Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of British birds, indigenous and migratory : including their organization, habits, and relations; remarks on classification and nomenclature; an account of the principal organs of birds, and observations relative to practical ornithology"

See other formats


W613/Z 


Library 
of  the 

University  of  Toronto 


&vCV  »'0'r  Cvf 

4W  y^tKrr  W>fc.-i  CwV . 


v. 

•v 


Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 
in  2018  with  funding  from 
University  of  Toronto 


https://archive.org/details/historyofbritish05macg_0 


HISTORY 


OF 

B  R  I  TISH  B  I  R  D  S, 


INDIGENOUS  AND  MIGRATORY. 


A 


HISTORY 


BRITISH  WATER  BIRDS, 

INDIGENOUS  AND  MIGRATORY  : 


INCLUDING 

THEIR  ORGANIZATION,  HABITS,  AND  RELATIONS; 
REMARKS  ON  CLASSIFICATION  AND  NOMENCLATURE ; 
AN  ACCOUNT  OF  THE  PRINCIPAL  ORGANS  OF  BIRDS,  AND 
OBSERVATIONS  RELATIVE  TO  PRACTICAL 
ORNITHOLOGY. 


ILLUSTRATED  BY 

NUMEROUS  ENGRAVINGS. 


BY  WILLIAM  MACGILLIVRAY,  A.M.,  LL.D. 

PROFESSOR  OF  NATURAL  HISTORY,  AND  LECTURER  ON  BOTANY,  IN  MARISCIIAL 
COLLEGE  AND  UNIVERSITY,  ABERDEEN. 


IN  TWO  VOLUMES. 

YOL.  II. 


LONDON : 

WILLIAM  S.  ORR  AND  CO.,  AMEN  CORNER, 

PATERNOSTER  ROW. 

1852. 


A 


H I S  T  0  R  \ 


OF 

B  R  IT  I  S  H  B  1  R  I)  S, 

INDIGENOUS  AND  MIGRATORY : 


THEIR  ORGANIZATION,  HABITS,  AND  RELATIONS; 
REMARKS  ON  CLASSIFICATION  AND  NOMENCLATURE; 
AN  ACCOUNT  OF  THE  PRINCIPAL  ORGANS  OF  BIRDS,  AND 
OBSERVATIONS  RELATIVE  TO  PRACTICAL 
ORNITHOLOGY. 


ILLUSTRATED  BY 

NUMEROUS  ENGRAVINGS. 


BY  WILLI  AVI  MAC  GI LLI V  RAY,  AM.,  LL.D. 

PROFESSOR  OF  NATURAL  HISTORY,  AND  LECTURER  ON  BOTANY,  IN  MARISCHAL 
COLLEGE,  AND  UNIVERSITY,  ABERDEEN  ; 

MEMBER  OF  THE  WERNERIAN  NATURAL  HISTORY  AND  ROYAL  PHYSICAL  SOCIETIES  OF  EDINBURGH ,  OF  THE 
NATURAL  HISTORY  SOCIETIES  OF  BOSTON  AND  PHILADELPHIA,  OF  THE  LYCEUM  OF  NEW  YORK, 

OF  THE  LITERARY  AND  PHILOSOPHICAL  SOCIETY  OF  SOUTH  CAROLINA,  BTC. 


VOL.  V. 

CRIBRATORES,  OR  SIFTERS. 
URINATORES,  OR  DIVERS. 
MERSATORES,  OR  PLUNGERS. 


LONDON : 

WILLIAM  S.  ORR  AND  CO.,  AMEN  CORNER, 

PATERNOSTER  ROW. 

1852. 


TO  TIER  MOST  GRACIOUS  MAJESTY 


THE  QUEEN, 

THIS 

HISTORY  OF  BRITISH  BIRDS, 

T 0  WHICH  HER  M  A  J  E S  T  Y  II  A  S  liE E N  GRACIOUS  E  Y 
PLEASED  TO  EXTEND  HER  PATRONAGE, 

IS  DEDICATED, 

WITH  THE  MOST  PROFOUND  RESPECT, 

BY  HER  MAJESTY’S 
MOST  FAITHFUL  SUBJECT, 

AND  MOST  DEYOTED  SERVANT, 

WILLIAM  MACGILLIVRAY. 


Edinburgh,  1,  Wharton  I’race, 
25 th  June ,  1840. 


b- 


VOL,  V. 


PREFACE. 


This,  the  last  volume  of  my  History  of  British  Birds, 
contains  descriptions  of  all  our  Natatorial  or  Palmipede 
species,  with  exception  of  those  of  the  families  of  the  Anserinse 
and  Cygninse,  which  have  already  been  given.  The  habits  of 
these  birds,  not  generally  so  accessible  to  observation  as  most 
of  the  other  families,  I  have  studied,  in  so  far  as  opportunities 
occurred,  in  their  places  of  resort,  among  rocks  and  islands, 
on  the  sandy  shores  of  the  sea,  in  the  firths  and  estuaries,  and 
on  the  inland  waters.  Of  many  of  them,  however,  and,  in 
particular,  of  the  very  rare  species  which  rank  with  us  as 
stragglers,  I  have  had  little  to  say  from  my  own  observa¬ 
tion,  and  not  much  from  that  of  others. 

The  authors  whose  works  have  been  most  useful  to  me, 
and  which  I  have  generally  consulted,  are  Montagu,  M. 
Temminck,  Mr.  Selby,  Mr.  Yarrell,  and  Mr.  Thompson. 
Some  of  these  birds  being  common  to  Europe  and  America, 
I  have  also  derived  information  from  the  writings  of  Audu¬ 
bon,  as  well  as  from  my  long-continued  intercourse  with  that 
enthusiastic,  acute,  and  most  agreeably  communicative  natu¬ 
ralist  and  painter,  who,  moreover,  supplied  me  with  skins 
and  specimens  preserved  in  spirits.  I  have  not,  on  the  pre¬ 
sent  occasion,  to  acknowledge  the  aid  of  many  other  personal 
friends,  as  most  of  my  former  contributors  professed  little 
acquaintance  with  either  the  Waders  or  Swimmers.  My  old 
and  excellent  friend,  Dr.  Laurence  Edmondston,  Balta  Sound, 
Shetland,  however,  has  continued  to  supply  notices  respect¬ 
ing  the  birds  of  his  native  islands.  Some  others,  whose 


via 


PREFACE. 


names  accompany  their  communications,  have  also  contri¬ 
buted  to  the  work.  I  must  not  omit  to  mention  again,  with 
very  kindly  feelings,  the  late  Mr.  Carfrae,  and  Mr.  Fenton, 
taxidermists  in  Edinburgh,  who,  besides  giving  me  intima¬ 
tion  of  everything  rare  or  remarkable  that  came  to  them,  also 
supplied  me  abundantly  with  bodies  for  dissection.  Lastly, 
to  Professor  Jameson  I  am  greatly  indebted  for  the  liberality 
with  which  he  laid  open  to  my  inspection  the  valuable  mate¬ 
rials  contained  in  the  beautiful  Museum  of  the  University  of 
Edinburgh,  of  which  he  has  long  been  a  distinguished  orna¬ 
ment  ;  and  to  Mr.  Pengelly  and  Dr.  Battersby,  of  Torquay, 
who  furnished  me  with  every  facility  for  examining  the 
excellent  collection  of  the  Birds  of  Devonshire,  contained  in 
the  little  Museum  of  the  Natural  History  Society  there. 

Were  it  necessary,  or  likely  to  be  useful,  I  should  not 
hesitate  to  review  these  five  volumes.  I  merely  commend 
them  to  the  public,  for  whom  they  have  been  written,  and 
who  will,  in  due  time,  discover  their  errors  as  well  as  accura¬ 
cies.  lie  who  professes  the  greatest  contempt  for  public 
opinion  is  always  the  most  anxious  for  general  applause.  I 
should,  no  doubt,  be  very  well  pleased  to  be  commended  ; 
but  I  do  not  now  anticipate  great  distress  from  the  most 
virulent  censure.  It  is  impossible  to  write  a  History  of 
British  Birds  that  shall  please  all,  nor  is  it  probable  that  any 
man  in  Britain  possesses  the  knowledge  necessary  to  produce 
a  work  of  this  kind  making  a  very  marked  approach  toward 
perfection.  Accordingly,  each  of  our  many  ornithologists, 
real  and  pretended,  has  a  method  of  his  own,  one  confining 
himself  to  short  technical  descriptions  as  most  useful  to  stu¬ 
dents,  another  detailing  more  especially  the  habits  of  the 
birds,  as  more  amusing  to  general  readers,  a  third  viewing 
them  in  relation  to  human  feelings  and  passions,  a  fourth 
converting  science  into  romance,  and  giving  no  key  to  the  dis¬ 
crimination  of  the  species,  bringing  his  little  knowledge  of  the 
phenomena  under  the  dominion  of  imagination,  and  copiously 
intermingling  his  patch-work  of  truth  and  error  with  scraps 
of  poetry.  The  plan  of  this  work  is  very  different  from  that 
of  any  of  these,  and  is  not  by  any  means  calculated  to  amuse 
the  reader  who  desires  nothing  more  than  pleasant  anecdotes. 


PREFACE. 


IX 


or  fanciful  combinations,  or  him  who  merely  wishes  to  know 
a  species  by  name.  It  contains  the  only  full  and  detailed 
technical  descriptions  hitherto  given  in  this  country.  The 
habits  of  the  species  are  treated  of  with  equal  extension  in 
every  case  where  I  have  been  enabled  to  study  them  advantage¬ 
ously.  The  internal  structure  has  been  explained  in  so  far 
as  I  have  thought  it  expedient  to  endeavour  to  bring  it  into 
view,  and,  in  particular,  the  alimentary  organs,  as  determin¬ 
ing  and  illustrating  the  habits,  have  been  carefully  attended 
to.  If  imagination  has  sometimes  been  permitted  to  inter¬ 
fere,  it  has  only  been  in  disposing  ascertained  facts  so  as  to 
present  an  agreeable  picture,  or  to  render  them  easily  intel¬ 
ligible  by  placing  them  in  relation  to  each  other. 

W.  MACGILLIVRAY. 


Aberdeen,  Crown  Street, 
31. v if  July,  1S52. 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS. 


Introductory  Observations  -  -  -  -  1 

Essential  Characters  of  the  Orders  -  -  5 


ORDER  XVII.  CRIBRATORES.  SITTERS. 


Characters  of  the  Cribratorcs.  -  -  Yol.  IV.  571 

FAMILY  I.  ANSERIN7E.  GEESE  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES  579 

Genus  I.  Anser.  Goose  -  -  -  585 

1.  Anser  ferus.  The  Thick-billed  Grey  Goose  -  589 

2.  Anser  segetum.  The  Narrow-billed  Grey  Goose  595 

3.  Anser  brachyrhynclius.  The  Short-billed  Grey 

Goose  -  602 

4.  Anser  albifrons.  The  White-fronted  Goose  -  609 

5.  Anser  Canadensis.  The  Canada  Goose  -  614 

Genus  II.  Bernicla.  Bernicle-Goose  -  -  619 

1.  Bernicla  leucopsis.  The  White-faced  Bernicle- 

Goose,  -  622 

2.  Bernicla  Brenta.  The  Black-faced  Bernicle-Goose  629 

3.  Bernicla  ruficollis.  The  Red-necked  Bernicle-Goose  634 

Genus  III.  Chenalopex.  Eox-Goose  -  -  637 

1.  Chenalopex  iEgyptiacus.  The  Egyptian  Eox-Goose  639 

Genus  IV.  Plectropterus.  Spur-Winged  Goose  643 

1.  Plectropterus  Gambcnsis.  The  Gambo  Spur- 

Winged  Goose  -  641 

FAMILY  II.  CYGNIN7E.  SWANS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES  646 

Genus  I.  Cygnus.  Swan  -  -  -  649 

1.  Cygnus  immutabilis.  The  Changeless  Swan  654 

2.  Cygnus  musicus.  The  Whooping  Swan  -  659 

3.  Cygnus  Bewickii.  Bewick’s  Swan  -  -  669 

4.  Cygnus  Americanus.  The  American  Swan  -  675 


All 


CONTENTS. 


FAMILY  III.  ANATINAE.  DUCKS  &  ALLIED  SPECIES.  Yol.  Y.  10 

Genus  I.  Tadoena.  Shielduck  -  -  17 

1.  Tadorna  Casarca.  The  Buddy  Shielduck  -  19 

2.  Tadorna  Yulpanser.  The  Burrow  Shielduck  -  22 

Genus  II.  Anas.  Duck  -  -  29 

1.  Anas  Bosclias.  The  Common  Duck  -  31 

2.  Anas  glocitans.  The  Bimaculated  Duck  -  42 

Genus  III.  Queequedula.  Teal  -  -  45 

1.  Querquedula  Crecca.  The  European  Teal  -  48 

2.  Querquedula  Circia.  The  Garganey  Teal  -  55 

3.  Querquedula  strepera.  The  Gadwall  Teal  -  59 

4.  Querquedula  acuta.  The  Pintail  Teal  -  65 

Genus  IY.  Khynchaspis.  Siioyel-bill  -  72 

1 .  Bhynchaspis  clypeata.  The  Blue-winged  Shovel-bill  74 

Genus  Y.  Maeeca.  YYgeon  -  -  -  81 

1 .  Mareca  Penelope.  European  Wigeon  -  83 

2.  Mareca  Americana.  American  Wigeon  -  90 

FAMILY  IY.  FULIGULIX/E.  SCAUP-DUCKS  AND  ALLIED 

SPECIES  -  -  -  -  -  93 

Genus  I.  Aythya.  Pociiaed  -  -  -  101 

1.  Aythya  Ferina.  The  Bed-headed  Pochard  -  103 

2.  Aythya  rufina.  The  Bed-crested  Pochard  -  109 

Genus  II.  Fuligula.  Scaup-Duck  -  -  111 

1.  Fuligula  Nyroca.  Ferruginous  Scaup-Duck  -  113 

2.  Fuligula  Marila.  The  Broad-billed  Scaup-Duck  116 

3.  Fuligula  cristata.  The  Tufted  Scaup-Duck  -  121 

Genus  III.  Oidemia.  Scotee  -  -  -  127 

1.  Oidemia  perspicillata.  The  Surf  Scoter  -  129 

2.  Oidemia  fusca.  The  Yelvet  Scoter  -  -  134 

3.  Oidemia  nigra.  The  Black  Scoter  -  140 

Genus  IY.  Somatekia.  Eidee  -  -  -  145 

1.  Somateria  mollissima.  The  Common  YTiite-backed 

Eider  -  -  -  -  147 

2.  Somateria  spectabilis.  The  King  or  Black-backed 

Eider 


158 


CONTENTS.  xiii 

Genus  V.  Stelleria  -  -  -  163 

1.  Stelleria  dispar.  The  Pied  Stelleria  -  -  164 

Genus  YI.  Clangula.  Garrot  -  -  167 

1.  Clangula  histrionica.  The  Harlequin  Garrot  -  169 

2.  Clangula  chrysophthalma.  The  Golden-eyed  Garrot  174 

3.  Clangula  Albeola.  The  Buffel-headed  Garrot  185 

Genus  YII.  Harelda.  Hareld  -  -  190 

1.  Harelda  glacialis.  The  Long-tailed  Hareld  -  192 

FAMILY  V.  MERGANSERIN2E.  GOOSANDERS  AND  ALLIED 

SPECIES  -  -  -  -  199 

Genus  I.  Merganser.  Goosander  -  -  204 

1.  Merganser  Castor.  The  Buff- breasted  Goosander  207 

2.  Merganser  Serrator.  The  Bed-breasted  Goosander  216 

3.  Merganser  cucullatus.  The  Hooded  Goosander  225 

Genus  II.  Mergus.  Smew  -  232 

1.  Mergus  Albellus.  The  Tied  Smew  -  -  233 

OLDER  XVIII.  URINATORES.  DIVERS. 
Characters  of  the  Urinatores  -  240 

FAMILY  I.  PODICIPINiE.  GREBES  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES  243 

Genus  I.  Podiceps.  Grebe  ....  246 

1.  Podiceps  cristatus.  The  Crested  Grebe  -  250 

2.  Podiceps  rubricollis.  The  Red-necked  Grebe  -  259 

3.  Podiceps  cornutus.  The  Horned  Grebe  -  264 

4.  Podiceps  auritus.  The  Eared  Grebe  -  -  270 

Genus  II.  Sylbeocyclus.  Dabchick  -  -  274 

1.  Sylbeocyclus  Europseus.  European  Dabchick  -  276 

FAMILY  II.  COLYMBINAE.  LOONS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES  281 

Genus  I.  Colymbus.  Loon  -  -  -  282 

1.  Colymbus  Glacialis.  Northern  or  Ring-necked  Loon  283 

2.  Colymbus  arcticus.  Black-throated  Loon  -  294 

3.  Colymbus  septentrionalis.  Red-throated  Loon  301 


XXV 


CONTENTS. 


FAMILY  III.  ALCINJE.  AUKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES  308 

Genus  I.  Uria.  Guillemot.  -  309 

1.  Uria  Brunnichii.  Brunnich’s  Guillemot  -  314 

2.  Uria  Troile.  Foolish  Guillemot  -  -  318 

3.  Uria  lacrymans  Bridled  Guillemot  -  326 

4.  Uria  Grylle.  The  Black  Guillemot  -  -  331 

Genus  II.  Mergulus.  Rotche  -  -  339 

1.  Mergulus  Alle.  Little  Botche  -  -  341 

Genus  III.  Utamania.  Razorbill  -  -  345 

1.  Utamania  Torda.  The  Common  Razorbill  -  346 

Genus  IV.  Alca.  Auk  -  354 

1 .  Alca  impennis.  The  Great  Auk  -  -  359 

Genus  V.  Mormon.  Puffin  -  -  -  363 

1.  Mormon  areticus.  The  Arctic  Puffin  *  -  365 

FAMILY  IV.  PELECANINZE.  PELICANS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES  374 

Genus  I.  Phalacrocorax.  Cormorant  -  -  377 

1.  Phalacrocorax  Carbo.  The  Great  Comorant  -  380 

2.  Phalacrocorax  Graculus.  Green  Comorant  -  392 

Genus  II.  Sula.  Gannet  -  -  -  403 

1.  Sula  Bassana.  The  Common  Gamict  -  405 

ORDER  XIX.  MERSATORES.  PLUNGERS. 

General  Character  of  the  Mersatores  -  -  -  421 

FAMILY  I.  PROCELLARIINJE  -  -  424 

Genus  I.  Fulmarus.  Fulmar  -  428 

1.  Fulmarus  glacialis.  The  Northern  Fulmar  -  429 

Genus  II.  Puffinus.  Shearwater  -  -  437 

1.  Puffinus  cinereus.  The  Cinereous  Shear- water  438 

2.  Puffinus  Anglorum.  The  Manx  Shear- water  -  441 

Genus  III.  Thalassidroma.  Storm-Petrel  -  446 

1.  Thalassidroma  Bulwcrii.  Bulwer's  Storm-Petrel  -  449 

2.  Thalassidroma  Leachii.  Leach’s  Storm-Petrel  451 

3.  Thalassidroma  Wilsonii.  Wilson’s  Storm-Petrel  -  456 

4.  Thalassidroma  pelagica.  Common  Storm-Petrel  160 


CONTENTS.  xv 

FAMILY  II.  LARINiE.  GULLS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES  -  469 

Genus  I.  Lestris.  Skua  -  -  -  477 

1.  Lestris  Catarractes.  The  Common  Skua  -  479 

2.  Lestris  Pomarinus.  Pomarine  Skua  -  487 

3.  Lestris  Richardsonii.  Richardson’s  Skua  -  492 

4.  Lestris  parasitica.  The  Parasitic  Skua  -  503 

Genus  II.  Cetosparactes.  "Whale-Gull  -  -  506 

1.  Cetosparactes  eburneus.  The  Ivory  Whale-Gull  508 

Genus  III.  Rissa.  Kittiwake  -  -  -  513 

1.  Rissa  trydactyla.  The  Black-footed  Kittiwake  515 

Genus  IV.  Larus.  Gull  -  -  -  523 

1.  Larus  marinus.  The  Great  Black-hacked  Gull  -  526 

2.  Larus  fuscus.  The  Lesser  Black-backed  Gull  538 

3.  Larus  argentatus.  The  Herring  Gull  -  544 

4.  Larus  glaucus.  The  Glaucous  Gull  -  -  557 

5.  Larus  leucopterus.  The  White-winged  Gull  556 

6.  Larus  canus.  The  Green-billed  Gull  -  -  575 

Genus  Y.  Gavia.  Mew  -  -  -  582 

1.  Gavia  Atricilla.  The  Leaden-grey-hooded  Mew  -  585 

2.  Gavia  ridibunda.  The  Brown-hooded  Mew  593 

3.  Gavia  capistrata.  The  Brown-masked  Mew  -  605 

4.  Gavia  Sabini.  Sabine’s  Sea-Mew  -  607 

5.  Gavia  Bonapartii.  Bonaparte’s  Mew  -  -  610 

6.  Gavia  minuta.  The  Little  Mew  -  -  613 

7.  lthodostethia  Rossii.  Ross’s  Rosy  Gull  -  618 

FAMILY  III.  STERNINJE.  TERNS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES  621 

Genus  I.  Sylociielldon.  Strong-rilled  Tern  -  625 

1.  Sylochelidon  Caspia.  The  Caspian  Strong-billed 

Tern  -  626 

Genus  II.  Sterna.  Tern  ...  628 

1.  Sterna  velox.  Ruppell’s  Tern  -  -  629 

2.  Sterna  Cantiaca.  The  Sandwich  Tern  -  630 

3.  Sterna  ITirundo.  The  Common  Tern  -  638 

4.  Sterna  arctica.  The  Arctic  Tern  -  -  643 

5.  Sterna  Dougallii.  Macdougall's  Tern  -  648 

6.  Sterna  minuta.  The  Lesser  Tern  -  -  652 


XVI 


CONTENTS. 


Genus  III.  Hydrochelidon.  Marsh-Tern  -  657 

1.  Hydrochelidon  nigra.  The  Black  Marsh-Tern  -  658 

2.  Hydrochelidon  leucoptera.  The  White-winged 

Marsh-Tern  -  -  -  661 

3.  Hydrochelidon  leucopareia.  The  Whiskered  Marsh- 

Tern  -  668 

Genus  IV.  Gelochelidon.  Gull-billed  Tern  -  665 

1.  Gelochelidon  anglica.  The  Marsh  Gull-billed  Tern  666 

Genus  V.  Megalopterus.  Noddy  -  -  670 

1.  Megalopterus  stolidus.  The  Foolish  Noddy  672 


LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIVE  FIGURES. 


PLATES. 

V.  Digestive  Organs  of  Cribratorial  Birds. 

VI.  Digestive  Organs  of  Urinatorial  Birds. 

VII.  Digestive  Organs  of  Mersatorial  Birds. 

WOOD  CUTS. 

Fig.  60.  Head  of  Burrow  Shielduck,  Tadorna  Vulpanser.  Reduced,  page  22 

61.  Head  of  Common  Duck,  Anas  Boschas.  Reduced,  -  31 

62.  Head  of  European  Teal,  Querquedula  Crecca.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  -  -  -  -  -  48 

63.  Head  of  Pintail  Teal,  Querquedula  acuta.  Reduced  one-fourth,  65 

64.  Head  of  Blue- winged  Shovel-bill,  Rhynchaspis  clypeata,  -  74 

65.  Head  of  European  Wigcon,  Mareca  Penelope.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  -  83 

66.  Hind  toes  of  Anatinoe  and  Fuligulinoo,  -  100 

67.  Head  of  Red-headed  Pochard,  Aythya  Ferina.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  -  -  -  -  -  103 

68.  Head  of  Tufted  Scaup-Duck,  Fuligula  cristata.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  -  -  -  -  -  -121 

69.  Head  of  Black  Scoter,  Oidemia  nigra.  Reduced  one-fourth,  140 

70.  Head  of  Common  Eider,  Somateria  mollissima.  Reduced,  147 

71.  Head  of  Golden-eyed  Garrot,  Clangula  Chrysophthalma.  Re¬ 

duced  one-fourth,  -  -  -  -  174 

72.  Head  of  Long- tailed  Hareld,  Harelda  glacialis.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  -  -  -  -  -  -192 

73.  Head  of  Buff-breasted  Merganser,  Merganser  Castor.  Reduced 

one-third,  -  '  -  -  -  -  207 

74.  Foot  of  a  Grebe,  Podiceps  ....  248 

75.  Head  of  Horned  Grebe,  Podiceps  cornutus,  -  -  264 

76.  Head  of  European  Dabchick,  Sylbeocyclus  Europseus,  276 

77.  Foot  of  a  Loon,  Colymbus,  ...  281 

78.  Head  of  Northern  Loon,  Colymbus  glacialis,  -  -  283 

79.  Foot  of  a  Guillemot,  Uri a,  ...  313 

80.  Head  of  Foolish  Guillemot,  Uria  Troile.  Reduced  one-fourth,  318 

8L  Head  of  Bridled  Guillemot,  Uria  lacrymans.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  .....  326 

82.  Head  of  Little  Rotche,  Mergul us  Alle,  -  -  341 


Will 


LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIVE  FIGURES. 


Fig.  83.  Hoad  of  Common  Razorbill,  Utamania  Torda.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  -----  page  346 

84.  Head  of  Arctic  Puffin,  Mormon  arcticus.  Reduced  one-fourth,  365 

85.  Head  of  Great  Cormorant,  Phalacrocorax  Carbo.  Reduced,  380 

86.  Head  of  Common  Gannet,  Sula  Bassana.  Reduced,  -  405 

87.  Head  of  Northern  Fulmar,  Fulinarus  glacialis.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  -----  429 

88.  Head  of  Cinereous  Shearwater,  Puffinus  cincreus,  -  -  431 

89.  Head  of  Common  Storm-Petrel,  Thalassidroma  pelagica,  460 

90.  Head  of  Pomarine  Skua,  Cataracta  Pomarina.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  487 

91.  Head  of  Richardson’s  Jager,  Lestris  Richardsonii,  -  -  492 

92.  Head  of  Ivory  Whale-Gull,  Gavia  eburnea.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  508 

93.  Head  of  Kittiwake,  Rissa  tridactyla,  -  -  -  515 

94.  Head  of  Great  Black-backed  Gull,  Larua  marinus.  Reduced,  526 

95.  Head  of  Glaucous  Gull,  Larus  glaucus.  Reduced  one-third,  657 

96.  Head  of  Leaden-grey-headed  Mew,  Gavia  Atricilla.  Reduced 

one-fourth,  -----  585 

97.  Head  of  Brown-headed  Mew,  Gavia  ridibunda,  -  -  593 

98.  Head  of  Sandwich  Tern,  Sterna  Cantiaca.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  -----  630 

99.  Head  of  Common  Tern,  Sterna  Ilirundo,  -  -  638 

100.  Head  of  Foolish  Noddy,  Megalopterus  stolidus.  Reduced  one- 

fourth,  -  -  -  -  -  672 


EXPLANATION  OF  THE  PLATES. 


PLATE  V.  Digestive  Organs  of  Sifters. 


Long -tailed  liar  eld. 

a,  b,  c,  the  oesophagus. 

b,  c,  proventriculus. 
d,  stomach. 

d,  e,  f  duodenum. 

g,  folds  of  intestine. 

h,  lower  part  of  trachea. 

I,  tympanum,  or  bony  and  membranous 
enlargements  at  the  lower  extre¬ 
mity  of  the  trachea. 


Harelda  glacialis. 

m,  m,  lateral  muscles  of  the  trachea. 

n,  n,  sterno-tracheal  muscles. 

o,  the  heart. 

p ,  a  portion  of  the  liver,  the  rest  re¬ 

moved. 

q ,  air-cells. 


PLATE  AT.  Digestive  Organs  of  Divers. 


Fig.  1.  Digestive  Organs  of  a  Grebe ,  Podiceps. 


a,  b ,  c,  the  oesophagus. 

b,  c ,  proventriculus. 
d ,  stomach. 


d ,  e,  f  duodenum. 
g ,  the  rest  of  the  intestine. 
ifj.  cloaca. 


Fig.  2.  Proven  triculus  and  Stomach  of  the  Red-throated  Diver,  Colymbus 

Septentrionalis. 

b,  c,  proventriculus. 
d,  d,  stomach. 


d,  e ,  commencement  of  duodenum. 


g ,  intestine. 

h,  h,  coeca. 


Fig.  3.  Itectum,  Cloaca ,  and  Coeca  of  the  Red-throated  Diver. 

i,  j,  cloaca. 


XX 


EXPLANATION  OF  PLATES. 


PLATE  VII.  Digestive  Organs  of  Mersatorial  Birds. 


Fig.  1.  Digestive  Organs  of  Wilson's  Storm-Petrel ,  Thalassidroma  Wilsoni. 


<7,  oesophagus. 

b ,  c ,  proventriculus,  enormously  di¬ 
lated. 


d}  stomach,  extremely  diminutive,  and 
directed  forwards. 
d ,  e,f  duodenum, 
y,  rest  of  intestine. 


Fig.  2.  Digestive  Organs  of  the  Common  Gully  Larus  canus. 


a.  b,  c,  oesophagus. 

I),  Cy  proventriculus. 

dy  stomach. 

dy  e,  f  duodenum. 


y,  rest  of  intestine. 
h,  cceca. 
iy  jy  cloaca. 


a,  b,  Cy  oesophagus. 
by  0,  cloaca. 
dy  stomach. 
dy  eyfy  duodenum. 


Fig.  3.  Digestive  Organs  of  Lestris. 

g,  rest  of  intestine. 
hy  cceca. 
iy  jy  cloaca. 


PLATE  XXVI  l 

DIGESTIVE  ORG.1XS  OV  S  JETER  S 


W.  hlixc  GxUx\  9'<zy 


FT,  AT  E  XXV  in 


niGESTlVj;  <ni  ^i.v.s  of  nn'XH & 


Publish'd  by  W?  3.  OrrS:  ,,D  London . 


PLATE  XXIX 


Fiq  2  Gull 


DIGESTIVE  ORGANS  OF  M  tills  A  TOJ!  AI.  HURDS 

Ful  l  WB  U  Fetrvl 


ng.  5  Lestris 


W-  Max  GxOzv-rcty 


2GelUuZy  Sc 


E’tiL'EiiEcd  bv  W?  5.  Orr  &r  C"  Lanaan . 


INTRODUCTORY  OBSERVATIONS, 


Thirty  years  ago,  when  I  had  already  made  some  pro¬ 
gress  in  examining  the  structure,  and  observing  the  habits,  of 
the  various  Sea-Birds  that  frequented  the  wild  tract  of  country 
in  which  I  then  resided,  I  perceived  that  a  natural  arrange¬ 
ment  of  the  species  would  prove  little  in  accordance  with  that 
of  the  great  reformer,  whose  Systema  Naturae  was  the  only 
book  I  possessed  that  treated  of  my  favourite  Ornithology. 
I  therefore  sketched  a  system  for  myself,  and  when  I  could 
not  find  a  scientific  name  for  a  species,  gave  it  one  by  which 
I  might,  until  better  informed,  know  it.  This  practice  may 
account  in  part  for  a  propensity,  evinced  in  the  earlier  volumes 
of  this  work,  occasionally  to  prefer  what  I  esteemed  appro¬ 
priate  names  to  those,  often  very  inapt,  imposed  by  authors. 
Some  would-be  legislators,  enacting  statutes  having  reference 
to  nomenclature,  have,  perhaps  properly  enough,  denounced 
all  attempts  to  improve  it  by  preferring  a  good  name  to  a  bad  ; 
but,  in  their  zeal  for  maintaining  their  own  fancied  pre-emi¬ 
nence,  have  very  foolishly  recommended  that  no  regard  be 
paid  to  the  writings  of  any  one  who,  whatever  discoveries  in 
structure  or  function  he  may  disclose,  however  excellent  his 
descriptions  of  form  and  habits  may  be,  has  had  the  presump¬ 
tion  to  set  aside  a  name  not  to  his  taste,  and  use  another. 
These  persons  had  never  observed  such  a  rule  themselves,  and 
some  of  them  seem  to  have  forgotten  their  own  precept. 
They  appear  to  consider  the  naming  of  objects  the  essential 
part  of  Natural  History.  But,  going  beyond  mere  nomen¬ 
clature,  I  found  that  every  species  that  came  under  my 


9 


INTRODUCTORY  OBSERVATIONS. 


observation  had  a  character  of  its  own — that  character  con¬ 
sisting  of  a  wide  range  of  facts  and  events  ;  and  that  the 
various  species  could  be  placed  in  a  system  according  to  affi¬ 
nities  in  many  cases  not  difficult  to  be  traced.  Since  that 
period  I  have  enjoyed  opportunities  of  extending  my  observa¬ 
tions,  and  of  confirming  the  views  I  had  then  adopted.  The 
generalizations  alluded  to,  and  which  many  others  have  parti¬ 
ally  or  wholly  elaborated  for  themselves,  are  briefly  expressed 
in  the  folloAving  Ordinal  formulae. 

The  observations  necessary  in  introducing  the  Water 
Birds  having  already  been  given  in  the  preceding  volume,  in 
which  also  the  extended  characters  of  the  first  order  of  these 
birds,  and  of  two  of  its  families,  are  contained,  it  is  expedient 
to  present  here  only  the  particulars  necessary  for  connecting 
the  two  volumes.  It  may  be  remarked,  however,  that  the 
study  of  these  birds  is  beset  with  more  obstacles  tban  that 
of  most  of  the  other  tribes — not  on  account  of  any  difficulty 
in  procuring  specimens  for  dissection  or  external  inspection, 
but  because  their  habits  cannot  be  satisfactorily  observed 
without  numerous  visits,  in  varied  circumstances,  to  the 
places — often  wild  coasts,  magnificent  precipices,  and  remote 
islands — which  they  frequent.  I  have  possessed  very  favour¬ 
able  opportunities  of  making  acquaintance  with  many  of  them, 
and  the  exemption  from  restrictions  imposed  by  our  ill-con¬ 
trived  and  crime-producing  system  of  game  laws,  the  adven¬ 
tures,  sometimes  perilous,  but  always  exciting  and  agreeable, 
experienced  in  boat-excursions,  in  scrambling  on  the  shelves 
of  precipices,  in  exploring  maritime  caverns,  and  in  watching 
the  various  actions  of  these  birds,  always  rendered  the  study 
of  them  peculiarly  agreeable  to  me,  as  I  believe  it  is  to  most 
practical  ornithologists. 


HISTORY 


OF 

BRITISH  BIRDS 

INDIGENOUS  AND  MIGRATORY. 


XVII.  CBIBRATORES. 
XVIII.  URINATORES. 
XIX.  MERSATORES. 


SIFTERS. 

DIVERS. 

TLUNGERS. 


ESSENTIAL  CHARACTERS  OF  THE  ORDERS. 


ORDER  XVII.  CRIBRATORES.  SIFTERS. 

Bill  covered  with  a  cere,  or  soft  skin,  obtuse,  and  fur¬ 
nished  with  internal  or  marginal  lamellae.  Tongue  large, 
fleshy,  lamellate  or  papillate  on  the  sides.  (Esophagus  nar¬ 
row,  without  distinct  dilatation ;  proventriculus  with  a  broad 
continuous  belt  of  oblong  or  cylindrical  glandules.  Stomach 
an  extremely  muscular  gizzard,  with  a  dense  epithelium,  and 
two  strong  grinding-plates.  Intestine  long,  rather  wide ; 
coeca  long,  of  moderate  width.  Trachea,  in  the  females  of 
nearly  uniform  breadth,  hut  in  the  males  having  diversiform 
enlargements  at  its  lower  extremity;  no  inferior  laryngeal 
muscles.  Feet  with  four  toes,  the  anterior  rather  long,  and 
connected  by  webs ;  the  hind  toe  small  and  free,  often  with  a 
lobe ;  claws  generally  small  and  obtuse.  Wings  convex ; 
tail  short. 


ORDER  XVIII.  URINATORES.  DIVERS. 

Bill  of  moderate  length,  strong,  tapering,  compressed, 
pointed,  opening  rather  widely,  and  more  or  less  dilatable  at 
the  base.  Tongue  slender,  pointed.  (Esophagus  wide,  with 
moderately  thick  walls;  proventriculus  with  a  broad  belt, 
not  always  continuous,  of  oblong  glandules.  Stomach  rather 
large,  roundish,  with  the  muscular  coat  rather  thick,  the 


6 


CHARACTERS  OF  THE  ORDERS. 


epithelium  moderately  thick  and  rugous.  Intestine  long  and 
rather  wide,  with  moderate  coeca  ;  rectum  with  a  large  glo¬ 
bular  cloacal  dilatation.  Legs  generally  very  short,  and 
placed  far  behind  ;  tarsus  extremely  compressed ;  toes  four, 
with  the  hind  toe  small,  or  three  only,  generally  long,  and 
connected  by  webs  ;  claws  small  and  obtuse.  Wings  narrow, 
pointed,  sometimes  very  small,  but  varying  greatly  in  size ; 
tail  extremely  short,  or  of  moderate  length. 


ORDER  XIX.  MERSATORES. 

Bill  of  moderate  length,  generally  stout,  straight,  com¬ 
pressed,  more  or  less  decurved  at  the  end,  opening  to  beneath 
the  eyes.  Tongue  fleshy,  rather  narrow,  tapering,  pointed, 
horny  beneath  at  the  end.  (Esophagus  very  wide  through¬ 
out,  with  its  walls  thin ;  proventriculus  dilated.  Stomach 
small,  muscular,  with  large  radiated  tendons,  and  thick, 
dense,  longitudinally  rugous  epithelium.  Intestine  rather 
long,  narrow ;  coeca  very  small,  cylindrical ;  rectum  with  a 
large  globular  cloacal  dilatation.  Legs  of  moderate  length, 
or  short,  rather  slender,  not  much  compressed ;  toes  of  mode¬ 
rate  length,  slender,  connected  by  webs,  spreading,  the  first 
very  small,  elevated,  and  free,  or  wanting;  claws  small, 
arcuate,  rather  obtuse.  Wings  very  long,  rather  narrow, 
much  pointed  ;  tail  generally  moderate. 


The  differences  of  these  three  orders,  as  to  habits,  as  well 
as  structure,  are  so  obvious,  that  he  who,  residing  on  the  sea¬ 
shore,  and  taking  daily  note  of  some  of  the  species  of  which 
they  are  composed,  is  not  struck  by  them,  must  he  peculiarly 
unobservant,  or  unaccustomed  to  compare  the  objects  that 
attract  his  notice.  High  in  air,  advancing  on  gently-arched 
and  out-spread  wings  that  winnow  a  passage  for  them  over 
the  far-spread  sea,  is  seen  advancing  from  the  north  a  Hock 
of  large  birds,  that  are  observed  as  they  draw  nearer  to  he 


CHARACTERS  OF  THE  ORDERS. 


i 


arranged  in  lines,  ever  undulating  and  changing  figure, 
while  their  clear  cries  seem  to  express  their  joy  at  having 
escaped  the  dangers  of  their  long  passage  over  the  isleless 
waste  of  waters.  Now  they  descend,  mingle  their  ranks, 
wheel  in  dislocated  hands,  unite,  sweep  along,  and,  clamorous 
in  their  joy,  at  length  alight  on  the  open  pasture.  Having 
rested  awhile,  and  plumed  themselves,  they  begin  to  move 
about  in  search  of  food,  walking  sedately  and  with  decurved 
necks  directing  their  strong  bills  to  the  ground,  from  which 
they  wrench  the  roots  of  the  grasses  and  pluck  the  herbage. 
Prudent,  however,  as  they  well  need  to  be  in  an  unexplored 
tract,  and  careful  of  their  safety,  they  neither  scatter  about 
at  random  nor  leave  themselves  subject  to  surprise.  Should 
a  suspicious  object  present  itself,  one  of  them  presently  erects 
himself,  and  emits  a  warning  cry  ;  on  hearing  which  they 
all  run  together,  raise  their  necks  to  their  full  stretch,  and 
carefully  inspect  the  ground.  Should  the  danger  he  immi¬ 
nent  they  run  a  few  paces  forward,  spreading  their  large 
wings,  ascend  into  the  air,  and  betake  themselves  to  some 
distant  place.  Here,  close  to  the  rocks  on  the  shore,  a  large 
bird  has  abruptly  emerged  from  the  deep,  and  is  gliding 
smoothly  and  rapidly  along,  his  body  half-sunk  in  the  water, 
and  his  bill  directed  toward  it.  As  suddenly  he  disappears, 
gliding  noiselessly  with  vigorous  spring  into  the  bosom  of 
the  sea.  You  watch  his  re-appearance  perhaps  a  whole 
minute  or  more,  and  there,  at  a  great  distance,  he  emerges, 
bearing  in  his  bill  a  moderate-sized  fish,  which  he  soon 
swallows  with  erected  neck  and  widened  throat.  Now 
sweeps  into  view  from  behind  the  headland  a  large  bird, 
gliding  on  outspread  wings,  now  inclining  for  a  space  to  this 
side,  now  to  that,  then  shooting  along  in  a  curve,  at  one 
time  skimming  the  water,  at  another  ascending  to  a  con¬ 
siderable  height,  and  now  and  then  emitting  a  singular  cry, 
somewhat  resembling  the  sounds  of  human  laughter.  lie 
suddenly  descends,  hovers  with  upraised  wings,  lets  down 
his  feet,  with  which  he  seems  to  pat  the  water,  dips  his 
beak  and  head  into  it,  and,  exulting,  carries  up  a  small  fish, 
which  he  securely  disposes  of.  He  then  alights,  sitting 
buoyantly  on  the  sea,  hut  finding  that  by  swimming  he 


8 


CHARACTERS  OF  THE  ORDERS. 


cannot  keep  his  place  in  the  current,  he  stretches  his  large 
wings,  and  flies  off  to  a  distant  spot,  where  several  birds  are 
hovering  over  the  waves,  dipping  at  intervals,  and  emitting 
their  harsh  screams,  they  being  engaged  with  a  shoal  of 
fish.  Now,  these  three  birds  are  good  enough  representations 
of  the  three  orders  characterized  above. 

The  Cribratores,  moreover,  feed  on  vegetable  sub¬ 
stances,  many  on  mollusca,  Crustacea,  and  insects,  and 
some  on  fishes.  They  form  a  rude  nest,  generally  on  the 
ground,  and  lay  numerous  eggs,  which  are  light,  or  of  some 
light  tint,  and  without  spots.  The  young,  covered  with 
stiffish  down,  are  able  to  run,  swim,  and  dive  presently  after 
exclusion,  and  are  carefully  conducted  by  their  mother,  or 
for  a  time  fed  by  her.  The  males  are  larger  and  handsomer 
than  the  females,  which  the  young  resemble  in  their  first 
plumage.  These  birds  are  more  useful  to  man  than  the 
other  aquatic  species,  many  of  them  affording  savoury  food  ; 
some  feathers,  quills,  or  down  ;  and  several,  which  have  been 
domesticated,  being  of  nearly  as  much  service  as  the  analo¬ 
gous  Gallinaceous  or  Hasorial  Birds. 

The  Urinatores,  on  the  other  hand,  are  essentially  pis¬ 
civorous,  though  several  species  feed  on  insects,  reptiles, 
Crustacea,  and  other  small  aquatic  animals,  and  some  on 
mollusca.  They  nestle  on  the  ground  or  on  rocks ;  but 
some  of  them  deposit  their  eggs  in  holes,  or  on  the  bare 
shelves  of  cliffs,  without  any  nest.  Their  eggs  are  generally 
few,  frequently  a  single  egg  of  enormous  size  is  all  they 
lay ;  but  nothing  general  can  be  said  of  their  form  or 
colouring.  The  young,  in  many  cases,  remain  for  some  time 
in  the  place  where  they  have  been  hatched.  The  males  are 
larger  than  the  females.  Nearly  all  the  species  are  most 
expert  swimmers  and  divers,  using  their  wings  as  well  as 
their  feet  for  propelling  themselves  under  water.  The  back¬ 
ward  position  of  their  feet  renders  a  very  inclined  or  nearly 
erect  position  on  land  necessary  to  them,  and  some  of  them 
are  quite  incapable  of  walking  efficiently.  Some  among 
them  are  also  incapable  of  flying ;  but  even  those  which  have 
very  small  wings  make  them  the  instruments  of  a  rapid  and 
sustained  flight. 


CHARACTERS  OF  THE  ORDERS. 


9 


The  Mersatores  are  birds  of  less  compact  form,  light¬ 
ness,  and  even  buoyancy,  as  well  as  strength,  being  essential 
to  their  nature.  Their  plumage  is  of  looser  texture  and  more 
bulky.  Their  long  wrings  are  fitted  for  a  light,  gliding, 
bounding  flight,  very  unlike  the  straightforward,  laboured, 
though  quick  aerial  progression  of  the  Urinatores.  They  sit 
lightly  on  the  water,  swim,  though  not  rapidly,  but  are  in¬ 
capable  of  diving,  and  never  enter  into  the  deep  other¬ 
wise  than  momentarily  by  plunging  or  dipping.  The  larger 
species  are  in  a  measure  omnivorous,  in  so  far  as  regards 
animal  food;  the  smaller  feed  chiefly  on  small  fishes  and 
Crustacea.  They  usually  nestle  on  the  ground,  laying  from 
three  to  five  spotted  eggs ;  but  some  which  lay  in  holes  or 
crevices  have  white  eggs.  The  young,  at  first  densely  covered 
with  down,  can  walk  and  run,  as  well  as  swim,  from  the 
first ;  but  usually  remain  some  time  in  or  about  the  nest, 
or  conceal  themselves  in  suitable  places.  Most  of  the  birds 
of  this  order  walk  very  expertly.  The  males  are  little  larger 
than  the  females,  and  generally  the  sexes  are  coloured  alike  ; 
but  the  young  have  more  mottled  and  duller  colours  than 
the  adult.  Their  flesh  is  not  esteemed,  and  none  of  them 
have  been  domesticated. 


10 


XVII.  CRIBRATORES.  SIFTERS. 


The  detailed  characters  of  this  extensive  Order  having 
been  already  given  in  the  Fourth  Volume,  and  two  of  the 
Families — the  Anserince  and  Cxjcjnince — there  described,  we 
have  now  to  introduce  the  Family  of  Anatince ,  or  Fresh¬ 
water  Ducks. 


ANATINiE. 

D  TICKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 

There  are  no  strictly  definable  limits  between  the  An¬ 
serince  and  the  present  group,  many  species  being  nearly 
equally  referable  to  either.  However  distinct  a  common 
Grey  Goose  and  a  Teal  may  appear,  they  are  connected  by 
species  so  graduating  as  to  leave  no  palpable  line  of  separa¬ 
tion.  Yet  the  two  groups,  taken  in  the  mass,  present  obvious 
differences,  and  may  at  least  he  convenientlv  admitted  as  dis- 
tinct.  But  all  Ducks,  popularly  so  called,  are  not  admitted 
into  the  family  of  the  Anatince ;  those  which  chiefly  frequent 
the  sea,  and  feed  on  marine  mollusca  and  fishes  being  kept 
apart  to  form  the  group  of  the  Fuligulince,  or  Sea  Ducks. 
The  general  characters  of  the  Anatince,  or  Fresh  Water 
Ducks,  are  the  following : — 

Their  body  is  oblong  or  elliptical,  of  nearly  equal  height 
and  breadth  ;  the  neck  usually  rather  long  and  slender ;  the 
head  moderate,  oblong,  compressed,  rounded  above.  The 
Dill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  or  shorter,  higher  than 
broad  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed,  and  generally  be- 


DUCKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


11 


coming  a  little  broader  toward  the  end,  sometimes  more  or 
less  rearcuate ;  the  upper  mandible  with  the  frontal  angles 
moderate  and  pointed,  the  ridge  flattened  at  the  base,  the 
sides  convex  toward  the  end,  the  unguis  ohlong,  decurved, 
and  rather  small ;  the  upper  mandible  internally  concave, 
with  a  medium  prominent  line,  and  on  each  side  a  series  of 
transverse,  thin  lamella?,  the  outer  extremities  of  which  pro¬ 
ject  more  or  less.  There  are  similar,  but  smaller  lamella?, 
on  the  sides  of  the  lower  mandible.  The  mouth  is  rather 
narrow  ;  the  tongue  fleshy,  deeply  grooved  above,  with  lateral 
series  of  bristles,  and  a  thin,  broadly  rounded  tip.  The  oeso¬ 
phagus  is  of  moderate  width,  or  rather  narrow,  the  stomach 
a  very  large,  transversely  elliptical  gizzard,  with  very  large 
muscles,  a  thick  rugous  epithelium,  and  somewhat  concave 
grinding  surfaces  ;  the  intestine  very  long,  of  moderate  width, 
with  very  long  coeca.  The  trachea  is  of  nearly  uniform 
width ;  the  inferior  larynx  has  an  osseous  enlargement,  gene¬ 
rally  transverse,  and  bulging  on  the  left  side. 

The  nostrils  are  oblong,  and  of  moderate  or  small  size ; 
the  eyes  small,  as  are  the  apertures  of  the  ears.  The  legs  are 
generally  short,  sometimes  of  moderate  length,  or  rather  long; 
the  tibia  bare  for  a  very  short  space ;  the  tarsus  compressed, 
reticulated,  and  furnished  with  very  small  anterior  scutella  ; 
the  hind  toe  very  small,  elevated,  with  a  narrow  lobiform 
membrane  ;  the  inner  toe  much  shorter  than  the  outer,  which 
is  little  exceeded  by  the  third ;  the  interdigital  membranes 
full ;  the  claws  small,  little  arched,  compressed,  rather  acute, 
that  of  the  middle  toe  having  its  inner  edge  expanded. 

The  plumage  dense,  firm,  elastic,  blended  ;  the  feathers  of 
the  head  and  upper  neck  small,  of  the  other  parts  large ;  the 
scapulars  large  ;  the  wings  of  moderate  length,  rather  narrow, 
pointed,  the  first  and  second  quills  being  longest;  the  inner 
secondaries  oblong ;  the  tail  moderate,  of  more  than  twelve 
feathers. 

The  Anatinee  feed  essentially  on  stems  and  roots  of  grasses 
and  other  plants,  leaves,  and  seeds,  but  also  on  mollusca,  in¬ 
sects,  worms,  and  occasionally  reptiles.  They  are  mostly 
gregarious,  and  migratory.  The  males  are  always  larger,  and 
usually  differently  coloured.  The  outer  webs  of  some  of  the 


12 


ANATINiE. 


secondary  quills  are  highly  coloured,  with  silky  or  metallic 
lustre,  forming  a  patch  named  the  speculum,  or  wing-spot. 
Toward  the  end  of  summer,  the  males  assume  the  plumage  of 
the  females,  but  in  autumn  resume  their  proper  colours. 
During  the  breeding  season,  the  males  generally  continue 
with  the  females.  The  nest  is  placed  on  the  ground,  or  in 
holes  ;  rarely  on  trees.  The  eggs  are  numerous,  white, 
greenish,  or  of  some  uniform  light  tint.  The  young,  covered 
with  stiffish  down,  are  active  from  the  first,  and  presently 
betake  themselves  to  the  water,  where  they  swim  and  dive 
with  the  greatest  agility. 

Representatives  of  this  family  occur  in  all  climates.  They 
frequent  marshes,  wet  places,  lakes,  and  rivers,  procure  a 
great  part  of  their  food  by  reaching  at  it  under  the  water,  but 
seldom  dive,  unless  in  sport,  or  to  elude  their  enemies.  Their 
flesh  is  esteemed  as  food,  and  generally  has  a  high  flavour. 


SYNOPSIS  OF  THE  BRITISH  GENERA  AND  SPECIES. 

GENUS  I.  TADORNA.  SHIELDUCK. 

Bill  as  long  as  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at  the  base, 
gradually  depressed,  considerably  rearcuate,  and  becoming  a 
little  broader  toward  the  end,  which  is  rounded  ;  upper  man¬ 
dible  with  the  ridge  flattened  at  the  base,  on  which  there  is 
generally  a  fleshy  knob,  the  unguis  oblong,  rather  abruptly 
bent  downwards  and  inwards,  the  sides  convex,  at  the  base 
nearly  erect,  the  edges  rearcuate,  the  lamella;  thin,  and  not 
appearing  beyond  the  margin ;  legs  rather  short,  tibia  hare 
for  a  very  short  space ;  tarsus  compressed,  with  very  small 
anterior  scutella ;  inner  toe  much  shorter  than  the  outer, 
which  is  nearly  equal  to  the  third  ;  interdigital  membranes 
full;  claws  small,  compressed,  rather  blunt;  feathers  of  the 
head  and  upper  neck  short  and  silky  ;  wings  with  an  obtuse 
tubercle,  broad,  pointed,  the  second  quill  longest ;  tail  mode¬ 
rate,  nearly  even,  of  fourteen  weak  rounded  feathers. 


DUCKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


13 


1.  Tadorna  Casarca.  Ruddy  Shielduck.  Bill  slightly 
rearcuate,  without  basal  protuberance,  and,  together  with  the 
feet,  black  ;  plumage  mostly  light  yellowish-red ;  hind  part 
of  hack  and  tail,  and  a  narrow  ring  on  the  neck,  greenish- 
black  ;  wing-coverts  white. 

2.  Tadorna  Vulpanser.  Burrow  Shielduck.  Bill  bright 
red,  considerably  rearcuate,  with  a  fleshy  knob  at  the  base  ; 
feet  flesh-colour  ;  head  and  upper  neck  greenish-black,  lower 
neck  white  ;  fore  part  of  body  light  red,  the  rest  white,  ex¬ 
cepting  a  medial  band  on  the  breast  and  abdomen,  a  patch 
on  each  side  of  the  hack,  and  the  primary  quills  and  coverts, 
which  are  black. 


GENUS  II.  ANAS.  DUCK. 

Bill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at 
the  base,  gradually  depressed,  becoming  a  little  broader  toward 
the  end,  and  very  slightly  rearcuate  ;  upper  mandible  with 
the  frontal  angles  short  and  pointed,  the  ridge  flattened  and 
gradually  narrowed,  the  unguis  obovate,  decurved,  the  sides 
convex,  at  the  base  nearly  erect,  the  lamellae  with  their 
outer  ends  thin  and  scarcely  apparent  externally  ;  legs  short, 
tibia  hare  for  a  very  short  space  ;  tarsus  short,  compressed, 
anteriorly  with  small  scutella,  and  a  shorter  outer  series,  con¬ 
tinuous  with  those  of  the  outer  toe  ;  hind  toe  very  small, 
with  a  very  narrow  membrane  ;  fourth  toe  a  little  shorter 
than  the  third ;  interdigital  membranes  full ;  claws  small, 
compressed,  rather  blunt ;  feathers  of  the  head  and  upper 
neck  short  and  silky ;  wings  of  moderate  length  and  breadth, 
pointed,  the  second  quill  longest ;  inner  secondaries  elon¬ 
gated,  broad,  rather  pointed  ;  tail  short,  much  rounded,  of 
eighteen  acute  feathers. 

1.  Anas  Boschas.  Common  Duck.  Bill  reddish-yellow, 
tinged  with  green ;  feet  orange ;  head  and  upper  part  of 
neck  glossy  deep  green  ;  a  narrow  white  collar ;  breast  dark 
brownish-chestnut ;  speculum  bluish-green  and  purple,  mar¬ 
gined  before  and  behind  with  black  and  white  ;  tail-feathers 
twenty,  the  four  medial  recurved,  compressed,  black. 

2.  Anas  glocitans.  Bimacidated  Duck.  Bill  greenish- 


14 


ANATINjE. 

yellow  at  the  base,  olive-brown  toward  the  end ;  feet  brown  ; 
upper  part  of  head  and  hind-neck  deep  chestnut-brown ; 
sides  of  the  head  and  upper  neck  glossy  green  ;  on  the 
fore  part  of  the  cheek  an  oblong  reddish-brown  patch,  and 
another  on  the  side  of  the  neck  ;  breast  brownish-red,  spotted 
with  black  ;  speculum  deep  green,  glossed  with  purple,  and 
margined  behind  with  white ;  tail-feathers  all  straight,  the 
two  medial  black. 

GENUS  III.  QUERQUEDULA.  TEAL. 

Bill  nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  considerably  higher  than 
broad  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed,  but  scarcely  widened 
toward  the  end,  it  being  comparatively  slender,  with  the 
margins  nearly  parallel ;  upper  mandible  with  the  frontal 
angles  short  and  pointed,  the  ridge  broad  and  concave  at 
the  base,  gradually  narrowed,  the  unguis  small,  obovato- 
oblong,  decurved  at  the  end,  the  sides  convex,  erect  at  the 
base,  the  lamellae  projecting  a  little  from  the  base  to  two- 
thirds  of  the  length  of  the  bill,  then  shortened;  legs  very  short; 
tarsus  compressed,  with  small  anterior  seutella ;  hind  toe 
with  a  very  narrow  membrane ;  outer  toe  considerably  shorter 
than  the  third,  which  is  longer  than  the  tarsus  ;  interdigital 
membranes  emarginate ;  claws  small,  compressed,  rather 
acute  ;  feathers  of  the  head  and  upper  neck  short ;  scapulars 
elongated  and  acuminate  ;  inner  secondaries  long  and  taper¬ 
ing  ;  wings  narrow,  pointed,  of  about  twenty-five  quills,  the 
first  and  second  longest ;  tail  tapering,  of  sixteen  stiffish, 
tapering  feathers. 

1.  Querquedula  Crecca.  European  Teal.  A  longitudinal 
ridge  of  narrow  decurved  feathers  on  the  head  and  nape  ; 
head  and  upper  neck  chestnut-brown,  with  a  green  patch 
behind  the  eye,  margined  beneath  with  black  and  white ; 
speculum  black  externally,  green  internally,  edged  with 
black ;  under  the  tail  a  hlack  and  two  cream-coloured 
patches. 

2.  Querquedula  Circia.  Garganey  Teal.  A  white  streak 
from  over  the  eye  to  half-way  down  the  neck ;  scapulars 
black,  with  a  medial  white  streak ;  wing-coverts  bluish- 


DUCKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


1  o 


grey  ;  speculum  dull  green,  margined  on  both  sides  with 
white. 

3.  Querquedula  strepera.  Gadicall  Teal.  Upper  part  of 
the  head  and  nape  dusky,  with  small  reddish-brown  mark¬ 
ings  ;  lower  neck  all  round  and  part  of  the  back  dusky,  with 
semicircular  white  lines ;  middle  of  the  back,  scapulars,  and 
sides  finely  undulated  with  dusky-grey  and  reddish-white  ; 
smaller  wing-coverts  grey,  barred  with  pale  reddish  ;  middle 
coverts  deep  chestnut-red ;  speculum  black  and  white. 

4.  Querqucdida  acuta.  Pintail  Teal.  Head  and  throat 
dusky  brown ;  a  longitudinal  band  of  greenish-black  on  the 
hind  neck,  and  two  white  bands  continuous  with  the  white 
of  the  lower  parts  ;  back  and  sides  finely  undulated  with 
grey  and  white ;  wing-coverts  grey ;  speculum  green  and 
black,  margined  anteriorly  with  red  and  posteriorly  with 
white. 


GENUS  IV.  EHYNCHASPIS.  SHOVEL-BILL. 

Bill  longer  than  the  head,  much  higher  than  broad  at 
the  base,  gradually  depressed  and  widened  toward  the  end, 
the  breadth  of  which  is  double  that  of  the  base ;  upper  man¬ 
dible  with  the  ridge  broad  and  concave  at  the  base,  gradually 
narrowed,  the  sides  convex,  erect  at  the  base,  the  very 
numerous,  elongated,  slender  lamellae  projecting  conspicu¬ 
ously  from  the  base  to  near  the  broadest  part ;  legs  very 
short ;  tarsus  compressed,  with  small  anterior  scutella ;  hind 
toe  with  a  very  narrow  membrane ;  outer  toe  a  little  shorter 
than  the  third,  which  is  longer  than  the  tarsus ;  interdigital 
membranes  emarginate ;  claws  slender,  compressed,  acumi¬ 
nate;  feathers  of  the  head  and  upper  neck  short  and  blended; 
scapulars  elongated  and  acuminate;  inner  secondaries  long  and 
tapering ;  wings  narrow,  pointed,  of  about  twenty-five  quills, 
the  first  and  second  longest ;  tail  small,  much  rounded,  of 
fourteen  stiffish,  tapering  feathers. 

1.  Phynchaspis  clypeata.  Blue-winged  Shovel-bill.  Breast 
purplish-chestnut ;  back  greenish-black  ;  wing-coverts  light 
blue  ;  scapulars  white,  greenish-black,  and  pale  blue ;  spe¬ 
culum  bright  green,  margined  anteriorly  with  white. 


16 


ANATINvE. 


GENUS  V.  MARECA.  WIGEON. 

Bill  considerably  shorter  than  the  head,  higher  than 
broad  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed  and  narrowed  toward 
the  end ;  upper  mandible  with  the  frontal  angles  very  short 
and  obtuse,  the  ridge  broad  and  flattened  at  the  base,  the 
sides  convex,  erect  at  the  base,  the  unguis  rather  large, 
obovate,  decurved  at  the  end,  the  extremities  of  the  nume¬ 
rous  lamellse  projecting  a  little  about  the  middle  of  the  bill ; 
legs  very  short,  and  the  other  characters  as  in  Querquedula. 

1.  Mar  eca  Penelope.  European  Wig  con.  Bill  pale  blue, 
with  the  tip  black  ;  upper  part  of  head  reddish-white ;  cheeks 
and  upper  neck  brownish-red,  dotted  with  black  ;  fore  part 
and  sides  of  the  neck  light  vinaceous  ;  upper  parts  and  sides 
of  the  body  finely  barred  with  white  and  dark  grey ;  wings 
grey,  with  a  large  patch  of  white  ;  speculum  green,  with  an 
anterior  and  a  posterior  band  of  black. 


17 


TADORNA.  SHIELDUCK. 

It  may  at  first  sight  seem  difficult  to  determine  whether 
our  common  Shielduck  be  actually  a  Duck  at  all,  it  having 
very  much  of  the  appearance  of  a  Goose ;  and  a  close  inspec¬ 
tion  rather  increases  than  removes  our  perplexity.  If  we 
refer  to  authorities,  we  find  some  on  one  side,  and  some  on  the 
other.  The  bill,  however,  is  decidedly  that  of  a  Duck,  for 
besides  increasing  in  breadth  toward  the  end,  it  has  a  small, 
oblong  unguis,  not  only  smaller  and  differently  formed  from 
that  of  any  Goose,  but  moreover  remarkably  incurved  at  the 
end  ;  and,  although  the  genus  approaches  to  Chenalopex 
both  in  form  and  colouring,  I  think  we  may  safely  place  it  in 
the  group  of  Anatinae,  assigning  it  there  a  station  indicative 
of  its  approximation  to  the  Anseriiue.  The  body  is  large, 
full,  rather  elongated,  about  the  same  height  and  breadth ; 
the  neck  rather  long  and  slender  ;  the  head  moderate,  oblong, 
compressed,  and  rounded  above. 

Rill  as  long  as  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at  the  base, 
gradually  depressed,  becoming  a  little  broader  toward  the 
end,  and  considerably  rearcuate  ;  upper  mandible  with  the 
lateral  sinuses  semicircular,  the  upper  occupied  by  a  fleshy 
knob,  the  dorsal  line  sloping  to  beyond  the  nostrils,  then  a 
little  concave  ;  the  ridge  flattened  and  gradually  narrowed, 
the  unguis  oblong,  rather  abruptly  bent  downwards  and 
inwards,  with  the  end  sharp-edged  and  abrupt,  the  sides  con¬ 
vex,  at  the  base  nearly  erect,  the  edges  rearcuate,  the  lam  elite 
with  their  outer  ends  thin  and  not  appearing  beyond  the 
margin,  which  is  somewhat  expanded  and  membranous  about 
a  third  from  the  end ;  the  nasal  sinus  moderate,  elliptical, 
close  to  the  ridge ;  lower  mandible  considerably  rearcuate, 
with  the  intercrural  space  very  long,  narrow,  and  bare,  the 
crura  slender,  with  their  sides  convex,  gradually  sloping  more 
outwards,  the  unguis  somewhat  elliptical,  larger  than  the 
upper,  little  convex,  broadly  rounded  at  the  end. 

Mouth  rather  narrow  ;  anterior  palate  concave,  with  a 
median  prominent  line,  and  on  each  side  a  series  of  trans- 

vol.  v.  c 


18 


TADORNA.  SHIELDUCK. 


verse,  thin,  elevated  lamellae,  which  are  much  larger  and  more 
widely  set  toward  the  end.  Tongue  fleshy,  deeply  grooved 
above,  with  lateral  series  of  bristles,  and  a  thin  broadly 
rounded  tip.  (Esophagus  of  moderate  width.  Stomach  a 
very  large,  transversely  elliptical  gizzard,  placed  obliquely, 
with  very  large  muscles,  thick  rugous  epithelium,  and  thick¬ 
ened  grinding  plates.  Intestine  very  long,  and  of  moderate 
width ;  coeea  very  long. 

Trachea  of  nearly  uniform  width,  but  a  little  enlarged 
within  the  furcular  space,  then  narrowed  ;  the  lower  larynx 
with  two  unequal  irregularly  roundish  extremely  thin  bony 
sacs,  of  which  that  on  the  left  side  is  much  larger.  Bronchi 
of  moderate  size. 

Nostrils  oblong,  moderate,  in  the  lower  and  fore  part  of 
the  membrane.  Legs  short ;  tibia  hare  for  a  very  short  space  ; 
tarsus  short,  compressed,  with  very  small  anterior  scutella; 
hind  toe  very  small,  elevated,  with  a  lobifonn  membrane ; 
inner  toe  much  shorter  than  the  outer,  which  is  nearly  equal 
to  the  third,  the  latter  rather  longer  than  the  tarsus  ;  all 
scutellate  above  ;  interdigital  membranes  full.  Claws  small, 
compressed,  little  arched,  rather  blunt,  that  of  the  middle  toe 
expanded  internally. 

Plumage  dense,  soft,  and  blended  ;  feathers  of  the  head 
and  upper-neck  short  and  silky,  of  the  other  parts  large ; 
scapulars  large,  oblong,  rounded.  Wings  rather  long,  broad, 
pointed  ;  the  second  quill  longest,  the  first  little  shorter  ; 
inner  secondaries  elongated,  oblong.  Tail  moderate,  nearly 
even,  of  fourteen  weak,  rounded  feathers. 

The  males  differ  from  the  females  only  in  being  larger. 
They  continue  with  the  female  and  young.  The  food  con¬ 
sists  of  vegetable  substances  and  shell-fish.  The  eggs  are 
numerous,  ovate,  glossy,  and  white  or  cream-coloured.  The 
species  of  this  genus,  being  of  a  large  size,  and  rather  bulky 
proportions,  bear  a  considerable  resemblance  to  some  of  the 
Geese,  especially  to  those  of  the  genus  Chenalopex,  and 
might  with  almost  equal  propriety  he  referred  to  that  family, 
with  which  they  further  agree  in  the  similarity  of  plumage  of 
the  two  sexes,  whereas  in  the  other  Anatina?,  the  males  differ 
from  the  females  in  this  respect. 


19 


TADORNA  CASARCA.  THE  RUDDY  SIIIELDUCK. 

RUDDY  GOOSE.  GREY-HEADED  GOOSE. 


Anas  Casarca.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  III.  Append.  224. 

Anas  Casarka.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  844. 

Anas  cana.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  840. 

Canard  Kasarka.  Anas  rutila.  Temm.  Man.  d’Orn.  II.  832. 

Ruddy  or  Casarka  Shieldrake.  Tadorna  rutila.  Selby,  Illust.  II.  293. 
Casarca  rutila.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  -56. 


Male  twenty-three  inches  long,  ivith  the  bill  slightly  re- 
arcuate,  destitute  of  basal  protuberance,  the  wing  with  a 
blunt  tubercle,  the  tail  of  fourteen  feathers  ;  the  bill  and  feet 
black ;  the  head  and  upper  half  of  the  neck  pale  grey,  the 
latter  tinged  ivith  yellow  ;  a  narrow  collar  of  greenish-black  ; 
the  rest  of  the  neck,  and  the  upper  and  lower  parts  of  the  body , 
light  yellowish-red ;  the  hind  part  of  the  back  and  the  tail 
greenish-black  ;  the  wing -coverts  white  ;  the  primary  guilts 
and  coverts  black,  the  secondary  quills  deep)  purplish  green. 
Female  smaller,  similarly  coloured,  but  without  grey  on  the 
head,  it  being  pale  yellow,  and  the  dark  collar  wanting , 

Male. — This  beautiful  bird  is  intermediate  in  form  be¬ 
tween  the  Egyptian  Goose  and  the  Shielduck,  and  in  its  mode 
of  colouring  resembles  both.  Its  legs  being  a  little  longer, 
and  its  bill  much  less  rearcuate,  than  those  of  the  latter,  it 
might,  perhaps,  with  propriety  be  referred  to  the  same  genus 
as  the  former.  But  as  many  authors  have  placed  it  here, 
and  as  I  am  not  acquainted  with  the  structure  of  its  inferior 
larynx,  it  may  as  well  remain.  It  is  one  of  those  birds 
which  one  might  call  a  Duck,  and  another,  with  equal  pro¬ 
priety,  a  Goose. 

The  bill  is  nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  much  higher  than 


20 


TADORNA  CASARCA. 


broad  at  tlie  base,  gradually  depressed,  of  nearly  equal 
breadth  throughout ;  the  upper  mandible  with  its  outline 
descending  and  concave,  the  unguis  oblong,  much  decurved 
and  abrupt  at  the  end,  the  edges  nearly  straight,  and  con¬ 
cealing  the  lamellae ;  the  nasal  sinus  moderate,  elliptical, 
sub-basal,  close  to  the  ridge  ;  the  lower  mandible  slightly 
rearcuate,  with  the  intercrural  space  very  long  and  narrow, 
the  unguis  somewhat  elliptical,  the  tip  rounded. 

The  nostrils  are  oblong,  a  quarter  of  an  inch  in  length  ; 
the  eyes  rather  small.  The  legs  are  short ;  the  tibia  bare  for 
four-twelfths  of  an  inch ;  the  tarsus  short,  compressed, 
covered  with  small  angular  scales,  and  having  about  twenty 
anterior  scutella.  The  first  toe  is  very  small  and  elevated, 
with  a  small  lobiform  membrane,  the  outer  toe  nearly  as  long 
as  the  third ;  the  interdigital  membranes  a  little  emarginate. 
The  hind  claw  is  very  small  and  curved;  the  outer  and  inner 
compressed,  the  third  internally  expanded. 

