude, seldom more than two young are produced at a

* I have several times, when cruizing between Minorca and Sardinia, seen large flocks of Swallows, attended by great numbers of Hawks and a very small species of Owl, holding a direct course from the coast of Africa towards the Gulf of Lyons. From the direction of their flight, it did not appear that they could have rested on any part of the islands I have just mentioned; so that the traverse they attempted was full seven degrees of latitude. Both Swallows and birds of prey appeared much tired, and settled for several days on the masts and yards of all the ships of the fleet, from whence vast numbers were taken by the crews. Having no acquaintance whatever with Ornithology at the time, I do not know the species of the small Owl, but I have a distinct recollection of its being no bigger than a Sparrow; and in this I can scarcely be mistaken, as I kept one for nearly a week before it made its escape. It was fed on Swallows, which it invariably strangled by grasping them by the neck with one foot. If a bird of this size can cross such an expanse of sea at one flight, the greatness of the distance to be traversed, according to the supposition in the text, does not seem to be of itself a sufficient reason for rejecting the hypothesis, particularly if the length of time occupied in the passage and the long halts at the various resting-places be considered.

[page] xxi

time, which would seem scarcely sufficient to supply the waste by the numerous casualties which occur, unless more than one brood were raised in the year. Captain King found several northern birds in the Straits of Magellan.

A large proportion of the migratory birds arrive in the higher latitudes in flocks, but disperse in pairs soon afterwards; and some, as the Emberiza nivalis and Lapponica, which winter within the limits of the Fur-countries, assemble during that season in large flocks, but separate when they reach their breeding-places. Parus atricapillus and Linaria minor live in small families in the winter only; the Tetraonidæ form coveys of ten or twelve in summer and the middle of winter, but make their spring and autumn movements to and from their breeding-places in great assemblages. The Corvus corax congregates only in the pairing season, in the beginning of March, when as many as fifteen or twenty may be seen together for a few days, until each has chosen a mate. Many of the Sturnidæ, the Columba migratoria, and Pelecanus onocrotalus fly in dense flocks all the summer. The Hirundinidæ and Laridæ breed in societies, and hunt for their food in numbers together; but they do not appear to move in concerted flights, like the birds we have last mentioned. The Anatidæ, again, feed together, but generally make their nests in remote and solitary spots.

The following Table requires no explanation. The fourth column is taken from the Prince of Musignano's work above alluded to (p. xvii.), and the fifth column is filled up on the authority of that naturalist, Wilson, Audubon, and some others. A partial analysis of this Table is given in the succeeding ones.

[page] xxii

Table 1

Species, numbered as in the Fauna. Extreme northern range. Distribution in the Fur-countries. Whether resident or migratory.
No. VULTURIDÆ p. 1. Lat. N.
1 Sarcoramphus Californianus 49° West of Rocky Mountains migr.
2 Cathartes aura 54 Plains of Saskatch. and Columbia migr.
3 „ atratus 48 West of Rocky Mountains migr.
4 Aquila chrysaëta 66 On and near Rocky Mountains migr.
5 „ (Haliæëtus) leucocephala 62 Across the continent; common migr.
6 „ (Pandion) haliæëta 60 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
7 Falco peregrinus 74 Across the continent migr.
8 „ Islandicus 74 East of Rocky Mountains resid.
9 „ sparverius 56 Across the continent migr.
10 „ columbarius 66? East of Rocky Mountains migr.
11 „ æsalon 54? Ditto migr.
12 Accipiter (Astur) palumbarius 68 Across the continent; common resid.
13 „ „ Pennsylvanicus 49 Ditto rare migr.
14 Buteo vulgaris 58 Ditto migr.
15 „ borealis 55 Ditto migr.
16 „ lagopus 68 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
17 „ (Circus) cyaneus 68 Ditto (Young in high latitudes) migr.
STRIGIDÆ, p. 71.
18 Strix otus 60 East of Rocky Mountains; interior resid.
19 „ brachyota 67 Across the continent migr.
20 „ cinerea 68 Ditto resid.
21 „ nebulosa 53 James's Bay
22 „ (Bubo) Virginiana 68 Across the continent; common resid.
23 „ „ arctica 53 Saskatchewan plains resid.
24 „ nyctea 75 Across the continent resid.
25 „ funerea 68 Ditto common resid.
26 „ Tengmalmi 60 East of Rocky Mountains; common resid.
27 „ Acadica 50 New Caledonia resid.
LANIADÆ, p. 105.
28 Lanius borealis 60 East of Rocky Mountains partly resid.
29 „ excubitorides 54 Ditto migr.
30 „ elegans
31 Tyrannus intrepidus 57 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
32 „ borealis 53 Ditto migr.
33 Tyrannula Saya 54 Ditto (Breeds on the Arkansas) migr.
34 „ pusilla 56 Ditto migr.
35 „ Richardsonii 60 Interior districts ditto migr.
MERULIDÆ, p. 149.
36 Cinclus Arnericanus 50 Rocky Mountains; common migr.
37 Merula migratoria 67 Across the continent migr.
38 „ minor 54 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
39 „ Wilsonii 55 Ditto migr.
40 „ solitaria 50 Ditto migr.

[page] xxiii

Species observed on the Saskatchewan, lat. 53° to 54° N., and from 600 to 1000 miles distant from the sea-coast. Species that frequent the vicinity of Philadelphia, lat. 40° N. (Bonaparte.) Winter-quarters of the Species. Page of the Fanna.
1 California 1
2 In Summer only. Scarce In Summer. Comm. Southern States, South Amer. 4
3 Ditto Accidental visiter Ditto? ditto 6
4 Summer. Rare; accid Very rare; accid. visiter 12
5 Ditto Common Resident Comm. Southern States 15
6 Ditto Rare Summer. do. Towards the Tropics 20
7 Spr. and Aut. Of passage Winter. Accid. visiter Louisiana 23
8 North of 54° 27
9 Summer. Common Resid. Comm. West Indies, Mexico, S. Calif. 31
10 Ditto Rare Pass. Spr. and Aut. Not uncom. Mexico 35
11 Ditto (Breeds.) Not com. 37
82 All the year. Freq. in Sum. Rare Fur-countries, North. States 39
13 Comm. California, South. States 44
14 Summer. Not comm. South California 47
15 Ditto Comm. Resid. Very comm. United States, Mexico, Calif. 50
16 Ditto do. Winter. Comm. Middle States 52
17 Ditto Very comm. Do. Yng. very com. (Old accid.) South. States 55
18 All the year. Comm. Resid. Comm. 72
19 Summer. Very comm. Winter. Very comm. Mid. and South. States, Calif. 75
20 All the year. Comm. Fur-countries 77
21 Not seen by us Resid. Comm. 81
22 All the year. Comm. Do. Rare Fur-countries, Unit. St., Calif. 82
23 Ditto Very rare Ditto 86
24 Winter. Accid. Winter. Accid. Between 67° and 55° 88
25 All the year. Comm. Do. do. Fur-countries to Middle States 92
26 Ditto do. Ditto Canada 94
27 Not seen by us Winter. Very rare New Caledonia, North. States 97
28 All the year. Com. in Sum. Winter. Rare Fur-countr., Canada, Mid. St. 111
29 Summer. Comm. 115
30 122
31 Summer. Comm. Summer. Very comm Towards the Tropics 137
32 Ditto One specim. 141
33 Ditto do. 142
34 Spring. Of passage 144
35 Do. Of passage? 146
36 Mexico 173
37 Summer. Very comm. Winter. Very comm.; a few res. Midd. and South. States, Calif. 176
38 Summer? Breeds? South. States 179
39 Ditto Summer. Not rare Ditto 182
40 Ditto Comm.. Ditto 184

[page] xxiv

TABLE 1. (continued.)

Species, numbered as in the Fauna. Extreme northern range. Distribution in the Fur-countries. Whether resident or migratory.
No. MERULIDÆ, continued. Lat. N.
41 Orpheus meruloides 66° Great Bear Lake and North-west coast migr.
42 „ rufus 54 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
42 „ felivox 54 Ditto migr.
SYLVIADÆ, p. 200.
44 Erythaca (Sialia) arctica 65 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
45 „ „ Wilsonii 48 Ditto migr.
46 Sylvicola æstiva 68 Across the continent migr.
47 „ maculosa 55 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
48 „ petechia 55 Ditto migr.
49 „ coronata 56 Across the continent migr.
50 „ striata 54 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
51 „ (Vermivora) rubricapilla 55 Ditto migr.
52 „ „ peregrina 55 Ditto migr.
53 setophaga ruticilla 58 Ditto migr.
54 „ Bonapartii 55 Ditto migr.
55 Parus atricapillus 65 Across the continent resid
56 Seiurus aurocapillus 55 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
57 „ aquaticus 60? Ditto migr.
58 Anthus aquaticus 60? Priarie district migr.
AMPELIDÆ, p. 232.
59 Vireo olivaceus 55 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
60 „ Bartramii 49 West of ditto migr.
61 Bombycilla garrula 67 Rocky Mountains and Great Bear Lake migr.
62 „ Americana 56 Middle Prairie districts migr.
63 Alauda calandra 58 Hudson's Bay migr.
64 „ cornuta 69 East of Rocky Mountains; in flocks migr.
65 Emberiza (Plectrophanes) nivalis 75 Arctic coasts, in summer
66 „ „ Lapponica 70 Ditto migr.
67 „ „ picta 54 migr.
68 „ pallida 55 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
69 „ Canadensis 60 Across the continent
70 Fringilla (Zonotrichia) graminea 57 Prairies E. of Rocky Mountains migr.
71 „ „ leucophrys 68 East of Rocky Mountains; common migr.
72 „ „ Pennsylvanica 66 Ditto ditto migr.
73 „ „ iliaca 68 Ditto migr.
74 „ hyemalis 57 Middle Prairie district migr.
75 Pyrgita (Pipilo) arctica 55 Saskatchewan prairies migr.
76 Pyrrhula (Corythus) enucleator 60 East of Rocky Mountains; scarce resid.
77 Loxia leucoptera 68 Across the continent resid.
78 Fringilla purpurea 55 Ditto not common migr.
79 Linaria (Leucosticte) tephrocotis 54 East of Rocky Mountains
80 „ minor 68 Across the continent resid.
81 Carduelis Americana 60 Ditto migr.

[page] xxv

Species observed on the Saskatchewan lat. 53° to 54° N., and from 600 to 1000 miles distant from sea-coast. Species that frequent the vicinity of Philadelphia, lat. 40° N. (Bonaparte.) Winter-quarters of the Species. Page of the Fanna.
No. 41
41 California 187
42 Summer All the Summer. Comm. South. States 189
43 Ditto Ditto. do. Florida, New Orleans 192
44 209
45 All the Summer. Comm. South. States 210
46 Summer. Very common Ditto. do. Towards the Tropics 211
47 Ditto. Comm. Pass. Spr. and Aut. Rare Ditto? 213
48 Ditto. Not comm. Summer. Extremely rare South. States 215
49 Ditto. Not uncomm. Pass. Spr. and Aut. Very com. Ditto, Calif. 216
50 Ditto. Do. Ditto. Not very rare Ditto? or towards the Tropics? 218
51 Ditto. Do. Spring. Very rare Ditto? ditto? 220
52 Ditto. Towards the Tropics 221
53 Ditto. Very comm. Summer. Comm. West Indies 223
54 Ditto. Pass. Spr. and Aut. Not comm. Towards the Tropics? 225
55 All the year. Very comm. All the year. Very comm. Fur-countries, United States 226
56 Summer. Not uncomm. Summer. Comm. Mexico, West Indies 227
57 Spring. Of passage Pass. Spr. and Aut. Rather rare Ditto 229
58 Ditto. do.? flocks Winter. Not rare Middle and South. States 231
59 Summer Spr., Summ., and Aut. Comm. South. St.? Towards Tropics? 233
60 California? 235
61 Spr. and Aut. Of passage Mexico? or farther south? 237
62 Summer Summer. In flocks. Comm. South. St., Mexico, Cayenne 239
63 244
64 Spring. Of passage Winter. Very comm. 245
65 Early in Spr., late in Aut. Do. Do. Rare South of 54° middle of Winter 246
66 Spr. and Aut. Ditto. Do. 50° ditto 248
67 Ditto. do. 250
68 Summer. Comm. 251
69 Spr. and Aut. Of passage. Winter. Comm. United States, Calif. 252
70 Summer. Comm. Resid. do. Middle and South. States 254
71 Ditto. do. Winter. Very rare North. States 255
72 Ditto. do. Resid. Comm. Middle and South. States 256
73 Ditto. Arrive in flocks Winter, do. Ditto ditto 257
74 Ditto. Rare Do. Extremely comm. Ditto ditto S. Calif. 259
75 Ditto. Not rare 260
76 All the year. Scarce Winter. Accid. visiter. Fur-countries, United States 262
77 Ditto. Do. Rare Ditto North. States 263
76 Summer. Not comm. Do. Not very rare South. States 264
79 One specimen 265
80 All the year. Abund. In large flocks, at uncert. periods Fur-countries, Canada 267
81 Summer. Comm. Almost resid. Very comm. Mexico 268


[page] xxvi

TABLE 1. (continued.)

Species, numbered as in the Fauna. Extreme northern range. Distribution in the Fur-countries. Whether resident or migratory.
No. FRINGILLIDÆ, continued. Lat. N.
82 Coccothraustes vespertina 56° Prairies E. of Rocky Mountains migr.
83 „ (Guiraca) Ludoviciana 55 Ditto ditto migr.
84 Pyranga rubra 49 Ditto ditto migr.
STURNIDÆ, p. 275.
85 Molothrus pecoris 56 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
86 Dolichonyx oryzivorus 54 Ditto migr.
87 Agelaius phæniceus 57 Across the continent migr.
88 „ xanthocephalus 58 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
89 Sturnella Ludoviciana 56 Across the continent in prairies migr.
90 Icterus Baltimore 55 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
91 Quiscalus versicolor 57 Ditto in large flocks migr.
92 Scolephagus ferrugineus 68 Ditto generally spread migr.
CORVIDÆ, p. 288.
93 Corvus corax 75 Across the continent; common resid.
94 „ corone 55 East of Rocky Mountains; in flocks migr.
95 „ pica 58 Interior districts both sides of Rocky Mountains resid.
96 Garrulus cristatus 56 East of Rocky Mountains; common migr.
97 „ Stelleri 56 W. of Rocky Mountains & Saskatchewan plains migr.
98 Canadensis 65 Across the continent resid.
99 „ hrachyrhynchus 68 North of Great Slave Lake resid.
PICIDÆ, p. 298.
100 Picus (Dryotomus) pileatus 63 Across the continent resid.
101 „ (Dendrocopus) villosus 63 Ditto resid.
102 „ „ pubescens 58 Ditto resid.
103 „ „ varius 61 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
104 „ (Apternus) tridactylus 68 Rocky Mountains and East districts resid.
105 „ „ arcticus 56 Ditto resid.
106 Colaptes auratus 61 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
107 „ Mexicanus 49 West of ditto migr.
108 Melanerpes erythrocephalus 50 Prairies East and West of ditto migr.
CERTHIADÆ, p. 316.
109 Troglodytes ædon 57 East of Rocky Mountains; rare migr.
110 „ hyemalis 50 Ditto do. migr.
111 „ palustris 55 Ditto do. migr.
112 Trochilus colubris 57 East of Rocky Mountains; rare migr.
113 „ (Selasphorus) rufus 61 West of ditto migr.
114 Hirundo bicolor 60 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
115 „ Americana 68 Ditto migr.
116 „ lunifrons 67 Ditto migr.
117 „ riparia 68 Ditto migr.
118 „ purpurea 67 Ditto migr.
Cypselus pelasgius* 49 Ditto migr.

* We did not observe this species, and it is not noticed in the text; but Mr. Say observed it at

[page] xxvii

Species observed on the Saskatchewan, lat. 53° to 54° N., and from 600 to 1000 miles distant from the sea-coast. Species that frequent the vicinity of Philadelphia, lat. 40° N. (Booaparte.) Winter-quarters of the Species. Pace of the Fanna.
82 Late in Summ. Not com. 269
83 Summer. Rare Winter. Accid. visiter North., Mid., and West. States 271
84 Summer. Not very rare Gulf of Mexico? 273
85 Summer. Not uncom Summer. In flocks; common Southern States, Mexico 277
86 Ditto. Comm. Pass. In large flocks. Spr. & Aut. Table land of Mexico (Sw.) 278
87 Ditto. In large flocks Summer. In flocks Southern States, Mexico, Calif. 280
88 Ditto. ditto Mexico, South America? 281
89 Ditto. Comm. Resid. Very comm. Mid. and South. States, Calif. 282
90 Ditto. do. Summer. Comm. Within the Tropics? 284
91 Ditto. In flocks Ditto. In flocks Florida, Louis., Mexico 285
92 Ditto. In pairs Ditto. do. South. States 286
93 All the year. Comm. Resid. Rare Resid. Fur-countries & U. S. 290
94 Summer. In flocks Do. Very comm. United States 291
95 All the year. Freq. in Sum. Missouri, Fur-c, Columbia R. 293
96 Summer. Comm. Resid. Comm. Middle and South. States 293
97 Ditto. do. North Calif. 294
98 All the year. do. Resid. Fur-countries, Canada 295
99 Do. North of Fur-countries 296
100 All the year. Rare Resid. Rare Resid. Fur-c, U. S., Mexico 304
101 Ditto. Comm. Do. Comm. Do. do. do. do. Calif. 305
102 Ditto. do. Do. Very comm. Do. do. do. 307
103 Summer. Arr. in flocks Do. Comm. United States 309
104 All the year. Comm. Fur-countries 311
105 Ditto 313
106 Summer. Comm. on plains Resid. Very comm. United States 314
107 Mexico, Calif. 315
108 Resid. Comm. South. States 316
109 Summer. Rare Summer. Comm. West Indies? 316
110 Winter. do. Middle and South. States 318
111 Summer. Rare Summer. do. Florida, Louisiana 319
112 Summer. Rare Summer. Comm. Mexico 323
113 Table-land of Mexico 324
114 Summer. Comm. Summer. Comm. Louisiana 328
115 Ditto. do. Ditto. Very comm. Visits the Trops. mid. of Wint. 329
116 331
117 Summer. Comm. Summer. Comm. Not in United States 333
118 Ditto. do. Ditto. Very comm. South America, Brazil (Sw.) 335
Ditto. do.

Pembina, on the Red River, on the boundary-line between the American and British fur-countries.

d 2

[page] xxviii

TABLE 1. (continued.)

Species, numbered as in the Fauna. Extreme northern range. Distribution in the Fur-countries. Whether resident or migratory.
No. CAPRIMULGIDÆ, p. 336. Lat. N.
119 Caprimulgus vociferus 48° East of Rocky Mountains migr.
120 „ (Chordeiles) Virginianus 68 Ditto common migr.
121 Alcedo alcyon 67 Across the continent migr.
122 Tetrao umbellus 56 East of Rocky Mountains resid.
123 „ obscurus 64 Rocky Mountains, 64° to 40° resid.
124 „ Canadensis 68 East of Rocky Mountains resid.
125 „ Franklinii 58 Rocky Mountains resid.
126 „ (Lagopus) mutus 70? Baffin's Bay
127 „ „ saliceti 70 Across the continent
128 „ „ rupestris 75 Ditto
129 „ „ leucurus 64 Rocky Mountains, 64° to 54° resid.
130 „ (Centrocercus) urophasianus 48 West of Rocky Mountains resid.
131 „ „ phasianellus 61 Across the continent resid.
COLUMBIDÆ, p. 363.
132 Columba migratoria. 62 Across the continent migr.
133 Calidris arenaria 60 Hudson's Bay migr.
134 Charadrius semipalmatus 70 Across the continent migr.
135 „ vociferus 56 Ditto migr.
136 „ pluvialis 75 Ditto common migr.
137 Vanellus melanogaster 70 Ditto migr.
138 Strepsilas interpres 75 Hudson's Bay, Arctic Coasts, & Behring's Straits migr.
139 Grus Americana 68 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
140 „ Canadensis 68 Ditto migr.
141 Ardea Herodias 50 Red River plains migr.
142 „ lentiginosa 58 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
143 Recurvirostra Americana 55 Interior Prairie district migr.
144 Numenius longirostris 52 Across the continent migr.
145 „ Hudsonicus 60 Ditto migr.
146 „ borealis 70 Ditto migr.
147 Tringa Douglasii 60 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
148 „ himantopus 58 Ditto migr.
149 „ semipalmata 60 Ditto migr.
150 „ maritima 74 Ditto common migr.
151 „ alpina 75 Ditto do. migr.
152 „ Schinzii 55 Ditto interior prairies migr.
153 „ minuta 60 Ditto common migr.
154 „ pusilla 68 Ditto do. migr.
155 „ cinerea 75 Ditto do. migr.
156 Totanus semipalmatus 56 Ditto interior prairies migr.
157 „ vociferus 60 Ditto common migr.
158 „ flavipes 70 Ditto do. migr.

[page] xxix

Species observed on the Saskatchewan, 3° to 54° N., and from 600 to 1000 miles distant from the sea-coast. Species that frequent the vicinity of Philadelphia, lat. 40° N. (Bonaparie.) Winter-quarters of the Species. Page of the Fanna.
No. 19
119. Summer. Not rare Not in United States 336
120 Summer. Comm. Ditto Very comm. Ditto 337
121 Summer. Comm. Summer. Very comm. S. St., Mex., Calif., with. Trops. 339
122 All the year. Very comm. Winter. Comm. From lat. 56° to Gulf of Mex. 342
123 Ditto Comm. Rocky Mountains 344
124 Ditto do. Fur-countries, North. States 346
125 Ditto do. Rocky Mountains 348
126 —? 350
127 Winter only. Migr. Fur-c, betw. 66° & 50°, woods 351
128 Do. betw. 68° & 55°, do. 354
129 Rocky Mountains 356
130 California, Columbia River 358
131 All the year. Very comm. Fur-countries, Northwest St. 361
132 Summer. In small flocks Summer. Exceedingly numerous Kentucky, South. States 363
133 Sea beaches. Comm. United States 366
134 Pass. Spring Pass. Spr. and Aut. Comm. South. States? South Calif. 367
135 Summer. Comm. Nearly resid. Very comm. United States, Calif. 368
136 Pass. Spr. &Aut. Comm. Winter. Not very rare S. St., within the Tropics 369
137 Summer. Rare Most num. in Wint. Very comm. South, and Mid. States 370
138 Pass. Spr. and Aut. Somewt.rare S. St., or within the Tropics? 371
139 Summer. Comm. Accid. visiter Do.? or towards the Tropics 372
140 Ditto do. Do. Mexico 373
141 Summer. Comm. Mid. and South. States 373
142 Summer. Comm. Ditto Not rare South. States 374
143 Ditto Very com. on plns. Accid. visiter Within the Tropics 375
144 Pass. Spr. and Aut. Comm. South. States? Towards Trops. 376
145 Pass. Spring Do. do. do. Ditto, or farther south 377
146 Do. do. Accid. visiter Within the Tropics, Brazil 378
147 Summer. Not comm. 379
148 Pass. Autumn. Rare Towards the Tropics? 380
149 Do. Spr. and Aut. Comm. 381
150 Pass. Spring 382
151 Do. do. Pass. Spr. and Aut. Comm. South. States 383
152 Summer. Comm. Do. Aut. Somewhat rare Ditto 384
153 Do. do. Rare 385
154 Pass. Spring. Comm. Do. Spr. and Aut. Comm. S. St., and within the Tropics 386
155 Do. do. Somew.rare 387
156 Summer. Comm. Do. do. Comm. South. St., within the Trops.? 385
157 Ditto do. Summer. Comm. Ditto ditto 389
158 Ditto do. Ditto do. Ditto ditto 390

[page] xxx

TABLE 1. (continued.)

Species, numbered as in the Fauna. Extreme northern range. Distribution in the Fur-countries. Whether resident or migratory.
No. GRALLATORES, continued. Lat. N.
159 Totanus calidris 58° Hudson's Bay migr.
160 „ Bartramius 55 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
161 „ ochropus 58 Hudson's Bay migr.
162 „ chloropygius 68 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
163 Limosa fedoa 68 Ditto common migr.
164 „ Hudsonica 68 Ditto migr.
165 Scolopax Novoboracensis 70 Ditto migr.
166 „ Drummondii 65 Rocky Mountains and Eastern districts migr.
167 „ Wilsonii 55 Hudson's Bay migr.
168 Rallus Novoboracensis 57 Ditto migr.
169 „ Carolinus 62 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
170 Fulica Americana 55 Across the continent migr.
171 Phalaropus Wilsonii 55 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
172 „ hyperboreus 75 Ditto migr.
173 „ fulicarius 75 Across the continent migr.
NATATORES, p. 410.
174 Podiceps cristatus 68 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
175 „ rubricollis 68 Ditto migr.
176 „ cornutus 68 Ditto migr.
177 „ Carolinensis 62 Ditto migr.
178 Sterna hirundo 57 Ditto common migr.
179 „ arctica 75 Ditto do. migr.
180 „ nigra 60 Ditto very common migr.
181 Larus glaucus 75 Ditto common migri.
182 „ argentatoides 75 Ditto do. migr.
183 „ leucopterus 75 Ditto do. migr.
184 „ eburneus 75 Ditto local migr.
185 „ canus 71 Ditto do. migr.
186 „ zonorhynchus 56 Ditto do. migr.
187 „ brachyrhynchus 68 Ditto do. migr.
188 „ tridactylus 74 Across the continent migr.
189 „ Franklinii 56 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
190 „ Bonapartii 70 Ditto frequent migr.
191 „ minutus 65 Ditto rare migr.
192 „ Rossii 82 Melville Peninsula; rare migr.
193 „ Sabinii 74 Across the continent migr.
194 Lestris pomarina 75 Hudson's Bay, Arctic Seas migr.
195 „ parasitica 75 Arctic sea-coasts and Hudson's Bay, &c. migr.
196 „ Richardsonii 67 Barren districts; common migr.
ANATIDÆ, p. 435.
197 Anas clypeafa 70 Across the continent; numerous migr.
198 „ (Chauliodus) strepera 68 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
199 „ (Dafila) caudacuta 70 Ditto very common migr.
200 „ (Boschas) domestica 68 Across the continent migr.

[page] xxxi

Species observed on the Saskatchewan, lat. 53° to 54° N., and from 600 to 1000 miles distant from the sea-coast. Species that frequent the vicinity of Philadelphia, lat. 40° N. (Bonaparte.) Winter-quarters of the Species. Page of the Fauna.
60 Summer. Com. on plains Summer. Somewhat rare Southern States, S. America 391
62 Summer. Comm. Pass. Spr. & Aut. Somewhat rare United States 393
63 Ditto Abundant. Winter ditto South. St., or towards Tropics 395
64 Pass. Spr. and Aut. Do.? ditto? 396
65 Summer. Comm. Pass. Spr. and Aut. Comm. South. St., or towards Tropics
166 Ditto do.
167 Winter. Very comm. South. States, S. America 401
168 Accid. visiter Within the Tropics? 402
169 Summer. Abundant Summer and Aut. Abundant Ditto S. Amer. 403
170 Ditto Very comm. Pass. Autumn. Comm. South. States, Calif. 404
171 Ditto Not rare Winter. Accid. visiter Mexico, S. America 405
172 Pass. Spring. Rare 406
173 Do. do. do. Winter. Accid. visiter United States, Calif. 407
174 Summer. Comm. Winter. Accid. visiter South. States 410
175 Ditto Not comm. Do. ditto Ditto 412
176 Ditto Very comm. Do. Young rather comm. Middle States 411
177 Ditto Rare Do. Principally young Ditto South States 412
178 Ditto Comm. Summer. (Breeds.) Comm. Towards the Tropics 412
179 Pass. Spring. Not com. Pass. Autumn. Rather comm. Middle and South States 414
180 ? Summer. Very comm. Do. Comm., the young espec. Ditto ditto 415
182 Comm. Middle and South. States 417
183 Winter. Not rare Middle and North. States 418
184 Ditto ditto 419
185 Pass. Spr. and Aut. Com. Comm. Ditto 420
186 Summer. Abundant 421
187 Pass. Spr. and Aut. Com. 422
188 Summer. Comm. United States 423
189 Ditto Abundant 424
190 Ditto do. 425
191 Pass. Spr. and Aut. Rare United States 426
192 427
193 South California 428
194 Winter. Accid. visiter South. States 429
195 Middle States 430
196 Pass. Spr. and Aut. Rare
197 Pass. Spr. & Aut. Very c. Winter. Rather comm. United States, Mexico 439
198 Summer. Comm. Do. Rare Mexican Lakes (Sw.) 440
199 Spr. and Aut. Not rare Do. Comm. Ditto 441
200 Summer. Comm. Do. do. M. & S. St., Columb. R., Calif. 442

[page] xxxii

TABLE 1. (continued.)

Species, numbered as in the Fanna. Extreme northern range. Distribution in the Fur-conntries. Whether resident or migratory.
No. ANATIDÆ, continued. Lat. N
201 Anas (Boschas) crecca 70° Across the continent; very abundant migr.
202 „ „ discors 58 Ditto migr.
203 Mareca Americana 68 Ditto migr.
204 Dendronessa sponsa 54 Ditto migr.
205 Somateria spectabilis 75 On the east sea-coasts
206 „ mollissima 75 Ditto
207 Oidemia perspicillata 72 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
208 „ fusca 72 Ditto migr.
209 „ Americana 62 Hudson's Bay migr.
210 Fuligula vallisneria 68 Across the continent migr.
211 „ ferina 68 Ditto migr.
212 „ marila 68 Ditto migr.
213 „ rufitorques 68 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
214 „ rubida 58 Ditto migr.
215 Clangula vulgaris 68 Ditto migr.
216 „ Barrovii 57 Rocky Mountains migr.
217 „ albeola 68 Across the continent migr.
218 „ histrionica 68 Ditto migr.
219 Harelda glacialis 75 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
220 Mergus merganser 68 Across the continent migr.
221 „ serrator 68 Ditto migr.
222 „ cucullatus 68 Ditto migr.
223 Cygnus buccinator 68 Ditto migr.
224 „ Bewickii 75 Ditto migr.
225 Anser albifions 73 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
226 „ hyperboreus 73 Across the continent migr.
227 „ Canadensis 70 Ditto migr.
228 „ bernicla 73 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
229 „ Hutchinsii 69 Ditto migr.
NATATORES, continued, p. 472.
230 Pelecanus onocrotalus 61 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
231 „ (Carbo) dilophus 55 Ditto migr.
232 Colymbus glacialis 70 Across the continent migr.
233 „ arcticus 70 East of Rocky Mountains migr.
234 „ septentrionalis 74 Across the continent migr.
235 Uria troile 61 Arctic Sea and Hudson's Bay
236 „ Brunnickii 75 Ditto ditto
237 „ grylle 75 Ditto ditto
238 „ alle 75 Ditto ditto

[page] xxxiii

Species observed on the Saskatchewan, lat. 53° to 54° N., and from 600 to 1000 miles distant from the sea-coast. Species that frequent the vicinity of Philadelphia, lat. 40° N., (Bonaparte.) Winter-quarters of the Species. Page of the Fauna.
No. 201
201 Summer. Abundant Winter. Very comm. M. and S. St., towards Tropics 443
202 do. Comm. Summer. Comm. Mexican St., Columb. R., Calif. 444
203 do. Rather comm. Winter. do. Middle and S. St., West Indies 445
204 do. Rare Summer. do. S. States, Mexico? do. 446
205 At sea, Coast of Labrador 447
206 Winter. Accid. visiter do. do. N. St. 448
207 Pass. Spr &Aut. Note. c. do. Abund. Canada, United States 449
208 do. do. Com. do. Rare Middle States 450
209 450
210 Summer. Comm. Winter. Rather comm. Middle States, Columbia River 451
211 do. do. do. Very comm. do. do. 452
212 do. do. „ „ do. do. 453
213 do. do. Pass. Spring. Not very rare South. States 454
214 do. Not uncomm. Winter. Rather rare do. 455
215 do. Very comm. do. Frequent Middle and South. States 456
216 456
217 Summer. Extremely com. Winter. Very comm. United States, Mexico, Calif. 458
218 do. Very rare Middle and N. States, Canada 459
219 Pass. Spr. & Aut. Abund. Winter. Very comm. United States 460
220 Summer. Comm. do. Not comm. do. 461
221 do. do. do. Rare South. States 462
222 do. do. do. 463
223 Pass. Spr. & Aut. In flocks Middle States 464
224 do. do. do. Calif., a few on Columbia R. 465
225 do. do. V. abun. Winter. Accid. visiter Mid. and S. St., „ 466
226 do. do. do. do. do. United States 467
227 Summer. Comm. do. Com. Middle States 468
228 Pass. Spr. & Aut. Accident. do. do. South. States 469
229 do. do. In flocks 470
230 Summer. In flocks Accid. visiter 472
231 do. Not comm. 473
232 do. Comm. Winter. Not rare Middle States 474
233 do. Rare 475
234 do. Not uncomm. Winter. Young not rare United States 476
235 Accid. visiter Principally at sea in high lats. 477
236 do. do. do. 477
237 do. do. do. 478
238 Winter. Rather rare United States 479

[page] xxxiv


The following is a List of Birds which are found at all seasons of the year in some district or other of the FUR COUNTRIES.

FALCONIDÆ. Falco islandicus, Accipiter (Astur) palumbarius.

STRIGIDÆ. Strix otus, S. cinerea, S. nebulosa, S. (Bubo) Virginiana, S. (B.) arctica, S. nyctea, S. funerea, S. Tengmalmi, S. Acadica.

LANIADÆ. Lanius borealis, L. excubitorides, L. elegans.

SYLVIADÆ. Parus atricapillus.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Emberiza (Plectrophanes) nivalis, E. (P.) Lapponica, Pyrrhula (Corythns) enucleator, Loxia leucoptera, Linaria minor.

CORVIDÆ. Corvus corax, C. pica, Garrulus Canadensis, G. brachyrhynchus.

PICIDÆ. Picus (Dryotomus) pileatus, P. (Dendrocopus) villosus, P. (D.) pubescens, P. (Apternius) tridactylus, P. (A.) arcticus.

TETRAONIDÆ. Tetrao umbellus, T. obscurus, T. Canadensis, T. Franklinii, T. (Lagopus) saliceti T. (L.) rupestris, T. (L.) leucurus, T. (Centrocercus) urophasianus, T. (C.) phasianellus.——In all 38.

As some of these, however, entirely quit their breeding- stations in the winter and go southwards, they ought to be considered as migratory, although their range is comparatively limited. Thus the Lagopi quit the barren grounds, where they breed and seek shelter during winter in the more southerly wooded districts. The Plectrophanes breed on the Arctic coasts, and winter in the southern parts of the Fur Countries, migrating through eighteen or twenty degrees of latitude. Many of the Strigidæ, the Laniadæ, and Picidæ, retire from the sea-coast into the denser parts of the woods in winter, some individuals, however, remaining all the year in their breeding quarters. Numbers also of the Parus atricapillus and Linaria minor remain in the severest seasons in all parts of the Fur Countries; but in some winters, at uncertain intervals, they appear in large flocks within the territory of the United States. Somateria mollissima and S. spectabilis, and Uria Brunnichii, U. troile, and U. grylle, ought also to be reckoned among the birds that winter in high latitudes, as many remain all the winter wherever they can find open water, although they also visit the coasts of the United States in that season in smaller numbers.

[page] xxxv


List of Species of which considerable numbers are resident all the year in the FUR COUNTRIES, but of which detachments (mostly young birds?) visit the United States in winter.

FALCONIDÆ. Accipiter (Astur) palumbarius?

STRIGIDÆ. Strix funerea, St. nyctea.

LANIADÆ. Lanius borealis.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Emberiza (Plectrophanes) nivalis, E. (P.) Lapponica, Pyrrhula (Corythus) enucleator, Loxia leucoptera, Linaria minor (visits the United States in some winters only).

CORVIDÆ. Garrulus Canadensis. Corvus pica (Missouri in winter).

ANATIDÆ. Somateria mollissima.—This and the three following species keep the sea in the higher latitudes, a few individuals only resorting to the coasts of the United States.

ALCADÆ. Uria troile, U. Brunnichii, U. grylle.——In all 15.


List of Species which are RESIDENT ALL THE YEAR both in the FUR COUNTRIES and in PENNSYLVANIA.

STRIGIDÆ. Strix otus, St. nebulosa? St. (Bubo) Virginiana.

SYLVIADÆ. Parus atricapillus.

CORVIDÆ. Corvus Corax.

PICIDÆ. Picus (Dryotomus) pileatus, P. (Dendrocopus) villosus, P. (D.) pubescens.——8.


List of Species which are RESIDENT ALL THE YEAR in PENNSYLVANIA, and visit the FUR COUNTRIES in SUMMER ONLY.

FALCONIDÆ. Aquila (Haliæëtus) leucocephala, Falco sparverius, Accipiter Pennsylvanicus? Buteo borealis.

MERULIDÆ. Merula migratoria. Only a few summer in Pennsylvania.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Fringilla (Zonotrichia) graminea, F. (Z.) Pennsylvanica.

STURNIDÆ. Sturnella Ludoviciana.

CORVIDÆ. Corvus corone, Garrulus cristatus.

PICIDÆ. Picus (Dendrocopus) varius, Colaptes auratus. Melanerpes erythrocephalus.

GRALLATORES. Charadrius vociferus (seen nearly the whole year near Philadelphia), Vanellus melanogaster.——In all 15.

e 2

[page] xxxvi


List of Species which merely WINTER in PENNSYLVANIA, and migrate in SUMMER to rear their young in the FUR COUNTRIES.

FALCONIDÆ. Falco peregrinus, Buteo lagopus, Buteo (Circus) cyaneus (young only).

STRIGIDÆ. Strix brachyota.

MERULIDÆ. Merula migratoria. A few breed in Pennsylvania.

SYLVIADÆ. Anthus aquaticus.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Alauda cornuta, Emberiza Canadensis, Fringilla leucophrys, F. iliaca, F. hyemalis, F. purpurea, Coccothraustes Ludoviciana.

CERTHIADÆ. Troglodytes hyemalis.

GRALLATORES. Calidris arenaria, Charadrius vociferus, Ch. pluvialis, Vanellus melanogaster, (a few breed within the state,) Limosa fedoa, L. Hudsonica, Scolopax Wilsonii.

NATATORES. Podiceps cornutus, P. Carolinensis, Sterna arctica, St. nigra, Larus argentatoides, L. leucopterus, L. canus, Anas clypeata, A. (Chauliodus) strepera, A. (Dafila) caudacuta, A. (Boschas) domestica, A. (B.) crecca, Mareca Americana, Oidemia perspicillata, O. fusca, O. Americana, Fuligula vallisneria, F. ferina, F. marila, F. rubida, Clangula vulgaris, CL albeola, Harelda glacialis, Mergus merganser, M. serrator, Anser Canadensis, A. bernicla, Colymbus glacialis, C. septentrionalis, Uria alle.———In all 52.


List of Species which SUMMER (or breed) in the FUR COUNTRIES and in PENNSYLVANIA, but WINTER farther to the SOUTHWARD.

VULTURIDÆ. Cathartes aura.

FALCONIDÆ. Aquila (Pandion) haliæeta.

LANIADÆ. Tyrannus intrepidus.

MERULIDÆ. Merula Wilsonii, M. solitaria, Orpheus rufus, O. felivox.

SYLVIADÆ. Erythaca (Sialia) Wilsonii, Sylvicola æstiva, S. petechia, Setophaga ruticilla, Seïurus aurocapillus.

AMPELIDÆ. Vireo olivaceus, Bombycilla Americana.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Carduelis Americana (only a very short time absent from Pennsylvania), Pyranga rubra.

STURNIDÆ. Molothrus pecoris, Agelaius phœniceus, Icterus Baltimore, Quiscalus versicolor, Scolecophagus ferrugineus.

CERTHIADÆ. Troglodytes æon, T. palustris.

TROCHILIDÆ. Trochilus colubris.

HIRUNDINIDÆ. Hirundo bicolor, H. Americana, H. riparia, H. purpurea, Cypselus pelasgius.

[page] xxxvii

CAPRIMULGIDÆ. Caprimulgus vociferus, C. (chordeiles) Virginiana.

HALCYONIDÆ. Alcedo alcyon.

COLUMBIDÆ. Columba (Ectopistes) migratoria.

GRALLATORES. Ardea Herodias, A. lentiginosa, Totanus vociferus, T. flavipes, T. Bartramius, Rallus Carolinus.

NATATORES. Sterna hirundo, Anas discors, Dendronessa sponsa.———In all 42.


List of Species which WINTER to the SOUTHWARD, are birds of PASSAGE in the parallel of PHILADELPHIA in spring and autumn, and breed in SUMMER in the FUR COUNTRIES.

FALCONIDÆ. Falco Columbarius.

SYLVIADÆ. Sylvicola maculosa, S. coronata, S. striata, S. (Vermivora) rubricapilla, S. (V.) peregrina? Setophaga Bonapartii, Seinrus aquaticus.

AMPELIDÆ. Bombycilla garrula.

STURNIDÆ. Dolichonyx oryzivorus.

GRALLATORES. Charadrius semipalmatus, Strepsilas interpres, Grus Americana, G. Canadensis, Recurvirostra Americana, Numenius longirostris, N. Hudsonicus, N. borealis? Tringa Douglasii, Tr. himantopus, Tr. semipalmata, Tr. alpina, Tr. maritima? Tr. Schinzii, Tr. minuta, Tr. pusilla, Tr. cinerea, Totanus semipalmatus, T. chloropygius, Scolopax Novoboracensis, Rallus Novoboracensis, Fulica Americana, Phalaropus Wilsonii, Ph. hyperboreus.

NATATORES. Fuligula rufitorques.———In all 35.

Note—To illustrate the distribution of the Northern American birds still farther, the two following tables compiled from the Prince of Musignano's Specchio comparative, &c., are subjoined.

No. I.—List of the Species which migrate northwards, from or through Pennsylvania, in spring, and may therefore be considered as retiring to the Fur Countries to breed, although they did not come under our notice.

FALCONIDÆ. Falco Sancti Jobannis, F. hyemalis.

SYLVIADÆ. Sylvia Novoboracensis, S. palmarum, S. maritima, S. pardalina, S. mitrata, S. pensilis, S. virens, S. Blackburniæ, S. icterocephala, S. castanea, S. Canadensis, S. autumnalis, S. sphagnosa, S. azurea, S. Wilsonii, S. vermivora, S. solitaria, S. chrysoptera, Parus bicolor, Regulus cristatus, R. calendula.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Fringilla pinus, Loxia curvirostra.

GRALLATORES. Tringa pectoralis.

NATATORES. Rhincops nigra, Sterna minuta, Anas obscura, A. Labradora, Mergus albellus, Phalacrocorax carbo, Ph. graculus, Ph. cristatus, Mormon fratercula, Alca torda.———In all 36.

No. II.—Species resident all the year in Pennsylvania, which were not seen by us in the Fur Countries.

STBIGIDÆ. Strix asio.

SYLVIADÆ. Sylvia trichas (absents itself a few days in the middle of winter).

CERTHIADÆ. Sitta Carolinensis.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Fringilla melodia, F. socialis, F. pusilla, F. caudacuta, F. maritima, F. Cardinalis.

TETRAONIDÆ. Perdix Virginiana.

PAVONIDÆ. Meleagris gallopavo (formerly, now extinct in that state).

GRALLATORES. Haematopus ostralegus.——In all 12.

[page] xxxviii


List of Birds detected on the North Georgian Islands and adjoining Seas, lat. 73° to 75° N., on Sir Edward Parry's first Voyage.

STRIGIDÆ. Strix nyctea.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Emberiza nivalis.

CORVIDÆ. Corvus corax.

HIRUNDINIDÆ. Species ignota.

CAPRIMULGIDÆ Caprimulgus Americanus.

TETRAONIDÆ. Tetrao rupestris.

GRALLATORES. Calidris aretiaria, Charadrius pluvialis, Ch. semipalmata, Strepsilas collaris, Tringa variabilis, Tr. cinerea, Tr. maritima, Numenius borealis? Phalaropus fulicarius.

NATATORES. Sterna arctica, Larus glaucus, L. argentatus, L. leucopterus, L. eburneus, L. tridactylus, L. Sabinii, Lestris pomarinus, L. parasitica, Procellaria glacialis, Uria Brunnichii, U. grylle, U. alle, Colymbus septentrionalis.—(ANATIDÆ.) Anas cygnus, A. bernicla, A. spectabilis, A. mollissima, A. glacialis.——34 in all.

All these birds are migratory, arriving on Melville Island in May, and departing with their young broods in October. A sailor, who was walking in the month of February near the ships, saw what he described as a large white bird, flying near the ground. "If it were a bird," says Captain Sabine, "it was most probably a Strix nyctea; but neither this nor any other individual was observed before or afterwards, until the general arrival in May; and as scarcely a day passed afterwards in which birds of this species were not seen, it seems reasonable to conclude that this solitary and somewhat uncertain instance does not justify an exception to the above general remark." This table may be compared with the list of Greenland birds given below*.

* List of Greenland Birds.—(Captain SABINE.)

FALCONIDÆ. Falco albicilla, F. islandicus, F. peregrinus, F. tinnunculus.

STRIGIDÆ. Strix nyctea, St. asio.

SYLVIADÆ. Sylvia œnanthe, Parus bicolor.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Emberiza nivalis, Fringilla Lapponica, F. Linaria.

CORVIDÆ. Corvus corax.

TETRAONIDÆ. Tetrao lagopus.

GRALLATORES. Charadrius hiaticula, Ch. pluvialis, Ardea cinerea, Tringa cinerea, Tr. maritima, Tr. alpina, Tr. interpres, Scolopax gallinago, Sc. Lapponica, Phalaropus hyperboreus, Ph. platyrhynchus.

NATATORES. Sterna hirundo, Larus marinus, L. glaucus, L. argentatus, L. eburneus, L. tridactylus, L. Sabinii, Lestris parasiticus, Procellaria glacialis, Pr. puffinus, Alca impennis, A. torda, A. arctica, A. alle, Uria Brunnichii, U. grylle, Colymbus glacialis, C. septentrionalis, Pelecanus carbo, P. graculus, P. Bassanus.—(ANATIDÆ.) Mergus merganser, M. serrator, Anas anser, A. bernicla, A. spectabilis, A. mollissima, A. boschas, A. clangula, A. hyemalis, A. histrionica.——In all 55 species.

[page] xxxix


Comparative View of the number of Species in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, on the Banks of the Saskatchewan, in the 64th parallel, in the Arctic Islands, and in the Fur Countries in general.

Philad. Lat. 40°. Saskatch. Lat. 54°. In the 64th parallel. Arctic Islands. Lat. 74° Fur Countries in general.
Resident, and of course breeding. 44 24 16 0 40
Migratory, that summer or breed 60 117 87 34 198
„ that winter only 71 1 0 0 0
„ that pass in spring or autumn 55 37 10 0 0
„ doubt if they breed or pass merely 0 8 0 0 0
Accidental visiters 51 2 0 0 0
281 189 113 34 238

This summary shews, that the number of species which are known to rear their young on the banks of the Saskatchewan amount to 141, while there are only 104 species enumerated as breeding in the vicinity of Philadelphia, where ornithology has been so much more thoroughly investigated. It also appears that as great a variety of birds breed in the 64th parallel as in the 40th. The number of species that arrive from the north merely to winter in Pennsylvania exceeds those that come from the south to breed there; while the birds that simply pass on their way to the north nearly equal the latter. The resident birds diminish gradually as the latitude increases.


List of Species common to the Old World and to the Fur Countries.

FALCONIDÆ. Aquila chrysaëta, A. (Haliæëetus) leucocephala, A. (Pandion) haliæëta, Falco peregrinus, F. islandicus, F. æsalon, Accipiter (Astur) palumbarius, Buteo vulgaris, B. lagopus, B. (Circus) cyaneus.

STRIGIDÆ. Strix otus, St. brachyota, St. nebulosa, St. nyctea, St. funerea, St. Tengmalmi.

SYLVIADÆ. Parus atricapillus, Anthus aquaticus.

AMPELIDÆ. Bombycilla garrula.

FRINGILLIDÆ. Alauda calandra? A. cornuta, Emberiza (Plectrophanes) nivalis, E. (PI.) Lapponica, Pyrrhula (Corythus) enucleator, Linaria minor.

CORVIDÆ. Corvus corax, C. corone, C. pica.

[page] xl

PICIDÆ. Picus (Apternius) tridactylus.

HIRUNDINIDÆ. Hirundo riparia.

TETRAONIDÆ. Tetrao (Lagopus) saliceti, T. (L.) rupestris.——32 land-birds.

GRALLATORES. Calidris arenaria, Charadrius pluvialis, Vanellus melanogaster, Strepsilas interpres, Tringa maritima, Tr. alpina, Tr. Schinzii, Tr. minuta, Tr. cinerea, Totanus semipalmatus, T. calidris, T. Bartramius, T. ochropus, T. macularius, Scolopax Novoboracensis, Phalaropus hyperboreus, Ph. fulicarius.

NATATORES. Podiceps cristatus, P. rubricollis, P. cornutus, Sterna hirundo? St. arctica, St. nigra, Larus glaucus, L. argentatoides, L. lencopterus, L. eburneus, L. canus, L. tridactylus, L. minutus, L. Rossii, L. Sabinii, Lestris pomarina, L. parasitica.—(ANATIDÆ.) Anas clypeata, A. (Chauliodus) strepera, A. (Dafila) acuta, A. (Boschas) domestica, A. (B.) crecca, Somateria mollissima, S. spectabilis, Oidemia perspicillata, O. fusca, Fuligula ferina, F. marila, Clangula vulgaris, Harelda glacialis, Mergus merganser, M. serrator, Cygnus Bewickii, Anser bernicla, A. albifrons, A. hyperborea.—Colymbus glacialis, C. arcticus, C. septentrionalis, Uria Brunnickii, U. troile, U. grylle, U. alle, Mormon arctica, Alca torda, Procellariæ qusedam?——Upwards of 62 waterbirds.

The preceding tables have been constructed with the view of exhibiting the more remarkable facts connected with the distribution of the feathered tribes, which a residence in the Fur Countries enabled me to ascertain. Being acquainted, however, with the phenomena of that region only, and therefore qualified to take but a very partial view of the geographical distribution of animals, I have avoided offering any general remarks or conclusions, and beg to refer the reader to Mr. Swainson's essay in the Encyclopædia of Geography, now in the press. He has, I understand, treated the subject, particularly as relating to American birds, in much detail; and from his very extensive knowledge of Ornithology, and the philosophic nature of his views, he brings powers to the task which few possess.—R.

Melville Hospital, Chatham,

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IN estimating the progress of zoological science during the last ten years, it seems essential to view the subject under two heads: firstly, as regards a knowledge of individual structure; and secondly, as regards the application of this knowledge to the illustration of general laws.

To expatiate on the extent of the discoveries, or on the value of the physiological facts which have been brought to light during this period, would be altogether superfluous. They are, indeed, so vast, and at the same time so diversified, that it is no longer in the power of an individual, absorbed in the study of a part, rightly to appreciate the full bearings of the whole. If, then, we are to measure the progress of this science by the accession of new objects, or by our increased knowledge of structure, its advance has been almost immeasurable.

Yet, while we may justly exult in these splendid accessions to our favourite science, we must still consider them but as materials for reaching "a higher state of knowledge:" that, in short, which was long ago pronounced by Linnæus to be the "ultimus finis" of the true Zoologist,—the discovery of the Natural System. However greatly the learned Swede may have erred in his efforts to attain this end; however different are the opinions upon record regarding his zoological system, and of all others that have supplanted it; and however inconsistent these latter appear with each other; still, among those whom


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the general voice has most honoured and respected, there is but one opinion on this Linnean axiom. Nearly every writer, in fact, who now aims at distinction by investigating natural affinities, prosecutes this "grand, this ulterior object*;" and it has justly been pronounced that a correct knowledge of the natural system is the "primum and ultimum of true science†."

Now it is a fact no less remarkable than true, that while the importance of studying the general laws of creation becomes every day more apparent, and its necessity is more and more insisted upon, still that our knowledge of those laws during the last ten years has remained completely stationary. To show upon what foundation this assertion rests, it will be necessary to make a slight digression.

It was in the year 1819 that the attention of Zoologists was awakened by the appearance of the celebrated Horæ Entomologiæ of the younger Macleay; and this was followed, two years afterwards, by the erudite Systema Mycologicum of Elias Fries, one of the greatest Botanists of Germany. The authority of the Systema Naturæ, so far as regards natural arrangement, had already been severely shaken by the Règne Animal of the great Cuvier,—not to mention in Ornithology the writings of Le Vaillant. But the system of the great Swede was now to be annihilated.

Differing in their details, and each unconscious of the other's sentiments, it is no less extraordinary than interesting to trace the perfect agreement of these eminent men on two great and primary principles: first, that the natural series of affinities throughout all the grand divisions of Nature is circular; and secondly, that every minor division or group forms its own peculiar circle.

In estimating the value of these theories, it may be said that the first is assumed; since, until the whole of the animal or the vegetable kingdom has been analysed, the true course of affinity might be conjectured, but could not be demonstrated. It is, however, an assumption fully warranted by the second conclusion: this latter resting entirely upon analysis, and therefore capable, in such groups as have

* Annulosa Jav., Pref. xii.

† Kirby, Intr. to Entom., p. 4, 517.

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been so analysed, of mathematical demonstration. It would be presumptuous in one, whose knowledge of Botany is very limited, to say how far Mr. Fries has succeeded in demonstrating his second proposition; but I may venture to express an opinion that, in the genera Phanæus and Scarabæus, Mr. Macleay has established it most completely.

The promulgation of a theory so novel, and so calculated to destroy all received opinions on natural arrangement, gave rise, as might be expected, to much difference of sentiment, particularly among the Naturalists of Britain. Nearly all those whose writings had placed them in the foremost ranks, and who had long viewed the systems of the day as mere helps to the memory, admitted, either wholly or in part, the correctness of Mr. Macleay's views. Others, however, have rejected all such ideas on circular affinities or definite divisions; but hitherto these objections have only been supported by partial or abstract reasoning.

Twelve years have now elapsed since the publication of the Horæ Entomologicæ. During this period, some of the most zealous disciples of its author have applied the theory of their master to various departments of Zoology, with different degrees of success. A great insight has thus been gained into several natural groups; and, in many cases, their systems have made a much more correct approximation to what we see in Nature, than did those of their predecessors. But, without detracting from the just merit of these attempts, we must not be blind to the fact, that they exhibit nothing more than the mere application of a theory; without bringing to light, or without even attempting the discovery, of a single new principle in natural arrangement. The track which had been marked out in the Horæ Entomolpgicæ has in no one instance been intentionally deviated from; and during this long period not the slightest discovery in the general laws of creation has been effected.

I have thus shown in what respect the philosophy of Zoology has remained stationary; but it might even be said to have retrograded. One of the great characteristics, apparent in every page of the Horæ

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Entomologicæ, is its tendency to raise Zoology to the rank of a demonstrative science. By proving that natural affinities were circular, it established at the same time the existence of definite groups; from which, of course, if any part was taken away, and placed in another group, a violation of natural affinities would inevitably follow, and both groups be rendered artificial. Now this principle, as it appears to me, has been either completely overlooked or essentially violated by the disciples of this school. They express their opinion that a genus, which seems allied to two different families, "may be placed in either, according to its external characters*;" and if these two families are in juxtaposition, "it is immaterial to which of them it may eventually be referred." Now, if an arrangement be artificial, that is, framed merely to assist the memory, this mode of proceeding would be very well; but if such a principle be admitted in the theory of Mr. Macleay, it completely destroys all his idea of definite groups, and leaves every one to describe their circles at their own good will and pleasure. Again; another most important definition, contained in the same volume, relates to the nature and value of those groups which are there denominated genera, and which are shown to contain certain types of form, termed sub-genera. It is, moreover, proved that every zoological genus thus characterized returns into itself, and forms a circle. It matters not whether this definition of a zoological genus agrees with that which has been given to the word by logicians; yet one of the most zealous disciples of Mr. Macleay has rejected his application of this word, which is definite, and has advocated another, confessedly founded upon metaphysical reasoning† and mere opinion‡.

It is owing to these and to similar misconceptions, which the disciples of Mr. Macleay have fallen into, that the theory itself has been of late so severely attacked, and has even lost some of its supporters. Certain, however, it is, that these inconsistencies are nowhere to be found in the writings of this distinguished master. He has repeatedly warned his disciples on the facility of making circles and quinary divisions, when unsupported by those tests which he has him-

* Vigors, Zool. Journ., i., p. 397.

† Zool. Journ., iii., p, 97.

‡ Ibid., i., p. 341.

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self applied to the only two groups he has thoroughly analysed; namely, Scarabæus and Phanæus; while, so far from presuming that he has discovered the natural system, he states upon every occasion, most prominently and distinctly, that we have as yet obtained but a glimpse of that system while, at the same time, he has pointed out the only path by which, as he truly conceives, it can be further developed*.

It will be readily perceived, from the tenor of these observations, that my own researches have led to the adoption of the two great principles of natural arrangement already adverted to. I speak of the circular theory alone, since MM. Macleay and Fries differ in the number of their divisions; Mr. Macleay's being five, while Mr. Fries insists upon four†. Neither of these agree with the details now laid before the public. Fortunately, however, each party is desirous that his theory should be tried by one and the same test. We agree that no group, or division of a group, can be natural, if its affinities are not circular, or decidedly tending thereto: this must be the test of all. And here I may observe, that the opponents of Mr. Macleay have adopted a line of argument, which, in every other branch of science, is totally inadmissible. Instead of combatting his theory by general or abstract reasoning, or, what is even more inconclusive, by mere opinion, they should have either disproved the facts upon which it is founded, or have explained them in some other way, more calculated to show the harmonious combinations of Nature. If this had been done, the foundation would have been sapped, and the theoretical superstructure destroyed. But the singularity of the controversy has been this, that the facts have been suffered to remain unquestioned, while the inferences have been vehemently denied; denied, also, without an attempt to substitute others in their place. It seems to

* The only probability, I conceive, of our ever understanding the great scheme of the creation, must depend on studying the method in which the organs and properties of natural beings vary. All true knowledge of Natural History hinges on this,—"Ordinis hæc virtus erit et venus."—Horse Ent., p. 458.

† Mr. Macleay, with every appearance of reason, views this difference as rather nominal than real.—See Linn. Trans., xiv., p. 46.

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have been forgotten by these gentlemen, that science is founded upon facts, and upon a cautious process of inductive and analogical reasoning drawn from those facts: it has nothing to do with speculative opinion or with metaphysical reasoning. The full knowledge of the Natural System, or of the plan which OMNIPOTENCE pursued in Creation, none but a madman or an enthusiast can ever hope to attain. But I have yet to learn why we are to withhold that title from a system which endeavours to reconcile all the appearances of Nature, and to explain some part of her laws. A natural system in Botany is advocated and adopted as such, without any one venturing to question the correctness of the epithet; but, in Zoology, it seems to be thought presumptuous to talk of the Natural System; because, as it is urged, that system, in all its bearings, can never be understood. As well may we call the Solar System an artificial arrangement of the heavenly bodies. As well may we maintain there are no natural laws in Chemistry, since all the properties of inorganic matter have not, nor ever will be, discovered. The structure and economy of an animal are as incontestable matters of fact as the presence of any substance in the mineral world, and both are equally legitimate instruments of reasoning. Until, therefore, we come to the determination of rejecting that which is known, from a consideration of that which is unknown, I must continue to esteem the Horæ Entomologicæ as the first and the most comprehensive developement of the Natural System that has been given to the world. The theory which it explains may be in parts detective, and in others erroneous, but it has been pronounced by a most distinguished Naturalist, who even suspects its entire accuracy, to be "the most consistent of any yet advanced, since it reconciles facts, which, upon no other plan, can be reconciled*." Now, unless these facts are fully and clearly explained by some other theory, and new harmonies of creation brought to light, all the general reasoning or metaphysical disputation that can be urged against it has, in my estimation, nothing to do with the question at issue.

I have stated thus much, not from any desire to uphold such parts

* Kirby. Introd. to Entom, iv., p. 359.

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of the Horæ Entomologicæ as are the result of synthetical investigation, still less to maintain the theory of quinary divisions, which I now venture, in part, to dispute, but to express my deep sense of the profound sagacity of that mind which first demonstrated the existence of circular affinities, and first drew a just and philosophic distinction between analogy and affinity. I have done this, because it seems to me that the reputation of this naturalist, like that of Linnæus, has suffered more from the zeal of his disciples than from the arguments of his opponents, and because I must ever feel grateful to one whose philosophic deductions first drew my attention to these inquiries. As for the rest, "we may all possibly be wrong in part, or even in much of our respective details; but however this may be, it is difficult not to believe that we are grasping at some great truth, which a short lapse of time will perhaps develope in all its beauty, and at length place in the possession of every observer of of nature*."

Convinced that a zoological system which aimed at illustrating the general laws of creation was that only which deserved to be called Natural, it was in the year 1824 that I endeavoured to apply the circular and quinarian theory to a family group in Ornithology†, determined on ascertaining how far it would illustrate certain affinities and analogies, which to me, at least, appeared unquestionable. I soon found, however, that although this theory would explain much that I desired, it would not explain all; and the publication of a quinarian arrangement of this same family, nearly at the same time, but essentially different from my own‡, showed me the necessity of looking much deeper into the subject. Convinced that truth, if it was to be discovered, would only result from minute and patient analysis, I entirely abandoned the synthetic method, as the rock upon which others were splitting; while the mutual dependence of one natural group upon another, led almost insensibly from the analysis of the Laniadæ, to that of the vast order of INSESSORES§, or perching birds. Eight years have

* Macleay, Linn. Trans., xiv., p. 63.

† An Inquiry into the Natural Affinities of the Laniadæ, Zool. Journ., i., p. 289, Oct. 1824.

‡ Linn. Trans., xiv., p. 436.

§ I have adopted this name, because, upon the whole, it is the most expressive of any yet given to this order. But it should not have been concealed that the merit of having first united the Passeres and the Picæ belongs to M. Vieillot, and not to the writer in the Linnæan Transactions. So far back as the year 1816, M. Vieillot named this order Sylvicolæ. See his Analyse Orn., p. 25.

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now been devoted, almost unceasingly, to this investigation; and although I have found it impossible in every instance to enter into details, I now venture to lay the results before the world, considering that a more appropriate channel for such communication could not be chosen than this: being the first zoological work ever published under the immediate authority of the British Government.

The object of the introductory observations to each family of the order INSESSORES, is to demonstrate the following peculiarities in natural arrangement. These I shall briefly state as propositions.

1. Every natural series of beings, in its progress from a given point, either actually returns, or evinces a tendency to return, again to that point, thereby forming a Circle.

2. The The contents of such a Circle or Group are symbolically represented by the contents of all other Circles in the same class of animals; this resemblance being strong or remote, in proportion to the proximity or the distance of the groups compared.

3. The primary divisions of every natural Group, of whatsoever extent or value, are THREE, each of which forms its own Circle.

1. Little need be said on the first proposition, since it is in complete accordance with the theory supported by MM. Macleay, Fries, Agardh, Oken, &c. I have merely modified it for the purpose of showing that, strictly speaking, every group is not a circle, since in many which, by the theory of representation, can be proved to be natural, the circle is incomplete, either by the extinction or by the non-discovery of certain types. The aberrant group of the class Aves, of the order Raptores, and of the family of Picidæ, are all striking examples of this truth.

2. This, which may be termed the theory of representation, was

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first promulgated in the Horæ Entomologicæ, where it has been extensively applied, and the author has shown its existence both in some of the highest and in one of the lowest groups of vertebrated animals: yet nowhere can I perceive that it has been declared—what I think it to be—the only certain test of a natural group. Circles may be, and have been, formed with such a deceitful appearance of following nature, that the most eminent and the most cautious have been led into a belief that they were strictly natural. If such a group is thought to be complete or perfect, it is very well to say, put each of its divisions to the test of returning into itself*, and the fallacy will be discovered; but among groups of a certain value, genera and sub-families more particularly, there is not one in three that can be so tested. This inability partly arises from our superficial acquaintance with forms, and partly, as we believe, from there being many real gaps in the chain of continuity. Without, therefore, some other test for a natural group, than the mere circumstance of its returning into itself, or even its simple parallelism with a contiguous group, I consider demonstration not to have been attained. The theory of representation thus steps in, and at once dispels the illusion, or demonstrates the correctness of the series. In the sub-families of Myotherinæ and Parianæ, I have endeavoured to exemplify this principle of the natural system in all its bearings.

3. The results that have attended my analysis of every natural group hitherto investigated, lead me to differ in the onset from all who have adopted the quinarian system. And so far as regards the order of Insessores among birds, I have endeavoured to shew that the primary circles of each group are invariably THREE. These I have denominated—i. The typical; ii. The sub-typical; and iii. The aberrant. Mr. Macleay, on the contrary, considers that every group is first resolvable into five minor groups, two of which he terms normal, and the other three aberrant. I know not why this talented writer should have chosen to have used this latter mode of division, which is binary, and but ill calculated, as it appears to me, to express his own definition of a natural group. Neither he, nor M. Fries,

* Mr. Macleay's Letter to Dr. Fleming, p. 33.


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admit a group to be natural which does not form a circle more or less complete. How far the central group of M. Fries will agree with this definition, I am not botanist enough to determine; but the normal group of Mr. Macleay unquestionably does not, since he himself tells us that it forms not one circle but two*. The first division, therefore, of every group into two, although useful perhaps in some respects, is clearly artificial.

The aberrant group, as being that which more immediately connects one circle to another, comprehends, from necessity, a greater variety of forms than are generally to be met with in the two others. The union of all these aberrant forms into a circle of their own, is a principle of natural arrangement which has hitherto been undiscovered, and which has therefore claimed, in the following pages, most particular attention. This union, however, must be kept perfectly distinct from that property which was long ago suspected to exist in opposite points of a circle, and of which instances have been given†. These examples, illustrating Mr. Macleay's meaning, appear to me, as they do to him, mere relations of analogy; since, if the suspicion of their affinity had been just, we should have had a union of one typical and two aberrant groups; a mode of combination which, to me at least, Nature has in no instance exhibited.

As to the relative rank of the three primary divisions, some difference of opinion may arise; for the truth is, that the principles by which the value of zoological groups are regulated have not been sufficiently investigated. Two groups may be of equal rank, and still be vastly disproportionate in their contents. No one, for instance, would think of pronouncing the class of birds a superior group to that of quadrupeds, merely because the contents of the first, in comparison to the second, are as six to one. Number cannot decide the question; and therefore, as natural groups like these may be equivalent in rank without being so in extent, we are left no other

* "M. Fries lays it down as a rule, that he admits no groups whatever to be natural unless they form circles more or less complete. Let us then apply this rule to what he terms his central group, and which he makes always to consist of two. Does this form a circle? If not, the group cannot be natural according to his own definition."—Macleay on certain general Laws, &c. Linn. Trans., xiv. 58.

† Horæ Ent., ii., p. 349.

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alternative than to consider the primary circles of every group as equal in rank and value.

But I wish not to attach too much importance to a term, or, in drawing up these tables of affinities, to depart more than is necessary from the usual mode of exhibiting circular groups. I have, therefore, in every instance, detailed the subordinate divisions of the aberrant groups, although, without this explanation, such a plan might convey an erroneous impression of their relative value.

I must now advert to another, and, in my estimation, an unquestionable property of natural arrangement: this is, the direct union of typical groups, without the intervention of those which are aberrant. A vague suspicion of something like this first occurred to me when studying the affinities of the Laniadæ, in the year 1824*. This property, however, belongs but to very few groups, since it has only been detected in such as are pre-eminently abundant in species, and are not of a higher rank than families. Beyond such groups, the higher we ascend, the more dissimilar are the typical groups in approximating circles; until, in looking to a diagram of the vertebrated animals, (such, for instance, as that in the Horæ Ent., p. 318,) not only does all appearance of affinity between the external or typical divisions vanish, but it becomes even difficult, in some instances, to trace their analogy. These inferior typical groups, indeed, may be said to have three distinct relations of affinity: one to that which precedes it; another to that by which it is followed; and a third which unites it to a group out of its own proper circle. The two first, on this account, may be termed internal; the latter, external. This, however, is a question so abstruse, and requires such nicety of investigation, that, for the present, I should rather, perhaps, put it as a query, than consider it as a demonstrated fact. At the same time, I must confess my utter inability to reconcile, by any other theory, the evident and universally acknowledged affinity between the Thamnophilinæ and the Myotherinæ; between the Merulinæ and the Philomelinæ; and more especially between the typical Setophagæ and the typical Sylvicolæ.

* Zool. Journ., i. p. 302.

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Unless these affinities, which I have fully detailed, can be disproved or explained by some other mode of reasoning, it seems to me impossible to arrive at any other conclusion*.

Such are the principles of natural arrangement discoverable by analysis, which more or less pervade the entire order of Perching Birds. Aware that they are, in a great measure, opposed to every theory yet started upon the subject, I have been anxious to establish them by facts which are incontrovertible, and by arguments founded not merely upon structure, but upon every circumstance, even the most trivial, that is yet known of the economy of the birds themselves. It is with these facts, and with these inferences, that such naturalists as wish to establish other conclusions must deal.

It cannot be too often repeated, that science has nothing to do with mere opinions, or with abstract reasoning. Authentic facts and just inferences, the former capable of being verified, and the latter founded exclusively upon analysis, and in unison with some general harmony of creation, are the only arguments which will possess any permanent influence.

The truth or the fallacy of these opinions must therefore entirely repose upon the proofs here adduced; for although similar results have attended the investigation of other departments of nature, these results have not yet been laid before the public in detail†, and conse-

* Recent investigations in another department of Zoology, more abundant in forms and species than that of the class AVES, lead me strongly to suspect the existence of another property in natural groups, which at present I shall merely state as an hypothesis. It is the union of the most aberrant group in one circle, with the most aberrant in the next; so that in a diagram of the Order INSESSORES, formed either on Mr. Macleay's plan of five circles, or of mine upon three, one circle would unite all the Tenuirostral types, another the Fissirostral and Scansorial, and a third the typical and sub-typical. The whole would thus be represented by three great circles, one within the other, and this without the least derangement of the series here exhibited. It must, however, be premised, that this principle cannot be clearly traced in Ornithology, because the Tenuirostral or Grallatorial groups are remarkably deficient in their numerical contents. In Entomology, the very reverse of this appears to be the case; and it is there, if my suspicions are well founded, that it may probably be detected.

† The essential characters of several of the groups in Conchology, slightly mentioned in the two volumes of 'Zoological Illustrations,' new series, now in course of publication, depend upon the same laws. I may also be allowed to cite, in corroboration of the theory now advanced, "The principles which appear to regulate the geographic distribution of man and of animals," as detailed in the 'Encyclopedia of Geography,' p. 245—266, the proofs sheets of which are now before me. So far as concerns the variation of MAN, I feel all the confidence that can result from being supported by such philosophers as CUVIER and BLUMENBACH. On this point the theory is theirs, not mine. (July 1831.)

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quently possess as yet no claim to corroborative evidence. Seeing, nevertheless, that the longest life is insufficient to analyse more than an insignificant portion of Nature's works, and that centuries, probably, may elapse before the true arrangement of all known animals, by such a mode of investigation, can be detected, the mind may be allowed to take a wider range; and, presuming that a system regulating such an important and comprehensive class of the animal kingdom would necessarily pervade all nature, let us briefly consider the subject under this light, divested of metaphysical definitions.

1. The true nature of Matter has never yet, and probably never will be, clearly understood. Philosophers, however, distinguish two divisions, to which they give the names of ponderable and imponderable; while electricity, which, from its peculiar phenomena, cannot be comprised under either, is still conceived by some to form a third.

2. As ponderosity is that quality of matter by which it is most distinguished from Time and Space*, from Light and Heat, so we may esteem it the typical peculiarity of Matter.

3. Ponderable matter, in common language, is termed a body, and of such bodies we know only of three sorts—i. Animals; ii. Vegetables; and iii. Minerals—the two first being organic, the latter inorganic.

The general sense of mankind, from the earliest ages to the present time, has concurred in considering all the substances composing our globe as belonging to one or other of these three divisions or kingdoms. This conclusion, indeed, is so natural, and appears to me so just, that it seems almost needless to uphold its propriety. It has been insisted, however*, that the primary division of matter is into organic and inorganic†. Now, to use this distinction†: in common

* See Horæ Ent., 179.

†Horse Ent., p. 175.

‡'Who does not see that I was here hinting at the quinary division of matter as much as if I had expressed it tabularly thus?
Normal Group, Organic. 1. Animals. 2. Vegetables.
Aberrant Group, Inorganic. 3.* * * 4. * * * 5. * * *
—Macleay's Letter to Dr. Fleming, p. 10.
Mr. Macleay, however, upon a former occasion, observes, with more justice,4 'We have two natural, but I fear somewhat arbitrary, divisions of matter into organic and inorganic. No person denies the existence of this division in nature, still less is the use of it to be despised.'—Horæ Ent. And again, 'Matter, whether organised or in a brute state, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral, is very little if at all different in itself.'—Horæ Ent., p. 188.

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language is perfectly unobjectionable. But I must confess my inability to discover upon what valid grounds it can be adopted in natural classification. The most extraordinary result of this division of matter is the exclusion of the mineral kingdom; a kingdom, moreover, which has recently been so ably studied, that its circular affinities would appear to have been demonstrated*. It has been urged, indeed (Horæ Ent., p. 175), as a reason for excluding mineralogy from the true department of natural history, that its laws depend upon chemistry; but I do not see the force of this objection, and I have already stated an objection to this binary division of a group, as being inconsistent with the theory that all natural groups are circular.

4. In what way the mineral kingdom may be connected on one side to the vegetable, and on the other to the animal, has never been precisely stated. Yet there are many circumstances, among which the microscopic observations of Robert Brown are not the least interesting, which shew, that this affinity is highly probable, while the union of the two great divisions of organised matter, strictly so termed, the animal and the vegetable, is incontestible.

5. In the Vegetable, or subtypical kingdom, botanists have long ago distinguished three great divisions, namely Monocotyledones, Dicoty-ledones, and Acotyledones; but the circular affinities of these groups have received no attention.

6. In the Animal kingdom, which is unquestionably the typical perfection of matter, the penetration of that distinguished zoologist, whose name I have so often quoted, has detected an undeniable tendency to a circle. "It must, however, be remembered, that M. Virey, one of the most eminent zoologists of France, assuming the nervous system for his basis, long since divided the animal kingdom, without assigning names to them, into three sub-kingdoms†," while many

* 'M. Ampère, as great a mathematician as chemist, has published a Classification Naturelle pour les corps simples, and proved that "les corps sont tellement coordonnés l'un a l'autre, qu'ils ne forment non plus une série mais un cercle."'—Macleay's Letter, p. 21.

† Kirby, Int. to Ent., iv. 362. I regret not being better acquainted with M. Virey's theory. Mr. Kirby, whose words I quote, refers to 'N. Dict. d'Hist. Nat.,' ii. p. 25.

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reasons might be adduced in favour of the supposition, that the three aberrant divisions of Mr. Macleay (Acrita, Mollusca, and Radiata) unite and form a circle of their own.

7. Limiting our attention to the sub-kingdom Vertebrata, who does not perceive that the fishes make as near an approach to the aquatic serpents as to the aquatic quadrupeds? or that the Reptilia (Macl.) do not evince a much greater tendency to unite with the fishes than with the birds? Between these last and the reptiles, the hiatus is not only wide, but vast. Yet the similarity which some of the water-serpents bear to the eel-like fishes is so strong, that a cursory observer would not detect the two classes. A single genus, in fact, would be sufficient to render the union perfect.

8. Finally, looking to the aberrant group of the class Aves, it might be expected that I should shew in what manner they are united. I shall not, however, at present attempt to do this. Not only is it highly probable that several important forms among the Natatores are extinct or undiscovered*, but I consider the circular arrangement of the Rasores, as proposed in the Linnæan Transactions, to be completely artificial.

From these considerations it appears highly probable, that the same principles which regulate the natural arrangement of the Insessorial birds, are prevalent in all the higher groups of nature.

9. The most comprehensive view which the human mind can ever obtain of that sublime Plan which has emanated from OMNIPOTENCE, must, in every branch of science, be partial and imperfect†. From such a Being nothing can emanate but what is replete with order and harmony, with design and instruction. Of this the holy records of HIS word assure us, and the works of HIS hand proclaim the solemn truth. "The instruction of man," says a learned and pious naturalist, "was best secured by placing before him a book of emblems or symbols, in

* Since the above was written, I find that two extraordinary genera, which seem to disturb all the systems, as partaking both of the nature of the Natatores and the Rasores, have been discovered in South America. They have been just described by my learned and estimable friends, MM. Isidore Geoff. Saint-Hilaire and Lesson, under the generic names of Attagis and Thinocorus. These forms I have not yet seen.

† See also Annul. Jav., Pref., xii.

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which one thing might represent another. If he was informed by his Creator that the works of creation constituted such a book, by the right interpretation of which he might arrive at spiritual verities as well as natural knowledge, curiosity and the desire of information concerning these high and important subjects would stimulate him to the study of the mystic volume placed before him, in the progress of which he would doubtless be assisted by that DIVINE guidance which even now is with those who honestly seek the truth. Both divines and philosophers have embraced this opinion, which is built upon the word of GOD itself*."

10. All that we can know with certainty on the nature of this ALMIGHTY BEING must be gathered from the inspired volume. We are there expressly told that the GODHEAD is THREE-FOLD, yet ONE AND UNDIVIDED. If to awaken, to strengthen, or to increase our faith in this high mystery, the ALMIGHTY condescended to employ other means and other helps for our conviction, we can conceive no other so intelligible to human reason, as that this great truth should be proclaimed by the wonders of creation. These instruments of "spiritual verities," as they have prophetically been termed†, surround us on every side;—they are within our grasp—they speak to our perceptions. Let us not then believe, that the power of discerning such spiritual truths by these their material symbols has been withheld from us, even in this our fallen state. Let us rather, with humble thankfulness, adore that GOD, who, to increase our faith in his word, enables us to discern, however dimly, in earthly things, the shadows of such as are heavenly. Sw.

Tittenhanger Green, St. Alban's,

* Kirby, Int. to Ent., iv. 402.

† The most natural and consistent interpretation of 1 Cor. xiii. 12. Bλεπομεν γαρ αρτιδι' εσοπτρου εν αινιγματι, is, that "we see now as it were in a mirror the glory of God reflected enigmatically by the things that he has made."—Kirby, Int. to Ent., p. 402, note.

[page lvii]




THAT the principles of natural arrangement explained and developed in this volume may not be blended with extraneous topics, I shall now advert to such others as seem to require notice.

In the first place, I feel that some apology is due both to His Majesty's Government and to the Public at large, for the tardiness with which this Volume has followed the first. Whatever blame may be attached to this delay, must fall exclusively upon myself, as Dr. Richardson's portion has long been prepared. But my desire repeatedly to revise the groups, and submit their contents to many and diversified tests, not even alluded to in the subsequent details, has occupied no inconsiderable portion of two years; while impaired health, and the necessity of prosecuting literary engagements previously made, have all contributed to retard the publication.

As I have found it necessary, in the body of the work, to introduce many new groups, and allude to others denned in the Appendix, it seems necessary to explain the views that have regulated this proceeding.

It has been urged, in defence of modern genera, that, even in a system confessedly artificial, they are of great use, both in assisting the discrimination of forms, and abridging the labour of the student in his search after species. Granted. But this principle, like every other, may be carried too far. The authors and advocates of artificial systems, having no definite or acknowledged rule to regulate their groups, are at full liberty to make as many genera or sub-genera as they please; and so long as these divisions are capable of clear and


[page] lviii

concise definition, they answer the ends proposed; namely, clearness of arrangement, brevity of description, and facility in finding species. But the human mind is ever prone to extremes, and the passion for dividing and subdividing, and giving names, may become as great an evil as that which led the followers of Linnæus to deprecate all division, and to view with abhorrence the slightest attempt to break up the old groups. Now the point at which these artificial genera and sub-genera should stop is, where they can be no longer defined with reference to the end proposed; that is, when their peculiarities are so slight that they cannot be pointed out in a clear and comprehensive manner. When, to make them intelligible, it becomes necessary to draw up long and perplexing characters, the very object of their makers is defeated. No clearness is gained, no facilities of research afforded; the student is bewildered, and the experienced naturalist consumes more time in reading over and comparing these generic chapters, than would enable him to glance his eye over twenty good specific characters. The tedious and intolerable length of such definitions, it must be confessed, is inevitable; for their authors, not being acquainted with the principle of variation in their group, are obliged to specify all its characters; whereas, if the group was a natural one, and its true distinctions had been studied, its essential characters, as we shall repeatedly exemplify, might be expressed in two or three fines. Fortunately, the only group in Ornithology which has apparently suffered from this evil is that of the Falconidæ. In Entomology, however, its pernicious consequences are nowhere so conspicuous as in the recent works upon British Insects: where the generic characters, for the most part, are so complicated and prolix as to occupy half a page.

To show that this passion for genus making among us has reached a point bordering upon the ridiculous, I need only state a fact, asserted by one who seems not to be conscious of following in the same track, "that the Musca putris of Linné has actually been converted into three species, belonging to two genera*."

* Stevens, Catalogue of British Insects, Pref., p. xiii.

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If anything is calculated to invest Natural History with a repulsive aspect, and to hide all the enticing charms of the science, it is assuredly this mode of encumbering it with learned names and prolix definitions. The only merits of artificial systems are in pointing out differences, and in abridging labour; when they do this, they are not only useful, but, in our present state of knowledge, absolutely essential. To combine them, however, with the natural system, is as hopeless as it is impossible. Mr. Macleay, who in this department is a host, has justly said, "It is the evil of half-artificial systems, that while they are at utter variance with natural affinities, they do not even answer the humble purposes of a catalogue*."

But no such latitude of making groups is allowed to the follower of the natural system. His decisions are regulated by certain rules, to which, as he finds them capable of definition, he is compelled to adhere. If he understands his genus, he knows that that genus, theoretically speaking, contains certain types of form, or sub-genera, indicated by two or three nice but discriminating characters; and to these sub-genera he either gives patronymic names, as in the case of Scarabæus (Horæ, Ent., p. 497), or he designates them by numbers, as in Phanæs (Ib., p. 124). If he adopts the former plan, he must, from necessity, considerably augment the nomenclature of the science; but if, on the other hand, he chooses the latter, he must, to be consistent, reject all sub-generic names throughout Zoology. Now it so happens that many of these sub-genera have been named long ago, and are so strikingly marked that zoologists have mistaken them for genera: hence, if the plan of naming them was suddenly relinquished, more confusion than perspicuity would ensue. We must, therefore, at least for the present, follow the first plan, since to retain a patronymic name to one of the types in a generic group, and withhold it from another, would introduce an inconsistency and confusion in nomenclature perfectly intolerable.

In designating the higher groups, I have not considered it expedient to invent names for the purpose of showing the equivalent value of

* Annulosa Javanica, p. 36.

h 2

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the typical, the sub-typical, and the aberrant. The merit of first uniting the Rasores, the Grallatores, and the Natatores into the aberrant division of the class AVES, belongs to one no less ennobled by birth than by philosophic knowledge. To CHARLES LUCIEN BONAPARTE, PRINCE OF MUSIGNANO, not only the eyes of America but of Europe may be turned, as to one who seems destined by Nature to confer imperishable benefits on this noble science.

The family names, according to general custom, terminate in idæ. No authority can be quoted for these names, since they have been used by many, in opposite senses, without having been defined*. The names of the sub-families terminate in inæ, or occasionally in anæ.

