RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1837. [Remarks upon the habits of the genera Geospiza, Camarhynchus, Cactornis and Certhidea of Gould]. [Read 10 May] Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 5 (53): 49.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, OCRed, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 2003-8, textual corrections by Sue Asscher 12.2006. RN4

NOTE: 'Title from contents list, p. iv. John Gould exhibited specimens on 10 May. There are four other papers by Gould on Darwin's South American birds in Part V, but without direct comment by Darwin.' R. B. Freeman.


[page] 49

May 10th, 1837

The group of groundfinches,1 characterised, at a previous meeting, by Mr. Gould,2 under the generic appellations of Geospiza, Camarhynchus, Certhidea, and Cactornis, were upon the table; and Mr. Darwin being present, remarked that these birds were exclusively confined to the Gallapagos Islands; but their general resemblance in character, and the circumstance of their indiscriminately associating in large flocks, rendered it almost impossible to study the habits of particular species. In common with nearly all the birds of these islands, they were so tame that the use of the fowling-piece in procuring specimens was quite unnecessary. They appeared to subsist on seeds, deposited on the ground in great abundance by a rich annual crop of herbage.

1 Now famously known as 'Darwin's finches', a term coined by P. R. Lowe in 1935. See Lowe 1936.

2 John Gould (1804-1881), ornithologist; taxidermist to the Zoological Society of London. He described Darwin's Beagle bird specimens in Gould 1838. The characterisations from the previous meeting are in Gould 1837.


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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)

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