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Capt. Blakiston has pointed out to me a most unaccount-
able blunder in the British Museum Catalogue of Birds
(iv. p. 251), with reference to the female of this species.
Four examples collected by Mr. H. Henson near Hakodadi,
and a fifth example from Canton in the Swinhoe collection,
agree with the plate and description of Muscicapa gularis of
the ' Fauna Japonica/ a name which Mr. Sharpe includes in
the synonymy of X. cyanomelGna, admitting it to be the female
of that species. Nevertheless in the description a young
male is erroneously described as the female. The latter
differs in having no trace of blue on any part of the plu-
mage, and no white on the base of the tail-feathers. The
pale tips to the greater wing-coverts and innermost secon-
daries betray the immature birds at a glance. It appears to
me that the plumage described by Mr. Sharpe as belonging to
the adult female is that of the young male in first plumage,

Ornithology of Japan. 181

of which I have seen no skins dated later than October.
Spring examples of males of the year only differ from adults
in having the pale tips to the greater wing-coverts and inner-
most secondaries. The greenish-blue and purplish-blue fore-
heads and crowns are found in both adults and males of
the year.


Capt. Blakiston now regards these two forms as adult and
young of one species, and I feel very much inclined to agree
with him. The fact that the geographical distribution of
the two forms, so far as it is known, coincides, is of itself
strong presumptive evidence that both belong to one species.
On this hypothesis M. amurensis can only be the bird of the
year of M. blakistoni. One must lay the blame of having
committed the blunder of separating them upon somebody ;
and we propose to ascribe it to the complete ignorance of,
and apparent indifference to, the facts connected with the
moulting of birds displayed by all English ornithologists.
Wagtails appear to have a complete moult, which includes
their wing and tail-feathers, in their first autumn. M.japo-
nica moults at once into its adult plumage. M. amurensis
appears to have an intermediate stage between the young in
first plumage and the adult after the second autumn moult.
In the adult plumage I have described the bird as M. blakis-
toni. In spring a partial moult takes place : all the small
feathers of the bird of the year are moulted into the summer
plumage of the adult, but the wing- and tail-feathers are not
changed. In this stage I have described the bird as M.
amurensis in adult spring plumage. This hypothesis leaves,
however, two difficulties, which may be explained as follows :
The amount of white on the wing of birds of the year must
vary so much that what I have taken to be birds of the year
of M. blakistoni are really only birds of the year in which
the plumage is more adult than usual. We must also as-
sume that the amount of black on the head varies to a still
greater extent, so that the birds with black heads which I

182 Mr. H. Seebohm on the

have regarded as adult male M. amurensis in winter plumage
after the second moult are really birds of the year which
have only moulted once, but for some cause or other have
the black on the head almost as pronounced as in the adult.
This variation in the plumage of birds of the year, especially
in those which have two broods, is by no means a new fact
in ornithology. Probably the young of the first broods
moult in autumn into a plumage more nearly approaching
that of the adult bird than that assumed by the young of
the second broods. This conclusion is confirmed by a male
in my collection obtained by Mr. Whitely at Hakodadi, on
the 17th of April, which is in the adult spring plumage of
M. amurensis, except the first primary of the right wing,
which is in the adult plumage of M. blakistoni. This might
be accounted for on the supposition that the first primary
had been injured during the winter, and had been replaced
at the spring moult by a feather of the adult plumage.


An example (No. 1267) from Hakodadi is an adult male
of this species collected in May. A skin (No. 3225) col-
lected by Mr. Jouy in the middle of the main island in
August has scarcely moulted its first plumage, and shows
traces of dark terminal bars on the feathers of the throat
and breast, which are suffused with buff. The greater wing-
coverts have chestnut tips.


Several skins of this species have been sent by Capt.
Blakiston from Yezo.


This species, which is very common in China, was first
recorded from Japan in 'The Chrysanthemum' for April
1883, by Capt. Blakiston, from a specimen collected near
Tokio in January by Mr. P. L. Jouy, and now in the Smith-
sonian Museum. I have examined this skin and find it to
be an adult male with slate-grey throat and breast. The
adult male of the nearly allied Japanese species, E. personata,
is easily distinguished by the clear yellow of the underparts

Ornithology of Japan. 183

below the chin. Females and immature males are sometimes
difficult to distinguish, but in E. personata the underparts
are generally a much brighter yellow. The latter species
has not been found in China.