In the progress of the work through the press, much new information has been acquired†, but I am happy to say without occasioning any other alteration in my views than such as regard the sub-genera of the genus Linaria, which seems to enter that of Coccothraustes by means of the Green Linnet (Loxia chloris, L.). Coccothraustes melanura, vespertina, &c., thus constitute the Fissirostral type of this sub-family, and preserve more closely its analogy to Bombycilla.

The assistance I have received in this arduous undertaking has been so important that, notwithstanding the possession of one of the largest ornithological museums in Britain, I question much whether it could have been prosecuted without the united support of men of science, of learning, and of liberality.

My first and greatest thanks are due to M. le BARON CUVIER, and to M. GEOFFROY SAINT-HILAIRE, to whom the nature of my object in visiting the French Museum was made known, and from whom I received facilities for studying, rarely granted either to foreigners or

* On this point I shall, upon all occasions, act upon the following determination of the author of the "Annulosa Javanica," "protesting" with him "against the slovenly mode lately adopted by some naturalists," both in England and on the Continent, of publishing names without definitions—"In these pages all names of mere catalogues, &c., shall be as much overlooked as if they never had existed." Macleay, Ann. Jav., p. 10.

† The opinion expressed at p. 173, that our Cinclus Americanus was different from the Cinclus Pallasi, has been fully confirmed by a specimen of the latter bird sent from Nepaul, and now in the possession of Mr. Gould. It perfectly agrees with the description given by M. Temminck.

[page] lxi

to natives. Nothing redounds more to the honour of scientific institutions than to see them superintended by such men, not only great and illustrious by their own discoveries, but despising all those national or petty feelings of jealousy which influence narrow minds.

To the politeness of M. ISIDORE GEOFFROY SAINT-HILAIRE I have elsewhere alluded*. Nor must I omit, in this place, to assure my friend M. LESSON of the grateful recollections I shall ever entertain of his kindness, not only during my residence in Paris, but since my return. To him am I indebted, among other interesting birds, for the Fissirostral type of the Motacillinæ, which has fully confirmed all I ventured to express at pp. 203 and 230.

Nor has our own NATIONAL MUSEUM proved an unproductive field for research. Rich in the Ornithology of the Northern regions, it has furnished much valuable information, and the means of determining several new species. Whatever reasons there might have been for censuring the general management of this institution, they have, we believe, long ceased to exist. The magnificence of the new rooms devoted to Zoology; the sedulous care bestowed upon every donation; its immediate accessibility; but, above all, the free and courteous manner in which its treasures are gratuitously opened to the public and to the man of science, demands the highest praise. Let but the Government second the zeal of its officers, and the public lend their aid by the contribution of specimens, and in a few years, the BRITISH MUSEUM will reflect honour upon a powerful and wealthy nation. To J. G. CHILDREN, Esq., as the Officer more particularly in charge of the Zoological subjects, my thanks are especially due, not merely for the courteous discharge of his official duty, but for all those prompt and nameless facilities which a scientific student stands so much in need of.

In the Ornithological productions of our Eastern Empire, the Museum of the HONOURABLE EAST INDIA COMPANY is without parallel. To this also I have had free and unrestrained access; and this gratification has been rendered doubly agreeable by the kindness and

* Zoological Illustrations, new Series, vol. i. pl. S.

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liberality of Dr. HORSFIELD, under whose able superintendence the whole is placed.

I have great pleasure in offering my best thanks to the Council of the LINNÆAN SOCIETY, who, with their usual liberality and love for science, gave me free permission to make use of their noble collection of Australian Birds. Many errors in their descriptions* have been thus detected, and the geographic range of several groups, confounded with those of America, have been better ascertained.

I feel bound also to return my acknowledgments to the Council of the ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY for their well-intentioned permission to make use of their Museum in Bruton-street; although, from the peculiar wording of the order, and the subsequent prohibition by its officers of taking notes, this permission, for all effectual purposes, was rendered nugatory. The work, however, will not, I trust, suffer much from this. Dr. Richardson has had free access to the northern species; and the Museum, rich only in the ornithology of Java and Sumatra, will bear no comparison, even in those productions, with the collections made by MM. Duvaucel and Diard, now in Paris; all of which, by the liberality of MM. Cuvier and Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, I have minutely examined.

Sir W. JARDINE, Bart., and P. J. SELBY, Esq., the able authors of the "Illustrations of Ornithology," have both materially contributed to assist these researches, by transmitting to me, from time to time, all new or dubious forms which have come to their respective museums. When it is remembered that these gentlemen are themselves engaged in publishing ornithological novelties, such disinterestedness demands an especial and grateful acknowledgment.

To that enterprising traveller and accomplished naturalist, WILLIAM J. BURCHELL, Esq., the public expression of my thanks cannot be here omitted. His vast collections, formed in the interior of Southern Africa, have been at all times open to me; and it was here that I became acquainted with the new Genus Chæetops, so peculiarly interesting as forming the Rasorial type of the Merulinæ, connecting that sub-family to the Crateropodinæ.

* Linn. Trans., xv.

[page] lxiii

Many other individuals have contributed their assistance in various ways towards this attempt at illustrating the natural system. A further enumeration might be tedious, but I cannot pass over the liberality experienced from Sir JAMES M'GREGOR in allowing numerous specimens from the Fort Pitt Museum at Chatham to be sent for examination.—The great instruction I have derived from a large collection of Mexican Birds in the possession of JOHN TAYLOR, Esq., the well-known Secretary of the Geological Society—and an inspection of the noble collection of drawings made under the superintendence of GENERAL HARDWICKE, during his Zoological researches in British India.

It is almost unnecessary to add how much I am indebted to the invaluable works of LE VAILLANT, WILSON, AZARA, and SONNINI, since their names will so frequently occur in the following pages. These men studied nature, unshackled by system, and they have thus rendered their works imperishable. Of this school, it is deeply to be lamented that nearly the only living member is my friend Mr. AUDUBON. I regret much that his instructive Ornithological Biography issued from the press nearly at the time this was terminated. It is replete with facts of the highest interest. From purely systematic writers, I have derived comparatively but little assistance.

Such have been the ample materials which I have now endeavoured to combine; with what success it is not for me to judge. If such parts of the great scheme of Nature as are already known have been better illustrated, or one step has been made towards the further developement of her first principles, my chief object has been attained. Sw.

[page lxiv]

[page] lxv


AUDUBON Birds of America, by John James Audubon. London, 1828, et seq.
Ornithological Biography, by John James Audubon, F.R.S., L.&E. Edinb. 1831.
BECHSTEIN Histoire Naturelle usuelle de l'Allemagne. 4 vol. Leipzig, 1801—1809.
BOIE' quoted from Temminck and Bonaparte.
BONAPARTE Catalogue of the Birds of the United States, by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Musignano. Read Nov. 7, 1826, pub. in the Maclurean Museum in 1827.
Synopsis of the Birds of the United States, by C. L. Bonaparte, &c. Read 1826. Published in the Annals of the Lyceum of New York, an. 1828.
American Ornithology, by C. L. Bonaparte, &c. Vol. I. II. and III. An. 1825—1828.
BREHM Matériaux pour l'Histoire des Oiseaux, par Chrestien Louis Brehm. Neustadt. 1820—22.
BRISSON Ornithologie, par Mathurin Jacques Brisson. 6 vol. Paris, 1770.
BRUNNICH Ornithologia Borealis, Auctore M. T. Brunnich.
BUFFON Planches enluminées des Oiseaux, par Daubenton le Jeune.
COOPER Description of a new species of Grosbeak inhabiting the North Western Territory, by William Cooper. Read January, 1825. Annals of the Lyceum of New York, vol. I. p. 220. An. 1824, 1825.
DOUGLAS Observations on the Vultur Californianus of Shaw, by David Douglas, F. L. S. Zoological Journal, 1829.
Observations on some species of Tetrao and Ortyx, natives of North America, by David Douglas, F. R. S. Read December, 1828. Linnean Transactions, vol. XVI. pp. 1—133. An. 1829.
DUMERIL Traite Elementaire d'Histoire Naturelle, par Constant Dumeril. 4to. Paris. 1830.
HOOKER Botanical Miscellany, by Will. Jackson Hooker, LL.D., &c. Lond. 1828, et seq.
HORSFIELD and VIGORS A Description of Australian Birds in the Collection of the Linnean Society, by N. A. Vigors, Esq., and Thomas Horsfield, M.D. Read June 21, 1825, and Jan., 1826. Linnean Transactions, vol. XV. p. 170. An. 1826.
ILLIGER Prodromus Systematis Mammalium et Avium, Caroli Illigeri. Berolini, 1811.
KOCH quoted by Wagler.
LATHAM A General Synopsis of Birds with two Supplements, by John Latham, M.D. Lond. 8 vols. 4to. An. 1781—1802.
Index Ornithologicus studio Joannis Latham. 1790. Suppl. 1801.
General History of Birds. 10 vol. 4to. An. 1821—1824.
LEACH Catalogue of the British Museum. MSS. quoted by authors.
LEISSLER quoted from Bonaparte.
LESSON Manuel d'Ornithologie, par R. P. Lesson. Paris, 1828.
LEWIN Birds of New Holland. Thin folio. Lond. 1822.
MACGILLIVRAY On the different species of Larus, by William Macgrillivray, A.M. Read January, 1824. Wernerian Transactions, V., p. 247. An. 1824.

[page] lxvi

MERREM Avium rariorum et minus cognitorum Icones et Descriptiones auetore Blaisè Merrem. 4to. Leipzig, 1786.
MEYER Taschenbuch. Quoted from Temminck.
MONTAGU Ornithological Dictionary, by George Montagu, F. L. S. 3 vols. 1802—1813.
ORD Editor of the 9th vol. of Wilson's Ornithology, and also of a new edition of that work.
RAY Synopsis Methodica Avium et Piscium, auctore J. Ray. London, 1713.
SABINE (JOS.) Account of a new Species of Gull, by Joseph Sabine, F. R. S., &c. Read Dec. 1818. Linnean Transactions, vol. XII. An. 1818.
SABINE (Capt. ED.) Memoir on the Birds of Greenland, by Captain Edward Sabine, F. R. S. Read April, 1819. Linnean Transactions, XII. An. 1818.
SAVIGNY Memoires sur les Oiseaux de l'Egypte, par Jules Csesar Savigny. Quoted from Temminck.
SAY Zoological Notices in Long's Expedition to the Rocky Mountains. Vide vol. I. Faun. Bor. Am. p. xii.
Ornithological Notices in a Narrative of an Expedition to the source of St. Peter's River, by Major Stephen H. Long. London, 1825.
SELBY Illustrations of Ornithology. Part I. Land Birds. Edinb. 1 vol. 8vo. 1825.
SHAW Naturalist's Miscellany, by George Shaw, M.D. London, 1789, et seq.
SONNINI Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux, par Buffon. Ed. Sonnini. 28 vol. 8vo. Paris,. An. xii.
STEPHENS Shaw's General Zoology, continued by J. F. Stephens. 1826, &c.
SWAINSON Synopsis of Mexican Birds. Philosophical Magazine, No. XV., for June, 1827.
Zoological Illustrations. First Series. 3 vol. 8vo. 1S20—1823.
———Second Series, 16 numbers, now in course of publication.
Observations on the Order Passeres, by William Swainson. Esq. In vol. VIII. of Cuvier's Animal Kingdom, translated by Griffith.
Monograph of the Tyrant Shrikes of America, in the Journal of the Royal Institution, No. XL.
TEMMINCK Manuel d'Ornithologie, précéde de l'Analyse, &c, par C. J. Temminck. Amst. 2 vols. 2me ed. An. 1820.
Planches colorièes des Oiseaux, par C. J. Temminck et M. Meifran de Laugier. A Paris.
VAILLANT Histoire. Naturelle des Oiseaux d'Afrique. 6 vols. 4to. 1799, et suiv.
Histoire des Oiseaux de l'Amèrique Septentrionales par L. P. Vieillot. Paris, 1807.
Galerie des Oiseaux. 4to.
Analyse d'Ornithologie Elementaire. Paris, 1816.
Nouveau Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle. Ency. Méthodique, art. Ornithologie. 3 vol. 4to.
VIGORS Birds of Cuba. Zool. Journ., Dec. 1827.
WAGLER Species Avium.
WILSON American Ornithology, by Alexander Wilson. 9 vols. An. 1808—1814. Philadelphia.
WILSON (J.) Illustrations of Zoology, by James Wilson, F. R. S. E. Edinburgh.

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[1.] 1. SARCORAMPHUS CALIFORNIANUS. (Vigors.) Californian Vulture.

GENUS. Sarcoramphus. DUMERIL.
Vultur Californianus. SHAW. Nat. Mis., ix., pl. 301.
Californian Vulture. LATH. Syn. Suppl, ii, p. 3.
Vultur Californianus. IDEM. Ind. Suppl., p 2.
Buzzard. LEWIS & CLARK. Journ., &c, iii., p. 48, No. 4.
Cathartes Vulturinus. TEMM. Pl col. 31.
Cathartes Californianus. BONAP. Syn., p. 22.
Sarcoramphus Californianus. VIG. Zool. Journ., ii., p. 375.
Vultur Californianus. DOUGLAS. Zool. Journ., iv., January, 1829, p. 328.

THIS great Vulture is an inhabitant of the shores of the Pacific, and was first introduced to the notice of naturalists by Mr. Menzies, who brought a specimen from California, and deposited it in the British Museum. It has not been discovered to the eastward of the Rocky Mountains, and I can, consequently, make no addition to its history from personal observation; but Mr. David Douglas has given an interesting account of the habits of the species in the Zoological Journal, from which the following notices are extracted. He represents it as a common bird in the woody districts of California, which he met with in the summer as far north as the forty-ninth degree of latitude; but nowhere so abundantly as in the valley of the Columbia, between the Grand Rapids and the sea. "They build," he says, "in the most secret and impenetrable parts of the pine forests, invariably selecting the loftiest trees that overhang the precipices on the deepest


[page] 2

and least accessible parts of the mountain valleys. The nest is large, composed of strong thorny twigs and grass, in every way similar to the nests of the eagle tribe, but more slovenly constructed. The same pair resort for several years to the same nest, bestowing little trouble or attention in repairing it. They lay two nearly spherical jet-black eggs, about the size of those of a goose. They hatch generally about the first of June, and the period of incubation is twenty-nine or thirty-one days. The young are covered with thick whitish down, and are incapable of leaving the nest until the fifth or sixth week. Their food is carrion, or dead fish: in no instance will they attack any living animal, unless it be wounded and unable to walk. Their senses of smelling* and seeing are remarkably keen. In searching for prey, they soar to a great altitude, and on discovering a wounded deer, or other animal, they follow its track until it sinks, when they descend precipitately on their object. Although only one bird may be at first in possession of the carcass, few minutes elapse before the prey is surrounded by great numbers, and it is then devoured to a skeleton within an hour, even should it be one of the larger animals, a stag, for instance, or a horse. Their voracity is almost insatiable, and they are extremely ungenerous, suffering no other animal to approach them while feeding. After eating they become so sluggish and indolent, as to remain in the same place until urged by hunger to go in quest of another repast. At such times, they perch on decayed trees, with their heads so much retracted, as to be with difficulty observed through the long, loose, lanceolate feathers of the collar. The wings, at the same time, hang down over the feet. This position they invariably preserve in dewy mornings, or after rains. Except after eating, or while guarding their nest, they are so excessively wary, that the hunter can scarcely ever approach sufficiently near even for buck-shot to take effect on them, the fulness of the plumage affording them a double chance of escaping uninjured. Their flight is slow, steady, and particularly graceful, gliding along with scarcely any apparent motion of the wings, the tips of which are curved upwards in flying. They are seen in greatest numbers, and soar highest, before hurricanes or thunder-storms. Their quills are used by the hunters as tubes for tobacco-pipes."


Of male and female specimens shot by Mr. Douglas, in lat. 45½° N., and now in the Museum of the Zoological Society.

The sexes are alike in plumage, but the female is a size larger.

COLOUR of the plumage in general brownish-black. On the back and lesser wing-coverts the feathers have narrow margins of pale umber-brown. A white band crosses the wing on

* Mr. Audubon, in a highly interesting paper published in the Edin. Ph. Journal, states, that the Vultures are entirely guided by sight, and not by smell, in the discovery of their food.

[page] 3

the tips of the greater coverts. The tail is black to the extremity. The feathers clothing the lower part of the neck, and those on the breast, have each a narrow, pale, shining streak along its shaft, which contributes to give them a more pointed appearance. There is a white longitudinal band on the flank, and a broader one, opposite to it, on the lining of the wing, that includes the whole of the greater inner coverts. Thighs black. Bill glossy yellow. "Irides pale red, and the pupils light green." A triangular space, between the nostrils and crown of the head, is rather thinly clothed with short black hairy feathers; and there are also a few feathers on the lores, but the rest of the head and neck is covered with smooth naked skin, which, on the former, "has a deep orange colour, and on the latter a brownish-yellow, with bluish changeable tints." Legs bluish-black.

FORM, &c.—The head is small, scarcely exceeding the neck in diameter. The bill is three inches and a half long; the ridge of the upper mandible is straight, and is produced to its hooked tip, nearly in the same line with the flattish crown of the head; its cutting margin is undulated, there being an obtuse lobe immediately anterior to the cere; and another smaller one, but equally well marked, on the horny part of the mandible. The line of union of the point of the bill with the cere, is deeply indented, the former sending an angular process backwards towards each nostril. The angle of the mouth does not extend quite so far back as the orbit. The nostrils, of an oblong-oval form, are longitudinal, with a slight degree of obliquity, and are situated rather nearer the ridge of the mandible than to its cutting margin. The auditory opening is semi-oval and naked. The feathers on the base of the neck have lengthened lanceolate tips, and those immediately adjoining the naked skin stand out, so as to form a kind of ruff, from which there is a gradual transition to the smooth-lying plumage of the breast. All these feathers have detached flexible barbs, their tips alone being more compact. The naked skin extends down to the crop on the forepart of the neck, but it is not so conspicuous below as in the Black Vulture (Cathartes atratus), being nearly concealed by the ruff just mentioned. The folded wings reach a little beyond the tail; the third quill feather is the longest. The tail is even, and consists of fourteen feathers, which are rounded at the ends. The tarsi are naked, and are protected anteriorly by large oblong transverse scales, or scutelli. The toes are long and slender, and are scutellated above, nearly their whole length. The middle one is the longest, and it is connected to the lateral ones at the base by webs. The hind toe is short. The nails are short, and slightly curved.


Copied from Mr. Douglas.

Length 56
Circumference of the body 40
Length of the beak
Circumference of the head 9
Length of the neck 11
Circumference of the neck 9
Length of the body 24
Extent between the tips of the wings, (9 ft. 8 in.) 116
Length of the tarsus
„ of the tail 15


Of the larger specimen when mounted.

Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 48
„ of the tail 16
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 3
Length of the bill, following its curve from tip to nostrils 3

B 2

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[2.] 1. CATHARTES AURA. (Illiger.) Turkey-Vulture.

GENUS. Cathartes. ILLIGER.
Turkey-Vulture, or Turkey-Buzzard. (Vultur aura.) WILSON, ix., p. 96, pl. 75, f. 1.
Cathartes Aura. ILLIGER. Prod., p 236. BONAP. Syn., p. 22.
Wannah-kœoo (Bald-head). CREE INDIANS.

Wilson informs us, that in the northern and middle sections of the United States, the Turkey-Vultures are partially migratory, the greater part retiring south on the approach of cold weather; but that considerable numbers remain all winter as far north as New Jersey. They breed, he says, in the month of May, among the secluded swamps of that State; the female laying two or four eggs of a soiled-white colour, splashed all over with chocolate mingled with blackish touches, particularly towards the great end. The place selected for the nest is generally the decayed stump of a tree; the male watches while the female sits; and, if not disturbed, they will occupy the same breeding-place for several years. The young are clothed with a whitish down, and have the habit, when handled, of vomiting the offensive contents of their stomachs upon their incautious disturber. The Turkey-Vulture is said to be an occasional visitant of Nova Scotia, and Lewis and Clark observed it on the banks of the Columbia*. In the interior of the continent, however, its summer migrations reach a considerably higher latitude than they do either on the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, owing, probably, to the greater warmth of the summer in the inland districts more speedily producing the necessary putrefaction in the animal substances on which it feeds. Following the direction of the Prairie Lands lying on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, it reaches the banks of the Saskatchewan, in the fifty-third parallel of latitude, late in the month of June, after the arrival of most of

* The following is an extract of a letter from Mr. David Douglas:—
"The Vultur Aura, or Common Turkey-Buzzard, is an exceedingly rare bird on the North-west coast of America. The few that I saw were on the low plains of the Multnomah, in the autumn and winter of 1826. Apparently it dispears at all other seasons; and, consequently, can be regarded as merely a bird of passage in that country. Lewis and Clark more than once mention this bird in their narrative; but, great as their authority ought to be respecting this common bird of the United States, I am induced to think that they mistook the Vultur Alratus for it as the latter is one of the most common birds west of the mountains On the low marshy islands of the Columbia, a solitary Vultur Aura is sometimes seen shunning and shunned by all others of his kindred. The Black Vulture, though a smaller bird, is bolder, masters the Turkey-Buzzard, and drives him away from the carrion. These two birds are assuredly distinct species, not varieties, as some have supposed. In Upper Canada, near Sandwich and Lake St. Clair, in 1823, I saw vast numbers of the V. Aura, and had every opportunity of watching their habits, to say nothing of the evident differences in their size and colour, and their dissimilar modes of nesting."—D. D.

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the other summer birds. In the southern districts, where the Turkey Vultures are permanent residents, they are gregarious, roost in flocks, and are often seen in companies, soaring to an immense height; but on the banks of the Saskatchewan seldom more than one pair are seen at a time; and they were described to me as being in the habit of sailing along with great rapidity, in undulated lines, under the high banks of the river. I quitted that part of the country too early in the season to have an opportunity of seeing them; but the species has been identified by a specimen from thence preserved in the Museum of the Hudson's Bay Company.

The food of the Turkey Vulture is carrion, which it discovers from a great distance; and, when it has an opportunity, it will gorge itself to such a degree, as to be incapable of rising. It seldom or never attacks living animals, and is highly beneficial to the districts it frequents, by removing putrid substances.


Of the Specimen in the Hudson's Bay Museum.

COLOUR, brownish-black, deepest on the neck, breast, belly, and between the scapularies. There are some purplish reflexions on the dorsal aspect, with a considerable degree of metallic lustre. The scapularies, secondaries, and greater and lesser wing-coverts, have paler margins. The quill feathers are brownish-black, with light umber-brown shafts; underneath they are lead-coloured. The tail is blacker. The naked parts of the head and neck are reddish, the legs are flesh-coloured, and the claws have a dark horn-colour.

FORM, &c.—The bill measures, from the angle of the mouth, two inches and a quarter, and is moderately thick and straight from its base to beyond its middle. The upper mandible is covered by cere for more than half its length, and its ridge is slightly arched; its horny point, an inch long, swells out a little, and has a more decided curvature; the cutting margin is undulated, the hook which terminates it is rather small. The under mandible has a deep spout-shaped cavity for the lodgment of its grooved tongue, and its tip is rounded. The nostrils, large, oval, naked, and pervious, are longitudinal, and placed nearer to the ridge of the mandible than to its cutting edge*. The wrinkled skin of the head and upper part of the neck is thinly clothed with short black hairs, mixed, on the upper aspect, with down of the same colour. The plumage of the lower part of the neck is full and compact, like that of the back, the feathers being rounded and closely tiled, not pointed and forming a ruff, as in the Californian Vulture; and the line of junction of the naked skin directly encircles the neck; while, in the Black Vulture, it descends obliquely in front. The crop is naked and wrinkled, but is concealed by the plumage of the neck swelling over it.

The tips of the folded wings reach to the end of the tail; the third and fourth quill feathers are the longest; the second and fifth are half an inch shorter; and the first is shorter than

* The Egyptian Vulture has a more slender bill, with an even cutting margin, and oblong transverse nostrils. The Black Vulture has a bill of an intermediate form, between that of the Turkey Vulture and Egyptian species.

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the sixth, but considerably longer than the seventh. The inner webs of the first four quill feathers are narrowed or sinuated from near their middles; and the outer webs, from the second to the fifth inclusive, are also narrowed. The tail is rounded, the exterior feathers being an inch and a half shorter than the middle ones. The tarsi are naked, strong, and not very long, and are covered with small rounded convex scales. The toes are long, particularly the middle one, which is covered above to the base by transverse shield-shaped scales; the first phalanx of the outer toe is reticulated; the lateral toes are nearly equal to each other in length, and more than an inch shorter than the middle one, to the first phalanx of which they are connected by webs, the outer web being most conspicuous. The posterior toe is more slender and shorter than any of the anterior ones. The nails are moderately strong, short, and slightly curved.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the paint of the hill to the end of the tail 31 0
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 2 3
„ of the bill, measured along its ridge 2 6
„ of the horny tip of the bill 1 0
„ of the long diameter of the nostrils 0 6
„ from the anterior margin of the orbit, to the tip of the bill, in a straight line 2 2
Length of the longest quill feather 17 0
„ of the tarsus 2 6
„ of the middle toe and its claw 3 3
„ of the claw alone 0 9
„ of the hind-toe and claw 1 2

[3.] 2. CATHARTES ATRATUS. (Nobis.) Black Vulture.

GENUS. Cathartes. ILLIGER.
Black Vulture, or Carrion Crow (Vultur Atratus). WILSON, ix., p. 104, pl. 75, fig. 2.
Cathartes lota*. BONAPARTE, Syn. p. 22, sp. 5.
L'Urubu. (Sub-genus, Les Percnoptères.) CUVIER. Regn. An., i., p. 317.
Carrion Crow. UNITED STATES.

I did not meet with this bird, nor have I seen specimens of it brought from the districts to which this work is confined; but it is introduced here on the authority of Mr. David Douglas, who says,—"Throughout the whole of the country that I visited to the west of the Rocky Mountains, the Black Vulture was, I might say, daily seen. In the upper countries around Spokan, Oakanagan, and on Lewis and Clark's River, the plains of the Multnomah, and at Puget Sound, near camps or Indian villages, on the banks of rivers abounding with fish, or in

* We have not considered it expedient to apply to this bird the specific name of Iota, given by Mollina to a Black Vulture of Chili. In the first place, there is no evidence to prove that it is the same as the Turkey-Buzzard of North America; and secondly, it must be remembered that the work of this author was "fait de mémoire en Italie, et fort suspect en plusieurs endroits." (CUVIER, Reg. An., iv., p. 143.) Sw.

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places where deer are numerous, this bird is common*." Mr. Ord informs us, that "the Black Vultures are indolent, and may be observed in companies, loitering for hours together in one place. They do not associate with the Turkey Vultures, and are much darker in their plumage; their mode of flight also varies from that of the latter. The Black Vulture flaps its wings five or six times rapidly, then sails with them extended nearly horizontally; the Turkey Buzzard seldom flaps its wings, and when sailing they form an angle, with the body upwards. The latter, though found in the vicinity of towns, rarely ventures within them, and then always appearing cautious of the near approach of any one. It is not so impatient of cold as the former, and is likewise less lazy. The Black Vulture on the ground hops along very awkwardly; the Turkey Buzzard, though seemingly inactive, hops along with an even gait. The latter, unless pressed by hunger, will not eat of a carcass until it becomes putrid; the former is not so fastidious, but devours animal food without distinction."—"The Black Vulture builds its nest in the large trees of low wet swamps, to which places they retire every evening to rest."


From Wilson's American Ornithology.

"The Black Vulture is twenty-six inches in length, and four feet four inches in extent. The bill is two inches and a half long, of a dark horn-colour for near an inch; the remainder, the head, and a part of the neck, are covered with a black, wrinkled, caruncled skin, beset with short black hairs, and downy behind. Nostril an oblong slit. Irides reddish-hazel. The throat is dashed with yellow ochre. The general colour of the plumage is of a dull black, except the primaries, which are whitish on the inside, and have four of their broadened edges below of a drab, or dark cream colour, extending two inches, which is seen only when the wing is unfolded; the shafts of the feathers white on both sides. The wings, when folded, are about the length of the tail, the fifth feather being the longest; the secondaries are two inches shorter than the tail, which is slightly forked, the exterior feathers three-quarters of an inch longer than the rest. The legs are limy, three inches and a half in length, and, with the feet, are thick and strong; the middle toe is four inches long, side toe two inches, and considerably webbed; inner toe rather the shortest; claws strong, but not sharp, like those of the Falco genus; middle claw three-quarters of an inch long. The stomach is not lined with hair, as reported. When opened, this bird smells strongly of musk."

* See Note, p. 4.

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In contemplating the diurnal birds of prey, arranged by Linnæus under the genus Falco, we can be at no loss to discover the two typical forms in the Toothed-billed Falcons and the Sparrow-hawks. Their peculiarities did not escape the notice even of the earliest systematic writers, and the moderns have only confirmed the justness of the distinction. But, with regard to the remaining groups, much diversity of opinion still exists; not, indeed, as regards the leading divisions, for here likewise the ancients had long ago anticipated our distinctions between the Eagles, Kites, and Buzzards. It is not, therefore, to these groups, taken per se, that any doubts can attach on their respective peculiarities, but rather as to their relative rank with those that are considered typical. These doubts can only be solved by analysis. Were our national or public museums sufficiently rich in species of this family, to allow of this being done, we might hope to gain just conceptions of nature; but such materials are not at present within the reach of our ornithologists. Indeed, so lamentably deficient are our sources of information on this head, "that, of near three hundred described species, not a sixth part is to be consulted in the national repository of this kingdom*." In such a state of things, it is obvious that all attempts to characterize the minor types of form, or to detect the true series of natural affinities, must be viewed with great caution, and lie open to much objection, particularly when opposed to other opinions, founded upon an intimate acquaintance with forms, not in our museums. But if our ideas on the characters and value of the different groups, and on their natural combinations, are, from necessity, so imperfect, still more hazardous is it to attempt the location of species from the mere descriptions and figures to be found in books. We may, indeed, make some approximation to truth, by thus bringing together species which, in many cases, are obviously allied; but the situation of by far the greater portion must be problematical: and, unless we distinctly state how far we have been guided by actual examination, and how far by mere supposition, the reader who wishes to know upon what points he may place reliance, and upon what he may safely doubt, is left completely in the dark.

It is from an attentive consideration of these difficulties, that we have been

* Zool. Journ., i., p. 311.

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induced to dissent from several modern writers in our opinions upon this family. That the various forms of which it is composed, exhibit, as a whole, a circular succession of affinities, has been sufficiently proved; but the true series of the secondary groups, among themselves, has not yet been made out. The reason is obvious:—the British school of naturalists, as before stated, want the means, while those of the continent (possessing, in their superb museums, the greatest advantages) have not the inclination to undertake the enquiry. Yet our inability to state in what way the Falcons or Hawks form their own respective circles, cannot militate against the belief, that such is their true distribution. It remains, therefore, to be considered, whether there is presumptive evidence to believe that the three remaining divisions, namely, the Buzzards, Kites, and Eagles, form one circular group, independent of their affinity to the two former. The true Buzzards, of which the Vulgaris and the Lagopus may probably be types, are slender, long-winged birds; the bill is small, short, and considerably curved: in this structure they agree with the true Falcons, yet they are well known to be distinguished from them, by wanting the toothed-bill, and by the shortness and graduated abbreviation of the exterior quill-feathers. Now, if Nature had proceeded in a simple course, from the Buzzards to the Falcons, we should have had birds uniting the distinctions of both, variously modified. Both these groups being composed, in their typical examples, of slender long-winged birds, with short bills, any species exhibiting the reverse of such characters, and intervening between the two forms, would certainly appear anomalous, on the supposition of a simple series of affinities being aimed at. Yet, that such birds are to be found, even among the few that we are subsequently to notice, is unquestionable. Let us, then, take the Buteo borealis, which, as being more allied to the Falcons than to the Kites, may be considered an intervening form between the Buteo vulgaris and Falco. We here see a large-sized, heavy bird, with shortened wings, not reaching to more than half the length of the tail; while the elongated bill, unlike either that of Buteo or Falco, obviously assimilates to that lengthened form which belongs to the Eagles. Now, upon the supposition that a bird so constructed is intended to fill up the interval between Buteo and Falco, and at the same time to unite the former with the Eagles, the singularity of its structure is no longer surprising: but if we consider it with a simple reference to the passage between Buteo and Falco, we are almost tempted to suspect that, in this instance, a real saltus has been made. While upon this subject, we may cite an acute observation made by Prince C. Buonaparte, that "the Borealis is almost as much an Astur of the first section, as a Buteo;" a


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proof, at least, that its affinities to Astur and to the aberrant Eagles adjoining that group, have not escaped observation. Our idea, that the Buzzards are truly united to the Eagles, is still further strengthened by the Buteo pterocles, TEMM., of which a fine series of specimens, from Mexico, has been submitted to our inspection by John Taylor, Esq., F.R.S., &c. In this species, the wings, as in Butto, are remarkably long, but the bill is so considerably lengthened, that were we to judge alone from this member, we should have no scruple in placing the bird among the Aquilæ. On the other hand, it must be remembered, that as every group, from the highest to the lowest denomination, when perfect, contains a representation of the other four, united to a form peculiar to itself; so we might naturally expect that one division of the Buzzards would represent the true Eagles. To ascertain, therefore, whether the resemblances above stated are those of analogy, or of real affinity, recourse must be had to strict analysis. Now this, in our present state of knowledge, cannot be done, at least from the resources to be found in this country. We have thought it advisable to cite the above facts, drawn from the structure of the birds themselves, as likely to awaken the attention of ornithologists to a further investigation of the subject; they will, at least, show that our opinion on the unity of the three aberrant groups, is not entirely without foundation.

In regard to the relative value of the whole group, we consider it equivalent to that of Vultur or of Strix in its own order, and to the families composing the Rasores, Grallatores, and Natatores. We shall, therefore, in conformity with this impression, contemplate the five principal divisions as genera, arranging the subordinate forms, which have been by some naturalists elevated to that rank, as sub-genera;—an uniformity of nomenclature between groups of the same apparent rank will thus be preserved. But it is not this consideration alone which has influenced our decision. Diversified as are the forms among the Falconidæ, they are certainly not more so than what may be observed among the Trochilidæ. Both these families are so strongly marked, that the veriest tyro in the science can never mistake them; but the Falcons, from their imposing size, by which their peculiarities are rendered more apparent, have attracted more attention, and have been divided and subdivided, until one-half of the modern genera contain but a single species: while the Trochilidæ, exhibiting among themselves a much greater diversity of structure, have only lately been arranged under their primary groups*. If, then, we are to adopt, as genera, all the minor divisions that have been proposed

* Zool. Journ., iii., p. 357.

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among the Falconidæ, we should proceed upon the same principle of nomenclature with the Trochilidæ; and in place of limiting the generic distinctions of these latter birds to five, increase the number to twenty-five, as soon as the subordinate types have been detected. We believe that the warmest advocates for generic distinctions would protest against such a measure; and we feel assured that, by the great body of ornithologists, such an innovation would, on no account, be tolerated. It is unfortunate for those who, like ourselves, may be accused of proposing new genera, that in no one department in ornithology has this principle been pushed to such a point of refinement as among the Falconidæ; and as very many forms, equally deserving generic appellations, must be named and characterized, to render the nomenclature of this family consistent with the adoption of these genera, suspect that the reproach cast upon the modern school, of making every species a genus, would, in this instance at least, be not altogether unmerited.

In considering the five forms of the Falconidæ as genera, rather than as sub-families, we by no means insinuate that the minor distinctions which have been dwelt upon by several able ornithologists who have investigated this family, are either trivial, or that they deserve not to be brought immediately before us. On the contrary, we should recommend to others the plan which we ourselves adopt,—the minute examination of every change of structure, and the assembling together, in minor groups, such species as agree in certain peculiarities. Nay, further, we should proceed, in certain cases, even to impose a name upon such groups. But, in a family already so crowded by generic names, we consider it essential to preserve a distinction between groups of unequal value; and not to elevate subgenera, or forms of transition, to a rank they do not hold. Milvago, Polyborus, Daptrius, and Ibycter, are unquestionably of the latter description, each confined but to one species. We have another of the same natural group in our own cabinet, equally deserving a patronymic name. By regarding these as genera, each is made equivalent, for instance, to the whole genus of typical Falcons; whereas, by representing them as lesser variations, which in truth they are, the student immediately perceives that their station is subordinate.

A further advantage is gained by this principle of nomenclature: we shall be unshackled in characterizing those minor forms or groups which yet remain to be designated; while, by not bringing them forward to a prominent station in our arrangement, we shall assimilate our nomenclature more to the wishes and opinions of the majority of naturalists, without in the least sacrificing that minuteness and precision, which the student of nature can scarcely carry too far. Sw.

C 2

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[4.] 1. AQUILA CHRYSAËTOS? The Golden Eagle.

Golden Eagle. PENN. Arct. Zool., i., p. 225, No. 86.
White Eagle. IDEM, i, p. 229, No. 90.
Falco fulvus. LATH. Ind., i., p. 10, sp. 4.
Falco candidus. IDEM, i., p. 14, sp. 17.? variety.
The Calumet Eagle. LEWIS & CLARK. Journ., &c., iii, p. 55, No. 20.
Ring-tail Eagle. WILSON. Am. Orn. vii., p. 13. pl. 55, f. 1. Young.
Falco fulvus. TEMMINCK. i., p. 38. BUONAP. Syn., p. 24.
Live specimen in the ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS brought from the Rocky Mountains.
Eagle, No. 31. Hudson's Bay Company's Museum.

This powerful bird breeds in the recesses of the sub-alpine country which skirts the Rocky Mountains, and is seldom seen farther to the eastward. It is held by the aborigines of America, as it is by almost every other people, to be an emblem of might and courage; and the young Indian warrior glories in his eagle plume as the most honourable ornament with which he can adorn himself. Its feathers are attached to the calumets, or smoking pipes, used by the Indians in the celebration of their solemn festivals, which has obtained for it the name of the Calumet Eagle. Indeed, so highly are these ornaments prized, that a warrior will often exchange a valuable horse for the tail feathers of a single eagle*. The strength of vision of this bird must almost exceed conception, for it can discover its prey and pounce upon it from a height at which it is itself, with its expanded wings, scarcely visible to the human eye. When looking for its prey, it sails in large circles, with its tail spread out, but with little motion of its wings; and it often soars aloft in a spiral manner, its gyrations becoming gradually less and less perceptible, until it dwindles to a mere speck, and is at length entirely lost to the view. A story is current, on the plains of the Saskatchewan, of a half-breed Indian, who was vaunting his prowess before a band of his countrymen, and wishing to impress them with a belief of his supernatural powers. In the midst of his harangue an Eagle was observed suspended as it were in the air directly over his head, upon which, pointing aloft with his dagger, which glistened brightly in the sun, he called upon the royal bird to come down. To his own amazement, no less than to the consternation of the surrounding Indians, the Eagle seemed to obey

* Lewis and Clark inform us that the Ricaras Indians have domesticated the Eagle, in many instances, for the purpose of procuring its plumage.

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the charm, for instantly, shooting down with the velocity of an arrow, it impaled itself on the point of his weapon!

The Golden Eagle is said to build its nest on rocks or on very lofty trees, and to lay two, or more rarely three, eggs of a soiled-white colour. It preys chiefly on the young of the mountain sheep, fawns, hares, &c., and is scarcely ever observed to feed on carrion. The American Golden Eagle has seldom been separated by naturalists from the European one; but a nominal species has been assigned to both countries, under the name of the Ring-tail, which is, in fact, the young Golden Eagle, distinguished by the base of its tail being white until it reaches its third year. The Ring-tails, probably owing to their being less wary, are much oftener shot than the old birds, and I have not seen an American specimen of the latter, although Prince C. Buonaparte mentions his having obtained one from the Rocky Mountains along with several Ring-tails. Pennant and Latham, on the authority of Mr. Hutchins, mention this bird as an inhabitant of Hudson's Bay; but it is a very rare and casual visitant of the districts that were frequented by the Hudson's Bay fur-traders in Pennant's time, and Mr. Hutchins's manuscript Notices, to which I have had access, evidently refer to the F. leucocephalus. Even Pennant himself, who seems to have been Mr. Hutchins's guide in applying the scientific names to the Hudson's Bay birds, has figured a young Sea Eagle (F. albicilla) for the Golden Eagle in his British Zoology. The White Eagle* mentioned by Du Pratz in the History of Louisiana was probably a variety of the Golden Eagle, corresponding to the White Eagle† of the Swiss Alps noticed by Brisson.


Of a specimen, supposed to be under three years of age, shot by Mr. Drummond, in lat. 55°, on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, as it was in the act of pouncing upon a small dog.

COLOUR.—The head and neck are covered by slender pointed feathers, which are white at their bases, dusky-brown in their middles, and have yellowish-brown points. The general colour of the plumage on the dorsal aspect is dull liver-brown, without spots or shadings, except when some of the feathers are ruffled, and their white bases appear. The greater coverts and scapularies are of a more faded brown than the rest of the upper plumage, and the quill feathers are darker, approaching to blackish-brown. The base of the inner webs of the first six quill feathers are white; and on the seventh, eighth, and ninth, the white extends to both webs. The wing underneath is hair-brown, with an imperfect white band on the bases of the sixth and subsequent quill feathers. The tail is white at the base, blackish-brown towards the end, and narrowly tipped with white. The brown occupies less space on the two middle feathers, not exceeding one-sixth of their length, and is sprinkled with white. The outer feathers are

* PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p 97. Falco candidus. LATH. Ind., i, p. 15.

† Falco albus. GMELIN. Syst., p. 257. F. cygneus. LATH. Ind., i., p. 14.

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brown for one-third of their length, and the others have an intermediate quantity. The brown does not join the white in an even line across the tail, as in Wilson's figure, but runs into a peak along the shafts of the more exterior feathers; while in the central ones the reverse is the case, the white being prolonged, on the shaft, into the brown. There are some white feathers about the vent. Bill soiled bluish-grey. Cere yellow. Iris hair-brown. Feet yellowish. Claws black.

FORM, &c.—The bill, strong and much hooked at the point, is compressed, with its sides inclined so as to produce a narrow, but not acute, ridge. There is a very obtuse lobe on the cutting margin of the mandible, posterior to the commencement of the hook. The nostrils are small, of an oval form, and have a transverse direction. The space between the orbit and nostrils is covered with black hairs arranged in a radiated manner. The eyebrow is prominent and the crown of the head flattened. The wings are shorter than the tail. The fifth quill feather is the longest; the fourth nearly equals it; the third is equal to the sixth; the second is intermediate between the sixth and seventh; and the first is a little longer than the eighth, but considerably shorter than the seventh.* The first six have their inner webs suddenly, and their outer webs, with the exception of the first, obliquely sinuated. In the first feather the sinuation commences near the base, but in each succeeding one it is nearer the point, being, in the fourth, about the middle, and in the sixth near the tip. The tail is rounded. The tarsi are short and strong, and are closely covered to the root of the toes with short brownish-white feathers: the outer thigh feathers hang down to the soles of the feet. The toes are short, strong, and are protected above by three transverse large scales adjoining the claws, their bases being reticulated with small scales. The middle toe is the longest; the lateral ones are equal to each other and a little longer than the hind toe, which is the most robust. A short web connects the middle and outer toes. The claws are strong, much curved, grooved beneath, and sharp-pointed: the middle one has a deep, sharp-edged furrow on its inner side. The hind claw and the inner one are much larger than the other two.


Of the specimen before it was set up.

Inches. Lines.
Length from point of the bill to the end of the tail 42 0
Extent between the tips of the wings 66 0
Length of the tail
„ longest quill feather 22 0
„ bill from the angle of the mouth 2 8
Length of the bill along the curve of its ridge 2 3
„ tarsus 4 0
„ middle toe 3 5
„ hind claw 2 5
„ ditto, following its curvature 3 0
„ middle claw 1 6

The mature British F. chrysaëtos has a dark blackish-brown tail and wings, blackish-brown back, clouded with brownish-black, and a paler and brighter brown head. I have not seen an American one in this state.

* As might be expected in immature birds, differences in the relative lengths of the quill feathers are observable in the Ring tailed Eagles. In a specimen from the Rocky Mountains, in the Hudson's Bay Museum, the fourth quill feather is the longest, and the third and fifth nearly equal it, the remainder having the proportions of those mentioned in the text.

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GENUS. Aquila, ANTIQUORUM. Sub-genus. Haliætus. SAVIGNY.
White-tailed Eagle. (Aquila caudâ-albâ.) EDWARDS, pl. 1.
White-headed Eagle. PENN.* Arct. Zool., ii., p. 196, No. 89. Mature.
Falco leucocephalus. LATH. Ind., i., p. 11, sp. 5. Mature.
White-headed or Bald Eagle. (Falco leucocephalus.) WILSON, iv., p. 89, pl. 36. Adult.
Sea Eagle. (Falco ossifragus.) IDEM, vii., p. 16, pl. 55, f. 2. Young.
Falco leucocephalus. TEMM., i., p. 25. BUONAP. Syn., p. 26.
Meekeeshew. (Name for the species.) CREE INDIANS.
Wapustiquan-Meekeeshew. (White-headed E.) IDEM. Mature bird.
Appisk Meekeeshew. (Black-headed E.) IDEM. Immature.
Meekeeseeseesh. IDEM. Yearling birds.
Eagle, No. 23. HUDSON'S BAY MUSEUM. Old bird.
Eagle, No. 29. Loco CITATO. Young.

This vigorous and rapacious bird is the earliest of the summer visitors to the fur countries, and the period of its arrival has given the name of Meekeeshew eepeeshim, or Eagle moon, to the month of March. Temminck assigns for its habitual residence the regions within the Arctic Circle, and Wilson observes that it is found at all seasons in the countries it inhabits. Both these assertions, however, require, I apprehend, to be taken with considerable latitude. We did not, on the late expeditions, meet with it to the north of the Great Slave Lake (latitude 62° N.), although it is common, in the summer, in the country extending from thence to Lake Superior, and its breeding-places in the latter district are numerous. But in the month of October, when the rivers from which it draws its principal supply of food are frozen over, it entirely quits the Hudson's Bay lands; and if after that period it is to be seen in the northern regions, it can only be on the sea-coast and for a limited time while the sea continues unfrozen. It resides all the year in the United States, frequenting their whole extent of sea-coast and the shores of the large lakes and rivers; and it is known to breed as far south as Virginia, but its nests do not appear to be so common within any part of the United States as they are in the fur countries.

The favourite food of this bird is fish, caught alive; but it preys also on birds and the smaller quadrupeds; nor does it disdain at times to feed on carrion; and it has been known to attack a Vulture in the air, and, having caused it to disgorge

* Pennant, in his account of the Black Eagle of America, does not appear to have clearly distinguished between the Golden and Bald Eagles, and it is probable that his Black-cheeked Eagle may be referred also to the Bald Eagle. But the task of clearing away the difficulties attending these and many other synonymes that have reference to this bird seems to be as profitless as it is hopeless. Latham mentions the same species under the names of F. Americanus and melanætus.

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the nauseous contents of its craw, to snatch them up before they could reach the ground*. Like many of the Vultures, it has the custom, after a full meal, of sitting on its perch with its wings drooping down past its feet; and it often keeps its wings half open, with its breast turned to the breeze, as if to cool its skin heated by an abundant and stimulating repast. It takes the scaly objects of its pursuit by pouncing on them with its claws; and for this purpose it haunts rapids and cascades, where the fish, in the efforts they make to ascend the stream in the spawning season, are more exposed to its attacks. Its superior strength also enables it to turn the industry of the Osprey to account, by robbing it of its prey. The assaults it makes on this active bird are described with peculiar animation and a strong feeling of the beauties of Nature in the following extract from Wilson:—

"This distinguished bird, as he is the most beautiful of his tribe in this part of the world, and the adopted emblem of our country, is entitled to particular notice. He has long been known to naturalists, being common to both continents and occasionally met with from a very high northern latitude to the borders of the torrid zone. Formed by nature for braving the severest cold; feeding equally on the produce of the sea and of the land; possessing powers of flight capable of outstripping even the tempests themselves; unawed by any thing but man; and from the ethereal heights to which he soars looking abroad, at one glance, on an immeasurable expanse of forests, fields, lakes, and ocean, deep below him, he appears indifferent to the little localities of change of seasons, as in a few minutes he can pass from summer to winter, from the lower to the higher regions of the atmosphere, the abode of eternal cold, and from thence descend at will to the torrid or the arctic regions of the earth. He is, therefore, found at all seasons in the countries he inhabits, but prefers such places as have been mentioned above, from the great partiality he has for fish. In procuring these he displays in a singular manner the genius and energy of his character, which is fierce, contemplative, daring, and tyrannical,—attributes not exerted but on particular occasions, but, when put forth, overpowering all opposition. Elevated on the high dead limb of some gigantic tree, that commands a wide view of the neighbouring shore and ocean, he seems calmly to contemplate the motions of the various feathered tribes that pursue their busy avocations below: the snow-white Gulls, slowly winnowing the air; the busy Tringæ, coursing along the sands; trains of Ducks, streaming over the surface; silent and watchful Cranes, intent and wading; clamorous Crows, and all the winged multitudes that subsist by the bounty of this vast liquid magazine of nature.

* WILSON, iv., p. 89.

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"High over all these hovers one whose action instantly arrests all his attention. By his wide curvature of wing, and sudden suspension in the air, he knows him to be the Fish-hawk, settling over some devoted victim of the deep. His eye kindles at the sight, and balancing himself, with half-opened wings, on the branch, he watches the result. Down, rapid as an arrow from heaven, descends the object of his attention; the roar of its wings, reaching the ear as it disappears in the deep, making the surges foam around! At this moment the eager looks of the Eagle are all ardour; and, levelling his neck for flight, he sees the Fish-hawk once more emerge, struggling with his prey, and mounting in the air with screams of exultation. These are the signal for our hero, who, launching into the air, instantly gives chase, and soon gains on the Fish-hawk; each exerts his utmost to mount above the other, displaying in these rencontres the most sublime aërial evolutions. The unencumbered Eagle rapidly advances, and is just on the point of reaching his opponent, when, with a sudden scream, probably of despair and honest execration, the latter drops his fish; the Eagle, poising himself for a moment, as if to take a more certain aim, descends like a whirlwind, snatches it in his grasp ere it reaches the water, and bears his ill-gotten booty silently away to the woods."

This vivid and highly poetical passage may be contrasted with the prosaic, though didactic notice of the same bird, by a great political sage.

"For my own part," says Franklin, "I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of a bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly: you may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labour of the Fishing-hawk; and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him, and takes it from him. With all this injustice, he is never in good case, but, like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward; the little King-bird, not bigger than a Sparrow, attacks him boldly, and drives him out of the district. He is, therefore, by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America, who have driven all the King-birds from our country; though exactly fit for that order of knights whom the French call Chevaliers d'Industrie. I am, on this account, not displeased that the figure is not known as the Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey."

The White-headed Eagle builds a rude nest of sticks, coarsely lined with hay, on the ledge of some inaccessible rock, generally overhanging a rapid, or on the


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borders of a lake; or, in districts which do not afford a suitable cliff, it selects for the purpose a lofty, and for the most part a solitary tree. It lays one or two white eggs, and the male, according to the Indians, takes its turn with the female in the work of incubation. When the young ones are hatched, the industry with which the parents provide them with food is often attested by the air being tainted, to a considerable distance from the nest, by the smell of the fish that they are unable to consume. The period of incubation is over by the middle of May; but the young require the aid of their parents in procuring food until the month of September.

The Bald Eagle resembles the Golden Eagle in the form of its wings, that are obliquely truncated at the tips, the first feather being short, and the succeeding ones gradually increasing in length to the fourth or fifth, which are the longest; the remainder diminish successively, but less rapidly than the first ones increase. The wings are otherwise large and powerful, and their rounded form, though it may impair the rapidity of flight in a horizontal line, fits them better for soaring aloft in the atmosphere than the acutely-pointed wings of the true Falcons. The great size of the Eagles seems to render it necessary for them to watch their prey from a height at which they appear to be a mere speck when viewed from below, and they are accordingly endowed with an extraordinary acuteness of vision. So great is the similarity of the Bald Eagle to the Golden Eagle in certain states of plumage, that naturalists of no mean fame, as well as less instructed observers, have often mistaken the one for the other. The partially naked tarsi, however, of the Bald Eagle, with the sub-versatile outer toe entirely separated from the middle one, form ready marks of distinction, connected with its habit of seeking its prey in the waters; and there is also some difference in the form of their bills, that of the Bald Eagle being more rounded on its ridge, with its sides less inclined to each other. It is more difficult to find characters that will serve to distinguish this species from the nearly allied one of the Cinereous Eagle, or A. albicilla, of Europe. The pure white head and tail of the A. leucocephala are sufficient to characterize the old bird; but its young are so like those of the A. albicilla, that Temminck considers the only marked difference to be in the greater length of the tail of the former. On comparing the forms of the bills of living birds of each species, I could observe the margin of the upper mandible of the young A. leucocephala to be more nearly straight, there being only one very obtuse lobe adjoining to the hooked point, whilst in A. albicilla the margin was rendered more undulated by the presence of a second lobe posterior to the principal one. These differences were, however, very slight even in the birds that

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were compared, and may not be perceptible in all the individuals of the two species. The mature Bald Eagle is rather a smaller bird, and has in proportion a smaller head, than the Cinereous Eagle; its lores are more feathered; and it has a feeble cheeping cry like a hawk, different from the more decided scream of the latter Eagle. Temminck informs us that the Cinereous Eagle is proper to Europe, while the White-headed Eagle is common to the northern hemispheres of both the Old and New Worlds, although it occurs more abundantly in the latter.


Of a mature bird, killed at Hudson's Bay.

COLOUR of the head, greater part of the neck, and of the tail, including its upper and under coverts and the vent feathers, pure white. The back, wing coverts, breast, belly, and thighs, are brownish-black, the margins of the feathers being paler, approaching to a soiled wood-brown tint. The quill feathers are brownish-black, with paler shafts. Bill straw-yellow. Cere greenish-yellow. Irides wine-yellow. Tarsi yellow. Claws blackish-brown.

FORM, &c.—Bill three and a half inches long, and very strong, with a convex ridge curved in a regular arc from the cere to the tip. There is a very obtuse and slightly-prominent lobe on the cutting margin of the upper mandible, immediately beyond which the point of the bill droops abruptly to form its hook. The upper surface of the cere is flattened. The lores are clothed with short white hairs and feathers that project over the nostrils. The nostrils are large, oblong, with one softer margin, which moves as the bird respires; and they have an obliquely transverse direction. The eyebrow projects considerably, and the eye is turned obliquely forwards. The feathers on the head are triangular, and towards the base of the neck they become long and pointed. The tips of the folded wings reach to the middle of the tail. The quill feathers are acute: the fourth is the longest, the third nearly equals it; the fifth is about a quarter of an inch, and the second is more than an inch shorter than the fourth; the sixth is an inch shorter than the second, or an inch and three-quarters shorter than the fifth; while the first is three inches and a half shorter than the second, and just exceeds the seventh, which is two inches and a half shorter than the sixth. The outer webs of these feathers, from the second to the sixth inclusive, are strongly sinuated; and the inner webs, from the first to the fifth inclusive, are still more deeply and abruptly emarginated. The tail is rounded. The tarsi are feathered for more than half their length; their naked part is covered with small, rounded, convex scales at the base and behind, and is protected anteriorly next the feathers by five large transverse scales. The hind toe is short and strong, and is armed with a larger nail than the others. The inner fore toe is a little longer than the hind one, its claw being, however, somewhat smaller; the middle toe is considerably longer, but it is at the same time more slender and has a much smaller nail. The outer toe, though a little longer than the inner one, is the most slender and has the smallest nail of all. There are eight or ten large transverse shield-like scales on the middle toe, four on the hind and inner fore ones, and five on the outer one: all their bases are reticulated. The claws are strong, much curved, and acute; and the middle one has a sharp-edged groove on its inner side.

D 2

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Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 38 0
„ of the tail 14 0
„ of the longest quill feather 22 0
„ of the bill, measured on its ridge 3 6
„ „ from the angle of the mouth 3 6
Length of the cere on the ridge of the bill 0 8
Distance between the eye and the nostril 1 9
Length of the tarsus 3 3
„ hind claw in a straight line 1 6
„ ditto, following its curvature 2 3
„ middle toe 3 0
6 „ claw 1 3

A young bird, measuring also thirty-eight inches in length, had a black bill, and plumage mostly of a dull-brown, variegated with paler brown and some white. Its tail was blackish-brown, slightly mottled with white. It is said that these birds do not attain their perfect plumage, with a white head and tail, until they reach their fourth year.

[6.] 3. AQUILA (PANDION) HALIÆTA. The Osprey.

GENUS. Aquila. ANTIQUORUM. Sub-genus. Pandion. SAVIGNY.
Osprey, var. A. Carolina. LATH. Syn., i., p. 46, sp. 26. IDEM. Suppl., p. 13.
Osprey. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 199, No. 91. SELBY. Brit. Orn., i., p. 12, pl. 4.
Falco Haliæëtus γ LATH. Ind., i., p. 18, sp. 30.
Aquila Haliæëtus. MEYER. Tasch., i., p. 25.
Fish-hawk, or Osprey. (Falco Haliætus.) WILSON, v., p. 1, pl. 37.
Falco Haliætus. BUONAP. Syn., p. 26, No. 8.
Common Brown Fishing-eagle. HUDSON'S BAY RESIDENTS.
Eethin-neesew. CREE INDIANS.

This active and industrious fisher is well known in the fur countries as a frequenter of rapids and cascades during the summer season, particularly in rocky districts, in whose clear waters it can more readily discern its prey. It arrives in the months of March or April, and immediately commences building a new nest or re-occupies its old one, which is almost invariably on a tree, and is composed of long sticks, heaped on each other, and intermixed with large tufts of grass, roots, and other wrack, collected from the shores of the lakes. The choice that it makes of a breeding-place shows that it is not a distrustful bird, for it often places its nest near frequented paths and on a tree of very easy ascent. Wilson remarks that the purple grakles are permitted by this bird to build their nests amongst the interstices of the sticks of which its own is framed, where they hatch their young and live together in harmony. The same observation has been made

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in the interior of the fur countries. The Osprey lays two or three eggs of a pale cream-yellow colour, stained with blotches and spots of dull orange-brown. The young are hatched early in June, are upwards of two months old before they can fly, and are fed by the parent birds even after they quit the nest. Both young and old retire to the south in October. I did not ascertain the exact northern limits of the range of this species; but during our coasting voyage along the shores of the Arctic Sea we did not observe any kind of Eagle, and Hearne says that none of them breed in the barren grounds north of Churchill. It seems less capable of bearing cold than the Bald Eagle, as it quits the United States on the approach of winter. Pennant informs us that it is very frequent in Kamtschatka, and it is probably equally so on the Pacific coast of North America, thus extending its range from the coast of Labrador quite across the continent.

It lives almost exclusively on fish, which it takes alive, being very rarely observed to attack birds or quadrupeds, or to feed on carrion; Wilson remarks, that it never even picks up a fish which it happens to drop either on land or water. When looking out for its prey, it sails with great ease and elegance, in undulating and curved lines, at a considerable altitude above the water, from whence it precipitates itself upon its quarry and bears it off in its claws; or it not unfrequently, on the fish moving to too great a depth, stops suddenly in its descent, and hovers for a few seconds in the air, like a kite or a kestril, suspending itself in the same spot by a quick flapping of its wings; it then makes a second and, in general, unerring dart upon its prey, or regains the former altitude by an elegant spiral flight. It seizes the fish with its claws, sometimes scarcely appearing to dip its feet in the water, and at other times plunging entirely under the surface with force sufficient to throw up a considerable spray*. It emerges again, however, so speedily as to render it evident that it does not attack fish swimming at any great depth.

The versatility of the outer toe of the Osprey, the strength, curvature, and sharpness of its claws, and the roughness of the soles of its feet, are peculiarities of structure adapted to the better securing its slippery prey; and the shortness of its thigh feathers, unusual in the falcon tribe, is also evidently connected with its fishing habits. So firm is its hold, that it is said not unfrequently to perish by having the imprudence to fix its talons in a fish of such a size and strength as to be capable of dragging it suddenly under water. The superior strength of the

* Pennant informs us that its violent descent is compared by the Italians to the fall of lead into the water; hence they bestow on it the appellation of Auguista piumbina (leaden Eagle). "We never heard this name used, during six years' residence in Italy, and the words are not Italian." Sw.

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Sea Eagle enables it to profit by the greater industry of the Osprey (in the same way that the Boatswain (Lestris parasiticus) obtains its food from the Gulls), by pursuing it when heavily laden with a fish until it drops it, and then snatching up the prize before it reaches the water. In revenge, the Ospreys occasionally unite to drive the Eagle away from their haunts.


Of a male.

COLOUR.—The general colour on the dorsal aspect is liver-brown, the edges of the feathers being somewhat paler. The long and pointed feathers on the crown and hind head are white, with brown central spots. A dark-brown stripe includes the orbit and runs along the side of the neck to the shoulder. The quill feathers are brownish-black exteriorly, their inner vanes being whitish, barred with brown. The tail is dusky hair-brown, crossed by eight bars of dark liver-brown, the inner vanes of the feathers being barred alternately with dusky-brown and soiled brownish-white. The under surface of the body is white. Bill bluish-black. Cere bluish. Iris orange-coloured. Feet pale-blue.

FORM, &c.—Bill short and strong; the cutting margin of the upper mandible is straight to its hooked tip, with the exception of a slight angular projection near the corner of the mouth and an obscure lobe about its middle. The nostrils, oblong-oval, extend, with a slight degree of obliquity, nearly the whole length of the cere. The feathers of the forehead project so as almost to conceal the cere above, and the lores are covered by dark hairs and feathers. The wings, when folded, pass the tail about an inch. The second quill feather is the longest, the third is scarcely shorter, the fourth is half an inch shorter, and the first is an inch and a half shorter than the fourth, or about half an inch longer than the fifth*. All their inner webs are narrower towards their points, but the sinuations are abrupt and distinct only in the first three: the second, third, and fourth have their outer webs also sinuated. The tail is slightly rounded. The tarsi, which are strong and about two inches long, are feathered on the anterior surface only to the extent of half an inch below the joint: elsewhere they are covered by small rounded, subangular, tiled scales, of which the anterior ones are rather the largest. The toes are separated to their bases, and are, with their claws, nearly equal to each other in size, and shorter than the tarsi. The fore toes are protected above by three large transverse scales adjoining to the claws, succeeded by one or two pairs of smaller scales. Four large scales cover near the whole of the hind toe. All the claws are rounded beneath, the middle one alone having a nearly obsolete groove on its inner side; they are black, tapering, sharp-pointed, and much curved. The soles and under surface of the toes are rough, like small-grained shagreen†.

* In a fine adult specimen before us, just received from New Jersey, the third quill is a quarter of an inch longer than the second, the fourth one inch shorter than the third; but the first and fifth are precisely of the above proportions. Sw.

† Each scale, in fact, is a small prickle, terminating in an acute point, perceptible to the naked eye, but very remarkable when viewed under a common lens; they then present a miniature resemblance to the thorny processes on the backs of Skates and similarly formed fish. Sw.

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Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 24 0
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 6
„ of the bill measured along the curve of its ridge 2 0
Length of the longest quill feather 17 0
„ of the tarsus 2 0
„ of the middle toe 1 0
„ of each of the claws in a straight line 1 0
„ of ditto, following their curvature 1 7

The old female is about two inches longer than the male, has less white on the head, and some brown spots on the breast.

An immature bird differed from the preceding in all the wing coverts being tipped with rusty-white, in the feathers of the top of the head having large oblong brown marks in their centres, in the breast being spotted with brown rhomboidal marks, and in there being some brown spots on the flanks.

[7.] 1. FALCO PEREGRINUS. (Linn.) Peregrine Falcon.

Spotted Hawk. (Falco maculatus.) EDTVARDS, i., pl. 3. Male, from Hudson's Bay.
Black Hawk. (Falco niger.) IDEM, i., pl. 4. Female, from Hudson's Straits.
Peregrine Falcon. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 202, No. 97.
Falco Peregrinus. LATH. Ind., i., p. 38, sp. 72.
Great-footed Hawk. (Falco Peregrinus.) ORD. Wilson's Orn., ix., p. 120, pl. 76. Female.
Falco Peregrinus. SELBY. Brit. Orn., i., p. 37, pl. 15. RICHARDS. App. Parry's Sec. Voy., p. 342, No. 1. BUONAP. Syn., p. 27, No. 9.
Apeestæ-kæoo. (Little Eagle.) CREE INDIANS.

This bold and active bird is a typical species of the "True Falcons," or, as they have been termed on account of their docility, the "Noble Birds of Prey." They are characterised by a short, strong bill, which is curved from the base, and is armed on each side, near the point, with an acute tooth, that fits a notch in the lower mandible. The cere is very short, and the nostrils are small circular openings, with a slender round pillar in the centre. Their wings are long and pointed, the first and third quill feathers nearly equalling the second, which is the longest of all. Baron Cuvier ascribes to this form of the wings the difficulty which the Falcons experience in ascending vertically, and the consequent necessity they are under of making a very oblique ascent in calm weather, or of flying against the wind when they wish to rise in the atmosphere during a breeze. On the other

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hand, their length of wing fits them for a continuous flight, and enables them, when they have attained the weather gage, to shoot down on their prey with an almost unerring aim and the rapidity of lightning. Their tarsi are of medium length and are strong; and their toes, which are comparatively long, though sufficiently robust, are strengthened by a short membrane, which connects the first phalanges of the anterior ones, and is most conspicuous between the two outer ones. The claws are strong, sharp, and curved, and are well adapted to the mode in which these birds kill their prey, which is by a stroke of the foot. There are some prominent tubercles on the under surface of the toes, probably intended to act as cushions in preserving the toes in the proper degree of curvature when in the act of giving the stroke.

The European Peregrine Falcon, or, as it is termed provincially in England, the "Duck-hawk," "Haggard," or "Blue-backed Falcon," was held in high esteem as long as the art of falconry was cultivated, the female being most prized and employed against larger birds; while the male, from its being one-third smaller, was denominated a "tiercelet" or "tercel," and flown only at partridges and small game. The Peregrine is distinguished by ornithologists from the allied species, by the length of its wings, which, when folded, are as long as the tail; by its having the middle toe as long as the tarsus; and by its having a large black mark or whisker descending from under the eye, for an inch or more, along the side of the throat. In the young Peregrine this mark is less distinct, being made up of a number of spots; but it becomes darker and more conspicuous as the bird advances in age: whereas, in the closely resembling species, the Lanner, the whisker is narrow in the young bird, and vanishes entirely in the old one. It is only the first quill feather of the Peregrine that is strongly notched, near the point of the inner web. The European Hobby (F. sub-buteo) is an almost exact miniature resemblance of the Peregrine, which has not hitherto been found in America. The Peregrine being a rare bird in the wooded districts of the fur countries where the trading-posts are established, I did not procure a specimen on the late Expeditions; but I have frequently seen it whilst on the march across the barren grounds. Of the two specimens figured by Edwards, one was from Hudson's Bay, and the other was caught off the entrance of Hudson's Straits. Captain Parry likewise brought home several male and female specimens from the coast of Melville Peninsula, some of which are preserved in the British Museum. It is a summer visitor of the northern parts of America, and frequents the coast of Hudson's Bay and the Arctic Sea, with the barren grounds, but is very seldom seen in the interior. It preys habitually on the Long-tailed Ducks (Anas glacialis), which

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breed in great numbers in the Arctic regions, arriving in June and departing in September. Captain Parry observed it, in his second voyage, following flocks of the Snow Bunting on the coast of Greenland, near Cape Farewell. It frequents the shores of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the winter, and is celebrated there for the havoc it makes among the water-fowl. Mr. Ord states that the Ducks, which are struck by it, are lacerated from the neck to the rump: it gives the blow in passing, and returns to pick up its bird. Captain King appears to have found it at Port Famine, in the Straits of Magellan; so that it probably varies its hunting-ground with the season, from one extremity of the continent of America to the other. From the resemblance which the Peregrine has in voice and manners to the Ring-tailed Eagle (F. chrysaëtos), the Cree Indians distinguish it by the epithet of Apeestæ-kæoo, or Little Eagle.


Of an old male, from Melville Peninsula, lat. 68° N.

COLOUR of the head and shoulders blackish-brown, without spots. The wing coverts and scapularies are also blackish-brown, but there are two or three narrower bars of hair-brown on each feather. The quill feathers are blackish, with faded tips; their inner webs are marked with about twelve transverse oval brownish-white spots; and on their under surfaces there are many alternate bars of white and slate-colour, the former being the broadest. The tail coverts are lead-grey, crossed by arrow-pointed, or heart-shaped marks of blackish-brown. The tail is barred alternately with blackish-brown and slate-colour, the subterminal band of the former being much broader than any of the others; the bars are very distinct on its under surface, where they are hair-brown and white. Under surface. The black whisker is large and well defined. The throat and upper parts of the breast are white, without spots; the rest of the under parts are white, with large longitudinal blackish-brown spots on the flanks, and small transverse ones on the belly. The under tail coverts are crossed by distant narrow bars, and the thigh feathers are more closely barred. Bill greenish-blue. Cere and naked skin round the eye gamboge-yellow. Iris yellow. Legs yellow. Claws black.

FORM, &c.—Bill short and strong; upper mandible much curved, and armed with an acute tooth; lower mandible truncated at the tip, with a deep notch for the reception of the upper tooth. Nostrils round, with a central point. Space between the eye and bill covered with hair-like feathers. Eyebrow projecting; pupil large. When the wings are folded, their tips cross each other over the end of the tail. The second quill feather is the longest; the first is a quarter of an inch, and the third an inch shorter than the second; the fourth is nearly an inch shorter than the third; and the fifth and sixth are widely apart from each other, and from the fourth. The inner web of the first is strongly sinuated; the webs of the second and third are narrower towards their points, but present no abrupt sinuation: "Exterior edge of the tip of the secondaries scolloped." (Wilson.) Tail very slightly rounded. The tarsus, an inch and three-quarters long, is feathered half an inch below the joint anteriorly; the remainder,


[page] 26

and the bases of the toes, are reticulated. Part of the first phalanges, and all the other joints of the toes, are scutellated above. The middle toe is the longest; the lateral toes are next to it in length; and the hind toe is the shortest, but has the largest claw. The middle and outer toes are connected by a short membrane. The claws are strong, sharp, and much curved.


Of the male.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 14 0
„ of the bill, measured on the ridge 1 0
„ „ from the angle of the mouth 1
Length of the bill from the anterior margin of the orbit to its tip 1 3
„ of the tarsus 1 9
„ of the middle toe 2 2
„ of the middle claw 0 9

An old female, from the same locality, has the dorsal aspect more dull, and a buff-coloured breast, with some central dark streaks on the feathers. It is larger than the male.


Of the female.

Length (total) 18 0
„ of the tarsus 2 4
Length of the middle toe 2 2
„ of the middle claw 0 7

An immature bird, also from the same locality, has the feathers on the dorsal aspect narrowly bordered with a dull rust-colour, which, on the head, prevails over the blackish-brown. The tail is of a deep hair-brown, and is tipped with white, the outer webs being marked with seven round spots, and the inner ones with as many bars of a pale reddish-brown colour: there are no spots on the exterior web of the outer feather. The inner coverts of the wings, and under surface of the tail, are transversely barred with buff-colour. The whole ventral aspect is white, with a large oblong liver-brown mark in the centre of each feather. There are fewer spots on the throat, and more on the flanks, than elsewhere; but they are nearly of equal size on these parts and on the belly and thighs.


Of the young bird.

Length (total) 17 6
„ of the tarsus 1 9
Length of the middle toe 2 3
„ of the middle claw 0 9

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[8.] 2. FALCO ISLANDICUS. (Latham.) The Jerfalcon.

Ash-coloured Buzzard. (Buteo cinereus.) EDWARDS, pl. 53. Young, from Hudson's Bay.
Falco fuscus. FABRICIUS. Faun. Grænl., p. 56. Young.
Falco sacer. FORSTER. Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 383 and 423. Young, from Hudson's Bay.
Collared Falcon. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 222, sp. G. Mature.
Gyrfalcon. IDEM, ii., p. 221, sp. F. Immature. Brit. Zool., t. xix.
Iceland Falcon. IDEM. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 216, sp. D. Immature.
Sacre Falcon. IDEM, ii., p. 202, sp. 90. Immature.
Dusky Falcon. IDEM, ii., p. 220. E. Immature.
Falco Islandicus. LATH. Ind., p. 32, sp. 39. Mature.
Falco rusticolus. IDEM, p. 28, sp. 60. Mature.
Falco Gyrfalco. IDEM, p. 32, sp. 68. Immature.
Falco sacer. IDEM, p. 34, sp. 75. Immature.
Falco lagopus β. IDEM, p. 19, sp. 32 β. Yearling.
Falco obscurus. IDEM, p. 44, sp. 105. Immature.
Falco Islandicus. TEMMINCK, i., p. 17. SABINE, Lin. Tr., xii., p. 528.
Hierofalco candicans. CUVIER, Reg. An., i., p. 323.
Falco Islandicus. SELBY. Brit. Orn., i., p. 35, pl. 14.
Peepooneeshew, (Winter bird.) CREE INDIANS.

This very handsome Falcon differs from the Peregrine, in having a longer tail, shorter and stronger tarsi and toes, and somewhat less pointed wings; but it is in all respects a true Falcon, and one of the most courageous, though Baron Cuvier has considered it as the typical species of his sub-genus Hierofalco. The want of a tooth on the upper mandible, which he gives as the principal character of the sub-genus, seems to be merely an occasional variety; for many specimens, both European and North American, are preserved in the Hudson's Bay, British, and other Museums in London, which have as large and acute a tooth as the Peregrine, although it is generally a little nearer the point of the bill than in the latter bird. Indeed, the bill of the Jerfalcon differs from that of the Peregrine, not in the want of a tooth, but in the presence of a perceptible obtuse lobe near the middle of the mandible; whilst in the Peregrine there is only a very slight indication of such a lobe. There is a solitary specimen of a Jerfalcon in the British Museum, whose bill is destitute of a tooth, agreeing perfectly with Buffon's figure and Cuvier's description; but, in all other respects, that specimen has the same form and stature as those whose bills are toothed.

The Jerfalcon is a constant resident in the Hudson's Bay territories, where it is known by the name of the "Speckled Partridge Hawk," or by that of the "Winterer." It is not enumerated by Wilson or Buonaparte amongst the birds of the United States, and I am unable to state the exact southern limit of its

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range, though I have ascertained that it is occasionally seen as far south as latitude 52°. It is found northward to the coast of the Arctic Sea, and probably in the most northern Georgian Islands; it is a well-known inhabitant of Iceland, and was observed by Captain Sabine on the west coast of Greenland, as high as latitude 74°. It is likewise an inhabitant of the north of Europe.

We saw it often during our journeys over the "Barren Grounds," where its habitual prey is the Ptarmigan, but where it also destroys Plover, Ducks, and Geese. In the middle of June, 1821, a pair of these birds attacked me as I was climbing in the vicinity of their nest, which was built on a lofty precipice on the borders of Point Lake, in latitude 65½°. They flew in circles, uttering loud and harsh screams, and alternately stooping with such velocity, that their motion through the air produced a loud rushing noise; they struck their claws within an inch or two of my head. I endeavoured, by keeping the barrel of my gun close to my cheek, and suddenly elevating its muzzle when they were in the act of striking, to ascertain whether they had the power of instantaneously changing the direction of their rapid course, and found that they invariably rose above the obstacle with the quickness of thought, showing equal acuteness of vision and power of motion. Although their flight was much more rapid, they bore considerable resemblance to the Snowy Owl. At the period at which I saw them, the ground was still partially clothed with snow, and the lakes covered with ice; but the Jerfalcon, like the Strix nyctea of the same districts, is well calculated, from the whiteness of its plumage, for traversing a snowy waste, without alarming the birds on which it preys. As the Ptarmigan partially migrate southwards in the winter, some of the Jerfalcons follow them; but, from the young birds being much more common, about latitude 57°, than the mature ones, the latter probably keep nearer to their breeding-places in the more northern, rocky, barren ground districts all the year. When the Jerfalcon pounces down upon a flock of Ptarmigan, the latter endeavour to save themselves by diving instantly into the loose snow, and making their way beneath it to a considerable distance.


Of a mature bird (supposed to be a male) from Hudson's Bay, in Mr. Leadbeater's collection.

COLOUR.—White, with some clove-brown spots on the dorsal aspect. The head is entirely white, and the neck is nearly so, there being only a few central brown marks on the feathers of the nape. On the back the clove-brown forms a pyriform blotch on each feather, and on the rump it is confined to a narrow streak along the shaft. The spots are smaller on the lesser wing-coverts; and on the greater coverts, secondaries, and scapularies, the brown

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is disposed in bars, which do not reach the margins of the feathers. The primaries are white, their shafts, and one or two inches of their ends only, being blackish-brown; they are narrowly edged at the tips with white. The tail feathers and their coverts are entirely white. The whole under surface of the bird is pure white, except the ends of the quill feathers, which are hair-brown. The bill is pale greenish-gray, becoming darker at the tip. Cere and lores wax-yellow. Legs yellow.

FORM, &c.—Bill short, strong, and much curved. The upper mandible has a rather narrow ridge; its cutting margin is undulated, having an acute tooth near its point, and an obtuse lobe posterior to it. The under mandible is truncated at the tip, and deeply notched on its cutting margin, for the reception of the upper tooth. The nostrils are round, with a central pillar. The cere and lores are mostly covered with small white hairs and feathers, arranged in a radiated manner. The wings are shorter than the tail; the second quill feather is the longest; the third is a quarter of an inch, and the first half an inch shorter than the second; the fourth is half an inch shorter than the first, and more than an inch shorter than the second; the remainder diminish in succession an inch each. The first and second have their inner webs sinuated, and the outer webs of the second and third are also sinuated. The tail is nearly square. The tips of the thigh feathers reach to the roots of the toes. The tarsus, rather more than two inches and a quarter long, is feathered for an inch and three quarters; its lower part being reticulated with crowded scales. The toes have their first phalanges reticulated, and the others protected above by large transverse scales. There is a short web between the outer and middle toes. The hind toe is shorter than the others, and is armed with the longest nail; the inner toe and nail are next in size: the outer toe is rather longer and more slender than the inner one, and has the smallest nail of all; the middle toe is half an inch longer than these; its nail being a little bigger than the outer one. All the nails are strong, sharp, much curved, and grooved beneath.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 24 0
„ of the tail 10 0
„ of the longest quill feather 15 0
„ of the bill, measured along its ridge 1 3
Length of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 6
„ of the tarsus 2 4
„ of the middle toe 2 0
„ of the middle claw 0 9

The young Jerfalcons show little white on their plumage, being mostly of a dull brown colour above. As they grow older, the white margins encroach on the brown, which becomes merely a central blotch, indented on each side by the white; while in aged birds the plumage is mostly pure white, varied only by a few narrow transverse brown bars on the upper parts. Specimens are occasionally procured totally white; but whether they ought to be considered as birds in the most perfect state of plumage, or merely as varieties, I have not been able to ascertain.

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Of an immature bird from Hudson's Bay, now in the British Museum.

COLOUR of the head white, with longitudinal brown streaks. The feathers on the dorsal aspect of the body have hair-brown centres, with white borders, and also an oval spot on each web indented into the brown. The tail feathers have brown shafts; in the two outer feathers the brown encroaches on the webs, and in the two middle ones there are also six or seven irregular brown blotches. The breast and belly have elliptical brown marks in the centres of the feathers. In other respects, and in the acute tooth on the upper mandible, the specimen resembles the mature one above described.


Inches. Lines.
Length (total) 22 6
„ of the tail 8 0
Length of the largest quill feather 14 0
„ of the tarsus 2 4

The Falco sacer of Forster, sent from Hudson's Bay, and described in the Philosophical Transactions, is a still younger bird than the preceding, probably a yearling.

Its upper plumage was dark brown, with pale reddish-brown margins and spots on the webs, which did not reach the shafts. The quill feathers were brownish-black, with white tips and edges, round rust-coloured spots on the outer webs, and transverse bars of the same colour on the inner webs. The tail was dark brown, with a white tip, and crossed by about twelve white bands. The head and whole under surface were white, with longitudinal brown marks. Cere and feet bluish. Iris yellow. Its length was 22 inches; its extent 36 inches, and its weight 2½ lbs.

The description of Edwards's Ash-coloured Buzzard corresponds nearly with Forster's, but the colouring of his figure is indifferent.—R.

The remarkable variation in the form of the bill, before alluded to, deserves attention; since naturalists have given no elucidation of a fact so curious. It has, indeed, been surmised, that two species may possibly exist in our museums under this name; but on this point we can offer no opinion. Several instances, however, might be named, where the variation in the bills of individuals (unquestionably of the same species) is fully as great as in the present instance. This fact may be accounted for in two ways; first, from the effect of age, the young not having the full development of that structure which is typical of the adult; thus, in the youngest specimen of the American Harrier, subsequently described, the cutting margin of the upper mandible is straight, while in the older specimens this margin is strongly sinuated. Secondly, by that wonderful regularity in the progression of natural affinities, which is not only apparent in species, but even in the mode of variation of those species. Sometimes these resemblances indicate analogies,

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sometimes affinities; but as the fact has hitherto not been clearly observed, so the principle of this variation remains to be discovered. It is generally seen in aberrant groups; although not unfrequently, as in this instance, in such as are strictly typical. To cite another instance, we may remark, that in the superb collection of Indian birds at the Royal Museum of Paris, are several skins of Timalia pileata, Horsf., from Sumatra and Java; of which some have the bill perfectly entire, some slightly, and others distinctly notched; all, apparently, being old birds, full plumaged, and not differing in the slightest degree in other respects. It will subsequently be seen that this species stands in a group where the bill is either notched or entire*.—Sw.

[9] 3. FALCO SPARVERIUS. (Linn.) Little Rusty-crowned Falcon.

Little Falcon. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii, p. 211, No. 110.
Falco sparverius. LATH. Ind., i., p. 42, sp. 99.
American Sparrow-hawk. (F. sparverius.) WILSON, ii., p. 117, pl. 16, f. 1. Female; and iv., p. 57, pl. 32, f. 2. Male.
Falco sparverius BUONAP. Syn., p. 27, No. 10. VIGORS. Zool. Journ., No. xi., pp. 425, 435.
Peepeekeeshees. CREE INDIANS.


Prince Charles Buonaparte has separated the small American Falcons from the larger kinds, characterising the group by wings shorter than the tail, and scutellated tarsi. The latter character is only partially correct; for, in F. sparverius, there are but three shield-formed transverse scales on the tarsus adjoining to the toes, the rest of it being covered anteriorly by two rows of scales in alternate order, forming a near approach to reticulation. In F. æsalon the tarsus is still more reticulated, but it also is furnished with three shield-formed scales on its lower extremity. The group, however, seems to be a natural one, the birds composing it differing somewhat in their manners from the larger Falcons, and having analogies in their habits with the Shrikes. The three small American Falcons that came under our notice agree in having long tails, and in the first quill feather being a little shorter than the fourth, or, at most, only equal to it,—both being considerably shorter than the second, which, again, scarcely exceeds the third one. The rapidity with which the quill feathers decrease in length after the fourth, still renders the wings pointed, yet not so much so as in the two larger species which we

* The whole of the groups in this family require a thorough revision, not in the library, but in the museum; and until this is done, it is impossible to make full use of the distinction pointed out by Baron Cuvier, or to understand its bearings.—Sw.

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have described. The F. sparverius, though a smaller bird, may be considered as representing the F. tinnunculus of Europe in form. We met with no small Falcons, in the northern parts of America, having long wings, like the Hobby and some other European species.

