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cies of the genns Ardea, These are four in number, Ardea occidentalism A,
herodiaSj A. cinerea ("accidental in Greenland"), and A, cocoi (South
American). Of these four species detailed descriptions of the different
phases of plumage are given, with copious tables of bibliographical ref-
erences. The A, wurdemanni of Baird, which has been a puzzle to orni-
thologists for twenty years, is considered to be the " blue phase " of A,
occidentalism nearly ten pages (nearly one third of the paper) being devoted
to a discussion bearing upon the character of ^. " wurdemanniJ* A. occi-
detitalis is thus added to the series of " dichromatic " species of Ardeidas,
This conclusion rests at present mainly on theoretical giounds. After
referring to dichromatism as exhibited in several other species of Herons,
and in some Hawks and Owls, Mr. Ridgway says, " Who then, in view of
these facts, can offer reasonable objection to the theory that Ardea ocdden-
taXis is likewise represented by two distinct phases of plumage, of which
the white is by far the more common, the normal or colored phase (* wiir-
demanni ') being very rare — perhaps becoming extinct ] "

As shown by the species already cited as composing the genus Ardea,
this genus is again restricted to rather narrow limits, the American spe-
cies of the subfamily Ardeina alone being distributed into fourteen genera,
of which two are new. Among the North American we have Herodias,
Garzettay Florida, and Butorides again reinstated, while the Demiegretta of
Baird is divided into Hydranassa and Dichromanassay the last a new genus
with the Ardea rufa of authors as type. The other new genus is Syrigma
(= Buphus, Bon. 1866, nee Boie, 1826), with the South American Ardea
sibillatrix as type.

The Ciconiidce (of which the Wood Ibis is the only North American rep-
resentative) is treated more briefly. A new genus {Evxenura\ however,
is instituted for the Ciconia maguari (Auct.) or the South American Stork,
based chiefly on the remarkable charactei^ of the tail (illustrated by an
excellent figure), in which the lower coverts are elongated and stiffened, so
as to resemble rectrices, the tail proper being short and deeply forked. —
J. A. A.

Reichenow's Review op the Herons and their Allies. — Dr.
ReichenoVs order, " Streitv&gel" or " Gressores" • embraces the ordinary

* Systematische Ueberaicht der Schreitvbgel (Gressores), eincr natiirlichen, die
Pndoc, Ciconiidoe, PhoinicopteridcRy Scopidce, Balamicipidoc', und Ardeidm urafas-
senden Ordnung. Von Dr. Ant. Reichenow, Assisteut am kgl. zoolog. Museum
in Berlin. Journal fiir Ornithologie, XXV Jahrgaug, pp. 113-171, 225-278,
pU. I, II. April and July, 1877.



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184 Recent Literature,

Herodiones of authors, with the addition of the; Flamingoes (PhcmicopUri-
dee). He discusses at some length the affinities of this group, but we fail
to he convinced of the propriety of its removal from the Anserine series,
where of late it has been pretty generally placed, to its present associa-
tion. In his introductory remarks Dr. Reichenow discusses the object of
classification, the questions of '* subspecies " and " varieties," and rules of
nomenclature. He adopts the tenth edition (1758) of the '* Systema Na-
turee ** as the starting-point of binomial nomenclature in zoology, and ac-
cepts, very properly, no specific names of an earlier date, while the first
editi(Hi (1735) of the same work is taken as the earliest point of departure
for generic nomenclature. He also throws over all *' barbarous" names,
whether specific or generic, all names of erroneous signification, and all
classical names improperly constructed. Under these restrictions many
long-established and familiar designations fall, to be replaced by the next
(in Dr. Reichenow's view) unobjectionable name. In default of any such
our author proceeds to supply the deficiency. In this way, to cite a few
examples, Platalea ajaja becomes P. rosea; Ciconia maguari becomes C.
dicrura, Reichenow ; Ardea herodias becomes A, leasoni, etc. ; the generic
name (subgeneric in Reichenow's system) Orotarchius is replaced by Butio,
Reichenow, Zebrilus by Microcnus, Reichenow, Agamia by Doryphonis^
Reichenow (a name essentially preoccupied in entomology by Doryphcra\
Garzetta and Egretta by EroditiSy etc., the earlier names being in each case
supplanted because " barbarous." The specific names major, fuscuSj purpu-
reus, etc., when erroneous in signification, are replaced by later ones.
These are innovations which we think stand small chance of general ac-
ceptation, and admit of no adequate defence, however advisable it may be
to discard the practice of adding such names in future.

