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FOR THE PEOPLE

FOR EDVCATION

FOR SCIENCE

LIBRARY

OF

THE AMERICAN MUSEUM

OF

NATURAL HISTORY

THE IBIS,

A

QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ORNITHOLOGY,

KBITED BY

OSBERT SALVII^, M.A., F.R.S.,

STRICKLAND CURATOR IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, &c.

VOL. IV. 1S74. THIRD SERIES.

Ibidis auspicio novus incipit Ibidis ordo I

LONDON:

JOTIX VAN VOORST, 1 PATEIINOSTER ROW

1874.

.j>AAAM**^

^^^lOA^M^^

FLAMMAM.

PBTls^TF.D BY TAYLOR AND FKANCIS, RED LION COURT, F7^EET STREET.

PREFACE.

The last three numbers of this Journal (including the Supplement) of the past year, and the first two of the present, were edited by Mr. P. L. Sciater whilst I was absent from England for fourteen months. In relieving me of a duty that I must otherwise have relinquished, and adding it to his own manifold engagements, Mr. Sciater has evinced, were such token necessary, his unflagging zeal for the welfare of ' The Ibis,' for which the Members of the British Ornithologists' Union, as well as myself, owe him our best thanks.

It will be observed that the " Index to the Orni- thological Literature," appended to each of the pre- vious volumes of the Third Series of this Journal, has been omitted in the present. This has been done at the generally expressed wish of the Members of the Union. The change, I regret to say, involves a considerable hiatus in the record of current orni- tholoo^ical literature between the commencement of 1873 and the present time, which I have not seen my way to avoid. If what is past cannot be reme- died, it remains to me in future numbers to render as complete as possible in some other form this very essential portion of our Journal.

OSBERT SALVIN,

Edito}\

15 Tenterden Street, Hanover Square. September 1874,

BRITISH ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION.

1874.

[An asterisk indicates an Original Member.

Date of Election.

1874. Edward R. Alston, F.Z.S. ; 3 Old Quebec Street, Portman Square, London, W.

1870. Andrew Anderson, F.Z.S. ; Futtehgurh, North- West Pro- vinces, India.

1872. Hanburx Barclay, F.Z.S. ; Middleton Hall, Tamworth.

1873. W. T. Blanford, F.R.S. &c.; Geological Survey of India,

Calcutta.

1870. Sir Victor Brooke, Bart. ; Colebrooke, Fermanagh, Ireland.

1871. Arthur Basil Brooke ; Cardney, Dunkeld, N.B. 1866. Henry Buckley, F.Z.S. ; Edgbaston, Birmingham.

1868. Thomas Edward Buckley, B.A., F.Z.S. ; Ardullie Lodge, Foulis, N. B.

1872. Walter Lawry Buller, Sc.D., F.L.S., &c. ; Wanganui, New

Zealand.

1874. John Cordeaux; Great Cotes, Ulceby, Lincolnshire.

1866. Arthur William Crichton, B.A., F.L.S,, F.Z.S. ; Broadward

Hall, Salop. 1874. Charles Danford, F.Z.S. ; Knowles, Newton, Devon,

1865. Henry Eeles Dresser, F.Z.S. ; 6 Tenterden Street, Hanover

Square, London, W. *Henry Maurice Drummond-Hay, C.M.Z.S., Lieutenant-Colo- nel, Royal Perth Rifles ; Seggieden, Perth. 1870. Daniel Giraud Elliot, F.L.S., F.Z.S., &c. ; New York.

1866. Henry John Elwes, F.Z.S. ; Miserden House, Cirencester. *Thomas Campbell Eyton, F.Z.S. ; Eyton Hall, Wellington,

Salop.

VI

Date of Blection.

1873. H. W. Feildex, Captain and raymastcr, lloyal Artillery, Malta. 1867. George Goocu Fowleb, B.A. ; Gunton Hall, Lowestoft,

Suffolk. 1865. llev. Henry Elliott Fox, B.A. ; Vicar of Christ Church,

Broadway, Westminster.

1873. Alfred Hexry Gakrod, B.A.,F.Z.S. ; 11 Harlcy Street, London. ♦Frederick DuC.vne Godm.vn, F.L.S., F.Z.8. ; 6 Tenterden

Street, Hanover Square, W. *Percy Sanden Godmak, B.A., C.M.Z.S. ; Nuthurst Lodge, Horsham, Sussex.

1874. Major H. God^vin-Atjsten, F.Z.S. ; Chilworth Manor, Guild-

ford, Surrey.

1871. Robert Gray ; 13 Inverleith How, Edinburgh.

*JonN Henry Gurney, F.Z.S. ; Xorthrepps, Norwich.

1870. John Henry Gurney, Jun., F.Z.S. ; Northrepps, Norwich.

1873. James FETHERSTONHAtrGH Hamilton, F.Z.S. ; 27 Elgin Cres- cent, Netting HiU, W.

1868. James Edmund Harting, F.L.S., F.Z.S. ; 24 Lincoln's lun Fields, London.

1873. John A. Haryie-Broavn ; Dunipace House, Falkirk, N.B.

1868. Rev. Herbert S. Haavkins, M.A. ; Beyton Rectory, Suffolk.

1873. Charles B. Hodgson, F.Z.S. ; 13 Waterloo Street, Bir-

mingham. *WiLFRiD HuDLESTON HuDLESTON, M.A., F.Z.S. ; 23 Cheyuo Walk, Chelsea.

