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of Phylloscopus fuscatus, Bly th, a name which dates from
1842. Hodgson's type, which was originally in the India
Museum, and is now in the British Museum, is conclusive
upon the question. I am inclined to think that Hodgson
was right in separating this species from Phylloscopus. In
their general style of coloration, their large bastard primary,
and their somewhat graduated tail, P. fuscatus (Blyth) , P.
schwarzi (Radde), P. armandi (Milne-Edwards), P. indicus
(Jerdon), and P. fuliginiventris (Hodgs.) are aberrant Phyl-
loscopi, and appear to me to be more nearly allied to Lusci-
niola melanopogon (Temm.) . This genus might consist of the
following species : Lusciniola aedon (Muscicapa aedon, Pall.) ;

Synonymy in the Family Sylviidae. 277

L. gracilirostris (Calamodyta gracilirostris, Hartl.); L.mela-
nopogon (Sylvia melanopogon, Tcmm.) ; L. major (Dumeticola
major, Brooks) ; L. luteiventris (Tribura luteoventris, Hodgs.) ;
L. thoracica (Dumeticola thoracica, Blyth) ; L.flaviventris (Ho-
rornis fiaviventer, Hodgs.); L. fuscata (Phyllopneuste fuscata,
Blyth) ; L. schwarzi (Sylvia (Phyllopneuste} schwarzi, lladde) ;
L. armandi (Abrornis armandi, Milne-Edwards) ; L. indica
(Sylvia indica, Jerdon) ; L. fuliginiventris (Horornis fuligini-
venter, Hodgs.) ; and L. neglecta (Phylloscopus neglectus,
Hunie) .

Arundinax flemingi, Swinhoe, P. Z. S. 1870, p. 440.

Herbivocula incerta, David et Oustal. Ois. de la Chine,
p. 246 (1877).

Oreopneuste qffinis, David et Oustal. Ois. dela Chine, p. 267

A careful examination of the type of the first-mentioned
bird in the Swinhoe collection, of the description of the second
(the type having been lost), and of the type of the third in
the Museum of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, leads me to
the conclusion that these three supposed new species may be
all referred to Phylloscopus schwarzi (Radde). They vary
slightly in size, but not more so than individuals of allied
species usually do, and the slight variations of colour are
apparently only seasonal. In relative length of wing and
tail, in wing-formula, and in shape of bill they do not differ.

Tribura luteiventris, Hodgs., apud David et Oustal. Ois.
Chine, p. 239. Abbe David's skins in the Museum of the
Jardin de Plantes in Paris are incorrectly identified. The
upper parts are olive-brown instead of russet-brown, and the
wings are longer instead of shorter than the tail. They are
the supposed young in first winter plumage of Dumeticola
thoracica of Blyth, the Dumeticola affinis of Taczanowski,
from Lake Baical, of Prjevalski from Kansu, and of Abbe
David from Moupin.

Lusciniopsis brevipennis,Ve?r. N. Arch. Mus. Bull. vi. p. 65

Dumeticola mandelli, Brooks, Stray Feathers, 1875, p. 28-1.

These two supposed new species agree precisely in dimen-

278 Corrections of Synonymy in the Family Sylviidse.

sions, relative length of wings and tail, wing-formula, and
shape of bill with Tribura luteoventris, Hodgs. The type of
the former, in the Museum of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris,
agrees also in colour; but the types of the latter, in Man-
delli's collection, present slight variations. One skin has
spots on the throat, and the other traces of slate-grey on the
breast. I imagine these only to be seasonal changes ; but
they may prove hereafter to be specific characters, as Blyth
suspected to be the case in his nearly allied Dumeticola

Phyllopneuste trochilus, Hodgson, Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 82
(1844) . The type, formerly in the India Museum, and now in
the British Museum, is a skin of Phylloscopus lugubris, Blyth.

