Henry Seebohm.

[Ornithological papers] (Volume 2) online

. (page 19 of 23)
Online LibraryHenry Seebohm[Ornithological papers] (Volume 2) → online text (page 19 of 23)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ARDEA ALBA.

The Great White Egret is common on the plains, probably
only in summer.

ARDEA GARZETTA.

The Lesser Egret breeds on the delta of the Terek.

ARDEA COMATA.

The Squacco Heron is common on the shores of the Cas-
pian.

ARDEA BUBULCTJS.

The Buff-backed Heron has once been obtained in the
Caucasus.

ARDETTA MINUTA.

The Little Bittern is found throughout the Caucasus on
the plains.

BOTAURUS STELLARIS.

The Bittern is common on the waters throughout the
plains of the Caucasus.

NYCTICORAX GRISEUS.

The Night-Heron breeds in the delta of the Terek and in
many other places in the Caucasus.

ClCONIA ALBA.

The White Stork is very common in the Caucasus, and is
said to be a resident.

ClCONIA NIGRA.

The Black Stork is common in the Caucasus, and is said
to be a resident.

PLATALEA LETJCORODIA.

The Spoonbill passes through the Caucasus on migration.

IBIS FALCINELLUS.

The Glossy Ibis is very common in the plains of the Cau-
casus ; but Bogdanow does not say if it is a resident.



Birds of the Caucasus. 33

PHCENICOPTERUS ROSEUS.

The Flamingo has not been found breeding in the Caucasus,
but is often seen as an occasional visitor.

CYGNUS OLOR.

The Mute Swan is common in the Caucasus, and is said to
breed in the delta of the Terek.

CYGNUS MUSICUS.

The Whooper Swan winters in the Caucasus.

ANSER CTNEREUS.

The Grey-lag Goose breeds in great numbers in the valley,
and especially in the delta, of the Terek.

ANSER SEGETUM.

The Bean-Goose passes the Caucasus in great numbers on
migration; and a few winter on the southern shores of the
Caspian.

ANSER ALBIFRONS.

The White-fronted Goose is very common in winter on the
southern shores of the Caspian, and on the lakes of the south-
west Caucasus.

ANSER ERYTHROPUS.

The Little White-fronted Goose winters on the southern
shores of the Caspian.

BERNICLA RUFICOLLIS.

The Red-breasted Goose visits the Caspian in large flocks
on the autumn migration.

T ADORN A VULGARIS.

The Sheldrake is very common in the Caucasus : it is pro-
bably a resident.

TADORNA CASARCA.

The Ruddy Sheldrake is a common resident throughout
the Caucasus, except on the mountains.

ANAS BOSCHAS.

The Mallard is a common resident in the plains of the
Caucasus.

SER. V. VOL. I. JD



34 Mr. H. Seebohm on the

ANAS STREPERA.

The Gadwall is a common resident in the plains of the
Caucasus.

ANAS ANGTJSTIROSTRIS.

The Marbled Duck is a rare resident in the plains of the
Caucasus.

ANAS ACUTA.

The Pintail is a common resident in the Caucasus.

ANAS QUERQUEDULA.

The Garganey is common throughout the Caucasus.

ANAS CRECCA.

The Teal is common throughout the Caucasus, except on
the mountains.

ANAS PENELOPE.

The Wigeon is not so common in the Caucasus as the
other ducks.

ANAS CLYPEATA.

The Shoveller is found in all the plains of the Caucasus.

FULIGULA RUFINA.

The Red-crested Pochard winters in the Caucasus, and pro-
bably breeds there.

FULIGULA MARILA.

The Scaup winters on the southern shores of the Caspian.

FULIGULA CRISTATA.

The Tufted Duck is common during the spring and autumn
migrations in the plains of the Caucasus, and winters on the
southern shores of the Caspian.

FULIGULA FERINA.

The Pochard is found throughout the plains of the Cau-
casus.

FULIGULA NYROCA.

The White-eyed Duck is very common in the valleys of
the Terek and the Kuban.



Birds of the Caucasus. 35

FULIGULA CLANGULA.

The Golden-eye is very common in the valleys of the Terek
and the Koubaii, and winters on the southern shores of the
Caspian.

FULIGULA GLACIALIS.

The Long-tailed Duck winters on the southern shores of
the Caspian.