1874. Baron A. von Hugel ; ifoorlands, Bournemouth.

1869. Allan Octavian Hume, C.B. ; Secretary to the Government

of India, Calcutta.

1873. Most Hon. Charles, Marquess of Huntly ; 41 Upper Gros-

vcnor Street, London. 1 b7U. Hon. Hedworth Hylton-Jolliffe ; Charlton, Radstock, Bath.

1870. Col. Leonard Howard Irby, F.Z.S. ; Hythe, Southampton.

1874. Alexander W. M. Clarke Kennedy, F.Z.S.; Guards' Club,

Pall Mail, Loudon. *Arthur Edward Knox, M.A., F.L.S., F.Z.S. ; Trotton House,

Petersfield, Sussex. *Right Hon. Thomas Lyttleton, Lord Lilford, F.L.S., F.Z.S

&c. ; Lilford Hall, Oundle, Northants. 1874. Major JmiN Hayes Lloyd, F.Z.S. ; East-India Club. St. James's

S(|uarc, London.

Date of

Election.

1870. C. H. T. Marshall, F.Z.S. ; CaptaiO' Bengal Staff Corps. 1870. G, ¥. L. Makshall, F.Z.S. ; lloyal (Bengal) Engineers. 1864, Alexander Goodman Moke, F.L.S. &c. ; 3 Botanic View,

GlasneAdn, Dublin. 1874. IIhodbs W. Morgan ; Madras Forest Department, Ootaca-

mund, India. 1872. Francis D'Arcy William Clotjgh Newcome ; Feltwell Hall,

Brandon, Suffolk. *Alfred Newton, M.A., F.R.S., V.P.Z.S. ; Professor of Zoology

in the University of Cambridge. *Edt\ard Newton, M.A., F.L.S., C.M.Z.S., Colonial Secretary,

Mauritius. 1S71. Reginald Carew Pole, Lieutenant, Royal Navy; Yovilton,

Jlchestcr. *JonN William Powlett-Orde, F.Z.S. , late Captain, 42nd

(Royal Highland) Regiment ; Auchnaba House, Loch Gilp

Head, N. B.

1872. R. G. Wardlaw Ramsay, 67th Regiment ; White Hill, Lass-

wade, N. B. 1865. George Dawson Rowley, M.A., F.Z.S. ; Chichester House, Brighton.

1873. Oliver Beauchamp Coventry St. John, Major R.A., F.Z.S. *Osbert Salvin, M.A., F.R.S., &c.; 6 Tentcrden Street, Han- over Square, London.

1870. Howard Saunders, F.Z.S. ; 7 Radnor Place, Hyde Park.

*PniLip Lutley Sclater, M.A., Ph.D., F.R.S., &c. ; 44 Elvas- ton Place, Queen's Gate, London, W.

1873. Henry Seebohm ; Oak Lea, Collegiate Crescent, Broomhall

Park, Sheffield. I.b71. Richard Bowdler Sharpe, F.L.S. , F.Z.S. ; Senior Assistant,

British Museum. 1870. G. Ernest Shelley, F.Z.S., late Captain, Scots Fusilier Guards ;

Avington, Winchester. 1865. Rev. Charles William Shepherd, M.A., F.Z.S.; Trotters-

cliffe, Kent. 1864. Rev. Alfred Charles Smith, M.A. ; Yatesbury Rectory,

Wiltshire.

1874. Cecil Smith ; Lydiard House, Taunton, Somersetshire. 1868. Hamon Styleman Le Strange, F.Z.S. ; Hunstanton Hall,

Norfolk.

Date of Klection.

*Edward CAVKNDisn Taylor, M.A.,F.Z.S. ; 7-A Jcrmpi Street, London. 1864. George Cavendish Taylor, F.Z.S. ; 42 Elvaston Place, Queen's Gate, London.

1873. William Bernhard Tegetmeier, F.Z.S. ; Finchley, Mid-

dlesex. *Ilev. Henry Baker Tristram, M.A., LL.D., F.ll.S., &c.,

Canon of Dnrham, 1 8G4. Henry Morris Upcher, F.Z.S. ; Sherringham Hall, Norfolk. 1872. Herbert Taylor Ussher, C.M.G., Lieut.-Governor of the

Island of Tobago, West Indies. 1864. lligbt Hon. Arthur Viscount Walden, F.B.S., F.L.S.,

Pres, Z.S. ; Walden Cottage, Chislehurst, Kent.

1874. Charles Bygrave Wharton, F.Z.S,

1871. E. Percival Wright, M.D., F.L.S., F.Z.S., Professor of Botany

in the University of Dublin.

Extra- Ordinary Member. 1860, Alfred Rtjssel Wallace, F.Z.S. ; The Dell, Grays, Essex.

Honorary/ Members.

1860. Professor Spencer F. Baird, Assistant Secretary to the Smith- sonian Institution, Waslihujton.

1860. Doctor Eduard Baldamus, Moritzwinger, No. 7, Halle.

1860. Doctor Jean Cabanis, Erster Custos am koniglichen Museum der Friedrich-Wilhelm's ITniversitat zu Berlin.

1870. Doctor Otto Finsch, Zoological Museum, Bremen.

1860. Edgar Leopold Layard, F.Z.S., H.M. Consul in the Feejee Islands,

1869. AtTGusT VON Pelzeln, Custos am k.-k. zoologischen Cabinete in Wien.

1860. Professor J. Reinhardt, Kongelige Naturhistoriske Museum i Kjobenhavn.

1862. Robert Swinhoe, F.Z.S., F.R.G.S., H. M. Consul at Chcfoo, C7i<n«.

Foreign Members.