After discussing at some length the characters and classification of the
order ** Gressores^* the author passes to a synopsis of the group, giving
briefly the characters of the families, genera, and subgenera, short Latin
diagnoses of the species, and the more important synonyms. Under the
head of each family are general remarks upon the number of species, their
distribution and habits. The whole number of species recognized is one
hundred and twenty-three, with, in addition, quite a number of " sub-
species" and "varieties." These are arranged in six families ("/Wrfos,"
twenty-seven species ; Ciconiidoe, nineteen species ; Phosnicopterido!, five
species ; Scopidce and Balcenidpidoi, each one species ; Ardeidof, sixty-
seven species), fourteen genera, and twenty-two subgenera.

In respect to the matter of genera. Dr. Reichenow displays extreme con-
servatism, his genera having in most instances a value most writers regard
as supergeneric. His subgenera even are more comprehensive than are
the genera of the ultra-divisionists, but in the main are such groups as
we should consider as properly constituted genera. The contrast in
respect to genera is rarely greater, among contemporary writers working
in the same field, than is that presented by Dr. Reichenow on the one



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BecerU Literature. 185

hand and Messrs. Kidgway and Elliot on the other, the fourteen genera
of Ibises recognized by Elliot forming only two in Reichenow's system,
while the contrast is perhaps greater between the work of the latter and
Mr. Ridgway's, so far as they cover common ground.

While differing from Dr. Reichenow respecting important principles of
nomenclature, and on various points of classification, we can but accord to
his paper a high importance, as it evinces laborious and careful research, and
embraces a vast amount of information, succinctly and lucidly presented,
that will be of great service to future workers in the same field. — J. A. A.

Brewer's Supplement to his Catalogue op New England Birds.
— This paper* adds twenty-one species to the " Catalogue of the Birds of
New England," published by this author in 1875, and contains notes on
twenty-seven other species of rare occurrence in New England. The
record of rare captures and of additions to the New England avian fauna
is faithfully brought down to date, this brochure forming a most valuable
appendix to his former " Catalogue." The whole number of *' recognized
forms" now admitted by him as having been taken in New England is
three hundred and fifty-six. ** To show," says our author, " the zeal and
industry with which the knowledge of our fauna has been studied and ex-
tended, it needs only to be mentioned that the list now contains the
names of not less than forty species not positively known to occur in New
England prior to 1874, although the occasional appearance of some five or
six had been looked for by several prophetic observers. This does not in-
clude seven species whose names had been borne on previous lists, but
without any recorded evidence of their right to be there. It moreover in-
cludes two or three forms that some do not recognize as of specific value,
and one whose very existence as a species appears to call for more evi-
dence before its reality can be fully admitted." — J. A. A.

Saunders on the Larina — The writer is indebted to the author
for the early sheets of this very interesting, thorough, and discriminating
review t of the family of Gulls, and although there is much in this paper
throwing a welcome and greatly needed light upon several other than
North American species, only the latter will be here considered. The
whole number of species recognized in this paper is forty-nine, of which
number twenty may be counted as North American, in which are included
two, Larm canus and L, affinis, of purely accidental occurrence. It is not
a little remarkable that Larus affiniSf now recognized as a well-marked
species, should have been first described by Professor Reinhardt from an
individual that had straggled to Greenland. The investigations of See-

* Notes on certain Species of New England Birds, with Additions to his
Catalogue of the Birds of New England. By T. M. Brewer. Proc. Boston Soc.
Nat. Hist, VoL XIX, pp. 801-809, April, 1878.

t From the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London [pp. 155-212],
February 6, 1878.

vol. III. 18



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186 Becent IMerature,

bohm and Harvie Brown now show that its true habitat, in the breeding
season^ is in Northeastern Europe, on the Petchora. Specimens in an im-
mature plumage had previously been taken on the Bed Sea and in India,
and also one from Novaya Zemlia. It is known only as a straggler to
North America.

The only generic names retained by Mr. Saunders are Larugj Xema^
EissOy Pagaphila, and Bhodoatethia, To PagophUa he assigns but a sin^^e
species, regarding brachyta/rsui as only a synonym ; to RiMa two, treating
hotzdmi as only a form of iridaciyla; to Lanu forty-three species ; to
XeTM, two, sabinii and furcattmi ; and to Bhodostethia one. Although the
absence of a hind toe has been regarded as the principal characteristic of
the genus Bissau and this feature is now known not to be a constant pecu-
liarity, Mr. Saunders retains it as valid on account of other structural
characteristics : these are the remarkably short tarsus, its forked tail, and
the peculiar livery of the inmiature bird, besides its exclusively crag-nest-
ing habits.