Abrornis xanthog aster, Hodgson, Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 82
(1844). This species was incorrectly identified by Horsfield
and Moore (Cat. E.I. Co. Mus. i. p. 337) with Phylloscopus
lugubriSj Blyth. The types, formerly in the India Museum,
and now in the British Museum, are skins of Phylloscopus
affinis, Tickell.

Abrornis tenuiceps, Hodgs. Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 82 (1844).
The type, in the British Museum, is a skin of Phylloscopus
humei (Brooks) ; but as Hodgson appears nowhere to have
given any description of his species, Brooks's name will stand,
according to the British- Association Rules. There are also
skins of this species in the British Museum labelled P. mo-
destus in Blyth's handwriting.

Abrornis chloronotus, Hodgs. MS. Drawings (in the Brit.
Mus.) of Birds of Nepal, Passeres, pi. 57, no. 839, undoubt-
edly represents Phylloscopus proregulus (Pall.), without the
grey on the head and throat and without the white on the
inside webs of the two outside tail-feathers characteristic of
P. maculipenniSj Blyth. On the other hand, in the same
MS. work, App. pi. 45, also no. 839, are two figures un-
doubtedly representing Blyth's species. In the British Mu-
seum both species are represented amongst Hodgson's types,
both being numbered ( ' 839." Hodgson does not appear ever
to have described his species, but catalogues it in Gray's

On the Ornithology of Ceylon. 279

'Zoological Miscellany' as " Abrornis chloronopus vel Re-
gulus modestus auct." Under these circumstances I do not
see that Hodgson has the slightest claim to have his name
recognized at all.

Phylloscopus ocdpitalis (Jerdon), fide Seebohm, Ibis, 1877,
p. 80.

Phylloscopus trochiloides (Sundev.), apud Seebohm, Ibis,
1877, p. 81.

The former is the spring plumage, and the latter the
autumn plumage of P. ocdpitalis , Blyth.

Phylloscopus viridipennis (Blyth), apud Seebohm, Ibis, 1877,
p. 82.

Phylloscopus (Reguloides] flavo-olivaceus, Hume, Stray
Feath. v. p. 504 (1877).

These are both synonyms of the true Phylloscopus regu-
loides (Blyth).

Phylloscopus presbytis (Miiller), from Timor, is probably
the Muscicapa presbytis of S. Mull. Tydschr. v. Natuurl.
Geschied. en Phys. ii. p. 331 (1835), from Sumatra. It is
the winter plumage of P. viridipennis, Blyth, whose name
will stand, since Miiller's name is unaccompanied by any

XXVI. Notes on the Ornithology of Ceylon.

THE last mail put me in possession of Parts I. and II. of
Captain Legge's ' Birds of Ceylon/ with which I am especially
delighted. It would ill become me to criticize the scientific
history of the birds as given by the author; but as a " pioneer/ }
as he calls me, in the field, permit me to add my testimony
to the accurate descriptions of the habits of our feathered
friends and the localities they inhabit. For the last two or
three days I have not been in New Caledonia ! Bodily, per-
haps, I have; but in spirit I have roamed at will in the
" Mookalane " of the south, the scrubby jungles of the west
coast, and the trackless forests of the " Wanoy," over the vast

280 Mr. E. L. Layard on the

salt plains of the north, transported to the well-remembered
haunts in the lovely " Lanka " by Captain Legge's spirited

So vivid have been my impressions, though some six and
twenty years have passed since I left its shores and ceased to
work in its fauna, that the " mysterious chambers of the brain "
have given up memories long locked up in them, and incidents
of collecting, of travelling, of individual specimens even,
seem to stand forth one by one, like pictures in dissolving
views, one, as it fades, calling up another. Some of these
reminiscences may not be useless to the future explorers of
Ceylonese ornithology ; I therefore jot them down as they
occur to me.

Nisaetusfasciatus. The specimen in the Poole Museum is
Dr. Templeton's specimen ! I now remember it perfectly
well. My dear old friend gave it to me, with a few other
specimens, when he left the island, and it thus came into the
Poole collection, never having been replaced by a better.