The Falco sparverius is a common bird in America, and its manners are well known. Indeed, few Falcons are more likely to attract attention, for it is not only a bold and familiar species, but both male and female are very beautiful birds. Wilson informs us that it is a constant resident in almost every part of the United States, particularly north of Maryland. It breeds in considerable numbers on the banks of the Saskatchewan, in the neighbourhood of Carlton House, arriving there in the month of April, laying its eggs about the middle of May, and retiring southward on the approach of winter. I am unable to say how far it extends its migrations; but I do not believe it to be a very northern species, as it was not observed, on the route of the Expeditions, beyond the fifty-fourth degree of latitude. It also frequents the warmer parts of America, having been perceived in Cuba by Mr. W. M'Leay; and it is likewise an inhabitant of South America*, Captain King having found it at Port Famine in the Straits of Magellan†. Wilson has described its manners with his wonted accuracy, and I cannot do greater justice to the reader than by transcribing his remarks.

"It flies rather irregularly, occasionally suspending itself in the air, hovering over a particular spot for a minute or two, and then shooting off in another direction. It perches on the top of a dead tree, or pole, in the middle of a field or meadow, and, as it alights, shuts its long wings so suddenly, that they seem instantly to disappear. It sits here in an almost perpendicular position, sometimes for an hour at a time, frequently jerking its tail, and reconnoitring the ground below in every direction, for mice, lizards, &c. It approaches the farm-house, particularly in the morning, skulking about the farm-yard, for mice or young chickens, and frequently plunges into a thicket after small birds, as if by random; but always with a particular, and generally a fatal, aim."

In the vicinity of Carlton House, where the plains are beautifully ornamented by numerous small clumps of aspens, that give a rich picturesque effect to the landscape, which I have never seen equalled even in an English park, this small Falcon was frequently discovered perched on the most lofty tree of a clump, sitting with his eye apparently closed, but, nevertheless, sufficiently awake to what was passing around it, as it would occasionally evince by suddenly pouncing upon any small

* The specimens we procured during our researches in Brazil are entirely destitute of the rufous spot on the crown; but those from Mexico perfectly agree with the skins brought home by Dr. Richardson.—Sw.

† Vide Zool. Jour., No. xi., pp. 425, 435.

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bird that happened to come within its reach. It is the least shy of any of the American hawks, and when on its perch will suffer the fowler to advance to the foot of the tree, provided he has the precaution to make a slow and devious approach. He is not, however, unnoticed; for the bird shows, by the motion of its head, that it is carefully watching his manœuvres; yet, unless he walks directly towards it, it is not readily alarmed. When at rest, its wings are closely applied to the sides, with their tips lying over the tail about one-third from its end, and the tail itself, being closely shut up, looks long and narrow. If its suspicions be excited, it raises and depresses its head quickly two or three times, and spreads its tail, but does not open its wings until the instant it takes flight. The individuals shot at Carlton had mice or small birds in their stomachs. Wilson enumerates, also, snakes, lizards, and grasshoppers, as part of its food. It is said to make its nest in a hollow tree, and to lay four or five eggs, which are of a light brownish-yellow colour, spotted with a darker tint*.


Of a male, in full plumage, killed in the vicinity of Carlton House, lat. 53°, May, 1827.

COLOUR.—The crown of the head is occupied by a circular patch of deep orange-brown, which is enclosed by a coronet of clear blackish-grey. Beneath this there are seven conspicuous black marks; one situated on the nape of the neck, and blending with the grey coronet, and three on each side of the head below the level of the eye: the two anterior of these marks form together almost two-thirds of a circle, which includes the white cheek; and the third and smaller one, situated farther back, is surrounded by a pale-brown tint. There is a narrow white line between the forehead and the base of the bill, and another over the eye.

The dorsal aspect of the neck, the back, and the scapularies, are of a clear-brown colour, considerably paler than the crown of the head; and on the tips of the scapularies and between the shoulders there are a few oval spots and transverse bars of black. The rump and tail coverts are of a brighter and purer orange-brown than the crown of the head, and, like the neck, are unspotted. The tail feathers are precisely of the same colour with their coverts; but a subterminal band of black crosses both webs, and they are narrowly tipped with white: the exterior feather has a white outer web, with an undulated black line along its shaft; and there is a narrower interrupted black bar behind the subterminal one on the other feathers. The lesser wing coverts and the secondary coverts are pure bluish-grey, regularly marked with round spots about the size of peas. The bastard wing and the primary coverts are marked alternately with black and bluish-grey. The quill feathers are brownish-black, with black shafts, and on their inner webs there are from five to eight semi-oval white marks, regularly alternating with narrower processes of the black. A square black patch is formed by the bases of the outer webs of the secondaries being of that hue: their tips are bluish-grey

* WILSON, ii. p. 118.


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clouded with black, and their inner webs are barred with white like the primaries. The tertiaries are bluish-grey, with some black. Under surface. The throat, posterior part of the belly, under tail coverts, and thigh feathers, are pure white, without spots. The breast has a brown tinge. The flanks and sides of the breast are marked prettily with roundish and heart-shaped black spots. The linings of the wings and under surface of the quill feathers are white, the former spotted with black and the latter barred with lead-grey. The tail is pale-buff colour beneath, with dark marks corresponding to those on the upper surface. Bill bluish-grey, with a blackish tip; lower mandible horn-coloured at the base. Cere yellow. Iris dark-brown. Legs yellow. Claws black.

FORM, &c.—The bill is short, strong, convex on its sides, much curved, and very acute. Just anterior to the nostrils there is a slight undulation of the cutting margin of the upper mandible; and half way between that and the tip there is an acute tooth, which fits into a notch in the lower mandible: the latter is strong and truncated at the tip. The cere is very short, and the nostrils are circular, with a central column. The wings are much pointed, the primaries greatly exceeding the secondaries in length. In some specimens the second, in others the third, quill feather is the longest; the first is three-quarters of an inch shorter than these, and in most specimens is perceptibly shorter than the fourth; the remaining feathers are each in succession half an inch shorter. The second and third have their outer webs sinuated; and the inner webs of the first and second are also sinuated. All these sinuations are shallow and oblique, though that on the inner web of the second feather is less so than the others. The tail is moderately rounded, the outer feathers being half an inch shorter than the central ones. The tarsus is pretty strong, considering the size of the bird. It is covered with short white feathers, on its anterior surface only, for nearly half an inch below the joint; the remainder of it is protected anteriorly by a double row of scales larger than those behind, and by a single row of three large transverse oval ones immediately adjoining the articulation of the middle toe. The middle toe is about two-thirds of the length of the tarsus; the others are about a quarter of an inch shorter than the middle one. Under each joint there is a conspicuous round cushion, covered with warty integument, like the rest of the under surface of the foot. The claws are much curved, and are grooved underneath with acute edges.


Of the male.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 11 6
„ of the tail 5 6
„ of the longest quill feathers 6 6
Length of the bill from the angle of the mouth 0
„ of the tarsus 1 5
„ of the middle toe 0 11
„ of its claw 0 4


Of a mature female, killed May, 1827, at Carlton House.

COLOUR of the head nearly the same as in the male, the seven black marks being equally conspicuous; the rust-coloured mark on the crown, however, and its surrounding coronet, are varied by the shafts of the feathers being blackish. The whole dorsal aspect is reddish-brown, duller than the corresponding parts of the male, and regularly crossed by brownish-

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black bars, several on each feather. There are twelve black bars on the middle tail feathers, and nine on the outer ones; and the outer webs of the latter are nearly white. The flag feathers are coloured externally, as in the male; but the white marks on their inner webs are deeply tinged with brown. The throat, posterior part of the belly, and under tail coverts, are white, as in the male; the breast, fore part of the belly, and the flanks, are soiled-white, marked longitudinally with oblong yellowish-brown spots. On the linings of the wings the yellowish-brown is the ground colour, and is spotted with white. The under surfaces of the quill and tail feathers are slightly tinged with buff-colour, and are crossed by brownish-grey bars.

The total length of the specimen is one foot; that of the tarsus one inch and a half: the other dimensions correspond with those of the male, the female of this species scarcely exceeding the other sex in size.

A young male had nearly the plumage of the female, differing only in the black bars on the wings being more distinct, those on the tail narrower, and in the upper tail coverts being brownish-red, without spots.

In a young female the tips of the flag feathers were margined with white and the whole abdomen was marked with yellowish-brown spots.

[10.] 4. FALCO COLUMBARIUS. (Linn.) Pigeon-Hawk.

Falco columbarius. FORSTER. Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 382, No. 1.
Pigeon-Hawk. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 222, No. 111.
Falco columbarius. LATH. Ind., i., p. 44, sp. 106.
Pigeon-Hawk. (F. columbarius.) WILSON, ii., p. 107, pl. 15, F. 3. Male.
Falco columbarius. BONAP. Syn., p. 38, No. 11.
Pepecooseesh. CREE INDIANS.

This fierce little Falcon makes it appearance on the coast of Hudson's Bay in May, and, having reared its young, retires to a warmer climate in September. It is not uncommon about York Factory, in latitude 57°, and probably wanders much farther north. Early in the spring of 1825, I observed a small Hawk on the north shore of Great Bear Lake, in latitude 66°, which, if not of this species, belongs to a still smaller one, that is hitherto undescribed as a North American bird. It had taken possession of a tree, and was so unwilling to go away, that, when I threw stones at it, it merely made two or three circles round my head, with much clamour, and returned to its former perch. The want of a gun at the time prevented me from procuring the specimen.

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Wilson observes, that the Pigeon-Hawk is generally migratory in the northern and middle parts of the United States, arriving in Pennsylvania early in the spring, extending its migrations to Hudson's Bay, and, after building and rearing its young, retiring to the south early in November. Mr. Hutchins, in his Notes on the Hudson's Bay Birds, informs us, that this species "makes its nest on the rocks and in hollow trees, of sticks and grass, lined with feathers, laying from two to four white eggs, thinly marked with red spots. The young fly in August. It preys on small birds, which it seizes with dexterity, screaming loudly at the onset; and when it is disturbed, it will fly round and round, making a continued noise."


Of an individual killed at York Factory on the 4th September, 1822, supposed to be a male.

COLOUR of the head brownish-black, with reddish-brown margins to the feathers. The whole dorsal aspect is deep broccoli-brown, slightly varied by dark chestnut-brown edgings to the feathers, which are scarcely noticed at first sight, and are most perceptible on the lesser wing coverts. The tail coverts have paler margins, approaching to wood-brown. The tail is black, crossed by four yellowish-grey bars, tinged here and there with brown, and tipped with the same. The inner webs of the bastard wing and quill feathers are marked by five or six large oval spots of yellowish-grey, more or less tinged with brown. Under surface. The cheeks, a streak above the eyes, the throat, breast, belly, and thighs, have a dull ochre-yellow, or yellowish-brown colour, spotted and streaked with brownish-black. The latter colour forms a large oval mark in the centre of each feather on the breast; but on the belly and thighs it is confined to a streak along the mid-rib. The linings of the wings are ochre-yellow, spotted with black; the under surfaces of the quill and tail feathers are deep clove-brown, crossed by rows of oblong, wine-yellow spots. Bill yellowish-grey at the base, bluish-black at the tip. Cere wax-yellow: inside of the mouth bluish; margins of the eyelids yellow. Legs yellow.

FORM, &c.—Bill shaped like that of the preceding species. The tips of the folded wings reach within an inch of the end of the tail, the scapularies are short, and the secondaries and tertiaries reach to the tips of the tail coverts. The third quill feather is the longest, the second is almost as long, and the others in succession are considerably shorter. The tarsi are feathered anteriorly for a short way below the joint. The toes are long, with rounded cushions beneath the joints, and sharp curved nails. When the leg is stretched out, the tip of the middle claw reaches to the point of the folded wing.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 11 0
„ of the tail 5 6
Extent between the tips of the wings 22 0

The specimen from which the above description was taken was not brought home, having been accidentally destroyed. The description accords nearly with Pennant's, quoted above.

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[11.] 5. FALCO ÆSALON. (Temminck.) The Merlin.

Dubious Falcon. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 213, No. 112?
Falco æsalon. TEMM., i., p. 27. SELBY. Brit. Orn., i., p. 45, pl. 18.


This bird is known to the native inhabitants of the fur-countries by the same name with the two preceding ones; and we suspect that its similarity, in certain states of plumage, to the Pigeon-Hawk, has caused them to be confounded even by systematic writers. Hence we have been unable to quote with confidence any figures or descriptions of American specimens; and the same cause renders it difficult to ascertain the extent of its migrations on that continent. A single pair were seen in the neighbourhood of Carlton House, in May, 1827, and the female was shot. In the oviduct there were several full-sized white eggs, clouded at one end with a few bronze-coloured spots. Another specimen, probably also a female, was killed at the Sault St. Marie, between Lakes Huron and Superior, but it could not be preserved. It is a larger bird, and has longer toes, than the Falco sparverius.—R.

The specimen killed at Carlton House is, beyond doubt, an old female Merlin, just beginning to have its new feathers, several of which, darker and more cinereous, are to be seen on the sides near the hind part of the neck.—Sw.


Of an old female, killed on the plains of the Saskatchewan, 14th May, 1827, while flying in company with the male.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect dull, dusky yellowish-brown, varied by spots and short transverse bars of dull wood-brown. On the crown of the head the feathers have a central streak of blackish-brown, gradually fading into liver-brown towards the margins, which are rust-coloured, but are much worn off. On the upper part of the neck the plumage is lighter, and the white bases of the feathers appear. On the back, and on the wing and tail coverts, the wood-brown forms one or two pairs of roundish, ill-defined spots on each feather: on the scapularies it exists in the form of transverse bars, interrupted at the shafts. The quill feathers have from five to seven pairs of wood-brown spots, those on the outer webs being small, irregular, and situated close to the shafts. The ground colour of the tail is paler and duller than that of the back, except at its end, where it approaches to liver-brown. It is narrowly tipped

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with soiled-white, and is crossed by five narrow bars of the same colour, of which the sub-terminal one is the most perfect. Under surface. The throat is white. The cheeks, sides of the neck, and breast, are brownish-white, streaked longitudinally with dark liver-brown. The belly and thighs are white, with yellowish-brown streaks on the shafts. The flanks and wing linings are yellowish-brown, with oval white marks. The quill feathers are barred alternately on the inside with broccoli-brown and wine-yellow. The under tail coverts are white, and the under surface of the tail is slate-coloured, crossed by white bars. Bill bluish-black. Claws black.

FORM.—Shape of the bill much like that of F. sparverius. The cutting margin of the upper mandible has a strong tooth near its tip, and is somewhat sinuated farther back. Lores covered with white hair-like feathers, disposed in a stelliform manner. The tips of the folded wings reach within two inches of the end of the tail. The scapularies are short. The tertiaries, or the posterior secondaries, are longer than the six preceding ones, and are equal to the seventh or eighth primary. The wings have a pointed form: the second and third quill feathers are the longest; the first is about half an inch shorter than these, and is scarcely equal to the fourth; the succeeding ones, to the eleventh, are successively shorter by half an inch each. The outer webs of the second and third are rather suddenly narrowed near their tips, and the inner webs of the first and second are more decidedly sinuated. The tail is square. The outside thigh feathers reach only half way down the tarsus. The tarsus is covered anteriorly with feathers for nearly half an inch below the joint: it is protected at its base by four transverse shield-shaped scales, and is reticulated elsewhere. The toes are long and slender, particularly the middle one, and there is a roundish pad under each joint. The hind toe is the shortest, but has the longest claw; the inner fore toe comes next to it in length and in the size of its claw. The bases of the middle and outer toes are connected by a short web.


Of the female.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the hill to the end of the tail 14 0
„ of the tail 6 0
„ of the longest quill feather 7 6
„ of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 0 9
Length of the hill along its ridge 0 9
„ of the tarsus 1 5
„ of the middle toe 1 5
„ of its claw 0 6
„ of the hind toe 0 6
„ of its claw 0

I have had no opportunity of taking a description of an American male specimen.

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GENUS. Accipiter. ANTIQ. Sub-genus. Astur. BECHSTEIN.
Goshawk. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 204, No. 99. Young male.
Gentil Falcon. IDEM, ii., p. 203, No. 98? American female.
Falco palumbarius. LATH. Ind., i., p. 29, sp. 65. Male.
Falco gentilis. IDEM, i., p. 29, sp. 66?* Female or young.
Ash-coloured or Black-capped Hawk. (F. atricapillus.) WILSON, vi., p. 80, pl. 52, f. 3.
Falco palumbarius. SABINE. Frankl. Journ., p. 670. BONAP. Syn., p. 28, No. 12.


The Hawks are allied to the true Falcons by their habits of taking their prey on the wing, feeding on warm-blooded animals, and rejecting carrion; but differ from them in attacking their prey sideways, or obliquely, and near the earth, instead of soaring aloft and pouncing down upon it. They are characterized by the shortness of their wings, which reach no further than two-thirds down the tail. Their bills are curved from the base, but, being less convex on the sides, are not so strong nor so compact as those of the true Falcons; and they have a larger cere, and nostrils of a different form. They likewise want the notch on the lower mandible, and the corresponding tooth on the upper one; having, in place of the latter, an obtuse lobe, or festoon of the margin, situated farther back than the tooth usually is.

The Goshawk of the Old World was held in great esteem while falconry continued to be cultivated, and was flown at crows, geese, pheasants, and partridges. Colonel Thornton thus describes its mode of attack:—"The Goshawk flies at the bolt, the female being excellent for hares, rabbits, herons, and wild ducks, and the tercel for game. It takes its prey near the ground (for it cannot mount), and has great speed for a short distance. If its game take refuge, there it waits patiently on a tree or a stone, until the game, pressed by hunger, is induced to move; and as the Hawk is capable of greater abstinence, it generally succeeds in taking it." "I flew a Goshawk," says the Colonel, "at a Pheasant, which got into cover, and we lost the Hawk; at ten next morning the falconer found her, and just as he had lifted her, the Pheasant ran, and rose†."

* The Prince of Musignano observes, that the Falco gentilis of Linnæus, though by most authors considered to be the young of the Goshawk, corresponds also with his F. Cooperii in description, that bird having similar plumage to the young Goshawk.

† MONTAGU, Orn. Dict., Suppl., Art. Hawk-Gos.

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The American Goshawk was considered by Pennant and Latham to be of the same species with the European one; the former author merely remarking, that the American individuals that he had seen were of an unusually large size. Wilson, who had never seen an European Goshawk, described an old male that was shot near Philadelphia under the name of the "Black-cap Hawk, or Falco atricapillus;" observing, however, that his specimen corresponded so nearly with Bewick's description and figure of the Goshawk, that he had little doubt of their being identical. The Prince of Musignano has reunited the Black-cap Hawk with the Falco palumbarius; but Baron Cuvier, while he considers the latter as a typical specimen of his sub-genus Les autours, refers the American bird to another sub-genus, Hierofalco. There is, indeed, much resemblance between the females and young of the Goshawk and Jerfalcon; and those who overlook the differences in the scales of their tarsi and the relative lengths of their quill feathers, might easily confound the one with the other. That this has been done occasionally is very likely; and Cuvier may possibly be right in referring the F. gyrfalco of Gmelin to the F. palumbarius, although we have followed the majority of systematic writers in considering it to be the young of the F. islandicus.—R.

We associate this bird with the sub-genus or section of Astur: for although its approximation to the Buteo borealis is very decided, we shall not disturb the present situations of these two birds, remote as they now are in our systems, until the whole family undergoes a more accurate investigation. The bill, possessing all the characters seen in B. borealis, is yet somewhat shorter, but the upper mandible is less sinuated. These two species further agree in the length and general construction of their feet, excepting that in the Accipiter palumbarius the anterior scales partake of the smooth character more peculiar to the typical Hawks. The toes, also, are rather longer, the claws somewhat more curved, and the middle and outer toes are proportionably smaller than in B. borealis. It may further be remarked, that the anterior transverse scales of the toes are more numerous in this bird. The hind and inner claws are nearly of the same size, and very strong. The wings short, and not adapted for strong flight.—Sw.


Of an old male (No. 1), shot in company with the female at the nest, on the plains of the Saskatchewan, May 8, 1827.

COLOUR.—The upper aspect of the head, the nape of the neck, cheeks, and sides of the throat, are black, with the white bases of the feathers partially appearing. A white stripe, with black shafts and mottlings, commences at the base of the bill, and, passing over the orbit, widens as it proceeds backwards to the side of the neck. The dorsal aspect of the neck, the back, the tail coverts, lesser wing coverts, and greater part of the secondaries, are bluish-

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grey, without markings, the margins of the feathers being in some places merely a shade darker. The inner webs of the secondaries are yellowish-grey, with a little white mottling towards their bases. The primaries and their coverts have an umber-brown tinge, which, on the outer webs, yields a greyish reflexion, but towards the ends of the inner webs is nearly pure: a few bars are faintly indicated by lighter shadings, and there are some white markings towards their bases. The tail is clove-brown, deepening gradually towards its tip into blackish-brown, with two very obscure bars of the latter colour farther back; it is edged at the tip with soiled-white, and the inner webs are of a paler brown. The whole ventral aspect (including the thigh feathers and wing linings) has nearly an uniform appearance, being closely covered with short zig-zag lines of blackish-grey on a white ground. The long lateral under-tail coverts are white, without markings; but there are some greyish lines on the shorter central ones. The under surfaces of the quill feathers are clouded and mottled with brownish-white; and the tail beneath is slate-coloured, with brown shadings.

FORM, &c.—Bill rather strong, curved from the base, but more compressed than the bills of the true Falcons, which proceeds from the greater flatness of its sides, for the ridge is rather obtusely rounded. Cutting margin of the upper mandible furnished with an obtuse lobe, the centre of which is under the anterior margin of the nostrils. Under mandible strong, and much rounded at the end. Cere moderately long, extending, on the ridge, to about one-fourth the length of the bill. Nostrils large, broadly oval, or nearly round, opening rather obliquely forwards. Lores clothed with short white feathers, on which black hairs are disposed in a stelliform manner, their ends curving upwards over the nostrils. The plumage on the dorsal aspect of the neck and between the shoulders is particularly full and close. The tips of the folded wings fall five or six inches short of the end of the tail, scarcely passing the longest tail coverts. The fourth quill feather is the longest; the fifth is two lines, the third a quarter of an inch, and the sixth an inch shorter; the second is intermediate between the sixth and seventh, which are an inch apart; and the first and eighth are about equal, and half an inch shorter than the seventh, or four inches shorter than the fourth. The outer webs of the second to the sixth inclusive, and the inner webs of the first to the fifth, are sinuated. The tail is rounded, the exterior feathers being three-quarters of an inch shorter than the middle ones. The thigh feathers are long. The tarsi are robust, clothed with mottled-grey feathers nearly half way down, and their lower portion protected by eleven transverse shield-shaped scales both anteriorly and posteriorly, all the scales being thin and smooth, but particularly the posterior ones, which causes them to appear as if united into one large scale. The toes are moderately strong, the middle one being more than half an inch longer than the others, which are nearly equal among themselves: there is a short web between the middle and outer ones. The hind toe is the most robust. The greater part of the outer toe, and the first phalanx of each of the others, are reticulated with small roundish scales both on their upper and under surfaces. The claws are very strong, much curved, acute, and grooved beneath; the hind one and inner fore one being much longer than the other two: the middle one has an acute inner edge.


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Of male No. 1.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 24 0
„ of the tail 10 0
„ of the longest quill feather 12 6
„ of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 1 6
Length of the bill along its ridge 1 3
„ of the tarsus 2 9
„ of the middle toe 1 9
„ of the middle claw 1 0
„ of the hind claw, following its curve 1 6

Another specimen (No. 3), which was killed in the woody country three or four degrees of latitude farther north than the preceding, may possibly be a female, in very perfect plumage, as it is of a much larger size. It strongly resembles the male above described, the colour of the dorsal aspect being merely less bright, the (four) blackish-brown bars across the tail more distinct,—the subterminal one being the broadest. The dark streaks on the under plumage are also a little broader and more general, and the grey zig-zag lines are darker and more numerous. The distal half of the first phalanx of the middle toe is covered above with broad transverse scales, instead of being reticulated as in male No. 1; in this respect agreeing with the female, No. 2, described below, though not with another and very similar specimen of unascertained sex, No. 4.


Of No. 3, sex not ascertained.

Inches. Lines.
Length (total) 28 0
„ of the tail 11 6
„ of the longest quill feather 14 0
Length of the tarsus 3 0
„ of the middle toe 2 0
„ of the hind claw 1 8


Of a female (No. 2), killed at her nest, in company with No. 1 male.

COLOUR.—The prevailing hue of the dorsal aspect is dark liver-brown, relieved in some places by white, in others by pale wood-brown. On the head and back of the neck the liver-brown occupies the centres of the feathers, almost confined to the shaft at the base, but spreading out broadly at the tip: the wood-brown forms the margin, and the white a broad semi-elliptical lateral mark on each web. On the back the dark-brown, narrowly edged with white at the tip, is alone visible; but the feathers are dark-grey at the base, and are crossed in their middles by a concealed brownish-white bar. On the rump and lesser wing coverts the white is mostly replaced by wood-brown. The quill feathers and their immediate coverts present alternate bars of lighter and darker shades of liver-brown, with a few mottled white and brown spots on the outer webs and some larger ones on the inner webs partially occupying the place of the paler brown bars. The tail coverts are barred alternately with liver-brown and white, tinged and mottled with brown. The tail is crossed by five blackish-brown bars, separated by broccoli-brown spaces of greater breadth. These bars are bounded by

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narrow interrupted white lines, and, on the outer feathers, the broccoli-brown is replaced by white mottled with brown. The ground colour of the under surface is white. The cheeks are streaked with liver-brown. On the neck and breast the brown marks have an oblong shape, and on the belly they are oval. The upper surface of the middle toe is scutellated from the middle of the first phalanx to the claw, and reticulated at the base. The tail is considerably rounded, its outer feathers being an inch and a half shorter than the middle ones. Some of the quill feathers in this specimen had moulted recently before it was killed.


Of the female, No. 2.

Inches. Lines.
Length (total) 28 0
„ of the tail 12 0
„ of the longest quill feather 13 6
Length of the tarsus 3 2
„ of the middle toe 1 11
„ of its claw 1 0

No. 4 is a specimen which was killed near Jasper's house, on the Rocky Mountains. Its sex was not ascertained, but its plumage is very similar to that of the preceding, though in a more perfect state. The tail is still more rounded, but the feathers composing it are individually more acute and have a white tip half an inch broad. The basal half of the middle toe is also more reticulated than that of No. 2, resembling in that respect male No. 1. The total length of this specimen is 29 inches.


Of a specimen killed at York Factory, Aug. 14, 1822, supposed to be a young bird of that season. From the recent specimen*.

COLOUR.—General tints of the dorsal aspect blackish-brown and ferruginous. On the head the former colour forms an elliptical spot in the centre of each feather; on the wings and scapularies it occupies more space, the ferruginous tint being confined to a narrow border, and sometimes to an irregular streak across the feather. The quill feathers are liver-brown, slightly clouded with wood-brown. The tail is tipped with soiled-white, and has three or four broad, but distant, bars on a broccoli-brown ground. There is a slight intermixture of white on the tail coverts. The under surface of the neck and body and the linings of the wings are wood-brown, with elliptical black marks. Towards the vent the feathers are almost white, with black shafts. The under aspects of the quill and tail feathers are yellowish-grey, barred, with brownish-black. Bill bluish-grey at the base, blackish at the tip: the cutting margin of the upper mandible slightly sinuated. Cere orange-coloured. Eyelid greyish. Iris sulphur-yellow. Tarse yellow. Length, 24 inches; extent, 43; length of the tail, 12 inches.

* This is the specimen noticed by Mr. Sabine in Franklin's Journey.

G 2

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[13.] 2. ACCIPITER PENNSYLVANICUS. (Swainson.) Slate-coloured Hawk.

GENUS. Accipiter. ANTIQ. RAY.
Slate-coloured Hawk. (Falco Pennsylvanicus.) WILSON, vi., p. 13, pl. 46, f. 1. Male.
Autour à bec sinueux. TEMM. Pl. col. 67. Female.?
Falco (Astur) velox. BONAP. Syn., p. 29, No. 14.
Accipiter Fringilloides. VIGORS. Zool. Journ., iii., p. 436, No. 11.?
Peepeequaisees. CREE INDIANS. (MONSONEES.)

A specimen of this bird, killed in the vicinity of Moose Factory, and deposited by the Hudson's Bay Company in the Zoological Museum, enables us to enumerate it as an inhabitant of the fur countries, although it was not seen by any of the members of the Expedition in their several journeys. The admirable figure of Wilson is so perfectly characteristic of this Hawk, that we feel no doubt in considering our specimen as truly belonging to the same species. Less certainty, however, attends the synonyme here quoted of the Planches coloriées of M. Temminck; for the figure is either remarkably inaccurate, or it represents a bird very different from the female of F. Pennsylvanicus,—the tail being represented as distinctly rounded, whereas, in the species described by Wilson, the termination of all the feathers is perfectly even. The text, unfortunately, affords nothing to solve the question: should this be an error of the artist, the figure must be considered, not as "le jeune de l'année," as supposed by M. Temminck, but as a male of the second year, just assuming the adult plumage,—a fact sufficiently indicated by the figure, which represents some indistinct transverse bands on the breast. The females and males of the first year are marked with longitudinal stripes on all parts of the under plumage. Still greater doubts impede the right understanding of the Accipiter fringilloides of Mr. Vigors, whose description, minute in all that regards colour, is deficient in the three most material points which might have solved our difficulties; namely, the form of the tail, the relative proportion of the quills, and the comparative sinuosity of the upper mandible. So far, however, as this account goes, it might lead to the suspicion of its having been taken from a young male A. Pennsylvanicus, the "frontis plumæ brunnescentes fusco striatæ" being probably the indication of youth; while the measurements of the bill and tarsus sufficiently agree with those of our bird*. Yet the length of the wings, stated at only five inches, if not an error of the press or of transcription, consider-

* It is very desirable that authors should adopt one uniform mode of measurement, or at least explain their methods more accurately, until some definite plan is adopted.—Sw.

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ably militates against this supposition. It is to be hoped that this respectable ornithologist will give an improved account of his A. fringilloides, that its true characters may be known. This is the more necessary from there being another Accipiter, inhabiting the extratropical latitudes of America, so completely resembling A. Pennsylvanicus in its immature plumage, or in the female dress, that the colours in both are precisely alike. It differs, however, from both Pennsylvanicus and fringilloides not only in being much larger, but in having the tail distinctly rounded, and the upper mandible of the bill much less festooned. We have hitherto seen only the female of this species; but the above characters may be advantageously employed to separate it from Pennsylvanicus*. It was sent from Real del Monte, and is now in the possession of our friend, Mr. Taylor. Independent of the above distinctions, it is important to notice, that the anterior scales on the tarsus of Pennsylvanicus are entire, being, apparently, formed externally of one entire piece; whereas, in Mexicanus, the transverse divisions are distinctly visible. The particular structure of these parts in fringilloides has not been mentioned.—Sw.


Of a specimen killed near Moose Factory, lat. 51°.

COLOUR of the upper plumage blackish-grey, brightening towards the rump into bluish-grey; all the shafts being black. There are several concealed large white spots on the scapularies. The bastard wings, primary coverts, and five first quill feathers, have a dull umber-brown colour, as if much worn: the succeeding five (new ones) have a shining blackish-brown tint, and the secondaries are nearly of the colour of the rest of the superior plumage. Deeper shades of colour form some obscure bars on the quill feathers, and there are six or seven large white marks on their inner webs. The tail has also a worn appearance, and it is crossed by several alternate bars of umber and wood-brown, and is tipped with white. The shafts of the flag and tail feathers are brown. Under surface. Throat white, with black shafts. Breast, belly, flanks, and thighs wood-brown, broadly barred with white. The linings of the wings are brownish-white, with transverse peaked brown spots. The bars on the under surface of the quill and tail feathers are very distinct. The under tail coverts are white. Bill and claws blackish. Legs yellow.

FORM, &c.—Bill curved from the base, compressed, with a very distinct obtuse lobe on


SP. CH.—Larger than A. Pennsylvanicus. Tail rounded, bill less sinuated. Length of the wing when closed, nine inches and a quarter. Inhabits Real del Monte, Mexico. The validity of this specific distinction must, nevertheless, depend upon an accurate examination of the F. velox of Wilson, to whose description the Mexican bird closely approximates. The size of velox appears smaller, being stated at thirteen inches, and the tail is "nearly even." Our bird is full seventeen inches, and the tail much rounded, the four outer feathers being graduated, and the outermost nearly three-quarters of an inch shorter than the middle feathers. We have not yet personally examined a specimen of velox, which Prince C. Bonaparte considers the female of Wilson's Pennsylvanicus; this supposition, however, is clearly erroneous.—Sw.

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the cutting margin under the nostrils. Nostrils oval, longitudinal. Wings falling three inches short of the end of the tail. The fourth wing feather is the longest: the first is shorter than the secondaries*; the third to the sixth inclusive have their exterior webs deeply and abruptly sinuated; and the second to the fifth inclusive have their inner webs sinuated. The tail is long and emarginated at the end. Tarsi long and slender, feathered about half an inch below the joint, and covered elsewhere before and behind with large obliquely transverse scales, whose separations are scarcely visible. The middle toe is long and slender, being more than twice the length of the hind one or inner fore one: a web, extending half the length of its first phalanx, connects it to the outer toe. The claws are much curved, compressed, and very acute; the hind one and inner fore one are the largest.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the point of the bill to the end of the tail 13 0
„ of the tail 5 6
„ of the longest quill feather 6 3
„ of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 0 7
Length of the bill measured along the ridge 0 7
„ of the tarsus 1 10
„ of the middle toe 1 3
„ of its claw 0 4
„ of the hind toe 0 6
of its claw 0 4



Of a female bird, sent from Real del Monte, and now in the collection of John Taylor, Esq., F. R. S., G. S., &c.

Bill, feet, and claws, as in the male.

COLOUR.—The general aspect of the upper plumage is grey-brown, the feathers on the back and wing coverts being slightly margined with pale ferruginous: those on the head and neck are white at the base and on their sides; while those on the crown are nearly black, with pale ferruginous sides. The ground colour of all the under plumage is white, each feather having a very lengthened and contracted tear-shaped spot down the middle: sides of the head, or ear feathers, striped in the same manner. Throat nearly white. Thighs white, each feather marked by a central transverse band, and a tear-shaped spot near the tip. The longest of the upper tail coverts white, each feather having two blackish-brown bands. The tail itself is grey, with four brown bands,—the whole of the feathers being precisely of an equal length. Wings reaching to one-third the length of the tail. Lesser quills greyish, banded with four somewhat lunulated blackish bands; inner margins white; greater quills with six bands. The fourth and fifth quills equal and longest; the second and seventh nearly equal. Tail and quill feathers beneath white, banded with three or four black bars.


Length from the bill to the tail, about 11½
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth to the tip of the upper mandible ½
Extreme length of the wings when closed
„ tail from the root of the feathers to the tip 6
„ tarsus from the upper base of the hallux to the end of the bone 18/10
„ „ from the lower base of the hallux to the middle of the tarsal joint 21/20


* The wing of the specimen being in a state of moult, the relative lengths of all the quill feathers cannot be ascertained.

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[14.] 1. BUTEO VULGARIS. Common Buzzard.

Plain Falcon. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 207, No. 103.? Young female?
Falco obsoletus. LATH. Ind., i., p. 28, sp. 61.?


The Common Buzzard arriving in the fur countries in the middle of April, very soon afterwards begins to build its nest, and, having reared its young, departs about the end of September. It haunts the low alluvial points of laud which stretch out under the high banks of a river, and may be observed sitting for a long time motionless on the bough of a tree, watching patiently for some small quadruped, bird, or reptile to pass within its reach. As soon as it espies its prey, it glides silently into the air, and, sweeping easily but rapidly down, seizes it in its claws. When disturbed, it makes a short circuit, and soon settles on another perch. One of our specimens had two middle-sized toads in its crop. It builds its nest on a tree, of short sticks, lining it sparingly with deer's hair. The eggs, from three to five in number, are equal in size to those of the domestic fowl, and have a greenish-white colour, with a few large dark-brown blotches at the thick end. The Common Buzzard is not mentioned by Wilson or Bonaparte as a North American bird. It was seen by the Expedition as far north as the fifty-seventh parallel of latitude, and it most probably has a still higher range. Pennant* states it to be an inhabitant of New York, Newfoundland, and Hudson's Bay; but as he refers to the Ash-coloured Buzzard of Edwards as a representation of his bird, it is probable that he had not seen an American specimen of the Common Buzzard. The toothed bill, round nostrils, tarsi half reticulated half feathered, general appearance, and the circumstance of its preying on the Willow Grouse, all point out Edwards's bird to be the Falco Islandicus, under which we have quoted it.—R.

The minor groups referred by ornithologists to this division of the family, have not hitherto been investigated; it would, therefore, be hazardous to offer any decisive opinion as to the type. In the subject of this article, the most common

* Arct. Zool., ii., p. 207, No. 103.

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example, the smallness of the head and bill is very remarkable; the sinuosity of the cutting margin of the upper mandible is rather more developed in the male than in the female; the second quill feather is slightly longer than the fifth, the third is equal to the fourth, or even exceeds it, and the first is intermediate in length between the seventh and eighth; the third and fourth are conspicuously longer than the rest;—a structure of wing which adapts this bird for more rapid flight than either the Buteo borealis or Astur palumbarius.—Sw.


Of a male, shot, on the 17th of June, at the nest, which contained three eggs. Plains of the Saskatchewan.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect between clove and blackish browns, the margins of the feathers being paler. The head and posterior part of the back are darker, while on the rest of the upper plumage the borders of the feathers fade gradually into soiled yellowish-brown. The quill feathers and longest scapularies have a shining blackish-brown colour; there are some obscure bars on the former, produced by a slight deepening of the colour, and at the base of the inner webs of the first and second quill feathers, these bars are slightly mottled with white. The secondaries and a few of the adjoining primaries are very narrowly tipped with brownish white. The tail is deep clove-brown, darkening towards its end into blackish-brown, and having a very narrow soiled tip. On a close inspection, it is seen to be crossed by about seven bars of a deeper shade, the terminal one an inch broad, the others much narrower. Under surface. The cheeks are pure clove-brown; the throat is white; the sides of the neck, its fore part next the breast, and the upper part of the latter, are dull broccoli-brown, with a slight intermixture of yellowish-brown. The belly and thighs are pale yellowish-brown, indistinctly barred with white. The vent feathers and under tail coverts are soiled white. The flanks are yellowish-brown, with some patches of clove-brown. The linings of the wings are brownish-white, with a few dispersed specks of yellowish-brown; and the greater interior coverts are barred with dark-brown. The under surfaces of the quill feathers are blackish-grey, deepening at their tips into blackish-brown, and barred towards the base of their inner webs with yellowish-grey. The tail beneath is very pale ash-grey, crossed by seven bars of clove-brown. Bill bluish-black. Cere and legs yellowish. Claws black.

FORM, &c.—Head round, with a very convex crown. Bill broad at the base, flatly convex above, and much compressed towards the tip, which forms a rather slender acute hook. The curve of the ridge of the bill is elliptical. The cutting margin of the upper mandible is sinuated, and the lobe is rendered more distinct by a shallow and wide furrow on the side of the bill immediately anterior to it. The lower mandible is rounded, or very obliquely truncated, at the end. The nostrils are roundish, approaching to pear-shaped, with the narrow corner turned forwards and upwards. The cere covers a large portion of the bill, and is quite naked and exposed on its ridge, the feathers of the forehead lying smoothly back and receding from it: on the sides it is partially hidden by the black hairs which spring from the lores. Wings. The third quill feather is the longest, the fourth is nearly a quarter of an inch, and the second

[page] 49

an inch and a quarter shorter; the fifth is just perceptibly shorter than the second; the sixth to the tenth diminish an inch each in succession; and the first just exceeds the eighth. The inner webs of the first three are strongly sinuated, and the outer webs of the second, third, and fourth, more obliquely sinuated. The tail is very square, the two centre feathers being rather the shortest. The outer thigh feathers reach half way down the tarsus. The tarsi are short and strong, covered anteriorly with feathers for about an inch below the joint, naked their whole length posteriorly. They are protected before by about eleven large transverse shield-shaped scales, and there are about as many equally large behind, their sides being reticulated with small scales. The toes are short, the middle and outer one connected by a short membrane. The outer toe is a little longer than the inner one, the middle one is fully a quarter of an inch longer than the outer one, and the hind one is the shortest. There are four shield-shaped scales on the hind toe, four or five on the inner one, five or six on the outer one, and about twelve on the middle one; but there are some slight variations in different specimens.


Of a male.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 22
„ of the tail 8 6
„ of the longest quill feather 15 0
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 6
„ from the anterior edge of the orbit to the tip of the bill 1 6
Length of the bill, measured along its ridge 1 4
„ of the cere on the ridge 0 6
„ of the tarsus 2 6
„ of the middle toe 1 9
„ of its claw 0 9
„ of the hind toe 0 9
„ of its claw 0 11


Of a female, killed at the nest, near Carlton, May 22, 1827.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect almost precisely the same as that of the male; but the feathers are more downy, and the blackish bars on the tail are more distinct. The throat is sparingly streaked with brown; the breast is darker than that of the male; the belly has less of the bright yellowish-brown, and is studded with short bars of blackish-brown: the flanks are also strongly barred with the latter colour, and the yellowish-brown of the thigh feathers is darker than in the male. The cere and legs have a bluish livid colour. The tarsi are thicker than in the male. The third and fourth quill feathers are of equal length, the relative proportions of the others being the same as in the male.


Of the female.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 26 0
„ of the tail 10 0
„ of the longest quill feather 16 6
Length of the tarsus 3 0
„ of the middle toe 1 11
„ of its claw 0 9


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[15.] 2. BUTEO BOREALIS. Red-tailed Buzzard.

GENUS. Buteo. RAY.
American Buzzard. LATH. Syn., i., p. 50, sp. 31. Mature.
Red-tailed Falcon. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 205, No. 100. Mature.
Leverian Falcon. IDEM, ii., p. 206, No. 101.? Fide Bonap.
Falco borealis. LATH. Ind., i., p. 25, sp. 50.
Falco leverianus. IDEM, i., p. 18, sp. 31. Fide Bonap.
Red-tailed Hawk. (Falco borealis.) WILSON, vi., p. 75, pl. 52, f. 2, misprinted for f. 1. Mature male.
American Buzzard, or White-breasted Hawk. (Falco leverianus.) IDEM, vi., p. 78, pl. 52, f. 1, misprinted for f. 2. Fide Bonap.
Falco borealis. SABINE. Frankl. Journ., p. 670. BONAP. Syn., p. 32, No. 20.

The Red-tailed Buzzard is rather common in the fur-countries, which it visits in the summer. It winters in Pennsylvania, and, according to Wilson, even breeds within the limits of the United States. Specimens were shot by the members of the Expedition on the Rocky Mountains, the plains of the Saskatchewan, and at York Factory, between the fifty-third and fifty-seventh parallels of latitude*. It preys on small quadrupeds, birds, and frogs. In the spring of the year, when the small Marmots, that inhabit the plains of the Saskatchewan, leave their burrows in quest of a mate, and, in the ardour of the pursuit, have laid aside their usual wariness, they often fall a prey to this Buzzard, which, sweeping along near the ground, with scarcely any change in the rapidity or direction of its flight, singles out one of these little animals, and, striking its claws into its neck, carries it off to the distance of several hundred yards, alights on the ground, and tears it to pieces.—R.

The bill of the Red-tailed Buzzard is proportionally shorter and higher than that of the common Buzzard, with the cere confined to a smaller portion of its base: the sinuosity of the upper mandible is also much greater. In all these characters there is a close resemblance to the Goshawk, whose bill is not so strongly sinuated as this is; it is, nevertheless, shorter, and consequently stronger, than that of the present bird†.—Sw.


Of a female, killed 16th May, 1827, at Carlton House, lat. 53°.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect intermediate between deep clove-brown and liver-brown. On

* Mr. Taylor has also received five adult specimens from the Table Land of Mexico, procured, near Real del Monte, by the late Mr. Morgan.—Sw.

† In Audubon's plate of the male and female Falco borealis, the former has a strongly and sharply sinuated upper mandible, whilst in the latter the cutting margin is nearly straight,—R.

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the head this colour is unmixed, a little white appearing only at the base of the bill. On the neck it is relieved by some of the feathers being edged with paler yellowish-brown. The back, again, has a darker tint, approaching more nearly to liver-brown, and is unspotted. On the rump there are a few bars and edgings of yellowish-brown. The primaries, their coverts, and the secondaries, are of the prevailing tint, crossed by bars of dark liver-brown, the terminal bar being by much the broadest. The secondaries and some of the adjoining primaries are narrowly tipped with white, and both these classes of feathers have their inner webs towards the quills barred with white and brown. Some of the longest tail coverts are white, clouded by yellowish-brown and crossed by narrow bars of liver-brown. The tail is brownish-orange, tipped with soiled white, with a subterminal bar of blackish-brown: there are also traces of thirteen other brown bars. Under surface. The cheeks and neck beneath are coloured as on the dorsal aspect; the breast is white, with brown shafts; and the belly and flanks blackish-brown, with white blotches and cross bars. The vent and under tail coverts are white. The thigh feathers are soiled yellowish-white, with narrow faint cross bars of brown. The linings of the wings are white, with some yellowish-brown markings; and there is a large patch of blackish-brown adjoining to the upper edge of the wing. The greater inner coverts are barred with brown. The inner surfaces of the quill feathers are blackish-brown towards the tips and pearl-grey towards the quills, mottled with brown and crossed by narrow bars of the same. The tail is slightly tinged with buff-orange beneath, and is crossed by very faint bars of blackish-grey. Bill bluish-black. Legs bluish.

FORM, &c.—The head is rather large. The bill is wide at the base and compressed anterior to the cere, with a roundish ridge and a strong hooked tip: the curve of the ridge is elliptical, but it is not so much depressed at the base as that of the common Buzzard. The cutting edge of the upper mandible has a very distinct obtuse lobe: the lower mandible is obliquely truncated at the tip. The nostrils are oval, nearly longitudinal, and partly concealed by hairs. The lores are densely covered with short white hair-like feathers, upon which long black hairs are arranged in a stelliform manner. The eyebrow projects as in the Eagles. Wings. The fourth quill feather is the longest; the third and fifth are only a line or two shorter; the second and sixth are half an inch shorter than these three; the seventh is more than an inch shorter than the sixth; and the eighth is equal to the first and about an inch shorter than the seventh. The outer webs of the second, third, fourth, and fifth are chamfered away towards their tips, and in the three latter very suddenly: the web of the sixth is narrowed so gradually as not to produce a sinuation. The first to the fourth inclusive have their inner webs strongly sinuated, and the fifth has a very oblique sinuation. The tarsi are strong, feathered about two inches below the joint anteriorly, and protected beneath by seven large transverse scales: naked their whole length posteriorly, with thirteen large scales. The hind toe is the shortest, the outer one is nearly as long as the inner one, and the middle one is four or five lines longer than these: the latter is connected to the outer one by a short web. There are six or seven scutelli on the middle toe, and four on each of the others.

H 2

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Of the female.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 25 0
„ of the tail 10 0
„ of the longest quill feather 16 0
„ of the bill measured along its ridge 1 6
Length of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 9
„ of the tarsus 3 3
„ of the middle toe 1 10

[16.] 3. BUTEO LAGOPUS. Rough-legged Falcon.

GENUS. Buteo. RAY.
Rough-legged Falcon. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 200, No. 92. Old female.
Chocolate-coloured Falcon. IDEM, ii., p. 201, No. 94, pl. 200, f. 2.?*
Placentia Falcon. LATH. Syn. Suppl., p. 19, sp. 57. Old bird, autumn. IDEM, Syn., i., p. 76, sp. 57.?
Falco lagopus. LATH. Ind., i., p. 19, sp. 33.
Falco Sclavonicus. IDEM, i., p. 26, sp. 54.
Falco spadiceus. IDEM, i., p. 27, sp. 57, excl. syn. Phil. Trans.
Buse gantée. VAILL. Ois. d'Afr., i., pl. 18.
Rough-legged Falcon. (Falco lagopus.) WILSON, iv., p. 59, pl. 33, f. 1.
Falco lagopus. TEMM., i., p. 65. BONAP. Syn., p. 32, No. 18.


A specimen of this bird, in most perfect plumage, was killed in the month of September, by Mr. Drummond, on the Smoking River, one of the upper branches of the Peace River. It arrives in the fur-countries in April or May, and, having reared its young, retires southwards early in October. It winters on the banks of the Delaware and Schuylkill, returning to the north again in the spring. It is by no means an uncommon bird in the districts through which the Expedition travelled, but, being very shy, only one specimen was procured. A pair were seen at their nest, built of sticks, on a lofty tree standing on a low, moist, alluvial point

* Although the Chocolate Falcon of PENNANT must belong either to this species or to that of F. Sancti-Johannis, yet the Chocolate Falcon of FORSTER, with whom the name originated, is evidently a different species, perhaps the young of F. cyaneus. This author does not describe his specimen, but merely says that it is smaller than the Moor Buzzard, which it much resembles. Had this bird been the F. lagopus, he could scarcely have overlooked the feathered legs. The Bay Falcon, var. A., LATHAM (Syn., i., p. 54, No. 34), is merely a reference of Forster's bird to the Moor Buzzard. The description of the Placentia Falcon of the same author (Syn., i., p. 76, sp. 57) was taken from a drawing, and will apply either to F. lagopus or F. Sancti-Johannis; but the Placentia Falcon, described in his Supplement (p. 19, sp. 57), is undoubtedly F. lagopus, and agrees in every particular with the one we have described in the text.

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of land, almost encircled by a bend of the Saskatchewan. They sailed round the spot in a wide circle, occasionally settling on the top of a tree, but were too wary to allow us to come within gunshot; so that, after spending much time in vain, we were fain to relinquish the chase. In the softness and fulness of its plumage, its feathered legs, and habits, this bird bears some resemblance to the Owls. It flies slowly, sits for a long time on the bough of a tree, watching for mice, frogs, &c., and is often seen skimming over swampy pieces of ground, and hunting for its prey by the subdued daylight, which illuminates even the midnight hours in the high parallels of latitude. Wilson observes that, in Pennsylvania, it is in the habit of coursing over the meadows long after the sun has set. It is fitted for this nocturnal chase by the softness of its plumage, which contributes to render its flight noiseless, like that of an Owl.—R.

The small bill of the B. lagopus, with scarcely an indication of the festoon or sinus, and its long and attenuated wings, may be thought to place it as a typical example of this division; but the foregoing observation renders the accuracy of this supposition very questionable.—Sw.


Of a specimen in very perfect plumage, killed near the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, lat. 55°, Sept. 1826, supposed to be a male.

COLOUR.—The head and adjoining part of the neck are pale wood-brown approaching to white, streaked longitudinally with liver-brown. The remainder of the neck, the back, scapularies, and lesser wing coverts, are liver-brown, each feather bordered laterally, but not at the end, with reddish-orange or bright rust-colour. These edgings are darker and very narrow on the rump; but they are broad on the tail coverts, which are also tipped with white. The outer webs of the bastard wing, greater coverts, and secondaries, are liver-brown; their inner webs are mostly white, barred next the shafts with brown. The ends of the primaries are blackish-brown, with a greyish tinge on the outer webs; the inner webs next the quills are pure white, with some slight brown markings along the shaft. The tail is brownish-white on the basal half, and blackish-brown on the remainder, with a narrow tip of soiled white. The feathers have a ferruginous border posteriorly; and there is much white on their inner webs. Under surface. The throat and under aspect of the neck are coloured like the upper surface, but the brown streaks are narrower. The breast is wood-brown, with liver-brown shafts. The belly and flanks are dark umber-brown, which, towards the vent, is mixed with ferruginous; and in the outer thigh feathers these two colours are equal in quantity, the dark one being confined to the centres of the feathers. The under tail coverts are white, tinged with brown. The under surface of the tail is yellowish-white on the basal, and slate-grey on the distal half. The linings of the wings are mostly wood-brown: there is a large blackish-brown patch near the outer edge of the wing; and the under primary coverts are blackish-grey. The inner surfaces of the quill feathers are pure white at the base and shining blackish-brown towards their tips.

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The short feathers covering the thighs and legs are pale wood-brown, with small longitudinal marks.

FORM, &c.—Bill much curved, the arc less elliptical than that of the two preceding species. It is considerably compressed, but has a rather obtuse, rounded ridge. The cutting edge of the upper mandible is very slightly undulated, and the hooked point is rather short, though strong. The gape is wide, the angle of the mouth extending under the orbit. The cere is short when compared with that of the two preceding species, and it is partly concealed by the swelling out of the feathers of the forehead. Nostrils large and roundish. Lores furnished with black hairs, which are disposed in a stelliform manner over a dense covering of white feathers. Eyebrows projecting. The plumage of the head is very compact, without any indication of the ruff or facial circle, which exists in the following species. Wings falling an inch short of the end of the tail. The third quill feather is the longest; the fourth is scarcely perceptibly shorter; the fifth is a quarter of an inch shorter; the second is rather more than an inch and a quarter shorter than the third; the sixth is an inch shorter than the second, or more than two inches shorter than the fifth; the seventh is an inch and a half shorter than the sixth; and the three following ones diminish half an inch each in succession. The outer webs of the third, fourth, and fifth, are rather suddenly chamfered away: that of the second is also narrowed, but so near the quills as to be scarcely evident. The inner webs of the first to the fourth inclusive are strongly sinuated. The outer margins of the quill feathers are close and even, not with the tips of the barbs reverted, as in the first wing feathers of the Owls; their inner margins, however, approach to those of the latter genus, in being thinner and more detached than those of the other Buzzards or Harriers described in this work. The tail is moderately rounded. The scapularies are rather long, and the belly is clothed with unusually thick and long plumage: the under tail coverts are particularly downy. The outer thigh feathers reach nearly to the feet. The tarsi are thickly clothed with short feathers, which project over the roots of the toes. The toes are short and strong. The middle one is the third of an inch longer than the others; the remaining three differ little from each other in length, but the hind one is the most robust and has the longest claw. The basal halves of the toes are covered with small irregularly hexagonal scales; the outer halves are covered by shield-shaped transverse scales—five on the middle toe, four on the lateral ones, and three on the hind one. The claws are black, not much curved, sharp, and grooved beneath: the outer edge of the middle one is sharp.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 23 6
„ of the tail 9 6
„ of the longest quill feather 15 6
Length of the bill measured along its ridge 1 2
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 7
„ of the tarsus 2 7
„ of the middle toe 1 3

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[17.] 4. BUTEO (CIRCUS) CYANEUS? var.? Americanus. American Hen-Harrier.

GENUS. Buteo. RAY. Sub-genus. Circus. ANTIQ.
The Ring-tailed Hawk. (Pygargus accipiter, Canadensis.) EDWARDS, pl. 107. Female from Hudson's Bay.
Falco spadiceus. FORST. Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 383, No. 2.? Yearling from Hudson's Bay.
Moor Buzzard, var. A. Bay Falcon. LATH. Syn., i., p. 54, No. 34.? Forster's specimen.
Moor Buzzard, var. B. White-ramped Bay F. IDEM, i., p. 54, No. 34. Young; described from a drawing made at Hudson's Bay.
Hudson's Bay Ring-tail. IDEM, p. 91, sp. 76. From Hudson's Bay.
Ring-tail. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii. p. 209, sp. 106. From Hudson's Bay.
Falco cyaneus, var. β. LATH., Ind., p. 40, sp. 94 From Hudson's Bay.
Marsh Hawk. (Falco uliginosus.) WILSON, vi., p. 67, pl. 51, f. 1. Young. Pennsylvania.
Falco uliginosus. SABINE. Frankl. Journ., p. 671. Young female. Hudson's Bay.
Falco cyaneus. BONAP. Orn., ii., p. 30, pl. 12. Adult male.
Anuooch-kee-næpeek-quæshew. (Snake Hunter.) CREE INDIANS.


This bird takes its prey from the ground, hunts long and diligently for it on the wing, and quarters the district regularly, so as to survey every spot, wheeling backwards and forwards in easy, graceful circles, with little seeming effort or flapping of the wings. It is wary, but not timid,—avoiding the sportsman, but not easily driven away from its hunting-grounds. It is a common species on the plains of the Saskatchewan, seldom less than five or six being in sight at a time, each keeping to a particular beat until it has completely examined it. Their flight was in general low; but although Mr. Drummond and I watched them for hours at a time, and lay as still on the grass as possible, they invariably rose out of gunshot as they passed over our heads, and the specimens were procured only by lying in ambush near the nest. Notwithstanding they appeared to be almost constantly on the wing, we seldom saw them carry anything away; and they seemed on the whole to be less successful hunters than the little Falco sparverius, or the lazy Buzzards, that sat watching for their prey on the bough of a tree. A small green snake is very plentiful in that quarter, and forms a considerable portion of the food of this bird,—whence its Cree name of the "Snake Hunter." The nests that we observed were built on the ground, by the sides of small lakes, of moss, grass, feathers, and hair, and contained from three to five eggs, of a smaller size than those of the domestic fowl, but similar in shape, and having a bluish-white colour, without spots. The eggs measured an inch and three-quarters

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in length, and were an inch across where widest. The natives informed us that these birds build indifferently on the ground or in low bushes. They reach the fur-countries in the latter end of April, and depart about the end of September. They are common in the United States, and are said by the Prince of Musignano to be found in all the varieties of plumage in Florida, but that in the northern States the young only are known. We saw only mature birds on the plains of the Saskatchewan, and none but the young (or what are considered as such) on the shores of Great Bear Lake. It is possible, that the old and the immature birds may keep apart in winter as well as summer, and migrate, on the change of seasons, through the same number of degrees of latitude. I could not ascertain whether the species breeds so far north as Bear Lake.

The identity of the American Hen-Harrier with the European one has not been satisfactorily proved. The very dissimilar plumage of the males and females, and the changes they undergo from age, render the investigation difficult. The sexes of the European bird were long considered to be distinct species, the male being termed F. cyaneus, or Hen-Harrier, and the female F. pygargus, or Ring-tail. This mistake was rectified by Montagu, in a paper published in the Linnæan Transactions; and he at the same time established another species (F. cineraceus), which had been previously confounded with the F. cyaneus. The young birds, being more easily procured, were until lately the only American specimens submitted to naturalists, and were considered to be a peculiar species to which the name of Marsh Hawk* (F. uliginosus) was applied. The matter is not yet cleared of doubt; and it is possible, even admitting the identity of the F. uliginosus and F. cyaneus, that the F. cineraceus, or another species, may exist in North America, individuals of which, being confounded with the Marsh Hawk, may have been the origin of various discrepancies in the descriptions given by authors.

Eight specimens were brought home by the last Expedition. Five of these (three males and two females) were killed in the fifty-third parallel of latitude early in the breeding-season, and are undoubtedly all of one species; that fact being clearly ascertained by one of the pairs having been killed at their nest, which contained three eggs. They correspond with the sexes of the F. cyaneus of Europe in mature plumage, though they are not, perhaps, very old birds. The other three specimens were procured at Great Bear Lake, in latitude

* The Marsh Hawk (Accipiter paludarius) of EDWARDS, pl. 291, is engraved and described from a drawing made by Mr. William Bartram. It has stout reticulated tarsi, and is otherwise so dissimilar to our bird, that it cannot be quoted as a synonyme. Pennant and Latham take their descriptions from Edwards. Wilson describes the young of our bird under the name of Marsh Hawk, but intimates that he has little doubt of its being the same with the European Hen-Harrier. The Prince of Musignano considers them to be identical.

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65°, where none of the mature birds were seen. They differ widely in appearance from the five old birds.

For the advantage of reference in the subjoined remarks, the specimens are numbered in the following list:—

1. A mature male, killed at the nest, near Carlton, May 19. This specimen much resembles the figure in BONAP., Orn., ii., p. 30, pl. 12.

2. The female companion to the above. The oviduct contained two full-sized eggs, and there were three in the nest.

3. A mature male, killed at Carlton, in May.

4. A mature female, killed at Carlton, in June.

5. A mature male, killed at Cumberland House, lat. 54°, in May.

6, 7. Young males, killed at Bear Lake, in May, soon after the first arrival of the migratory birds, and therefore at least ten months old.

8. Young bird, supposed to be a female, killed, in September, at the same place. This may be a yearling.

These eight specimens being submitted to Mr. Yarrell's inspection, he pronounced them to be examples of F. cyaneus in various stages. A specimen of a young bird was also obtained, on the first Expedition, at York Factory, and is noticed by Mr. Sabine, in the Appendix to the Narrative of the Expedition, under the name of Falco uliginosus.—R.

The relative proportions of the quill feathers, by which our accurate countryman, Montagu, detected the difference between the European Circus cyaneus and cineraceus, is, perhaps, one of the best distinctions characterizing these species. It still, however, remains to be ascertained whether all those Harriers found in Asia, Africa, America, and Australia, agreeing with cyaneus in the structure of their wings, are to be considered the same species; or, rather, may we not suspect that a more intimate knowledge of the birds from such distant localities will acquaint us with specific distinctions? The relative lengths of the quill feathers exercise, as is well known, a powerful influence on the mode and velocity of flight, and has been successfully employed to designate natural groups. But in species standing at the confines of their type, this character, in common with all others, must be looked upon cautiously, even when employed as a specific distinction. Now, the typical structure of the wing in the present group must unquestionably be that most prevalent among the species. It must, however, be remembered, that even this character is subject to variation, according to the age and perhaps the locality of the bird, and that it must not be insisted upon with too much rigour.


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A finely-plumaged male bird of Falco cyaneus (L'Oiseau St. Martin), in the Paris Museum, had the proportions of the quills as follows: first equal to the seventh; the second half an inch shorter than the fifth; the third a slight degree shorter than the fourth; which was the longest of all. The under plumage was pure white, the tail hardly rounded, and the two middle feathers slightly shorter than the rest. The two most adult of our male specimens (Nos. 1 and 3) very closely agree in these dimensions, except, indeed, that the difference between the third and fourth quill feathers is not very apparent; but we cannot, on this account alone, consider them identical, for precisely the same characters are equally apparent in the Circus histrionicus of Quoy and Gaimard (Busard bariole, Mus. PAR.), a bird somewhat smaller, and barred beneath with rufous, but in general disposition of colours, and length of wings and tail, closely resembling C. cyaneus.

On the supposition that the whole of our specimens belong to one species, (a fact, however, which cannot be proved,) we shall now give the relative lengths of the quill feathers in what appears a young male (No. 7). First quill feather intermediate in length between the sixth and seventh; second equal to the fifth; third equal to the fourth, which are the longest. It thus appears that even in characters upon which we may generally place some reliance, individuals of the same species will materially differ. European specimens in the French Museum of Circus cyaneus exhibit the third and fourth quills equal; and this is also apparent in some of those collected in America. We must, however, notice a specimen which presents a considerable deviation from the rest; it is a Bear Lake specimen (No. 8), killed in the autumn, and exhibits a general resemblance to the other two procured there, but the colours of its plumage, deep liver-brown above and rust-coloured below, are considerably darker. Its sex was not ascertained, but it was probably a female, the other two being males; and it may have been a yearling bird, not above three months old, while the others, having been killed in May, must have been birds at least as old as the preceding season. In it the second quill feather is a very little shorter than the fifth, and an inch and three-quarters longer than the sixth: the relative lengths of the other feathers correspond with No. 7, above mentioned. No great stress can be laid on the difference exhibited by this specimen in the clearness and brightness of its colours, for this is generally a mere indication of youth. In most of the Falconidæ that are variegated, either with brown or rufous, the colours are most intense in youth, and gradually become paler or disappear with advanced age; but the total absence of the festoon or obsolete tooth, in the upper mandible of this bird, is somewhat remarkable. We know not of any instance that would lead us to believe this deficiency to be the mere

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effect of age, and it seems extraordinary that a structure so apparently essential should not be developed at the time nature intends the bird should seek its own sustenance. It has, indeed, been observed that the bill of the Falco Islandicus is sometimes destitute of a notch; and although we have attempted to account for this variation, still it is by no means certain that this may not indicate a difference of species. That there is some ground for this supposition, it may be as well to mention that, although the difference between C. cyaneus and cineraceus may be very well drawn from the structure of the wings, yet that a more important distinction between them has been overlooked. In cyaneus, the festoon of the upper mandible is fully developed, and distinctly apparent, during every age of the bird, whether male or female; while in C. cineraceus this festoon is absolutely wanting in every specimen we have examined, in all of which the commissure of the bill perfectly resembles that of the bird before us (No. 8). Nevertheless, from the following differences in the structure of their respective wings, we do not feel justified in considering them as of the same species:—

Falco cineraceus, a perfect adult bird, in the Paris Museum (Busard Montagu). Bird No. 8, above mentioned.
First quill feather, equal to the sixth; First, intermediate between the sixth and seventh;
Second, in the least degree longer than the fourth; Second, half an inch shorter than the fifth;
Third, the longest; Third and fourth, equal and longest;
Fifth, intermediate in length between the first and second. Fifth, a very little longer than the second.

To illustrate further the variation in the wings of the young and adult birds of this group, the following measurements were taken from a male bird of the first year (avant la première mice), belonging to C. cineraceus, and now in the Paris Museum. First quill feather intermediate between the sixth and seventh; second equal to the fifth; third shorter than the fourth, which is the longest. The colours of this specimen assimilate very closely to our bird (No. 8), and tend to show that the latter is a bird of the first year. Like ours, it is almost entirely of a bright rufous beneath, without any other indications of those stripes, which are afterwards apparent, than a dark line down the shaft of each feather.

Adult specimens of cineraceus, brought from India by M. Sonnerat, exhibit the following variations: Male. First quill much shorter than the sixth, but intermediate between the sixth and seventh; second rather shorter than the fourth; third the longest; fourth longer than the second. Female. First quill feather

1 2

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equal to the sixth; second equal to the fourth. Upon the whole it appears that specific distinctions among these birds, when drawn from the proportions of all the quill feathers, unsupported by other considerations, are liable to much objection, since we see that these characters vary in birds obviously of the same species, while others, perfectly distinct, agree in this particular. The Egyptian Circus gallinarius of Savigny (which, by a note of M. Temminck's, attached to the specimens in the Paris Museum, he seems to confound with the European species) has, nevertheless, all the indications of being distinct: the membrane between the toes is particularly small. There is a black variety of C. cineraceus (a specimen of which was shot near Chartres by M. Marchand, and is described in the Bull, des Sciences, iii., pl. 12, f. 1.), which must not, however, be confounded with another species, from Southern Africa, having the plumage black and the tail barred with white.

We have considered it better to offer these general observations to the reader, rather than to hazard any direct opinion on the birds before us. The whole of the Harriers appear very imperfectly known; and nothing short of an actual acquaintance with the birds in a state of nature, or a perfect series of specimens of different ages, will solve the doubts that now impede their clear investigation.—Sw.


Of (No. 3.) a mature male, killed on the plains of the Saskatchewan, May 17, 1827.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect of the head, neck, and lesser wing coverts, bluish-grey, with darker shafts. The back, scapularies, and tertiaries, have a deeper hue, verging to greyish or broccoli brown. There is a patch on the nape of the neck composed of feathers having white bases, brown centres, and ferruginous borders, all of which colours are partially seen. The quill feathers and greater coverts are blackish-brown towards their points, bluish-grey towards the base of the exterior webs, and white, barred or spotted with brown, on the interior ones. Some of the primaries and secondaries are tipped with white. The tail coverts are pure white, forming a bar across the base of the tail an inch and a half wide. The two middle tail feathers are bluish-grey, tinged with brown, bordered at the tip with soiled white, and crossed by five blackish-brown bars, of which the terminal one is half an inch broad; the others are very narrow and faint. The outer tail feather is brownish-grey exteriorly and at the tip, and its inner web is white, with five narrow brown bars. The other feathers exhibit more grey and less white the nearer they are to the middle of the tail, and have the brown bars extending to both webs.

Under surface.—The cheeks and auriculars are ash-grey, with a paler border to the orbit. The short feathers composing the semicircle behind the auriculars are tipped with the colour of the crown of the head; but they have dark shafts and some pale yellowish-brown mottlings towards their bases, which partially appear: in their texture they contrast strongly with the more wiry auriculars. The under surface of the neck is slate-grey. The breast is

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white, with a small rhomboidal cinereous mark in the centre of each feather. The belly and thighs are white, with some minute scattered grey specks. The vent feathers are spotless; but the under tail coverts have arrow-headed spots larger than those on the belly. The tail beneath is pale ash-grey with a slight tinge of buff, and is less distinctly barred than its upper surface. The linings of the wings are pure white, with the exception of two or three brownish-grey bars on the secondary coverts.

FORM, &c.—The bill is small, much compressed, with a narrow ridge and a rather small hook. The curve of the ridge is flatly elliptical until near the point, when it terminates in the small arc of a circle. The cutting margin of the upper mandible is distinctly lobed. The cere covers more than one-third of the ridge of the bill, and, in conjunction with the lores, is clothed laterally with a short down, over which there is a layer of stiff, bristly black hairs, disposed in a stelliform manner, their ends curving up and meeting with their fellows on the ridge of the bill, so as to conceal the nostrils. The nostrils are broadly oval and longitudinal. The lower mandible is rounded at the end. The folded wings are rather more than two inches short of the end of the tail. The fourth quill feather is the longest; the third is scarcely a line shorter; the fifth is about half an inch shorter than the fourth; the second a quarter of an inch shorter than the fifth; the sixth two inches shorter than the latter; and the first is a little longer than the seventh, which is more than an inch shorter than the sixth: the three following ones diminish successively half an inch each. The webs of the primaries are comparatively narrow at their points, and they are not so broad near the quills as those of the Buzzards, described in the preceding pages, nor so abruptly sinuated on their inner webs. The second to the fifth inclusive have distinct sinuations on their outer webs; and the first to the fourth inclusive are obliquely sinuated on their inner ones. The tail is long and slightly rounded, the outer feathers being scarcely half an inch shorter than the middle ones. The webs of the plumage covering the belly are much more decomposed than in the typical Buzzards. The thighs and tarsi are long and slender. The outer thigh feathers reach about half way down the tarsus, and the latter is clothed anteriorly with short feathers for nearly three-quarters of an inch. The rest of the tarsus is covered before and behind with large transverse scales, and it is very little increased in thickness at its junction with the toes. The toes are slender and moderately long: the middle one is the longest; the outer one is longer than the inner one; and the hind one is the shortest, being only about half as long as the middle one. There is a web between the bases of the middle and outer toes. The claws are very acute, and are grooved beneath: the hind one is the longest and the outer one the smallest, but there is no marked disproportion amongst them. The middle one has a sharp inner margin.


Of the male No. 3.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 20 9
„ of the tail 9 3
„ of the longest quill feather 13 0
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 3
Length of the bill along its ridge 1 0
„ of the tarsus 2 10
„ of the middle toe 1 3
„ of its claw, in a straight line 0 7
„ of the hind claw „ 0 9

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No. 5, a male, killed at Cumberland House in the same month, corresponds exactly with the preceding in colour of the plumage, form of the bill, the relative lengths of the quill feathers, &c, except that the inner wing coverts are totally white, without bars, and the spots on the under surface of the body are much smaller.

No. 1, a male, killed at Carlton a fortnight earlier than Nos. 3 and 5, differs from them in having central yellowish-brown oval marks on the breast feathers, some pretty large brown bars on the flanks and under tail coverts, many arrow-shaped spots on the thighs, and dark cinereous heart-shaped marks on the linings of the wings. The upper plumage had a browner tinge, and the tail is darker, with five more complete blackish-brown bars. The lobe of the upper mandible is equally distinct as in the other two specimens, and, with the very slight exception of the first quill feather being merely equal to the seventh, instead of exceeding it, the wings have a similar structure.


Of (No. 2.) a female, in full plumage, killed at the nest, May 14, 1827.

COLOUR of the whole dorsal aspect liver-brown; the feathers of the crown of the head, upper part of the neck, and lesser wing coverts, together with some of the scapularies, are edged with pale yellowish-brown. There are also some narrow chestnut-brown edges on the rump feathers; but the rest of the upper plumage, including the quill feathers and greater coverts, are unmixed liver-brown: the tips of the secondaries and primary coverts are edged with soiled white. The tail coverts are white. The tail is crossed by six bars of liver-brown, of which the subterminal one is the broadest: its tip is soiled white. On the four middle feathers the bars are separated by a paler colour, approaching to clove-brown; on the more exterior feathers the spaces between the bars on the inner webs are pale yellowish-brown. Under surface. The cheeks are more ferruginous than the crown of the head, and the feathers of the facial semicircle are mostly edged with brownish-white. The under surface of the neck is liver-brown, with white and yellowish-brown edgings. The belly, under tail coverts, and posterior part of the wing linings, are pale yellowish-brown, with conspicuous chestnut-coloured elliptical spots. The remainder of the linings of the wings are faint straw-yellow, blotched with dark clove-brown. The under surfaces of the quill and tail feathers are barred with clove-brown, the intermediate spaces being yellowish-white, gradually changing to brownish-grey.

FORM.—The lobe on the cutting margin of the upper mandible is well marked. The third quill feather is equal to the fourth; the fifth is half an inch shorter; the second is an inch shorter than the third; the sixth is two inches and a half shorter than the fifth; and the first and seventh are an inch shorter than the sixth. The toes are scutellated above to their bases, and the inner edge of the middle claw is very acute, the groove producing it being very distinct.

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Of the female No. 2.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 22 6
„ of the tail 10 3
„ of the longest quill feathers 14 6
Length of the bill along the ridge 1
„ of the tarsus 3 4
„ of the middle toe 1 6

Another female (No. 4), killed on the plains of the Saskatchewan in the beginning of June, corresponded in every point with the preceding.


Of (No. 6.) a young male (supposed to be of the preceding season), killed at Great Bear Lake, lat. 65°, May 31, 1826.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect liver-brown. The feathers of the head are narrowly edged with deep orange-brown, and there is a whitish border to the orbit, most conspicuous behind. The facial circles meet on the nape of the neck, and the feathers composing them have liver-brown centres and tips, lateral margins of pale wood-brown, and white bases. The feathers of the neck have mostly yellowish-brown edges. The back is of an uniform liver-brown, with a pale yellowish-brown spot on one or two of the scapularies. The lesser wing coverts have marginal ferruginous blotches, and the greater coverts and secondaries are narrowly tipped with white. The primaries are crossed by from seven to nine liver-brown bars, the intermediate spaces towards the tips being merely a lighter shade of the same colour, but towards the bases of the inner webs being white or pale wood-brown. The white tail coverts form a narrow bar across the base of the tail. The tail is crossed by five bars of liver-brown, the terminal one being the broadest, the intermediate spaces, which equal the bars in breadth, are hair-brown on the two middle feathers, and pale ferruginous on the others; and all the feathers are narrowly edged on their tips with white. The under surface of the neck is ferruginous, with tapering longitudinal streaks of liver-brown; the breast is paler, and the streaks are confined to the shafts. The flanks are dark orange-brown, with paler edgings. The posterior part of the belly and vent are very pale ferruginous, without spots; and the under tail coverts and thighs have a deeper ferruginous tint, also without spots. The under surface of the tail is very pale buff, with liver-brown bars. The linings of the wings have a slight ferruginous tinge, with dark-brown blotches. The inner surfaces of all the quill feathers are white, slightly tinged in a few places with brown, crossed by narrow clove-brown bars, and becoming entirely brown at their tips.

FORM, &c.—The lobe of the upper mandible is not quite so distinct as in the older specimens described above. The third quill feather equals the fourth; the second and fifth are an inch shorter; the sixth is two inches shorter than the fifth; and the first is about a quarter of an inch shorter than the sixth, and as much longer than the seventh. The tarsi correspond with those of the older birds, even to the number of scutelli (fifteen before and nineteen behind, besides a reticulated portion adjoining to the upper joint behind).

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Of the young bird No. 6.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 18 6
„ of the tarsus 3 0
„ of the middle toe 1 3

No. 7, another young male, killed a few days earlier at the same place, scarcely differs a shade in the colour of its plumage, and corresponds minutely with the preceding in form. The plumage of both is considerably worn.


Of (No. 8.) a yearling female? killed, in the end of September, at Great Bear Lake, a few days before the departure of all the migratory Falcons to the southward.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect considerably deeper than in the preceding young male, being intermediate between umber and blackish browns, and it has a strong bronze reflection. The narrow edgings of the feathers of the crown, and the broader ones of the neck and wing coverts, are deep shining orange-brown. The quill feathers and their coverts are blackish-brown; the upper halves of their inner webs are white and wood-brown, with three cross bars of dark-brown. The tail coverts are white, edged with pale yellowish-brown. The two middle tail feathers have five brownish-black bars, alternating with clove-brown. On the other tail feathers the bars are separated by reddish-orange spaces. The under plumage presents generally a deeper orange-coloured brown than the young male above described.

FORM, &c.—The bill differs from all the other seven specimens in its cutting margin being almost straight, with scarcely an indication of the lobe. The tail is more rounded, from the perfect state of the individual feathers. The tarsus has fourteen scutelli anteriorly; but its upper half posteriorly is reticulated by smaller scales. The third quill feather is the longest; the fourth is scarcely perceptibly shorter; the second and fifth are about an inch shorter; the sixth is two inches shorter than the fifth; and the first is exactly intermediate between the sixth and seventh. The whole plumage is in high order; all the feathers rounded at the tips and soft on the edges.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 20 6
„ of the tarsus 3 2
„ of the middle toe 1 4

On Sir John Franklin's first Expedition I killed a specimen on the shores of Hudson's Bay (lat. 57°), on the 23rd of August, which very nearly resembles the preceding, but, being less spotted, is probably an older female. It corresponds exactly with Wilson's figure of the female Marsh Hawk (F. uliginosus), to which Mr. Sabine referred it. This gentleman makes the following observations upon

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it: "On comparison of the specimen of the Marsh Hawk with that of the Ringtail now before us, the differences are strikingly obvious. The ferruginous colour of the under parts of the Marsh Hawk bring it nearer to some states of the Ash-coloured Falcon of Montagu; but in this case also the different colour of the male forms an obstacle to their identity*." I subjoin a brief description of that specimen, taken when it was recently killed.


Of a young female, killed at York Factory, August 23, 1821.

COLOUR of the bill bluish-black; cere and tarsi bright-yellow. Plumage of the head and neck brownish-black, with ferruginous edgings, which are broader on the under surface of the neck and narrower on the crown. The back, scapularies, and wings, are very dark liver-brown, the lesser coverts being edged with ferruginous. The inner vanes of the quill feathers are broadly barred with buff-orange. The tail coverts are white. The two middle tail feathers are coloured, like the back, with obscure bars; the others are barred alternately with that colour and ferruginous, and they are all tipped with a soiled brownish-white. The whole ventral aspect of the body, the linings of the wings, the under tail coverts, and the thigh feathers, are of an uniform unspotted ferruginous colour. The inner surfaces of the quill feathers are tinged with buff-yellow, and crossed by irregular bars of blackish-brown and lead-grey.

FORM.—Cutting margin of the upper mandible slightly lobed. The fourth quill feather is the longest. The tail is long and rather square. When the gullet is distended, a large naked space appears on each side of the neck, as in the Owls.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail (before it was skinned) 19 6
Extent from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other 36 0
Length of the tail 11
„ tarsus 3 0

From the shortness of the descriptions given by the older writers of their species, and their neglect of attention to structure, it has now become almost impossible to ascertain what were the birds they alluded to; and we have, therefore, confined ourselves entirely, in our account of the Falconidæ, to those of which we have actually seen specimens from the fur-countries. The Prince of Musignano, the latest writer on American ornithology, enumerates seventeen species of this family in his Synopsis of the Birds of the United States, published in 1826; to which he has added an eighteenth in his Continuation of Wilson's Ornithology. Of these, eleven are described in this work as natives of the fur-countries, together with

* When this passage was written, Mr. Sabine was not aware that the mature male of a bluish-grey colour had been seen in America, and therefore concluded that the Marsh Hawk was a species peculiar to that continent.


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three others, which do not enter into his list; viz. Falco Islandicus, F. æsalon, and Buteo vulgaris; making in all fourteen northern species. Of the remaining seven* of his list, four†, being inhabitants of the warmer parts only of the United States, do not require any notice from us; but the other three (Accipiter Cooperii, Buteo Sancti Johannis, and Buteo hyemalis) are said to be northern birds, although we were not fortunate enough to procure specimens of them. We shall, on this account, content ourselves with merely giving the short characters assigned to them by the writer just mentioned.

"Accipiter Cooperii. Upper plumage chocolate-brown, margined with rufous; tail ashy-brown, with four black bands; flag feathers crossed by five or six blackish bands; under plumage whitish, with a dusky medial stripe. Cere greenish-yellow; irides and feet bright-yellow. Young male? Winters in New Jersey."

"Buteo Sancti Johannis, black; white round the eye; tail rounded, with narrow bands of pure white, and tipped with dull-white. Young, varied with white, brown, and ferruginous. Winters in Pennsylvania. Rare."

"Buteo hyemalis. No collar round the face; wings, when closed, reaching but little beyond the middle of the tail. Common in Pennsylvania all the winter."

PENNANT, in his Arctic Zoology, enumerates twenty-nine Falconidæ; as inhabitants of North America:—

No. 86. Sea Eagle.
87. Black Eagle. H. B.
88. Black-cheeked Eagle.
90. White Eagle.
91. Osprey.
92. Rough-legged Falcon.
93. St. John's F. H.B.
94. Chocolate-coloured F. H.B.
95. Newfoundland F.
96. Sacre F. H.B.
97. Peregrine F. H.B.
98. Gentil F.
99. Goshawk.
100. Red-tailed F.
101. Leverian F.
No. 102. Red-shouldered F.
103. Buzzard F.
104. Plain F.
105. Marsh F.
106. Ring-tail F. H.B.
107. Winter F.
108. Swallow-tailed F.
109. Buzzardet.
110. Little F.
111. Pigeon F. H.B.
112. Dubious F.
113. Dusky F.
Suppl. Streaked F. H.B.
Golden Eagle.

Those with the letters H.B. affixed are expressly stated to be inhabitants of Hudson's Bay.

* Audubon has published a figure of Astur Stanleii, which is rather a small species, but the letter-press of his work not being yet before the public, we do not know its range or its characters.

Falco plumbeus, F. melanopterus, F. furcatus, and F. Pennsylvanicus.

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The following list, extracted from LATHAM'S Index Ornithologicas, contains the species said by that author to be inhabitants of North America:—

Sp. 3. Falco melanaeetus.
4. „ fulvus.
5. „ leucocephalus.
7. „ ossifragus.
8. „ leucogaster.
12. „ Americanus.
17. „ candidus.
30. „ haliseetus.
31. „ Leverianus.
33. „ lagopus.
41. „ furcatus.
47. „ buteo, var. β.
48. „ variegatus.
49. „ borealis.
57. „ spadiceus.
58. „ lineatus.
59. „ rusticolus.
Sp. 61. Falco obsoletus.
65. „ palumbarius.
66. „ gentilis.
69. „ Islandicus.
72. „ peregrinus.
74. „ Sancti Johannis.
75. „ sacer.
76. „ Novæ terræ.
78. „ hyemalis.
94. „ cyaneus, β.
95. „ uliginosus.
99. „ sparverius.
103. „ fuscus.
104. „ dubius.
105. „ obscurus.
106. „ columbarius.
Suppl. „ hyemalis, var.

THE subjoined wood-cuts are intended to illustrate the forms of the bills in some of the genera of the Falconidæ.


