Nuttall Ornithological Club.

Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club: a quarterly jjournal of ornithology online

. (page 42 of 50)
Online LibraryNuttall Ornithological ClubBulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club: a quarterly jjournal of ornithology → online text (page 42 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Bulletin of the Essex Institute, YoL X, pp. 3-37, April, 1878.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Recent Literature, 139

' has been teen in North Adams, in August, with young so immature tha
they must have been of local origin ; Myiodioctes canaderms breeds every
summer in Essex County, the writer having two sets of their eggs taken
in Lynn, and of course the omission of the * from Colaptes aurcUtis was an
accident. Without wishing in the least to criticise this list of one hundred
and thirty-five species, would it not be well, if any of these instances given
are inferred, rather than known, to designate all such by a distinguishing
mark ? And where it is positively known^ that such species as furdus
pallasi, Mimus polyglottuSf Certhia famUiaris^ DendroRca casrulescensy etc.
have bred within the State, to mention when and where, bs is done in the
case of Junco hyemalis ? The list of Massachusetts species supposed to be
extirpated is one of almost painful interest, and one we fear to >>e ere-long
materially increased. Specimens of the Wild Turkey have 'been taken
in Franklin County as late as 1642, but railroads have since completed
their extinction.

The third list, of probable occurrences, is also a very interesting one,
but in regard to several species rests so entirely on mere speculation as
to be suggestive of a conflict of opinions as to the ground of this proba-
bility. What^ for instance, can be suggested as circumstances likely to
bring Saxicola ctnanthe to Massachusetts? It is of rare occurrence in
Labrador, and there only breeds in the extreme northeastern comer. Its
migrations are either by way of the Faroes, Iceland, and Greenland, or
directly across the ocean to South Greenland.* Guiraca ccsrulea and Pro-
Umotaria citrea are supposed to approach Eastern Maine from the northwest
by a circuitous route, entirely avoiding Southern New England, which, if
correctly inferred, does not favor either ever visiting us, though after what
has happened it ill becomes one to even seem to prophesy as to what may
not occur I Yet the occurrence of jEgialitis toUsonia in Massachusetts is
another, in the writer's opinion, not to be anticipated.

Three names are given in a list of very doubtful species. One of these,
the Small-headed Flycatcher, whatever it may have been, was probably
not a Myiodioctes, Dr. Pickering's recollections of the individual captured
by him in Wenham, and identified by Nuttall, were suggestive of a very
small true Flycatcher, and so long as grave doubt exists as to this form,
and no type has been preserved, its claim to a full acceptance is inadmissible.

Six birds are classed as introduced species, and ninety others are named
as extremely rare or occasional visitors. This number, it is possible, will
be largely increased through the larger numbers of observers on the look-
out for them, and will always contain an indefinite number of names the
conditions of whose presence must ever remain an unexplained enigma .
In the spring of 1877 a fine fresh specimen of Cyanospiza dris flew into

[* Its capture near Quebec, Canada, and on Long Island, N. Y., and its
soBiewhat frequent occurrence in the Bermudas, might be considered in this
connection. (See Baird's Review of American Birds, 1864, p. 61.) — J. A. A.]

Digitized by


140 BecetU Literature,

an open window in Boylston Street, Boston, and there remains a caged
bird. But had it been one before 1 Probably yes, but possibly no. It
had not the appearance or action of one. Yet so probable was it that it
had escaped from confinement that it was not thought worthy of a record.
The great merits of Mr. Allen's lists are that they furnish a succinct yet
thorough history of all claims, of whateyer nature, to be recognized as
Massachusetts birds. Its five divisions well present the character of these
claims, and show why certain names should not be received. The com-
pleteness of the references and data, and the numerous additions, giving
new announceQients or unrecorded captures, is also quite remarkable.
As a matter of course, here and there one or two interesting captures may
have escaped his notice, e. g. Symium dnerewnij Lynn, 1872 (History
of North American Birds, HI, p. 32), while others of which there is no
record, and which he could not know, as the capture at Swampscott, Au-
gust 27, 1876, of Tringa bairdi^ male, by Mr. Wm. A. Jef&ies, and that
of a Short-tailed Teni^Hydrochelidon niger, Saunders) at Nantucket, August
8, 1877, by Mr. Geo. H. Mackay, both specimens being in the possessicHi
of their captors. That these exceptions are so very few attest at once the
diligence of the author and the compl^^ness of his list Thirty-five North
American birds have been added to the Massachusetts Ust since 1867.
— T.M. R