My first connexion with the ornithology of Ceylon may
well be detailed here.

I arrived in Ceylon in March 1846, and for some time,
having no employment, amused my leisure in collecting for
my more than friend, Dr. Templeton, who had nursed me
through a dangerous illness, and in whom I found a con-
genial spirit. My chief attraction then was the glorious Le-
pidoptera of the island ; but I always carried a light single-
barrelled gun in a strap on my back, to shoot specimens for
the Doctor. He himself, like Dr. Kelaart, never shot, but
depended on his friends for specimens. I, of course, soon
became interested in the " ornis " and on Templeton's
leaving, at the end of 1847 or beginning of 1848, he begged
me to take up his correspondence with the late Edward
Blyth, then curator of the R. A. S. Calcutta Museum*.
He left me his list of the species then known to exist in
the island, numbering 183, and Blyth's last letter to answer.
From that day almost monthly letters passed between the

* All Ceylonese species therefore (except Kelaart's) described by Blyth
after this date were discovered by me.

Mr. H. Seebohm on the Ornithology of Siberia. 179

XV. Contributions to the Ornithology of Siberia.

[Continued from ' The Ibis,' 1879, p. 163, and concluded.]

SINCE my return from Siberia I have received five small col-
lections of birds from Mr. Kibort, a Polish exile whose ac-
quaintance I made at Kras-no-yarsk'. Amongst these are skins
of some species which I did not meet with in the valley of
the Yen-e-say'. Most of my collecting was done north of the
Arctic circle. Mr. Kibort's skins were all obtained in the
immediate neighbourhood of Kras-no-yarsk 7 , and illustrate the
ornithology of the valley of the Yen-e-say 7 ten degrees further
south of the district where most of my observations were made.
I am also indebted to Mr. Meves, of Stockholm, for a report
upon the skins obtained by Dr. The'el in the valley of the Yen-
e-say 7 in 1876. The latter gentleman conducted a scientific
expedition which went overland to Siberia, intending to meet
Professor Nordenskiold at the mouth of the great river.
Dr. Theel was able to reach lat. 70 ; but his ornithological
booty, owing to the fact that it was principally obtained south
of the Arctic circle, contains many species which I did not
meet with. He has kindly allowed me to make use of the
report of Mr. Meves to supplement my contributions to the
ornithology of the valley of the Yen-e-say 7 .


Dr. Theel observed the Osprey fishing in the Yen-e-say 7
in lat. 59| and 61.


When I was in the valley of the Yen-e-say 7 I more than
once felt almost sure that I recognized the Merlin ; but as I
did not succeed in obtaining a specimen, it was not included
in my first list. I have now the skin of a male in my col-
lection, obtained by Mr. Kibort near Kras-no-yarsk 7 . Dr.
Theel observed it frequently about lat. 70, and obtained a
young bird in lat. 70^.


Mr. Kibort has sent me three skins of the Orange-legged

180 Mr. H. Seebohm on the Ornithology of Siberia.

Hobby from Kras -no-y arsk'. They are of the European form,
and not of that obtained by E/adde on the Amoor.


Mr. Kibort has sent me a female Goshawk from Kras-


Mr. Kibort has sent me an adult male of Montagu's Har-
rier from Kras-no-yarsk'.


Mr. Kibort has sent me a skin of a Hawk-Owl from Kras-
no-yarsk'. .Dr. Theel informs me that he met with this
species at Luscinova, in lat. 68J .


Mr. Kibort has sent me a skin of this Owl from Kras-


Mr. Kibort has sent me a fine male of the Ural Owl from
Kras-no-yarsk'. We might naturally have supposed that
it would be intermediate in colour between the European
bird and the Japanese subspecies fuscescens, Temm. On the
contrary, it differs quite as much from the European bird,
but in the opposite direction the white parts being very
white, and the dark parts being very dark and grey, not
brown. A careful examination of the skins in the British
Museum and in Dresser's and my own collections leads me
to the opinion that there is nothing in regard either of size
or colour that can entitle the Japanese bird to claim rank
even as a subspecies.