(EDEMIA FUSCA.

The Velvet Scoter is said to winter in the Caspian.

(EDEMIA NIGRA.

The Scoter is said to winter in the Caspian.

ERISMATURA MERSA.

The White-headed Duck is a resident in the Caucasus.

MERGUS MERGANSER.

The Goosander passes the Caucasus on migration, and
winters on the shores of the Black Sea.

MERGUS SERRATOR.

The Red-breasted Merganser passes through the Caucasus
on the autumn migration.

MERGUS ALBELLUS.

The Smew winters in the Caucasus, but is not common.

COLYMBUS SEPTENTRIONALIS.

The Red-throated Diver winters in large numbers on the
southern shores of the Caspian.

COLYMBUS ARCTICUS.

The Black-throated Diver also winters in large numbers
on the southern shores of the Caspian.

PODICEPS CRISTATUS.

The Great Crested Grebe is a resident in the plains of the
Caucasus.

PODICEPS RUFICOLLIS.

The Red-necked Grebe breeds in great numbers in the
valleys of the Terek and the Kuban.



36 Mr. H. Seebohm on the

PODICEPS CORNUTUS.

The Eared Grabe has been found in the Caucasus.

POCICEPS AURITUS.

The Sclavonian Grabe has been found in the Caucasus.

PODICEPS MINOR.

The Little Grebe has been found in the Caucasus.

PELECANUS CRISPUS.

The Dalmatian Pelican is found throughout the summer in
the valleys of the Terek and the Kouban. It winters on the
southern shores of the Caspian.

PELECANUS ONOCROTALUS.

The Roseate Pelican frequents both the Caspian and Black
Sea, both summer and winter.

PHALACROCORAX CARBO.

The Cormorant winters both in the Caspian and Black
Sea, and is said occasionally to be seen in summer.

PHALACROCORAX PYGM./EUS.

The Pygmy Cormorant is very common on the Caspian,
and is said to breed on the delta of the Terek.

PUFFINUS ANGLORUM.

The Manx Shearwater is said to be found both on the
Caspian and Black Sea.

LARUS CANUS.

The Common Gull is said to be a resident on the Causasian
shores both of the Caspian and Black Sea.

LARUS CACHINNANS.

The Yellow-legged Herring-Gull is a resident both on the
shores of the Caspian and Black Sea.

LARUS BOREALIS.

The Siberian Herring-Gull passes down the Caspian Sea
on migration.

LARUS ICHTHYAETUS.

The Great Black-headed Gull is continually seen on the
Caspian Sea during summer.



Birds of the Caucasus. 37

LARUS RIDIBUNDUS.

The Black-headed Gull is found throughout the Caucasus,
except on the mountains. It is probably a resident.

LARUS MINUTUS.

The Little Gull passes the Caucasus on migration.

STERNA CASPIA.

The Caspian Tern is seen on the Caspian Sea during
autumn.

STERNA CANTIACA.

The Sandwich Tern is seen in autumn on the Caspian Sea.

STERNA ANGLICA.

The Gull-billed Tern is frequently seen in the Caucasus in
summer and autumn.

STERNA HIRUNDO.

The Common Tern is very abundant in the valleys of the
Terek and the Kuban. It is probably a resident.

STERNA MINUTA.

The Lesser Tern is very abundant in the valleys of the
Caucasus.

STERNA NIGRA.

The Black Tern is common in the valleys of the Terek arid
the Kuban during summer.

STERNA HYBRIDA.

The Whiskered Tern is very common in the valleys of the
Terek and the Kuban.

STERNA LEUCOPTERA.

The White-winged Black Tern is often seen during summer
and autumn in the valleys of the Terek and the Kuban.






38 Canon Tristram on the



II. On the Position of the Acrocephaline Genus Tatare, with
Descriptions of two new Species of the Genus Acrocephalus.
By H. B. TRISTRAM, F.R.S.

(Plates I. & II.)

IN many cabinets a drawer near the bottom, generally deeper
than most of the others, serves as a receptacle for various
odds and ends which have not found a place elsewhere, or
which, perhaps, from their shape and size, do not exactly fit
in symmetrically with the contents of the upper drawers. To
this Bluebeard's closet are relegated all sorts of miscella-
neous curiosities. The owner is not very fond of examining
and sifting it. To do so gives a great deal of trouble, and,
besides, if its contents are to be reduced, may involve the
labour of rearranging some very pretty and undoubtedly
homogeneous series.