The  plumage  is  full,  soft,  and  blended  ;  the  feathers  of 
the  head  and  upper  neck  small  and  oblong.  The  wings, 
which  have  a  rounded  knob  at  the  flexure,  are  long,  extend, 
when  closed,  nearly  to  the  end  of  the  tail,  and  are  broad  and 
pointed,  the  second  quill  longest ;  the  secondaries  broad  and 
rounded,  as  are  the  inner  elongated  feathers.  The  tail  is 
rather  short,  rounded,  of  fourteen  moderately  firm  rounded 
feathers. 

The  bill  is  black  ;  the  iris  “  yellowish-brown,”  the  feet 
black ;  the  general  colour  of  the  plumage  is  a  light  yellowisli- 
red.  About  the  middle  of  the  neck  is  a  narrow  ring  of  green¬ 
ish-black,  above  which  the  colour  of  the  plumage  is  chiefly 
greyish-white.  The  wing  coverts  are  white  ;  the  primary 
quills  and  their  coverts  black  ;  the  secondary  quills  deep 
green,  tinged  with  purple ;  but  the  inner  light  red  on  the 
outer  web,  and  grey  on  the  inner.  The  hind  part  of  the  back 
and  the  tail  are  black,  tinged  with  green. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  23  inches  ;  wing  from  flexure  15 ; 
tail  5  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  If  ;  along  the  edge  of  lower  man¬ 
dible  Iff  ;  tarsus  ;  hind  toe  ff ,  its  claw  ff- ;  second  toe 
Iff,  its  claw,  ff- ;  third  toe  Sfy,  its  claw  ff;  fourth  toe  lj}f, 
its  claw  -At. 


RUDDY  SHIELDUCK. 


21 


Female. — The  female,  which  is  smaller,  is  similar  to  the 
male,  but  with  the  tints  less  deep  and  the  collar  wanting. 
A  specimen  from  India,  in  my  collection,  has  the  hill  and 
feet  black  ;  the  head  greyisli-wliite,  tinged  with  reddish- 
yellow;  the  general  colour  of  the  plumage  light  red,  fainter 
anteriorly ;  the  middle  of  the  hack,  under  the  scapulars, 
minutely  undulated  with  dusky  ;  the  rump  and  tail  greenish- 
black  ;  the  wing-coverts  white,  primary  quills  black  ;  spe¬ 
culum  deep  green  ;  lower  wing-coverts  yellowish-white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  22  inches  ;  wing  from  flexure  14  ; 
tail  5  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  ;  tarsus  2^ ;  hind  toe  Tr^, 
its  claw  ;  middle  toe  2T’^-,  its  claw  y 

Habits. — This  species  is  very  extensively  dispersed, 
being  found  in  India,  Persia,  and  the  northern  parts  of 
Asia ;  at  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  and  in  other  portions  of 
Africa ;  in  Austria,  Hungary,  and  Russia.  M.  Temminck 
informs  us  that  “  it  nestles  in  the  holes  of  the  rocks  which 
border  the  great  rivers  of  Russia,  in  hollow  trees,  or  in  the 
deserted  holes  of  other  animals  along  the  banks ;  and  lays 
eight  or  nine  white  eggs,”  in  which  respects  it  resembles  our 
common  Shielduck.  On  the  western  coasts  of  Europe  it 
sometimes  appears  as  an  accidental  straggler,  and  a  few  in¬ 
dividuals  have  been  obtained  in  England.  One  was  shot  at 
Bryanstone,  near  Blandford,  in  Dorsetshire,  in  the  severe 
winter  of  1776,  and  is  now  in  the  Newcastle  Museum. 
Another,  also  killed  in  the  south  of  England,  is  in  the  pos¬ 
session  of  Mr.  Selby ;  and  one  shot  at  Ikhn,  near  Orford,  in 
January,  1834,  is  the  property  of  Mr.  Manning,  of  Wood- 
bridge.  In  the  Natural  History  of  Orkney  it  is  stated  “  a 
specimen  of  this  rare  Duck  was  shot  in  Sanday,  by  Mr. 
Strang,  in  October,  1831.” 


22 


TADORNA  VULPANSER.  THE  BURROW 

SHIELDUCK. 

SHIELDRAKE.  SKELDRAKE.  SKELGOOSE.  SKEELING  GOOSE.  BURROW  DUCK. 
ST.  GEORGE’S  DUCK.  SLY  GOOSE.  BERGANDER.  STOCKANNET. 


Fio.  GO. 


Anas  Tadorna.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  195. 

Anas  Tadorna..  Latli.  Ind.  Orn.  II.  854. 

Shieldrake.  Mont.  Orn.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  Tadorne.  Anas  Tadorna.  Temm.  Man.  d'Orn.  II.  833. 
Common  Shieldrake.  Tadorna  Vulpanser.  Selb.  Illustr.  II.  289. 
Tadorna  Bellonii.  Common  Shieldrake.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  An.  229. 
Tadorna  Vulpanser.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  56. 


Male  twenty  four  indies  long,  with  the  hill  considerably 
rearcuate,  and  having  a  fleshy  knob  at  the  base,  the  wing  with 
a  blunt  tubercle,  the  tail  of  fourteen  feathers  ;  the  bill  bright 
red,  the  feet  flesh-coloured ;  the  head  and  upper  neck  black 
glossed  with  green,  the  lower  neck  white  ;  the  fore  part  of  the 
body  light  red  ;  the  rest  of  the  plumage  white,  excepting  a 
medial  band  on  the  breast  and  abdomen,  a  broad  patch  on  each 
side  of  the  back  including  the  scapulars,  and  the  primary  quills 


BURROW  SHIELDUCK. 


23 


and  coverts ,  ivhich  are  black ;  the  outer  secondaries  green , 
some  of  the  inner  externally  red,  and  the  lower  tail-coverts 
brownish -yellow.  Female  smaller,  similarly  though  less 
brightly  coloured,  but  without  the  fleshy  knob  on  the  forehead. 

Male  in  Winter. — This  species,  the  largest,  and  one  of 
the  most  beautiful  of  our  native  Ducks,  has  by  some  been 
considered  as  belonging  to  the  Anserine  rather  than  the 
Anatine  family  ;  but  the  form  of  its  bill,  the  narrow  incurved 
unguis  of  the  upper  mandible,  the  delicate  lamelloe,  the  ex¬ 
pansion  of  the  lower  part  of  the  trachea,  and  other  characters? 
clearly  evince  its  connection  with  the  latter  group.  It  is  not 
much  inferior  in  size  to  the  Black-faced  Bernicle  Goose,  and 
has  the  body  large,  full,  somewhat  lengthened,  and  well- 
balanced  on  the  legs  ;  the  neck  rather  long,  and  narrowed 
above ;  the  head  moderate,  oblong,  compressed,  and  rounded. 

The  bill  is  about  the  length  of  the  head,  much  higher 
than  broad  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed,  becoming  a  little 
wider  toward  the  end,  considerably  rearcuate.  The  angle  at 
the  base  of  the  ridge  is  occupied  by  a  fleshy  coloured  tubercle, 
which  is  anteriorly  carinate ;  the  lateral  sinuses  broadly 
rounded,  the  ridge  broad  at  the  base,  gradually  narrowed, 
the  dorsal  line  descending  to  beyond  the  nostrils,  then  a  little 
concave,  the  sides  erect  at  the  base,  gradually  more  sloping, 
the  edges  membranous,  the  unguis  oblong,  small,  much 
curved  and  abrupt  at  the  end ;  the  lamellae  not  projecting ; 
the  nasal  sinus  moderate,  elliptical,  sub-basal,  close  to  the 
ridge ;  the  lower  mandible  considerably  rearcuate,  with  the 
intercrural  space  very  long  and  narrow,  the  unguis  somewhat 
elliptical,  but  with  the  sides  nearly  parallel ;  the  tip  rounded. 

The  mouth  is  rather  narrow,  measuring  eight-twelfths 
across.  The  posterior  aperture  of  the  nares  lanceolate,  mar¬ 
gined  with  acicular  papilla?.  The  anterior  palate  concave 
and  recurved,  with  a  medial  soft  ridge,  on  the  basal  half  of 
which  are  some  compressed  papillae,  toward  the  end  numerous 
minute,  oblique  striae,  and  on  each  side  about  seventy-five 
transverse,  thin,  elevated  lamellae,  of  which  the  anterior  are 
larger  and  more  distant,  the  outer  ends  of  all  not  thickened, 
nor  at  all  resembling  those  of  the  Geese,  but  many  of  them 


24 


TADOKNA  VULPANSEK. 


tapering  to  a  fine  point,  and  projecting  considerably  beyond 
the  margin.  The  lamellae  of  the  lower  mandible  are  much 
more  numerous,  and  exceedingly  delicate,  there  being  nearly 
two  hundred  externally.  The  tongue  is  fleshy,  an  inch  and 
ten-twelfths  long,  with  very  numerous  acicular  papillae  at  the 
base ;  laterally  with  two  series  of  fibrils,  larger  and  stiffer  in 
its  basal  half,  two  shorter  series  above,  a  medial  groove,  the 
tip  very  thin,  concave,  horny,  somewhat  abrupt. 

The  trachea,  twelve  inches  in  length,  is  considerably 
flattened,  at  first  only  three-twelfths,  but  near  the  lower  end 
four-and-a-half-twelfths  in  breadth,  finally  becomes  round 
and  contracts  to  three-twelfths.  Several  of  the  rings  here 
unite,  and  form  in  front  a  small  bulge,  narrower  in  the  middle, 
and  opening  into  two  very  thin,  long,  irregularly-rounded 
expansions,  projecting  outwards  and  backwards,  but  not 
meeting  behind,  that  on  the  right  side  much  larger,  its 
greatest  diameter  one  inch.  The  number  of  rings  is  an  hun¬ 
dred  and  thirty-eight,  besides  six  which  are  united.  The 
bronchi,  moderate,  and  of  twenty  half  rings,  come  off  at  the 
distance  of  a  quarter  of  an  inch  from  each  other. 

The  nostrils  are  oblong,  a  quarter  of  an  inch  in  length ; 
the  eyes  rather  small.  The  legs  are  short ;  the  tibia  bare  for 
four-twelfths  of  an  inch ;  the  tarsus  short,  compressed, 
covered  with  small  angular  scales,  and  having  about  twenty 
anterior  seutella.  The  first  toe  is  very  small,  elevated,  with 
ten  seutella,  and  a  lobiform  membrane ;  the  second  with 
thirty,  the  third  thirty-four,  the  fourth  forty-four  seutella. 
The  hind  claw  very  small  and  curved ;  the  outer  and  inner 
compressed,  the  third  obliquely  expanded  internally ;  the 
membranes  full. 

The  plumage  is  full,  soft,  blended  ;  the  feathers  of  the  head 
and  upper  neck  small  and  silky,  of  the  lower  neck  and  lower 
parts  oblong,  and  rather  abrupt ;  the  scapulars  large  and 
oblong.  The  wings,  which  have  a  rounded  knob  at  the 
flexure,  are  long,  extend  when  closed  almost  to  the  end  of 
the  tail,  and  are  broad  and  pointed,  with  twenty-eight  quills ; 
the  primaries  tapering,  the  second  nearly  a  quarter  of  an  inch 
longer  than  the  first ;  the  outer  secondaries  of  moderate 
breadth,  and  rounded,  as  are  the  inner,  which  are  elongated. 


BURROW  SHIELDUCK. 


25 


The  tail  is  rather  short,  slightly  rounded,  of  fourteen  soft 
rounded  feathers,  of  which  the  lateral  are  three  fourths  of  an 
inch  shorter  than  the  longest. 

The  bill  is  of  a  bright  carmine  tint,  as  is  the  knob  at  its 
base,  the  unguis  dusky,  with  the  sides  horn-colour,  The  eyes 
are  brown.  The  feet  flesh-coloured.  The  claws  dusky,  but 
pale  along  the  ridge.  The  head  and  upper-neck  all  round  are 
glossy  hlackisli-green,  with  purplish  reflexions  in  some  lights  ; 
a  broad  band  or  ring  of  white  succeeds,  and  then  another  of 
orange-red  encircles  the  fore  part  of  the  body.  The  rest  of 
the  lower  parts  are  white,  with  the  exception  of  a  medial 
longitudinal  hand  of  glossy  black  on  the  breast  and  abdomen, 
becoming  broader  behind  ;  the  feathers  below  the  tail  sienna- 
yellow.  The  middle  and  hind  part  of  the  back  white,  as  is 
the  tail,  of  which,  however,  the  tips  of  the  six  middle  feathers 
are  black.  The  inner  scapulars  are  white,  the  outer  black. 
The  smaller  wing-coverts  and  secondary  coverts  are  white  ; 
the  alular  feathers  white,  at  the  end  black  ;  the  primaries 
and  their  coverts  greyish-black.  The  outer  secondary  quills 
are  glossy-green  externally,  white  at  the  base  internally,  and 
black  toward  the  end ;  three  of  the  inner  are  light-red  exter¬ 
nally,  white  internally,  with  a  dusky  band  at  the  junction  of 
the  two  colours  ;  the  rest  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  24  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  46  ; 
wing  from  flexure  134  ;  tail  5  ;  bill  from  the  base  of  the 
tubercle  2  ;  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2-p^  ;  tarsus  -ft  ; 
hind  toe  -y^,  its  claw  ;  second  toe  1TV,  its  claw  yb- ;  third 
toe  2tV,  its  claw  -f-j ;  fourth  toe  2,  its  claw  yV. 

Female. — The  female,  which  is  much  smaller  than  the 
male,  differs  in  wanting  the  knob  at  the  base  of  the  upper 
mandible,  there  being  in  its  place  a  very  slender  soft  ridge  ; 
and  in  having  the  colours  somewhat  duller,  although  similarly 
distributed. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  2  If  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  40 ; 
wing  from  flexure  12 ;  tail  4  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  2  ;  along 
the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2-i2? ;  tarsus  2 ;  hind  toe  its 
claw  -fa ;  second  toe  l  fa,  its  claw  fa ;  third  toe  %fa,  its  claw 
fa ;  fourth  toe  2,  its  claw  fa. 


26 


TADORNA  VULPANSER. 


H  abits. — This  very  beautiful  bird,  which  is  permanently 
resident  in  Britain,  is  met  with  sparingly  along  our  coasts,  in 
most  places  suitable  to  its  habits,  from  the  south  of  England 
to  the  Shetland  Islands  on  one  side,  and  the  Northern  Hebrides 
on  the  other.  On  the  wrest  coast  of  the  latter,  where  there  is 
much  sand,  it  is  not  uncommon  in  spring  and  summer,  when 
it  resorts  to  the  shallow'  fords  and  bavs  ;  but  in  autumn  dis- 
appears.  At  that  season,  however,  and  in  winter,  it  is  met 
with  in  the  eastern  and  southern  parts  of  Scotland  as  well  as 
in  England,  in  both  which  countries  many  individuals  remain 
to  breed.  It  seems  to  continue  in  pairs  all  the  year  round, 
although  frequently  in  winter  and  spring  large  flocks  may  be 
seen,  in  which  the  families  are  intermingled.  I  have  never 
met  with  it  inland,  or  in  fresh  water  near  the  coast ;  but  have 
seen  it  feeding  in  wet  pastures  near  the  sea,  although  more 
frequently  on  wet  sands,  and  am  unable,  from  my  own  obser¬ 
vation,  to  say  of  what  its  food  consists.  Various  authors 
allege  that  it  feeds  on  shell-fish  and  marine  plants ;  but 
this,  judging  from  the  structure  of  its  hill  and  its  general 
appearance,  I  felt  inclined  to  doubt,  until  I  met  with 
Mr.  Thompson’s  statement.  It  walks  with  ease,  in  the 
manner  of  the  Wild  Geese,  but  with  quicker  steps,  and  flies 
with  speed,  in  the  manner  of  the  Mallard  and  other  Ducks, 
with  more  rapid  beats  of  the  wings  than  the  Geese.  In 
spring,  and  the  early  part  of  summer,  it  has  a  habit  of  erect¬ 
ing  itself,  thrusting  forward  its  neck,  and  shaking  its  head, 
as  if  endeavouring  to  swallow  or  get  rid  of  something  too 
wide  for  its  gullet ;  but  this  appears  to  be  merely  an  act  of 
attention  to  the  female.  Being  shy  and  vigilant,  and  fre¬ 
quenting  open  places,  it  is  not  easily  approached,  unless 
when  breeding. 

The  nest  is  always  placed  in  a  hole  in  the  sand,  or  sandy 
pasture  near  the  shore.  In  places  where  there  are  rabbits,  it 
selects  a  deserted  burrow,  which  it  enlarges ;  but  I  have 
known  it  to  breed  in  an  island  on  which  there  were  no  other 
quadrupeds  than  seals,  and  still  the  nest  was  in  a  burrow, 
which  it  must  have  made  for  itself.  Besides  dry  «rass  and 
other  herbage,  it  employs  the  down  plucked  from  its  own 
breast  in  constructing  its  nest.  The  eggs,  from  eight  to 


BURROW  SHIELDUCK. 


27 


twelve,  are  of  an  oval  form,  rather  pointed  at  one  end,  smooth, 
glossy,  and  thin-shelled,  of  a  white  colour,  slightly  tinged 
with  reddish ;  their  length  from  two  inches  and  eleven- 
twelfths  to  two  inches  and  eight-twelfths,  and  their  breadth 
an  inch  and  ten  or  eleven-twelfths.  The  male  continues  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  the  nest  during  incubation,  and  is  said 
occasionally  to  take  the  place  of  the  female.  The  young 
presently  betake  themselves  to  the  sea,  under  the  guidance 
of  both  their  parents,  who  are  remarkably  attentive  to  them, 
and  endeavour  to  screen  them  from  danger  by  drawing  the 
attention  of  their  pursuers  toward  themselves,  in  the  manner 
employed  by  many  other  birds. 

This  species,  although  maritime,  being  capable  of  living 
in  a  semi-domesticated  state  on  fresh-water  ponds,  where  it  is 
highly  ornamental,  the  eggs  are  sometimes  taken  and  placed 
under  a  hen.  The  young  thus  obtained  feed  on  seeds,  grass, 
and  the  ordinary  substances  given  to  domestic  poultry  ;  but 
are  apt  to  ramble,  and  at  length  to  fly  away.  These  domesti¬ 
cated  birds  very  seldom  breed.  Montagu  states  that  a 
nobleman  informed  him,  “  he  had  one  instance  only  in  several 
years,  although  they  had  the  range  of  a  very  extensive  canal,” 
and  Mr.  Selby  mentions  the  occurrence  of  another  in  his 
neighbourhood.  On  the  other  hand,  it  has  been  known, 
according  to  the  former  of  these  naturalists,  “  to  breed  with 
the  common  Duck,  in  Lord  Stanley’s  menagerie.” 

It  is  said  to  be  generally  dispersed  over  the  maritime 
districts  of  Europe,  but  more  especially  the  northern  and 
western. 

Young. — When  about  a  week  old,  the  bill  is  blackish- 
brown,  with  the  lower  mandible  yellowish,  and  the  unguis 
reddish-yellow.  The  feet  brownish-green,  the  claws  brown 
at  the  base,  whitish  toward  the  end.  The  down  is  moderatelv 
long,  rather  dense,  stiffish ;  the  general  colour  white ;  the 
top  of  the  head,  a  line  down  the  back  of  the  neck,  the  upper 
part  of  the  back,  the  proximal  part  of  the  wings,  the  middle 
of  the  back  down  to  the  tail,  and  a  spot  above  the  thigh  on 
each  side,  together  with  a  small  spot  on  the  outer  part  of  the 
tibia  near  the  bare  portion,  blackish-brown. 


28 


TADOKNA  VULPANSEIt. 


When  fledged,  the  young,  according  to  M.  Temminck, 
“  have  the  forehead,  the  face,  the  fore  and  lower  part  of  the 
neck,  the  back,  and  the  lower  parts  white  ;  the  head,  cheeks, 
and  nape  brown,  dotted  with  whitish ;  the  scapulars  of  a 
blackish- grey,  bordered  with  pale  grey;  the  small  coverts  of 
the  wings  white,  bordered  with  grey  ;  the  tail  terminated  by 
greyish-brown  ;  hill  reddish-brown  ;  feet  of  a  livid  grey.”  I 
have  not  examined  them  in  this  state  ;  hut  in  winter  I  find 
them  as  follows  : — 

Young  in  Winter. — The  bill  is  of  a  bright  carmine 
tint,  inclining  to  flesh-colour  at  the  base,  the  intercrura  1 
membrane  of  the  latter  colour  ;  the  unguis  dusky ;  the  tarsi 
and  toes  livid  or  bluish  flesh-colour,  the  membranes  of  a 
purer  tint,  the  claws  dusky,  with  the  ridge  and  tip  yellow. 
The  fore  part  of  the  head,  cheeks,  and  throat,  is  brown, 
faintly  mottled  with  whitish  ;  the  rest  of  the  head,  and  the 
upper  neck,  all  round  greenish-black  ;  all  the  feathers  slightly 
tipped  with  brown.  A  broad  band  or  ring  of  white  succeeds ; 
then  another  of  light  red,  minutely  dotted  with  dusky  and 
grey,  encircles  the  fore  part  of  the  body.  The  rest  of  the 
lower  parts  white,  excepting  a  longitudinal  medial  broad  band 
of  dusky  spots,  tinged  with  brown,  on  the  breast  and  abdo¬ 
men.  The  middle  and  hind  part  of  the  back  white,  dotted 
with  grey,  as  are  the  inner  scapulars  and  inner  webs  of  some 
of  the  outer,  which  are  black.  The  small  wing-coverts  are 
white,  most  of  them  tipped  with  grey  ;  the  secondary  coverts 
grey  for  half  their  length.  The  alular  feathers  are  brownish- 
black,  broadly  edged  internally  with  white  ;  the  small  coverts 
beyond  them  white.  The  primaries  and  their  coverts  greyish- 
black,  at  the  base  greyish-white  ;  the  outer  secondaries 
similar,  but  glossed  with  shining  green,  and  tipped  with 
,  white,  as  are  some  of  the  inner  primaries  ;  three  of  the  inner 
secondaries  have  some  dull  red  on  their  outer  webs,  and  the 
innermost  arc  light  brownish-grey.  The  tail-feathers  are 
white,  and,  except  the  outer  two  on  each  side,  blackish-grey 
toward  the  end,  that  colour  more  extended  on  the  middle 
feathers.  The  colours  are  thus  nearly  similar  to  those  of  the 
adult. 


29 


ANAS.  DUCK. 

Our  common  Wild  Duck,  or  Mallard,  the  original  of  the 
domestic  varieties,  may  be  considered  as  the  type  or  charac¬ 
teristic  representative  of  this  genus,  of  which  the  species  are 
not  numerous.  The  body  is  large,  ovato-elliptical,  about  the 
same  height  and  breadth  ;  the  neck  rather  long ;  the  head 
oblong,  compressed,  of  moderate  size. 

Bill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at 
the  base,  gradually  depressed,  becoming  a  little  broader 
toward  the  end,  and  very  slightly  re-arcuate  ;  upper  man¬ 
dible  with  the  lateral  sinuses  very  broad,  the  upper  semi¬ 
circular,  the  frontal  angles  short  and  pointed,  the  dorsal  line 
sloping  to  beyond  the  nostrils,  then  nearly  straight,  the  ridge 
flattened  and  gradually  narrowed ;  the  unguis  obovate,  de- 
curved,  with  the  end  sharp-edged  and  rounded,  the  sides 
convex,  at  the  base  nearly  erect,  the  lamellae  with  their 
outer  ends  thin  and  scarcely  apparent  externally ;  the  nasal 
sinus  moderate,  somewhat  elliptical,  close  to  the  ridge ; 
lower  mandible  slightly  re-arcuate,  with  the  intercrural  space 
very  long,  narrow,  and  bare ;  the  crura  slender,  with  their 
sides  convex,  gradually  sloping  more  outwards  ;  the  unguis 
obovato- triangular,  little  convex,  broadly  rounded. 

Mouth  rather  narrow ;  anterior  palate  concave,  with  a 
medial  ridge,  and  on  each  side  a  series  of  transverse  thin, 
elevated  lamellae ;  external  lamellae  of  the  lower  mandible 
slender,  but  distinct.  Tongue  fleshy,  grooved  above,  with 
the  sides  parallel  and  furnished  with  a  double  series  of  fila¬ 
ments,  the  base  with  numerous  conical  papillae,  the  tip  thin 
and  rounded ;  oesophagus  of  moderate  width,  considerably 
enlarged  at  the  lower  part  of  the  neck.  Stomach  a  very 
large,  oblique,  transversely  elliptical  gizzard,  with  extremely 
large  lateral  muscles,  strong  tendons,  dense,  rugous  epithe- 


30 


ANAS.  DUCK. 


lium,  and  nearly  smooth  roundish  grinding  plates.  Intes¬ 
tine  long,  of  moderate  width  ;  coeca  long,  very  narrow  at 
first,  then  of  moderate  width. 

Trachea  of  nearly  uniform  width  ;  the  lower  larynx  with 
a  transversely  oblong  bony  expansion,  forming  a  bulging 
and  rounded  sac  on  the  left  side.  Bronchi  of  moderate  size. 

Nostrils  elliptical,  moderate,  sub-basal  Eyes  rather 
small.  Legs  short ;  tibia  bare  for  a  very  short  space ;  tarsus 
short,  compressed,  anteriorly  with  small  scutella,  and  a 
shorter  outer  series  continuous  with  those  of  the  outer  toe. 
Hind  toe  very  small,  elevated,  with  a  very  narrow  mem¬ 
brane  ;  fourth  toe  a  little  shorter  than  the  third  ;  all  scutel- 
late  ;  interdigital  membranes  full.  Claws  small,  compressed, 
arched,  rather  blunt,  that  of  the  middle  toe  internally  ex¬ 
panded. 

Plumage  dense,  soft,  and  elastic ;  feathers  of  the  head 
and  upper  neck  short  and  silky,  of  the  other  parts  oblong  ; 
scapulars  large,  oblong.  Wings  of  moderate  length  and 
breadth,  pointed  ;  the  second  quill  longest,  the  first  little 
shorter ;  inner  secondaries  elongated,  oblong,  broad,  rather 
pointed.  Tail  short,  much  rounded,  of  eighteen  acute 
feathers. 

The  males  differ  from  the  females  in  being  larger  and 
differently  coloured.  They  continue  with  the  females,  or 
only  leave  them  during  incubation,  to  return  before  the 
young  are  fledged.  The  food  consists  of  seeds  and  other 
vegetable  substances,  worms,  insects,  reptiles,  and  small 
fishes.  The  nest  is  placed  on  the  ground,  rarely  in  elevated 
places  or  on  trees,  and  the  eggs  are  numerous,  white  or 
greenish. 


31 


ANAS  BOSCHAS.  COMMON  DUCK. 

WILD  DUCK.  MALLARD. 


Fio.  61. 


Anas  Boschas.  Linn.  Sy9t.  Nat.  I.  205. 

Anas  Boschas.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  850. 

Canard  sauvage.  Anas  Boschas.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  835. 
Wild  Duck.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Common  Wild  Duck.  Anas  Boschas.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  305. 
Anas  Boschas.  Mallard.  Jcnyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  233. 

Anas  Boschas.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  56. 


Male  with  the  bill  redclish-yellow,  tinged  with  green ;  the 
feet  orange ;  head  and  upper  part  of  the  neck  glossy  deep 
green;  a  narrow  white  collar ;  the  lower  part  of  the  neck  and 
a  portion  of  the  breast  dark  brownish-chestnut;  loicer  parts 
greyish-white,  very  minutely  undulated  with  grey ;  fore  part 
of  the  back  brown;  scapulars  grey  and  brown,  minutely  undu¬ 
lated;  hind  part  of  the  back  black;  icings  brownish-grey ; 
speculum  bluish-green  and  purple,  margined  before  and  behind 
with  black  and  white ;  tail-feathers  twenty,  brownish-grey , 
broadly  edged  with  white,  the  four  medial  recurved,  com - 


32 


ANAS  BOSCHAS. 


pressed,  and  black.  Female  icith  the  bill  greenish-grey ;  the 
feathers  of  the  upper  parts  dusky  brown,  edged  with  pale 
reddish ;  the  throat  whitish ;  the  lower  parts  greyish-yellow, 
streaked  and  spotted  with  dusky ;  the  medial  tail-feathers 
straight. 

Male. — Our  common  Wild  Duck,  or  Mallard,  if  not  one 
of  the  most  elegantly  formed,  is  certainly  one  of  the  most 
beautifully  coloured  species  of  its  family.  The  body  is  of  an 
oblong  form,  considerably  elongated,  somewhat  depressed  ; 
the  neck  rather  long,  narrowed  toward  the  head,  which  is  of 
moderate  size,  oblong,  and  compressed.  The  bill  is  about 
the  same  length  as  the  head,  of  greater  height  than  breadth 
at  the  base,  depressed  and  a  little  widened  toward  the  end, 
which  is  broadly  rounded.  The  upper  mandible  has  the 
dorsal  line  descending  and  a  little  concave,  the  frontal  angles 
small  and  pointed,  the  ridge  flat  at  the  base,  gradually  nar¬ 
rowed,  the  edges  marginate,  a  narrow  groove  parallel  to 
them  near  the  end,  the  unguis  oblongo-obovate,  rather  small, 
decurved  at  the  end,  the  lamelke  transverse,  thin,  little  pro¬ 
minent,  not  projecting  beyond  the  margin,  and  about  fifty. 
The  lower  mandible  is  a  little  re-arcuate,  flattened,  with  the 
unguis  broadly  obovato-triangular,  the  erect,  inclinate  edges 
with  about  sixty  external  lamella?. 

The  nostrils  are  elliptical,  sub-basal,  two-twelfths  and  a 
half  long,  near  the  ridge,  in  the  anterior  part  of  the  sub¬ 
elliptical  nasal  membrane.  Eyes  rather  small.  Aperture  of 
ear  small.  The  legs  are  so  placed  that  the  body  is  kept  in  a 
nearly  horizontal  position.  The  tibia  is  bare  for  nearly  half 
an  inch  ;  the  tarsus  short,  stout,  compressed,  reticulate,  and 
having  eighteen  scutella.  The  hind  toe,  extremely  small 
and  elevated,  so  that  its  claw  scarcely  reaches  the  ground, 
has  a  slight  compressed  inferior  lobe.  The  anterior  toes  are 
rather  long,  the  inner  with  eighteen  scutella  and  basal 
scales,  the  medial  with  twenty-eight,  the  outer  with  forty 
oblique  scutella  ;  the  membranes  full.  The  claws  are  small, 
arched,  compressed,  rather  acute,  that  of  the  middle  toe 
larger,  with  the  inner  edge  dilated. 

The  plumage  is  dense  and  elastic,  on  the  head  and  upper 


COMMON  DUCK. 


33 


neck  short  and  splendent.  The  feathers  of  the  forehead 
stiffish ;  of  the  cheeks  and  throat  short,  linear,  slightly 
rounded ;  of  the  rest  of  the  neck  shortish  and  very  soft ;  on 
its  lower  anterior  part  large,  firm,  glossy ;  on  the  rest  of  the 
lower  parts  full  and  blended  ;  on  the  upper  parts  firmer. 
The  wings  are  of  moderate  length,  acute  ;  the  primaries 
narrow  and  tapering,  the  second  quill  longest,  the  first 
scarcely  a  quarter  of  an  inch  shorter ;  the  secondaries  a  little 
incurvate,  obliquely  rounded,  the  inner  elongated,  very  broad, 
acuminate.  The  tail  is  short,  much  rounded,  of  sixteen 
broad,  acuminate  feathers,  and  four  medial,  incumbent,  re- 
curvate,  reduplicate. 

The  hill  is  greenish-yellow,  darker  toward  the  end,  with 
the  unguis  deep  brown,  the  lower  mandible  reddish-yellow, 
brown  at  the  end.  The  iris  brown.  The  feet  reddish- 
orange,  the  membranes  pale  reddish-brown,  the  claws  deep 
reddish-brown.  The  forehead  is  blackish-green,  the  head 
and  upper  neck  vivid  deep  green,  changing  to  deep  violet. 
On  the  middle  of  the  neck  is  a  ring  of  white,  not  quite  com¬ 
plete  behind.  The  lower  neck  and  a  small  part  of  the 
breast  are  very  deep  chestnut  or  purplisli-hrown.  The  anterior 
part  of  the  back  is  yellowish-brown  tinged  with  grey ;  the 
scapulars  grey,  very  minutely  barred  with  brown  ;  the  hind 
part  of  the  hack  brownish-black,  the  rump  deep  green,  as 
are  the  four  recurved  feathers  of  the  tail,  the  rest  being 
brownish-grey,  broadly  edged  with  white.  The  wing-coverts 
are  brownisli-grey,  as  are  the  primary  quills  and  coverts. 
The  secondary  coverts,  excepting  the  inner,  are  white  in  the 
middle,  with  a  terminal  hand  of  velvet  black.  About  ten  of 
the  secondary  quills  have  their  outer  webs  brilliant  deep 
green,  changing  to  purplish-blue,  with  a  black  bar  at  the 
end,  succeeded  by  white.  The  outer  edges  of  the  inner 
secondaries  deep  purplish-brown,  the  rest  grey,  minutely 
undulated  with  darker.  The  breast,  sides,  abdomen,  and 
tibial  feathers  are  greyish-white,  very  minutely  undulated 
with  dark  grey  ;  the  feathers  under  the  tail  black,  glossed 
with  blue ;  the  axillars  and  lower  wing-coverts  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  24  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  35 ; 
wing  from  flexure  11  ;  tail  4^;  hill  along  the  ridge  2-j~, 

VOL.  v.  n 


34 


ANAS  BOSCHAS. 


along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2-^,  its  height  at  the  base 
1,  greatest  breadth  1  ;  tarsus  1-J4}-;  first  toe  its  claw  ^ ; 
second  toe  lfV?  its  claw  ;  third  toe  2  ;  its  claw  ;  fourth 
toe  l^A,  its  claw  . 

Female. — The  female  is  considerably  smaller,  and  very 
differently  coloured.  The  bill  is  greenish-grey,  darker  toward 
the  base  ;  the  plumage  of  the  upper  parts  dusky  brown,  the 
feathers  edged  with  pale  reddish-brown  ;  the  throat  whitish ; 
the  lower  parts  yellowish-grey,  faintly  streaked  and  spotted 
with  brown ;  the  speculum  as  in  the  male  ;  the  middle  tail- 
feathers  straight. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  20  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  32. 

Variations. — Individuals  sometimes,  though  very  rarely, 
are  more  or  less  variegated  with  white.  Sir  William  Jardine 
says,  “  we  have  seen  Drakes  having  the  upper  parts  of  a 
bluish-grey,  the  dark  breast  paler.”  Mr.  Yarrell  mentions 
“  two  instances  in  which  females  of  this  species  have  assumed 
to  a  considerable  extent  the  appearance  of  the  plumage  of  the 
Mallard,  even  to  the  curled  feathers  of  the  tail.” 

Changes  of  Plumage. — The  females  renew  their  plumage 
annually  in  autumn,  as  do  the  males.  But  the  latter  undergo 
a  singular  change  in  summer,  which  is  thus  described  by  Mr. 
Waterton  : — “  About  the  24th  of  May  the  breast  and  back  of 
the  Drake  exhibits  the  first  appearance  of  a  change  of  colour. 
In  a  few  days  after  this  the  curled  feathers  above  the  tail  drop 
out,  and  grey  feathers  begin  to  appear  amongst  the  lovely 
green  plumage  which  surrounds  the  eyes.  Every  succeeding 
day  now  brings  marks  of  rapid  change.  By  the  23rd  of  June 
scarcely  one  green  feather  is  to  be  seen  on  the  head  and  neck 
of  the  bird.  By  the  6th  of  July  every  feather  of  the  former 
brilliant  plumage  has  disappeared,  and  the  male  has  received 
a  garb  like  that  of  the  female,  though  of  a  somewhat  darker 
tint.  In  the  early  part  of  August  this  new  plumage  begins 
to  drop  off  gradually,  and  by  the  lOtli  of  October  the  Drake 
will  appear  again  in  all  his  rich  magnificence  of  dress ;  than 
which  scarcely  anything  throughout  the  whole  wide  field  of 


COMMON  DUCK. 


.35 


nature  can  be  seen  more  lovely,  or  better  arranged  to  charm 
the  eye  of  man.  This  description  of  the  change  of  plumage 
in  the  Mallard  has  been  penned  down  with  great  care.  (It  is 
for  all  that  very  imperfect,  and  wants  the  accuracy  and  minute¬ 
ness  necessary  for  it  in  a  physiological  observation).  I  enclosed 
two  male  birds  in  a  coop,  from  the  middle  of  May  to  the 
middle  of  October,  and  sawr  them  every  day  during  the  whole 
of  their  captivity.  Perhaps  the  moulting  in  other  individuals 
may  vary  a  trifle  w  ith  regard  to  time.  Thus  we  may  say  that 
once  every  year  for  a  very  short  period,  the  Drake  goes,  as  it 
wrere,  into  an  eclipse,  so  that,  from  the  early  part  of  the  month 
of  July,  to  about  the  first  week  in  August,  neither  in  the 
poultry-yards  of  civilized  man,  nor  through  the  vast  expanse 
of  Nature’s  wildest  range,  can  there  be  found  a  Drake  in  that 
plumage  which,  at  all  other  seasons  of  the  year,  is  so  remark¬ 
ably  splendid  and  diversified.” 

Habits. — The  Mallard,  which  is  one  of  our  truly  indige¬ 
nous  Ducks,  occurs  in  variable  numbers  in  all  parts  of  the 
country,  being  more  abundant  in  marshy  and  thinly  peopled 
districts,  than  in  such  as  are  dry  and  well  cultivated.  It  is 
almost  needless  to  remark  that  the  great  improvements  in 
agriculture  that  have  taken  place  within  the  last  fifty  years, 
and  especially  the  vast  extension  of  draining,  have  banished 
it  from  many  tracts,  where  it  was  formerly  very  plentiful. 
Still  it  is  by  no  means  rare  in  any  large  section  of  the  country, 
and  in  very  many  districts  quite  common.  In  winter,  it 
for  the  most  part  removes  from  the  higher  grounds  to  the 
hollow  s  and  level  tracts,  and  in  frosty  weather  betakes  itself 
to  the  shores  of  estuaries  and  even  of  the  open  sea.  In  the 
Cromarty  and  Beauly  Firths,  great  numbers  occur  along  the 
shores  during  the  winter  and  spring,  and  at  night  especially 
frequent  the  muddy  parts,  where  they  feed  on  worms  and 
mollusca.  Around  Edinburgh  are  numerous  open  ditches, 
and  some  brooks,  to  which  they  resort  at  night,  from  October 
to  April,  when  they  may  be  started  in  great  numbers  by  a 
person  searching  their  haunts  by  moonlight.  A  friend  of 
mine  has  often  shot  them  on  such  occasions,  and  I  have  myself 
seen  them  thus  engaged.  It  being  by  touch  more  than  by 


36 


ANAS  BOSCHAS. 


sight  that  the  Mallard  obtains  its  food,  the  night  appears  to 
he  as  favourable  for  this  purpose  as  the  day,  and  is  chiefly 
used  in  populous  districts,  while  in  the  wilder  parts  it  feeds 
at  least  as  much  by  day.  Marshy  places,  the  margins  of 
lakes,  pools,  and  rivers,  as  well  as  brooks,  rills,  and  ditches, 
are  its  principal  places  of  resort  at  all  seasons.  It  walks  with 
ease,  even  runs  with  considerable  speed,  swims,  and  on  occa¬ 
sion  dives,  although  not  in  search  of  food.  Seeds  of  graminese 
and  other  plants,  fleshy  and  fibrous  roots,  worms,  mollusca, 
insects,  small  reptiles,  and  fishes,  are  the  principal  objects  of 
its  search.  In  shallow  water,  it  reaches  the  bottom  with  its 
hill,  keeping  the  hind  part  of  the  body  erect  by  a  continued 
motion  of  the  feet.  On  the  water  it  sits  rather  lightly,  with 
the  tail  considerably  inclined  upwards  ;  when  searching  under 
the  surface  it  keeps  the  tail  flat  on  the  water ;  and  when 
puddling  at  the  bottom  with  its  hind  part  up,  it  directs  the 
tail  backward.  The  male  emits  a  low  and  rather  soft  cry 
between  a  croak  and  a  murmur,  and  the  female  a  louder  and 
clearer  jabber.  Both  on  being  alarmed,  and  especially  in 
flying  off,  quack  ;  but  the  quack  of  the  female  is  much  louder. 
When  feeding,  they  are  silent :  hut  when  satiated  they  often 
amuse  themselves  with  various  jabberings,  swim  about,  ap¬ 
proach  each  other,  move  their  heads  backward  and  forward, 
“  duck  ”  in  the  water,  throwing  it  up  over  their  hacks,  shoot 
along  its  surface,  half-flying  half-running,  and,  in  short,  are 
quite  playful  when  in  good  humour.  On  being  surprised  or 
alarmed,  whether  on  shore  or  on  the  water,  they  spring  up  at 
once  with  a  hound,  rise  obliquely  to  a  considerable  height,  and 
fly  off  with  speed,  their  hard-quilled  wings  whistling  against 
the  air.  When  in  full  flight,  their  velocity  is  very  great, 
being  probably  a  hundred  miles  in  the  hour.  Like  other 
ducks  they  impel  themselves  by  quickly  repeated  flaps,  without 
sailings  or  undulations. 

In  March  they  pair,  and  soon  after  disperse  and  select  a 
breeding-place.  The  nest,  bulky,  and  rudely  constructed  of 
flags,  sedges,  grasses,  and  other  plants,  is  placed  on  the  ground 
in  the  midst  of  a  marsh,  or  among  reeds  or  rushes,  sometimes 
in  a  meadow,  or  even  among  heath,  hut  always  near  the 
water.  Instances  are  recorded  of  its  being  built  in  the  fork 


COMMON  DUCK. 


37 


of  a  tree,  and  a  Duck  has  been  known  to  occupy  the  deserted 
nest  of  a  Crow.  The  eggs,  from  five  to  ten,  are  pale  dull- 
green  or  greenish-white,  two  inches  and  a  quarter  in  length, 
an  inch  and  nine-twelfths  in  breadth.  When  incubation 
commences,  the  male  takes  his  leave,  though  he  keeps  in  the 
neighbourhood,  and  joining  others,  undergoes  his  annual 
moult.  The  female  sits  very  closely,  and  rather  than  leave 
her  charge,  will  often  allow  a  person  to  approach  quite  near. 
One  day  while  searching  in  the  marsh  at  the  head  of  Dud- 
dingston  Loch  for  some  plants,  I  was  suddenly  arrested,  by 
observing  among  my  feet,  some  living  creature  of  considerable 
size.  Perceiving  it  to  be  a  Duck  I  instantly,  perhaps  instinc¬ 
tively,  pounced  upon  it.  But  thinking  the  eight  eggs  a  suffi¬ 
cient  prize,  I  threw  the  poor  bird  into  the  air,  when  she  flew 
off  in  silence.  Frequently  in  leaving  the  nest  she  covers  it 
rudely  with  straws  and  feathers,  probably  for  the  purpose  of 
concealing  the  eggs.  The  young  are  hatched  in  four  weeks, 
and,  being  covered  with  stiffish  down,  and  quite  alert,  accom¬ 
pany  their  mother  to  the  water,  where  they  swim  and  dive  as 
expertly  as  if  they  had  been  born  in  it.  The  mother  shows 
the  greatest  attention  to  them,  protects  them  from  birds, 
feigns  lameness  to  withdraw  intruders  from  them,  and  leading 
them  about  from  place  to  place,  secures  for  them  a  proper 
supply  of  food.  Sometimes  the  young  birds  are  destroyed  by 
pike,  or  fall  a  prey  to  rapacious  birds.  They  are  extremely 
active,  and  elude  pursuit  by  diving  and  remaining  under  the 
water,  with  nothing  but  the  bill  above.  I  once  came  upon  a 
whole  brood  of  half-grown  ducklings  in  a  ditch,  when  in  a 
moment  they  all  disappeared  under  the  water,  and,  although  I 
searched  everywhere  for  them,  did  not  succeed  in  tracing  a 
single  individual. 

When  the  young  are  well  grown,  and  the  female  replumed, 
the  male  commonly  joins  the  flock,  and  they  continue  together. 
Several  flocks  often  unite,  but  generally  these  birds  are  not 
very  gregarious.  Being  highly  and  justly  esteemed  as  food, 
Mallards  are  shot  in  great  numbers,  and  are  plentiful  in  our 
markets.  Although  they  are  of  a  more  elegant  form,  and 
much  more  active  than  the  domestic  Ducks,  the  latter  often 
resemble  them  so  closely  in  colour,  as  hardly  to  be  distill- 


38 


ANAS  BOSCHAS. 


guishable.  Once  in  the  Outer  Hebrides,  when  journeying 
across  a  moor,  1  met  with  a  pair  in  a  small  lake  overhung  by 
a  rock,  from  which  I  could  easily  have  shot  them,  had  I  not 
supposed  them  to  he  tame  Ducks  that  had  strayed  to  a  distance 
from  the  huts,  some  of  which  were  about  half  a  mile  distant. 
The  young  obtained  from  eggs  hatched  by  domestic  fowls 
generally  make  their  escape.  The  Mallard  has  been  known 
to  breed  with  the  Muscovy  Duck,  and  several  other  species. 
The  domestic  varieties  are  numerous,  with  endless  changes  of 
colour.  They  are  generally  of  larger  size,  and  always  of 
clumsier  shape  than  the  wild  birds.  Frequently  the  colours 
are  precisely  the  same,  very  often  pure  white.  Often  the  head 
is  surmounted  by  a  large  tuft,  and  one  variety  has  the  bill 
curiously  bent  downwards. 

This  species  occurs  in  all  the  northern  and  temperate 
parts  of  the  old  continent,  and  is  equally  met  with  in  America 
as  far  south  as  the  Gulf  of  Mexico.  Although  great  numbers 
resort  to  the  Arctic  regions  to  breed,  multitudes  remain  in  all 
the  temperate  districts.  Whether  any  immigration  from  the 
north  takes  place  with  us  in  autumn  is  not  apparent.  During 
winter  the  species  is  found  in  the  most  northern  parts  of 
Scotland,  as  well  as  in  the  most  southern  of  England.  “  It 
is  common  in  Ireland,  where,  although  great  numbers  immi¬ 
grate  every  winter,  the  species  breeds  throughout  the  island.” 

Mr.  Burnett,  of  Kemnav,  has  favoured  me  with  the  fol¬ 
lowing  note  respecting  the  Mallard,  as  observed  in  his  neigh¬ 
bourhood  : — “  It  is  very  plentiful  in  all  our  marshes  and  wet 
moors.  It  is  to  be  seen  on  the  Don,  but  not  often,  and  only 
in  certain  spots,  in  the  winter,  particularly  in  time  of  hard 
frost.  It  feeds  at  night  only,  when  it  dives,  but  never  so  by 
day.  In  spring  its  principal  food  is  frogs  and  their  spawn,  to 
obtain  which  it  resorts  to  the  marshes,  where  these  animals 
most  abound,  and  wherever  Wild  Ducks  are  numerous,  are 
to  be  seen  the  mangled  remains  of  these  reptiles.  They  are 
also  destructive  to  corn  in  the  neighbourhood  of  their  haunts, 
to  which  in  general  they  are  steadily  attached.  They  breed 
in  the  month  of  April,  mostly  in  marshy  spots  and  bushy 
ponds.  I  have  got  a  nest  in  a  dry  spot  among  furze,  far  from 
any  water.  The  eggs  are  carefully  concealed  and  covered  up 


COMMON  DUCK. 


39 


when  the  bird  is  off  them.  The  attachment  of  this  species  to 
its  young  is  very  great.  When  a  person  approaches  them, 
the  parents  go  up  to  him,  put  themselves  in  his  way,  flutter 
on  the  ground  before  him,  and  run  to  induce  him  to  follow. 
On  visiting  the  pond  at  the  north  mill  of  Kintore  last  sum¬ 
mer,  I  saw  several  broods,  the  parents  all  acting  their  parts 
most  admirably  to  draw  me  from  the  spot.  The  males,  how¬ 
ever,  I  have  never  seen  thus  employed.  I  once  observed  nine 
very  young  Ducklings  in  a  moss-pot,  and  was  amused  to  see 
how  they  kept  together,  always  in  the  middle  of  the  water. 
Numbers  of  the  young,  or  flappers,  are  taken,  mostly  by  dogs, 
in  the  end  of  July  and  in  August.  The  males  do  not  assume 
the  female  plumage  until  well  on  in  June,  and  have  their 
own  bright  dress  again  by  the  beginning  of  November.  Wild 
Ducks  occasionally  breed  with  the  tame,  the  crosses  showing 
a  disposition  to  take  wing.  The  young  may  be  brought  up, 
but  are  not  to  be  trusted  unless  with  tame  ones,  when  they 
will  keep  at  home.  The  crossed  birds  thus  produced  are  said 
to  have  a  fine  flavour,  and  to  be  very  readily  fattened.  The 
first  crosses  are  of  a  beautiful  dove-colour,  whatever  be  that 
of  the  domestic  parent.” 

Mr.  St.  John,  in  his  Wild  Sports  of  the  Highlands,  has  a 
very  pleasant  chapter  on  Wild  Ducks,  in  which  he  says  : — 
“  I  have  frequently  caught  and  brought  home  young  Wild 
Ducks.  If  confined  in  a  yard  or  elsewhere  for  a  week  or  two 
with  tame  birds,  they  strike  up  a  companionship  which  keeps 
them  from  wandering  when  set  at  liberty.  Some  few  years 
back  I  brought  home  three  young  Wild  Ducks  :  two  of  them 
turned  out  to  be  Drakes.  I  sent  away  my  tame  Drakes,  and 
in  consequence,  the  next  season,  had  a  large  family  of  half- 
bred  and  wholly  Wild  Ducks,  as  the  tame  and  wild  bred 
together  quite  freely.  The  Wild  Ducks  which  have  been 
caught  are  the  tamest  of  all ;  throwing  off  all  their  natural 
shyness,  they  follow  their  feeder,  and  will  eat  corn  out  of  the 
hand  of  any  person  with  whom  they  are  acquainted.  The 
half-bred  birds  are  sometimes  pinioned,  as  they  are  inclined 
to  fly  away  for  the  purpose  of  making  their  nests  at  a  dis¬ 
tance  :  at  other  times,  they  never  attempt  to  leave  the  field 
in  front  of  the  house.  These  birds  conceal  their  eggs  with 


40 


ANAS  BOSCHAS. 


great  care,  and  I  have  often  been  amused  at  the  trouble  the 
poor  Duck  is  put  to  in  collecting  dead  leaves  and  straw  to 
cover  her  eggs,  when  they  are  laid  in  a  well-kept  flower-bed. 
I  often  have  a  handful  of  straw  laid  on  the  grass  at  a  conve¬ 
nient  distance  from  the  nest,  which  the  old  bird  soon  carries 
off,  and  makes  use  of.  The  Drakes,  though  they  take  no 
portion  of  the  nesting  labours,  appear  to  keep  a  careful  watch 
near  at  hand  during  the  time  the  Duck  is  sitting.  The  half- 
breeds  have  a  peculiarity  in  common  with  the  Wild  Duck, 
which  is,  that  they  always  pair,  each  Drake  taking  charge  of 
only  one  Duck — not,  as  is  the  case  with  the  tame  Ducks, 
taking  to  himself  a  dozen  wives.  The  young,  too,  when  first 
hatched,  have  a  great  deal  of  the  shyness  of  Wild  Ducks, 
showing  itself  in  a  propensity  to  run  off  and  hide  in  any  hole 
or  corner  that  is  handy.  With  regard  to  the  larder,  the 
half-wild  Ducks  are  an  improvement  on  both  the  tame  and 
wild,  being  superior  to  either  in  delicacy  and  flavour ;  their 
active  and  neat  appearance,  too,  make  them  a  much  more 
ornamental  object  (as  they  walk  about  in  search  of  worms  on 
the  lawn  or  field)  than  a  waddling,  corpulent,  barn-yard 
Duck.” 

Young. — The  young  are  at  first  covered  with  close, 
stiffish  down,  of  a  greyish-yellow  colour,  variegated  with 
dusky  on  the  upper  parts.  The  downy  covering  continues 
for  a  month  or  more,  when  the  first  plumage  is  gradually 
perfected.  The  young  are  exceedingly  active,  dive  expertly, 
hide  themselves  when  alarmed  under  banks,  in  boles,  or 
among  reeds  or  other  rank  herbage,  and  seem  to  feed  more  on 
insects,  slugs,  and  other  small  animals,  than  on  vegetable 
substances.  A  curious  anecdote  of  a  brood  of  Wild  Ducks, 
told  by  his  keeper,  is  thus  related  by  Mr.  St.  John  : — “  He 
found  in  some  very  rough  marly  ground,  which  was  formerly 
a  peat-moss,  eight  young  Ducks  nearly  full-grown,  prisoners, 
as  it  were,  in  one  of  the  old  peat-holes.  They  had  evidently 
tumbled  in  some  time  before,  and  had  managed  to  subsist  on 
the  insects,  &c.,  that  it  contained,  or  that  fell  into  it.  From 
the  manner  in  which  they  had  undermined  the  banks  of  their 
watery  prison,  the  birds  must  have  been  in  it  for  some  weeks. 


COMMON  DUCK. 


41 


The  sides  were  perpendicular,  but  there  were  small  resting- 
places  under  the  bank  which  prevented  them  being  drowned. 
The  size  of  the  place  they  were  in  was  about  eight  feet 
square,  and  in  this  small  space  they  had  not  only  grown  up 
but  thrived,  being  fully  as  large  and  heavy  as  any  other 
young  Ducks  of  the  same  age.”  In  from  eight  to  ten  weeks 
after  they  are  hatched,  the  young  are  able  to  fly. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — The  young,  when  fledged, 
resemble  the  female  in  colouring.  I  am  unable  from  observa¬ 
tion  to  say  when  the  young  male  first  assumes  the  full  plum¬ 
age  of  its  sex  ;  hut  it  appears  to  be  at  the  end  of  its  first 
autumn. 

Remarks. — Our  Domestic  Ducks  are  evidently  the  off¬ 
spring  of  the  Wild  Mallard,  greatly  degenerated  as  to  activity 
and  beauty  of  form,  as  well  as  of  plumage,  hut  improved,  as 
the  agriculturists  say  of  an  unwieldy  ox  incapable  of  stepping- 
over  a  gutter,  in  hulk  and  susceptibility  of  fat.  Tame  Ducks 
lose  their  native  delicacy  of  feeling,  the  sentimentalism  of 
their  affections,  and  instead  of  pairing  for  life,  or  at  least  for 
the  season,  become  unprincipled  socialists,  every  Drake  taking 
as  many  wives  as  he  can  get.  The  Mallard  is  not  singular 
in  being  thus  vitiated  by  civilization  :  all  thoroughly  domesti¬ 
cated  quadrupeds  and  birds  being  similarly  changed. 


42 


ANAS  GLOCITANS.  BIMACULATED  DUCK. 

Anas  glocitans.  Gmel.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  526. 

Anas  glocitans.  Lath.  Ind.  Orn.  II.  862. 

Bimaculated  Duck.  Mont.  Orn.  Diet. 

Canard  Glousseur.  Anas  glocitans.  Temm.  Man.  d’Omith.  IY.  533. 

Bimaculated  Teal.  Querquedula  glocitans.  Selb.  Illustr.  II.  321. 

Anas  glocitans.  Bimaculated  Duck.  Jen.  Brit.  Yert.,  An.  232. 

Querquedula  glocitans.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  57. 

Male  with  the  hill  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths  long ,  eight- 
twelfths  broad  toward  the  end,  greenish-yellow  at  the  base, 
olive-brown  toward  the  end  ;  scapulars  and  inner  secondaries 
elongated  and  tapering;  tail-feathers  acuminate  ;  upper  part 
of  the  head  and  hind  neck  deep  chestnut-brown  ;  sides  of  the 
head  and  upper  neck  glossy  green  ;  on  the  fore  part  of  the 
cheek  an  oblong  reddish-brown  patch,  and  another  on  the  side 
of  the  neck ;  throat  greenish -black  ;  lower  fore  part  of  the  neck 
brownish-red  spotted  with  black;  lower  parts  yellowish- white, 
minutely  undulated  with  black  ;  feathers  under  the  tail  black  ; 
fore  part  of  back  and  inner  scapulars  yellowish-grey,  finely 
undulated  with  black ;  outer  scapulars  black  externally ,  light 
red  on  the  inner  web  ;  wing-coverts  brownish-grey,  the  second¬ 
ary  coverts  tipped  with  reddish-white ;  primary  quills  and 
coverts  brownish-grey ;  speculum  deep  green,  glossed  with 
purple,  and  margined  behind  with  white;  hind  part  of  back 
and  tail- coverts  greenish-black  ;  tail-feathers  brownish-grey, 
except  the  two  middle,  which  are  black.  Female  with  the 
throat  yellowish- white,  fore  neck,  part  of  the  breast  and  sides, 
light  reddish-brown,  spotted  with  dusky  brown ;  breast  and 
abdomen  white ,  the  latter  with  faint  brown  spots  ;  upper  parts 
deep  brown,  the  feathers  edged  with  yellowish- grey ;  wing- 
coverts  brownish-grey,  the  speculum  duller  than  in  the  male. 

Male. — Not  having  had  an  opportunity  of  examining 
specimens  of  this  very  rare  species,  which  is  much  smaller 


BIMACULATED  DUCK. 


43 


than  the  preceding,  I  adopt  the  description  of  it  given  by 
M.  Temminck : — “  Upper  part  of  the  head  deep  chestnut; 
cheeks  and  sides  of  the  neck  glossy  bottle-green  ;  in  the 
midst  of  this  shining  colour  are  two  light  red  spots,  one 
before  and  beneath  the  eye,  the  other  on  the  side  of  the  neck 
beneath  the  ear  ;  breast  (or  lower  fore  neck)  bright  red, 
marked  with  round  black  spots ;  mantle,  scapulars,  flanks, 
and  thighs  marked  with  black,  undulating,  close,  and  very 
narrow  lines,  regularly  distributed  on  a  pale  grey  ground ; 
the  longest  of  the  scapulars  narrow,  acuminate,  velvet-black 
along  the  shafts  and  on  the  outer  barbs,  and  light  red  on  the 
inner  ;  wing-coverts  brownish-grey ;  the  mirror  of  a  beautiful 
bottle-green,  defined  anteriorly  by  a  light  reddish  band, 
behind  by  a  band  of  white ;  rump,  upper  and  lower  tail- 
coverts,  and  two  middle  tail-feathers  blackish-green,  hut  the 
rest  of  the  tail-feathers  pale  brown,  margined  with  white ;  a 
crescentic  band  of  cream-colour  separates  the  blackish-green 
of  the  feathers,  under  the  tail,  from  the  whitish  tint  of  the 
abdomen.  Bill  olive-brown,  yellowish  at  the  base ;  feet 
brown.  Length  from  sixteen  to  seventeen  (French)  inches.” 

Female. — “  The  female  has  the  head  and  neck  of  a 
hrownisli-cream  colour,  marked  with  very  small  black  spots  ; 
the  upper  parts  of  a  blackish-brown,  each  feather  bordered 
with  reddish-brown ;  lower  fore  neck  of  a  reddisli-hrown 
tint,  but  all  the  feathers  black  in  the  middle ;  smaller  wing- 
coverts  hrownisli-grey ;  the  speculum  green,  with  purple- 
gloss  at  its  upper  part,  black  toward  the  primaries,  where 
these  feathers  are  bordered  with  white ;  primaries  and  tail 
brown,  the  feathers  of  the  latter  margined  with  reddish-white ; 
lower  parts  greyish-white ;  the  feet  of  an  orange  tint. 

Variations. — “  It  appears  that  the  males  vary  greatly  in 
the  tints  of  their  plumage,  and  in  that  of  the  two  large  spots 
on  the  neck,  as  well  as  in  their  outline.  I  have  seen  a  male 
only  in  part  covered  with  the  variegated  plumage  of  that  sex, 
while  all  the  rest  was  as  in  the  female,  but  patched  here  and 
there  with  some  feathers  of  the  male  ;  the  top  of  the  head  only 
having  red  at  the  tips  of  the  feathers,  and  the  rest  black ;  the 


44 


ANAS  GLOCITANS. 


metallic  green  shaded  with  black,  the  points  of  the  feathers 
white.  This  was  probably  a  young  male,  or  rather  a  male  in 
the  act  of  moulting.” 

Habits. — This  species  is  said  to  have  its  principal  resi¬ 
dence  in  the  northern  parts  of  Asia,  being  common  on  the 
margin  of  Lake  Baikal,  the  Lena,  and  the  coasts  of  Corea. 
It  w  as  first  described  by  Pallas  in  the  Stockholm  Transactions 
for  1779.  A  fewr  individuals  have  occurred  in  the  north  of 
Europe.  In  England  a  male  was  taken  in  a  decoy,  in  1771, 
and  described  and  figured  by  Pennant.  In  1812,  a  male  and 
female  were  captured  in  the  same  manner,  near  Maldon  in 
Essex,  and  coming  into  the  hands  of  the  late  Mr.  Vigors, 
were  by  him  presented  to  the  Zoological  Society,  in  the 
Museum  of  which  they  now  are.  It  does  not  appear  that  any 
other  individuals  have  hitherto  been  obtained  in  Britain ;  but 
Messrs.  Baikie  and  Heddle  state  that,  as  they  believe,  it  has 
been  twice  observed  in  Orkney,  on  each  occasion  in  the  island 
of  Sanday. 


45 


QUERQUEDULA.  TEAL. 

If  we  compare  together  the  common  Teal,  Anas  Crecca 
of  Linna?us  ;  the  Garganey,  Anas  Circia ;  the  Gadwall,  Anas 
strepera  ;  and  the  Pintail,  Anas  acuta,  we  find  that,  although 
there  are  slight  differences  in  the  form  of  the  bill,  in  the  elon¬ 
gation  of  the  lamella?  of  the  upper  mandible,  in  the  length  of  the 
neck  and  tail,  they  are  all  so  intimately  connected  that,  unless 
each  species  be  converted  into  a  genus,  there  can  he  no 
reason  fer  separating  any  two  of  them  for  that  purpose. 
Anas  Crecca,  having  the  neck  shorter  and  the  head  rather 
larger,  seems  to  come  nearest  to  the  Mallard  ;  while,  as 
having  the  neck  and  tail  most  elongated,  Anas  acuta,  seems 
most  removed  from  it.  Anas  strepera  differs  in  scarcely  any 
character  of  importance  from  the  Pintail,  for  the  elongation 
of  the  lamina?  of  its  hill  is  not  greater  nor  more  worthy  of 
consideration  than  that  of  the  lamina?  of  the  Grey  Lag 
Goose,  compared  with  other  Geese.  Even  those  who,  for 
this  very  reason,  consider  the  Gadwall  as  entitled  to  generic 
distinction,  make  no  account  of  the  elongation  or  abbre¬ 
viation,  protrusion  or  concealment  of  the  laminae,  in  their 
genus  Anser,  which  contains,  for  example,  Anser  palustris 
and  Anser  leucopsis,  birds  which  differ  from  each  other 
more  than  any  two  of  the  four  Ducks  mentioned  above,  as 
entering  into  the  genus  Querquedula,  as  here  constituted. 
These  birds  have  the  body  elongated,  elliptical,  slightly  de¬ 
pressed,  and  moderately  full ;  the  neck  long  and  slender  ;  the 
head  oblong,  much  compressed,  moderately  arched  above. 

Bill  nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  considerably  higher  than 
broad  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed  toward  the  end,  but 
scarcely  widened,  it  being  comparatively  slender,  with  the 
margins  nearly  parallel ;  upper  mandible  with  the  lateral 
basal  sinuses  broadly  rounded,  the  dorsal  line  gently  sloping 


46 


QUEIIQUEDULA,  TEAL. 


at  first,  then  nearly  straight  to  the  unguis,  which  is  small, 
obovato-oblong,  decurved  at  the  end,  the  ridge  broad  and 
concave  at  the  base,  gradually  narrowed,  convex  toward  the 
end,  the  sides  at  the  base  erect,  toward  the  end  convex, 
the  edges  slightly  sinuous,  the  extremities  of  the  numerous 
lamellae  rounded  or  moderately  pointed,  and  projecting  a 
little  from  the  base  to  two-thirds  of  the  length  of  the  bill, 
beyond  which  they  are  shortened ;  the  nasal  sinus  small, 
elliptical,  sub-basal,  and  near  the  ridge ;  lower  mandible 
very  slightly  re-arcuate,  with  the  intercrural  space  long, 
narrow,  and  bare,  the  crura  slender,  with  their  sides  convex, 
gradually  sloping  more  outwards  toward  the  end,  the  unguis 
obovato-triangular,  considerably  convex,  the  upper  lamellae 
little  elevated  and  rounded. 

Mouth  rather  narrow ;  anterior  palate  concave,  with  a 
median  prominent  line,  and  on  each  side  a  series  of  very 
slight  oblique  lamellae,  besides  the  lateral  series.  Tongue 
fleshy,  with  a  deep  median  groove,  a  double  lateral  series  of 
filaments,  its  breadth  nearly  equal  throughout,  the  tip  thin 
and  broadly  rounded.  (Esophagus  of  moderate  width,  con¬ 
siderably  enlarged  before  entering  the  thorax,  and  again 
narrowed ;  proventriculus  oblong.  Stomach  a  very  large, 
transversely  elliptical  gizzard,  placed  obliquely,  with  very 
large  muscles,  thick  rugous  epithelium,  forming  two  roundish, 
flat,  or  slightly  concave  plates.  Intestine  very  long,  rather 
wide,  enlarging  toward  the  coeca,  which  are  very  long  and  of 
moderate  width ;  rectum  very  short. 

Trachea  a  little  enlarged  in  the  furcular  space,  then  nar¬ 
rowed  ;  the  inferior  larynx  with  an  enlargement  formed  by 
several  of  the  lower  rings  united,  and  on  the  left  side  a 
rounded  or  ovate  bony  expansion  of  rather  large  size. 
Bronchi  moderate. 

Nostrils  rather  small,  oblong,  in  the  fore  part  of  the  nasal 
membrane.  Eyes  small,  as  are  the  ears.  Legs  very  short ; 
tarsus  compressed,  with  small  anterior  scutella ;  hind  toe 
very  small,  with  a  very  narrow  membrane ;  outer  toe  con¬ 
siderably  shorter  than  the  third,  which  is  longer  than  the 
tarsus ;  interdigital  membranes  emarginate ;  claws  small, 
slightly  arched,  compressed,  rather  acute. 


QUEKQUEDULA.  TEAL. 


47 


Plumage  dense,  soft,  and  blended ;  feathers  of  the  head 
and  upper  neck  short,  of  the  other  parts  moderate,  ovate,  or 
oblong ;  scapulars  elongated  and  acuminate.  Wings  rather 
long,  narrow,  pointed,  of  twenty-five  quills;  primaries  narrow, 
the  first  and  second  longest ;  inner  secondaries  elongated  and 
tapering.  Tail  small,  short  or  of  moderate  length,  tapering, 
of  sixteen  stiffish,  tapering  feathers. 

The  males  have  the  scapulars,  inner  secondaries,  and  tail- 
feathers  more  elongated  and  acuminate  than  the  females, 
from  which  they  also  differ  in  having  the  colours  of  the 
plumage  more  varied.  Toward  the  end  of  summer  the  male 
becomes  similar  in  plumage  to  the  female,  but  resumes  his 
proper  plumage  in  the  beginning  of  winter.  The  Teals  fre¬ 
quent  marshes,  lakes,  and  rivers,  and  feed  on  vegetable  sub¬ 
stances,  as  well  as  mollusca,  insects,  worms,  and  other  small 
animals. 


48 


QUERQUEDULA  CRECCA.  THE  EUROPEAN 

TEAL. 


COMMON  TEAL.  GREEN-WINGED  TEAL. 


Fio.  62. 


Anas  Crecca.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  204. 

Anas  Crecca.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  872. 

Common  Teal.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet. 

Anas  Crecca.  Flem.  Brit.  Anim.  125. 

Anas  Crecca.  Temm.  Man.  d’Orn.  II.  846. 

Anas  Crecca.  Teal.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  235. 

Common  Teal.  Querquedula  Crecca.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  315. 

Querquedula  Crccca.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  57. 

Male  with  the  bill  an  inch  and  a  half  long,  seven-twelfths 
broad  toward  the  end,  black  ;  scapulars  and  inner  secondaries 
elongated  and  tapering  ;  tail  feathers  acuminate  ;  a  longi¬ 
tudinal  ridge  of  narrow  decurved  feathers  on  the  head  and 
najie  ;  head  and  upper-neck  chestnut-brown ,  with  a  green  patch 
behind  the  eye,  margined  beneath  with  black  and  white,  upper 
parts  and  sides  finely  undidated  with  dusky  and  white  ;  sca¬ 
pulars  partly  grey,  yellowish-white,  and  black  ;  speculum  black 
externally,  green  internally,  edged  with  black  ;  tips  of  secon¬ 
dary  coverts  yellowish-white  ;  fore-neck  and  part  of  breast 
yellowish -white,  with  black  spots,  the  rest  of  the  breast  white  ; 
abdomen  undidated;  under  the  tail  a  black  and  two  cream- 
coloured  patches. 


EUROPEAN  TEAL, 


49 


Male  in  Winter. — The  Teal,  peculiarly  so  named,  is  the 
smallest  species  of  the  Anatinse  which  occur  in  Britain,  where 
it  is  indigenous,  although  the  numbers  that  breed  with  us  are 
very  small  compared  with  those  which  immigrate  from  the 
north  in  autumn,  to  depart  in  spring.  It  is  a  remarkably 
beautiful  bird,  and  in  colouring,  as  well  as  form,  is  more 
nearly  allied  to  the  Mallard  than  any  of  the  other  species 
which  I  have  placed  in  the  same  genus.  The  body  is  rather 
elongated,  moderately  full,  a  little  depressed ;  the  neck  of 
moderate  length,  and  rather  slender  ;  the  head  of  moderate 
size  oblong,  compressed,  and  considerably  rounded  above. 