1872. Prof. J. V. Barboza du Bocage, Royal Museum, Lisbon.

1872. Prof. J. F. Brandt, Imperial Museum, Si. Petersburg.

1873. Robert Collett, Christiauia.

Date of

Election.

1872. Doctor Elliott Coues, U.S. Army, Smithsonian Institution,

Washington, D. O. 1872. Doctor Victor Fatio, Geneva. 1872. Doctor Heney Hillyer Giglioli, Eoyal Superior Institute,

Florence. 1872. Doctor Theodor von Heuglin, Stuttgart, 1872. George N. Lawrence, I^ew York. 1872. Baron De Selys Longchamps, Li^ge. 1872. Doctor A. J. Malmgeen, Helsingfors. 1872. Doctor A. von Middendoeff, Dorpat. 1872. Alphonse Milne-Edwards, Jardin des Plantes, Paris. 1872. Prof. Gustav Kadde, Tiflis.

1872. Count ToMMAso Salvadohi, Royal Museum, Turin. 1872. Prof, Herman Schlegel, University Museum, Leyden. 1872. Prof. Carl Joiiann Sundevall, Stockholm.

CONTENTS OF VOL. IV.— THIRD SERIES.

(1874.)

Number XILI., January.

Page

I. On the FrionocJilU of British India. Ey P. L. Sclater, M.A., Ph.D., F.ll.S. (Plate I.) 1

II. On a large Fossil Egg from the neighbourhood of Cher- son. By Dr. Alexander Brandt 4

III. On the Distribution of Birds in the Southern Hill- region of Ceylon. By W. Vincent Legge, Lieut. E.A. ... 7

IV. Notes on certain Birds of New Zealand. By Capt. F. W. HUTTOK 34

V. Notes on the Ornithology of the Gold Coast. By Herbert Taylor Ussher, C.M.G., C.M.Z.S. (Plate II.) 43

VI. Notes on the Synonymy of some Indian and Persian Birds, with Descriptions of two new Species from Persia. By

W. T. Blanfoed, F.G.S., C.M.Z.S., &c 75

VII. liemarks on the Birds of Juan Fernandez and Mas- a-fuera. By Edwyn C. Heed, of the National Museum of Santiago 81

VIII. Notes on some European and Asiatic Eagles. By W. Edwin Brooks, C.E., Dinapore 84

IX. Description of an apparently new Species of Bird be- longing to the Family TrochiUdce, of the Genus Eiicephala. By

D. G. Elliot, F.L.S., F.Z.S., &c 87

X. Description of a new Timaliine Bird from West Africa. By Capt. G. E. Shelley 89

XI. Note on Drt/otriorchis, a new Genus of Harrier Eagles from West Africa. By Capt. G. E. Shelley 90

XU CONTENTS.

Page

XII. Letters, Announcements, &c. :

Letters from Lord Walclen, Mr. W. T. Blanford, Dr. Buller, Mr. J. H. Gumey, Mr. J. A. Harvie-Brown, and Capt. J. H. Lloyd ; Note on the correct generic name of Podiceps minor ; News of Mr. Salvin ; Mr. Jelski's collections in Western Peru ; The Yellow-legged Herring-Gull 91

NiTMBER XIV., Apnl.

XIII. Additional List of and Notes on Birds obtained in the Eepublic of Trans-Vaal. By Thomas Ayres. (Commu- nicated by John Henry Gurney). (Plate III.) 101

XIV. Notes on the Avifauna of the Desert of Sinai and of the Holy Land. Part I. By Alexander W. M. Clark Kennedy, F.B.G.S., F.L.S., r.Z.S., &c., Coldstream Guards 107

XV. Notes on the Ornithology of New Zealand. By Walter

L. Bttller, Sc.D., F.L.S., &c 112

XVI. Remarks on Mr. Legge's Paper on Ceylonese Birds.

By E. W. H. HoLDswoRTH, F.L.S. &c 122

XVII. On a further Collection of Birds made by Lieut. Robert Wardlaw Ramsay, F.Z.S., in the Andaman Islands. By Arthur, Viscount Walden, P.Z.S., F.R.S. (Plates IV.-VI.) .... 127

XVIII. On some Birds from Hakodadi in Northern Japan.

By R. SwiNHOE. (Plate VII.) 150

XIX. Description of a new Species of Pijtelia. By Dr. G. Hartlatjb 1G6

XX. Notice of Pere David's Travels in China. By P. L. Sclater, Ph.D., M.A., F.R.S 1G7

XXI. New and forthcoming Bird-Books. By the Acting Editor , 172

XXII. Letters, Announcements, &c. :

Letters from Mr. J. H. Gurnoy, Mr. R. Swinhoe (two), and Mr. W. E. Brooks ; Note on Suya superciliaris, Hume ; Dr. Kirk's Grey Parrot ; Proposed new work of Mr. Clark Ken- nedy ; Sale of the Collections of Humming-birds of the late M.

CONTENTS. xiii

Page

Bourcier and M. E. Vcrrcaux ; The New Paradise -birds and their Discoverers; Corrigenda in the Supplement of 1873; Latest news of Mr. Salvin, and Oreophasis derUanus in Vera Paz 181

Number XV., July.