Mr. H. Saunders on the STERNiNiE.* — Having had opportunities of
examining interesting types of various real or supposed species of SUmitus,
the author has anticipated in a measure the monograph of the Larida
upon which he has long been engaged, by giving the gist of his observations
in the present revision of the subfamily jSV^miruE, which may be regarded as
the continuation of papers already published in the same periodical on the
Larifue and Lestridince, We have here in condensed and convenient shape
the main results of a protracted study, representing much laborious and
faithful application ; the author has evidently worked with care, and fully
availed himself of the unusual facilities he has enjoyed. His examination
of the types of various obscure species has enabled him to clear up a good
many points hitherto doubtful, and make an exhibit which bears its rec-
ommendation on its face. I regard the paper as the most authoritative one
we possess on this subject, being prepared, under exceptionally favcnrable
circumstances, by a skilful ornithologist who has made the present family
a particular study.

The author, as it seems to me judiciously, greatly reduces the number
of genera which have been wildly propos^ for birds of this subfamily^
Though I formerly admitted a somewhat larger number, in view of my
studies of our representatives of the group, than he now recognizes, I freely

* On the Steminss, or Terns, with Descriptions of throe new Speciee. By
Howard Saunders, F.L.S., F.Z.S. Proc. Zool Soc., 1876, pp. 6S8-672, PL LXJ.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Becent Literature, 141

concede all that Mr. Saunders claims respecting the shading into one
another of several of theni, and agree that if we are to take positive struc-
tural modification as the only genus- warrant, the minimum number of
five must be accepted. Out of more than thirty (!) genera which have
been proposed for this remarkably homogeneous and compact group of only
about fifty species, Mr. Saunders only allows Sterna, Hydrochelidoriy Ncenia,
Gygis, and Arums. But it does not follow that a few others, like Halipkma
and Stemula, are not at least convenient sections or subgenera to recog-
nize in so difficult a group.

The three new species are S. tibetanay p. 649 (near Umgipennis aadjluviati'
lis), 8, eurygnatkay p. 664. f. 1 (the Atlantic form otelegam), and Gygis mtcro-
rhyncha, p. 668, f. 5 (with a smaller bill than that of G, Candida, and white
instead of black shafts of the primaries). The colored plate illustrates the
heads of three species of Anoiu.

Want of space alone prevents me from giving, as I should wish to do,
an abstract of this valuable paper ; but I must confine myself to such
portion as bears upon the species of Terns which occur in North America.
According to Mr. Saunders's determinations, our Stemime stand as follows :

1. Hydroohelidon lenooptera (Meisn. and Schinz).

SS. fitsipes and ncevia, PaU. — Hyd, leucoptera, Boie. — Viralva UueopUra,
Steph. — Hyd, nigra. Gray. — S, nigra, Schleg. — Hyd, aubleucaplera, C. L.
Brehro. — ffyd. Juvanica, Swinhoe nee Horaf.

This is the Old World species that I recently recorded as ff, nigra from
Wisconsin (B. N. W. 1674, 709). It seems that Gray, and those of us
who have followed him, were wrong in identifying it with S, nigra, Linn.,
the latter being = fi8sipes=noBvia, L. 1766 «■ lariformis, L. 1758, " as any
one who is willing to take the trouble of examining the matter for himself
will " find out, says the author.

Z Hydroohelidon nigra (L.).

SS, nigra (p. 227), ntevia, Jisaipea (p. 228, 1766), L. — Viralva nigra, Steph.
— Larus mtnUinius, Scop. — S, surinamensis, Gm. — S, plumbea, Wils. —
Syd, nigra, Boie. — Hyd, fiasipes. Gray. — Anous plumbea, Steph. — Hyd.
plumbea^ Lawr. — Pelodea surina/inensU, Gray. — Hyd, lariformis, Coues [from
S, lariformis, L. 1768].