The  bill  is  almost  as  long  as  the  head,  nearly  straight, 
higher  than  broad  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed  toward 
the  end,  with  the  edges  almost  parallel,  so  that  the  breadth  is 
only  about  a  quarter  of  a  twelfth  more  toward  the  end,  which 
is  broadly  rounded.  The  upper  mandible  has  the  dorsal  line 
at  first  sloping,  then  a  little  concave,  afterwards  direct,  and 
ultimately  decurved,  the  ridge  flattened,  gradually  narrowed 
to  beyond  the  nostrils,  the  sides  nearly  erect  at  the  base,  con¬ 
vex  toward  the  end,  the  unguis  oblong,  very  small,  much 
decurved  at  the  end,  the  edges  somewhat  rearcuate,  with 
about  fifty-five  lamellm,  of  which  the  outer  ends  do  not  project; 
the  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural  space  very  long  and 
narrow,  the  unguis  obovato-triangular,  the  edges  with  more 
than  a  hundred  outer  and  more  numerous  inner  lamellae. 

The  mouth  five-twelfths  in  wddth.  The  tongue  an  inch 
and  a  half  in  length,  fleshy,  deeply  grooved  above,  with  thin 
lamellate  and  filamentous  margins,  the  tips  horny,  thin,  and 
semicircular.  The  oesophagus  seven  inches  long,  about  four- 
twelfths  in  width,  enlarging  to  seven-tw’ elftlis,  then  narrowed 
to  a  quarter  of  an  inch ;  the  proventriculus  five-twelfths  in 
breadth.  The  stomach  transversely  elliptical,  an  inch  and  a 
twelfth  long,  an  inch  and  four-twelfths  in  breadth,  with  the 
muscles  very  thick,  the  epithelium  dense,  with  concave  grind¬ 
ing  surfaces.  The  intestine  is  three  feet  ten  inches  long,  its 
average  width  nearly  two-twelfths  ;  the  cceca  four  inches  and 
a  half  long,  at  first  only  one-twrelfth  in  width,  but  enlarging 
to  three-twelfths ;  the  rectum  two  inches  and  a  quarter  in 
length. 

VOL.  v. 


E 


50 


QUERQUEDULA  CRECCA. 


The  trachea  is  five  inches  long,  moderately  flattened, 
about  two-twelfths  in  breadth  ;  the  inferior  larynx  with  a 
transversely  elongated  tympanum,  projecting  on  the  left  side 
in  the  form  of  a  thin  bony  rounded  prominence,  its  greatest 
breadth  eight-twelfths,  its  length  three-twelfths.  The  bronchi 
moderate,  witli  about  thirty  half-rings. 

Nostrils  small,  elliptical,  a  twelfth  and  a  half  in  length. 
Eyes  small.  Legs  short ;  tibia  bare  for  nearly  three-twelfths  ; 
tarsus  compressed,  with  eighteen  small  anterior  scutella. 
The  first  toe  very  small,  witli  ten  scutella  :  the  second  scalv  on 
the  first  phalanx,  and  with  fifteen  scutella  on  the  second  ; 
the  third  with  twenty-eight,  the  fourth  with  thirty  scutella ; 
the  interdigital  membranes  crenulate,  the  outer  emarginate. 
The  claws  are  small,  arched,  compressed,  acute ;  that  of  the 
hind  toe  more  curved. 

The  plumage  is  soft,  dense,  elastic,  blended.  The  feathers 
on  the  head  and  upper  neck  short  and  silky,  on  the  hind  part 
of  the  head  and  nape  linear,  and  considerably  elongated,  on 
the  upper  parts  oblong.  The  scapulars  much  elongated, 
tapering,  and  pointed.  The  wing  rather  long,  narrowed, 
pointed,  of  twenty-six  quills  ;  the  first  scarcely  shorter  than 
the  second,  the  rest  quickly  decreasing ;  the  outer  secondaries 
broad,  obliquely  rounded ;  the  inner  long,  narrow,  tapering, 
a  little  curved  outwards.  Tail  short,  rounded,  of  sixteen 
acuminate  feathers,  of  which  the  medial  are  eight-twelfths 
longer  than  the  lateral. 

The  bill  is  black.  The  iris  brown.  The  feet  bluish-grey, 
tinged  with  brown.  The  head  and  upper  part  of  the  neck  are 
cliestnut-brown.  From  the  eye  to  the  nape  is  a  shining  green 
oblong  space,  narrowed  behind,  margined  anteriorly  and  below 
with  a  black  band  and  a  white  line  ;  a  curved  .band  of  white 
ascends  from  the  base  of  the  lower  mandible,  and  passes  over 
the  eye ;  the  feathers  margining  the  base  of  the  bill  dusky  ; 
those  of  the  throat  brownish-black.  On  the  middle  of  the 
hind-neck  is  a  black  patch.  The  upper  parts  may  be  described 
as  transversely  undulated  with  brownish-black  and  white  ; 
the  hind  part  of  the  back  brownisli-grey,  faintly  undulated. 
The  inner  webs  of  the  inner  scapulars  are  brownish-grey  ;  the 
outer  scapulars  white,  edged  with  black.  The  wing-coverts, 


EUROPEAN  TEAL. 


51 


inner  secondaries,  primary  quills,  and  coverts,  are  brownish- 
grey  ;  the  outer  secondary  coverts  are  reddish-white  toward 
the  end  ;  the  speculum  velvet-black  externally,  edged  behind 
with  white,  bright  green,  changing  to  purple  internally,  one 
of  the  inner  scapulars  externally  edged  with  black.  The 
upper  tail-coverts  are  black,  edged  with  yellowish-grey  ;  the 
tail-feathers  brownisli-grey,  edged  with  paler.  A  portion  of 
the  lower  part  of  the  neck  is  barred  anteriorly  as  well  as 
behind,  the  rest,  with  part  of  the  hreast,  yellowish-white, 
with  roundish  black  spots  ;  the  hind  part  of  the  breast  white  ; 
the  sides  and  abdomen  white,  undulated  with  grey.  Under 
the  tail  are  two  lateral  cream-coloured  patches,  and  a  medial 
black  space.  The  axillar  feathers,  and  some  of  the  lower 
wing-coverts  are  white,  the  rest  grey. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  14 4  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  24  ; 
wing  from  flexure  74  ;  tail  3J  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  I4  ;  along 
the  edge  of  lower  mandible  1^ ;  its  height  at  the  base  T8T ; 
its  breadth  generally  4  l  near  the  end  ;  tarsus  1^ ;  hind 
toe  -^2,  its  claw  ;  second  toe  44  j  its  claw  ;  third  toe 
1^2,  its  claw  fourth  toe  1T3¥,  its  claw 

Female. — The  female  has  the  bill  blackish-green  ;  the 
feet  bluish-grey ;  the  head  light  brown,  streaked  with  dusky  ; 
the  back  dark  brown,  each  feather  with  two  transverse  bands 
of  brownish-yellow  ;  the  speculum  velvet-black  externally, 
bright  green  internally  ;  neck  anteriorly  yellowish-brown, 
with  darker  transverse  shades ;  the  breast  white  ;  the  rest  of 
the  lower  parts  brownish-white,  spotted  with  brown. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  13  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  22  ; 
wing  from  flexure  74 ;  tail  34  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1 ; 
tarsus  1-^2  ;  middle  toe  1^2,  its  claw 


Habits. — The  Teal  frequents  marshy  places,  the  margins 
of  lakes  and  rivers,  seldom  betaking  itself  to  estuaries,  or  the 
open  sea-coast,  unless  in  time  of  frost.  It  walks  with  ease, 
swims  with  the  greatest  dexterity,  has  a  very  rapid  flight, 
and  is  in  every  way  remarkably  active.  Its  food  consists 
of  seeds  of  grasses,  slender  rhizomata,  which  it  pulls  up  from 
the  mud,  insects,  mollusca,  and  worms.  It  rises  from  the 


QUERQUEDULA  CRECCA. 


water,  as  well  as  from  the  ground,  at  once,  and  shoots  away 
with  great  rapidity,  so  as  to  he  less  easily  shot  than  most 
other  Ducks.  In  winter  it  is  generally  seen  in  small  flocks, 
which  for  the  most  part  repose  by  day,  either  on  the  water  or 
its  hanks,  and  begin  to  feed  in  the  evening.  At  that  season 
its  numbers  are  greatly  augmented  by  individuals  from  the 
Continent,  and  it  is  generally  dispersed,  although  not  at  all 
common  in  the  northern  parts  of  Scotland. 

It  has  been  found  breeding  in  various  parts  of  England, 
though  not  in  considerable  numbers.  Mr.  Selby  says  : — 
“  Our  indigenous  broods,  I  am  inclined  to  think,  seldom  quit 
the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  the  place  in  which  they  are 
bred,  as  I  have  repeatedly  observed  them  to  haunt  the  same 
district  from  the  time  of  their  hatching  till  they  separated  and 
paired,  on  the  approach  of  the  following  spring.  The  Teal 
breeds  in  the  long  rushy  herbage  about  the  edges  of  lakes,  or 
in  the  boggy  parts  of  the  upland  moors.  Its  nest  is  formed 
of  a  large  mass  of  decayed  vegetable  matter,  with  a  lining  of 
down  and  feathers,  upon  which  eight  or  ten  eggs  rest.”  The 
eggs  are  cream-coloured,  an  inch  and  nine-twelfths  in  length, 
and  an  inch  and  four-twelfths  in  breadth.  Very  few  Teals 
are  met  with  in  the  south  of  Scotland  in  summer  ;  but  from 
the  Tay  northward,  some  are  to  be  found  scattered  here  and 
there,  generally  in  sequestered  parts  of  the  moorlands,  and 
even  in  the  glens  of  the  central  tracts  of  mountain-land.  Two 
of  my  pupils  found  a  brood  at  Loch  Callater,  in  Braemar,  in 
the  end  of  July,  1849.  One  of  them,  Mr.  James  Farquharson, 
writes  : — “  As  we  were  returning  from  a  botanical  excursion 
in  Glen  Callater,  and  walking  along  the  margin  of  the  marshy 
ground  at  the  head  of  the  loch,  we  raised  from  the  heather  a 
female  Teal  (Querquedula  Crecca),  with  a  brood  of  seven  or 
eight  young  ones.  The  old  one  immediately  flew  to  a  deep 
pool  close  by ;  there  she  swam  about,  apparently  in  great 
anxiety,  until  all  her  offspring  had  scrambled  through  the 
heather  to  her ;  and,  though  not  very  expert  on  land,  they 
proved  to  be  brave  swimmers,  and  quickly  sheltered  them¬ 
selves  among  the  long  grass  growing  at  the  margin  of  the 
pool,  where  we  left  them  unmolested.  The  gamekeeper  in  the 
glen  informed  us  that  another  pair  had  bred  there  that  season.” 


EUROPEAN  TEAL. 


53 


Mr.  Burnett  of  Kemnay,  in  a  series  of  notes  with  which 
he  has  favoured  me,  states  that  “  in  winter  it  forms  large 
flocks,  the  Drakes  then  having  a  whistle  like  that  of  the 
Plover.  It  breeds  rather  later  than  the  Mallard  in  our 
marshes.  I  found  a  nest  with  sucked  eggs  in  a  wood.  The 
eggs  are  not  larger  than  those  of  a  Wood  Pigeon,  hut  other¬ 
wise  resemble  those  of  the  Mallard,  only  they  have  more  of 
the  yellow,  and  are  without  spots,  although  Bewick  states 
the  contrary.  I  have  often  met  with  the  young.  In  a  small 
lake  not  far  from  Banchory,  I  sawT  the  parent  floating  on  the 
water,  with  her  eight  young  ones  swimming  in  a  line  behind. 
The  young  are  considerably  darker  than  those  of  the  Mallard, 
with  less  yellow.  One  caught  I  describe  thus : — Covered 
with  down  of  a  dark  olive,  approaching  to  black,  each  hair 
tipped  with  dusky.  Under  parts  dull  yellowish,  brightest  on 
the  sides  of  the  head,  which  are  marked  with  longitudinal 
dusky  lines.  Bill  black,  tipped  a  little  way  up  with  brown¬ 
ish.  Legs  and  feet  black.  They  squeak  like  young  Duck¬ 
lings.  The  attachment  of  the  old  birds  to  their  young,  if 
possible  even  exceeds  that  of  the  Mallard.  On  my  picking 
up  two  large  hut  unfledged  young  ones,  below  Edit,  the 
parent  came  within  a  few  feet  of  me,  lying  down,  heating  her 
wings,  and  uttering  her  small  shrill  quack.  I  never  heard 
the  male  whistle  during  the  breeding  season.  The  Teals 
feed  much  on  the  farinaceous  seeds  of  a  common  kind  of 
carex.” 

Mr.  St.  John,  the  most  interesting  and  intelligent  of  our 
popular  writers  on  natural  objects,  says  : — “  The  Teal  can 
scarcely  he  called  a  winter  bird  with  us,  although  occasionally 
a  pair  or  two  appear ;  but  in  the  spring  they  come  in  numbers 
to  breed  and  rear  their  tiny  young  in  the  swamps  and  lochs. 
Nothing  can  exceed  the  beauty  and  neatness  of  this  miniature 
Duck.  They  fly  with  great  swiftness,  rising  suddenly  into 
the  air  when  disturbed,  and  dropping  as  quickly  after  a 
short  flight,  much  in  the  same  manner  as  a  Snipe.  In  the 
spring  the  Drake  has  a  peculiar  whistle,  at  other  times  their 
note  is  a  low  quack.  A  pair  of  Teal,  if  undisturbed,  will 
return  year  after  year  to  the  same  pool  for  the  purpose  of 
breeding.  Like  the  Wild  Duck,  they  sometimes  hatch  their 


54 


QUERQUEDULA  CRECCA. 


young  a  considerable  distance  from  the  water,  and  lead  the 
young  brood  immediately  to  it.  I  once,  when  riding  in  Ross- 
shire,  saw  an  old  Teal  with  eight  newly-hatched  young  ones 
cross  the  road.  The  youngsters  could  not  climb  up  the  oppo¬ 
site  bank,  and  young  and  old  all  squatted  flat  down  to  allow 
me  to  pass.  I  got  off  my  horse,  and  lifted  all  the  little  birds 
up  and  carried  them  a  little  distance  down  the  road  to  a 
ditch,  for  which  I  concluded  they  were  making,  the  old  bird 
all  the  time  fluttering  about  me,  and  frequently  coming 
within  reach  of  my  riding-whip.  The  part  of  the  road  where 
I  first  found  them  passed  through  thick  fir-wood  with  rank 
heather,  and  it  was  quite  a  puzzle  to  me  how  such  small 
animals,  scarcely  bigger  than  a  half-grown  mouse,  could  have 
got  along  through  it.  The  next  day  I  saw  them  all  enjoying 
themselves  in  a  small  pond  at  some  little  distance  off,  where 
a  brood  of  Teal  appeared  every  year.  In  some  of  the  moun¬ 
tain  lakes  the  Teal  breed  in  great  numbers.  When  shooting, 
in  August,  I  have  seen  a  perfect  cloud  of  these  birds  occa¬ 
sionally  rise  from  some  srrassy  loch.”  It  also  breeds,  in 
small  numbers,  in  the  tracts  north  of  the  Moray  Firth,  as  well 
as  in  Orkney  and  Shetland.  In  the  Hebrides  it  is  extremely 
rare,  but  has  been  seen  in  Lewis,  and  more  frequently  in 
Skye.  In  Orkney  it  is  said  by  Messrs.  Baikie  and  Heddle  to 

V  V  V 

be  “  by  no  means  numerous,  but  most  abundant  during  winter. 
Those  which  remain  during  spring  and  summer  build  in 
marshy  spots,  and  near  lochs.”  In  Ireland  it  is  reported  as 
being  plentiful  through  the  winter,  and  not  wanting  at  any 
season.  From  Lapland,  Norway,  and  Sweden,  it  extends  to 
the  south  of  Europe,  northern  Africa,  the  Caucasus,  India, 
China,  and  Japan. 


55 


QUERQUEDULA  CIRCIA.  THE  GARGANEY 

TEAL. 

GARGANY.  PIED  WIGEON.  CRICKET  TEAL.  SUMMER  TEAL. 

Anas  Circia.  Linn.  Sys.  Nat.  I.  204. 

Anas  Querquedula.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  203. 

Anas  Circia.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  873. 

Anas  Querquedula.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  872. 

Garganey.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  Sarcelle  d’ete.  Anas  Querquedula.  Temm.  Man.  d’Orn.  II.  844. 
Garganey  Teal.  Querquedula  Circia.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  318. 

Anas  Querquedula.  Garganey.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  234. 
Cyanopterus  Circia.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  57. 


Male  with  the  bill  an  inch  and  two-thirds  long,  seven- 
twelfths  and  a  half  broad  toward  the  end,  blackish -brown  ; 
scapulars  and  inner  secondaries  elongated  and  tapering ;  tail- 
feathers  acuminate  ;  upper  part  of  the  head  and  a  band  along 
the  hind-neck  umber-broivn  ;  a  white  band  over  the  eye  and 
along  the  neck ;  cheeks  and  upper  part  of  neck  chestnut- 
brown,  finely  barred  with  white  ;  throat  black  ;  upper  parts 
greyish-brown,  glossed  with  green ,  the  feathers  edged  with 
pmler  ;  scapulars  black,  with  a  medial  white  streak;  wing- 
coverts  pale  bluish-grey ;  speculum  green,  margined  before 
and  behind  with  white;  fore-neck  and  part  of  breast  pale 
yellow,  with  semicircidar  black  bars,  the  rest  of  the  breast 
white;  abdomen  undulated;  lower  tail-coverts  yellowish-white, 
with  black  spots.  Female  with  the  throat  white,  fore-neck 
streaked  and  spotted  with  dusky,  loiver  parts  white,  the  sides 
and  abdomen  spotted,  with  brown  ;  upper  parts  deep  brown, 
the  feathers  edged  with  white;  wing-coverts  brownish-grey  ; 
speculum  duller  than  in  the  male.  Young  similar  to  the 
female,  but  with  the  colours  darker  ;  the  speculum  greenish- 
brown. 


QUERQUEDULA  CIRCIA. 


5G 


Male. — The  Garganey,  which  is  somewhat  larger  than 
our  common  Teal,  closely  resembles  it  in  form,  the  body 
being  elongated,  elliptical,  slightly  depressed,  moderately 
full ;  the  neck  rather  long  and  slender ;  the  head  of  mode¬ 
rate  size,  oblong,  compressed,  and  considerably  rounded 
above. 

The  bill  is  as  long  as  the  head,  nearly  straight,  higher 
than  broad  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed  toward  the  end, 
with  edges  almost  parallel,  the  breadth  being  only  about  a 
twelfth  more  toward  the  eiul,  which  is  broadly  rounded. 
The  upper  mandible  has  the  dorsal  line  at  first  sloping, 
then  a  little  concave,  afterwards  direct,  at  the  end  decurved, 
the  ridge  concave,  gradually  narrowed  beyond  the  nostrils, 
the  sides  nearly  erect  at  the  base,  convex  toward  the  end, 
the  unguis  obovato-oblong,  small,  much  decurved  at  the  end, 
the  lamellae,  of  which  there  are  about  fifty,  slightly  pro¬ 
jecting  to  beyond  the  middle  of  the  hill ;  the  lower  mandible 
with  the  intercrural  space  very  long  and  narrow,  the  unguis 
obovato-triangular,  the  edges  with  very  numerous  lamellae. 

Nostrils  very  small,  elliptical,  one-twelfth  in  length. 
Eyes  small.  Legs  short ;  tibia  bare  for  three-twelfths ;  tarsus 
compressed,  with  small  anterior  scutella.  The  hind  toe  very 
small,  with  a  very  narrow  membrane ;  the  third  toe  longer 
than  the  tarsus ;  the  interdigital  membranes  crenulate,  the 
outer  emarginate,  with  an  abrupt  acute  notch.  The  claws 
small,  arched,  compressed,  acute. 

The  plumage  soft,  dense,  elastic.  The  feathers  on  the 
head  and  upper  neck  short,  stifiish,  and  rather  blended  ;  on  the 
body  ovate.  The  scapulars  much  elongated,  tapering,  and 
pointed.  The  wing  rather  long,  narrow,  pointed,  of  twenty- 
six  quills,  the  first  slightly  longer  than  the  second,  the  rest 
quickly  decreasing ;  the  outer  secondaries  broad,  obliquely 
rounded ;  the  inner  long,  narrow,  tapering,  a  little  curved 
outwards.  Tail  short,  rounded,  of  sixteen  acuminate  feathers. 

The  bill  is  greyish -black  ;  the  iris  brown  ;  the  feet  grey¬ 
ish-brown  ;  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  hind  part  of 
the  neck,  to  half  way  down,  umber-brown  ;  from  over  the 
fore  part  of  the  eye,  a  narrow  white  band  extends  more  than 
half  way  down  the  neck  ;  the  sides  of  the  head  and  upper 


GARGANEY  TEAL. 


57 


neck  dark-brown,  with  small  white  lines.  The  back  dark- 
brown,  the  feathers  edged  with  light-brown ;  scapulars  black, 
with  a  medial  white  stripe ;  wing-coverts  light  bluish-grey ; 
primaries  brownish-black  ;  speculum  dark  bluish-green, 
margined  externally  and  internally  with  white ;  inner  secon¬ 
daries  dusky,  edged  with  white.  The  lower  neck  and  part 
of  the  breast  dark-brown,  with  paler  crescentic  markings  ; 
the  lower  parts  white,  but  the  sides  undulated  with  black 
lines,  and  having  two  broad  bands  behind ;  the  lower  tail- 
coverts  mottled,  the  feathers  being  black,  with  white  margins. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  16  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  26  ;  wing 
from  flexure  7-f§- ;  tail  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1-^-,  along 
the  edge  of  lower  mandible  1^,  its  breadth  near  the  end  fa  ; 
tarsus  l-j2^ ;  hind  toe  fa,  its  claw  -fa ;  third  toe  l-Aj,  its 
claw  fa. 

Female. — The  female  is  considerably  smaller.  The  head 
brown,  spotted  with  dusky  ;  a  brownish- white  band,  with 
dusky  streaks,  over  the  eye.  The  feathers  of  the  upper  parts 
dark-brown,  mostly  tinged  with  green,  and  having  reddish- 
brown  edges  and  whitish  tips ;  the  wing-coverts  brown ;  the 
speculum  as  in  the  male,  but  of  a  dull  brownish-green.  The 
throat  white ;  the  fore  neck  and  breast  greyisli-white,  varie¬ 
gated  with  brown ;  the  feathers  on  the  sides  of  the  body 
brown,  with  white  margins  ;  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts 
white,  only  the  abdominal  and  subcaudal  feathers  spotted 
with  brown. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  15  inches;  extent  of  wings  25; 
tarsus  1-j2j.  ;  middle  toe  and  claw  1^-. 


Habits. — The  Garganey  Teal  has  a  very  extensive  range 
of  habitation,  it  having  been  found  in  India,  Africa,  the 
south  of  Europe,  and  from  thence  as  far  north  as  Russia  and 
Sweden.  It  is  more  a  southern  bird,  however,  than  our 
other  species,  and  in  Europe  is  met  with  chiefly  in  summer. 
In  England  it  has  been  obtained  in  Cornwall,  Devonshire, 
Kent,  Essex,  Norfolk,  Lincolnshire,  and  Yorkshire.  It  is 
also  mentioned  as  occurring  in  Wales.  It  had  not,  I  believe, 
been  observed  in  Scotland  until  March  1841,  when  four 


58 


QUERQUEDULA  CIRCIA. 


individuals,  said  to  have  been  shot  near  Stirling,  were  exposed 
for  sale  in  the  Edinburgh  market.  Mr.  Yarrell  also  states, 
that  Dr.  Edward  Clarke  sent  him  notice  from  Edinburgh 
that  six  specimens  were  shot  in  Stirlingshire  in  the  last  fort¬ 
night  of  March  1841.  It  is  said,  also,  to  have  been  seen  in 
small  numbers  in  the  Montrose  Basin.  It  is  also  stated  to 
occur,  though  rarely,  in  Orkney,  appearing  chiefly,  if  not 
altogether,  in  spring.  It  is  said  to  inhabit  marshy  places, 
rivers,  and  lakes,  and  to  feed  on  slugs,  insects,  worms, 
aquatic  plants,  and  their  seeds  :  to  nestle  in  wet  meadows, 
and  to  lay  ten  or  twelve  greenish-yellow  eggs.  Mr.  Thomp¬ 
son  marks  it  as  “  of  very  rare  occurrence  in  Ireland.” 

Remarks. — I  have  not  examined  the  trachea  of  this 
species ;  but,  according  to  M.  Temminck,  “  it  is  rather  wide 
at  the  upper  larynx,  suddenly  becomes  very  narrow,  then 
gradually  acquiring  a  greater  diameter,  until  toward  the 
lower  larynx,  it  is  there  composed  of  rings  twice  the  breadth 
of  those  of  the  middle  of  the  tube  ;  the  lower  larynx  forms  a 
large  bony  protuberance,  which  dilates  beneath.”  Mr.  Yar¬ 
rell  figures  the  bony  enlargement,  and  describes  it  as  “  nearly 
oval,  and  placed  perpendicularly,  so  as  to  appear  like  a  con¬ 
tinuation  of  the  tracheal  tube,  rather  than  as  an  appendage 
to  it ;  the  enlargement  is  not  on  the  left  side,  as  in  other 
species,  but  in  the  front,  and  the  bronchial  tubes  come  off 
from  the  flattened  inner  surface  which  lies  upon  the  oesopha¬ 
gus.” 

The  above  descriptions  are  taken  from  prepared  specimens 
from  India. 


59 


QUERQUEDULA  STREPERA.  THE  GADWALL 

TEAL. 


GADWALL.  GREY. 


Anas  Strepera.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  200. 

Anas  Strepera.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  859. 

Gadwall.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet. 

Canard  Chipeau  ou  Rideune.  Anas  Strepera.  Temm.  Man.  d’Orn.  II.  837. 

Common  Gadwall.  Chauliodus  Strepera.  Selb.  Illustr.  II.  301. 

Anas  Strepera.  Gadwall.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  231. 

Chaulelasmus  Strepera.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  56. 

Male  with  the  bill  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths  long ,  eight- 
tivelfths  broad  toward  the  end,  black  ;  scapulars  and  inner 
secondaries  elongated  and  acuminate  ;  middle  tail-feathers 
pointed,  but  not  much  longer  than  the  rest ;  upper  part  of  the 
head  and  nape  dusky,  with  small  reddish-brown  markings  ; 
lower  neck  all  round,  and  part  of  the  back,  dusky ,  with  semi¬ 
circular  white  lines ;  middle  of  the  back,  scapulars,  and  sides, 
finely  undulated  with  dusky  -grey  and  reddish-white ;  smaller 
wing-coverts  grey,  barred  with  pale  reddish  ;  middle  coverts 
deep  chestnut-red;  speculum  black  and  white;  hind  part  of 
back  and  tail-coverts  bluish-black  ;  tail  grey.  Female  with 
the  scapulars,  inner  secondaries,  and  tail-coverts  less  elongated  ; 
the  upper  part  of  the  head  dusky,  a  lightish  streak  over  the 
eye  ;  the  upper  parts  blackish-brown,  the  feathers  edged  with 
reddish  ;  the  lower  parts  light  reddish,  marked  with  oblong 
spots  of  grey  ish  -  brown . 

Male  in  Winter. — The  “  Gadwall  ”  so  closely  resembles 
the  “  Pintail  ”  in  size,  proportions,  and  plumage,  that,  1 
think,  there  can  be  little  doubt  as  to  its  generic  identity, 
although  it  differs  in  having  the  laminae  of  the  upper  man¬ 
dible  considerably  projecting,  and  the  middle  tail-feathers 


60 


QUERQUEDULA  STREPERA. 


less  elongated.  Its  body  is  elongated,  moderately  full,  a 
little  depressed ;  the  neck  rather  long ;  the  head  of  moderate 
size,  oblong,  compressed,  and  considerably  rounded  above. 

The  bill  is  somewhat  shorter  than  the  head,  nearly 
straight,  rather  narrow,  higher  than  broad  at  the  base,  gradu¬ 
ally  depressed  toward  the  end,  with  the  edges  almost  parallel, 
so  that  the  breadth  is  scarcely  half  a  twelfth  more  toward  the 
end  ;  the  upper  mandible  with  the  lateral  sinuses  broadly 
rounded,  the  upper  rather  pointed,  the  angles  short  and 
obtuse,  the  dorsal  line  declinate  to  beyond  the  nostrils,  then 
nearly  straight  to  the  unguis,  which  is  small,  obovato-oblong, 
and  decurved  at  the  end,  the  ridge  of  moderate  breadth,  and 
rather  concave  at  the  base,  gradually  narrowed,  becoming 
convex,  the  sides  nearly  erect  at  the  base,  convex  toward  the 
end,  the  edges  slightly  sinuous,  with  about  fifty  lamella',  of 
which  the  rather  broad  and  rounded  outer  extremities  project 
considerably  ;  the  nasal  sinus  small,  ovato-elliptical,  sub- 
basal,  close  to  the  ridge ;  lower  mandible  very  slightly  rear- 
cuate,  with  the  intercrural  space  very  long,  narrow,  and  bare, 
the  crura  slender,  gradually  flattened,  with  about  sixty  outer 
lamellae  on  the  erect  edges,  the  unguis  small,  obovato-trian- 
gular,  considerably  convex. 

Mouth  of  moderate  width  ;  anterior  palate  deeply  concave, 
with  a  median  prominent  ridge,  which  is  papillate  behind. 
The  tongue,  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths  long,  is  fleshy,  with  a 
deep  longitudinal  groove,  two  lateral  scries  of  filaments,  and 
a  thin  broadly  rounded  tip,  The  oesophagus,  ten  inches  and 
a  half  in  length,  is  of  moderate  width,  enlarges  to  ten-twelfths 
at  the  lower  part  of  the  neck,  and  again  contracts  ;  the  pro- 
ventriculus  oblong,  its  greatest  breadth  eight-twelfths.  The 
stomach  is  very  large,  elliptical,  compressed,  an  inch  and 
nine-twelfths  long,  two  inches  in  breadth  ;  the  muscles 
extremely  large,  the  right  ten,  the  left  nine-twelfths  thick ; 
the  epithelium  thick,  rugous,  with  two  roundish,  slightly 
concave,  grinding  plates.  The  intestine  is  very  long,  and 
rather  wide,  its  length  being  six  feet  ten  inches,  its  width  for 
two  feet  four-twelfths  and  a  half,  then  gradually  enlarging  to 
half  an  inch  ;  the  rectum  five  inches  and  a  quarter  in  length  ; 
the  coeea  eleven  inches  long,  two  twelfths  wide  for  two 


GAD  WALL  TEAL. 


61 


inches,  then  enlarging  to  six-twelfths,  toward  the  end  nar¬ 
rowed  to  two-and-a-half-twelfths,  with  the  tip  rounded. 

The  trachea,  seven  inches  and  a  half  in  length,  at  first 
from  four  to  three-and-a-half-twelfths  in  breadth,  enlarges  to 
five-twelfths,  then  contracts  to  tliree-and-a-lialf-twelfths  ;  the 
lower  larynx  with  an  enlargement  formed  by  the  union  of 
several  of  the  rings,  and  on  the  left  side  a  rounded  bony 
tympanum,  the  greatest  transverse  diameter  of  the  whole 
beiim  an  inch  and  a  twelfth.  The  bronchi  of  moderate  size. 

o 

Nostrils  small,  elliptical,  two-twelfths  long.  Eyes  small. 
Legs  very  short  ;  tibia  bare  for  four-twelfths ;  tarsus  com¬ 
pressed,  with  twenty  small  anterior  scutella,  and  about 
twelve  outer,  the  rest  reticulated  with  small  angular  scales. 
The  first  toe  very  small ;  the  second  much  shorter  than  the 
fourth,  which  is  a  little  exceeded  by  the  third  ;  the  first  with 
ten  scutella,  the  second  scaly  on  the  first  phalanx,  and  with 
fifteen  scutella  on  the  second,  the  third  with  thirty  scutella, 
the  fourth  thirty-six ;  the  interdigital  membranes  crenulato- 
denticulate,  the  outer  emarginate.  The  claws  are  small, 
arched,  compressed,  rather  obtuse,  that  of  the  middle  toe 
little  dilated  internally. 

The  plumage  is  soft,  close,  and  blended.  The  feathers  on 
the  head  short,  on  the  occiput  and  nape  somewhat  elongated, 
on  the  other  parts  moderate,  ovate,  or  oblong.  The  scapu¬ 
lars  are  much  elongated,  tapering,  and  pointed.  The  wing 
is  rather  long,  narrow,  and  pointed,  with  twenty-five  quills  ; 
the  primaries  little  curved,  tapering ;  the  first  a  twelfth 
shorter  than  the  second,  the  rest  rapidly  decreasing ;  the 
outer  secondaries  broad,  incurved,  and  obliquely  rounded, 
the  inner  elongated  and  tapering.  The  tail  small,  short, 
rounded,  of  sixteen  stiffish,  pointed  feathers,  of  which  the 
medial  project  a  quarter  of  an  inch  beyond  the  next. 

The  bill  is  black,  shaded  with  blue  toward  the  base.  The 
eyes  reddish-brown.  The  feet  dull  orange  ;  the  webs  darker  ; 
the  claws  dusky.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  and  a  band 
down  the  nape,  are  dusky,  variegated  with  reddish-brown, 
the  tips  of  the  feathers  being  of  the  latter  colour.  Behind  the 
eye  are  two  faint  dull-grey  streaks,  separated  by  one  dotted 
with  reddish.  The  forehead  and  cheeks  greyish-white,  dotted 


62 


QUERQUEDULA  STREPERA. 


with  dusky,  the  throat,  sides  and  fore  part  of  the  neck  yellow¬ 
ish-red,  similarly  dotted,  hut  the  markings  on  the  throat  almost 
obliterated.  The  lower  part  of  the  neck  all  round  dusky, 
undulated  with  semicircular  white  bands  ;  the  fore  part  of 
the  back  similar,  with  the  white  bands  gradually  narrowed  ; 
the  middle  part  of  the  hack  and  the  scapulars  dusky,  finely 
undulated  with  dull  white  ;  some  of  the  posterior  scapulars 
grey,  and  a  few  margined  with  reddish  ;  the  rest  of  the  hack 
black,  at  first  brownish,  then  gradually  tinged  with  blue;  the 
tail-feathers  grey,  most  of  them  narrowly  edged  with  white, 
and  the  outer  three  dusky  toward  the  end.  The  smaller  wing- 
coverts  are  dull  grey,  widely  undulated  with  reddish-white  ; 
some  of  the  middle  coverts  deep  cliestnut-red ;  the  primary 
coverts  and  quills  brownish-grey,  with  the  inner  webs  paler  ; 
the  seven  outer  secondary  quills  grey,  tinged  with  red  at  the 
end,  several  of  the  next  deep  black,  the  inner  deep  grey. 
Two  outer  secondaries  grey,  six  next  gradually  changing  to 
deep  black,  with  the  terminal  margins  white,  three  next 
white,  five  inner  grey.  The  wing  spot  is  thus  black  exter¬ 
nally,  white  internally.  The  lower  parts  are  greyish-white, 
the  middle  of  the  breast  pure  white  ;  the  flanks  undulated 
with  dusky  grey ;  the  abdomen  more  obscurely  undulated  ; 
the  feathers  below  the  tail,  like  those  above,  deep  bluish- 
black.  The  axillars  and  lower  wing-coverts  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  21  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  o4  ;  wing 
from  flexure  1044} ;  tail  44  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  l-t-^ ;  its 
height  at  the  base  ;  its  breadth  toward  the  end  ;  tarsus 
14 ;  hind  toe  -fV,  its  claw  -fa ;  second  toe  l-^,  its  claw  -yV  ; 
third  toe  1-44?  its  claw  ;  fourth  toe  1|4,  its  claw  -yb. 

Female. — The  female,  which  is  considerably  smaller,  has 
the  upper  mandible  dusky,  on  the  sides  dull  orange,  the 
lower  mandible  chiefly  of  the  latter  colour  ;  the  iris  brown  ; 
the  feet  of  a  paler  dull  orange.  The  upper  part  of  the  head 
dusky,  variegated  with  light  reddish-brown  ;  a  pale  streak, 
dotted  with  dusky,  over  the  eye  ;  the  sides  of  the  head  and 
upper  neck  all  round  light  yellowish-red,  with  small  dusky 
streaks,  the  throat  greyish-white.  On  the  rest  of  the  neck, 
and  all  the  upper  parts,  the  feathers  are  brownish-black, 


GADWALL  TEAL. 


63 


broadly  edged  with  light  red.  The  wing-coverts  hrownish- 
grey,  edged  with  paler  ;  the  wing  as  in  the  male,  but  with 
the  speculum  paler.  The  tail-feathers  are  dusky,  obliquely 
barred  with  pale  white,  and  narrowly  edged  with  reddish- 
white.  The  lower  parts  are  light  reddish,  with  dusky  white. 

The  scapulars  and  inner  secondaries  are  less  elongated 
than  in  the  male,  as  are  the  middle  tail-feathers. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  19  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  30  ; 
wing  from  flexure  9f ;  tail  of ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1-j8^  ; 
tarsus  1^- ;  middle  toe  1-ff,  its  claw 

Variations. —  Great  differences  as  to  size  occur,  as  in  the 
Pintail. 

Habits. — The  Gadwall  can  scarcely  be  considered  as  a 
regular  winter  visitant,  it  being  very  seldom  met  with  near 
the  eastern  coast  of  England,  and  that  chiefly  in  spring  ;  nor 
has  it  hitherto  occurred  in  Scotland,  except  in  the  Montrose 
Basin,  the  neighbourhood  of  Peterhead,  and  the  islands  of 
Sanday  and  Orkney.  Several  specimens  have  been  obtained 
in  Ireland.  It  is  said  by  authors  to  be  plentiful  in  the 
marshes  in  the  northern  parts  of  Europe.  M.  Temminck  says 
it  is  “  very  abundant  in  Holland,  where  it  lives  in  the  same 
places  as  the  common  Wild  Duck.”  In  winter  it  advances 
southward,  dispersing  along  the  coasts. 

It  is  equally  a  native  of  North  America,  occurring,  accor¬ 
ding  to  M.  Audubon,  both  along  the  coasts  and  in  the  interior. 
According  to  that  enthusiastic  naturalist,  it  “  dives  well  on 
occasion,  especially  on  being  wounded.  At  the  appearance  of 
danger,  it  rises  on  wing,  whether  from  the  ground  or  from  the 
water,  at  a  single  spring,  in  the  manner  of  the  Mallard,  and, 
like  it  also,  ascends  almost  perpendicularly  for  several  yards, 
after  which  it  moves  off  in  a  direct  course  with  great  celerity. 
I  have  never  seen  it  dive  on  seeing  the  flash  of  a  gun ;  but 
when  approached  it  always  swims  to  the  opposite  part  of  the 
pond,  and,  when  the  danger  increases,  flies  off.  On  being 
wounded,  it  sometimes  by  diving  makes  its  escape  among  the 
grass,  where  it  squats  and  remains  concealed.  It  walks  with 
ease,  and  prettily,  often  making  incursions  upon  the  land, 


64 


QUERQUEDULA  STREPERA. 


when  the  ponds  are  not  surrounded  by  trees,  for  the  purpose 
of  searching  for  food.  It  nibbles  the  tender  shoots  and  blades 
of  grasses  with  apparent  pleasure,  and  wrill  feed  on  beech  nuts, 
acorns,  and  seeds  of  all  kinds  of  graminese,  as  wTell  as  on  tad¬ 
poles,  small  fishes,  and  leeches.  After  rain  it  alights  in  the 
corn-fields,  like  the  Mallard,  and  picks  up  the  scattered  grains 
of  maize.  The  common  notes  or  cry  of  the  female  have  a 
considerable  resemblance  to  those  of  the  female  Mallard ;  but 
the  cry  of  the  male  is  weaker,  as  in  that  species.” 


65 


QUERQUEDULA  ACUTA.  PINTAIL  TEAL. 


PINTAIL  DUCK.  WINTER  DUCK. 


Fig.  63. 


Anas  acuta.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  202. 

Anas  acuta.  Lath.  Ind.  Orn.  II.  864. 

Pintail  Duck.  Mont.  Orn.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  a  longue  queue  ou  Pilet.  Anas  acuta.  Temm.  Man.  d'Orn.  II.  839. 

Common  Pintail.  Querquedula  acuta.  Selb.  Ilust.  II.  311. 

Anas  acuta.  Pintail.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  232. 

Dafila  acuta.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  56. 

Male  with  the  bill  two  inches  and  two-tivelfths  long,  nine- 
twelfths  broad  toward  the  end ,  black,  with  the  sides  toward  the 
base  light  blue ;  scapulars  and  inner  secondaries  elorigated  and 
acuminate ;  middle  tail-feathers  long,  and  tapering  to  a  fine 
point ;  head  and  throat  dusky  brown  ;  a  longitudinal  ba?id  of 
greenish-black  on  the  hind  neck,  and  two  white  bands  continu¬ 
ous  with  the  white  of  the  lower  parts ;  back  and  sides  finely 
undulated  with  grey  and  white ;  smaller  wing-coverts  grey ; 
vol.  v.  f 


66 


QUERQUEDULA  ACUTA. 


speculum  green  and  black ,  margined  anteriorly  with  red  and 
posteriorly  with  white ;  tail  grey ;  middle  feathers  brownish- 
black ;  lower  tail-coverts  black ,  the  outer  partially  white . 
Female  with  the  scapulars,  inner  secondaries,  and  tail-feather s 
less  elongated  ;  the  head  and  neck  light  reddish,  streaked  with 
dusky ;  the  upper  parts  blackish-brown,  the  feathers  edged 
and  variously  barred  with  reddish-white ;  the  lower  parts 
yellowish-white,  marked  with  oblong  spots  of  greyish-brown. 

Male  in  Winter. — Tlie  elongated  neck,  pointed  tail, 
and  variegated  plumage  of  this  species,  render  it  one  of  the 
most  elegant  of  the  family  to  which  it  belongs.  Its  head  is 
of  moderate  size,  oblong,  compressed,  and  considerably  rounded 
above. 

The  hill  is  scarcely  shorter  than  the  head,  nearly  straight, 
rather  narrow,  higher  than  broad  at  the  base,  gradually 
depressed  toward  the  end,  and  slightly  widened ;  the  upper 
mandible  with  the  lateral  sinuses  broadly  rounded,  the  upper 
convex,  the  angles  short  and  rather  obtuse,  the  dorsal  line 
decimate  to  beyond  the  nostrils,  then  nearly  straight  to  the 
unguis,  which  is  small,  ovato-triangular,  and  decurved  at  the 
end,  the  ridge  of  moderate  breadth,  rather  concave,  and  gra¬ 
dually  narrowed,  becoming  convex,  the  sides  nearly  erect  at 
the  base,  convex  toward  the  end,  the  edges  slightly  sinuous, 
with  about  fifty  lamella),  of  which  the  narrowly-rounded 
outer  extremities  are  scarcely  apparent ;  the  nasal  sinus 
small,  elliptical,  sub-basal,  close  to  the  ridge  ;  lower  mandible 
slightly  rearcuate,  with  the  intercrural  space  very  long,  nar¬ 
row,  and  bare,  the  crura  slender,  gradually  flattened,  the 
unguis  small,  elongated-triangular,  slightly  convex. 

Nostrils  small,  elliptical,  two-twelfths  long.  Eyes  small. 
Legs  very  short ;  tarsus  compressed,  with  fifteen  anterior 
small  scutella,  and  ten  outer,  the  rest  reticulated  with  small 
angular  scales.  The  first  toe  very  small ;  the  second  much 
shorter  than  the  fourth,  which  is  considerably  exceeded  by 
the  third,  the  latter  with  thirty-two  scutella  ;  the  interdigital 
membranes  nearly  even,  and  crenato-denticulate.  The  claws 
are  small,  little  arched,  compressed,  rather  obtuse,  that  of  the 
third  toe  with  the  inner  edge  a  little  expanded. 


PINTAIL  TEAL. 


67 


The  plumage  is  close,  soft,  and  blended.  The  feathers  on 
the  head  and  upper  neck  short,  somewhat  velvety ;  on  the 
occiput  and  scape  a  little  elongated ;  on  the  other  parts 
moderate,  ovate  or  oblong.  The  scapulars  arc  much  elon¬ 
gated,  tapering,  and  pointed.  The  wing  is  rather  long, 
narrow,  and  pointed,  with  twenty-five  quills ;  the  primaries 
little  curved,  tapering ;  the  first  two-twelfths  longer  than  the 
second,  the  rest  rapidly  decreasing  ;  the  outer  secondaries 
broad,  incurved,  and  obliquely  rounded,  the  inner  elongated 
and  tapering.  The  tail,  although  small,  is  rather  long,  on 
account  of  the  extent  of  the  two  middle  tapering  and 
pointed  feathers,  which  exceed  the  next  by  an  inch  and  a 
quarter,  and  then  the  next  by  ten-twelfths,  while  the  lateral 
feathers  are  two  inches  and  a  half  shorter  than  the  lommst. 

o 

The  tail  is  thus  cuneato-acuminate,  and  consists  of  sixteen 
feathers. 

The  bill  is  black,  but  with  the  sides  pale  blue  under  the 
nostrils.  The  eyes  reddish-orange.  The  feet  greyish-black. 
The  head  and  upper  part  of  the  neck,  laterally  and  anteriorly, 
are  dusky-brown,  the  upper  part  of  the  head  lighter,  and  the 
feathers  behind  the  eyes  glossed  with  purplish-red  and  pale 
green.  From  the  nape  for  three  inches  down  the  middle  of 
the  neck,  a  band  of  brownish-black,  tinged  with  green,  and 
on  each  side  of  it  a  line  of  white,  continuous  with  that  of  the 
fore  part  and  sides  of  the  neck  and  breast.  The  lower  hind 
part  and  sides  of  the  neck  delicately  undulated  transversely 
with  grey  and  white  lines,  as  are  the  sides  of  the  body ;  the 
hind  part  of  the  back  brownish-grey,  with  faint  undulations  ; 
most  of  the  tail-coverts  greenish-black  on  the  outer,  and 
white  on  the  inner  webs.  The  tail-feathers  grey,  narrowly 
edged  with  greyish-white,  the  tint  becoming  deeper  toward 
the  two  middle,  which  are  brownish-black.  The  elongated 
scapulars  are  velvet-black,  edged  toward  the  end  with  yellow¬ 
ish  white.  The  smaller  wing-coverts  are  light  bluish-grey, 
the  outer  secondary  coverts  tipped  with  light  red.  The 
primary  quills  and  coverts  light  greyish-brown,  with  white 
shafts ;  the  outer  secondaries  black,  tipped  with  white,  and 
eight  of  them  bronzed  green  on  the  outer  web ;  the  inner  are 
black  in  the  middle,  and  edged  with  grey  or  brown.  The 


es 


QUERQUEDULA  ACUTA. 


axillars  ’white,  with  grey  markings  ;  the  lower  wing-coverts 
grey.  On  the  sides  of  the  rump  is  a  buff-coloured  patch ; 
the  abdomen  white,  faintly  undulated  with  grey ;  the  feathers 
under  the  tail  black,  the  outer  externally  white  ;  the  imme¬ 
diate  coverts  long,  stiff,  and  pointed. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  25  inches ;  extent  of  wings  35 ; 
wing  from  flexure  11J;  tail  6 J ;  hill  along  the  ridge  2t2-j, 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2yL,  its  height  at  the  base 
Ai,  its  breadth  toward  the  end  Tk;  tarsus  1|- ;  hind  toe 
its  claw  ;  second  toe  11-,  its  claw  ;  third  toe 
claw  -jA- ;  fourth  toe  1-}-^-,  its  clawT  y\. 


Female. — The  female,  which  is  much  smaller  than  the 
male,  is  very  differently  coloured.  The  hill  is  greyish-black 
above,  reddish-brown  beneath ;  the  feet  brown.  The  head 
and  neck  are  light  reddish-brown,  streaked  with  dusky,  the 
lines  very  delicate  on  part  of  the  middle  of  the  neck  behind. 
The  upper  parts  are  blackish-brown,  the  feathers  narrowly 
edged  and  variously  barred  with  reddish-wliite.  The  quills 
greyish-brown  ;  the  speculum  faint,  but  glossed  with  green 
and  tinged  with  reddish  ;  the  secondaries  terminally  edged 
with  white,  and  their  coverts  with  reddish-white.  The  tail- 
feathers  marked  like  the  back.  The  lower  parts  are  reddish- 
white,  marked  with  oblong  dusky  spots  ;  the  longer  feathers 
of  the  sides  obliquely,  the  axillars  transversely  barred.  The 
scapulars  and  inner  secondaries  are  less  elongated  ;  and  the 
tail  is  much  shorter,  the  middle  feathers  projecting  little 
beyond  the  rest. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  21  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  33  ; 
wing  from  flexure  ;  tail  3J ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1-t-i ; 
tarsus  1TV;  middle  toe  ly^-,  its  claw  T4^. 

Habits. — This  elegantly  formed  and  beautifully  coloured 
species  is  not  uncommon  in  winter  and  spring  in  some  parts 
of  England,  but  is  of  rare  occurrence  even  in  the  south  of 
Scotland,  and  very  uncommon  north  of  the  Tay.  It  is  said, 
however,  to  be  “  pretty  abundant  in  many  parts  of  Orkney, 
but  especially  in  Sanday,  migrating  northward  commonly 
in  March.”  In  Ireland  it  is  ie  a  regular  winter  visitant, 


PINTAIL  TEAL. 


69 


in  small  numbers,  to  the  coast  and  inland  waters.”  It 
is  extensively  dispersed  over  the  continent  of  Europe,  and 
not  less  so  over  that  of  North  America.  Mr.  Audubon, 
who  has  studied  its  habits,  informs  us  that  on  the  water 
few  birds  exhibit  more  graceful  motions.  “  They  swim 
rather  deeply,  keep  close  together,  and  raise  the  hind  part 
of  the  body.  On  the  land  they  walk  with  ease,  still  carrying 
their  tail  raised.  Their  flight  is  very  rapid,  greatly  pro¬ 
tracted,  and  almost  noiseless.  They  are  scarcely  nocturnal, 
but  rest  much  in  the  middle  of  the  day,  basking  in  the  sun¬ 
shine  whilst  on  the  water,  whenever  they  can  indulge  in  this 
luxury.  In  feeding  they  often  associate  with  the  Mallard, 
Wigeon,  and  Blue-winged  Teal.  Their  food  consists  of 
vegetable  substances,  seeds,  and  fruits,  but  also  of  tadpoles, 
leeches,  insects,  and  other  small  animals.  On  ponds  they 
feed  along  the  most  shallow  places,  or  by  the  edges,  im¬ 
mersing  their  heads  and  necks,  and  groping  with  their  hind 
parts  elevated,  like  the  Mallard ;  hut  never  diving  for  the 
purpose,  although  when  wounded  they  can  pass  under  the 
surface  for  a  short  space.” 

According  to  Montagu,  te  the  notes  of  the  Pintail  are 
extremely  soft  and  inward  ;  the  courting  note  is  always 
attended  with  a  jerk  of  the  head;  the  other  greatly  resembles 
that  of  a  very  young  kitten.  In  the  spring,  the  male  indi¬ 
cates  his  softer  passions  by  suddenly  raising  his  body  upright 
in  the  water,  and  bringing  his  bill  close  to  his  breast,  uttering 
at  the  same  time  a  soft  note.  This  gesticulation  is  frequently 
followed  by  a  singular  jerk  of  the  hinder  part  of  the  body, 
which  in  turn  is  thrown  up  above  the  water.” 

Changes  of  Plumage. — The  moult  is  generally  com¬ 
pleted  by  the  end  of  autumn,  from  which  time  until  the 
middle  of  summer  the  males  undergo  no  other  change  than 
what  results  from  the  action  of  the  weather.  They  then, 
however,  as  Montagu  states,  “  assume  a  very  near  resem¬ 
blance  to  the  female,  which  at  other  times  is  known  to  be  so 
extremely  dissimilar.  In  the  month  of  June,  or  beginning 
of  July,  these  birds  commenced  their  change  of  plumage, 
and  by  degrees,  after  making  a  singular  mottled  appearance, 


70 


QUERQUEDULA  ACUTA. 


especially  on  the  part  of  the  body  which  was  white  before, 
became  by  the  first  week  in  August  entirely  of  a  brown 
colour.  The  beautiful  bronze  on  the  head,  the  white  streak 
on  each  side  of  the  neck,  and  all  the  white  beneath,  as  well 
as  the  elegant  scapulars,  had  all  entirely  vanished,  and  to  all 
appearance  a  sexual  metamorphosis  had  taken  place.  But 
this  change  was  of  short  duration,  for  about  the  latter  end 
of  September  one  of  the  males  began  to  reassume  the  mascu¬ 
line  attire  ;  the  white  on  the  under  parts  of  the  body,  streaks 
on  the  neck  and  scapulars,  and  some  bronze  on  the  head, 
were  evident,  and  by  the  middle  of  October  this  bird  was 
again  in  full  plumage.  The  other  had  then  only  begun  to 
change,  and  did  not  become  perfect  till  the  middle  of 
November. 

“  The  following  is  the  description  of  a  Pintail  after  he 
had  thrown  off  the  masculine  plumage,  taken  on  the  19th  of 
August : — Bill  as  usual.  Top  of  the  head,  and  from  thence 
down  the  back  of  the  neck,  dusky  and  pale  ferruginous,  in¬ 
termixed  in  minute  streaks,  paler  on  the  forehead  ;  sides  of 
the  head  and  throat  brown,  with  minute  dusky  specks  tinged 
with  ferruginous  ;  the  front  and  sides  of  the  neck  brown, 
with  dusky  black  spots,  which  are  minute  on  the  upper 
parts,  becoming  larger  by  degrees  downwards,  where  they 
are  also  more  distinct ;  the  breast  and  belly  very  pale  brown, 
with  more  distant  dusky  spots  ;  the  back  and  scapulars  dusky 
black,  with  pale  margins,  each  feather  having  a  transverse 
bar  of  white  near  the  tip  ;  the  longer  scapulars  are  only 
margined  with  rufous  white,  and  some  are  powdered  with 
white  ;  the  rump  like  the  back,  but  these  feathers  gradually 
lose  the  white  bar  as  they  approach  the  tail,  so  that  the  tail- 
coverts  are  only  margined  with  white ;  the  feathers  on  the 
sides  of  the  body  being  large,  have  broad  margins,  with  the 
middle  dusky  black,  in  which  is  either  a  ferruginous  white 
bar  or  two  spots,  one  on  each  side  of  the  shaft ;  the  prime 
quills  dusky  grey  as  usual ;  the  speculum  changeable  green 
or  copper,  tipped  with  white,  a  violet  bar  dividing  the  green 
from  the  white  ;  the  first  tertial  is  brown  on  the  inner  web, 
grey  on  the  outer  near  the  shaft,  and  a  broad  margin  of 
violet ;  the  rest  of  the  tertials  are  brown  dashed  with  cine- 


PINTAIL  TEAL. 


71 


reous,  black  near  the  shafts  ;  the  coverts  of  the  wings  plain 
dark  cinereous,  the  largest  series  tipped  with  hay ;  the  tail 
consists  of  sixteen  dusky  feathers  dashed  with  cinereous, 
gradually  becoming  darker  towards  the  middle  feathers, 
which  rather  exceed  the  next  in  length,  making  the  tail 
regularly  cuneiform ;  vent  and  under  tail-coverts  rufous 
white,  with  distant  black  spots. 

“  This  double  moulting  in  so  short  a  time,  peculiar  to 
some  species  of  birds,  is  a  most  curious  and  extraordinary 
circumstance,  that  seems  to  hid  defiance  to  all  human 


reasoning. 


72 


RHYNCHASPIS.  SHOYEL-BILL. 

In  this  genus,  which  differs  little  from  Querquedula, 
unless  in  the  expanded  form  of  the  bill,  and  the  remarkable 
elongation  of  the  extremely  attenuated  lamellae,  the  body  is 
elongated,  elliptical,  slightly  depressed,  and  moderately  full ; 
the  neck  rather  long  and  slender  ;  the  head  oblong,  much 
compressed,  little  elevated  above. 

Bill  longer  than  the  head,  much  higher  than  broad  at  the 
base,  gradually  depressed  and  widened  toward  the  end,  the 
breadth  of  which  is  double  that  of  the  base ;  upper  mandible 
with  the  basal  sinuses  broadly  rounded,  the  dorsal  line  gently 
sloping  and  nearly  straight  to  the  unguis,  which  is  small, 
oblongo-obovate,  decurved  at  the  end,  the  ridge  broad  and 
concave  at  the  base,  gradually  narrowed,  convex  toward  the 
end,  the  sides  at  the  base  erect,  toward  the  end  spreading  and 
convex,  the  edges  sinuate,  the  very  numerous,  elongated, 
slender  lamella?  projecting  conspicuously  from  the  base  to 
near  the  broadest  part,  beyond  which  they  are  incurved,  the 
nasal  sinus  small,  ovato-elliptical,  sub-basal,  and  near  the 
ridge ;  lower  mandible  less  dilated,  with  the  intercrural  space 
very  long,  rather  narrow,  and  bare,  the  crura  erect  at  the 
base,  horizontal  toward  the  end,  with  their  former  outline 
considerably  rearcuate,  the  lamellae  extremely  numerous,  the 
upper  filiform,  the  unguis  small,  obovate,  and  little  convex. 

Mouth  of  moderate  width ;  anterior  palate  broadly  con¬ 
cave,  with  a  median  prominent  line,  having  a  few  papillae 
toward  the  base.  Tongue  fleshy,  with  a  deep  median  groove, 
and  marginal  slender  lamella?  and  bristles,  its  breadth  increas¬ 
ing  to  the  end,  where  it  is  abrupt,  but  with  a  semicircular 
median  flattened  tip.  (Esophagus  of  moderate  width  ;  pro- 
ventriculus  oblong.  Stomach  a  very  muscular,  roundish 
gizzard,  placed  obliquely,  with  longitudinal  rugous  epithelium, 


RHYNCHASPIS.  SHOVEL-BILL. 


73 


and  thick  grinding  plates.  Intestine  extremely  long  and 
slender ;  cceca  long,  rather  narrow ;  rectum  very  short. 

Trachea  slowly  enlarging  from  the  top  ;  the  inferior 
larynx  with  a  rounded  bony  expansion,  comparatively  small 
on  the  left  side.  Bronchi  large,  with  numerous  rings. 

Nostrils  rather  small,  elliptical,  in  the  fore  part  of  the 
nasal  membrane  ;  eyes  small ;  ears  very  small.  Legs  very 
short ;  tarsus  compressed,  with  small  anterior  scutella ;  hind 
toe  very  small,  with  a  very  narrow  membrane  ;  outer  toe  a 
little  shorter  than  the  third,  which  is  longer  than  the  tarsus  ; 
interdigital  membranes  emarginate  ;  claws  slender,  com¬ 
pressed,  acuminate,  moderately  arcuate. 

Plumage  dense,  soft,  and  glossy  ;  feathers  of  the  head  and 
upper  neck  short  and  blended ;  of  the  other  parts  moderate, 
ovate,  or  oblong  ;  scapulars  elongated  and  acuminate.  Wings 
of  moderate  length,  narrow,  pointed,  of  twenty-five  quills ; 
primaries  narrow,  the  first  and  second  longest ;  inner  secon¬ 
daries  elongated  and  tapering.  Tail  small,  much  rounded,  of 
fourteen  stiffish,  tapering  feathers. 

In  this  genus,  of  which  very  few  species  are  known,  the 
lamellae  of  the  mandibles  receive  their  highest  degree  of 
development  as  to  elongation,  but  are  much  inferior  to  those 
of  several  other  genera  in  actual  size  and  strength.  They 
appear  to  be  thus  modified  to  be  adapted  to  the  separating 
from  the  mud  of  insects,  mollusca,  worms,  and  the  like,  on 
which,  more  than  on  vegetable  substances,  the  Shovel-Bills 
feed.  Some  writers  have  assumed  this  form  of  hill  as  typical, 
and  give  the  generic  name  Anas  to  the  group  ;  but  I  think 
the  truly  typical  bill  of  a  Duck,  or  that  which  combines  all 
the  essential  qualities  of  a  bill  answering  the  ordinary  pur¬ 
poses  to  which  Ducks  apply  that  organ,  is  to  be  seen  in  our 
common  Mallard,  to  which  and  its  brethren,  therefore,  I 
would  prefer  giving  the  ancient  generic  name. 

The  male  has  the  scapulars,  inner  secondaries,  and  tail- 
feathers,  more  elongated  and  acuminate  than  the  female, 
which  it  also  greatly  excels  in  the  beauty  of  its  plumage. 
Toward  the  end  of  summer  the  male  becomes  similar  in 
plumage  to  the  female,  but  resumes  his  gaudy  livery  in  the 
beginning  of  winter. 


74 


RHYNCHASPIS  CLYPEATA.  THE  BLUEAYINGED 

SHOVEL-BILL. 

SHOVELLER.  BLUE-WINGED  SHOVELLER.  BROAD-BILL.  RED-BREASTED 

SHOVELLER. 


Fig.  64. 


Anas  clypeata.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  200. 

Anas  clypeata.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  856. 

Shoveller.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  Souchet.  Anas  clypeata.  Terum.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  II.  842. 
Common  Shoveller.  Spathulea  clypeata.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  297. 
Anas  clypeata.  Common  Shoveller.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  230. 
Bhynchaspis  clypeata.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  57. 


Male  with  the  hill  greyish-black,  two  inches  ancl  a  half 
long,  an  inch  and  a  quarter  in  breadth  near  the  end ;  feet 
orange-red;  head  and  upper  neck  glossed  with  green  and 
purple ;  lower  neck  white ;  breast  purplish-chestnut ;  back 
greenish -black ;  smaller  wing-coverts  light  blue;  scapulars 


BLUE-WINGED  SHOVEL-BILL. 


7  o 


white,  greenish-black,  and  pale  blue ;  speculum  bright  green, 
margined  anteriorly  ivith  white  ;  tail  short,  much  rounded,  of 
fourteen  pointed  feathers.  Female  with  the  bill  dusky  above, 
reddish-brown  beneath,  the  head  and  upper  neck  pale  reddish , 
streaked  with  dusky,  the  lower  neck  and  breast  similar,  with 
dusky  spots ;  feathers  of  the  upper  parts  blackish-brown, 
edged  ivith  r eddish- white ;  smaller  icing-coverts  faintly  tinged 
with  light  blue  ;  speculum  duller,  and  of  less  extent  than  in 
the  male. 

Male  in  Winter. — The  peculiar  form  of  the  bill,  from 
which  this  species  derives  its  name,  at  once  distinguishes  it 
from  every  other  British  bird.  Its  body  is  rather  full  and 
somewhat  depressed ;  the  neck  of  moderate  length  ;  the  head 
oblong,  nearly  flat  above,  and  much  compressed. 

The  bill  is  longer  than  the  head,  of  much  greater  height 
than  breadth  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed,  and  widened 
toward  the  end,  its  breadth  there  being  doubled  ;  upper 
mandible  with  the  basal  margins  broadly  rounded,  the  dorsal 
line  gently  sloping  and  nearly  straight  to  the  unguis,  which 
is  small,  oblongo-obovato,  decurved  at  the  end,  the  ridge 
broad  and  concave  at  the  base,  gradually  narrowed,  the  sides 
at  first  erect,  gradually  more  decimate  toward  the  end,  and 
convex  ;  the  end  semicircular ;  the  edges  marginate,  sinuous, 
with  about  a  hundred  and  seventy  lamellae,  of  which  the 
outer  ends  are  compressed,  tapering,  and  pointed,  and  project 
so  as  to  resemble  a  comb,  until  the  commencement  of  the 
broadest  part  of  the  bill,  where  they  are  more  widely  set  and 
short,  and  from  thence  to  the  tip,  where,  although  elongated 
and  acicular,  they  curve  inwards  ;  the  nasal  groove  ovato- 
elliptical,  rather  small,  sub-basal,  and  near  the  ridge  ;  the 
lower  mandible  slightly  re-arcuate,  with  the  intercrural  space 
very  long  and  rather  narrow,  the  sides  of  the  crura  erect  at 
the  base,  horizontal  at  the  end ;  the  unguis  small,  obovate, 
little  convex,  the  edges  inclinate,  with  about  eighty  external 
and  two  hundred  and  twenty  upper  lamellae,  the  latter 
acicular. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width  ;  the  anterior  palate 
broadly  concave,  with  a  median  prominent  ridge,  becoming 


76 


RHYNCHASPIS  CLYPEATA. 


papillate  toward  the  base.  The  tongue,  two  inches  and  three 
fourths  in  length,  is  emarginate  and  finely  papillate  at  the 
base,  fleshy,  with  a  deep  longitudinal  groove,  at  first  com¬ 
pressed  and  narrow,  then  gradually  expanded,  with  lateral 
lamellae  and  bristles,  its  breadth  toward  the  end  one  inch, 
where  it  terminates  abruptly,  but  has  a  median,  thin,  horny, 
semicircular  tip.  The  oesophagus  is  nine  inches  long,  rather 
narrow,  its  general  width  being  about  five-twelfths.  The 
stomach  is  roundish,  compressed,  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length 
and  breadth,  with  very  strong  muscles,  and  radiated  tendons  ; 
the  epithelium  dense,  rugous,  with  two  thick  grinding  plates. 
The  intestine  is  very  long  and  narrow,  being  nine  feet  nine 
inches  in  length,  two-twelfths  in  breadth,  beyond  the  middle 
enlarging  a  little,  until  at  the  coeca  it  attains  a  breadth  of 
three-twelfths  and  a  half.  The  coeca  are  four  inches  long, 
very  narrow  at  the  base,  gradually  enlarging  to  tliree-twelfths- 
and-a-half,  narrowed  but  obtuse  at  the  end ;  the  rectum 
three  inches  and  a  quarter  in  length. 

The  trachea  gradually  enlarges  from  the  breadth  of  two- 
twelfths-and-a-half  to  that  of  four-twelfths,  and  is  com¬ 
posed  of  about  an  hundred  rings,  of  which  the  lower  are 
broader.  The  inferior  larynx  has  a  rounded  bony  expan¬ 
sion,  of  comparatively  small  size,  on  the  left  side.  The 
bronchi  are  comparatively  large,  with  about  thirty-five  half 
rings. 

The  nostrils  are  rather  small,  elliptical,  and  pervious. 
The  eyes  small,  as  are  the  ears.  The  legs  are  very  short ; 
the  tibia  bare  for  about  four-twelfths  of  an  inch  ;  the  tarsus 
much  shorter  than  the  outer  toes,  compressed,  with  about 
fifteen  small  anterior  scutella,  and  about  ten  in  the  outer 
series,  elsewhere  reticulated  with  lozenge -shaped  scales. 
The  hind  toe  is  very  small,  with  ten  scutella,  and  a  nar¬ 
row  free  membrane  ;  the  anterior  toes  are  long  and  slender ; 
the  inner  with  a  broad,  two-lobed,  thin  margin,  and 
only  ten  scutella,  the  basal  phalanx  being  scaly  ;  the 
middle  toe  with  twenty-eight,  extending  to  the  base ;  the 
outer  with  twenty  scutella  and  numerous  basal  scales  ;  the 
fourth  toe  a  little  shorter  than  the  third  ;  the  inter¬ 
digital  membranes  reticulated,  emarginate  and  crenato- 


BLUE-WINGEl)  SHOVEL-BILL. 


t  / 


denticulate.  The  claws  are  slender,  compressed,  acuminate, 
moderately  arcuate,  that  of  the  middle  toe  with  the  inner 
edge  slightly  dilated. 

The  plumage  is  soft,  dense,  elastic,  and  glossy.  The 
feathers  of  the  head  and  upper  neck  blended,  of  the  occiput 
and  nape  considerably  elongated,  of  the  rest  of  the  neck  and 
lower  parts  obovate,  of  the  sides  elongated,  of  the  back 
oblong.  The  inner  scapulars  elongated  and  acuminate. 
Wings  of  moderate  length,  moderately  concave,  rather  nar¬ 
row,  pointed,  with  twenty-five  quills ;  the  primaries  tapering, 
the  first  a  twelfth  of  an  inch  shorter  than  the  second,  which 
is  longest,  the  rest  rapidly  decreasing ;  the  outer  secondaries 
incurvate,  and  obliquely  rounded ;  the  inner  elongated  and 
acuminate.  The  tail  is  short,  much  rounded,  of  fourteen 
stiffish  tapering  feathers,  of  which  the  lateral  are  nearly  an 
inch  shorter  than  the  medial. 

The  bill  is  entirely  black,  with  a  tinge  of  grey.  The  iris 
reddish-orange.  The  feet  also  reddish -orange,  the  claws 
dusky,  with  the  tip  horn-coloured.  The  head  and  upper 
half  of  the  neck  are  glossy  green,  changing  to  purple  ;  the 
top  of  the  head,  fore  part  of  the  cheeks,  and  throat  black, 
with  little  green,  the  rest  of  the  neck,  and  a  small  part  of  the 
breast  white,  excepting  a  longitudinal  hand  of  dusky  behind, 
continuous  with  the  greenish-black  of  the  back,  of  which  the 
anterior  feathers  are  margined  with  white,  and  the  posterior 
become  gradually  darker  and  more  glossed  with  green,  the 
tail-coverts  having  a  brilliant  tint.  The  outer  anterior  scapu¬ 
lars  are  white,  the  inner  chiefly  black ;  the  outer  posterior 
have  the  outer  web  pale  blue,  the  inner  web  white ;  most  of 
the  rest  have  a  white  slender  median  band,  and  dusky  green 
sides,  the  innermost  black  entirely.  The  small  wing-coverts 
are  light  blue ;  the  primary  coverts  and  quills  brownish - 
black,  shaded  with  grey,  and  having  the  shafts  white ;  several 
of  the  outer  secondaries  are  largely  tipped  with  white ;  the 
secondaries  are  greenish-black,  but  on  eight  of  them  the  outer 
web  is  shining  deep  green,  and  the  inner  tapering  feathers 
have  a  white  streak  toward  the  tip.  The  tail-feathers  are 
brownish-grey,  undulated  and  margined  with  white,  which 
increases  from  the  medial  to  the  outer.  The  breast,  sides. 