Three examples from Nagasaki of this variety of S. ura-
lensis are so dark and rufous as to appear specifically distinct.
The lighter bars across the first primary and the two centre
tail-feathers are almost obsolete. This form probably re-
places S. uralensis in the main and south islands of Japan.

BUBO BLAKISTONI, Seebohm, anteh, p. 42. (Plate VI.)
An immature example of an Owl obtained in the neigh-
bourhood of Shanghai by Mons. Heude is in the museum
of the Jardin des Plantes at Paris. It was determined
by Mr. Sharpe (Ibis, 1875, p. 255) as Bubo coromandus, and
adult examples since received from the valley of the Yang-
tse-kiang have confirmed his decision. It had been de-
scribed as Bubo sinensis (Heude, Ann. Sc. Nat. Paris, ser. 5,
xx. article 2), a name apparently taken from Daudin (Traite
d'Orn. ii. p. 209), who appears to have founded it upon an
Eagle-Owl from China, which Manduyt (Encycl. Meth. Orn.
ii. p. 73) says differs from our bird, but does not state in
what respect. This bird is perfectly distinct from the Japan
Eagle-Owl, Bubo blaldstoni, of which a figure (Plate VI.) is
now given.


Two examples of this bird, one a female from Hakodadi
(No. 2061) obtained in October, and the other obtained by
Mr. Ringer at Nagasaki, agree in size with the typical
form, and measure 19 J and 19 inches in length of wing.


A fine example, not quite adult, of this magnificent Eagle
from the eastern part of Yezo shows the enormous deve-
lopment of bill in this species, the height of the bill being
greater than that of the skull. It also confirms the inter-
esting fact, pointed out by Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, that
this species has fourteen tail-feathers.

184 Mr. H. Seebohm on the

XIX. On the East- Asiatic Shore-Lark (Otocorys longi-
rostris). By HENRY SEEBOHM.

Otocoris longirostriSj Gould, fide Moore, Proc. Zool. Soc.
1855, p. 215 (India).

Otocorys penidllata, Gould, apud Swinhoe, Proc. Zool. Soc.

1862, p. 318 (China).

Otocorys alpestris, Linn, apud Swinhoe, Proc. Zool. Soc.

1863, p. 272 (China).

Otocoris albigula, Brandt, apudDybowski, Journ. Orn. 1868,
p. 334 (Dauria).

Otocorys sibirica, Eversmann, fide Swinhoe, Proc. Zool. Soc.
1871, p. 390 (China).

Otocoris elwesii, Blanford, Journ. As. Soc. Beng. 1872,
p. 62 (Himalayas).

Otocorys alpestris, Linn, apud Dresser, B. Eur. iv. p. 392
(1874) (China).

Otocorys penidllata , Gould, apud Dresser, B. Eur. iv. p. 397
(1874) (India).

Otocorys brandti, Dresser, B. Eur. iv. p. 401 (1874) (Kir-
ghis steppes).

Otocorys parvexij Taczan. Bull. Soc. Zool. France, 1876,
p. 161 (Dauria).

Otocoris nigrifronsj Prjevalski, Mongolia and Thibet, ii.
p. 103 (1876) (Mongolia).

Otocorys sibirica, Swinh., David & Oust. Ois. de la Chine,
p. 316 (1876) (China).

Habitat. A resident in Turkestan, the Himalayas, the
Altai Mountains, Dauria, and Mongolia, occasionally wan-
dering in winter into North China *, North India, and South-
east Russia.

The evolution of order out of chaos has the same charms
for the ornithologist that the putting together of a puzzle
has for a schoolboy. As an example of chaos let us take the

* A specimen in Canon Tristram's possession, said to be from Pekin,
and once in the Swinhoe collection, is a winter example (shot 12th
Dec. 1863) of O. alpestris. David and Oustalet give the range of the two
Bpecies very correctly.