I am glad to find my union of the American bird with the European
indorsed by such well-versed authority ; though as to the name, I prefer
to take LinnsQus at 1758, as the custom now is this side of the water.

3. Sterna anglioa, Mont.

S. nilotica, Hasselq. ? (pre-Linnaean). — Cfeloehdidon nilotica. Gray. — 7%a-
lasseus anglicus, Boie. — Vircdva miglica, Steph. — Laropis angliea, Wagler. —
Oelochelidon angliea, Cones. — S. aranea, Wils. — OeloehelicUm aranea. Gray.
S. affinis, Horsf. (type examined, H. S.). — Oelochelidon haZthicay G. meridi-
onalis, Brehm. — S. macrotarsa, Gould. — Geloehelidcn macrotarsa, Gould.

Since I joined aranea to angliea, it has become generally admitted that

Digitized by VjOOQIC

142 BecefU LUercUure.

it is identical, and Mr. Saandefs now unites macrotana^ reducing all the
" Gull-billed *" Terns to one.

4. Sterna fluviatilifl, Naum.

S. kirundOy L. in part, and of most authors. — Larus bicolor, L, sterna, L.
eoluminnus. Scop. — S. JtuvicUilis, Naum. — S, senegalengis, Sw. — S. wHsoni,
Bp. — SS, macrodaclyla, macroptem. Bias. — S. dougaUi, Layard nee anct.

Probably no one thinks of separating the American bird now ; but it
was otherwise then.

5. Sterna maomra, Naum.

S, hirundo, L. in part — S, paradisea, BrUnn {nee auct). — S, macrura,
Naum. — S. ardiea, Temm. — S. hrachyjnu, Sw. — S, pikei, Lawr. [pykih
Bp.]. — S. porUandica, Ridgw.

The general impression seems to be that S, hirundo, L., is a composite
species with which it is best to have nothing to do.

6. Sterna forsteri, Nutt.

S, hirtindOf Sw. k Rich, nee auct — S. havelli, Aud. (Jide Cones).

7. Sterna dongalli, Mont

S. parddisea. Keys, k Bias, and authors, nee Briinn. ; maedougaHi^ dottglasi,
of some. — S. gracilis, Gould. — f Lartis polo-candor, Sparnn.

This name must stand in place of the more usual paradisea; for
Briinnich's bird was an Arctic Tern ; the Roseate is not a bpreal bird.

8. Sterna oantiaoa, Gm.

S, africa'iui, Gm. — S. hoysii, Liath. — S, oanescsf^, Mey. k Wolf. — S.
acujlavida, Cabot. — Thalasseus cantiacus, Boie. — Actochdidon cantiacus,
Kaup. — Thalasseus canescens, Th, eandicans, Brehm. — Thai, acujlavidus,

I long since relinquished my early attempt to separate acuflavidus,

9. Sterna elegans, Gamb.

ThalasseiLS elegans, Gamb. — Sterna eomata, Phil, k Landb. — S. gcUerieukUa,
ScL k Sal v., Coues, partly, nee Licht

I am glad to find that we may after all revert to GambeVs name, by
which the species was long known. I followed S. & S. iu changing to
galericiUata in 1872-74 ; but according to Saunders, from examination of
the type, the latter is a synonym of maxima (= regia, Gamb.).

10. Sterna maxima, Bodd.

S, maxima, Bodd. = P. E. 988. — S. eayennensis, Gm. — S, cayana, I^th.
— S, galericulata, Licht. (type examined, H. S.). — S. erythrorynehos, Wied.
— S. cristcUa, Sws. (type examined, H. S.). — S, regius, Gamb. — 5. bergii,
Irby, nee auct — Thalasseus cayanus, Bp. — Thai, regius, Gamb. — Phcetusa
regia, Bp. — Thai, galerieulatus. Bias. — Thai, eayennensis, Gray.

This large Tern, which proves to inhabit Africa as well as the warmer
parts of America, has given much trouble. In 1872 - 74, I declined to
follow S. & S., 1871, in identifying regia, Gamb., with Buffon's bird, con-
sidering that caspia might be in question, but I was apparently at fault

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Becent Literature. 143

here. Saunders makes a gratifying identification in the case of the trou-
blesome gdUriciUataf Licht., and it is to be hoped that his examination of
the type has settled that species.