78 


RHYNCHASPIS  CLYPEATA. 


and  part  of  the  abdomen  are  deep  chestnut,  tinged  with 
purple  ;  some  of  the  anterior  feathers  barred  and  spotted  with 
black,  the  ends  of  those  of  the  sides  paler  and  undulated  with 
dusky  lines.  The  axillar  feathers,  and  most  of  the  lower 
wing-coverts,  are  white,  the  larger,  and  those  towards  the 
edge,  being  pale  grey.  The  sides  of  the  rump  are  white ; 
the  feathers  of  the  abdomen  are  obscurely  barred  with  dusky, 
of  those  under  the  tail  the  anterior  are  white,  undulated  with 
dusky,  the  rest  greenish-black,  except  the  two  longest  under 
tail-coverts,  which  are  dusky,  variegated  with  white,  and 
margined  with  reddish-brown. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  20  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  32 ; 
wing  from  flexure  9  J ;  tail  4 ;  hill  along  the  ridge  1-^,  its 
breadth  at  the  base  T7T,  near  the  end  1 J ;  tarsus  l-j% ;  hind 
toe  j3-.  its  claw  T2Y ;  second  toe  lyV,  its  claw  ;  third  toe 
1-j^-,  its  claw  1Ar;  fourth  toe  ly^-,  its  claw  yV. 

Female  in  Winter. — The  female  is  considerably  inferior 
in  size,  and  differs  greatly  in  colour.  The  feathers  of  the 
head  and  upper  neck,  although  blended,  are  not  glossy  ;  and 
the  scapulars  and  inner  secondaries  are  much  less  elongated 
and  pointed.  The  bill  is  greenish-brown  above,  with  the 
unguis  paler,  and  the  margins  inclining  to  yellow  ;  the  lower 
mandible  dull  orange,  with  the  unguis  brown.  The  iris 
yellow.  The  head  and  upper  neck  are  pale  reddish-brown, 
streaked  with  dusky,  that  colour  being  predominant  on  the 
upper  part  of  the  head.  All  the  lower  parts  are  of  the  same 
pale  brown,  on  the  middle  of  the  breast  inclining  to  white, 
and  on  the  sides  deeper,  each  feather  with  a  dusky  patch 
toward  the  end.  On  the  upper  parts  the  feathers  are  blackish- 
brown,  edged  with  brownish-white.  The  smaller  wing- 
coverts  are  brown,  tinged  with  pale  blue ;  the  quills  and 
larger  coverts  greyish-brown ;  the  outer  secondary  coverts 
tipped  with  white,  but  less  extensively  than  in  the  male ;  the 
green  speculum  duller  and  less  extended ;  and  all  the  second¬ 
aries  more  or  less  margined  with  white.  The  tail-feathers 
are  greyish-brown,  obliquely  and  broadly  barred,  and  mar¬ 
gined  with  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  18  inches;  extent  of  wings  29; 


BLUE-WINGED  SHOVEL-BILL. 


79 


bill  along  the  ridge  2T4T ;  wing  from  flexure  9  ;  tail  3J ; 
tarsus  1^ ;  middle  toe  1-/^-,  its  claw  -yV* 

Variations. — Very  great  differences  as  to  size  occur  in 
this  species ;  hut  as  it  is  of  rare  occurrence  with  us,  I  cannot 
specify  instances.  Great  variations  also  occur  as  to  colour  ; 
but  they  depend  upon  the  gradual  change  of  plumage  which 
takes  place  in  autumn,  at  which  season  the  male  assumes  the 
appearance  of  the  female,  but  resumes  his  proper  colours  by 
the  beginning  of  w  inter. 

Habits. — Not  having  met  with  this  bird  alive,  I  am  not 
qualified  to  give  an  account  of  its  habits,  of  which,  however, 
it  is  expedient  to  state  what  little  can  be  obtained  from  the 
most  approved  authors.  All  our  writers  agree  in  considering 
it  of  rare  occurrence  in  England,  where  it  is  met  with  chiefly 
in  winter,  and  for  the  most  part  in  the  eastern  counties. 
Some  pairs,  it  is  said,  remain  and  breed  in  the  marshy  parts 
of  the  county  of  Norfolk.  To  the  north  of  the  Humber  it  is 
very  seldom  met  with,  and  in  Scotland  no  authentic  instance 
of  its  occurrence  at  any  season  has  come  to  my  knowledge. 
Messrs.  Baikie  and  ITeddle,  however,  state  that  a  male  was 
shot  in  Sanday,  in  Orkney,  by  Mr.  Strang,  on  the  24th  May, 
1833  ;  and  that  in  the  state  formerly  named  the  Red-breasted 
Shoveller  is  not  unfrequently  seen  on  the  lochs  there.  Mr. 
Thompson  states  that  it  is  “a  regular  winter  visitant  to  some 
parts  of  Ireland.”  It  resides  in  marshes,  and  on  lakes  and 
rivers,  seldom  occurring  on  the  sea-coast,  feeds  occasionally 
on  vegetable  substances,  but  chiefly  on  fresh-water  mollusca, 
worms,  and  insects,  for  sifting  w  hich  from  among  the  mud 
its  bill  is  obviously  adapted.  But  neither  in  this  nor  in  any 
other  Duck  do  the  lamella?  of  the  two  mandibles  fit  into  each 
other,  as  many  authors  allege.  It  is  impossible  that  they 
should,  for  those  of  the  lower  are  always  more  slender  and 
much  more  numerous  than  those  of  the  upper  mandible,  and 
when  the  bill  is  closed  pass  within  the  upper,  without  inter¬ 
mingling  with  them. 

Although  uncommon  in  Britain,  it  is  said  to  be  plentiful 
in  Holland,  as  well  as  in  France  and  Germany.  It  is  also 


80 


RHYNCHASPIS  CLYPEATA. 


met  with  in  various  parts  of  Asia  and  Africa,  as  well  as  in 
America.  Both  in  the  latter  country  and  in  Europe,  it  does 
not  in  summer  betake  itself  to  the  arctic  regions,  although 
many  individuals  of  the  species  do,  but  disperses  over  the 
country,  some  remaining  in  the  southern,  others  in  the  colder 
parts,  whether  in  the  interior  or  near  the  coasts.  The  nest 
is  said  to  be  placed  on  the  borders  of  rushy  lakes,  and  to 
contain  about  a  dozen  eggs,  of  a  greenish-white  colour,  two 
inches  and  a  sixth  in  length,  an  inch  and  a  half  in  breadth. 


SI 


MARECA.  WIGEON. 

The  Wigeons  are  in  all  respects  precisely  similar  to  many 
of  the  Teals,  with  the  exception  of  having  the  bill  shorter, 
proportionally  broader,  and  rather  narrowed,  instead  of  be¬ 
coming  wider  toward  the  end.  In  this  respect  they,  of 
course,  also  differ  from  the  Ducks  properly  so  called.  If  our 
common  W  igeon  had  the  bill  a  little  longer  and  narrower,  it 
would  occupy  a  position  in  immediate  approximation  to  the 
Gadwall  and  Pintail.  As  it  is,  there  is  perhaps  little  neces¬ 
sity  for  separating  it  generically  ;  hut  as  it  may  he  distin¬ 
guished  from  them  by  the  bill,  and  as  the  principle  of  minute 
subdivision  has  hitherto  been  followed  hv  me,  I  may  he 

V  '  V 

excused  for  adopting  the  general  opinion  in  this  matter. 

Bill  considerably  shorter  than  the  head,  higher  than 
broad  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed  and  narrowed  toward 
the  end,  the  breadth  of  which  is  somewhat  less  than  that 
of  the  base  ;  upper  mandible  with  the  lateral  basal  sinuses 
broadly  rounded,  the  frontal  angles  very  short  and  obtuse, 
the  dorsal  line  gently  sloping  at  first,  then  slightly  concave 
and  still  sloping  to  the  unguis,  which  is  rather  large,  obovate, 
decurved  at  the  end ;  the  ridge  broad  and  flattened  at  the 
base,  gradually  narrowed,  convex  beyond  the  nostrils,  the 
sides  at  the  base  erect,  toward  the  end  convex,  the  edges 
slightly  sinuous,  the  extremities  of  the  numerous  lamellae 
narrow  but  rounded,  and  about  the  middle  of  the  hill  pro¬ 
jecting  a  little,  the  nasal  sinus  small,  elliptical,  sub-basal, 
and  near  the  ridge  ;  lower  mandible  almost  straight,  with  the 
intercrural  space  long,  rather  narrow,  and  hare,  the  crura 
slender,  with  their  sides  convex,  gradually  sloping  more  out¬ 
wards  toward  the  end,  the  unguis  large,  roundish,  a  little 
convex,  the  lateral  lamellae  oblique  and  prominent,  the  upper 
very  small,  and  rounded. 

Mouth  rather  narrow  ;  anterior  palate  concave,  with  a 
median  papillate  ridge,  and  on  each  side  a  series  of  striae, 
besides  the  lateral  lamellae,  which  are  well  marked,  hut  not 

VOL.  v.  g 


82 


MARECA.  WIGEON. 


very  prominent.  Tongue  fleshy,  with  a  deep  median  groove, 
on  each  side  of  which  is  an  oblique  series  of  flattened  horny 
papillae,  a  double  series  of  lateral  filaments,  its  breadth  nearly 
equal  throughout,  the  tip  thin  and  rounded.  (Esophagus  of 
moderate  width,  considerably  enlarged  before  entering  the 
thorax,  and  again  narrowed;  proventriculus  oblong.  Stomach 
a  very  large,  transversely  elliptical  gizzard,  placed  obliquely, 
with  very  large  muscles,  and  thick  rugous  epithelium,  forming 
two  roundish,  flat,  grinding  surfaces.  Intestine  very  long, 
rather  wide,  enlarging  toward  the  coeca,  which  are  very  long 
and  of  moderate  width  ;  rectum  very  short. 

Trachea  nearly  uniform ;  the  lower  larynx  with  several 
rings  united  so  as  to  form  an  irregular  dilatation,  bulging  out 
into  a  rounded  sac  on  the  left  side  ;  bronchi  of  moderate 
length  and  width. 

Nostrils  elliptical,  sub-basal,  in  the  fore  part  of  the  nasal 
membrane.  Eyes  small.  Aperture  of  ear  small.  Legs  very 
short ;  tibia  hare  for  a  short  space  ;  tarsus  compressed,  with 
small  anterior  scutella ;  hind  toe  very  small,  with  a  narrow, 
but  distinct  lobe  ;  outer  toe  considerably  shorter  than  the 
third,  which  is  longer  than  the  tarsus  ;  interdigital  membranes 
full,  the  outer  slightly  emarginate ;  claws  small,  well  arched, 
compressed,  acute. 

Plumage  dense,  soft,  and  blended ;  feathers  of  the  head 
and  upper  neck  softer,  those  along  the  top  of  the  head  and 
nape  rather  long  ;  of  the  other  parts  moderate,  oblong  ;  sca¬ 
pulars  elongated  and  acuminate.  Wings  rather  long,  narrow, 
pointed,  of  twenty-five  quills ;  primaries  narrow,  the  first  and 
second  longest ;  inner  secondaries  elongated,  tapering,  acumi¬ 
nate.  Tail  small,  short,  tapering,  of  sixteen  stiffish,  acumi¬ 
nate  feathers. 

The  males  have  the  scapulars,  inner  secondaries,  and 
tail-feathers,  more  elongated  and  acuminate  than  the  females, 
from  which  they  also  differ  in  having  the  colour  of  the  plum¬ 
age  more  varied.  The  Wigeons  frequent  marshy  places, 
pools,  lakes,  and  rivers,  feed  on  seeds,  grass,  roots,  insects, 
and  mollusca  ;  immerse  their  necks  while  swimming ;  walk 
with  ease,  often  betaking  themselves  to  dry  pastures,  and 
have  a  rapid  flight. 


83 


MARECA  PENELOPE.  THE  EUROPEAN  WIGEON. 

COMMON  WIGEON.  WHEW  DUCK.  PANDLE-WHEW.  YELLOW-POLL. 
RED-HEADED  WIGEON.  BALDPATE.  WHEWER.  WHIM. 


Anas  Penelope.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  202. 

Anas  Penelope.  Lath.  Ind.  Orn.  II.  860. 

Wigeon.  Mont.  Orn.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  siffleur.  Anas  Penelope.  Temm.  Man.  d’Orn.  II.  840. 

Common  Wigeon.  Mareca  Penelope.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  324. 

Mareca  Penelope.  Wigeon.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Yert.  Anim.  236. 

Mareca  Penelope.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  56. 

Male  with  a  longitudinal  ridge  of  rather  elongated  decurved 
feathers  on  the  head  and  nape  ;  hill  pale  blue,  with  the  tip 
black  ;  upper  part  of  the  head  reddish-white  ;  cheeks  and 
upper-neck  brownish-red,  dotted  with  black  ;  a  longitudinal 
band  of  the  latter  on  the  throat ;  fore  part  and  sides  of  the 
lower -neck  light  vinaceous  ;  upper  part  and  sides  below  the 
icings  finely  barred  with  white  and  dark  grey  ;  wings  grey, 
with  a  large  patch  of  white ;  the  specidum  green,  with  an 
anterior  and  a  posterior  band  of  black ;  inner  secondaries 
white,  grey,  and  black  ;  tail  grey ;  upper  tail-coverts  partly 
black  ;  breast  and  abdomen  white  ;  feathers  under  the  tad 
black. 


84 


M A EEC A  PENELOPE. 

Male  in  Winter. — This  beautiful  bird  presents  nume¬ 
rous  modifications  of  colouring,  individuals  in  the  perfected 
plumage  of  the  adult  being  comparatively  rare.  The  folloAv- 
ing  description  is  taken  from  a  fine  specimen,  shot  in  the 
south  of  Scotland,  and  selected  from  a  multitude  for  the 
purpose.  The  body  is  oblong,  slightly  depressed ;  the  neck 
rather  long  and  slender ;  the  head  of  moderate  size,  com¬ 
pressed,  and  well  rounded  above.  The  bill  is  considerably 
shorter  than  the  head,  scarcely  higher  than  broad  at  the  base, 
gradually  depressed  toward  the  end,  where  it  is  somewhat 
narrower  than  at  the  base.  The  frontal  angles  are  small,  the 
flattened  part  of  the  ridge  short,  the  upper  unguis  ohovato- 
triangular,  convex,  and  dccurved,  the  lower  broad  and  little 
convex.  On  each  side  of  the  upper  mandible  are  about 
forty-five  little  elevated  lamellte,  the  compressed,  narrow,  and 
rounded  tips  of  which  project  a  little  beyond  the  margin, 
from  near  the  base  to  the  end  of  the  bill ;  on  the  lower  are 
thirty  external,  and  sixty  marginal  lamellae.  The  tongue  is 
an  inch  and  five-twelfths  long,  with  numerous  straight, 
pointed  papillae  at  the  base,  a  median  longitudinal  groove, 
lateral  bristles,  and  a  thin  broadly-rounded  point.  The 
oesophagus  is  ten  inches  long,  from  five  to  six-twelfths  in 
width  ;  the  proventriculus  nine-twelfths  broad.  The  stomach 
is  oblique,  transversely  oblong,  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths  in 
length,  two  inches  and  seven-twelfths  in  breadth  ;  the  lateral 
muscles  extremely  developed,  the  right  being  an  inch  and  a 
twelfth  and  a  half  thick,  the  left  an  inch  and  three-fourths  ; 
the  epithelium  dense,  rugous,  with  flat  grinding  surfaces. 
The  intestine  is  six  feet  three  inches  long,  five-twelfths  wide 
in  the  duodenal  portion,  gradually  decreases,  then  enlarges 
to  nine-twelfths.  The  coeea  are  eleven  inches  lone,  two- 
twelfths  wide  at  the  base,  six-twelfths  in  their  greatest  width; 
the  rectum  six  inches  long. 

The  trachea  is  eight  inches  long,  with  about  a  hundred 
and  forty  rings,  of  nearly  equal  width  throughout,  but  at  the 
lower  part  with  a  transversely  oblong  bony  dilatation,  bulging 
out  on  the  left  side  in  a  rounded  form,  and  an  inch  in  its 
greatest  diameter.  The  bronchi  are  of  moderate  length,  but 
wide,  and  of  about  twenty-five  half-rings. 


EUROPEAN  WIGEON. 


85 


The  nostrils  are  elliptical,  patulous,  a  quarter  of  an  inch 
long.  The  eyes  small,  three-twelfths  and  a  half  across.  The 
aperture  of  the  ear  round,  two-twelfths  in  width.  The  legs 
very  short ;  the  hare  part  of  the  tibia  five-twelfths  long ; 
the  tarsus  compressed,  reticulate,  with  eighteen  anterior  scu- 
tella ;  the  hind  toe  with  eight,  the  inner  with  fourteen  and 
numerous  basal  scales  ;  the  third  with  thirty  in  its  whole 
length  ;  the  fourth  with  forty.  The  claws  are  small,  well 
arched,  compressed,  acute,  that  of  the  middle  toe  little 
dilated,  the  hind  toe  more  decurved. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  soft,  and  blended.  The  feathers 
of  the  head  and  upper  neck  are  slender,  those  on  the  upper 
part  of  the  head  and  nape  considerably  elongated.  On  the 
other  parts  they  are  generally  elliptical.  The  scapulars  are 
elongated,  and  taper  to  an  obtuse  point.  The  wings  are 
rather  long,  rather  narrow,  pointed,  with  twenty-six  quills ; 
the  primaries  tapering,  but  obtuse ;  the  outer  secondaries 
incurvate  and  rounded ;  the  inner  elongated,  narrow,  taper¬ 
ing,  rather  acute.  The  second  quill  is  scarcely  longer  than 
the  first,  of  which  the  tips  of  the  filaments  are  separated,  capil¬ 
lary,  and  curved  outwards,  as  in  all  the  Teals.  The  tail  is 
short,  rounded,  of  fourteen  feathers,  of  which  the  two  medial 
are  more  pointed,  and  project  two-thirds  of  an  inch  beyond 
the  next. 

The  bill  is  light  greyish-blue,  with  the  tip,  including  the 
unguis,  black.  The  iris  is  hazel-brown.  The  feet  light  grey¬ 
ish-blue,  the  membranes  darker,  the  claws  black.  From  the 
base  of  the  upper  mandible  to  the  occiput  is  an  oblong, 
reddish-white  patch.  The  rest  of  the  head  and  the  upper- 
neck  brownish-red,  most  of  the  feathers  with  a  small  blackish- 
green  spot  on  the  tip ;  the  tips  of  those  on  the  throat  are 
black  to  a  greater  extent,  forming  a  broad  longitudinal  band. 
The  feathers  on  the  hind  part  of  the  neck,  the  whole  of  the 
back,  and  the  scapulars,  are  beautifully  and  delicately  trans¬ 
versely  undulated  with  blackish-grey  and  white  ;  some  of  the 
feathers  on  the  rump  margined  with  white.  The  anterior 
wing-coverts,  secondary  coverts,  and  tertiaries,  are  brownish- 
grey,  the  former  faintly  undulated  with  greenish-white,  but 
many  of  the  coverts  are  pure  white,  forming  a  large  patch  ; 


86 


MAKECA  PENELOPE. 


the  secondary  coverts  tipped  with  black.  The  alula,  primary 
coverts,  and  primary  quills,  are  brownish-grey  ;  the  outer 
secondary  quills,  to  the  number  of  nine,  with  their  outer 
webs  duck-green  at  the  base,  black  toward  the  end  ;  the  next, 
or  first  inner  secondary  chiefly  white,  narrowly  edged  with 
black  ;  the  rest  black,  edged  with  white  externally,  and  grey 
internally.  The  upper  tail-coverts  are  black,  several  of  those 
in  the  middle  broadlv  ed^ed  with  white  internally.  The  tail- 
feathers  are  brownish-grey,  narrowly  tipped  with  white.  The 
lower  fore  part  and  sides  of  the  neck  are  of  a  delicate  lilac,  or 
pale  purplish -red  colour,  tinged  with  grey  ;  the  breast,  abdo¬ 
men,  and  side  of  the  rump,  pure  white  ;  the  sides  finely 
barred  with  dark-grey  and  white,  like  the  back  ;  the  feathers 
under  the  tail  black  ;  the  lower  wing-coverts  most  delicately 
dotted  with  white  and  grey,  the  larger  coverts  pale  grey ;  the 
axillars  white,  mottled  with  grey. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  20J  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  35  ; 
wing  from  flexure  10J  ;  tail  4-}~|;  bill  along  the  ridge  1-^- ; 
from  frontal  angles  ly-^;  its  height  at  the  base  breadth  at 
the  middle  ;  behind  the  unguis  T7y  ;  bare  part  of  tibia  y5y  ; 
tarsus  1^  ;  hind  toe  yV,  its  claw  ;  second  toe  1-Ay,  its  claw 
yh- ;  third  toe  ly^-,  its  claw  T5-y ;  fourth  toe  l-fe ;  its  claw  -fa . 

Female  in  Winter. — The  female  is  much  smaller  and 
differently  coloured.  The  bill,  iris,  and  feet,  however,  are 
as  in  the  male.  The  head  and  upper  neck  are  yellowish- 
red,  with  small  greenish-black  spots,  the  feathers  being 
barred  with  that  colour,  of  which  there  is  more  on  the  upper 
part  of  the  head.  The  feathers  of  the  upper  parts  in  general 
are  dusky  brown,  edged  with  brownish-red  or  whitish,  and 
barred  with  the  same.  The  wings  are  dusky  grey ;  the 
coverts  in  the  part  which  is  white  in  the  male  tipped  with 
that  colour,  the  secondary  coverts  with  an  indication  of  the 
dark  terminal  bar;  the  speculum  greyish,  without  lustre; 
the  inner  secondaries  marked  somewhat  as  in  the  male,  but 
with  dark  grey  in  place  of  black.  The  tail-feathers  brownish- 
grey,  edged  with  brownish-white.  On  the  lower  fore  part 
and  sides  of  the  neck  the  feathers  are  obscurely  barred  with 
reddish-brown  and  brownish-grey ;  the  sides  are  similar ; 


EUROPEAN  WIGEON. 


87 


the  breast  and  abdomen  white ;  the  feathers  under  the  tail 
white,  barred  with  brown,  as  are  the  smaller  lower  wing- 
coverts  ;  the  larger  pale  grey.  The  stomach  an  inch  and  a 
half  in  length,  two  inches  and  a  quarter  in  breadth  ;  the  in¬ 
testine  five  feet  six  inches  long ;  the  coeca  nine  inches  in 
length,  two-twelfths  in  breadth  at  the  base,  and  four- twelfths 
in  their  widest  part. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  19  J  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  32 y  ; 
wing  from  flexure  10;  tail  4  ;  hill  along  the  ridge  1J,  from 
frontal  angles  lT8y,  its  height  at  the  base  -j^-,  breadth  at  the 
middle  -fa,  behind  the  unguis  -fa ;  hare  part  of  tibia  fa ; 
tarsus  1 J ;  hind  toe  its  claw  fa  ;  second  toe  lqb-,  its  claw 
-fa;  third  toe  ly,  its  clawr  fa;  fourth  toe  lT8y,  its  claw  fa. 

Variations. — In  adult  males  in  winter  the  white  on  the 
upper  part  of  the  head  varies  in  extent  and  in  tint,  being 
more  or  less  tinged  with  red ;  the  black  spots  on  the  head 
and  neck  are  more  or  less  numerous  ;  the  black  on  the  throat 
continuous  or  in  spots  ;  the  light  vinaceous  tint  on  the  lower 
part  and  sides  of  the  neck  more  or  less  red  or  grey.  The 
tints  on  the  other  parts  also  vary.  The  females  vary  much 
less  in  colour.  Younger  individuals,  however,  exhibit  a 
great  variety  of  appearances. 

Habits. — The  Wigeons  begin  to  make  their  appearance 
in  Britain  toward  the  end  of  September,  gradually  increase 
in  number,  disperse  over  most  parts  of  the  country,  continue 
through  the  winter  and  spring,  and  depart  in  the  end  of 
March  and  beginning  of  April.  In  the  north  of  Scotland 
they  are  uncommon ;  on  its  north-west  coast  scarcely  ever 
seen ;  in  the  outer  Hebrides,  I  believe,  never  ;  but  in  Orkney 
they  are  very  numerous,  and  may  be  seen  on  all  the  lochs  ; 
and  as  we  proceed  southward  we  find  them  gradually  be¬ 
coming  more  plentiful,  until  in  the  southern  parts  of  England 
they  are  more  abundant  than  any  other  species  of  Duck. 
Montagu  states  that  it  “  appears  to  be  the  most  plentiful 
species  of  Duck  that  is  taken  in  our  decoys.  More  are 
caught  in  the  decoys  of  Somersetshire  and  Devonshire  than 
Duck,  Teal,  and  all  other  wild  fowl  collectively,  as  we  are 


88 


MARECA  PENELOPE. 


assured  by  an  old  and  experienced  decoy-man.”  They  not 
only  frequent  rivers  and  lakes,  but  occur  in  estuaries,  and 
even  along  the  open  coast,  especially  in  bays  where  the 
bottom  is  more  or  less  muddy.  Their  food  consists  of  aquatic 
plants,  especially  their  roots,  algse,  and  mollusca,  which  they 
procure,  not  by  diving,  but  in  the  same  manner  as  the  Ducks 
and  Teals.  They  are  frequently  seen  in  very  large  flocks, 
but  usually  in  small  bodies,  seldom  intermingling  with  other 
species.  They  swim  with  great  ease,  and  have  a  rapid 
direct  flight,  taking  wing  easily  from  the  water,  and  pro¬ 
ducing  a  whistling  sound  as  they  fly.  They  are  much 
addicted  to  garrulity,  and  at  night  especially  emit  a  whistling 
crv,  on  account  of  which  tliev  have  obtained  the  name  of 
Whew-Ducks.  Vast  numbers  are  shot,  and  from  October  to 
April  they  are  the  most  common  Ducks  in  our  markets, 
perhaps  with  the  exception  in  some  towns  of  the  Mallard. 
As  food  they  are  less  esteemed  than  that  bird,  but  more  so 
than  the  sea-ducks  in  general,  their  flesh  being  savoury  and 
highly  flavoured.  Their  price  varies  from  eighteenpence  to 
three  shillings  or  more,  according  to  their  abundance  and 
the  locality.  As  is  the  case  with  the  Brent  Goose  and 
several  species  of  Duck,  their  flesh  varies  in  flavour  according 
to  the  nature  of  their  food,  those  which  have  long  fed  on  the 
sea-coast  being  less  savoury  than  such  as  have  been  obtained 
inland. 

It  does  not  appear  that  any  remain  in  England  to  breed ; 
nor  was  it  suspected  to  make  any  part  of  Scotland  its  summer 
residence,  until  a  band  of  naturalists,  exploring  the  wilds  of 
Sutherland  in  the  summer  of  1834,  found  it  in  the  deserted 
haunts  of  the  Gael.  “  As  the  Wigeon,”  says  the  historian 
of  the  expedition,  Mr.  Selby,  “  had  not  previously  been  de¬ 
tected  breeding  in  Britain,  we  were  much  pleased  to  observe 
several  pairs  upon  the  smaller  lochs  near  Lairg,  which  we 
concluded  had  their  nests  among  the  reeds  and  other  herbage 
which  grew  in  their  vicinity.  We  were  not  so  fortunate, 
however,  as  to  And  one  here,  though  diligent  search  was 
made ;  but  afterwards,  upon  one  of  the  islands  of  Loch 
Laighal,  we  sprung  a  female,  which  we  shot,  from  her  nest 
containing  seven  eggs.  It  was  placed  in  the  heart  of  a  large 


EUROPEAN  WIGEON. 


89 


rush  bush,  and  was  made  of  decayed  rushes  and  reeds,  with 
a  lining  of  warm  down  from  the  bird’s  body.  The  eggs  were 
smaller  than  those  of  the  Wild  Duck,  and  of  a  rich  cream- 
white  colour.”  In  Ireland,  “  the  Wigeon  is  plentiful  in  the 
numerous  suitable  localities  around  the  coast,  and  on  the 
lakes  and  rivers  but  has  not  been  found  breeding  there. 

On  the  continent  it  resorts  to  the  northern  regions  in 
summer,  and  returns  southward  in  winter.  It  is  said  to 
occur  in  the  northern  parts  of  Asia.  I  have  specimens  from 
Bengal  precisely  similar  to  others  obtained  in  Scotland. 
The  American  Wigeon,  so  similar  as  to  he  scarcely  distin¬ 
guishable,  if  not  indeed  the  same,  occurs  from  the  extreme 
north  to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico. 

The  Wigeon  is  easily  reconciled  to  captivity,  but  has  not 
been  known  to  breed  in  that  state,  although,  as  related  by 
Lord  Stanley  to  Montagu,  the  male  has  bred  with  a  female 
Pintail,  as  well  as  with  a  common  Duck. 

Young. — The  appearance  of  the  young  in  their  down 
covering  I  am  unable  to  describe.  In  autumn  they  resemble 
the  adult  female ;  but  so  many  gradations  of  colouring  are 
presented  by  individuals  at  this  period,  as  well  as  subse¬ 
quently,  that  I  do  not  consider  it  expedient  to  attempt  their 
description. 


90 


MARECA  AMERICANA.  AMERICAN  WIGEON. 

Anas  Americana.  Wils.  Amer.  Ornith.  VIII.  86. 

Anas  Americana.  Aud.  Amer.  Ornith.  Biog.  IV.  337. 

Anas  Americana.  Nuttall.  Man.  II.  389. 

American  Wigeon.  Yarr.  Brit.  Birds,  III.  196. 

Mareca  Americana.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  -56. 


Male  with  a  longitudinal  ridge  of  rather  elongated  decurved 
feathers  on  the  head  and  nape ;  hill  pale  blue  with  the  tip 
black ;  upper  part  of  head  white ;  cheeks  and  upper  neck 
brownisli-red  dotted  with  black;  a  broad  band  from  the  eye  to 
the  occiput  deep  green;  throat  brownish-black;  fore  jiart  and 
sides  of  the  lower  neck  light  vinaceous  ;  upper  parts  and  sides 
below  the  wings  finely  barred  with  white  and  dusky ;  wings 
brow  wish- grey,  the  secondary  coverts  white,  tipped  with  black; 
the  speculum  green,  with  an  anterior  and  a  posterior  band  of 
black;  inner  secondaries  white,  grey,  and  black;  tail  light 
brownish-grey  •’  upper  tail-coverts  partly  black;  breast  and 
abdomen  white;  feathers  under  the  tail  black. 

Male. — The  Wigeon  of  America  so  closely  resembles  that 
of  Europe,  Africa,  and  Asia,  that,  after  comparing  a  great 
number  of  specimens,  I  am  unable  to  find  any  characteristic 
differences  that  can  he  depended  upon.  The  American  birds 
generally  have  the  head  and  neck  more  dotted  with  black,  a 
larger  green  band  behind  the  eye,  the  bill  slightly  narrower, 
and  the  osseous  expansion  of  the  lower  part  of  the  trachea 
much  smaller.  In  this  latter  respect,  however,  I  have 
examined  only  one  specimen  of  the  American  bird. 

The  form  and  proportions,  the  texture  of  the  plumage, 
and  the  relative  length  of  quills  and  tail-feathers  being  the 
same  in  both,  I  shall  confine  my  description  to  that  of  the 
colouring.  The  bill  is  light  greyisli-blue,  with  the  tip, 
including  the  unguis,  and  a  portion  of  the  margins,  black. 


AMERICAN  WIGEON. 


91 


The  feet  light  bluish-grey,  the  membranes  darker,  the  claws 
black.  The  whole  upper  part  of  the  head  reddish-white,  a 
broad  band  from  the  eye  to  the  occiput  deep  green ;  the  loral 
spaces  and  cheeks  reddish-white,  dotted  with  greenish-black  ; 
the  upper  neck  brownish-red,  similarly  dotted.  The  feathers 
on  the  hind  part  of  the  neck,  the  fore  part  of  the  back,  and 
the  scapulars,  are  minutely  transversely  undulated  with  dusky 
and  pale  red,  passing  behind  into  grey  ;  the  hind  part  of  the 
back  similarly  undulated  with  dusky  and  greyish-white. 
The  anterior  wing-coverts  brownish-grey  ;  the  primary  coverts 
dusky ;  the  secondary  coverts  white,  tipped  with  black.  The 
alula  and  primary  quills  brownish-grey ;  the  outer  secondary 
quills,  to  the  number  of  nine,  have  their  outer  webs  duck- 
green  at  the  base,  black  toward  the  end  ;  the  next,  or  first 
inner  secondary,  chiefly  white,  narrowly  edged  with  black  ; 
the  rest  black,  margined  with  white,  their  inner  webs  brown¬ 
ish-grey.  The  tail-feathers  light  brownish-grey.  The  throat 
brownish-black  ;  the  lower  fore  part  and  sides  of  the  neck 
light  brownish-red ;  the  breast,  abdomen,  and  sides  of  the 
rump  white  ;  the  sides  of  the  body  under  the  wings  finely 
undulated  with  white  and  dark  grey  ;  the  rump  beneath  and 
the  lowrer  tail-coverts  black. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  22  inches  ;  wing  from  flexure  11  ; 
tail  4J  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1^,  from  frontal  angles  1-J-J, 
its  height  at  the  base  -fa,  its  breadth  at  the  middle  T8^- ;  bare 
part  of  tibia  fa  '>  tarsus  l-y^- ;  hind  toe  fa,  its  claw  -fa  ;  third 
toe  1T8^,  its  claw  -fa. 


Female. — The  female  is  much  smaller,  and  differently 
coloured.  The  bill  and  feet,  however,  are  as  in  the  male. 
The  head  and  upper  neck  are  reddish-white,  streaked  with 
brownish-black,  the  top  of  the  head  barred.  The  feathers  of 
the  upper  parts  in  general  are  dusky-brown,  edged  with 
brownish-red,  and  barred  with  the  same.  The  wings  are 
greyish-brown  ;  the  secondary  coverts  white  toward  the  end  ; 
the  primary  quills  greyish-brown,  the  outer  secondary  quills 
brownisli-black,  the  inner  greyish-brown,  with  the  outer 
margin  white.  The  tail-feathers  brownish-grey,  margined 
with  white.  On  the  lower  fore  part  and  sides  of  the  neck 


02 


MARECA  AMERICANA. 


the  feathers  are  dusky,  barred  and  broadly  margined  with 
reddish-brown.  The  feathers  of  the  sides,  and  under  the 
tail,  are  broadly  barred  with  dusky  and  light  reddish-brown, 
as  are  the  smaller  lower  wing-coverts,  the  larger  grey ;  the 
other  lower  parts  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  19  inches  ;  wing  from  flexure  9T^  ; 
tarsus  1^-  ;  middle  toe  ly^,  its  claw 

Variations. — Among  males  I  have  never  seen  two  indi¬ 
viduals  exactly  alike.  The  females  are  pretty  uniform.  The 
young  vary  extremely.  The  differences  observed  I  am  unable 
to  refer  to  any  distinct  formula.  The  European  birds  are 
similar  in  this  respect ;  and  they  so  resemble  the  American, 
that  in  a  collection  of  both  I  could  not  distinguish  with  cer¬ 
tainty  those  of  the  two  continents. 

Habits. — Viewed  as  British,  the  American  Migeon  has 
been  recognised  by  Mr.  Bartlett,  in  London,  in  the  winter  of 
1837,  two  specimens,  a  male  and  a  female,  having  attracted 
his  regard  in  the  midst  of  a  row  of  common  M  igeons.  He 
left  the  female,  however,  but  preserved  the  male,  which  has 
been  figured  and  described  by  Mr.  Yarrell.  Mr.  Blyth  had 
previously  given  an  account  of  it  in  the  third  volume  of  the 
Naturalist.  Its  “  tracheal  labyrinth  ”  was  small,  “  scarcely 
exceeding  in  magnitude  that  of  a  Teal.”  This  was  also  the 
case  with  that  of  a  male  from  America,  which  I  dissected  for 
Mr.  Audubon,  and  of  the  digestive  and  respiratory  organs  of 
which  I  have  given  an  account,  together  with  a  figure,  in  the 
fourth  volume  of  the  Ornithological  Biography  of  that  enthu¬ 
siastic  ornithologist,  who,  however,  on  bringing  together  a 
number  of  American  and  European  skins,  could  no  more  than 
myself  see  any  specific  difference  among  them.  It  is  not 
known  where  Mr.  Bartlett’s  London  specimens  were  shot. 
Mr.  Thompson  mentions  an  adult  male  shot  on  Strangford 
Lough,  in  the  spring  of  1844,  by  Henry  Bell,  a  Wigeon- 
shooter,  who  had  killed  other  but  less  mature  individuals  in 
Belfast  Bay. 


FULIGULINiE. 

SCAUP-DUCKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 

As  betAveen  the  Anserinse  and  Anatinse,  so  hetAveen 
the  latter  and  the  Fuligulinse  there  are  no  precise  limits, 
although  the  three  groups  present  peculiarities  of  form  and 
habits  sufficient  to  give  countenance  to  their  separation.  The 
Fuligulina?,  popularly  designated  as  Sea  Ducks,  have  the 
body  of  a  less  elongated  form,  fuller,  and  more  depressed  ;  the 
neck  shorter,  and  generally  much  thicker ;  the  head  larger ; 
and  the  hind  toe  Avith  a  conspicuous  membranous  lobe. 

Bill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  or  shorter,  nearly  as 
broad  as  high  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed  tOAvard  the  end, 
Avhere  it  is  rounded  ;  the  upper  mandible  with  the  basal 
lateral  sinuses  and  frontal  angles  various,  the  ridge  flattened 
at  the  base,  the  sides  convex  toward  the  end,  the  unguis 
obovate,  or  roundish,  decurved.  Mouth  rather  narroAv  ;  the 
upper  mandible  internally  concave,  with  a  median  prominent 
line,  and  on  each  side  a  series  of  transverse  thin  lamellse. 
Similar,  hut  smaller,  and  more  numerous  lamellae  on  the 
sides  of  the  lower  mandible.  Tongue  flesliv,  Avith  a  deep 
medial  groove  above,  lateral  series  of  bristles,  and  a  thin 
broadly-rounded  tip.  (Esophagus  of  moderate  Avidth,  or 
rather  narrow ;  stomach  a  very  large,  transversely  elliptical 
gizzard,  placed  obliquely,  Avith  very  large  muscles,  thick  and 
rugous  epithelium,  and  someAvhat  concave  grinding  surfaces ; 
intestine  very  long,  and  of  moderate  Avidth  ;  coeca  long,  and 
rather  Avide.  Trachea  often  with  dilatations ;  the  loAver 
larynx  with  a  very  large  osseous  or  partly  membranous  dila¬ 
tation,  bulging  more  on  the  left  side. 

Nostrils  moderate  or  small,  oblong,  in  the  fore  part  of  the 


94 


FULIGULDLE. 


nasal  sinus  ;  eyes  small,  as  are  the  apertures  of  the  ears. 
Legs  very  short,  placed  rather  far  behind ;  tibia  bare  for  a 
very  short  space  ;  tarsus  very  short,  compressed,  with  anterior 
short  scutella ;  hind  toe  small,  with  an  inferior  compressed 
lobe ;  two  outer  toes  about  equal,  and  longer  than  the  tarsus  ; 
interdigital  membranes  full ;  claws  small,  slender,  arcuate, 
compressed,  obtuse,  that  of  the  third  toe  with  the  inner  edge 
expanded. 

Plumage  dense,  elastic,  firm,  glossy  ;  feathers  of  the  head 
and  neck  slender,  and  blended  ;  wings  short,  convex,  narrow, 
pointed,  the  first  and  second  quills  longest ;  inner  secondaries 
elongated  and  tapering ;  tail  generally  small,  much  rounded 
or  tapering,  of  more  than  twelve  feathers. 

The  Fuligulinae  are  essentially  carnivorous.  Some  of 
them,  approaching  the  Anatinse  in  form  and  habits,  frequent 
fresh-water,  and  feed  on  mollusca,  insects,  and  occasionally 
plants.  Most  of  them,  however,  are  essentially  marine  birds, 
frequenting  hays  and  estuaries,  or  the  shallow  parts  of  the 
open  coasts,  and  feeding  on  mollusca,  Crustacea,  and  sea- 
plants,  for  which  they  dive.  They  are  all  expert  swimmers, 
as  well  as  divers,  and  have  a  rapid  and  direct  flight ;  hut 
walk  little  and  ungracefully,  owing  to  the  shortness  and 
position  of  their  feet.  They  are  gregarious  and  migratory. 
The  males  are  larger,  and  usually  differently  coloured.  They 
form  their  nests  on  the  shores  of  the  sea,  on  islands,  or  un¬ 
frequented  headlands,  hut  also  by  lakes  or  rivers,  often  lining 
them,  or  covering  their  eggs,  with  down  plucked  from  their 
bodies.  The  eggs  are  moderately  numerous,  smooth-shelled, 
white  or  greyish,  greenish  or  blueish,  but  always  of  one  colour. 
The  young,  densely  covered  with  stiffish  down,  presently 
betake  themselves  to  the  water,  where  they  swim  and  dive 
with  the  greatest  expertness.  When  incubation  has  com¬ 
menced,  the  males  desert  the  females,  and  flock  by  them¬ 
selves. 

Representatives  of  this  family  occur  in  all  climates,  but 
are  more  numerous  in  the  temperate  and  cold  regions.  Their 
flesh  is  little  esteemed,  being  generally  very  dark-coloured 
and  rank,  though,  a  few  species  are  lauded  for  their  peculiarly 
rich  flavour. 


SCAUP-DUCKS  ANI)  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


95 


SYNOPSIS  OF  TIIE  BRITISH  GENERA  AND  SPECIES. 

GENUS  I.  AYTHYA.  POCHARD. 

Bill  as  long  as  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at  the  base, 
becoming  depressed  toward  the  end,  of  nearly  equal  breadth 
throughout ;  upper  mandible  with  the  frontal  angles  acute, 
the  basal  lateral  sinuses  short  and  wide,  the  ridge  broad  and 
flat  at  the  base ;  the  sides  at  first  nearly  erect,  the  edges 
soft,  marginate,  concealing  the  ends  of  the  numerous  little 
elevated  lamella? ;  the  unguis  small,  oblong,  flattened,  and 
decurved  ;  that  of  the  lower  mandible  obovate,  rather  small, 
and  little  convex  ;  legs  very  short ;  tarsus  compressed  ;  hind 
toe  very  slender,  with  a  narrow  membrane ;  outer  toes  about 
equal,  and  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus ;  interdigital 
membranes  emarginate  ;  claws  small,  slender,  rather  pointed  ; 
wings  short,  convex,  narrow,  pointed,  the  first  quill  longest  ; 
tail  very  small,  much  rounded,  of  fourteen  stiflish  tapering 
feathers. 

1.  Ay  thy  a  Ferina.  Red-headed  Pochard .  Bill  black  to 
a  little  beyond  the  nostrils  and  at  the  end,  the  intermediate 
space  light  greyish-blue  ;  head  and  upper  neck  brownish- 
orange,  lower  part  of  neck  black  ;  fore  part  of  the  back 
minutely  undulated  with  dark  grey  lines  on  a  greyish- white 
ground. 

2.  Aythya  rujina.  Red-crested  Pochard.  Bill  and  feet 
vermilion  ;  head  tufted,  and  with  the  upper  neck  brownish- 
red  ;  lower  neck,  breast  and  abdomen  blackish-brown  ;  back 
light  brown ;  an  oblong  spot  on  the  shoulders,  the  edge  of 
the  wing  anteriorly,  the  outer  secondary  quills,  and  the  sides 
of  the  body  white. 

GENUS  II.  FULIGULA.  SCAUP-DUCK. 

Bill  nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  about  the  same  height 
and  breadth  at  the  base,  becoming  depressed  and  enlarging 
in  breadth  to  the  end,  which  is  very  broad  and  semicircular ; 
upper  mandible  with  the  frontal  angles  obtuse,  the  basal 


9t> 


FULIGULIN^E. 


lateral  sinuses  very  short  and  wide,  the  ridge  broad  and  flat 
at  the  base,  the  sides  at  the  base  rapidly  sloping,  the  edges 
soft,  marginate,  concealing  the  ends  of  the  numerous,  little 
elevated  lamellae,  the  unguis  small,  obovato-oblong,  flattened 
and  decurved  ;  that  of  the  lower  mandible  obovate,  rather 
small,  and  nearly  flat ;  legs  very  short ;  tarsus  compressed  ; 
hind  toe  very  slender,  with  a  broad  membrane ;  outer  toes 
about  equal,  and  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus ;  interdigital 
membrane  emarginate  ;  claws  small,  slender,  rather  pointed  ; 
wings  short,  convex,  narrow7,  pointed,  the  first  quill  longest ; 
tail  very  small,  much  rounded  or  cuneate,  of  fourteen  stiffish, 
tapering  feathers. 

1.  Fuligula  Nyroca.  Ferruginous  Scaup-Duck.  Bill 
dusky-blue  ;  head,  neck,  fore  part  of  breast,  and  sides,  chest¬ 
nut-red  ;  the  neck  with  an  obscure  brow  n  ring  ;  upper  parts 
blackish-brown,  glossed  with  green  ;  speculum  wdiite,  with  a 
terminal  black  bar  ;  lower  parts  white. 

5.  Fuligula  Marila.  Broad-billed  Scaup  Duck.  Bill 
light  greyish -blue,  with  the  unguis  blackish  ;  head  and  upper- 
neck  greenish-black ;  lower-neck  and  fore  part  of  breast  and 
hack  black  ;  back  and  wing-coverts  greyish-white,  finely 
undulated  with  dusky ;  speculum  and  lower  parts  white. 

3.  Fuligula  cristata.  Tufted  Scaup-Duck.  Bill  greyish- 
blue,  with  a  terminal  black  hand  ;  feathers  of  the  head  elon¬ 
gated  into  a  large  decurved  crest  ;  head  and  upper-neck 
purplish-black  ;  hack  black,  minutely  dotted  with  white  ; 
speculum,  breast,  and  sides,  white. 

GENUS  III.  OIDEMIA.  SCOTER. 

Bill  nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  about  the  same  height 
and  breadth  at  the  base,  becoming  depressed  and  flattened 
towTard  the  end,  which  is  rounded  ;  upper  mandible  with  a 
prominence  at  the  base  above,  and  a  more  extended  enlarge¬ 
ment  on  each  side,  the  basal  lateral  sinuses  very  wide,  the 
sides  at  the  base  erect,  the  edges  thin,  concealing  the  ends  of 
the  not  very  numerous  lamella?,  the  unguis  very  large,  broadly 
elliptical,  little  convex,  at  the  end  decurved ;  that  of  the 
lower  mandible  very  large,  broadly  elliptical ;  legs  very  short ; 


SCAUP  DUCKS  ANI)  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


97 


tarsus  compressed ;  hind  toe  slender,  with  a  pretty  large  mem¬ 
brane  ;  outer  toes  about  equal,  and  nearly  double  the  length 
of  the  tarsus  ;  interdigital  membranes  full  ;  claws  small, 
compressed,  obtuse  ;  wings  rather  short,  convex,  narrow, 
pointed,  the  first  and  second  quills  longest ;  tail  very  short, 
much  rounded,  or  tapering,  of  fourteen  or  sixteen  stiffish, 
narrow  feathers. 

1.  Oidemia  perspicillata .  Surf  Scoter.  Bill  mostly 
orange-red  ;  upper  mandible  with  a  nearly  square  patch  on 
each  side  at  the  base,  margined  anteriorly  with  a  bluish- 
white  space,  unguis  greyish-yellow7  ;  feet  orange-red,  with 
dusky  membranes ;  plumage  black  ;  a  patch  of  white  on  the 
top  of  the  head,  another  on  the  hind-neck. 

2.  Oidemia  fusca.  Velvet  Scoter.  Bill  with  the  base 
and  margins  of  both  mandibles  black,  the  unguis  of  both  red, 
the  sides  of  the  upper  orange  ;  feet  orpiment-orange  on  the 
inner,  lake-red  on  the  outer  side;  plumage  black ;  speculum, 
and  a  spot  below  the  eye,  white. 

3.  Oidemia  nigra.  Black  Scoter.  Bill  black,  with  an 
orange-yellow  patch  on  the  upper  mandible,  including  the 
nostrils  ;  feet  dusky  ;  plumage  entirely  black  ;  first  quill  very 
narrow. 


GENUS  IV.  SOMATERIA.  EIDER. 

Bill  nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at  the 
base,  becoming  depressed  toward  the  end,  where  it  is  consi¬ 
derably  narrowed,  but  rounded  ;  upper  mandible  with  the 
lateral  sinuses  very  large,  the  upper  long  and  very  narrow, 
the  frontal  angles  elongated,  soft,  and  tumid,  the  sides  erect 
at  the  base,  the  edges  thin,  concealing  the  not  very  numerous 
slender  lamellae,  the  unguis  extremely  large,  elliptical,  con¬ 
vex,  moderately  decurved  ;  that  of  the  lower  mandible  very 
large,  broadly  elliptical,  little  convex  ;  legs  very  short;  tarsus 
compressed ;  hind  toe  slender,  with  a  broad  lobiform  mem¬ 
brane  ;  outer  toes  nearly  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus ; 
interdigital  membranes  emarginate  ;  claws  small,  compressed, 
obtuse  ;  wings  rather  short,  very  convex,  narrow,  pointed, 
the  first  and  second  quills  longest  ;  inner  secondaries  elon- 
vol.  v.  h 


98 


FULIGULINvE. 


gated,  tapering,  curved  outwards  ;  tail  very  short,  much 
rounded,  or  tapering,  of  fourteen  or  sixteen  stiffish,  narrow, 
pointed  feathers. 

1.  Somateria  mollissima.  Common  Eider.  Bill  with  the 
frontal  angles  very  narrow,  fleshy,  little  elevated  ;  head  black 
above,  with  a  medial  white  band ;  hind  part  of  the  cheeks 
and  nape  pale  green ;  back  white  ;  breast  and  abdomen  black  ; 
tail  of  sixteen  feathers. 

2.  Somateria  spectabilis.  King  Eider.  Bill  with  the 
frontal  angles  very  broad,  rounded,  fleshy,  and  much  ele¬ 
vated  ;  upper  part  of  the  head  and  nape  light  greyish-blue  ; 
cheeks  pale-green ;  two  black  bands  meeting  anteriorly  at  a 
very  acute  angle  on  the  throat ;  hack  black,  as  are  the  lower 
parts ;  tail  of  fourteen  feathers. 


GENUS  V.  STELLERIA. 

Bill  shorter  than  the  head,  as  high  as  broad  at  the  base, 
gradually  depressed  to  the  end,  which  is  rounded ;  upper 
mandible  with  the  lateral  sinuses  large,  the  frontal  angles 
short,  the  sides  erect  at  the  base,  concealing  the  lamellae,  the 
unguis  large,  elliptical ;  legs  very  short ;  tarsus  compressed  ; 
outer  toes  nearly  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus ;  wings 
rather  short,  convex,  pointed;  inner  secondaries  elongated, 
tapering,  curved  outwards ;  tail  very  short,  rounded,  of  six¬ 
teen  stiffish  feathers. 

1 .  Stelleria  dispar.  Pied  Stelleria.  White  above,  ferru¬ 
ginous  beneath  ;  throat,  a  broad  ring  on  the  neck,  and  hack, 
black  :  speculum  green  ;  elongated  secondaries  white  on  the 
inner,  bluish-black  on  the  outer  web. 

GENUS  VI.  CLANGULA.  GARROT. 

Bill  shorter  than  the  head,  much  higher  than  broad  at 
the  base,  becoming  gradually  depressed  and  considerably  nar¬ 
rowed  to  the  end,  which  is  rounded  ;  upper  mandible  with 
the  lateral  sinus  broad  and  rounded,  the  basal  angles  short  or 
moderate,  the  edges  thin,  concealing  the  not  much  elevated 
lamella?,  the  unguis  large  and  convex ;  that  of  the  lower 


SCAUP  DUCKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


99 


mandible  very  large,  broadly  elliptical,  little  convex  ;  legs 
very  short ;  tarsus  compressed ;  hind  toe  very  slender,  with  a 
broad  lobiform  membrane  ;  outer  toes  nearly  double  the 
length  of  the  tarsus  ;  interdigital  membranes  full  ;  claws 
small,  compressed,  rather  obtuse  ;  wings  short,  narrow,  con¬ 
vex,  pointed ;  second  quill  longest,  but  scarcely  exceeding 
the  first ;  inner  secondaries  elongated,  and  curved  outwards  ; 
tail  short,  graduated,  of  sixteen  stiffisli,  pointed  feathers. 

1.  Clangula  histrionica.  Harlequin  Gar  rot.  Bill  yellow- 
isli-brown  ;  feet  greyish-blue  ;  membranes  dusky  ;  head, 
upper-neck,  and  upper  parts  of  the  body,  dusky  greyish-blue  ; 
a  triangular  white  patch  before  the  eye,  a  round  spot  behind 
the  ear,  a  longitudinal  mark  on  the  neck,  a  narrow  collar 
about  its  middle,  a  hand  across  its  lower  fore  part,  some  of 
the  scapulars,  the  tips  of  the  secondaries,  and  a  spot  on  the 
side  of  the  rump,  white  ;  lower  parts  purplish-blue  and 
brownish -grey. 

2.  Clangula  chrysophth alma.  Golden-eyed  Garrot.  Bill 
black  ;  feet  orange-yellow,  with  the  membranes  dusky  ;  head 
and  upper-neck  glossy  deep-green,  with  purple  tints ;  a  large 
ovate  white  spot  between  the  cheek  and  the  bill ;  lower-neck, 
sides,  and  abdomen,  white ;  upper  parts  black  ;  a  large  white 
space  on  the  wing. 

o.  Clangula  ATbeola.  Buffet-headed  Garrot.  Bill  dusky- 
grey  ;  feet  pale  flesh-colour,  with  the  membranes  dusky  ; 
head  and  upper-neck  glossy  green  and  purple  ;  a  triangular 
band  of  white  from  the  cheek  to  the  nape ;  lowrer  neck,  sides, 
and  abdomen,  white ;  upper  parts  black ;  a  large  patch  on 
the  wing,  and  some  of  the  scapulars,  white. 

GENUS  VII.  HARELDA.  HARELD. 

Bill  much  shorter  than  the  head,  of  the  same  height  and 
breadth  at  the  base,  narrowed  toward  the  end  ;  upper  man¬ 
dible  with  the  frontal  angles  obsolete,  the  dorsal  line  sloping ; 
the  ridge  broad  at  the  base,  roundish,  convex,  decurved,  the 
laminse  projecting  considerably  beyond  the  margin,  the  unguis 
large,  roundish,  convex,  decurved  ;  that  of  the  lower  mandible 
broadly  elliptical,  little  convex  ;  legs  very  short  ;  tarsus 


100 


FULIGULINA1. 


compressed  ;  hind  toe  very  small,  with  a  lobiform  membrane  ; 
outer  toes  equal,  and  about  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus ; 
membranes  full ;  claws  small,  slender  ;  wings  short,  convex, 
acute  ;  the  first  and  second  quills  about  equal  and  longest ; 
tail  small,  pointed,  of  fourteen  feathers. 

1.  Harelda  glacialis.  Long-tailed  liar  eld.  Bill  black, 
red  toward  the  end,  the  unguis  black  ;  feet  dull  orange-red  ; 
head  and  neck  white  ;  cheeks  grey  ;  fore  part  of  breast,  back, 
wing-coverts,  and  elongated  tail-feathers,  blackish-brown  ; 
scapulars  and  lower  parts  white. 

The  subjoined  figures  represent  the  hind  toes  of  the 
Anatinse  and  Fuligulinse,  the  marginal  membrane  being  nar¬ 
row  in  the  former  and  very  broad  in  the  latter. 


Fig.  66. 


101 


AYTHYA.  POCHARD. 

The  Pochards,  of  which  the  most  characteristic  species 
are  the  celebrated  Canvas-back  of  America,  and  the  common 
Red-headed  Pochard  of  that  continent  as  well  as  of  Europe, 
differ  from  the  Scaup-Ducks  in  no  other  essential  respect 
than  in  having  the  bill  narrower  and  more  elongated,  and 
the  membrane  of  the  hind  toe  of  less  breadth.  They  may 
be  described  as  having  the  body  very  large,  full,  and  de¬ 
pressed  ;  the  neck  moderate ;  the  head  rather  large,  oblong, 
compressed,  and  rounded  above. 

Bill  as  long  as  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at  the  base, 
becoming  depressed  toward  the  end,  of  nearly  equal  breadth 
throughout ;  the  upper  mandible  with  the  basal  lateral 
sinuses  short  and  wide,  the  upper  sinus  rather  narrow,  the 
frontal  angles  acute,  the  dorsal  line  decimate  for  half  its 
length,  then  direct  to  the  unguis,  which  is  small,  oblong, 
flattened,  and  decurved ;  the  ridge  broad  and  flat  at  the 
base,  gradually  narrowed,  convex  toward  the  end,  the  sides 
at  the  base  nearly  erect,  toward  the  end  gradually  more 
spreading  and  convex  ;  the  edges  soft,  marginate,  concealing 
the  ends  of  the  numerous,  little  elevated  lamellae ;  the  nasal 
sinus  rather  small,  oblong,  sub-basal ;  lower  mandible  with 
the  intercrural  space  very  long,  rather  narrow,  the  crura 
slender,  with  their  lower  outline  slightly  recurvate,  the 
outer  lamella?  small,  the  unguis  obovate,  rather  small,  and 
little  convex. 

Mouth  rather  narrow ;  anterior  palate  broadly  concave, 
with  a  median  prominent  line,  on  which  are  a  few  tubercles ; 
the  lateral  lamellae  slender,  little  elevated ;  those  of  the 
lower  mandible  about  double  the  number.  Tongue  fleshy, 
with  a  deep  median  groove,  papillate  at  the  base,  lamelloso- 
filamentous  on  the  margins,  with  the  tip  thin  and  somewhat 


102 


AYTHYA.  POCHA11D. 


semicircular.  (Esophagus  rather  wide ;  proventriculus  oblong. 
Stomach  a  very  muscular  gizzard,  of  a  transversely  elliptical 
form,  placed  obliquely,  with  longitudinally  rugous  epithe¬ 
lium,  forming  thick,  somewhat  concave  circular  grinding 
plates.  Intestine  very  long  and  wide  ;  coeca  long,  of  mode¬ 
rate  width  ;  rectum  very  short. 

Nostrils  small,  in  the  lower  and  fore  part  of  the  nasal 
sinus ;  eyes  small ;  ears  very  small.  Legs  very  short,  placed 
rather  far  behind ;  tarsus  compressed,  with  small  anterior 
scutella ;  hind  toe  very  slender,  with  a  narrow  membrane  ; 
outer  toes  about  equal,  and  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus  ; 
interdigital  membranes  emarginate ;  claws  small,  slender, 
little  arched,  rather  pointed. 

Plumage  dense,  firm,  glossy ;  feathers  of  the  head  and 
neck  very  soft,  blended,  silky  or  velvety ;  of  the  other  parts 
moderate,  ovate.  Wings  short,  convex,  narrow,  pointed,  of 
twenty-six  quills  ;  primaries  narrow,  the  first  longest.  Tail 
very  small,  much  rounded,  of  fourteen  stifiish,  tapering 
feathers. 

Brown,  grey,  white,  and  brownish-red  are  the  prevailing 
colours  of  the  plumage.  The  females  have  the  colours  less 
decided,  brown  being  substituted  on  the  upper  parts  and 
sides,  and  the  markings  larger.  The  young  resemble  the 
females.  This  genus  is  one  of  those  which  approach  nearest 
to  the  Anatinse,  and  the  species  are  by  no  means  exclusively 
marine,  although  in  winter  they  frequent  estuaries,  and  even 
the  open  shores,  feeding  chiefly  on  the  rhizomata  of  Valis- 
neria,  Zostera,  and  other  plants.  In  summer  they  reside 
chiefly  in  fresh-water  marshes  and  lakes,  where  they  breed, 
and  feed  on  larvae,  insects,  and  mollusca.  They  are  not 
expert  at  walking,  but  swim  and  dive  with  great  ease,  and 
have  a  rapid,  direct  flight.  When  fed  on  vegetable  sub¬ 
stances  they  afford  good  eating,  the  flesh  of  one  species, 
Aytliya  Yalisneriana,  being  in  America  celebrated  above  that 
of  every  other  Duck,  although  it  is  very  probably  in  no 
degree  different  from  that  of  Ay  thy  a  Ferina,  which,  although 
well-flavoured,  is  not,  I  think,  to  be  compared  with  that  of 
Anas  Boschas,  or  any  of  the  Teals.  Three  species  occur  in 
Britain. 


103 


AYTHYA  FERINA.  THE  RED-HEADED  POCHARD. 

POKER.  RED-HEADED  POKER.  GREAT-HEADED  POKER  OR  WIGEON. 
DUNBIRD.  DUNCUR  OR  DUNIvER. 


Fig.  67. 


Anas  Fcrina.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  203. 

Anas  Ferina.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  862. 

Canard  Milouin.  Anas  Ferina.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  868. 
Pochard.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Red-headed  Pochard.  Fuligula  Ferina.  Selhy,  Illustr.  II.  347. 
Common  Pochard.  Fuligula  Ferina.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  241. 
Aythya  Ferina.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  58. 


Male  eighteen  inches  long,  with  the  hill  rather  narrow,  two 
inches  in  length,  of  the  nearly  uniform  breadth  of  eight-twelfths, 
black  at  the  base  and  tip,  dull  light  blue  elsewhere ;  feathers  of 
the  forehead  stijjish;  head  and  half  of  neck  brownish-red,  lower 
part  of  neck  and  hind  part  of  back  brownish-black ;  back 
greyish-white,  minutely  undulated  with  dark-grey  ;  secondary 
quills  ash-grey  ;  lower  parts  greyish-white,  minutely  undula  ted ; 
hind  part  of  abdomen  and  lower  tail-coverts  dusky ;  tail 
greyish-brown,  of  fourteen  feathers.  Female  with  less  blue  on 


104 


AYTHYA  FERINA. 


the  bill,  the  head  and  hind  neck  reddish-brown ;  the  fore  part 
of  the  cheeks  paler  ;  the  lower  part  of  the  neck  all  round  and 
the  back  greyish-brown,  the  latter  obscurely  undulated  with 
white  ;  the  rest  as  in  the  male,  but  duller,  and  the  sides  dusky. 
Young  like  the  female. 

Male  in  Winter. — The  Red-headed  Pochard,  although 
nearly  resembling  the  celebrated  American  Canvas-backed 
Duck,  is  not  liable  to  he  mistaken  for  any  British  species* 
Its  body  is  large,  full,  depressed,  of  an  elliptical  form ;  the 
neck  rather  long,  and  thick ;  the  head  large,  oblong,  com¬ 
pressed,  rounded  above. 

The  bill  is  about  the  same  length  as  the  head,  higher  than 
broad  at  the  base,  of  almost  equal  breadth  throughout,  being 
hut  very  slightly  wider  toward  the  end,  which  is  rounded ; 
upper  mandible  with  the  lateral  basal  margins  concave,  the 
upper  acutely  emarginate,  the  frontal  angles  narrowly  pointed, 
the  ridge  broad,  rather  concave,  gradually  narrowed,  convex 
toward  the  end,  the  dorsal  line  straight  and  decimate  to 
beyond  the  nostrils,  then  slightly  concave  ;  the  sides  nearly 
erect  at  the  base,  becoming  gradually  more  decimate  and 
convex,  the  edges  marginate,  concealing  the  internal  oblique 
lamellae,  of  which  there  are  about  sixty,  the  unguis  small, 
oblong,  abruptly  rounded  at  the  end  ;  nasal  space  small,  ellip¬ 
tical,  suh-basal ;  lower  mandible  flattened,  with  the  intercrural 
space  very  long  and  rather  narrow,  the  crura  slender,  their 
lower  outlines  slightly  rearcuate,  the  dorsal  line  nearly  straight, 
the  edges  erect,  with  about  seventy  lamellae,  the  unguis 
obovato-triangular,  being  abruptly  rounded. 

The  mouth  is  rather  narrow.  The  tongue  fleshy,  deeply 
grooved  above,  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths  long,  six-twelfths 
and  a  half  in  breadth,  its  sides  furnished  with  two  series  of 
bristly  filaments,  the  tip  thin,  horny,  rounded.  The  oeso¬ 
phagus  is  eleven  inches  long,  of  moderate  width,  from  five  to 
eight-twelfths  in  breadth  ;  the  proventriculus  nine-twelfths  in 
breadth,  its  glandules  cylindrical,  and  two-twelfths  long. 
The  stomach  extremely  muscular,  oblique,  elliptical,  com¬ 
pressed,  two  inches  and  a  half  in  length,  an  inch  and  three- 
fourths  in  breadth ;  the  lateral  muscles  more  than  half  an 


IlED-HEABED  POCHARD. 


105 


inch  thick  ;  the  epithelium  rather  thin,  dense,  slightly  rugous, 
with  two  circular  grinding  plates  of  thicker  texture ;  the 
upper  part  forming  a  small  pyloric  sac ;  the  pylorus  without 
valve.  The  intestine  is  five  feet  four  inches  long,  four- 
twelfths  in  width  at  its  upper  part,  at  the  middle  six  and  a 
half-twelfths,  near  the  coeca  five-twelfths.  The  coeca  seven 
inches  long,  nearly  cylindrical,  four-twelfths  in  width,  a  little 
narrower  toward  their  commencement,  and  five  and  a  half 
inches  distant  from  the  extremity  of  the  intestine. 

The  nostrils  are  oblong,  three-twelfths  in  length,  sub- 
medial,  near  the  ridge,  pervious ;  the  eyes  small,  three- 
twelfths  across ;  the  aperture  of  the  ear  only  a  twelfth  and  a 
half.  The  feet  are  very  short,  and  placed  rather  far  behind  ; 
the  tarsus  very  short,  compressed,  with  seventeen  anterior 
small  scutella,  eight  outer  scutella,  the  rest  covered  with 
angular  scales.  The  hind  toe  small,  with  eleven  double 
scales,  and  a  narrow  inferior  membrane  ;  the  inner  toe  with 
thirty  scutella,  the  third  thirty-six,  the  fourth  forty  ;  the  two 
outer  toes  about  equal,  and  nearly  double  the  length  of  the 
tarsus ;  the  interdigital  membranes  anteriorly  emarginate. 
The  claws  are  small,  slender,  arched,  compressed,  obtuse, 
that  of  the  third  toe  with  its  inner  edge  expanded. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  soft,  glossy,  and  blended ;  the 
feathers  of  the  fore  part  of  the  head  small,  and  stiffish  •  of  the 
rest  of  the  head  and  neck  very  soft,  and  silky ;  of  the  lower 
neck  ohovate  and  abrupt.  The  wings  are  short,  curved,  nar¬ 
row,  and  pointed ;  the  primaries  strong,  tapering,  the  first 
longest,  the  second  slightly  shorter,  the  rest  rapidly  decreas¬ 
ing  ;  the  secondaries  fifteen,  broadly  rounded,  the  outer  some¬ 
what  emarginate,  the  inner  elongated  and  tapering.  The 
tail  is  very  short,  much  rounded,  of  fourteen  stiffish,  narrowly 
rounded  feathers. 

The  bill  is  black  to  a  little  beyond  the  nostrils,  and  at  the 
end,  the  intermediate  space  light  greyish-blue.  The  iris 
orange-yellow.  The  feet  leaden-grey,  with  the  webs  and 
claws  black.  The  head  and  half  of  the  neck  all  round  are  of 
a  fine  brownish-orange  tint ;  the  lower  part  of  the  neck 
brownish-black,  the  terminal  filaments  of  its  anterior  part 
stiffish,  glossy,  and  greyish-white  ;  the  hind  part  of  the  back 


106 


AYTHYA  FERINA. 


and  upper  tail-coverts  brownish-black  ;  the  tail  greyish-brown. 
The  rest  of  the  upper  parts  are  minutely  undulated  with  dark- 
grey  lines  on  a  greyish-white  ground.  The  primary  quills 
are  brownish-grey,  tipped  with  dusky-brown ;  the  secondaries 
ash-grey,  terminally  edged  with  white,  but  the  inner  like  the 
back ;  the  coverts  grey,  obscurely  dotted  and  undulated  with 
whitish.  The  breast  is  pale  grey,  its  hind  part  and  sides  un¬ 
dulated  like  the  back,  but  more  obscurely ;  on  the  abdomen, 
which  is  also  undulated,  greyish-brown  prevails,  and  the 
feathers  under  the  tail  are  blackish-brown.  The  axillars  are 
white,  the  lower  wing-coverts  greyish-white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  18  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  25  J  ; 
bill  along  the  ridge  2,  from  frontal  angles  2^-5-,  along  the  edge 
of  lower  mandible  2,  its  breadth  ;  wing  from  flexure  8J  ; 
tail  2-^;  tarsus  l-p^;  first  toe  its  claw  second  toe  1-j-Lj 
its  claw  ~y~2  l  third  toe  2J,  its  claw  ;  fourth  toe  2^,  its 
claw 

Female. — The  female,  which  is  considerably  less  than 
the  male,  has  the  bill,  eyes,  and  feet  similarly  coloured,  but 
with  the  blue  band  on  the  bill  narrower.  The  head  and  hind 
part  of  the  neck  are  reddish-brown,  the  fore  part  of  the  cheeks? 
a  space  beneath  and  behind  the  eye,  and  the  throat  paler ; 
the  lower  part  of  the  neck  all  round,  with  a  portion  of  the 
breast  greyisli-brown,  the  feathers  terminally  edged  with 
brownish-white.  The  upper  parts  of  the  body  are  dull  grey¬ 
ish-brown,  the  fore  part  of  the  back  and  the  scapulars  slightly 
undulated  with  whitish ;  the  wings  as  in  the  male,  but 
tinged  with  brown,  and  without  dots  ;  the  tail  greyish-brown. 
The  middle  of  the  breast  is  greyish- white,  the  flanks  dusky, 
the  hind  part  of  the  abdomen  greyish  -brown ;  the  lower 
wing-coverts  pale  grey ;  those  in  the  middle  and  the  scapulars 
white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  17  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  24;  bill 
along  the  ridge  2  ;  wing  from  flexure  8  ;  tail  2J  ;  tarsus  lyV  ; 
middle  toe  2-^,  its  claw  -fe. 

Variations. — Adult  males  vary  considerably  in  size  ;  the 
red  ol  the  head  and  neck  varies  in  tint ;  the  lower  neck  and 


RED-HEADED  POCHARD. 