When I was in the valley of the Yen-e-say' I failed to
secure a specimen of the Short-eared Owl. Mr. Kibort has
now sent me two skins obtained near Kras-no-yarsk'.


Dr. Theel was told, on good authority, that the Hoopoe is
occasionally seen near Kras-no-yarsk'.

Mr. H. Seebohm on the Ornithology of Siberia. 181

Picus MAJOR, Linn.

Dr. Theel found this species breeding near Yen-e-saisk',
and met with it as far north as lat. 60.


Dr. Theel was told, on good authority, that a Green Wood-
pecker was found near Kras-no-yarsk'.

Picus PIPRA, Pall.

Mr. Kibort has sent me a skin of this species from Kras-
no-yarsk'. Dr. Theel informs me that he saw the Lesser
Spotted Woodpecker near where the Nish'-ni Tun-goosk'
joins the Yen-e-say', in lat. 66. The whole of the under-
parts are unspotted silky white, with the exception of the
under tail-coverts, which are slightly streaked with black.
The outside tail-feathers have two rudimentary cross bars.
The transverse bars on the back and rump are also nearly
obsolete. The wing measures 3*75 inches, and the tail 2'5.
This species is the Picus kamtschatkensis of Cabanis, Bona-
parte, Sundevall, and Malherbe. I have shot it at Arch-
angel and in the valley of the Petchora ; and besides the skins
from Kras-no-yarsk', I have seen skins from Lake Baical and
the Amoor, and have in my collection examples from the
islands of Sakhalin and Yezzo, north of Japan. Compared
with the South-European form, it is an excellent species. Spe-
cimens from Norway and Sweden are somewhat intermediate,
being as large as the Siberian form, but in the colour and
markings of the back and underparts scarcely differing from
the South-European form.

Picus MARTIUS, Linn.

Dr. Theel was informed on good authority that the Black
Woodpecker is occasionally seen near Kras-no-yarsk'. He
met with it himself in lat. 59.


Dr. Theel was informed on good authority that the Wry-
neck is occasionally seen near Kras-no-yarsk'. He met with
it himself in lat. 59.

182 Mr. H. Seebohm on the Ornithology of Siberia.


Mr. Kibort sent me three skins of the Kras-no-yarsk' Star-
ling. In the P. Z. S. 1878, p. 712, Dr. Finsch has described
a new species of Starling from the Chinese High Altai as
Sturnus poltaratskyi, and has incorrectly identified the skin I
brought from the Yen-e-say' with it. He appears to be right
in advocating the distinctness of S. humii, Gould (fig. nee
descript.), from S. nitens, Hume, which latter species was sub-
sequently renamed (on the ground that the name S. nitens
had previously been applied to the Common Starling by
Brehm) S. ambiguus, Hume, and S. humii, Brooks. Finsch,
however, is wrong in identifying his species with S. humii,
Gould. After carefully examining all the skins in the British
Museum and in Dresser's and my own collections, I have
come to the following conclusions :

Sturnus purpurascens, Gould, may at once be recognized
by its bronze-purple scapulars and wing-coverts, which in the
other species are green. The forehead and ear-coverts appear
also to be always bronze-purple. The fore neck is always
green, and the breast and belly purple, shading into bronze
on the flanks. The remaining parts appear to be subject to
variation. The crown, nape, and throat are usually mingled
bronze and green, occasionally pure bronze, and occasionally
pure green. The upper parts, from the hind neck downwards,
are purple in some skins from Eastern Asia Minor, which
may be taken as the extreme form. In others, however, from
the same locality, and from the Altai mountains and North
Persia, these parts are green, in which plumage they are the
S. poltaratskyi of Finsch. In the same localities, however,
in Asia Minor, in Yarkand, and in North-west India, every
intermediate form occurs ; so that the probability is that the
difference is due to age or individual variation. Gould's type
is one of these intermediate forms.