Larus hutchinsii Mr. Saunders considers to be an immature X. glaucus
in that very brief stage where the mottled brown of the immature plumage
has passed away and the pearl-gray mantle has not begun to appear, — a
stage so short that but few specimens are recorded in this condition, though
it is not uncommon in captivity.

Larus glaucescens is treated as a valid species, synonymous with glaucop-
terus of KLittlitz and with chalcopterus of Lawrence. Its relationship to
glaucm is shown by its changes of plumage to be closer than to argenicUu*,

Larus ocddentalii is regarded as " a very recognizable form and fully
deserving of consideration as a species,** L, affinis being its nearest ally.
Although compared with L. fusciu, it is more closely related to the Her-
ring-Gull group in its larger size, stout bill, and large feet.

Lanu caXifomicm of Lawrence was first described by Pallas as
LaroM niv€u$y but the latter name " is not a\'ailable, having been previ-
ously employed by Boddaert for P. e&umea." This species occurs on the
Japan coast, crossing the North Pacific, corresponds with the niveus of Pallas,
and there is little doubt of its identity. The figure given by Pallas is said
to be a perfect portrait of a specimen recently sent from the Smithsonian
to Mr. Saunders. Mr. Saunders also shows conclusively that this species
cannot be the L. argentaUrides of Bonaparte's " Synopsis," for that is spoken
of as ** common near New York and Philadelphia," and as occurring " on
the southern coasts of England,** while the description and measurements
suit delawarensis. Neither can L. argentatoides of Richardson be identical
with L. califomictLSy for reasons equally conclusive.

Larus delawarenns is held to be the argentatoides of Bonaparte (nee
Brehm). An immature specimen of this bird is recorded as from Hako-
dadi, Japan.

Larut brachyrhynchus, synonymous with sudcUyi and 8eptenfyrional''9y is
regarded as an entirely distinct species from canue. In all the specimens



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General Notes. 187

seen by Mr. Saunders the color of the mantle of this species is darker than
in the darkest L, cantu. From the latter its general appearance is so dif-
ferent that they are distinguishable at a glance.

Among the synonyms of LarwfranJclini are given citcullatuB of Bmch,
Lfiwrence, and Cones, kittliizii and sehimperi, both of Bruch. On the Pa-
cific coast this species goes down as liar as Chili, fully adult examples
having been taken as far south as Santiago.

Bkodostethia rosea, the rarest of this family, is known by some thirteen
examples. With two, perhaps three, exceptions these have all been taken
in Arctic America. The one said to have been taken in England rests on
very questionable authority. Sabine's Gull, on the Pacific coast, on the
authority of Professor Steere of the University of Michigan, has been
taken on Macebi Island, on the coast of Peru, in latitude 8^ south. The
example was in the adult plumage.

Mr. Saunders's paper evinces a remarkable success in disentangling the
complicated web of European Gulls ; but to explain the great service thus
rendered would take too much space, and would not interest most of the
readers of the Bulletin. This is especially true of the synonymy of Uucop-
iertUj argmicUuiy eachinnans, — which at last takes its place as a good
species, a synonym not of argentattu^ but of leucophmts and michahelUiii, —
afiniiy ridibunduSf and icthyaihu, A more complicated tangle than these
six species presented, thanks to such splitters as Boie, Brehm, Bruch, and
Bonaparte, it would be hard to imagine, and the service rendered by Mr.
Saunders cannot fail to be appreciated by all who have experienced its
need. — T. M R



etmvai igtotti.

The Nesting of the Yelloiw-bellied Flycatcher (EmpicUmax fla-
ffiventris), — On Monday, June 10, 1878, whQe collecting in company with
Mr. R. F. Pearsall on the island of Grand Menan, I flushed a Yellow-
bellied Flycatcher, which seemed to come from directly under my feet
The locality was a good-sized hummock of moss, in swampy ground at
the edge of some low woods. For some time I was unable to find any
signs of a nest, but finally I discovered a small hole one and a half
inches in diameter in the side of the hummock, and on enlarging this
opening the nest, with four eggs, lay before me. The bird, which had all
the time been hopping around within a few feet of our heads, was at once
shot. The cavity extended in about two inches, was about four inches in
depth, and was lined with a very few grasses, black hair-like roots, and
skins of berries. The eggs, four in number, are white, with a very delicate
creamy tint, which differs in its intensity in the different specimens, and
are spotted, mostly at the larger end, with a few dots and blotches of a
light reddish shade. ^ _



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188 ChMyral Notes.