The bill of the Merlin, here represented, is short, strong, wide at the base, and gradually becoming more and more compressed towards its tip, which forms an acute hook, that curves down over the end of the lower mandible. The curve of the ridge from the cere to the tip is about the quadrant of a circle, having nearly the third of an inch radius. The ridge of the

K 2

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cere is scarcely a continuation of the same arc, being more depressed; but it is too short to give a decidedly elliptical form to the curve of the bill. There is a conspicuous angular tooth on the cutting margin of the mandible near the tip, and posterior to it the margin is slightly waved. This peculiarity, seen in no other genus, constitutes the typical perfection of the whole family. The nostrils, small and perfectly round, open directly inwards, and have a central column. The anterior margin of the cere runs backwards on the side of the bill, towards the angle of the mouth, considerably past the nostrils, before it approaches the cutting margin of the mandible. The short hairlike feathers which clothe it laterally do not conceal the nostrils.


The bill of the Goshawk is more compressed and flatter on the sides than that of the Merlin or true Falcons. The curve of its ridge, from the cere to the tip, is somewhat less than a quadrant of a circle of three-quarters of an inch radius. The length of the cere is proportionably greater than in the Merlin, and it is not so much arched; in consequence of which, the whole ridge has a more elliptical curve. The cutting margin of the mandible has an obtuse lobe opposite the nostrils, but wants the acute tooth of the true Falcons, near the point of the bill. The lower mandible has entire margins, and is rounded at its tip—not truncated, as in the Falcons. The nostrils are large, nearly round, have no central column, open obliquely forwards close to the margin of the cere, and are mostly covered by the wiry feathers of the cere.

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In the Common Buzzard the bill has a more lengthened form and is equally compressed towards its tip, as in the Goshawk; but it is more swelled out at the base, where it is covered by cere. It is weaker; the depth from the ridge to the cutting margin at the nostrils being considerably less than in the latter bird; in consequence of which, the hooked point is longer. There is a conspicuous obtuse lobe on the cutting margin anterior to the nostrils. The lower mandible is worn on its margin opposite this lobe, and is obliquely truncated at its end. The nostrils, smaller and with more membranous margins than in the Goshawk, open obliquely downwards, and have no central pillar. The anterior margin of the cere runs down to the margin of the mandible opposite the nostrils.


The curve of the ridge of the bill of the Rough-legged Falcon is equal to that of the Goshawk, and its cere is still shorter; but the depth of the upper mandible at the nostrils is considerably less, and it is destitute of a marginal lobe; the rictus being almost quite straight from the angle of the mouth to the sudden curve of the hooked tip. The nostrils are large, roundish, and open obliquely forwards close to the margin of the cere. They are partially covered by black hairs, proceeding from among the close white down which clothes the space between the orbit and nostrils. The crown of the head is more convex than that of the Goshawk or Common Buzzard.

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Specimen No. 2. Female. (Vide p. 62.)

In this mature female Hen-Harrier the bill is more compressed and flattened on the sides, particularly posteriorly, than in any of those figured above, although its ridge is proportionably more rounded. The cere covers a greater portion of the ridge than in the preceding; but its anterior margin curves back beneath the nostrils, and runs nearly to the angle of the mouth, before it is lost on the cutting margin of the mandible. The depth of the upper mandible at the nostrils is about equal to that of the Common Buzzard; and there is a small, but distinct lobe on the margin of the mandible a little anterior to the nostrils. The nostrils, oval and longitudinal, open obliquely forwards, extend close to the margin of the cere, and are nearly concealed by the black hairs which spring from the lores. The lower mandible is rounded at its tip, and its margins are more incurved than in the preceding Falcons.


Specimen No. 8. Young female. (Vide p. 64.)

The bill of this specimen is destitute of a lobe on the cutting margin of the upper mandible. (Vide pp. 58 and 59.)

* Since the preceding pages were sent to the press, I have had an opportunity, through the kindness of Mr. Yarrell, of comparing the eggs of the English Hen-Harrier with those taken from the nest of the Harrier on the plains of the Saskatchewan, as mentioned in p. 55. The latter, which measure exactly 181 inch, in length, are two-tenths of an inch longer than the English ones.

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IF our imperfect knowledge of the groups among the Falconidæ debars us from the power of discriminating the genera from the sub-genera, and even prevents us from understanding the properties of the primary groups, still more deficient are we in those data upon which, as we conceive, an insight into the natural arrangement of the Strigidæ may be acquired. As a whole, they present an assemblage of birds as united among themselves as they are distinct from all others. There is, we believe, no one species yet discovered which even a common observer would not immediately pronounce to be an Owl, or would be in danger of confounding either with a Hawk or Goatsucker, the only two groups to which the Strigidæ are related in immediate affinity. Yet, although this relationship is too obvious to be doubted, it must be confessed that a considerable hiatus intervenes between both. Whether these will be lessened by future discoveries, or whether the Owls, like the Parrots, are in some degree an isolated group, whose aberrant forms no longer exist, are points which may always remain in obscurity.

To state our objections against the attempts that have been made to arrange the modern genera of Strigidæ in a circular series, without at the same time offering a disposition more agreeable to nature, would be useless. It is obvious that, until the first principles of their affinities have been studied, we shall be building without a foundation. The extraordinary development and construction of the ear, by which the Owls are so strikingly distinguished from all other birds, is clearly that feature to which we should first direct our attention; and a correct knowledge of this organ, in its variations of structure through the subordinate groups, should precede all attempts at general combination. How much this has been neglected is well known. "We cannot sufficiently regret," observes the able continuator of Wilson, "that authors should be so unanimous in neglecting this important character of the ears in Owls." (BON., Syn., p. 436.) With this acknowledged fact before us, with the insignificant number of species for consultation to be found in our museums, and with the artificial combinations that have resulted from relying upon books and prints, rather than upon personal observation, we consider all attempts to combine the modern groups among the Strigidæ into a circular series, as somewhat speculative, and certainly not warranted by any evidence that has yet been brought forward on the subject.—Sw.

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[18.] 1. STRIX OTUS. (Linn.) Long-eared Owl.

GENUS. Strix. LINN. Sub-genus. Asio. ANTIQ.
Long-eared Owl. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii, p. 229, sp. 115.
Strix otus. LATH. Ind., i., p. 58.
Long-eared Owl. (Strix otus.) WILSON. Orn., vi., p. 73, pl. 51, f. 3.
Strix otus. TEMM., i., p. 102. SELBY. Brit. Orn., 8vo., p. 52. BONAP. Syn., p. 37, No. 28.
CUVIER, Rég. An., Second edit., i., p. 341.
Ammisk-oho. (Beaver-Owl) CREE INDIANS.

This bird, which is an inhabitant of both hemispheres, has been found in America as far north as latitude 60°, and probably exists as high as the forests extend. It is plentiful in the woods skirting the plains of the Saskatchewan, frequents the coast of Hudson's Bay only in the summer, and retires into the interior in the winter. It resides all the year in the United States, and perhaps is not a rare bird in any part of North America; but, as it comes seldom abroad in the day, fewer specimens are obtained of it than of the other Owls. It preys chiefly on quadrupeds of the genus arvicola, and in summer destroys many beetles. It lays three or four roundish white eggs, sometimes on the ground, at other times in the deserted nests of other birds in low bushes. Mr. Hutchins says it lays in April, and that the young fly in May. The Indians brought me a specimen, killed at the nest, which was in a bush, and contained one egg, in May; and Mr. Drummond found a nest on the ground, in the same neighbourhood, containing three eggs, on the 5th of July, and killed both the birds. Wilson says that the young are greyish-white until nearly full grown, and roost during the day close together on the limb of a tree, amid the thickest of the foliage. On comparing the above-mentioned eggs with those of the English Long-eared Owl, the American ones proved to be smaller, measuring only an inch and a half in length and 1.27 inch, in breadth; while the English ones measured 1.8 inch, in length, and 1.54 in breadth. The form and colour were the same in both.


Of a male, killed at Carlton House, 5th July, 1827.

COLOUR.—Bill and claws bluish-black. Irides reddish-orange. The wiry feathers at the base of the bill, forming part of the facial circle, are greyish-white, with black shafts and tips; the posterior broader half of the circle covering the operculum of the concha is dull yellowish-brown,

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margined or bounded posteriorly with blackish-brown: the interior of the circle, forming the immediate border of the orbit, is blackish. The belt of velvety feathers on the posterior border of the concha, and which meets with its fellow on the throat, is dark umber-brown, finely mottled with white. The egrets are liver-brown, the interior margins of the feathers mottled with white. On the dorsal aspect the ground colour is dark liver-brown; which on the forehead and crown is finely speckled with white; on the neck the dark-brown occupies the centre of each feather, and the margins are pale yellowish-brown, with indented white spots, that are finely dotted with dark-brown. The back, scapularies, tertiaries, and greater part of the lesser wing coverts, have the brown ground crossed by bars of white, which again include indented bars of brown, the resulting general effect being a fine mottling. A band passes along the upper margin of the wing, on which there are no white spots; but the dark-brown is sparingly dotted with yellowish-brown. The quill feathers are liver-brown, crossed by seven bands of yellowish-brown, more or less mottled with white. The tail is crossed by about eight pale yellowish-brown or whitish bars, finely mixed with dark-brown, and alternating with as many liver-brown bars.

Under surface.—On the neck and breast the feathers are liver-brown in their centres and white or yellowish-brown on their margins, producing an assemblage of large spots. On the belly they are white, crossed by narrow distinct liver-brown bars. The plumage of the whole ventral aspect, as well as of the dorsal, is yellowish-brown at the base, which partially shows. The linings of the wings are white, tinged with yellowish-brown and marked with some dark-brown blotches. The insides of the primaries are clove-brown, with large buff-coloured bases and blotches opposite to the pale bars on the exterior surfaces. The under surface of the tail is buff-coloured towards the base and greyish towards the point, and is crossed by eight or nine narrow brown bars. The long outer thigh feathers are deep yellowish-brown, with a few liver-brown bars on their tips. The legs and feet are unspotted yellowish-brown.

FORM, &c.—The bill, having a flat elliptical curvature, is covered with cere on the ridge about half its length. Nostrils oval, oblique. Facial circle moderately large. Concha extending from above the posterior angle of the orbit to behind the limb of the lower jaw, being about an inch and a quarter long, with a moderately broad operculum of corresponding length. Egrets an inch and a half long, very conspicuous, composed of six or more feathers. Folded wings very little shorter than the tail. The second quill feather is the longest, the third is scarcely shorter; the first rather exceeds the fourth, and both are an inch shorter than the second; the remaining ones diminish each in succession from three-quarters to half an inch. The inner web of the first primary is strongly sinuated near the point, and the outer web of the second is more obliquely narrowed higher up. The outer web of the first and that of the second below the sinuation have the points of the barbs strongly reverted: this is not the case with the third, as it is in Strix Virginiana. Tail very slightly rounded, the outer feathers being only a quarter of an inch shorter than the central ones. Tarsi closely covered with moderately long feathers; and the upper surface of the toes clothed by shorter feathers, which do


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not reach beyond the roots of the nails, where two or three scales are exposed. The middle nail is the longest, the first nearly equals it; both are grooved beneath, and the former has a sharp inner edge. The hind and outer nails are rounded beneath: none of them are much curved.


Of the male.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 17 0
„ of the tail 6 6
of the longest quill feather 11 0
„ of the bill on the ridge 1 3
Length of the bill from the angle of the mouth in a straight line 1 3
„ of the tarsus 1 7
„ of the middle toe 1 2
„ of the middle nail 0 9

The female, which was killed in company with the above, was scarcely of larger dimensions, and differed only slightly in the parts tinged with yellowish-brown, having a more intense colour. The facial circle was rather browner. Another female, killed six weeks earlier in the season, was precisely similar.

The setaceous feathers at the base of the bill are represented as very few in this cut of the head of the Long eared Owl, in order to exhibit the cere and nostrils, and a correct outline of the bill.

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[19.] 2. STRIX BRACHYOTA. (Latham.) Short-eared Owl.

GENUS. Strix. LINN. Sub-genus. Asio. ANTIQ.
Strix brachyotos. FORSTER. Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 384, No. 2.
Short-eared Owl. LATH. Syn., i., p. 124, sp. 9. PENN. Arcl. Zool., ii., p. 229, sp. 116. WILSON, iv., p. 64, pl. 33, f. 3. Male.
Strix brachyotos. TEMM., i., p. 93. SELBY. Brit. Orn., 8vo., p. 54. BONAP. Syn., p. 37, No. 29.
Tho-thos-cau-sew. CREE INDIANS. (Hutchins.)

This Owl is common to both continents, and is very generally diffused in the temperate and colder regions. It is a summer visitor to the fur-countries, arriving as soon as the snow disappears, and departing again in September. We observed it as far north as latitude 67°; and a female, killed at Fort Franklin on the 20th of May, contained several pretty large eggs nearly ready for exclusion. It is found in the winter as far south as Pennsylvania; in summer is by no means rare in the fur-countries, and, as it hunts frequently for its prey in the daytime, is often seen. Its principal haunts are dense thickets of young pine-trees, or dark and entangled willow clumps, where it sits on a low branch, watching assiduously for mice. When disturbed, it flies low for a short distance, and then hides itself in the heart of a bush, from whence it is not easily driven. Its nest, formed of withered grass and moss, is placed on a dry spot of ground; and, according to Mr. Hutchins, it lays ten or twelve small, round, white eggs. This is a very unusual number for a bird of prey to lay; but a fact, mentioned by Bewick, that twenty-eight individuals of this species have been counted together in a turnip-field, seems to be equally extraordinary. Perhaps it migrates partially in Europe as well as in America, and assembles in flocks previous to leaving its breeding-places.—R.

If we are to consider, with M. Savigny, the S. flammea as the type of this family, we observe in the present species a much closer approximation to that form than to the typical Horned Owls. This is exhibited in the prolongation and slight curvature of the bill, in the size and direction of the nasal aperture, and in the more lengthened tarsi, but much more in the full facial disk, and the very great size of the operculated ears. The toes are but thinly feathered; and these feathers, assuming more the appearance of hairs, do not cover the base of the claws. The wings are ample, and extend to the end of the tail. The first quill is nearly as long as the third, and this alone is deeply emarginate on its inner web close to

L 2

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the tip, as in the typical Falcons; the second quill is the longest, and is the only one slightly emarginate on its outer web. All these characters belong likewise to the Long-eared Owl, the only apparent variation being in the second and longest quill feather, which in the latter bird has a deep notch near its tip.—Sw.


Of a female, killed at Fort Franklin, 20th May, 1826. Eggs fully formed were contained in the oviduct.

COLOUR of the facial circle at the base of the bill white, with a slight intermixture of black hairs; posteriorly it is dark blackish-brown close to the orbit, then yellowish-brown mixed with white, and lastly the tips of the soft velvety feathers behind the auditory opening exhibit a spotted mixture of dark umber and bright yellowish-brown, which colours extend across the throat immediately behind the lower jaw. The egrets are coloured like the adjoining plumage, and, being short, are scarcely visible. The plumage on the dorsal aspect is variegated by liver-brown and light yellowish-brown, the latter colour occupying the margins of the feathers. The primaries have a clear wood-brown colour, approaching to buff, crossed by two irregular bars of liver-brown, and also tipped for two inches with the same colour. The outer webs of the secondaries are liver-brown, crossed by five mottled bars of wood-brown; their inner webs are of the latter colour, indented with processes of liver-brown proceeding from the shafts. The tail is crossed by six wood-brown bars, alternating with five liver-brown ones, its tip being of the former colour.

Under surface of the neck coloured like the back, but the paler margins of the feathers are broader. The long feathers covering the sides of the belly are yellowish-brown, with narrow streaks of liver-brown on their shafts. The vent feathers, under tail coverts, and feathers of the thighs and feet, are yellowish-brown, without spots. The under surface of the tail is buff-coloured, with five narrow broccoli-brown bars. The linings of the wings are yellowish-brown, with blotches of dark-brown. Bill and claws black. Irides bright gamboge-yellow.

FORM.—Bill elliptically curved from its base, the part covered with cere somewhat inflated; its point compressed with a very obtuse ridge. Nostrils oval, oblique. Facial circle of wiry feathers complete, but not large. Concha forming a semicircle, with a rather narrow operculum of corresponding length. Tips of the folded wings falling about an inch and a half short of the end of the tail. The second primary is the longest; the third is a quarter of an inch, and the first half an inch shorter; the others diminish in succession about three-quarters of an inch each. The whole of the outer barbs of the first primary and those at the tip of the second have their points reverted. The outer web of the second primary and inner one of the first are sinuated. The feet are covered to the claws with short feathers. The claws taper considerably and are very sharp; the middle one is the longest, the inner one is next to it in size, and the hind one is the smallest; the latter and the outer one are rounded beneath, the two others are grooved, and the middle one has a very sharp inner edge.

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Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 17 0
„ of the tail 6 6
„ of the longest quill feather 11 6
„ of the bill measured on its ridge 1 4
Length of the cere on its ridge 0 8
„ of the tarsus 1 6
„ of the middle toe 1 4
„ of its claw 0 11

Another specimen, of the same size with the preceding, has more of the yellowish-brown colour in its plumage, and a bill two lines shorter, with a more tumid cere. A third, also of equal size, has a bill of an intermediate form between these two.

[20.] 3. STRIX CINEREA. (Gmelin.) Great Cinereous Owl.

Cinereous Owl. LATH. Syn., i., p. 134, sp. 19.
Sooty Owl. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 232, No. 120.
Strix cinerea. GMELIN. Syst., i., p. 291. LATH. Ind., i., p. 58, sp. 22.
Strix fuliginosa. SHAW. Gen. Zool, i., p. 244.
Strix cinerea. VIEILLOT. Enc. Méth., iii., 1289, No. 43. IDEM, NOUV. Dict., vii., p. 23.
Atheeneetoo omeesew. (Real or Indian Owl.) CREE INDIANS.


This imposing bird, the largest of the North American Owls, was first described by Latham from a Hudson's Bay specimen, deposited in the British Museum; and some particulars respecting its habits, communicated to Pennant by Mr. Hutchins, were published in Arctic Zoology. It is by no means a rare bird in the fur-countries, being an inhabitant of all the woody districts lying between Lake Superior and latitudes 67° or 68°, and between Hudson's Bay and the Pacific. It is common on the borders of Great Bear Lake; and there and in the higher parallels of latitude it must pursue its prey, during the summer months, by daylight. It keeps, however, within the woods, and does not frequent the barren grounds, like the Snowy Owl, nor is it so often met with in broad daylight as the Hawk-Owl, but hunts principally when the sun is low; indeed, it is only at such times, when the recesses of the woods are deeply shadowed, that the American hare and the murine animals, on which the Cinereous Owl chiefly preys, come forth

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to feed. On the 23rd of May, I discovered a nest of this Owl, built on the top of a lofty balsam-poplar, of sticks, and lined with feathers. It contained three young, which were covered with a whitish down. We got them by felling the tree, which was remarkably thick; and whilst this operation was going on, the two parent birds flew in circles round the objects of their cares, keeping, however, so high in the air as to be out of gunshot: they did not appear to be dazzled by the light. The young ones were kept alive for two months, when they made their escape. They had the habit, common also to other Owls, of throwing themselves back, and making a loud snapping noise with their bills, when any one entered the room in which they were kept.—R.

This bird has the posterior half of its bill covered with cere, rounded or swelled out on the sides, and very slightly arched on the ridge; the curved point moderately compressed, much resembling that of Strix brachyota. Its auditory concha is much larger than that of S. (Bubo) Virginiana, but very considerably less in proportion than that of Strix brachyota, though the operculum is larger than in this bird.—Sw.


Of a specimen, in very perfect plumage, killed at Great Bear Lake, in lat. 65°, supposed to be a male.

COLOUR of the bill yellow. Irides bright gamboge-yellow. That part of the facial disk which is next the bill is composed of hair-like feathers, which are black at the base, and white, with black shafts, upwards: the posterior part of the disk consists of feathers, having short, distinct, wiry-looking barbs of a greyish-white colour, tinged in some places with brown, and crossed by black bars, which form six concentric rings round the orbit. Posterior to the disk there is a semicircle of shining yellowish-brown, barred with blackish-brown, and edged on each side of the throat with white, having a satiny lustre. This semicircle forms the posterior border of the auricular concha, but extends beyond it. The whole dorsal aspect is of a dark-brown colour, irregularly barred and mixed with greyish-white, inferior to the brown in quantity, the markings somewhat resembling in form those of Strix Virginiana. The spurious wing feathers are clove-brown, with some slight white mottlings on their exterior webs; and the primary coverts have the same colour, crossed by three lighter bars. The primaries are also clove-brown, and are crossed by from six to eight bars, of which the five next the quills are greyish-white, mixed in a mottled manner with an equal quantity of brown; the other bars next the tips are merely a shade lighter than the intervening spaces. The secondaries and tertiaries are barred like the bases of the primaries. The tail is clove-brown, crossed by eight or nine bars, which are each formed of two white lines, edged and separated by brown; the last bar occupies the tip of the tail. The ventral aspect is clove-brown, with short transverse bars of white, that do not reach the shafts of the feathers. The feet are greyish-white, finely barred with brown.

FORM, &c.—Head large. Bill broad above, tumid on the sides, and scarcely arched as

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far as the cere extends, which is half its length; from the cere to the tip it is curved and somewhat compressed. The cutting margin of the upper mandible is not sinuated. The lower mandible is truncated at the tip, and is obtusely notched on the side near the tip. The nostrils are pretty large and nearly round. The cere is covered on the sides with hair-like feathers, which curve upwards and conceal the nostrils. The eyes are small, considering the great size of the bird. The facial disk is large. The concha is also large, of a transversely oval form, and is capable of being closed by the large flap or operculum which forms the posterior part of the facial disk. The margin of this operculum is formed of a dense row of short brown feathers, having flattened quills. The posterior border of the concha is clothed with feathers, having dense webs, soft and velvety to the touch. All these are covered by the margin of the orbital disk when the ear is closed. A row of brown feathers, with white or yellowish-brown tips, mixed with dark-brown, marks the auricular ring, which, except on the forehead, completely encircles the face. The longest feathers of this ring are those at the base of the lower mandible. The wings, when folded, reach within four inches of the end of the tail, or as far as the points of the claws when the legs are stretched out. The fourth quill feather equals the fifth, and is longer than the others; the third is a quarter of an inch, and the sixth half an inch, shorter than these; the second is upwards of an inch shorter than the third; the seventh is two inches shorter than the sixth, and the following ones diminish each in succession about three-quarters of an inch. The first is intermediate in length between the ninth and tenth. The two first have the tips of the barbs of their outer webs conspicuously recurved and separated; and the second to the fifth inclusive have their outer webs sinuated towards their points. The five first have their inner webs also sinuated, and the sixth is narrowed towards the point, but not so abruptly as to produce a distinct sinuation. The tail is wedge-shaped, consisting of twelve feathers, of which the outer ones are more than two inches shorter than the middle ones: it is very concave below. The legs are short and strong. The toes are naked beneath, but are clothed above with feathers, which extend beyond the roots of the nails. There are only two scales at the root of each nail. The claws are long, slender, tapering, very acute, and not much curved; the middle one is grooved beneath, has a sharp outer edge, and a very sharp inner one. The inner claw has one edge partially acute; but the hind and outer claws are nearly as much rounded beneath as those of the Osprey. The inner claw is the longest, the posterior and middle ones are a little smaller, and the outer versatile one is the smallest of all.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the point of the bill to the end of the tail 24 0
„ of the tail 12 0
„ of the longest quill feather 15 0
„ of the tarsus 2 0
„ of the middle toe 1 0
Length of the inner fore claw 1 6
„ of the bill, measured on the ridge 1 10
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 9
„ of the cere, measured on the ridge 0 10
„ of the diameter of the nostrils 0 3

Several other specimens were brought home, some of which differ in size from the preceding; but there is no variation in the colours or distribution of the mark-

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ings of any note. They differ from each other, however, in the relative lengths of the quill feathers.

No. 2, of the same dimensions with the preceding (No. 1), and, therefore, most probably of the same sex, has the third quill feather equal to the sixth, and the second to the seventh, the fourth and fifth being the longest, as above.

No. 3, twenty-six inches long, had the quill feathers of the same relative lengths with No. 1.

No. 4, also twenty-six inches long, corresponded in the quill feathers with No. 2.

No. 5, which was the largest, being twenty-seven inches long, had the fourth quill feather two lines shorter than the fifth, the third perceptibly shorter than the sixth, and the second an inch and a half shorter than the third. In all the specimens the first quill feather was a little shorter than the ninth, and between four and four inches and a half shorter than the fourth or fifth.

The ear and operculum of the Great Cinereous Owl, showing the roots or quills only of the feathers. One of the ruff feathers of its natural size. The bill of the same, with merely a few of the basal feathers, that the form of the nostrils may be seen.

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[21.] 4. STRIX NEBULOSA. (Forster.) Barred Owl.

GENUS. Strix. LINN. Sub-genus. Ulula. CUVIER.
Strix nebulosa, and Grey Owl. FORST. Phil. Trans., lxii., pp. 386, 424. GMELIN. Syst.
Barred Owl. LATH. Syn., i., p. 133, sp. 18. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 234, sp. 122.
Strix nebulosa. LATH. Ind., i., p. 58.
Barred Owl. WILSON. Orn., iv., p. 61, pl. 33, f. 2.
Strix nebulosa. TEMM. i., p. 88. BONAP. Syn., p. 38, sp. 30.

This Owl, which is also a native of Northern Europe, was first described by Dr. Forster, from a Hudson's Bay specimen sent to the Royal Society by Mr. Graham. It is probably an inhabitant of the southern districts of the fur-countries only, as we had not the fortune to meet with a specimen to the northward; nor is it mentioned by Mr. Hutchins in his remarks on the birds frequenting the country at the mouth of Nelson river. Wilson says it is one of the most common Owls in the United States. He informs us that it is very frequently observed flying during the day, and that it certainly sees more distinctly at that time than many others of the same genus. It lays four or five nearly globular white eggs, in a nest built in a tree, of sticks intermixed with dry grass and leaves, and lined with smaller twigs. It preys on mice, young rabbits, and grouse; and, according to the same author, both male and female, which differ remarkably in size, scream during the day like a Hawk. Not having seen an American specimen, the following description is borrowed from Wilson.


Extracted from Wilson's Ornithology.

" The male Barred Owl measures sixteen inches and a half in length, and thirty-eight inches in extent. Upper parts a pale brown, marked with transverse spots of white. Wings barred with alternate bands of pale-brown and darker. Head smooth, very large, mottled with transverse touches of dark-brown, pale-brown, and white. Eyes large, deep-blue*, the pupil not perceivable. Face, or radiated circle of the eyes, grey, surrounded by an outline of brown and white dots. Bill yellow, tinged with green; breast barred transversely with rows of brown and white; belly streaked longitudinally with long stripes of brown on a yellowish ground; vent plain yellowish-white; thighs and feathered legs the same, slightly pointed with brown; toes nearly covered with plumage; claws dark horn-colour, very sharp. Tail rounded, and

* Irides brown.—-Temminck.


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remarkably concave below, barred with six broad bars of brown and as many narrow ones of white. The back and shoulders have a cast of chestnut. At each internal angle of the eye is a broad black spot. The plumage of the radiated circle round the eye ends in long black hairs, and the bill is encompassed by others of a longer and more bristly kind; these probably serve to guard the eye when any danger approaches it, in sweeping hastily through the woods; and those usually found on Fly-catchers may have the same intention to fulfil; for on the slightest touch of the point of any of these hairs, the nictitant membrane was instantly thrown over the eye.

"The female is twenty-two inches long and four feet in extent; the chief difference of colour consists in her wings being broadly spotted with white, the shoulder being a plain chocolate-brown. The tail extends considerably beyond the tips of the wings. The bill is much longer, and of a more golden yellow. Iris of the eye the same as that of the male."

In addition to Wilson's very excellent description, I may remark, that the toes are only half covered with feathers, there being seven transverse scales visible next the claws. The fifth quill feather is the longest*, the fourth equals the sixth, the third equals the seventh, the second equals the eighth, and the first is shorter than the ninth, but longer than the tenth. The tail is tipped with white.

[22.] 5. STRIX (BUBO) VIRGINIANA. (Gmelin.) Virginian Horned Owl.

GENUS. Strix. LINN. Sub-genus. Bubo. CUVIER.
The Great Horned Owl. (Otus Americanus.) EDWARDS, pl. 60.
Horned Owl. ELLIS. Huds. Bay, p. 40, t. 2.
Due de Virginie. BUFF. Planch. Enl., 207, f. 1.
Virginian Eagle-Owl. LATH. Syn., i., p. 119, sp. 2. IDEM. Suppl. p. 40.
Eagle-Owl. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 228, No. 114. (The author deeming it to be a variety of the Eagle-Owl of Brit. Zool.)
Strix Virginiana. LATH. Ind., i., p. 52, sp. 2. VIEILLOT. Ois. de l'Am., i., pl. 19.
Great Horned Owl. (Strix Virginiana) WILSON, vi., p. 52, pl. 50, f. 1.
Strix Virginiana. VIEILLOT. Enc. Méth., 1282. BONAP. Syn., p. 37, No. 27.
Netowky-omeesew. CREE INDIANS. (Mr. Hutchins.)
Otowuck-oho. CREES of the Plains of the Saskatchewan.

This large night-bird is peculiar to America, and most probably inhabits that continent from one end to the other; Cuvier being of opinion that the Strix Magellanica of the Planches Enluminées (585) differs from it merely in having

* In a specimen in the British Museum. Forster, in his original description, says, "Remex sextus reliquis longior, apice magis nigricans; primus vero reliquis primoribus brevior. Remiges reliqui pallidiores obscurius fasciati."

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browner tints of colour: neither is it uncommon on the Table Land of Mexico. Specimens that were sent to John Taylor, Esq., F. R. S., from the vicinity of Real del Monte, have been compared, by Mr. Swainson, with those procured in the northern regions. They presented no other difference than what might be expected in regard to the colour of individuals from localities so widely different. In those from Mexico the rufous tints of the plumage were more general and much brighter*. The Virginian Horned Owl is found in almost every quarter of the United States, and occurs in all parts of the fur-countries where the timber is of a large size. Its loud and full nocturnal cry, issuing from the gloomy recesses of the forest, bears some resemblance to the human voice uttered in a hollow sepulchral tone, and has been frequently productive of alarm to the traveller, of which an instance occurred within my own knowledge. A party of Scottish Highlanders, in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, happened, in a winter journey, to encamp after nightfall in a dense clump of trees, whose dark tops and lofty stems, the growth of centuries, gave a solemnity to the scene that strongly tended to excite the superstitious feelings of the Highlanders. The effect was heightened by the discovery of a tomb, which, with a natural taste often exhibited by the Indians, had been placed in this secluded spot. Our travellers having finished their supper, were trimming their fire preparatory to retiring to rest, when the slow and dismal notes of the Horned Owl fell on the ear with a startling nearness. None of them being acquainted with the sound, they at once concluded that so unearthly a voice must be the moaning of the spirit of the departed, whose repose they supposed they had disturbed, by inadvertently making a fire of some of the wood of which his tomb had been constructed. They passed a tedious night of fear, and with the first dawn of day hastily quitted the ill-omened spot.

The Virginian Horned Owl preys on the American hare, Hudson's Bay squirrel, mice, wood-grouse, &c. It builds its nest of sticks on the top of a lofty tree, hatches in March, and its young, two or three in number, are generally fully fledged in June. Its eggs are white.—R.

In the size and structure of the ears, in the imperfect facial disk, in the shortness of the tarsi, and in the relative proportions of the claws, there is a close resemblance between this bird and Strix nyctea. The first quill feather is shorter than the fifth, but is nearer to it than to the sixth in length; the second and fourth

* Lewis and Clark state, that they saw the "Large Hooting Owl," to the westward of the Rocky Mountains, only on the Kooskooskee; and that it was of the same size and form with the Owl of the United States, though its colours, particularly the reddish-brown, seemed deeper and brighter.

M 2

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are equal, and very little shorter than the third, which is the longest. This structure must be productive of a weaker flight than that of the Short or Long-eared Owls (Strix otus and brachyota).—Sw.


Of a specimen killed at Fort Chepewyan.

COLOUR.—Bill and claws pale bluish-black. Irides bright-yellow. Facial circle of a deep black immediately round the orbit; composed of white, mixed with black bristly feathers at the base of the bill, and posteriorly of yellowish-brown wiry feathers, tipped with black, and having black shafts. The black tips form a conspicuous border to the facial circle posteriorly; but the small feathers behind the auditory opening differ little in colour and appearance from the adjoining plumage of the neck. Egrets composed of ten or twelve dark-brown feathers, spotted at the base of their outer webs and along their whole inner ones with yellowish-brown. Forehead and crown dark blackish-brown, finely mottled with greyish-white, and partially exhibiting the yellowish-brown base of the plumage. The whole dorsal plumage is yellowish-brown for more than half the length of each feather from its base, and dark liver-brown upwards, finely barred and indented with undulated white lines. More of the yellowish-brown is visible on the neck and between the shoulders than elsewhere. The primaries present six or seven bars of dark umber or liver brown, alternating with six bars, which on the outer webs are brownish-white, finely speckled with dark-brown, and on the inner webs are of a bright buff-colour, sparingly speckled with the dark-brown near the shafts. The tips of the feathers have the same mottled appearance with the paler bars of the outer webs. The secondaries and tail feathers are similarly marked to the primaries, but show more white on their outer webs. There are six liver-brown bars on the tail, the last of which is nearly an inch from its end.

Under surface.—Chin white, succeeded by a belt, extending from ear to ear, of liver-brown feathers, having pale yellowish-brown margins. Behind the belt there is a gorget-shaped mark of pure white. The rest of the lower surface of the body is crossed by very regular transverse bars of white, alternating with bars of equal breadth (three lines) of liver-brown, shaded with chocolate-brown. The yellowish-brown base of the plumage is likewise partially visible; there is a white mæsial line on the breast, and, when the long feathers covering the abdomen are turned aside, a good deal of white appears about the vent. The outside thigh feathers are yellowish-brown, with distant cross bars of liver-brown; and the legs and feet are brownish-white, with brown spots. The linings of the wings are white, with bars of liver-brown, margined by yellowish-brown. The insides of the primaries are bright-buff, crossed by broad bars of clove-brown. On the under surface of the secondaries the clove-brown bars are much narrower. The under tail coverts are whitish, with distant bars of liver-brown. The under surface of the tail has a slight tinge of buff-colour, and is crossed by mottled bars of clove-brown.

FORM, &c.—Head of moderate size. Bill very strong, curved from the base with an obtuse ridge; its cutting margin very obtusely lobed in the middle. Cere moderately long. Nostrils

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broadly oval. Facial circle incomplete above the eye. Auditory opening only three-quarters of an inch long, oval, without an operculum. Scapularies rather long. Tertiaries long, falling only about an inch short of the tip of the wing. The wings, when folded, fall four inches short of the end of the tail. The wing feathers have broad webs. The third quill feather is the longest; the second and fourth are scarcely perceptibly shorter; the fifth is three-quarters of an inch, and the first an inch and a quarter shorter; the sixth and following ones diminish in length from three-quarters to half an inch in succession. The inner webs of the first and second are strongly sinuated, and that of the third less so; the outer webs of the second, third, and fourth, are distinctly undulated or obliquely sinuated. The margins of the outer one, and that of the second and third below their sinuations, have the points of the barbs strongly reverted. The feathers of the tail have broad webs. The tail is slightly rounded, the exterior feathers being less than three-quarters of an inch shorter than the middle ones. Feet clothed to the nails, at the root of which two large scales become visible when the feathers are turned aside. Middle and fore claws of the same length, both grooved beneath, and the former having an acute inner edge. Claws reaching within less than two inches of the end of the tail. The hind and outer one are smaller, and are slightly grooved at the base beneath. The middle and outer toe are connected at the base by a very short, thick web.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 26 0
„ of the bill, measured along its ridge 2 0
„ „ from the angle of the mouth to the tip 1 8
„ of the cere on its ridge 0 9
Length of the tail 11 6
„ of the longest quill feather 14 0
„ of the tarsus 2 3
„ of the middle toe 1 9
„ of the middle nail 1 3

Another specimen, killed by Mr. Drummond on the Rocky Mountains, measures two inches less in length, and differs generally from the preceding in being of a darker hue above, with finer and less copious white mottling. The yellowish-brown colour of the base of the plumage is also less bright, and the facial circle is of a more sombre hue. Its bill, also, is more compressed.

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[23.] 6. STRIX (BUBO) ARCTICA. (Swainson.) Arctic or White Horned Owl.

GENUS. Strix. LINN. Sub-genus. Bubo. CUVIER.
SP. CH. STRIX (Bubo) ARCTICA, alba super hie illic brunnescens lineis crebris transversis nigrescentibus undulata, subter candida: jugulo abdomine tectricibus alarum internis pedibusque intactis; gutture pectore hypochondriisque fasciatis.
SP. CH. ARCTIC or WHITE HORNED OWL, white, tinged here and there on the dorsal aspect with brown, and marked with crowded transverse blackish-brown bars and lines; under plumage having a brilliant white ground colour, unspotted on the fore part of the neck, belly, under wing coverts, and feet; banded on the throat, breast, and flanks.


This very beautiful Owl appears to be rare, only one specimen having been seen by the members of the Expedition. It was observed flying at mid-day in the immediate vicinity of Carlton House, and was brought down with an arrow by an Indian boy. I obtained no information respecting its habits.

The only species mentioned by systematic writers that resembles this bird is the Strix Scandiaca, which Linnæus, according to Pennant, described solely from a painting of Rudbeck's. The same author mentions, however, that its existence was confirmed by Mr. Tonning, of Drontheim; yet Temminck considers it to have been merely a young Snowy Owl, on which two fictitious egrets had been placed. The discovery of our species renders the existence of the Scandinavian Eared Owl more probable; but the descriptions handed down to us of the latter are so imperfect, that it can be considered only in the light of a nominal species until specimens of it are obtained. Wilson mentions a "White Owl," supposed to be a variety of Strix Virginiana, as having been seen in the United States; but, no details being given, it cannot now be ascertained whether it was our bird or not*.—R.

In this remarkable species the facial disk is very imperfect; the ears small and without an operculum, as in Strix Virginiana; the ear feathers ample; but the disk even smaller than in the last-mentioned bird, and the tarsi somewhat longer. The toes are similarly connected. The tail is of moderate length, and considerably rounded. The bill is strong, and rather short.—Sw.

* The Wapacuthu Owl of Pennant and Latham, a Hudson's Bay bird, resembles our White Horned Owl considerably in the colours of its plumage, but differs essentially in the want of egrets, which in our bird are long and highly developed. Neither Pennant nor Latham appear to have seen the Wapacuthu, their descriptions corresponding word for word with Mr. Hutchins's manuscript notes. The Indian word Wapacuthu means "White Owl," and is applied also to the Strix nyctea, although the common term for the latter is Wapo-ohoo. Mr. Hutchins says the Wapacuthu is an inhabitant of the woods, makes its nest in the moss on dry ground, and lays from five to ten white eggs in May. The young fly in June, and are entirely white for some time afterwards. The Wapacuthu preys on mice and small birds, which it generally kills for itself. The Expedition did not pass near Severn River, where Mr. Hutchins resided.

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Of a specimen killed in Way, 1827, at Carlton House.

COLOUR of the bill and claws bluish-black, Irides yellow. The face is white, bounded posteriorly by blackish-brown, succeeded by white, which two latter colours are continued in a mixed band across the throat. Egrets coloured at the base like the adjoining plumage, the longer feathers tipped with blackish-brown, their inner webs white, varied with wood-brown. The whole dorsal aspect is marked with undulated lines or fine bars of dark umber-brown, alternating with white; the markings bearing some resemblance to those of the Virginian Owl, but being much more lively and handsome. On the greater wing coverts, on the inner half of the scapularies, and also partially on the neck and lesser wing coverts, the white is tinged or replaced by pale wood-brown. The primaries and secondaries are wood-brown, with a considerable portion of white along the margins of their inner webs. They are crossed by from five to six distant umber-brown bars on both webs, the intervening spaces being finely speckled with the same. Near the tips of the primaries the fine sprinkling of the dark colour nearly obscures the wood-brown. On the tertiaries the wood-brown is mostly replaced by white. The tail feathers are white, deeply tinged on their inner webs by wood-brown, and crossed by six bars of umber-brown about half as broad as the intervening spaces: their tips are white.

Under surface.—Chin white. Throat crossed by the band above mentioned, behind which there is a large space of pure snow-white, that is bounded on the breast by blotches of liver-brown situated on the tips of the feathers. The belly and long plumage of the flanks are white, crossed by narrow, regular bars of dark-brown. The vent feathers, under tail coverts, thighs, and feet, are pure white. The linings of the wings are also white, with the exception of a brown spot on the tips of the greater interior coverts.

FORM, &c.—Bill strong, curved from the base, moderately compressed towards the tip, with a very obtuse ridge. Nostrils large, roundish, covered by the wiry feathers proceeding from the base of the bill. Facial disk small, incomplete above the orbit. Auditory concha oval, without an operculum. Opening of the auditory canal small. Egrets more than two inches long, each composed of six or seven feathers, and situated behind the upper end of the black band bounding the face. The folded wings fall about three inches and a half short of the end of the tail. The webs of the quill feathers are very broad, and the wing is very concave beneath. The second and third quill feathers are the longest; the fourth is about two lines shorter; the first and fifth are an inch shorter; the others to the tenth diminish each in succession about half an inch. The inner webs of the three first, and the outer ones of the second and third, are sinuated. The points of the whole of the outer barbs of the first, and of the barbs near the points of the second and third, are strongly recurved. The tertiaries are very long, their tips passing that of the sixth primary. The tail is rounded, the outer feathers being an inch shorter than the central ones. The plumage of the sides of the belly is long, and hangs down over the thighs. The thigh feathers are very downy, but are not long. The vent feathers and under tail coverts are also very downy. The tarsi are rather long, and the toes are moderately long; they are clothed to the roots of the nails by a close coat of hairy feathers. Two transverse scales are partially visible at the root of each claw. The claws are

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strong, moderately long, sharp, and very much curved: the posterior one is rounded beneath; the outer versatile one is slightly flattened beneath, and the other two are grooved, the middle one having a sharp inner edge. The inner toe is the longest, and the next to it in length is the middle one; the other two are considerably smaller.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 23 6
„ of the bill on its ridge 1 9
„ of the cere 0 9
„ of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 1 9
Length of the tail 8 6
„ of the longest quill feather 12 0
„ of the tarsus 2 3
„ of the middle toe 1 6
„ of its claw 1 3

[24.] 7. STRIX NYCTEA. (Linn.) Great Snowy Owl.

GENUS. Strix. LINN. Sub-genus. Surnia. DUMERIL.
The Great White Owl. (Aluco albus diurnus.) EDWARDS, pl. 61.
Strix nyctea. FORSTER. Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 385. A totally white specimen.
Snowy Owl. LATH. Syn., i., p. 132, sp. 17. Suppl., i., p. 45, sp. 17. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 233, No. 121.
Strix nyctea. LATH. Ind., i., p. 57, sp. 20.
Ermine Owl. IDEM. Syn., Second Suppl., p. 60, sp. 7.
Strix candida. LATH. Ind., Suppl., p. xiv., sp. 3.
Snow Owl. (Strix nyctea.) WILSON, iv., p. 53, pl. 32, f. 1. Male.
Strix nyctea. TEMM., i., p. 82. SABINE. Parry's First Voy., Suppl., p. cxciii., No. 1. RICHARDS., Append. Parry's Second Voy., p. 342. BONAP., Syn., p. 36, No. 24. SELBY. Brit. Orn., 8vo., p. 58.
Wapow-keethoo or Wapohoo. CREE INDIANS. Ookpēguak. ESQUIMAUX.

This highly beautiful and powerful bird is common in the more northern parts of both hemispheres, frequenting in summer the most remote arctic lands that have been visited, but retiring, with the Ptarmigan, on which it preys, to more sheltered districts in the winter. Even in the latter season, however, it is frequently seen within the confines of the Arctic Circle; though it is not very uncommon at the same period in Canada and the northern parts of the United States; and now and then it has been known to wander as far south as Florida. In Europe it frequents the Feroe and Shetland Islands, and is occasionally killed, even in summer, on the moors of the Orkneys. According to Temminck, it sometimes visits the north of Germany, and is casually seen in Holland. It hunts in the day; and, indeed, unless it could do so, it would be unfit to pass the summer within the Arctic Circle.

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When I have seen it on the barren grounds it was generally squatting on the earth, and, if put up, it alighted again after a short flight; but was always so wary as to be approached with great difficulty. In the woody districts it shows less caution, and, according to Hearne, has been known to watch the Grouse-shooters a whole day, for the purpose of sharing in the spoil. On such occasions it perches on a high tree, and, when a bird is shot, skims down and carries it off before the sportsman can get near it. It preys on lemmings, hares, and birds, particularly the Willow-grouse and Ptarmigan. Mr. Hutchins says that it eats carrion; and Wilson informs us that it is a dexterous fisher, grasping its finny prey with an instantaneous stroke of the foot, as it sails along near the surface of the water, or sits on a stone in a shallow stream. I have seen it pursue the American hare on the wing, making repeated strokes at the animal with its foot; but on that occasion, through the intervention of an Indian, it was driven from its quarry. It makes its nest on the ground, and lays three or four white eggs, of which two only are in general hatched. In winter, when this Owl is fat, the Indians and white residents in the fur-countries esteem it to be good eating. Its flesh is delicately white. There is a live specimen, from Hudson's Bay, at present in the gardens of the Zoological Society.


Of an individual killed at Bear Lake, lat. 65°, May, 1826.

COLOUR white; marked on the dorsal aspect with umber-brown spots. There are no spots on the face or forehead; those on the crown of the head are small, irregular in shape, and situated near the tips of the feathers. The nape of the neck is unspotted; but farther back, near the shoulders, the plumage is brownish at the base, and one or two narrow bars of dull-brown cross each feather near its tip. There are similar bars on the fore part of the back, the scapularies, and the lesser wing coverts. The rump and the tail coverts are almost totally white. The tail is marked near its end by three very imperfect bars, consisting of transverse oblong spots, which do not reach either the margins or shafts of the feathers: the outer tail feather on each side is unspotted. The brown spots on the primaries and their coverts are brighter and rather larger than elsewhere, and have mostly a roundish shape. They constitute, on the former, six or seven interrupted bars. The spots on the secondaries are small, and confined to the exterior webs. The plumage on the ventral aspect and insides of the wings is white, with the exception of about four broccoli-brown bars near the ends of the primaries, and two or three very imperfect bars of the same colour on the under surface of the tail. The bill and claws are bluish-black; the irides Dutch-orange.

FORM, &c.—Head small. Bill curved from the base, compressed towards the point, sides moderately convex, and the ridge rounded; cutting margin nearly even; gape wide. Cere rather short. Nostrils large, oval, approaching to round, situated obliquely at the anterior


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margin of the cere. Facial circle of wiry feathers small and very incomplete, being visible only at the base of the bill and beneath the orbit. The eyebrow projects as in the Falcons, and is clothed with plumage similar to that on the crown of the head. The bristly feathers at the base of the bill project forwards and cover the nostrils. Tips of the folded wings about an inch and a half shorter than the tail. The third quill feather is the longest; the fourth is three lines, and the second four or five lines, shorter than the third*; the fifth is an inch and a quarter shorter than the fourth; the first is an inch and a half shorter than the second, or about a quarter of an inch shorter than the fifth; the others diminish successively about an inch each; the second, third, and fourth have their outer webs abruptly narrowed, or notched; and the first to the fourth inclusive have also very deep and abrupt notches on their inner webs. The barbs of the outer web of the first feather have their points reverted and open†: this is also the case, though in a less remarkable degree, on the outer margins of the narrowed part of the three succeeding feathers. The under tail coverts are nearly as long as the tail, and have pretty strong shafts, with very downy webs at their bases. The tail is rather short and rounded, its exterior feathers being nearly an inch shorter than the middle ones. The claws, when the leg is stretched out, reach within three inches and a half of the end of the tail. The thigh feathers reach to the feet. The tarsi are short. The feet and toes are covered with long white hairlike feathers, which partly conceal the claws: by turning these hairs aside, two scales may be seen at the base of each claw above. The feathers on the back part of the tarsus are particularly long and somewhat downy. The inner claw and the middle one are equal in size, both are grooved beneath, and the latter has a very sharp interior edge. The two others are rounded beneath and are smaller, particularly the hind one, which is the shortest of all. All the claws are much curved and very sharp.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 25 6
„ of the tail 9 6
„ of the longest quill feather 16 0
„ of the bill, measured along its ridge 1 9
„ of the cere on its ridge 0 9
Length of the bill in a straight line from the corner of the mouth 2 0
„ of the tarsus 1 6
„ of the middle toe 2 0
„ of its claw, following its curvature 1 6
„ of the fore claw in a straight line 1 3

Temminck remarks, that the younger the individuals are, the more is their plumage spotted and barred; and that the very old birds are pure white, without

* There is some variation in the lengths of the quill feathers in different specimens. The second, third, and fourth are obviously longer than the others in all, the second and fourth being nearly equal. The first quill feather is sometimes longer than the fifth.

† The different formation of the exterior laminæ of the quill feathers, in Falcons and Owls, does not appear to have excited that attention which the subject deserves. In Falco sparverius, and probably in all the kindred species, the external laminæ of the quills are concave, with a semi-central shaft, analogous to the quill itself. The outer vane is formed of still more minute laminæ but the inner vane, which is by far the broadest, is perfectly entire, and of a horny texture, being concave beneath: it thus reposes, with great compactness, upon the next lamina of the quill. In the Owl this structure is beautifully modified to admit a free passage for the air, by which the flight of these birds is noiseless. The horny vane above mentioned is no longer entire, but is split into minute laminæ along its entire length; the end, instead of reposing on the next, is recurved outwards, thus giving the appearance of a dentated margin.—Sw.

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any brown spot. These white individuals are, in Wilson's opinion, always males; but, judging from the size of some white specimens I have seen, I should think he is mistaken.

A specimen from Hudson's Bay, preserved in the British Museum, is entirely white, with the exception of a brown spot near the tip of the first quill feather and two on the second feather. The length of the specimen is twenty-six inches.

Another specimen, killed on the eastern declivity of the Rocky Mountains, and from its size supposed to be a female, has the plumage on the dorsal aspect more generally spotted and barred, and also many bars on the long feathers that cover each side of the abdomen. The throat, vent feathers, under tail coverts, and linings of the wings, are, however, pure white. In this, the second and fourth quill feathers are equal to each other and two lines shorter than the third; the first and fifth are also equal to each other, and about an inch and a half shorter than the third.


Of a Rocky Mountain specimen.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 29 0
„ of the tail 10 0
„ of the longest quill feather 16 6

1. Ear of the Snowy Owl.

2. Bill, partly divested of the frontal feathers, to show the nostrils.

3. Profile of the head.

N 2

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[25.] 8. STRIX FUNEREA. (Lath.) American Hawk Owl.

GENUS. Strix. LINN. Sub-genus. Surnia. DUMERIL.
The Little Hawk Owl. (Ulula Accipetri affinis.) EDWARDS, pl. 62.
Strix funerea. FORSTER. Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 385.
Canada Owl. LATH. Syn., i., p. 142, sp. 29. IDEM. Suppl, i., p. 47.
Hawk Owl. PENN. Arct. Zool, xi., p. 234, sp. 123.
Strix funerea. LATH. Ind., i., p. 62, sp. 35.
Hawk Owl. (Strix Hudsonia.) WILSON, vi., p. 64, pl. 50, f. 6.
Strix funerea. TEMM., i., p. 86. SABINE. Frankl. Journ, p. 671. BONAP. Syn., p. 35, sp. 23.
Paypaw thee-cawsew, or Cobadecootch. CREE INDIANS.
Ood no hæoot. ESQUIMAUX.

This small Owl, which inhabits the Arctic Circle in both continents, belongs to a natural group, that have small heads destitute of tufts, small and imperfect facial disks, auditory openings neither operculated nor much exceeding those of other birds in size, and considerable analogy in their habits to the diurnal birds of prey. It remains all the winter in high northern latitudes, and is rarely seen so far south as Pennsylvania, and then only in severe winters. Wilson saw only two specimens in the United States. It is a common species throughout the fur-countries from Hudson's Bay to the Pacific, and is more frequently killed than any other by the hunters, which may be partly attributed to its boldness and its habit of flying about by day. In the summer season it feeds principally on mice and insects; but in the snow-clad regions, which it frequents in the winter, neither of these are to be procured, and it then preys mostly on Ptarmigan. It is a constant attendant on the flocks of Ptarmigan in their spring migrations to the northward. It builds its nest on a tree, of sticks, grass, and feathers, and lays two white eggs. When the hunters are shooting Grouse, this bird is occasionally attracted by the report of the gun, and is often bold enough, on a bird being killed, to pounce down upon it, though it may be unable from its size to carry it off. It is also known to hover round the fires made by the natives at night.


Of a specimen killed at Cumberland House, lat. 54°, May, 1827.

COLOUR.—Bill pale-yellow or whitish. The wiry feathers forming the imperfect facial circle are intermixed with many black hairs at the inner corner of the eye, are greyish-white behind and beneath the eye, and are bounded posteriorly by a line of deep black. The whole

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upper surface of the head and nape of the neck is brownish-black, regularly and closely studded with round white spots, generally three or five on each feather, of which one occupies the tip, and the others are in pairs, separated by the brown shaft. On the posterior part of the neck the white spots are larger, and on each side of it there is an irregular longitudinal brownish-black band. The rest of the plumage on the dorsal aspect has a deep liver-brown ground colour, variously spotted with white. On the space between the shoulders, the adjoining parts of the scapularies, and greater and lesser wing coverts, the white spots are few. On the quill feathers the white is disposed in from three to six semi-oval marks on the margins of both webs, those on the inner webs being the largest. These spots are very conspicuous on the secondaries; but on the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth primaries, they are wanting on the outer webs, their site being merely indicated by a fainter shade of the brown. On the posterior part of the back and tail coverts the white is arranged in transverse bars, and predominates over the brown. The tail is liver-brown, tipped with white, and is crossed by seven distant narrow, somewhat crescentic white bars.

Under surface.—The long feathers on the sides of the abdomen and thighs, under tail coverts, and linings of the wings, are white, very regularly and perfectly barred transversely with chestnut-brown bands more than half the breadth of the intervening spaces. The bars on the breast and under surface of the neck are narrower. The vent feathers are soiled-white, and are crossed by some faint brown bars. The under surfaces of the quill and tail feathers are clove-brown, with white spots and bars corresponding to those on the exterior surfaces.

FORM, &c.—Bill nearly concealed by bristly feathers, short, curved from the base, with an obtuse ridge and a very short cere; cutting margin slightly undulated. Lower mandible notched on the side near the point and truncated at the end. Nostrils small, rounded. Head round, of moderate size. Facial circle small, and incomplete above. Scapulary feathers short. Folded wings falling three inches and a half short of the end of the tail. The third quill feather is the longest, the fourth is scarcely shorter, the second is half an inch shorter, and the fifth three-quarters of an inch shorter than the third or fourth; the following ones are each in succession an inch shorter: the first is a little shorter than the fifth, or about two inches shorter than the third. The inner webs of the first four, and the outer webs of the second, third, and fourth, are sinuated. The outer margin of the first primary only has its barbs slightly recurved. Tail long, cuneiform, the outer feathers being an inch and a half shorter than the middle ones. Tarsi and toes short. Inner and middle claws nearly equal to each other, both grooved beneath, and the middle one having a sharp inner edge. The posterior and outer ones smaller, and rounded beneath. Claws partially concealed by the feathers covering the toes.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 18 0
„ of the tail 8 0
„ of the longest quill feather 9 0
„ of the tarsus 1 0
Length of the middle toe 0 9
„ of its claw 0 9
„ of the bill along its ridge 1 0
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 0

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Nine other specimens, killed at Bear Lake, Slave Lake, York Factory, and on the Rocky Mountains, presented no other difference than the white spots, in some of them, being fewer on the neck, between the shoulders, and on the scapularies. Their length varied from 16½ to 17½ inches; but the sexes were not specified.

Head of the Hawk Owl. Bill, showing the nostrils. Ear.

[26.] 9. STRIX TENGMALMI. (Linn.) Tengmalm's Owl.

GENUS. Strix. LINN. Sub-genus. Noctua. CUVIER.
"Strix dasypus. BECIISTEIN and MEYER." (Temminck.)
Strix passerina. FORSTER. Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 385, No. 7.
New species of Owl. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., Suppl., p. 60.
Strix Tengmalmi. TEMMINCK, i., p. 94. VIEILLOT. Ency. Méth., iii., 1288. IDEM. Gal. des Ois., pl. 23.
Cheepai-peethees, or Cheepomesēs. (Death-bird.) CREE INDIANS.
Shipomosish. HUTCHINS. MS., et apud PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 236.


This species resembles Strix funerea, Virginiana, &c., in its short and feathered tarsi; while the size and structure of its ears point out its affinity to those groups which are strictly nocturnal. The bill is short and much curved, the nostrils very convex, and their apertures oval. The wings are considerably rounded.—Sw.

The completely nocturnal habits of this Owl is a proof of the justness of the

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above remark on its affinity. When it accidentally wanders abroad in the day, it is so much dazzled by the light of the sun as to become stupid, and it may then be easily caught by the hand. Its cry in the night is a single melancholy note, repeated at intervals of a minute or two; and it is one of the superstitious practices of the Indians to whistle when they hear it. If the bird is silent when thus challenged, the speedy death of the inquirer is augured; hence its Cree appellation of Death-bird. Mr. Hutchins informs us that it builds a nest of grass half way up a pine-tree, and lays two eggs in the month of May. It feeds on mice and beetles. I cannot state the extent of its range, but believe that it inhabits all the woody country from Great Slave Lake to the United States. On the banks of the Saskatchewan it is so common that its voice is heard almost every night by the traveller wherever he selects his bivouack. The Countess of Dalhousie sent a fine specimen from Canada to the Edinburgh Museum.—R.


Of a specimen killed at Carlton House, in the end of May.

COLOUR.—Bill whitish on the ridge and at the tip; dark-coloured on the sides. Facial circle blackish immediately round the orbit and at the base of the bill; the rest of it white, with an intermixture of black shafts and barbs towards its posterior margin. The belt of velvety feathers on the posterior border of the concha is blackish-brown, with a few white spots: there is a greater intermixture of white where the band unites with its fellow under the throat. The ground colour of the whole dorsal aspect is an uniform tint of liver-brown. On the forehead this is thickly dotted with round white spots, one only, in general, on each feather near its tip; but, in a few, there is an indication of a pair of spots lower down*. The spots on the occiput are more distant, and they are considerably larger on the back of the neck and between the shoulders, each spot occupying the middle of a feather, and not extending either to the tip or lateral margins. There are only two or three of these spots on the back; but there are a good many on the scapularies, particularly on their inner webs, where they resemble those on the neck in size and number. There are a few distant round spots, of the size of a pea, on the lesser wing coverts. The primary coverts are unspotted, unless on their inner webs. The primaries have four or five semi-orbicular spots on the margin of their outer webs, and as many oblong larger spots extending to near the margins of their inner ones. The outer spots of the two first primaries are nearly obsolete. The secondaries have only two spots on their outer webs, but generally about five on their inner ones. The tail, of similar colour to the rest of the dorsal surface, is crossed by five narrow interrupted white bands. The white spots forming these bands do not reach the shafts of any of the feathers, and the last band is a quarter of an inch distant from the end of the tail.

* This distinguishes it from Strix Acadica, in which the white forms linear streaks along the shafts of the feathers of the head; and it is on account of this mark that we have referred the Strix passcrina of Forster to the S. Tengmalmi. Linnæus, in Fauna Suecica, terms our Strix Tengmalmi, Strix funerea.

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The plumage on the under surface of the body presents a mixture of white and liver-brown, in nearly equal quantities, disposed in large and not very well defined spots, the white occupying the lateral margins of the feathers. The base of the plumage, both above and below, is blackish-grey. The linings of the wings are white, with some blotches of clove-brown; and the insides of the quill and tail feathers are clove-brown, with white spots corresponding to those on their exterior surfaces. The feathers clothing the legs and feet are soiled yellowish-white, with some obscure brown markings.

FORM, &c.—Head large. Bill small, almost concealed by the facial circles, curved from the base, compressed, with an obtuse ridge. Cere short, rounded above, and tumid on the sides. Nostrils small, transverse, oval. Facial circle complete. Concha forming almost a semicircle, with a long narrow operculum. There is a fulness of the plumage on the usual site of the egrets. The plumage in general is unusually soft, the barbs of the feathers being very slender and open. The scapularies are short; but the secondaries and tertiaries are long, the latter falling only an inch short of the tips of the wings when folded. The tips of the wings themselves are an inch and a quarter shorter than the tail. The third quill feather is the longest, and the fourth very nearly equals it; the second and fifth are equal to each other, and a quarter of an inch shorter than the third; the sixth and following ones become each in succession four or five lines shorter; the first equals the seventh. The inner webs of the first and second primaries are sinuated, and the outer web of the second is undulated or very obliquely sinuated*. The points of the outer barbs of the first primary, of those of the second for half its length, and of those near the point of the third, are reverted. The tail is slightly rounded, the middle feather exceeding the exterior one by about a quarter of an inch. Feet, when stretched out, reaching within an inch and a half of the end of the tail. Tarsi and toes short, clothed by long hairy feathers to the roots of the nails, where one scale only becomes visible on putting the feathers aside. Nails of moderate size; inner and middle one of equal length, both grooved, and the latter with a sharp inner edge; the other two smaller, and rounded beneath.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the point of the hill to the end of the tail, measuring over the crown 11 6
„ of the tail 5 0
„ of the longest quill feather 6 6
Length of the bill, measured along the ridge 0 9
„ of the tarsus 0 10½
„ of the middle toe 0 7
„ of the middle claw 0 6

Three other specimens have precisely the same dimensions and markings on the plumage. Two of them were killed near the sources of the Peace River, in the Rocky Mountains.

* This is the general form. In one specimen the sinuation is rather abrupt, and deeper.

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[27.] 10. STRIX ACADICA. (Latham, Gmelin.) American Sparrow Owl.

GENUS. Strix. LINN. Sub-genus. Noctua. CUVIER.
Acadian Owl. LATH. Syn., i., p. 149, sp. 38, pl. 5., f. 2.
Strix Acadica. GMEL. Syst., i., p. 296, No. 43.
Strix Acadiensis. LATH. Ind., i., p. 65, sp. 44.
Little Owl. (Strix passerina.) WILSON, iv., p. 66, pl. 34, f. 2.
Strix Acadica. BONAP. Syn., p. 38, sp. 31.

SP. CH. S. (Noctua) ACADICA, magnitudine Turdi Canori, remigibus primoribus maculis albis ter quaterve fasciatis: secundariis extus immaculatis, caudâ interruptè bi-fasciatâ.

SP. CH. AMERICAN SPARROW OWL, the size of the Common Thrush, primaries crossed by three or four bands of white spots; outer webs of the secondaries unspotted; two interrupted bands on the tail.

There can be no doubt that this is the species so admirably described and figured by Wilson; and there are circumstances which appear to corroborate the correctness of the Prince of Musignano, in referring the Strix passerina of Wilson to the Acadica of Gmelin, or rather of Dr. Latham, its original describer. The size mentioned by both these writers is nearly the same. The two white bands on the tail are not, indeed, particularly mentioned by the latter, who merely designates them as "a few white spots;" but his figure, faulty as it is, represents these white spots as forming two bands. M. Temminck's description of the European Owl, erroneously considered the Strix Acadica of Gmelin, is only applicable to our bird in its size; the colours of the tail and of the flanks appear quite different. The only other northern species, liable to be mistaken for our bird, is the Strix passerina of Temminck, which he describes as being of the same size as Strix Tengmalmi. Now, as our Strix Acadica is much smaller, it cannot be the same with any of the three small Owls described in that author's Manuel. The Little Owl of Pennant is so slightly mentioned, that it is impossible to ascertain what particular bird the author had in view. It appears highly probable that he considered the two American species, with another found in Sweden, to be mere varieties, as he states the length to vary from eight to seven inches.—Sw.

This Owl was not noticed on the route of the Expedition, but specimens were sent from New Caledonia, by Mr. Archibald M'Donald. Wilson observes that it "is a general and constant inhabitant of the middle States, but is found most numerous in the neighbourhood of the seashore, and among woods and pine-swamps. It rarely comes abroad during the day, but, if driven from its retreat, flies

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a short way, and again takes shelter from the light. At the approach of twilight it is all life and activity, being a noted and dexterous mouse-catcher. It builds its nest generally in pines, half way up the tree, and lays two eggs, which, like those of the rest of its genus, are white. The melancholy and gloomy umbrage of those solitary evergreens forms its favorite haunts, where it sits dozing and slumbering all day, lulled by the roar of the neighbouring ocean."


Of a specimen killed on Thompson's River, New Caledonia, to the westward of the Rocky Mountains.

COLOUR.—Bill black. Facial circle of a soiled-white colour, mixed with black immediately round the orbit, and with yellowish-brown posteriorly. Ground colour of the plumage on the dorsal aspect liver-brown. The velvety feathers behind the facial circle differ from those of Strix Tengmalmi in not presenting a deeper tint of brown than the rest of the plumage, and in being much more generally speckled with white. The feathers of the head are also of a lighter brown than in that species, and have only a narrow white streak along the shaft, instead of round white spots. On the dorsal aspect of the neck most of the feathers have a large spot of white in their middles, as in Strix Tengmalmi. The back, tail coverts, and more interior scapularies, are unspotted; but there are some white blotches on the exterior scapularies. Above the primary coverts the wing has a narrow white margin; and there are four or five white spots on the outer margins of the secondary coverts, forming an oblique interrupted band. There are likewise three or four white spots on the outer margins of the primaries, and a white posterior border to the tertiaries; but the tips of all the quill feathers and the rest of the wing are brown. There are, indeed, three or four oval white marks on the inner webs of the quill feathers, but none of them show unless the feathers be separated. The tail is liver-brown, very narrowly tipped with soiled-white, and crossed by two narrow interrupted white bars, more than half an inch apart. There is a third less perfect bar, which is concealed by the tail coverts.

The under surface of the body is white, intermixed with chestnut-brown blotches, which occupy the middles of the feathers. The linings of the wings are white, tinged more or less with chestnut-brown; and the inner surfaces of the quill feathers and tail are broccoli-brown, with white spots corresponding to those of the exterior surfaces. Thighs and feet clothed with yellowish-brown feathers.

FORM, &c.—Head large. Bill rather less curved than that of Strix Tengmalmi. Shape of the cere and nostrils the same as in that species. Facial circle complete. Concha more than an inch long, with a moderately broad operculum. Wings nearly as long as the tail, and of precisely the same form with those of Strix Tengmalmi. Tail short, nearly square, the outer feathers on each side being only a little shorter than the others, which are even. When the legs are stretched out, the claws reach the end of the tail. Tarsi rather longer than those of Strix Tengmalmi. Toes feathered to the nails, only one scale being visible. Inner nail rather longer than the middle one. The outer and the hind nail are smaller, and are rounded beneath.

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Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail, measuring over the crown 10 0
„ of the tail 3 0
„ of the longest quill feather 5 4
Length of the bill 0 9
„ of the tarsus 0 11
„ of the middle toe 0 9
„ of the middle claw 0 7

Another specimen, killed at the same place, was of precisely the same dimensions. The sexes of neither were noted.

Three Owls are mentioned by the Prince of Musignano as inhabitants of the United States, which did not come under notice in our journeys through the fur-countries, and perhaps do not extend so far north.

1. Strix cunicularia, which inhabits the burrows of the prairie-marmots, on the plains of the Missouri. The only part of the fur-countries in which this Owl is likely to occur, are the plains of the Saskatchewan, which resemble the prairies of the Missouri. Specimens in Mr. Taylor's possession, sent from Real del Monte, and examined by Mr. Swainson, prove this species to be an inhabitant of the Table Land of Mexico.

2. Strix asio is said to retire northwards from the United States in the summer.

3. Strix flammea, which, being common to both hemispheres, might be expected to be found in the more northern districts of both. We did not hear of it, however, in the fur-countries.

It is more than probable that several Owls, not known as inhabitants of America, may hereafter be detected in the fur-countries, as our means of procuring these unwonted birds of night were not ample. The Wapacuthu Owl of Pennant and Latham, mentioned in the note to page 86 of this work, seems to be a good species; but we are unable to assign it a place in the system without further details*.—R.

* The following is Mr. Hutchins's account of this species:—
"The SPOTTED OWL (Wapacuthu) weighs five pounds, and is two feet long and four broad; the irides bright-yellow; bill and talons shining-black and much curved, the former covered with bristly hairs projecting from the base; space between the eyes, the cheeks, and throat, white; on the top of the head and on each side of the concha the extreme parts of the feathers are dusky-black; concha dirty-white; scapularies, with the lesser and greater coverts of the wings, white, elegantly harred with reddish dusky spots pointing downwards; the quill feathers and tail are irregularly barred and spotted with pale-red and black; back and coverts of the tail white, with a few dusky spots; under coverts and vent feathers white; the breast and belly dirty-white, crossed with an infinite number of narrow reddish bars; the legs are feathered to the toes; the latter covered with hairs, like that of the bill, but not so strong. This bird is an inhabitant of the woods, makes a nest in the moss on dry ground, lays from five to ten white eggs in May, and the young fly in June, and are entirely white for some time after. They feed on mice and small birds, which they generally kill themselves."—HUTCHINS, MS., p. 99.

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THE inequality between natural groups, occupying a corresponding or analogous station in their own circles, is nowhere more apparent than on looking to the Insessorial birds,—the typical order of this great division of vertebrated animals. The Vertebrata will not bear the least comparison, in point of numbers, with the Annulosa; the proportion of the former to the latter being, in all probability, not more than 1 to 15; yet no one would think of denying to these divisions an equal value in the scale of creation, merely because their contents are so strikingly disproportionate. This inequality, moreover, is observable in another way. It may generally be remarked, on comparing the typical with the sub-typical groups, that the contents of the latter are the most numerous. But sometimes this proportion is reversed, and the typical circle exhibits a greater diversity of forms than are to be met with in all the other groups put together.

The order of Insessores is of this description. It comprehends such a vast assemblage of species, arranging themselves under subordinate tribes, so distinct in themselves, that it becomes extremely difficult to select characters sufficiently comprehensive to define the order. This difficulty, indeed, is so great, that some naturalists have contented themselves with assigning negative rather than positive distinctions to this order. For if we rest on their inhabiting the land rather than the water, by what reason can we exclude the Gallinaceous tribes, and even many of the Grallatores, whose chief haunts are upon dry moors and commons? The Cinclus, again, is amphibious. If we characterize the Insessores as exclusively perching birds, the term, rigidly understood, is equally objectionable; for several families live entirely upon the ground; while others, among the wading and swimming orders, habitually repose upon trees. These, and a thousand similar difficulties, have ever embarrassed the speculations of those naturalists who seek for absolute and unexceptionable distinctions in nature; where, in truth, as they do not exist, so they have never been found. Without, therefore, dwelling further upon such exceptions to the prominent features which characterize the order before us, we may state that it is distinguished,—

First, by the feet being of that construction most adapted for perching or grasp-

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ing; the hallux or hind toe being always present, and articulated on the same plane with the fore toes.

Secondly, by the absence of that strongly-defined tooth, which gives to the rapacious birds the exclusive power of tearing or dividing their food, previous to swallowing it.

Thirdly, by the presence, in the typical groups, of a small notch in one or both mandibles, enabling the bird to hold, but not divide, its food, which is swallowed almost universally in an entire state.

The two first distinctions are much more positive and universal than the last; but the whole will sufficiently detach the Perchers from all other birds.

The primary divisions of this order are so obvious, that the most inexperienced student cannot fail to perceive them. The DENTIROSTRES, CONIROSTRES, SCANSORES, TENUIROSTRES, and FISSIROSTRES, are so many prominent groups, which have been long recognised in the celebrated Prodromus of ILLIGER, the Règne Animal of CUVIER, and sufficiently so in other works; they have been accordingly cited, with justice, to illustrate the circular nature of the Insessores. So far as regards the admission of these groups, nothing more need be said, since they have been universally adopted. This unanimity, however, among ornithologists merely extends to the typical forms; all agree, for instance, in classing the Woodpeckers and Parrots as climbing birds. But because the scansorial structure is exhibited under a different form in the Grimpereaux of M. CUVIER, we find these birds occupying a station in the Règne Animal with the TENUIROSTRES. Even this latter tribe, by some writers, is made to embrace every bird suspected of having a filamentous tongue, however strongly it may be allied, in all other parts of its organization, with groups far differently situated. When, therefore, it is said that the five sub-orders or tribes above named have been universally admitted, it must be at the same time remembered that no two writers have yet agreed on their definite nature. Hence it becomes advisable, before we proceed further, to attempt their true definition.

We have already stated an opinion, that the Insessorial order first resolves itself into three circular groups; by which disposition the Scansores, the Tenuirostres, and the Fissirostres, are united into one; and that the two others, namely, the Conirostres and the Dentirostres, constitute the typical and the subtypical circles. Their prominent distinctions may be thus stated:—

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1. Typical group.Bill more or less conic, strong, slightly emarginate; feet robust, formed both for perching and walking, or leaping: omnivorous.CONIROSTRES.
2. Subtypical group.Bill not conic, of a weaker structure, but more deeply emarginate; feet more slender; the mouth armed with bristles.DENTIROSTRES.
3. Aberrant group.Bill entire; feet generally imperfect, very short, and not adapted for walking.SCANSORES. TENUIROSTRES. FISSIROSTRES.

It may be further remarked, that the first and second groups are more perfectly constructed than the third; and that while the Conirostres are most conspicuous for their bulk, the Dentirostres, in proportion to their size, evince the greatest strength and courage. But distinctions, built only upon such considerations, are so vague as obviously to be of little value.

The decided analogy which Nature has preserved between the above groups of the Insessores, and those into which she first resolves the whole feathered creation, has recently been pointed out by Mr. MacLeay with his usual acumen.

In an inquiry like the present it is, perhaps, of little importance at what point we begin our investigation. Yet, as it has been customary with the majority of ornithologists to commence with the Shrikes, immediately after treating on the rapacious birds, to which, indeed, they bear the strongest analogy, we shall follow the same plan, and commence, with M. Cuvier, by placing that family at the head of his


The most prominent distinction of this tribe, as already intimated, is the strong emargination of one or of both mandibles. This notch is perfectly analogous to the tooth or festoon in the birds of prey; but, from its comparatively slight development, it merely enables the bird to take a firm grasp of its food, without the power (except in one family) of tearing or dividing it in pieces. The Raptorial birds exclusively employ their talons in seizing their quarry; with these weapons they transfix their victim, or strike it with such force as frequently to cause instant

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death: the bill is reserved, as a knife, to separate the parts. But, among the Dentirostres, this process is partially reversed: the bill, and not the feet, is the instrument of capture; and that the struggles of its prey may not injure the face of the bird, this organ is either much lengthened, or the base is so defended from the possibility of mischief, by rigid feathers or stiff bristles directed forwards, that the face becomes secure from all injury. The cere, so general among the Raptores, is entirely wanting. The feet are less perfectly constructed than those of the Conirostres, as the middle and exterior toes are frequently connected; but in such birds the tarsi are sufficiently elevated to remove them from the Fissirostral order; although, from want of due attention to this circumstance, the genus Todus of Linnæus has been lately transferred from the Dentirostres to the latter tribe.

Agreeing, therefore, in these general characteristics, we find the groups of this tribe are naturally distributed in the three following circles:—


1. Typical group.Bill abruptly bent, strong, and deeply emarginate; claws much curved and very acute: carnivorous or insectivorous.LANIADÆ.
2. Subtypical group.Bill moderate, compressed, gradually bent; the notch less developed: insectivorous or frugivorous.MERULIDÆ.
3. Aberrant group.Bill weaker; the base generally broad; the feet either very slender, or short and feeble.SYLVIADÆ. AMPELIDÆ. TODIDÆ.

The difficulty of framing characters for a group so diversified as the last, is sufficiently obvious to every naturalist acquainted with their economy; and it had been better, perhaps, to have assigned to each of the three, by which it is composed, a distinct character. But as this will be done in the sequel, we have considered it more expedient to preserve, even in this slight sketch of the tribe, an indication of those primary groups into which we shall hereafter show it is first resolved.

In entering more into the details of the above families, it will be my object to demonstrate, that the whole constitute a circular group. That the Laniadæ are so intimately connected with the Merulidæ, that the two families have been blended together by no less authorities than MM. Cuvier and Temminck; that the aberrant

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forms of the Merulidæ, as Timalia and Megalurus, have been considered true Sylviadæ, either by MM. Temminck, Horsfield, or Vigors; that one of the principal genera among the Sylviadæ has been mistaken by the latter gentleman for a group belonging to the Ampelidæ and, finally, that the Todidæ are so closely united with the Tyrant Shrikes, by means of such genera as Fluvicola and Nengetus, that not only Linnæus, but every subsequent writer of his school, has placed the latter with the genus Lanius.

These families, uniting at their extremities, present, in their typical structure and organization, the following indisputable analogies to the five leading tribes of Insessorial birds:—


DENTIROSTRES.Bill furnished with a strong tooth; claws, slender, strong, very acute: carnivorous or insectivorous.Laniadæ.
CONIROSTRES.Bill more lengthened, arched from the base; feet robust, adapted either for walking, perching, or climbing: omnivorous.Merulidæ.
SCANSORES.Notch of the bill either wanting or very slightly developed. Climb among trees to seek their food. Insectivorous.Sylviadæ.
TENUIROSTRES.Feet very short. Nectarivorous or frugivorous.Ampelidæ.
FISSIROSTRES.Rictus wide or bristled; feed upon the wing; feet very weak. Insectivorous.Todidæ.

It may be further remarked, that the most perfectly organized birds are among the Merulidæ and the Conirostres; that the faculty of climbing and searching the most intricate ramifications of trees for their food is confined, among the Dentirostres, to the Sylviadæ, where there is a general tendency to the scansorial structure, even in the most typical groups; so close, indeed, is the analogy between these birds and the slender-billed creepers, that this relation has been mistaken by all naturalists for one of absolute affinity. The parallel between the two next groups at first sight is less apparent, but it is no less curious and beautiful: both derive their sustenance almost entirely from the vegetable kingdom; but the Tenuirostres feed chiefly from flowers, while the Ampelidæ are supported by fruits. Lastly, the Todidæ agree with the Fissirostres in the feeble organization of their feet; the breadth and depression of their bill; and, more

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especially, in that particular habit of seizing their food, which consists alone of insects, during flight.

The above results will, however, be rendered more intelligible by a closer analysis of the families themselves; for which purpose we shall commence with the


as being the typical group first on the list of M. Cuvier's Dentirostres. We commenced a partial investigation of this family several years ago, and dwelt, at some length, upon those forms which appeared to enter within three of the principal groups; namely, the Lanianæ, the Thamnophilinæ, and the Edolianæ. Ignorant of the views which another gentleman had taken of these birds, and whose paper had been previously read before the Linnean Society, we were somewhat surprised at being told that our observations, if founded in nature, were calculated to overthrow the whole series of affinities therein stated; while, if incorrect, we should be exposing the fallacy of that system we had adopted. By the subsequent appearance of the paper in question, we immediately perceived our own views were not in unison with those of the writer. Yet, as we had conducted our investigation by analysis, so we could not be fully persuaded that the results were false, without giving to the subject a much closer investigation than it had yet received. In such researches, merely to oppose synthesis to synthesis would have been very little to the purpose; because, by such a principle of combination, the most remote families may be made to appear conterminous, and we might have, as an anonymous writer somewhat ludicrously contends for, "as many natural methods as there are organs." With the hope, therefore, of discovering the true series among the Laniadæ, we were compelled to have recourse again to analysis, and to extend this mode of investigation to every group of the entire order of Insessores. If, then, after five years devoted to this research, we finally retain our first impressions, we feel that neither time nor mature consideration have been spared to arrive at truth: the only object we have been desirous of attaining. That perfection of knowledge which time alone unfolds, will probably dispel many doubts and difficulties which are not yet solved or surmounted; or may, possibly, place the very facts upon which our present views are founded, in a new and unexpected light. But, until that period arrives, we feel persuaded that nothing yet known militates, in an essential degree, against the general opinions on natural arrangement that we have adopted. In the progress of this work, we shall endeavour to demonstrate the correctness of these views by a series of facts, as new as they are extraordinary, and by submitting them to tests which have never yet been so rigorously applied to any system.


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The great point, therefore, which is at issue, and upon which the natural arrangement of the entire order of Insessores absolutely depends, is this: Are the Edolianæ or the Thamnophilinæ one of the typical groups in the family of Laniadæ?

It has been perfectly demonstrated by Mr. MacLeay (and we might give numerous examples from the animal kingdom in corroboration of the fact), that the two typical groups of every circle bear a close and intimate analogy, no less than a direct affinity, to each other; and that, when such groups are perfect, that is, when the five leading forms in each have been detected, this relation of analogy will be fully apparent between each. This, in truth, is perhaps the best, as it certainly is one of the most severe tests, by which any supposed series of natural relations can be tried. For although the naturalist, by the synthetic method, is perpetually in danger of confounding analogy with affinity; of taking that to be a form of transition, which subsequently proves to be one of representation; yet the strongest prejudice in favour of any preconceived notion can never so far blind his judgment as to produce a double series of groups, having direct analogies one to the other, and at the same time a positive affinity. Had the labours of the profound observer who first detected this property of natural groups achieved nothing more than this discovery, he would have deserved the lasting gratitude of all succeeding naturalists.

Now if the five types of form among the Lanianæ and the Edolianæ, or between the Lanianæ and the Thamnophilinæ, had been detected, the question might at once be set at rest; but, unfortunately, this is not the case; and we must therefore inquire what characters of structure, or what peculiarities of habit, are shared in common between a Lanius, a Thamnophilus, and an Edolius. The respective peculiarities of each we shall now draw up in opposite columns, for the sake of greater perspicuity.

Bill hard, universally short, entirely compressed, the culmen arched from the base; the upper mandible furnished with a distinct and prominent tooth; the lower mandible thick and ascending. Bill hard, more lengthened, but entirely compressed, the culmen curved only at the end; the upper mandible furnished with a distinct and sometimes prominent tooth, but smaller than that of Lanius; lower mandible thick and ascending. Bill not strong, generally short, but sometimes lengthened, compressed only on its side, the base broad, culmen arched from the base; upper mandible notched, but destitute of any tooth; lower mandible weak, straight, not ascending.

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Feet strong; the tarsi considerably longer than the hind toe. Feet strong; the tarsi considerably longer than the hind toe; the two outer toes frequently connected at their base. Feet slender, short; the tarsi scarcely longer than the hind toe.
Wings rounded, of moderate length. Wings rounded, shorter and more feeble than those of Lanius. Wings lengthened, but the three first quills graduated.
Food. Carnivorous and insectivorous. Food. Carnivorous and insectivorous. Food. Insectivorous.
Solitary, or living only in pairs. Solitary, or living only in pairs. Social, congregating in large flocks.
Watch for their prey from a fixed station. Search for their prey in foliage. Search for their food during flight.
Seize their food with their claws*, and devour it at leisure when at rest. Seize their prey (in all probability) with their bill. Seize their food with their bill.
Prey upon small birds, insects, and less organized animals. Prowl in thickets after the eggs and young of other birds, and attack such as are weak or sickly, as well as insects and less organized animals. Prey entirely upon bees and small winged insects.

Now if Lanius be a typical group, we can be at no loss to discover which of these is most related to it by affinity; more particularly as in the two other divisions, namely, the Ceblepyrinæ and the Tyranninæ, the feet are equally short with those of the Edolianæ. But although, from our present imperfect knowledge of these birds, we are still ignorant of the five leading forms, or rather genera, in each of the sub-families of Lanianæ, Thamnophilinæ, and Edolianæ, still we may compare the contents of the whole family with that of the Merulidæ. For as both are unquestionably the typical groups of the Dentirostres, their sub-families,

* This we have, in one instance, personally witnessed; and the fact is also confirmed by the observations of our friend Mr. Audubon.

