Ind. Orn. vol. 1, p. 9. Le Griffard, Le Vaillant Oiss. d'Afri-
que, tome 1, pi. 1.
.4 rosfro nigricante; capite subcristato ; plumis capitis,
cervicisque albo et nigro-fuscus variegatis ; dorsi humerorumque
fuscis albo marginatis. Infra alba; remigibus primariis
nigris apicibus albis ; secundariis et rectricibus nigro griseoque
fasciatis, extrema parte albis.
Bill bluish at the base, black elsewhere ; eyes fine brown ;
space between them and bill thinly covered with black bristles ;
plumage of hindhead a little elongated, so as to form a slight
crest. Feathers of head, and of back and sides of neck, as
well as of the front thereof towards its middle, variegated
blackish brown and white ; the latter towards their bases and
tips, and the former intermediate between those ; interscapu-
lars, back, tail, coverts, and shoulders more or less deep
brown ; with the tips of all the feathers, but particularly of
those of the latter, dusky white. Throat, breast, belly, and
legs pure white. Primary wing feathers black, tipt with
white ; secondaries alternately banded with dusky blackish
brown and dull hoary gray, and all broadly tipt with white.
Tail slightly rounded, with each feather banded more or less
directly across by black and hoary gray, the latter usually
passing to white towards the inner margins of the inner vanes,
and all distinctly tipt with white. Tarsi and toes a light
livid green, inclining sometimes to yellowish green; claws
deep black and much curved ; length from bill to base of tail
twenty inches; length of latter twelve inches; expanse of
wings about eight feet and a half.
Le Yaillant says*, the female is about one-fourth larger
than the male, and nearly of the same color ; that she lays
two large and almost round white eggs in a nest constructed
on a tree or upon rocks, according to circumstances ; that the
male and female are usually seen together, and that their
favorite food consists of hares and the smaller antelopes,
which they pursue with much activity and determination. He
also remarks that it is only found on the western coast of
South Africa, which is also the locality that my experience
warrants me in assigning it, as the only two examples I have
seen were near to the mouth of Oliphants Eiver.
2. AQUILA VULTURINA. Berghaan and Dassievanger of the
Falco Vulturinus, Shaw's Zoology, vol. 7, p. 58. Le Caffre
Le Vaillant Oies. d'Afrique, tome I, p. 28.
* Wherever my own observations are deficient, and the want can be sup-
plied by a reference to the work of the author just quoted, I shall always
avail myself thereof without hesitation, only making him responsible by
acknowledging the authority.
inhabiting the South of Africa. 113
A. nigra, rostro nigricante ; ceromaflavum, dorso albo.
Bill blackish blue, verging here and there to a light horn
color ; cere deep yellow ; eyes reddish brown ; space between
them and bill pretty thickly set with black bristles ; back and
tail coverts white ; plumage elsewhere deep black ; tail more
rounded than in the foregoing species; tarsi and toes deep
yellow; claws black. Length from bill to base of tail 17
in. ; length of latter 12 in. ; expanse of wings about 7 feet.
Young. The upper mandible towards base is yellowish,
the rest is livid black ; the lower, with the exception of the
tip which is of the latter color, is a clear yellow ; the head,
the back, and the sides of neck, clear reddish tawny, inclined
to a pale chesnut ; the interscapular and shoulder feathers
dirty brown, edged, and strongly tipt with tawny ; the back
a mixture of chesnut, brownish black, and dirty reddish white.
Below reddish brown of various tints, with the centres of
feathers blackish or blackish brown ; legs light tawny. Pri-
mary feathers have their inner vanes, towards their bases,
marked by transverse black and white bands, and the outer
ones by an uniform brownish red, elsewhere brownish black,
with waved bands or narrow lines of hoary gray, and all tipt
with reddish white. Tail feathers towards quills black, crossed
with narrow reddish white bands ; near extremities reddish
brown, and tips reddish white ; feet and toes livid white ;
Obs. This is one of the few birds which do not appear to
have been quite correctly studied and observed by Le Yail-
lant. He states it as displaying certain characters of the
Vultures, though it doubtless exhibits in its formation and
habits, all the peculiarities of the genuine eagles ; and he
affirms that it feeds upon carrion, but I have never observed
it to resort to situations where such existed. As far as my
experience goes its food consists almost entirely of the Dassie
(Hyrax Capensis) and from that circumstance it is usually
met with near the tops of mountains, either soaring about
or perched in positions from whence it can discover the
little quadrupeds just named, upon which it descends with a
character clearly indicative of its affinity. Besides such dif-
ferences in the less tangible points, there is a very material
variance in some of the more evident characters, particularly
in that of color, which he describes as being entirely black;
whilst in twelve adult specimens that I have examined the
back and tail coverts were invariably white. That such an
omission should have been committed by an observer of such
amazing accuracy I can hardly conceive, yet I cannot bring
myself to believe that specimens procured by him were with-
out the white back ; and, therefore, feel persuaded that his
D 2 
114 A Description of the Birds
description was taken from a stuffed specimen, in which the
wings were, probably, so disposed as to conceal the color.
