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from Krasnoyarsk, was originally described by Pallas. It
may be described as a pale or arctic form of our Creeper, and
is probably identical with the northern form found on the
American continent. Its southern limit in Central Asia
appears to be Kashmir, where it has received the name of
C. mandellii.


Six examples of this large pale Rock-Nuthatch from Sa-
marcand measure respectively in length of wing 3*52 inches,
3'45, 3-35, 3'3, 3'25, and 3'25. Unfortunately they are not
sexed. It is not known that intermediate forms between this
species and Sitta neumeyeri occur, though both of them are
found together in some localities*.

* Cf. suprb, p. 418. EDD.

Ornithology of Siberia. 423


I have an example from Samarcand.


An example of the Short-tailed Forktail from Samarcand
is, so far as I know, obtained further west than has hitherto
been recorded of this Himalayan bird.


Three examples of this species from Samarcand belong to
this race. It is intermediate between R. japonicus and R.
cristatus, not quite so grey on the sides of the head and on
the nape as the former, but not so green as the latter. The
females are, however, greyer than those of either race. Ex-
amples from Asia Minor are intermediate between R. hima-
layensis and R. cristatus.


I have two skins from Samarcand.


An adult female skin of the Spine-tailed Swift, obtained at
Krasnoyarsk in July, extends the known breeding-range of
this species more to the west.


A series of thirty skins of this species from Samarcand
exhibits considerable variation, and goes far to prove that
P. syriacus and P. leucopterus are conspecific, and that
P. leptorhynchus is one of the intermediate forms between
them. P. syriacus -leucopterus vel P. leptorhynchus is found
in Afghanistan, and was misnamed by Colonel Swinhoe "P.
sindianus, Gould " (antea, p. 102). These Woodpeckers are
quite distinct from P. major and its allies.

Picus CISSA.

Examples of the Great Spotted Woodpecker from Krasno-
yarsk, as well as others from Archangel, are easily distin-
guishable from British and South-European skins, Sharpe
and Dresser's assertion to the contrary notwithstanding.
Picus cissa of Pallas may always be known by its pure white
underparts. P. major reappears in China.

424 Mr. H. Seebohm on the


An example of this species from Samarcand may throw
some light on the appearance of this bird on Heligoland.


I have an example of this species from Samarcand and
another from Krasnoyarsk. The Indian bird is distinct from
the European species, being constantly shorter in the wing,
though having the bill quite as long. The difference between
the two species is, however, completely bridged over by inter-
mediate forms from South Siberia, China, and Japan. It was
to one of the infinite series of these intermediate forms that
Reichenbach gave the name of Alcedo pallasi.


Mr. Kibort has sent me a skin of the Cinereous Bullfinch
from Krasnoyarsk. I have in my collection skins from the
island of Askold, near the harbour of Vladivostok, from the
river Ouon, a little to the east of Lake Baical, from Turkestan,
and from Asia Minor.




A series of eleven Goldfinches from Krasnoyarsk, all dating
between 25th October and 2nd January, exhibit Taczan-
owskjr's Goldfinch and Eversmann's Goldfinch, and a gradual
series of intermediate forms between them, probably the
result of the direct interbreeding of the two extreme forms
with each other and with the hybrids of different degrees, as
is the case with the Carrion and Hooded Crows in the same

OTOCORYS BRANDTI, Dresser, B. Eur. iv. p. 401.

An example of Brandt's Shore-Lark from Samarcand is
identical with the species known as 0. albigula, Brandt.
But " Otoforis albigula, Brandt," of Bonap. Consp. i. p. 246,
which is the earliest publication of the name known to exist,
refers to another bird, namely O. penicillata, a fact which
puts the name O. albigula out of court.

* Cf. P. Z. S. 188 2, p. 134.- -EDD.

Ornithology of Siberia. 425


I have a fine example from Samarcand.


I have two examples from Samarcand.


I have two examples from Samarcand.


I have an example from Samarcand. The axillaries are
grey,, but the tarsus only measures 1'65 inch, whilst in two
examples from Shanghai it measures respectively 1*7 and 1*88.


I have an example of the Lapwing from Samarcand.


I have four examples of the Sociable Plover from Sa-


I have two skins of the Red-necked Phalarope in winter
plumage from Samarcand.