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if arranged in their true series of affinity, should intimately correspond in their parallel relations of analogy; and such appears to be actually the case in nature, as will be subsequently shown. In the meantime, the following table will sufficiently exhibit the typical characters of the leading divisions of the


Sub-families.1. Typical group.Typical Genera.
LANIANÆ.Bill short; a projecting tooth in the upper mandible; claws acute.Lanius, Linn.
2. Subtypical group.
THAMNOPHILINÆ.Bill lengthened; the tooth less prominent; tarsi moderately long; claws more obtuse.Thamnophilus, Vieil.
3. Aberrant group.
EDOLIANÆ. CEBLEPYRINÆ. TYRANNINÆBill moderate; tooth obsolete; tarsi short.Ocypterus, Cuv.? Ceblepyrus, Cuv. Tyrannus, Bris.

Every one, who has given the least attention to natural affinities, must be fully aware how intimately the above genera are connected among themselves; and that even Linnæus long ago arranged the greatest proportion of the species then known under his genus Lanius. It will subsequently appear that there is good reason to believe the whole form a circular group; but on this point positive evidence is still wanting. Certain it is, that every ornithologist has assimilated the American Tyrants to the true Shrikes; and we know, from personal observation, that this affinity is carried still closer, by several species of the former possessing the carnivorous habits of the latter, by feeding upon reptiles, and even fish. Still there is no group or species yet discovered which partakes so much of both as to induce us to exclaim, "The circle is closed!" The hiatus is still, in our opinion, sufficiently great to admit of at least two intermediate forms. Whether these exist in the unknown regions of South America, Africa, or Madagascar, where nature has been lavish of these birds, must be a matter of conjecture; but we feel it is for the true interests of science that its votaries should dwell upon all such difficulties, although, in the present case, it may militate against the above disposition of the groups.

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The genera and sub-genera among the


are few, although the typical group, to which belong the birds hereafter described, contains many species of great uniformity in structure and economy: their habits are too well known to require elucidation. The Falcunculus frontalis*, a bird of New Holland, evidently departs from the type both in organization and habits. This species, according to Lewin, "frequents thick bushes, and is very active in tearing off the bark of trees and shrubs in search of insects, particularly hard-coated beetles†;" an economy which is accompanied by a corresponding peculiarity in the structure of the feet. Tropical America produces another modification of form in the genus (?) Cyclaris, where the bill, although rather more lengthened, assimilates to that of Falcunculus; but the wings, feet, and tail assume the weakness of construction so conspicuous in the next sub-family; of its economy we are in total ignorance, but its whole structure is evidently against the idea of its possessing the bold and daring habits of the typical Shrikes. In Southern Africa there is another form, still farther removed from the typical Shrikes, and which we have distinguished by the name of Nilaus: it is the Lanius capensis of Linnean writers, and evidently unites the characters both of this sub-family and the next: the bill, as in the preceding forms, is arched from the base, and its tooth is well developed; but, instead of being short and thick, it is slender and much lengthened; while the tail is short, weak, and perfectly even; the back and rump feathers are thick and soft; but the feet and claws are those of Lanius. Among the rich zoological collections made by our friend Mr. Burchell, is a form belonging to this division, which has not yet been made known. We must notice another, too remarkable to be confounded with either of the preceding: the Lanius leucogrammicus of Professor Reinwardt‡. The general conformation of this bird

* We have very little doubt, when this family is better known, that this group will be found to represent the Scansores in its own circle. Naturalists have passed over in silence the remarkable structure of the feet: the hind toe, as in all scansorial birds, is so much lengthened as to be fully equal to the middle toe.

† LEWIN'S Birds of New South Wales, pl. 26.

‡ We shall give to this, and to all other groups or forms considered of sufficient importance to be kept in view, a character and a name, to be employed hereafter as a generic, sub-generic, or sectional distinction, according to the value they may respectively assume when the natural arrangement of the group to which they may belong has been made out by analysis. In calling the attention of ornithologists to these minor variations in structure, we formerly thought it sufficient to designate the group merely by citing the name of the principal species, or by detailing its prominent characteristics, without laying ourselves open to the imputation of framing more new names than were absolutely essential. But our delicacy in this instance has been superfluous: not only have these groups been since elevated to the rank of genera, but no notice has been taken of our previous observations on them. As instances of this, we may cite the recently-named genus Monarcha, the characters of which were published in 1822 (Zoological Illustrations, O. S., pl. 147.); the genus named Collurisoma, first pointed out by us in 1825; and the genus, since called Tropidorhynchus, which we had previously named in the Zool. Journal, and, but for these anticipations, should have characterized in the same work. See Zool. Journal, i. 480.

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unquestionably associates it with Lanius, although the tarsi are somewhat shorter, and the claws not of that fine and acute make, which would lead us to believe they were used to secure the prey of the bird. The tail is long, considerably graduated, and narrow; in all which it assimilates to Lanius corvinus. But the bill is the great characteristic of this bird: it preserves, indeed, something of the general form of Lanius, being short; but it is withal so slender, that it can only be compared to the outer half of the bill of a stout Thrush. Now, if any Shrike can be supposed to represent the Tenuirostres in its own circle, we should certainly suspect this to be the form under which such an analogy would appear. However this may be, it is not only far removed from the typical species, but exhibits no medium of communication between Lanius and Thamnophilus.

These are all the modifications of form, sufficiently important to be noticed, which we have yet detected in this group; from which it appears that their circular succession remains for future discovery. Much information is also to be supplied before any decisive opinion can be formed on the value of these distinctions; and still more impossible is it to separate, at present, the genera from the sub-genera.

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[28.] 1. LANIUS BOREALIS. (Vieillot.) Greater Northern Shrike.

FAMILY. Laniadæ. Sub-family. Lanianæ. SWAINSON.
Lanius excubitor. FORSTER. Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 386, No. 9.
Lanius borealis. VIEILLOT. Ois. de l'Am., i., p. 80, pl. 50. Female.
Great American Shrike. (Lanius excubitor.) WILSON, i., p. 75, pl. 5, f. i. Male. SABINE. Frankl. Journ., p. 674.
Wawpow-whiskæ janneesh, or Meesheh wappisk kêchawn. CREE INDIANS.


This is by no means an uncommon bird in the woody districts of the fur-countries, up to the sixtieth parallel of latitude, if not still farther north. It is most frequent on the banks of the Saskatchewan, where it is usually seen on the borders of the plains, or in the vicinity of a small lake, perched on the summit of a tree. Its general resemblance to the Corvus Canadensis has obtained for it its Indian appellation of "White-whiskey john;" but, unlike that bird, it chooses the loftiest look-out it can find, instead of hopping about among the lower branches of a tree. It is very wary, flying off when one approaches nearly within gunshot, but settling again on an equally exposed perch after a short flight. In this way it may be pursued two or three times round any small piece of water, until, instead of growing more shy, it becomes less so, and allows the fowler to come too near for its safety. Its voice is a loud and rather harsh scream. It feeds on insects and small birds, which it retains with its foot while it plucks them in pieces with its bill. Birds of this genus have the habit of spitting insects on a thorn, as a butcher would skewer a piece of meat, whence their appellation of "Butcher-birds;" but no instance of this fell under my notice. Individuals killed at Carlton House early in May had their crops filled with the fragments of grasshoppers. It remains all the winter in the fur-countries, but is much more frequently seen in summer. Its nest is built in the fork of a tree, of dry grass and lichens, neatly intertwined and lined with feathers. The eggs, five or six in number, are of a pale bluish-grey, spotted at the large end irregularly with dark yellowish-brown. Like the other species of this genus and of Tyrannus, this Shrike attacks the Eagles, Crows, and other large birds, when they approach its haunts, and, by its fierceness and perseverance, drives them away.—R.

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We believe the species, of which the female is figured, to be that described by Wilson under the name of Lanius excubitor; the more so, as his account of the female perfectly agrees with our bird. It had long been imagined that this was identical with the European species; but it appears, from a passage in the Nouveau Dict. d'Hist. Nat., that this belief has been abandoned. Nevertheless, it is desirable first to state the distinctions between two male specimens of L. borealis and one of L. excubitor, killed during the last year in Hertfordshire, near Tittenhanger Green. In the general disposition and in the tint of their colours, no difference worthy of remark is apparent. In the British specimen, the white upon the upper tail coverts and scapulars is much more obscure; but the colours of the wings and tail are precisely alike. The true distinction seems to be, that borealis is obviously a larger bird, not in regard to its total length or to its size after preservation (for both these depend in a very great degree upon the mode of preparing the skins), but in the relative length of the bill: that of borealis measures, from the angle of the mouth to the extreme tip, 1 2/10; inch; that of excubitor 1 1/10 inch. In borealis, the second quill is clearly shorter than the sixth; the third is slightly shorter than the fourth, and obviously longer than the fifth,—the fourth thus becoming the longest. This disposition is observed in both sexes*. Now, in excubitor, the proportions are different: in two specimens now before us, the third and fourth are of equal length and are the longest, while the second is precisely as long as the sixth†. We may, therefore, consider that the specific distinctions of the two are satisfactorily established.

Let us now inquire whether the Lanius septentrionalis of Gmelin, as some writers have supposed, be intended for our American borealis. Gmelin confessedly copies his account from Latham, applying the above name to the "Northern Shrike" of the Synopsis. This bird is stated to have "the bill not much bent; the plumage brown above; belly and vent inclining to brown; the four middle feathers plain brown; the webs of the rest white at the tip; legs short." Scarcely one of these characters can be applied to either sex of our species; while the length of the tail, which is stated to be "two inches," is not only inapplicable to this, but to every other Shrike yet discovered in North America. The same account is repeated nearly verbatim in the General History of Birds, ii., p. 95. The description of the Northern Shrike, given by Vieillot, is manifestly a mere translation from Latham. Pennant has obviously confounded the European and the American

* We adopt, of course, the usual mode of considering the spurious quill as the first.

† We cannot reconcile these measurements and proportions with those given by Prince C. Bonaparte as distinctive of the two species.—Syn., p. 72.

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species in his description of the "Great Shrike," in Arctic Zoology; his account, therefore, cannot be cited with confidence, either for one species or the other.

We must now compare our specimens with the Lanius borealis of M. Vieillot, whose description is so applicable to the female of our bird, and to the female of Wilson's excubitor, that we feel no doubt of the identity of all three. But it may well be inquired, why this author, who appears to have been in America, and to have seen the borealis in its native regions, should have omitted all mention of the male bird?—presuming that Wilson is correct in describing the male as differing so much in colour from the female. Now the only solution we can give to this question is, by referring the reader to our remarks upon Lanius ardosiaceus, and in being compelled to add, that this writer's statements, upon similar matters of fact, have been frequently called in question, or positively denied, by the American ornithologists.

From the foregoing statements we feel justified in concluding—First, that the accounts of the Northern Shrike of Latham (Syn., i., p. 165, Gen. Hist., ii., p. 95), and of Gmelin, Shaw, and Vieillot, are undeserving citation, as being totally inapplicable to any known American bird, and as having, in all probability, originated in a description, hasty and imperfect in itself, or drawn up from a young or mutilated Shrike of an unknown species.—Secondly, that the male of borealis has been mistaken by Pennant and Latham for the European excubitor; and that the female appears to have been unknown to either.—Thirdly, that the female of borealis, although stated by M. Vieillot to be exactly like the male, is in reality very different; this writer, as we shall subsequently show, having confounded the true male with his L. ardosiaceus.—Sw.


Of a female, killed at Carlton House, June, 1827.

COLOUR of the upper aspect of the head, neck, back, scapularies, and part of the lesser wing coverts, intermediate between yellowish-brown and yellowish-grey*. Tail coverts whitish, with a slight tinge of ash-grey, and some very obscure cross lines. The secondary coverts and the adjoining row of lesser coverts are pitch-black, the latter being narrowly edged with the general colour of the back. The primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries, are dark liver-brown. The third primary and following ones to the tenth inclusive have a white space next the quills, which is slightly mottled with brown, and is mostly concealed by the coverts. The second primary is slightly bordered with greyish-white at the same place, and the seventh and following primaries, and all the secondaries, are narrowly edged at their tips with soiled white. The tail is pitch-black, with a white border; its two central feathers are entirely

* i.e., Yellowish-brown, with much bluish-grey shining through it.


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black, the adjoining ones are very slightly tipped with white; the others have wider white tips in proportion as they are more exterior, and the outer one on each side has only a part of its inner web next the quill black. The bristles at the angle of the mouth and round the nostrils are blackish-brown, and the lores are a little dusky; but there is a narrow whitish frontlet. A dull umber-brown band commences at the nostrils, and, passing backwards so as to include the eye, terminates on the side of the neck.

Under surface.—The cheeks, throat, breast, and belly, are ash-grey, crossed by semi-circular lines of clove-brown, generally two on each feather. The vent feathers and under tail coverts are soiled white, a few of the longer of the latter being obscurely barred on their ends. Both mandibles are pale horn-colour at the base, gradually becoming bluish-black towards the tips. Legs pitch-black.

FORM, &c.—Bill much compressed, with a strong and abrupt tooth near its hooked point. There are six strong bristles at the corner of the mouth, and the oval, longitudinal nostrils are concealed by short bristly hairs. The wings are moderately long, reaching within an inch and three-quarters of the end of the tail. The fourth primary is the longest; the third is half a line shorter; the fifth is a line shorter than the fourth; the sixth is about five lines shorter than the fifth; the second is two lines shorter than the sixth*, or half an inch shorter than the third; while the first is shorter even than the secondaries, and is an inch and a quarter shorter than the second primary. The tail is cuneiform, the exterior feathers being nine lines shorter than the middle ones. Hind toe robust and a little longer than the lateral ones. Claws much compressed.


Of the female.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 11 0
„ of the tail 5 0
„ of the longest quill feather 4 6
„ of the bill measured along its ridge 0 9
Length of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 1 1
„ of the tarsus 1 1
„ of the middle toe 0 8
„ of its claw 0

A specimen, to every appearance a male, killed at Penetanguishene, on Lake Huron, corresponds with Wilson's figure above quoted, except that the frontlet is whitish in our bird, instead of black as in the figure. It differs from the female described above in the general colour of the dorsal aspect, which is pearl-grey, with a slight tinge of yellowish-grey, approaching very nearly to the colour of the European L. excubitor and to the subject of the following article. The frontlet is whitish, and the lateral mark on the head is pitch-black, and extends farther back than in the female. The wing and tail feathers are of a deeper black, and the white speculum and tips of the secondaries are more conspicuous than in the

* In the specimen preserved in the Hudson's Bay Museum, the second quill feather is two lines longer than the sixth, but has the same relative length with regard to the other feathers.

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female. The lower parts are of a lighter grey, and the bars which cross the breast and belly finer and much paler, becoming nearly obsolete towards the vent. The bill is darker. The specimen is injured, so that its length cannot be exactly ascertained, but it appears to be shorter than the female. The tail is certainly a quarter of an inch shorter; but the dimensions of the bill and tarsi correspond with that specimen. It differs from the bird described in the following article in its greater size, less cuneiform tail, white frontlet, paler bill, and barred breast; but the general resemblance between the two is very great.—R.

[29.] 2. LANIUS EXCUBITORIDES. (Swainson.) American Grey Shrike.

FAMILY. Laniadæ. Sub-family. Lanianæ. SWAINSON.

CH. SP. LANIUS EXCUBITORIDES pulchrè plumbeus subter albus immaculatus, rostro lineáque frontali transversâ et fasciâ eapitis laterali nigris, alis brevibus, caudâ gracili elongato-cuneatâ nigrâ albo lateraliter cinctâ.

SP. CH. AMERICAN GREY SHRIKE, deep pearl-grey; beneath white, without markings; bill, the narrow frontal line, and a band passing over the eye and cheek, black; wings short; tail narrow, very cuneiform, black, with a white lateral border.


This is a more southern bird than the preceding species. It does not advance farther north in the summer than the fifty-fourth degree of latitude; and it attains that parallel only in the meridian of the warm and sandy plains of the Saskatchewan, which enjoy an earlier spring and longer summer than the densely wooded country lying betwixt them and Hudson's Bay. Its manners, as observed in the neighbourhood of Carlton House, were precisely similar to those of the preceding species, feeding chiefly on the grasshoppers, which are exceedingly numerous in the plains. Mr. Drummond found its nest, in the beginning of June, in a bush of willows; it was built of twigs of artemisiæ and dried grass, and lined with feathers. Its eggs, six in number, resembled those of the Magpie, being of a very pale yellowish-grey colour, with many irregular and confluent spots of oil-green, interspersed with a few of smoke-grey.—R.

The examination of this bird has been attended with no ordinary trouble. That a species, by no means rare in the northern parts of America, should now for the first time be considered new, may well excite both surprise and scepticism. But as our opinion is founded upon the statements of others, whose accuracy in the

Q 2

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narration of facts has never yet been questioned, we shall lay before the reader the arguments which have influenced our opinion in this matter.

In the first place, it will be necessary to institute a rigorous comparison of our bird with the only two American species described by modern ornithologists, and with which it may appear to agree: these are the Lanius Carolinensis of Wilson and the L. ardosiaceus of Vieillot. The first of these is the L. Ludovicianus of Prince Charles Bonaparte. This bird, we are expressly told by Wilson, is much darker on the upper parts than the Great American Shrike (L. borealis, Nob.), and is decidedly smaller; secondly, that it inhabits the warmer parts only of the United States, as the rice plantations of Carolina and Georgia. It is further obvious, that Wilson met with this species only while travelling through these southern provinces. He professes his ignorance of its nest and of its eggs: the former he describes partially from hearsay; and the latter he "he had no opportunity of seeing." It is, therefore, clear, that his Loggerhead Shrike must be unknown in all those northern States, towards Philadelphia, which he had so thoroughly explored, and where he principally resided. The additional information given by Prince C. Bonaparte upon Wilson's Carolinensis, although short, is quite to the same purpose. He calls the plumage dark slate, while that of the borealis is termed light slate; and the habitat is restricted to the "southern States." Both these writers, moreover, agree respecting the colours of the four middle tail feathers, which are totally black; whereas they state that the borealis has only the two middle tail feathers black, the two next being (as in our bird) tipped with white. Upon looking over the inimitable drawings of our friend M. Audubon, we were particularly struck with the very dark colour of his figures of the Logger-head Shrike (more resembling that of the African L. collaris than of the European excubitor), as being very different from a bird which we had long possessed under this name; and upon our mentioning the circumstance, we were assured that the figures were exact representations of the bird, as killed and drawn by our friend in Louisiana. On the presumption that these testimonies can be relied upon as strictly correct, we consider that our species is distinct from the Carolinensis of Wilson and Audubon and from the Ludovicianus of Bonaparte.

We now turn to the L. ardosiaceus of Vieillot. If this writer had described the male of borealis, or if he had not clearly expressed his belief that it was like the female, we should at once have concluded that his ardosiaceus was the same bird as Wilson's Carolinensis; but he has himself furnished us with proofs against this idea. In the very commencement of his description he convinces us that he

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is about to describe the male of his own borealis*. These are his words: "Cet oiseau a plus de rapports avec la Pie-grieche grise (L. excubitor) que la précédente (L. borealis, fem.); il n'en diffère que par une couleur plus foncée, et par son bec plus robuste." Regarding the couleur plus foncée, the writer evidently had not our bird in view, but Wilson's Carolinensis, many particulars of which he subsequently blends into this very description; while the only known American Shrike, which has the bill stouter than the European excubitor, is beyond all doubt the true male of his own borealis. In further proof that M. Vieillot has confounded both these species (borealis, Nob., and Carolinensis, Wilson) under the name of ardosiaceus, it must be remarked that he states no limits to the range of this imaginary species. He says it is sometimes found with his borealis (which, in reference to the male borealis, is very natural), and that it extends to the southern provinces of Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana; thereby confounding Wilson's with the northern bird. Upon these grounds do we consider the ardosiaceus as an imaginary species, and to which, consequently, we cannot assimilate our present bird.

But may not this be the excubitor of Wilson; as it agrees with the light colour of the plumage and the two entirely black tail feathers mentioned by that writer? True: but the size is much smaller; and the bill, instead of being light blue, is very deep glossy black. We have, moreover, already stated our reasons for considering Wilson's excubitor to be the true male of Vieillot's borealis. Lastly, as this bird so closely resembles the European excubitor in size and colour, what are their respective distinctions? These we shall now state:—

Size of the different members somewhat smaller. Bill, from the base to the tip of both mandibles, very dark bluish-black. Bill bluish-black (horn colour in the dead bird) only on the outer half; the base of both mandibles, but particularly of the under one, pale flesh-colour (yellowish white in the dead bird).
Frontal feathers covering the nostrils, crossed by a narrow band of deep-black. Frontal feathers cinereous.
Black stripe on the side of the head, encircling the upper margin of the eyelid. Upper margin of the eyelid nearly white.

* The figures in this work are too inaccurate to claim authority on questions of nice discrimination. Our copy, moreover, is uncoloured.—Sw.

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Exterior lateral scales of the tarsus divided into several pieces, exclusive of those towards the base of the claws. Exterior lateral scales of the tarsus entire, exclusive of those at the base.
Extreme length of the wing, when closed, 38/10 inches. Extreme length of the wing, when closed, nearly 42/10 inches.
Proportionate length of the primaries the same in both.
Tail considerably graduated, the outer feather being 11/10 shorter than the middle ones. Tail less graduated, the outer feather being, in one specimen, only 6/10, and, in the other, 8/10 shorter than the middle ones.

Upon these data we ground our opinion that this is not the excubitor of Europe.

It therefore now only remains to be considered whether, in this intricate inquiry, we can derive any assistance from the writings of the last age. On this task we shall enter, not only from a wish of satisfying ourselves on this subject, but to exemplify, by one striking instance, the impossibility of adopting names or relying upon descriptions, published at a time when ornithology was in its infancy. The following details will further show that, so far from facilitating the researches of the moderns by reviving these dubious names and vague records, with the laudable intention of establishing the priority of nomenclature, we shall involve the whole in inextricable confusion; and, worse than this, we shall do signal injustice to those faithful and accurate ornithologists who, like Wilson, Bonaparte, and Say, have stamped their descriptions by a name, the right understanding of which is intelligible to every one who peruses their works. Such names, indeed, may be compared to good and lawful coin of the realm of science, which will bear analyzing; while those of former compilers, when thoroughly assayed, are not unfrequently found alloyed by heterogeneous mixtures, which almost defy the power of the alchemist to part.

The first systematic writer, in whose works we find the name of Lanius Ludovicianus, is Brisson, a naturalist whom no one of ancient or modern times has excelled in exact and faithful description: unfortunately, in this instance, there is nothing positive to assist our research, further than that his specimen came from Louisiana. We are, however, indirectly informed that its plumage is decidedly darker than that of excubitor; for the latter is described (vol. ii., p. 143) as "d'un fort joli cendré clair," but the former as merely "cendré." He further observes,

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that the two middle tail feathers only are black; but we place no great reliance on this character either way, subject, as it frequently is, to the mere effects of age. So far, therefore, as the original description of Ludovicianus is concerned, we find no admixture or inconsistency; it is made by an original writer, who describes only what he sees. We shall now show that upon this account, faultless as it is, all the subsequent errors have been engrafted. On the authority of Brisson, the L. Ludovicianus was included in the Systema Naturæ (Ed. xiii., Vimb. 1767); but, in the specific character, the tail is here first stated to be cinereous (p. 134), instead of partially black. In the Syn. of Birds (i., p. 162), we find Brisson's account accurately abridged; but, unfortunately, a reference is given to the Pl. Enl. 397, which represents a Thamnophilus, instead of a true Shrike. The error in the Systema Naturæ, and the false synonyme in the General Synopsis, are next adopted by Gmelin; and although we find the latter mistake rectified in the Index Ornithologicus, its author brings in a third species, the Black-crowned Shrike of Pennant, and frames his description so as to make it apply to both,—the "pileus niger" belonging to Pennant's bird; for Brisson distinctly states that, in his Ludovicianus, "les parties supérieures de la tête, du col, le dos, &c., sont cendrées." All these errors are transferred into the General History of Birds, with an opinion expressed, that the L. Ludovicianus, as there characterized, may be a variety of the same author's L. nengeta (under which he comprises the ardosiaceus of Vieillot) or of the excubitor.

Before proceeding further, let us remember that we first began to lose sight of the true L. Ludovicianus by an unlucky error in the Systema Naturæ; that it became more obscure in Gmelin's compilation; and that it was finally lost in the Index Ornithologicus, the Ludovicianus of which work and of the General History is an imaginary bird. It shall now be shown that the L. nengeta of the same work, to which its author thinks his Ludovicianus may be referred, as "varieties of each other," is itself an imaginary species!—composed of three real birds of different Linnæan genera, and also of a fourth, which we have already shown to be fictitious, namely, the ardosiaceus of Vieillot. Referring, therefore, to the synonymes at p. 80 of the work last mentioned, we need only observe that the Grey Pye of Brazil (EDW., pl. 318) is a modern Nengetus and a Linnæan Fly-catcher; that the Cotinga cinerea of Brisson, as Le Vaillant remarked twenty years ago, is the young of Ampelis pompadoura, L.; and that the Grey Shrike of Pennant is either the L. excubitor or borealis, loosely assimilated by Pennant with the bird of Edwards.

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We have now traced the scientific history of Brisson's original Ludovicianus, through all its complex ramifications. The whole detail is a good example of the drudgery to which modern naturalists must be condemned, if they are compelled by the laws of nomenclature to pay that scrupulous attention to the names and works of authors, whose writings, useful and even valuable in their day, are now become almost unintelligible to modern science. If this principle is to be followed, the present race of naturalists will find full employment as commentators only upon the works of their predecessors; books and synonymes, rather than nature, must be their sole study; for the time that is consumed in unravelling one set of such errors will frequently be sufficient for describing ten new objects. We most fully coincide in the propriety, and even the common justice, of distinguishing every object in nature by the specific name imposed upon it by its first describer, provided it is not glaringly defective or otherwise erroneous; but we must protest against reviving all those, the meanings of which are either imperfectly stated or are now unintelligible. By citing such accounts as authorities, when in point of fact they are none, we perpetuate error, and transmit to posterity the same entanglement of synonymes which we ourselves may have vainly tried to unravel. These sentiments, from particular circumstances, we feel obliged to express somewhat strongly, yet without intending the least personal disrespect to some estimable naturalists, whom we could name, and whose labours in their generation have, no doubt, materially benefited science. They have, in fact, accelerated that important revolution in the modes of studying nature which are now prevalent, by proving that nothing short of actual observation and minute comparison can be depended upon.—Sw.


Of a specimen killed at Carlton House, June, 1827.

COLOUR of the head, back, and lesser wing coverts, deep pearl-grey*; the exterior edges of the scapularies and tail coverts paler, approaching to greyish-white. A black band commences at the nostrils, unites with its fellow at the base of the upper mandible, and, becoming broader as it passes backwards, terminates obtusely on the side of the neck: it includes the whole of the upper and under eyelids, and separates the grey colour of the upper parts of the head from the white of the ventral aspect. The (ten) primaries and their coverts are umber-brown; all the former, except the first short or spurious one, have a white space next their quills half an inch in breadth; their tips are pale, as if worn, except the two next the secondaries, which are terminated by a white border. The

* Cendré bleuâtre pur.—Temminck,

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secondaries and their coverts are blackish-brown, tipped with white. The tail is blackish-brown, with a broad white border; the two central feathers being entirely of the former colour; the adjoining one on each side of them having a minute white tip; and the outer one having the whole of its exterior web and two-thirds of its inner web white; whilst the others have an intermediate quantity of white, according with their situation. The plumage of the whole ventral aspect is unspotted white, with a tinge of grey on the flanks, and of broccoli-brown on the linings of the wings. Bill greenish-black. Legs dark resinous-brown.

FORM, &c.—Bill rather shorter and broader at the base than that of Lanius borealis, but having a sharper ridge and a more slender acute point; tooth very acute. Under mandible more boat-shaped. The nostrils are concealed by black bristly hairs, which surround the base of the upper mandible; and there are about six longer bristles at the angle of the mouth. The wings are short, reaching within two inches and a quarter of the end of the tail. The third and fourth primaries are the longest, the fifth is about half a line shorter, the sixth is four lines shorter than the fifth, and the second is just perceptibly shorter than the sixth: the seventh and following ones diminish in succession about two lines each; the first is scarcely half the length of the second, and is much shorter than any of the primaries or secondaries; the third, fourth, and fifth, have their outer webs obliquely narrowed. The tail is long and cuneiform, the exterior feathers being nearly an inch and a quarter shorter than the middle ones. The hind toe is more robust than the others, and is equal to the lateral ones in length.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 9 6
„ of the tail 4 0
„ of the longest quill feather 3 9
„ of the spurious or first primary 1 4
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 0
Length of the bill, measured along its ridge 0
„ of the tarsus 1 0
„ of the middle toe 0 8
„ of its claw 0 3
„ of the hind toe 0 5
„ of its claw 0


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[30.] 3. LANIUS ELEGANS. (Swainson.) White-winged Shrike.

FAMILY. Laniadæ. Sub-family. Lanianæ, SWAINSON.

CH. SP. LANIUS ELEGANS, pulchrè plumbeus subtus candidus, frontulâ capiti coneolori, specula albo conspicuo, caudâ gracili elongato-cuneatâ margins albo percinctâ, remige sacundâ sextam superanti; quartâ longissimâ, tarsis rostrum longiludine superanlibus.

SP. CH. WHITE-WINGED SHRIKE, clear bluish-grey, beneath unspotted white; with a frontlet of the same colour with the head; a broad white band across the wing; a slender and very cuneiform tail, entirely bordered with white; the second quill feather longer than the sixth, the fourth the longest; and tarsi exceeding the length of the bill, (measured from the angle of the mouth.)

A specimen of this handsome Shrike exists in the British Museum, to which it was presented, together with other birds from the fur-countries, by the Hudson's Bay Company. The particular district from whence it was brought, however, is not noted; and we have no account of its habits. It may be at once distinguished from the species mentioned in the preceding pages, by the much greater quantity of white on its wings and tail, its narrower tail feathers, longer tarsi, and less curved claws.


Of a specimen in the British Museum.

COLOUR of the plumage on the dorsal aspect of the head and body clear bluish-grey; the tail coverts being somewhat lighter, and the exterior margins of the scapularies nearly white. The lateral marks on the head, the wings with the exception of the white parts, and the middle of the tail, are pitch-black. The lateral mark is broader, particularly before the orbit, than in the two preceding species, and the frontlet is scarcely lighter than the crown of the head. There is a white band on the wings, an inch and a half broad, crossing the bases of all the primaries, from the second to the tenth inclusive. The secondaries are broadly tipped with white; their exterior margins, and the whole of their interior webs (with the exception of a black patch near the tips of the first two), are also white. The first primary and the three tertiaries are black. The two central pairs of tail feathers are very slightly tipped with white; the two next pairs have broad white tips; and the two outer pairs have entirely white webs, the shafts alone being brownish. The whole under plumage, with the exception of the brownish tips of the quill feathers and the centre of the tail, is pure white. Bill and legs blackish; the lower mandible not pale at the base, as in L. borealis.

FORM, &c.—Bill shorter than that of L. borealis, and a little wider at the base; its curvature much the same, and the tooth equally large. The under mandible is shorter and more

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boat-shaped. The wings are shorter than those of L. borealis, the first or spurious feather proportionably longer. The fourth quill feather is the longest, as in that species; the third very nearly equals it; and the fifth is scarcely a line shorter. The second, however, is a little longer than the sixth; whereas in L. borealis it is a little shorter. The sinuations of the exterior webs of the third, fourth, and fifth are the same as in L. borealis. The tail is more cuneiform than in that species, and the feathers are individually considerably narrower. The exterior tail feather is an inch and a quarter shorter than the central pair. The inner toe is equal in length to the outer one; and the claws are less curved than in the allied species.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 9 9
„ of the tail 4 5
„ of the longest quill feather 4 2
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 0 11
Length of the bill along the curve of its ridge 0 8
„ of the tarsus 1
„ of the middle toe 0 8
„ of its claw 0
„ of the hind toe 0
„ of the hind claw 0 4

The Lanius Nootka of Dr. Latham (Natka Shrike of Pennant), being found on the north-west coast of America, is entitled to appear in this work; but nothing more is known of it than Pennant's description; nor are we certain as to its place in the system.

The Prince of Musignano having laid some stress upon the relative lengths of the quill feathers as specific distinctions of the Lanii, and the subject having been touched upon in page 112 of this work; we have drawn up the following table, embodying the information the Prince has given on this head in his Synopsis (p. 72), with that to be derived from the preceding account of the species inhabiting the fur-countries.


Species. Authority. Longest quill fr. Comp. length of 5th. Comp. length of 2nd.
L. excubitor, BONAP.* Europ. sp. 3rd. 5th consid. shorter than 3rd. 2nd = 7th.
„ excubitor, SWAINS. Engl. sp. 3rd = 4th. 2nd = 6th.
„ septentrionalis, BONAP. 4th. 5th = 3rd. 2nd = 7th.
„ Ludovicianus, BONAP. 3rd. 2nd = 6th.
„ borealis, SWAINS. 4th.† 5th a line shorter than 4th. 2nd two lines shorter than 6th.
„ excubitorides, SWAINS. 3rd = 4th. 5th half a line shorter. 2nd nearly equal to the 6th.
„ elegans, SWAINS. 4th.† 5th a line shorter. 2nd longer than the 6th.

* The Prince of Musignano, Considering the first quaill feather as spurious, numbers the second as the first; but in this table we have altered his numeration to agree with our own.

† In these the third quill feather is intermediate in length between the fourth and fifth.

R 2

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WE have already shown that in Nilans, Sw., we have a form so nearly approaching to this sub-family, that we may fairly conclude on their approximation. The birds composing this division are typically known by a strong, but considerably more lengthened bill, bent only at the end, where the inflection is abrupt: the tooth, also, is much less developed, although in some species it is still very prominent. The feet are more robust; but the claws, no longer fine or attenuated, are now broad and thick: above all, the economy of these birds is totally different from that of the true Shrikes. They are described, both by Azara and Le Vaillant, as living and searching for their prey among thick foliage; hence their familiar name of Bush Shrikes. Their wings for this purpose are but little used; and we accordingly find these members particularly short and feeble; while the tail is somewhat lengthened, and more or less rounded.

We consider the Geai longup of Le Vaillant* (G. Platylophus, Sw.,) as representing that form in the circle of Thamnophilinæ which conducts us to Malaconotus, Sw., the first typical genus at which we arrive. The plumage of these richly-coloured birds is generally vivid; composed of yellow, green, or crimson, blended with black or green; while some few are clothed in the more simple colours of the American type. Much difference is observed in the proportionate strength of their bills; and, in some, the anterior toes are as much united as in the corresponding group of the Pittæ, or Short-tailed Thrushes, which these birds obviously represent among the Shrikes. This variation in the structure of the feet takes place, however, in species so nearly related, that it affords no ground for generic distinction. To this group succeeds the American genus Thamnophilus, Vieil., known at once by the rictus being invariably smooth; the whole organization (excepting, perhaps, the bill) is also much weaker. It is among these we find that close approximation to the Myotheræ, or Ant Thrushes, to which we have elsewhere alluded, and which is certainly so close, that we ourselves for a long time suspected it to be a circular relation of affinity. Whether such may not eventually prove to be the case, time alone can show; but the following are our reasons for considering the groups as belonging to different families-observing, however, that their relation may be cited as

* We cannot discover to what genus our nomenclators have consigned this bird. It is the Garrulus gallericulatus of the Ency. Méth.; but in the Paris Museum it is placed, with mach more propriety, among the Malaconoti. There can be little doubt of its being the scansorial type of its own sub-family.

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one of the most remarkable instances of collateral affinity that the whole circle of ornithology can produce. We must premise, that the apparent essential distinction between the Ant-Thrushes (Myotherinæ) and the Bush Shrikes (Thamnophilinæ) is this: that the former seek their food upon the ground, and are ambulating birds; while the latter confine themselves to bushes, and are arboreal. This difference in economy is consequently marked by a corresponding difference in the structure of the feet. Those of the Myotherinæ (including Drymophila, Sw., and certain Urotomi, Sw.) have the tarsi much more elongated; the claws slender, and not fully curved; and the lateral scales of the tarsi (excepting in one form, which cannot possibly be confounded with Thamnophilus) uniformly entire*. The American Thamnophilinæ, on the contrary, both in the typical group and in the sub-genus Formicivora, have the tarsi shorter, the claws thicker and more curved, and the lateral scales of the tarsi divided into numerous pieces. Near, therefore, as is the approximation between these two groups, we have chosen, for the present, to keep them distinct; but so far from wishing to bend Nature to our own views, we shall put the reader in possession of our own doubts on the subject.

First, it may be said, that even admitting the distinctions of the tarsi, as above stated, to be invariable, still the argument simply amounts to this—that Nature has chosen to mark the real transition from the Thamnophilinæ to the Myotherinæ, in this manner; in proof of which, we have species of Formicivora with remarkably short tails, and with tarsi fully as long as in several Drymophilæ. Upon what grounds, therefore, are we to believe that a relation, to all appearance so perfect as that between Thamnophilus and Myothera, is to be called an analogy; when, had it been consistent with our views to include both in the same family, or to place them at the confines of two families, we should have been fully justified in calling the series a most perfect and unbroken line of affinity? Again; is it not a violation of Nature to include such small, weakly-constructed birds as Formicivora (some of which are scarcely larger than the Gold-crested Wren) in the same group with birds so large and powerful as the true Thamnophilinæ? Thirdly, if this latter objection is overruled by the reply, that size cannot enter into generic characters, upon what principle is the little Pipra albifrons of the old authors separated from these latter birds (Formicivora), when it appears actually to form a passage to Prionops, Vieil., one of the groups of Bush Shrikes?

* We here allude only to such species as we have elsewhere described; since no birds require more investigation than the small Myotheræ of modern ornithologists: they present some beautiful forms of analogy, representing every family in the circle of the Dentirostres: even the Australian genus, Malurus, has its counterpart among these pigmy Shrikes. An undescribed species now before us, is a perfect representation of Laniellus, Sw.; while others, by their depressed bill, typify the Todies and the Flycatchers.

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These objections have had their due weight, and they suspended our judgment on this matter for some time. The first, indeed, is so strong, that if our views on the Insessores are correct, it can only be accounted for by that property which may belong to typical groups, adverted to in our introductory remarks; that is, of gradually approximating, in proportion as we contract our views, from order to family, from family to sub-family, and from sub-family to genus: so that, in cases where every conceivable intervening form is known, what was in larger groups but a relation of analogy, finally becomes one of absolute collateral affinity; a relation, however, which by no means disturbs the true or direct affinity by which each of these groups revolve, and are united in their own proper circles. An instance of the same intimate relationship may be cited between the true Merulæ and the Nightingale-warblers (Philomelinœ), in the family of Sylviadæ; two groups, whose juxta-position is precisely the same as Thamnophilus and Myothera, and which, in like manner, evince so close a resemblance, that the Sylvia turdo'ides of M. Temminck is described, in the first edition of that author's valuable work on the Birds of Europe, as a true Turdus, under the name of Turdus arun-dinaceus; in which genus it has also been placed by Dr. Latham and others. Here, then, is a case in point, where the analogy between the corresponding points of two family circles is so close, as to amount to what we should be justified in calling, under other circumstances, an absolute and direct affinity. That such, however, is not the case in regard to the Sylvia turdoïdes, as connecting the Merulidæ with the Sylviadæ, will subsequently appear; and, in respect to the supposed affinity between the Pipra pileata and the sub-genus Prionops, the evidence to be adduced is much more in favour of their direct analogy.

We shall close these remarks—already extended, perhaps, to too great a length—with a hope that they may awaken the attention of ornithologists to these singular relations between the Thamnophilnæ and the Myotherinæ; not so much to elucidate the groups themselves, as to investigate whether the typical circles, in small assemblages of natural objects, do not insensibly acquire additional properties beyond those which are possessed by larger groups. The only writer in whose works we can trace any opinion on this intricate subject, or who appears to have given an intimation that analogies may blend into affinities, is our friend Mr. Haworth, who, in his new binary arrangement of the Macrurous Crustacea (Phil. Mag.), makes the following observation: "The first articles of every dichotomy are often merely analogies; but that these insensibly, as we go down the table, to arrive at the genera, lessen, and blend into the closest affinities." Whether this passage, however, can be cited as strengthening our own suspicions, we cannot

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well make out, as its author has not yet fully developed his views of natural arrangement.

The other forms which appear to enter among the Thamnophilinæ are Colluri-cincla (H. and V.), Tephrodonis (Sw.)? and Prionops (Vieil.) Of the first we can say nothing, further than it appears to bear the same relation to Thamnophilus as Laniellus, Sw., does to Lanius. It is in Tephrodornis that we first detect an evident reduction in the length, size, and power of the tarsi. The wings, which have hitherto been remarkably short and feeble, are now more lengthened and obtusely pointed; while the tail, firm and strong, is either perfectly square, or slightly emarginate. Besides these indications of a new set of characters, we perceive the frontal feathers somewhat lengthened, and reflected over the nostrils, and the base of the bill, which they protect and partially cover; the rictus, also, is very strongly bristled. All these characters deserve attention, not only as showing an affinity to Prionops, but as being the first development of that structure so fully exemplified in the Edolianæ.

Tephrodornis is still more interesting, as containing several small species, found in the Indian islands; one of which we strongly suspect is the Muscicapa hirundinacea of Reinwaldt, which, but for its size, would unquestionably have been long ago referred to this family. The bill exhibits the same formation as that of Lanius virgatus, Tem., but on a very small scale, and has not the least depression, except at its base. This little bird is not much larger than the smallest. Formicivora yet discovered; but we are unacquainted with any form by which the two groups are connected. In Prionops, the feet are also weak, the tail nearly square, and the wings still more lengthened, broad, and ample. This curious bird is said to frequent the ground; and should it eventually prove an annectant form between this and the next sub-family, we have another proof of that remarkable partiality which Nature appears to evince, of making her transitions from one family to another by means of groups strictly terrestrial.

The bill of Prionops is fully as slender as that of Colluricincla; while the similarity of this type to Platylophus in the structure of the feet, the rictus, the frontal feathers, &c., sufficiently indicates in what manner the aberrant forms of the Thamnophilinæ are united in a circle of their own. Whether we regard Tephrodornis as the last genus in this division, or as the first in the next, its affinity to both is unquestionable, and we may therefore at once proceed to the sub-family,

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Characterized by a bill broad at the base, and compressed on the sides; the rictus being, in most cases, defended by very stiff and lengthened bristles; and the upper mandible no longer provided with that distinct tooth which belongs only to the two preceding divisions. The construction of the feet, likewise, deserves particular attention, as being formed upon a peculiar model. In every species yet discovered, these members are short, and the hind toe so much developed, as generally to exceed the length of the tarsus, and to be little shorter than the middle toe. This is very apparent in the genus Edolius, Cuv., and prevails, in a less degree, through the kindred genera Ocypterus, Cuv., and Analcipus, Sw. The wings, in all these groups, are much lengthened, particularly in Ocypterus, where they exhibit an hirundiform structure, the first quill being longest, and the rest graduated. So far, therefore, we see a conformation totally distinct from a Lanius or a Thamnophilus; but the subordinate types of this division are very imperfectly known; nor can we pronounce, with any certainty, which may be the typical groups. The original Vanga of Buffon, together with some other very curious birds from Madagascar, where that species is also found, lead us to suspect the existence of a group closely related to Ocypterus, but whose typical characters we have not sufficiently ascertained*. Of the three genera above named, Ocypterus and Analcipus appear the most typical; inasmuch as the bill, in certain species of Edolius, assumes much of that depressed form belonging to the Ceblepyrinæ. The situation of the Australian Vanga destructor, and its allies, is still more uncertain; while Sparactus must now be forgotten: the specimen upon which this genus was founded having turned out, according to M. Cuvier, to be the fabrication of a dealer! The immediate passage from this division to the


is unknown, as we consider our former suspicions on this union being effected by Muscicapa labrosa (Zool. Ill., pl. 175) not well founded; that bird being, in all probability, a true Ceblepyris, Cuv.

The birds of this group are too remarkable in themselves to be easily mistaken. Retaining much of that general form of bill which belongs to Edolius, there

* The Shrikes of Madagascar are so little known, as to be rarely, if ever, seen in museums; and it unfortunately happens that, not withstanding the greatest care, those few now in the Royal Museum at Paris are too much injured by time, to admit of accurate description.—Sw.

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is, nevertheless, a greater depression, and consequently a greater weakness, exhibited in this member; the nostrils are equally concealed, but the frontal feathers, instead of being lengthened, and reflected forwards, are short and velvety; while the rictus, no longer provided with stiff bristles, is merely furnished with short cetaceous feathers. Continuing this comparison to the tarsi and the wings, we find the first rather longer, and the hind toe shorter; but the form of wing, and the arrangement of the quills, in Ceblepyrus and Edolius, are much alike. The most remarkable distinction, however, of this curious bird, is the spine-like rigidity of the rump feathers, which, when pressed against the hand, feel as if they were intermixed with prickles, an effect produced by the bending of the shafts*, one portion of which is very thick, while the other becomes suddenly very slender; by pressure, the outer half is bent, and presents a sharp angle to the touch, which feels like a spine. It is worthy of remark, that the Cuckoos, which, in the tribe of Scansores, occupy the same relative station as the Ceblepyrinæ do among the Shrikes, should also exhibit this singular structure. On the whole, distinct as this sub-family is from the last, yet there is such a decided and direct affinity between them, that we must altogether reject the idea of placing the two groups at opposite points in the circle of Laniadæ.

No ornithologist has yet attempted to arrange this group, or to characterize the different modifications of form which it presents. We must, therefore, be content to notice those only which we have personally examined. Premising that all the species seem restricted to the hot latitudes of the Old World, and that they have received the name of Caterpillar-catchers from feeding principally, as Le Vaillant informs us, on such soft insects.

We have already intimated that the true passage from the Edolianæ to the Ceblepyrinæ may be yet undiscovered. If, however, we may consider the absence of spinous feathers in certain of the latter birds, together with an unusually compressed bill, as indications of such a transition, we shall find these characters in the genus Erucivora †, a group of small birds, hitherto found only in the Indian Islands. We are, nevertheless, inclined to believe that the true annectant type is at present unknown. From Erucioora to the typical genera Ceblepyris and Phænicornis, as now modified, the gradations are almost imperceptible; the first seems

* An error on this subject appears to have crept into the Règne Animal, where it is stated, vol. i., p. 363, that "Les tiges sont un peu prolongeés, roides et piquantes des plumes de leur croupion." We have never seen one species where the feathers are so constructed.

† We first detected this form among the stores of the Zoological Society; but in conformity, as we were told, with the rules of the Society, we were prohibited from taking any notes. Fortunately, however, the liberality of MM. Cuvier and Geoffroy St. Hilaire enabled us to make full use of the specimens at the Garden of Plants, by which means we have here been enabled to define the group.—Sw.


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to typify the plain-coloured, lineated Thamnophilæ, and the grey Ocypteri; while the latter are decked in the lively colours of the African Malaconoti and of the genus Analcipus. Close to Phænicornis may be placed Ptiliogonys, as opening a passage to the next division, or as comprised within its limits. Oxynotus is another and a very peculiar type; to which we may liken Sphecotheres, from the structure of the bill, the wings, and the tarsi. But the want of the puffy, spinous tail feathers in this latter bird removes it, we think, from this family. M. Cuvier has arranged the larger species of Ceblepyrini under the generic name of Graucalis; but we have failed in discovering their supposed peculiarities. It is easy to perceive that, by the recent discovery of the Mexican genus Ptiliogonys (Sw.), the transition from the Caterpillar-catchers to the sub-family


is rendered apparent, particularly when we compare Ptiliogonys cinereus*, Sw., with the Muscicapa albicapilla of Vieillot, and some other obscurely-known species, wherein the head is crested, the nostrils nearly round, the rictus but slightly bearded, and the bill short, triangular, and rather compressed on the sides.

We now fairly enter among the American Fly-catchers, of which the whole of this sub-family is entirely and exclusively composed. We have already done something towards the right understanding of the more typical species†; but, as the entire group requires much elucidation, we shall now enumerate its distinguishing characters, as opposed to the whole of the Fly-catchers belonging to the Old World. The feet of the Tyrannininæ, however diversified the species may be in size or in other points of structure, are always much stronger than those of the genuine Muscicapæ, not as regards the length of the tarsi, for in both this part is invariably short, but in respect to the length and thickness of the toes and claws; the latter, in particular, are large, gracile, and very acute, much resembling those of the true Shrikes. In the typical species (as T. intrepidus, crassirostris, crudelis, &c.), the hind and the middle claw are nearly equal; but in the lesser species, or those most liable to be confounded with the Old World Muscicapæ, (as Tyrannula Saya, nunciola, &c.,) the hind claw is by much the largest. A further distinction is afforded between these groups by the scutellation of the tarsi. The scales of the Tyranninæ, as if intended to give greater strength and support to the muscles of the feet, wrap completely round the tarsi, and only meet at the

* Zoological Illustrations, Second Series, pl. 62.

† Journal of the Royal Institution.

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back part; so that, in fact, the lateral scales so conspicuous in Muscicapa are entirely wanting among the Tyrant Fly-catchers. Then, as to the structure of those members employed in flight. The arrangement of the primary quills in this group is very peculiar the wings are so far pointed, that the first and second quills are very little shorter than the third and fourth, which always exceed the others; sometimes, indeed, (as in T. intrepidus, vociferans, and crudelis,) the wings are so admirably adapted for rapid flight, that the second quill is as long as any of the others, and the first very slightly shorter; while even among the 'smallest Tyrannulæ the first quill is invariably more than three-fourths the length of the longest. Now, upon looking to the Fly-catchers of the Old World, we see an arrangement strikingly different: the first quill is invariably spurious, that is, so short as to appear but half developed; the second and third are progressively graduated; and the full length of the wing is only attained by the fourth and fifth quills. Hence these members, however lengthened they may be in particular species, assume a rounded form, and betray a decided inferiority in the power of flight to that which is possessed by the American Fly-catchers. Even in the well-known Muscicapa atricapilla of Southern Europe, whose wings are certainly longer and more pointed than any of its congeners, the first quill is very small. As connected also with the most important economy of those groups which feed upon the wing, and consequently depend for subsistence on their flight, the tail deserves great attention: and here, likewise, we may detect a strong characteristic of the Tyranninæ, by which they are detached from all others of similar manners. There is a peculiar breadth in the caudal feathers of all the species, particularly towards their extremity; and although this member is either forked, divaricated, or square, we have never met with one species wherein the tail is rounded*. Now, among the Old World Muscicapæ the very reverse of this structure is most prevalent: the tail, if not narrower, is scarcely ever divaricated, never forked, and very rarely perfectly square at its extremity. Even in the Muscicapa (Seïsura) volitans of New Holland, which bird has been expressly stated to have an even tail†, we find this member, in three specimens now upon our table, decidedly rounded. There are, nevertheless, some few species of true Muscicapæ where the tail is really even; and such exceptions, however rare, render this distinction of less value than that furnished by the wings and tarsi.

* The Rufous Tyrants, formerly referred by us to this sub-family, have a rounded tail; but we have since placed them with the Myotherinæ, under the generic name of Dasycephala.

† "The genus Seïsura is, however, sufficiently distinguished from Ripidura by the tail being even, not rounded, at the end."—Horsfield and Vigors, Linn. Trans., vol. xv., p. 250.

S 2

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Lastly, the formation of the nostrils must not pass unobserved. One of the typical characters of the Tyrant Shrikes is to have the aperture perfectly round, or at least very nearly so; and it is only among some small species of Tyrannulæ that the membrane is so far developed as to reduce this opening to a more oval form: but in the Old World Muscicapæ the aperture is linear-oval, and in the typical species linear.

No satisfactory results have attended our attempts to draw characters from the different modifications observed in the bills of these two races; and, indeed, when we see how completely this member differs in size, form, and thickness, in such birds as Tyrannus crassirostris and intrepidus, or again in Savanna and audax, we are convinced how futile will be all such attempts at present. The truth appears to be, that almost every species, from our personal observations on these birds, seems attached to certain species or genera of insects, which may be considered its peculiar food; and these, varying in size and habits, are captured by bills of different modifications. The whole of Tropical America may be said to swarm with the Tyranninæ; so much so, that several individuals of three or four species may be seen on the surrounding trees at the same moment, watching for passing insects: each, however, looks out for its own peculiar prey, and does not interfere with such as appear destined by nature for its stronger or more feeble associates. It is only towards the termination of the rainy season, when myriads of the Termites and Formicæ emerge from the earth in their winged state, that the whole family of Tyrants, of all sizes and species, commence a regular and simultaneous attack upon the thousands which then spring from the ground.

On duly weighing the peculiar distinctions of the small American Tyrants, we feel justified in the suspicion that they do not belong to the same group as the genuine Muscicapæ while, on the other hand, these little birds are so blended with the more typical Tyrants, that they can scarcely be detached from them even as a genus. This will be manifest to any one who examines Tyrannus calcaratus, ferox, and crinitus*, or Tyrannula Saya, querula, barbirostris, musica, or nigricans†. The natural subdivisions of this group also require much investigation: we can, indeed, feel little doubt that the typical genus is Tyrannus, and that the T. crudelis* exhibits a greater perfection of structure than even the well-known American Kingbird (T. intrepidus). Neither is it difficult to perceive that nature, upon entering the group by means of Ptiliogonys, advances towards the Swallow-tailed Tyrants by two different routes; but one of these presents an hiatus, on its

* Journal of the Royal Institution.

† Philosoph. Magazine and Annals, June, 1827, P. 366.

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touching the confines of the true Laniadæ, which cannot be satisfactorily filled up by any bird we know of. The only one which betrays a sufficient departure from its type to justify an opinion of its close relation to Lanius is the common Tyrannus sulphuratus, or Bentivi*, of Brazil. But the lengthened bill of this bird, viewed in its supposed connexion with Tyrannus and Lanius, appears perfectly anomalous; for as this member in the Tyranninæ is usually short, or at least moderate, and in Lanius is still shorter, so we should expect to find in a bird which really connected these groups, that the bill would have an intermediate length, or at least not be prolonged more than that of any one bird in the two sub-families. That the Bentivi, however, makes the nearest approach to Lanius of any bird yet discovered, is, we think, sufficiently evident; not only from its greatly-compressed bill, but by feeding upon reptiles, and thus becoming partly carnivorous. We have more than once taken from the stomach of this species lizards in an entire state, sufficiently large to excite surprise how they could possibly have been swallowed by the bird. Azara likewise says, "Les Bientiveos" (by which name this bird is also known in Brazil) "s'approchent des animaux marts pour s'emparer des debris et des petits morceaux de chair que laissent les Caracaras," &c. This, indeed, we never witnessed, but we can well believe the fact; not merely on the high authority of such an observer as Azara, but as being supported by a peculiar structure in the bird: its claws, unlike those of all other Tyrants, are but slightly curved; thus enabling the bird, when so engaged, to walk without difficulty upon the ground.

The length of the bill is, then, the only peculiarity in the Bentivi, which appears anomalous; nor can it, we apprehend, be explained in any other way than by comparing it with the bills of certain Madagascar Shrikes, closely related to Tephrodomis, which group, be it remembered, stands on the confines of the Edoliana'. In all these birds the prolongation of the bill, and its general form, are so much the same, that it is impossible to deny an apparent relationship between them; nor do we hesitate in expressing our opinion, that the affinity which Saurophagus bears to Tephrodornis is to the full as great, if not greater, than that between Saurophagus and any form yet discovered among the Lanianæ..

That the Bentivi of itself is sufficient to prove the union of the three aberrant groups of the Laniadæ must not, however, be inferred, any more than that it actually connects the Tyranninæ with the Lanianæ but that it exhibits, both in

* The striking dissimilarity between this bird and the true Tyrants induced us, some years ago, to detach it from that group as a sub-genus, under the name of Pilangus, associating with it the broad-billed Lanius pitangua of Linnæan authors. Much doubt, however, seems to hang over the true affinities of this latter bird; and the above name, thus rendered doubly objectionable, we propose to amend by substituting that of Saurophagus. Another typical species has recently come into our possession.—Sw.

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its structure and its manners, sufficient peculiarities to render both these affinities highly probable, appears to us, at least, unquestionable. Whether it is a general property in all aberrant groups to shew a greater tendency to unite themselves into a circle, than to pass by a simple series of progression into the typical groups, we will not now discuss; but it certainly appears that the first of these tendencies is much more apparent than the last; or, at least, that it is to the full as strongly manifested, in all such groups as have been sufficiently analysed.

In noticing the peculiar habits of Falcunculus, among the true Shrikes, we have expressed our suspicion that it may represent, in its own narrow circle, the tribe of Scansores. Now, it may be worth remarking, that did we feel justified in assigning to it this station, it would occupy that part of the circle of Lanianæ which touches the Tyranninœ and we might thus account for the Bentivi and the Frontal Shrike, so brought into contact, being clothed in the same coloured plumage.

But our belief, that the absolute union of the Edolianæ with the Tyranninæ will hereafter be discovered, is materially strengthened by the perfect similarity of manners between certain Edolianæ and the fork-tailed Tyrants of Paraguay; and this affinity, even in external form, has been thought so strong, as to have satisfied Mr. Vigors that the two divisions actually followed each other in a simple circle, without the intervention of the Ceblepyrinæ*. The following details, written by two eye-witnesses of the facts they describe, are so important to this question that we transcribe them verbatim.

The manners of the African Drongos are thus described by M. Le Vaillant:—

"Elle fréquente les grandes forêts et vit en petites troupes; elle fait sa principal nourriture d'abeilles qu'elle guette et qu'elle saisit à leur passage absolu-ment de la manière que les gobe-mouches le pratiquent à l'egard des mouches et des insectes; mais c'est particulierement le soir, après le coucher du soleil, et le matin avant son lever, qu'elle chasse de prèfèrence ces industrieux insectes; et pour cet effet le petites bandes se rangent le long du bois et s'y perchent sur un arbre isolè, mort ou ayant beaucoup de branches mortes, afin de mieux saisir le moment du départ ou de l'arrivée des abeilles lorsqn'elles sortent du bois pour aller recueiller sur les fleurs le miel etla cire, ou qu'elles reviennent chargées de butin. En voyant de loin ces oiseaux faire leur chasse et voltiger en désordre autour et

* The argumentum ad verecundiam might here be employed with manifest advantage; and this is, perhaps, on particular occasions, the best line of reasoning that can be adopted. But as we desire more to elicit truth, than to support a theory, so we prefer that our views of natural affinities should entirely repose on the facts adduced in their support. Besides, it may be thought somewhat unfair to quote the authority of a naturalist on some occasions, and slight it altogether when his opinions happen to be against our own.

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a une certaine distance d'un arbre, et revenir ensuite sur le même arbre, on peut d'autant moins se figurer ce qui les excite à tant des mouvemens quïl y en a quelquefois vingt, trentc perchés sur cet arbre, les uns y revenant, les autres en partant tour-à-tour et inccssamment; ce qui forme une scène très animee et même bruyante; car ils ont tous un cri quïls rêpetent a chaque instant et qu'on exprime très-bien par pia-griach, griach. Qu'on sïmagine voir une trentaine d'oiseaux voltigeant pêle-mêle autour d'un arbre et faisant tous les petits détours que nécessitent le vol rapide et les crochets des abeilles qui elles-mêmes cherchent à eviter leur ennemi; qu'on se représente quelques-uns de ces oiseaux manquant leur proie, se revirant aussitôt vers une autre abeille, faisant quelquefois cinq a six pirouettes de suite en cabriolant a droit, a gauche, et en haut, en bas, dans tous les sens enfin, et ne venant se reposer que lorsqu'ils ont hape l'abeille ou qu'ils se sont fatigues inutilement, on aura une idee assez exacte de tout le manege des Drongos. Ils se posent en lieux eleves et decouverts pour epier les insectes; ils se volent aussi au-dessus des eaux et des plaines pour faire leur petite chasse a la maniere des hirondelles; et ils y choisissent pour se per-cher, de petites branches ou des jones."

The economy of the Fork-tailed Tyrants (Milvulus, Sw.), as described in the following extract from Azara, is almost precisely similar.

"Les Suiriris volent avec beaucoup d'aisance et ils aiment la compagnie de leurs semblables; car, avant leur départ de Paraguay, on les voit réunis en troupes de cent et deux cens individus, dont quelques-uns se tiennent, vers le soir, perchés a la cime d'un arbre tres éleve et touffu, tandis que les autres volent autour en tourbillon confus, se jetant sur les insectes et s'exercant a cette chasse; ils se posent ensuite sur l'arbre d'ou ceux qui y etaient places partent, pour que la bande tournoyante soit toujours aussi nombreuse. Les memes arbres sont des lieux de rendezvous, et ces oiseaux s'y rassemblent pendant plusieurs soirees entieres, avant que de partir; a leur retour ils se montrent deux a deux, et quelquefois en petites troupes, qui ne tardent pas a se diviser par paires."

The difficulty of detecting analogical relations between the higher and the lower groups of ornithology, seems to be increased in the same ratio as the groups to be compared differ in value from each other: and this must be obvious, when we consider that in proportion as we descend in the scale of groups, and limit our inquiries, so do we contract the field of comparison. The reader, it is hoped, will bear this in remembrance, while studying the following—

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Typical Characters.

DENTIROSTRES Bill short, toothed; seize their prey by the foot Lanianæ.
CONIROSTRES Bill lengthened, compressed; feet strong, robust Thamnophilinæ.
SCANSORES Tarsi short; hind toe lengthened Edolianæ.
TENUIROSTRES Bill weak; feed only on soft substances; rictus smooth Ceblepyrinæ.
FISSIROSTRES. Bill greatly depressed; nostrils round; feed upon the wing Tyranninæ.

The skulking, thievish propensities of the Bush Shrikes and the Jays, in plundering the eggs and destroying the young of other birds, is thus explained by the relation of the Thamnophilinæ to the Conirostres. The great developement of the tail, in nearly all the true Edolinæ, the boat-shaped form which it assumes in one species, the singular frontal crests of two others, and the pointed and metallic-coloured neck-feathers in several, are all characters which we see more developed among the Rasores, than in any other tribe or order of birds. The soft and tender food of the Caterpillar-catchers evinces that even the Tenuirostres may be represented by insectivorous Shrikes; the analogy between the Tyranninæ and the Fissirostres, although sufficiently evident, is not, perhaps, at first sight, so striking.

It may, on the other hand, be urged, that the Edolianæ, by means of Ocypterus, bear a much closer resemblance to Hirundo among the Fissirostres, than to the Scansores; and this analogy appears so strong, that we were for a long time much perplexed by the apparent violation of Nature committed in the foregoing table. A little reflection, however, convinced us, that if analogies are really correct between any two points in different circles, they must hold good between all the other points; a test by which the above supposition, in its further details, gives the most contradictory results. Whether we compare the general habits, or the weakness of structure of the Tyranninæ, coupled with the fact, that several of the smaller species have the two outer toes much united, we feel disposed to consider these evidences as certainly in favour of this group being the true representation of the Fissirostres.

A very singular and novel fact also, which we shall now make use of, is another argument strongly corroborating this analogy. The following is an extract from our notes on the Zoology of Brazil:—

"7th April, 1817. Sitting in the house this morning, I suddenly heard a

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splash in the lake close to the window; on looking out, I saw a common Grey-breasted Tyrant*, perched upon a dead branch hanging over the water, pluming and drying itself. Intent upon watching this bird, I saw it, within a quarter of an hour, dive into the lake two successive times, after some small fish or aquatic insects, precisely like a Kingfisher: this action was done with amazing celerity, and it then took its former station to plume and dry its feathers."—(Pernambuco.)

This anecdote, so beautifully illustrating the analogy of the Tyranninæ with the Fissirostres and the Natatores, we consider as conclusive on the subject. We shall have occasion, however, to illustrate this matter further, on reviewing the arrangement of the next family.

[31.] 1. TYRANNUS INTREPIDUS. (Vieillot.) King-bird.

SUB-FAMILY. Tyranninæ, SWAINS. Genus. Tyrannus, BRISSON. SWAINS.
Tyrant Fly-catcher, PENN., Arct. Zool., ii., p. 384, No. 263.
Lanius tyrannus, LATH. Ind., i., p. 81, sp. 53.
Tyrant Fly-catcher, or King-bird (Lanius tyrannus), WILSON, ii., p. 66, pl. 13, f. 1.
Tyrannus pipiri, VIEILLOT, Ois. de l'Am., i., p. 73, pl. 44.
Tyrannus intrepidus, IDEM, Enc. Méth., ii., p. 849. IDEM, Gal. des Ois., 214, but not the plate 133, which is a different species.
Muscicapa tyrannus, BONAP. Syn., p. 66, sp. 76.

M. Vieillot, in his Ois. de l'Am., called this species Tyrannus pipiri, but has since judiciously abandoned a name so unmeaning, for the more appropriate one of intrepidus. It is not a little remarkable that this writer, who appears to describe the habits, &c., of this species from personal observation, should have given (Gal. des Ois. pl. 133), as the representation of the female, the figure of another species, which we have never seen, and certainly is not known to inhabit North America. We rather suspect, however, that the fault must lie with the draughtsman, who seems to have coloured this figure in such a manner as to produce a fictitious species—the rufous wings, tail, and olive back, representing the Tyrannus crinitus; and the white under plumage and crest being those of intrepidus. No such species exists in the Paris museum, nor have we ever seen

* Tyrannus crudelis, SWAINS. Monog.


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it in specimens or books; but should it really exist in nature, it may deservedly bear the name of T. Vieillotii.—Sw.

The well known King-bird is common on the banks of the Saskatchewan, and ranges in summer to the fifty-seventh parallel of latitude, or beyond it. It arrives at Carlton-house early in May, and retires, after having reared its young, in the beginning of September, wintering to the southward even of Georgia. It is seen during summer in all parts of the United States, and breeds in Pennsylvania, and most probably in all the intermediate districts to the middle of the fur countries. Its jealousy of the intrusion of other birds into its haunts in the breeding season, and the boldness and activity with which it attacks and drives off even the biggest and fiercest of the birds of prey, has been well described by Catesby, and other writers on American Natural History, but by none with the minuteness, truth, and poetical feeling of Wilson. It is of the King-bird that Mr. Drummond speaks in the following passage of a letter relating to the birds he noticed at Carlton-house:—"There is another small bird that deserves to be noticed for the courage with which it attacks all others that venture near its residence: it is a species of Fly-catcher, about the size of a lark; and the manner in which it assaults a large bird is truly amusing. It soars above its opponent, and then darting down on its back, applies its beak, with all the strength it possesses, to its head, sometimes remaining in this position for a minute or more, and then returns in triumph to its station on the top of some neighbouring bush or small tree, where it resumes the occupation of watching for flies*. During the whole of this attack it utters a shrill chattering note with great vehemence.

"The King-birds arrive in Pennsylvania about the twentieth of April, sometimes in small bodies of five or six together, and are at first very silent, until they begin to pair and build their nest. This generally takes place about the first week in May. The nest ïs very often built in the orchard, on the horizontal branch of an apple-tree; frequently also, as Catesby observes, on a sassafras-tree, at no great height from the ground. The outside consists of small slender twigs, tops of withered flowers of the plant yarrow, and others, well wove together with tow and wool, and is made large, and remarkably firm and compact. It is usually lined with fine, dry, fibrous grass, and horsehair. The eggs are five, of a very pale cream-colour, or dull white, marked with a few large spots of deep purple, and other smaller ones of light brown, chiefly, though not altogether, towards the great end. They generally build twice in the season."

* Botanical Miscellany, by W. J. HOOKER, ii. p. 186.

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"The King-bird is altogether destitute of song, having only the shrill twitter above mentioned. His usual mode of flight is singular: the vibrations of his broad wings, as he moves slowly over the fields, resemble those of a hawk hovering and settling in the air to reconnoitre the ground below; and the object of the Kingbird is no donbt something similar; viz., to look out for passing insects, either in the air, or among the flowers and blossoms below him. In fields of pasture, he often takes his stand, on the tops of the mullein and other rank weeds, near the cattle, and makes occasional sweeps after passing insects, particularly the large black gad-fly, so terrifying to horses and cattle. His eye moves restlessly around him, traces the flight of an insect for a moment or two, then that of a second, and even a third, until he perceives one to his liking, when, with a shrill sweep, he pursues, seizes it, and returns to the same spot to look out for more. This habit is so conspicuous when he is watching the bee-hive, that several intelligent farmers of my acquaintance are of opinion, that he picks out only the drones, and never injures the working bees. Be this as it may, he certainly gives a preference to one bee, and one species of insect, over another. He hovers over the river, sometimes for a considerable time, darting after insects that frequent such places, snatching them from the surface of the water, and diving about in the air like a swallow, for he possesses at will great power of wing. Numbers of them are frequently seen thus engaged for hours together, over the rivers Delaware and Schuylkill, in a calm day, particularly towards evening. He bathes himself by diving repeatedly into the water from the overhanging branches of some tree, where he sits to dry and dress his plumage*."—(WILSON, /. c.) The King-bird preys chiefly on winged insects, and feeds also on berries of various kinds.—R.


Of a male, killed at Carlton-house, May, 1827.

COLOUR of the upper aspect of the head, when the plumage is smooth, shining velvet-black; but when the feathers are ruffled, a spot of bright orpiment-orange appears on the crown. The dorsal aspect, in general, is blackish-grey; the rump feathers and tail coverts being slightly edged with white. The tail is pitch-black, tipped with white a quarter of an inch broad. The quill feathers and greater coverts are hair-brown; the secondaries edged and tipped with white. The under plumage is pure white, except the breast, which is tinged with ash-grey; and the wing linings, which are pale greyish-brown. Bill, above and below, pitch-black. Legs bluish-black.

* The whole of this passage is most important and interesting. It appears to me, however, much more probable, that this species, like the Tyrannus crudelis already noticed (p. 137), dives after small fish, or aquatic insects, and thus typifies the analogy of this family to the King-fishers among the Fissirostres, and to the Natatores.—Sw.

T 2

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FORM, &c.—Bill considerably depressed; wide at the base, gradually narrowing to the tip. Upper mandible with convex sides, meeting in an obtuse ridge, the tip of which has a slight notch on each side, and curves down, so as to form a small hook; there is a raised central line within. The lower mandible is flatly convex. Six strong bristles stand out above the angle of the mouth; and the nostrils, which are oval, are partly concealed by small bristles and the projecting feathers of the forehead. The tips of the wings reach within an inch and a quarter of the end of the tail. The second quill feather is the longest; the third is very nearly equal to it; the first is about two lines shorter than the second, and as much longer than the fourth; the fifth, sixth, and seventh diminish successively a quarter of an inch each; the tenth and the secondaries are about an inch and three-quarters shorter than the second; the second, third, and fourth have their outer webs obliquely narrowed; and the first and second have their inner webs very deeply and abruptly notched close to their tips; the third is less deeply notched. The secondaries are somewhat truncated and scolloped at the ends, with a slight projection of their mid-ribs. The tail is long, and even at the end; though, from the inner webs of its feathers being broader than the outer ones, and more sloped away at their ends, it appears slightly emarginated when fully spread. The hind toe is longer and stronger than the outer or inner one, and its claw is of equal size with that of the middle toe.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 8 9
„ of the tail 3 6
„ of the longest quill feather 4 0
„ of the folded wing 4 10
Length of the bill, measured along its ridge 0 8
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 1
„ of the tarsus 0
„ of the middle toe 0 6
„ of its claw 0 3

The dimensions were the same in a considerable number of specimens.

The female has a narrow white tip to the tail, and a smaller orange-coloured spot on the crown. This spot is altogether wanting in the young.

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[32.] 2. TYRANNUS BOREALIS. (Swainson.) Northern Tyrant.

SUB-FAMILY, Tyranninæ. SWAINS. Genus, Tyrannus. BRISSON. SWAINS.

CH. SP. TYRANNUS BOREALIS, super xerampelinus: alis caudâque forficateâ obscurioribus, cristâ incumbente concolori, mente ventre et tectricibus Caudæ inferioribus pallidè flavescenlibus, mandibulâ inferiori pallescenti, tarsis brevibus.

SP. CH. NORTHERN TYRANT, above, dark greyish-brown; wings and forked tail nearly blackish-brown; no flame-coloured spot on the crown; under plumage mostly greyish-yellow; inferior mandible pale; tarsi short.


Of this species, which is believed to be hitherto undescribed, only one specimen was procured. It was shot on the banks of the Saskatchewan as it was flying near the ground; but no information was obtained respecting its habits or nidification. Like the King-bird, it is found in the fur-countries only in summer. It is a considerably smaller species than the Tyrannus intrepidus, and may be at once distinguished from it by the forked tail not tipped with white, and much shorter tarsi, as well as by very evident differences in the colours of the plumage. Its bill is rather more depressed at the base, and its lower mandible is dissimilar in colour to the upper one, and is larger than that of T. intrepidus. The relative lengths of the quill feathers of the two species are also different; the first of T. borealis being rather longer than the third, and the fourth being farther apart from the latter than in T. intrepidus.


Of a female, killed at Cumberland House, lat. 54°.

COLOUR of the head, back, and lesser wing and tail coverts dark hair-brown; of the quill feathers and tail dark-umber or blackish-brown. The margins of the greater coverts are paler; and the secondaries are slightly edged at the tip with soiled white. Under surface.—The throat, belly, and under tail coverts are very pale greyish-yellow. The flanks and wing linings are broccoli-brown, and the breast exhibits that colour, with a tinge of the yellowish hue of the belly. The bill is shining blackish-brown above, and dull brownish-yellow beneath, with an umber-coloured tip.

FORM, &c.—The shape of the bill is very nearly the same as that of the King-bird, and it is similarly furnished with bristles at the base. The tips of the folded wings are rather more than an inch shorter than the end of the tail. The second quill feather is the longest; the first

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is two lines, and the third two lines and a half shorter than the second; the fourth is four lines and a half shorter than the third; and the following ones decrease in succession a quarter of an inch each. The second and third have their outward webs obliquely, but distinctly sinuated; and the inner webs of the three first are slightly narrowed towards their points. The tips of these three feathers are comparatively broad, as they want the deep and sudden sinuation so remarkable in the same feathers of the King-bird. The secondaries are very obtuse, but their ends are not scolloped or emarginated, as in the King-bird. The tail is forked, the central pair of feathers being more than a quarter of an inch shorter than the exterior ones. Tarsi short. Nails like those of T. intrepidus, the hind one rather larger than the middle one.


Of the female.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 8 0
„ of the tail 3 0
„ of the longest quill feather 3 8
„ of the folded wing 4 4
„ of the bill, measured on its ridge 0
Length of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 0 11
„ of the tarsus 0 7
„ of the middle toe 0 6
„ of its claw 0 3

[33.] 1. TYRANNULA SAYA. (Swainson.) Say's Fly-catcher.

SUB-FAMILY, Tyranninæ. Genus, Tyrannula. SWAINS. Zool. Journ.
Muscicapa Saya. BONAP. Syn., p. 67. No. 81. Orn., i., p. 20, pl. 2, f. 3.
Tyrannula pallida*. SWAINS. Synop. Mex. in Phil. Mag., No. xv.

CH. SP. TYBANNULA SAYA, pallidè brunnescenti-grisea, abdomine crisso et teclricibus caudæ inferioribus ferrugineis, alls acutis: remigibus caryophillinis, Caudâ, æquali nigrescenti.

SP. CH. SAY'S FLY-CATCHER, pale brownish-grey; belly, vent, and under tail coverts, ferruginous; wings pointed; quill feathers brown; tail even, blackish.

Of the habits of this bird little is known. It was discovered by Mr. Titian Peale, on the Arkansaw River, within twenty miles of the Rocky Mountains, and first described and figured by the Prince of Musignano in the work above quoted. Mr. Peale informs us that its voice is somewhat different from the Peewee (Musci-

* We received a specimen of this bird from Mexico, and designated it by the name of Tyrannula pallida, before the first volume of Prince Charles Bonaparte's American Birds had reached this country. But we feel pleasure in relinquishing our former specific name, and adopting that which commemorates the valuable services and diversified labours of one of the first zoologists in America—Sw.

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capa fusca), which bird it strongly resembles, and that its nest was built on a tree, and consisted of moss and clay, with a few interwoven blades of dried grass. Its young were ready to fly in July. One individual appeared at Carlton House on the 13th of May, when it settled on a low garden-fence, flitting from place to place when disturbed. It was not difficult of approach, and was immediately secured for a specimen. A female was killed afterwards.


Of a specimen, killed at Carlton House, May 13th, 1827.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect greyish-brown, approaching to yellowish-grey*; quill feathers clove-brown, with faded exterior margins; tail blackish-brown. Under surtace.—The belly, vent, and under tail coverts have a deep buff-orange colour, approaching to ferruginous, which on the breast and throat gradually passes into yellowish-grey and smoke-grey. The linings of the wings have an ochrey tinge. The bill is blackish-brown, its under mandible being rather paler. Legs black.

FORM, &c.—Bill much smaller than that of Tyrannus intrepidus, but formed nearly upon the same model; its base, however, is not so broad in proportion, while its exterior half is somewhat depressed. Nostrils small, rounded, and partially concealed by bristles and feathers that procect from the forehead. There are about five strong bristles at the angle of the mouth. The tips of the folded wings are half an inch shorter than the end of the tail. The quill feathers are rather narrow, but without any emargination of their inner webs. The first is of intermediate length between the fifth and sixth; the second and third are equal, and longest; the fourth is just perceptibly shorter. Tail moderately long and perfectly square. Hallux one third shorter than the tarsi. The toe and claw of equal length; and the latter much longer than the claw of the middle toe†.


Of the specimen, ascertained when it was recently killed.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 8 0
„ of the tail 3 3
„ of the longest quill feather 3 5
„ of the folded wing 4 2
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 0 10½
Length of the bill, measured on its ridge 0
„ of the tarsus 0
„ of the middle toe 0 6
" of its claw 0 3
„ of the hind claw 0

A female, killed on the 19th of May, differs from the preceding merely in being about half an inch shorter, and in the quill and tail feathers being rather paler.

* Cinnamon-brown.—BONAPÆTE.

† All the claws are peculiarly sharp and fully curved, ending in so fine a point, as to betray the habits of the bird to be strictly arborial. The scutellation of the tarsi is peculiar, and different from most other species. The hinder parts of the tarsi are protected by a row of small scales independent of those which wrap round the fore part, and which, in the generality of the Tyrannina, meet behind, without the intervention of any other scales.—Sw.

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[34.] 2. TYRANNULA PUSILLA. (Swainson.) Little Tyrant Fly-catcher.


CH. SP. TYRANNULA PUSILLA, super olivacea subter pallidior, fronte orbitisque canescentibus, alis sub-rotundatis: remige sextaĉ primam et quartâ secundam superanti, rostro brevi lato; mandibulâ inferiori pallidâ.

SP. CH. LITTLE TYRANT FLY-CATCHER, size small; plumage above olive, beneath paler; orbits and front hoary; wings somewhat rounded; first quill shorter than the sixth, second shorter than the fourth; bill short, broad; under mandible pale.

We have already called the attention of ornithologists to the fact of there being, in America, four or five small Fly-catchers, clothed in precisely the same coloured plumage, but differing essentially in the size and form of their bills, wings, &c. Now, as the older ornithologists, deceived by this similarity of plumage, neglected to record those distinctions which really constituted the specific characters, it becomes utterly impossible either to make use of their names or their synonymes. The terms in which such birds as Muscicapa fusca, atra, phebe, carolinensis, virens, obscurus, acadica, &c., have been described, are nearly applicable to one and all of these species (if such they be), no less than to four or five more, from different parts of America, now in our museum. The task of clearly ascertaining any one of these from books would, in short, be as hopeless as to attempt identifying the birds of Mexico or of Brazil by the obsolete descriptions of Hernandez or Margrave. For this reason, we consider it essential to the clear elucidation of these birds, that the above names be expunged from our systems, and that the three species so fully investigated and so accurately defined by Wilson should be consecrated by the names imposed on them by that most accurate observer of nature. These are the M. rapax, querula, and nunciola of the American Ornithology; and these names we shall hereafter quote, without any reference to the confusion and misapplication of them by other writers.

The Tyrannula pusilla, in all probability, has been confounded with the querula of Wilson, to which, as it bears the closest resemblance, we shall now compare it. Its colours are the same; but it is a smaller bird, particularly in the bill, which is rather broader towards the middle, although formed nearly on the same model: the under mandible is also pale. The chief distinction, however, is in the wings: those of querula being lengthened and rather pointed, the first quill equal to the fifth, and the fourth shorter than the second; whereas in pusilla the wings are

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much shorter, and somewhat rounded, the first quill shorter than the sixth, and the fourth manifestly longer than the second. In the former, the second and third quills are longest; in the latter, the third and fourth. Before we had investigated the natural affinities of the Fly-catchers, we described this bird as possibly belonging to the genus Platyrhynchus. This, however, is not correct; nor has it any real affinity to that group. A fine specimen, in our collection, from the shores of Mexico, agrees with that brought home by the Expedition. On comparing these with twelve examples of T. querula, of all ages, killed this year in the vicinity of Philadelphia, we find the superior length of the wings, in querula, an invariable character; they measure, when closed, exactly three inches, the primaries being almost an inch longer than the secondaries. In pusilla the length is only 2 6/10 inch., and the primaries but 6/10 longer than the secondaries. The colour of the plumage in both is precisely similar.—Sw.

Little is known respecting the habits of this bird. It was first seen by us at Carlton House, on the 19th of May, flitting about for a few days among low bushes on the banks of the river, after which it retired to the moist, shady woods lying farther north.


Of a specimen, killed at Carlton House, lat. 53° N., May, 1827.

COLOUR of the head, neck, back, lesser wing; and tail coverts intermediate between oil-sreen and hair-brown. There is a pale-whitish ring round the eye, which colour also encircles the front. The quill feathers, their greater coverts, a row of the lesser coverts, and the tail, are pale olive-brown; the exterior margins and ends of the secondaries being whitish, and there being two narrow greyish-white bands across the wing, one on the tips of the greater secondary coverts, and one on the lower row of lesser coverts. The tail is entirely without spots, the exterior web of the outer feathers being merely a little paler. Under plumage.—The throat and breast are pale ash-grey; the belly, under tail coverts, and linings of the wings pale sulphur-yellow, approaching to siskin-green. On the flanks the yellow is intermixed with dark-grey. The upper mandible is dark umber-brown, the under one yellowish-brown, with a resinous lustre. Legs blackish-brown.

FORM.—Bill considerably depressed, the sides somewhat convex, but meeting in an evident ridge. Its breadth at the base is about two-thirds of the length of its ridge. The rictus is strongly bristled. The nostrils are small, roundish, and nearly concealed. The wings, when folded, fall three-quarters of an inch short of the end of the tail, and reach to scarcely one-half its length. The third and fourth quill feathers are the longest; the second nearly equals them; the fifth is a line shorter; and the sixth is two lines and a half shorter than the fourth; the first is intermediate between the sixth and seventh, and the others diminish in succession, so that the tenth and the secondaries are seven or eight lines shorter than the fourth. The tail


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is very slightly emarginate; all the feathers being equal, except the central pair, which are not above a line shorter. Hind claw shorter and less curved than in T. querula*, and but a little larger than the middle one.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 5 0
„ of the tail 2 0
„ of the longest quill feather. 2 0
„ of the folded wing 2
„ of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 0
Length of the bill, measured on the ridge 0
„ of the tarsus 0 7
„ of the middle toe 0 4
„ of the its claw 0 2
„ of the hind toe 0 2
„ of the hind claw 0

[35.] 3. TYRANNULA RICHARDSONII. (Swainson.) The Short-legged Pewit.