107 


fore  part  of  the  breast  may  be  brownish-black,  or  greyish- 
black,  and  sometimes  the  latter  is  deep  grey.  The  white  of 
the  back,  and  its  dark  lines,  vary  in  intensity,  as  is  equally 
the  case  with  the  lower  parts.  Otherwise  I  have  not  seen 
any  remarkable  differences. 

Habits. — The  Red-headed  Pochards  arrive  on  our  coasts 
in  the  end  of  October,  some  betaking  themselves  to  marshes 
and  pools,  others  remaining  in  the  bays  and  estuaries.  They 
are,  however,  not  common  in  the  firths  of  Scotland,  or  in  any 
part  of  that  country  ;  but  on  the  eastern  coasts  of  England, 
south  of  the  Humber,  they  are  still  plentiful,  although, 
owing  to  the  draining  of  the  fens,  they  are  much  less  nume¬ 
rous  now  than  formerly.  This  species  feeds  chiefly  on  the 
rliizomata  of  grasses,  their  leaves,  and  other  vegetable  sub¬ 
stances,  but  also  on  Zostera  marina,  other  salt-water  plants, 
worms,  and  mollusca.  The  individual  described  above  as 
representing  the  adult  male  had  its  stomach  and  oesophagus 
filled  with  fragments  of  slender  plants  resembling  the  sub¬ 
terranean  parts  of  grasses.  In  the  stomach  was  a  large  quan¬ 
tity  of  fragments  of  quartz,  varying  from  the  smallest  size  to 
three-twelfths  in  diameter,  all  white,  and  generally  highly 
polished,  together  with  some  earth. 

It  swims  strongly,  sitting  rather  deep  in  the  water,  and 
dives  habitually  for  its  food.  Its  flight  is  rapid,  and  generally 
low ;  but  farther  I  cannot  speak  respecting  it,  unless  by  bor¬ 
rowing  from  other  observers.  It  also  occurs  in  America ;  at 
least  the  specimens  from  that  country  which  I  have  examined 
differed  only  in  being  considerably  larger.  Dr.  Richardson 
states  that  it  breeds  in  all  parts  of  the  fur  countries,  from  the 
fiftieth  parallel  to  their  most  northern  limits,  and  Mr.  Audu¬ 
bon  describes  it  as  very  abundant  during  winter  about  New 
Orleans,  in  East  Florida,  and  in  Chesapeake  Hay : — “Although 
they  dive  much,  and  to  a  great  depth,  while  in  our  bays  and 
estuaries,  yet,  when  in  the  shallow  ponds  of  the  interior, 
they  are  seen  dabbling  the  mud  along  the  shores  much  in  the 
manner  of  the  Mallard  ;  and  on  occasionally  shooting  them 
there,  I  have  found  their  stomach  crammed  with  young  tad¬ 
poles  and  small  water-lizzards,  as  well  as  blades  of  the  grasses 


108 


AYTHYA  FERINA. 


growing  around  the  banks.  Nay,  on  several  occasions,  I 
have  found  pretty  large  acorns  and  beech-nuts  in  their  throats, 
as  well  as  snails,  entire  or  broken,  and  fragments  of  the  shells 
of  various  small  unios,  together  with  much  gravel.” 

When  caught,  it  soon  becomes  reconciled  to  confinement, 
and  readily  feeds  on  grain  and  other  vegetable  substances. 
Its  flesh  is  moderately  good,  probably  not  inferior  to  that  of 
the  Canvas-hack,  which  very  closely  resembles  it  in  colour, 
but  is  of  still  more  marine  habits  during  the  cold  season. 

This  species  has  been  found  breeding  at  Scoulton-mere  in 
Norfolk,  hut  not  elsewhere  in  any  part  of  Britain.  Mr. 
Ilcwitson  states  that  a  few  remain  to  breed  in  Holland.  In 
more  northern  European  countries,  however,  it  has  not,  appa¬ 
rently,  been  traced  to  its  haunts ;  but  its  appearance  in 
Britain  in  the  end  of  autumn,  its  remaining  there  all  winter, 
and  its  departing  in  spring,  indicate  its  northward  migration 
at  the  latter  season,  notwithstanding  its  occurrence  in  nor¬ 
thern  Africa,  Egypt,  and  India.  In  Orkney,  “  flocks  often 
appear  in  September,  and  usually  remain  till  the  end  of 
March.  They  abound  on  the  Loch  of  Skaill,  and  various 
other  sheets  of  fresh  water.  In  1831,  one  was  shot  in  Sanday 
so  late  as  the  28th  of  June;  it  seemed,  however,  to  be  a  soli¬ 
tary  bird.” — Nat.  Hist,  of  Orkney,  p.  79.  It  also  occurs  in 
Shetland  as  a  winter  visitant,  hut  is  not  known  to  breed 
there.  In  Ireland  it  “  is  a  regular  winter  visitant,  hut  varies 
much  in  numbers  in  different  years.”  M.  Temminck  says  it 
is  rather  abundant  in  Russia,  Denmark,  and  even  the  north 
of  Germany.  All  that  is  stated  as  to  its  breeding  is,  that  it 
nestles  in  marshy  places,  and  lays  ten  or  twelve  greenish- 
white  or  yellowish-white  eggs,  about  two  inches  in  length. 

Young. — The  young  males,  when  fledged,  resemble  the 
female. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — According  to  M.  Tem¬ 
minck,  the  young  males  of  one  or  two  years  have  the  red  of 
the  head  and  neck  less  bright ;  the  black  of  the  breast  gene¬ 
rally  brownish,  often  even  tinted  with  pale  brown ;  and  the 
back  and  sides  sometimes  marked  with  spots. 


AYTHYA  RUFINA.  THE  RED-CRESTED 

POCHARD. 


Anas  rufina.  Gmel.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  541. 

Anas  rufina.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  870. 

Anas  rufina.  Temm.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  II.  864. 

Fuligula  rufina.  Selby,  Illustr.  Brit.  Ornith.  II.  350. 
Fuligula  rufina.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  240. 
Callichen  rufinus.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  58. 


Male  twenty-two  inches  lo?ig,  with  the  hill  rather  narrow, 
two  inches  and  two-twelfths  long,  vermilion,  as  are  the  feet  ; 
feathers  of  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  nape  elongated ; 
head  and  upper  neck  brownish-red ;  lower  part  of  neck, 
breast,  and  abdomen  blackish-brown ;  back,  wings,  and  tail 
light  brown  ;  sides  of  the  body,  outer  secondary  quills,  anterior 
edge  of  the  wing,  and  an  oblong  spot  on  each  slioidder  white. 
Female  with  the  bill  bright  red ;  the  upper  part  of  the  head 
and  nape  deep  brown  ;  the  throat,  cheeks,  and  sides  of  the 
neck  greyish-white  ;  upper  parts  brown,  lower  brownish-white; 
lower  fore-neck  and  sides  mottled  with  brown. 

Male. — This  species,  considerably  larger  than  the  last, 
is  remarkable  for  its  tufted  crest,  and,  although  nearly  of 
the  same  form  and  proportions,  seems  to  present  some  affinity 
to  the  Mergansers,  in  having  the  bill  more  slender,  with  the 
lamellae  of  the  upper  mandible  projecting  a  little,  and  the 
unguis  more  decurved.  The  tarsi  are  very  short  and  com¬ 
pressed  ;  the  outer  two  toes  nearly  equal,  and  about  twice 
the  length  of  the  tarsus.  The  wings  are  pointed,  with  the 
outer  quills  longest ;  the  tail  short  and  rounded. 

The  hill  and  feet  are  vermilion ;  the  interdigital  mem¬ 
branes  dusky.  The  head  and  upper  fourth  of  the  neck  all 
round  are  brownish-red ;  the  rest  of  the  neck,  the  breast, 
abdomen,  hind  part  of  the  back,  and  upper  and  lower  tail- 


110 


AYTHYA  RUFINA. 


coverts  blackish-brown ;  the  sides  of  the  body  white,  partly 
undulated  with  dusky  lines.  An  oblong  spot  on  the  sides 
of  the  back  anteriorly,  the  margin  of  the  wing  at  the  carpal 
joint,  and  the  outer  webs  of  the  secondary  quills  white ;  the 
primary  quills  and  tail-feathers  greyish- brown. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  22  inches  \  bill  along  the  ridge  ; 
wing  from  flexure  10J;  tarsus  1-^- ;  middle  toe  2^,  its 
claw 

Female. — According  to  M.  Temminck,  “  the  female  has 
the  top  of  the  head,  the  occiput,  and  the  nape  deep  brown ; 
the  crest  less  tufted ;  the  cheeks,  throat,  and  sides  of  the 
neck  greyish-brown  ;  the  breast  and  sides  yellowish-brown ; 
the  breast  and  abdomen  grey ;  the  back,  wings,  and  tail 
brown,  slightly  tinged  with  ochre-yellow.  There  is  no  white 
spot  on  the  sides  of  the  back  ;  the  speculum  is  one  half 
greyish-white,  the  other  light  brown ;  the  base  of  the  quills 
white,  shaded  with  brown.  The  bill,  tarsi,  and  toes  reddish- 
brown.” 

Habits. — The  Fed-crested  Pochard  is  said  to  inhabit  the 
eastern  parts  of  the  north  of  Europe  ;  to  be  found  in  Austria, 
Hungary,  Turkey,  the  countries  about  the  Caspian  Sea, 
Switzerland,  Provence,  Genoa,  Italy,  Northern  Africa,  and 
India.  Its  range  of  migration  does  not  ordinarily  extend  so 
far  westward  as  Britain ;  and  it  had  not  been  recorded  as 
occurring  there  until  Mr.  Yarrell  noticed  it  in  the  second 
volume  of  the  Zoological  Journal,  p.  492,  as  an  occasional 
visitant,  a  male  having  been  shot  near  Boston,  while  feeding 
on  fresh  water  along  with  some  AYigeons.  A  few  other  indi¬ 
viduals  have  been  obtained.  Several  occurred  the  same 
winter  in  the  London  markets.  One  was  subsequently 
killed  at  Yarmouth,  and  a  female,  out  of  a  flock  of  eighteen, 
on  the  Thames. 

Hemaeks. — The  above  account  is  entirely  compiled, 
chiefly  from  Yarrell  and  Temminck,  the  bird  never  having 
come  under  my  notice,  unless  in  Museums,  and  there  being 
no  specimen  in  my  collection. 


Ill 


FULIGULA.  SCAUP-DUCK. 

The  Scaup-Ducks,  of  which  Fuligula  Marila,  F.  rufitor- 
ques,  and  F.  cristata  may  he  considered  as  the  most  charac¬ 
teristic  species,  differ  from  the  Pochards  chiefly  in  having  the 
body  shorter,  the  hill  much  broader,  and  less  elongated,  and 
the  membrane  of  the  hind  toe  wider.  They  may  he  described 
as  having  the  body  very  large,  short,  full,  and  depressed ;  the 
neck  moderate  or  rather  short ;  the  head  rather  large,  oblong, 
compressed,  and  rounded  above. 

Bill  nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  about  the  same  height  and 
breadth  at  the  base,  becoming  depressed,  and  enlarging  in 
breadth  to  the  end,  which  is  very  broad  and  semicircular ;  the 
upper  mandible  with  the  basal  lateral  sinuses  very  short  and 
wide,  the  upper  sinus  short,  the  frontal  angles  obtuse  and 
little  extended,  the  dorsal  line  gently  decimate  for  half  its 
length,  then  nearly  direct  to  the  unguis,  which  is  small, 
obovato-oblong,  flattened,  and  decurved,  the  ridge  broad  and 
flat  at  the  base,  gradually  narrowed,  convex  toward  the  end, 
the  sides  at  the  base  rapidly  sloping,  toward  the  end  gradually 
more  spreading  and  convex,  the  edges  soft,  marginate,  con¬ 
cealing  the  ends  of  the  numerous  little  elevated  lamellae ;  the 
nasal  sinus  small,  sub-elliptical,  sub-basal ;  lower  mandible 
with  the  intercrural  space  long  and  rather  wide,  the  crura 
slender,  with  their  lower  outline  nearly  straight,  the  outer 
lamellae  small,  the  unguis  obovate,  rather  small,  and  nearly 
flat. 

Mouth  of  moderate  width ;  anterior  part  of  palate  broadly 
concave,  with  a  median  prominent  line,  on  which  are  a  few 
tubercles  ;  the  lateral  lamellae  slender,  little  elevated ;  those 
of  the  lower  mandible  about  double  the  number.  Tongue 
fleshy,  with  a  deep  median  groove,  papillate  at  the  base, 
lamelloso-filamentous  on  the  margins,  with  the  tip  thin  and 


112 


FULIGULA. 


somewhat  semicircular.  Oesophagus  rather  wide  ;  proventri- 
culus  oblong.  Stomach  a  very  muscular  gizzard,  of  a  trans¬ 
versely  elliptical  form,  placed  obliquely,  with  longitudinally 
rugous  epithelium,  forming  thick,  somewhat  concave  cir¬ 
cular  grinding  plates.  Intestine  very  long  and  wide  ;  coeca 
long,  of  moderate  width ;  rectum  very  short. 

Nostrils  small,  in  the  lower  and  fore  part  of  the  nasal 
sinus  ;  eyes  small ;  ears  very  small.  Legs  very  short,  placed 
rather  far  behind ;  tarsus  compressed,  with  small  anterior 
scutella ;  hind  toe  very  slender,  with  a  broad  membrane ; 
outer  toes  about  equal,  and  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus ; 
interdigital  membranes  emarginate ;  claws  small,  slender, 
little  arched,  rather  pointed. 

Plumage  dense,  firm,  glossy ;  feathers  of  the  head  and 
neck  very  soft,  blended,  silky,  or  velvety ;  of  the  other  parts 
moderate,  ovate,  wings  short,  convex,  narrow,  pointed,  of 
twenty-six  quills  ;  primaries  narrow,  the  first  longest.  Tail 
very  small,  much  rounded  or  euneate,  of  fourteen  stiffish, 
tapering  feathers. 

Black,  white,  and  grey  are  the  prevailing  colours  of  the 
plumage.  The  females  have  the  colours  less  decided,  brown 
being  generally  substituted  for  black,  and  the  markings 
larger.  The  young  resemble  the  females.  The  birds  of  this 
genus,  from  the  shortness  of  their  legs,  and  the  great  size  of 
their  anterior  toes,  walk  with  difficulty,  hut  swim  and  dive 
with  ease.  They  are  essentially  marine  in  the  winter  season, 
although  even  then  they  not  unfrequently  betake  themselves 
to  fresh  water.  They  feed  on  vegetable  substances,  shell-fish, 
Crustacea,  insects,  and  larvae.  In  summer,  when  they  resort 
to  the  arctic  marshes,  they  reside  chiefly  in  fresh  water. 
Their  flight  is  strong,  direct,  and  quick.  According  to  the 
kind  of  food  principally  used,  and  which  they  procure  chiefly 
by  diving,  their  flesh  varies  in  flavour,  hut  is  generally  good, 
being,  although  dark -coloured,  savoury,  and  highly  flavoured, 
but  rather  difficult  to  be  digested. 


113 


FULIGULA  NYROCA.  THE  FERRUGINOUS 

SCAUP-DUCK. 

FERRUGINOUS  DUCK.  RED  DUCK.  CASTANEOUS  DUCK.  WHITE-EYED  DUCK. 

NYROCA  DUCK.  AFRICAN  TEAL.  NYROCA  POCHARD. 

Anas  Nyroca.  Gmel.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  542. 

Anas  Nyroca.  Lath.  Ind.  Orn.  II.  869. 

Anas  leucophthalmos.  Bechst.  Naturg.  Deut.  IV.  1009. 

Anas  leucophthalmos.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  876. 

Nyroca  leucophthalmos.  Flem.  Brit.  Anim.  121. 

Fuligula  Nyroca.  Selb.  Illustr.  Brit.  Ornith.  II.  354. 

Fuligula  Nyroca.  Nyroca  Pochard.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  An.  242. 

Nyroca  leucophthalma.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  58. 

Male  sixteen  inches  long ,  with  the  bill  dusky-blue ;  the 
unguis  black;  the  head,  neck,  fore  part  of  breast,  and  sides 
chestnut-red ;  the  neck  with  an  obscure  brown  ring;  upper 
p)arts  blackish-brown,  glossed  with  green;  secondary  quills 
white,  with  a  terminal  black  band;  lower  parts  white.  Female 
with  the  head,  neck,  fore  part  of  the  breast,  and  sides  reddish- 
brown  ;  upper  parts  dusky,  the  feathers  edged  with  paler ; 
lower  parts  white;  wings  as  in  the  male. 

Male. — The  Ferruginous  or  White-eyed  Pochard  resem¬ 
bles  the  Common  or  Red-headed  Pochard  in  general  aspect ; 
hut  is  much  smaller,  and  differently  coloured.  The  bill  is 
rather  shorter  than  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at  the  base, 
gradually  depressed  toward  the  tip,  which  is  rounded,  the 
unguis  oblong  and  convex.  The  feet,  wings,  and  tail  are 
nearly  as  in  the  other  species. 

The  bill  is  dusky-blue,  with  the  unguis  black ;  the  feet 
bluish-black,  the  interdigital  membranes  darker.  “  The 
irides  white.”  The  head  and  neck  all  round,  the  fore  part 
of  the  breast,  and  the  sides  chestnut-red  ;  a  white  spot  on 

VOL.  v.  i 


114 


FULIGULA  NYHOCA. 


the  chin,  and  a  dusky  ring  about  the  middle  of  the  neck. 
The  back  and  wing-coverts  dusky-brown,  tinged  with  green. 
The  primary  quills  brownish-black  ;  the  outer  secondaries 
white,  with  a  black  bar  at  the  end ;  the  lower  parts  of  the 
body  white. 

Length  16  inches  ;  wing  from  flexure  7f. 

Female. — According  to  Temminck,  “  the  female  has  the 
head,  neck,  breast,  and  sides  of  the  body  brown,  but  all  the 
feathers  tipped  with  light  reddish ;  there  is  no  ring  on  the 
neck ;  the  feathers  of  the  upper  parts  are  blackish,  and  ter¬ 
minated  with  pale  brown ;  the  other  parts  as  in  the  male. 

Length  15  inches. 

Habits. — This  species,  respecting  the  habits  and  distri¬ 
bution  of  which  very  little  is  known,  is  said  to  inhabit  chiefly 
the  eastern  parts  of  Europe.  India,  Persia,  Egypt,  northern 
Africa,  southern  Europe,  Russia,  and  Iceland  are  mentioned 
in  connection  with  it.  Temminck  says  it  is  a  regular 
migrant  in  Germany,  and  appears  accidentally,  or  in  small 
numbers,  in  Holland,  France,  and  England.  In  the  latter 
country  it  is  occasionally  met  with,  and  has  been  killed  in 
Norfolk,  Cambridgeshire,  and  Oxfordshire.  Mr.  Y’arrell 
states  that  it  is  not  unfrequently  to  be  found  in  the  London 
markets,  the  individuals  there  exposed  being  “  generally 
received  from  the  eastern  counties  between  the  Thames  and 
the  Humber.”  I  have  not  met  with  it  in  Scotland;  but  Sir 
William  Jardine  recollects  having  seen  a  fresh  specimen  in 
the  Edinburgh  market,  and  Messrs.  Baikie  and  Heddle  say 
it  has  been  observed  in  Orkney,  though  very  rarely. 

M.  Temminck  states  that  it  feeds  on  insects,  small  frogs, 
aquatic  plants,  and  seeds,  rarely  on  small  fishes  ;  nestles 
among  the  rushes  that  border  the  large  rivers  and  marshes ; 
and  lays  nine  or  ten  eggs  of  a  white  colour,  slightly  tinged 
with  greenish. 

Young. — The  young,  when  fledged,  according  to  Tem¬ 
minck,  have  the  top  of  the  head  dusky-brown ;  all  the 
feathers  of  the  upper  parts  bordered  and  terminated  with 


FERRUGINOUS  SCAUP-DUCK. 


115 


reddish-brown ;  the  white  of  the  belly  tinged  with  light 
brown. 

V 

Remarks. — The  above  account  is  entirely  compiled, 
chiefly  from  Temminck  and  Yarrell.  A  female  from  India, 
in  my  collection,  however,  shows  that  the  species,  although 
somewhat  allied  to  the  Pochards  in  colouring,  belongs  to  the 
genus  Fuligula,  its  bill  being  shorter,  and  much  broader  than 
that  of  the  Aythyse. 


116 


FULIGULA  MARILA.  THE  BROAD-BILLED 

SCAUP-DUCK. 

SCAUP  DUCK.  SPOON-BILL  DUCK.  WHITE-FACED  DUCK. 


Anas  Marila.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  196. 

Anas  Marila.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  853. 

Scaup  Duck.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  Milouin.  Anas  Marila.  Temm.  Man.  d’Orn.  II.  865. 
Scaup  Pochard.  Fuligula  Marila.  Selby,  Illust.  II.  354. 

Fuligula  Marila.  Scaup  Pochard.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  243. 
Fuligula  Marila.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  58. 


Male  twenty  inches  long,  with  the  hill  broad,  enlarged 
toward  the  end,  two  inches  long,  an  inch  and  a  tivelfth  in 
breadth,  dull  light  greyish-blue,  with  the  unguis  blackish  ; 
feathers  of  the  head  short ;  the  head  and  upper  part  of  the 
neck  greenish -black  ;  the  rest  of  the  neck,  fore  part  of  the 
back  and  breast,  and  hind  part  of  the  back,  black  ;  the  rest  of 
the  back  and  icing-coverts  greyish-white,  finely  undidated  with 
dusky  ;  the  outer  secondaries  partly  white  ;  the  breast  and 
sides  white  ;  hind  part  of  abdomen  and  lower  tail-coverts 
dusky  ;  tail  brownish-grey ,  of  fourteen  feathers.  Female 
with  the  head,  neck,  and  fore  part  of  the  back  and  breast, 
brown  ;  a  broad  band  of  white  on  the  forehead  ;  upper  parts 
blackish-brown,  in  p>art  undulated  with  whitish  ;  middle  of 
the  breast  white  ;  sides  and  hind  parts  dusky  brown.  Young 
nearly  similar  to  the  female. 

Male  in  Winter. — The  Scaup  Pochard,  a  little  larger 
and  more  robust  than  the  Tufted,  is  of  the  same  form  and 
proportions,  having  the  hody  very  full  and  considerably  de¬ 
pressed,  the  neck  of  moderate  length,  the  head  large,  oblong, 
compressed,  and  rounded  above. 

The  bill  is  of  the  same  length  as  the  head,  about  the  same 


BROAD-BILLED  SCAUP-DUCK. 


117 


height  and  breadth  at  the  base,  becoming  depressed  and 
enlarging  in  breadth  to  the  end,  which  is  semicircular ;  the 
upper  mandible  with  the  basal  sinuses  nearly  semicircular, 
the  dorsal  line  declinate  to  beyond  the  nostrils,  then  direct  to 
the  unguis,  which  is  small,  obovate,  decurved,  the  ridge  broad 
and  concave,  gradually  narrowed,  and  ultimately  rounded,  the 
sides  at  the  base  rapidly  sloping,  toward  the  end  convex,  the 
edges  soft,  concealing  the  ends  of  the  oblique,  little  elevated 
lamella?,  of  which  there  are  forty-five ;  the  nasal  space  small, 
elliptical,  sub-basal ;  lower  mandible  flat,  with  the  inter- 
crural  space  very  long,  rather  wide,  bare,  the  crura  slender, 
with  their  outline  very  nearly  straight,  the  erect,  inflected 
edges  with  about  sixty  outer  and  eighty-five  inner  lamella^, 
the  unguis  obovato-triangular,  nearly  flat. 

The  mouth  an  inch  in  width;  the  palate  concave;  the 
posterior  aperture  of  the  nares  linear-lanceolate,  margined 
with  numerous  fine  papillae ;  the  anterior  part  very  broadly 
and  deeply  concave.  The  tongue  is  very  large,  fleshy,  two 
inches  long,  with  papillate  flaps  at  the  base,  a  prominent 
edged  pad  above,  a  deep  medial  groove,  the  upper  surface 
smooth  ;  the  margin  pectinato-lamellate,  with  five  large  tooth¬ 
like  papillae  on  each  side  toward  the  base  ;  the  tip  thin-edgcd 
and  semicircular. 

The  nostrils  are  small,  three-twelfths  long,  situated  at 
about  a  third  of  the  length  of  the  hill.  The  eyes  very  small, 
their  aperture  only  two-twelfths  and  a  half ;  the  aperture  of 
the  ear  only  a  twelfth  and  a  quarter  ;  the  feet  are  very  short, 
placed  rather  far  behind  ;  the  tarsus  very  short,  with  twenty 
small  scutella,  and  eight  in  the  outer  row  ;  the  hind  toe  very 
small,  with  eleven  scutella  ;  the  second  with  twenty-five,  the 
third  with  thirty-six,  the  fourth  forty  scutella ;  the  hind  toe 
with  a  small  inferior  membrane,  the  inner  with  an  enlarged 
somewhat  two-lobed  membrane  ;  the  interdigital  membranes 
somewhat  emarginate.  The  claws  small,  slender,  little 
arched,  laterally  grooved,  rather  obtuse,  that  of  the  middle 
toe  little  dilated. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  soft,  glossy,  blended  ;  the  feathers 
of  the  head  and  upper-neck  short  and  velvety  ;  the  wings 
short,  narrow,  concave,  with  twenty-six  quills,  and  five 


118 


FULIGULA  MARILA. 


humerals  ;  the  primaries  narrow,  tapering,  decurved,  the  first 
longest,  the  second  scarcely  shorter,  the  rest  rapidly  gradu¬ 
ated  ;  the  secondaries  tapering.  The  tail  is  very  small,  much 
rounded,  of  fourteen  moderately  firm  rather  pointed  feathers, 
of  which  the  medial  are  nine-twelfths  longer  than  the  lateral. 

The  bill  is  light  greyish-blue,  or  dull  lead-colour,  with  the 
unguis  blackish.  The  iris  rich  yellow ;  the  edges  of  the  eye¬ 
lids  dusky.  The  feet  pale  greyish-blue,  darker  on  the  joints ; 
the  membranes  dusky ;  the  claws  black.  The  head  and  upper 
half  of  the  neck  black,  strongly  glossed  with  green  and 
purple ;  the  rest  of  the  neck  and  part  of  the  back  and  breast 
black,  toward  the  margin  of  which  colour  on  the  breast  some 
of  the  feathers  are  terminally  edged  with  greyish-white ;  the 
hind  part  of  the  hack  brownish-black  ;  the  tail  greyisli-brown. 
The  middle  of  the  back,  the  scapulars,  and  wing-coverts, 
white,  transversely  undulated  with  dusky  lines,  which  are 
broader  on  the  hind  part  of  the  scapulars,  three  of  the  larger 
of  which,  however,  are  dusky,  glossed  with  green  ;  the  primary 
coverts  blackish-brown ;  the  primaries  partly  greyish-brown, 
hut  from  the  fourth  primary  to  the  tenth  secondary  is  a  broad 
white  band,  including  the  whole  length  of  three  quills  except 
the  tips  ;  the  inner  secondaries  and  the  ends  of  the  rest 
blackish-green,  the  inner  three  dotted  with  white.  The 
breast  and  sides  are  white  ;  the  abdominal  region  anteriorly 
greyish-white,  undulated  with  dusky  brown,  that  colour 
increasing,  so  that  the  feathers  under  the  tail  are  brownish- 
black  ;  the  axillars  and  middle  lower  wing-coverts  white,  the 
rest  grey  or  dotted  with  that  colour. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  20  inches ;  extent  of  wings  32  ; 
bill  along  the  ridge  2  ;  from  the  frontal  angle  2yV  ;  along  the 
edge  of  lower  mandible  2-fj ;  its  greatest  breadth  1-jL- ;  wing 
from  flexure  9  ;  tail  2J ;  tarsus  ly^- ;  first  toe  its  claw 
A-g- ;  second  toe  -fy  >  its  claw  yy  ;  third  toe  2t5-j,  its  claw  ; 
fourth  toe  2yy,  its  claw  yL* 

Female. — The  female  has  the  hill  coloured  as  in  the  male, 
hut  darker ;  the  feet  dull  leaden-grey,  with  the  webs  dusky  ; 
the  head,  neck,  and  fore  part  of  the  hack  and  breast,  are 
brown,  darker  on  the  head,  tinged  with  red  on  the  fore-neck. 


BROAD-BILLED  SCAUP-DUCK. 


119 


The  upper  parts  are  brownish-black,  the  greater  part  of  the 
hack,  scapulars,  and  wing-coverts  finely  undulated  with 
white  ;  the  wings  and  tail  as  in  the  male  ;  the  middle  of  the 
breast  white  ;  the  sides  undulated  and  broadly  patched  or 
banded  with  brown ;  the  hind  parts  undulated  with  brown 
and  white ;  the  axillars  white ;  the  lower  wing-coverts  as  in 
the  male.  A  broad  band  of  white  on  the  forehead,  becoming 
narrow  along  the  basal  margin  of  the  lower  mandible. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  18  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  28  ;  hill 
lyf  ’  wing  8| ;  tail  2J  ;  tarsus  1-^ ;  middle  toe  its  claw 

tV* 

Habits. — The  Scaup  Pochard  arrives  on  our  coasts  in  the 
end  of  October,  and  continues  to  increase  until  the  middle  of 
winter.  In  the  estuaries,  and  along  the  flat  shores,  it  is  met 
with  plentifully,  often  in  very  large  flocks.  It  is  very  rarely 
met  with  in  fresh  water,  its  food  consisting  chiefly  of  marine 
testaceous  mollusca,  for  which  it  dives,  like  the  Scoters,  often 
mingling  with  them  and  other  species.  Its  flight  is  moderately 
quick,  usually  performed  at  no  great  height  above  the  water, 
on  which  it  alights  abruptly  on  its  hind  part.  Although  it 
rises  without  difficulty,  it  usually  prefers  diving  to  escape 
pursuit ;  and  so  expert  is  it  in  this  act,  that  it  is  very 
difficult  to  shoot  it  on  the  water.  It  swims  strongly,  sitting 
rather  deep,  and  on  diving  remains  long  before  it  emerges. 
Being  generally  abundant  during  winter  and  spring,  it  is 
common  in  the  markets,  but  is  not  much  esteemed  as  an 
article  of  food,  its  flesh  being  rather  rank.  Montagu  states 
that  both  the  male  and  the  female  have  a  habit  of  tossing  up 
their  heads  and  opening  their  bills,  which  in  spring  is  con¬ 
tinued  for  a  considerable  time  while  they  are  swimming  and 
sporting  on  the  water,  and  they  emit  a  grunting  sort  of  cry. 
At  high  water  it  is  seen  resting  in  flocks  at  some  distance 
from  the  shores,  which  it  approaches  when  the  tide  recedes. 
In  the  end  of  March  and  beginning  of  April  they  disappear 
from  our  coasts,  and  are  said  to  resort  to  the  northern  parts 
of  Europe,  where  they  rear  their  young.  The  species  occurs 
equally  in  North  xlmerica,  frequenting  in  winter  the  large 
rivers,  as  well  as  the  bays,  and  feeding  partly  on  vegetable 
substances.  When  kept  in  confinement  it  readily  eats  grain. 


120 


FULIGULA  MAKILA. 


“  During  the  summer  months/’  says  Montagu,  “  when  the 
larvae  of  various  insects  are  to  be  found  in  the  mud  at  the 
bottom  of  the  pond,  these  birds  are  continually  diving;  hut 
they  are  perfectly  contented  with  barley,  and  are  become  so 
tame  as  to  come  to  the  edge  of  the  water  for  a  bit  of  bread. 
Of  all  the  aquatic  birds  we  have  had,  that  have  been  taken 
alive  from  their  natural  wild  habits,  none  have  appeared  so 
familiar  as  the  Scaup ;  and  after  feeding  a  few  days  with 
bread  soaked  in  water,  they  take  to  eating  barley  freely.” 

Variations. — Great  differences  are  observed  in  the  size 
of  individuals  of  both  sexes  ;  but  the  colours  of  the  males 
vary  little,  some,  however,  having  much  more  white  on  the 
back  than  others. 

Young. — When  fledged,  the  young  nearly  resemble  the 
female.  The  male  has  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  neck 
dark  brown,  the  fore  part  of  the  neck  above  variegated  with 
brown  and  greyish-white  ;  a  band  of  white,  mottled  with 
brownisli-hlack  on  the  fore  part  of  the  head ;  the  upper 
parts  dull  brown,  undulated  with  greyish-white  ;  the  wings 
and  tail  as  in  the  adult ;  the  lower  fore-neck  and  part  of  the 
breast  dark  brown,  lunulated  with  greyish-white,  the  stiffish 
terminal  margins  of  the  feathers  being  of  the  latter  colour ; 
the  rest  of  the  breast  dull  white ;  the  sides,  abdomen,  and 
lower  tail-coverts  greyish-brown ;  the  lower  wing-coverts 
grey,  but  the  axillars  white.  The  females  are  similar,  but 
with  little  of  the  greyish-white  lines  on  the  upper  parts. 

Remarks. — The  description  of  the  male  is  from  a  fine 
specimen  obtained  in  Edinburgh,  in  the  beginning  of 
January,  1841.  Some  reference  requires  to  be  made  here 
to  the  American  Fuligula  mariloides.  A  bird  purchased 
several  years  ago  in  Leadenhall  Market  has  been  considered 
by  Mr.  Yarrell  and  Mr.  Henry  Doubleday  as  of  this  so-called 
species,  the  distinctness  of  which  from  the  common  Scaup- 
Duck  is,  however,  extremely  doubtful.  Young  individuals 
of  that  species  that  I  have  examined  differ  in  no  respects 
from  the  one  described  and  figured  by  Mr.  Yarrell. 


121 


FULIGULA  CRISTATA.  THE  TUFTED  SCAUP- 

DUCK. 

TUFTFD  DUCK.  BLACK  DUCK.  BLACK  VV1GE0N. 


Fig.  68. 


Anas  Fuligula.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  543. 

Anas  Fuligula.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  869. 

Tufted  Duck.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  Morillon.  Anas  Fuligula.  Temm.  Man.  d’Omith.  II.  873. 
Tufted  Pochard.  Fuligula  cristata.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  357. 
Fuligula  cristata.  Tufted  Pochard.  Jenyns.  Brit.  Yert.  Anim.  244. 
Fuligula  cristata.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  58. 


Male  seventeen  inches  long ,  with  the  bill  broad ,  enlarged 
toward  the  end,  an  inch  and  eight-twelfths  long,  eleven-twelfths 
and  a  half  in  breadth,  leaden  grey,  with  a  terminal  black  band 
including  the  unguis ;  feathers  of  the  head  elongated  into  a 
large  decurved  crest;  the  head  and  upper  part  of  the  neck 
purplish-black ;  the  upper  parts  black,  obscurely  and  minutely 
dotted  with  white  ;  a  white  band  from  the  fourth  primary  to 


122 


FULIGULA  CRI  ST  AT  A. 


the  tenth  secondary,  the  tips  black;  the  breast  and  sides 
white  ;  hind  part  of  abdomen  and  lower  tail-coverts  dusky  ; 
tail  greyish-black,  of  fourteen  feathers;  iris  bright  yelloiu. 
Female  much  smaller,  with  the  crest  shorter ;  the  head  and 
upper  neck  brownish-black;  the  upper  parts  blackish-brown, 
more  faintly  dotted  with  whitish ;  the  breast  white,  the  sides 
and  lower  fore-neck  dusky  brown,  the  feathers  edged  with 
whitish;  hind  part  of  abdomen  and  lower  tail-coverts  dusky, 
variegated  with  whitish;  iris  pcde  yellow .  Young  similar  to 
the  female,  but  ivith  the  bill  and  feet  darker,  the  plumage 
more  brown ;  a  white  patch  on  each  side  before  the  eye,  and 
a  triangular  whitish  patch  on  the  chin. 

Male  in  Winter. — This  species,  easily  distinguished  by 
its  large  decurved  crest,  dusky  upper  plumage,  and  white, 
black-edged  wing-band,  is  of  a  remarkably  short  and  compact 
form,  having  the  body  broadly  elliptical,  depressed,  and 
plump  ;  the  neck  of  moderate  length  ;  the  head  rather  large, 
oblong,  compressed,  and  rounded  above. 

The  hill  is  a  little  shorter  than  the  head,  about  the  same 
height  and  breadth  at  the  base,  becoming  depressed  and  en¬ 
larging  in  breadth  to  the  end,  which  is  rounded ;  the  upper 
mandible  with  the  basal  sinuses  short  and  angular,  the 
dorsal  line  declinate,  a  little  recurved,  the  ridge  broad  and 
flat,  gradually  narrowed  and  becoming  convex,  the  side  at 
the  base  rapidly  sloping,  toward  the  end  convex,  the  tip 
semicircular,  with  the  unguis  small,  obovate,  decurved ;  the 
edges  soft,  marginate,  with  a  deep  linear  groove,  and  con¬ 
cealing  the  scarcely  elevated  outer  ends  of  the  nearly  direct, 
recurved,  little  elevated  lamellae,  of  which  there  are  about 
forty ;  a  curved  groove  on  each  side  of  the  tip ;  the  nasal 
space  small,  elliptical,  sub-basal ;  the  lower  mandible  flat, 
with  the  intercrural  space  very  long,  rather  narrow,  bare, 
the  crura  slender,  with  their  lower  outline  very  slightly 
convex,  the  sides  with  about  thirty-five  outer  and  sixty  inner 
lamellae,  the  unguis  obovato-triangular. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width.  The  tongue  fleshy, 
deeply  grooved  above,  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length,  with  a 
deep  medial  groove,  its  sides  with  two  series  of  bristly  fila- 


TUFTED  SCAUP-DUCK. 


123 


ments,  the  tip  thin,  horny,  and  rounded.  The  oesophagus 
is  nine  inches  long,  of  moderate  width  ;  the  proventriculus 
nine-twelfths  in  breadth,  its  glandules  cylindrical.  The 
stomach  is  a  very  powerful  gizzard,  of  an  elliptical  form, 
compressed,  and  situated  obliquely ;  its  greatest  diameter 
two  inches  and  a  quarter ;  the  lateral  muscles  an  inch  thick  ; 
the  epithelium  dense,  slightly  rugous,  with  two  circular 
grinding  surfaces.  The  intestine  is  seven  feet  three  inches 
long ;  its  width  four-twelfths  for  about  a  foot,  then  to  the 
coeca  averaging  five-twelfths.  The  coeca  are  seven  inches 
long,  and  come  off  at  the  distance  of  four  inches  from  the 
end.  The  rectum  is  four-twelfths  in  width. 

The  nostrils  are  small,  two-twelfths  long,  situated  at 
about  a  third  of  the  length  of  the  bill ;  the  eyes  small,  as  is 
the  aperture  of  the  ear.  The  feet  are  very  short,  and  placed 
rather  far  behind  ;  the  tarsus  very  short,  compressed,  with 
seventeen  anterior  small  scutella,  eight  outer  scutella,  the 
rest  covered  with  angular  scales.  The  hind  toe  very  small, 
with  twelve  double  scales  ;  the  second  with  twenty-five  scu¬ 
tella,  the  third  with  thirty-four,  the  fourth  with  forty-eight ; 
the  outer  toes  about  equal,  the  inner  with  a  two-lobed 
margin  ;  the  hind  toe  with  a  small  inferior  membrane  ;  the 
interdigital  membranes  emarginate.  The  claws  are  small, 
very  slender,  slightly  arched,  rather  acute,  the  inner  edge  of 
the  third  little  expanded. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  firm,  soft,  glossy,  and  blended ; 
the  feathers  of  the  head  and  upper  part  of  the  neck  short 
and  velvety ;  those  on  the  top  of  the  head  elongated,  linear, 
decurved,  forming  a  large  longitudinal  crest,  of  which  the 
longest  feathers  measure  three  inches.  The  wings  are  short, 
narrow,  concave,  and  pointed,  with  twenty-six  quills  ;  the 
primaries  narrow,  tapering,  the  first  longest,  the  second 
scarcely  shorter,  the  rest  rapidly  graduated ;  the  secondary 
quills  incurved,  short,  broad,  obliquely  rounded,  the  inner 
elongated  and  tapering.  The  tail  is  very  small,  much 
rounded,  of  fourteen  stiffish,  pointed  feathers. 

The  bill  is  of  a  light  greyish-blue  colour,  with  the 
unguis  black.  The  iris  bright  yellow.  The  feet  bluish- 
grey,  the  webs  dusky,  the  claws  black.  The  head  and  upper 


124 


FULIGULA  CRISTATA. 


part  of  the  neck  are  black,  with  green  and  purple  reflections. 
The  general  colour  is  brownish-black ;  the  feathers  of  the 
fore  part  of  the  back  and  the  scapulars  sprinkled  with 
minute  white  dots.  Toward  the  margin  of  the  black  on  the 
fore  part  of  the  breast,  the  feathers  are  terminally  margined 
with  greyish-white.  The  breast  and  sides  are  white ;  the 
abdominal  region  anteriorly  greyish-white,  mottled  with 
dusky  in  undulating  lines,  its  hind  part  and  the  lower  tail- 
coverts  brownish-black.  The  axillars  and  lower  wing-coverts 
are  white,  those  toward  the  margin  brownish-grey.  There 
is  a  white  band  on  the  wing,  from  the  fourth  primary  to  the 
tenth  secondary ;  the  inner  secondaries  and  the  tips  of  the 
rest  black,  glossed  with  green. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  17  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  30  ; 
bill  along  the  ridge  1T%,  from  frontal  angles  2,  along  the  edge 
of  lower  mandible  1  jLj  its  greatest  breadth  ;  wing  from 
flexure  8J ;  tail  2} ;  tarsus  1^ ;  first  toe  -fe,  its  claw  ; 
second  toe  1-^ ;  its  claw  T4T ;  third  toe  2-jV,  its  claw  ; 
fourth  toe  2-^,  its  claw  -yL-. 

Female  in  Winter. — The  female,  which  is  much  smaller, 
has  the  hill  and  feet  of  a  somewhat  darker  tint,  the  iris  yel¬ 
low  ;  the  crest  smaller,  and  with  the  rest  of  the  head  and  the 
upper  part  of  the  neck  blackish-hrown ;  the  lower  fore  neck 
dusky,  the  feathers  edged  with  brown  ;  the  back  and  wings 
brownisli-black,  faintly  dotted  with  whitisli-brown  ;  the  white 
band  on  the  wings  as  in  the  male  ;  the  breast  white,  the  sides 
patched  with  brown  ;  the  abdominal  feathers  and  those  under 
the  tail  dusky  tipped  with  whitish. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  15  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  28  ;  bill 
along  the  ridge  1-^-;  tarsus  1^ ;  middle  toe  2,  its  claw  T^. 

Variations. — Considerable  differences  in  size,  and  in  the 
tints  of  the  plumage  occur. 

Habits. — The  Tufted  Pochard  arrives  in  October,  and 
departs  in  April.  It  is  generally  dispersed  over  the  country, 
frequenting  lakes,  pools,  marshes,  and  the  still  parts  of  rivers, 
where  it  feeds  chiefly  on  insects,  testaceous  mollusca,  and 


TUFTED  SCAUP-DUCK. 


125 


worms,  in  quest  of  which  it  dives.  It  very  seldom  appears  in 
Hocks  of  large  size,  from  two  to  six  or  eight  individuals  being 
more  commonly  met  with.  Like  the  other  species  of  this 
genus,  it  has  a  rapid,  direct  flight,  swims  with  rapidity,  dives 
most  expertly,  and  is  with  difficulty  shot  on  the  water.  It 
rises  with  ease  on  wing,  alights  abruptly,  and  in  its  habits 
resembles  the  Golden-eyed  Garrot.  When  the  fresh  waters 
are  frozen,  it  betakes  itself  to  the  sea,  like  all  the  other 
species,  and  subsists  chiefly  on  bivalve  mollusca.  Even 
during  open  weather  it  is  often  seen  in  the  shallow  bays,  and 
especially  in  estuaries.  Montagu  states  that  it  is  often  “  shot 
on  Slapton  Ley,  in  South  Devon,  a  large  piece  of  water  close 
to  the  sea,  and  is  by  the  natives  called  Black  Wigeon.”  From 
thence  northward  on  both  sides  of  the  island  it  is  not  uncom¬ 
mon,  until  beyond  the  Firths  of  Clyde  and  Tay,  when  it 
becomes  of  less  frequent  occurrence.  In  Ireland  it  “  is  a 
regular  winter  visitant.”  Although  its  flesh  is  good,  it  is  not 
in  much  request  as  an  article  of  food,  but  it  is  not  uncommon 
in  the  markets.  It  retires  to  the  arctic  regions  to  breed, 
although  some,  according  to  M.  Temminck,  remain  in  the 
temperate  climates.  In  winter  it  is  dispersed  over  the  western 
and  southern  parts  of  Europe  ;  but  it  is  not  met  with  at  any 
season  in  America. 

Young. — In  their  first  plumage,  according  to  M.  Tem¬ 
minck,  the  young  have  no  appearance  of  a  crest.  te  There  is 
a  large  whitish  spot  on  the  sides  of  the  bill  (on  the  sides  of 
the  head  close  to  the  base  of  the  bill) ;  white  on  the  forehead 
and  sometimes  behind  the  eyes ;  the  head,  neck,  and  breast 
dull  brown,  varied  on  the  breast  with  reddish-brown ;  the 
feathers  of  the  back  and  wings  blackish-brown,  margined 
with  lighter  brown ;  the  flanks  of  a  reddish-brown  ;  the  band 
on  the  wing  small  and  whitish  ;  the  abdomen  variegated  with 
grey  and  brown  ;  the  iris  pale  yellow.  The  young  males  have 
the  breast  of  a  purer  white  than  the  young  females.” 

Young  in  Winter. — The  following  description  is  from 
a  young  bird  shot  by  my  son  on  Duddingston  Loch,  on  the 
18th  February,  1841.  The  bill  light  greyish-blue,  with  a 


1 26 


FULIGULA  CRISTATA. 


black  band  at  the  tip  including  the  unguis  ;  the  feet  paleish- 
grey,  with  the  webs  dusky  ;  the  iris  brownish-white.  There 
is  a  small  longitudinal  crest  of  linear  decurved  feathers,  some 
of  which  are  an  inch  and  two-twelfths  long.  The  plumage 
is  firm,  and  on  the  lower  parts  highly  glossed.  The  head  and 
part  of  the  neck  are  brownish -black ;  there  is  a  white  patch 
dotted  with  black  on  each  side  margining  the  upper  mandible, 
and  a  very  small  triangular  spot  on  the  feathered  portion  of 
the  intercrural  space,  the  feathers  behind  it  light  brown.  On 
the  lower  fore-neck  the  feathers  are  dusky,  edged  with  light 
brown,  the  lower  with  white ;  those  on  the  sides  before  the 
wing  greyish-brown ;  the  breast  white  ;  the  sides  and  abdo¬ 
men  dusky  grey  variegated  with  white  ;  the  hind  part  of  the 
sides  light  greyish-brown,  partially  dotted  with  whitish  ;  the 
lower  wing-coverts  white,  except  the  marginal,  which  are 
dusky-grey.  The  upper  parts  are  brownish-black,  the  smaller 
wing-coverts  brown,  minutely  dotted  with  whitish.  The 
white  band  on  the  wing  is  the  same  as  in  the  adult,  and  the 
tail  is  dusky-brown. 

Length  15 J  inches ;  extent  of  wings  27  ;  bill  along  the 
ridge  1-^-,  along  the  edge  1^4 ;  tarsus  1 J ;  middle  toe  2,  its 
claw 

In  this  state  it  might  be  mistaken  for  Fuligula  leucoph- 
thalmos,  as  defined  by  M.  Temminck.  “  Bill  long;  iris 
white ;  wing-spot  white  tipped  with  black ;  a  white  spot 
under  the  bill,”  all  which  characters  agree  with  it,  excepting 
the  first. 


127 


OIDEJVIIA.  SCOTER. 

The  Scoters,  which  are  remarkable  for  their  black  colour 
and  tumid  bill,  are  birds  of  large  size,  having  the  body  very 
full,  much  depressed  ;  the  neck  of  moderate  length,  or  rather 
short  and  thick ;  the  head  large,  oblong,  compressed,  and 
rather  flattened  above. 

Bill  nearly  of  the  same  length  as  the  head,  very  broad,  of 
about  equal  height  and  breadth  at  the  base,  depressed  and 
flattened  toward  the  end,  which  is  rounded  ;  upper  mandible 
with  a  prominence  at  the  base  above,  and  a  more  extended 
enlargement  on  each  side,  the  dorsal  line  at  first  convex, 
before  the  nostrils  concave,  the  unguis  very  large,  broadly 
elliptical,  little  convex,  at  the  end  decurved,  the  sides  erect 
at  the  base,  gradually  more  convex  toward  the  end,  the 
edges  thin,  concealing  the  not  very  numerous  slender  lamellae ; 
lowrer  mandible  flattened,  with  the  intercrural  space  very 
long,  rather  narrow,  hare  for  more  than  half  its  length,  the 
lower  outline  of  the  crura  slightly  convex,  the  unguis  very 
large,  and  broadly  elliptical ;  the  gape-line  gently  rearcuate. 

Mouth  of  moderate  width ;  anterior  palate  broadly  con¬ 
cave,  with  a  median  prominent  line,  on  which  are  some 
tubercles,  and  from  thirty  to  forty  marginal  lamellae.  Tongue 
large,  fleshy,  with  numerous  conical  papillae  at  the  base,  a 
deep  median  groove,  two  lateral  series  of  bristles,  and  a  thin 
rounded  tip.  (Esophagus  wide.  Stomach  a  powerful  gizzard 
of  a  roundish  form,  with  very  large  lateral  muscles,  longitu¬ 
dinally  rugous  epithelium,  and  thick  grinding  plates.  Intes¬ 
tine  of  moderate  length,  wide  ;  cceca  rather  long,  and  narrowed. 

The  trachea  is  remarkable  for  two  abrupt  bony  expansions, 
one  at  the  upper  larynx,  the  other  roundish  and  flattened. 
The  lower  larynx  is  large,  but  symmetrical ;  the  bronchi 
wide,  and  of  moderate  length. 


128 


OIDEMIA. 


Nostrils  elliptical,  large,  sub-basal,  Eyes  rather  small. 
Aperture  of  ear  small.  Legs  very  short,  and  placed  rather 
far  behind ;  tarsus  very  short,  compressed,  with  small  scutella. 
Hind  toe  small,  slender,  with  a  pretty  large  membrane,  con¬ 
nected  at  the  base  with  the  bilobate  marginal  membrane  of 
the  inner  toe  ;  anterior  toes  long,  the  third  nearly  double  the 
length  of  the  tarsus  ;  all  scutellate ;  interdigital  membranes 
full.  Claws  small,  slightly  arcuate,  compressed,  obtuse ;  that 
of  the  middle  toe  with  the  inner  edge  dilated. 

Plumage  full,  dense,  and  soft ;  on  the  head  and  neck 
blended  and  velvety  ;  the  feathers  on  the  other  parts  ovato- 
oblong,  rounded,  dense,  glossy.  Wings  rather  short,  convex, 
narrow,  pointed ;  primaries  acuminate,  the  first  and  second 
longest ;  inner  secondaries  oblong.  Tail  very  short,  narrow, 
much  rounded,  or  tapering,  of  fourteen  or  sixteen  stiffish, 
narrow,  obtusely  pointed  feathers. 

The  Scoters  inhabit  the  open  sea  or  estuaries  during  the 
greater  part  of  the  year,  feeding  chiefly  on  bivalve  shell-fish, 
for  which  they  dive  in  shallow  or  moderately  deep  water. 
In  summer  they  betake  themselves  to  the  arctic  regions, 
where  they  nestle  on  the  shores  of  the  sea,  lakes,  or  marshes, 
forming  a  bulky  nest,  lined  with  down,  and  laying  numerous 
white  eggs.  Their  flight  is  moderately  rapid,  direct,  and 
performed  by  quick  beats.  They  swim  and  dive  with  ease, 
remain  long  under  the  water,  are  gregarious  unless  in  the 
breeding  season,  and  even  then  the  males,  which  have  left 
the  females,  keep  together  in  flocks.  The  males  have  the 
plumage  chiefly  black,  the  bill  and  feet  red ;  but  the  females 
are  brown,  and  are  destitute  of  the  enlargements  at  the  base 
of  the  bill  so  remarkable  in  the  males.  Four  species  are 
known  to  me,  of  which  three  occur  in  Britain. 

The  name  ought  to  be  CEdemia,  in  correspondence  with 
(Edicnemus,  (Edipus,  and  words  of  like  derivation. 


129 


OIDEMIA  PERSPICILLATA.  THE  SURF  SCOTER. 

BLACK  DUCK.  SURF  DUCK.  GREAT-BILLED  SCOTER. 

Anas  perspicillata.  Linn.  Sys.  Nat.  I.  201. 

Anas  perspicillata.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  847. 

Canard  Marchand.  Anas  perspicillata.  Tcmm.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  II.  853. 

Surf  Scoter.  Oidemia  perspicillata.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  335. 

Oidemia  perspicillata.  Surf  Scoter.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  240. 

Oidemia  perspicillata.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  57. 

Male  with  the  hillliaving  a  gently  sloping  protuberance  in 
front,  the  very  large  lateral  prominences  hare ,  the  upper  man¬ 
dible  with  a  nearly  square  black  patch  on  each  side  at  the  base, 
margined  with  orange,  unless  anteriorly,  where  there  is  a 
bluish-white  patch,  the  prominent  part  over  the  nostrils  red¬ 
dish-orange,  paler  at  the  margins,  the  sides  toward  the  end  red, 
the  unguis  greyish-yellow  ;  the  lower  mandible  flesh-coloured, 
with  the  unguis  darker  ;  tarsi  and  toes  orange-red,  webs  dusky  ; 
plumage  deep  black  glossed  with  blue  ;  a  patch  of  white  on  the 
top  of  the  head,  and  another  on  the  hind  neck  ;  tail  of  fourteen 
feathers.  Female  with  the  bill  greenish-black,  its  basal  pro¬ 
minences  less  elevated  ;  the  feet  yellowish-orange  ;  the  plumage 
brownish-black,  darker  on  the  top  of  the  head  and  upper  parts 
of  the  body.  Young  like  the  female. 

Male  in  Winter. — This  species,  which  in  winter  is 
abundant  on  the  eastern  coasts  of  North  America,  and  in 
summer  extends  from  Labrador  northward,  having  in  a  few 
instances  been  met  with  on  the  coast  of  Scotland,  claims  our 
regard  as  a  British  bird.  My  descriptions,  however,  are  taken 
from  American  specimens.  The  male,  which  is  considerably 
larger  than  the  female,  has  the  bill  nearly  as  long  as  the 
head,  of  about  the  same  height  and  breadth  at  the  base, 

VOL.  v.  k 


130 


OIDEMIA  PERSPICILLATA. 


depressed  toward  the  end,  where  it  is  narrower,  hut  rounded. 
The  upper  mandible  has  a  protuberance  above,  with  a  convex 
and  descending  outline ;  the  sides  at  the  base  are  erect,  bulg¬ 
ing,  of  great  breadth,  bare,  and  extending  far  hack  toward 
the  eye ;  the  unguis  very  large,  obovato-triangular,  convex, 
decurved  and  rounded,  the  edges  thin,  soft,  marginate,  some¬ 
what  rearcuate ;  the  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural 
space,  long,  rather  narrow,  and  bare,  the  lower  outline  of  the 
crura  slightly  convex,  the  unguis  very  large. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width ;  the  anterior  palate  con¬ 
cave,  with  a  soft  median  ridge,  on  which  are  about  ten  short 
conical  papillae,  and  on  each  side  about  thirty-five  slender 
lamellae,  of  which  the  ends  are  not  protruded.  The  tongue 
is  an  inch  and  three-fourths  in  length,  thick,  fleshy,  with 
numerous  conical  papillae  at  the  base,  a  deep  median  groove, 
two  lateral  series  of  bristles,  and  a  terminal,  thin,  rounded 
lobe.  The  oesophagus  is  eight  inches  and  a  half  in  length, 
from  an  inch  to  three-twelfths  more  in  width ;  the  proventri- 
cular  belt  of  cylindrical  glandules  an  inch  and  a  half  in 
breadth.  The  stomach  is  large,  roundish,  an  inch  and  ten- 
twelfths  in  length  and  breadth,  with  very  strong  lateral  mus¬ 
cles,  and  dense  rugous  epithelium  forming  two  roundish  grind¬ 
ing  plates.  The  intestine  is  sixty-seven  inches  long,  and  half 
an  inch  wide ;  the  coeca  about  four  inches  in  length,  and 
two-twelfths  and  a  half  in  width ;  their  distance  from  the 
extremity  seven  inches  and  a  half. 

The  trachea  of  the  male,  seven  inches  and  a  half  in 
length,  presents  at  the  upper  part  a  large  bony  expansion, 
seven-twelfths  of  an  inch  in  length,  and  eight-twelfths  in 
breadth.  Beyond  this  part  its  width  is  five-twelfths,  gradually 
diminishes  to  three-twelfths  about  the  middle,  then  enlarges 
to  five-twelfths ;  after  which  it  presents  a  second  enlarge¬ 
ment,  nine-twelfths  in  length,  an  inch  and  two-twelftlis  in 
breadth,  convex  anteriorly,  slightly  concave  behind.  The 
trachea  then  contracts  to  four-twelfths,  and  presently  ex¬ 
pands  to  form  the  lower  larynx,  which  is  large  and  osseous, 
but  symmetrical.  The  bronchi  are  large,  of  twenty-five  carti¬ 
laginous  half-rings.  The  rings  of  the  trachea  are  firm  and 
osseous,  nine  at  the  upper  part,  then  the  first  bony  expan- 


SURF  SCOTER. 


131 


sion,  then  seventy-eight  rings,  followed  by  the  lower  ex¬ 
pansion,  which  is  formed  of  about  twelve  united  rings,  and 
at  the  lower  part  six  distinct  and  ten  united  rings. 

The  nostrils  are  elliptical,  large,  submedial,  near  the 
ridge.  The  eyes  rather  small.  The  feet  very  short ;  the 
tarsus  compressed,  with  small  anterior  scutella.  The  hind 
toe  is  small,  with  a  lobiform  membrane ;  the  outer  toes 
nearly  equal,  and  almost  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus ; 
the  interdigital  membranes  full.  The  claw  of  the  hind  toe 
is  very  small  and  curved,  that  of  the  middle  toe  with  the 
inner  edge  dilated,  those  of  the  rest  slender,  little  arched, 
compressed,  rather  obtuse. 

The  plumage  is  soft,  dense,  and  glossy ;  the  feathers  of 
the  head  and  neck  blended  and  velvety.  The  wings  are 
rather  short,  narrow,  and  pointed ;  the  primary  quills  curved, 
strong,  tapering,  pointed ;  the  first  longest,  the  secondaries 
broad  and  rounded,  the  inner  elongated  and  tapering.  The 
tail  is  very  short,  narrow,  cuneate,  of  fourteen  stiff,  pointed 
feathers. 

The  upper  mandible  is  orange-red,  with  the  unguis 
yellowish-grey,  and  on  the  protuberance  of  each  side  at  the 
base  a  large  square  patch  of  black,  margined  with  orange- 
red,  unless  in  front,  where  there  is  a  patch  of  greyish-white ; 
the  lower  mandible  flesh-coloured,  with  the  unguis  darker. 
The  iris  yellowish-white.  The  tarsi  and  toes  are  orange- 
red  ;  the  webs  dusky ;  the  claws  black.  The  plumage  is 
deep  black,  glossed  with  blue,  of  a  lighter  tint  beneath.  On 
the  top  of  the  head  is  a  roundish  patch  of  white,  and  on  the 
hind-neck  a  larger,  elongated  patch  of  the  same. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  20  inches  ;  wing  from  flexure  9J ; 
tail  3f ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1J,  along  the  edge  of  lower 
mandible  2^ ;  tarsus  1^ ;  hind  toe  -j^,  its  claw  ;  middle 
toe  and  claw  2 

Female. — The  female  has  the  base  of  the  bill  much  less 
protuberant,  its  colour  greenish-black  ;  the  iris  yellowish- 
white  ;  the  feet  yellowish-orange,  with  the  webs  dusky  and 
the  claws  black.  The  general  colour  of  the  plumage  is 
brownish-black,  the  lower  parts  being  lighter. 


132 


OIDEMIA  PERSPICILLATA. 


Length  to  end  of  tail  19  inches ;  wing  from  flexure  8f  ; 
tarsus  If ;  middle  toe  and  claw  . 

Habits. — This  species  is  described  by  Mr.  Audubon  as 
abundant  in  winter  on  the  eastern  coasts  of  America,  ex¬ 
tending  as  far  southward  as  the  mouths  of  the  Mississippi. 
In  Labrador  he  found  a  few  in  summer,  and  in  a  marsh 
came  upon  a  female  sitting  on  her  eggs.  “  The  nest  was 
snugly  placed  amid  the  tall  leaves  of  a  hunch  of  grass,  and 
raised  fully  four  inches  above  its  roots.  It  was  entirely 
composed  of  withered  and  rotten  weeds,  the  former  being 
circularly  arranged  over  the  latter,  producing  a  well-rounded 
cavity,  six  inches  in  diameter,  by  two  and  a  half  in  depth. 
The  borders  of  this  inner  cup  were  lined  with  the  down  of 
the  bird,  in  the  same  manner  as  the  Eider  Duck’s  nest,  and 
in  it  lay  five  eggs,  the  smallest  number  I  have  ever  found  in 
any  Duck’s  nest.  They  were  two  inches  and  two  and  a  half 
eighths  in  length,  by  one  inch  and  five-eighths  in  their  greatest 
breadth,  more  equally  rounded  at  both  ends  than  usual,  the 
shell  perfectly  smooth,  and  of  a  uniform  pale  yellowish  or 
cream-colour.”  Its  habits  are  represented  as  similar  to  those 
of  the  other  species,  its  food  consisting  of  sliell-fish,  for  which 
it  dives  in  shallow  water,  often  even  amidst  the  breakers, 
whence  its  name  of  Surf  Duck.  That  of  perspicillata,  or 
spectacled,  has  reference  to  the  two  black,  margined  patches 
on  the  sides  of  its  bill. 

Mr.  Gould  states  that  he  has  received  a  female  killed  in 
the  Firth  of  Forth ;  and  Mr.  Bartlett  had  a  recently  killed 
specimen  sent  to  him  for  preservation,  from  which  Mr. 
Yarrell  derived  some  particulars  of  his  description  of  the 
species.  This,  I  believe,  is  the  only  positive  evidence  of  its 
occurrence  in  Britain  ;  for  although  Dr.  Fleming  and  other 
British  writers,  as  well  as  M.  Temminck,  speak  of  its  being 
occasionally  found  among  the  Shetland  and  Orkney  Islands, 
they  do  not  specify  instances.  Messrs.  Baikie  and  Heddle, 
however,  state  that  in  Orkney  “  Surf  Scoters  appear  in  small 
flocks  in  the  sounds  during  winter.”  “  They  generally  arrive 
in  October,  and  have  been  observed  till  the  end  of  March.” 
Mr.  Thompson  has  recorded  the  capture  of  one  in  Belfast 


SURF  SCOTER. 


133 


Bay.  It  has  been  met  with  in  various  parts  of  Europe,  hut 
is  of  rare  occurrence  there,  its  proper  country,  it  appears, 
being  America. 

Young. — According  to  Mr.  Audubon,  “  in  the  young 
males,  in  the  month  of  September,  the  whole  upper  plumage 
is  mottled  with  darkish  brown  and  greyish-white,  the  latter 
colour  margining  most  of  the  feathers.  The  neck  has  a  con¬ 
siderable  extent  of  dull  greyisli-wliite,  spread  over  two  or 
three  inches,  and  approaching  toward  the  cheeks  and  throat.” 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — About  the  beginning  of 
January,  according  to  the  same  observer,  “  they  become  of  a 
more  uniform  dark  tint,  the  upper  part  of  the  head  brownish- 
black,  without  any  white  spot.  There  is  a  patch  of 
brownish-white  at  the  base  of  the  upper  mandible  on  each 
side,  another  of  an  oblong  form  over  the  ear,  and  on  the 
nape  are  elongated  greyish-white  marks.  The  hill  and  feet 
dusky  green;  the  iris  brown.” 


134 


OIDEMIA  FUSCA.  THE  VELVET  SCOTER. 

VELVET  DUCK.  BLACK  DUCK.  WHITE-WINGED  BLACK  DUCK. 

BLACK  DIVER.  DOUBLE  SCOTER. 

Anas  fusca.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  196. 

Anas  fusca.  Lath.  Ind.  Orn.  II.  848. 

Velvet  Duck.  Mont.  Orn.  Diet. 

Canard  double  macreuse.  Anas  fusca.  Temm.  Man.  d’Orn.  II.  854. 

Velvet  Scoter.  Oidemia  fusca.  Selb.  Illustr.  II.  333. 

Oidemia  fusca.  Velvet  Scoter.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  An.  239. 

Oidemia  fusca.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  57. 

Male  with  the  hill  protuberant,  and  sloping  at  the  base 
above,  the  rounded  lateral  protuberances  partially  feathered, 
the  base  and  margins  of  both  mandibles  black,  the  unguis  of 
both  red,  the  sides  of  the  upper  orange;  inner  side  of  the  tar. 
sus  and  toes  orpiment  orange,  outer  lake-red;  plumage  black, 
glossed  with  blue  and  green  above;  outer  secondary  quills,  tips 
of  their  coverts,  and  a  spot  beloiv  the  eye  white ;  tail  of  four¬ 
teen  feathers.  Female  with  the  bill  dusky,  its  basal  prominence 
less  elevated;  the  feet  coloured  as  in  the  male:  the  phimage 
sooty  -brown,  the  breast  and  abdomen  paler;  outer  secondaries 
and  tips  of  their  coverts  white ;  tivo  whitish  spots  on  each  side 
of  the  head.  Young  like  the  female. 

Male  in  Winter. — The  Velvet  Scoter,  which  is  much 
larger  than  the  other  species,  and  at  once  distinguishable  by 
the  white  hand  on  its  wings,  has  the  body  large  and  much 
depressed  ;  the  neck  thick  and  of  moderate  length  ;  the  head 
large,  oblong,  compressed. 

The  hill  is  nearly  of  the  same  length  as  the  head,  as  high 
as  broad  at  the  base,  depressed  and  flattened  toward  the  end, 
which  is  rounded ;  the  upper  mandible  with  a  moderate  pro¬ 
tuberance  at  the  base,  its  dorsal  line  rapidly  sloping  to  beyond 


VELVET  SCOTER 


135 


the  nostrils,  then  slightly  concave,  and  at  the  end  decurved, 
the  ridge  on  the  prominence  very  broad  and  flattened,  towards 
the  end  broadly  convex,  the  sides  convex,  the  edges  thin  and 
obtuse,  with  about  thirty  lamella?,  the  unguis  very  large  and 
broadly  elliptical ;  the  lower  mandible  flattened,  with  the 
intercrural  space  very  long,  rather  narrow,  rounded  anteriorly, 
bare  for  more  than  half  its  length,  the  crura  slender,  rearcuate, 
the  dorsal  line  slightly  convex,  the  edges  with  about  twenty- 
five  lamellae,  the  unguis  very  large  and  broadly  elliptical  ; 
the  gape-line  gently  rearcuate. 

Nostrils  elliptical,  very  large,  sub-basal,  sub-vertical, 
pervious,  their  upper  margin  membranous,  their  length  four- 
twelfths-and-a-quarter.  The  eyes  arc  rather  small.  The 
legs  are  very  short,  and  placed  rather  far  behind  ;  the  tarsus 
very  short,  compressed,  with  small  scutella  in  front,  a  partial 
series  above  the  outer  toe,  the  rest  reticulated  with  small 
angular  scales.  The  hind  toe  is  small,  slender,  with  a  pretty 
large  membrane,  connected  at  the  base  with  the  marginal 
membrane  of  the  inner  toe,  which  is  also  pretty  large,  and 
formed  into  two  lobes.  The  anterior  toes  are  nearly  double 
the  length  of  the  tarsus,  the  inner  much  shorter  than  the 
third  and  fourth,  which  are  nearly  equal ;  the  outer  with  a 
thick  margin  ;  the  interdigital  membranes  with  their  free 
margin  concave  ;  the  first  toe  with  about  ten,  the  second 
with  about  forty,  the  other  two  about  fifty  scutella.  The 
claws  are  small ;  that  of  the  hind  toe  very  small,  arcuate, 
and  compressed  ;  of  the  second  and  fourth  slender,  slightly 
arcuate,  compressed,  obtuse,  of  the  middle  toe  with  the  inner 
edge  dilated. 

The  plumage  is  full,  dense,  and  soft ;  on  the  head  and 
neck  blended  and  velvety  ;  those  on  the  fore  part  of  the  head 
extremely  small ;  on  the  neck  oblong ;  on  the  other  parts 
ovato-oblong,  rounded,  dense,  and  glossy.  The  wings,  which 
reach  to  two  inches  from  the  tip  of  the  tail,  are  rather  short, 
narrow,  and  pointed.  The  primaries  of  moderate  breadth, 
acuminate,  the  first  longest,  the  second  scarcely  two-twelfths 
of  an  inch  shorter,  the  rest  more  rapidly  decreasing ;  the 
secondaries  broadly  rounded,  the  inner  oblong.  The  tail  is 
very  short,  narrow,  much  rounded,  or  wedge-shaped,  of  four- 


136 


OIDEMIA  FUSCA. 


teen  slightly  arched,  stiffish,  narrow,  tapering,  obtusely- 
pointed  feathers,  of  which  the  lateral  are  an  inch  and  a  half 
shorter  than  those  in  the  middle. 