It would seem that the more we know of Siberian birds
the greater number of easily recognizable Siberian forms
present themselves, and many of Pallas's names, which have
been consigned for half a century to the limbo of synonyms,
will have to be revived. Though the 'Zoographia Eosso-
Asiatica' was published in 1811, the first edition was almost
entirely destroyed by fire, and this valuable work remained
practically unknown to European ornithologists until the
reprint in 1831. Since then modern ornithologists have
treated Pallas's names with scant courtesy. In some cases,
where they have had an opportunity of comparing examples
from Siberia with skins from Western Europe, they have
admitted the validity of his species ; but in other cases, where
they have had access to East-European skins, the existence
of intermediate forms has been alleged as a reason for
ignoring them, and Siberian forms have too often been
passed by with a contemptuous sneer, as beneath the notice

426 Mr. H. Seebohm on the

of science. In the majority of cases, however, the writers
have never seen a Siberian skin, and Pallas's names have
been enrolled in the list of synonyms without note or com-
ment. A fertile cause of this neglect is to be found in a
blind adherence to the binomial system of nomenclature.
It is time that the study of ornithology should be freed from
the red tape which the antiquated philosophers of the British
Association have wound around it. With these writers a
variation is either specific or it is nothing. They attempt to
draw a line where nature has drawn none. Their dogmatic
criticism of Pallas' s species, " we consider this a good species,"
or " we cannot admit the validity of this species," reads, in
the light which the theory of evolution has thrown upon these
questions, like a satire upon their own ignorance. The fact
that for more than a century a binomial system of nomen-
clature has been more or less rigidly adopted by ornithologists
is an obscure circumstance of comparative small moment;
but the fact that, for example, the Nuthatch of Western and
Southern Europe is represented in Scandinavia by a semi-
arctic form modified by the influence of the Gulf-stream, and
that eastwards a truly arctic form occurs, which, in the
valley of the Amoor, again becomes semiarctic, but of a
different type from the western semiarctic form, whilst in
China the South-European form reoccurs on a somewhat
smaller scale, and in the mountains of Assam the western
semiarctic form is also reproduced on a slightly smaller scale,
is a fact, or rather a series of facts, of the deepest interest to
the student ; and if the binomial system of nomenclature can-
not be adapted so as to catalogue these facts in a proper
manner, then the sooner the binomial system of nomencla-
ture is cast to the dogs the better.

The fact remains that many Siberian birds which are
common to Europe do present marked differences in colour,
not only amongst resident birds, but also amongst migrants.
The colours of the Siberian birds are more pronounced, the
blacks are blacker and the whites are whiter. Darwin would
doubtless explain these facts on two hypotheses. Where the
change of colour resembled that of the surrounding objects,

Ornithology of Siberia. 427

the change would be said to be protective ; and where it con-
trasted with them, it would be ascribed to sexual selection.
No doubt in some instances the male Siberian bird does
differ from his relation in Western Europe more than their
respective females do ; but I am not aware of any evidence to
prove that the oriental taste for rich colour is shared by the
bipeds with feathers with the bipeds without feathers. I am
inclined to ascribe the differences under consideration rather
to the direct influence of climate, which may have a chemical
action on the colouring-matter of the feathers, in the absence
of natural sexual relations to interfere with its operation.
But whatever the cause may be, the effects are great orni-
thological facts, which can no longer be ignored by the
student ; and our system of nomenclature must be made to
recognize them at any cost, even if its binomial character
has to be modified for the purpose. Probably the simplest
course will be to give binomial names to the two extreme
forms, whether the difference between them be specific or
subspecific, and to reserve the trinomial nomenclature for
the intermediate forms which must exist in the latter case.
No doubt such a system increases the number of names with
which the memory has to be burdened, and fails to show the
relationship of nearly allied species. It is high time, how-
ever, that ornithologists came to some mutual understanding
on this question. Are we in the future going to discriminate
between the two forms of the Great Spotted Woodpecker or
not ? And if we are, what system are we going to adopt ?
In this paper I have called them respectively

Picus major,

Picus cissa.
The American plan would be to call them

Picus major,

Picus major, var. cissa.
An improvement upon this would be

k Picus major (typicus) ,

Picus major (arcticus}.
A.t present we either do not discriminate them at all, like

428 Mr. W. A. Forbes on a new Species of

Sharpe and Dresser ; or we adopt an unscientific mixture of
Latin and English, and speak of

The typical form of Picus major,
The arctic form of Picus major.

Perhaps, after all, the last is the best, as giving the greatest
amount of information with the least strain on the memory,
except in the case of intermediate forms. No one can deny
that Picus major-cissa is a much better phrase than " an
intermediate form between the typical and arctic forms of
Picus major."

XXXII. On a new Species of Hemipode from New Britain.
By W. A. FORBES, B.A., M.B.O.U., Prosector to the
Zoological Society.

(Plate XII.)