XXIII. On the Neotropical Species of the Family Ptcropto- chidce. By P. L. Sclatee, M.A., Ph.D., F.R.S. (Plate VIII.) 180

XXIV. On Coryllis regulus and C. occipitalis, an apparently new Species. By 0. Finsch, Ph.D., C.M.Z.S. 20G

XXV. Remarks on the Extinct Birds of New Zealand. By Julius Haast, Ph.D., F.R.S 209

XXVI. On the Nidification of certain Indian Birds. Part III.

By Andrew Anderson, F.Z.S 220

XXVII. Fifth Appendix to a List of Birds observed in Malta and Gozo. By Charles A. Weight, CM.Z.S 223

XXVIII. On rare or little-known Limicolo}. By J. E. Harting, F.L.S,, F.Z.S. (Plate IX.) 241

XXIX. Remarks on some Typical Specimens of the TrocM- lidce, with a Description of one new Genus. By D. G. Elliot, F.L.S., F.Z.S., &c 2G1

XXX. Notice of an apparently undcscribed Species of Conms from Tangier. By Lieut. -Col. Howard Irdt 204

XXXI. Notes on Chinese Ornithology. By R. Swinhoe. (Plate X.) 2G6

XXXII. A Reply to Mr. Allan. Hume's Review of 'Die Papagcien ' of Dr. Otto Finsch. By Arthur, Viscount Walden, M.B.O.U 270

XXXIII. Lettei-s, Announcements, &c. :

Letters from Mr. W. T. Blanford and Mr. A. B. Meyer . . 300

Number XVI., October.

XXXIV. A Visit to the principal Museums of the United States, with Notes on some of the Birds contained therein. By OsBEET Salvia, M.A., F.R.S., &c. (Plates XL, XII.) . . . 305

Page XXXV. Notes on the Trochllidce. The Guiius JleVimdhea. By D. G. Elliot, F.L.S., F.Z.8., &c 330

XXXVT. Notes on the Specimens in the Berlin Museum col- lected by Hcmprich and Ehrcnberg. By H. E. Dkesser, F.Z.8. &c., and W. T. Blanfoed, F.R.S. &c 335

XXXVII. On the Genus Todus. By 11, Boavdlkr Shaepe, F.L.S., F.Z.S., &c., Senior Assistant, Zoological Department, British Museum. (Plate XIII.) 344

XXXVIII. List of Birds collected or observed during a journey into the Matabili Country in 1873. By T. E. Buck- ley, F.Z.S. &c 355

XXXIX. Ornithological Notes on the North-Frisian Islands and adjacent Coast. By Henry Duknford 391

XL. On the Arrangement of the Families constituting the Order Passeres. By Alfred B. Wallace 400

XLI. Dr. A. B. Meyer's Ornithological Discoveries in New Guinea. By P. L. Sclater 41(1

XLIL On a new Species of Marsh -Warbler. By H. E. Dresser, F.Z.S. &c 420

XLIII. Ornithological Notes made at Chefoo (Province of Shantung, North China). By 11. Swinhoe, H. M. Consul. (Plate XIV.) 422

XLIV. Notices of recently published Ornithological Works . 447 XLV. Letters, Announcements, &c. : Letters from Mr. W. E. Bi'ooks, Horr A. von Pelzcln, Mr. J. H. Gurney, and Mr. Swinhoe 4;')!)

XLVI. Obituary:—

Notices of the deaths of Bev. W. H. Hawker, Commander Iloland M. Sperling, Mr. Edward Blyth, Mons. Jules Pierre Verreaux, Mr. C. F. Tyrwhitt-Drake, Dr. Stoliczka, and Dr. J. Kaup 4G4

Index 473

III.

PLATES IN VOL. IV. THIRD SERIES.

Page

J J Figs. 1, 2. Prionochilus vincens 2

I Fig, 3. Prionochilus melauoxanthus 3

II. Picathartes gymnocephalus 67

Fig. 1. Alauda conirostris 103

Fig. 2. Megalophonus erythrochlamys 103

IV. Ninox obscurus 129

V. Ninox affinis 129

YI. Dendrocitta baylcii* 145

Fig. 1. Chelidoii blakistoni 151

Fig. 2. Chelidon whitelyi 152

VIII. Rhinocrypta fusca t 198

IX. Recurvirostra aiidina 242

X. Circus melanoleucus 266

XI. GranateUus francescaj, J 5 ^^"^

XII. Geotrygon veraguensis , 328

Figs. 1, 2. Todus siibulatiis 353

Fig. 3. Todus pulcherrimus 353

XIV. Turdus chrysopleurus 444

* Erroneously ^vTitten D. baylei. t Erroneously written R. fnlva.

VII.

XIII.

ERRATA ET CORRIGENDA.

Page Liae

3, 23, for //. read P.

44, 36, for CAun;VTus nmd ECAinATUs.

99, 18, for northern read soutliern,

104, SO, for Herodia read Heropias.

Hf), Plate YI,, for Baylec read BAVLEn.

23,forl\2r(adll'X

lof), 30, for trmrfjatus read frivirgatn.

176, 19, for rohu/inosa read ruhiginosa.

1 77, 34, for eliofi read allioti.

108, Plate VIII., /or fulva read rrsrA.

257, 3b, for Recirviiiostris read REcrRvinosTiiA.

273, 6./or ?" rfflf/"?

279, 23, for Fincli read Finsch.

288, 9, Tor Eastern as read as Eastern.

Ibis. 1874 PI I

JGKeulemajis . litli .

M&,UHaTih.a.rt uaip

I.PRIOITOCHILUS VINGENS. $. 2. $. 3. P. MELANOXANTHUS.