The  upper  basal  prominence  of  the  bill,  the  nostrils,  part 
of  the  lateral  prominences,  the  margins  of  the  upper  mandible, 
and  a  streak  on  each  side  of  the  unguis  black ;  the  sides  rich 
orange,  the  unguis  and  part  of  the  ridge  reddish  flesh-colour  ; 
the  basal  half  of  the  lower  mandible  black,  the  rest  lake-red. 
The  iris  is  greyish-white,  with  an  external  dusky  ring.  The 
inner  side  of  the  tarsus,  of  the  hind  toe  and  its  web,  as  well 
as  of  the  other  toes,  with  the  whole  loose  web  of  the  inner 
orpiment  orange ;  the  outer  side  of  the  tarsus,  hind  toe  and 
its  web,  as  well  as  of  the  other  toes,  bluish-carmine  or  lake ; 
the  sole  of  the  foot,  and  the  webs  above  brownish-black ; 
the  claws  black.  The  general  colour  of  the  plumage  is 
brownish-black  ;  the  head  and  neck  with  violet  reflections, 
the  back  with  green  and  blue.  A  narrow  oblong  spot  of 
white  extends  from  the  anterior  angle  of  the  eye  to  a  quarter 
of  an  inch  behind  it.  On  the  wing  is  a  large  patch  of  white, 
the  greater  part  of  the  outer  eleven  secondaries,  and  the  tips 
of  their  coverts  being  of  that  colour. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  21  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  37  ; 
wing  from  flexure  11J;  tail  3  J ;  bill  along  the  ridge  ly|- ; 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  ;  its  greatest  breadth 
1^  ;  tarsus  1-^- ;  hind  toe  T8T,  its  claw  -Aj ;  second  toe  2^, 
its  claw  -Aj ;  third  toe  2-j-J,  its  claw  ;  fourth  toe  &J-J-,  its 
claw  A_. 

Female  in  Winter. — The  female  has  the  basal  promi¬ 
nence  of  the  bill  much  less  elevated,  and  the  plumage  less 
glossy.  The  bill  is  entirely  of  a  dusky  colour ;  but  the  feet 
are  coloured  as  in  the  male,  though  the  tints  are  duller.  The 
general  colour  of  the  plumage  is  brownish-black,  the  lower 
parts  lighter.  Near  the  base  of  the  upper  mandible  on  each 
side  is  a  greyish-white  spot,  and  behind  the  eye  another. 
Outer  secondaries  white  as  in  the  male. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  21  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  36  ; 
wing  from  flexure  11  ;  tail  3J ;  tarsus  1-Lf ;  middle  toe  2j-|, 
its  claw  T4T  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  l^-f. 


VELVET  SCOTER. 


137 


Variations. — Individuals  vary  considerably  in  size.  Males 
vary  in  the  degree  of  prominence  of  the  basal  parts  of  the 
hill,  and  in  its  colour,  some  wanting  the  tw’O  dusky  streaks 
at  the  side  of  the  unguis.  The  feathers  also  encroach  on  the 
lateral  prominence  to  a  variable  extent.  The  plumage  is 
sometimes  more  tinged  with  brown  as  above  described.  The 
females  also  differ  in  size,  and  somewhat  in  the  tints  of  their 
plumage  and  feet. 

Habits. — The  Velvet  Scoters  make  their  appearance  on 
our  coasts  in  the  end  of  autumn,  and  depart  about  the  middle 
of  April,  although  individuals  may  he  seen  as  late  as  the 
middle  of  May.  They  frequent  the  estuaries  and  hays,  espe¬ 
cially  those  of  which  the  bottom  is  sandy,  and  the  water  not 
of  great  depth.  At  this  season  they  procure  their  food 
entirely  by  diving,  at  which  they  seem  almost  as  expert  as 
the  Ducks  and  Guillemots,  although  their  speed  under  the 
water  must  be  much  inferior  to  that  of  those  birds,  as  they  do 
not  pursue  fishes,  hut  live  solely  on  bivalve  mollusca  of  the 
genera  Mactra,  Tellina,  Solcn,  Mytilus,  Cardium,  and  others. 
Some  which  I  have  examined  from  the  Bay  of  Kirkaldy  had 
their  gizzards  filled  with  Donax  Trunculus  exclusively  ;  hut 
the  particular  species  taken  depends  upon  the  locality. 

When  the  weather  is  not  boisterous,  they  fly  out  to  sea  in 
the  evening,  and  return  toward  the  shores  or  shallows  early 
in  the  morning,  coming  generally  in  small  flocks  of  from  five 
to  fifteen  or  twenty.  They  fly  very  low,  or  at  a  moderate 
height,  with  considerable  speed,  moving  their  extended  wings 
quickly,  and  on  arriving  at  a  suitable  place  relax  their  speed 
a  little,  and  alight  on  their  hinder  end,  the  body  being  kept 
oblique.  They  then  trim  themselves,  look  into  the  water, 
and  commence  their  operations.  They  sit  lightly  on  the 
water,  swim  with  moderate  speed,  dive  by  sinking  head  fore¬ 
most,  rather  than  by  plunging  violently,  like  the  fish-pursuing 
divers,  and  remain  from  one  to  three  minutes  under.  It  is  of 
course  beautiful  to  see  a  flock  of  any  birds  emerging  in  suc¬ 
cession  ;  and  I  have  several  times  been  so  near  them  on  such 
occasions  as  to  see  pretty  distinctly  the  colours  of  their  bill  and 
feet.  If  disturbed  by  the  approach  of  a  boat  or  other  vessel, 


138 


OIDEMIA  FUSCA. 


they  generally  dive  ;  but  often  also  take  to  wing  and  remove 
to  some  distance.  They  rise  heavily  from  the  water,  ascending 
at  a  very  small  angle,  and  striking  the  surface  with  their 
wings  for  some  yards.  It  is  perhaps  when  on  wing  that  they 
look  most  beautiful,  the  conspicuous  wrhite  patch  on  their 
wing  contrasting  with  their  black  plumage.  Thousands  of 
these  birds  may  often  be  seen  in  the  Firth  of  Forth,  often 
intermingled  with  Black  Scoters,  and  sometimes  with  other 
birds. 

The  Velvet  Scoter  occurs  in  winter,  here  and  there,  along 
the  whole  east  coast  of  Scotland,  as  well  as  among  the  Orkney 
and  Shetland  Islands.  Although  in  estuaries  it  usually 
appears  in  small  flocks,  along  the  open  coast  it  often  collects 
into  very  numerous  bodies,  which  may  be  seen  fishing  in 
shallow  water,  just  behind  the  breakers.  In  Ireland,  as  Mr. 
Thompson  informs  us,  “  it  has  hitherto  been  observed  chiefly 
on  the  eastern  side  of  the  island,  and  there  very  rarely.” 

In  winter  this  species  extends  to  the  southern  coasts  of 
England,  but  is  not  common  there.  In  so  far  as  I  know,  it 
does  not  breed  in  any  part  of  Britain.  In  summer  it  betakes 
itself  to  the  arctic  regions  of  both  continents,  it  being  as 
common  along  the  shores  of  America  as  of  Europe.  Mr. 
Audubon  found  them  in  vast  multitudes  in  Labrador,  about 
the  middle  of  June  ;  but  although  some  remained  to  breed  on 
its  southern  shores,  the  greater  part  advanced  further  north¬ 
ward.  “  The  nests  were  placed  within  a  few'  feet  of  the 
borders  of  small  lakes,  a  mile  or  two  distant  from  the  sea,  and 
usually  under  the  low  boughs  of  the  bushes,  of  the  twigs  of 
Avhicli,  with  mosses  and  various  plants  matted  together,  they 
are  formed.  They  are  large  and  almost  flat,  several  inches 
thick,  with  some  feathers  of  the  female,  but  no  down,  under 
the  eggs,  which  arc  usually  six  in  number,  intermediate  in 
size  between  those  of  the  Eider  and  King  Ducks,  measur¬ 
ing  an  inch  and  three-quarters  in  length,  one  and  seven- 
eighths  in  breadth,  of  a  uniform  pale  cream  colour,  tinged 
with  green,  not  pure  white,  as  stated  by  some  authors.” 
The  young,  when  about  a  week  old,  he  found  to  be  covered 
with  “  rather  stiff  and  hair-like  down,  of  a  black  colour, 
excepting  under  the  chin,  where  there  was  a  small  patch  of 


VELVET  SCOTER. 


139 


white.”  The  young  males  at  this  age  had  also  a  white  spot 
under  the  eye. 

Young. — When  fledged,  the  young  males,  according  to 
M.  Temminck,  “  are  similar  to  the  old  females,  but  are  distin¬ 
guished  from  them  by  the  rose-red  of  the  tarsi  and  toes,  as 
well  as  by  the  white  spots  before  and  behind  the  eyes,  which 
are  smalller.” 

In  Summer. — The  colours  are  the  same  as  in  winter,  the 
plumage  becoming  tinged  with  brown  toward  the  end  of  the 
season.  That  of  the  female  also  fades  greatly.  I  have  exa¬ 
mined  specimens  from  the  Firth  of  Forth  as  far  in  the  season 
as  the  5th  of  May. 


HO 


OIDEMIA  NIGRA.  THE  BLACK  SCOTER. 

COMMON  SCOTER.  BLACK  DUCK. 

i 


Fig.  G9. 


Anas  nigra.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  196. 

Anas  nigra.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  848. 

Anas  nigra.  Temrn.  Man.  d’Omith.  II.  356. 
Oidemia  nigra.  Flem.  Brit.  Anirn. 

Oidemia  nigra.  Selby,  Illustr.  Brit.  Ornith.  II.  239. 
Oidemia  nigra.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  239. 

Oidemia  nigra.  Bouap.  Comp.  List,  58. 


Male  with  the  bill  having  a  large  protuberance  at  the  base 
above,  the  rounded  lateral  prominences  partially  feathered  ; 
both  mandibles  black,  hut  the  upper  with  an  orange-yellow 
patch  above,  including  the  nostrils ;  feet  dusky;  plumage 
entirely  black  ;  tail  pointed,  of  sixteen  feathers  ;  first  quill 
very  narrow.  Female  with  the  bill  dusky,  its  basal  promi¬ 
nence  less  elevated  ;  plumage  sooty-brown,  breast  and  abdomen 
paler. 


BLACK  SCOTER. 


141 


Male  in  Winter. — The  Black  Scoter,  somewhat  smaller 
than  the  Velvet,  and  much  less  common  on  our  coasts,  is  of 
the  same  form  and  proportions  as  it,  the  body  being  large 
and  much  depressed  ;  the  neck  rather  short  and  thick  ;  the 
head  large,  oblong,  compressed. 

The  bill  is  nearly  of  the  same  length  as  the  head,  higher 
than  broad  at  the  base,  depressed  and  flattened  toward  the 
end,  which  is  rounded ;  the  upper  mandible  with  a  some¬ 
what  rounded,  compressed  knob  at  the  base,  its  dorsal  line 
rapidly  sloping  towards  the  nostrils,  then  slightly  concave, 
and  at  the  end  decurved  ;  the  ridge  broad  and  slightly  con¬ 
cave  at  first,  toward  the  end  broadly  convex,  the  edges  thin, 
with  about  thirty  lamellae ;  the  unguis  very  large  and 
broadly  elliptical ;  the  lower  mandible  flattened,  with  the 
intercrural  space  very  long,  rather  narrow,  rounded  ante¬ 
riorly,  hare  for  about  half  its  length  ;  the  crura  slender,  re- 
arcuate,  the  edges  with  twenty-five  lamella? ;  the  unguis 
very  large  and  broadly  elliptical ;  the  gape-line  gently  re- 
arcuate. 

The  tongue,  which  is  an  inch  amd  ten-twelfths  long,  and 
ten-twelfths  in  its  greatest  breadth,  has  the  basal  papilla? 
long  and  pointed,  the  sides  with  two  rows  of  bristles,  the 
tip  thin-edged  and  rounded.  The  oesophagus  is  eleven 
inches  long,  about  ten- twelfths  in  width  ;  the  breadth  of  the 
proventriculus  about  an  inch.  The  stomach  is  extremely 
muscular,  transversely  elliptical,  an  inch  and  a  half  in 
length,  and  nearly  two  inches  in  breadth  ;  the  epithelium 
dense,  rugose,  forming  two  slightly  concave  grinding  sur¬ 
faces.  The  intestine  is  five  feet  long,  of  the  nearly  uniform 
width  of  five-twelfths.  The  coeca,  only  four  inches  distant 
from  the  extremity  of  the  intestine,  are  nine  inches  in  length, 
scarcely  three-twelfths  in  their  greatest  width. 

The  trachea,  seven  inches  long,  is  flattened,  about  five- 
twelfths  in  width,  narrowed  below  to  three-twelfths,  but 
without  any  remarkable  dilatations.  There  are  about  a  hun¬ 
dred  rings,  cartilaginous  behind,  in  the  trachea,  and  thirty  in 
the  bronchi,  which  are  very  large  and  inflated. 

The  nostrils  are  elliptical,  pervious,  four-twelfths  long. 
Eyes  rather  small.  The  legs  very  short,  and  placed  rather 


142 


OIDEMIA  NIGRA. 


far  behind ;  the  tarsus  very  short,  compressed,  with  small 
scutella  in  front,  a  partial  series  above  the  outer  toe,  the  rest 
reticulated  with  small  angular  scales.  The  hind  toe  is  small, 
slender,  with  a  pretty  large  membrane,  connected  at  the  base 
with  the  marginal  membrane  of  the  inner  toe,  which  is  also 
pretty  large,  and  formed  into  two  lobes.  The  anterior  toes 
are  nearly  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus,  the  inner  much 
shorter  than  the  third  and  fourth,  which  are  nearly  equal ; 
the  outer  toe  with  a  thick  margin.  The  claws  small,  arcuate, 
compressed,  that  of  the  first  toe  very  small  and  curved,  of  the 
middle  toe  largest,  with  a  dilated  inner  edge. 

The  plumage  is  full,  dense,  soft,  slightly  glossed  ;  the 
feathers  of  the  head  and  neck  very  small,  oblong,  velvety  ; 
those  of  the  body  ovato-oblong,  rounded  at  the  end.  The 
wings  narrow,  pointed,  rather  short ;  the  primaries  strong, 
pointed,  the  first  longest,  with  the  inner  web  cut  out  to  a 
great  extent.  The  tail  very  short,  graduated,  acuminate,  of 
sixteen  pointed  feathers. 

The  bill  is  black,  but  on  the  upper  mandible  there  is  an 
orange-yellow  patch  above,  including  the  nostrils  ;  the  feet 
brownish-black,  the  membranes  of  a  deeper  tint.  The  plum¬ 
age  is  deep  black,  tinged  above  with  green,  below  with  brown. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  19^-  inches;  extent  of  wings  33; 
bill  along  the  ridge  2  ;  wing  from  flexure  9J  ;  tarsus  2  ;  hind 
toe  its  claw  -fj  '>  third  toe  2^-J,  its  claw  Tr^. 

Female  in  Winter. — The  female  has  the  bill  dusky;  the 
feet  greenish-brown ;  the  interdigital  membranes  dusky.  The 
plumage  of  the  upper  parts  is  sooty-brown  ;  the  sides  of  the 
head  and  neck  paler ;  the  louver  part  of  the  neck,  the  breast, 
and  abdomen,  greyish-brown. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  18  inches  ;  bill  1^ ;  wing  from 
flexure  9  ;  tarsus  ly^ ;  third  toe  and  claws  2^. 

Habits. — This  species  arrives  on  our  coasts  after  the 
middle  of  autumn,  and  is  to  be  seen  here  and  there,  often  in 
considerable  flocks,  along  the  whole  eastern  side  of  Britain, 
from  Shetland  and  Orkney,  where  it  is  not  uncommon,  to  its 
southern  extremity.  It  frequents  the  sandy  shores  and  shell- 


BLACK  SCOTER. 


143 


banks,  where  it  obtains  its  subsistence  by  diving,  muscles, 
mactra,  fellinae,  and  other  species  of  bivalve  mollusca  consti¬ 
tuting  its  food.  Its  habits  are  essentially  the  same  as  those 
of  the  Velvet  Scoter.  I  have  seen  large  flocks  fishing  along 
the  sandy  coasts  of  Aberdeenshire,  just  beyond,  sometimes 
among,  the  breakers,  seldom  within  shot  from  the  shore.  It 
swims  with  moderate  speed,  dives  expertly,  and  remains  long 
under  water.  It  flies  low,  with  considerable  speed,  alights 
heavily  on  the  water,  and  on  rising  from  it  ascends  at  a  very 
small  angle,  splashing  with  the  tips  of  its  wings.  It  is  seldom 
that  any  are  shot  along  the  east  coast  of  Scotland,  insomuch 
that  a  specimen,  obtained  at  St.  Cyrus,  and  preserved  in  the 
Montrose  Museum,  was  considered  there,  when  it  was  shown 
to  me,  as  a  great  rarity.  During  winter  it  occurs  in  the  Firth 
of  Forth,  but  not  plentifully,  though  sometimes  considerable 
numbers  are  seen.  It  is  said  to  be  abundant  on  some  parts 
of  the  coasts  of  England.  In  Ireland,  also,  it  “  is  a  regular 
visitant  to  certain  localities  on  the  coast.”  Although  some 
individuals  have  been  seen  there  in  summer,  it  is  truly  mig¬ 
rant,  leaving  us  for  the  north  in  April,  and  even  in  Orkney 
and  Shetland  is  not  known  to  breed. 

Very  abundant  in  winter  along  the  coasts  of  France  and 
Holland,  where  it  is  shot  and  otherwise  procured  in  great 
numbers  ;  it  is  said  to  be  in  summer  dispersed  over  the  north¬ 
ern  parts  of  Europe  and  Asia.  The  American  Scoter,  Oidemia 
Americana,  between  which  and  the  European  I  cannot  dis¬ 
cover  any  essential  difference,  after  examining  several  speci¬ 
mens  of  both,  is  represented  as  abundant  along  the  eastern 
coast  in  winter,  and  as  breeding  in  Labrador  and  more 
northern  tracts.  Mr.  Audubon’s  account  of  it  is  as  follows  : — 
“  On  the  11th  of  July,  1833,  a  nest  of  this  bird  was  found  by 
my  young  companions  in  Labrador.  It  was  placed  at  the 
distance  of  about  two  yards  from  the  margin  of  a  large  fresh¬ 
water  pond,  about  a  mile  from  the  shore  of  the  Gulf  of  St. 
Laurence,  under  a  low  fir,  in  the  manner  often  adopted  by 
the  Eider  Duck,  the  nest  of  which  it  somewhat  resembled, 
although  it  was  much  smaller.  It  was  composed  externally 
of  small  sticks,  moss,  and  grasses,  lined  with  down,  in  smaller 
quantity  than  that  found  in  the  nest  of  the  bird  just  mentioned. 


144 


OIDEMIA  NIGRA. 


and  mixed  with  feathers.  The  eggs,  which  were  ready  to  be 
hatched,  were  eight  in  number,  two  inches  in  length,  an  inch 
and  five-eighths  in  breadth,  of  an  oval  form,  smooth,  and  of 
a  uniform  pale  yellowish  colour.  I  afterwards  found  a  female 
with  seven  young  ones,  of  which  she  took  such  effectual  care 
that  none  of  them  fell  into  our  hands.  On  several  occasions, 
when  they  were  fatigued  by  diving,  she  received  them  all  on 
her  back,  and,  swimming  deeply,  though  very  fast,  took  them 
to  the  shore,  where  the  little  things  lay  close  among  the  tall 
grass  and  low  tangled  bushes.  In  this  species,  as  in  others,  the 
male  forsakes  the  female  as  soon  as  incubation  commences.” 

Young. — M.  Temminck  states  that  “  the  young  males 
scarcely  differ  from  the  adult  females,  the  colours  being  only 
paler  ;  the  space  between  the  eye  and  the  bill,  the  top  of  the 
head,  the  occiput,  nape  and  breast,  of  a  deep  brown  ;  the 
space  under  the  eyes,  the  sides  and  fore  part  of  the  neck,  pure 
white  ;  all  the  rest  of  the  plumage  of  a  sooty  brown  ;  the  base 
of  the  bill  raised ;  the  two  mandibles  of  a  livid  brown,  except¬ 
ing  the  nostrils,  which  are  flesh-colour ;  iris  brownish-grey  ; 
feet  dull  yellowisli-green ;  membranes  blackish.  The  young 
females  always  have  the  tints  lighter. 

Remarks. — It  appears  strange  that  the  trachea  of  this 
species,  which  is  so  very  closely  allied  to  the  Surf  Scoter  and 
the  Velvet  Scoter,  should  differ  entirely  from  them  in  being 
destitute  of  the  singular-looking  dilatations  for  which  these 
are  so  remarkable.  The  trachea  of  the  male  Black  Scoter,  in 
fact,  differs  from  the  simple  trachea  of  the  female  only  in 
having  the  bronchi  larger,  and  resembles  that  of  female  Ducks 
in  general.  This  would  tend  to  show  that  no  good  generic 
distinction  can  be  obtained  from  the  trachea. 


143 


SOMATERIA.  EIDER. 

The  Eider  Ducks  are  birds  of  large  size,  having  the  body 
of  an  elliptical  form,  and  considerably  depressed  ;  the  neck 
of  moderate  length  and  thick  ;  the  head  large,  oblong,  com¬ 
pressed. 

Bill  nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at  the 
base,  depressed  toward  the  end,  where  it  is  considerably 
narrowed,  but  rounded  ;  upper  mandible  with  the  lateral 
sinuses  very  large,  the  upper  very  long  and  narrow ;  the 
frontal  angles  very  long,  soft,  and  tumid,  in  the  males 
forming  a  protuberance,  on  which  is  a  medial  band  of 
feathers ;  the  ridge  beyond  the  nostrils  becoming  convex ; 
the  dorsal  line  straight  and  sloping  to  the  unguis,  which  is 
extremely  large,  elliptical,  convex,  and  moderately  decurved ; 
the  sides  erect  at  the  base,  the  edges  thin,  concealing  the 
not  very  numerous  slender  lamellae  ;  lower  mandible  bat¬ 
tened,  with  the  intercrural  space  long,  pointed,  and  partially 
bare ;  the  unguis  very  large,  broadly  elliptical,  little  convex  ; 
the  gape-line  gently  rearcuate. 

Mouth  of  moderate  width ;  anterior  palate  broadly  con¬ 
cave,  with  a  medial  prominent  line,  on  which  are  some 
tubercles,  and  from  thirty  to  forty  marginal  lamella?.  Tongue 
large,  fleshy,  with  numerous  conical  papillae  at  the  base,  a 
de  ep  median  groove,  two  lateral  series  of  bristles,  and  a  thin 
rounded  tip.  (Esophagus  of  moderate  width.  Stomach  a 
powerful  gizzard  of  a  transversely  elliptical  form,  its  muscles 
very  large,  the  epithelium  longitudinally  rugous,  and  forming 
thick  grinding  plates.  Intestine  of  moderate  length,  wide  ; 
coeca  moderate,  narrow. 

The  trachea  of  nearly  uniform  width,  but  having  at  the 
lower  end  a  transversely  oblong  dilatation,  projecting  more 

VOL.  v.  l 


146 


SOMATERIA.  EIDER. 


on  the  left  side  ;  the  bronchi  of  moderate  length  and  con¬ 
siderable  width. 

Nostrils  oblongo-elliptical,  large,  submedial.  Eyes  small. 
Aperture  of  ear  small.  Legs  very  short,  and  placed  rather 
far  behind ;  tarsus  very  short,  compressed,  with  small  scu- 
tella.  Hind  toe  small,  slender,  with  a  broad  lobiform  mem¬ 
brane,  connected  at  the  base  with  the  hilobate  marginal 
membrane  of  the  inner  toe ;  anterior  toes  long,  the  third 
nearly  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus,  all  scutellate ;  inter¬ 
digital  membranes  emarginatc.  Claws  small,  arcuate,  com¬ 
pressed,  obtuse,  that  of  the  middle  toe  with  the  inner  edge 
dilated. 

Plumage  dense,  firm,  on  the  head  and  neck  short  and 
blended ;  the  feathers  on  the  other  parts  ovato-oblong, 
rounded,  dense,  somewhat  glossy.  Wings  rather  short,  very 
convex,  narrow,  pointed ;  primaries  acuminate,  the  first  and 
second  longest ;  inner  secondaries  elongated,  tapering,  curved 
outwards.  Tail  very  short,  much  rounded  or  tapering,  of 
sixteen  or  fourteen  stiffish,  narrow,  pointed  feathers. 

The  males  have  the  plumage  varied  with  white  and  black, 
while  that  of  the  females  is  spotted  or  streaked  with  dusky 
and  dull  reddish  or  yellowish-grey.  These  birds  inhabit  the 
cold  and  frigid  zones  of  both  continents,  living  in  the  open 
sea,  or  in  channels  and  bays,  during  the  greater  part  of  the 
year,  and  feeding  chiefly  on  bivalve  shell-fish,  for  which  they 
dive.  In  summer  most  of  them  betake  themselves  to  the 
arctic  regions,  where  they  nestle  on  the  shores  of  the  sea,  on 
islands,  or  in  the  turf  of  rocky  places,  forming  a  bulky  nest, 
lined  with  down,  and  laying  a  moderate  number  of  large, 
smooth,  greenish-white  eggs.  Their  flight  is  steady,  direct, 
moderately  rapid,  and  performed  by  quick  beats.  They 
swim  and  dive  expertly,  remain  long  under  the  water,  and  are 
more  or  less  gregarious,  even  in  the  breeding  season.  The 
down,  which  lines  the  nests,  or  is  intermingled  with  the 
eggs,  and  has  been  plucked  by  the  female  from  her  breast, 
is  collected  in  large  quantities  in  some  northern  localities. 


1-17 


SOMATERIA  MOLLISSIMA.  THE  COMMON,  OR 
WHITE-BACKED  EIDER. 

EIDER  DUCK.  ST.  CUTHBERT’S  DUCK.  DUNTER  GOOSE. 


Fig.  70. 


Anas  raollissima.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  338. 

Anas  mollissima.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  845. 

Eider  Duck.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  Eider.  Anas  mollissima.  Temm.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  II.  848. 
Common  Eider.  Somateria  mollissima.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  338. 
Somateria  mollissima.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  237. 

Somateria  mollissima.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  57. 


Male  toith  the  frontal  angles  of  the  bill  very  narrow  and , 
though  fleshy ,  little  elevated ;  the  head  black  above ,  with  a 
medial  white  band ;  the  hind  part  of  the  cheeks  and  nape 
pale  green;  the  throat ,  hind-neck ,  back ,  scapulars,  smaller 
wing-coverts ,  and  inner  secondary  quills  white ;  the  breast , 
sides,  abdomen,  and  rump  black ;  the  fore-neck  cream- 
coloured  ;  tail  of  sixteen  feathers.  Female  with  the  fronted 


148 


SOMATERIA  MOLLISSIMA. 


angles  less  elevated  and  shorter ;  the  head  and  neck  pale 
reddish-brown ,  finely  streaked  with  dusky  ;  the  lower  parts 
similarly  coloured ,  but  with  the  markings  transverse,  and  the 
ground  colour  passing  gradually  into  dusky  brown ;  the  upper 
parts  dark  broivn,  transversely  lunulated  with  light  red. 
Young  nearly  similar  to  the  female. 

Male  in  Summer. — The  Common  or  White-backed  Eider, 
although  remarkable  for  the  beauty  of  its  plumage,  is  what 
may,  without  much  impropriety,  be  called  a  very  clumsy 
bird.  Its  body  is  bulky,  much  depressed,  and  of  an  ellip¬ 
tical  form ;  the  neck  of  moderate  length ;  the  head  large, 
oblong,  and  compressed. 

The  hill  is  nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  higher  than  broad 
at  the  base,  depressed  toward  the  end,  where  it  is  consider¬ 
ably  narrowed,  but  rounded ;  the  upper  mandible  with  the 
lateral  sinus  very  large  and  rather  pointed,  the  upper  sinus 
very  long  and  narrow  ;  the  frontal  angles  very  long,  narrow, 
soft,  and  tumid,  as  is  the  ridge  as  far  as  the  nostrils,  and 
marked  with  oblique  divergent  lines ;  the  dorsal  outline 
nearly  straight  and  sloping  to  the  unguis,  which  is  extremely 
large,  elliptical,  convex,  and  moderately  decurved,  with  a 
thick  grooved  edge,  the  ridge  broad,  slowly  narrowed,  and 
becoming  more  convex ;  the  sides  sloping,  the  edges  margi- 
nate,  scrobiculate  externally,  with  about  fifty  internal 
lamellae,  the  outer  ends  of  which  do  not  project,  hut  are 
marked  by  a  series  of  external  scrobiculi ;  nasal  sinus  narrow 
elliptical,  sub-basal ;  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural 
space  long,  rather  wide,  pointed,  and  partially  hare ;  the 
outline  of  the  crura  nearly  straight,  their  sides  gradually 
more  inclined  outwards,  the  edges  with  about  sixty  external 
lamellae ;  the  unguis  very  large,  broadly  elliptical,  little 
convex. 

The  mouth  is  an  inch  in  width  ;  the  anterior  palate 
concave.  The  tongue,  two  inches  in  length,  is  fleshy,  very 
thick,  with  a  deep  median  groove,  two  lateral  series  of 
bristles,  and  a  semicircular,  tliin-edged,  sub-cartilaginous 
tip.  The  oesophagus,  eleven  inches  long,  one  inch  in  width, 
enlarges  on  the  lower  part  of  the  neck  to  an  inch  and  two- 


COMMON,  OR  WHITE-BACKEI)  EIDER. 


149 


thirds,  then  narrows  to  an  inch ;  its  walls  very  thick,  the 
inner  coat  longitudinally  plicate  ;  the  proventricular  part  an 
inch  and  a  quarter  in  breadth.  The  stomach,  an  extremely 
large  and  muscular  gizzard,  situated  obliquely,  two  inches 
and  a  half  in  length,  three  inches  in  breadth,  the  muscles  an 
inch  and  a  quarter  in  thickness ;  the  epithelium  thick,  dense, 
with  two  elliptical  grinding  plates.  The  intestine  is  six  feet 
four  inches  long,  half  an  inch  in  width,  enlarging  a  little 
toward  the  coeca,  which  are  three  inches  and  three-fourths 
long,  only  one-twelfth  wide  at  the  base,  their  greatest  width 
four-twelfths,  narrowed  to  two-twelfths  at  the  end,  which  is 
obtuse ;  the  rectum  four  inches  long,  gradually  enlarging  to 
ten- twelfths. 

The  trachea,  nine  inches  long,  is  nearly  uniformly  five- 
twelfths  in  breadth,  with  a  transversely  oblong  dilatation  at 
the  lower  end,  projecting  more  to  the  left  side,  an  inch  in 
breadth,  and  half  an  inch  in  length.  The  bronchi  are  very 
wide,  of  moderate  length,  and  with  about  thirty  rings. 

The  nostrils  are  large,  oblongo-elliptical,  five-and-a-half- 
twelfths  long,  sub-medial,  nearer  the  ridge  than  the  margin. 
The  eyes  small,  as  are  the  apertures  of  the  ears.  Legs  very 
short,  stout,  placed  rather  far  behind ;  a  very  small  part  of 
the  tibia  bare  ;  tarsus  compressed,  with  eighteen  medial  and 
ten  outer  scutella,  the  rest  reticulated.  Hind  toe  small,  with 
a  broad  lobiform  membrane  connected  at  the  base  with  the 
loose  bilobate  membrane  of  the  second  toe ;  the  anterior  toes 
long,  the  outer  about  equal,  the  third  with  thirty-two  scu¬ 
tella,  and  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus  ;  interdigital  mem¬ 
branes  emarginate  and  denticulate.  The  claws  are  small, 
compressed,  blunt,  arcuate,  that  of  the  hind  toe  more  curved 
and  slender,  of  the  middle  toe  curved  outwards,  internally 
expanded  and  rounded. 

The  plumage  is  rather  short  and  dense.  The  feathers  of 
the  head  short,  soft,  blended,  rounded,  with  the  terminal 
filaments  disunited  ;  the  occipital,  and  upper  posterior  and 
lateral  cervical,  are  rather  long,  stiff,  linear,  and  terminated 
by  a  pencil  of  disunited  stiffisli  filaments,  with  silky  lustre  ; 
feathers  of  the  neck  and  breast  softish,  blended,  and  rounded ; 
of  the  upper  parts  obovate,  and  rather  distinct.  The  wings 


SOMATERIA  MOLLISSIMA. 


luO 

are  rather  short,  very  concave,  narrow,  and  pointed  ;  the 
primary  quills  curved,  strong,  tapering,  the  first  a  twelfth  of 
an  inch  shorter  than  the  second,  the  rest  quickly  decreasing ; 
the  outer  secondaries  hroad  and  rounded,  the  inner  eight 
elongated,  tapering,  and  curved  outwards.  The  tips  of  the 
wings  extend  only  to  the  base  of  the  tail,  which  is  very 
short,  rounded,  slightly  decurvate,  of  sixteen  stiffish  pointed 
feathers. 

The  rough  tumid  hasal  part  of  the  upper  mandible  is  oil- 
green,  the  rest  bluish-grey  tinged  with  green,  the  unguis 
greyish-yellow ;  the  unguis  and  end  of  the  lower  mandible 
pale  greenish-grey,  the  rest  bluish-grey  tinged  with  green. 
The  iris  is  deep  brown.  The  feet  are  oil-green,  the  mem¬ 
branes  and  soles  pale  greenish-brown,  the  claws  pale  brown. 
The  upper  part  of  the  head  is  black,  that  colour  including 
the  lower  eyelids,  and  margining  the  lateral  sinus  above  as 
far  as  the  nostrils ;  from  near  the  middle  of  the  head  above 
to  the  occiput,  a  medial  band  of  white.  The  sides  of  the 
head,  the  throat,  and  the  neck  are  white ;  but  the  hair-like 
feathers  on  the  hind  part  of  the  cheeks  and  nape  are  of  a 
delicate  pale  green ;  and  the  lower  neck  all  round,  but 
especially  before,  is  cream-coloured.  The  back,  smaller 
wing-coverts,  and  inner  elongated  curved  secondary  quills 
are  white,  the  scapulars  tinged  with  yellow.  The  alula, 
primary  coverts,  and  quills  are  greyish-brown,  the  outer 
secondary  quills  and  their  coverts  brownish-black.  The 
breast,  abdomen,  sides,  and  upper  tail-coverts,  with  the 
medial  part  of  the  rump,  brownisli-black ;  the  lower  wing- 
coverts  partly  white,  but  chiefly  grey;  the  tail  greyish- 
brown.  The  gloss  on  the  black  parts  is  ordinary,  on  the 
white  dullish,  on  the  pale  green  of  the  head  and  neck  silky. 

The  above  description  is  taken  from  a  recent  specimen, 
shot  near  North  Berwick,  in  the  beginning  of  May,  1824, 
and  corrected  by  comparing  many  others  at  various  times. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  26  inches ;  extent  of  wings  40 ; 
wing  from  flexure  114;  tail  4;  bill  along  the  ridge  2^-7, 
from  the  frontal  angles  3,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible 
2-j%,  its  height  at  the  base  -LJ-,  its  breadth  behind  the 
unguis  Tp7;  tarsus  l-f§- ;  hind  toe  its  claw  yV;  second 


COMMON,  OR  AVHITE-BACKED  EIDER. 


1)1 

toe  2,  its  claw  •  third  toe  2J,  its  claw  -fe;  fourth  toe 
2^2,  its  claw  T%. 

t 

Female. — The  female,  which  is  not  much  smaller,  has 
the  plumage  less  blended,  the  scapulars  and  inner  curved 
secondaries  shorter,  and  the  feathers  of  the  upper  parts  very 
broad,  distinct,  and  rounded,  of  the  lower  less  distinct,  none 
of  the  feathers  on  the  cheeks  and  nape  hairlike.  The  colours 
are  also  very  different.  The  bill,  which  is  shorter,  with  its 
basal  part  less  tumid,  is  of  a  greenish  dusky  tint,  with  the 
unguis  of  the  upper  mandible  bluish  horn-colour,  that  of  the 
lower  purplish.  The  feet  are  greenish  dusky,  the  scutella 
approaching  to  oil-green.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  is 
deep  brown,  with  longitudinal  streaks  of  brownish-white ; 
its  sides  and  the  throat  light  grey,  with  small  longitudinal 
dots  of  deep  brown ;  the  upper  part  of  the  neck  all  round 
light  brownish-red,  with  small  dusky  streaks  ;  the  lower 
neck  all  round  with  semilunar  spots  of  deep  brown,  pale 
yellowish-brown,  and  dull  white,  each  feather  having  toward 
the  end,  first  a  bar  of  dusky  not  seen,  then  a  band  of  pale 
brown,  then  another  of  blackish-brown,  and  the  disunited 
margins  greyish-white.  On  the  lower  neck  anteriorly  the 
white  of  the  margins  predominates,  and  is  deeply  tinged 
with  brownish-yellow.  The  feathers  of  the  hack  and  the 
scapulars  are  brownish-black,  with  pale  yellowish-brown 
margins  ;  the  hind  part  of  the  back  is  similar,  but  with  the 
markings  smaller,  all  being  transverse.  The  wing-coverts 
similar,  but  lighter.  The  quills  are  deep  brown,  the  outer 
secondaries  with  the  terminal  margin  of  the  outer  Aveb  white, 
the  inner  secondaries  with  the  outer  web  pale  reddish-brown  ; 
the  primary  and  secondary  coverts  correspond  in  colour  with 
their  quills,  and  there  is  a  bar  of  white  along  the  tips  of  the 
secondary  coverts.  The  tail-feathers  are  deep  brown,  with 
ash-grey  margins.  The  fore  part  of  the  breast  is  dull  red¬ 
dish,  barred  with  dusky ;  on  the  rest  of  the  breast  and  the 
abdomen  the  ground  colour  becomes  deep  greenish-brown, 
and  the  bars  more  obscure,  but  the  sides  are  brightly  coloured ; 
the  axillars  and  some  of  the  lower  wing-coverts  white,  but 
the  lower  surface  of  the  wing  in  general  is  grey. 


152 


SOMATERIA  MOLLISSIMA. 


Length  to  end  of  tail  24  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  38  ; 
wing  from  flexure  11  \  ;  tail  4;  bill  along  the  ridge  2-fe  ; 
tarsus  1^- ;  middle  toe  and  claw 

Variations. — The  males  vary  little  in  colour,  but  con¬ 
siderably  in  size ;  the  extremes  of  length  in  those  which  I 
have  examined  being  24^  and  27,  those  of  extent  of  wings  39 
and  42.  The  females  vary  in  colour  nearly  as  much  as  the 
“  Red  Grouse,”  the  dark  tints  of  the  back  shading  between 
brownish-black  and  dark  brown,  the  light  tints  between 
brownish-white  and  yellowish-red.  The  tail-feathers  are 
generally  much  worn,  and  their  tips  broken  in  summer. 

PIabits. — The  Eider  Duck  or  Goose,  as  it  has  been  vari¬ 
ously  called,  is  reported  by  travellers  and  voyagers  to  he  very 
abundant  in  the  arctic  regions  of  both  continents,  on  the 
coasts  of  Norway,  Sweden,  Iceland,  and  Labrador,  and  to 
occur,  in  diminished  numbers,  some  degrees  farther  south¬ 
ward.  It  is  not  unfrequent  along  the  shores  of  the  northern 
parts  of  Scotland,  the  Hebrides,  Shetland  and  Orkney  Islands. 
In  the  outer  Hebrides  are  many  places  in  which  it  breeds, 
although  nowhere  in  great  numbers.  The  same  may  he  said 
of  Shetland  and  Orkney,  and  some  occur  in  summer  about 
the  Bass  Rock,  and  even  on  the  Fern  Islands,  on  the  coast  of 
Northumberland.  They  betake  themselves  to  their  breeding 
places  in  the  beginning  of  May.  The  eggs  are  deposited  in 
the  end  of  that  month  or  the  beginning  of  June.  It  has  been 
alleged  by  some  that  the  males  leave  the  females  after  incu¬ 
bation  commences,  and  this  is  true  to  a  certain  extent,  for 
the  males  having  nothing  to  do  with  that  process,  do  not 
remain  constantly  with  the  females,  but  engage  in  their 
ordinary  pursuits,  often  collecting  into  flocks  of  a  few  or 
many  individuals,  although  they  remain  in  the  neighbouring 
parts,  and  occasionally  visit  their  mates,  or  at  least  are  seen 
on  shore  near  them.  Pflie  nest  is  usually  made  in  a  superfi¬ 
cial  cavity  in  the  turf,  and  is  composed  of  sea-weeds  and 
withered  grass,  together  with  various  maritime  plants,  as 
Statice  Armeria  and  Plantago  maritima  and  Coronopus.  The 
eggs,  which  vary  from  five  to  eight,  are  of  a  longish  oval 


COMMON,  Oil  WHITE-BACKED  EIDER. 


153 

form,  smooth  and  glossy,  and  of  a  pale  greenish-grey,  gene¬ 
rally  three  inches  in  length,  an  inch  and  eleven-twelfths,  or 
two  inches  in  breadth.  When  they  have  been  laid,  the 
female  plucks  the  down  from  her  breast,  and  deposits  it 
among  them.  I  have  never  found  it  in  a  pure  state,  it  being 
intermixed  with  fragments  of  plants,  on  being  freed  from 
which  the  quantity  in  a  nest  may  be  compressed  within  a 
space  less  than  two  inches  in  diameter,  although,  on  being 
shaken  out,  it  will  extend  to  nine  or  ten  inches.  If  the  eggs 
are  removed  the  female  will  usually  lay  again,  in  which  case 
the  down  is  so  entirely  plucked  from  her  lower  parts,  together 
with  the  finer  filaments  of  the  feathers  themselves,  that  the 
breast  and  abdomen  present  a  very  singular  appearance, 
inducing  one  to  think  that  the  bird  must  be  in  in  a  most 
uncomfortable  state. 

Soon  after  the  young  are  hatched  they  follow  their  mother 
to  the  water,  or  in  certain  cases,  as  when  the  nest  has  been 
placed  on  a  rock,  are  carried  there  successively  in  her  bill. 
This  I  have  never  seen  done  ;  but  several  writers — none  of 
whom,  however,  seem  to  have  seen  it  either — declare  it  to  be 
true ;  and  it  is  certain  that  Ducks  which  build  in  trees  must 
remove  their  young  in  that  way.  The  young,  at  first  covered 
with  dusky  down,  are  very  expert  swimmers  and  divers  ;  but 
their  food  at  this  early  age  has  not  been  determined,  although 
it  must  consist  of  small  marine  animals.  They  are  anxiously 
tended  by  the  mother,  who  does  all  in  her  power  to  protect 
them  from  Gulls  and  men,  by  diving  with  them,  fluttering 
on  the  water,  and  leading  their  pursuers  away  by  pretending 
to  be  crippled. 

The  food  of  the  Eider  consists  of  bivalve  mollusca,  which 
it  obtains  by  diving,  as  well  as  of  Crustacea,  fishes,  and  the 
roe  of  both.  I  am  not  aware  of  its  ever  feeding  on  vegetable 
substances  in  its  natural  state,  and  yet,  when  domesticated, 
it  has  been  found  readily  to  eat  grain.  This  remarkable 
facility  of  transition  from  an  animal  to  a  vegetable  food 
appears  to  be  very  common  in  this  family  of  birds,  and  is  said 
to  produce  a  corresponding  change  in  the  character  of  their 
flesh  as  an  article  of  food.  That  of  the  Eider,  under  its  com¬ 
mon  regimen,  is,  I  think,  fully  as  palatable  as  the  flesh  of 


1.34 


SOMATERIA  MOLLISSIMA. 


the  Mallard.  The  flight  of  this  bird  is  direct,  steady,  and 
moderately  rapid,  being  performed  by  continuous  quick  beats 
of  the  wings,  generally  low  over  the  water.  It  swims  well, 
sitting  lightly,  although,  from  the  flatness  of  its  body,  it 
seems  to  sink  considerably,  and  on  diving  is  capable  of 
remaining  a  considerable  time  under  the  water.  In  all  these 
respects  it  differs  little  from  the  Scoters  and  Fuliguke.  It  is 
difficult  to  shoot,  being  wary,  and  diving  rapidly. 

In  Scotland  the  Eiders  are  not  sufficiently  numerous  to 
he  of  any  importance  in  an  economical  point  of  view  ;  hut  in 
the  northern  countries  of  Europe  their  down,  with  that  of 
other  sea-birds,  forms  an  article  of  commerce  in  much  request, 
being  employed  for  coverlets  and  quilts,  for  which,  from  its 
extreme  lightness,  elasticity,  and  non-conduction  of  heat,  it 
is  well  adapted.  In  these  qualities  I  do  not  find  it  superior 
to  that  of  the  King-Duck,  which  is,  in  fact,  somewhat  finer, 
nor  to  that  of  Aytliya  Ferina,  Fuligula  cristata,  and  Marila, 
although  that  of  the  latter  bird  is  coarser.  All  the  Anatinse 
that  I  have  examined  with  this  view,  as  well  as  all  the 
Anserinae — of  which,  however,  the  down,  although  finer,  is 
less  elastic — are  pretty  much  alike,  and  the  Eider  down  has 
obtained  its  celebrity  simply  because  it  is  the  only  kind 
easily  procured  in  quantity.  It  has  been  alleged  that  “  as 
plucked  from  the  living  bird  it  is  much  more  elastic  than 
when  taken  from  the  body  after  death;”  but  on  comparing 
some  down  plucked  from  a  Davis’  Straits’  specimen  now 
before  me  with  some  collected  in  nests  in  the  outer  Hebrides, 

I  find  that  the  down  from  the  dead  bird  is  rather  superior  in 
elasticity,  probably  because  it  has  not  been  in  any  degree 
crumpled  or  entangled,  as  the  other  has  slightly  been. 

Mr.  Audubon,  who  gives  by  much  the  best  account  of  the 
habits  of  this  bird  that  I  have  seen,  states  that  “  in  Labrador 
the  Eider  Ducks  begin  to  form  their  nests  about  the  last 
week  of  May.  Some  resort  to  islands  scantily  furnished  with 
grass,  near  the  tufts  of  which  they  construct  their  nests  ; 
others  form  them  beneath  the  spreading  boughs  of  the  stunted 
firs,  and  in  such  places  five,  six,  or  even  eight  are  sometimes 
found  beneath  a  single  bush.  Many  are  placed  on  the  shel¬ 
tered  shelvings  of  rocks  a  few  feet  above  high-water  mark. 


COMMON,  Oil  WHITE-BACKED  EIDER. 


I<jt3 

But  none  at  any  considerable  elevation,  at  least  none  of  my 
party,  including  the  sailors,  found  any  in  such  a  position. 
The  nest,  which  is  sunk  as  much  as  possible  into  the  ground, 
is  formed  of  sea-weeds,  mosses,  and  dried  twigs,  so  matted 
and  interlaced  as  to  give  an  appearance  of  neatness  to  the 
central  cavity,  which  rarely  exceeds  seven  inches  in  diameter. 
In  the  beginning  of  June  the  eggs  are  deposited,  the  male 
attending  upon  the  female  the  whole  time.  The  eggs,  which 
are  regularly  placed  on  the  moss  and  weeds  of  the  nest,  with¬ 
out  any  down,  are  generally  from  five  to  seven,  three  inches 
in  length,  two  inches  and  one-eighth  in  breadth,  being  thus 
much  larger  than  those  of  the  Domestic  Duck,  of  a  regular 
oval  form,  smooth-shelled,  and  of  a  uniform  pale  olive-green. 
When  the  full  complement  of  eggs  has  been  laid,  the  female 
begins  to  pluck  some  down  from  the  lower  part  of  the  body ; 
this  operation  is  daily  continued  for  some  time,  until  the 
roots  of  the  feathers,  as  far  forward  as  she  can  reach,  are 
quite  bare,  and  as  clean  as  a  wood  from  which  the  shrubbery 
has  been  cleared  away.  This  down  she  disposes  beneath  and 
around  the  eggs.  When  she  leaves  the  nest  to  go  in  search 
of  food  she  places  it  over  the  eggs,  and  in  this  manner  it  may 
be  presumed  to  keep  up  their  warmth,  although  it  does  not 
always  ensure  their  safety,  for  the  Black-backed  Gull  is  apt  to 
remove  the  covering,  and  suck,  or  otherwise  destroy  the  eggs. 

No  sooner  are  the  young  hatched  than  they  are  led  to  the 
water,  even  when  it  is  a  mile  distant,  and  the  travelling  diffi¬ 
cult,  both  for  the  parent  bird  and  her  brood ;  but  when  it 
happens  that  the  nest  has  been  placed  among  rocks  over  the 
water,  the  Eider,  like  the  Wood  Duck,  carries  the  young  in 
her  bill  to  their  favourite  element.  The  care  which  the 
mother  takes  of  her  young  for  two  or  three  weeks,  cannot  be 
exceeded.  She  leads  them  gently  in  a  close  flock  in  shallow 
water,  where,  by  diving,  they  procure  food,  and  at  times, 
when  the  young  are  fatigued,  and  at  some  distance  from  the 
shore,  she  sinks  her  body  in  the  water,  and  receives  them  on 
her  back,  where  they  remain  several  minutes.  At  the 
approach  of  their  merciless  enemy,  the  Black-backed  Gull, 
the  mother  beats  the  water  with  her  wings,  as  if  intending  to 
raise  the  spray  round  her ;  and,  on  her  uttering  a  peculiar 


SOMATERIA  MOLLISSIMA. 


156 

sound,  the  young  dive  in  all  directions,  while  she  endeavours 
to  entice  the  marauder  to  follow  her,  by  feigning  lameness,  or 
she  leaps  out  of  the  water  and  attacks  her  enemy,  often  so 
vigorously,  that,  exhausted  and  disappointed,  he  is  glad  to  fly 
off,  on  which  she  alights  near  the  rocks,  among  which  she 
expects  to  find  her  brood,  and  calls  them  to  her  side.  Now 
and  then  I  sawr  two  females  which  had  formed  an  attachment 
to  each  other,  as  if  for  the  purpose  of  more  effectually  contri¬ 
buting  to  the  safety  of  their  young,  and  it  was  very  seldom 
that  I  saw  these  prudent  mothers  assailed  by  the  Gull. 

The  young,  at  the  age  of  one  week,  are  of  a  dark  mouse- 
colour,  thickly  covered  with  soft  warm  down.  Their  feet  at 
this  period  are  proportionally  very  large  and  strong.  By  the 
20th  of  July  they  seemed  to  be  all  hatched.  They  grew 
rapidly,  and  when  about  a  fortnight  old  were  with  great  diffi¬ 
culty  obtained,  unless  during  stormy  weather,  when  they 
at  times  retired  from  the  sea  to  shelter  themselves  under  the 
shelvings  of  the  rocks  at  the  head  of  shallow  bays.  It  is  by  no 
means  difficult  to  rear  them,  provided  proper  care  can  be  taken 
of  them,  and  they  soon  become  quite  gentle  and  attached  to 
the  place  set  apart  for  them.  I  have  no  doubt  that  if  this  valu¬ 
able  bird  were  domesticated,  it  would  prove  a  great  acquisi¬ 
tion,  both  on  account  of  its  feathers  and  down,  and  its  flesh  as 
an  article  of  food.  When  in  captivity,  it  feeds  on  different 
kinds  of  grain  and  moistened  oatmeal,  and  its  flesh  becomes 
excellent.  Indeed,  the  sterile  females  which  are  procured  at 
Labrador  in  considerable  numbers,  tasted  as  well  as  the 
Mallard.  The  males  were  tougher  and  more  fishy,  so  that 
we  rarely  ate  of  them,  although  the  fishermen  and  settlers 
paid  no  regard  to  sex  in  this  matter. 

When  the  female  Eider  is  suddenly  discovered  in  her 
nest,  she  takes  to  wing  at  a  single  spring ;  but  if  she  sees  her 
enemy  at  some  distance,  she  walks  off  a  few  steps,  and  then 
flies  away.  If  unseen  by  a  person  coming  near,  as  may  often 
happen,  when  the  nest  is  placed  under  the  boughs  of  the 
dwarf  fir,  she  will  remain  on  it,  although  she  may  hear  people 
talking.  On  such  occasions  my  party  frequently  discovered 
the  nests  by  raising  the  pine  branches,  and  were  often  as 
much  startled  as  the  Ducks  themselves  could  be,  as  the  latter 


COMMON,  OR  WHITE-BACKED  EIDER. 


157 


instantly  sprung  past  them  on  wing,  uttering  a  harsh  cry. 
Now  and  then  some  were  seen  to  alight  on  the  ground  within 
fifteen  or  twenty  yards,  and  walk  as  if  lame  and  broken¬ 
winged,  crawling  slowly  away,  to  entice  their  enemies  to  go 
in  pursuit.  Generally,  however,  they  would  fly  to  the  sea, 
and  remain  there  in  a  large  flock  until  their  unwelcome 
visitors  departed.  When  pursued  by  a  boat,  with  their  brood 
around  them,  they  allowed  us  to  come  up  to  shooting  dis¬ 
tance,  when,  feigning  decrepitude,  they  would  fly  off,  beating 
the  water  with  partially  extended  wTings,  while  the  young 
either  dived  or  ran  on  the  surface  with  wonderful  speed,  for 
forty  or  fifty  yards,  then  suddenly  plunged,  and  seldom 
appeared  at  the  surface  unless  for  a  moment.  The  mothers 
always  flewr  aw  ay  as  soon  as  their  brood  dispersed,  and  then 
ended  the  chase.  The  cry  or  note  of  the  female  is  a  hoarse 
rolling  croak  ;  that  of  the  male  I  never  heard.” 

Young. — When  completely  feathered,  the  young  males 
and  females  resemble  the  adult  female. 

Progress  toavards  Maturity. — In  the  first  winter  and 
spring,  the  males  have  the  upper  part  of  the  head,  its  sides, 
and  the  upper  part  of  the  neck,  greyish-brown,  spotted  with 
deep  brown  ;  the  lower  part  of  the  neck  and  the  breast  barred 
with  black  and  white  ;  the  upper  parts  blackish-brown,  the 
feathers  edged  with  pale  brown ;  the  wing-coverts  and  inner 
secondary  quills  whitish  ;  the  bill  and  legs  greenisli-grey.  In 
the  second  year  the  wdiite  patches  are  seen  on  the  neck,  back, 
and  wings ;  the  greater  part  of  the  back  is  black  ;  and  the 
lower  parts  of  the  body  are  variegated  with  light  red,  whitish, 
and  black  spots.  In  the  next  stage  the  colours  are  nearly  as 
in  the  adult,  the  full  colouring  of  which  is  not  assumed,  it  is 
stated  by  various  writers,  until  the  fourth  year. 

Remarks. — It  seems  rather  strange  that  in  Ireland  this 
bird  ranks  only  as  “  an  extremely  rare  visitant,”  only  two 
individuals  being  positively  announced  by  Mr.  Thompson  as 
having  been  obtained  there,  although  some  others  are  men¬ 
tioned. 


158 


SOMATERIA  SPECTABILIS.  THE  KING,  OR 
BLACK-BACKED  EIDER, 

KING  DUCK. 

Anas  spectabilis.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  195. 

Anas  spectabilis.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornitb.  II.  845. 

King  Duck.  Mont.  Ornitb.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  a  tete  grise.  Anas  spectabilis.  Temm.  Man.  d’ Ornitb.  II. 

King  Eider.  Somateria  spectabilis.  Selby,  lllustr.  II.  343. 

Somateria  spectabilis,  King  Duck.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Yert.  Anirn.  238. 

Somateria  spectabilis.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  57. 

Male  with  the  frontal  angles  of  the  hill  very  broad,  rounded, 
fleshy,  and  much  elevated,  so  as  to  form  a  large  compressed 
protuberance ;  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  nape  light  grey¬ 
ish-blue  ;  the  cheeks  pale  green  ;  the  throat  white,  with  two 
bands  of  black  meeting  anteriorly  at  a  very  acute  angle ;  the 
hind-neck  and  part  of  the  back  white ;  the  fore-neck  richly 
cream-coloured  ;  the  back,  scapulars,  and  inner  secondary 
quills,  black,  as  are  the  breast,  sides,  abdomen,  and  rump  ;  a . 
spot  on  each  side  of  the  latter,  and  the  middle  smaller  wing- 
coverts,  white  ;  tail  of  fourteen  feathers.  Female  with  the 
frontal  angles  less  elevated  and  shorter  ;  the  head  and  neck 
pale  reddish-brown,  finely  streaked  with  dusky  ;  the  lower 
parts  similarly  coloured,  but  with  the  markings  transverse,  and 
the  ground  colour  passing  gradually  into  dusky  brown ;  the 
upper  parts  dark  brown,  transversely  lunulated  with  light  red. 
Young  nearly  similar  to  the  female. 

Male  in  Summer. — The  “  King  Duck  ”  is  so  very  similar 
in  form  and  style  of  colouring,  that  ornithological  system- 
makers  have  been  deterred  from  referring  it  to  a  genus  dis- 

O  O 

tinct  from  that  of  the  “  Eider  Duck,”  although  the  protube¬ 
rance  caused  by  the  modification  of  the  frontal  angles  of  the 
bill  would  probably  have  induced  them  so  to  act,  had  the 


KING,  OR  BLACK-BACKED  EIDER. 


159 


colours  of  the  plumage  been  very  different.  In  most  respects 
the  description  of  the  one  applies  to  the  other,  and  the  females, 
even  in  colour,  are  extremely  similar.  The  present  species  I 
must  describe  from  arctic  specimens,  “  in  the  skin,”  or  more 
correctly,  without  flesh,  as  I  have  never  had  a  fresh  individual, 
or  seen  more  than  one  killed  in  Britain,  and  it  imperfect. 
The  general  form  is  that  of  the  other  species. 

The  bill  is  shorter  than  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at  the 
base,  depressed  toward  the  end,  where  it  is  considerably  nar¬ 
rowed,  but  rounded  ;  the  upper  mandible  with  the  lateral 
sinus  very  long,  and  extremely  narrow,  or  linear,  being 
encroached  upon  by  the  frontal  angles,  which  are  soft,  tumid, 
coarsely  ridged,  broad,  rounded,  and  causing  a  large  com¬ 
pressed  prominence  at  the  base  of  the  bill,  the  dorsal  line 
decimate  to  the  unguis,  which  is  large,  elliptical,  convex,  and 
moderately  decurved,  with  a  thick  grooved  edge,  the  ridge 
broad  and  flattened  at  the  base,  with  a  medial  ridge,  slowly 
narrowed  and  becoming  convex,  the  sides  sloping  and  convex, 
the  edges  marginate,  scrobiculate  externally,  with  about  forty- 
five  internal  lamella?,  of  which  the  outer  ends  do  not  project ; 
nasal  sinus  elliptical,  rather  small,  sub-basal ;  lower  mandible 
with  the  intercrural  space  long,  rather  wide,  pointed,  and 
partially  bare,  the  outline  of  the  crura  nearly  straight,  their 
sides  gradually  more  inclined  outwards,  the  edges  with  about 
fifty  external  lamellae,  the  unguis  very  large,  broadly  elliptical, 
little  convex. 

The  nostrils  are  rather  large,  oblong,  four-twelfths  long, 
sub-basal  near  the  ridge.  The  legs  are  very  short,  stout, 
placed  rather  far  behind  ;  a  very  small  part  of  the  tibia  bare  ; 
tarsus  compressed,  with  sixteen  medial  and  eight  outer  scu- 
tella,  the  rest  reticulated.  Hind  toe  small,  with  a  broad  lobi- 
form  membrane  connected  at  the  base  with  the  loose  bilobate 
membrane  of  the  second  toe  ;  the  anterior  toes  long,  the  outer 
about  equal,  the  third  with  forty-four  scutella,  and  nearly 
double  the  length  of  the  tarsus  ;  intcrdigital  membrane 
emarginate  and  denticulate.  The  claws  are  small,  com¬ 
pressed,  bluntish,  arcuate,  that  of  the  hind  toe  more  curved 
and  slender,  of  the  middle  toe  curved  outwards,  internally 
expanded,  and  rounded. 


160 


SOMATE11IA  SPECTABILIS. 


The  plumage  is  rather  short  and  dense.  The  feathers  on 
the  head  very  small  and  blended,  on  its  upper  part  very  nar¬ 
row  and  soft,  on  the  cheeks  very  stiff,  hair-like,  and  glossy  ; 
on  the  neck  and  breast  softish,  rounded,  and  blended  ;  on  the 
upper  and  lower  parts  oblong  and  blended.  The  wings  are 
rather  short,  very  concave,  narrow,  and  pointed  ;  the  primary 
quills  narrow  and  pointed,  the  first  two-twelfths  of  an  inch 
shorter  than  the  second,  the  rest  quickly  decurving ;  the  outer 
secondaries  broad  and  rounded,  the  inner  eight  elongated, 
tapering,  and  curved  outwards.  The  tips  of  the  wings  do  not 
extend  beyond  the  base  of  the  tail,  which  is  very  small, 
rounded,  of  fourteen  stiff,  narrow,  pointed  feathers. 

The  hill  is  flesh-coloured ;  the  sides  of  the  upper  mandible 
and  the  basal  lobes  orange.  The  iris  yellow.  The  feet  dull 
orange,  with  the  wrebs  dusky,  and  the  claws  dark-brown, 
blackish  toward  the  end.  The  base  of  the  upper  mandible  is 
margined  by  a  narrow  black  hack,  running  between  the  lobes, 
and  sending  off  posteriorly  a  line  passing  in  the  loral  space, 
and  beneath  the  eye  ;  on  the  throat  are  two  black  bands 
meeting  anteriorly  at  a  very  acute  angle.  The  upper  part  of 
the  head  is  light  greyish-blue,  that  colour  passing  continu¬ 
ously  along  the  nape,  and  then  expanding  laterally  ;  the 
cheeks  pale  green,  that  colour  separated  from  the  blue  of  the 
nape  by  an  oblique  white  line  ;  the  throat  white ;  the  lower 
fore  part  of  the  neck  rich  cream-colour  ;  its  hind  part,  a  por¬ 
tion  of  the  back,  a  patch  on  the  wing-coverts,  and  a  round¬ 
ish  spot  on  each  side  of  the  rump,  white.  The  rest  of  the 
hack,  the  scapulars,  and  the  secondary  wing-coverts,  black  ; 
the  smaller  wing-coverts,  alula,  and  primary  quills  and  coverts, 
brownish-black  externally,  greyish-brown  on  the  inner  webs  ; 
the  secondary  quills  darker.  The  lower  parts  of  the  body 
brownish-black  ;  the  lower  wing-coverts  grey,  but  some  of 
them,  as  well  as  the  axillary  feathers,  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  23  inches  ;  wing  from  flexure  10 J  ; 
tail  3J ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1-^ ;  along  the  edge  of  lower 
mandible  2-fj ;  its  height  at  the  base  before  the  prominence 
T*V ;  its  height  behind  the  unguis  T8T  ;  tarsus  1^ ;  first  toe 
-j%,  its  claw  ;  second  toe  1-^,  its  clawr  ;  third  toe  2-^, 
its  claw  1% ;  fourth  toe  2^,  its  claw  -y^. 


KING,  Oil  BLACK-BACKED  EIDER. 


161 


Female. — The  female  of  this  species  is  so  very  similar  to 
that  of  the  common  Eider  that  it  is  difficult  to  distinguish 
them.  It  is  considerably  smaller  than  the  male,  and  has  the 
plumage  less  blended,  the  scapulars  and  inner  curved  second¬ 
aries  shorter.  The  bill,  which  is  shorter,  with  its  tumid 
basal  angles  narrow,  not  expanded  as  in  the  male,  is  of  a 
pale  greenish-grey  tint,  with  the  unguis  of  the  upper  man¬ 
dible  bluish-grey  tinged  with  yellow.  The  feet  are  dull 
greenish-grey.  The  head  and  neck  are  light  greyish-yellow, 
with  small  streaks  of  brownish-black  ;  the  throat  paler ;  the 
lower  neck  all  round,  with  the  fore  part  of  the  breast  and 
the  sides,  yellowish-grey  variegated  with  dusky,  each  feather 
having  a  brownish-black  central  patch  and  a  sub-marginal 
band  of  the  same.  The  lower  parts  generally  are  of  a  uni¬ 
form  pale  yellowish-brown  ;  the  feathers  of  the  sides  and  the 
lower  tail-coverts  spotted  and  barred  with  brownish-black. 
The  feathers  of  the  back  and  the  scapulars  are  brownish- 
black,  with  yellowish-grey  margins.  The  quills  and  tail- 
feathers  are  deep  greyish-brown  ;  the  recurved  inner  second¬ 
aries  dusky,  with  their  outer  margins  yellowish-grey. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  21  inches  ;  bill  1-^ ;  tarsus  1T7^ ; 
third  toe  2 its  claw  -fa. 

Habits. — The  “  King  Duck  ”  is  described  as  resembling 
the  “  Eider  Duck  ”  in  its  habits,  and  as  equally  numerous  in 
the  arctic  regions,  whence,  however,  it  does  not  extend  so  far 
southward,  a  very  few  individuals  only  having  been  obtained 
in  Britain.  Montagu,  in  the  supplement  to  his  Ornithological 
Dictionary,  says  : — “  We  are  assured  by  Mr.  Bullock  that  he 
found  this  bird  breeding  in  Papa  Westra,  one  of  the  Orkney 
Islands,  in  the  latter  end  of  June.  It  lays  six  yellowish- 
white  eggs,  rather  less  than  those  of  the  Eider  Duck,  and, 
like  that  bird,  covers  the  eggs  with  its  own  down.  The  nest 
was  on  a  rock  impending  the  sea.”  Mr.  Jenyns  states  that 
it  has  been  killed  on  the  coast  of  Suffolk ;  and  Mr.  Thompson 
mentions  one  killed  in  Ireland.  Mr.  Dunn,  who  visited 
Papa  Westra,  and  the  most  northern  of  the  Orkney  Islands, 
where  it  was  reported  to  breed,  searched  there  for  it  in  vain. 
Messrs.  Baikie  and  Iieddle  say  it  has  not  been  known  to 

VOL.  v.  M 


162 


SOMATEHIA  SPECTABILIS. 


breed  there  for  several  years,  and  is  now  only  a  rare  occasional 
visitant  to  Orkney.  Mr.  St.  John  says  it  is  sometimes  seen 
at  the  Kyle  of  Tongue,  in  Sutherland. 

It  is  said  to  be  of  rare  occurrence  in  Denmark  and  Nor¬ 
way  ;  to  breed  in  small  numbers  in  Feroe  and  Iceland  ;  but 
to  be  plentiful,  in  the  breeding  season,  in  Nova  Zembla, 
Spitzbergen,  Greenland,  the  North  Georgian  Islands,  and 
other  parts  of  the  extreme  north.  “  Vast  numbers  of  this 
beautiful  Duck,”  Captain  James  C.  Boss  states,  “resort 
annually  to  the  shores  and  islands  of  the  arctic  regions  in  the 
breeding  season,  and  have  on  many  occasions  afforded  a 
valuable  and  salutary  supply  of  fresh  provision  to  the  crews 
of  the  vessels  employed  on  those  seas.  On  our  late  voyages 
comparatively  few  were  obtained,  although  seen  in  very  great 
numbers.  They  do  not  retire  far  to  the  south  during  the 
winter,  but  assemble  in  large  flocks  ;  the  males  by  themselves, 
and  the  females  with  their  young  brood,  are  often  met  with 
in  the  Atlantic  Ocean,  far  distant  from  any  land,  where  the 
numerous  cristaceous  and  other  marine  animals  afford  them 
abundance  of  food.” 

Mr.  Audubon  says  it  rarely  advances  farther  south  than 
the  neighbourhood  of  the  Bay  of  Boston,  although  formerly  it 
was  not  at  all  of  rare  occurrence  there  during  winter,  and  a 
few  had  been  known  to  breed  in  company  with  the  Eider 
along  the  coast.  lie  saw  some  in  Labrador,  but  did  not  find 
any  nests. 

Remarks. — This  species,  extremely  rare  in  Scotland,  has 
been  found  in  Ireland,  although  there  also  “  extremely  rare,” 
more  frequently  than  in  Britain.  Mr.  Thompson  records  the 
occurrence  of  a  female  shot  at  Kingstown  Harbour  in  Octo¬ 
ber  1837  ;  two  specimens,  females  or  immature  males,  obtained 
by  Mr.  R.  Chute,  one  in  the  winter  of  1843,  from  Derrynane, 
the  other  in  that  of  1846,  from  Tralee  Bay  ;  a  fourth  bird,  a 
female,  shot  in  March  1850,  in  Belfast  Bay. 


163 


STELLERIA. 

A  genus,  to  which  various  names,  as  Stelleria,  Polysticta, 
Macropus,  has  been  given,  seems  to  many  ornithologists  neces¬ 
sary  for  the  reception  of  a  Duck,  first  named  Anas  dispar  by 
Gmelin,  and  which  some  have  considered  as  a  Pochard,  others 
as  a  Scaup-Duck,  a  Garrot,  or  an  Eider.  Not  having  seen 
this  bird,  I  am  not  qualified  to  speak  decidedly  as  to  its  posi¬ 
tion  ;  but,  judging  from  the  figures  and  descriptions  of  recent 
authors,  I  should  feel  disposed  to  agree  with  Mr.  Yarrell  in 
placing  it  among  or  near  the  Eiders. 


161 


STELLERIA  DISPAR  THE  PIED  STELLEBIA. 

WESTERN  DUCK.  STELLER’S  DUCK. 

Anas  dispar.  Gmel.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  535. 

Anas  dispar.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  866. 

Fuligula  dispar.  Selby,  Illustr.  Brit.  Ornith.  II.  360. 

Fnligula  dispar.  Western  Pochard.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  243. 

Anas  dispar.  Temm.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  IV.  547. 

Stellaria  dispar.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  57. 

Male. — Various  descriptions  arc  given  by  British  and 
American  authors,  from  whose  statements  one  might  com¬ 
pile  a  pretty  good  account  of  this  rare  bird,  of  which  only  a 
single  specimen  has  been  obtained  in  England.  This  speci¬ 
men,  which  was  shot  in  February,  1830,  at  Caistor,  near 
Yarmouth,  has  been  figured  in  Mr.  Audubon’s  “  gigantic 
work,”  from  a  drawing  made  by  his  son,  John  Woodliouse ; 
as  well  as  by  Mr.  Yarrell,  in  his  deservedly  esteemed  History 
of  British  Birds,  from  a  drawing  made  by  Mr.  Charles 
Buckler.  It  is  described  in  Mr.  Audubon’s  work,  partly 
from  the  plate  and  partly  from  notes  taken  by  Mr.  Audubon, 
jun.,  part  of  the  description  being  as  follows  : — 

“  Bill  dull  greyish -blue,  as  are  the  feet ;  the  claws  yel¬ 
lowish-grey.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  and  a  broad  band 
surrounding  the  neck  are  white ;  the  throat  and  some 
feathers  surrounding  the  eye  are  black  ;  a  light  green  patch 
in  the  loral  space,  and  a  transverse  patch  of  the  same  on  the 
nape,  margined  behind  and  laterally  with  black.  A  broad 
band  on  the  neck  and  the  whole  of  the  back  are  velvet- 
black,  with  green  reflections  ;  the  smaller  wing-coverts  white  ; 
the  secondary  coverts  (it  ought  to  be  the  outer  secondary 
quills)  bluish-black,  terminating  in  a  broad  white  band ;  the 
elongated  secondaries  and  scapulars  with  the  inner  web 


PIED  STELLERIA. 