11. Sterna caspia, PalL

S. tachegrava, Lepech. — S. caspica, Sporrm. — S, megarhynchos^ Meyer xl
Wolf. — S, melanotis, Hartl. — S. major^ EUman. — Thalasseus caspius, Boie.
— Bydroprogne caspka, Eaup. — Syloehelidon easpia, Syl. balthiea, Syl. schU-
Hngiif Brehm. — Syl, strenuuSf Goald. — Helopus oaspius, Wagl. — ITiakusites
vtelanotis, Sw. (type examined, H. S.)* — Syl. melanoiis^ Bp.

12. Sterna tmdeani, Aud.

PhoUuaa trudeauii, Bias. — Sterna frobeenii, Phil, k Landb.
A remarkably good species, but as doubtful as ever as a North Ameri-
can one.

13. Sterna antillanun, Less.

S. argentea, Nutt — -S^. frenata^ Gamb. — S. supercUiaris, Cab., Coues,
1872, necy. — 8. SupercUiaris var. atUillcntim, Coues, 1874.

I was doubtless hasty in identifying our bird positively with Vieillot's,
but I am not prepared, without further showing than is in this paper, to
admit specific distinction in this case. S, minuta has a white rump and
tail ; in SS. superciliaris and antillarum the pearly color of the mantle
extends on these parts. But I was not aware of, or at least did not con-
sider, the difference in the color of the feet, as described by Mr. Saunders.

14. Sterna alentloa, Baird.

Sp. optima ! as the author agrees, differing from Dr. Finsch ; whatever
S. camtschaticaf Pall., may be, it is not this.

15. Sterna ancestheta, Scop.

S. ancBthettu (sic). Scop. — Haliplana cmodhcetus (sic), Gray. — 8. panay-
ensiSt Gm. — S. panaya, Lath. — Haliplana panayensis, "Wagl. — Onychoprum
panayensis, S. & S. — Onychoprion panaya, Gould. — S. oahuensis, Bloxh. —
S. ** antarctica, Cuv." — S. melanoptera, Sw. (type examined, H. S.) — S. in-
fiiscata, Heugl. — Haliplana discolor^ Coues. — / HydrochejLidon somalenms,

16. Sterna foliginoaa, Gm.

Haliplana fuliginosa, and Onychoprion fuliginosa, "Wagl. — Planetis gvltat'ns,
"Wagl. — Sterna infuscata^ Licht. I (type examined, H. S.). — Tkalassipora in-
fiiacata, Gray. — Anous Vherminieri, Less. — S. gouldii, Reich. — S. Itcctitosa,
Phil, k Landb. — HcUip. fuliginsosa var. criwctZw, Bd.

17. Anous stoliduB, (L.).

S. atolida, S. fuscata, Ij. — S. piUata, Scop. — S. aenexy Leach. — S. unicolor,
Nordm. — Atious stolidus^ Gray. — Megalopterus stolidus, Boie. — A. niger,
A. fuacattu, A. spadicea, Staph. — A. rousseauif Hartl. — [A. stolidus var.
/rater, Coues, pessira^.]

It is to be hoped that in his final monograph the author, who has thus
handled the subject so ably, will synonymize the genera in the sJume way

Digitized by VjOOQIC

144 Beceni LUereUwre.

he has here worked up the symmjmy of the species, and that he will spare
no printer^s ink which may be wanted for the fall exposition and discus-
sion of BTnonjmatic matters, giving us his processes as well as his results ;
so that, being once done, the matter may be done for once and alL The
present writer's interest in the subject yields only to the cordiality of his
wishes for the most successful accomplishment of the author's work. —
Elliott Coubs.