A FEW months ago I received, through Mr. Sclater, a small
collection of birds in spirit from various parts of the world,
which had been forwarded to him for identification by Herr
J. D. E. Schmeltz, Curator of the Godeffroy Museum in
Hamburg. Amongst these was a single specimen (which on
dissection proved to be a female) of a small Turnix from New
Britain, where it had been collected by the late Herr Klein -
schmidt, who was murdered by the natives of that inhospit-
able island shortly afterwards.

I at first thought that this bird was referable to the Aus-
tralian Turnix melanonota of Gould ; but having compared it
with Gould's types of that species, now in the collection of
the Academy of Sciences in Philadelphia, as well as with a
series of ten specimens in the British Museum, I am inclined
to consider it specifically distinguishable from the Australian
bird, and propose therefore to call it


Affinis T. melanonotce, sed rostro crassiore magisque curvato,
superciliis magis rufescentibus, et colore subtus omnino
(prsesertim in mento, gula et pectore) intensiore distin-

Long. al. 3'2, tars. -85 poll. Angl.

Corrections of Synonymy in the Family Sylviidse. 273

The same observations as to the moulting of the wing-
feathers applies to this as to the preceding species.

357. QUERQUEDULA HOTTENTOTTA, Smith. Hottentot Teal.
Male and female, shot near Potchefstroom in the month of

ANAS SPARSA, Smith. White-spotted Duck.

Male, shot 7th March. Total length 22 inches, bill 2J,
wing 10J, tarsus 2J, tail 5 ; weight 2 Ib. 8 oz. Irides
hazel ; bill, upper mandible slaty horn-colour, with a large
patch in the centre and also the tip black, under mandible
pale pink ; tarsi and feet dull orange-yellow, with the webs
and back parts dusky.

Female, shot 19th April. Total length 21^ inches ; weight
2 Ib. 6 oz. Irides dusky brown ; bill, upper mandible slaty
blue, with tip and central patch black, under mandible pinkish;
tarsi and feet as in the male. The whole canal to the stomach
crammed with grass-seeds.

PHALACROCORAX AFRICANUS (Gm.). Long-tailed African

Male, shot 26th July. Partially in nuptial dress. Irides
bright light crimson ; bill chrome-yellow, but light dusky
brown on the ridge, tip, and part of the lower mandible, the
latter being also more or less barred ; tarsi and feet black.
Remains of fish in the stomach.

These Cormorants are tolerably numerous about Potchef-
stroom, but appear to keep to themselves, for they fish and
move from place to place in a solitary manner, passing along
the river, generally high overhead, early in the morning to
their favourite pools, and returning pretty regularly in the
evening to where they sleep; they swim very low in the

XXV. Various Corrections of Synonymy in the Family
Sylviidae. By HENRY SEEBOHM.

IN preparing the synonymy of the fifth volume of the ' Cata-
logue of Birds in the British Museum/ I have been obliged to
SER. iv. VOL. iv. V

274 Mr. H. Seebohnr's Corrections of

disallow the claims of many species to be considered new.
These identifications with previously described species will
appear in their proper places in the synonymy of the various
birds treated of in the volume, but, from the nature of the
work, without note or comment. To my mind, whatever value
may attach to an opinion is increased at least tenfold by a
concise statement of the grounds upon which it is based, so
that the readers may be able to form an opinion of their own,
instead of accepting it on the authority of even the best
expert. Some of our most accurate writers on ornithology
have neglected this important point, partly perhaps from a
mistaken endeavour to be brief, and partly, it is to be feared,
from an unwillingness to commit themselves to a definite
line of argument, the accuracy of which might hereafter be
impeached. I have frequently been told, when asking for the
reason why an opinion in which I could not coincide was
expressed, that the writer had no doubt that he had excellent
reasons at the time for coming to the conclusions which he
recorded, but that now, after the lapse of some years, he was
not able to recall his former line of argument to memory.
Such replies are eminently unsatisfactory. The day in which
opinions were accepted solely on authority is past. Probably
we are in danger of rushing to the opposite extreme, and are
.more inclined, in those cases where the evidence does not
satisfy our reason, 'to give the casting vote in favour of

It appears to me that new material is so continually coming
forward, and old material is so frequently being raked up
from the nooks and corners where it has been lying hid, that
no ornithological opinion can be considered final, or even of
much value, unless accompanied by the statement of the facts
upon which it is based.

In addition to the " slaughter of the innocents/' which I
propose to justify, to the best of my ability, in the present
paper there are also numerous errors of identification to
correct, which also require some explanation more full than
s consistent with the plan of the f Catalogue of Birds.'