Such a deep drawer in the practice of many ornithologists is
the family Timeliidse. The Timeliine group is, in fact, the
waste-paper basket of the puzzled systematist in the Passerine
birds.

Our late dear friend Dr. Jerdon, on seeing a specimen
which perplexed him, used to say, ee Oh ! put it among the
Timeliines ; some one will find a place for it there." And
certainly we do find a motley group relegated by one and
another of our systematists to this elastic family. What is
its definition ? I can only find (1) " Bill very similar to that of
the Thrushes and Warblers ; (2) wings rounded and short,
concave, so as to fit close to the body. (3) Birds generally of
limited migration " (Cat. Birds, iv. p. 7, & vi. p. 1). Is this a
sufficient diagnosis on which to found a, family? I trow not.
In the first place we may dismiss the last sentence, as we
can scarcely form genera, still less families, on a vague and
indefinite statement of life-habit that the bird is rather a
stay-at-home traveller. The first we dismiss, as there is
nothing very differentiating in a strong similarity to others.
There remains therefore only the distinction of a rounded
and short concave wing. Is this sufficient to mark off a



Species of the Family Icteridae. ] 63

Nigerrimus umcolor; rostro albo, pedibus nigris : long, tota
11, alse 4'8, caucUe 4*5. Fern. Mari similis, sed minor :
long, tota 8-5, alre 4'4, caudae 4'3,

Hab. Paraguay (Azara) ; Buenos Ayres (Haslehurst) ;
Brazil,, Cuyaba andMatto-grosso (Natt.) ; Ceara (Jesse) ; Upper
Amazonia, Nauta (Bartlett) Pebas (Hauxwell) ; Bolivia,
Yuracares (Orb.).

11. CASSICUS HOLOSERICEUS.

Sturnus holosericeus, Licht. Preis-Verz. Mcx. Vog. p. 1 ;
Cab. J. f. O. 1863, p. 55.

Cacicus holosericeus, Salvin, Cat. Strickl. Coll, p. 263.

Amblyramphus prevostii, Less. Cent. Zool. pi. 54.

Aniblycercus nigerrirnus, Cab. Mus. Hein. p. 190 (note).

Cassiculus prevostii, Bp. Consp. p. 428; Sclater, P. Z. S.
1856, p. 301, 1859, pp. 57, 365, 380, et 1860, pp. 276, 293,
1864, p. 174, et Cat. A. B. p. 129 ; Sclat. et Salv. Ibis, 1859,
p. 19, et 1860, p. 34; P. Z. S. 1864, p. 353, 1870, p. 836;
Salv. P. Z. S. 1867, p, 142, et 1870, p. 190.

Cassicus prevosti, Scl. et Salv. Nomencl. p. 36 ; Tacz.
P. Z. S. 1877, p. 322 (Tumbez).

Nigerrimus, rostro albo, pedibus nigris : long, tota 9, alse
4'1, caudse 4'3. Fern. Mari similis et, ut videtur, cras-
sitie vix minor.

Hab. Southern Mexico, Jalapa (Salle) ; Oaxaca (Boucard) ;
Yucatan (Gaumcr) ; Guatemala (Salvin) ; Honduras; Costa
Rica (Rogers, Mus. S.-G.) ; Veragua (ArcS) ; Panama
(McLeannari) ; Bogota (Mus. P. L. S.) ; Western Ecuador,
Babahoyo and Esmeraldas (Fraser)} Western Peru, Tumbez
(Jelski).

This species, which is, I think, undoubtedly allied to C.
solitarius, extends (as will be seen from the above-given list
of localities) from Mexico throughout the Central-American
isthmus down to Tumbez in Western Peru. I cannot make
out that there is much difference in the dimensions of the
sexes.