East-Asiatic Shore-Lark. 185

portions of the articles on the Shore-Larks in Dresser's
' Birds of Europe' referring to the species the name of
which heads the present article. To this the same author
has added an appropriate climax in his letter on the subject
(Ibis, 1884, p. 116). As an example of order, I venture to
refer to the synonymy and geographical distribution copied
at the head of this article from my ' History of British Birds/
ii. p. 286*. I must do Mr. Dresser the justice to say that
in the letter already mentioned he admits his error (long ago
pointed out by Blanford and Scully) in uniting 0. longiros-
tris with O. penicillata ; but in doing so he appears to imply
that the rest of his work was free from important blunders,
and does not deserve the mild censure which I applied to it.
He has apparently forgotten that in the 'Birds of Europe'
(iv. p. 396) he says that O. penicillata "extends east-
wards into North China/' and contradicts himself on page
397, where he says that an example in the Swinhoe collec-
tion from Tientsin is a long-billed form of O. brandti, a
statement which is quite correct. But on page 392 he had re-
ferred the very same skin to O. alpestris. Which of the three
species does he really think it belongs to ? His treatment
of O. elwesi is equally capricious. On page 395 he identifies
it with O. penicillata ; but on page 401 he refers it to O. /-
pestris. Unfortunately both these identifications are wrong.
O. elwesi is unquestionably a somewhat small form of O. Ion-
girostris. Of his blunder respecting the latter species little
need be said, as he has recanted it; but his statement on
page 401 that the series of Shore-Larks in the Gould col-
lection from Kulu (one of which is the type of O. longirostris]
all show the black on the breast united with that on the
neck is utterly inexplicable. The fact is that not one of
them does so, as any one may now see in the British -Museum
collection; neither does the example depicted in the P. Z. S.
by no less an artist than Wolf. We now come to the
most " egregious blunder" of all. On page 397 Dresser

* I have added to the synonymy the catalogue of Swiuhoe's and Dres-
ser's blunders, which I purposely omitted in my book, not wishing to call
special attention to their number and importance.

186 Mr. H. Seebohm on the

comes to the conclusion that the pale southern ally of O. al-
pestris with the white throat has not got a name, and pro-
poses for it that of O. brandti. On page 398 he gives its
geographical distribution as " probably restricted to the
steppes of Southern Russia." Nevertheless it is a most
remarkable fact that Dresser's ' Birds of Europe ' does not
contain an article on a bird named by Dresser himself and
supposed by him to be confined to Europe. As a matter
of fact, the type appears to be a Sarepta skin, and there is
also a skin from Astrakan in the British Museum ; but the
latter has only recently been added to the national col-

I doubt if a more puzzling bit of ornithological chaos
than this could be found anywhere. It took me a week's
hard work to unravel it ; but by a careful measurement and
comparison of all the skins in my own collection and in that
of the British Museum, I came to the conclusion that O.
longirostris was a pale subtropical ally or representative of
O. alpestris, which ranges across Central Asia from the basin
of the Caspian to Mongolia, extending northwards through
the Altai Mountains to Dauria, and southwards into the
Himalayas. O. alpestris is a bird of the tundra, whilst O.
longirostris is a bird of the steppes, and breeds from one to
two thousand miles south of its arctic ally. The differences
in size in the latter species at first puzzled me, but by com-
paring measurements of skins from different localities I came
to the conclusion, to which I still adhere, that O. brandti
and 0. longirostris cannot be separated ; they are, in fact,
united by O. elwesi-\, as Dresser might possibly have observed

* Finsch, in his account of the Shore-Larks found by him in South-
west Siberia, states positively that the black on the breast joins that on
the cheeks ; but in two examples from his collection, now in the British
Museum, this is not the case. He probably got both species, as Severtzow
also obtained both in North-west Turkestan.

t Severtzow at first separated O. brandti of North-west Turkestan
from O. longirostris of East Turkestan (Ibis, 1876, p. 181) j but later
he apparently united them, for in his " Birds of the Pamir " (Ibis, 1883,
p. 61 ) he speaks only of O. ehvesi, adding that " in the Pamir a subspecies
with a rather long beak predominates, but this difference is neither con-
siderable nor constant."