Acrocephalus arabicus, Heugl. Orn. N.O.-Afr. i. p. 289

Synonymy in the Family Sylviidae. 275

(1869). I have examined Heuglin's type in the Senckenberg
Museum in Frankfort, and am unable to distinguish it from
A. turdoides (Meyer). The wing measures 3'48 inches, and
the second and third primaries are equal and longest.

Acrocephalus fidvolateralis, Sharpe, Layard's B. S. Afr.
p. 289 (1877). The type in the British Museum agrees in
all its dimensions and in its wing-formula with A. turdoides
(Meyer), of which there can be no doubt that it is an example
in autumn plumage. Through the kindness of Mr. Wardlaw
Ramsay I have been able to examine a copy of that rare work,
Naumann's f Naturgeschichte der Land- und Wasser-Vogel
des nordlichen Deutschlands und angranzender Lander/ In
the e< Nachtrag " to this work, vol. iv. p. 199, published in
1811, the genus Acrocephalus is carefully characterized, and
seven species are named and the specific characters enume-
rated. The first of these is Acrocephalus lacustris (p. 201),
which is identified with Turdus arundinaceus , Linn. The
term Acrocephalus arundinaceus having been so universally
applied to A. streperus (Vieill.), amongst others by Naumann,
on the page last quoted, the Great Sedge- Warbler will proba-
bly be best designated for the future as Acrocephalus lacus-
tris , Naum., a name which antedates A. turdoides (Meyer)
and is not antedated by A.junco (Pall.). For the informa-
tion of ornithologists anxious to distinguish themselves by
discovering forgotten names, I may state that there are no
Latin names of birds given in this rare work of Naumann's,
except in the genus Acrocephalus, beyond an occasional quo-
tation of Linnseus.

Locustellajaponica, Cassin, Proc. Ac. Sc. Phil. 1858, p. 194,
The type in the museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences
in Philadelphia is almost an exact duplicate of the type
of L. ochotensis* (Midd.) in the St. Petersburg Museum,
the feathers of the upper parts showing traces only of darker
centres. The name must therefore sink into a synonym of
MiddendorfPs species.

Locustella minor, David et Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 250 (1877).
The type of this species is lost ; but F Abbe David assures me
that his name must be added to the synonyms of L. certhiola

276 Mr. H. Seebohm's Corrections of

(Pall.), of which he is now satisfied that his supposed new
species was a somewhat small example.

Lusciniopsis hendersoni, Cassin, Proc. Ac. Sc. Phil. 1858,
p. 194. This bird has been identified by Dresser and Hume
with the Turkestan and Indian species. I have carefully
examined the type in the Museum of the Academy of Natural
Sciences in Philadelphia, and find it to be an example of
Locustella minuta, Swinh., which I take to be only a form
of L. lanceolata (Temm.) . The Turkestan and Indian species
must therefore stand as L. straminea (Severtz.).

Arundinax davidiana, Verr. N. Arch. Mus. Bull. vi. p. 37
(1870). The type of this alleged species is in the Museum
of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, and is, in my opinion, a
specimen of Horornis fortipes, Hodgs., or, as I prefer to call
the bird, Cettia fortipes (Hodgs.). It is described, and not
badly figured, in David et Oustalet's Oiseaux de la Chine,
pi. 20. If the Formosan species, Horeites robustipes, Swinh.,
be, as I maintain, the same as the Himalayan bird, Abbe
David's examples from Chinese Thibet are specially interesting
as coming from an intermediate locality.

Horornis fulv iventris } Hodgs. MS. Drawings (in the Brit.
Mus.) of Birds of Nepal, Passeres, pi. 63, no. 878 which
name was first published by Hodgson in Gray's Zool. Misc.
p. 82 (1844), and accompanied for the first time with a
description of the bird in an article contributed by Hodg-
son to the P. Z. S. 1845, p. 31 must sink into a synonym
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 Sylviiclae. 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 flaviventer, Hodgs.) ; L. fuscata (Phyllopneuste fuscata,
Blyth) ; L. schwarzi (Sylvia (Phyllopneuste) schwarzi, Radde) ;
L. armandi (Abrornis armandi, Milne-Edwards) ; L. indica
(Sylvia indica, Jerdon) ; L. fuliginiventris (Horornis fuligini-
venter, Hodgs.) ; and L. neglecta (Phylloscopus neglectus,
Hurne) .

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

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

Oreopneuste affinis, David et Oustal. Ois. de la 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,VeiT. N. Arch. Mus. Bull. vi. p. 65

Dumeticola mandelli, Brooks, Stray Feathers, 1875, p. 28 &

These two supposed new species agree precisely in dimrn-

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
lugubris, Blyth. The types, formerly in the India Museum,
and now in the British Museum, are skins of Phylloscopus
qffinis, 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. maculipennis , 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,

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