CH. SP. TYRANNULA RICHARDSONII, olivaceo-brunnescenti subtus pallidior, cristâ) densâ incumbenti, rostro nigro, remige seoundâ quintam æquanti, tertiâ et quartâ quoque æqualibus et rcliquas superanlibus, caudâ leviler forficatâ, tarsis brevissimis.

SP. CH. The SHORT-LEGGEDM PEWIT, olive-brown above, pale beneath; head with a thick incumbent crest; hill black; the second and fifth quills equal, the third and fourth equal and longest; tail slightly forked; tarsi very short.—Sw.

The possession of several specimens of the three small Tyrannulæ described by Wilson, viz.—rapax, querula, and nunciola, killed this spring in the vicinity of Philadelphia, induces us to believe that this species, as well as the last, are new additions to the American Fauna; for such we must consider every bird whose specific distinctions have not been pointed out. The present species appears, from the skin, to be nearly of the same size as the nunciola of Wilson, which, in respect to colour, it so closely resembles, that it may possibly on that account have been

* The following are the dimensions of a specimen of the Muscicapa querula, WILS. (Tyrannula Acadica, SWAINS.) killed this season in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia:—
Inches. Lines.
Total length 5 3
Length of the tail 2 3
„ of the longest quill feather 2 10
„ of the bill on its ridge 0 5¼
„ of the tarsus 0 7½

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mistaken for the Pewee. A glance, however, at their bills at once shews a material difference: that of nunciola being more elevated and compressed, the ridge on the upper mandible more distinct, and the sides less dilated; while the feet in T. Richurd-sonii are not only much smaller, but do not exceed in size or length those of Wilson's querula. The incumbent crest on the head of our bird is particularly thick and lengthened, more so, indeed, than in any of its congeners; its upper plumage, when compared with nunciola, is more olive, the whitish margins of the lesser quills more obscure, and the under plumage of a more olive-whitish tint; the frontal setaceous feathers are also longer: but all these are secondary characters, which, had they not been supported by a difference of organization in the two species, would not have authorised their separation. We may, however, add, that the tail of Richardsonii is more forked. The paler margin of the exterior tail feather is not a peculiar distinction of nunciola, for it is found in this and several other of these obscure-coloured American Fly-catchers. In the arrangement of the quill feathers, however, our bird exhibits another strong point of distinction: the third and fourth quills are equal and longest; but in nunciola this character belongs to the second and third, the latter quill being alone the longest; in this the second and fifth quills are equal, in that the fifth is two-tenths of an inch shorter. Our Tyrannula barbirostris makes the nearest approach, in the peculiar tint of its upper plumage, and its thick incumbent crest, to this species, of any we are acquainted with; but it is a very distinct bird. It is manifestly impossible to ascertain what are the species intended to be characterized by M. Vieillot under the names of M. fusca, Todus obscurus, M. acadica, and querula; they are obviously distinct, as Bonaparte observes, from such species as were known to Wilson, and had better be consigned to oblivion, unless they are re-described with greater accuracy.—Sw.

This new species was found in the neighbourhood of Cumberland House, frequenting moist, shady woods by the banks of rivers and lakes. It probably extends its summer range to the shores of Great Slave Lake; but much more accurate observations than we hadin our power to make are required to ascertain the exact geographical limits of a bird so nearly resembling other species.—R.


Of a specimen, killed at Cumberland House, June, 1827.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect hair-brown, very slightly tinged with olive-green, much darker on the head than elsewhere. Wings and tail liver-brown; the margins of the secondaries and their coverts, and the outer edges of the exterior tail feathers, paler, as if worn. The under

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plumage is of a pale colour intermediate between oil-green and wax-yellow, the under tail coverts approaching to ochre-yellow. Bill blackish-brown. Legs black.

FORM, &c.—Bill depressed, broad, its breadth at the forehead being rather more than half its length; its sides are slightly convex, and meet in a straight ridge, which is terminated by a small hooked tip. The nostrils are partly concealed by feathers and bristles, and there are four or five stiff bristles projecting from the angles of the mouth. The tips of the wings, when folded, are more than an inch short of the end of the tail, and barely reach to half its length. The third and fourth quill feathers are the longest, the second and fifth are equal to each other, and slightly shorter than these; the sixth is a quarter of an inch shorter than the fourth, and the first is intermediate in length between the sixth and seventh. The tail is distinctly forked, the exterior feather being a quarter of an inch longer than the middle ones.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 6 8
„ of the tail 2 9
„ of the longest quill feather 2 11
„ of the folded wing 3 3
„ of the bill to the end of the bill from the angle of the mouth 0 9
Length of the bill, measured on its ridge 0 6
„ of the tarsus 0
„ of the middle toe 0
„ of its claw 0
„ of the hind toe 0 3
„ of the hind nail 0 3


* The following differences in the colour of the plumage, which were detected by comparing a fine specimen of Tyrannula nunciola, killed in Pennsylvania, and now in Mr. Swainson's museum, with the new species, may be mentioned in addition to the specific distinctions noticed in the preceding page. In T. nunciola the upper aspect of the head is pitch-black; in T. Richardsonii it is very dark greyish-brown, without any approach to black. The dorsal plumage in both presents tints of hair-brown, but in the former the colour is a little clearer. The quill and tail feathers are blackish-brown in T. nunciola, and their shafts are black; in T. Richardsonii they are liver-brown, and the shafts are umber-brown. In T. nunciola the tips of the greater coverts are pale yellowish-grey, and the secondaries and tertiaries are rather broadly edged exteriorly with white; these parts in T. Richardsonii appear merely of a paler brown, as if faded or worn. The under plumage in T. nunciola is a clear primrose-yellow; whereas in T. Richardsonii- it is straw or ochre-yellow posteriorly, and on the throat and sides of the breast is intermixed with much brownish-grey. We may add also, with regard to structure, that the most decided difference appears in the greater stoutness of the legs and feet of T. nunciola. The middle scales of the tarsus wrap round it with some degree of obliquity, there being no smaller scales interposed at the suture behind, except near the joints; whereas in T. Richardsonii the posterior part of the tarsus is covered throughout its whole length by an intervening row of smaller scales, and the anterior scales are transverse, not oblique.
Of T. nunciola.
Inches. Lines.
Length from the trip of the bill to the end of the tail. 8 7
„ of the tail. 3 0
„ of the longest quill feather. 3 0
„ of the folded wing. 3 4¾
„ of the bill on its ridge. 0 7
Length of the bill to the angle of the mouth 0 10¼
„ of the tarsus 0 8
„ of the middle toe 0 4¾
„ of the middle nail 0 2½
„ of the hind toe 0 3¼
„ of the hind nail 0 3

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THE Thrushes, as we have already seen, constitute the second family of the Dentirostres. When viewed in reference to that particular formation of the bill from which the name of this tribe has been derived, the Merididce are clearly inferior to the Laniadw. But if we regard the general perfection of their structure, we can be at no loss to discover in this family a decided superiority over the last. The feet are no longer so feebly or so partially constructed as to be specially adapted for any one purpose. In the true Shrikes and the Bush Shrikes, these members, although not of great strength, are nevertheless of a stronger make than in the aberrant group; they are longer, more muscular, and apparently capable of much locomotion. This is particularly seen among the latter, where a feebleness of wing betrays an incapacity for much flight. But neither in these typical groups, much less in the short-legged Edolianw, ceblepyrinw, or Tyranninw, do we find more than one or two solitary examples of walking birds; indeed, the finely-acute and well-curved claws, which is one of the great characteristics of the Shrikes, evinces a natural disqualification for such an office. The above exceptions are the genera Prionops and Saurophagus. These occupy aberrant stations, and evince the partiality of nature for making her transitions through ambulatory birds, even in a family so truly arborial as the LaniadÆ.

But in the group we are now to investigate, the structure of the feet is altogether different. There is not only a considerable augmentation of muscular strength thrown into these members, but they are equally well adapted either for perching or walking, for constant use in moving among trees, or habitual exercise upon the ground. The Fieldfare, the Blackbird, and all the true Thrushes, are familiar examples of this typical perfection. Like the Cordne family, of which, in point of fact, they are the true representatives, these birds make their way upon the ground, in the air, or among trees, with equal facility. The Fieldfares and the Crows mutually assemble during the autumn in vast flocks, spread over our pastures, and traverse the ground in all directions, searching for nearly the same description of food. This perfection in the foot is more or less conspicuous throughout the whole of this family, and hence becomes one of its most typical characters.

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In the form of the bill we likewise observe a superior adaptation for general purposes. The notch or emargination near the points of the mandibles is sufficiently strong to assist the Thrushes in gaining a firm hold of their food; but as their nourishment consists, for the most part, of soft substances, it is not developed into that formidable tooth which is seen in the Shrikes; while the superior length of the bill enables these birds not only to capture food that is exposed, but also such as is wholly or in part concealed just below the surtace of the earth. The Shrikes, by the aid of their formidable tooth, tear their food in pieces, like the rapacious birds; while the Thrushes exhibit the last indication of such a habit, by beating their prey either upon the ground or upon a stone,—thus adopting the intermediate stage of preparation between devouring their animal nourishment by piecemeal, and swallowing it in an entire state. But the food of the Thrushes is not confined to insects: fruits of all kinds are equally acceptable; and thus they again imitate the Conirostres in deriving support both from the animal and the vegetable world*.

The third striking peculiarity which Nature has bestowed more particularly on the Thrushes is evinced in the sweetness, melody, and versatility of their voice, in which they may be said to surpass all other animals of the creation. The stillness of night, and perhaps more poetic associations, may give to the song of the Nightingale a greater charm; yet many will join us in awarding to the Song Thrush a higher meed of praise. Both these, however, must yield to the American Mockingbird,—the Orpheus of the feathered race, to whose powers the poetic pen of a Wilson has done ample justice. Such are the most prominent characters of this family: its relations to the last remain to be stated.

The Edoliana, or Drongo Shrikes, as formerly remarked, are conspicuous for a compressed bill, gradually arched from the base, where it is beset by rigid bristles of unusual length. The feet likewise are short; while the tail, although greatly forked in the typical species, is much less so in others, as, for instance, in the Drongo Moustache of LE VAILLANT (Ois. d'Afr., iv., pl. 169), where the bristles

* Mr. Selby, in his descriptive volume to the Illustrations of British Ornithology, gives the following interesting information on the food of the Song Thrush: "Insects and worms compose its food during summer, and the animal that inhabits the Helix nemaralis is also a favourite repast; for this purpose it breaks the shell by repeated strokes upon a stone; and numerous remains of these shells may be seen around particular selected stones, generally on some pathway or hare spot of earth, where these birds and their congeners abound."—i., p. 15G. If simplicity of style, perspicuity of arrangement, intelligible nomenclature, and originality of information, are thought essential requisites to any work on British animals, Mr. Selby's volumes will be the standard authorities in this department of our Fauna. The price of the octavo edition, which includes the whole of the letter-press, places this essential part of his noble work within reach of the most humble student.—Sw.

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are remarkably long*. Now the affinity which these Thrush-billed Shrikes bear to the genus Trichophorus did not escape the observation of M. Temminck, who first defined the latter; and which group he accordingly places immediately preceding Edolinus. The plumage, however, of the one being invariably black, and of the former as invariably green, the absolute connexion between the two could not be demonstrated until the discovery of some bird which united in itself a peculiar structure, joined to other characters belonging to both these forms. Such a bird we were fortunate in procuring from a most respectable dealer in Paris (M. Florence Prevost). The formation of its wing clearly points it out as a bird of the Old World, and it is labelled, "Merle du Sénégal, non décrit." Its bill approaches to Trichophorus, (which is nearly that of Edolius upon a smaller scale,) and the whole plumage is entirely black. There is, however, a peculiarity in the tarsi which we cannot, at present, rightly comprehend, otherwise than by supposing that Nature passes from the Edolianæ to the Thrushes by means of a terrestrial bird, in the same manner as she effects a junction between the Tyranninæ and the true Fly-catchers, at the opposite passage out of the circle of the Laniadæ. In the Merle de Sénégal, the tarsi, without being longer, are more slender than those of Edolius or of Trichophorus, both of which, also, have the hind toe fully equal, or even longer than the middle toe; but, in our Merle, the middle toe, as in all birds which frequent the ground, is by far the longest; while the claws, in union with such a conformation, are rather slender and somewhat less curved. There is still, however, room for other intervening forms between Edolius and Trichophorus; for we do not consider this bird as demonstrating their union, although we are fully persuaded that the true passage from the Shrikes to the Thrushes lies between these two genera.

It will be the object of the following pages to demonstrate that the groups of the Merulidæ form three primary circles, composed of the following families†:—

* It is, no doubt, to an error or a fancy of the ignorant bird-stuffer who set up the specimen from which this figure was taken, that the bristles are represented as standing erect like horns! The vagaries which these people, particularly those of England, indulge in, deserve severe reprehension.

† In the system of Mr. Vigors the circle of Merulidæ is thus marked out: Urotomus, Myothera, Pitta, Conopophaga, Cinclus, Chamæza, Merula, Sphecotheres, Oriolus, Cossypha, Timalia, Petrocincla.

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1. Typical group. Bill gradually arched, slightly notched; wings adapted for perfect flight; tarsi moderate; toes disunited. MERULINÆ.
2. Sub-typical group. Bill abruptly bent, strongly notched; wings short, feeble; tarsi moderate; toes frequently united at the base. MYOTHERINÆ.
3. Aberrant group. Bill short, slightly notched or entire; wings rounded; tarsi short, or not adapted for walking. BRACHYPODINÆ. ORIOLINÆ. CRATEROPO DINÆ.

Our information on the natural economy of these groups is very defective, nor will the present state of knowledge admit of our illustrating the whole of their internal relations. We shall, therefore, briefly notice the leading peculiarities and minor divisions, without dwelling, more than the facts adduced may appear to justify, upon the natural series of the genera. We commence with the


or Short-legged Thrushes, as being that sub-family to which the Laniadced, by means of Trichophorus, are united. The peculiarities of these birds engaged our attention some years ago, and a more intimate acquaintance with the group has confirmed, to the fullest extent, the opinions we then held on their natural affinities. So closely are the genera Trichophorus and Brachypus united, that even in their typical examples they can only be distinguished by very accurate observers. This affinity, moreover, is confirmed in a very singular way. The intelligent ornithologist who, with much judgment, first characterized the genus Trichophorus, observes that toutes sont des côtes occidentales d'Afrique; and subsequent writers, adopting this belief, have never thought of examining into its correctness. The fact, however, appears to be, that typical examples of this genus occur in the Indian Isles, and have been described as Turdi by some authors, and by M. Temminck are comprised under his artificial genus Turdoïides. Two Trichophori, one from Sumatra, the other (as labelled) from Java, are now before us; but to identify them with any of the described species of the Linnean genus Turdus has

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been a fruitless effort*. In the typical examples of Brachypus, which appear to be such birds as Brachypfiis dispar, &c., the colours are very bright, while the plumage of another imitates that of an Oriole; close to these we place the Pitta-coloured birds, forming the sub-genus Chloropsis. The Iöra of Dr. Horsfield, with the Importan of Le Vaill. (Ois. d'.Af., pl. 106, f. ii.), and certain crested species from India, appears to complete the circle of the typical genus. The strait bill of Iöra prepares us for the genus Micropus, Sw.; by which, through Phillastrephus, Sw., and Trichophorus, Tem., Nature seems to reach Icteria, Vieil.; and thus to return to the typical genus Brachypus, Sw.

Such is probably a rude outline of the natural series of this division, which appears confined, like the Edoliance, to the hot latitudes of the Old World. They have hitherto received so little attention, that the very existence of the group has never yet been suspected. The inimitable tact, however, possessed by Le Vaillant in the perception of affinities, induced him to place together all the African species he was acquainted with; and to his invaluable work on the birds of that continent we are indebted for some important information, which we shall allude to hereafter; at present it will be sufficient to state, that these birds live only among trees; that they are of social habits, evince a singular attachment to man, and are perpetually uttering a short, unvaried song. They apparently subsist entirely upon insects concealed among the branches. Without entering further into details, their whole conformation will be found in strict unison with these habits.

That the short-legged Thrushes are immediately followed by the


there can be little doubt; for although the connection has never been perceived, and the passage is by no means indisputable, yet there are two remarkable birds, whose peculiar conformation exhibits a union of those prominent characters, which are alone found in these sub-families: nor do we believe that their station in Nature can be otherwise than as aberrant types of one or the other of these divisions. We allude to the Grive de la Guyanne of Buffon, and the Palm Thrush (Turdus palmarum) of authors†. The first has been placed, by some, with the Tanagers, and by others with the Thrushes; but with very little attention to the affinities of either one or the other. Even the distinguishing characters of this bird have been so completely overlooked, that, but for a reference to the old

* The Turdus gularis of Java (Linn. Trans., vol. xiii., p. 150) is a typical Trichophorus—Sw.

† Le Palmiste de Cayenne, Pl. Enl. 539, f. i.


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name, it would be impossible to divine in what manner the genus Dulus could possibly differ from a dozen other genera*. The only specimen of this rare bird we have yet seen, is in the Royal Museum at Paris. In its wings, feet, and the shortness of the bill, it agrees with the preceding division; but, like the Orioles, the rictus is perfectly smooth, the nostrils large, naked, oblique, and open, and the bill thick, much compressed, and strongly notched. This singular bird is said to live in societies, to construct its nest with great skill, and to have no song; in all which it resembles the birds of this division; while it seems to have borrowed the plumage of the female Orioles.

The Palm Thrush makes a still nearer approach to the typical Orioles. This approximation is so strongly manifested by the lengthened form of the bill, and the perfect accordance of structure in the nostrils, feet, wings, and tail, that no intervening form becomes necessary to establish the affinity. The rictus, indeed, is bristled, while that of the Oriolus galbula is smooth; but between these intervenes an undescribed Oriole from Sierra Leone, of which we possess two specimens, wherein this part is thickly set with setaceous hairs; the intermediate link is thus supplied. The Oriole Thrush†, like the true Orioles, is a restless, shy bird, constantly in motion among high and thick trees, without shewing a preference to any one sort. "C'est un oiseau solitaire, qu'il est rare de rencontrer par couple; metis il est sans cesse en tnouvement, voltigeant de branche en branche, afin de guéter les insectes, dont il fait sa nourriture ordinaire."—(Sonnini. Buff., x. 166.) Whether this bird, like the Oriole, builds a pendulous nest, has not been ascertained; but the above passage perfectly coincides with our own observations on the habits of Oriolus galbula.

The suspicions of Dr. Horsfield, on the possible affinity of his Irena puella with the Orioles, have been fully confirmed by our recent observations on this bird, which we were formerly compelled to speak of from the descriptions in books. Specimens of this elegant species we now possess; they have completely annulled our former idea, borrowed from M. Temminck, that Irena had some connection either with Edolius or Thamnophilus. The examination, also, of a most perfect and magnificent specimen of the Golden Bird of Paradise, now in the

* ESCLAVE, Dulus.—Bee nu à la base, un pen robuste, convex en dessus, comprimé latéralement; mandibule supérieure un pen fléchie en arc, écanchrée vers le bout; l'inférieure droit. Esp. Tangara esclave. Buff. (Analyse d'une Nouv. Orn. élémentaire, 1816, (1815). This inability to define differences, of which the mind may, nevertheless, have a vague perception, is unpardonable in the maker of a system.

† We substitute this vernacular name for that of Palm Thrush, which M. Vieillot remarks is altogether inapplicable, the bird never being seen in palms. These trees, in fact, from our own observation, afford no shelter or shade for such birds as prefer, like this, to live in "broussailles touffues;" and they are completely destitute of insects.

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Paris Museum, proves this to be a typical Oriole, differing in no respect from the other species, except by the prolongation of the feathers on the back, and hinder parts of the neck. Still less do the short-legged Orioles of New Holland (Mirneta, Vig.) merit even a sectional distinction. The supposition that they were melipha-gous, and might, therefore, possibly form a good genus, has since proved fallacious. We owe to the zealous labours of Sir W. Jardine, Bart., and Mr. Selby, the recent delineation of the tongue; which, by a reference to our Italian drawings, we find exhibits a structure precisely similar to that of the European Oriole. But a discovery of much more importance is also due to the same able ornithologists. This regards the superb Sericulus chrysocephalus, Sw., one of the most beautiful birds in creation: this was pronounced by a naturalist, who lived in its native country, to be a Honeysucker, and consequently furnished with a filamentous tongue, similar to the other birds placed by him in the same group. The accuracy of this statement we ventured to question*; and we entered into many details on the structure of the feet of meliphagous birds in general†. Whether these latter remarks really possessed the novelty we conceived they did, is a matter hardly worth inquiring about; but that our views on the natural station of Sericulus were founded on true principles of comparison, is now placed beyond all doubt: a specimen of this species having been received in spirits, by Sir William, from New Holland; who now informs us, that the tongue has not the slightest indication of the meliphagous structure; that the bird is, in fact, an Oriole.

The question, therefore, of Sericulus belonging to this group, is now set at rest. The genus stands as a very distinct and important type; important, inasmuch as it presents the first indication of the next sub-family. Hitherto we have treated of groups strictly arboreal, an economy, indeed, manifestly apparent from the universal shortness of the feet, joined to the strength, broadness, and great curvature of the claws; the latter peculiarities being very conspicuous, even in Iöra, Horsf, the only form which presents us with a greater elongation of the tarsi: but, in Sericulus, this imperfect development of foot is no longer apparent; the tarsi are strong, and more elevated; and the toes are of that size and proportion always found in birds whose habits are both arboreal and terrestrial. With all these deviations from the typical structure of the Oriolinæ, the

* "On the characters and natural affinities of some new birds from Australia."—Zool. Journal, i., p. 463—484.

† In reference, apparently, to these observations, it has been said that "Mr. Lewin, in his Generic Description of Meliphaga, has strongly pointed out this character." (Linn. Trans., xiv., p. 467.) This may doubtless be true, if such a character as the following is sufficient to explain the peculiar structure of the feet of meliphagous birds, and their adaptation to the economy of the family. Iiewiu's words are four, "Toes formed for climbing." (Birds of New Holland, pl. 5.) Is not this phrase equally applicable to a Cuckow, a Parrot, a Woodpecker, or to a dozen other families?

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strength of the hind, toe (conspicuous in this and the preceding sub-families) is still preserved; but the proportionate length of the middle toe is much increased. We are thus justified in believing that the natural group, which would next follow in affinity, must be one in which these members are greatly developed. A chasm, however, at present exists in our passage to the


or Long-legged Thrushes, which we shall neither disguise, nor attempt to smooth over. Certain it is, that the birds we are now to dwell upon are placed by all naturalists with the Thrushes; that they exhibit peculiarities among themselves, which distinctly separate them as one of the leading divisions of the family; and that however unprepared we may be to establish their direct union with the Oriolincæ, still that their other affinities do not admit of our referring them to any other station. Many of the forms, indeed, have not escaped the nice discrimination of modern ornithologists; but as the existence of the group itself has never yet been even suspected, a few preliminary remarks on its typical distinctions appear necessary.

The birds composing this sub-family are at once distinguished by the great strength of their legs; these members being, in all their details, larger and more muscular than those of all other Thrushes. The claws, although strong, are slender, and but slightly curved; the wings, in comparison to the body, are very short, convex, and indicate great weakness of flight; the tail is lengthened, generally broad, but sometimes narrow; and the whole plumage peculiarly lax and soft; the feathers of the head are frequently intermixed with setaceous hairs, and others, of a much more rigid texture, appear to defend the eyes; the bill is variable in its length, and even in its general form, but, upon the whole, it may be characterized as having a peculiar hard and horny appearance, the sides always very much compressed, the culmen elevated and arched, and the tip either entire, or but slightly notched; the nostrils are protected by a hard convex membrane, similar to the gallinaceous tribe. In regard to size, it comprehends some of the smallest, and most of the largest, birds in the whole family, a circumstance of very easy explanation, when the true nature of the group is understood. Their habits and economy are singular. It appears that most of the typical species principally live in the vicinity of water, among reeds; their notes are particularly loud, harsh, and grating; and in these retreats they keep up a perpetual monotonous babbling: some, however, possess much more harmony; but nearly all

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appear to frequent only low trees or shrubs. Their geographic range is almost limited to the warm latitudes of the Old World.

Birds answering to this description have been scattered in almost every group of the Insessores. It is therefore impossible, at present, to name the most typical genus. That to which we have given the name of Crateropus* appears to exhibit the above characters in great perfection, although the Gracula striata, of the Paris Museum, another very prominent type, may possibly hold this station: near to these we must place the genera Megalurus, Pomatorhinus, and Timalia, of Dr. Horsfield; the Dasiomis† and Phosphodes of Mr. Vigors; part of the Malnri of M. Temminck, together with the newly-characterized type, Donocobius, Swains. †this latter being the only representation of the group in South America.

Dissimilar as this sub-family undoubtedly is to the Orioles, there are not wanting forms in each, which, to us, evince a mutual approximation. Sericulus prepares us for the great change about to take place in the structure of the feet; while we are in possession of a Long-legged Thrush, decidedly belonging to this subfamily, whose plumage, at least, immediately reminds us of the Orioles. Like those birds, also, the rictus is smooth, the nostrils completely naked, the bill lengthened, compressed, and slightly arched; and, like the Orioles (as it is said), we know that this bird fabricates a most beautiful, long, pendulous nest§.

To pursue our observations on the minor forms of this sub-family, would be to theorize where we should analyze. It therefore only remains to show in what manner the aberrant circle is closed, by the union of this family with the Brachy-podinw. For this purpose, let the ornithologist examine the Icteria polyglotta, or the Yellow-breasted Chat of Wilson: he will there see a bird possessing nearly all the typical characters of the Long-legged Thrushes; their short, compressed, arched, and entire bill; their feeble rounded wings—their strong and lengthened tarsi—and their hairy crown. Let him read the extraordinary history, given by the American ornithologist, of this siugular bird (vol. i., p. 90); let him then turn to the account of the African Brachypus, described by Le Vaillant, under the name of Le Brunoir, Ois. d'Af, iii., p. 39, and he will be disposed to think that either description might be applied to one or both birds.

But if we had entertained any latent doubts on this union, the recent proposal of

* Zoological Illustrations. New Series, No. 17, pl. 80.

† This name, as already intimated by Mr. Gray, must be recected; since the group had long before received the denomination of Sphænura from that learned zoologist and accomplished traveller, Professor Lichtenstein.

‡ lb., N. S., No. 16, pl. 72.

§ A fine specimen, both of the bird and its nest, formerly in Bullock's Museum, is now in that of the Liverpool Institution. We have subsequently received two skins of this bird from Western Africa; and another, in the Fort Pitt Museum of Chatham, was brought from the coast of Gambia.—Sw.

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the genus Ixos by M. Temminck, and its adoption by Mr. Vigors, would have dissipated every scruple. We feel gratified, indeed, that these intelligent ornithologists have, unknowingly, admitted a peculiarity in natural arrangement, which, so far as this family, at least, is concerned, we might have felt it necessary to demonstrate, both by long quotations and much tedious detail. The genus Ixos, after long consideration on the part of its proposer, is at length made to embrace the greatest part of our Brachypodinæ, and nearly the whole of our Cratopodinæ. The characters by which we here distinguish the two groups, namely, the different construction of their tarsi, having been either overlooked, or viewed as of little importance by these gentlemen*. The truth, indeed, is, that this union is so close, and the links of connexion so perfect, that we are still undetermined whether to place Icteria among the Brachypodinæ, or at the utmost limits of the Cratopodinæ. For reasons, however, too long, and perhaps too tedious to be given in this place, we adopt the first; since we suspect the existence of a form, among the Crateropodinæ, still more perfectly uniting the two sub-families.

Upon a review, therefore, of the preceding observations on the three aberrant groups of the Merulidæ, we consider that there is sufficient evidence to believe they follow each other in the series here stated, and that they constitute one primary circle; at the same time, it must be remembered, that our knowledge on their internal arrangement is singularly imperfect; so much so, that we cannot, as yet, separate the genera from the sub-genera, or even, in some instances, point out with precision the pre-eminent types. We must now return to the Brachypodinæ; and, bearing in remembrance their aberrant forms, let us see in what manner they are connected to the sub-typical circle of


or Ant Thrushes. We have already seen that Trichophorus occupies an aberrant station in its own sub-family. There was an interesting lot of skins from Sierra Leone, almost entirely consisting of these birds, which were purchased by us at Bullock's auction, and part of which we transferred to M. Temminck. Among those which remained was one bird, which had long stood in our collection as a Trichophorus; its plumage is the same as the generality of the species; being olive-green above, and yellowish beneath; while the tail, like several Trichophori

* This genus, after all, cannot be adopted; at least, in any system professing to follow natural affinities; for, independent of the above mixture, it embraces forms belonging to two other families, namely, the Laniadæ and the Sylviadæ. It is, in short, one of the most vague and artificial groups that can well be imagined.—Sw.

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mentioned by M. Temminck, is strongly tinged with that rufous colour so common among the scansorial creepers. The bristles of the rictus are as fully developed as in the most typical Trickophori, but those on the neck are shorter; the bill, equally compressed, is nevertheless much longer, and assumes the straighter form seen in Myothera, III.; the tip being rather abruptly bent, and the gonys likewise ascends. The feet did not at first appear to offer any particular character, otherwise than in being of a pale colour, and rather lengthened; but, upon carefully relaxing these parts in warm water, we were filled with delight at discovering they were completely syndactile! the first and second joint of the outer toe being united to those of the middle toe. The form, which for near four years we had been searching for in other museums, was thus brought to light in our own; and the value of the discovery became at once apparent, by revealing a solitary but indisputable link between the Brachypodinæ and the Myotheriiæ.

The first form which we meet with on entering this sub-family may, therefore, be expected to have a very close resemblance to that we have just described; and we accordingly find, in the genus Dasycephala*, Swains., this affinity carried to a very great length. The type of this genus† has long been placed with the Tyrant Flycatchers, and its analogy to those birds is so strong, that we ourselves fell into the same mistake when, some years ago, we drew up a monograph of that group. The syndactile feet of the bird above described are still apparent in Dasycephala, although this structure is less developed in some species than in others; the nuchal hairs disappear, the bristles of the rictus are much shorter, but the whole fore-part of the head is defended by stiff, short, bristly feathers; the tarsi are much longer, and of a structure we should naturally expect to meet with, upon entering a group of ambulating birds. There must be some highly interesting point in the economy of Dasycephala, connected with the singular manner in which Nature has defended the front of the head (a prominent character in four species which we have seen), of which we are at present ignorant; and, under this supposition, we are induced to place the Pipra albifrons of Linnæus, a form evidently belonging to the Myotherinæ, close to Dasycephala; the forepart of the head and throat are protected much in the same way; not, indeed, by bristles, but by stiff feathers. A passage is thus opened to the genus Myothera, so direct

* We leave this passage as it originally stood when sent to the printer; but we have since had the unexpected good fortune to meet with the scansorial type of the Brachypodinæ an African bird, uniting (in conjunction with that described above) Micropus and Tricophorus, in their own circle, and demonstrating the absolute passage to Dasycephala. To the liberality of our friends, Sir W. Jardine, Bart., and Sir. Selby, we are indebted for a knowledge of a second species, sent, with numerous other African birds, for our inspection and use. This genus we have denominated Phyllastrephus.—Sw.

Muscicapa cinerea, SPIX., Avium Sp. Nov., pl. 26, f. ii.

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and natural, that no one will feel inclined to dispute the affinity. In addition to the subgenera formerly alluded to, as comprised under the general characters assigned by Illiger to the Ant Thrushes, we feel no hesitation in adding Brachypterix, Horsf., forming part of the Sylviadæ of Mr. Vigors, but which, in truth, is, to all appearance, the oriental representative of our sub-genus Drymophila*. The surprising number and variety of these birds in the tropical regions of America, will render the discovery of their circular affinities, among themselves, by no means difficult to future ornithologists; but, at present, we are neither acquainted with the true typical structure, nor with that by which Nature effects a union between Myothera and Pitta, a group which we place, without hesitation, in immediate conjunction with the American Ant Thrushes. The shrike-like bill of these latter birds, abruptly hooked, and often nearly toothed, is now exchanged for that form which belongs to the true Thrushes; this member being compressed, gradually curved nearly from the base, without either a sudden deflection at the end, or a notch, sufficiently deep, to produce a prominent tooth-shaped angle on the upper mandible. The typical species are well known, as being some of the most beautiful birds of India; but there are others, recently arranged with little judgment or discrimination, in the same genus with Ptilonorhynchus of Kuhl, (under the intolerable name of Kitta), which appear to us so intimately connected with this group, as scarcely to merit a sub-generic distinction. The characters of the sub-genus Grallaria, Vieil., are built upon much better distinctions: in this South American bird we have the representation of the oriental Pittæ in the New World: and another step is made towards the true Thrushes, by the plumage assuming their brown and spotted colouring. Intervening between these, however, we may place the sub-genus Chamwza, Vig., having the scutellation of the tarsi of Pitta, with the spotted plumage of Grallaria; the lateral scales of this last being entire, like those of the Thrushes.

There remains another form, belonging to Oriental India, which seems of pri-

* Much confusion has lately been introduced in the application of this name (originally used by us to designate one of the minor groups of this genus), for which we are obliged to censure the authors of the Planches Coloriées. Indeed, it is really surprising to witness the little information which these gentlemen appear to possess on the state of ornithological science in England, or with the great accession of new species which crowd the pages of our scientific publications. Unacquainted even with the contents of the later volumes of the Linnæan Society's Transactions, these authors have recently affixed the generic name of Drymophila to the group of Flycatchers, there previously denominated Monarcha; while they seem perfectly unconscious that the former name (Drymophila) had already been employed, nearly six years ago, to designate one of the groups of American Ant Thrushes. Numerous other instances, particularly of Mexican birds, familiar to our cabinets by names and descriptions of several years standing, but which are now publishing by these gentlemen as new discoveries, attest the little acquaintance they have yet made with our scientific works, and strikingly illustrates the inextricable confusion which now reigns throughout every part of ornithological nomenclature.—Sw.

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mary importance, as constituting the fourth type of this sub-family. We allude to the genus Myophonus of M. Temminck, supposed by that gentleman to consist of but one species, but to which his Pitta glaucina, PI. Col., strictly belongs. We are further acquainted with two others, unquestionably appertaining to the same natural group. These birds, exhibiting many points of close affinity to Pitta, are at once distinguished by the more sudden inflection of their bill; while they are still further separated from Myothera by a great dissimilarity of habit, and by the notch of both mandibles being nearly obsolete; the relative size of this member, from which so many erroneous notions on natural groups have originated, is a circumstance of little or no importance, while the close resemblance of the aberrant Myophoni to certain Rock Thrushes, appears to indicate the true passage from the MyotherinÆ to the next sub-family.

The last and the most extraordinary form, which we consider belongs to this division, is represented by Cinclus. This genus in all systems, whether confessedly artificial, or professedly natural, stands, as it were, isolated. There cannot, however, be much doubt that it enters among the MyotherinÆ the question, therefore, is, whether Cinclus is sufficiently related to Myothera, to justify our viewing it, for the present, as one of the types of that genus; or whether its peculiarities are not sufficiently strong to induce the belief that it occupies a higher station; in other words, may it not be one of the primary forms in this subfamily? Our present opinion is in favour of this latter view; and although the affinity between Cinclus and Myophonus, on the one hand, and Dasycephala on the other, is by no means satisfactory, still it must be remembered that there is nothing, in the external anatomy of this genus, which at all militates against its holding this intermediate station.

It is in some such manner as this, that we believe Nature has disposed the leading types of the Ant-Thrushes. From Dasycephala to Myophonus, through the genera Myothera and Pitta, we consider the chain of affinity as nearly perfect; but indications only of such annectant forms as are to complete the circle, are as yet known. Much, therefore, remains for discovery. A sufficient number of genera and sub-genera have been proposed to make us acquainted with species. This, in short, is the only use of such divisions, when not viewed with reference to their actual affinities. The circular succession, and the subordinate types, both of Myothera and Pitta, more particularly calls for investigation; and their development is a fit subject for naturalists of the highest talent: let us hope this may be done; for upon it will depend much more accurate ideas on the true relations of Cinclus, than any which we now entertain.


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The first group we are to notice in the sub-family of the


or True Thrushes, is composed of such as frequent rocks, or stony ground; having rounded wings, lengthened tarsi, and feet more adapted for walking than for perching: such birds, in short, as appear to enter in the genus Petrociucla, Vig. Between these and the Song Thrushes the affinity is too marked, and too close, to require pointing out. The genus Merula comprehends the Blackbird, Throstle, and the whole of the European Thrushes; and numerous species of this typical group are found in every temperate and tropical region, both of the Old and New World. The genus Orpheus, Sw., has a more limited range; no examples occur in Europe; and such as exhibit the typical structure are all from America. If we regard the uncommon powers of song possessed by the Mocking-Birds, as sufficient to confer upon them the typical distinctions of this family, the genus Orpheus will hold that station. But if we consider that a more perfect organization for all other purposes, should guide us in this decision, then the title must be conferred upon Merula; in either case the peculiarities of the two groups point them out as the leading types of the whole family. We have not yet satisfied ourselves on the precise nature of the two remaining types of this division, and shall therefore forbear hazarding any opinion. That the Merulinæ unite with the Long-legged Thrushes, we can, however, entertain no doubt. The Orpheus rufus of North America exhibits, like these latter birds, a perfectly entire bill, strong feet, short wings, and lengthened tail; and when such an ornithologist as M. Temminck describes our Orpheus longirostris (which, in fact, is the Mocking-Bird of Mexico) as a decided Pomatorhimus, the absence of the intermediate forms will not, in our opinion, materially affect the accuracy of our arrangement.

The appearances of Nature, nevertheless, are so deceptive, that the oldest and most experienced of her students are perpetually mistaking her relations; and if we were to proceed only by the synthetic method, or even by simple analysis, we may be deceived into combinations the most artificial that can well be imagined. Hence it is fortunate that every arrangement, thought to be natural, peremptorily requires being brought to the test of analogical relations; and these, as we before observed, are so many, and so severe, that if our interpretation of Nature will stand such trials, we may confidently hope that no very glaring error has been committed. For this purpose, let us first look to the five great orders of birds as the primary test by which we must try the

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Orders. Analogies. Families.
INSESSORES Feet formed both for perching and walking: omnivorous Merulinæ.
RAPTORES Bill with a prominent tooth, & abruptly hooked: insectivorous Myotherinæ.
NATATORES Feet remarkably short Brachypodinæ.
GRALLATORES Wings long, pointed; tail short: feed on soft substances Oriolinæ.
RASORES Bill horny, hard, generally entire; feet very strong Crateropodinæ.

The analogies in the two first columns are sufficiently evident: the third also is satisfactory; the fourth is somewhat obscure; but the fifth is so particularly beautiful, that it deserves further illustration. The short convex wings; the broad, spreading tail; great difficulty in flight; a size superior to all others in their respective circles, are the typical distinctions of these two groups; even the nostrils are formed upon the same principle; the membrane, by which the aperture is defended, and which in other birds is soft and pliable, in these assumes the appearance of a hard scale, as if covered by a prolongation of the horny substance of the beak. The loud, harsh, and disagreeable notes of both groups is another singular point of resemblance, which almost completes the picture.

We next proceed to compare our groups with those of the tribes of Insessores.

CONIROSTRES Wings lengthened; bill gradually arched, slightly notche MerulinÆ.
DENTIROSTRES Bill abruptly hooked, with a prominent tooth MyotherinÆ.
FISSIROSTRES Feet very short; rictus bristled: insectivorous Brachypodinæ.
TENUIROSTRES Feet short; rictus smooth: nectarivorous or frugivorous OriolinÆ
SCANSORES Claws acute, formed for clinging to vegetables Crater opodinæ.

The analogies of the Orioles, scarcely perceptible when viewed in direct reference to the Grallatores, now become more satisfactory. These birds, with the whole of the Tenuirostres, are remarkable for the soft and delicate nature of their food; and both, in unison with such habits, have the rictus entirely smooth. The Tenuirostres sip the nectar of flowers; the OriolinÆ feed upon the fruits. The reader may have remarked, that some peculiar habits of the CrateropodinÆ could not be explained by their analogy to the Rasores; the latter living in plains, and seldom perching, whereas the former are scarcely ever seen upon the ground;—but this is at once explained by their relation to the Scansores; both groups being, in different degrees, scansorial, and living on the upright stems of vegetables.

Y 2

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We have before stated our conviction that the MerulidÆ and the LaniadÆ are the two typical groups of the Dentirostres. To shew that there is good ground for this belief, we shall now state the general analogies between the leading groups of these families.

Lanianæ Bill gradually arched; wings pointed Merulinæ
Thamnopholinæ Bill straight, abruptly hooked; wings rounded Myotherinæ.
Edolianæ Feet short; hind toe lengthened Brachypodinæ.
Ceblepyrinæ. Rictus smooth; rump feathers thick, spinous, or rigid. Oriolinæ
Tyranninæ Tail broad; rictus bristled: insectivorous Crateropodinæ.

The last analogy is so obscure, that we for some time questioned the accuracy of the whole arrangement. Subsequently, however, we invariably observed, upon trying to discover the analogies between typical circles, that at such points as are most remote, the resemblances are also most remote. A moment's reflection will shew that this cannot be otherwise. The Tyranninæ, for instance, and the Crate-ropodinæ stand at the utmost limits of their own circles; and, necessarily partaking of many of those characters which belong to groups beyond those circles, it is only surprising that nature preserves any resemblance between them. The analogy which the Orioles bear to the Caterpillar-catchers is not only strong, but particularly beautiful. In both groups the structure of the wing is the same; so also are the feathers on the rump; but those of Oriolus, and of Irena, Horsf., from being less strong, offer little or no resistance. These, in fact, are the only groups in their respective circles where the rictus is broad, wide, and smooth; the one living chiefly upon soft caterpillars, the other upon soft fruits. To dwell upon the resemblance of the Short-levered Thrushes to the Edolianæ is needless, since they are united by absolute affinity; while the general analogies between the Bush Shrikes and Ant-Thrushes have already engaged our attention, and will presently be viewed more in detail. It only remains, therefore, to establish the analogy between the true Shrikes and the Merulina or typical Thrushes'—these groups standing opposite to each other in the foregoing table. As it is highly important to our present views that this relation should be established beyond all doubt, and by the unbiassed testimony of others, totally unconscious of the use that would subsequently be made of their observations, we have brought together the most striking peculiarities of two birds, which maybe considered the types of their respective families; namely, the Lanius Carolinensis of authors, and the common

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Mock-bird of North America. The words in Italics alone denote their respective differences.

Bill arched from the base, short; rictus bearded. Bill arched from the base, long; rictus bearded.
Colour above grey, beneath white; ears black; wings obliquely rounded, black,—the quills with a white band at their base; tail black, graduated, tipped with white. Colour above grey, beneath white; wings obliquely rounded: wings and tail of the same structure and colour as those of Lanius Carolinensis.
"Makes its nest in a detached bush, in the manner of the Mocking-bird." Wilson, iii., P. 57.
"Feeds on crickets and grasshoppers." p. 57. "Feeds on winged insects, fruits, and grasshoppers." Wilson.
The Cinereous and Red-backed Shrikes imitate the notes of other birds. Lath., Gen. Hist., ii., p. 12. Imitates the notes of other birds.
Shrikes and rapacious birds are well known to disgorge the undigested part of their food in round pellets. Mr. Bartram writes, "I have observed that the Mocking-bird ejects from his stomach, through his month, the hard kernels of berries, &c, retaining the pulpy part." Wilson, ii., p. 25.
In Georgia, according to Mr. Abbot, the Carolina Shrike is known by the name of Big-headed Mocking-bird. Lath., Gen. Hist., ii., P. 7.

It seems impossible to conceive in what way this most extraordinary analogy can be rendered more complete. Here are typical examples of two groups—birds of the same size—clothed in nearly the same coloured plumage, seeking the same kind of nourishment, agreeing in the structure of their wings and tail, (almost in their feet,) building the same kind of nest, imitating the notes of other birds, ejecting their unserviceable food in the same manner, and, finally, called almost by the same name,—and yet totally distinct in real affinity! Well may we exclaim, "Wonderful are thy works, O Lord! for they are full of wisdom." If such astonishing relations become apparent on gaining the first imperfect glimpse of His system, how inconceivably sublime must be the whole, could the human mind ever attain unto such knowledge!

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One simple fact we can add from our personal observation, which may not be here misplaced. Of the genus Orpheus, to which the Mock-bird of North America belongs, we discovered four species in Brazil. One of these (its name in the systems we really cannot make out) particularly struck us, at first sight, as being a Shrike; like those birds, it sits on pales or stakes, watching for its prey, and darting upon such grasshoppers or other terrestrial insects as come sufficiently near it; it then returns to its former station. These habits we have repeatedly witnessed in the common Lanius collurio. At that time we thought the former circumstance hardly worth noticing, and omitted to observe in what manner the bird devoured its food.

We have before adverted to the singular property belonging to natural groups, of furnishing more than one set of general analogies. To illustrate this position further, we shall now lay before the reader another view that may be taken of the Merulidæ, leaving it to his own judgment to decide which, as exhibiting the most perfect harmony, is entitled to the greatest degree of confidence.

It may be remembered that we have contemplated the Drongo Shrikes as analogous to the Rasores, and consequently to the Scansores. Now as it is by this division that the Laniadæ are connected to the Merulidæ, by means of the Brachypodinæ, into which they insensibly blend,—is it not, it may be asked, contradictory to suppose that two sub-families so intimately united should represent two different orders? For it would seem to follow, that if the Edolianæ are the true representations of the Scansores, then the group in the Merulidæ which most resembles them should bear the same relation. Both the Edolianæ and the Brachypodinæ have the feet remarkably short; in both the rictus is furnished with strong bristles, and in both the hind toe, as in all scansorial birds, is particularly long. These characters, if they are of any value in shewing the true analogies of one group, must be equally so in another: hence it may be concluded, that the Brachypodinæ represent the Scansores, rather than the Fissirostres or the Natatores. It may be further urged, that however conclusive the analogy between the Crateropodinæ and the Rasores may appear, still that there is one strong peculiarity in the habit of the former, which cannot be explained either by their supposed analogy to the Rasores, or to the Scansores; this lies in the partiality evinced by all those species whose habits are known, of living in the vicinity of water. Now this can only be accounted for on the supposition that the Crateropodinæ represent the Natatores. Presuming, therefore, on the strength of these two relations, we proceed to arrange the analogies of the Merulidæ in the following manner:—

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It will be immediately perceived that the Oriolinæ alone preserve the same relations in this and in the former table; all the others being, as it were, reversed, although each column exhibits the same natural and circular series. The relations already stated, which may be supposed to exist between the groups placed in the three last lines, are here brought immediately under the eye; and, however strong they may appear in some points, they are decidedly weak in others. The Brachypodinæ, for instance, by their very short feet and the great development of the hind toe, may be likened to the Scansores; but we have failed in detecting anv direct analogy they may have with the Rasores. The Crateropodinæ, again, appear to be the only division of the Merididæ which habitually frequent watery places, and so far they may be likened to the natatorial order; but to the Fissirostres they seem not to have the remotest analogy. Still more difficult is it to conceive how the true Thrushes can represent the Dentirostres and the Raptores, or what relation there is between the Myotherinæ, the Conirostres, and the Insessores. While, therefore, we are disposed to reject this series of analogies, when viewed as a whole, as spurious, we yet feel persuaded there are certain analogical properties, belonging to all aberrant groups, of which we are as yet ignorant. Nor do we feel reluctant in confessing, that in our attempts to discover the extent of these properties, we have hitherto been completely baffled.

Before closing this long and very imperfect exposition of this family, we feel desirous of stating our own doubts upon such points as require investigation. On the nature of the five sub-families there can be but little diversity of opinion, since we consider that the chain of connexion is sufficiently complete, and that the series has been severely tested. Between the Crateropodinæ and the Oriolinæ there is certainly a hiatus; yet not sufficiently wide, in our opinion, to render the circular disposition of the whole very questionable. On descending to the minor groups, however,—snch, for instance, as the typical Merulinæ,—the circles of the subfamilies have not been made out: some of the aberrant forms, it is true, may be detected; but in regard to others, we refrain even from offering a concecture, since nothing is more easy than to describe circles upon paper, when the imagination is excited and the judgment blinded by a favourite theory.

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There are, moreover, certain types or genera, which we are even fearful of placing in this family; and others, whose natural affinities appear to us very doubtful. Among these may be named the Australian genus Sphecotheres, Vieil., which is probably an aberrant form of the Oriolinæ, closely related to Dulus, since Acanlhonotus, Sw., appears to be its prototype among the ceblepyrinæ. In regard to the true affinities of Grallina, Vieil., and Cinclosoma, H. and V., we confess our ignorance, and it may even be questioned whether the first truly belongs to this family.


THE existence of at least four species of Cinclus has naturally turned our attention to this most interesting group,—presenting the only exception to the terrestrial habits of the whole order of Perchers. We have already intimated, in treating of theMyothcrinæ, the situation in nature which we believe is occupied by this genus; and we have ventured so far as to name the leading forms by which the Myothe-rinæ describe their own circle. It will, therefore, be expected, before this view can be received with confidence, that we should demonstrate its correctness; or at least explain upon what grounds our judgment has been formed. This becomes the more necessary, as the question involves the correctness not merely of our views on the true situation of Cinclus, but the very foundation of our theory on the natural affinities of the entire order of Insessores. We have, upon every occasion, directly combated the opinion that the Bush Shrikes (Thamnophilinæ) constitute that aberrant group, by which the Shrikes are united to the Thrushes; and we have already demonstrated the fallacy of such an arrangement. But there is still another test by which the question shall be tried. If an arrangement is natural, the subordinate groups in two contiguous circles, particularly if those circles are typical, will perfectly correspond in their direct analogies; and these must be proved, independent of all other analogies they may present to the orders, the tribes, the families, or, in fine, the sub-families of other birds. With the object, therefore, of ascertaining how far our disposition of the Myotherinæ may be conformable to nature, and whether the Thamnophilinæ are truly a typical group, we shall submit both to this additional test. In the first place, let us compare the Myotherinæ, as here distributed, with the orders of birds.

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Orders. Genera.
RAPTORES Upper mandible abruptly hooked, and furnished with a tooth more or less prominent. Myothera.
INSESSORES Bill in the typical groups gradually curved; the tooth obsolete. Pitta.
RASORES Bill more or less entire; wings short, convex; feet very strong, formed for walking. feet Myophonus.
GRALLATORES Bill straight, or somewhat inclining upwards; frontal feathers advancing very far. Cinclus.
NATATORES Feet syndactyle. Dasycephala.

The two first, or the typical groups of these columns, require no illustration, since the characteristic form of their bills is sufficient to point out these analogies to every observer. The large dimensions of Myophonus metallicus, Tern.; its very strong, though perfectly entire bill, short, convex wings, and robust, elevated tarsi; not to mention its rich metallic gloss, and the narrow, somewhat-pointed plumage on the head and neck;—are so many points of analogy to the Gallinaceous birds, as strong as can well be expected in a family so totally distinct in true affinity. The resemblance; of the genus Cinclus to the wading birds has been too often noticed to require any comment; while Dasycephala, comprehending the Pipa albifrons of old authors, appears to typify the feeble-footed Natatores.

We must next compare the Myotherinæ with the tribes of their own order.

Tribes of Insessores. Genera.
DENTIROSTRES Bill abruptly hooked Myothera.
CONIROSTRES Bill conic, the notch more or less indistinct Pitta.
SCANSORES Bill entire; shafts of the tail feathers ending in naked points Myophonus.
TENUIROSTRES Bill slender, almost or perfectly entire* Cinclus.
FISSIROSTRES Base of the bill considerably depressed Dasycephala.

Nothing need be said on the relations of the typical groups. Those, however, between Myophonus and the Scansores are particularly beautiful. No two tribes, to all appearance, can be more unlike each other than the gallinaceous and the climbing birds; yet here we have a form, unconnected by affinity with either, yet presenting three of their most prominent distinctions; viz., the strong entire bill, and the robust walking feet of the Rasores, united to the aculeated tail of the Scansores. That Nature has extensively employed this latter character in a very re-

* In our specimen of Cinclus aquations the bill is perfectly entire; but in Cinclus Americanus there is a small obsolete notch.


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markable manner, to indicate the same analogies, we shall have frequent occasion to point out. It may be unnecessary, perhaps, to observe, that all ornithologists have overlooked this circumstance, did not the oversight illustrate the absolute necessity of the most minute examination of species, described and re-described in every system. The analogy of Cinclus to the Tenuirostres is sufficiently satisfactory; but that between Dasycephala and the Fissirostres is very striking; both have the bill entire, or nearly so,—both have the rictus strongly bristled,—both have weak and syndactile feet: the aberrant forms among the Fissirostres have short rounded wings: Dasycephala, in its own group, is likewise aberrant, and possesses the same character. Finally, we may remark, that as the Tyrant Shrikes also represent the Fissirostres, so were we induced, some years ago, to place the American Dasycephalæ with the Tyranninæ, without suspecting their relation to the Merididw.

From the Insessorial tribes we now descend to the families of the Dentirostres, one of which is composed of the birds whose analogies we are now tracing.

Families. Genera.
LANIADÆ Bill abruptly hooked or bent Myothera.
MERULIDÆ Bill gradually bent Pitta.
SYLVIADÆ ? Myophonus.
AMPELIDÆ Rictus smooth; feed only upon soft substances Cinclus.
TODIDÆ. Bill lengthened, base depressed; feet syndactile. Dasycephala.

That the Laniadæ are represented by Myothera must, at least, be admitted, since their absolute affinity has been insisted upon; while Pitta possesses the true thrushlike bill of the typical Merulæ. This is important, since it may establish the rank of the Myotherinæ as the second or sub-typical group of the whole family. What analogy exists between the Sylviadæ and Myophonus we know not, at present; but as the former unquestionably represents the Scansores, so we feel no hesitation in leaving a blank between these two points. The resemblance between Cinclus and the Ampelidæ cannot be supposed very strong; yet that Dasycephala typifies the Flycatchers and Todies there can be no doubt, seeing that some writers have considered the relation as one of actual affinity.

We shall now illustrate the circle of the Myotherinæ, by comparing it with a group of its own rank or value. In our views of the analogies existing between the Thrushes and the Shrikes, we have placed the Myotherinæ directly opposite to the Thamnophilinæ. Let us therefore inquire how far this arrangement is borne out by the contents of each.

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Typical Genera. Typical Genera.
Malaconotus Plumage bright; bill more or less gradually curved. Inhabits the Old World. Pitta.
Thamnophilus Plumage dark, spotted or banded; bill abruptly hooked. Inhabits the New World. Myothera.
Prionops Bill lengthened; head defended by setaceous frontal feathers; feet partly syndactile. Dasycephala.
? * * * Cinclus.
Platylophus Bill lengthened, abruptly hooked; wings broad, rounded; secondary quills and tail feathers ending in fine points. Myophonus.

This table may possibly appear very unsatisfactory to those who are accustomed to see "a place found for every thing," or who imagine it necessary that circles should be represented complete. It might, nevertheless, be reasonably supposed that Colnrisoma would very well fill up the blank in our first column; and, indeed, many apparently strong and cogent reasons might be urged on the probability of such being its natural station; but we rather choose, for the present, to confess our doubts on the subject. With regard to the Australian and Madagascarian Vangæ, there are so many important facts to be considered and discussed before their true situation in nature can be made out, that we even feel uncertain to what primary group among the Laniadæ they truly belong; and these considerations have rendered us doubly fearful of violating nature, to give a fictitious perfection to this last table.

The mistake we formerly committed, in common with all other ornithologists, of placing the Dasycephalæ with the Tyrant Flycatchers, led us to inquire in what way the strong resemblance between these two groups could be explained; whether, in short, the relation was one of affinity, or of very strong analogy. It thus became necessary to compare the sub-families of the Laniadæ with the genera of the Myotherinæ. The following is the result:—

Sub-families. Analogies. Genera.
LANIANÆ Bill short, curved from the base Pitta.
THAMNOPHILINÆ. Bill long, curved only at the end Myothera.
EDOLIANÆ Hind toe and claw lengthened; tail ending in slender points; rictus strongly bristled. Myophonus.
CEBLEPYRINÆ. Plumage particularly soft; rictus smooth Cinclus.
TYRANNINÆ Base of the bill depressed, the tip abruptly hooked; rictus bristled. Dasycephala.

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Here again, although these analogies are not only unquestionable, but particularly striking, we find that, to preserve one column perfect, we must partly reverse the other; since Dasycephala, and not Myophonus, immediately follows Myothera. We may probably account for this in two ways; either it is the necessary result of comparing two such groups, like the present, of unequal value; or from losing sight of the fact, that the three aberrant groups in each column form but one, which group then only becomes equal in value to the two typical ones. However this may be, the relations are too strong to make us suspect, for a moment, that they are not founded in natnre.

Upon the minor variations in form, or the sub-genera, we have not thought it expedient to dwell, since the state of ornithological science is not yet sufficiently advanced to sanction opinions on their value, or even on their true stations. Before we can form any correct judgment, for instance, on such subordinate groups as Drymophila, Formicivora, or Chamæza, all apparently entering in one or other of the typical genera, Myothera and Pitta, it will be necessary that these last-named groups are analyzed, and tested analogically. We have no doubt that Myothera contains representations of each of the five genera composing its own sub-family, since Myothera Colma, III., clearly typifies Cinclus; and we have seen, in the French Museum, what appears to us the type of Dasycephala. Those species, again, having the feet partially syndactile, appear to represent the typical Pittæ, wherein this structure is very prevalent. It will easily be seen, therefore, that any attempt to pursue this inquiry further than to the affinities of genera, would be premature, and would presuppose a state of knowledge which is much more likely to be developed in the next age than in this; since naturalists have not yet agreed in their opinions on the primary divisions of organized matter. All we can hope to have achieved, is the determination of the leading groups of the Merididæ, the indication of the typical structure of each, and the mode by which the whole are connected. Our remarks, therefore, have merely opened a field for future research; but it can only be explored in proportion to the slow development of knowledge; and even then will require such an extensive acquaintance with forms, and with their minuter variations, as will render the task, at least for the present, almost hopeless.—Sw.

* The beautiful Irena, in like manner, may be supposed to represent Myophonus among the Oriolinæ.

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[36.] 1. CINCLUS AMERICANUS. (Swainson.) American Dipper.

SUB-FAMILY. Myotherinæ. SWAINSON. Genus. Cinclus. BECHSTEIN.
Cinclus Mexicanus. SWAINS. Syn., p. 367, No. 27.
Pallas Dipper. (Cinclus Pallasii.) BONAP. Orn., iii., p. 1, pl. 16, f. i.

Three specimens of this bird were procured by Mr. Drummond near the sources of the Athabasca River, on the eastern declivity of the Rocky Mountains, between the 54th and 56th parallels of latitude. It was previously discovered by the late Mr. W. Bullock in Mexico; but I am not aware that it has as yet been detected in the intermediate country of the United States. Perhaps in its migrations it seldom wanders so far to the eastward as to come within the tracts frequented by the naturalists of the latter country. Several specimens, obtained in the same locality and at the same time with Mr. Drummond's, came into Mr. Leadbeater's hands through the Hudson's Bay Company, one of which has been described and figured by the Prince of Musignano in his splendid American Ornithology. Mr. Drummond made no notes of the habits of this bird; but they are, most probably, very similar to those of the British species, which is termed provincially, "Water-colly," "Water-ouzel," "Dipper," or "Water-crake." This bird has the singular habit, for a species strictly terrestrial in its structure, of walking under the surface of the water on the bed of a stream, using its wings as well as its legs to urge itself along in quest of aquatic insects or the ova of fish. Montagu also states that it sings in a strong and elegant manner, with much variation in its notes, many of which are peculiar to itself, intermixed with a little of the piping of the Wood-lark.—R.

It may possibly have originated in the brevity of our original notice of this species*, that Prince C. Bonaparte has been misled in believing it was the Cinclus Pallasii of M. Temminck,—a supposed Asiatic bird, sent by Pallas from the Crimea, and described in the Manuel d'Ornithologie, i., p. 177, in the following words: "Cinclus Pallasii, formes de notre Cincle; tout le plumage, sans exception, d'une seule nuance brune, couleur de chocolat. D'un envoi fait par le Professeur

* Cinclus Mexicanus, cinereous-grey, head and chin brown: size of the European species.—NOB., in Phil. Mag., June, 1827.

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Pallas pendant son sejour en Crimée, ce qui fait conjecturer que l'espéce habite ce pays." Relying on the accuracy of this description, we find that in one bird the plumage is "entirely of a chocolate-brown;" while in the other the head and chin only are of this colour, all the remaining parts of the plumage, without exception, being cinereous-grey. The specimens sent us for examination by Dr. Richardson are evidently young birds; the chocolate-colour of the head being but slightly indicated, and the bills not having acquired that deep black colour seen in the Mexican specimen: the whitish edges to the feathers is a further indication of youth.

We have thought it advisable to alter our original specific name for this bird from Mexicanus to Americanus. Among some interesting skins from India, recently submitted to our inspection, with his usual liberality, by Dr. Horsfield, we detected another species of Cinclus, differing altogether from M. Temminck's description of Pallasii, and to which the name of Asiaticus may be thought appropriate, since it is a young bird, and may possibly exhibit in adult age some slight variation in colour.—Sw.


Of an immature bird, killed on the eastern declivity of the Rocky Mountains, lat. 55°.

COLOUR blackish-grey, with a bluish tinge on the dorsal aspect, and an approach to clove-brown on the throat and breast. The quill feathers and tail are clove-brown, and the secondaries are very slightly tipped with white. The plumage on the posterior part of the belly, the under tail coverts, and the linings of the wings, are tipped with greyish-white. The bill is pale horn-colour, the legs and feet flesh-coloured.

FORM, &c.—Bill straight; its breadth and height at the base are nearly equal, but towards the point it is considerably compressed. The upper mandible has a moderately acute ridge, elevated between the nostrils, with a gradual inclination towards the point, which is formed by a rather sudden, though slight curve of the ridge only, and droops a very little. There is a scarcely perceptible notch on each side of the tip, which is somewhat obtuse. The under mandible is very little shorter. Nostrils longitudinal slits, situated at the lower margin of a depressed semi-oval membrane, partly clothed with feathers. Forehead narrow, sloping towards the bill. Wings concave, and, when folded, about an inch shorter than the tail. The first quill feather is very short, being only about three-quarters of an inch in length; the third is the longest, the second and fourth are almost as long, and the fifth is only a line shorter; the sixth is a quarter of an inch shorter than the fifth; and the remainder diminish in succession: the third, fourth, and fifth have their outer webs very obliquely sinuated. The tail is short, and slightly rounded. Tarsus entirely naked, somewhat longer than the middle toe and its claw. The first phalanx of the outer toe is closely connected to the base of the inner

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one. The hind toe is but little shorter than the inner one, which again nearly equals the outer one. The middle one exceeds these two by the entire length of its last phalanx. The claws are short, much compressed, and but slightly curved; the hind one is larger than the middle one, which does not exceed the two lateral ones.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 7 6
„ of the tail 2 3
„ of the folded wing 3 6
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 0
Length of the bill on its ridge 0
„ of the tarsus 1 2
„ of the middle toe 0 10
„ of its claw 0 3
„ of the hind toe 0
„ of the claw 0 4

One of the other specimens, which is of rather smaller dimensions and probably a younger bird, differs in the wing coverts and most of the under plumage being slightly tipped with greyish-white.

In Mr. Swainson's Mexican specimen of the mature bird, the entire head and adjoining part of the neck above and below have a blackish-brown tint*, nearly the colour of the soot of pitch-coal. The quill feathers and tail exhibit a duller tint of the same colour, while the rest of the plumage above and below is blackish-grey. The margins of the interscapulary feathers are worn, but exhibit some slight remains of brown; and the ventral plumage is also slightly tinted with brown on the tips. A few of the vent feathers have pale-grey tips. The bill is black. The dimensions of the specimen are nearly the same as those given above.—R.

* Fuligneus.

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[37.] 1. MERULA MIGRATORIA. (Swainson.) Red-breasted Thrush.

GENUS, Merula. RAY. (Turdus, LINN.)*
Turdus migratorius. LINN. Syst. Nat., i., p. 292, No. 6.
Grive du Cauada, BUFFON, Pl. Enl., 568, f. 1.
Turdus migratorius. FORSTER. Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 399, No. 21.
Red-breasted Thrush. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 335, No. 196.
Turdus migratorius. LATH. Ind, i., p. 330, sp. 12.
Red-breasted Thrush, Redbird or Blackbird. HEARNE, Journ., p. 418.
Turdus migratorius. VIEILLOT. Ois. de l'Ann., ii., pl. 60 (male), p. 5, pl. 61 (young).
Turdus migratorius. (The Robin.) WILSON, i., p. 35, pl. 2, f. 2. SABINE, Frankl. Journ., p. 674. BONAP. Syn., p. 75, No. 97.
Merula migratoria. SWAINS. Syn., p. 367, No. 28.
Peepeechew. CREE INDIANS.

None of the feathered tribe are better known in America than this, which, from its red breast and familiar habits, has obtained the name of the "Robin." It winters, in immense numbers, in the Atlantic States, from New Hampshire to the Gulf of Mexico, deserting at that season the tracts to the westward of the Alleghany range. Notwithstanding the havoc made in its flocks for the supply of the markets, it affects the neighbourhood of towns, and is observed to feed much on the fruit of the sour-gum (Nyssa sylvatica), and on poke-berries (Phylotacca decandra). Sometimes it disappears from a distinct for a week or two, and returns again in larger flocks than before. In March it begins to sing, and pairs early in April. Many pairs breed in the United States, but great numbers spread themselves over every part of the fur countries, extending almost to the northern extremity of the continent. Its nests were observed by the Expedition as high as the sixty-seventh parallel of latitude; and, from the reports of various travellers, it is known to visit the north-west coast of America. It arrives in the Missouri (in lat. 41½°), from the eastward, on the 11th of April; and, in the course of its northerly movement, reaches Severn River in Hudson's Bay about a fortnight later. Its first appearance at Carlton House, lat. 53°, in the year 1827, was on the 22nd of April. In the same season it reached Fort Chepewyan, in latitude 58¾°, on the 7th of May, and Fort Franklin, in lat. 65°, on the 20th of that month. Those that build their nests in the fifty-fourth parallel of latitude, begin to hatch

* It is seldom that the great Swede can be accused of not having profited by the labours of his predecessors, or of neglecting their classic terms. In this instance, our veneration for the talents of our illustrious countryman Ray, induces us to adopt with pleasure the suggestion that has already been made, of distinguishing the true Thrushes (of which the Blackbird is probably the type) by the generic name of Merula.—Sw.

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in the end of May; but, eleven degrees farther to the north, that event is deferred till the 11th of June. The snow even then partially covers the ground; but there are, in those high latitudes, abundance of the berries of the Vaccinium uliginosum, and Vilis idæa, Arbutus alpina, Empetrum nigrum, and of some other plants, which, after having been frozen up all the winter, are exposed, on the first melting of the snow, full of juice and in high flavour. Shortly afterwards, when the callow young require food, the parents obtain abundance of grubs.

The Red-breasted Thrush builds its nest on the branch of a spruce-fir-tree, generally about five or six feet from the ground, taking no particular pains to conceal it, and frequently selecting a tree in the immediate vicinity of a house. Its nest is formed like that of the European Thrush, of grass and moss, neatly interwoven and lined with a compact coating of dung and clay. The male and female labour in concert in constructing it; and when the young are hatched, they jointly undertake the task of feeding them. The eggs, five in number, are about fourteen lines long, and have a bluish-green colour, like those of the common Thrush. The male is one of the loudest and most assiduous of the songsters that frequent the fur countries, beginning his chaunt immediately on his arrival. His notes resemble those of the common Thrush, but are not so loud. Within the arctic circle the woods are silent in the bright light of noon-day, but towards midnight, when the sun travels near the horizon, and the shades of the forest are lengthened, the concert commences, and continues till six or seven in the morning. Even in these remote regions the mistake of those naturalists who have asserted that the feathered tribes of America are void of harmony might be fully disproved. Indeed, the transition is so sudden from the perfect repose, the deathlike silence of an arctic winter, to the animated bustle of summer; the trees spread their foliage with such magical rapidity, and every succeeding morning opens with such agreeable accessions of feathered songsters to swell the chorus—their plumage as gay and unimpaired as when they enlivened the deep-green forests of tropical climes, that the return of a northern spring excites in the mind a deep feeling of the beauties of the season, a sense of the bounty and providence of the Supreme Being, which is cheaply purchased by the tedium of nine months of winter. The most verdant lawns and cultivated glades of Europe, the most beautiful productions of art, fail in producing that exhilaration and joyous buoyancy of mind which we have experienced in treading the wilds of Arctic America, when their snowy covering has been just replaced by an infant but vigorous vegetation. It is impossible for the traveller to refrain, at such

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moments, from joining his aspirations to the song which every creature around is pouring forth to the great Creator.


Of a male killed, May 26th, 1826, at Fort Franklin, Great Bear Lake.

COLOUR of the upper aspect and sides of the head brownish-black, gradually fading, on the back of the neck, to blackish-brown, and on the posterior part of the back and tail-coverts to smoke-grey; the brownish feathers on the sides of the neck and between the shoulders are margined with the latter colour. The eye is encircled by an interrupted white border. The wings are blackish-brown, the exterior edges of the feathers faded and greyish; the lowest row of lesser coverts is minutely tipt with wood-brown. The tail is brownish-black, the exterior feather having a large white spot on the extremity of its inner web, and the adjoining one a narrow white tip. Under surface.—The white chin is spotted with brownish-black, and a narrow belt of the same crosses the throat from cheek to cheek. The rest of the inferior surface as far as the vent, and also the under wing-coverts, are pure reddish-orange*. The vent feathers and under tail-coverts are white, the latter spotted with clove-brown. The insides of the quill feathers, and the under surface of the tail, are clove-brown. The bill is lemon-yellow, with a brownish tip. Legs pale umber-brown. The whole of the plumage appears worn on the edges in the spring, the season in which this specimen was procured.

FORM, &c.—Bill straight, weakened at the base by large depressions for the nostrils, between which the ridge is prominent, moderately compressed towards the point; ridge obtuse, its tip arched; cutting margin straight to the tip, which droops, and is strongly notched on each side. Nostrils small, oval, longitudinal; there are some strong hairs at the angle of the mouth. Wings nearly two inches shorter than the tail. Quill feathers considerably narrowed at the point; the first or spurious quill is very short; the third and fourth are the longest; the fifth is a line or two shorter; the second is intermediate between the fifth and sixth; the outer webs of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth are strongly sinuated. The tail is even, and rather long. Legs pale umber-brown. The tarsi are naked. The middle and exterior toes are united by the whole length of the first phalanx of the latter.


Of the male.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 10 6
„ of the tail 4 0
„ of the longest quill feather 4 9
„ of the folded wing 5 6
„ of the bill measured along the ridge 0 9
Length of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 1
„ of the tarsus 1 4
„ of the middle toe 0 11½
„ of its claw 0 4
„ of the hind toe 0 7
„ of its claw 0

* Helvolus.—Intermediate between buff-orange and tile-red.

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The female has more of the smoke-grey colour on the back; the feathers on the head are also edged with that colour. There is more white on the throat, and all the orange-coloured feathers beneath are edged with white. Her dimensions are scarcely inferior to those of the male; some specimens of both sexes, however, measure, when recent, very little more than nine inches in length.

The young bird differs in the dorsal plumage and wing coverts, having narrow brownish-white streaks on the shafts; in the shafts of the feathers of the head being also pale; in the rump and tail coverts being obscurely tipt with black; in the chin being nearly unspotted white; and in the reddish-orange of the under surface being much paler, and marked with pretty large transverse black spots on the tips of the feathers. The bill is dark umber-brown, with the angles and borders of the mouth orpiment-orange.

[38.] 2. MERULA MINOR. (Swainson.) Little Tawny Thrush.

GENUS, Merula. RAY. (Turdus. LINN.)
The Little Thrush. (Turdus parvus.) EDWARDS, pl. 296.
Turdus iliacus Carolinensis. BRISSON. Orn., ii., p. 212, omitting synonymes.
Turdus minor. GMELIN. Syst., i., p. 809, No. 321, omitting synonymes.

CH. SP. MERULA MINOR, spadicea subtus albescens, pectore dilutè ferrugineo maculis xerampelinis, remigibus 3—4 longissimis: remige secundâ quintam superanti.

SP. CH. LITTLE TAWNY THRUSH, ferruginous; beneath whitish; throat and breast ferruginous-white, with pale spots; the second, third, and fourth quills longest, the second shorter than the fourth.

I can add nothing to the little that is known of the history of this Thrush, except that it makes its appearance on the banks of the Saskatchewan in the month of May; but whether it breeds there, or proceeds farther north, I am unable to say. It frequents damp, shady woods, and appears to be a solitary, silent species. Mr. William Bartram, who sent Edwards the specimen which he has figured, says that it arrives in Pennsylvania in April, and continues there all the summer, employed in rearing its young. It is possible, however, that that naturalist may have ascribed to it the habits of some of the species which so nearly resemble it.—R.

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The great confusion in which the nomenclature of the small North American Thrushes has long remained, compels us again to make a digression on synonymes, and to occupy time and space which might be devoted to matters of more lasting interest. The Prince of Musignano, in his valuable "Observations" and "Synopsis,", is of opinion that the Turdus mustelinus of Wilson is a new species, first described in the American Ornithology, and that Wilson's solitarius is the minor of Gmelin and Latham; the first being described as "tawny-brown" on the upper plumage, and the second as "olive-brown, inclining" to reddish on the tail."—Syn., pp. 75, 76.

In the first of these opinions we perfectly coincide; the second requires some investigation; we must, therefore, go back to original authorities. The first systematist in whose works we find the name of Turdus minor is Gmelin; for it is very remarkable, that although the valuable work of Edwards is frequently cited in the 1767 edition of the Systema Naturæ, we can discover no reference to the "Little Thrush" figured in the 296th plate of this author's Gleanings. Gmelin, therefore, is the first who describes it in systematic language, and his words are these: "T. spadiceus, subtus albus, pectore flavicante maculis atris vario:" and here, among other synonymes, we find for the first time a reference to the above plate. To this species, therefore, we shall confine our remarks, because the accuracy of Edwards is perhaps greater than that of any naturalist of his day, and because he is the only one quoted by Gmelin, with the exception of Catesby, whose description is rendered more intelligible by a coloured plate. Edwards says of his bird, "The head, upper sides of the neck, back, wings, and tail, are all of a reddish-brown, or clay-colour, not at all varying in the shades of the feathers, as they do in our English Thrushes. The throat just beneath the bill is whitish, the breast yellowish, with dusky spots." He then goes on to state, that this description by no means agrees with the slight account given by Catesby of another bird, called by the name of Little Thrush. Brisson comes next, and we never consult his valuable pages without deriving solid information. Of his Turdus iliacus Carolinensis he observes, that all the upper parts, wings, and tail, "sont d'un brun-roux. La gorge, la partie inférieure du col et la poitrine sont d'un roussatre, marqué de taches d'un brun-roux."—Orn., ii., p. 214. This description was made from a bird sent from Canada, as that of Edwards was drawn up from a Philadelphian specimen.

It thus appears that both these original writers describe one and the same species. It is also clear that Gmelin borrowed his specific character, not from

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Catesby's bird, but from that of Edwards, which is consequently his Turdus minor, a species well distinguished by its tawny, or reddish-brown plumage, in opposition to the "olive-brown" of Wilson's solitarius. We leave the other synonymes of Gmelin, and the whole of those quoted by Brisson, entirely out of the question. It is plain that Brisson had our bird only before him, which he describes with even greater precision than Edwards: the reddish breast is a nice, but a very masterly distinction.

As to the "Little Thrush" of Catesby, it appears totally impossible to identify it with any one species; since, besides those here described, we know of two others, each of which might pass for the bird he may have intended to commemorate. The same observation is applicable to the smaller American Thrushes, mentioned in " Arctic Zoology," "Synopsis of Birds," &c. The Turdus minor of M. Vieillot (Ois. de l' Am., ii., p. 7) is an imaginary species, confessedly compounded not only of the fuscus and minor of Gmelin, but of the West India and the Carolina species; neither is it possible to ascertain which of these is intended to be represented on the plate. The Turdus mustelinus of this author is supposed to be the melodus of Wilson, although this has been questioned.

It is somewhat surprising, that the species whose external characters we have now illustrated, should have escaped the observation of late American naturalists. We have long had in our museum a very fine plumaged specimen, sent to us from Georgia. It perfectly agrees, in every material point, with that here described; but the peculiar rufous, or rather ferruginous tinge, which uniformly pervades the whole of the upper plumage, is much clearer and more intense in the Georgian specimen than in the northern.—Sw.


Of a male, killed at Carlton House, May 29th, 1827.

COLOUR of the whole dorsal aspect yellowish-brown, slightly inclining to orange-brown. The inner vanes of the quill and tail feathers are liver-brown. Under surface.—The chin is white; the cheeks, throat, and upper part of the breast have a faint tinge of wood-brown, and are marked with numerous roundish, not very well defined spots of hair-brown. These spots also extend, but more faintly, to the lower part of the breast, which is whitish. The sides of the breast, flanks, and linings of the wings are smoke-grey, the belly and under tail coverts white. The insides of the quill and tail feathers are pale broccoli-brown. The bill is blackish-brown above, pale horn-colour beneath. Legs very pale-brown.

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FORM, &c.—Bill depressed at the base, its breadth there considerably exceeding its height. Its length from the forehead is more than twice its width at the nostrils. There is an elevated ridge between the nostrils. The angles of the mouth are furnished with strong bristles, as in the other Thrushes we have to describe. The wings, when folded, are about an inch and a half shorter than the tail. The first or spurious quill feather is very narrow, and barely exceeds half an inch in length; the second is shorter than the third or fourth, but much longer than the fifth: the third is the longest. The outer webs of the third and fourth are obliquely sinuated near their tips. The tail is even, the two central feathers being a very little shorter than the rest*. The hind toe is more robust than the others, and has the longest claw; it is equal to the inner one in length: the outer toe is a little longer. The latter is united, a little beyond its first joint, to the base of the middle toe. The hind claw is more curved than the others.


Of the male.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 7 6
„ of the tail 3 0
„ of the folded wing 4 0
„ of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 0 11
Length of the bill, measured along the ridge 0
„ of the tarsus 1 3
„ of the middle toe 0 9
„ of its claw 0 3
„ of the hind toe 0 5
„ of its claw 0

[39.] 3. MERULA WILSONII. (Bonaparte.) Wilsons Thrush.

GENUS, Merula. RAY. (Turdus. LINN.)
Tawny Thrush. (Turdus mustelinus.) WILSON†, v., p. 98, pl. 43, f. iii.
Turdus Wilsonii. BONAP. Syn., p. 75, No. 100. Observ., p. 34, No. 73.

CH. SP. MERULA WILSONII, olivaceo-brunnescens subtus albescens, gutture pectoreque maculis fuligneis interstinctis, rcmigibus 2—3—4 longissimis; remige secundd quartam æquanli.

SP. CH. WILSON'S THRUSH, obscure olive-brown; beneath whitish; throat and breast marked with dusky spots; the second, third, and fourth quill feathers the longest, the second equal to the fourth.

This Thrush arrives on the banks of the Saskatchewan in May, and, during summer, haunts the alder thickets and dense willow groves that skirt the

* In a specimen in Mr. Swainson's museum the two outer tail feathers are slightly shorter than the others, and its closed wing is also two lines shorter than the one described above.

† This Thrush was first described by Wilson; but the name of Mustelinus, which he gave it, was preoccupied. Vide BONAP., Observ., Trans. Phil. Soc. Phil., iv., p. 34, No. 73.

[page] 183

marshes. It, doubtless, breeds there; but I had not an opportunity of seeing its nest*, nor can I speak of the extent of its range to the northward. Wilson states that it makes its appearance in Pennsylvania, from the south, regularly about the beginning of May, stays a week or two, and passes on to the north and to the high mountainous districts to breed. It has no song, he says, but a sharp chuck.—R.

We have compared the northern specimens with no less than five others, killed last year in New Jersey, and now in our museum. It is with peculiar satisfaction that, after much trouble, we find our own observations confirm, in their full extent, the judicious remarks made upon this species by the Prince of Musignano; and gladly do we follow him in commemorating it by the name of the great American ornithologist. True it is, that, by the strict rules of priority, we may not perhaps be justified in so doing; this species having received, in a popular compilation, another name. But not even the laws of nomenclature, as the late venerated Sir James Smith has expressed, must upon every occasion impose shackles upon superior minds. Few ornithologists will be disposed to withhold from the memory of Wilson the only honour it is now in their power to give.—Sw.


Of a specimen, killed at Carlton House, lat. 53°, May, 1827.

COLOUR of the whole dorsal aspect an uniform deep hair-brown, inclining slightly to oil-green. The cheeks and the spaces between the eyes and nostrils are pale yellowish-brown, obscurely spotted with hair-brown. The under plumage is mostly white, tinged on the sides of the throat with yellowish-brown, and faintly clouded and blotched on the flanks with hair-brown. The throat and breast are marked with broad, triangular, blackish-brown spots on the tips of the feathers. Bill dark umber-brown, pale at the base of the lower mandible. Legs pale yellowish-brown.

FORM, &c.—Bill shorter than that of M. minor, less compressed, and having a less distinct ridge. The tip droops a little in both, and has a small notch on each side. The wings, when folded, are an inch shorter than the tail. The third quill feather is the longest, the second and fourth are scarcely a line shorter, and are equal to each other; the tenth is fourteen lines shorter than the third, and the first is about three-quarters of an inch long. The outer webs of the third and fourth are distinctly sinuated; that of the fifth is even. The tail is very slightly emarginated; the central pair of feathers being, however, in our specimens, a little longer than the adjoining ones. The tarsi are longer than those of M. silens, equal to those of M. solitaria, and shorter than those of M. minor.

* Mr. Yarrell has received eggs from America, which he is assured are those of this bird. They have a deep bluish-green colour, without spots, and are an inch in length.—R.

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Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 7 6
„ of the tail 2 9
„ of the folded wing 3 10½
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 0
Length of the bill on its ridge 0 7
„ of the tarsus 1 1
„ of the middle toe 0
„ of the middle nail 0
„ of the hind toe 0
„ of the hind nail 0 3

[40.] 4. MERULA SOLITARIA. (Swainson.) Hermit Thrush.

GENUS, Merula. RAY. (Turdus. LINN.)
Hermit Thrush. (Turdus solitarius.*) WILSON, v., p. 95, pl. 43, f. ii.
Turdus minor. BONAP. Syn., p. 75, No. 100. Observ., p. 40, No. 72.

CH. SP. MERULA SOLITARIA, fuscescenti-ferrugineâ subtus albescens, gutture pectoreque maculis nigris notatis, remigum marginibus et caudâ cum tectricibus ejus superioribus rufescentibus, remigibus 3—4—5 longissimis; remige secundâ sextâque æqualibus, unguibus parum curvatis.

SP. CH. HERMIT THRUSH, dark ferruginous-brown, beneath whitish; throat and breast marked with black spots; margins of the quills, the tail, and its upper coverts, tinged with rufous; the third, fourth, and fifth quills the longest, the second and sixth nearly equal; claws slightly curved.