This species is said invariably to build its nest in the most
inaccessible positions, and to lay one or two eggs. It is much
more common than the last described species, even in the
country in which both occur ; and its habitat is far more ex-
tended, being about all the mountainous ranges, and even
the majority of the detached hills throughout the colony, and
the country a long way to the northward of it.
AQUILA CHOKA. CJwJc of the Colonists.
A. supra fulvus aut subfulvus fusco variegatus ; infra fulvus
pectore et hypochondriis, maculis nigris, longitudinalibus, notatis
pedes flavi, ungues nigri.
Male. Bill livid blue towards base, dark horn colored at
tip ; cere yellow ; eyes reddish brown ; front, crown, neck,
interscapulars, and back, pale tawny, with here and there
brownish variegations ; tail coverts tawny or dirty white ;
shoulders varied tawny and dark brown ; scapulars blackish
brown, more or less distinctly tipt with reddish white ; pri-
mary quill feathers blackish brown, some of them edged on
outer vanes with tawny red, and all tipt with reddish white ;
secondaries dark dirty brown, narrowly edged and tipt with
reddish white ; primary quill feathers black ; secondaries
blackish brown on their outer vanes, on the inner grayish
variegated by many transverse dark bands; tips of all reddish
tawny ; tail rounded, brownish gray, and much mottled by
partial indistinct dusky black transverse narrow bands ; tips
of feathers all tawny ; under parts tawny with brown varie-
gations, particularly numerous on the flanks and anterior
part of the belly ; thighs dark ferruginous ; toes yellow ;
claws dark horn colored. Length about two feet four inches.
Female. Color nearly that of the male, and distributed in
the same way ; size rather larger.
Young. Prevailing color chesnut, without any of the brown
variegations of the older bird ; feathers of the head and back
of neck tipt with light tawny ; tail dirty brownish gray, tipt
with reddish white ; cere and toes dull yellow ; claws black ;
^ As far as travellers have penetrated, they have found spe-
cimens of this bird ; it is pretty abundant all over the colony,
and usually resorts to places where carrion exists, to procure
its food. When an animal dies it is usually one of the first
visitors, and it eats with avidity till the Vultures arrive,
when it gives place to them, and remains afterwards a simple
spectator. The female builds her nest on trees, but I have
had no means of ascertaining the number of eggs she lays.
inhabiting the South of Africa. 115
Obs. The colors described as marking the old birds, are
those most commonly met with, but it may be observed that
specimens obtained soon after the moulting season have a ches-
nut instead of a tawny tinge, and all the brown variegation
deeper and clearer. Though I have no direct reason for be-
lieving that the plumage described as that of an old male, is
only that of one of a middle age, yet from having witnessed
so much variety in the markings of birds in that stage, I think
it is not improbable that farther observations will prove the
mature color to be a little different.
Genus. MORPHINUS. Cuvier.
Rostrum supra convexum;
nares elliptici. Tarsi elevati,
subgraciles ; acrotarsia scutel-
lata. Digiti subbreves ; un-
Beak convex above; nostrils
elliptic. Tarsi elevated, rather
slender; acrotarsia scutellated.
Toes rather short; claws acute.
Falco albescens, Shaw, vol. 7, p. 93. Le Blanchard, Le
Vaillant Ois Afriq. pi. 3.
M. albescens ; cristatus ; supra fusco-flavescente varius ; cauda
nigra albo fasciata.
Male. Bill lead colored ; eyes fine yellow ; head with a
small crest ; the whole plumage white, clouded with blackish
brown upon the mantle, and soft to the touch ; tail rayed
transversely black and white ; primary wing feathers with the
outer vanes brownish, and the inner ones rayed ; claws a
leaden color." Length about two feet six or eight inches.
Female. " A third larger than the male."
Young. As well as Le Vaillant could judge from two
young specimens which he found in a nest, the color of the
plumage is nearly that of the the old bird, excepting that the
brown is more abundant, and all the wing coverts are bor-
dered with reddish. When this species leaves the egg it is
covered with a tawny white down."