164 Mr. H. Seebohm on the

XVI. Remarks on the Thrushes of the ^Ethiopian Region.
By HENRY SEEBOHM, F.Z.S.

THE Thrushes of the ^Ethiopian Region all belong to the genera
Geocichla and Turdus. Of the former genus seven species
are known ; and of the latter twelve have been described from
Africa. Of the former genus we have two types, one with the
breast and flanks spotted, and the other without spots on the
underparts. Geocichla guttata is probably the least changed
Ground-Thrush in Africa. It inhabits the forests of Natal.
Its nearest relations appear to be G. lit sit sir up a, distributed
throughout South Africa, and a northern form of this species
inhabiting the highlands of Abyssinia, G.simensis, which differs
from its southern ally only in being more rufous, a difference
probably caused by living in a damper climate. The two
last-mentioned species are somewhat more advanced than
G. guttata, but are still more nearly allied to Geocichla than
to Turdus. These three species appear to be the least changed
descendants of the ancestors of the palaBarctic Thrushes. Of
the other type of Ethiopian Ground-Thrushes, with no spots
on the underparts, four very nearly allied species are known
G. princei from the Gold Coast, G. crossleyi from the Came-
roons, G. piaggii from the Uganda country, near the sup-
posed sources of the Nile, and G. gurneyi from the Trans-
vaal and Natal. These species are probably the least changed
descendants of the ancestors of the ^Ethiopian species of the
genus Turdus, to which Cabanis has applied the subgeneric
name of Peliocichla (J. f. O. 1882, p. 318).

The Peliocichla are so closely allied to the South-American
Pianestici that it requires a careful examination to discrimi-
nate some of them ; and the name of this group must be
regarded as a purely geographical expression, and not in any
way denoting the least difference of even subgeneric value.
The Peliocichla are divided by Cabanis into twelve species ;
but the characters upon which many of these are founded
are so slight that modern ornithologists would call them only
local races or climatic forms, and some of them have already
been described as such. There is very little variation in size,



Thrushes of the -^Ethiopian Region. 165

and scarcely any in wiug-formula. The colour of the upper
parts varies, according to climate, from slate-grey through a
neutral brown to olive-brown. In all of them the sides of
the upper throat are streaked with brown or black. In all
of them the axillaries and under wing-coverts are of an orange
chestnut and the under tail-coverts white, with more or less
brown margins on the basal half. They have all pale legs
and feet and yellow bills.

Four fairly good species and half a dozen climatic forms
or local races of this group are at present known. The four
species may be distinguished as under :

Upper parts varying from brown to dull slate-grey ; centre
of belly wliite.

Streaks on the throat nearly black T. libonyanns.

Streaks on the throat pale brown T. pelios.

Upper parts bright slate-grey ; very little white on belly ;
breast dull slate-grey ; inner margins of quills orange-
chestnut ; a bare space behind the eye T. tephronotus.

Upper parts brown ; belly orange-chestnut with no white

except on the feathers round the vent.
Flanks orange-chestnut T. olivacinus.

T. libonyanns inhabits South Africa, having been obtained
in Damara Land, the Bechuana country, and the Trans-
vaal. Two supposed new tropical races of this species, an
eastern and a western one, have been described by Cabanis.
They are both slightly smaller than the typical form. The
eastern race (var. tropicalis) is found in Mozambique, and is
paler and more buffy on the breast than the typical form,
and is browner and less grey on the upper parts. The western
race (var. schuetti, Cab. J. f. O. 1882, p. 319) is of the same
colour on the breast as the eastern race, but is slightly paler
on the flanks, and is somewhat greyer in the colour of the
upper parts than the typical form. The difference in size is
very trifling between these two northern races. The western
race was described by Cabanis from Angola; but in the
British Museum there is an example from Damara Land and
another from the Zambesi. The latter skin seems to dispose
of the supposition that they are local races. I take T.

SER. v. VOL. i. x



166 On the Thrushes of the Ethiopian Region.

schuetti to be the summer plumage, more or less abraded,
and consequently greyer on the back and less brilliant on the
flanks in fact, faded and T. tropicalis to be the newly
moulted autumn form.