THE IBIS.

THIRD SERIES.

No. XIII. JANUARY 1874.

I. On the Prionochili of British India. By P. L. ScLATER, M.A., Ph.D., F.R.S.

(Plate I.)

The genus Prionochilus was established, in 1841*, by the late Mr. Strickland for the reception of the birds described and figured in the ' Planches Coloriees ' of Temminck, as Parda- lotus percussus (PI. Col. 394. fig. 2), Pardalotus thoracicus (PI. Col. 600. figs. 1 & 2), and Pardalotus maculatus. Mr. Strickland considered the affinities of this group to be with Calyptomena, '^^ which it approaches in the structure of the beak and feet much more nearly than to Pardalotus." The name was derived from irployv, a saw, and %€tX-09, a lip, in allusion to the minute serrations of the margins of the beak, which, however, are scarcely visible in some of the species without the assistance of a magnifying-glassf.

In 1865 Mr. Wallace described and figured J a beautiful

* P. Z. S. 1841, p. 29.

t Somewhat similar serrations occur in certain Suphoftiee (Tanagridse) and in the Trocliilidine genera Gryptis and Androdon. X P. Z. S. 1865, p. 477, pi. xxix. fig. 1.

SER. III. VOL. IV. B

a Mr. P. L. Sclater on the

new species of the genus from Northern Celebes under the name P. aureolimbatus ; and more recently Dr. Salvador! has characterized another, from Borneo, as P. xanthopyyius^.

Thus far Prionochilus had been considered peculiar to the Malayan subdivision of the Indian Region, Celebes being debateablc ground between that and the Papuan fauna. Last year, however, Lieut. W. Vincent Legge, R. A., a well-known worker in ornithology, sent me a pair of birds obtained in Southern Ceylon, which I at once recognized as belonging to this genus, and for which, at the Zoological Socicty^s meet- ing on the 18th of June, I proposed the specific name viwcen*, in honour of its discoverer f.

Mr. Legge gave the following description of his bird :

"Male. Length 4^"; tail 1-2"; wing 3-3"; tarsus '5"; mid toe with claw "S", hind toe g^"; bill to gape -^", at front nearly •4". Third primary longest, only slightly longer than second.

" Descr. Iris reddish; bill, upper mandible black, lower mandible lightish at the base ; legs and feet blackish brown ; entire head (except the chin and throat), hind neck, back, rump, and lesser wing-coverts dull steel-blue, palest on the rump, and with the bases of the feathers dark ; quills blackish brown, the basal portion of inner webs, with the under wing- coverts, white ; tertiaries, greater wing-coverts, and tail black, the former edged with the hue of the upper surface, the latter with the three outer feathers white towards the tip, the colour extending a little up the shaft on inner web, the next two with a small terminal white spot; chin, throat, and chest white, below which the under sui'face is safiron-yellow, paling at the vent ; under tail-coverts white, edged pale yellow.

"Female. Length 4-1"; wing2^"j taill'l". Bill slightly lighter in hue than <^; legs, feet, and iris the same as S', head and hind neck faded bluish ashen, centres of feathers dark ; back olivaceous brown ; secondaries and wing-coverts brown, edged with olivaceous ; quills lighter than in the male ; sides of neck and chest ashy beneath, paler yellow than the male, mingled with grey on the flanks ; tail brownish black.^''

" Hah. Forests of the low hills in the southern province, * Cf. Ibis, 1872, p. 379. f P. Z. S. 1872, p. 729.

Prionochili of British India. 3

where it aflfects principally the creepers which entwine the trunks of the trees ; resorts also to small branches of low trees.

"Food. Seeds and pollen from the flowers of creepers/^

When examining Mr. Vincent Legge's skins of this bird it struck me that a little-known Nepalese type of Hodgson's, described by Mr. Blyth in 1843 as Pachyglossa melanoxantha* , might have something to do with it. Upon reference to the British Museum Mr. Sharpe informed me that he had lately obtained for the national collection a fresh specimen of this rare species, which had escaped nearly every subsequent collector, including even Jerdon himselff. On comparing this specimen with Mr. Vincent Legge's skins, there remained no doubt of their being nearly allied, although distinct species. In all essentials of structure the two birds are exactly similar ; and Pachylossa is therefore merely a synonym of Prionochilus, of which two species must now be attributed to the fauna of British India, viz. Prionochilus vincens , of Ceylon, and P. me- lanoxanthus, of Nepaul.

Our illustration (Plate I.) represents both these species, neither of which has been previously figured, of the size of life. Figures 1 and 2 represent the male and female of P. vincens from Mr. Vincent Legge's specimens, and figure 3 the above-mentioned example of H. melanoxanthus, lately ac- quired by the British Museum, which is probably a male.

The latter species is readily distinguishable from its Ne- palese ally by its smaller size, by the white extending over the whole of the throat, and by the white rump.