Sbnnett's Notes on the Ornithology of the Lower Kio Grande,
Texas. — Mr. Sennett's contribution on one hundred and fifty-one species
of birds observed on the southern border of Texas * is a paper of more
than ordinary interest for one of its kind, the descriptions in many cases
being almost a biography of the species, a number being those of which
we have had but little or no previous information, and it covers ground
quite new omithologically, or at least not recently worked over. The
main collecting field extended from a short distance above Hidalgo, on
the Rio Grande, to Point Isabel on the coast, near the mouth of the river,
a distance of three hundred miles by water and one hundred by road.
The period covered was from the latter part of March to the middle of
May, or just about two months. Mr. Sennett certainly collected imder
many annoyances, but intensely hot days, and numbers of centipedes,
rattlesnakes, tarantulas, fleas, woodticks, and red bugs did not prevent
his securing some five hundred birds, one of which is new to science,
namely, Bennett's Warbler (Panda nigrUora),

The paper is most carefully commentated by Dr. Coues, who gives
detailed descriptions of the plumages, with pertinent remarks respecting
the above-named Warbler, Mohtkrus ceneus (our new Cowbiid, with a red
eye), Myiarckus crvnitus eryihrocercxu (which is the variety of the Great-
crested Flycatcher occuiiing, and not cooperi or c%neixucens\ AmaxiHa
cerviniventris (the Kufous-bellied Hummer), Glaucidi/um ferrugiruwrn (both
the second examples taken within our limits), and Mchmo/ptila aUnfrom
Cthe White-fronted Pigeon^ as also the characters of this genus, which
the doctor proposes for the group of Pigeons to which aUnfrons belongs.

The Yellow-throated Warbler obtained is typical DeTidraca dominica
aVnloraf which, Dr. Coues remarks, "seems to prevaQ, if it be not the only
form, in the Mississippi Basin and Texas." Mr. Sennett got a single
specimen of the Missouri Skylark, and saw others ; interesting, as Coues
says, " on account of the locality, which is the southernmost on record."
The Quails are true subspecies texana. The skins of Peuccea ca^ni aie
valuable as proving by their plumage that the species is a good one. A
specimen of the Painted Finch or Nonpareil was shot, which, though in

* Notes on the Ornithology of the Lower Rio Grande, Texas, from Obser-
vations made during the Season of 1877. By George B. Sennett. Edited, with
Annotations, by Dr. Elliott Coues, TJ. S. A. Bull. U.S. Geol. and Geograph.
Survey, Vol. IV, pp. l-««, February 6, 1878.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

BecerU ZUercUiBre. 145

the plumage of the adult female, dissection proved to be a male bird.
Mr. Sennett is confident that the Turnstone (Strep$ilas interpres) breeds
along the entire coast of Texas, — 'certainly an interesting fact, if so.

The beautiful Ibises obtained, and to which the writer justly gives two
pages of text, are the white-faced bird, F<UcineUu$ (late Ibia) guarauna; and
two young birds, entirely green-feathered, place thalasntia among the
synonyms. Is not this species now entitled to be called the ordinary
North American bird rather than igneut (late ordii ? of modem writers) ?

The nomenclature of the Ardeidas, or Herons, is based on Mr. Ridg-
way's late investigations, and we again have for Ardea egretta, candidisdTnat
and coeruha the genera, respectively, Herodicu, Garzetta, and Florida; also
Hydraiuuta tricolor for late Ardea Uucogagtra var. letbcophrymna; Di-
ckromanassa rufa for Ardea rufa^ and Nyctherodius for Nyctiadea violacem.
The whole makes very interesting reading, .and is a valuable and welcome
addition to our increasing file of local list. — H. A. P.

Matnard'b BmDB of Florida. — Part IV of this long-delayed and
important work,* which has recently appeared, is wholly devoted to the
family FrimjgiUidm^ of which fourteen species are described, carrying the
group from Chrysomitris to Pipilo. It is illustrated with a fine colored
plate of the Ipswich or Pallid Sparrow (Pdsserculue jn-inceps), representing
the adult in spring. To original, somewhat detailed descriptions of the
different phases of plumage of the various species treated the author adds
short, very .pleasantly written descriptions of their habits. The biograph-
ical portions generally relate more especially to their life in Florida, as
observed by the author during many seasons of exploration, covering
nearly all parts of the State. Mr. M&ynard's long experience as a field
ornithologist in the "Land of Flowers," and his well-known attainments
as a naturalist, render him eminently fitted for the work he has here
undertaken. Although the fascicles of the work have thus far appeared at
rather long intervals (the first part having been issued in 1872), we are as-
sured that it will now be rapidly pushed forward to completion. — J. A. A.