Sturnus vulgaris, Linn., may at once be recognized by its
green scapulars and wing-coverts. The ear-coverts appear
also to be always green. The fore neck is always a reddish
purple, and the breast and belly green, shading into bluish
purple on the flanks. The crown, nape, and throat are sub-

Mr. H. Seebohm on tlte Ornithology of Siberia.

jcct to the same variations as in the preceding species. Tin*
upper parts, from the hind neck downwards, are entirely green
in skins . from Beluchistan, South Persia, Behar, and from
Europe to India ; but usually the upper back is more or less
reddish purple in skins from Europe, and Asia Minor ; and in
some European skins the upper parts, from the hind neck
downwards, are entirely reddish purple. In this case the
intermediate forms are S. vulgaris, Linn. ; the green form is
S. humii, Gould nee Brooks, and consequently nameless,
whilst the reddish-purple form is fortunate enough to have
hitherto escaped the infliction of a name. In this case, as
in that of S. purpurascens, Gould, since differences of geo-
graphical distribution do not coincide with differences of
plumage, we may fairly refer the latter to age or individual
variation. In the Faroe Islands a form occurs with a longer
bill than usual (S. faroensis, Feilden), which may be worthy
of record as a subspecies. A slightly smaller form from the
Azores is worthy of honourable mention, but scarcely of the
bronze medal of subspecific rank.

Sturnus indicus, Hodgs., appears to me to be a fair species.
I take it to be Sturnus unicolor, Marmora, apud Jerdon, S.
nit ens, Hume nee Brehm, S. ambiguus, Hume, S. humii,
Brooks, /S. humii, Gould, letterpress nee figure, and S. minor,
Hume. It is found in Scinde, Cashmere, and Nepal. It
appears to be a small race of S. vulgaris, Linn., having
the general colour of that bird, and subject to nearly
the same variations. The length of wing measures from
4*3 inches to 4*75. The lower back and rump are often
green; but I have not yet met with a skin in which the
upper back was green. The flanks, however, appear to be
always green, whereas they seem to be always purple in the
common species.

The breast appears also to be always purple, whilst in S.
vulgaris the purple does not extend below the lower throat.
I take it to be a good species.


Mr. Kibort has sent me a male of this species from Kras-

Mr. H. Seebohm on the Ornithology of Siberia.

no-yarsk', the most easterly locality hitherto recorded of the
Golden Oriole.


Great differences of opinion appear to exist as to the number
of species into which the Grey Shrikes ought to be divided.
Dresser and Sharpe, in their " Notes on Lanius excubitor
and its Allies" (P.Z. S. 1870, p. 590), recognized two Si-
berian species. Two skins from the Amoor, fortunately still
in the Swinhoe collection, were identified by these ornitho-
logists as adult and immature of Lanius lahtora (Sykes) .
The adult bird is stated to be " absolutely similar in every
respect " (the italics are not mine) to examples of old L.
lahtora from the Punjab. The second Siberian species was
identified doubtfully, from Pallas's description of L. major,
with the American L. borealis y Vieill. I think Dresser and
Sharpe were wrong in both their facts, but right in at least
one of their conclusions. The adult bird of the first species,
so far from being absolutely similar in every respect to L.
lahtora, differs from that species in having the general colour
of the upper parts considerably paler, and in wanting the
narrow black frontal line at the base of the bill. The im-
mature bird is what is generally recognized as L. major, Pall.,
which these writers professed never to have seen.

In the ' Journal fur Ornithologie ' (1873, p. 75) the sub-
ject is handled by Cabanis with that minute attention to
details so characteristic of the German mind, and two new
species are described, L. homeyeri and L. sphenocercus. In
addition L. major, Pall., is recognized as a Siberian bird.