According to Wilson, this bird inhabits the southern parts of the United States the whole year, frequenting the deepest and gloomiest recesses of the cane and myrtle swamps. It is rarely seen in Pennsylvania, unless for a few weeks in the spring and late in the fall, and in both seasons it is mute, having only, in the spring, an occasional squeak, like that of a young stray chicken. One specimen

* Having stated the reasons which induce us to consider the Turdus solitarius of Wilson as a distinct species from the Turdus minor of Gmelin, it remains to be considered whether the original name, imposed on the former by its first describer, can be retained with propriety. Nomenclators have applied this specific appellation to three different birds. 1. The Turdus solitarius of Latham is stated by M. Temminck to be the young of the European cyanus; an opinion confirmed by our own observations, noted more than twenty years ago, during a residence in Sicily, where these birds, from the mountainous nature of the island, are particularly common. This name, therefore, sinks into a synonyme. 2. The Turdus solitarius of Montagu (Supp. Orn. Did.) is now well known to be the young of the common Starling in its first year's plumage, and consequently has been expunged from our systems. 3. The Turdus solitarius of Mr. Stevens. This is first stated (Gen. Zool., x., p. 303) to be the same as the T. solitarius of Dr. Latham,—a nominal species, already disposed of; but in a subsequent volume, printed in 1827, this name seems transferred to the cyanus of M. Temminck. Wilson wrote in 1812. Amidst this confusion, one point, however, is clearly established; and it is this, that if the name of solitarius is to be retained in our systems to any species of Thrush, it can only be given, with strict propriety, to the bird so designated by Wilson. It is upon these grounds that we have thought it right to preserve the original name.—Sw.

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[page] 185

was procured by us in the spring on the north side of Lake Huron; but it was not seen by the Expedition in any other quarter; it may, nevertheless, be a visitor to the more northern regions, as it might have been readily overlooked, owing to its great similarity to some of the other small Thrushes. Wilson found numbers breeding, in May, in the Chactaw nation. He describes a nest which he discovered on the 12th of that month, as being attached to the upper part of the body of the horizontal branch of a tree. It was constructed with great neatness, without mud or plaster; the outside composed of coarse rooty grass, intermixed with horsehair; and the lining of a fine green-coloured grass, perfectly dry and laid circularly. The eggs were four, of a pale greenish-blue, marked with specks and blotches of olive, particularly at the great end. The food of the Hermit Thrush consists chiefly of berries, that occur in a perpetual succession in the low southern swamps which it frequents.—R.


Of a specimen, killed at Penetanguishene, on the north shore of Lake Huron.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect yellowish-brown, approaching, on the exterior webs of the quill feathers, the tail coverts, and tail, to dull reddish-orange: this latter tint is deepest on the tail coverts. The inner webs of the quill feathers are pale clove-brown. The auriculars have a dull hair-brown colour. The chin is greyish-white; the under surface of the neck and the breast are white, slightly tinged with wood-brown; and there is a pretty large triangular mark of blackish-brown on the tip of each feather. The middle of the belly and vent feathers have a very pale french-grey colour, approaching to white; and the sides of the breast and flanks have a pure hair-brown tint. The inner wing coverts have a pale tinge of wood-brown, and the insides of the quill feathers are clove-brown; their inner margins towards their bases being pale buff-orange*. The bill is dark umber-brown above, the under mandible yellowish, becoming dark-brown at the tip. Legs clay-coloured.

FORM, &c.—Bill shorter than that of M. minor, and a little narrower at the base; longer than that of M. Wilsonii; and of the same length with M. silens, but broader. The notch on each side of the tip is small, but distinct. The folded wings are an inch shorter than the tail. The first quill feather is less than an inch in length; the fourth is the longest, the third is scarcely perceptibly shorter, the fifth is not a line shorter, and the second, which is two lines shorter, is a little longer than the sixth: the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth are sinuated exteriorly, the last-mentioned one very obliquely. Tail slightly emarginated, the central feathers being about two lines shorter than the exterior ones. Tarsi, like those of the pre-

* In Merula minor and M. Wilsonii, this part is white, or yellowish-white, without any approach to buff. In M silens, it is cream-yellow.—R.

2 B

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ceding and following species, covered before and behind with a scale, in which no divisions can be perceived. Hind toe and inner one equal in length. Nails much compressed, slightly curved; the hind one the largest.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 6 9
„ of the tail 2 9
„ of the folded wing 3
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 0 10
Length of the bill on the ridge 0 7
„ of the tarsus 1
„ of the middle toe 0 9
„ of its claw 0
„ of the hind toe 0
„ of its claw 0

That the history of the small North American Thrushes may be rendered as complete as possible, we here subjoin a detailed description of the Merula silens, particularly as it seems intermediate between M. solitaria and M. Wilsonii, having the rufous tail of the first, and the greyish olive-brown upper plumage of the second.

MERULA SILENS. (Swainson.) Silent Thrush.

Merula silens. SWAINS. Syn. Mex. Birds, No. 31.

CH. SP. MERULA SILENS, olivaceo-brunnescens subtus albescens, gutture pectoreque maculis fuligneis notatis, cauda teclricibusque ejus sub-rufescentibus, marginibus remigum pallentibus; remige sexto, secundam sub-æquanti, unguibus curvalis.

SP. CH. SILENT THRUSH, greyish-olive, beneath whitish; throat and breast marked with dusky spots; tail and upper coverts tinged with rufous; edges of the quills pale, the second and sixth nearly equal; claws fully curved.


Of a specimen in Mr. Swainson's museum, killed five leagues to the west of Mexico.

COLOUR of the upper plumage hair-brown, inclining to oil-green,—a rather paler and greyer tint than that of M. Wilsonii. The exterior edges of the quill feathers are pale, approaching to yellowish-grey. The tail and its upper coverts present a nearly uniform tint of yellowish-brown, verging towards orange-brown or ferruginous: this colour is very nearly the same with that of the dorsal plumage of M. minor, and is less deeply ferruginous than the tail coverts of M. solitaria. The under plumage is whitish, with a slight tinge of brown on the sides of the throat, and a deeper tint of yellowish-grey on the sides of the breast, flanks, and inner wing coverts. The throat and breast are marked with triangular spots of clove-brown, like those of M. Wilsonii. The interior borders of the quill feathers, particularly towards their bases, are cream-yellow, having less colour than those of M. solitaria, but more than the same parts of the other small Thrushes noticed in this work. Bill dark-brown, lower mandible pale posteriorly. Eyes brown.

FORM, &c.—Bill more slender than that of the other small Thrushes described in the text. The folded wings are an inch shorter than the tail. The second quill feather is a quarter of an inch shorter than the fourth, which is the longest, the third and fifth very nearly equal the latter, and the sixth is only a little shorter than the second: the outer webs of the second, third, and fourth are distinctly sinuated; that of the fifth is very obliquely narrowed. The tail is more distinctly emarginated than that of any of the other Thrushes with which we have compared it above: the central feathers are upwards of two lines shorter than the exterior ones.


Inches. Line.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 7 0
„ of the tail 3 3
„ of the folded wing 3 9
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 0
Length of the bill on the ridge 0 7
„ of the tarsus 1
„ of the middle toe 0
„ of the middle claw 0 3
„ of the hind toe 0 5
„ of the hind claw 0

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[page] 187

[41.] 1. ORPHEUS MERULOIDES. (Swainson.) Thrush-like Mock-bird.

Spotted Thrush. LATH. Syn. iii., p. 27, sp. 13.
Varied Thrush. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii. p. 337, pl. 15.
Turdus naevius. LATH. Ind., i., p. 331, sp. 13?

CH. SP. ORPHEUS MERULOIDES, nigrescenti-plumbeus subtus ad rostrum usque helvolus, fasciâ pectoris nigrâ incomplctâ, remigibus extus maculatis tectricibusque helvolo bi-faseialis.

SP. CH. THRUSH-LIKE MOCK-BIRD, blackish-grey, beneath almost entirely reddish-orange, with the exception of an imperfect black belt across the breast; wings crossed with two reddish-orange bands, and the quill feathers blotched exteriorly with the same.


The structure of this bird appears intermediate between Merula and Orpheus. To the first it assimilates by the comparative straightness of its bill, the length of its wings, and the size, length, and scutellation of its tarsi. On the other hand, it exhibits unequivocal indications of those characters by which Orpheus is so decidedly separated from the true Thrushes; the notch of the upper mandible is nearly obsolete; the wings, although long, are slightly rounded; and the tail is not only rounded and more lengthened, but the lateral feathers are marked with those conspicuous white tips, which so strongly characterize the Mocking-birds. It is unfortunate that, in the only specimen procured, the tail feathers, upon an accurate inspection, appear in a state of moulting; and thus neither their true length, nor, perhaps, their true form, are developed. We remark, for instance, that the two middle feathers, as in some of the typical Merulæ, are shorter than the rest; but these, we apprehend, are feathers not yet fully developed. This opinion is, in a great measure, confirmed by the figure of Pennant, where the tail is represented as rounded, and fully as long as the wings, a structure which precisely agrees with the American Mocking-bird, the type of the genus Orpheus. We have, nevertheless, preferred representing upon our plate a correct figure of the specimen in question, rather than to supply its supposed deficiencies from any other source than nature. We have in vain looked for a second specimen, both in the London and Parisian collections. In placing this bird with its true congeners, we have ventured to bestow upon it a specific name, which will express what appears to us its real affinities.—Sw.

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[page] 188

This bird was discovered at Nootka Sound, in Captain Cook's third voyage, and male and female specimens, in the possession of Sir Joseph Banks, were described by Latham: Pennant has also described and figured the same male. The specimen represented in this work was procured at Fort Franklin, lat. 65¼°, in the spring of 1826. We did not hear its song, nor acquire any information respecting its habits, except that it built its nest in a bush, similar to that of the Merula migratoria. It was not seen by us on the banks of the Saskatchewan; and, as it has not appeared in the lists of the birds of the United States, it most probably does not go far to the eastward of the Rocky Mountains in its migrations north and south. It may, perhaps, be more common to the westward of that ridge.—R.


Of a specimen killed at Fort Franklin, lat. 65⅓°, in May, 1826.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect blackish-grey; the head, sides of the neck, and an imperfect belt across the breast, are pitch-black. The blackish auricular feathers are encircled by a narrow stripe of reddish-orange, which commences on the posterior part of the upper eyelid. The tail is greyish-black, the inner webs of its feathers being blackish-brown; there is a large white spot on the tip of the inner web of the outer feather, and brownish-white spots on the tips of all the other feathers, the spots being less, however, the nearer they are to the middle of the tail, and the central feathers having merely a minute brownish speck on their tips. The quill feathers, greater coverts, and the adjoining row of lesser coverts, are liver-brown; two rather broad bands of pale reddish-orange cross the wings on the tips of the two last-mentioned sets of feathers. There is also a conspicuous patch of the same colour on the primaries, near their quills, and a smaller one about half way to their tips. The primary coverts and their secondaries are likewise edged with the orange, but more narrowly. The tertiaries are slightly tipped with white.

Under surface.—The chin, throat, and belly are reddish-orange; the vent feathers white, and the under tail coverts are blackish-grey, edged with orange, and largely tipped with white. The flanks and axillary feathers are bluish-grey. The wing-linings are white and lead-grey, slightly marked with orange; and the insides of the quill feathers are lead-grey, with a broad whitish band on their bases, and on the tips of the greater inner coverts. The bill is black, pale-yellow at the base of the under mandible. Legs flesh-coloured.

FORM.—Bill straight, compressed, more slender than that of Merula migratoria, but otherwise bearing a strong general resemblance to it. Cutting margin of the upper mandible slightly and gradually curved towards its point, without a notch. Rictus bristled. The wings fall an inch and a half short of the end of the tail; they approach those of Merula migratoria in form, being much longer and more pointed than those of Orpheus felivox.

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The first (or spurious quill feather) is very short (three-quarters of an inch); the fourth is the longest; the third and fifth nearly equal it; the second is about five lines shorter than the fourth; and the sixth about as much shorter than the second; the fifth and sixth are wide apart (three-quarters of an inch); the following ones diminish in succession about a quarter of an inch each; the outer webs of the third, fourth, and fifth are pretty strongly notched. The tail appears to be slightly rounded, the outer feathers being a line or two shorter than the others; the two central ones are a quarter of an inch shorter, but they appear to be not yet fully grown. Tarsus considerably longer than the middle claw; hind toe shortest and most robust; inner toe a little shorter than the outer one; the base of the latter is very shortly connected with the middle one.


Inches. Lines
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 9 9
„ of the tail 3 6
„ of the folded wing 4 11
„ of the bill measured along its ridge 0 10
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1
Length of the tarsus 1 3
„ of the middle toe 0 10½
„ of its claw 0 4
„ of the hind toe 0 6
„ of its claw 0

[42.] 2. ORPHEUS RUFUS. (Swainson.) Fox-coloured Mock-bird.

GENUS, Orpheus. SWAINSON. Zool. Journ., iii., p. 167.
Fox-coloured Thrush. CATESBY. Carol., i., p. 28.
Ferruginous Thrush. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 335.
Turdus rufus. LATH. Ind., i., p. 338, sp. 44.
Ferruginous Thrush (Turdus rufus.) WILSON, ii., p. 83, and pl. 14, f. 1, (Brown Thrush.)
Turdus rufus. VIEIL., Ois. de l'Am., ii., pl. 59, p. 54. BONAP. Syn., p. 75, No. 93.

This well-known songster has obtained a variety of local names, such as the "Ground Mocking-bird," "French Mocking-bird," "Brown Thrush," and "Thrasher," in the United States. It was seen by the Expedition only at Carlton House; and as it does not enter into Mr. Hutchins' pretty full list of the birds of Hudson's Bay, it is probable that it does not extend its range beyond the fifty-fourth parallel of latitude. It winters in the southern parts of the United States, arrives in Pennsylvania about the middle of April, and breeds throughout the

[page] 190

country, extending from thence to the Saskatchewan. It quits the fur-countries, with the other migratory birds, early in September, and by the middle of that month it also departs from Pennsylvania. It does not derive its name of Mockingbird from any habit it has of mimicking the voices of other birds, but, as Wilson thinks, from the resemblance its notes have to those of the Turdus polyglottos, or real Mocking-bird. Its song, though inferior to that of the bird just mentioned, is remarkably loud, clear, and various, bearing considerable resemblance to that of the European Thrush (Turdus musicus). Its food consists of grubs, beetles, caterpillars, grains, cherries, and berries of various kinds. It frequents low thickets, and builds its nest, near the ground, of sticks, lined with dry leaves, and a layer of fine fibrous roots. It lays five eggs, which, according to Wilson, are of a bluish-white colour, speckled with reddish-brown.


Of a female, killed at Carlton House, 5th July, 1827.

COLOUR of the whole dorsal aspect, including wings and tail, orange-coloured-brown; this colour is a little greyer on the forehead, but does not vary a single shade elsewhere. Two narrow reddish-white bands, bordered above with umber-brown, cross the wings on the tips of the greater coverts, and the adjoining row of the lesser coverts. The inner webs of the quill feathers have an umber tint. On the sides of the neck and inferior surface of the body, the colour is soiled brownish-white, interspersed pretty thickly, on the sides of the neck, breast, shoulders, and flanks, and more sparingly on the belly, with triangular liver-brown spots on the ends of the feathers. The inner wing coverts are pale wood-brown, almost unspotted, and the insides of the quill feathers and tail beneath have a handsome tint, intermediate between flesh-red and ochre-yellow. Bill blackish-brown; the base of the under mandible yellowish. Legs wax-yellow. Irides king's yellow.

FORM, &c.—Bill longer, but stronger, and not so much compressed as that of the Merula migratoria; cutting margin of the upper mandible curving regularly, but gently, from near its middle, without a notch at the tip. There are three or four pretty strong hairs at the base of the upper mandible. Wings short and rounded, being three inches and a half shorter than the tail. First quill feather (spurious) not above half the length of the fourth and fifth, which are the longest; third and sixth very little shorter than these; seventh about two lines shorter than the sixth; and the eighth and ninth diminish about as much; the second is equal to the ninth, and only six or seven lines shorter than the fourth and fifth. Their outer webs, from the third to the seventh inclusive, are sinuated, the latter, however, only very obliquely. The tail is long and cuneiform, the outer feathers being more than an inch shorter than the middle ones.

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Of the female.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 12 0
„ of the tail 5 0
„ of the folded wing 4
„ of the bill along the ridge 1 1
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 1 4
Length of the tarsus 1 3
„ of the middle toe 0 10½
„ of its claw 0 4
„ of the hind toe 0 6
„ of its claw 0 6

The male is said to have a brighter orange tint on its plumage, broader white bands on the wing, and larger liver-coloured spots on the breast.—R.

The strong analogy which this and certain other species of Orpheus from South America, bear to such forms as Pomatorhinus, in the next sub-family of Thrushes (Cratopodinæ), is clearly indicated by the integrity of the bill, the upper mandible being entirely destitute of a notch: this relation of analogy has consequently been mistaken for one of affinity. Our Orpheus longirostris*, which is a true Mockingbird, in its surprising versatility of voice and powers of song, has lately been described, by the authors of the Planches Coloriées, as a new species, and referred to the genus Pomatorhinus! Nothing is more satisfactory than to have our views thus unintentionally confirmed, by those who are avowedly hostile to the very principles upon which they are founded. The greater curvature of the bill in Orpheus longirostris, is the only deviation it exhibits from the structure of 0. rufus; the wings, tail, feet, tarsi, scutellation, rictus, nostrils, every other part, in short, is precisely the same. This supposed Pomatorhinus, moreover, is the Mocking-bird of Mexico; and, as the late Mr. Bullock, jun., informed us, is universally kept in cages, and highly valued for the sweetness and extraordinary variety of its notes. The genus Orpheus, like that of Merula, contains two most natural divisions; one having the throat and breast variegated by spots; the other destitute of these markings; the former, in the present group, is exemplified in 0. rufus, while the latter, which is the pre-eminent typical form, is seen in O. polyglottos and longirostris. We do not consider the present bird as aberrant, otherwise than as representing Merula in its own genus, in the same way as Orpheus meruloides, to all appearance, typifies the Red-tailed Rock Thrushes (Petrocincla, Vig.), a group which we are disposed to consider as the Rasorial type of the family: again, we find this type represented, in the genus Orpheus, by the African White-crowned Thrushes with red tails; and all these are indisputable types of the Redstart

* Synopsis of the Birds of Mexico. Phil. Mag., June, 1827, No. 32, p. 368.

[page] 192

Warblers (Phænicura, Sw.) Nothing can be more beautiful or wonderful than the manner in which Nature preserves her relations, amid the most astonishing variety, and the most extraordinary combinations.—S.

[41.] 3. ORPHEUS FELIVOX. (Swainson.) The Cat-bird.

GENUS, Orpheus? SWAINSON. (Zool. Journ., ill., 167.)
Muscicapa Carolinensis. LINN., i., 328, No. 18.
Cat Fly-catcher. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 388, No. 272.
Muscicapa Carolinensis. LATH. Ind., ii. p. 483, sp. 64.
Turdus felivox. VIEILLOT. Ois. de l'Am., ii., pl. 67, p. 10.
Cat-bird (Turdus lividus). WILSON, ii., p. 91, pl. 14, f. 3.
Turdus felivox. BONAP. Syn., p. 75, No. 95.

The Cat-bird, so named from the strong resemblance which its voice bears to the plaintive mewing of a kitten, is common throughout the United States in summer, but does not appear to wander very far north. We did not observe it higher than the fifty-fourth parallel of latitude; and, as it is a very familiar bird, it is not probable that more than stray individuals could have visited the districts through which we travelled, without having attracted our notice. It winters on the confines of the Gulf of Mexico, arrives in Georgia towards the end of February, in the second week of April reaches Pennsylvania, and in the beginning of May it is seen in New England. It does not reach the banks of the Saskatchewan until the end of May, later than most of the other summer visitors. Wilson informs us, on the authority of the first settlers in the Genesee country, that the Cat-bird, in its migrations, keeps pace with the progress of agriculture, and that they had been several years in their new settlements before he made his appearance amongst them. The want of cultivation may probably be the barrier to his migrations northwards, and not the severity of the season; for the summer in the fur-countries is fine and warm. The country is more open about Carlton House, and cultivation is carried to a greater extent there than in any other part north of Lake Superior which we visited, and there only did we see the Cat-bird. We should expect to find it, however, in still greater numbers at the colony of

[page] 193

Osnaboyna, on the Red River, where the ground is now cultivated by several hundred settlers; and it would be highly interesting were any resident there to note the arrival of birds known to have a predilection for the vicinity of man, and previously strangers in that quarter.

The Cat-bird builds its nest in a bush or low thicket, forming the outside with small twigs, grass, and dry leaves, and lining it with black fibrous roots. The eggs are a little more than an inch long, and have a peculiar deep tint, intermediate between bluish-green and verdigris-green. In Pennsylvania two or three broods are raised in a season. Wilson, with his usual felicity, has drawn a vivid picture of the anxiety which this bird displays for the safety of its young. Its distress, when it supposes them to be in danger, is evinced by the most expressive gestures and loud cries. The same author tells us, that the male is one of the earliest of the Pennsylvanian songsters, beginning generally before the break of day, and hovering from bush to bush with great sprightliness, when there is scarcely light to distinguish him. His notes are more remarkable for singularity than for melody, and consist of short imitations of other birds and other sounds; but, his pipe being deficient in clearness and strength of tone, his imitations fail where these are requisite. He feeds principally on fruits.—R.

We place this species in the present genus, under the belief that it is an aberrant example; but its precise relations still require much study. We are at a loss to know why it should have the curious distinctions of bright rufous under tail coverts, an unspotted plumage, and a black head. It may, however, be remarked, that as the genus Orpheus, beyond all question, is one of the preeminent types of the whole family, so it is natural to expect it would contain representations of every other division or sub-family, even in the narrow confines of its own generic circle. That this suspicion has some foundation, we may observe, that our Orpheus longirostris typifies one of the sub-families; and we suspect that O. felivox represents the Brachypodinæ; for it is only in that group we find birds which are particularly marked by the bright colours of their under tail coverts. Many of these species, like the Cat-bird, throw themselves into the most violent and unusual agitations; their plumage, also, is never spotted. We have, moreover, in our Museum, a Brachypus, from Sumatra, apparently undescribed, which, with the exception of the rufous feathers, is clothed in the same coloured plumage as O. felivox, the whole bird being slate-grey, with the crown and tail black.—Sw.

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Of a female, killed at Carlton House, in July 1827.

COLOUR of the whole upper plumage blackish-grey, except the head and tail, which are pitch-black, and the inner webs of the quill feathers, which are blackish-brown. The cheeks, and the whole under surface of the body, with the wing linings, are deep bluish-grey; the under tail coverts brownish-red. The insides of the quill feathers are clove-brown, and the tail beneath is blackish-brown. The bill pitch-black, and the legs very dark umber-brown.

FORM.—Bill compressed towards the point, with a rather acute ridge; cutting margin of the lower mandible slightly curved towards the point, and minutely notched on each side of its tip; there are some strong hairs at the angle of the mouth. The wings are short and round, being more than two inches shorter than the tail; the fifth quill feather is the longest; the fourth nearly equals it; the third and sixth are rather more than a line shorter; the seventh is a quarter of an inch shorter than the sixth; and the succeeding ones become gradually shorter, the tenth being nearly an inch shorter than the fifth; the second is equal to the eighth, and the first (or spurious feather) is scarcely half the length of the second, and more than an inch and a half shorter than the fifth. The outer webs, from the third to the sixth inclusive, are sinuated; the two last very obliquely. The tail is much rounded, the exterior feathers being ten lines shorter than the middle ones. The plumage of the body and head has the barbs very much detached.

The male differs very little from the female in the colours of its plumage; but in the young the red tint of the under tail coverts is scarcely discernible.


Inches. Lines
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 9 2
„ of the tail 4 0
„ of the folded wing 3
„ of the bill along its ridge 0
„ of the bill from angle of the mouth 0
Length of the tarsi 1 1
„ of the middle toe 0 10
„ of its claw 0
„ of the hind toe 0
„ of the hind claw 0 4

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So many important and interesting considerations crowded upon our attention while investigating the natural affinities of this family, that, in our desire not to be diffuse, we have unintentionally omitted one of the most curious set of analogies belonging to the Merulidæ, and therefore too important to be passed over in silence. All systematists who have mentioned the Brachypus (Chloropsis)* Malabaricus, (Jardine and Selby,) or the Verdin icteroeéphale of M. Temminck, describe it as having a filamentous tongue, and as sucking the nectar of flowers. This consideration, no doubt, influenced the intelligent authors of the Illustrations of Ornithology to refer this very beautiful group (which they have the undoubted merit of first characterising) to the Meliphagidæ.

Now even supposing that the Chloropsides (the true representatives of the Pittæ, Merulidæ,) are really nectarivorous, it by no means follows that their actual affinities lie among the Meliphagidæ; since groups which represent any given order or tribe in their own circle, invariably present us with some one or more characters indicative of such analogies; in many instances, indeed, these analogies are so strong, that the best zoologists have been deceived into the belief that they were real affinities. Nothing, perhaps, will illustrate this peculiarity better than a comparison of the Merulidæ with the tribe of Tenuirostres.

Sub-families of MERULIDÆ. ANALOGIES. Families of TENUIROSTRES.†
Merulinæ. The most typical in their respective circles: wings, in the one (typically), strong and pointed, in the other feeble and rounded. TROCHILIDÆ.
Myotherinæ. CINNYRIDÆ.
Brachypodinæ. Feet short, strong; hind toe much lengthened; wings and tail rounded. MELIPHAGIDÆ.

* This is another striking instance of the defective information on systematic ornithology under which the authors of the Planches Coloriées appear to labour. In a recent number of their work we find this group given as new to science; whereas it had been named and characterised "at least four years before."—See Jardine and Selby's Illustrations of Ornithology, parts i. and vi.

† In merely intimating our idea, upon a former occasion (Zool. Journ., i., 479), on the circular affinities of this tribe, we looked to the Nectarinidæ of Illiger as the subtypical group. Analysis has fully confirmed this view; but as the typical genus is Cinnyris, we now apply that name to the whole. There will be no danger of confounding the Cinnyridæ of Mr. Vigors with ours: the contents of the two groups are almost totally different.

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Oriolinæ. Bill stronger; frontal feathers soft and generally velvet-like; rictus smooth; feet short, robust; hind toe and tarsus of nearly equal length; tail short: frugivorous. PARADISEADÆ.
Crateropodinæ. Bill greatly compressed, hard, both mandibles generally curved; tail lengthened, broad, graduated. PROMEROPIDÆ.

The results of this comparison will explain many facts of the highest importance; since, if the analogies are true, we shall have no further doubts entertained about the situation of the Paradise-birds,—merely because our previous views on their true affinities* did not coincide with an arrangement founded, as we are told, upon facts. But let us look to these facts more closely. No two groups, in the whole circle of Insessores, can be much more unlike than these; we are only surprised, therefore, that their typical divisions possess any one character in common. The true Thrushes (Merulæ) agree, however, with the Humming-birds in taking both animal and vegetable food: we have repeatedly taken from the stomach of the latter, small dipterous insects, captured by these little birds in the flowers whose juices they also suck. The wings of both groups correspond in being long and pointed; whereas those of Cinnyris and Pitta are much shorter and considerably rounded: this analogy is even apparent in the disposition of their colours. The beautiful Pitta cyanura, Vieil., for instance, finds its representative in the Cinnyris Senegalensis. Both are lineated on all their under parts with narrow lines of brilliant violet. But these analogies, after all, are very faint, and are merely touched upon to shew that the typical groups (generally more distant from each other than are the aberrant) do not absolutely disagree.

On proceeding to the next point of comparison,—that between the Brachypodinæ and the Meliphagidæ,—the value of this table begins to be apparent, since we immediately perceive the true relation between Chloropsis and the Australian Honey-suckers to be one of analogy, and not of affinity. Yet setting aside this table, and merely looking to the immediate affinities of Chloropsis in its own circle, we see that the Honey-suckers could not be introduced among the Brachypodinæ without the greatest possible violation of nature; while, on the other hand, Chloropsis would appear equally excluded from the Meliphagidæ, whose circular

* See Zool. Journ., i., p. 479; and Linn. Trans., vol. xiv., p. 465, note.

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succession of types has been represented as complete*: what degree of confidence may be attached to this latter arrangement we shall not now stop to inquire. That the Paradise-birds represent the Orioles might be inferred from the fact, that Linnæus and many other writers have actually placed the Paradise Oriole in the genus Paradisea, under the name of Paradisea aurea. But we have much better evidence for this analogy. M. Lesson, one of the most enterprising voyagers and the most zealous naturalists of France, has the enviable honour of being the only scientific ornithologist who has contemplated these magnificent birds in a state of nature. His testimony, uninfluenced by theory, is consequently of the first importance. He distinctly informs us, in his valuable little Manuel d'Ornithologie, i., p. 387, that the true Paradise-birds derive their chief, if not their only subsistence from soft fruits†; thus preserving their direct analogy not only to the Oriolinæ:, but to the Ampelidæ:, the Musophagidæ, the Ceblepyrinæ, the Icterinæ, and other analogical types of the Tenuirostres.

Let us now look to the Crateropodinæ with reference to the Promeropidæ. In both these groups the bill is peculiarly hard, slender, and unusually compressed; both have tails longer, softer, and more cuneated than any other birds in their respective circles; and both appear to frequent humid and watery situations J. So perfect, in short, is this analogy, that our friend Sir W. Jardine, Bart., is in possession of an African bird, belonging to the Crateropodina:, which might be very easily taken for a Promerops; and it is still a matter of doubt to which of these groups the rare Upupa Capensis, Pl. Enl. 697, (a bird we have not yet seen) may truly belong.

* "The group we have selected as representing the Meliphaga of Lewin and authors is the only assemblage of these birds of which we can speak with any satisfaction to ourselves. They exhibit Jive prominent modifications of farm, according to the variation chiefly of the characters of the bill and tail."—The Meliphaga fulvifrons "is placed at that extreme of the section which joins the first subdivision, and completes the circular succession of the whole group."—Linn. Trans., vol. xv., pp. 313, 318.

† "ll aime à se tenir sur les arbres de teck,—et dont le petit fruit forme sa nourriture. Il ne se perche communément que sur le sommet des plus grande arbres. Lorsqu'il en descend, c'est pour manger les fruits de quelques arbres moyens." "Pour chasser les Oiseaux de Paradis, les voyageurs doivent se rappeler qn'il est necéssaire de partir des le matin du navire, d'arriver au pied de l'arbre de teck, ou du figuier, que ces oiseaux recherchent à cause de leur fruit.'" p. 390. "Le Paradisier petit émeraude," continues M. Lesson, "mange sans doute de plusieurs substances dans son etat de liberte:" but what these may be, besides fruits, he does not appear to have discovered, since he only vouches, in short, for that particular fact which we are now applying. "Je puis affirmer," continues M. Lesson, " qu'il vit de grains de teck, et d'un fruit nomme anuhou, de saveur fade et mucilagineuse, de la grosseur dune petite figue d'Europe, et qui appartient a un arbre du genre Ficus."—Manuel d' Orn., p. 390.
As the Tenuirostres will not again be mentioned, we take this opportunity of correcting our views on the situation of the magnificent Ptiloris Paradiseus, Sw., suspected by us to be an aberrant form of the Meliphagidæ: it more properly represents the Scansorial type of the Paradiseadæ.—Sw.

‡ See Burchell's Travels, i., p. 326; ii., p. 346.

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The real affinities, therefore, of Chloropsis thus appear to lie with the Brachypodinæ; and should these birds really possess a suctorial tongue, the analogy is only rendered more beautiful. That this kind of tongue also should disappear in the Paradiseadæ, the most aberrant group of the Tenuirostres, is what we should naturally expect, as in perfect unison with those principles of variation observed throughout every group in Ornithology.

We must now glance at these two important, but very unequal divisions, under other points of view. First, their resemblance illustrates the following idea, expressed by Mr. Mac Leay:—" We are struck with the analogy which opposite points of the same circle bear to one another,—an analogy sometimes so strong, that it has been mistaken for a relation of affinity; and indeed I am still unable to state whether this be not the fact, and that the opposite points of the curve, if I may so express myself, do not meet each other."—" It will be sufficient to state, however, that as this peculiarity of natural distribution was detected by analysis, and the use to be made of it was visible among the Petalocera; so the discovery of it served to prevent my falling into several mistakes, which I could not otherwise have avoided, in deciding between relations of analogy and affinity as they exist in the more general groups."—Horæ Entom., p. 319. In this passage we trace an indistinct perception of other properties of natural groups than those which this talented writer had discovered and explained.

Now this strong resemblance between opposite points of a circle is universal, but of two very different natures. In the present case it is clearly analogical, for not only are the two groups vastly unequal, but the Dentirostres (which includes the Brachypodinæ) is a typical tribe, while that of the Tenuirostres is the most aberrant. But if we take the opposite points of the order Insessores, on the other sides of the curve, we have the Fissirostres and the Scansores; and this resemblance we consider as one of absolute affinity: both these tribes, in fact, are aberrant, and of equal rank, and both, in our opinion, by being actually united, divide the Insessores into three great primary circles.

Lastly, a few words may be added on the analogies of the Brachypodinæ and the Crateropodinæ, which, as we have already shewn, appear to be twofold. Viewing the aberrant groups of the Merididæ and of the Tenuirostres, with reference to the aberrant tribes of the Insessores, we find they represent each other in this manner

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The largest birds in creation, as the Ostrich and the Cassowary, belong to the Rasores, which order, among the perching tribes, is represented by the Scansores: yet, if the situation of the Struthionidæ, as it has been stated, is aberrant in its own order, it will then be that particular family which is analogous to the Fissirostres*. Hence we may account for the Crateropodinæ and the Promeropidæ being the largest birds of their respective groups, since both in like manner represent the Fissirostres. Now this is almost placed beyond doubt; for the Promeropidæ pass into the Fissirostres; while the Meliphagidæ, being at the opposite curve of the Tenuirostral circle, should consequently represent the Scansores. This they accordingly do, by the great length of their hind toe, and by actually passing into that tribe. Even this, however, will not destroy the obvious analogy which the Crateropodinæ also bear to the Rasores, and consequently to the Scansores: but this double resemblance will rather convince us that the doctrine of analogy, as yet, has been most imperfectly developed.

* The Hornbills among the Conirostres, the Toucans in the tribe of Scansores, and the Saxicolinæ or Stone-chats in the family of Sylviadæ, comprehend in like manner the largest birds in their respective circles: and all these groups are analogous to the Fissirostres. This very remarkable property in natural arrangement is not, however, universal. The greatest birds in the tribe of Dentirostres are found among the Ampelidæ, which family represents the Tenuirostres. So also in the family of Laniadæ, where Ceblepyrinæ, having the same relation, exceed in size all other Shrikes.—Sw.

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The preceding digressions on the natural arrangement of those two important families, the Laniadæ and the Merididæ, have occupied so much space, that our observations on the remaining groups of the Insessores must be restricted to results, leaving the facts upon which they repose to be stated on some future occasion. In treating of the Sylviadæ, we more particularly regret this necessity for abridgment. No group in the whole circle of Ornithology, as confessed by all writers, is in such a chaotic state of confusion; yet no group throughout nature that has yet been analyzed, offers a more perfect demonstration of the trinary system of distribution than his. This subject, as assuming such an important aspect, will be more fully discussed in another work*, now nearly ready for the press.

The Syiviadæ, or Warblers, may be also termed AMBULATING FLYCATCHERS; since, when viewed collectively, they are only separated from the Muscicapinæ by a different mode of feeding, indicated by the superior length and structure of their feet: these members, in the Syiviadæ, are adapted for constant locomotion, either among branches, or upon the ground; whereas, in the true Flycatchers, the feet are short, small, and feeble, corresponding to the sedentary habits of those birds. Comparing the Warblers, on the other hand, with the Thrushes, we see that the best distinction between the two groups lies in the very character which assimilates the Syhiadæ to the Flycatchers, namely, the basal depression of the bill. We allude, of course, to typical examples; since all these distinctions are softened down, in proportion as the three groups approximate.

A careful analysis of this family will show it is composed of three primary circles, each returning into itself. One of these embraces the three aberrant subfamilies, the two others constituting the typical and the sub-typical sub-families, as follows:—


1. Typical group. Bill very slender, suddenly compressed beyond the base; stature very small. SYLVIANÆ.
2. Sub-typical group. Bill stronger, gradually compressed beyond the base; stature more robust. PHILOMELINÆ.
Aberrant group. Feet more especially adapted for one particular purpose, either for walking, running, or climbing. SAXICOLINÆ. MOTACILLINÆ. PARIANÆ.

* An Encycolpædia of Zoology, one thick octavo volume, with numerous wood-cuts.

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In offering the foregoing characters as distinctions of the three primary divisions, the ornithologist will bear in mind the difficulty of defining differences between groups so closely united by imperceptible gradations in their aberrant forms. It may, however, be observed, that the true Sylviadæ are the most perfectly organized, since they not only search for their food, like the Nightingales (Philomelinæ, among boughs and trees,—catch insects upon the wing, like Flycatchers, but are frequently seen on the ground, upon which they move with perfect facility*. From the subtypical group the fly-catching habits seem to be withheld; and, on proceeding to the aberrant group, we find a still further diminution in the powers of locomotion; they are less varied, but more concentrated. The Saxicolinæ walk, but do not explore trees, or habitually catch insects on the wing from a fixed station. The Motacillinæ rarely perch, and never climb, yet they run with amazing celerity. The Parianæ, again, are excluded from the ground, and from capturing winged insects, yet they excel all others of their family in climbing among branches. The genus Sylvicola, Sw., standing intermediate between the true Titmice and the typical Sylvianæ, present us, of course, with a union of both habits. All these modes of progression are distinctly indicated by a corresponding variation in the structure of the feet.

We shall shortly notice the principal forms which enter into these groups. The first, or typical circle, is marked by the following genera:—Sylvia, L.; Malurus, Vieil.; Prinea, Horsf.; Hylïota, Sw.; and Culicivora, Sw. The second, or sub-typical, is indicated by Synallaxis? Vieil.; Curruca, Bech.; Philomela, Antiq.; Phænicura, Sw.; and Thamnobia, Sw.; but the affinities of this latter group are by no means certain. In regard to the third, or aberrant division, the ornithologist will immediately perceive the union of the Saxicolinæ with the Parianæ, by looking to the following birds, having before him our well-known Robin, as one of the first links in the chain:—Petroïca multicolor, Sw.† P. Lathami, Sw.‡ Setophaga (Erythrosoma) picta §, Sw. S. (E.) miniata, Sw.║, and Setophaga ruticilla, Sw.

From the three primary divisions thus indicated, we proceed to the subfamilies, in which we have a perfect representation of the five principal groups of the Merulidæ. We shall, however, get a more accurate notion of the whole family, by comparing it with the tribes of the Insessores.

* This fact, in reference to the Sylvia hippolais, we have had frequent opportunities of observing in our own garden, where the species is very common.—Sw.

† Zoological Illustrations, second series, pl. 36.

‡ Muscicapa Lathami, Vig., Lin. Trans., vol. xv., p. 205.

§ Zool. Ill., second series, pl. 2.

║ Synop. of Mexican Birds, No. 18.

2 D

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Tripes of INSESSORES. Analogies. Sub-families of SYLVIADÆ. Typical Genera.
CONIROSTRES. Bill much compressed; feet adapted both for walking and perching; wings lengthened. Sylvianæ. Sylvia.
DENTIROSTRES. Bill stronger, notch more distant; wings more rounded; claws larger, very acute. Philomelinæ. Philomela.
FISSIROSTRES Bill depressed, bristled at the base. Saxicolinæ Saxicola.
TENUIROSTRES. Bill very slender; rictus smooth. Motacillinæ. Motacilla.
SCANSORES Bill entire, or nearly so; hind toe lengthened. Parianæ Parus.

On duly investigating this table, the ornithologist will detect many relations of peculiar interest, which we cannot at present dwell upon. The two first, indeed, are so faint, in comparison with the three last, that we do not feel perfectly sure whether—having now traversed over one half of the Dentirostral circle,—the analogies of the typical groups are not reversed; in other words, whether the Philomelinæ do not represent the Conirostres through the medium of the Merulinæ; and the Syluianæ the Dentirostres through the medium of the Myotherinæ but this will not in the least affect the progression of the affinities as here exhibited.

It will be sufficient, for our present purpose, to intimate the probable situation of such species as are subsequently described. It is singular that in the subfamily of


only one form has hitherto been discovered in the whole extent of America; this is typically represented by the well-known "Blue bird" of Wilson, the Sialia Wilsonii of our Mexican Synopsis. Another species, our Sialia Mexicana*, is found on the table land of Mexico; and a third, still more distinct, was first discovered in these expeditions. The intimate connexion between this group and our European Robin, must be so evident to all who have perused the pages of Wilson, that we are justified in viewing it as a sub-genus, or the American type of Erythaca, Sw.; the Australian form is given in Petroïca, Sw.; the African

* SIALIA Mexicana, Sw.—Size of & arctica; upper plumage bright purple-blue, chin and throat the same; across the breast a rufous band, which colour is continued on the sides and flanks; middle of the body, vent, and under tail covers light-blue, inclining to white. Total length 6½, wings 4½, tarsi ¾, tail 3 inches. Inhabits Mexico. In Mr. Taylor's collection.

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is probably the Muscicapa stellata, Vieil.; and the Muscicapa longipes of M. Lesson, seems to be the Oceanic form. The genus, thus indicated, stands aberrant in its own sub-family, and appears to be the Fissirostral type of the Saxicolinæ. But as the sub-genera require much more study than we have yet had the means of bestowing upon them, we rather wish the above series to be looked on as questionable, or at least as unsupported by analogical demonstration.

Of the next aberrant division, comprising the


or Wagtails, America is equally destitute; while the group itself is so deficient in species, that its internal affinities are very obscure. The situation of Anthus, indeed, is perfectly evident; it is the Tenuirostral type, and leads immediately to Alauda; but that of Seïurus is particularly perplexing: it may, in fact, be questioned, whether its precise situation is not on the confines of the next, rather than of this sub-family. Be this as it may, the affinity of the two divisions is rendered unquestionable, by comparing the short-clawed Anthi with Seïurus aquaticus, and Seïurus aurocapillus with Accentor. The fissirostral type of the Motacillinæ, hitherto undiscovered, will clear up much of this uncertainty.

The next and last aberrant division, comprising the


is one of most peculiar interest, not only to the American ornithologist, as containing nearly all the beautiful little warblers of that continent, but to the more philosophic investigator of the natural system. This division, in fact, is the most numerous, and consequently the most varied of the whole family; it accordingly offers the best field for the investigation of those principles of natural arrangement upon which our peculiar views are founded. Its internal arrangement may be thus stated:—

Genera. Analogies.
Typical group.
Bill short, strong, conic, entire Parus. CONIROSTRES.
Sub-typical group.
Bill more lengthened, and slender, sub-conic, entire, or obsoletely notched. Sylvicola. DENTIROSTRES.
Aberrant group.
Feet more especially adapted either for perching, walking, or climbing; bill various. Setophaga.

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Here again we have the aberrant groups united by such birds as Setophaga rubra, Sw.*, where the form of the bill is completely that of an Accentor, joined to the remarkable and otherwise inexplicable character of a strongly-bristled rictus. The analogies of the whole group are highly interesting, both in reference to the external anatomy, and to the habits and economy of the living birds.

Contracting the sphere of our inquiries, we shall select, for further analysis, the genus


as a group which more particularly regards the Warblers of North America. Here again we find three divisions, typically distinguished by the following peculiarities:—

Typical group.
Bill entire, acute, pointed, sub-conic Vermivora, Sw.
Sub-typical group.
Bill obsoletely notched, slightly bent Sylvicola, Sw.
Aberrant group.
Hind toe much stronger, and more length-ened; bill various Dumecola, Sw.
Zosterops, H. and V.
Mniotilta, Vieil.

The paucity of species in the two extreme aberrant types, viz., Dumecola and Mniotilta, prevents us, at present, from knowing in what way they may be united. We shall therefore state the affinities and analogies of the whole group more in detail. The typical distinctions of the entire genus


consists in the bill being lengthened-conic, either entire, or slightly notched remotely from the tip of the upper mandible, which is scarcely deflexed; wings pointed, the first quill nearly as long as the second.

The circular union of these groups must be explained more fully in another place; for the present it is sufficient to state, that Wilson, more than twenty years ago, clearly pointed out in what manner the worm-eating Warblers (Vermivoræ) differed from the true Sylvicolæ, with which, nevertheless, all subsequent writers have continued to blend them†. As yet we have actually seen but one species of Dumecola, although we strongly suspect the Musicapa diops, PI. Col. 144, f. 1, is

* Synop. of Mexican Birds, No. 19.

† These birds have recently, indeed, been erroneously placed with the sub-genus Dacnis, belonging to the Cinnyridæ. This resemblance between the two groups is certainly strong, but it is only analogical.—Sw.

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another, connecting this form with Zosterops. The affinity of these white-ringed Warblers to the Sylvicolæ, we pointed out in characterizing the latter group*. Finally, the Mniotilta pinus, Sw., or Pine Warbler of Wilson, so completely resembles the Vermivora solitaria, Sw., that several authors have actually mistaken the one species for the other†.

Let us now look to the analogies of this singular group.

CONIROSTRES Bill lengthened, conic, entire; rictus nearly smooth Vermivora.
DENTIROSTES Bill notched, somewhat remotely from the tip; rictus bristled Sylvicola.
FISSIROSTRES Bill depressed; feet weak Dumecola.
TENUIROSTRES Bill subulate towards the end; rictus smooth Zosterops.
SCANSORES Feet scansorial; hind toe and claw much lengthened Mniotilta.

In these five types of form, being the first assemblages of species—in other words, the lowest denomination of groups in nature,—we have a typical representation of every division in the whole class of AVES. It was no doubt the very conic and sharp-pointed bills of the Vermivoræ which induced M. Cuvier to think they connected the Warblers with the Conirostres, by means of Icterus. The remote notch and the bristled rictus are both characters common to a Shrike and a Sylvicola; and that the type of this form should have been ranked by Linnæus as a Parus, is immediately understood by that genus representing Sylvicola in its own circle. Dumecola ruficauda, Sw., would pass for a Flycatcher, if its feet and wings were not examined. The analogy between Zosterops and the Tenuirostres is so perfect and beautiful, as to have deceived such accurate observers as MM. Cuvier, Vieillot, Temminck, and Lesson. The Diceum choronotos, or Grimpereau de l'Ile de Bourbon, PI. Enl. 681,2, of these eminent naturalists, is, in fact, a true Zosterops, and probably the type of the group. Sylvia Javanica is a second, and several others have been also placed in the genus Diceum. In characterizing the sub-genus Oxyglossus (not being aware it had previously received the name of Mniotilta,) we ourselves fell into the error of referring it to the scansorial creepers. In this we were principally influenced by the example of M. Cuvier, who ranks the Mniotilta varia as a Nectarinia. These relations, however, as well as every other cited, while they establish the correctness of the above table of representatives in the fullest manner, are nothing more than so many instances of analogy.

* Zool. Journ., iii., p. 169.

† See Bonaparte's Observ. on Wilson's Nomenclature; article Sylvia solitaria.

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We have already, while discussing the relations of the Thamnophilinæ with the Myotherinæ, adverted to that singular property, belonging to typical groups in contiguous circles, of uniting by collateral affinity, without destroying those circular affinities by which their own respective circles are described. We have had proofs of this change of analogies into affinities in the families of Laniadæ and Merulidæ; and we see it, if possible, more strongly exemplified in the group now under consideration. The genus Sylvicola describes its own circle by the types here enumerated, without the intervention of Setophaga, which is the next group, and of equal rank. Yet the typical Sylvicolæ are so beautifully connected to the typical Setophagæ, without the intervention of the aberrant forms in either group, that it is impossible to imagine a single deficiency in the links which connect them. We call the attention of ornithologists to this most remarkable fact, which may be gathered from the invaluable pages of Wilson, detailing their manners, and by a minute examination of the birds which we shall subsequently notice. The genus


as being almost exclusively a North American group, may be here slightly mentioned. As this is the Fissirostral type of the Parianæ, we can feel no surprise at its having been blended with the genuine Fly-catchers, from which it can only be distinguished by the different structure of its wings and feet: it is represented, among the genuine Muscicapinæ, by the sub-genus Rhipidura, H. and V. The species yet discovered are not many, and these differ in so remarkable a manner, that the principle of their variation can never be explained or rightly understood, without reference to the numerous affinities which this group is evidently intended to reconcile. On one side it is to connect Sylvicola with Trichas, on another it is to unite the Parianæ with the Sylvianæ, and on a third it passes into Petroïca; and thus effects the union of the Parianæ and the Saxicolinæ. It should likewise contain species which would shew an approximation to Accentor, and thus indicate the union of the three aberrant genera of its own sub-family. Now all these complicated relations may be traced in the species we already know; and yet there is one form,—the aberrant type leading to the sub-genus Dumicola,—which is yet undiscovered; and this, theoretically, might be supposed to be the very one which was most essential to establish the affinity of the two genera.

We must pass over the three remaining groups of this sub-family, namely, Trichas, Accentor, and Parus, and close our remarks with a few cursory observations on the

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or typical sub-family, whose circular affinities are explained by the following genera:—

Typical group.
Bill compressed, rather lengthened and straight, notched; legs moderate. Sylvia, Auct.
Sub-typical group.
Bill shorter, more curved, nearly entire; legs long. Malurus. Vieil.*
Aberrant group.
Bill variously shaped; hind toe stronger. Prinea, Horsf.
Hulïota? Sw.
Culicivora, Sw.

The passage from Setophaga to the typical Gold-crested Warblers is marked by the genus Culicivora, where one half of the bill is depressed, and the other compressed; a singular union of the characters respectively belonging to each. We were long in doubt as to the mode in which the aberrant circle was closed, until our friend Dr. Horsfield very recently communicated to us a new species of Prinea from India, having the depressed Fly-catcher-like bill of the American Culicivoræ, with the rictus strongly bristled! On the situation of these two genera, indeed, there can be no doubt,—the one representing the Scansores, the other the Fissirostres; but of Hylïota we know only two species; and until the circular affinities of the genera immediately conterminous have been made out, we look on this point of the series as by no means perfect.

The only material point which will detain us, as connected with the affinities of this division, regards the genus Troglodytes. Modern naturalists generally consider these as Scansorial birds: not, indeed, from a partial consideration of the solitary example found in Europe, but from looking to the general affinities and habits of the whole group. The correctness of this opinion has more recently been denied, upon the ground that the tongue of the Carolina Wren is like that of a Certhia; while the tongue of the winter Wren places it with the Sylviadæ. Now, admitting this to be true; admitting also that the European Troglodytes does not use its tongue to seize its insect food, what does the whole amount to?

* The beautiful development of tail, seen in this group, might lead us to suspect it to be the Rasorial type of the Sylvianæ; and as its contents have not yet been analyzed, there may still be room for doubt. On the other hand, it must be premised, that the genera, thus arranged, accurately represent the sub-families of the Merulidæ,—a fact which maybe gathered by comparing this table with those at page 152. We can form no well-grounded opinion on the precise station of the beautiful little Emu bird of Australia: its situation, either with Malurus or Prinea, depends entirely on the analysis of these two groups.—Sw.

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—an affinity or an analogy? Simply, as we conceive, the latter. The analogy between Sylvia and Troglodytes, indeed, is very strong, but not more so than that between Chloropsis and Meliphaga, already illustrated. We see no reason, therefore, to believe that part of the Wrens belong to the Scansores and part to the Syiviadæ; still less for supposing that the two groups, by these birds, are brought together, and consequently meet*. The most unanswerable proof, however, which can be brought forward against this idea (resting, indeed, upon partial reasoning only), is derived from comparing the analogies of the following groups:—

Families of
ANALOGIES. Genera of
PICIDÆ Typical in their respective circles; tail feathers pointed Sylvia.
PSITTACIDÆ Bill shorter, curved from the base Malurus..
RAMPHASTIDÆ Representing the Fissirostres in their respective circles Culicivora.
CULCULIDÆ Wings long, pointed Hylïota?.
CERTHIADÆ Hind toe lengthened; bill compressed, entire; rictus smooth Prinea.

Troglodytes (as forming a part of the Certhiadæ) is thus represented by Prinea and Orthotomus, Horsf.; and this analogy at once accounts for these three forms having been supposed to enter among the Scansorial creepers. In drawing up this table, we again see the groups in the Sylviadæ partially transposed, since Sylvia, and not Malurus, unites to Culicivora: yet we cannot discover that this originates in any defect in this view of their real affinities. On comparing this group, however, with the Merulidæ, we find that Prinea obviously represents the Crateropodinæ, and Culicivora the Brachypodinæ, both of which, as we have already seen, possess double analogies to the Insessorial orders of Scansores and Fissirostres.

On the last sub-family of the


typically represented by the true Nightingale, we must not dwell, since there does not appear to be one species found in Northern America.

* "We may observe these two groups to be placed in opposite stations in the general circle of affinity, and may add this instance to many others, where groups similarly circumstanced are found to meet."—Linn, Trans., xiv., p. 441.

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[44.] 1. ERYTHACA (SIALIA) ARCTICA. (Swainson.) The Arctic Blue-bird.

GENUS, Erythaca. Sub-genus, Sialia, SWAINSON.

CH. SP. ERYTHACA (SIALIA) AKCTICA, eyanea, subtus azurea, crisso versus albescens.

SP. CH. THE ARCTIC BLUE-BIRD, ultramarine-blue above, greenish-blue beneath, whitish on the posterior part of the belly and under tail coverts.


The only specimen that we procured of this beautiful bird was shot at Fort Franklin, in July, 1825. It is merely a summer visitor to the fur-countries; and we obtained no information respecting its habits.


Of a specimen killed at Great Bear Lake, lat. 64¼°, July, 1825.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect ultramarine-blue; the webs of the tertiaries and the tips and inner margins of the quill and tail feathers dull umber-brown; the base of the plumage blackish-grey. Under surface. The cheeks, throat, breast, and insides of the wings greenish-blue, fading, on the abdomen, to greyish-blue. Vent feathers and under tail coverts white. Tail beneath and insides of the quill feathers clove-brown, with a strong tinge of blue. Bill and feet pitch-black.

FORM, in general, that of E. Wilsonii; but the bill is considerably narrower at the base, and proportionably longer, straighter, more faintly notched, and less bent at the tip of the upper mandible: its breadth is equal to its depth. Wings three-quarters of an inch shorter than the tail. The second quill feather is the longest; the first and third are equal, and about a line shorter*; the tenth is an inch and a half shorter than the second. Tail forked or deeply emarginated, the central feathers being more than half an inch shorter than the exterior ones. Legs and feet similarly formed with those of E. Wilsonii.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 7 9
„ of the tail 2 9
„ of the folded wing 2 9
„ of the folded wing 4 4
„ of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 0 8
Length of the bill on its ridge 0 6
„ of the tarsus 0 6
„ of the middle toe 0
„ of the middle nail 0 2
„ of the hind toe 0 4
„ of the hind nail 0 3

* The relative lengths of the quill feathers are the same with those of a young specimen of E. Wilsonii, described in the following page.

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[45.] 2. ERYTHACA (SIALIA) WILSONII. (Swainson.) Common Blue-bird.

GENUS, Erythaca. Sub-genus, Sialia, SWAINSON.
The Blue Redbreast (Rubecula dorso cœruleo). EDWARDS, pl. 24.
Motacilla Sialis. LINN.
The Blue-backed Redbreast. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 298, No. 281.
The Blue-bird. WILSON, i., p. 56, pl. 3, f. 5. Male.
Oenanthe sialis. VIEILLOT.
Saxicola sialis. BONAP. Syn., p. 89, No. 143.
Sialia Wilsonii. SWAINS. Zool. Journ., iii., p. 173.

This richly-coloured bird, which has all the familiarity of the English Redbreast, without its pugnacious disposition, is a great favourite in America, where it is customary to fix up boxes in the farm-yards and gardens for its accommodation. A few individuals winter in the southern States, and some remain in the western territories all the year, in as high a latitude as 41¼°; but greater numbers seek a southern retreat in winter. Should the weather in February be open, the Bluebird is occasionally seen in Pennsylvania; but it is not until the middle of March that he is observed, with his mate, reconnoitring the condition of his old breeding-places. He is found in the summer throughout North America to the eastward, and perhaps to the westward, of the Rocky Mountains, up to the forty-eighth parallel of latitude, beyond which he was not seen by the Expedition. On the approach of winter he moves to the southward, but does not entirely leave Pennsylvania till the middle or end of November. He feeds in summer on coleopterous insects, spiders, &c., and in the autumn on berries of various kinds. His song is an agreeable warble, which at the close of the season changes to a single plaintive note. The nest is built in the hole of a tree, or in a box erected on purpose. The female lays five or six eggs, of a bluish-green colour, and brings forth two or three broods in a season, the male assisting her in rearing the young. The eggs measure l½9 0 of an inch in length.


Of a specimen, procured at Penetanguishene.

COLOUR of the whole upper plumage intermediate between azure and china-blue (a considerably darker hue than that of Sialia arctica). Shafts of the quills and tail dull umber-brown. Under surface.—Throat, neck, breast, and flanks bright orange-brown. Belly and vent white. Tail beneath flax-flower blue. Bill and legs pitch-black.

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FORM, &c.—Typical. Wings pointed. First quill longest, second and third scarcely shorter, fourth about two lines shorter; secondaries truncated and notched at the end. Tail slightly forked, the middle feathers being more than a quarter of an inch shorter than the outer ones. Tarsus protected by a single entire scale, having a longitudinal fold on each side; the tarsal joint covered anteriorly by three transverse scales. The lateral toes are equal to each other and considerably shorter than the middle one. The outer nail is the smallest. The hind toe is the shortest, but most robust, and it has the largest claw.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 7 0
„ of the tail 2 8
„ of the longest quill feather 3 6
„ of the longest quill feather 3 6
„ of the tarsus 0 10
Length of the middle toe 0
„ of its claw 0 2
„ of the hind toe 0
„ of its claw 0 3


Of a young bird, in Mr. Swainson's collection, killed near Philadelphia.

COLOUR of the upper aspect of the head dark broccoli-brown. The back of the neck, scapularies, interscapularies, and lesser wing coverts present the same colour, the tips having a darker tint, with a greyish-white oval mark on each shaft; back and rump lavender-purple. A dark-blue feather among the scapularies, and another on the rump, shew that the specimen was assuming its perfect plumage when killed. The exterior webs of the quill and tail feathers have a brilliant china-blue colour, approaching to ultramarine, their tips blackish. Under plumage pale ash-grey, edged on the throat, breast, and flanks with yellowish-brown. The brown borders are broadest on the sides of the neck.

[46.] 1. SYLVICOLA ÆSTIVA. (Swainson.) Citron Warbler.

SUB-FAMILY, Parianæ. SWAINSON. Genus, Sylvicola. Sw.
Le Figuer de Canada. BRISSON. Orn., iii., p. 492, No. 21, pl. 26, f. 3.
Le Figuer de la Caroline. BUFFON. PI. Enl. 58, f. 1. Female.
Le Figuer de Canada. IDEM, 58, f. 2. Male.
Yellow-poll Warbler. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 402, No. 292. Male.
Olive Warbler. IDEM, p. 409, No. 307. Female.
Blue-eyed Yellow Warbler (Sylvia eitrinella). WILSON, ii., p. 111, pl. 15, f. 6.
Sylvia æstiva. SABINE. Franklin's Journ., p. 674; BONAP. Syn., p. 83, No. 122.
Oosowow-peetheesees (Small Yellow-bird). CREE INDIANS.

This species is known throughout the whole of the fur-countries, as far north as the woods extend, or to the sixty-eighth parallel of latitude; and being a

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familiar and shewy little bird, has attracted the attention of the natives to such a degree as to have obtained a specific appellation,—a distinction which is seldom conferred by them on birds of so small a size. It winters towards the tropics, and arrives in Pennsylvania about the beginning of May, where some pairs remain to breed, while others advance to the north as fast as the progress of summer prepares the country for their reception. It reaches the banks of the Saskatchewan about the third week in May, and the borders of Great Bear Lake, in the sixty-fifth parallel, in the beginning of June, soon after the snow has disappeared, but before the rivers break up. It retreats, with its young brood, from the fur-countries in the beginning of September, and from Pennsylvania by the middle of that month. It is commonly seen in the low thickets which spring up where the trees have been cut down in the neighbourhood of the fur posts, and is very active, flying continually from bush to bush, and destroying great numbers of the caterpillars which harbour on willows. Its notes are soft and pleasing, though without compass or variety. It builds its nest near the ground, in a bush or in the fork of a low tree, of grass, very compactly woven, and lined with hair and down. Its eggs, five in number, are of a greenish-white colour, with crowded blotches of dark umber-brown at the thick end, mixed with a few subdued spots of purplish-grey. The length of an egg is 1 7/10; inch.


Of a male, killed on the banks of the Saskatchewan, May 25, 1827.

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect intermediate between sulphur-yellow and olive-green. Quill feathers and greater coverts umber-brown, edged with sulphur-yellow. The outer vanes of the tail feathers and the tips of their inner vanes brown, the rest of the inner vanes gamboge-yellow, except those of the middle pair of feathers, which are almost entirely brown. Under surface.— The forehead, whole under plumage, and inner wing coverts, rich king's-yellow, approaching to saffron. Breast and belly streaked longitudinally with brownish-orange. Legs yellowish-brown.

FORM, &c., need not be detailed, as it is typical.

The female (killed on the 7th of June) has more of the olive tint on the dorsal aspect, very little of the bright-yellow on the forehead, and the colour of the under plumage is pure king's-yellow, without orange streaks. A young bird, from Pennsylvania, in Mr. Swainson's museum, agrees in colour with the female, except that it is a little paler beneath.

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Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 4 9
„ of the tail 1 9
„ of the folded wing 2 6
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 0 6
Length of the bill on its ridge 0
„ of the tarsus 0 9
„ of the middle toe 0
„ of the middle claw 0 2
„ of the hind toe 0
„ of the hind claw 0

[47.] 2. SYLVICOLA MACULOSA. (Swainson.) Yellow-rump Warbler.

SUB-FAMILY, Parianæ. Genus, Sylvicola. SWAINSON.
Yellow-rumped Fly-catcher (Muscicapa uropygio luted). EDWARDS, pl. 255.
Ficedula Pennsylvanica, nævia. BRISSON. Orn., iii., p. 502.
Yellow-rump Warbler. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 400, No. 288.
Sylvia maculosa. LATH. Ind., ii., p. 536, sp. 108. BONAP. Syn., p. 78, No. 106.*
Sylvia magnolia. WILSON, iii., pl. 23, f. 2.


Although rare in the United States, this is a common bird on the banks of the Saskatchewan: it is as familiar as the S. æstiva, which it resembles closely in manners, but is gifted with more varied and agreeable notes. It was often seen by us in the thickets of young spruce-trees and willows, flitting near the ground from one branch to another. It feeds on winged insects. The specimens seen by Wilson were constantly among the higher branches, and were very active and restless. It is one of the most beautiful of all the American Warblers.

* On consulting the above synonymes, it evidently appears that Brisson, Pennant, and Latham have copied their account of this species from that first given by our countryman Edwards. Besides the internal evidence which these descriptions afford of such being the case, the fact is corroborated by a singular circumstance: all these writers describe the back as of an olive-colour. Such was the specimen described by Edwards, and which was doubtless a female or young male. This account of an immature specimen seems to have deceived Wilson. The great similarity between the young bird of his Sylvia coronata and the Yellow-rumped Fly-catcher of Edwards—both having the back olive-green,—led him to think they were the same. The passage in Edwards runs thus: "The tail feathers, except the two middlemost, which are black, have the middle parts of their inner webs white, their tips and bottoms being black." Now this is a strong and peculiar character in Wilson's bird; for although nearly all the Sylvicolæ have the two or three outer feathers on each side marked with white, the S. magnolia of Wilson is the only one we are acquainted with where this colour extends through the middle of all the lateral feathers.—Sw.

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Of a male, killed at Cumberland House, lat. 54°, May 26, 1827.

COLOUR.—Upper aspect of the head and nape pearl-grey; back (the anterior part), pitch-black; centres of the posterior feathers the same, their margins greenish-yellow. Rump crossed by a broad band of gamboge-yellow; tail coverts pitch-black; lesser wing coverts and scapularies black, the former broadly bordered with pearl-grey, the latter with pearl-grey and yellow; quills and primary coverts blackish-brown, their outer webs narrowly edged with grey; the tertiaries and greater secondary coverts broadly edged with white, and the adjoining row of lesser coverts tipped with the same, forming together a large white patch, streaked or spotted with black. Tail black; inner webs of all the lateral feathers (midway) white for half an inch; the exterior webs slightly bordered with grey. Under surface.—A narrow velvet-black streak runs round the base of the upper mandible, and, passing backwards, includes the lores, eyelids, and cheeks: this is separated from the grey of the crown by a narrow white line above the orbit. Throat and belly bright gamboge-yellow, with black spots on the breast and flanks, and crowded into a band across the base of the neck. Inner wing coverts and under tail coverts white. Bill and legs dark umber-brown.

FORM, &c.—Wings shorter, with webs proportionably broader than those of S. coronata; the first quill is half a line shorter than the second, third, and fourth. Tail rather long, and moderately rounded, the exterior feathers being about a line shorter than the others. In some specimens, the central pair are a little shorter than the adjoining ones.

Our specimens, three in number, agree exactly with each other in size and plumage; but the sex of one only, which was a male, is known. The dress of the female has not been ascertained.


Of the male.

Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 5 0
„ of the tail 2 2
„ of the folded wing 2 5
„ of the bill on its ridge 0 4
„ of the bill from the angle of the mouth 0
Length of the tarsus 0 8
„ of the middle toe 0 5
„ of its claw 0 2
„ of the hind toe 0 3
„ of its claw 0

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[48.] 3. SYLVICOLA PETECHIA. (Swainson.) Yellow Red-poll Warbler.

SUB-FAMILY, Parianæ. GENUS, Sylvicola, SWAINSON.
Yellow Red-poll (Avicula lutea, vertice rubro). EDWARDS, pl. 256.
Red-head Warbler. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 401, No. 289.
Sylvia petechia. LATH. Ind., ii., p. 535, sp. 103.
Yellow Red-poll Warbler (Sylvia petechia). WILSON, iv., p. 19, pl. 28, f. 4. Male*
Sylvia petechia.
BONAP. Syn., p. 83, No. 123.


I shot a single specimen of this bird on the swampy banks of the Saskatchewan, at Cumberland House, in a shady thicket of willows, alders, and ash-leaved maples. It seemed to be a shy, solitary, and silent bird; but I saw only one individual; and although I know that it quits that country on the approach of winter, I cannot state the date of its arrival and departure, nor the extent of its range to the northward. If the identity of our bird with Wilson's be allowed, it may be stated, from that author, that it visits Pennsylvania early in April, and departs in September. It is supposed to winter in the southern states, as several were shot in Georgia late in February.


Of a specimen, killed at Cumberland House, lat. 54°, May 26, 1827. (Sex not ascertained.)

COLOUR of the dorsal aspect between hair-brown and liver-brown, shaded on the rump with greenish-yellow. Between the eyes a large patch of orange-brown. A short mæsial streak of yellow divides the forehead; a broader yellow line extends from the nostrils over the eye to the ear. Quill feathers pale on their margins, as if worn: two exterior tail feathers tipped with white on their inner webs. Under surface.—Throat, vent feathers, and under tail coverts gamboge-yellow, the former obscurely spotted with brown. Belly and breast faded greyish-yellow, with umber-brown streaks on the shafts. There is a slight yellowish tinge on the interior wing-coverts, and the insides of the quill feathers are pale clove-brown. Bill and feet umber-brown.

* The general resemblance of our specimen to the Sylvia petechia of Wilson induces us to refer it to that species, although there are sufficient differences to throw a doubt on their identity. Wilson's description, which follows, may be compared with that of our bird. "Length five inches, extent eight; line over the eye and whole lower parts, rich-yellow; hreast streaked with dull-red; upper part of the head reddish-chestnut, which it loses in winter; back yellow-olive, streaked with dusky; rump and tail coverts greenish-yellow; wings deep blackish-brown, exteriorly edged with olive; tail slightly forked, and of the same colour as the wings. The female wants the red cap, and the yellow of the lower parts is less brilliant: the streaks of red ou the head are also fewer and less distinct."—Sw.

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FORM, &c., typical; but the bill rather more elevated and less wide than that of S. æstiva, Tail, in our specimen, much worn, and appearing slightly notched.


Inches. Lines.
Length from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail 5 0
„ of the tail 1 10
„ of the folded wing 2
„ of the bill, from the angle of the mouth 0
Length of the bill, measured along the ridge 0
„ of the tarsus 0 9
„ of the middle toe 0
„ of its claw 0 2
„ of hind toe 0 3
„ of its claw 0

[49.] 4. SYLVICOLA CORONATA. (Swainson.) Golden-crowned Warbler.

SUB-FAMILY, Parianas. GENUS, Sylvicola, SWAINSON.
Golden-crowned Fly-catcher (Muscicapa aureo verticc). EDWARDS, pl. 298.
Golden-crowned Warbler. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 403, No. 294. Adult male; summer.
Dusky Warbler. IDEM, ii., p. 410, No. 309. Autumnal.
Grasset Warbler. IDEM, ii., p. 411, No. 314. Autumnal.
Belted Warbler. IDEM, ii., p. 408, No. 306. Adult male; summer.
Sylvia coronata. LATH. Ind., ii., p. 538, sp. 115. Adult male; summer.
Sylvia umbria. IDEM, ii., p. 518, sp. 34. Adult; autumn.
Sylvia pinguis. IDEM, ii, p. 543, sp. 132. Adult; autumnal.
Sylvia cincta. IDEM, ii., p. 539, sp. 116. Adult male; summer.
Yellow-rump Warbler (Sylvia coronata). WILSON, ii., p. 138, pl. 17, f. 4. Summer male. IDEM, v., p. 121, pl. 45, f. 3. Winter plumage.
Sylvia coronata. BONAP. Syn., p. 78, No. 104.

This bird arrives on the banks of the Saskatchewan about the middle of May, and continues there the whole summer, frequenting willow thickets and the borders of streams and lakes, where the Myrica gale grows in abundance. It seemed to be a shy, distrustful bird, at that season at least, affecting the darkest places, and concealing itself with great dexterity when pursued. It departs in September. I did not discover its nest, nor could I ascertain the extent of its range to the northward. Wilson informs us that it reaches Pennsylvania from the north early in October, in its olive dress, and frequents the cedar-trees (Juniperus Virginiana), devouring the berries with great avidity. After remaining in that district for three or four months, it retires to spend the winter in Virginia and the southern States, where it feeds much on the berries of the Myrica cerifera. He found it in the southern parts of Georgia as late as the middle of

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March, at which time it had partly assumed its slate-coloured dress, and was informed that its change of colour was completed before it began its journey to the north, in the beginning of April. About the twentieth of that month it reappears in Pennsylvania, and remains for eight or ten days pursuing flies, when it passes on to its breeding quarters in the north. Within the United States this bird associates in considerable numbers; but in the fur-countries it is seen only in pairs.


Of a specimen, killed at Cumberland House, 28th May, 1827*.

COLOUR.—Dorsal aspect of the head, neck, back, tail coverts, and lesser wing coverts bluish-grey, with a pitch-black oblong stripe in the middle of each feather, small towards the head and large on the back. An oval patch of bright gamboge on the crown; a broad band of the same colour on the rump, and another on each side of the breast. Sides of the head and ears pitch-black. A narrow white line from the nostrils over the eye, with a smaller one beneath. Quills, greater coverts, and tail blackish-brown. Greater and lesser coverts each tipped with a narrow greyish-white band; quills narrowly edged with the same; tail feathers of a deeper tint than the quills, broadly margined with bluish-grey; the three exterior ones largely blotched with white near the tips of their inner webs. Under surface.—Chin and upper part of the throat white. The lower part of the neck, breast, and fore part of the belly and flanks pitch-black, with a few white edgings: middle of the breast and all the posterior parts pure white. Bill and legs blackish-brown.

FORM.—Bill much shorter than that of S. æstiva, the bristles more like those of Setophaga cucullata, Sw., and reaching to one half the length of the bill; but it is less wide posteriorly, and has a less acute ridge than that of the Sylvia maculosa. Wings an inch shorter than the tail. The second and third quill feathers are the longest, the first is shorter than the fourth, and this again is a line shorter than the third. The secondaries are truncated, and have an obtuse notch at the end of their shafts. The tail is strongly emarginated in the middle, and also slightly rounded, the third feather being the longest, the outer one half a line shorter, and the middle pair about a line shorter: the ends of all these feathers are pointed. In a very fine adult specimen, in Mr. Swainson's museum, the two outer pairs of tail feathers are the longest.


Inches. Lines.
Length total 6 0
„ of tail 2 5
„ of folded wing 2 10½
„ of the bill from rictus 0 7
Length of the bill above 0
„ of tarsus 0
„ of the middle toe 0
„ Length of middle claw 0 2
„ of hind toe 0 3
„ of hind claw 0


* Although the sex of this specimen was not ascertained, it agrees with Wilson's account of the male bird. The plumage of the female, he says, is less vivid.—R.

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In this elegant and interesting bird we have a still further deviation from the typical species; and Nature has obviously begun the passage by which she unites, by collateral affinity, the circle of the Sylvicolæ with that of the Setophagæ. The shorter bill of S. coronata, the brevity of the first quill feather, the length of the bristles round the mouth, are all indications of an approach to the structure of the fly-catching Setophagæ. Accordingly we find that Wilson makes the following remark: "Although the bill of this species obliges me to arrange this bird with the Warblers (Sylvicola, Sw.), yet in his food and all his motions he is decidedly a Fly-catcher (Setophaga, Sw.)." As the Sylvicolæ represent in their own circle the Gold-crested Warblers of Europe,—the two genera in point of fact being parallel,—we accordingly see a striking analogy between them: in both groups, and in no others of the family, do we find birds with a bright golden crown.—Sw.

[50.] 5. SYLVICOLA STRIATA. (Swainson.) Black-poll Warbler.

SUB-FAMILY, Parianæ. Genus, Sylvicola, SWAINSON.
Black-poll Warbler. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 401, No. 290.
Sylvia striata. LATH. Ind., iv., p. 527, sp. 67.
Black-poll Warbler (Sylvia striata). WILSON, iv., p. 40, pl. 30, f. 3. Male; very exact.
IDEM, vi., p. 101, f. 4. Female.
Sylvia striata. BONAP. Syn., p. 31, No. 115.

Our specimen of this bird was killed by an Indian in the neighbourhood of Cumberland House, in the latter end of May. He found it in a shady wood, flying about among the upper branches of the trees: its stomach was filled with musquitoes. It arrives in Pennsylvania about the 20th of April, and most probably reaches the fur-countries about the middle of May, along with its allied species; but I am unable to throw any light on the extent of its range to the north. Most of the small birds quit those quarters in the end of August or beginning of September. It was seen by Mr. Say at Engineer cantonment on the 26th of April. In the vicinity of New York, during the spring, it is one of the most common birds.—R.

The greater depression of the bill renders this the first aberrant species in

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the advance that Nature makes towards the genus Setophaga; since, in the shortness of the bristles round the mouth, the length of the bill and of the first quill feather, we have all the typical characters of Sylvicola. We find, accordingly, that Wilson, who looks more to its manners than to its structure, notices this affinity in much more qualified terms than when he speaks of S. coronata. "This bird," he remarks, "may be considered as occupying an intermediate station between the Fly-catchers (Setophaga, Sw.) and the Warblers (Sylvicola, Sw.), having the manners of the former, and the bill, partially, of the latter."—Sw.


Of a male, killed at Cumberland House, 25th May, 1827.

COLOUR.—Upper aspect of the head velvet-black: a broad stripe of white from the lower mandible covers the ears. Dorsal aspect of the neck, body, and tail coverts, bluish-grey, with broad central stripes of pitch-black. The greater and lesser wing coverts and tertiaries blackish-brown, the two former tipped with white, the latter edged with the same. Primaries dark clove-brown, narrowly margined with pale, dull, greenish-yellow. Tail feathers blackish-brown, the two exterior pairs with a large white spot near the tip of their inner webs: those adjoining with a very narrow white border at the same place. The under plumage is white; but the sides of the chin, throat, breast, and body are thickly spotted with deep-black. Bill brownish-black above, pale yellowish-brown below. Legs yellowish.

FORM.—Bill somewhat shorter, yet wider at the base and with a more acute ridge than that of the Sylvicola coronata, and straighter than that of the Sylvicola maculosa: the basal bristles do not exceed the length of the nostrils. Wings, when folded, more than an inch short of the end of the tail. First quill feather the longest, second and third nearly a line shorter in succession. All the tail feathers are of equal length; but from their inner webs being rounded off at the tip, the tail appears emarginated.


Of a female, from Mr. Swainson's museum.

COLOUR.—Dorsal aspect of the head, neck, scapulars, and interscapulars, oil-green, with narrow blackish-brown central stripes; the posterior part of the back and shorter tail coverts inclining to grey, the stripes less frequent. Quills and tail coloured nearly as in the male, the bands on the wings, &c., being pale primrose-yellow, instead of white. The under plumage pale buff-yellow, whiter down the middle; sides of the neck, breast, and flanks spotted with black. A yellow streak passes from the nostrils over the eyes. Length 5 inches; of the tail, 2£ inches; of the folded wing, 2¾inches; and of the tarsus, ¾ inch.

A young male, also in Mr. Swainson's collection, differs from the female only in the upper

2 F 2

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plumage having broader central black stripes, and in the under plumage having merely some faint touches of yellow, being for the most part greyish-white, with more numerous and distinct black spots on the sides of the neck and breast. Its dimensions correspond with those of the female.


Of the male.

Inches. Lines.
Length total 6 0
„ of tail 2 3
„ of folded wing 3 0
„ of bill from rictus 0
Length of the bill above 0 5
„ of tarsus 0 9
„ of the middle toe 0
„ Length of claw 0 2
„ of hind toe 0 3
„ of claw 0

[51.] 6. SYLVICOLA (VERMIVORA) RUBRICAPILLA. (Swainson.) Nashville Worm-eater.

GENUS, Sylvicola. Sub-genus, Vermivora. SWAINSON.
Nashville Warbler (Sylvia ruficapilla). WILSON, iii., p. 120, pl. 27, f. 3.
Sylvia rubricapilla. IDEM. BONAP. Syn., p. 87, No. 140. Obs., p. 107.


A single individual of this species was killed in the woods at Cumberland House, on the 15th of May, as it was hopping about among the branches of a tree, and emitting a creaking noise, something like the whetting of a saw, similar to that which has obtained for the Tomtit, in Scotland, the local name of "Stone-cherker." Wilson saw only three individuals in Tennessee; but the Prince of Musignano states that it occasionally visits Pennsylvania in the spring*.


Of a male, killed at Cumberland House on the 15th May, 1827.

COLOUR.—Dorsal aspect greenish-yellow, deepest on the tail coverts: bases of the crown feathers tinged with orpiment-orange, which is not seen when they lie smooth: barbs of the dorsal plumage much detached, permitting the blackish-grey bases to shine through. Quill and tail feathers hair-brown, edged with greenish-yellow: exterior margin of the first quill and tips of some of the secondaries very slightly edged with white; interior webs

* This specimen seems more intensely coloured than that described by Wilson. The yellow on the under parts, although pure, is not vivid, and the sides of the breast, body, and flanks are greenish. The rufous colour of the head is only seen when the feathers are raised, as their tips are glossed with cinereous-grey. The tail, although divaricating, can scarcely be termed forked, as the length of the middle feathers is equal to that of the others. The first quill feather is very slightly shorter than the second, and the bill is perfectly straight and acutely conic.—Sw.

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of two or three of the outer tail feathers whitish near their ends. Under plumage sulphur-yellow, changing to primrose on the abdomen, and pure gamboge-yellow on the under tail coverts: inner wing coverts yellow. Bill and legs pale umber-brown.

FORM.—Bill perfectly awl-shaped, both mandibles tapering equally; commissure very slightly arched. Wings: the second, third, and fourth quill feathers scarcely differing in length. Tail even. Length of the hind toe equal to that of the inner one; its claw equal in length, but stronger and more curved than that of the middle one.


Inches. Lines.
Length total 5 0
„ of tail 2 3
„ of folded wing 2 5
„ of bill from rictus 0
Length of bill on its ridge 0
„ of tarsus 0
„ of middle toe 0
„ Length of middle nail 0 2
„ of hind toe 0
„ of nail 0 2

[52.] 7. SYLVICOLA (VERMIVORA) PEREGRINA. (Swainson.) Tennessee Worm-ealer.

GENUS, Sylvicola. Sub-genus, Vermivora, SWAINSON.
Tennessee Warbler (Sylvia peregrina). WILSON, iii., p. 83, pl. 25, f. 2.
Sylvia peregrina. BONAP. Syn., p. 87, No. 140.


One specimen only was procured at Cumberland House, on the banks of the Saskatchewan, in the latter end of May. It was seen in a dense thicket of small trees, flying about among the lower branches; and as it was pursued some time without being driven away from the place, it is probable that it had a nest and mate in the neighbourhood. Nothing was ascertained respecting its habits.—R.

In some points of colour our specimen differs from that described by Wilson. Both the series of wing coverts, and not the lesser only, are coloured like the back. The lesser quills are also edged with rich yellow-olive; but the greater are bordered by a clear pearly-white,—not, as in Wilson's bird, "edged broadly with yellow-olive." Not only the upper surface of the head, but that of the neck also, is cinereous, without any mixture of olive. These differences, however, may possibly originate in age. The Sylxia bicolor of VIEILLOT (pl. 90 bis) is a totally distinct species from this, and is the only one of this group yet discovered in Brazil. M. Vieillot, perhaps by mistake, says it inhabits North America: inde-

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pendent of colour, it has a much more lengthened bill. In all the essential characters our bird is a true Vermivora; but the bill, when examined under a lens, exhibits a slight notch, somewhat removed from the tip of the upper mandible; a character never seen in the typical Vermivoræ, but developed in Zosterops, the tenuirostral type of the genus. The Zosterops Javanica (Sylvia Javanica, Horsf.) so closely resembles Wilson's bird in plumage, that they might, on a cursory examination, be thought the sexes of one species. Their colours differ only on the breast and belly, S. peregrina having these parts nearly white, while in Zosterops Javanica they are olive-yellow: their bills, of course, are differently formed.—Sw.


Of a specimen, killed at Cumberland House, lat. 54°, May 28, 1827.

COLOUR.—Upper surface of the head and neck blackish-grey, crown darker. The whole of the back, wing and tail coverts, margins of the secondaries, tertiaries, posterior primaries and tail feathers greenish-yellow, deepest on the rump and tail coverts. Quills and primary coverts clove-brown; the first five or six primaries edged exteriorly with pearl-grey. Middle tail feathers glossed with greenish-yellow, the others edged with the same; the three outer pairs have a white spot on the ends of their inner webs, the spot being largest on the exterior feather and very small on the third one. Under surface.—A streak, from the nostrils over the eye, the ears, and chin pale yellowish-grey; throat, vent, under tail coverts, axillary feathers, and inner wing coverts, all white, the latter tinged near the borders of the wing with yellow; breast, belly, and flanks tinged with oil-green. Bill dusky; rictus and base of the lower mandible paler. Legs pale.

FORM, &c.—Bill very like that of Vermivora rubricapilla, with the exception of the obsolete notches alluded to above, and in being rather stouter. The wings differ in the three first feathers being equal and longest, while the fourth is nearly two lines shorter: in Verm. rubricapilla the first is shorter than the fourth. The tail is slightly emarginated; the feathers, except the central pair, are strongly truncated on their inner webs, as in S. rubricapilla.


Inches. Lines.
Length total 4 7
„ of tail 1 9
„ of folded wing 2 6
„ of bill from rictus 0
Length of bill from rictus 0
„ of tarsus 0 6
„ of tarsus 0 8
„ of middle toe 0 5
„ Length of middle nail 0 2
„ of hind toe 0
„ of hind claw 0 2

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[53.] 1. SETOPHAGA RUTICILLA. (Swainson.) Yellow-tailed Gnat-catcher.