Le Yaillant found this species in Autinequa land, and the
only two specimens which I have ever seen, occurred one in
the forest between the Sunday and Bushman Eivers, and the
other near Hermanus kraal, on the banks of the Great Fish
Eiver ; but neither of them was I able to procure.
MORPHINTJS OCCIPITALIS. KuifJcop Valk of the Colonists.
Falco Occipitalis, Daudin, Ois. 2, p. 40. Shaw, 7, p. 59.
Nisser Tokoor, Bruce, Le Huppard, Le Vaillant, Ois. Afr. pi. 2.
116 A Description of the Birds.
M. nigro-fuscuB aut niger ; occipite cristato ; remigibus et
rectricibus albo variegatis ; pedibus flavis.
Male. Above blackish brown, inclining to a simple black,
at least in very old specimens ; below the same color, only of
a darker tint ; head and crest blacker than the other parts ;
the latter composed of several feathers, and most of them of
different lengths, the longest between five and six inches ;
primary and secondary wing coverts blackish brown, with
more or less of the inner vane of each feather white ; primary
wing feathers white towards quills, blackish brown elsewhere ;
in the very outermost ones the white occurs only upon the
inner vanes, in those next to them it occupies both vanes,
and in what are still more internal the white is crossed by
black bands ; secondaries have the outer vanes an uniform
dusky brown, and the inner ones brown and a dusky or pure
white in alternate transverse bands ; tail slightly rounded,
and each feather marked with white ; grayish white, or red-
dish white and black alternate bands ; the number of the first
description is usually three, besides some irregular ones or
only spots towards quills ; the bands seldom extend completely
across, but have the extremities on each side commonly mar-
gined with the same black as the other bands, and between the
last light colored one, and the tip nearly two inches of uniform
black ; bill and claws black ; cere and toes yellowish. Length
from bill to base of tail nineteen inches ; length of latter nine
Female. In addition to being one-third larger than the
male, the colors are less bright, and there is a stronger tinge
of brown at all times in the plumage ; the legs are also more
white ; and the light bands of the tail have commonly a
stronger shade of gray or reddish white ; the white of the
primary wing feathers is also generally clouded with light
brown ; the sides of the head are spotted with white, and the
crest is shorter.
Young. " When they escape from the egg they are covered
by a grayish white down, which is replaced by degrees by
brownish feathers, edged with red. At the time they leave
the nest the crest is quite apparent."
This bird constructs its nest upon trees, and lines it inside
with feathers and wool ; the females lay two nearly round eggs,
which are spotted with brownish red. The male and female
usually occur together, and Le Yaillant found them only in
Auteniqua land. A fine specimen of this species was shot
near Stellenbosch by Dr. Versfeld, and I have seen others
frequently about the sources of the Cowie River, and on the
banks of the Great Fish Eiver towards De Bruin's Drift. It
may, therefore, be said to inhabit the whole of the South-
inhabiting the South of Africa. 1 1 7
east coast, and also the interior towards the eastern frontier
of the colony, as well as beyond it.
M. supra fuscus aut nigro fuscus ; infra albus striis, longitu-
dinalibus fuscis variegatus ; latera colli pectoris que subfvsca.
Remiges nigro-fuscce, albo aut nigro plus minus variegatoe ;
rectrices, fuscoe striis nigris undulatis notatce, et apices albce,
digiti flavi, rostrum et ungues subnigri.
Female. Bill bluish black; cere yellow; plumage above
brown or blackish brown, according to the age and season of
the year, the shafts of the feathers and a portion of the vanes
adjoining being always darkest ; feathers towards quills more
or less white ; shoulders the same color as back, with the
exception of the margins of the feathers, which are of a
lighter tint ; sides of neck and breast variegated brown and
white ; chin, throat, and centre of breast chiefly white, with
some brown shades in the form of longitudinal streaks that
include the shafts of the feathers; belly white, here and
there variegated with clouds of light reddish brown or with
dark brown narrow streaks, produced by the shafts being of
that color. Several of the long feathers on the flanks more
or less distinctly crossed with reddish brown, and those on
the outside of the thighs also slightly marked in the same
way, only with a lighter shade, the rest of the feathers of
the legs pure white. Primary wing feathers blackish brown,
except the inner vanes towards quill, which are a pure white
or white and black in transverse bands, the latter distribution
occurs most particularly in some of the innermost ones, which
are almost for their whole extent so marked ; secondaries
blackish brown, the inner vanes banded with a darker tint,
and all pretty broadly tipt with white ; insides of shoulders
white, with a few blackish brown spots or blotches. Tail
nearly even, the feathers blackish brown, variegated with
narrow waved irregular bands of a darker tint, and all besides
being tipt with white are more or less mottled with that color,
particularly the inner vanes near quills ; upper tail coverts
reddish white ; toes yellow ; claws black. Length from bill
to root of tail ten inches ; length of latter eight inches.