* Journ. As. Soc. Bengal, xii. p. 1010. This name is commonly cre- dited to Hodgson. By reference to the original passage, however, it will be seen that the bird was described by Blyth, although he attributes the name to Hodgson, The single specimen obtained by the latter appears to have been lent to Mr. Blyth at Calcutta, and subsequently removed to the British Museum, where it now is, mounted in the gallery. See Cat Hodgson's Coll. in B. M. (1846), p. 60.

t See Jerdon, B. of India, i. p. 378.

b2

4 Dr. A. Brandt on a large Fossil Egg

II. On a large Fossil Egg from the neighbourhood of Cherson. By Dr. Alexander Brandt*.

A SHORT time since^ Herr E. Dobrowolsky offered to sell to me for the zoological museum of the Academy an apparently very remarkable egg. As regards its purchase the Direction of the museum could do nothing, since the sum asked (1000 roubles) was by no means suitable to the very moderate means of the museum. Herr Dobrowolsky was nevertheless so good as not only to assist me in describing the egg by permitting me to make an accurate examination of it and by giving me the necessary particulars as to its discovery, but also to allow me to have a plaster cast prepared of it.

The egg is stated to have been found, at least fifteen years ago, at Malinowka, in the province and district of Cherson, in an ancient watercourse or so-called " balka." In a small stream traversing the old watercourse below a wear, the spring floods falling over the latter washed out a channel, from the bottom of which the egg appeared. Being observed by some peasants it was taken up and given to Hr. N. S. T. Ma- linowsky, an uncle of our informant. The soil from which the egg came was described as a reddish-brown frangible loam, beneath which lay crystalline gypsum. The egg is at pre- sent in the possession of Hr. Ssemen Dobrowolsky, the father of my informant, a landed proprietor in the province of Cherson.

I now add a short description of this apparently remark- able egg.

The form of the egg is so nearly that of a regular ellipse, that it is diflfcult to tell the big end from the little. Yet we may assume the end recognizable by its somewhat less smooth shell to be the big end a conclusion supported by the well- known ornithologist Herr W. Meves, in whose company I had the pleasure of examining the egg, inasmuch as he has frequently noticed that in birds^ eggs generally the big end

Read before the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg on the 6th of September 1872, and translated from the ' Bulletin,' vol. xa iii. no. 2, p. 158, et «e?.— P.L.S.

from the neighbourhood of Cher son. 5

has a rougher texture. The egg has on the whole most re- semblance to certain examples of the Ostrich-egg {Struthio camelus), which, however, vary excessively in form. Com- pared with the egg of ^pyornis'^, of which our museum has a plaster cast received from Paris, the present egg is some- what shorter and more rounded its short diameter being to its long as 1 : 1'2, while in yEpyornis the corresponding pro- portion is 1 : 1'3.

In respect of size the fossil egg far exceeds the largest Os- trich-egg, without, however, rivalling, except in the most distant degree, that of the jEpyornis. Its long diameter measures 18 centimetres, its short 15 cent, (from which the above-mentioned proportion of 1 : 1*2 or 5 : 6 results). The longer circumference measures 52 cent., the shorter 46 cent. The volume was estimated at 2200 cubic centimetres. We may therefore calculate its contents to equal those of from 40 to 44 hen's eggs of ordinary size. For comparison I may remark that the largest Ostrich-egg I could find mea- sured 16 cent, by 135, and gave a volume of 1350 cubic cent, (equal to from 25 to 27 hen's eggs)t. The volume of the yEpyornis-egg is said to have been reckoned to be equal to that of 148 hen's eggs.

The surface of the egg under the microscope, particularly on one side and near one pole, shows a decidedly rough or bunchy appeaaance, besides in many places irregularly di- rected crooked-running shallow scratches, which from their habitus give the idea of very fine vessels on the inner side of the shell, as also deep sharply defined pits, as if made by a blunt needle. These last appearances are especially notice- able on the smoother parts of the egg, and represent in a larger proportion the needle-prick-like pits on the eggs of the Ostrich.

* Prof. Brandt spells this word £pio)~nis, as originally wiitten by Isidore Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, the founder of the genus. But the derivation being from alnvs, there can be no question of jEpyornis being the correct or- thography. — Ed.

t According to Thienemann an Ostrich-egg is (in volume) equivalent to about 30 hen's eggs. (' Fortpflanzuugsgeschichte d. gesamm. Vogel,' Leipzig, 1 849, p. H.)

6 On a large Fossil Egg from Cherson.

The colour of the egg is a yello^vish brown, which is not, however, equally spread over the whole surface, but in patches brighter here and darker there, and hardly represents the ori- ginal colour. Still less are numbers of blackish dendritic spots irregularly spread over the egg to be reconciled with its original colour. These are certainly either really den- dritic, or the remnants of a parasitic vegetation which is often met with in fossil remains.

Of the thickness of the egg-shell nothing definite can be ascertained, since the egg is quite intact, except as re- gards two cracks, of a hair's breadth, said to have resulted from an attempt to ascertain the contents. In one place a hardly perceptible splinter has been taken off; but the fracture is so thin that it does not extend through the thickness of the shell, and only shows its hard enamel-like substance.

The perfect state of the egg when found proves that it must be empty, and not filled with mineral substance. This is the cause of its weighing so little as to have been swimming in the river when discovered. According to Herr Dobrowolsky's information it weighs about 200 Rus- sian pounds.

According to Eichwald"^, fossil remains of birds are very scarce in Russia, although v. Nordmann has discovered some in a tertiary loam near Odessa t (that is, not far from where this egg was found) . But as to what genera these bones be- long to we find no information recorded.

The above-described form of this egg-shell, as well as its dimensions, lead us first to think of a Struthious bird which in size must have exceeded the Ostrich. This, how- ever, is not the first gigantic bird recorded of the Tertiary epoch of Europe, since fifty years ago remains of such a bird were found in our quarter of the globe namely, those of Gas- tornis parisiensis, of the Eocene of Meudon, near Paris, allied to the Swimmers and Waders.