As far as I can learn, there are several nests of this bird in different
collections, the identities of most if not all of which are disputed. The
description in Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway*s work agrees very well with
nests of the Traills* Flycatcher which I have seen, but is totally different
from that of the nest now before me, and so much so that, although I am
well aware of the great differences existing in the nesting habits of birds
of the same species, yet I cannot believe them to extend as far as this.

As we were leaving Qrand Menan, a nest was brought to us which I
have no doubt is of the same species, as the position and construction,
which are, to say the least, peculiar, as well as the eggs, correspond ex-
actly ; also the finder^s description of the bird. — S. D. Osborne, Brook-
lyn, N,Y,

The Blue-winqed Yellow Warbler (HdminthopfMgapinus) m Mas-
BACHUSBTTS. — Although this species has been recorded * as a bird of the
State, and the specimen cited is in the collection of the Boston Society of
Natural History (the specimen was captured in Dedham by Mr. Emanuel
Samuels and presented to the society by Dr. Cabot), recent writers on
Massachusetts birds have seen fit to exclude it from their lists. I have
just examined a fine male specimen of this species which was captured in
West Roxbury, Mass., on May 17, 1878, by Mr. C. N. Hammond. It is
now in the collection of Mr. John Fottler, Jr., of Boston. This makes the
second recorded instance of its capture in the State, — Ruthven Deane,
Cambridge, Mass.

The Skua Gull (Stercorarius catarractes) on the Coast of Massachu-
setts. — Professor Baird has recently informed me that one of his party
found, on the 18th of July, at the Fort Wharf, Gloucester, the dead body
of a bird that proved upon examination to be an example of the common
large Skua. The bird showed marks of having been recently kept in
confinement, and a little inquiry elicited the information that it had been
captured alive by means of a hook on the Georges, and had been kept
alive on one of the fishing vessels. This is the first instance on record in
which one of this species has been taken on any part of North America
other than Greenland ; and as the Georges geologically and practically
belong to our coast water, this bird may now be classed not only as of
North America proper, but also of New England and Massachusetts. —
T. M. Brewer, Boston, Mass.

Rufous-headed Sparrow (Peticasa ruficeps) in Texas. — On April 24^
1878, Mr. George H. Ragsdale, of Gainesville, Texas, shot a male and
female of this species in Gilliespie County, Texas, about one hundred
miles west of Austin. The species was first described from specimens
taken in California. In 1873 it was found in Arizona by Mr. H. W.
Henshaw, and also at Fort Bayard, N. M. He speaks of finding it numer-

* Proc Best. Soc. Nat. Hist, YoL VI, p. 386.



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General Notes. 189

ous south of Camp Grant in Arizona, and says that in its notes and habits
it bears a close resemblance to the Song Sparrows. This appears to be its
first known occurrence east of Southwestern New Mexico. For an oppor-
tunity of examining one of the above-mentioned Texas specimens, and
for the data respecting their capture, I am indebted to Mr. Bagsdale. —
J. A. Allen, Ccmbridge, Mass.

Early Nesting op the Shore Lark near Indianapolis, Ind. — The
Shore Lark is well known as being a bird that rears its first brood of
young very early in the season, but the following places the reconl nearly
a month earlier than any before known to me. Professor David S. Jordan
writes, under date of April 24, 1878: "Professor Brayton shot here (near
Indianapolis, Ind.) this morning a number of Shore Larks (Eremophila
alpestris% and among them were two young birds, about grown. The
bird usually remains here most or all of the summer, but I never knew
of their breeding so early." — J. A. Allen, Cambridge, Mass.

Breeding op the Shore Lark in Western New York. — My atten-
tion has been drawn to John M. Howey's note in the January number of
the Bulletin (Vol. Ill, p. 40), on the breeding of the Shore Lark (Eremo-
phila alpestris) in Western New York. For the past two years this bird
has been quite common in our locality, and on June 6, 1876, it was my
good fortune to find a nest and eggs of this species. The nest was placed
on the ground in nursery rows of young apple-trees, and was composed
of dried grasses very loosely put together. It contained four eggs, which
were blown with difficulty, the embryo being about one third developed.
During the past season several pairs remained with us all summer, but I
was unable to find their nests. — H. T. Jones, Rochester, N. Y.

