RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1870. [Note on the age of certain birds]. In Lankester, E. R. On comparative longevity in man and the lower animals. London: Macmillan, p. 58.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 2.2008. RN1

[page] 58

The following seven facts were communicated by Mr. Darwin:—1

* Saxicola sialis, for 10 years and more was observed to build its nest in same spot. ('Amer. Jour. Sci.' vol. 30, p. 81.)2

* Muscicapa fusca, 9 years; same observation.

* Turdus, for a longer period.

* Falco borealis, 12 years.

* Starling, for 8 years the same lame specimen was observed by Eckmark.3

* Kestrel, for 6 years the same specimen was seen.

* Goldfinch, lived 23 years in confinement. (Montagu.)4

1 Edwin Ray Lankester (1847-1929), zoologist. On p. 13 of the present work Lankester wrote: 'In reply to enquiries, Mr. Charles Darwin writes that he has no information with regard to the longevity of the nearest wild representatives of our domesticated animals, nor notes as to the longevity of our quadrupeds.' In a footnote Lankester added: 'Mr. Darwin very kindly furnished me with a note relative to the age of certain birds, which is quoted in the Table of Statements, which follows.' The table containing Darwin's facts (which are listed on p. 58) is entitled 'Statements as to Duration of the Individual in Organisms.'
'an asterisk [is placed] against the most soundly based of the statements made.' p. 62.

2 Bachman 1836. These facts appear in Natural selection, p. 184, note 2.

3 Ekmarck 1781.

4 Montagu 1831.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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