* Lethaea Rossica, Stuttgardt, Bd. iii. 1853, p, 325. t " Ub. d. Entderkung reiclihaltiger Lager von fossilen Knochen in Siid- Bussland," JubiUtiun semiseculare Fischeri deW. (fol.Moscau,1847), p. 9.

On the Distribution of Birds in Southern Ceylon. 7

Since, as is mentioned above, the characters of this egg appear with great probability to indicate its belonging to the Struthious group, I propose to call it, with reference to the unknown gigantic bird. Strut hiolithus chersonensis*.

III. On the Distribution of Birds in the Southern Hill-region of Ceylon. By W. Vincent Legge, Lieut. E-.A.

The southern province of Ceylon possesses a range of moun- tains of its own, quite distinct from the central zone, inas- much as it is separated from that region by a long strip of low country extending from the western province, on the south of Ratnapoora, through, in an easterly direction, to the flat and jungle-clad plains of the south-east of the island. The system commences at the eastern boundary of the Morowa Korlef, at a point thirty miles north of the southernmost extremity of the island (Dondra Head), and, after shooting up at once from the plains of Hambantotte and culminating in its highest point, 4500 feet, stretches away in a westerly direction to a point some twenty miles from the sea on the west coast. The river Gindurah rises in the highest portion of the range, and takes a westerly course, separating it into two parts by a deep valley, in the north of which numerous spurs shoot out into the Saffragam district, while on the south the higher mountains are supplemented by many smaller par- allel-lying ridges, which again break into an endless succes- sion of smaller hills, dwindling down until they form the un- dulating country in the immediate vicinity of Point de Galle. The south-west corner of Ceylon may therefore be said to be a perfect labyiinth of hills, clothed in their highest parts with lofty primeval forest, except where the axe of the mountaineer has left its mark in the coui-se of hill-grain cultivation, and covered in the lower districts with secondary or scrubby jungle, in the composition of which the small bamboo {Ochlandra

* Subsequently Professor Kessler lias informed me that he had this egg in his hands some years ago, and attempted unfortunately in vain to ac- quire it for the zoological collection of the University of Kiew.

t " Korle" corresponds, as a terrestrial division, to county.

8 Lieut. W. V. Legge on the Distribution of

stridula) enters largely. On some of the lowlands near the sea, and on the banks of the rivers, as also in the valleys of the lower hills, paddy-fields exist; but there is but little land under cultivation compared with other parts of the west coast, the consequence of which, together with the want of " tanks " and inland waters, is that grallatorial and natatorial forms are by no means abundant. The climate of these hills is much cooler than that of corresponding heights in the cen- tral province, owing to their propinquity to the sea, and to their being therefore exposed to the full sweep of both monsoons across the south of the island. This is especially demonstrated in the distribution of birds in the main range, where, with some few exceptions, all the species inhabiting the higher parts of the central zone are to be found in numbers, while, again, many that inhabit what may be termed the intermediate hills of the central province at an average elevation of 2000 feet, aflFect, in these parts, the low forest-clad hills down to within 200 feet of the sea-level. This latter fact is due, perhaps, more to the presence of jungle-clad hills of considerable altitude in the immediate vicinity of the sea-coast than to the effect of climate.

As the locaHty under consideration has never before been explored by ornithologists (at least so far as the wild interior is concerned), I propose to notice all the bii'ds found in it, except a few, which are so universally distributed over the island that their presence here needs no comment, and to touch more particularly upon those which have not been noted previously from this district, and which affect it chiefly owing to the influence of climate and the above-named features of the soil.

Commencing, in due order, with Raptorial birds, which, so far as some species are concerned, are very well represented, I would note that Neopus malaiensis inhabits the forest-hills and valleys from within a feAV miles of the sea up to the highest parts of the main range. This peculiar form, the largest of our Raptores, is not common in Ceylon ; and this district may be considered its head quarters. Layard pro- cured it in the vicinitv of Adam^s Peak. It is exclusivelv a

Birds in Southern Ceylon. 9

hill-forest bird ; at times it may be seen quietly skimming over the high trees of a mountain-side^ while at others it soars in pairs, nobly, over some deep valley. Spilornis cheela, the com- monest of our Aquilinse, is distributed over the whole island, but in the south is more numerous in the hills than near the sea. In the lowlands it skulks much about open clearings in the jungle or along the edge of the swampy flats, and feeds chiefly on snakes, which it swallows, in some instances, nearly whole. It appears to average smaller dimensions than in India, males not measuring more than 23 inches. The lower plumage is noticeably darker or richer after the moult. Young birds have the crest-feathers almost entirely white, the tips only being black and not concealing the main portion of the feather when the plumage of the head is in its normal state ; when the crest is erected in anger or surprise the head has the appearence of being white, mottled or spotted with black. Limnaetus cristatellus is more plentiful in the low hills than in the mountains, extending to the neighbourhood of the sea- coast, where, however, it is very local, confining itself to some chosen steep forest-side or secluded valley. It breeds within a few miles of Point de Galle, nesting always in the fork of a high tree. In the first state the plumage of the lower parts is not pale brown, as I have read, but almost entirely jmre white, with occasional faint dashes of light sienna-brown on the thigh and under tail-coverts, which, in conformity with the coloration of the head and sides of chest and the drop- shaped markings of the flanks, become much darker as the bird grows older. It is a most docile though withal fiery- tempered bird in confinement ; a fine example, which I reared from the nest, and which I have still, is on the best of terms with several Raptores, tenants of the same aviary. The crest, which was distinctly visible when the bird was a " chick,''^ in the shape of three or four little filamentous appendages at- tached to the white down of the nape, would not appear to attain to a greater length than 2^ inches during the first stage of dress. The well-known scream of this Eagle is exceedingly weak compared with what it sovmds like when heard in the forest, the reason for its being audible at a distance lying in