Bed-headed Woodpecker eating Qrasshoppers. — Much has been
said in relation to the change in the habits of the Bed-headed Woodpecker,
and the fact that he has been compelled, by the intrusion of other birds,
to such ordinary insects, instead of those which inhabit the outside and
inside of trees, has been noted by many observers. During the summer
of 1877 I saw one on the prairie, half a mile from the timber, very intently
bent upon catching grasshoppers (Galoptenus spretus). The bird made a
fence-post his point of departure and return, flying off a few rods and
capturing his game, and then alighting on the post to devour it more at
leisure. These birds are apparently much less numerous in this region
than they were ten or twelve years ago. — Charles Aldrich, Webster
City, loMoa, {Communicated by E. C.)

Song op Hepburn's Finch (Leucosticte littoralisy Baird). — In a re-
cent letter (February 25, 1878) from Captain Bendire is the following in-
teresting note on the song of Hepburn's Finch. As no writer has made
any mention of the song of this species, I deem the Captain's account well
worthy of a place in the Bulletin. "Yesterday evening," he writes, "on
my way to the stable, I saw a solitary Leucosticte on the eave of the roof



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190 QmercU Nates.

of Capt£tin McGregor's quarters. He is quite a lover of birds, and hat
three canaries, their cages hanging against one of the side windows. The
little Finch on the roof evidently had heard them singing, and was, at the
moment when I noticed him, showing what he could do in that line. He
evidently saw the birds in their cage, as every once in a while he stretched
his neck and looked down in the direction of the window. Its song waa
quite varied, low, and sweet, but feeble and without much volume. It
was still quite a fair and very pleasant song. I was quite surprised, and
listened to him for full five minutes. This was the first time I have
heard any making an attempt to sing." — T. M. Brewer, BostoUy Mass,

The Short-tailed Tern {HydrocheUdon fissipes) in Massaohusetis.
— In view of the fact that the Short-tailed Tern has been heretofore con-
sidered a rare visitor to Massachusetts, it may be of interest to state that
during a week spent on the island of Nantud^et in August, 1876, a lai^ge
number of specimens were observed by the writer. On August 16 no lets
than eight individuals were seen in the harbor near the town, and several
were shot and examined. On every subsequent occasion when the shores
of the island were visited small companies of these Terns were seen,
sitting on the sand-bars, or fishing among the other and commoner species.
They associated most commonly with the WUson's and Roseate Terns, and
procured their food in the same way, hovering over the "schools " of blue-
fish and pouncing upon the small fry which these voracious creatures drove
to the surface. The stomachs of all the specimens which were dissected
contained the macerated remains of small fishes only. In no case were
any insects detected. — William Brewster, Cambridgey Mcus,

The Black-throated Buntinq (Euspusa amsricana), — On page 45 of
the present volume of the Bulletin reference is had to the finding the nest
and eggs of this bird in Medford, in June, 1877, and the remark is made
that but few instances are known of this bird nesting in Massachusetts.
Without disputing this statement, I would mention that in 1833 and 1834
this bird was by no means uncommon in Cambridge in all the (then un-
occupied) region around the Botanical Garden and thence to West Cam-
bridge and Charlestown. It may be found now every summer on the high
promontory making the northeast corner of Hingham, known as Planter's
Hill and World's-End, lying between Weir River and the harbor. Men-
tion is made of its breeding in that locality in " North American Birds"
(Vol. II, page 67, lines 2 and 3), and since then its presence has been noted
every season when search has been made. In order to verify its presence
in this its favorite locality, this summer I made a successful exploration,
June 30, in company with my nephew, Willard S. Brewer. We found
one pair, with young, which the female was busily engaged in feeding
with small grasshoppers, while the male was intent upon his quaint
serenade on a near heap of stones. They were quite tame and unsus-
picious, and permitted a very close approach. We saw two other males,



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Gfeneral Notes, 191

evidently in the neighborhood of their respective families, bat the heat
compelled us to desist from further investigations. In the same locality
we found SpiaeUa ptMla^ Po(xeetes gramineus, and MelotpisM melodiaj but
the Buntings were present in at least equal numbers, as we heard the
notes of other males besides the three we fully identified. But a fierce



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