Jordan's Manual of Yertebrated Animals. — We are glad to see
that the demand for Professor Jordan's excellent Manual of the Vertebrates
of the Northern States has so soon rendered necessary a new edition "** of
this important work, and that the second edition has not only been to

* The Birds of Florida, with the Water and Game Birds of Eastern North
America. By C. J. Maynard. Illustrated, ito. Part IV, pp. 89-112, and
one Plate. C. J. Maynard k Co., Newton ville, Mass., 1878.

t Manual of the Vertebrates of the United States, including the District
east of the Mississippi River, and north of North Carolina and Tennessee, ex-
elusive of Marine Species. By David Starr Jordan, Ph. D., M. D., etc Sec-
ond Edition, revised and enlarged. Chicago: McClurgAt Co., 1878. 12mo.
pp. 407. Price, $2.50.

Digitized by


146 Greneral Notes.

Bome extent " revised,** but enlarged by the addition of upward of .fifty
pages of new matter. The former accounts of the mammals, birds, and rep-
tiles remain unchanged, with the exception of a few verbal changes in re-
spect to nomenclature, but several pages of new matter are added in the
" Addenda," in which are included fifteen species of mammals and seven of
birds not contained in the former edition. The account of the fishes has
been entirely rewritten ; generic diagnoses have been substituted for the
''artificial keys'* of the former edition ; and the latest results of this authoi^s
recent investigations of this class have been incorporated. The high praise
we felt justified in bestowing upon the first edition (see this Bulletin, Vol. I,
p. 93) consequently applies with a still greater force to the present one.
We hope that at no distant day the author will feel justified fti so far en-
larging the scope of his work as to include all the Vertebrates of North
America, or, at least, of that portion north of Mexico. — J. A. A.

etntral 0tttti,

Capture op the Yellow-throated Warbler in, Massachusetts,
AND Notes on other Rare Massachusetts Birds. — In the collec-
tion of Mr. George E. Browne of Dedham I saw, a few days since, a
Yellow-throated Warbler (Dendrosca dominica) that was shot by him on
the banks of Charles River in that town nine or ten years ago. This is a
new bird to the State and the second New England record. Mr. Browne
also had a specimen each of the King Rail (RdUus elegans) and the Snow
Goose (Anser hyperboretis). The former was got on the Sudbury Meadows
some years since, the latter off Scituate in November, 1877. This occur-
rence of the Rail is the second instance known for Massachusetts, and the
Gk)ose is perhaps worth noting. — H. A. Purdib, Newton, Mau,

Capture of Two Rare Birds in the Hudson River Valley.—
1. Centurus oarolinns (Linn6) Swainson. Red-bellied Woodpecker.

— I recently examined a handsomely mounted Woodpecker of this spe-
cies in the possession of Mr. Jas. S. Buchanan, of Newburgh, which was
taken at Cornwall, on the Hudson, in September, 1870.

2. ColymbuB septentrionalis (Linn^). Red-throated Diver. —
After ineffectual efforts to trace supposed specimens of this species, I was
agreeably surprised to find a fine immature example in the collection of
Mr. Peter de Nottbeck, Esq., taken (near his residence) November 14,
1876, on the Hudson River, at Low Point, sixty-one miles from New York.

— Edgar A, Mearns, Highlaiid FalUy N Y.

The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (PolioptUa ccBnUea) in Massachusetts.

— Among a number of mounted birds presented to the New England col-

Digitized by VjOOQIC

Oeneral Notes. 147

lection of the Boston Society of Natural History by Mr. F. I. C. Swift of
Falmouth, Mass., is an adult male specimen of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
This is the second record of its occurrence, the first specimen having been
taken at Chatham, November, 1877 (Nutt. Bull., Ill, p. 45). It appears,
by the letter of Mr. Swift, that his specimen was taken in the same part
of the State' one month later. In answer to my letter of inquiry, Mr. Swift
writes : " I shot it on the 18th day of December last, in a line of low
bushes skirting a fresh-water pond (in Falmouth) which separated the
same from an old field thickly studded with pines of several varieties and
about ten years' growth. The locality was in a southern exposure, and I

Online LibraryNuttall Ornithological ClubBulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club: a quarterly jjournal of ornithology → online text (page 42 of 50)