SUB-FAMILY, Parianaff, SWAINS. Genus, Setophaga, SWAINS. Zool. Journ., No. 9, Dec., 1827, P- 360.
Small American Redstart (Ruticilla minor Americana). EDWARDS, pl. 80, ann. 1747. Male.
Yellow-tailed Fly-catcher (Muscicapa cauda lutea). IDEM, pl. 257, ann. 1757. Female.
Muscicapa ruticilla. LINN.
Black-headed Warbler. LATH. Syn., iv., p. 427, sp. 18. Female.
Yellow-tail Warbler. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 406, No. 301. Female.
Black-headed Warbler. IDEM, ii., p. 398, No. 282. Male.
American Redstart (Muscicapa ruticilla). WILSON, i., p. 103, pl. 6, f. 6. Male. IDEM, v., p. 119. pl. 45, f. 2. Young.

This beautiful little bird, the typical species of Mr. Swainson's genus Setophaga, is said to winter in the West Indies, and is found generally throughout North America in summer up to the fifty-eighth parallel of latitude. Late in April it appears in Pennsylvania, and on the Missouri, according to Mr. Say, by the 28th of that month. May is far advanced before it arrives on the banks of the Saskatchewan; and it quits both the fur-countries and the United States in the beginning of September. It frequents moist, shady places in the Hudson's Bay lands, flitting about among the moss-grown and twisted stems of the tall willows which skirt every marsh in those quarters. Like the Pine-creeper, as described by Wilson, it shuns the observation of the passers-by, by running round to the opposite side of a branch; but the red of the inside of the wings readily betrays it as it flies through these gloomy shades in pursuit of musquitoes and other winged insects. It has a single acute, but very agreeable note.—R.

The foregoing particulars on the economy of Wilson's American Redstart, joined to the interesting memoirs given in the American Ornithology, illustrates most fully and most completely the station which this elegant bird holds in the scale of created beings. In the first place, it is an ambulatory Fly-catcher, that is, pursuing insects from one station to another; and is therefore essentially distinct from the true Fly-catchers, which sit still and watch for their prey. "It is almost perpetually in motion, and will pursue a party of retreating flies from the tops of the tallest trees to the ground."—Am. Orn., p. 103. Secondly, although a true Setophaga, it should nevertheless bear a very close resemblance to the Sylvicolæ, as united to them by close affinity; and we consequently find Wilson observing, that "Several of our most respectable ornithologists have classed this bird with the Warblers." Thirdly, it sometimes "traverses the branches of trees lengthways," and at others hides itself, as Dr. Richardson observes, like a creeper: both of which habits should belong to a group which passes into Accentor, by means of Seïurus aurocapillus, since the latter bird has the first of

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these habits, while Accentor has the second. Fourthly, it is frequently "flirting its expanded tail from side to side;" thus preserving its analogy to the Fantailed Warblers of Australia, which Setophaga, in fact, represents. Fifthly, marshy and watery places are its favourite haunts: this we should naturally expect in any group which typifies the Natatores, or aquatic order, and the Fissirostres in its own circle. Lastly, this curious bird, in the disposition of its colours so much resembles the Redstart of Europe (Phænicura, Sw.), that it is called in America by that name! Now it may be demonstrated, by an analysis of the sub-family Philomelinæ, Sw., that Setophaga actually represents Phænicura. We know not in what manner to expound these relations, so wonderfully minute, and yet so beautifully exact, but by supposing that, in this group at least, the true plan of CREATIVE WISDOM has been discovered. To frame a system such as this, which explains affinities the most varied, and analogies almost interminable, surpasses the utmost pitch of human ingenuity.—Sw.


Of a male, killed at Cumberland House, May 20.

COLOUR.—Head, neck, back, throat, and breast shining black, very slightly glossed with blue; wings and tail reddish-black. A band across the quills; the inner wing coverts, sides of the breast, and middles of the tail feathers, rich and vivid orpiment-orange, except the central pair of the latter, which are wholly black. The black on the breast descends and forms a curve on each side of the orange patch, leaving the middle nearly white. Belly, flanks, and under tail coverts white. Bill pitch-black. Legs light-brown.

FORM, typical. Bill entirely depressed, with an acute ridge; the vibrissaæ more than half its length. First and fourth quills equal, and very little shorter than the second and third. Tail lengthened, rounded; the feathers rather broad, their tips suddenly terminating in a small acute point.

A young male, (which, according to Wilson's observations, must be nearly a year old,) killed at Cumberland House on the 5th of June, 1830, has the dorsal aspect liver-brown; the head greyish; and those parts of the breast, wings, and tail which are orange in the adult, tinged with pale lemon-yellow. Under parts greyish-white; the bill and legs dark umber-brown. Dimensions as in the adult. Wilson informs us that the female has the same colours with the young male, but wants the yellow band on the wing.


Of the male.

Inch. Lin.
Length total 5 2
„ of tail 2
„ of folded wing 2
„ of bill from rictus 0
Length of bill above 0 4
„ of tarsus 0 8
„ of middle toe 0
Length of middle claw 0 2
„ of hind toe 0 3
„ of its claw 0

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[54.] 2. SETOPHAGA BONAPARTH. (Swainson.) Bonaparte's Gnat-catcher.

SUB-FAMILY, Parianæ. SWAINS. Genus, Setophaga. SWAINS.
Muscicapa Canadensis. WILSON, iii., p. 100, pl. 26, f. 2??
Sylvia Pardalina. BONAP. Syn., p. 70??
Muscicapa Bonapartii. AUDUBON*. Birds of America.


A single specimen of this bird was killed, in June, at Cumberland House. It was observed, in a dense alder thicket, perched on a branch near the ground, and uttering three or four loud, but very sweet notes. On our approach it retreated from place to place of the thicket with much quickness, and we had some difficulty in getting near enough to secure it as a specimen. From the time of year in which it was seen, we have no doubt of its breeding in that quarter.—R.

This interesting species demonstrates, in the most beautiful and unquestionable manner, the lateral junction of the two groups Setophaga and Sylvicola, Its connexion to the latter is so close, that the Prince of Musignano regards it as a Warbler (Sylvicola, Sw.); while Wilson, adopting the opinion of all preceding writers, considers it a Muscicapa (Setophaga, Sw.), since, as he observes, "it has much of the Fly-catcher in its manners." Of the Setophaga mitrata, which the Prince places immediately after this in his suite of species, Wilson thus writes:—"Why this bird should have been arranged with the Warblers (Sylvicola) is to me unaccountable, as few of the Muscicapæ (Setophagæ) are more strongly marked. It is perpetually in pursuit of winged insects." Here, then, the series is completed, even by the species noticed in the foregoing pages; and this collateral affinity is established both by the progressive and almost imperceptible change of one form to the other, and by the nice and discriminating observations of one of the most veracious writers ou Ornithology that has ever existed.—Sw.


Of a male, killed at Cumberland House, lat. 54°, June 6, 1827.

COLOUR.—Head, neck, body, and lesser wing coverts, blackish-grey, glossed on the inter-scapulary space with mountain-green: black central spots on the head feathers, crowded and

* But for the opinion of our friend Mr. Audubon, who assures us this is his new species of Muscicapa, dedicated by him to the Prince of Musignano, we should have had no hesitation in considering it as the Muscicapa Canadensis of Wilson; and even the high estimation in which we hold the practical knowledge of our friend, fails to remove our suspicion on this head. We can perceive no character, either in the figure or the description of Wilson, which does not accord with our bird. The specific name must, therefore, rest on Mr. Audubon's authority; while, as regards the generic, we consider the whole structure of the bird as obviously intermediate between the Sylvicolæ and the typical Setophagæ, although much more closely allied to the latter than to the former.—Sw.

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mixed with yellow on the frontlet. A black line, from the base of the lower mandible, passes over the under-eyelid to the shoulders. Quills and tail clove-brown, the inner margins of the former pale. The chin and whole under plumage pure and bright gamboge-yellow, a broad belt of triangular black spots crossing the upper part of the breast; under tail coverts whitish; the inner wing coverts pale ash-grey. Bill dark umber-brown above, pale yellowish-brown at the base below. Orbits yellow. Legs yellowish-brown.

FORM.—Bill depressed, with an acute ridge; its tip notched and inflexed, vibrissaæ half the length of the bill. Second and third quills the longest; the first two lines shorter. Tail long, rounded, and yet notched at the end, the feathers being rather acute. Tarsus long, slender, and naked; lateral toes equal, scarcely longer than the hind toe, and considerably shorter than the middle one.


Of the male.

Inch. Lin.
Length total 4 10
„ of tail 2 2
„ of folded wing 2 6
„ of bill above 0
Length of bill from rictus 0
„ of tarsus 0 9
„ of middle toe 0 5
Length of middle nail 0
„ of hind toe 0 3
„ of hind nail 0 2

[55.] 1. PARUS ATRICAPILLUS. (Linn.) Black-cap Titmouse.

SUB-FAMILY, Parianæ, SWAINS. Genus, Parus, LINN. Typical Pari, SWAINS.
Parus atricapillus. LINN., i., p. 341, sp, 6. BRISSON. Orn., iii., p. 553, pl. 29, f. i.
Mésange à tête noire de Canada. BUFFON.
Black-capt Titmouse (Parus atricapillus). WILSON, i., p. 134, pl. 8, f. 4.
Parus atricapillus. BONAP. Syn., p. 100, No. 157.
Peecheh-keeskēshees. CREE INDIANS. Mésange. CANADIAN VOYAGEURS.

This bird inhabits the whole width of the American continent from latitude 65° to the southern districts of the United States throughout the year. Its loose plumage, like that of the Canadian Jay, is well qualified for its protection in the severe arctic winters. It is so extremely similar to the European Parus palustris that some ornithologists have classed it as the same; the two species, however, appear to us sufficiently distinct. It is one of the most common birds in the fur-countries, a small family inhabiting almost every thicket.


Of the male, killed at Carlton House in April, 1827.

COLOUR.—Upper aspect of the head, the nape, chin, and throat velvet-black. A white line from the nostrils through the eye, spreads out on the side of the neck. Back lead-coloured,

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glossed with yellowish-grey; quill and tail feathers blackish-grey, edged with greyish-white. Under plumage brownish-white, deepening in some specimens to yellowish-grey. Bill pitch-black. Legs bluish.

FORM.—Bill, nostrils, &c., typical. Fifth quill feather longest, but scarcely exceeding the fourth and sixth, and only two lines longer than the third and seventh; eighth two lines shorter than the seventh; ninth about as much shorter than the eighth, and equal to or a little exceeding the second; first less than half the length of the second. Tail long, rounded. Tarsi considerably longer than the middle toe. Two lateral toes adherent to the middle one by their first phalanges; third one most robust and furnished with the longest claw.


Inch. Lin.
Length total 5 6
„ of tail 2 10
„ of folded wing 2 8
„ Length of bill on its ridge 0 5
of tarsus 0
„ middle toe 0
Length of middle claw 0
„ of hind toe 0 3
„ of hind claw 0 2

[56.] 1. SEÏURUS. AUROCAPILLUS. (Swainson.) Golden-crowned Accentor.

The Golden-crowned Thrush. EDWARDS, pl. 252. PENN. Arct. Zool, ii., p. 339.
Golden-crowned Thrush (Turdus aurocapilla). WILSON, ii., p. 88, pl. 14, f. 2.
Turdus coronatus. VIEIL., Ois. de l'Am., ii., pl. 64, p. 8.
Sylvia aurocapilla. BONAP. Syn., p. 77, No. 102.

This very pretty bird breeds on the banks of the Saskatchewan, and perhaps in still higher latitudes, and also as far south as Pennsylvania. It reaches the latter State in April, and departs late in September, after having reared two broods. Mr. Say mentions that it arrives on the upper branches of the Missouri on the 26th of April, and it makes its appearance in the fur-countries ten or twelve days afterwards. It winters within the tropics, the specimen from which Edwards's figure was drawn having been taken off St. Domingo on the 1st of November, 1751. Bartram and Wilson inform us that it builds its nest in the woods among the fallen leaves, choosing a declivity with a southern aspect. The nest is sunk below the surface, built of grass, arched over and lined with hair, a small hole only being left for an entrance. The eggs are four or five, of a white colour, sprinkled all over, but chiefly towards the large end, with spots of yellowish-brown, intermixed with a few larger ones of subdued purplish-grey.

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They are 18/10 inch in length. Wilson is mistaken in saying that this species has no song; for the male serenades his mate in the breeding season with a loud, clear, and remarkably pleasing ditty, sitting on the lower branches of an alder or willow tree in the vicinity of the nest.—R.

The mode of constructing its nest, analogous to that of the Wrens and other Scansorial types, is at once explained by the analogy of this group to the genus Troglodytes and the tribe of Scansores, both of which, in conjunction with Accentor, it represents in the circle of Parianæ. We see this bird again represented in the most remarkable manner by the Oxyrhynchus cristatus, Sw., (since altered, for what reason we know not, to Flammiceps,) which occupies a perfectly analogous station in the family of Picidæ. If the colours of the crown of S. aurocapillus were more vivid, one description of plumage might serve for both birds. How superficially do we study Nature!—Sw.


Of a male, killed at Cumberland House, June 1, 1827.

COLOUR.—Dorsal aspect between dark hair-brown and oil-green*: crown brownish-orange, bounded on each side by a line of black spots. Under plumage white, thickly marked on the breast and flanks with pitch-black, triangular, thrush-like spots; axillary feathers and inner wing coverts pale primrose-yellow. Bill umber-brown above: the whole lower mandible pale. Legs pale.

FORM.—Typical. The bill is stouter than that of S. aquaticus, and does not taper so suddenly: the lower mandible in particular is more robust. Vibrissæ on the rictus, and chin short. Wings an inch shorter than the tail; second quill the longest, but scarcely exceeding the first and third. Tail slightly emarginated, its feathers acutely pointed. Tarsus much longer than the middle toe; covered with a single or entire scale as in S. aquaticus: lateral toes equal, and longer than the hind toe: claws small.


Inch. Lin.
Length total 5 9
„ of tail 2 3
„ of folded wing 2 11
„ of bill from rictus 0 7
Length of bill above 0 6
„ of tarsus 0
of middle toe 0 6
Length of middle nail 0
„ of hind toe 0 3
„ of hind claw 0


* Rich yellow-olive.—WILSON.

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[57.] 2. SEÏURUS AQUATICUS. (Swainson.) Aquatic Accentor.

La fauvette tachetée de la Louisiane. BUFFON. PI. Enl. 752, f. 1?
New York Warbler. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 308, No.??
Sylvia Novæboracensis. LATH. Ind., ii. p. 518, sp. 33??
Turdus aquaticus. WILSON, iii., p. 66, pl. 23, f. 5.
Seïurus tenuirostris. SWAINS. Syn., No. 36.
Sylvia Novæboracensis. BONAP. Syn., p. 77; No. 103?


On first receiving this species from Mexico, we thought it distinct from the Turdus aquaticus of the American Ornithology, as Wilson particularly says "that the bill is formed almost exactly like that of the Golden-crowned Thrush," without adding that it is much more gracile. A comparison, however, of the Mexican with the Arctic specimens proves they are of one species,—the aquaticus of Wilson probably. Whether the Turdus motacilla of Vieillot be also the same, is another question, and admits of considerable doubt. Again, Wilson alludes to what he calls a variety of his Turdus aquaticus, which inhabits the mountain-streams of Tennessee, where it is "pretty numerous, and particularly distinguished by the legs being of a bright-yellow colour." He adds, "in other respects it differs not from aquaticus, whose legs are flesh-coloured." The colour of these members cannot be traced in the dried skin, and therefore this distinction is of little use in onr present difficulty. These particulars, given by Wilson, and the difference in the bill before alluded to, give rise to strong suspicion that there are two species confounded under this head, while the other may possibly be our bird, or the T. motacilla of Vieillot. The latter, in fact, seems to differ in several respects from both. Whether these variations really exist in nature or arise from inaccurate description we know not; the point merits attention from the American ornithologists. Innumerable instances might be mentioned, in addition to those exemplified in this work, of species clothed nearly in the same coloured plumage, which are absolutely and essentially distinct. We may further remark, that Wilson says the lower parts are white, tinged with yellow-ochre; whereas, in our specimen, the tint is of a pale and clear straw-colour*. On mature consideration,

* As it is totally impossible to say wbat is the Sylvia Novæboracensis of the old writers, a bird, according to Pennant, found in the hedges of New York, we have retained the expressive name of Wilson, whose description of a qualicus is certainly more applicable to our bird than to any other we have yet seen. Should this, however, eventually prove distinct, it can then preserve the name of tenuirostris, by which we formerly distinguished it—Sw.

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we are more disposed to view this bird and Seïurus aurocapillus as entering in the circle of Accentor, than to place them within the confines of the Motacillinæ. If this eventually proves to be their real station in nature, Seïurus becomes, of course, a sub-genus. Do they, in fact, possess the same analogical relations? We suspect not.—Sw.

This bird was seen only at Carlton House, where it frequented the moist and thickly-wooded points of the river. It arrived in May, and disappeared after a few days, probably going farther north to breed.


Of a specimen, killed at Carlton House, lat. 53°, May, 1827.

COLOUR.—Whole upper plumage a remarkably uniform and very deep hair-brown. Eye-stripe, chin, and whole under surface very pale primrose-yellow; throat, breast, and flanks marked at the tips with wedge-shaped spots of the colour of the upper plumage. Inner wing coverts yellowish-grey, spotted with brown near the edges of the wing. Bill dark umber-brown above, paler beneath. Legs brownish.

FORM, &c.—Bill rather wider than high at the base; upper mandible somewhat suddenly narrowed in the middle; tip slender and minutely notched. Three first quills equal, the rest diminish in succession, the greatest interval occurring between the fourth and fifth. Tail square, or very slightly rounded; its feathers obliquely truncated on their inner webs, which are broader than those of S. aurocapillus. Tarsus slender and considerably longer than the middle toe: first phalanx of the outer toe adherent to the middle one: lateral toes nearly equal. Nails very small: they are more curved, and the hind one is longer than in S. aurocapillus; but the structure of the feet is otherwise alike in both.


Inch. Lin.
Length total 5 9
„ of tail 2 4
„ of folded wing 3 0
„ of bill above 0 5
Length of bill above 0 8
„ of tarsus 0 10½
of middle toe 0
Length of nail 0 2
„ of hind toe 0 3
„ of hind nail 0

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[58.] 1. ANTHUS AQUATICUS. (Bechstein.) Reddish-brown Tillark.

SUB-FAMILY, Motacillinæ. SWAINSON. Genus, Anthus. BECHSTEIN.
The Little Lark from Pennsylvania (Alauda Pennsylvanica). EDWARDS, pl. 297.*
Red Lark. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 393, No. 279?
Brown Lark (Alauda rufa). WILSON, v., p. 89, pl. 42, f. 4.
Anthus spinoletta. BONAP. Syn., p. 90, No. 144.


This bird was observed in small flocks on the plains of the Saskatchewan, in the spring of 1827, feeding on the larvæ of small insects, particularly of a species of ant, whose habitations are constructed with small twigs and loose straws. It most probably goes further north to breed.


Of a specimen, killed at Carlton House, 14th May, 1827.

COLOUR.—Dorsal aspect hair-brown; most of the feathers darker in the centre. Wings and tail liver-brown; the quills narrowly, and the tertiaries and coverts broadly, edged with pale brownish-white. The outer tail feather white†, except at the base of its inner web; the adjoining one also white exteriorly and at its tip. Under surface.—Chin and line over the eye brownish-white. Neck and body wood-brown, inclining a little to ochraceous, with some small liver-brown spots on the breast and flanks. Inner wing coverts cinereous, with small brown spots. Bill and legs black.

FORM, &c.—Typical. Wings. First quill feather the longest; second, third, and fourth becoming in succession just perceptibly shorter; the fifth half an inch shorter than the fourth; the second, third, and fourth sinuated exteriorly, and the tips of the secondaries truncated and emarginated. Tertiaries long; one of them only a line or two shorter than the fourth quill feather. Tail lengthened and emarginated: the middle pair of feathers nearly a quarter of an inch shorter than the others. Tarsus much longer than the middle toe. Toes slender; hind toe a little shorter than the inner, which nearly equals the outer one: the middle toe does not exceed these above a line and a half. Nails slender, subulate, acute, and but slightly curved; the hinder much the longest.


Inch. Lin.
Length total 7 0
„ of tail 2 9
„ of wing 3 4
„ Length of bill to rictus 0
of bill above 0 6
„ of tarsus 0 10
Length of middle toe 0 6
„ of middle nail 0 3
„ of hind nail 0

* The Little Pennsylvanian Lark of Edwards is probably a variety of ours, in which "the outer feathers on each side of the tail are white, and the two next to them have white tips. The under side, from bill to tail, is of a light reddish-brown, with dusky spots." In our bird, these spots are confined to the breast and flanks. His figure is poor. That of Wilson is well drawn, but so inaccurately coloured, that, but for the description, we should have supposed it represented another species.—Sw.

† The extent of the oblique brown mark on the inner web of the outer tail feather varies in different specimens.

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IN the group of Ampelidæ there are fewer species than in any one family of the Dentirostres, and consequently the investigation of their affinities is attended with unusual difficulty*. It is, therefore, with considerable doubts on the true nature of the aberrant divisions, that we offer the following table as exhibiting some approximation to the truth.


1. Typical group. Mouth excessively wide; feet short, strong; toes nearly free. Ampelinæ.
2. Sub-typical group. Mouth smaller; feet longer, weaker; syndactyle. Piprinæ.
3. Aberrant group. Wings short, rounded; rictus bristled; feet strong; toes nearly free. Leiotrichanæ.
* * * * * ——
Wings very long, pointed; toes free; rictus smooth. Bombycillinæ.

The typical distinctions of the whole group appear to consist in the shortness of the bill and the excessive width of the mouth, by which latter structure these birds can swallow large berries, and even fruits of a moderate size, in an entire state. They never alight upon the ground, but are continually moving about the branches of trees: the feet are consequently very short, the soles broad, and the toes more or less united at the base. The rictal bristles, which protect the mouth of all insectivorous groups, in this are totally wanting; except in such forms as lead off to the Warblers on one side, and to the Fly-catchers on the other. With very few exceptions, the whole family is confined to the New World.

The two typical groups, as usual, contain by far the largest proportion of the genera; and hence it is that, from having analysed their contents, we can venture

* It has been ludicrously enough imagined, that the fewer are the forms which enter into a group, the more easily can they be arranged according to a natural system; just, perhaps, "as a chain is more connected in proportion to the number of links that are wanting! "—See Mr. W. S. Mac Leaf's Examination of Mr. Bicheno's Paper an Systems and Methods, in Zool. Journ., No. xvi., p. 413, &c.—Sw.

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to pronounce one of them, at least, to be perfect. At present we must confine ourselves to a few remarks on the aberrant forms.

The genus Procnias of Count Hoffmanseck is evidently placed beyond the circle of the true Ampelinæ, typically represented by the genera Cashmorhynchus of M. Temminck, and the restricted genus Ampelis of Linnæ us. Unlike all the other forms, its wings are very long and formed for rapid flight. The same character belongs to the Brazilian genus Phibalura, and is equally conspicuous in the European Chatterers (Bombycilla). These are the only three genera we have yet ventured to place within this subdivision. The fourth is still more obscure, and would seem to be represented by the Lanius arcuatus of the Paris Museum; a bird with the plumage of Phibalura and the bill of Vireo. To this latter group the Australian genus Pachycephala, Sw., appears, to us, to be unquestionably related; while the Parus indicus, now characterized as the genus Leiothrix, Sw., makes the nearest approach, of any bird yet discovered, to Pachycephala on one side, and to the Parianæ on the other. The latter affinity, indeed, is so strong as recently to have led M. Temminck into the belief that it actually belonged to the old genus: a glance, however, at its structure would have shewn how totally it differed. Although we feel some confidence in the situation here assigned to Leiothrix, we are totally unprepared at present to state the extent of this division; neither is it at all clear whether Vireo and Pachycephala form a part of this, or constitute the remnants of another sub-family. The mode in which the three aberrant groups may possibly be united cannot, of course, be even conjectured.—Sw.

[59.] 1. VIREO OLIVACEUS. (Bonaparte.) Red-eyed Greenlet.

Red-eyed Fly-catcher (Muscicapa oliacea). WILSON, ii., p. 55, pl. 12, f. 3.
Muscicapa altiloqua. VIEIL. Ois. de l' Am. Lep., i., pl. 38, p. 67.
Vireo olivaceus. BONAP. Syn., p. 71. No. 91.

CH. SP. VIREO OLIVACEUS, supra flavescenti-viridis; subtus albescens, vertice el lineis inler oculos et rostrum plumbeis, lineâ superciliousâ albescenti, alis elongatis, remige primâ quartam æquanti.

SP. CH. RED-EYED FLY-CATCHER, yellowish-green, beneath whitish; crown and a line between the bill and eye blackish-grey; eye-stripe white; wings long; the first and fourth quill feathers equal

We have frequently remarked the disposition of Nature to disguise species, essentially distinct, in the same coloured plumage; and this is sometimes done so

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completely, that the differences, although conspicuous in their modes of life, are only evinced, in external structure, by modifications so nice and delicate as frequently to elude detection. We have seen this fact exemplified among the olive-coloured Fly-catchers, and we shall now explain similar differences in the present group. It may be remarked that Wilson, in his account of Sylvia olivacea, alludes to another and a rather smaller species, which is frequently found in its company. "Its eyes are hazel, its back more cinereous* than that of the other, and it has a single light streak over the eye. The notes of this bird are somewhat plaintive, but warbled out with great sweetness, and form a striking contrast to those of the Red-eyed Fly-catcher (M. olivacea)." Pennant's account of the Red-eyed Fly-catcher† does not agree with any known species. It has a general likeness to all, without shewing a particular application to any one. It includes, in short, the whole of these long-billed species under the same name.—Sw.


Of a female, killed on the 2nd of June, 1827, at Cumberland House, lat. 54°.

COLOUR.—Upper part of the head, and a streak from the angle of the mouth to the ears, blackish-grey: above this streak a larger greyish-white one passes over the eye, its upper border formed by a narrow, but conspicuous line of black. The whole dorsal plumage, with the neck, the tertiaries, and the wing coverts, oil-green. Quills and tail feathers dark clove-brown, margined with yellowish-green. The under plumage delicately white, very slightly tinged with grey; the flanks, inner wing coverts, and under tail coverts pale primrose-yellow. Bill blackish-brown above, pale beneath. Legs blue-grey.

FORM, &c.—Bill straight, lengthened, the tip abruptly bent and conspicuously notched. Lower mandible with the gongs ascending; the sides of both compressed, and the whole appearance resembling that of a Myothera, Ill. Nostrils roundish, basal: a few short, curved, and very weak bristles at the rictus. Wings lengthened, pointed, half an inch shorter than the tail. Second and third quill feathers equal and longest; first and fourth also nearly equal, and about a line and a half shorter than these. Secondaries truncated at the end, but not emarginate. Tail even, but appears slightly emarginated from the inner webs of the feathers being obliquely truncated: the tips pointed. Tarsus, with the anterior scales, transversely divided: lateral scales entire. The three anterior toes all more or less connected at their base; the inner one shortest. Nails much curved and compressed; the hinder one strongest.

* If this distinction is intended for the Sylvia melodia of Wilson, which we have not seen, it may be correct; but it is altogether inapplicable to our Vireo Bartramii, which is rather more green on the back than Vireo olivaceus.—Sw.

Aretic Zoology, iii., p. 79.

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Of the female.

Inch. Lin.
Length total 5 9
„ of tail 2 3
„ of wing 3 2
„ of bill to rictus 0 8
Length of bill above 0
„ of tarsus 0 9
of middle toe 0
Length of middle nail 0 2
„ of hind toe 0 4
„ of hind nail 0

[60.] 2. VIREO BARTRAMII. (Swainson.) Bartram's Greenlet.


CH. SP. VIDEO BARTRAMII, colore Vireonis olivacei sed clariori, staturé minori, alis brevioribus magisque rotundatis; remige primá sextam aquanti: remigibus tertiis et quartis longissimis.

SP. CH. BARTRAM'S FLY-CATCHER, plumage of V. olivaceus, but brighter; stature smaller; wings shorter, more rounded; the first and sixth quills nearly equal, the third and fourth longest.

To this species, which does not appear to have been distinctly defined, or recorded as a native of the United States, we have affixed the name of one whose love of science, no less than his devotion to the study of Nature, will long render his memory dear to the admirers of Wilson. There are four described species which come so near to this, that we shall briefly state in what they appear to differ.

1. The Muscicapa melodia of Wilson, or Vireo gilva of Bonaparte, if correctly described, must be distinct: it has the head "only inclining a little to ash," and has no black line bordering the crown. Prince Charles Bonaparte expressly says, the bill is "short," in opposition to that of Olivaceus, which he terms "long." The colours are "much less vivid and striking than those of Olivaceus:" in ours they are the same, or rather more bright. Again, the same observing ornithologist remarks, that the longer and more robust bill of Olivaceus distinguishes it from Gilvus: but the bill of our species is of the same size and length as that of the former.

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2. The Muscicapa altiloqua of Vieillot, which may either be, as Bonaparte observes, the V. olivacea, or the species here denominated longirostris.

3. The Sylvia gilva of Vieillot, which is probably the melodia of Wilson above noticed: the description is too loose and unsatisfactory to be applied to our bird.*

4. The Vireo virescens of the same author, which may be this species, or another, much smaller, of which a wing only was brought home by the Expeditions.

It is the misfortune of those who aim at accuracy, that they are either obliged to give new names to species which they cannot find perfectly described, but which, in fact, may not be new,—or they must assimilate their species to some other, which eventually turns out to be totally distinct. Of two evils, we rather choose to risk the former, since a striking instance of the latter is given in this very group: the West Indian bird being perfectly different from that of North America, with which, as it now appears, all writers have confounded it.

A specimen of this species was procured, by Mr. David Douglas, on the banks of the Colombia. It appears to have been a young bird, and is somewhat injured by insects; but we have attentively compared it with two other specimens†, one from Brazil, the other from South Carolina, and all three agree in that particular structure of the wing which is nearly the sole external distinction it possesses. The essential differences, in short, between the two species in their outward form is confined to the structure of their wings and to their respective sizes. Olivaceus is larger, and has the first quill feather invariably much longer than the fifth, a character which is conspicuous in seventeen specimens now before us. Bartramii is much smaller, the colours rather brighter, the wings considerably shorter and more rounded, and the first quill always shorter than the fifth. The former seems confined to North America, the latter extends to Brazil. The comparative size of the bills in both is the same, but the length is variable.

The following measurements will shew the differences of size between the species more clearly.

Vireo olivaceus. Inches. V. Bartramii, yng. Inches. V. Bartramii, adult. Inches.
Total length 55/16 46/16 53/10
„ of the bill from the front 5/10 4/10 5/13
„ of the wings 32/16 26/10 5/13
„ of the tarsus 7/10 6/16 hardly 7/10


* "Cette espece a le bee et les pieds bruns; la tâte, le dessus du cou, et du corps gris: cette teinte est légèrement nuanceée de verdatre sur le dos. Longueur totale quatre pouces, neuf lignes "—Ois. de l'Am. Lep., i., p. 65.

† In Mr. Swainson's museum.

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Of an adult, shot by Mr. Swainson in Brazil, lat. 12° S.

Size somewhat larger than the Wood-wren. Plumage precisely the same as that of Vireo olivaceus; but the olive-green on the upper parts brighter, and the yellow tint on the vent, under tail coverts, and under wing coverts, stronger. The stripe of white over the eye equally broad, clear, and margined above by a similar black line.—Sw.

VIREO LONGIROSTRIS. (Swainson.) Long-billed Greenlet.

Olive-coloured Fly-catcher (Muscicapa sub-fusco-viridis sive olivacei coloris). EDWARDS, pl. 253, p. 93.

CH. SP. VIREO LONGIROSTRIS, colorc Vireonis olivacei, lineâ gulam cingente nigrâ, rostro elongato, alls brevibus mediam caudæ hand attingentibus, remige quartâ primam superanti.

SP. CH. Plumage of V. olivaceus; chin margined by a black line; bill lengthened; wings short, not reaching to half the length of the tail; the first quill feather shorter than the fourth.

It is probable that the true Vireo olivaceus does not occur in the West Indies, and that the bird known there by the name of Whip-Tom-Kelly (supposed by Wilson, from the similarity of its notes, to be the same with V. olivaceus,) is in reality different. We have never seen a specimen of the true olivaceus from those islands; but, under that name, we have received, both from Jamaica and St. Vincent's, a third, which we shall here describe, to complete the illustration of the two preceding. We strongly suspect that this is the identical species first made known by our accurate countryman Edwards, whose figure has been quoted by all writers for the olivaceus of North America. The specimen which Edwards examined had been preserved in spirits, and the colours of the plumage must consequently have been obscured: hence his description, in this respect, is somewhat defective; but it is worthy of remark, that the blackish line on the side of the chin, although not mentioned in the description, is perfectly indicated in the plate; while the length of the bill and the shortness of the wings are so completely characteristic of our bird, that we have no doubt of its being the same. Edwards expressly mentions, that he received his specimen from Dr. Browne, who brought it from Jamaica, where it is known, says the Doctor, by the name of Whip-Tom-Kelly; "it has not many notes, but they are loud and sweet."—Sw.


Size and general plumage similar to Vireo virescens and olivaceus, except in the colours being somewhat duller than those of the last: it is essentially distinguished by a narrow line of dusky-black, which margins each side of the chin: the bill is proportionably lengthened, and the wings so short as hardly to exceed the length of the upper tail covers. Total length, 5½ inch.; bill from the front, 6/10 inch; wings, 2 7/10 inch.; and tarsi, 7/10 inch.


[61.] 1. BOMBYCILLA GARRULA. (Bonap.) European Chatterer.

SUB-FAMILY, Bombycillinæ. SWAINS. Genus, Bombycilla. BRISSON.
Bombycilla Bohemica. BRISS. Orn., ii., p. 333.
Ampelis garrulus. GMEL. Syst., i., p. 838, sp. 1.
Waxen Chatterer. LATH. Syn., iii., p. 91, sp. 1.
Grand Jaseur (Bambycivara garrula). TEMM., i., p. 124.
Bombycilla garrula (Bohemian Wax-wing.) BONAP. Orn., pl. 16, f. 2.

This elegant bird has only lately been detected in America, having been discovered, in the spring of 1826, near the sources of the Athabasca, or Elk river,

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by Mr. Drummond, and by myself the same season at Great Bear Lake, in latitude 65°. Specimens, procured at the former place, and transmitted to England by the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, were communicated, by Mr. Leadbeater, to the Prince of Musignano, who has introduced the species into his great work on the birds of the United States. In its autumn migration southwards this bird must cross the territory of the. United States, if it does not actually winter within it; but I have not heard of its having been hitherto seen in America to the southward of the fifty-fifth parallel of latitude. The mountainous nature of the country skirting the Northern Pacific Ocean being congenial to the habits of this species, it is probably more generally diffused in New Caledonia and the Russian American territories, than to the eastward of the Rocky Mountain chain. It appears in flocks at Great Bear Lake* about the 24th of May, when the spring thaw has exposed the berries of the alpine arbutus, marsh vaccinium, &c., that have been frozen and covered during winter. It stays only for a few days, and none of the Indians of that quarter with whom I conversed had seen its nests; but I have reason to believe that it retires in the breeding season to the rugged and secluded mountain-limestone districts, in the sixty-seventh and sixty-eighth parallels, when it feeds on the fruit of the common juniper, which abounds in these places.


Of a male, killed at Great Bear Lake on the 24th May, 1826.

COLOUR.—The plumage very delicate, the barbs long, slender, and detached, but lying smoothly so as to form a dense covering. The colour is pure bluish-grey on the tail coverts and posterior part of the back, but elsewhere, both on the ventral and dorsal aspects and on the crest, it is yellowish-grey, deepening on the head and neck into a pleasing brownish-grey. Front and under tail coverts bright reddish-orange:† chin and a band on each side of the head deep velvet-black. Primary coverts and quill feathers brownish-black, with a conspicuous band on the tips of the former: the first primary and the tertiaries unspotted; the remaining quills with each a linear spot on the tip of its outer web, which is of a pale king's-yellow on four or five of the primaries, and white on the rest and on the secondaries. Six or seven of the secondaries, and occasionally the longest tertiary, have their shafts terminating in a curious, small, oblong, flat, cartilaginous process, of a bright carmine-red

* I observed a large flock, consisting of at least three or four hundred individuals, on the banks of the Saskatchewan, at Carlton House, early in May, 1827. They alighted in a grove of poplars, settling all on one or two trees, and making a loud twittering noise. They stayed only about an hour in the morning, and were too shy to allow me to approach within gunshot.

† The exact colour meant is buff, mixed with tile-red and chestnut-brown, and answering nearly to the helvolus of authors.

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colour, and having the appearance and lustre of sealing-wax. Tail coloured like the quills, tipped with a band of king's-yellow half an inch wide. Bill and legs black. Irides dark-red.

FORM, &c.—Bill typical. The first and second primaries are subequal and longest. The tail is nearly even, and the coverts reach nearly to the end. Tarsi remarkably short, feathered below the knee. Lateral toes unequal.

A female, killed at the same time, differs in having the marks on the tips of the primaries untinged with yellow; the cartilaginous prolongations fewer; a narrower yellow tip to the tail, and a smaller and less intense black mark on the chin.


Of the male. The female.
Inch. Line. Inch. Line.
Length total 9 0 8 6
„ of tail 2 6 2 5
„ of wing 4 4 3
„ of bill on its ridge 0 6 0
„ of bill to rictus 0 10½ 0 10
„ of tarsus 0 10 0 9
Length of middle toe 0 9 0 8
„ of middle nail 0 0
of inner toe 0 0
of inner nail 0 2 0 2
„ of hind toe 0 4 0 4
„ of hind nail 3 0

[62.] 2. BOMBYCILLA AMERICANA. The Cedar-bird.

GENUS, Bombycilla. BRISSON.
Bombycilla Carolinensis. BRISS., ii., p. 337, 1. IDEM, 8VO., i., p. 251.
Chatterer of Carolina. EDWARDS, pl. 242.
Cedar-bird (Ampelis Americana). WILSON, i., p. 107, pl. 7, f. I.
Bombycilla Carolinensis. BONAP. Syn., p. 59, sp. 68.

This species was considered by Linnæus, Latham, and others, to be a mere variety of the preceding one, from which, however, it is perfectly distinct. It is a more southern bird, not having been observed hitherto, I believe, to the northward of the fifty-fourth parallel of latitude. It inhabits the United States the whole year, being more common in the northern and middle States in summer, and frequenting the southern States in the winter season. Wilson informs us that it forms compact flocks, containing from twenty to fifty individuals, which usually alight on the same tree. It feeds on berries of all kinds, and is very fond of the fruit of the sour-gum and red-cedar. The young are fed at first on insects and their larvae, but, as they advance in growth, on berries of various kinds. The female, if disturbed, darts from the nest in silence to a considerable distance; no notes of wailing or lamentation are heard from either parent; and the season

[page] 240

of love, which makes almost every other small bird musical, has no such effect on them; for they continue at that interesting period silent as before*. Mr. Drummond saw several small flocks on the south branch of the Saskatchewan, on the 27th of June, and obtained some specimens. It likewise frequents the northern shores of Lakes Huron and Superior in the summer. Cook, and other voyagers, report it to exist on the north-west coast of America; but they might easily mistake the preceding species for this one.


Of a male, killed on the south branch of the Saskatchewan, lat. 52½°, June 27, 1827.

Smaller than B. garrula, and without any white on the wings. Quill feathers blackish-grey: the head, neck, and breast clear yellowish-brown; the belly gamboge-yellow; and the under tail coverts nearly white,—in the European species they are orange-brown. Seven or eight of the secondaries are tipped with carmine-red cartilaginous processes. The black marks at the base of the bill and on the side of the head resemble those of the other species, and are faintly bordered with white; but the chin has very little black. Quill feathers formed as in B. garrula; but the bill is rather shorter and broader.

A female, procured by Mr. Drummond, wanted entirely the waxen appendages to the secondaries. Wilson observes that the young birds do not receive them until the second autumn. He further remarks, that the chief difference of the female plumage is its duller tints, the narrowness of the yellow bar on the tail, and the inferior appearance on the crest.

A young bird, in Mr. Swainson's collection, has the upper plumage of the head and body of a hair-brown colour, paler on the neck and rump. The wings and tail as in the mature bird, except that the former want the waxen appendages. The black frontal mark is narrower, and there is no black on the chin. The under plumage is mostly hair-brown, edged with yellowish-grey, the belly and vent being straw-yellow.


Of the male. The female.
Inch. Line. Inch. Line.
Length total 7 6 7 3
„ of tail 2 7 2 5
„ of wing 3 8 3 8
„ of bill on its ridge 0 5 0 5
„ of bill to rictus 0 8 0 8
„ of tarsus 0 8 0
Length of middle toe 0 0
„ of middle nail 0 0
of inner toe 0 4 0 4
of inner nail 0 0
„ of hind toe 0 0
„ of hind nail 0 3 0 3

* WILSON, 1. c.

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THE lesser Tyrant Fly-catchers of the New World appear stationed, in the great scheme of Nature, either at the utmost limits of the Laniadæ, or in that part of the circle of Todidæ which forms a connecting passage between the two. If these views be correct, it follows that no typical forms of the Muscicapidæ (or rather Todidæ*) have yet been discovered in America. We pass, therefore, to the CONIROSTRES, the typical tribe of the perching order. This, in comparison with the DENTIROSTRES, is a most imperfect group; not only are the variations fewer, and the sub-families more unequal in their contents, but several forms are wanting. Hence it is that wide intervals between groups, yet evincing an unquestionable tendency to unite, frequently occur. And while these gaps in the chain of continuity offer the best facilities to the makers of artificial methods, they oppose obstacles of the greatest difficulty to the investigators of the natural system. In these cases the study of analogies becomes of the first importance; since, however we may insist on degrees of affinity, they can never be admitted as correct, until established by such analogical tests as we have applied to the groups investigated in the preceding pages. On the other hand, as the hiati in the Conirostral circle are nearly confined to two only of the aberrant divisions, we have little doubt on the correctness of the following table, as explaining the circular succession of the families.

1. Typical group. Bill strong, the upper mandible curved, obsoletely notched; nostrils concealed; wings lengthened, rounded; tarsi elevated. CORVIDÆ.
2. Sub-typical group. Bill more lengthened, sub-conic, upper mandible nearly straight, not thicker than the under, generally entire; nostrils naked; wings lengthened, pointed; tarsi shorter. STURNIDÆ.
3. Aberrant group. Bill short, very strong, and perfectly conic. FRINGILLIDÆ
Bill short, strong, the under mandible weak, the margins serrated; feet various. MUSOPHAGIDÆ
Bill enormous, greatly compressed; feet syndactyle. BUCERIDÆ.

* We are more than usually embarrassed in proposing a name for this group; having ascertained, by analysis, that the Todus viridis is a sub-generic Fissirostral type among the broad-billed Fly-catchers, strictly so termed. Systematists, however, have lately detached this bird as a distinct genus, while the typical form of the whole family, to which the name of Todus has been correctly applied by the old writers, is now known as the genus Eurylaimus. This confusion, unintentional on all sides, is the inevitable consequence of giving names to forms, before their affinities have been thoroughly investigated. In this dilemma, we know not how to proceed: if we restore the appellation of Todus to Eurylaimus, we must give a new name to the Todus viridis; while, if this be not done, the denomination of the sub-families is incorrect: upon the whole, we have preferred the latter, as less liable to disturb the received nomenclature of well-known species. In one of the modern systems, the T. viridis is placed between the Goatsuckers and the Kingfishers,—and this situation is called natural!—Sw.

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The three subordinate divisions of the aberrant group contain, as usual, genera of much apparent dissimilarity; they may, however, be defined as birds having the bill much thicker and more powerful than those of the typical groups, while their general structure is weaker and more imperfect. This inferiority is evinced, among the Fringillidæ, by their diminutive size; in the Musophagidæ by the feet being adapted only for frequenting trees, and in the restriction of their food to vegetables; while in the bulky Hornbills (Buceridæ) the tarsi are unusually short and the toes nearly syndactyle. None of these imperfections are observed among the Corvidæ and the Sturnidæ. We therefore agree with Mr. Vigors in considering that these families represent the perfection of the ornithologic structure*.

The precise manner in which the aberrant circle is closed, by the union of the Fringillidæ and the Buceridæ, cannot at present be explained; their absolute affinity, however, has been already acknowledged, and their union insisted upon†. As to the Musophagidæ, comprising the genera Musophaga, Corythaix, Colius, and Phytotoma, any ornithologist, who actually examines these birds, must be convinced that they offer so many steps of gradation between the Buceridæ and the Fringillidæ, yet too distinct to be comprehended under either of those families.

We must pass over the analogical relations of the Conirostral group, and merely confine ourselves to a few remarks upon the


as being that family which offers the greater number of species brought home by the Expeditions. The primary divisions of this group, which is certainly the most extensive in the whole circle of Ornithology, may be thus stated:—

1. Typical group.
Tribes of INSESSORES. Sub-families.
CONIROSTRES. Bill thick, very conic, and entire, the margin of the upper mandible sinuated. Coccothrauslinæ.
2. Sub-typical group.
DENTIROSTRES. Bill with the culmen bent, the upper mandible notched. Tanagrinæ.

* A well-known zoologist, whose opinions in general carry much weight, considers that this perfection lies among the Scansores, and that the Psittacidæ, are the typical group of the ornithological circle. We can only say that this idea, which seems merely founded upon theory, receives no confirmation from analysis. Were it correct, it would not only annul everything here written, but completely demolish that very system upon which the author has bestowed such unqualified praise as to pronounce, that "Birds now form the only class in Zoology which has been arranged according to the variation in structure"—Linn. Trans., xvi., p. 6.

Linn. Trans., x v., p. 450.

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3. Aberrant group.
Bill conic, nearly entire, the under mandible generally smaller than the upper one. Fringiltinæ.

The latter division, from the great diversity of its contents, cannot be defined by characters applicable to all; yet that it constitutes a circular group we can have little doubt; since the close affinity between Pipilo and our Emberiza cristata* indicates that by such forms the Fringillinæ and the Pyrrhulinæ are brought together. The Sparrows, the Buntlings, and all the plain-coloured Finches of northern latitudes are thus detached from all others, and associated among the true Fringillinæ,—proving that even colour is one of the leading distinctions in the system of Nature.

The circular affinities of the Fringillidæ will, however, be better understood by the following sketch. On quitting the Sylviadæ, by means of the Lark-Warblers (Anthus), we at once enter among the true Larks. From this group Nature departs by two routes; one lies through the Buntling-Larks (Plectrophanes), the Buntlings (Emberiza), the terrestrial Finches (Fringilla), the Sparrows (Pyrgita), and the Ground-Buntlings (Pipilo); by this latter group she enters among the Tanagers, and so reaches the typical form of Coccothraustes by the intermediate genera of Tiaris, Sw., and Ploceus, Cuv. The second, or right-hand route, passes through the genera Myrafra, Horsf., Megalotis, Sw., Crithagra, Sw., and Pyrrhula. Between the Bullfinches, generally so termed, and Coccothraustes, are the Linnets (Linaria); and we again reach the typical structure by means of such forms as Guiraca, Sw., and two others, not yet defined. We may premise, that this sketch, meagre as our space compels us to make it, is the result of severe analysis.

The typical sub-families, we may venture to pronounce, are perfect; that is, every genus, and nearly every sub-genus, is known or has been defined. But the three aberrant divisions, namely, the Fringillinæ, the Alaudinæ, and the Pyrrhuliuæ, require much more study than they have yet received; we therefore refrain from hazarding any opinion upon the value of their subordinate groups, further than to annul several of the genera and sub-genera proposed by others, as well

* Zool. Illustrations, iii., pl. 148, note. This remarkable bird, which we now find is unquestionably a native of Brazil, was first described by us under the above name. M. Temminck, as usual, gave it another, and M. Vieillot a third. The figures given by these writers, however beautiful as pictures, are most defective: the bill is represented as perfectly conic, whereas the upper mandible is considerably arched, and its whole form is more like that of a Bullfinch, a Pipilo, or a Guiraca.—See our remarks in Appendix to Griffith's Cuvier, Aves, part ix., p. 687.—Sw.

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as by ourselves. We do this with some confidence; since it has, we trust, been demonstrated, that such divisions are no longer arbitrary. Unless they find their representatives in other groups, no genus or sub-genus can now, in short, be natural. By this test, the group here denominated Zonotrichia must eventually be tried; since, to use an expressive phrase, its precise station in Nature has not been worked out. Still more obscurity hangs over the Linnet-like birds, comprising, among others, the American Fringilla purpurea of Wilson and the Pyrrhula frontalis of Prince C. Bonaparte: these we refer, conditionally, to the Pyrrhulinæ. Yet, on the other hand, we feel by no means sure that they are not aberrant forms in the genus Linaria, among the Coccothraustinæ.

The geographic distribution of the Fringillinæ, or Sparrow-like Finches, is not so general as might be inferred from the number of the species. They abound in cold and temperate climates; but are so thinly scattered in tropical regions, that we know but of two species from South America, and not one from the Indian Islands or Australia. The genus Emberiza, however, occurs both in Northern and Southern Africa nearly under its typical form.—Sw.

[63.] 1. ALAUDA CALANDRA. (Linn.) The Calendre Lark.

SUB-FAMILY, Alaudinæ, SWAINS. Genus, Alauda, LINN.
The Calandra. EDWARDS, pl. 268.
Calandra Lark. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 393, No. 280.

This Lark was first described as American by Edwards, on the authority of a dealer in birds; but no subsequent author mentions having seen specimens from that continent. There is an individual, however, from the fur-countries, in the British Museum, presented by the Hudson's Bay Company, which differs from an European example solely in its bill and tarsi being rather shorter.


Of a specimen from Hudson's Bay.

COLOUR, &c.—Upper plumage liver-brown, with pale margins; throat, belly, inner borders of the tertiaries, exterior tail feathers, and the ends of the adjoining pair, white; the other tail feathers, except the middle pair, slightly tipped with the same; flanks and breast pale-brown, the latter spotted with umber; a dark-brown collar on the anterior base of the neck, and two umber-brown marks on the side of the neck, separated by white. Bill greyish, tipped with brown: it is strong, somewhat compressed, and very slightly curved. The hind claw is long and straight.

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Inch. Lin.
Length total 7 6
„ of tail 3 0
„ of wing 5 2
„ of bill to rictus 0 9
Length of bill from rictus 0 11
„ of tarsus 1 2
of middle toe 0
Length of middle claw 0
„ of hind toe 0 41/1;
„ of its claw 0 9

[64.] 2. ALAUDA CORNUTA. (Wilson.) Horned or Shore-Lark.

SUB-FAMILY, Alaudinæ, SWAINS. Genus, Alauda, LINN.
Alauda alpestris. FORSTER, Phil. Trans., Ixii., p. 398, No. 20.
Shore Lark. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 392, No. 278.
Alauda alpestris. LATH. Ind., ii., p. 498, sp. 21.
Shore Lark. WILSON, i., p. 85, pl. 5, f. 4.
Alauda cornuta. IDEM, p. 87.
Alauda alpestris (Shore Lark). RICHARDS. App. Parry's Second Voyage, p. 343, No. 4. BONAP. Syn., p. 102, No. 158.
Alauda cornuta. SWAINS. Syn., p. 434, No. 45.
Ootay-tapaysew. CREE INDIANS.*

This very handsome Lark arrives in the fur-countries along with the Lapland Buntling, with which it associates, and, being a shyer bird, is the sentinel, and alarms the flock on the approach of danger. It retires to the marshy and woody eastern districts to breed, extending its range to the shores of the Arctic Sea. Mr. Hutchins states, that "its nest is placed on the ground, and that it lays four or five white eggs, spotted with black. It chirps as it flutters in the air, but has no note whilst on the ground or in flying from place to place." On the advance of winter, it retreats to the southward, and is common in the United States throughout that season, frequenting sandy plains and open downs.


Of a male, killed at Carlton House, 14th May, 1827.

COLOUR.—Upper surface of the head and neck, lesser wing and tail coverts, and central pair of tail feathers†, purplish-brown or vinacious; the rest of the tail pitch-black, the outer feather bordered and narrowly tipped with white: quills and greater coverts liver-brown, edged with white. Frontlet, chin, and a broad eye-stripe, which dilates on the ears and side of the neck, yellowish-white. Forehead, nasal feathers, under eyelid, cheeks, throat, and upper part of the breast, velvet-black; the black of the forehead prolonged, over the eyes, into horns capable of erection, like the egrets of an owl. Some vinacious blotches under the wing; the rest of the under plumage greyish-white: inner wing coverts pure white. Bill bluish-black, pale at the base beneath. Legs blackish-brown.

* The Cree name of Chee-chup-peesew, ascribed to this bird by Forster, is, according to Hutchins, the proper appellation of the Plectrophanes Lapponica.

† Called, by Forster, two long coverts.

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FORM typical. Tarsus longer than the middle toe and its claw. The toes are all free. The hind claw is nearly straight, tapering, and acute, and is more than half the length of the tarsus.

Another male specimen, from Hudson's Bay, in Mr. Swainson's collection, differs in the white marks about the head being replaced by primrose-yellow, and in that on the frontle being much broader. This is, probably, the full autumnal plumage.

A female, killed on Lake Superior, wants the black horned mark, and also the vinacious tint of the head, neck, and shoulders of the male, these parts being coloured like the back. The eye-stripe and under surface of the head are lemon-yellow; and there is a narrow black band, fringed with yellow, on the upper part of the breast. The rest of the plumage nearly as in the male: her dimensions a little smaller.


Of the male.

Inch. Lin.
Length total 7 6
„ of tail 2 10
„ of folded wing 4 5
Length of bill above 0 6
„ of bill from rictus 0 8
„ of tarsus 0 10½
Length of middle toe 0 6
„ of its nail 0 4
„ of hind toe 0 4
„ of its nail 0 6

[65.] 1. EMBERIZA (PLECTROPHANES) NIVALIS. (Meyer.) The Snow-Buntling.

SUB-FAMILY, Alaudinæ, SWAINS.? Genus, Emberiza, LINN. Sub-genus, Plectrophanes, MEYER.
Emberiza nivalis. LINN. FORSTER, Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 403, No. 25.
Mountain Bunting. PENN. Brit. Zool., i., p. 279, No. 123. Autumn plumage.
Tawny Bunting. IDEM, i., p. 278, No. 121. Autumn plumage.
Snow Bunting. IDEM, i., p. 279, No. 122. Winter plumage. IDEM, Arct. Zool., ii., p. 355, No. 222. Snow Bunting (Emberiza nivalis). AYILSON, iii., p 36, pl. 21, f. 2. Winter.
Emberiza nivalis. RICHARDS. App. Parry's Sec. Voy., p. 343, No. 5. BONAP. Syn., p. 103, No. 159.
Sheegun-peetheesees. CREE INDIANS. Koppenno-accă;-oo. ESQUIMAUX.

This neat and elegant native of the colder regions of both hemispheres breeds in the northernmost of the American islands, and on all the shores of the continent, from Chesterfield Inlet to Behring's Straits. The most southerly of its breeding stations in the New World that has been recorded, is Southampton Island, in the sixty-second parallel, where Captain Lyons found a nest placed in

[page] 247

the bosom of the corpse of an Esquimaux child. Its nest is composed of dry grass, neatly lined with deer's hair and a few feathers, and is generally fixed in the crevice of a rock or in a loose pile of timber or stones. The eggs are greenish-white, with a circle of irregular umber-brown spots round the thick end, and numerous blotches of subdued lavender-purple. On the 22nd July, 1826, in removing some drift timber lying on the beach of Cape Parry, we discovered a nest on the ground, containing four young Snow-birds. Care was taken not to injure them; and while we were seated at breakfast, at the distance of only two or three feet, the parent birds made frequent visits to their offspring, at first timidly, but at length with the greatest confidence, and every time bringing grubs in their bills. The Snow-Buntling does not hasten to the south on the approach of winter with the same speed as the other summer birds; but lingers about the Forts and open places, picking up grass-seeds, until the snow becomes deep; and it is only during the months of December and January that it retires to the southward of the Saskatchewan. It usually reaches that river again about the middle of February; two months afterwards it attains the sixty-fifth parallel of latitude, and in the beginning of May it is found on the coast of the Polar Sea. At this period it feeds upon the buds of the Saxifraga oppositifolia, one of the most early of the arctic plants; during the winter its crop is generally filled with grass-seeds. In the month of October, Wilson found a large flock running over a bed of water-plants, and feeding, not only on their seeds, but on the shelly mollusca which adhered to the leaves; and he observes that the long hind claws of these birds afford them much support when so engaged. The young are fed with insects.


Of a male, killed at Carlton House, March 30, 1827.

COLOUR.—Head, neck, rump, wing coverts, spurious wings, basal half of the primaries, all the secondaries, and the whole under plumage pure white: hind head slightly tinged with wood-brown. Back, scapulars, two large coverts of the spurious wings, outer halves of seven primaries, the tertiaries and largest tail covers black, bordered with white, more or less tinged with brown. The three outer pairs of tail feathers white, with a terminal exterior line of black; the rest black, with white borders. Bill yellow, tipped with brown. Legs pitch-black.

FORM.—Bill typical. Palate very convex throughout, with a narrow groove betwixt it and the cutting margins for the reception of the edges of the lower mandible. The two lateral ridges so conspicuous on the palate of E. Lapponica, are merely indicated by faint lines. Wings very long and pointed; first feather the longest; lesser quills much truncated, and

[page] 248

notched in the middle. Tail strongly notched, although the exterior feathers are only a quarter of an inch longer than the middle ones. Hind claw considerably longer and rather straighter than the anterior nails, which are small and thick at the base, but somewhat abruptly pointed: lateral toes equal.

Other males, killed at the same time, differ in the proportion of white upon their quills and in the brown tints on the head and rump. The female is more strongly tinged with brown, but does not materially differ. In the month of May, the loose margins of the plumage having dropped off, both sexes are almost totally black above and pure white below; but early in winter, when every feather is entire, the prevailing tint above is yellowish-brown, the black parts shewing faintly through. The throat and breast are tinged with brown, deepest in the female, and encircling the neck.


Inch. Lin.
Length total 7 6
„ of tail 3 0
„ of folded wing 4 4
Length of bill above 0 5
„ of bill from rictus 0
„ of tarsus 0 10
„ of middle toe 0 7
Length of middle nail 0 4
„ of hind toe 0
„ of its claw 0 5

[66.] 2. EMBERIZA (PLECTROPHANES) LAPPONICA. (Selby.) Lapland Buntling.

GENUS, Emberiza, LINN. Sub-genus, Plectrophanes, MEYER.
Fringilla Lapponica. LINN. Syst., i., p. 317. FORST. Phil. Trans., Ixii., p. 404, No. 12.*
Lapland Finch. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 337, No. 259.
Emberiza calcarata. TEMM., i., p. 322. RICHARDS. App. Parry's Second Voyage, p. 345.
"Plectrophanes calcarata. MEYER, Tash., iii., p. 176, sp. 11.
"Plectrophanes Lapponica. SELBY, Linn. Trans., xv., p. 156, pl. 1. Young.
Lapland Longspur (Emberiza Lapponica). BONAP. Orn., i., p. 53, pl. 13, f. 1, male; pl., f. 2, female. Chee-chupeeshew. CREE INDIANS. (Hutchins.) Kernee-ook-taraiah. ESQUIMAUX.


This handsome bird is common to the northern regions of both continents. According to Forster, it winters on the coast of Hudson's Bay, arriving at Severn river in November, and departing on the approach of spring for the north. During its stay it feeds on grass-seeds, and, Hearne says, also on the buds of the Pinus microcarpa†. Some stragglers are occasionally seen, as the

* Forster states his specimen to have been only five inches long, but says it corresponded exactly with Linnæus's description of the species in Fauna Suecica.

† This Larch is named "Juniper" by the English residents at Hudson's Bay, who term the Common Juniper, which is also abundant there, the "Crow-herry." The Prince of Musignano mentions, that the Lapland Buntlings haunt the "Cedar-trees" at Severn river, and feed on their berries. This is a mistake, evidently originating in Hearne's notice of the buds of the "Juniper." The Juniperus Virginianus, on the berries of which many birds delight to feed, does not grow within several degrees of latitude of Hudson's Bay; and even the more northerly Thuya occidentalis does not ascend higher than the fifty-fourth parallel, which is two degrees short of Severn river.

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Prince of Musignano informs us, in the northern parts of the United States. I never met this species in the interior of the fur-countries during winter, and I suspect that its principal retreats in that season are on the borders of Lakes Huron and Superior, and in the country extending to the westward on the same parallel. In the year 1827 it appeared on the plains at Carlton House, about the middle of May, in very large flocks, amongst which were many Shore-larks (Alauda alpestris) and a few individuals of E. picta. During their stay of ten or twelve days they frequented open spots, where recent fires had destroyed the grass. They came to Cumberland House a few days later in the same season, and there kept constantly in the furrows of a newly-ploughed field. In the preceding year they were seen, though in smaller flocks, in the vicinity of Fort Franklin (lat. 65½°) in the beginning of May; and the crops of those that were then killed were filled with the seeds of the arbutus alpina. They breed in the moist meadows on the shores of the Arctic Sea. The nest, placed on a small hillock, among moss and stones, is composed externally of the dry stems of grass, interwoven to a considerable thickness, and lined very neatly and compactly with deer's hair. The eggs, usually seven, are pale ochre-yellow, spotted with brown.


Of a male, killed, May 20, 1826, at Fort Franklin.

COLOUR.—Head, chin, throat, and upper part of the breast velvet-black, margined with white from the ears. A broad stripe of reddish-white from the upper eyelid of each side joins the white bordering the ears; and there are the rudiments of another in the middle of the bright-chestnut nape. Rest of the upper plumage pale reddish-brown, each feather striped in the middle with blackish. Coverts with two obsolete white bands; primaries hair-brown, their exterior edges whitish. The belly and under tail coverts dusky white, sides of the breast and flanks spotted with black. Bill bright lemon-yellow, tipped with black. Legs pitch-black.

FORM typical. There is a roundish knob on the posterior part of the palate, ending forwards in a narrow mæsial ridge: the lateral ridges are more elevated, and form furrows with the cutting margins for the reception of the edges of the lower mandible.

Males, killed at the same period, vary; some having the black of the head quite pure, while in others it is spotted with white, and the white eye-stripe is continued to the bill. In a few, there is a white line down the middle of the hind head.

The female differs in having the chin greyish, the black plumage of the head and breast edged with pale-brown and grey, and the chestnut feathers of the nape fringed with white. The white stripes are duller.

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After the autumn moult the male resembles the female. The darker hue of the breeding dress is produced by the pale margins of the plumage dropping off.


Of the male.

Inch. Lin.
Length total 6 8
„ of tail 2 9
„ of folded wing 3 9
of bill above 0 6
„ of bill from rictus 0
„ of tarsus 0 10
„ of middle toe 0 7
Length of middle nail 0
„ of hind toe 0
„ of its claw 0 5

Several males, killed at Carlton, were about half an inch shorter than the preceding.

[67.] 3. EMBERIZA (PLECTROPHANES) PICTA. (Swainson.) Painted Buntling.

GENUS, Emberiza, LINN. Sub-genus, Plectrophanes, MEYER.

CH. SP. EMBERIZA (Plectrophanes) PICTA, capite nigro, lineá superciliari et maculâ nuchæ auriculqribusque et tectricibus alarum intermediis albis, empore subtus et torque ochreis.

SP. CH. PAINTED BUNTLING, head black; a line passing over the eye, a small spot on the nape, another on the ears, and a large patch on the wing, white; collar and the whole under plumage brownish buff-yellow.


This species was observed associating with the Lapland Buntlings on the banks of the Saskatchewan, but no information was received respecting its breeding quarters. Only one specimen was obtained.


Of a specimen, killed at Carlton House, April, 1827.

COLOUR.—Head and sides velvet-black, with vestiges of a brownish-white fringe, indicating the autumnal plumage. Three distinct stripes of pure white on the sides of the head, one bordering the chin, another on the ear, and a third above the eye: a less distinct spot on the middle of the nape. The neck above wood-brown; the dorsal plumage and lowest rows of wing coverts blackish-brown, broadly edged with light greyish-brown: the

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intermediate coverts pure white, and the upper ones entirely black. The quills and tail brownish-black, with narrow white edges: the two outer pairs of tail feathers white, with their outer tips and inner edges brown. Under plumage entirely of a colour intermediate between wood-brown and buff-orange. Inner wing coverts white. Bill blackish-brown, pale at the base beneath. Legs brown.

FORM typical, but the bill is more acuminated than that of Emb. nivalis and Lapponica: the lower mandible is narrower than the upper one. Palate similar to that of E. Lapponica, with a wider central ridge, and a more distinct rounded tubercle posteriorly. Quills, tail, and feet as in Lapponica. The tail exceeds the wings an inch.


Inch. Lin.
Length total 6 3
„ of tail 2 6
„ of folded wing 3 6
Length of bill above 0
„ of bill from rictus 0
„ of tarsus 0 10
Length of middle toe 0
„ of middle claw 0
„ of hind claw 0

[68.] 4. EMBERIZA PALLIDA. (Swainson.) Clay-coloured Buntling.

GENUS, Emberiza, LINN.

CH. SP. EMBERIZA PALLIDA, luteo-fusca striis nigrescentibus; subtus inlacta alba, capile striis maculosis tribus pallidis et duobus nigrescentibus notato, auricularibus fuscescentibus.

SP. CH. CLAY-COLOURED BUNTLING, clay-coloured brown, striped with blackish; beneath white, unspotted; head with three pale and two blackish macular stripes; ears brownish.

This Buntling, which is even smaller than the Emberiza pusilla of the United States, visits the Saskatchewan in considerable numbers. It frequents the farmyard at Carlton-house, and is as familiar and confident as the common House Sparrow of England.—R.

Neither Wilson nor Bonaparte notice this species. It has much of the habit of E. pusilla, which differs, however, very essentially in its more robust and cinnamon-coloured bill, in the chestnut-brown colour of the crown and back, in the bluish-grey tint of the space round the orbit, and in the want of the blackish brown streaks on the head. The tarsi of pusilla are rather longer, and the tail is shorter by nearly a quarter of an inch, yet its wing is rather longer.*—Sw.

* From socialis our species differs in wanting the bright rufous crown, and in having the ear feathers brown, margined above and below with a darker edge, instead of pure cinereous or lead-colour, without any border. The feet are also generally longer; the tail likewise is longer; but in other respects the proportions are equal. From palustris and melodia it is still further removed by a much smaller bill and less robust feet.—Sw.

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Of a specimen (sex not ascertained), killed May 14, 1827.

COLOUR.—General cast of the ground of the upper plumage light clay-colour, or yellowish-brown, which edges all the feathers of the wings and tail, and becomes French-grey towards the nape; the middle of each feather having a dark blackish-brown stripe down the middle, most conspicuous on those of the back: these spots are crowded into two stripes on the head, between which is a paler line; over each eye is another, much more conspicuous, and whiter. Ears yellowish-brown, with a darker edging, and bordered below with a stripe whiter than the throat. Lesser or smallest wing covers without spots; the row adjoining the greater covers black, with whitish tips; the rest of the covers and quills edged with the same. Under plumage white, tinged very slightly with grey, and, on the breast and flanks, with clay-colour. Bill and legs yellowish, the ridge and tip of the former umber-brown.

FORM, nearly typical, taking the Emberiza schæniclus as one of the best examples of the group. Bill of the same size, but rather more conic than that of E. pusilla, and the notch, in both, can scarcely be distinguished; the upper mandible is nearly as thick as the under, and the margins much inflexed. In the structure and proportion of its wings, feet, and tail it perfectly resembles Emb. schaeniclus.*—Sw.


Inch. Lin.
Length total 5 9
„ of tail 2 8
„ of wing 2 6
Length of bill above 0 4
„ of bill to rictus 0 5
„ of tarsus 0
Length of middle toe 0 6
„ of its nail 0 2
„ of hind toe 0 3
„ of its nail 0

[69.] 5. EMBERIZA CANADENSIS. (Swainson.) Tree-Buntling.

GENUS, Emberiza, LINN.
Mountain Sparrow (Hen). EDWARDS, pl. 269; lower figure.
Fringilla Montana†. FORSTER, Phil. Trans., lxii., p. 405, No. 29.
Tree Sparrow. PENN. Arct. Zool, ii., p. 373, No. 246. WILSON, ii., p. 123, pl. 16, f. 3. Fringilla Canadensis. BONAP. Syn., p. 109, N. 175.

The Tree-Buntling; arrives, in small flocks, on the banks of the Saskatchewan

* The Fringilla socialis is also an Emberiza, although, perhaps, the most aberrant species in America. The F. melodia of Wilson seems to connect this group with Zonotrichia. The African Emberiæ differ only from the American in the length of their tertiary quills, thus leading to the true Larks.—Sw.

† The error of confounding this species with the Fringilla montana, L., of Britain, originated in one of the very few mistakes of Edwards. This error was adopted by Dr. Latham, who, nevertheless, describes our present bird a second time under the name of "Mountain Sparrow," (Gen. Syn., iii., p. 265,) copying his description and name of Canadensis from Brisson. Pennant, and subsequently Wilson, rectified this error; yet, notwithstanding all this, Dr. Latham not only continues to confound both these species in his General History, but, by a most strange and unaccountable mistake, leaves out his Mountain Sparrow; thus actually destroying the only distinct record in his work of our present species! It might have been found as a distinct species in the Synopsis; but, as such, in the History it disappears. Such synonymes cannot, of course, be cited. Dr. Latham having thus expunged the name of Fringilla Canadensis, his authority can no longer be cited for its correct meaning.—Sw.

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in the third week in April, and, after a short halt, proceeds farther north to breed. It winters in the United States.


Of a male, killed at Penetanguishene, on Lake Huron.

COLOUR.—Head above, bright chestnut-brown; ear feathers margined superiorly by a stripe of the same; a white superciliary line from the bill to the hind head. Upper surface and sides of the neck bluish-grey. Back, wing coverts, and secondaries blackish-brown, lightly bordered with chestnut-brown. Tips of the greater coverts, lower row of lesser coverts, and the outer edges of the tertiaries, white, forming two bands. Primaries, their coverts, and the tail feathers clove-brown, edged with white, particularly the outer pair of the latter. Tail coverts yellowish-grey. Cheeks and the whole under plumage ash-coloured, tinged with yellowish-brown on the flanks. There is also a dark, blackish spot in the middle of the breast. Bill dark-brown, paler beneath. Legs brown.

FORM slightly aberrant. Bill small: a small knob on the posterior part of the palate. Third quill the longest, second and fourth nearly equal to it, first a little shorter than the fifth: secondaries truncated and notched. Tail divaricated, the feathers being nearly equal, except the middle pair, which are two lines shorter. The hind nail is nearly twice the length of the middle one.

Another specimen, probably a female, killed, on the 27th of April, at Carlton, differs in the chestnut-coloured feathers of the head being slightly fringed with white, and in the upper plumage in general shewing less of the chestnut.


Of the male.

Inch. Lin.
Length total 6 3
„ of tail 2 6
„ of wing 3 0
Length of bill above 0
„ of bill to rictus 0 5
„ of tarsus 0
Length of middle toe 0
„ of its claw 0
„ of hind claw 0 4

The form and general structure of the bill, the great inflection of the mandibles, and, above all, the emarginate tail and lengthened hind claw, render this species a decided Emberiza,—although the nearly-equal size of the mandibles points it out as slightly aberrant in its own group.—Sw.

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[70.] 1. FRINGILLA (ZONOTRICHIA) GRAMINEA. (Swainson.) Bay-winged Finch.

SUB-FAMILY, Fringillinæ, SWAINS. Genus, Fringilla, LINN. Sub-genus, Zonotrichia, SWAINS.
Grass Finch. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 375, sp. 253.
Bay-winged Bunting (Emberiza graminea). WILSON, iv., p. 51, pl. 31, f. 5.
Fringilla graminea. BONAP. Syn., p. 108, No. 170.

The colours of this bird are well adapted for concealment in the short withered grass of the Saskatchewan prairies, which it frequents. It arrives early in May, and departs, to winter in the southern States, in September. It breeds as low down as Pennsylvania, and was not seen by us beyond the fifty-seventh parallel. Its food is chiefly grass-seeds, and its nest is placed on the ground.


Of a male, killed, May 14, 1827, at Carlton House.

COLOUR.—All the upper parts dull, pale greyish-brown, and dark liver-brown, the latter forming a stripe down the shaft of each feather. Ear feathers tinged with pale chestnut. An ill-defined whitish collar crosses the nape. Lesser wing coverts ferruginous, with dark central streaks. Quills and tail liver-brown, with narrow paler edgings; those of the primaries nearly white. The exterior tail feather is almost totally white, and the next is partly so at its end. Under plumage and inner wing coverts white, marked, on the shoulders, breast, and flanks, with stripes of dark-brown. Bill dark liver-brown above, and yellowish beneath. Legs flesh-coloured.

FORM typical. The first, second, and third primaries nearly equal; the fourth half a line, and the fifth a line shorter. The secondaries truncated and notched at the end; the tertiaries long and rather pointed. The tail is somewhat notched, though the lateral feathers are slightly graduated. The lateral toes are equal, and nearly as long as the hind toe: the hind claw is longer than the middle one.

The female is smaller, but otherwise like the male.


Of the male.

Inch. Lin.
Length total 6 9
„ of tail 2 9
„ of folded wing 3 3
„ of bill from rictus 0 6
Length of bill above 0
„ of tarsus 0 10
of middle toe 0
Length of middle claw 0 3
„ of hind toe 0 4
„ of its claw 0 4

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[71.] 2. FRINGILLA (ZONOTRICHIA) LEUCOPHRYS. (Swainson.) While-crowned Finch.

GENUS, Fringilla, LINN. Sub-genus, Zonotrichia, SWAINS.
Emberiza leucophrys (White-crowned Bunting). FORSTER, Phil. Trans., Ixii., p. 403, No. 26; and p. 426, exact description.
White-crowned Bunting. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 355, No. 221, pl. xvi., No. 221; lowest figure. WILSON, iv., p. 49, pl. 31, f. 4.
Fringilla leucophrys. BONAP. Syn., p. 107, No. 167.
Cussawbawtawseesh. CREE INDIANS.

This species bears a great resemblance to the White-throated Finch, and is scarcely distinguished from it by the residents at Hudson's Bay. It is, however, a more northern bird, and extends its summer visits to the extremity of the continent. It breeds in all parts of the fur-countries, arriving in the middle of May, and departing early in September to the northern parts of the United States, where it winters. A few appear in Pennsylvania in severe seasons only. It makes short flights, and is much on the ground, feeding on grass-seeds and grubs. The male sings, from a low perch, a short, clear, and pleasant song. The nest is built on the ground, of grass, lined with hair; and the eggs, generally five, are celandine-green, marbled thickly with chocolate-red, particularly at the great end.


Of a male, killed at Fort Franklin, lat. 65¼°, May 30, 1827.

COLOUR.—Upper part of the head marked by three stripes of white, separated by two of deep black. The middle of the back and the wing coverts very dark reddish-brown, forming stripes, with narrow, pale brownish-grey margins. The posterior part of the back with the tail coverts hair-brown, and totally unspotted. Quill and tail feathers liver-brown, with pale edgings: the greater primaries edged with dull white, the secondaries with chestnut-brown. Two white bands on the tips of the wing coverts. Chin and belly white; throat and breast French-grey; flanks and under tail coverts brownish-grey. Bill reddish-orange, tipped above with brown. Legs pale-brown.

FORM.—Bill a little smaller and more acute than that of F. Pennsylvanica. Wings moderate, two inches shorter than the tail. Third quill the longest, barely exceeding the second and fourth, and two lines longer than the first and fifth. Tail nearly even. Feet like those of F. Pennsylvanica; outer and inner toe nearly equal, the middle toe lengthened.

The female is coloured like the male.

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Inch. Lin.
Length total 7 0
„ of tail 3 1
„ of folded wing 3 1
„ of bill from rictus 0
Length of bill above 0
„ of tarsus 0 11
of middle toe 0
Length of middle claw 0
„ of hind toe 0 4
„ of its claw 0

[72.] 3. FRINGILLA (ZONOTRICHIA) PENNSYLVANICA. (Swainson.) The White-throated Finch.

GENUS, Fringilla, LINN. Sub-genus, Zonotrichia, SWAINS.
White-throated Sparrow (Passer gutture albo). EDWARDS, pl. 304.
Le Moineau de Pennsylvanie. BRISS. Orn. Append., p. 97.
White-throated Finch. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 373, No. 248.
White-throated Sparrow (Fringilla albicollis). WILS. iii., p. 51, pl. 5, f. 2.
Fringilla Pennsylvanica. BONAP. Syn., p. 108, No. 209.
Oochæ-chimmenaw-kawmawkaw-seesh. CREE INDIANS.

This handsome species winters in the southern parts of the United States, frequenting in flocks the borders of swampy thickets, and feeding on seeds. It departs for the north about the 20th of April, reaches the Saskatchewan in the middle of May, and spreads throughout the fur-countries, up to the sixty-sixth parallel, to breed. I found a female sitting on seven eggs, on the 4th of June, at Cumberland House. The nest, placed under a fallen tree, was built of grass, lined with deer's hair and a few feathers. Another, found at Great Bear Lake, was lined with the setæ of Bryum uliginosum. The eggs were very pale mountain-green, thickly marbled with reddish-brown. When the female was disturbed, she made her escape by running silently off in a crouching manner, like a Lark. The male has a clear song of two or three very distinct notes, but without variety.


Of a male, killed at Cumberland House, June 1, 1827.

COLOUR.—Crown of the head blackish-brown, with a central white line. A broad superciliary streak is lemon-yellow from the nostrils to the eye, and white posteriorly. The nape

[page] 257

is slightly mottled with brownish-white. The feathers of the upper part of the neck, and middle of the back, and the scapulars, have dark liver-brown centres, which gradually pass first into chestnut-brown, and then into pale wood-brown margins, the chestnut-brown predominating. The rump and tail coverts are broccoli-brown, without edgings. Wing coverts liver-brown, margined with grey, the two lower rows tipped with two white bands. Primaries clove-brown, edged with grey; secondaries and tail feathers liver-brown. Under surface.—Chin, middle of the belly, and vent white; throat and breast ash-grey; flanks and inner wing coverts brownish-grey. Bill dark horn-colour. Legs flesh-coloured.

FORM.—Wings an inch and a half shorter than the tail; fourth quill the longest, but scarcely passing the third and fifth; eighth equal to the first, which is five lines shorter than the fourth. Tail rather long, and rounded at the end. Hind nail very little longer than the middle one.

The female resembles the male in plumage.


Of the male.

Inch. Lin.
Length total 6 6
„ of tail 3 0
„ of folded wing 2 9
„ of bill from rictus 0
Length of bill above 0 6
„ of tarsus 0 10½
of middle toe 0
Length of middle claw 0
„ of hind toe 0 4
„ of its claw 0 3

[73.] 4. FRINGILLA (ZONOTRICHIA?) ILIACA. (Swains.) Fox-coloured Finch.

SUB-FAMILY, Fringillinæ, SWAINS. Genus, Fringilla, LINN. Sub-genus, Zonotrichia? Sw.
Fringilla iliaca. MERREM, Ic. Av., p. 37, t. 10.
Rusty Bunting. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 304, No. 231?
Ferruginous Finch. IDEM, p. 375, No. 251? magnitudine descrepat.
Fox-coloured Sparrow (Fring. rufa et ferruginea). WILSON, iii., p. 53, pl. 22, f. 4.
Fringilla iliaca. BONAP. Syn., p. 112, No. 185.

This handsome species breeds in the woody districts of the fur-countries, up to the sixty-eighth parallel of latitude. It constructs its nest in a low bush, of dry grass, hair, and feathers; laying five eggs, of a pale mountain-green tint, marbled with irregular brown spots. The male, perched near his mate, sings cheerfully and

2 L

[page] 258

pleasantly. It winters in the United States, arriving in Pennsylvania towards the end of October, in flocks of ten or twelve, which frequent low, sheltered thickets, and are almost continually scraping the ground among the fallen leaves*.—R.


Of a female, killed at Great Bear Lake, lat. 65¼°, June 7, 1826.

COLOUR.—Head and neck smoke-grey. Tips of most of the feathers, particularly on the back, chestnut-brown, which becomes bright-ferruginous on the rump, tail, and exterior portion of all the wing feathers. Wing coverts tipped with brownish-white, forming two narrow bars: inner web of the quills umber-brown. Orbits white, mottled with brown. Ground colour of the under plumage, ears, sides of the neck, and middle of the throat, thickly varied with triangular spots of bright chestnut, leaving the middle of the throat almost white: flanks spotted in the same way; but the chestnut is duller, and inclined to black. Middle of the belly and under tail coverts white. Bill umber-yellow, dark above. Legs yellowish.

FORM, aberrant. Bill† thicker at the base and much more perfectly conic than that of F. Pennsylvanica: the length of both is the same; but, in this, the notch is not perceptible. In the construction of the wing and the tail, these two birds agree; but, in this, the tail is shorter and not so much rounded: the legs also are much stouter, in which, and in the greater development and size of the lateral toes and claws, this species much more resembles Pipilo. The hind toe and claw is not much longer than that of Pennsylvanica, to which form, upon the whole, our present bird makes the nearest approach. The first and fifth quills are equal, the intermediate ones are the longest, and nearly all of equal length. Tail very slightly rounded.—Sw.


Inch. Lin.
Length, total 7 6
„ of tail 2 9
„ of folded wing 3 5
Length of bill above 0 5
„ of bill to rictus 0 7
„ of tarsus 0 11
Length of middle toe 0 9
„ of its nail 0 3
„ of hind toe 0 4

* The Jaboteur of Le Vaillant (Ois. d' Af., p. 112, f. 1), belonging to the genus Phyllastrephus, Sw., is a most remarkable representation of this bird. We feel fully persuaded it is a Rasorial type of form; but of what genus we are at present ignorant.—Sw.

† The bill, in size and shape, perfectly resembles that of Fringilla grammica, Bon.; but the cutting margin is nearly straight, not, as in that, obviously sinuated: the feet also are more robust. Both may possibly be aberrant forms of this group.—Sw.

[page] 259

[74.] 5. FRINGILLA HYEMALIS. (Linn.) Black Finch.

GENUS, Fringilla, LINN. Sub-genus,——?
Fringilla hyemalis. LINN. Syst., edit. 10, ann. 1757; nec tamen Gmelin, nec Lath.,
Fringilla Hudsonias. FORSTER, Phil. Trans., Ixii., p. 406, No. 30; and p. 428, No. 5. Black Bunting. LATH. Syn., ii., p. 160, sp. 4. PENN. Arct. Zool., ii., p. 359, No. 225.
Snow-bird (Fringilla nivalis). WILSON, ii., p. 129, pl. 16, f. 6.
Fringilla hyemalis. BONAP. Syn., p. 109, No. 173.
Pawkaw-choweeseesh. CREE INDIANS.

This is a very common and familiar bird in the United States, approaching the towns and farm-yards in the winter; but retiring to the high ranges of the Alleghanies and the Rocky Mountains in the breeding season. It is merely a summer resident of the fur-countries, and is not common, nor was it seen by us beyond the fifty-seventh parallel.


Of a specimen, killed at Penetanguishene, on Lake Huron.

COLOUR.—Head, throat, breast, flanks, inner wing coverts, and dorsal plumage greyish-black, paler towards the rump. Quills clove-brown, edged with grey. Central tail feathers brownish-black; the three outer pairs white, the third tipped outwardly and striped at the base with brown. Belly and under tail coverts white. Bill and legs pale flesh-colour.

FORM.—Bill rather small; upper mandible slightly notched; the margins much inflexed. First quill three-tenths of an inch shorter than the three following ones: the