Young. Bill bluish black ; cere greenish yellow ; plumage
above a light brown, with the tips and edges of the feathers
light tawny or reddish ; chin, throat, and centre of breast
light tawny with brown streaks ; belly the same color, with a
few narrow brown lines ; flank feathers, and those on outside
of thighs marked as in older specimens ; wing feathers and
tail with the brown less deep ; toes greenish yellow ; claws
0fo. In the above descriptions I am very doubtful if either
118 A Description of the Birds
the mature or young plumage be detailed, as a variety of
circumstances concur to induce me to believe that both are
examples of a plumage in a middle stage, only ; that of the one
being at least a year older than that of the other. Of the
four individuals which I have had an opportunity of examining,
two were killed at the Heer Logement, near the Oliphants
River, one near Cape Town, and the other some where in the
interior At the former of those situations this bird is by no
means rare, but on account of its great shyness is with diffi-
culty obtained. It retreats upon the approach of evening
towards the higher parts of the mountains, and perches during
the night upon the branches of old and decayed trees. In the
day it resorts to the plains in search of food, and in its pro-
gress through the air it commonly soars, is circles, and at a
great height, whereby it is almost impossible to destroy it
while on the wing. In consideration of its form and general
character, I have placed it for the present in the Genus Mor-
phinus, though I am not quite convinced but that a more
extensive opportunity of studying and comparing its charac-
ters, habits, and anatomical structure, will point out its
affinity and position to be elsewhere. It is a species, there-
fore, which I should particularly recommend to the observa-
tion of the colonists, and specimens of it in different ages
would be most acceptable, more particularly the young as
found in the nest.
Genus. CYMINDIS*. Citvier.
Rostrum supra convexum ; Beak convex above ; nostrils
nares subclausi, rimiformes. nearly closed, and resembling
Tarsi breves; digiti si mi-pal- a cleft. Tarsi short ; toes half -
Buteo Bacha, Cuv. Reg. Animal, I, p. 324. Falco Bacha,
Shaw, 7, p. 157. La Bacha, Le Vaillant, Ois. Afr.pl 15.
C. obscuro-fuscus aut nigricans ; humeris, abdomine et cruri-
bus albo notatis ; tectricibus inferioribus caudce albo lineatis ;
crista occipitali nigra albo fasciata ; cauda fascia alba.
Male. "Bill lead colored; cere and bare space between
beak and eyes yellow ; eyes a deep brownish red ; head black,
variegated with white ; hindhead crested ; the feathers black
at their tips, and white elsewhere; plumage above earthy
brown or blackish brown, lightest on the wings and shoulders ;
beneath the same hue, only less deep, and from the breast to
the legs the feathers are spotted with white, as are also those
thighs and shoulders; the hinder part of abdomen and vent
* Shaw's Zoology, vol. 13, p. 21.
inhabiting the South of Africa. 119
rayed transversely brown and white ; tail slightly rounded
with a broad band of tawny white, and each feather tipt with
white ; tarsi and toes yellowish ; claws black. Length one
foot eight or one foot ten inches."
Female. " The spots are less distinct, and more of a tawny
tinge ; the brown is less clear ; and the size exceeds that of
Le Vaillant found this bird on the mountains of Great
Namaqualand, and I have myself seen several examples of it,
at least as far as I could judge, about the tops of the moun-
tains which occur towards the lower part of the Orange
River. It is very shy, and on that account, though I en-
deavoured by every means to procure a specimen, I was un-
successful. " It makes its nest in holes of the rocks, which
it constructs externally of sticks, and internally of leaves or
moss, and lays two or three eggs. Rock rabbits (Hyrax
capensis) form its principal food." As I have ne^er myself
had an opportunity of examining this bird, I have placed it in
the Genus Cymindis, in consequence of the remarks of Mr.
Vigors, one of the most enlightened Ornithologists of the
Stirps. ACCIPITRINA. (HAWKS.)
Rostrum breve a basi aduncum ; alee breves ; remex quarta
Beak short, hooked from the base ; wings short ; the fourth
quill generally longest.
Genus. ACCIPITER. Auct.