165 


white,  the  outer  black  with  blue  reflections ;  the  primaries 
and  coverts  brownish-black,  the  tail  black,  as  are  the  lower 
tail-coverts  and  abdomen  ;  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  deep 
reddish-huff,  fading  towards  the  shoulders  and  neck  into 
pure  white  ;  there  is  a  bluish-black  spot  on  each  side  of  the 
lower  part  of  the  neck  anterior  to  the  wing. 

“  Length  to  end  of  tail  16  inches  ;  hill  along  the  ridge 
t9-2  ;  wing  from  flexure  8§ ;  tail  4 ;  tarsus  ;  inner  toe 
and  claw  14 ;  middle  toe  and  claw  ;  outer  toe  and  claw 

;  breadth  of  unguis  of  upper  mandible  §  ;  breadth  of  bill 
at  base  f.” 

Mr.  Yarrell  gives  a  description  of  an  adult  male  taken 
from  a  specimen  belonging  to  Mr.  John  Leadheater.  But, 
to  avoid  extracting  too  much  from  an  esteemed  fellow- 
student,  I  may  give  M.  Temminck’s  account : — “  Space  be¬ 
tween  the  bill  and  the  eye,  and  a  large  occipital  patch,  of  a 
fine  pistachio-green ;  throat,  fore  part  of  neck,  and  a  spot 
behind  the  eyes,  pure  black  ;  all  the  rest  of  the  head  and 
the  upper  part  of  the  neck  pure  white ;  at  the  lower  part  of 
the  neck  a  broad  bottle-green  collar ;  this  tint  a  little  darker 
extends  over  the  feathers  of  the  back ;  the  thoracic  region, 
the  wing-coverts,  and  the  greater  portion  of  the  scapulars, 
pure  white ;  the  longest  of  the  scapulars  curved  like  a  sickle  ; 
these  feathers  have  the  outer  barbs  (webs)  broad,  and  of  a 
glossy  blackish-blue ;  their  inner  barbs  (webs)  are  very 
narrow  and  white.  (He  omits  the  blue  speculum,  tipped 
with  white,  of  the  outer  secondary  quills.)  Breast  and  lower 
parts  of  a  fine  yellowish -red,  deejier  on  the  abdomen ;  there 
is  on  each  side  of  the  breast  a  large  ovoidal  black  spot ; 
quills  and  tail-feathers  blackish-brown.  Bill  and  feet 
blackish-grey ;  iris  light  brown.  Length  IT  to  18  inches. 
The  old  male  three  years  old.” 

Female. — “  The  female  and  the  young  male  have  the 
head  and  neck  cream-coloured,  with  brown  streaks  ;  back 
black,  with  the  edges  of  the  feathers  light  red  ;  breast  deep 
brown,  marbled  with  red  and  chestnut ;  wing-coverts  slate- 
colour,  the  largest  tipped  with  white ;  that  colour  forms  a 
transverse  band ;  a  second  white  band  is  produced  by  the 


186 


STELLERIA  DISPAR. 


extreme  tip  of  the  secondaries  ;  the  space  between  these  two 
bands  forms  a  blue  speculum,  with  steel-blue  reflections  ; 
the  scapulars  are  a  little  curved  at  their  extremity,  but  not 
nearly  so  much  so  as  in  the  old  male,  which  has  them 
falcately  curved ;  all  the  lower  parts,  the  quills,  and  the  tail 
are  blackish-brown.” 

Habits. — Scarcely  anything  seems  to  be  known  respect¬ 
ing  its  habits.  It  is  said  to  inhabit  Asia  and  North  America. 
It  was  first  described  from  specimens  obtained  by  Steller  in 
Kamtschatka,  where  it  is  said  to  nestle  on  inaccessible  rocks. 
Specimens  have  been  brought  from  the  north-west  coast  of 
America,  but  it  has  not  been  seen  on  the  eastern  coasts. 
An  individual  is  stated  to  have  been  obtained  in  Yorkshire, 
in  August,  1845. 


167 


CLANGULA.  GARROT. 

The  species  of  which  this  genus  is  composed  are  inferior 
in  size  to  the  Eiders  and  Scoters,  from  which  they  are  dis¬ 
tinguished  by  having  the  bill  shorter,  and  destitute  of  the 
fleshy  elongated  frontal  angles  of  the  former,  and  of  the  late¬ 
ral  bulgings  of  the  latter.  Their  body  is  full,  ovate,  compact, 
and  slightly  depressed  ;  the  neck  rather  short  and  thick  ;  the 
head  large,  compressed,  and  rounded  above. 

Bill  shorter  than  the  head,  much  higher  than  broad  at  the 
base,  gradually  depressed,  and  becoming  considerably  nar¬ 
rowed  to  the  end,  which  is  rounded  ;  upper  mandible  with 
the  lateral  sinuses  broad  and  rounded,  the  basal  angles  short 
or  moderate,  the  ridge  broad  and  flattened  at  the  base,  the 
unguis  large  and  convex,  the  edges  thin,  concealing  the  not 
much  elevated  lamellae ;  lower  mandible  flattened,  with  the 
intercrural  space  long,  rather  wide,  pointed,  and  partially 
bare ;  the  unguis  very  large,  broadly  elliptical,  little  convex. 

Mouth  of  moderate  width ;  anterior  palate  broadly  con¬ 
cave,  with  a  median  prominent  tuberculate  line.  Tongue 
fleshy,  very  thick,  deeply  grooved  above,  the  edges  posteriorly 
serrate,  anteriorly  lamelloso-fibrillate,  the  tip  thin-edged  and 
semicircular.  (Esophagus  of  moderate  width  ;  stomach  large, 
transversely  elliptical,  its  muscles  very  large,  the  epithelium 
dense  and  rugous,  with  two  elliptical  grinding  plates.  In¬ 
testine  of  moderate  length,  wide  ;  coeca  long,  and  rather 
narrow. 

Trachea  in  the  male  generally  much  enlarged  about  the 
middle,  and  having  at  the  lower  end  an  extremely  large  bony 
and  membranous  dilatation. 

Nostrils  oblong,  large,  medial.  Eyes  small.  Aperture  of 
ear  small.  Legs  very  short,  and  placed  rather  far  behind  ; 
tarsus  compressed,  with  small  scutella.  Hind  toe  small. 


1G8 


CLANGULA. 


very  slender,  with  a  broad  lobiform  membrane  connected  at 
the  base  with  the  bilobate  marginal  membrane  of  the  inner 
toe  ;  anterior  toes  long,  the  third  nearly  double  the  length  of 
the  tarsus;  interdigital  membranes  full.  Claws  small,  arcu¬ 
ate,  compressed,  rather  obtuse,  that  of  the  middle  toe  curved 
outwards,  internally  expanded,  and  rounded. 

Plumage  dense,  blended,  soft;  on  the  head  very  soft  and 
rather  long ;  wings  short,  narrow,  convex,  pointed ;  the 
second  quill  longest,  but  scarcely  exceeding  the  first ;  inner 
secondaries  elongated,  and  curved  outwards.  Tail  short, 
graduated,  of  sixteen  stiffish  pointed  feathers. 

These  birds  inhabit  the  cold  and  temperate  regions  of  the 
north.  They  feed  chiefly  on  mollusca,  for  which  they  dive  ; 
have  a  quick  direct  flight,  sit  rather  lightly  on  the  water, 
and  are  more  active  than  the  Scoters,  which  they,  however, 
resemble  in  their  habits. 


160 


CLANGULA  HISTRIONICA.  THE  HARLEQUIN 

GARROT. 

IIARLEQtJIN  DUCK. 

Anas  histrionica.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  204. 

Anas  minuta.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  204. 

Anas  histrionica.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornitli.  II.  849. 

Harlequin  Duck.  Mont.  Ora.  Diet. 

Canard  a  collier  ou  Histrion.  Anas  histrionica.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith. 

II.  878. 

Harlequin  Garrot.  Clangula  histrionica.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  371. 

Clangula  histrionica.  Harlequin  Garrot.  Jcnyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  24G. 

Clangula  histrionica.  Bonap.  Comp.  Inst,  58. 

Male  about  seventeen  inches  long ,  with  the  bill  yellowish  - 
brown,  the  feet  greyish  blue,  the  webs  dusky  ;  the  head,  upper 
neck,  and  upper  parts  of  the  body  dusky  greyish  blue  ;  a  trian¬ 
gular  white  patch  before  the  eye,  a  round  spot  behind  the  car, 
a  longitudinal  mark  on  the  neck,  a  narrow  collar  about  its 
middle,  a  band  across  its  loicer  fore  part,  some  of  the  scapu¬ 
lars,  the  tips  of  the  secondaries,  and  a  spot  on  the  side  of  the 
rump,  white  ;  a  band  of  white  and  light-red  over  the  eye  to  the 
nape  ;  the  space  between  the  white  bands  on  the  neck,  and  the 
fore  part  of  the  breast,  light  greyish-blue ,  the  land  part  tinged 
with  brown,  the  sides  light-red,  the  feathers  under  and  above 
the  tail  bluish-black  ;  all  the  white  markings  on  the  head  and 
neck  edged  with  black.  Female  about fifteen  inches  long,  with 
the  bill  and  feet  didl  greyish-blue ,  the  general  colour  of  the 
plumage  greyish-brown,  lighter  beneath  ;  the  fore  part  of  the 
head  brownish-white,  and  a  roundish  white  spot  behind  the 
ear.  Young  similar  to  the  female,  having  the  upper  parts 
dull  brown ,  the  lower  brownish-white ,  transversely  undulated 
with  brown. 


170 


CLANGULA  HISTRIONICA. 


Male  in  Winter. — This  species,  of  which  only  a  few 
individuals  have  been  found  with  us,  has  the  body  full,  ellip¬ 
tical,  and  depressed  ;  the  neck  rather  short,  and  thick ;  the 
head  rather  large,  oblong,  compressed,  rounded  above.  The 
hill  is  much  shorter  than  the  head,  tapering,  of  nearly  the 
same  height  and  breadth  at  the  base ;  the  upper  mandible 
with  the  lateral  sinuses  wide  and  rounded,  the  upper  acute, 
the  frontal  angles  short  and  rather  obtuse,  the  dorsal  line 
straight  and  sloping  to  the  middle,  then  nearly  straight,  at 
the  end  decurved,  the  ridge  broad  and  flattened  at  the  base, 
the  unguis  large,  elliptical,  convex,  the  edges  soft,  with  the 
slender  lamellae  slightly  projecting  toward  the  base  ;  the 
lower  mandible  flattened,  with  the  intercrural  space  long, 
moderately  narrow,  and  bare,  the  unguis  large,  and  ellip¬ 
tical. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width  ;  the  anterior  palate 
deeply  concave,  with  about  thirty-five  slender  lamellae  on  each 
side  ;  the  lower  mandible  with  about  sixty.  The  tongue  is 
an  inch  and  a  third  in  length,  fleshy,  papillate  at  the  base, 
grooved  above,  laterally  fringed,  with  a  thin  rounded  tip. 
The  oesophagus,  seven  inches  and  a  quarter  long,  and  two- 
thirds  of  an  inch  in  width.  The  stomach,  a  strong  muscular 
gizzard  of  a  roundish,  compressed  form,  an  inch  and  a-half  in 
breadth,  with  large  tendons,  and  dense  epithelium.  The  in¬ 
testine  is  five  feet  long,  rather  wide  ;  the  coeea  four  inches  in 
length,  very  narrow  at  the  base,  enlarging  to  a  quarter  of  an 
inch. 

The  trachea,  at  first  a  quarter  of  an  inch  in  breadth,  pre¬ 
sently  enlarges  to  four-twelfths  and  a-half,  and  so  continues 
for  two  inches,  after  which  it  contracts  to  two-twelfths  and  a- 
lialf,  and  again  enlarges  to  five-twelfths  and  a  quarter,  ter¬ 
minating  in  a  very  large  tympanum,  seven-twelfths  and  a- 
lialf  in  length,  an  inch  and  two-twelfths  in  breadth,  projecting 
on  the  left  side  with  a  rounded  protuberance.  The  bronchi 
are  of  moderate  length  and  width. 

The  nostrils  are  medial,  elliptical,  two- twelfths  and  a 
quarter  in  length.  The  eyes  small,  as  are  the  apertures  of 
the  ears.  The  legs  are  very  short,  placed  far  behind  ;  the 
tibia  bare  for  four-twelfths  of  an  inch  ;  the  tarsus  compressed. 


HARLEQUIN  CARROT. 


171 


reticulate,  with  about  twenty  small,  anterior  scutella.  The 
hind  toe  small,  with  twelve  scutella,  and  alobiform  reticulate 
membrane  ;  the  anterior  toes  scutellate  ;  the  outer  two  about 
equal,  and  half  as  long  again  as  the  tarsus.  The  claws  small, 
compressed,  obtuse,  that  of  the  third  toe  dilated.  The  inter- 
digital  membranes  emarginate. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  soft,  of  moderate  length,  and 
blended  ;  the  feathers  generally  oblong.  The  wings  are 
rather  short,  narrow,  convex,  and  pointed  ;  the  primaries 
narrow,  the  outer  two  sinuate  on  the  inner  web ;  the  first 
two-twelfths  of  an  inch  shorter  than  the  second,  the  rest 
rapidly  decreasing  ;  the  secondaries  of  moderate  breadth,  and 
rounded,  the  inner  little  elongated,  rather  pointed.  Tail  very 
short,  graduated,  of  sixteen  stiff,  tapering  feathers. 

The  bill  is  yellowish-brown  ;  the  iris  reddish-brown  ;  the 
feet  light  greyish-blue,  with  the  membranes  greyish-black, 
and  the  claws  pale  brown.  From  the  base  of  the  bill  to  the 
nape  is  a  broad  band  of  bluish-black,  margined  on  each  side 
behind  with  light  red,  before  with  white,  continuous  with  a 
large  patch  of  the  same  occupying  the  space  between  the  eye 
and  the  bill.  The  sides  of  the  head  and  the  neck  all  round 
are  purplish-blue.  Behind  the  ear  is  a  roundish  white  spot, 
and  on  each  side  of  the  neck  a  longitudinal  band  of  the  same. 
About  the  middle  of  the  neck  is  a  ring,  and  at  its  lower  part 
a  curved  band  of  white,  margined  with  black.  The  fore  part 
of  the  back  is  light  purplish-blue,  the  bind  part  darker,  the 
rump  black  all  round,  with  a  white  spot  on  each  side  at  the 
base  of  the  tail.  The  scapulars  are  for  the  most  part  white  ; 
the  wing-coverts,  alula,  and  primary  coverts,  are  purplish- 
blue  ;  the  quills  dusky  brown,  with  reddish-brown  shafts  ;  the 
tips  of  the  secondaries,  and  outer  webs  of  the  inner,  white. 
The  tail  is  brownish-black,  tinged  with  grey.  The  fore  part 
of  the  breast  is  purplish-blue ;  its  hind  part  and  the  abdomen 
brownish-grey,  the  sides  light  red. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  17  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  26 ;  wing 
from  flexure  7J  ;  tail  S J ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1  -fa ;  its  height 
at  the  base  7-jL,  its  breadth  7 TL,  near  the  end  T4¥ ;  tarsus 

;  hind  toe  -j%,  its  claw  ^  ;  second  toe  1J,  its  claw  ; 
third  toe  I-!-!-,  its  claw  -fb-  ;  fourth  toe  2,  its  claw'  -j%. 


172 


CLANGULA  HISTKIONICA. 


Female. — The  female  has  the  bill  and  feet  dull  greyish- 
blue  ;  the  iris  brown.  The  general  colour  of  the  plumage  is 
greyish-brown,  darker  on  the  upper  part  of  the  head,  and 
hind  part  of  the  hack,  lighter  on  the  fore  neck,  and  mottled 
or  barred  with  greyish-white  on  the  breast.  Before  the  eye  is 
a  brownish-white  patch,  and  behind  the  ear  a  roundish-white 
spot. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  15 4  inches;  extent  of  wings  24; 
wing  from  flexure  8J  ;  tail  ;  hill  along  the  ridge  l-^ ; 
tarsus  lg- ;  middle  toe  1-J4-,  its  claw  -j^. 

Habits. — This  species,  of  which  the  adult  male  is  a  re¬ 
markably  beautiful,  and  singularly  variegated  bird,  while  the 
female  and  young  are  almost  as  remarkable  for  the  dullness 
of  their  tints,  is  described  as  of  common  occurrence  on  the 
eastern  coasts  of  North  America,  breeding  in  suitable  places, 
from  the  Bay  of  Fundy  to  the  highest  latitudes  visited.  It  is 
said  to  be  abundant  in  the  north-eastern  parts  of  Europe,  and 
in  the  north  of  Asia,  but  to  be  seldom  met  with  along  the 
shores  of  our  continent.  Its  food,  consisting  chiefly  of  mol- 
lusca,  larvae,  insects,  and  Crustacea,  is  obtained  by  diving. 
The  nest,  composed  of  dry  plants,  is  lined  with  down,  and  the 
eggs,  five  or  six  in  number,  according  to  Mr.  Audubon, 
measure  two  inches  and  a  sixteenth  in  length,  an  inch  and 
four-eighths  and  a  half  in  breadth,  their  colour  a  uniform 
greenish-yellow. 

A  few  instances  of  its  occurrence  in  Britain  are  mentioned. 
Montagu  first  added  it  “  to  the  list  of  British  birds,  on  the 
authority  of  Mr.  Sowerby,  in  whose  collection  of  the  more 
rare  English  birds,”  he  says,  “  we  had  an  opportunity  of  exa¬ 
mining  both  sexes,  which  were  killed  on  the  domain  of  Lord 
Seaforth  in  Scotland,  a  few  years  since,  and  presented  to  him 
by  that  nobleman.”  It  is  also  said  to  have  been  obtained  in 
Orkney,  at  Yarmouth,  in  Devonshire,  and  in  Cheshire. 

Atoung. — The  young  in  their  first  winter  resemble  the 
adult  female,  having  the  upper  parts  of  a  sooty-brown,  the 
lower  of  a  lighter  brown,  undulated  with  greyish-white  ;  the 
forehead  and  anterior  part  of  the  cheeks  brownisli-white. 


HARLEQUIN  GARROT. 


173 


Progress  toward  Maturity. — The  females  have  their 
colouring  completed  at  the  end  of  their  first  year ;  but  the 
males  not  until  the  fourth.  In  the  second  year  the  male  has 
the  upper  parts  of  the  body  and  wings  greyish-brown,  the 
lower  parts  brownish-grey  ;  the  head  and  neck  dull  leaden- 
blue.  The  white  patch  before  the  eye  is  partially  mottled 
with  grey,  as  is  the  white  band  over  the  eye,  and  the  occiput 
is  margined  with  dull  reddish-brown.  The  round  white 
spot  behind  the  ear,  and  the  elongated  white  mark  on  the 
neck,  are  formed  ;  but  the  white  collar  is  only  indicated  by 
markings  on  the  tips  of  the  feathers,  and  the  band  on  the 
lower  fore-neck  by  a  patch  on  each  side  before  the  wing. 
There  is  a  little  white  on  some  of  the  scapulars,  but  none  on 
the  secondary  quills  ;  the  primaries  and  tail-feathers  are  grey¬ 
ish-brown  ;  the  upper  tail-coverts  black. 

In  the  third  year  the  tints  approximate  to  those  of  the 
adult  bird ;  the  white  markings  on  the  neck  are  edged  with 
black ;  the  upper  parts  are  dull  greyisli-blue,  the  lower  paler ; 
the  sides  tinged  with  red. 

Remarks. — In  this  species  the  bill  is  proportionally  nar¬ 
rower,  and  has  the  unguis  much  larger  than  in  Clangula 
chrysophthalma.  In  the  latter  respect  it  more  resembles  the 
next  genus,  with  which  it  might  with  equal  propriety  be 
associated.  In  fact,  were  differences  not  greater  in  degree 
than  those  assumed  as  indicative  of  generic  distinction  among 
the  Land  Birds,  to  be  considered  as  of  equal  validity  among 
the  Cribratores,  almost  every  species  would  make  a  genus. 


174 


CLANGULA  CHRYSOPTHALMA.  THE  GOLDEN¬ 
EYED  GARROT. 

GOLDEN-EYED  DUCK.  GOWDY  DUCK.  PIED  WIGEON.  WHISTLER. 


Eig.  71. 


Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  401.  Female  and  Young. 


Anas  Clangula.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  201. 

Anas  Clangula.  Lath.  Ind.  Omith.  II.  867. 

Anas  Glaucion. 

Anas  Glaucion.  Lath.  Ind.  Omith.  II.  888.  Female  and  Young. 
Golden-eye.  Mont.  Omith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  Garrot.  Anas  Clangula.  Temrn.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  870. 

Common  Golden-eye  Garrot.  Clangula  vulgaris.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  367. 
Clangula  Chrysophthalmus.  Golden-eye  Garrot.  Jen.  llrit.  Vert.  An.  245. 
Clangula  Glaucion.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  58. 


Male  about  nineteen  inches  long,  with  the  bill  black,  an 
inch  and  a  third  in  length,  with  the  frontal  sinus  acute ;  the 
head  and  upper  neck  glossy  deep  green,  ivith  purple  re¬ 
flections ;  a  large  ovate  ivlute  spot  on  each  side  between  the 
cheek  and  the  bill,  below  the  level  of  the  eye ;  the  lower  neck 
all  round,  with  the  breast,  sides,  and  abdomen,  white,  the 
elongated  feathers  of  the  latter  edged  with  black;  upper  parts 


GOLDEN-EYEI)  GARROT. 


175 


black ;  the  outer  scapulars  white ,  some  of  them  edged  with 
black;  on  the  whig  a  large  undivided  transverse  white  space, 
including  many  of  the  smaller  coverts,  some  of  the  secondary 
coverts,  and  eight  secondary  quills  ;  feet  orange,  webs  dusky. 
Female  much  smaller,  with  the  bill  brown,  toward  the  end 
yellowish ;  the  head  and  upper  neck  dull  reddish-brown,  the 
lower  neck  grey,  the  upper  parts  grey,  darker  behind,  the  lower 
white,  but  with  the  sides  and  part  of  the  abdomen  brownish- 
grey,  seven  of  the  secondary  quills  and  their  coverts  white,  feet 
yellowish-brown.  Young  similar  to  the  female,  but  with  the 
bill  and  feet  darker,  as  are  the  tints  of  the  plumage  ;  the  white 
on  the  wing  traversed  by  a  band  of  dusky,  the  tips  of  the  white 
secondary  coverts  being  of  that  colour. 

As  differences  of  opinion  exist  respecting  this  bird,  some 
asserting  that  three  distinct  species  are  confounded  under 
the  common  name  of  Golden-eyed  Duck  or  Garrot,  while 
others  maintain  that  these  three  alleged  species  are  merely 
varieties  dependent  upon  age  or  season,  I  may  with  pro¬ 
priety  premise  that  my  descriptions  will  be  taken  exclu¬ 
sively  from  specimens  obtained  in  Scotland,  where  indi¬ 
viduals  are  sufficiently  common  in  winter  and  spring  to 
enable  one  to  institute  as  extended  an  examination  as  he 
may  desire.  I  shall  afterwards  refer  to  specimens  procured 
in  England,  the  north  of  Europe,  Greenland,  and  North 
America. 

Male  in  Winter. — The  body  of  this  bird  is  full,  com¬ 
pact,  ovate,  depressed  ;  the  neck  rather  short  and  thick  ;  the 
head  large,  oblong,  compressed,  and  rounded  above.  The 
bill  is  shorter  than  the  head,  much  higher  than  broad  at  the 
base,  gradually  depressed,  and  with  its  breadth  moderately 
diminished  to  the  end,  which  is  rounded.  The  upper  man¬ 
dible  has  the  lateral  sinuses  broad  and  rounded ;  the  upper 
sinus  rather  wide,  but  pointed  ;  the  basal  angles  moderate 
and  acute  ;  the  dorsal  line  straight  and  sloping  to  beyond 
the  middle,  then  nearly  direct,  and  finally  decurved  on  the 
unguis,  which  is  oblong,  decurved,  and  strong-edged ;  the 
ridge  flattened,  broad,  generally  narrowed,  toward  the  end 


176 


CLANGULA  CHRYSOPTHALMA. 


convex  ;  the  sides  erect  at  the  base,  gradually  sloped  and 
convex  ;  the  edges  marginate  or  grooved,  soft,  projecting  a 
little  beyond  the  lamella?,  of  which  there  are  about  thirty 
above  ;  the  nasal  sinus  large,  elliptical,  sub-medial,  close  to 
the  ridge ;  the  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural  space 
very  long,  of  moderate  width,  and  bare ;  the  crura  a  little 
rearcuate  at  first,  then  nearly  straight ;  the  edges  with  about 
thirty-five  external  and  forty-five  upper  lamella? ;  the  unguis 
obovate. 

The  nostrils  are  linear-oblong,  two-and-a-half-twelfths  in 
length,  medial;  the  eyes  of  moderate  size.  The  legs  are 
very  short,  and  placed  rather  far  behind ;  the  tibia  bare  to  a 
very  small  extent ;  the  tarsus  compressed,  reticulate,  but 
with  an  anterior  series  of  twenty-six  medial  and  nine  outer 
small  scutella.  The  hind  toe  is  very  slender,  with  fifteen 
scutella,  and  a  lobiform  thick  scaly  membrane  ;  the  anterior 
toes  long,  the  inner  with  forty-two  scutella,  and  a  two-lobed 
free  membrane  ;  the  third  nearly  double  the  length  of  the 
tarsus,  with  forty-six  scutella ;  the  fourth  almost  of  the 
same  length,  with  sixty  scutella;  the  interdigital  membranes 
full,  the  outer  a  little  emarginate.  The  claws  are  small, 
slender,  compressed,  little  arched,  rather  blunt,  the  third 
with  its  inner  edge  a  little  dilated. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  soft,  and  blended.  The  feathers 
on  the  cheeks  and  fore  part  of  the  head  very  small,  oblong, 
on  the  upper  and  hind  part  of  the  head,  as  well  as  on  the 
hind  part  and  sides  of  the  upper  neck,  linear,  elongated ;  on 
the  fore  part  and  middle  of  the  neck  short ;  on  the  body 
moderate,  oblong,  and  rounded ;  on  the  sides  elongated  and 
pointed ;  the  scapulars  also  long,  but  obtuse.  The  wings 
are  short,  convex,  narrow,  and  pointed  ;  the  outer  primaries 
very  narrow,  the  second  longest,  the  first  scarcely  shorter, 
the  rest  rapidly  graduated  ;  the  secondaries  incurved  and 
rounded,  the  inner  elongated.  The  tail  is  short,  graduated, 
of  sixteen  stiffish  rounded  feathers,  of  which  the  medial 
exceed  the  lateral  by  an  inch  and  a  half. 

The  bill  is  black  ;  the  iris  yellow  ;  the  feet  orange-yellow, 
with  the  webs  dusky,  the  claws  brownish-black.  The  head 
and  upper  part  of  the  neck  are  glossy  deep  green,  when  seen 


GOLDEN-EYED  CARROT. 


177 


in  a  light  reflected  at  a  small  angle,  but  otherwise  purple  ; 
the  throat  brownish-black.  Between  the  lateral  basal  sinus 
of  the  upper  mandible  and  the  cheek  is  an  ovate  patch  of 
white,  an  inch  in  its  greatest  diameter,  and  ten-twelfths 
across.  The  lower  neck  all  round,  the  breast,  fore  part  of  the 
abdomen,  sides,  and  lower  tail-coverts  white ;  hut  the  axillar 
feathers  and  lower  wing-coverts  are  blackish-brown,  and  the 
edges  of  the  posterior  elongated  feathers  on  the  sides  black. 
The  back,  and  the  inner  and  posterior  scapulars,  are  black  ; 
the  outer  scapulars  white,  with  the  margins  black.  The  tail 
is  deep  brown  tinged  with  grey ;  the  sides  of  the  rump  and 
tibiae  dusky-grey,  and  the  feathers  on  the  hind  part  of  the 
abdomen  dusky  at  the  base.  The  wing  may  be  described  as 
brownish-black,  with  a  large  patch  of  white,  which  includes 
many  of  the  small  coverts,  several  of  the  secondary  coverts, 
and  eight  of  the  secondary  quills.  These  white  secondary 
coverts  have  their  basal  half  black,  but  that  colour  is  not 
apparent  when  the  feathers  are  laid. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width  ;  the  anterior  palate 
concave  ;  the  lateral  lamellae  broad,  depressed,  tapering  out¬ 
wards  to  a  point.  The  tongue,  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length, 
and  half  an  inch  in  breadth,  is  fleshy,  with  a  double  row  of 
conical  papillae  at  its  base,  a  deep  broad  medial  groove,  the 
edges  thin,  posteriorly  serrate,  anteriorly  lamellate,  the  free 
part  beneath  broad,  soft,  and  flattened,  with  a  medial  and 
two  lateral  prominent  lines,  the  tip  thin,  cartilaginous,  semi¬ 
circular.  The  space  between  the  base  of  the  tongue  and  the 
glottis,  the  edges,  and  a  space  on  each  side  of  the  latter,  as 
well  as  a  large  pad  behind,  divided  by  a  deep  groove,  covered 
with  conical  horny  papillae,  directed  backwards.  The  oeso¬ 
phagus  eleven  inches  long,  ten-twelfths  wide  at  the  com¬ 
mencement,  contracts  to  eight-twelfths,  and,  in  entering  the 
thorax  to  half  an  inch,  then  enlarges  a  little.  Its  walls  are 
thick,  and  the  proventriculus,  which  is  an  inch  and  a  half 
long,  has  its  glandules  cylindrical  or  oblong.  The  stomach 
is  large,  transversely  elliptical,  little  compressed,  two  inches 
two-twelfths  in  breadth,  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length,  placed 
obliquely,  with  very  large  muscles,  three  fourths  of  an  inch 
in  thickness,  large  tendons,  a  dense  middle  coat,  and  thick, 

VOL.  v.  N 


178 


CLANGULA  CHRYSOPHTHALMA. 


longitudinally  rugous  epithelium.  The  intestine,  five  feet 
eight  inches  long,  varies  in  width  from  six-twelfths  to  four- 
twelfths,  and  enlarges  a  little  toward  the  coeca,  which  are 
three  inches  and  a  half  in  length,  and  nearly  a  quarter  of  an 
inch  in  width,  unless  at  the  base.  The  duodenum  turns  at 
the  distance  of  four  inches  and  a  half  from  the  pylorus ;  the 
rectum  is  four  inches  and  a  half  in  length  ;  and  the  intestine 
makes  sixteen  turns. 

The  trachea,  which,  moderately  extended,  is  nine  inches 
long,  has  two  enormous  dilatations,  one  about  the  middle, 
the  other  at  the  lower  end.  For  four  inches,  its  width  is 
four-twelfths-and-a-half ;  and  in  this  part  the  rings,  which 
are  sixty  in  number,  are  narrow  and  cartilaginous.  It  then, 
being  extended,  forms  an  oblong  expansion  two  inches  and  a 
half  in  length,  and  for  an  inch  and  a  half  one  inch  in  breadth. 
This  part,  which  is  composed  of  thirty  thin,  flattened,  osseous 
rings,  narrowed  behind,  and  placed  obliquely,  is  shortened 
and  collapsed  when  the  bird’s  neck  is  contracted,  the  rings 
passing  within  each  other,  so  as  to  form  an  obliquely-flattened 
expansion,  which  at  first  one  could  scarcely  conceive  to  he 
capable  of  being  extended  into  so  large  a  cavity.  It  then 
contracts  to  the  width  of  five-twelfths,  and  in  this  part  has 
sixteen  bony  flattened  rings,  which  are  narrowed  and  little 
ossified  behind  ;  hut  below  this  the  rings,  twenty-five  in 
number,  become  united,  and  gradually  expand  into  an  irregu¬ 
lar  cavity,  curving  toward  the  right  side,  and  having  anteriorly 
a  broad,  thin,  bony  frame,  posteriorly  a  membrane  partly 
ossified.  At  its  lower  part  this  apparatus  has  in  front  a  large 
prominent  bony  rim,  which  winds  upwards  to  the  left  side, 
and  ends  at  the  bronchus.  The  greatest  breadth  of  this 
enormous  tympanum  is  an  inch  and  seven-twelfths.  The 
bronchi,  which  are  separated  to  the  distance  of  an  inch,  are 
very  large,  with  twenty  rings,  of  which  all  are  cartilaginous 
except  the  first.  The  left  bronchus,  which  is  longer  and 
wider,  has  its  rings  complete,  while  the  ends  of  those  of  the 
other  do  not  meet. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  19  inches ;  extent  of  wings  32  ; 
wing  from  flexure  9  ;  tail  4 ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1-^,  along 
the  edge  of  lower  mandible  1  ;  tarsus  1  ;  hind  toe  -jL,  its 


GOLDEN-EYED  GARROT. 


170 


claw  Aj ;  second  toe  1  y^-,  its  claw  -fa ;  third  toe  %fa,  its  claw 
fV )  fourth  toe  2T7¥,  its  claw  fa. 

Female  in  Winter. — The  female,  which  is  much  smaller, 
has  the  hill  less  stout,  the  feathers  of  the  head  less  elongated 
and  less  glossy,  as  are  the  scapulars  and  the  feathers  of  the 
sides.  The  bill  is  light  brown,  yellowish  on  the  ridge  toward 
the  end,  with  the  upper  unguis  dusky,  the  lower  yellowish- 
brown.  The  tarsi  and  toes  are  of  a  dingy  yellowish-brown, 
the  interdigital  membranes  dusky,  the  claws  brown.  The 
head  and  upper  neck  are  umber-brown  ;  the  lower  neck  all 
round  dull  ash-grey,  the  feathers  terminally  edged  with  paler. 
The  lower  parts  are  white ;  but  the  sides  of  the  body  and 
rump,  with  part  of  the  abdomen,  are  grey  ;  the  axillars  and 
lower  wing-coverts  brownish-grey.  The  hack  and  scapulars 
are  deep  ash-grey,  but  on  the  hind  part  of  the  hack  that 
colour  shades  into  black.  The  tail  dark  brown,  tinged  with 
grey.  The  smaller  wing-coverts  are  deep  grey,  many  of  them 
tipped  with  pale  grey.  The  primaries,  their  coverts,  four 
outer  secondaries  and  five  inner,  with  their  coverts  brownish- 
black,  the  seven  other  secondaries  pure  white,  as  are  their 
coverts,  unless  at  the  base. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  16  inches;  extent  of  wings  28; 
wing  from  flexure  8J ;  tail  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  l  fa ; 
tarsus  1 J ;  hind  toe  fa,  its  claw  fa  ;  second  toe  l-y7^,  its 
claw  fa ;  third  toe  2fa,  its  claw  fa ;  fourth  toe  1^,  its 
claw  -j^. 

The  tongue  an  inch  and  four-twelfths  long.  The  oeso¬ 
phagus  nine  inches  and  a  half  in  length,  at  first  nine-twelfths 
wide,  contracting  to  five-twelfths,  then  for  nearly  four  inches 
eight-twelfths,  in  entering  the  thorax  four-twelfths  ;  hut  the 
proventriculus  seven-and-a-lialf-twelfths  in  breadth,  and  an 
inch  and  a  half  in  length.  The  stomach  is  an  inch  and  a 
half  in  length,  nearly  two  inches  in  breadth  ;  its  articular 
lining  with  irregular  longitudinal  fissures.  The  intestine  is 
five  feet  four  and  a  half  inches  long,  its  width  half  an  inch, 
hut  about  the  middle  less  ;  the  rectum  four  inches  and  a  half 
in  length,  and  eight-twelfths  in  width  ;  the  coeca  three  inches 
and  a  half  in  length,  at  their  lower  parts  two-an d-a-half- 


180 


CLANGULA  CHRYSOPHTHALMA. 


twelfths  in  width,  but  toward  the  end  enlarged  to  four- 
twelfths,  and  rounded. 

Variations. — In  adult  individuals  examined  in  winter, 
the  differences  are  not  generally  very  remarkable.  The 
males  differ  considerably  in  size,  from  eighteen  to  twenty 
inches  in  length,  from  thirty  to  thirty-four  in  extent  of  wing. 
The  hill  is  stouter,  higher,  and  broader  at  the  base,  appa¬ 
rently  in  proportion  to  the  age  of  the  individual.  The  fea¬ 
thers  of  the  head  are  much  longer  in  some  than  in  others ; 
and  in  some  the  first  quill  is  longer  than  the  second,  in  others 
equal,  hut  generally,  I  think,  the  second  is  the  longest.  The 
green  feathers  extend  farther  down  the  neck  in  some  than  in 
others,  there  being  a  difference  of  an  inch  in  this  respect. 
The  white  spot  on  the  fore  part  of  the  cheek  varies  in  form 
from  roundish  to  oval,  or  even  oblong.  Although  the  large 
white  space  on  the  wing  is  continuous  in  all  the  specimens 
which  I  have  seen  excepting  one,  it  is  in  it  divided  by  a 
transverse  narrow  black  hand.  In  that  individual,  shot  late 
in  spring,  the  feathers  are  considerably  worn  on  the  neck, 
and  the  partial  appearance  of  the  black  of  the  white-tipped 
secondary  coverts  seems  to  be  owing  to  the  abrasion  of  the 
tips  of  the  white  feathers  lying  over  them.  Females  differ 
somewhat  in  size,  and  slightly  in  colour.  The  intestinal  canal 
varies  some  inches  in  length  in  both  sexes,  and  the  enlarge¬ 
ments  of  the  trachea  may  be  more  or  less  ossified,  and  are 
variable  in  extent,  though  not  so  much  in  form. 

Habits. — I  have  not  met  with  individuals  of  this  species 
beyond  the  beginning  of  May,  although  I  have  then  seen 
them  in  pairs  in  the  Island  of  Harris,  always  on  small  fresh¬ 
water  lakes ;  nor  does  it  appear  that  any  have  hitherto  been 
found  breeding  in  Scotland,  or  even  in  the  Shetland  Islands. 
Like  most  of  our  Ducks,  they  betake  themselves  to  the  arctic 
regions,  whence  they  return  in  autumn,  making  their  appear¬ 
ance  in  the  beginning  of  October,  and  continuing  to  increase 
in  number  until  the  winter  has  fairly  set  in.  During  winter 
they  are  met  with  in  all  parts  of  the  country,  from  Shetland 
and  Orkney  on  the  one  side,  and  the  Lewis  Islands  on  the 


GOLDEN-EYED  GARROT. 


181 


other,  to  the  southern  extremity  of  England.  In  Ireland, 
also,  according  to  Mr.  Thompson,  they  are  regular  winter 
visitants.  It  is  chiefly  to  lakes,  pools,  and  rivers,  that  they 
resort,  generally  in  small  flocks,  but  sometimes  in  great 
numbers ;  and  their  food  consists  principally  of  the  larvae  of 
aquatic  insects,  for  which  they  dive  in  the  clear  water.  In 
most  of  the  individuals  which  I  have  examined,  the  gizzard 
contained  some  of  the  larvae,  of  a  whitish  or  greenish  colour, 
with  a  dusky  case,  intermixed  with  sand  and  small  fragments 
of  quartz ;  and  I  have  seen  the  whole  intestinal  tube  filled 
with  the  cases  of  these  larvae,  in  the  same  manner  as  that  of 
a  gallinaceous  bird  is  filled  with  the  undigested  ligneous  parts 
of  its  food.  In  such  instances  sand  is  usually  mixed  with  the 
refuse,  but  not  the  fragments  of  quartz,  although  the  pylorus 
is  wide,  and  has  no  valve.  They  also  feed  on  small  fresh¬ 
water  mollusca ;  hut  I  have  not  observed  any  vegetable  sub¬ 
stances  in  their  oesophagus  or  stomach,  beyond  a  few  flies, 
which  perhaps  might  have  been  swallowed  accidentally.  In 
one  instance  I  have  seen  remains  of  small  fishes  in  the  gizzard. 
But,  although  essentially  lake  Ducks,  they  often,  especially  in 
frosty  weather,  resort  to  estuaries,  as  well  as  the  open  coasts, 
where  they  procure  testaceous  mollusca,  Crustacea,  and  fishes. 
Their  flesh  is  very  dark  coloured,  and  although  savoury,  not 
at  all  pleasant,  unless  its  natural  fishy  flavour  be  concealed 
by  arts  known  to  the  cook  and  the  epicure.  Yet  they  are 
generally  plentiful  in  our  markets,  hut  especially  the  young 
and  females,  which  go  under  the  comprehensive  name  of 
Wigeons. 

Owing  to  the  pied  appearance  of  the  males,  the  Golden¬ 
eyes  make  a  fine  show  on  the  water,  and  especially  on  those 
dull  dark  pools  of  the  north  Highlands  and  Hebrides,  of  which 
the  surrounding  scenery  is  dismal  enough  at  all  seasons,  but 
especially  in  winter.  When  undisturbed  they  float  lightly  ; 
hut  if  alarmed,  have  the  faculty  of  sinking  deeper.  They 
swim  with  great  speed,  dive  instantaneously,  and  are  active 
and  lively  in  all  their  movements,  unless,  as  some  say,  when 
on  land,  where  however  I  have  never  seen  them  walking. 
They  fly  with  rapidity,  in  a  direct  manner,  their  small,  stiff, 
sharp-pointed  wings,  producing  a  whistling  sound,  which  in 


182 


CLANGULA  CHRYSOPHTHALMA. 


calm  weather  may  be  heard  at  a  considerable  distance.  At 
night  they  repose  chiefly  on  the  water,  but  sometimes  on 
points  of  land.  If  shot  at  while  feeding,  they  dive,,  and 
appear  after  a  considerable  interval,  at  a  great  distance  ;  but 
owing  to  their  vigilance  and  activity,  it  is  difficult  to  get  near 
them,  although,  when  without  a  gun,  I  have  several  times 
been  allowed  to  approach  within  shooting  distance,  and  on 
such  occasions  they  merely  swim  slowly  away.  In  rising 
from  the  water,  they  strike  it  with  their  feet  and  wings,  to 
the  distance  of  several  yards,  but,  on  occasion,  they  can  rise 
at  a  single  effort,  especially  when  there  is  a  breeze. 

The  young  and  females  of  this  species  are  greatly  more 
numerous,  in  proportion  to  the  males,  in  the  southern  parts  of 
the  country,  and  in  the  northern  flocks  are  sometimes  seen, 
composed  entirely  of  males.  It  is  said  that  in  their  southward 
migration  the  males  advance  first,  the  young  remaining  a 
considerable  time  behind  the  females,  and  in  proceeding 
northward  the  males  again  take  the  lead,  being  several  days 
in  advance  The  nest  is  described  as  being  formed  of  grass 
and  herbage,  and  placed  on  the  ground,  or  sometimes  in 
crevices  of  rocks,  as  well  as  holes  in  trees.  The  female  plucks 
the  down  from  her  breast  to  cover  the  eggs,  which  are  nume¬ 
rous,  elliptical,  smooth,  and  of  a  greenish  tint. 

Y  oung. — 'When  the  young  arrive  in  Britain  they  resemble 
the  female,  differing  only  in  having  the  upper  parts  darker,  the 
brown  on  the  head  of  a  deeper  tint,  the  greyish-brown  more 
extended  on  the  abdomen,  and  including  the  lower  tail- 
coverts,  which  are  white  in  the  adult  female,  many  of  the 
feathers  on  the  hind  part  of  the  breast  being  very  slightly 
tipped  with  brown.  Seven  of  the  secondary  quills  are  white, 
as  in  the  adult,  as  are  their  coverts,  of  which  the  tips,  as  well 
as  the  bases,  are  black.  The  bill  and  feet  are  also  darker 
than  in  the  adult  female.  Yroung  males  are  distinguishable 
by  their  greater  size  and  darker  tints. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — The  young  females  under¬ 
go  little  change.  The  males  in  the  second  year  have  their 
dark  parts  of  a  deeper  tint,  the  head  and  upper  neck  glossy 


GOLDEN-EYED  GARROT. 


183 


black,  tinged  with  green ;  the  lower  neck  white  ;  white 
feathers  intermixed  with  black  before  the  eyes  ;  a  white  patch 
on  the  wing,  but  variegated  with  black,  the  tips  only  of  the 
feathers  being  of  the  former  colour.  In  the  next  stage  the 
feathers  of  the  head  are  elongated,  and  the  colours  nearly 
completed  ;  but  the  white  less  extended  on  the  scapulars  and 
wings ;  the  tips  of  the  white  secondary  coverts  being  also 
still  dusky. 

Remarks. — On  comparing  British  with  European,  and 
both  with  American  skins,  I  am  unable  to  detect  any  essen¬ 
tial  difference,  individuals  from  the  one  continent  differing 
from  individuals  from  the  other  only  in  the  same  degree  as 
British  specimens  differ  from  each  other.  I  have  also  ex¬ 
amined  the  digestive  and  respiratory  organs  of  an  American 
adult  male,  and  find  them  to  correspond  with  those  of  the 
many  British  males  which  I  have  dissected.  On  what 
grounds  the  Prince  of  Canino  institutes  an  American  species, 
Clangula  Americana,  differing  from  our  Clangula  chrysoph- 
thalma,  or  C.  Glaucion,  as  he  names  it,  I,  of  course,  cannot 
conjecture. 

The  specimens  described  by  Dr.  Richardson  or  Mr.  Swain- 
son,  in  the  Fauna  Boreali-Americana,  under  the  name  of 
Clangula  Barrovii,  present  no  other  differences,  that  are  not 
met  with  in  undoubted  specimens  of  Clangula  chrysoph- 
tbalma,  than  that  of  having  a  semilunar  white  band  before 
the  eye,  in  place  of  an  ovate  or  oblong  band,  and  a  transverse 
black  band  on  the  white  of  the  wing,  arising  either  from  the 
shortening  of  the  white  feathers  covering  the  black-based 
secondary  coverts,  or  from  the  elongation  of  the  black  upon 
these  latter.  Now,  all  the  specimens  hitherto  obtained,  and 
they  are  very  few  in  number,  have  been  killed  in  summer  ;  and 
whether  the  oval  spot  on  the  head  be  at  that  season  usually 
converted  into  a  crescent-shaped  spot,  or  whether  the  indivi¬ 
duals  described  are  merely  such  as  have  the  spot  of  an  un¬ 
usual  form,  or  lastly  whether  the  crescent-spotted  birds  really 
form  a  species  distinct  from  those  with  roundish,  oval,  or 
oblong  spots,  I  think  can  be  determined  only  by  more  ex¬ 
tended  observation  of  the  Garrots  in  their  summer  haunts. 


184 


CLANGULA  CHRYSOPHTHALMA. 


Mr.  Audubon  considers  Clangula  Barrovii  as  C.  chrysoph- 
thalma  in  summer ;  but  to  this  opinion  it  may  be  objected 
that  the  latter  has  been  found  at  that  season  with  its  white 
spots  the  same  as  in  winter.  In  my  opinion  these  crescent- 
spotted  individuals  are  young  males  in  their  second  or  third 
year.  All  their  alleged  distinctive  characters  seem  to  me  to 
countenance  this  idea.  The  bill  is  said  to  be  shorter  and 
narrower,  as  it  surely  would  be  in  a  young  bird ;  the  head  is 
glossed  with  purple  in  place  of  green,  as  we  see  to  be  the 
case  in  very  many  birds,  Quiscali,  Icteri,  and  Swallow's,  for 
example,  toward  the  end  of  summer ;  the  black  bar  on  the 
wing  may  depend  upon  the  abrasion  of  the  tips  of  the  coverts  ; 
the  black  tips  of  the  posterior  lateral  feathers  I  have  seen  in 
many  individuals  of  the  common  kind  ;  there  being  fewer  of 
the  small  wing-coverts  wrhite  indicates  apparently  that  the 
individual  is  young ;  and  the  crescentic  wTiite  spot  differs  from 
the  common  form  only  in  having  the  upper  part  elongated. 

The  enormous  enlargements  of  the  trachea  in  the  male  of 
this  species,  seems  to  indicate  an  affinity  to  the  Mergansers, 
which  is  moreover  somewhat  apparent  in  the  form  and  habits 
of  the  bird  ;  but  of  what  use  they  can  be  in  the  economy  of 
the  individual,  it  seems  in  our  present  state  of  knowledge 
impossible  to  discover.  They  cannot  have  reference  to  diving, 
or  the  retention  of  the  breath,  as  they  do  not  exist  in  the 
female,  which  dives  as  well  and  as  long  as  the  male.  We 
may  conjecture  that  they  refer  to  the  voice,  both  in  this  and 
the  other  ducks  and  mergansers.  In  those  species,  the  Geese 
and  Swans,  in  wrhieh  the  males  do  not  differ  from  the  females 
in  the  form  of  the  windpipe,  the  voice  is  the  same  in  both 
sexes  ;  but  in  birds  like  this,  the  voice  of  the  male  is  more 
raucous  and  less  loud  than  that  of  the  female.  Dr.  Latham 
errs  wdien  he  remarks,  “  whatever  share  the  structure  of  this 
singular  kind  of  trachea  may  have  in  promoting  the  loudness 
of  the  voice,  I  will  not  here  insist  on ;  but  it  is  notorious  that 
the  cry  is  heard  further  off  than  many  others  of  the  genus.” 
Nowr,  the  cry  of  this  bird  is  a  mere  grunting  croak,  and  is 
never  heard  to  any  considerable  distance  ;  and  the  epithet 
clangula  given  to  it  by  the  earlier  ornithologists  had  reference 
not  to  its  voice,  but  to  the  whistling  of  its  wings. 


CLANGULA  ALBEOLA.  THE  BUEFEL-IIEADEI) 

GARROT. 


BUFFEL-HEADED  DUCK.  SPIRIT  DUCK.  MARIONETTE. 

Anas  Albeola.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  199. 

Anas  Albeola.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornitb.  II.  867. 

Fuligula  Albeola.  Audub.  Ornith.  Biogr.  IY.  217. 

Clangula  Albeola.  Rich,  and  Swain’s  Fauna  Bor.  Amer.  II.  458. 
Clangula  Albeola.  Buffel-headed  Garrot.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  246. 
Clangula  Albeola.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  58. 


Bill  light  greyish-blue  ;  feet  pale  flesh- colour ;  head  and 
upper  neck  deep  green  and  bluish-purple,  with  a  broad  white 
band  from  one  cheek  to  the  other  over  the  occiput ;  upper 
parts  black ;  lower  neck,  breast  and  abdomen,  outer  scapulars, 
and  a  large  patch  on  the  icing,  white.  Female  much  smaller, 
with  the  bill  darker,  the  feet  greyish-blue,  the  membranes 
dusky ;  head,  upper  and  hind  parts  of  neck,  back,  and  icings 
greyish-brown  ;  lower  parts  white. 

This  species,  smaller  than  the  Golden-eyed,  hut  much 
resembling  it  in  general  aspect,  though  easily  distinguish¬ 
able,  has  only  in  two  instances  been  detected  as  occurring  in 
Britain,  one  individual  having  been  procured  at  Yarmouth, 
the  other  in  Orkney.  In  North  America  it  is  very  plentiful 
and  extensively  dispersed,  and  it  is  from  specimens  obtained 
there  that  the  following  description  is  taken : — 

Male. — Body  full,  compact,  depressed  ;  neck  short  and 
thick ;  head  rather  large,  compressed,  rounded  above.  Bill 
much  shorter  than  the  head,  higher  than  broad  at  the  base, 
gradually  depressed  and  with  its  breadth  moderately  dimi¬ 
nished  to  the  end,  which  is  rounded.  The  upper  mandible 
has  the  lateral  sinuses  broad  and  rounded,  the  upper  sinus 


186 


CLANGULA  ALBEOLA. 


rather  wide  but  pointed,  the  basal  angles  short  and  acute, 
the  dorsal  line  straight  and  sloping  to  beyond  the  middle, 
then  nearly  direct,  and  finally  decurved  on  the  unguis,  which 
is  oblong,  decurved,  and  strong-edged ;  the  ridge  broad  and 
flat  at  the  base,  gradually  narrowed,  toward  the  end  convex, 
the  sides  erect  at  the  base,  gradually  sloped  and  convex,  the 
edges  soft,  marginate,  projecting  a  little  beyond  the  lamellae, 
of  which  there  are  about  thirty-five  ;  the  nasal  sinus  large, 
elliptical,  submedial,  close  to  the  ridge ;  the  lower  mandible 
with  the  intercrural  space  very  long,  of  moderate  width,  and 
bare  ;  the  edges  with  about  forty  external  and  fifty  upper 
lamellae ;  the  unguis  broadly  elliptical. 

The  nostrils  are  linear,  pervious,  two-twelfths  long, 
medial ;  the  eyes  of  moderate  size.  The  legs  very  short, 
and  placed  rather  far  back ;  the  tibia  bare  to  a  very  small 
extent ;  the  tarsus  compressed,  reticulate,  but  having  ante¬ 
riorly  in  its  whole  length  a  series  of  small  scutella,  and 
above  the  outer  toe  a  few  broad  scales.  Hind  toe  very  small, 
with  a  thick  lobiform  membrane  ;  anterior  toes  long,  the 
inner  with  a  two-lobed  marginal  membrane  ;  the  third  and 
fourth  about  equal  and  nearly  double  the  length  of  the 
tarsus  ;  the  interdigital  membranes  with  a  sinus  on  their 
free  margin.  The  claws  are  small,  slender,  compressed,  little 
arched,  obtuse,  that  of  the  third  toe  with  the  inner  edge  a 
little  dilated. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  soft,  and  blended.  The  feathers 
on  the  fore  part  of  the  head  very  small  and  rounded,  on  the 
upper  and  hind  parts  linear  and  elongated,  as  they  also  are 
on  the  lateral  and  hind  parts  of  the  upper  neck,  so  that 
when  raised  they  give  the  head  an  extremely  tumid  appear¬ 
ance  ;  on  the  fore  part  and  middle  of  the  neck  short ;  on  the 
body  moderate,  oblong,  and  rounded  ;  on  the  sides  elongated 
and  pointed ;  the  scapulars  also  long,  but  obtuse.  Wings 
very  small,  decurved,  pointed ;  the  outer  primaries  pointed, 
the  first  longest,  the  rest  rapidly  graduated ;  the  secondaries 
incurved,  obliquely  rounded,  the  inner  much  elongated  and 
pointed.  The  tail  is  short,  graduated,  of  sixteen  stiffish 
feathers. 

Bill  light  greyish-blue.  Feet  pale  flesh-colour,  with  the 


BUFFEL-HEADED  GARROT. 


187 


webs  dusky,  the  claws  brownish-black.  The  head  and  upper 
part  of  the  neck  seem  black,  but  the  fore  part  of  the  head  is 
deep  green,  the  upper  bluish-purple,  as  are  the  fore  part  and 
sides  of  the  neck,  while  its  hind  part  is  deep  green.  A 
broad  band  of  white,  which  extends  from  one  cheek  over  the 
occiput  to  the  other.  The  rest  of  the  neck,  the  lower  parts, 
the  outer  scapulars,  and  a  large  patch  on  the  wing,  including 
the  greater  part  of  the  smaller  scapulars,  and  some  of  the 
secondary  coverts  and  quills,  pure  white,  the  scapulars  nar¬ 
rowly  margined  with  black,  as  are  the  inner  feathers  of  the 
sides  under  the  wings.  The  back,  inner  scapulars,  and 
inner  secondary  quills  velvet- black.  The  feathers  on  the 
anterior  edge  of  the  wing  are  black,  narrowly  edged  with 
white ;  the  primary  quills  and  their  coverts  black ;  tail- 
feathers  brownish-grey,  with  the  edges  paler  and  the  shafts 
dusky. 

J 

Length  to  end  of  tail  15  inches ;  bill  along  the  ridge  l-2j, 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  lfV;  wing  from  flexure 
6aa  ;  tarsus  1-^j ;  hind  toe  and  claw  -j-8^ ;  third  toe  2,  its 
claw 


Female  in  Winter. — The  female,  which  is  much  smaller, 
has  the  bill  less  stout,  the  feathers  of  the  head  less  elon¬ 
gated,  as  are  the  scapulars  and  the  feathers  of  the  sides. 
The  bill  is  blackish-grey ;  the  feet  dull  greyish-blue,  the 
membranes  dusky.  The  head,  upper  and  hind  parts  of  the 
neck,  the  back,  and  wings  are  greyish- brown.  There  is  a 
short  transverse  white  band  from  beneath  the  eve,  and  a 
slight  speck  of  the  same  on  the  lower  eyelid.  Six  of  the 
secondary  quills  are  white  on  the  outer  web.  The  tail  dull 
greyish-brown.  The  lower  parts  are  white,  the  sides  light 
greyish-brown. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  13  inches  ;  bill  along  the  ridge 
lyV  j  wing  from  flexure  6J  ;  tarsus  l-pj ;  third  toe  1-J-J,  its 
claw  -fe. 

Habits. — To  study  the  habits  of  this  species  it  would  be 
necessary  for  us  to  betake  ourselves  to  America,  where  it  is 
said  to  be  very  common.  Mr.  Audubon’s  account  of  them  is 


188 


CLANGULA  ALBEOLA. 


to  the  following  effect : — “  In  autumn  and  winter  this  beau¬ 
tiful  miniature  of  the  Golden-eyed  Duck  is  generally  dis¬ 
persed  over  the  United  States,  whence  it  returns  northward 
from  the  beginning  of  March  to  the  end  of  May.  It  does 
not  breed  within  the  limits  of  the  Union,  nor,  as  it  appears, 
in  Labrador  or  Newfoundland.  During  the  periods  of  their 
movements  toward  the  north,  I  found  them  exceedingly 
abundant  on  the  waters  of  the  Bay  of  Fundy,  the  males  in 
flocks  and  in  full  dress,  preceding  the  females  about  a  fort¬ 
night,  as  is  the  case  with  many  other  birds.  The  Mario¬ 
nette — and  I  think  the  name  a  pretty  one — is  a  very  hardy 
bird,  for  it  remains  at  times  during  extremely  cold  weather 
on  the  Ohio,  when  it  is  thickly  covered  with  floating  ice, 
among  which  it  is  seen  diving  almost  constantly  in  search  of 
food.  When  the  river  is  frozen  over  they  seek  the  head¬ 
waters  of  the  rapid  streams,  in  the  turbulent  eddies  of  which 
they  find  abundance  of  food.  Possessed  of  a  feeling  of 
security  arising  from  the  rapidity  with  which  they  can  dive, 
they  often  allow  you  to  go  quite  near  them,  though  they  will 
then  watch  every  motion,  and  at  the  snap  of  your  gun,  or  on 
its  being  discharged,  disappear  with  the  swiftness  of  thought, 
and  perhaps  as  quickly  rise  again  within  a  fewr  yards,  as  if 
to  ascertain  the  cause  of  their  alarm.  Their  flight  is  as 
rapid  as  that  of  our  Hooded  Merganser,  for  they  pass  through 
the  air,  by  regularly  repeated  beats  of  their  wings,  with  sur¬ 
prising  speed ;  and  yet  this  is  the  best  time  for  the  expe¬ 
rienced  sportsman  to  shoot  them,  as  they  usually  fly  low. 
Their  note  is  a  mere  croak,  much  resembling  that  of  the 
Golden-eye,  but  feebler.  At  the  approach  of  spring  the  males 
often  swell  their  throats,  and  expand  the  feathers  of  the  head, 
whilst  they  utter  these  sounds,  and  whilst  moving  with  great 
pomposity  over  the  waters.  When  these  birds  return  to  us 
from  the  north,  the  number  of  the  young  so  very  much  exceeds 
that  of  the  old,  that  to  find  males  in  full  plumage  is  much 
more  uncommon  than  toward  the  time  of  their  departure, 
when  I  have  thought  the  males  as  numerous  as  the  females. 
Although  at  times  they  are  very  fat,  their  flesh  is  fishy  and 
disagreeable.  Many  of  them,  however,  are  offered  for  sale 
in  our  markets.  Their  food  is  much  varied,  according  to 


BUFFEL-HEADED  GARIIOT. 


189 


situation.  On  the  sea-coast  or  in  estuaries  they  dive  after 
shrimps,  small  fry,  and  bivalve  shells  ;  and  in  fresh  water 
they  feed  on  small  crayfish,  leeches,  and  snails,  and  even 
grasses.” 

Only  three  instances,  at  the  most,  are  known  of  its 
capture  with  us.  Donovan  inserted  it  in  his  British  Birds, 
though  without  mentioning  any  authority.  One  was  shot 
near  Yarmouth,  in  the  winter  of  1830.  In  the  autumn  of 
1841,  a  specimen  was  obtained  in  Orkney,  by  Mr.  Mum¬ 
mery,  curator  of  the  Museum  of  Natural  History  at  Margate. 


190 


HARELDA.  HARELD. 

I  am  acquainted  with  only  one  species  of  this  genus,  to 
which  the  name  of  Harelda  has  been  given  by  Leach  and 
others,  apparently  a  misprint  of  Havelda  or  Ilaveld,  which  is 
said  to  he  the  Icelandic  appellation  of  this  bird.  Imagining 
in  my  simplicity  that  the  use  of  barbarous  names  for  genera, 
however  well  they  may  answer  for  species,  ought  to  be  accord¬ 
ing  to  acknowledged  rules  rejected,  and  considering  that  it  is 
a  peculiarly  arctic  bird,  nestling  “  sur  les  bords  de  la  mer 
glaciale,”  and  in  winter  merely  keeping  on  the  limits  of 
extreme  cold,  I  thought  that  Crymonessa,  compounded  of 
xpvfjLOQ,  ice,  and  r-naaa,  duck,  might  be  as  good  a  generic  name 
as  could  be  found  for  it.  For  the  present,  however,  I  follow 
the  multitude.  The  body  is  full  and  depressed  ;  neck  rather 
short ;  head  moderate,  oblong,  compressed,  rounded  above. 

Bill  much  shorter  than  the  head,  of  the  same  height  and 
breadth  at  the  base,  toward  the  end  narrowed ;  upper  mandi¬ 
ble  with  the  frontal  angles  obsolete,  the  dorsal  line  sloping, 
the  ridge  broad  at  the  base,  the  unguis  large,  roundish,  con¬ 
vex,  decurved,  the  laminae  projecting  considerably  beyond  the 
margin ;  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural  space  long  and 
narrow,  the  outer  laminae  prominent,  the  unguis  broadly 
elliptical,  little  convex. 

The  tongue  fleshy,  thick,  medially  grooved,  papillate  at 
the  base,  laterally  ciliated,  with  the  tip  thin  and  rounded. 
(Esophagus  rather  wide.  Stomach  roundish,  very  muscular, 
with  rugous  epithelium,  having  the  grinding  plates  roundish. 
Intestine  of  moderate  length  and  width ;  coeea  rather  long  ; 
rectum  very  short. 

Trachea  gradually  narrowed,  at  the  lower  part  expanded, 
having  six  rings  extremely  narrowed  before,  with  a  trans¬ 
versely  oblong  tympanum,  membranous  in  front. 

Nostrils  large,  oblong,  sub-basal.  Eyes  rather  small. 


HARELD. 


191 


Legs  very  short,  and  placed  far  behind ;  tarsus  compressed, 
with  anterior  small  scutella.  Hind  toe  very  small,  with  a 
lobiform  membrane ;  outer  toes  equal,  and  about  double  the 
length  of  the  tarsus  ;  membranes  full ;  claws  small,  slender, 
little  arched. 

Plumage  firm,  blended  ;  the  feathers  moderate  and  oblong ; 
scapulars  and  middle  tail-feathers  much  elongated  and  taper¬ 
ing  in  the  male,  wings  short,  convex,  acute ;  the  first  and 
second  quills  about  equal  and  longest ;  tail  small,  of  fourteen 
feathers. 

This  genus  appears  to  be  more  nearly  allied  to  Clangula 
than  to  any  other.  The  form  of  the  trachea  indicates  an 
affinity  to  the  Mergansers.  The  only  known  species  is  en¬ 
tirely  marine,  unless  in  the  breeding  season,  and  feeds  on 
bivalve  shell-fish,  asterise,  and  Crustacea. 


192 


HARELDA  GLACIALIS.  LONG-TAILED  HARELD. 


LONG-TAILED  DUCK.  SHARP-TAILED  DUCK.  CALLOO.  COAL-AND-CANDLE- 

LIGHT. 


Fig.  72 


Anas  glacialis.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  203.  Winter. 

Anas  hyemalis.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  202.  Summer. 

Anas  glacialis.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  864. 

Long-tailed  Duck.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Canard  de  Mielon.  Anas  glacialis.  Temm.  Man.  d’Om.  II.  860. 

Long- tailed  Hareld.  Harelda  glacialis.  Selby,  Illust.  II.  363. 

Harelda  glacialis.  Long-tailed  Hareld.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  247. 

Harelda  glacialis.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  59. 

Male  with  the  two  middle  tail-feathers  extremelxj  narrow, 
elongated,  and  someivhat  rccurvate  ;  female  with  the  tail  very 
short  and  rounded.  Male  in  winter  with  the  hill  black  in  its 
basal  half,  red  toward  the  end,  with  the  unguis  black  ;  the 
feet  didl  orange-red ;  the  head  and  neck  white ;  the  cheeks 
grey  ;  an  oblong  black  and  brown  patch  on  each  side  of  the 
neck  ;  the  fore  part  of  the  breast,  the  back,  whig -coverts,  and 
elongated  tail-feathers,  blackish-brown  ;  the  quills  dark 


LONG-TAILED  HARELD. 


193 


brown ;  the  scapulars  and  lower  parts  white  ;  the  tail-feathers 
chiefly  white.  Female  with  the  bill  deep  bluish-grey  ;  the  feet 
reddish-brown  ;  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  nape  choco¬ 
late-brown  ;  the  sides  of  the  head  and  neck ,  and  middle  part 
of  the  hind-neck ,  white  ;  the  throat ,  an  oblong  patch  on  the 
sides  of  the  neck,  and  the  lower  neck,  all  round,  greyish- 
brown  ;  the  lower  parts  ivhite  ;  the  upper  deep  chocolate- 
brown  ;  the  tail  brownish-grey .  Male  in  summer  with  the 
upper  part  of  the  head  and  nape  brownish-black  ;  the  sides  of 
the  head  greyish-white  ;  the  neck  all  round,  and  the  fore  part 
of  the  breast,  dark  chocolate-brown  ;  the  back  and  wing- 
coverts  brownish-black  ;  the  scapulars  margined  icith  reddish- 
brown. 

Male  in  Winter. — This  beautiful  and  lively  inhabitant 
of  the  northern  seas  has  the  body  compact,  rather  elongated, 
and  considerably  depressed  ;  the  neck  rather  short,  and  of 
moderate  thickness ;  the  head  oblong,  compressed,  rounded 
above,  and  with  the  forehead  convex. 

The  bill  is  much  shorter  than  the  head,  of  about  the  same 
height  and  breadth  at  the  base,  gradually  depressed  and 
narrowed  toward  the  end,  which  is  rounded  ;  the  upper 
mandible  with  the  basal  sinus  hounded  by  a  line  ascending 
obliquely  to  near  the  nostril,  the  upper  sinus  broadly  rounded, 
the  frontal  angles  obsolete,  the  dorsal  line  descending  and 
straight  to  the  unguis,  which  is  large,  roundish,  convex,  and 
decurved,  the  ridge  broad  and  flattened  to  beyond  the  nostrils, 
the  sides  convex,  the  edges  soft,  marginate,  with  the  pointed 
lamellae  projecting  a  little,  the  marginal  line  nearly  straight, 
toward  the  end  ascending  and  rounded,  the  nasal  sinus 
oblong,  sub-basal ;  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural  space 
long,  narrow,  half  bare,  the  crura  little  convex,  the  outer 
laminae  very  prominent,  the  unguis  large,  broadly  elliptical, 
little  convex. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width  ;  the  anterior  palate 
concave,  with  a  papillate  median  ridge,  and  on  each  side 
about  thirty-five  short  lamellae,  of  which  the  outer  ends  are 
pointed,  and  project  considerably.  The  tongue  is  an  inch 
and  five-twelfths  long,  fleshy,  grooved  along  the  middle, 

vol.  v.  o 


191 


HARELDA  GLAClALIS. 


papillate  at  the  base,  and  with  two  lateral  series  of  filaments. 
The  oesophagus  is  eight  inches  long,  eight-twelfths  in  width, 
dilated  at  the  lower  part  of  the  neck  to  an  inch.  The  stomach 
is  large,  roundish,  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths  in  length,  two 
inches  and  two-tw^elfths  in  breadth,  with  the  lateral  muscles 
nearly  an  inch  in  thickness  ;  the  epithelium  dense,  slightly 
rugous,  with  thick  grinding  plates.  The  intestine  is  five 
feet  eight  inches  long,  four-twelfths  in  width  ;  the  coeca  four 
inches  and  ten-twelfths  in  length,  three-twelfths  in  breadth ; 
the  rectum  only  two  inches  and  a  quarter  long. 

The  nostrils  are  oblong,  direct,  sub-basal,  large,  near  the 
ridge,  a  quarter  of  an  inch  in  length.  The  eyes  rather  small. 
The  aperture  of  the  ear  small.  The  legs  are  very  short,  and 
placed  far  behind ;  the  tarsus  very  short,  compressed,  with 
about  twenty  anterior  scutella.  The  hind  toe  is  very  small, 
with  a  lobiform  membrane,  and  about  fifteen  scutella ;  the 
second  toe  with  a  two  lobed  expanded  marginal  membrane, 
and  eighteen  scutella  beyond  the  second  joint ;  the  third  toe 
with  thirty-eight,  the  fourth  with  fifty-six ;  the  outer  toes 
equal,  and  about  twice  the  length  of  the  tarsus ;  the  interdi¬ 
gital  membranes  full.  The  claws  are  small,  slightly  arched, 
slender,  rather  blunt. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  elastic,  firm,  and  blended  ;  the 
feathers  rather  small  and  oblong,  those  on  the  upper  part  of 
the  head  and  nape  rather  elongated.  The  scapulars  are  elon¬ 
gated  and  acuminate,  the  posterior  curved  outwards.  Wings 
short,  narrow,  convex,  pointed  ;  primary  quills  tapering,  stiff, 
the  second  longest,  but  barely  exceeding  the  first ;  secondaries 
rounded,  the  inner  rather  broad,  but  pointed.  The  tail  is 
small,  of  fourteen  pointed  feathers,  of  which  the  two  medial 
are  extremely  attenuated,  a  little  recurved,  with  their  webs 
decurved.  These  feathers  exceed  the  next  by  four-twelfths, 
and  the  lateral  by  six  inches. 