East-Asiatic Shore-Lark. 187

if he had taken the trouble to examine the material which
has " come to light " since he wrote his articles in the ' Birds
of Europe/ It seems to me that when the facts respect-
ing them are known, no "unbiassed ornithologist" can
doubt that these three forms all belong to one species. All
three forms occur both in Turkestan and in the Himalayas,
and are connected together by a series of intermediate forms,
so that the division into two or three is a perfectly arbitrary
one. I have only been able to get the measurements of three
Mongolian skins; but as one of these is of the small form, one
somewhat larger, and the third of the large form, there cannot
be much doubt that the variation in Mongolian forms is the
same. Precisely the same variation of size, both of wings
and bill, occurs in O. penicillata, so that if there are two or
three species of Eastern Asiatic Shore-Larks, there must
also be the same of Western Asiatic Shore-Larks. The
amount of black at the base of the upper mandible varies also
irrespective of locality, and the variation is also found to
nearly the same extent in 0. penicillata. The width of the
white band which separates the black of the neck from the
black of the breast seems to depend entirely on the make up
of the skin. If the neck is stretched it looks broad, but if
it is made up short it of course looks narrow. Winter skins
show more white on the neck and forehead, because at that
season many of the black feathers have pale tips, which are
cast in spring. None of the characters pointed out appear
to me to be of the slightest specific, or even subspecific,
value, because they are not confined to birds from any one
locality, nor are they confined to one species only, but
appear to be individual variations common to the genus.
Dresser appears to be shocked at a difference of '8 inch in
the length of wing in one species, though he admits a similar
difference in his skins of 0. penicillata, and both he and I
agree to a variation of a whole inch in the length of wing of
the Common Sky-Lark. Difference of size, where it is co-
existent with difference of geographical distribution, may
warrant subspecific distinction ; but where nature has not
drawn a geographical distinction most ornithologists are con-

188 On the East- Asiatic Shore-Lark.

tent to allow difference of size to be regarded as an indi-
vidual peculiarity.

The Common or Arctic Shore-Lark is a circumpolar bird,
being found on the arctic prairies of America, as well as on
the fjelds of Lapland and the tundra of Siberia. Two other
species or subspecies of Shore-Larks occur in the American
continent ; but I have not been able to see a large enough
series to speak positively concerning them. So far as I am
able to judge, Dresser's treatment of the American Shore-
Larks is quite as careless as his work on the Asiatic species
of this group. He represents O. alpestris as breeding
throughout North America, the only other American species
in his opinion being O. peregrina from Bogota. Both these
statements appear to me to be entirely wrong, and contrary
to the evidence so carefully collected by Messrs. Baird,
Brewer, and Ridgway. It appears to me that, in addition to
O. alpestris, which breeds in the arctic regions of both
continents, probably never below the limits of forest-growth,
there is on the American continent a southern form, O. occi-
dentalis, breeding on the plains of the upper valley of the
Mississippi and the valley of the Missouri, which, like O.
longirostris, has the throat white instead of yellow. The
alleged intermediate forms between it and its southern ally
I imagine to be either birds of the year of the southern
species or faded summer examples of the northern species.
In what respect O. occidentalis differs from O. longirostris I
am unable to say. The third American species is 0. chry-
solcema (of which O. peregrina is doubtless a synonym) . This
bird is a tropical form of O. alpestris, and is a resident in
Mexico and some of the adjoining United States, its range
extending southwards into the extreme north-west of South
America. It is said to differ from its arctic ally in being
smaller and richer in colour, the yellow on the throat being
even more brilliant than in the arctic species.

Mr. H. Seebohru on Birds from Central China. 259

The preseiit species is, so far as we know, confined to the
southern portion of India. Dr. Jerdon says it is found in
the forests of Malabar, generally on high trees, and in pairs,
both above and below the Ghats. He also procured it in
the forests in the Chanda district, South-east of Nagpore.
Capt. Butler (Str. F. 1880, p. 385) observes that it is rare
in the Deccan and South Mahratta country, occurring
sparingly along the Sahyadri range as far north as Khandala.
Mr. Laird procured it in the forests north of Belgaum and
in North Kanara. Mr. Davidson (Str. F. 1883, p. 354) says
that ' ' in the Wynaad and Mysore country it is not a common
bird, and found in pairs or parties sparingly distributed. It
ascends the slopes of the hills to about 3000 feet."

It is included in Mr. Hume's ( List of the Birds of the
Travancore Hills/ having been obtained at Mynall by M.