Rostrum breve ; nares sub-
ovales. Tarsi elongati glabrii
acrotarsia scutellata, suturd ;
Beak short; nostrils somewhat
oval. Tarsi elongated, gla-
brous ; acrotarsia scutellated ;
sutures scarcely visible.
Sparvius pars, Vieillot. lerax, Leach. Nisus, Cuvier.
ACCIPITER MUSICTJS. Blaauwe Valk of the Colonists.
Falco musicus, Daud. Orn. p. 116. Shaw, vol. 7, p. 143.
Le Faucoii Chanteur, Le Vaillant, Ois d'Afriq.,p. 117, pi. 27.
A. canus, abdomine cruribusque, albis, nigro lineatis ; remi-
gibus, primariis nigro fuscis, et secundariis albis nigro notatis ;
cauda rotundata ; plumis duabus mediis nigro-griseis reliquis,
nigro et albo variegatis ; ceroma et tarsis rubris.
Male. Upper and lower mandibles at base orange colored,
elsewhere black ; cere vermillion red ; head, neck, and breast
+ Zoological Journal, vol. 1, p. 324.
120 A Description of the Birds, fyc.
light bluish gray ; back and scapulars dark slate color ; upper
tail coverts white ; shoulders silvery gray, finely mottled with
black ; false wing feathers and primary wing coverts deep
hoary, inclined to grayish black; secondary coverts white,
mottled with narrow tortuous blackish lines ; primary wing
feathers brownish black, variegated on inner vanes towards
quills with lines or streaks of white ; secondaries pure white,
here and there dotted or finely streaked with black ; belly,
thighs, and under tail coverts finely banded black and white.
Tail slight rounded, the two centre feathers blackish gray,
and the rest blackish, or blackish gray and white in different
proportions, the latter particularly abundant in the two outer-
most ones of each side, and all, with the exception of the two
middle ones, are broadly tipt with white. Tarsi and toes
vermillion red ; claws black. Length from bill to base of
tail ten inches ; length of latter the same.
Female. Colors the same as those of the male, and in point
of size is but little superior to it.
Young. Bill blackish, with a little of the base of each
mandible yellow ; cere greenish yellow ; eyes grayish yellow,
inclined to pure yellow ; head, neck, and back brown, the
feathers of the two former white towards quills, whereby the
neck in particular, at times, appears much marked with the
latter color ; tail coverts white, with a triangular brown spot
near the tip of each; shoulders brown, with the feathers
edged and tipt with reddish white ; belly, thighs, and under
tail coverts marked with alternate broad irregular brown and
white bands ; primary wing coverts brown, tipt with white ;
primary wing feathers reddish brown, banded with black, and
the outer vanes tinted with gray ; secondaries bluish gray,
banded with black, and tipt with white ; tail with reddish
gray and blackish brown transverse bands ; the former four in
number ; legs and toes somewhat flesh colored ; claws black.
This Hawk is very generally distributed throughout the
whole of South Africa, and is particularly abundant along the
flats adjoining the western coast. It lives upon mice, lizards,
and the smaller birds ; makes its nest on trees ; construct it
externally with dried twigs, and internally with wool, and
lays two or three white eggs of nearly the size and shape of
those of the common domestic hen.
Obs. In the appendix to Denham and Clapperton's Travels
and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa, p. 195, it is
stated that " this beautiful Hawk was met with occasionally in
most parts of Central Africa, but not in any abundance." It is
placed in the Genus Astur by the writer of the observation
just quoted, but the length of the tarsi and its general form,
appear to me to ally it more to the Accipiter.
(To l)e continued.)
[FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL,
No. III., APRIL to JUNE 1830.]
A Description of the Birds inhabiting the South of
Africa. By ANDREW SMITH, M.D. Member of the
\Vernerian Natural History Society of Edinburgh;
Honorary Member of the Mineralogical Society of Jena,
[Continued from p. 120.]
ACCIPITER GABAR. Klein Spervel of the Colonists.
Falco Gabar, Shaw's Zoology, vol. 7, p. 202. Red-legged
Falcon, Latham's General History of Birds, vol. 1, p. 212.
Epervier Gabar, Daud. 2, p. 87.
A. capite, dorso, gula pectoreque ccesiis, abdomine et femoribus
nigro et albo transverse fasciatis ; remiges nigro-brunnece, pogo-
niis internis nigro-brunneo et sordido albo fasciatis ; cauda ni-
gro brunnea fasciis tribus subalbidis transversis notata t apices
Bill dark horn colored ; cere deep red ; eyes light crimson ;
head, neck, interscapular, back, and shoulders dirty brownish