T. pelios is not found in South Africa, but in its restricted
sense may be said to be confined to the lowlands of Abyssinia,
the Bogos country, and the district from Abeokuta to the
Gold Coast. A western local race (var. cryptopyrrhd) is found
in Senegambia, and differs from the typical form in having
the huffish chestnut of the underparts absent altogether,
that usually on the flanks being replaced by pale greyish
brown. It is also slightly larger. On the east coast of the
Gulf of Guinea, near the equator, a tropical form (var. satu-
ratd] occurs, having the upper parts and the breast darker
and browner, the dark margins to the under tail-coverts
somewhat more pronounced, and the size slightly less.
Further south on the same coast, in Angola, a southern form
has been described by Cabanis (var. bocagei) , which is said to
be slightly larger than the typical form and to be more olive
on the upper parts, with the stripes on the throat less dis-
tinct ; but of this there is only one example in the Berlin
Museum. Newly moulted examples from the Gaboon exactly
answer CabamYs description ; and I have two examples in
my collection from the Congo. I have little doubt that it is
only the newly moulted autumn plumage of T. saturates.

T. tephronotus is found in Zanzibar, and appears to be a
good species.

T. olivacinus inhabits the highlands of Abyssinia and the
Uganda country. It has a very near ally in South Africa
(var. olivaced), differing only in having the upper parts a
shade paler and the ground-colour of the throat whiter.

T. cabanisi is very nearly allied to the preceding. It is
found in the Transvaal and Kaffirland. It is, perhaps, a
shade browner on the upper parts, and has the flanks also
brown, the bill also is slightly longer ; but some examples
are quite intermediate and difficult to determine.



Mr. H. Seebohm on Hirundo rufula. 167

XVII. Notes on Hirundo rufula and its Allies, with De-
scription of a supposed new Subspecies. By HENRY
SEEBOHM, F.Z.S,

IN ' Stray Feathers' (v. p. 254) Mr. Hume gave an excellent
monograph of the Swallows of the subgenus Littia. Leaving
out the African species, Mr. Hume enumerates nine Asiatic
species, of which the range of one extends into South Europe.
The points upon which he relies for the discrimination of
the species are (1) the presence or absence of striations on
the rump, (2) the fineness or coarseness of the striations on
the underparts, (3) the colour and depth of the rump-
band, and (4) the size. Of these points all seem to be
more or less variable.

Hirundo rufula may always be distinguished by the colour
of the rump, which is not uniform chestnut, as in all the
other species, but graduates from chestnut next the back to
pale buff next the upper tail-coverts. There are no stria-
tions on the rump ; the chestnut on the nape is well deve-
loped , and the striations on the underparts are very narrow.
This species breeds in Greece, Asia Minor, Palestine, Persia,
Turkestan, and Nepal. There appear to be two forms of it.
Examples from Greece, Asia Minor, and Palestine vary in
length of wing from 5 to 4'8 inches, whilst examples from
Gilgit and Nepal vary from 4*6 to 4*4 inches. One of the
most remarkable features of the Swallows appears to be the
very small variation in size in each species ; and as this differ-
ence in size in this case corresponds with a difference of geo-
graphical distribution, I propose to call the small eastern form
Hirundo scullii, or, if we follow the wise example of the Ame-
rican ornithologists in adopting the system of Linnaeus, H.
rufula 0. scullii.

Of the other species in which the general colour of the
rump is uniform, Hirundo erythropygia is the most distinct.
Its best character is its small size ; it has a length of wing
of 4*4 to 4*2 inches instead of 5'5 to 4*5 inches. Its next
best character is the fineness of the striations of the under-
parts. These striations are not much more distinct than

N2



168 Mr. H. Seebohm on Hirundo rufula.

those of H. rufula, but are decidedly finer than in the much
larger H. alpestris, and more decidedly so than those of any
form of H. striolata. The rich dark chestnut of the rump,
which, even in birds of the year, scarcely shows a trace of shaft-
lines, is another good character. This species is a resident in
North-west India.

H* alpestris (of which H. intermedia of Hume is a synonym)
breeds in South Siberia and winters in Assam. The rump
shows only traces of striations; and the striations of the
underparts, though much more marked than those of the three
forms we have already discussed, are scarcely so much so as in
those we shall have to mention afterwards. H. alpestris may
be divided into two subspecies, not, as in the first species, an
eastern and a western form, but a northern and a southern
race. The latter may be called H. alpestris /3. nipalensis, and
is a colony which has established itself in the Himalayas,
wintering in the plains of India and Burma. This local race
differs in no respect from its Siberian ally except in size.
The Siberian birds vary in length of wing from 5'2 to 4'9
inches, and the Himalayan birds from 4'8 to 4*5 inches.