10 Lieut. W. V. Lcgge on the Distribution of

its shrillness and great clearness. I have seen but one or two examples of Milvus govinda on the south coast ; but Haliastur Indus is exceedingly numerous everywhere, breeding on high trees some distance inland. It is noticeable with what ease this bird indulges in its favourite habit of eating its food from the talons when flying about : these members are brought forward under the breast ; and, with a combined backward and upward pull from the legs and shoiilders respectively, pieces are torn from the booty with but little exertion. While skim- ming along they sometimes pick off a luckless Calotes very cleverly, which has happened to be indulging in a bask on the topmost twigs of some low tree. The noble Blagrus leu- cogaster is sparingly distributed in suitable localities round the south-west corner of the island ; but the flat shores of the Kattregam district are its great haunt. Micronisus badius and Tinnunculus alaudarius are pretty common, the latter, of course, only a winter visitor in immature plumage, in districts where there are sea-coast cliffs, in which it always roosts, Astur trivirgatus I have procured in immature plumage from the wooded hills on the coast some twenty miles north of Galle, and, I have no doubt, is to be found during the north-east monsoon throughout the district. Elanus melanopterus was an unexpected addition to my good things from the citronella- grass districts to the north of Galle. I had supposed it was chiefly a hill-species ; but I also saw it much on the south-east coast ; it hovers a great deal over long grass, like a Kestrel. Poliornis teesa, I think, has never been recorded from Ceylon ; but a fine immature male came into my possession last Oc- tober, which was killed on the sea-coast close to Galle. I have no doubt that when ornithology is more studied in this island and more birds preserved than at present, many mem- bers of Indian Falconidse which have not yet been noticed, will be found to stray over the island when the prevailing wind is from the north.

Of Circinse, the only two species that are common are Circus swainsonii and C. aruginosus ; both affect by choice swampy lands and paddy-fields. The latter bird arrives in the south in the middle of October, and is very numerous close to the

Birds in Southern Ceylon. 11

town of Galle. An exceedingly interesting series thus fell into my possession, from the white hiead to the adult grey wings and black primaries. I have not met with any birds entirely brown. The next stage of plumage to the buff- white head is the beautiful buff-marked least wing-coverts, which are accompanied by the golden iris and yellow cere and feet of the adult. During the north-east monsoon-rains in De- cember these birds feed much on fish in the flooded flat lands of the south. I have shot them devouring large "lulu" fish more than a pound in weight.

Among the Strigidse inhabiting Ceylon the common species in the south are Ketupa ceylonensis and Ephialtes lempigi, the latter being, of course, the most plentiful. I have kept this bird in confinement ; and when angered it spreads out its wings, erects its " ears," and oscillates its body from side to side, uttering a low growl. Rufous varieties are very rare in Ceylon ; but they do exist, a fine example having come into my possession last year. Ketupa ceylonensis breeds in hollow trees ; the eggs are white, of a rather rough texture. They measure, axis 2"28, diameter 1*72 inches, and are hatched in the south at the end of February. I am of opinion that, although in suitable localities they do frequent the bor- ders of inland tanks and rivers, and consequently feed much on fish, reptiles form their usual food. I have taken an entire snake, which had been swallowed intact, from the stomach of one of these birds. They are more numerous about the low hills near Galle than in our mountain-district. In all speci- mens that have come under my notice I have found the bill (contrary to Jerdon^s description) to be dusky greenish, with a dark side-patch near the tip. Athene castanonota is here and there met with in the wooded regions of our province, but it is not plentiful. Syrnium indranee is by no means un- common, inhabiting the primeval forest (styled in Cingalese " Mookalaney ") at no great distance from Galle. It breeds in February and March ; and since I have been stationed here I have been fortunate enough to procure from natives two nestUngs, which are now in my aviary. The older of the two, which I have had nearly a year, has never once hooted or made

12 Lieut. W. V. Legge on the Distribution of

any noise which would lead to the belief that it is the author of the dreaded sounds imputed to it. When hungry its note is a low screech, resembling the creak of a wheel-barrow in the distance ; and when annoyed or chased by its com- panions in captivity it utters a curious tit-tit-tit-tit. On one occasion, after feeding at sundown, it gave vent to a low and somewhat musical noise, which seemed to proceed from the depths of its chest. There are therefore several inferences that might be drawn from my experience that it does not hoot in captivity, that it is the male that possesses such extraordinary vocal powers (mine being a female), that it does not utter these sounds until it is quite mature, or lastly that the bird and the peculiar notes are wrongly identified.

Batrachostomus moniliger inhabits the low hills which are covered with thick jungle and bamboo-thickets. It has been procured at Amblangodde, about twenty miles north of Galle ; and I have got a specimen in my collection which I shot a few miles from the town, near the celebrated village of Wack- Avelle. It is remarkably blind in the daytime, as are also the Australian Podargi. My bird was sitting across a horizontal bamboo, and allowed me to almost touch it before I became aware of its presence ; it did not attempt to fly, but simply opened and shut its eyes, turning its head towards me, as I retired to a convenient distance to shoot it. It measured in the flesh 9 inches total length,