We may at once dismiss L. meridionalis , Temm., and L.
algeriensis, Less., as western forms, which have nothing to
do with Siberia. L. lahtora, Sykes, seems to me to have no
better claim to be considered a Siberian bird. In the allied
species black hairs, apparently an extension of the rictal
bristles, are found on the forehead at the base of the bill ; but
in L. lahtora, Sykes, more or less black feathers are found there
in addition, causing it to approach in this respect L. excubito-
roides, Swains., where these black feathers are still more

Mr. II. Seebohm on the Ornithology of Siberia. 185

developed. L. lahtora, Sykes, is probably entirely confined
to India, where it breeds though L. leucopygius, Hempr. apud
Severtz., from Turkestan, may prove to be this species. The
skin from the Amoor in the Swinhoe collection, which Sharpe
and Dresser incorrectly identified with L. lahtora, Sykes,
appears to me to be L. homeyeri, Cab., originally described
(loc. cit.) from South Russia. Hence it passes eastwards
through Turkestan, where it has been described by Severtzoff as
L. leucopterus (Ibis, 1876, p. 184), to Central Siberia, whence
Mr. Kibort has sent me two skins obtained by him at Kras-
no-yarsk' on the 18th of May and the 12th of August. East-
wards it appears to be found near Lake Baical (Tacz. Journ.
f. Orn. 1874, p. 322) and on the Amoor. In this species, as in
L. lahtora, Sykes, the secondaries are not only tipped with
white, but are always white on the basal half of both webs,
and some of them are always white on the entire inside web.
A third species having this peculiarity appears to be L. deal-
batus, Defil., from Algeria, Tunis, and Sennaar (fide skins in
the British Museum) . This species appears to be interme-
diate in the colour of the upper parts between L. lahtora,
Sykes, and L. homeyeri, Cab., differing also from the former
in wanting the narrow black frontal line of feathers, and
from the latter in its smaller size and distinct geographical


My immature bird from the Amoor is undistinguishable
from L. boreahs, Vieill. ; but I have seen an almost complete
series from it to L. excubitor, Linn. That the amount of
white at the base of both webs of the secondaries is not a
question of age, appears to me to be sufficiently proved by
the skin of a nestling from Baden in Dresser's collection, in
which the white on the secondaries is as much developed as
in typical skins of fully adult L. excubitor, Linn. The only
explanation that I can suggest is that L. excubitor, Linn., is
the western form, which in Europe may be said to be almost
pure-bred. In Asia it would appear to interbreed along the
whole line with L. borealis, Vieill., which becomes the pre-

SER. iv. VOL. iv. o

186 Mr. H. Seebohm on the Ornithology of Siberia.

vailing form in East Siberia. In America probably only
pure-bred L. borealis, Vieill., occurs ; whilst in Asia pure-
bred birds of both species, and every possible cross and inter-
cross between them, are to be found.

Another species allied to L. excubitor, Linn., appears to
be L. fallacy Finsch, differing in being somewhat smaller in
size, darker in the colour of the upper parts, and in having
the white on the primaries and secondaries more developed
but nevertheless not extending over the entire inside webs of
any of the secondaries. Dresser and Sharpe apparently in-
clude this species in their L. lahtora, Sykes ; but it does not
seem to possess the narrow black frontal line. From skins
in the British Museum and in Dresser's collection I conclude
the geographical range of L. fallax, Finsch, to be Abyssinia,
Nubia, Egypt, Palestine, Euphrates valley, Baluchistan, and
the Punjaub, in which latter district it is found in company
with L. lahtora } Sykes. I strongly suspect that the " L. leu-
copy gius, Hempr/' apud Severtz., will also prove to be L.
fallax, Finsch, since the skin which Finsch brought from the
Irtish appears to be of the latter species, though larger in size
than usual. Since the geographical ranges of all the Grey
Shrikes more or less overlap each other, I should not be sur-
prised to learn that in many cases where two forms inhabit
the same district they habitually interbreed. In that case
one of the forms thus interbreeding would have to be de-
graded to the rank of a subspecies ; but until intermediate
forms are found, we must, I think, consider them as closely
allied but distinct species, and not lump three or four of them

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