XXX. On a Collection of Birds from Central China.

I AM indebted to the kindness of Mr. John M. Mitchell for
allowing me to examine a collection of birds made in the
valley of the Yang-tse-kiang river, in Central China, by Mr.
Frederick Styan. They were principally obtained near Kiu-
kiang, 450 miles up the river, and on the Lush an range of
mountains, which lie directly behind Kiukiang, at a distance
of five or six miles as the crow flies. These mountains run
in a south-westerly direction for twenty miles or more, and
the highest peak is about 5000 feet above the level of the
sea. The hills are broken and rugged, and, for the most
part, covered with dense scrub nearly breast-high. The
highest range is covered with long coarse grass, and a few
stunted pines creep up to the summit ; but up to about 2000
feet the pine-forests cover extensive areas. Mingled with
the pines, but not, as a rule, extending quite so high, are
large tracts of bamboos, amongst which are sprinkled mag-
nolias, camphor- trees, camellias, laurels, azaleas, &c.

260 Mr. H. Seebohm on


An example with very conspicuously barred thighs, and
with the tarsus feathered to within an inch of the toes, may
fairly claim to be considered to belong to var. japonicus.


Kiukiang, December.


A male and female, both shot on the 18th of March at
Hai San, are pronounced by Mr. J. H. Gurney to be of this
species. They differ from our Peregrine, which is probably
only a winter visitor to Central China, in being slightly
smaller, and in having the underparts below the breast much
barred and suflPused with slate-grey ; but the most important
character is the colour of the head and nape, which are nearly
black, shading into slate-grey on the mantle. This species
can scarcely be more than a local race of our Peregrine,
breeding in Australia, ranging northwards to Borneo and
Central China and westwards to Sumatra and Java, and
intermediate in appearance between our bird and the North-
west Indian race, F. atriceps, in which the whole of the upper
parts are very dark slate-grey, approaching black. Mr.
Gurney informs me that the Norwich Museum possesses an
example from Amoy, the most northerly locality previously


Four examples, large birds, showing much white at the
base of the primaries below the under wing-coverts, and with
little or no white on the forehead, are referable to this species,
which can only be regarded as the eastern race of our Black


An example with dark-chestnut belly, thighs,, and under

* The numbers refer to Swinhoe's " Catalogue of the Birds of China,"
published in the * Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London ' for
1871, pp. 337-423.

Birds from Central China. 261

tail-coverts, and brown unbarred tail, is dated 30th November,
and seems to prove that our Marsh- Harrier goes to China.


A male, dated Kiukiang, 17th November, with the belly,
thighs, and under tail-coverts white, with traces only of
chestnut spots or shaft-lines, but with a barred tail, seems to
belong unquestionably to the eastern form of the Marsh-
Harrier. A female, dated a week later, has the tail more
broadly barred, and the ground-colour of the underparts
rufous instead of white, In both the primaries are barred.


An example dated Poyang Lake, January, seems to prove
that all these Owls do not migrate south in winter.


An example, dated Kiukiang, 28th April, is rufous.


Kiukiang, 15th July.

An example, bought alive.

Kiukiang, July and September.

Kiukiang, December.


Lushan, December.


Kiukiang, 30th August.


Wuhn, 20th October.

Kiukiang, llth April.

Two examples.

262 Mr. H. Seebohm on


Kiukiang, November.

Lushan, 26th March.


Kiukiang, March and November.



Kiukiang, September, October, and February.

Poyang Lake, January.

Lushan, 6th April.

Kiukiang, 4th November.

Kiukiang, 26th September.


Nankang, 15th December. This species is a very inter-
esting addition to the birds of China. It has hitherto been
found only on the Himalayas. It is a mountain Pipit, which,
under the " furor genericus/' has been allowed to set up a
genus of its own.


Poyang Lake, January. This Pipit is, no doubt, a winter
visitor to Central China. It is the Nearctic form of our
Alpine Pipit, A. spinoletta, from which it only differs in being
smaller and darker. It is a common winter visitor to Japan,
and was named A.japonicus by Temminck and Schlegel.


Several skins, dated November, December, and January.
Probably a winter visitor only.

Birds from Central China. 263


Skins dated from 8th November to 8th April. No doubt
a winter visitor from the tundras of Eastern Siberia.



Lushan, 4th April.


Poyang Lake, 5th December. A female of one of these
two forms, or, more probably, of an intermediate form.

Lushan, 8th April.


Kiukiang, August.


Kiukiang, January, July, and November.

Sin Fung, January.


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