The remaining form may be allowed to be specifically
distinct from the previous two on the ground that the rump
is always more striated and the striations of the under-
parts are more pronounced. This species is called H. striolata,
and comprehends three local races, which are said to differ
only in size. The typical form is a resident in Java, and
measures 5 '5 inches in length of wing. H. striolata /3. substri-
olata, is supposed to be a resident in Formosa, occasionally
straying in winter to Assam, and measures 5 to 4' 8 inches
in length of wing ; whilst H. striolata y. japonica breeds in
Japan and South China, and measures 4'6 to 4'4 inches in
length of wing. H. arctivitta may be the young of H. ja-
ponica, or an eastern colony of H. nipalensis. It breeds at
Pekin. All the examples of this form in the Swinhoe collec-
tions are autumn birds, and differ from H. japonica in being
very slightly less streaked on the underparts, and in having the
. chestnut band on the rump less than three quarters of an
inch deep, instead of more than an inch. Only one of these



On an Owl from South-east New Guinea. 169

skins appears to be that of an adult bird. I have an Indian
skin in which the chestnut band on the rump is equally
narrow.

The Asiatic species and subspecies of this subgenus may
be diagnosed as under :

a. Colour of rump graduating from chestuut next
the back to pale buff next the upper tail-
coverts.

a'. Length of wing 5 to 4-8 inches rufula.

b'. Length of wing 4-6 to 4*8 inches rufula ft. scullii.

~b. Colour of rump uniform chestnut.

c' '. Striations of underparts nearly as fine as in
the preceding species. Length of wing

4-4 to 4-2 inches erythropygia,

d'. Striations of underparts coarser than in any
of the preceding. Length of wing 4'5
or more.

2 . Striations of underparts intermediate be-
' tween the preceding and the following
species, those of rump almost obsolete.
a 3 . Length of wing 5*2 to 4*9 inches .... alpestris.
b 3 . Length of wing 4-8 to 4'5 inches .... alpestris ft. nipalensis.
b*. Striations of underparts coarser than in
any of the preceding, those of rump
very distinct.

c 3 . Length of wing 5*5 inches striolata.

d 3 . Length of wing 5 to. 4*8 inches striolata ft. substriolata.

e*. Length of wing 4'G to 4*4 inches .... striolata ft. japonica.



XVIII. On an Owl from South-east New Guinea, allied to
Ninox terricolor, Ramsay, but apparently distinct and un-
described. By J. H. GURNEY.

THE Norwich Museum has recently obtained, through Mr.
Whitely of Woolwich, three specimens of ari Owl of the
genus Ninox, collected by Mr. Goldie in South-eastern New
Guinea, which much resembles the species described by Mr.
E. P. Ramsay in the ' Proceedings of the Linnean Society of
New South Wales/ vol. iv. p. 466, under the name of Ninox
ierricolor, but is of considerably larger dimensions thau
those given by Mr. Ramsay for that species.



170



Mr. J. H. Gurney on an



I understand that Mr. Goldie fastens the legs of his male
specimens with the right tarsus uppermost, and vice versa in
the cast; of females ; following this indication, I infer that
the two birds which I shall call A and B are males, and that
which I shall call C a female.

The following are the measurements of these specimens com-
pared with those of N. terricolor as given by Mr. Ramsay :

Length of



1

1

A


skin from
point of
bill to tip
of tail.
117


Wing.
8-95


Tail.

4-85


Tarsus,
1-20


Middle
toe s. u.
1-25


Culmen
with
cere.
1-00


Cnlmen
without
cere.
0-70


B ..;.

C .... circa

N. terricolor
as given by
Mr. Ramsay


11-2

no

10O


8-87
8-89

6-50


4-90
imperf.

3-80


1-25
1-20

1-00


1-20
1-20

not given


1-15
1-10

. 1-00


0-75
0-70

0-50



The following is a description of the three specimens above
referred to as A, B, and C :

The bill is yellowish horn-colour, suffused with dull olive
about the eyes (and slightly also at the base of the upper
mandible), and likewise tinged with dark olive about the
point of the lower mandible ; the bristly hairs .which sur-


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 19 21 22 23

Online LibraryHenry Seebohm[Ornithological papers] (Volume 2) → online text (page 19 of 23)