The  basal  half  of  the  bill  is  black,  the  rest  orange-red,  but 
with  the  ungues  black.  The  iris  red.  The  tarsi  and  toes 
dull  yellow  ;  the  membranes  dusky  ;  the  claws  black.  The 
forehead  and  cheeks  are  ash-grey  ;  the  upper  part  of  the  head 
yellowish-white  ;  the  neck  white,  with  a  large  oblong  patch 
on  each  side,  of  which  the  anterior  part  is  blackisli-brown. 


LONG-TAILED  HARELD. 


195 


The  posterior  yellowish-brown.  The  breast,  back,  wing- 
coverts,  and  inner  secondaries,  are  deep  chocolate-brown  ;  the 
quills  greyish-brown  ;  the  scapulars  white.  The  middle  tail- 
feathers,  like  the  back,  the  next  pair  partially  so,  being 
margined  with  white,  the  rest  chiefly  white.  The  hind  part 
of  the  breast,  abdomen,  and  lower  tail-coverts,  are  white  ;  part 
of  the  sides  ash-grey  ;  the  lower  wing-coverts  greyish-brown. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  2o  inches ;  extent  of  wings  30  ; 
wing  from  flexure  9  J ;  tail  8  J  ;  hill  along  the  ridge  1-L-  ;  along 
the  edge  of  lower  mandible  1tL- ;  its  greatest  breadth  at  the 
base  bare  part  of  tibia  ;  tarsus  1-L-  ;  hind  toe  Aj,  its 
claw  ,  second  toe  lLj,  its  claw  ;  third  toe  111,  its  claw 
Lj ;  fourth  toe  2Lj,  its  claw  -L-. 


Female  in  Winter. — The  scapulars  are  not  elongated, 
and  the  tail  is  short  and  rounded.  The  bill  is  deep  bluish- 
grey  ;  the  iris  yellow ;  the  feet  greenish-grey.  The  upper 
part  of  the  head  and  nape  are  chocolate-brown ;  the  throat  of 
a  lighter  brown ;  the  sides  of  the  head  and  neck,  with  a  band 
over  the  eye,  and  part  of  the  hind-neck  greyish-white  ;  a 
brown  patch  behind  the  cheek.  On  the  lower  part  of  the 
neck,  all  round,  the  feathers  are  greyish-brown,  edged  with 
paler.  The  rest  of  the  lower  parts  white,  excepting  part  of 
the  sides,  which  is  greyish-browTi  ;  the  lower  wing-coverts 
light  chocolate  brown.  All  the  upper  parts  are  greyish  cho¬ 
colate-brown  ;  the  scapulars  edged  with  light  brown  ;  the 
lateral  tail-feathers  shaded  with  greyish-white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  16  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  26  ; 
wing  from  flexure  8  ;  tail  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  l-^  ;  tarsus 
ILg- ;  middle  toe  1^-,  its  claw  -fe. 

Habits.  —  The  Long-tailed  Ducks  inhabit  the  arctic 
regions  of  both  continents,  in  summer  extending  to  the  mar¬ 
gins  of  the  polar  ice,  and  in  winter  moving  southward  along 
the  coasts,  but  not  advancing  far  into  the  temperate  regions. 
M.  Temminck  states  that  they  nestle  in  Spitzbergen,  Iceland, 
and  the  Hudson’s  Bay  country,  on  the  borders  of  the  sea. 
Mr.  Audubon  found  them  breeding  in  Labrador,  and  describes 
the  nest  as  formed  of  grass,  lined  with  down.  The  eggs  are 


196 


HAHELDA  GLACIALIS. 


from  six  to  eight,  of  a  broad  oval  form,  from  an  inch  and 
eleven-twelfths  to  two  inches  and  a  twelfth  in  length,  and 
generally  an  inch-and-a-half  in  breadth  ;  when  recent  of  an 
asparagus  green  colour,  approaching  to  apple-green,  with  the 
shell  smooth.  Young  birds  caught  by  the  ornithologist 
above-named  in  Labrador,  were  covered  with  stiffish  down, 
and  had  the  upper  parts  chocolate  brown,  a  small  spot  of 
white  under  the  eye,  the  throat  and  lower  parts  whitish,  as 
well  as  an  oblong  patch  on  the  cheek. 

Among  the  northern  islands  of  Scotland,  and  along  the 
coasts  of  the  mainland,  these  birds  make  their  appearance  in 
October,  in  small  flocks,  which  gradually  enlarge  by  the 
accession  of  new  families.  Many  remain  all  winter  in  these 
parts,  while  others  advance  southward.  In  the  Firths  of 
Clyde  and  Tay,  they  are  not  usually  very  uncommon,  and 
Mr.  Selby  informs  us  that  a  few  appear  on  the  coast  of  Nor¬ 
thumberland.  They  have  been  seen,  however,  on  most  parts 
of  the  coast  of  England.  On  that  of  Ireland  it  occurs  “  in 
very  limited  numbers.”  M.  Temminek  describes  them  as 
often  occurring  on  the  coasts  of  Holland,  though  not  in 
bands,  and  on  those  of  France  in  still  smaller  numbers,  while 
the  young  have  been  found  even  in  the  Adriatic.  The  extent 
of  their  equatorial  migration  in  Europe  is,  however,  exceeded 
by  their  range  in  America,  where  some  proceed,  according  to 
Mr.  Audubon,  as  far  as  the  mouth  of  the  Mississippi. 
Although  in  autumn  they  generally  arrive  in  small  bands, 
and  in  winter  are  often  found  scattered  solitarily  or  in  pairs, 
they  advance  northward  in  spring  in  large  bodies,  generally 
flying  in  extended  lines.  At  this  season  large  flocks  occur  in 
the  seas  of  the  outer  Hebrides,  where  they  are  hailed  by  the 
natives  as  the  harbingers  of  summer,  their  loud  cries  render¬ 
ing  them  familiar. 

I  have  had  good  opportunities  of  observing  the  habits  of 
these  birds.  In  the  Bay  of  Cromarty,  where  they  are  very 
common,  it  is  pleasant  to  see  them  in  small  flocks  scattered 
over  the  water.  They  are  most  expert  swimmers,  and  like 
many  other  species  of  this  family,  live  on  bivalve  shell-flsh 
and  Crustacea,  which  they  obtain  by  diving  in  shallow  or 
moderately  deep  water.  In  small  flocks,  in  which  there  are 


LONG-TAILED  HARELD. 


197 


two  or  three  males,  they  may  be  seen  reposing  on  the  open 
seas,  or  in  the  bays  at  high  wrater.  Should  a  boat  approach 
them  they  begin  to  move  about  in  different  directions,  or 
plunge  and  reappear  at  a  distance,  seldom  allowing  one  to 
get  within  shooting  distance ;  hut  when  at  their  feeding 
grounds  they  permit  a  nearer  approach,  so  as  to  he  shot  with¬ 
out  difficulty.  The  male  in  swimming  raises  his  tail  obli¬ 
quely,  in  rough  water  almost  erects  it,  and  is  remarkable  for 
the  grace  and  vivacity  of  his  movements.  Their  flight  is 
rapid,  direct,  and  generally  performed  at  the  height  of  a  few 
feet.  They  rise  easily  from  the  water,  especially  when  facing 
a  breeze,  and  alight  rather  abruptly.  Sometimes  during  the 
day,  but  more  frequently  at  night,  they  emit  various  loud 
rather  plaintive  cries,  as  well  as  cacklings  of  shorter  guttural 
notes,  which  I  think  can  neither  he  easily  imitated  nor  well 
expressed  in  words,  although  Mr.  Nuttall  attempts  to  de¬ 
scribe  them  by  the  syllables  “  ogh,  ough,  egh.”  In  the 
north-eastern  Isles,  this  bird  is  known  by  the  name  of  Caloo, 
as  wrell  as  the  whimsical  one  of  Coal-and-candle-light,  both 
derived  from  its  cries ;  and  in  the  Hebrides  it  is  named  Ian- 
bhochail,  ian  signifying  a  bird,  and  bochail  expressing  its  soft 
protracted  note.  Among  these  islands  it  is  chiefly  to  he  seen 
in  the  open  sounds  or  pretty  far  out  at  sea,  when  the  tide  is 
up,  but  at  low  water  along  the  shores  and  over  the  shoals. 

The  flesh  of  this  bird  is  not  held  in  estimation,  being  said 
to  be  rank  and  fishy ;  but  I  cannot  speak  of  its  qualities  from 
my  own  experience.  The  down  is  considered  equal  to  that 
of  the  Eider,  which  it  resembles  with  the  exception  of  being 
of  a  greyish-white  colour. 

According  to  a  note  with  which  I  am  favoured  by  Dr. 
Edmondston,  “  Anas  glacialis  is  a  regular  winter  visitant  in 
Shetland,  where,  however,  not  a  single  individual  remains 
during  the  summer.  It  appears  to  be  as  regularly  attached 
to  its  winter  haunts  as  we  may  believe  it  to  be  to  its  breeding 
retreats,  as  about  the  same  numbers  frequent  the  same  hays 
every  winter.  The  colour  of  the  male  is  at  all  seasons  various, 
hardly  any  two  being  alike.  He  is  lively,  playful,  and  quar¬ 
relsome,  and  is  chiefly  heard  in  calm,  frosty  weather.  The 
syllables  a-a-alloo,  in  a  tenor  clear  key,  the  last  higher  and 


198 


HARELDA  GLACIALIS. 


more  acute,  express  the  extent  of  their  winter  language.  The 
male  is  one  of  the  most  elegant  of  the  duck  tribe  They  are 
never  seen  on  land,  or  on  fresh  water,  except  when  breeding. 
On  the  lakes  in  Iceland  they  are  numerous.  The  young 
usually  five.  They  feed  in  the  same  manner  as  the  Eider 
Duck  ;  but  the  bird  is  altogether  more  shy  and  active.” 

Young  in  Winter. — The  young  when  they  appear  on 
our  coasts  have  the  bill  dusky-bluish-grey,  the  iris  brown,  the 
feet  grey.  In  this  state  they  differ  little  from  the  adult 
female,  but  have  the  plumage  softer,  especially  on  the  neck, 
and  the  scapulars  still  shorter,  and  usually  edged  with  grey, 
while  the  white  of  the  low  er  parts  is  more  or  less  tinged  with 
browrnish-grey  on  the  breast  and  sides. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — It  appears  that  at  the 
age  of  one  year  the  young  assume  the  adult  plumage  ;  but 
on  this  subject  I  have  not  been  able  to  make  any  observa¬ 
tions. 

Male  in  Summer. — At  this  season  the  upper  part  of  the 
head  and  the  nape  are  brow  nish  black,  the  sides  of  the  head 
greyish-white ;  the  neck  all  round  and  the  fore  part  of  the 
breast  dark  chocolate-brown ;  the  back  and  wung-eoverts 
brownish-black ;  the  scapulars  similar,  but  margined  with 
reddish-brown  ;  the  quills  dark-brown  ;  the  tail  as  in  winter. 

Female  in  Summer. — The  female  is  of  the  same  colours 
as  in  winter. 


199 


MERG AN  SERIN  M. 

GOOSANDERS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 

Intimately  allied,  in  many  respects,  to  the  Anatinse  and 
Fuligulime,  and  in  others  to  the  Divers  and  Cormorants, 
the  Mergansers,  although  few  in  number,  seem  yet  to  form 
a  very  distinct  family. 

They  are  generally  characterised  by  having  the  body 
large,  elongated,  elliptical,  and  depressed ;  the  neck  long  and 
slender ;  the  head  oblong,  compressed,  and  anteriorly  nar¬ 
rowed.  Their  bill  is  rather  long,  straight,  or  a  little  rearcuate, 
slender,  higher  than  broad  at  the  base,  tapering,  and  toward 
the  end  becoming  nearly  cylindrical,  the  edges  of  both  man¬ 
dibles  furnished  with  lamellae  much  narrower  than  in  the 
Ducks,  and  in  the  larger  species  conical,  acuminate,  and 
directed  backwards,  so  as  to  resemble  the  teeth  of  an  Indian 
saw  ;  the  unguis  oblong,  of  the  same  breadth  as  the  mandibles, 
and  the  upper  abruptly  decurved.  The  mouth,  although 
narrow,  is  dilatable ;  the  tongue  fleshy,  narrow,  furnished 
with  lateral  bristles,  and  having  the  tip  lacerated  ;  the  palate 
and  pharynx  papillate.  The  oesophagus  is  very  wide  in  its 
whole  extent,  with  thick  walls  ;  the  proventricular  glandules 
are  small,  and  form  a  broad  belt,  at  the  upper  margin  of 
which,  as  well  as  here  and  there  in  the  oesophagus,  are  large 
mucous  crypts.  The  stomach  is  rather  small,  roundish,  very 
muscular,  with  a  thick  rugous  epithelium.  The  intestine  is 
long,  and  rather  wide,  with  moderately  large  coeca,  and  a 
globular  cloaca. 

The  trachea,  composed  of  numerous  well-ossified  rings, 
is  simple  and  uniform  in  the  females,  hut  in  the  males  vari¬ 
ously  enlarged,  and  always  having  an  enormous  dilatation  at 
its  lower  extremity,  partly  bony  and  partly  membranous ;  the 


200 


MERGANSERIN.E. 


bronchi  wide,  and  of  about  twenty  half  rings.  The  muscles 
as  in  the  Anatinee. 

The  eyes  are  rather  small,  the  eyelids  feathered.  The 
nostrils  oblong,  sub-medial,  in  the  fore  part  of  the  oblong 
nasal  sinus,  which  is  covered  by  the  soft  membrane  of  the 
bill.  The  apertures  of  the  ears  are  extremely  small. 

The  legs  are  short,  and  placed  for  behind ;  the  tibia  bare 
for  a  very  short  space  ;  the  tarsi  very  short,  much  compressed, 
stout ;  the  toes  four,  of  which  the  first,  very  small,  elevated, 
and  arched,  has  a  lobiform  membrane,  the  anterior  long,  and 
scutellate,  the  inner  with  a  two-lobed  membrane,  the  outer  a 
little  shorter  than  the  third ;  the  interdigital  membranes 
full,  and  concave  on  the  margin.  The  claws  are  small,  little 
arched,  compressed,  that  of  the  third  toe  rather  depressed 
toward  the  end,  which  is  rounded. 

The  plumage  is  moderately  full,  firm,  and  glossy  ;  the 
feathers  curved,  with  a  small  down-plumule.  There  is  a 
general  covering  of  fine  down.  All  the  species  have  the  fea¬ 
thers  of  the  hind  head  and  nape  elongated  into  a  crest  in  both 
sexes ;  and  in  the  males  the  feathers  of  the  head  and  upper 
neck  are  small,  blended,  and  silky.  The  wings  are  short,  of 
moderate  breadth,  convex,  pointed  ;  the  first  primary  longest  ; 
the  inner  secondaries  elongated  and  tapering.  The  tail  is 
short,  much  rounded,  of  from  fourteen  to  eighteen  stifhsh 
tapering  feathers. 

Grey,  white,  and  black  are  the  predominant  colours  in 
the  males  ;  grey,  brown,  white,  and  reddish-brown  in  the 
females  and  young.  There  is  a  speculum  on  the  wing,  as  in 
the  Ducks.  The  males,  which  are  larger  than  the  females, 
assume  in  summer  somewhat  of  the  appearance  of  the 
females. 

The  Mergansers  frequent  lakes  and  rivers,  as  well  as 
occasionally  the  sea.  They  swim  and  dive  with  great  ease 
and  rapidity,  feed  on  fishes,  and  other  aquatic  animals,  as 
reptiles  and  Crustacea — never,  I  believe,  using  vegetable 
substances,  although  fragments  of  quartz  are  generally  found 
in  their  gizzards.  They  are  extremely  voracious,  their  diges¬ 
tion  being  rapid,  and,  like  other  piscivorous  birds,  they  some¬ 
times  gorge  to  excess,  although,  when  apprehensive  of  danger, 


GOOSANDERS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


201 


they  can  easily  rid  themselves  of  part  of  their  burden.  Their 
flight  is  quick,  direct,  and  performed  by  regular  beats.  They 
pass  the  summer  in  the  colder  regions,  and  in  autumn  advance 
southward,  although,  not  requiring  a  high  temperature,  many 
remain  in  the  northern  parts.  Their  nests,  rather  bulky,  and 
lined  with  down,  which  the  female  plucks  from  her  breast, 
are  placed  on  the  borders  of  lakes  or  on  islands.  The  eggs  are 
numerous,  elliptical,  cream-coloured,  or  white.  The  young, 
covered  with  stiffish  down,  presently  betake  themselves  to 
the  water,  under  the  protection  of  the  female,  who  is  deserted 
by  the  male  as  soon  as  incubation  commences.  When  fledged 
they  resemble  the  females.  The  young  males  acquire  their 
perfected  plumage  at  the  second  or  third  moult. 

All  the  birds  of  this  family  were  included  by  Linnaeus  in 
his  genus  Mergus,  to  which  we  usually  give  the  name  of 
Merganser.  Of  the  four  species  that  inhabit  Europe  and 
North  America,  one,  Mergus  Albellus,  differs  from  the  rest 
in  having  the  bill  so  much  shorter  and  broader  as  to  resemble 
that  of  a  Duck,  while  its  marginal  lamellae  are  oblique,  and 
not  pointed  as  in  the  larger  species.  Another,  of  about  the 
same  size  as  the  last,  has  the  bill  more  elongated,  but  with 
the  lamellae  compressed  and  abrupt  at  the  end.  It  has  been 
thought  expedient  to  form  the  first  of  these  small  species 
into  a  genus,  and  I  think  not  without  reason.  The  other 
small  species,  although  it  has  a  longer  bill,  is  otherwise  so 
very  similar  in  form  and  size,  that,  rather  than  make  a  genus 
of  it,  one  might  attach  it  to  its  neighbour,  until  other  species 
having  similar  characters  cast  up  ;  hut  it  is  still  more  nearly 
allied  to  the  larger  species.  Now,  the  Linnaean  generic 
name,  Mergus,  ought  to  he  continued  with  the  larger,  more 
conspicuous,  and  best  known  species  :  thus,  Mergus  Merganser 
and  Mergus  Senator.  But  as  Brisson,  a  contemporary  of 
Linnaeus,  named  the  same  genus  Merganser,  it  has  been 
thought  more  expedient  to  make  that  the  generic  name  of 
the  large  species,  and  employ  the  Linnaean  name,  Mergus, 
for  the  small  species.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  Merganser, 
which  signifies  Diver-Goose,  be  applied  to  the  large  species, 
why  should  not  Merganas,  or  Diver-Duck,  be  applied  to  the 
smaller  ?  There  is  no  consistency  in  the  nomenclature  of 


202 


MERGANSERINiE. 

natural  objects ;  but,  to  prevent  tbe  necessity  of  using  a  new 
generic  name,  I  shall  adopt  those  of  Merganser  and  Mergus 
already  used. 

Four  species  occur  in  Britain  :  two  common,  one  rather 
rare,  the  fourth  a  straggler. 


SYNOPSIS  OP  TUP  BRITISH  GENERA  AND  SPECIES. 

GENUS  I.  MERGANSER.  GOOSANDER. 

Bill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  nearly  straight,  taper¬ 
ing,  toward  the  end  cylindrical,  the  edges  with  tapering, 
acute,  dentiform  lamella?,  directed  backwards,  the  upper 
unguis  oblong,  abruptly  decurved ;  tarsus  very  short,  com¬ 
pressed,  with  numerous  small  anterior  scutella,  reticulated 
on  the  sides  with  flat  angular  scales ;  hind  toe  very  small, 
arcuate,  lobate  ;  anterior  toes  long,  scutellate  in  their  whole 
length,  the  outer  nearly  as  long  as  the  third ;  interdigital 
membranes  full,  slightly  concave  oil  the  margin ;  claws 
small,  compressed,  little  arched,  the  third  depressed  and 
rounded  ;  wings  short,  convex,  acute,  the  first  quill  longest ; 
tail  short,  much  rounded,  of  eighteen  stiffish  feathers. 

1.  Merganser  Castor.  Buff -breasted  Goosander.  Male 
with  the  head  and  upper  neck  greenish-black  ;  the  lower 
neck,  breast,  abdomen,  and  sides  reddish-yellow  ;  the  wing- 
spot  white.  Female  with  the  head  and  upper  neck  brownish- 
red,  the  lower  neck  pale  grey  barred  with  white,  the  breast 
and  abdomen  white. 

2.  Merganser  Serrator.  Iled-breastcd  Goosander.  Male 
with  the  head  and  upper  neck  greenish-black,  the  lower 
neck  light  red  streaked  with  dusky,  the  breast  and  abdomen 
white,  the  sides  minutely  undulated,  the  wing-spot  white, 
with  two  transverse  black  bands.  Female  with  the  head 
and  upper  neck  reddish-brown,  the  lower  neck  brownish- 
grey  barred  with  white,  the  breast  and  abdomen  white,  the 
wing-spot  white,  with  a  single  black  band. 


GOOSANDERS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


203 


3.  Merganser  cucullatus.  Hooded  Goosander.  Male 
with  the  bill  nearly  as  long  as  the  head ;  a  large,  longi¬ 
tudinal  compressed,  semicircular  black  crest,  with  an  angular 
patch  of  white  behind ;  the  head  and  upper  neck  black ;  the 
upper  parts  chiefly  black,  the  lower  white,  the  sides  yellowish- 
brown  undulated  with  black  ;  feet  yellowish-brown.  Female 
with  the  crest  smaller  and  decurved,  the  head  reddish- 
brown,  the  throat  greyish-white,  the  upper  parts  dusky,  the 
lower  white,  the  sides  dusky  brown. 

GENUS  II.  MERGUS.  SMEW. 

Bill  shorter  than  the  head,  rather  stout,  straight,  taper¬ 
ing,  the  edges  with  narrow,  oblique  lamellae,  of  which  the 
outer  ends  are  erect,  dentiform,  and  rather  acute';  the  upper 
unguis  elliptical,  decurved ;  tarsus  very  short,  compressed, 
with  numerous  small  anterior  scutella,  reticulated  on  the 
sides  with  flat  angular  scales  ;  hind  toe  very  small,  arcuate, 
lobate ;  anterior  toes  long,  scutellate,  the  outer  nearly  as 
long  as  the  third ;  interdigital  membranes  full,  concave  on 
the  margin  ;  claws  small,  compressed,  little  arched,  rather 
acute  ;  wings  short,  convex,  acute,  the  first  quill  longest ; 
tail  short,  much  rounded,  of  sixteen  stiffish  feathers. 

1.  Mergus  Albellus.  Pied  Smeiv.  Male  with  the  bill 
much  shorter  than  the  head  ;  a  decurved  longitudinal  white 
crest,  a  greenish-black  patch  on  the  fore  part  of  the  cheek  ; 
the  head  and  upper  neck  white ;  the  upper  parts  chiefly 
black  and  grey,  the  lower  white,  the  sides  partly  grey ;  feet 
greyish-blue.  Female  with  the  crest  smaller ;  the  head, 
cheeks,  and  hind  -neck  brownish-red ;  a  reddish-black  patch 
before  the  eye,  the  throat  pure  white,  the  upper  parts  black 
and  grey,  the  lower  white,  the  sides  grey. 


204 


MERGANSER.  GOOSANDER. 

Bill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  nearly  straight  or 
slightly  rearcuate,  rather  stout  and  of  greater  height  than 
breadth  at  the  base,  tapering  to  the  middle,  beyond  which  it 
is  slender  and  cylindrical ;  up'per  mandible  with  its  dorsal 
outline  decimate  for  half  its  length,  then  direct  and  straight 
to  the  oblongo-elliptical  convex  unguis,  which  is  abruptly 
decurved  and  rounded  at  the  end,  the  lateral  sinuses  shortly 
rounded,  the  upper  rather  acute,  the  ridge  broad  at  the  base, 
gradually  narrowed,  the  nasal  sinus  oblong,  sub-basal,  the 
edges  marginate,  serrate,  with  dentiform  compressed,  tapering 
lamellee ;  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural  space  very 
long,  narrow,  toward  the  end  linear,  the  crura  slender, 
slightly  rearcuate  at  the  base,  laterally  grooved,  their  erect 
edges  with  dentiform  lamella',  the  unguis  obovate  and  con¬ 
vex  ;  the  gape-line  nearly  straight. 

The  mouth  narrow,  but  dilatable  ;  palate  flat ;  roof  of 
upper  mandible  nearly  flat,  narrow,  with  a  medial  prominent 
line,  a  series  of  slight  oblique  lamellae  on  each  side,  sepa¬ 
rated  by  a  groove  from  the  marginal  series.  Tongue  slender, 
fleshy,  papillate  or  bristly  above  and  on  the  edges,  with  the 
tip  narrow  and  lacerated.  (Esophagus  very  wide  in  its 
whole  length,  more  dilated  within  the  thorax ;  the  proven- 
tricular  belt  continuous.  Stomach  roundish,  of  moderate 
size,  very  muscular,  with  a  dense  rugous  epithelium.  Intes¬ 
tine  long,  rather  wide  anteriorly,  narrowed  toward  the  coeca, 
which  are  moderate,  narrow  at  the  base,  cylindrical,  obtuse  ; 
rectum  with  a  large  globular  dilatation. 

Trachea  in  the  female  simple  and  uniform  ;  in  the  male 
with  one  or  two  dilatations,  and  an  enormously  large  laby¬ 
rinth  at  the  lower  end,  partly  bony  and  partly  membranous. 

Nostrils  oblong,  pervious,  in  the  fore  part  of  the  nasal 


MERGANSER.  GOOSANDER. 


205 


space.  Eyes  rather  small.  External  aperture  of  the  ear 
extremely  small. 

The  body  large,  elongated,  elliptical,  depressed ;  the  neck 
long  ;  the  head  moderate,  oblong,  anteriorly  narrowed.  The 
legs  very  short,  and  placed  far  behind ;  tarsus  very  short, 
stout,  compressed,  covered  with  small  angular  scales,  ante¬ 
riorly  with  a  series  of  small  scutella,  and  a  short  outer  series. 
Toes  four,  the  first  very  small,  elevated,  and  lobate ;  the 
anterior  long,  the  inner  with  a  bilohate  membrane,  the  third 
longest,  A  but  the  outer  little  shorter,  all  scutellate  in  their 
wrhole  length  ;  the  interdigital  membranes  full.  Claws  small, 
slightly  arcuate,  compressed,  rather  acute,  that  of  the  third 
toe  a  little  enlarged  internally,  depressed  toward  the  end, 
which  is  rounded. 

Plumage  moderately  full,  firm,  glossy,  more  or  less 
blended ;  feathers  of  the  head  and  neck  small  and  narrow, 
on  the  occiput  and  nape  elongated  and  slender.  Scapulars 
and  inner  secondaries  elongated.  Wings  short,  of  moderate 
breadth,  acuminate,  with  twenty-six  quills ;  primaries  stiffish, 
tapering,  the  first  longest.  Tail  small,  much  rounded,  of 
eighteen  stiffish,  tapering,  hut  rounded  feathers. 

Piscivorous,  swimming,  and  diving  birds.  The  general 
habits  already  given. 

Although  the  determination  of  the  tail-feathers  is  not 
particularly  difficult,  it  seems  on  this,  as  well  as  on  some 
other  occasions,  to  have  sadly  puzzled  the  ornithologists. 
Thus,  Mr.  Jenyns,  in  his  generic  character  of  Mergus,  says 
“  tail  of  twelve  feathers.”  Mr.  Selby  says  of  Mergus  Ser- 
rator,  “  tail  composed  of  sixteen  feathers ;”  and  of  Mergus 
cucullatus,  “  tail  composed  of  fourteen  feathers.”  Montagu, 
in  speaking  of  the  Goosander  and  Dundiver,  says,  “  we  can 
speak  with  certainty  as  to  the  Dundiver  having  twenty.” 
Mr.  Ord  says  the  Goosander  has  “  eighteen  feathers  ”  in  the 
tail ;  and  Wilson  gives  the  Hooded  Merganser  “  twenty 
feathers,”  which,  perhaps,  may  be  the  reason  why  Mr.  Mudie 
has  done  the  same.  In  Mr.  Audubon’s  Ornithological  Bio¬ 
graphy,  Mergus  Merganser  and  Mergus  Serrator  are  said  to 
have  eighteen,  Mergus  cucullatus  and  Mergus  Albellus  six¬ 
teen.  Now,  the  true  state  of  the  case  is  this  : — Mergus 


206 


MERGANSER.  GOOSANDER. 


Merganser  and  Mergus  S  err  a  tor,  male,  female,  and  young, 
have  undoubtedly  eighteen  tail-feathers.  There  is  no  lack 
of  specimens  in  Old  Scotia,  and  I  have  examined  many,  both 
entire  and  “  in  skin.”  Mergus  Albellus  has  certainly  six¬ 
teen  ;  but  of  Mergus  cucullatus  I  cannot  speak  decidedly. 
A  specimen  in  my  collection,  however,  has  eighteen,  but  there 
seems  to  he  a  gap  in  the  tail ;  and  after  finding  the  most 
trustworthy  authors  so  often  wrong  in  this  matter,  I  have 
ceased  to  repose  unnecessary  confidence  in  them. 


207 


MERGANSER  CASTOR.  THE  BUFF-BREASTED 

GOOSANDER. 


GOOSANDER.  DUN  DIVER  FEM.  GREATER  GOOSANDER.  SAW-BILL. 

JACK-SAW. 


Fig.  73. 


Mergus  Merganser.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  208.  Male. 

Mergus  Castor.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  209.  Female  and  young. 

Mergus  Merganser.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  828.  Male. 

Mergus  Castor.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  829.  Female  and  young. 

Grand  Harle.  Mergus  Merganser.  Temm.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  II.  881. 
Goosander.  Mergus  Merganser.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  375. 

Mergus  Merganser.  Goosander.  Jennyns.  Brit.  Yert.  Anim.  248. 
Goosander.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt.  Male. 

Dun  Diver.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt.  Female  and  young. 
Merganser  Castor.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  59. 

Male  twenty-six  inches  long,  with  a  broad  longitudinal 
rather  inconspicuous  crest  of  oblong  feathers ;  the  bill  and  feet 
red ;  the  head  and  upper  neck  greenish-black ;  the  back  black 


208 


MERGANSER  CASTOR. 


before,  grey  behind;  the  lower  fore  neck,  breast,  sides  and 
abdomen  pinkish-buff- colour,  sides  of  the  rump  undulated  with 
grey  and  white ;  outer  scapulars,  wing-coverts,  and  secondary 
quills  white.  Female  ivith  the  crest  longer  and  more  slender ; 
the  bill  and  feet  of  a  duller  tint ;  the  head  and  upper  neck 
light  reddish-brown,  the  throat  whitish,  the  lower  neck  pale- 
grey,  the  feathers  edged  ivith  white,  the  breast  and  abdomen 
white,  the  sides  grey  ;  the  upper  parts  deep  ash-grey,  as  are  the 
smaller  wing-coverts  ;  some  of  the  secondary  quills  and  their 
coverts  ivliite  unless  at  the  base.  Young  similar  to  the  female. 

Male  in  Winter. — This  beautiful  bird,  the  largest  of 
its  family,  on  which  account  probably  it  has  obtained  the 
name  of  Goosander,  has  the  body  of  an  elongated  elliptical 
form,  and  much  depressed,  although  stout ;  the  neck  rather 
long  and  thick ;  the  head  rather  large,  ovato-oblong,  narrowed 
anteriorly. 

The  bill  is  about  the  length  of  the  head,  rather  stout  and 
higher  than  broad  at  the  base,  tapering,  beyond  the  middle 
slender  and  cylindrical.  The  upper  mandible  with  its  dorsal 
line  decimate  and  somewhat  concave  to  the  middle,  then 
straight  and  slightly  ascending  to  the  unguis,  which  is  ob¬ 
long,  convex,  abruptly  decurved  in  the  middle,  the  ridge 
broad,  flattened,  and  little  narrowed  to  the  middle,  where  it 
becomes  convex,  the  nasal  sinus  narrow,  oblong,  sub-basal, 
with  a  groove  running  from  its  anterior  part  to  the  side  of  the 
unguis,  the  limbs  very  slender,  convex,  the  edges  with  thirty- 
six  narrow,  tapering,  acuminate,  dentiform  lamellae,  directed 
backwards.  The  lower  mandible  slender,  with  the  inter- 
crural  space  very  long,  pointed,  anteriorly  a  mere  groove,  the 
crura  with  their  lower  outline  gently  rearcuate,  the  sides  con¬ 
vex  below,  longitudinally  grooved  above,  the  unguis  ellipti¬ 
cal,  convex,  with  a  broad  median  groove,  the  edges  inclinate, 
with  about  forty  compressed,  tapering,  acute  serriform 
lamellae. 

The  mouth,  although  narrow,  is  dilatable  to  an  inch  and 
three-fourths.  The  palate  flat,  anteriorly  with  a  median 
serrulate  elevated  line,  and  on  each  side  a  series  of  small, 
acute  lamellae,  besides  those  of  the  margin.  The  tongue,  two 


BUFF-BREASTED  GOOSANDER. 


209 


inches  in  length,  is  fleshy,  tapering,  emarginate  and  papillate 
at  the  base,  with  a  longitudinal  double  series  of  slender, 
acute,  reversed  papillae  on  its  upper  surface,  and  two  series  of 
bristly  filaments  on  each  side,  its  tip  flattened,  lacerated,  and 
horny  beneath.  The  oesophagus,  sixteen  inches  long,  is  very 
wide,  being  an  inch  and  a  half  in  breadth  at  first,  hut  in  en¬ 
tering  the  thorax  contracts  to  an  inch,  to  expand  into  an 
elongated  sac,  including  the  proventriculus,  three  inches  and 
a  half  in  length,  and  two  inches  in  width.  The  pro  ventri¬ 
cular  belt  is  two  inches  in  breadth,  its  glandules  very  numer¬ 
ous,  cylindrical,  two-twelfths  in  length.  The  walls  of  the 
oesophagus  are  very  thick,  its  two  layers  of  fibres  very  dis¬ 
tinct,  its  inner  coat  longitudinally  plaited  when  contracted. 
The  stomach  is  muscular,  being  in  fact  a  strong  gizzard,  of 
moderate  size,  roundish,  two  inches  long,  with  the  lateral 
muscles  half  an  inch  thick,  the  epithelium  nearly  a  twelfth 
in  thickness,  rather  soft,  and  rugous.  The  intestine  is  six 
feet  seven  inches  in  length,  and  from  half  an  inch  in  width 
in  the  duodenal  part  to  three-twelfths  and  a  half.  The  coeca 
are  two  inches  long,  cylindrical,  obtuse,  narrow  at  the  base, 
their  greatest  breadth  four-twelfths.  The  rectum  is  eight 
inches  long,  cylindrical,  but  enlarged  into  a  globular  cloaca, 
an  inch  and  a  quarter  in  width. 

The  trachea,  which  is  about  a  foot  in  length,  when  mode¬ 
rately  extended,  is  for  a  short  space  only  four-twelfths  in 
breadth,  gradually  expands  to  eight-twelfths,  then  as  gra¬ 
dually  contracts  to  four-twelfths,  but  again  enlarges  to  six- 
twelfths,  and  slowly  contracts  to  three-twelfths.  The  upper 
dilatation  is  much  flattened,  the  lower  less.  The  number  of 
rings  in  this  extent  is  an  hundred  and  forty-eight.  At  the 
lower  part  is  formed,  by  the  union  and  expansion  of  a  number 
of  rings,  an  enormous  long  dilatation  of  an  irregular  form  in¬ 
clining  to  the  right  side,  separated  longitudinally  on  the  right 
side  by  a  membrane,  from  a  very  large  recurvate  tympanum, 
into  which  it  opens  below,  and  which  is  three-sided,  the 
edges  being  bony  and  rounded,  and  the  sides  membranous. 
The  right  bronchus,  having  twenty  half-rings,  comes  off 
from  the  lower  curve  of  the  first  dilatation,  and  the  left, 
which  although  longer,  has  the  same  number,  from  the  lower 

VOL.  v.  p 


210 


MERGANSER  CASTOR. 


part  of  the  tympanum ;  the  distance  from  their  bases  being 
nearly  an  inch.  The  expanded  part  is  two  inches  in  length, 
an  inch  and  five-twelfths  in  breadth,  its  greatest  diameter 
two  inches  and  two-twelfths.  Having  described  this  curious 
apparatus,  I  must  apply  to  the  system-makers,  who  are  in¬ 
dignant  at  being  supposed  ignorant  of  anything,  for  its  uses. 

The  nostrils  are  oblongo-elliptical,  four-twelfths  long, 
sub-medial,  lateral,  pervious.  The  eyes  small,  as  are  the 
apertures  of  the  ears.  The  feet  are  very  short,  strong,  and 
placed  far  behind.  The  tibia  is  bare  for  about  a  quarter  of 
an  inch.  The  tarsus  very  short,  much  compressed,  with  an 
anterior  series  of  twenty-five,  and  twelve  outer  scutella,  the 
sides  with  small,  angular  scales.  The  first  toe  very  small, 
elevated,  arched,  with  about  ten  scutella,  and  a  lobiform 
membrane  ;  the  second  with  a  two-lobed  inner  membrane, 
and  about  thirty-five  oblique  scutella  ;  the  third  with  forty- 
two,  the  fourth,  a  little  shorter  than  the  third,  and  with  forty 
scutella.  The  interdigital  membranes  emarginate.  The 
claws  are  small,  a  little  arched,  compressed,  obtuse,  that  of 
the  hind  toe  very  slender  and  more  curved,  that  of  the  third 
somewhat  depressed  and  rounded. 

The  plumage  is  moderately  full,  dense,  soft,  and  glossy. 
The  feathers  on  the  head  and  neck  silky,  blended,  along 
nearly  the  whole  breadth  of  the  head  and  on  the  nape  elon¬ 
gated  so  as  to  form  a  broad  short  crest,  not  very  conspicuous. 
On  the  back  the  feathers  are  rather  compact,  on  the  lower 
parts  blended.  The  wings  are  short,  of  moderate  breadth, 
with  thirty-six  quills  ;  the  primaries  narrow,  tapering,  stiffish, 
the  first  longest,  the  rest  rapidly  decreasing,  the  outer  second¬ 
aries  rather  short,  rounded,  the  inner  elongated  and  tapering, 
but  obtuse  ;  the  scapulars  also  very  long.  The  tail  is  short, 
much  rounded,  of  eighteen  rather  narrow,  stiffish,  obtuse 
feathers,  of  which  the  medial  are  an  inch  and  three-fourths 
longer  than  the  lateral. 

The  bill  is  bright  vermilion,  with  the  unguis  black,  and 
the  ridge  of  the  upper  mandible,  and  part  of  the  crura  of  the 
lower,  dusky.  The  iris  bright  red.  The  feet  bright  vermi¬ 
lion,  the  claws  reddish  at  the  base,  grey  toward  the  end.  The 
head  and  upper  half  of  the  neck  are  black,  with  bright  green 


BUFF-BREASTED  GOOSANDER. 


211 


and  purplish  reflections  ;  the  lower  part  of  the  neck  white 
behind  ;  its  anterior  part,  and  the  whole  lower  surface  and 
side  of  the  body,  of  a  most  beautiful  and  delicate  reddish- 
buff  ;  some  of  the  feathers  over  the  tibia  minutely  undulated 
with  grey,  and  the  larger  inferior  wing-coverts  of  that  colour. 
The  fore  part  of  the  hack,  and  the  inner  scapulars  black  ;  the 
hind  part  ash-grey,  undulated  on  the  sides  of  the  rump  ;  the 
tail  ash-grey,  with  black  shafts.  The  outer  scapulars  are 
white,  and  conceal  a  band  of  black  margining  the  wing  ante¬ 
riorly,  and  crossing  its  base.  The  wing-coverts  are  white ; 
the  alula,  primary  coverts,  and  quills  blackish-brown,  lighter 
and  tinged  with  grey  on  the  inner  webs ;  some  of  the  outer 
secondaries  black,  the  rest  white,  six  of  the  inner  margined 
with  a  black  line  externally,  and  the  last  internally  also. 
The  outer  secondary  coverts  are  black  at  the  base,  that  colour 
forming  a  bar  across  part  of  the  wing. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  26  inches ;  extent  of  wings  36 ; 
wing  from  flexure  11 J  ;  tail  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  2T*U, 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  3  ;  tarsus  1^  ;  first  toe  -fa, 
its  claw  -y3^-;  second  toe  2,  its  claw  -fa;  third  toe  2J,  its  claw 

;  fourth  toe  2-^j,  its  claw  T\. 

Female. — The  female,  which  is  considerably  smaller,  has 
the  crest  more  elongated  behind,  some  of  the  feathers  being- 
two  inches  and  a  half  long,  whereas  in  the  male  they  are 
little  more  than  one  inch  ;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  the  scapu¬ 
lars  and  inner  secondaries  are  much  shorter.  The  bill,  eyes> 
and  feet  are  coloured  as  in  the  male.  The  head  and  upper 
part  of  the  neck  are  brownish-red,  but  the  upper  part  of  the 
throat  is  white.  All  the  upper  parts  of  the  body  are  deep 
ash-grey,  with  the  margins  of  the  feathers  paler.  The  smaller 
wing-coverts,  and  the  inner  secondary  quills  and  coverts,  are 
also  grey.  The  alula,  primary  coverts,  and  primaries  brown¬ 
ish-black  ;  the  outer  secondaries  black,  the  middle  secondaries 
white,  as  are  the  ends  of  their  coverts.  The  lower  fore  part 
of  the  neck  is  white,  faintly  tinged  with  grey ;  the  breast  and 
abdomen  white,  tinged  with  buff ;  the  upper  part  of  the  sides, 
and  some  of  the  lower  wing-coverts  grey. 

The  oesophagus  sixteen  inches  long;  the  intestine  five  feet 


212 


MERGANSER  CASTOR. 


eleven  inches  ;  the  coeca  an  inch  and  three-fourths.  The 
trachea  is  much  flattened,  and  of  nearly  equal  width  through¬ 
out,  its  average  breadth  being  nearly  four-twelfths,  but  to¬ 
ward  the  end  only  three-twelfths ;  its  rings  uniform,  slender, 
an  hundred  and  forty-five  in  number.  At  the  lower  end  five 
rings  are  united,  and  the  large  ring  thus  formed  dilates  and 
bifurcates  below,  forming  two  limbs,  of  which  the  right  is 
longer.  The  bronchi,  which  come  off  at  the  distance  of  four- 
twelfths  from  each  other,  are  of  moderate  size,  and  composed 
of  about  twenty  half-rings. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  24  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  33  ; 
wing  from  flexure  10J  ;  tail  44  ;  bill  along  the  bridge  2yL ; 
tarsus  ly^- ;  middle  toe  2^,  its  claw  yL. 

Variations. — Considerable  differences  as  to  size  are  ob¬ 
served,  the  longest  males  measuring  twenty-seven  inches,  the 
shortest  twenty -four.  The  females  are  always  smaller  than 
the  males,  but  young  males,  being  similar  in  plumage  to  the 
females,  are  apt  to  he  mistaken  for  them.  Adult  males  differ 
very  little  in  the  colours  of  the  plumage,  and  this  is  equally 
the  case  with  adult  females.  The  bill  of  the  male  is  repre¬ 
sented  by  some  as  entirely  red,  but  I  have  never  seen  one  in 
which  it  was  not  partially  black  or  dusky. 

Habits. — The  Goosander,  or  Buff-breasted  Merganser, 
which  is  widely  dispersed  in  summer  over  the  northern  regions 
of  both  continents,  is  at  that  season  very  seldom  met  with  in 
Britain,  and  that  only  in  the  remotest  parts  and  islands  of 
Scotland.  The  number  of  individuals  there  seen  is  very  much 
inferior  to  that  of  the  Red-breasted  Mergansers.  In  the 
outer  Hebrides,  where  I  resided  several  years,  although  I  have 
several  times  met  with  them  on  the  lakes  in  summer,  I  never 
found  a  nest ;  but  Mr.  John  MacGillivray,  who  visited  these 
islands  in  the  summer  of  1840,  was  more  fortunate,  or  more 
observant,  for  he  found  it  pretty  common,  breeding  by  the 
larger  lakes,  and  occasionally  by  the  sea,  as  near  Loch 
Maddy,  in  North  List.  In  Orkney,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is 
only  a  winter  visitant,  leaving  very  early  in  spring.  In  win¬ 
ter  it  is  met  with  sparingly  in  all  parts  of  Scotland,  as  well 


BUFF-BREASTED  GOOSANDER. 


213 


as  in  many  districts  in  England,  in  the  southern  parts  of 
which  it  is,  however,  of  very  rare  occurrence.  In  Ireland, 
also,  it  occurs  “  in  very  limited  numbers.”  At  all  seasons,  it 
prefers  lakes  and  rivers  to  estuaries,  hut  may  he  seen,  even 
in  summer,  fishing  in  the  sea,  especially  in  the  lochs  or  inden¬ 
tations  so  common  in  Scotland.  Being  a  heavy  bird,  with 
the  body  much  depressed,  and  the  plumage  not  remarkably 
full,  it  has  the  appearance  of  sitting  deep  in  the  water.  It 
dives  with  extreme  agility,  remains  long  under  the  surface, 
and  swims  there  with  great  speed.  Its  food  consists  of  fishes 
of  various  kinds,  hut  with  us  more  especially  trouts,  of  which 
eighteen  were  found  in  the  gullet  of  one  killed  on  the  Tweed 
in  the  winter  of  1838.  Being  shy,  vigilant,  and  active,  it  is 
not  easily  obtained,  as  it  neither  admits  a  near  approach,  nor 
usually  remains  above  water  until  the  shot  reaches  it.  In 
rising  on  wing  it  proceeds  at  a  low  angle,  striking  the  water 
with  its  feet  and  wings,  to  the  distance  of  several  yards.  Its 
flight  is  rapid,  like  that  of  a  Duck,  and  performed  at  a  consi¬ 
derable  height,  when  it  is  travelling  toward  a  distant  place. 
The  male  emits  a  rough  grunting  cry,  which,  however,  is  very 
seldom  heard.  In  the  northern  estuaries  and  bays,  pretty 
large  flocks  are  sometimes  seen ;  hut  it  is  much  more  com¬ 
mon  to  meet  with  the  bird  in  pairs,  or  even  singly,  in  most 
parts  of  the  country.  Although  not  very  unfrequently  seen 
in  our  markets,  it  is  not  there  held  in  estimation,  its  flesh 
being  coarse,  and  having  the  fishy  flavour  of  that  of  the 
Divers  and  Cormorants,  to  which  the  Mergansers  are  allied 
in  their  mode  of  living. 

The  nest  is  said  to  he  placed  near  the  water,  among  the 
herbage,  and  to  be  composed  of  dry  grass,  sedge,  fibrous  roots, 
and  other  similar  materials,  with  a  lining  of  down  plucked 
by  the  female  from  her  breast.  As  observed  by  him  in  Ame¬ 
rica,  it  is  described  by  Mr.  Audubon  as  being  “  very  large, 
at  times  raised  seven  or  eight  inches  on  the  top  of  a  bed  of 
all  the  dead  weeds  which  the  bird  can  gather  in  the  neigh¬ 
bourhood.  Properly  speaking,  the  real  nest,  however,  is  not 
larger  than  that  of  the  Dusky  Duck,  and  is  rather  neatly 
formed  externally  of  fibrous  roots,  and  lined  round  the  edges 
with  the  down  of  the  bird.  The  interior  is  about  seven  and 


214 


MERGANSER  CASTOR. 


a  half  inches  in  diameter,  and  four  inches  in  depth.  There 
are  seldom  more  than  seven  or  eight  eggs,  which  measure 
two  inches  and  seven-eighths  in  length,  by  two  inches  in 
breadth,  are  of  an  elliptical  form,  being  nearly  equally 
rounded  at  both  ends,  smooth,  and  of  a  uniform  dull  cream 
colour.” 

The  young,  at  first  covered  with  down  of  a  greyish  colour 
on  the  body,  and  reddish  on  the  head,  betake  themselves  at 
once  to  the  water,  and  are  tended  by  their  mother  with  the 
greatest  care,  the  male  having  deserted  her  after  incubation 
commenced.  In  the  end  of  October  numbers  arrive  in  Britain 
from  other  countries,  many  remaining  during  the  winter. 
Those  which  harbour  in  the  southern  parts  return  northward 
by  the  end  of  April. 

Young. — In  their  first  winter,  the  young  of  both  sexes 
resemble  the  female,  having  the  colours  of  the  plumage  as 
well  as  the  crest  similar,  the  males  distinguishable  from  the 
females  only  by  their  greater  size. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — In  its  second  year,  the 
male  is  still  similar  to  the  female,  with  the  exception  of  hav¬ 
ing  the  breast  of  a  beautiful  pinkish-huff,  as  in  the  adult,  the 
sides  under  the  wings  partially  marked  with  grey  lines,  the 
smaller  wing-coverts  of  a  paler  grey,  the  white  secondary 
coverts  greyish-black  at  the  base,  and  grey  at  the  end.  At 
the  next  change  the  plumage  is  completed. 

Remarks. — It  was  long  supposed  that  the  young  males 
and  the  females  of  this  bird  formed  a  distinct  species,  to 
which  the  names  of  Mergus  Castor  and  Dun  Diver  were 
given.  It  is  certainly  very  extraordinary  to  find  an  adult 
male  with  a  crest  broad  and  comparatively  short,  while  in 
the  females,  and  even  the  young  of  both  sexes,  it  is  narrow 
and  elongated.  But  repeated  observations  and  dissections 
lead  to  the  conclusion  that  the  Dun-Diver  and  Merganser  are 
specifically  identical. 

The  female  of  Merganser  Castor  may  he  distinguished 
from  that  of  Merganser  Senator  hv  attending  to  the  following 


BUFF-BREASTED  GOOSANDER. 


215 


circumstances  : — The  female  of  Merganser  Castor  is  consider¬ 
ably  larger,  with  the  bill  thicker  in  proportion  to  its  length, 
and  especially  at  the  base.  The  crest-feathers  of  the  former 
are  not,  as  in  the  latter,  shorter  in  the  middle,  and  longer  at 
the  fore  and  hind  parts.  The  grey  of  the  back  is  uniform, 
and  the  white  wing-spot  entire,  in  Merganser  Castor,  while  in 
Merganser  Serrator  the  back  is  brownish-grey,  and  the  white 
wing-spot  crossed  by  a  black  band. 


216 


MERGANSER  SERRATOR.  THE  RED-BREASTED 

GOOSANDER. 

RED-BREASTED  MERGANSER.  HARLE.  EARL-DUCK.  SIOLTE. 

Mergus  Serrator.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  L  208. 

Mergus  Serrator.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  829. 

Red-breasted  Merganser.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Harle  huppe.  Mergus  Serrator.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  884. 
Red-breasted  Merganser.  Mergus  Serrator.  Selby,  Illustr.  Brit.  Ornith.  II. 
379. 

Mergus  Serrator.  Red-breasted  Merganser.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  249. 
Merganser  Serrator.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  59. 


Male  twenty-four  inches  long ,  with  a  longitudinal  crest  of 
linear  feathers,  of  which  two  separate  tufts  are  longer  than  the 
rest ;  the  hill  and  feet  red  ;  the  head  and  upper  neck  greenish- 
black  ;  the  hack  black  before,  grey  with  dusky  lines  behind ; 
the  middle  fore-neck  light-red,  streaked  with  dusky  ;  breast 
and  abdomen  pure  white  ;  sides  and  hind  part  of  back  undu¬ 
lated  with  dark-grey  lines  ;  a  white  patch  on  the  icing,  includ¬ 
ing  the  smaller  icing -coverts,  with  two  transverse  black  bands. 
Female  with  the  crest  smaller ;  the  bill  and  feet  of  a  duller 
tint  ;  the  head  and  upper  neck  light  reddish-brown  ;  the 
throat  whitish  ;  the  lower  neck  brownish-grey  ;  the  feathers 
edged  with  white;  the  breast  and  abdomen  white;  the  sides 
grey ;  the  feathers  edged  with  paler  ;  the  white  patch  on  the 
wing  as  in  the  male,  but  not  extending  to  the  smaller  wing- 
coverts,  which  are  grey,  and  thus  having  only  one  dark  band. 
Young  similar  to  the  female,  but  more  brown  above. 

Male  in  Winter. — This  species,  not  very  fitly  named 
the  Red-breasted  Merganser,  the  lower  part  of  its  neck, 
which  is  reddish  and  streaked  with  black,  having  been  mis¬ 
taken  for  its  breast,  which  is  pure  white,  is  inferior  in  size  to 
the  Buff-breasted  Merganser,  or  Goosander,  and  of  a  more 


RED-BREASTED  GOOSANDER. 


217 


slender  form.  The  body  is  elongated,  depressed,  and  tapering 
at  both  ends ;  the  neck  rather  long,  thick  below,  and  much 
contracted  above  ;  the  head  rather  large,  oblongo-ovate,  nar¬ 
rowed  and  compressed  anteriorly. 

The  bill  is  about  the  length  of  the  head,  nearly  straight, 
being  but  slightly  rearcuate,  slender,  tapering,  cylindrical 
toward  the  end,  but  higher  than  broad  at  the  base.  The 
upper  mandible  with  its  dorsal  line  gently  decimate  to  the 
middle,  then  straight  or  slightly  ascending  to  the  unguis, 
which  is  elliptical,  convex,  and  decurved,  the  ridge  broad  and 
flattened  at  the  base,  convex  in  the  rest  of  its  extent,  the 
nasal  sinus  oblong,  basal,  with  a  groove  running  from  its 
anterior  end  to  the  side  of  the  unguis,  the  limbs  slender,  con¬ 
vex,  the  edges  with  thirty-two  narrow,  tapering,  acuminate, 
dentiform  lamellae,  directed  backwards.  The  lower  mandible 
slender,  with  the  intercrural  space  very  long,  pointed,  ante¬ 
riorly  a  mere  groove,  the  crura  with  their  lower  outline  gentlv 
rearcuate,  the  sides  convex,  longitudinally  grooved  toward 
the  margin,  the  unguis  elliptical,  convex,  the  edges  inclinate, 
with  about  forty-five  compressed  serriform  lamellae,  much 
smaller,  and  directed  less  backwards  than  the  upper. 

The  mouth  is  dilatable  to  an  inch  and  a  half.  The  palate 
is  flat,  anteriorly  with  a  median  ridge,  and  on  each  side  a 
series  of  small,  acute  lamellae,  separated  by  a  groove  from 
those  of  the  margin.  The  tongue,  an  inch  and  nine-twelfths 
in  length,  is  fleshy,  tapering,  with  two  series  of  acute  reversed 
papillae  above,  and  a  double  series  of  bristly  filaments  on  the 
sides.  The  oesophagus,  twelve  inches  and  a  half  in  length,  is 
very  wide,  having  an  average  diameter  of  an  inch  and  a  half 
along  the  neck,  an  inch  in  entering  the  thorax,  and  after¬ 
wards  nearly  an  inch  and  a  half.  The  proventriculur  part  is 
two  inches  long,  its  glandules  cylindrical  and  very  numerous, 
from  two-twelfths  to  three-twelfths  in  length,  forming  a  belt 
an  inch  and  a  half  in  breadth.  The  stomach  is  rather  small, 
being  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length,  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths 
in  breadth,  of  a  roundish  form,  compressed,  with  moderately- 
developed  muscles,  a  quarter  of  an  inch  thick  ;  the  tendons 
very  large,  being  ten-twelfths  in  breadth,  and  seven-twelfths 
in  length  ;  the  inner  coat  thick  and  irregularly  rugous.  The 


218 


MERGANSER  SERRATOR. 


intestine  is  five  feet  long,  from  five-twelfths  to  three-twelfths 
in  width.  The  coeca  are  oblong,  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length. 
The  rectum  is  five  and  a  half  inches  in  length,  its  cloacal 
dilatation  an  inch  and  three-fourths  in  width. 

The  trachea,  which  is  about  eleven  inches  in  length,  when 
moderately  extended,  is  at  first,  for  two  inches  and  a  quarter, 
nearly  four-twelfths  in  width,  hut  then  expands  into  an  oblong 
dilatation  three  inches  long,  and  ten-twelfths  in  breadth,  after 
which  it  contracts  to  less  than  three-twelfths,  enlarges  a  little 
to  nearly  four-twelfths  and  a  half,  and  so  continues  to  the 
tympanum.  The  number  of  rings  is  an  hundred  and  fifty,  of 
wrhich  twenty-eight  at  the  lower  part  are  very  broad  behind, 
and  very  narrow  before.  The  form  of  the  enormous  dilata¬ 
tion  differs  from  that  of  the  Merganser.  Several  of  the  lower 
rings  unite  and  become  enlarged,  passing  nearly  in  the 
median  line  ;  hut  there  are  tw  o  tympaniform  expansions,  one 
on  the  right  side,  writh  two  membranes,  another  on  the  left 
with  one  large  membrane.  The  bronchi,  short  and  wide, 
with  twenty  half-rings,  come  off  at  the  distance  of  ten-twelfths 
from  each  other,  the  right  longer  than  the  left.  The  greatest 
length  of  the  tympanum  is  two  inches,  the  greatest  breadth 
an  inch  and  a  half. 

The  nostrils  are  oblong,  two-twelfths  and  a  half  in  length, 
sub-basal,  lateral,  pervious.  The  eyes  small,  two-tw'elfths 
and  a  half  in  breadth.  The  aperture  of  the  ear  scarcely  one- 
twelfth  across.  The  feet,  which  are  short  and  strong,  are 
placed  far  behind.  The  tibia  is  bare  for  a  quarter  of  an  inch. 
The  tarsus  very  short,  much  compressed,  anteriorly  with  a 
series  of  twenty-five  rather  small,  narrow  scutella,  and  about 
twelve  external,  the  sides  reticulated  with  small  flat  scales. 
The  first  toe  is  very  small,  elevated,  arched,  with  twelve 
scutella,  and  a  lobiform  membrane  ;  the  second  toe  about  half 
an  inch  shorter  than  the  third,  with  thirty-five  oblique  scu¬ 
tella  ;  the  third  forty-two  ;  the  fourth  of  about  the  same 
length,  with  forty-six  scutella ;  the  second  toe  with  a  two- 
lobed  membrane,  the  outer  with  a  thick  margin  ;  the  interdi¬ 
gital  membranes  reticulated,  with  concave  margins.  The 
hind  claw  very  small,  curved,  compressed,  the  rest  small, 
compressed,  convex,  obtuse,  that  of  the  third  toe  depressed. 


RED-BREASTED  GOOSANDER. 


219 


The  plumage  is  full,  close,  and  firm  ;  the  feathers  curved  ; 
those  of  the  head  linear,  soft,  glossy,  with  velvety  texture  ; 
on  the  crown  elongated  into  a  longitudinal  crest  of  linear 
feathers  with  disunited  filaments,  two  tufts  more  elongated 
than  the  rest,  the  longest  three  inches  and  a  quarter  in 
length.  The  feathers  of  the  upper  parts  are  generally  broad, 
of  the  lower  narrow,  all  rounded  and  blended.  The  lower 
surface  is  glossy,  as  in  the  Grebes  and  many  Ducks.  The 
wings  are  short,  convex,  of  moderate  breadth,  and  pointed, 
of  twenty-seven  quills.  The  primaries  tapering,  stiff,  the 
first  longest,  the  rest  rapidly  diminishing ;  the  secondaries 
sixteen,  the  outer  broad,  incurved,  rounded,  the  inner  long 
and  tapering.  There  are  six  humerals,  and  the  scapulars 
are  long  and  tapering.  The  tail  is  very  short,  much  rounded, 
and  emarginate,  of  eighteen  tapering  feathers,  of  which  the 
lateral  are  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths  shorter  than  the  medial. 

The  bill  is  deep  vermilion,  with  the  ridge  somewhat 
dusky,  the  unguis  pale  yellowish-grey.  The  iris  blood-red. 
The  feet  deep  vermilion  externally,  paler  internally,  the 
webs  of  a  duller  tint,  the  claws  light  grey.  The  head  is 
black,  its  sides  glossed  with  green  ;  its  upper,  lower,  and 
hind  parts  tinged  with  purplish-blue.  A  band  of  black  runs 
down  the  hind-neck ;  a  broad  band  of  white  across  the 
narrow  part  of  the  neck ;  the  lower  part  of  the  neck  ante¬ 
riorly  and  laterally  is  light  red,  streaked  and  undulated  with 
brownish-black.  The  lower  parts  of  the  body  are  glossy 
white,  with  a  faint  tinge  of  cream-colour ;  the  sides  under 
the  wings,  the  outer  tibial  feathers,  and  the  lateral  inferior 
tail-coverts,  minutely  undulated  with  black.  The  axillars 
and  lower  wing-coverts  white,  the  larger  grey.  The  lower 
part  of  the  neck  behind,  and  the  fore  part  of  the  back,  glossy 
black.  A  tuft  of  large  feathers  anterior  to  the  shoulder- 
joint  white,  with  broad  black  margins.  The  inner  long  sca¬ 
pulars  purplish-black,  the  outer  white.  The  upper  wing- 
coverts  are  brownish-grey,  but  the  larger  are  white,  forming 
a  transverse  patch  of  that  colour.  The  alula,  primary 
coverts,  primaries,  aud  four  outer  secondaries  are  blackish- 
brown,  as  are  the  outer  four  secondary  coverts ;  the  rest  of 
the  secondary  quills  and  coverts  are  black  at  the  base,  white 


220 


MERGANSER  SERRATOR. 


toward  the  end,  four  of  the  secondary  quills  having  hlack 
margins ;  but  the  three  inner  secondaries  and  their  coverts 
are  brownish-black.  The  hind  part  of  the  back  is  light  ash- 
grey,  minutely  undulated  with  black  ;  the  tail  brownish- 
grey. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  24y  inches ;  extent  of  wings  30  ; 
wing  from  flexure  9J ;  tail  3f ;  bill  along  the  ridge  2J, 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2^-,  its  height  at  the 
base  -j-j  ;  tarsus  l-j-4 ;  first  toe  T8y,  its  claw  ;  second  toe 
l-j-J,  its  claw  -j%  •  third  toe  2-^-,  its  claw  -fj ;  fourth  toe  2^, 
its  claw 


Female. — The  female  is  considerably  smaller  than  the 
male,  and  has  the  plumage  much  less  variegated.  The 
feathers  of  the  crest  are  shorter,  and  the  tuft  anterior  to  the 
wing-joint  is  wanting.  The  oesophagus  is  twelve  inches  and 
a  half  long ;  the  stomach  an  inch  and  a  half ;  the  intestine 
five  feet,  from  half  an  inch  to  three-twelfths  in  width ;  the 
coeca  an  inch  and  a  half  long.  The  hill  is  dusky  above,  ver¬ 
milion  beneath  and  on  the  edges  ;  the  feet  of  a  paler  tint 
than  in  the  male.  The  head,  and  the  hind  part  and  sides  of 
the  neck  to  half-way  down,  are  light  reddish-brown  ;  the 
throat  greyish-white  ;  the  lower  part  of  the  neck  all  round 
greyish-brown,  the  anterior  feathers  tipped  with  white ;  the 
rest  of  the  lower  parts  pure  white,  excepting  the  sides  under 
the  wings,  and  some  of  the  lower  wing-coverts,  which  are 
brownish-grey.  The  upper  parts  are  brownish-grey,  the 
feathers  edged  with  grey ;  the  smaller  wing-coverts  grey, 
without  the  white  patch  seen  in  the  male.  The  quills  are 
brownish-black,  the  inner  secondaries  tinged  with  grey,  and 
there  are  two  white  patches  formed  by  the  outer  secondaries 
and  their  coverts,  as  in  the  male,  hut  of  less  extent.  The 
hind  part  of  the  back  and  the  tail-feathers  are  dusky  grey. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  22J  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  284  ; 
wing  from  flexure  94  ;  tail  3-^4- ;  hill  along  the  ridge  2^V ; 
tarsus  lT8y ;  middle  toe  2-I52-,  its  claw 

Variations. — Very  considerable  differences  as  to  size 
occur  in  both  sexes.  The  digestive  organs  vary  several 


RED-BREASTED  GOOSANDER. 


221 


inches  in  length  in  the  same  sex.  The  males,  when  full- 
grown,  vary  little  in  colour,  and  the  same  may  he  said  of  the 
females ;  hut  the  former  change  colour  in  summer,  like  many 
Ducks.  The  lower  parts  are  sometimes,  especially  in  rather 
young  males,  of  a  fine  ochraceous  tint,  richest  in  winter  and 
spring,  and  fading  in  summer. 

Habits. — The  summer  residence  of  this  species  is  in  the 
northern  parts  of  both  continents,  from  the  colder  temperate 
regions  to  the  borders  of  the  polar  ice.  In  winter  it  advances 
southward,  in  America  as  far  as  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  and  in 
Europe  to  the  coasts  of  France,  as  well  as  to  Switzerland  and 
Italy.  It  seems,  therefore,  somewhat  strange  that  in  Eng¬ 
land  it  is  of  rare  occurrence  at  that  season  in  the  southern 
districts,  while  in  the  firths  and  lakes  of  Scotland  it  is  not 
uncommon.  In  the  latter  country  it  is  generally  dispersed, 
but  in  summer  is  not  met  with  to  the  south  of  the  Moray 
Firth  on  the  eastern  side,  or  to  that  of  the  Clyde  on  the 
western.  In  winter  it  betakes  itself  chiefly  to  streams  and 
lakes,  resorting  to  the  sea  when  they  are  frozen,  and  in  sum¬ 
mer  it  seems  to  prefer  the  same  situations,  although  it  may 
often  be  seen  on  the  sea.  In  the  outer  Hebrides,  in  March, 
April,  and  part  of  May,  and  again  in  autumn,  I  have  seen 
very  large  flocks  in  the  small  sandy  bays,  fishing  day  after 
day  for  sand-eels.  They  sit  in  the  water  much  in  the  manner 
of  the  Cormorants,  but  without  sinking  so  deep,  unless  when 
alarmed,  and  advance  with  great  speed.  It  is  a  pleasant 
occupation  to  an  idle  scholar  or  wandering  ornithologist  to 
watch  one  of  these  flocks  as  it  sweeps  along  the  shores.  I 
have  many  times  engaged  in  it,  both  with  the  desire  of  shoot¬ 
ing  some  of  them,  and  of  studying  their  manners,  which  are 
very  graceful.  You  may  suppose  us  to  be  jammed  into  the 
crack  of  a  rock,  with  our  hats  off,  and  we  peeping  cunningly 
at  the  advanced  guard  of  the  squadron  which  is  rounding  the 
point  at  no  great  distance.  There  they  glide  along,  and  now, 
coming  into  shallow  water,  they  poke  their  heads  into  it, 
raise  them,  and  seem  to  look  around,  lest  some  masked  bat¬ 
tery  should  open  upon  them  unawares.  Now  one  has  plunged 
with  a  jerk,  another,  one  here,  one  there,  at  length  the  whole 


222  MERGANSER  SERRATOR. 

flock.  Now  start  up,  and  if  you  wish  a  shot,  run  to  the 
waters’  edge  and  get  down  among  the  sea-weed  behind  a  stone, 
while  I  from  this  eminence  survey  the  submersed  flock. 
How  smartly  they  shoot  along  under  the  water,  with  par¬ 
tially  outspread  wings,  some  darting  right  forward,  others 
wheeling  or  winding,  most  of  them  close  to  the  sandy  bottom, 
but  a  few  near  the  surface.  Some  flounders,  startled  by  the 
hurricane,  shoot  right  out  to  sea,  without  being  pursued. 
But  there,  one  is  up,  another,  and  I  must  sink  to  repose  in 
some  hole.  How  prettily  they  rise  to  the  surface,  one  here, 
another  there,  a  whole  covey  at  once  emerging,  and  all  with¬ 
out  the  least  noise  or  splutter.  But  they  are  far  beyond  shot 
range.  However,  having  come  near  the  next  rocky  point, 
they  now  turn,  dive  in  succession,  and  will  scour  the  little 
bay  until  arising  here  at  hand  they  will  be  liable  to  receive  a 
salute  that  will  astonish  them.  A  whole  minute  has  elapsed, 
half  another ;  but  now  one  appears,  two,  many,  the  whole 
flock  ;  and  into  the  midst  of  them  pours  the  duck  shot,  while 
the  noise  of  the  explosion  seems  to  roll  along  the  hill  side. 
In  a  twinkling  all  are  down,  save  six  that  float  on  the  water, 
four  dead,  one  spinning  round,  and  the  other  striving  in  vain 
to  dive.  In  less  than  two  minutes  they  are  seen  emerging, 
more  than  a  quarter  of  a  mile  out  at  sea,  and  presently 
again  they  are  out  of  sight.  On  such  occasions,  they  sel¬ 
dom  fly. 

In  the  middle  of  May,  having  paired,  they  disperse,  betak¬ 
ing  themselves  to  the  lakes  and  pools,  but  some  also  to  the 
little  sea-islands.  The  nest  is  placed  among  the  grass  or 
heath,  near  the  edge  of  the  water,  and  is  composed  of  withered 
herbage,  not  very  neatly  arranged,  but  lined  with  the  down 
which  the  female  plucks  from  her  breast.  The  eggs,  from 
five  to  ten,  are  of  a  regular  oval  form,  cream-coloured,  or  very 
pale  buff,  averaging  two  inches  and  a-half,  by  an  inch  and 
three-fourths  ;  but  they  vary  considerably  in  size.  When  in¬ 
cubation  has  commenced,  the  male,  having  nothing  to  engage 
his  attention,  and  feeling  no  desire  to  help  his  mate,  leaves 
her,  and  joins  his  fellows,  or  goes  a-fishing  by  himself.  The 
female,  meanwhile,  sits  very  assiduously,  so  as  to  allow  a  per¬ 
son  to  advance  very  close  to  her  before  rising  ;  and,  having  at 


RED -BREASTED  GOOSANDER. 


223 


length  accomplished  her  task,  helps  her  young  ones  from  the 
shells,  and  presently  takes  them  with  her  to  the  water,  where 
they  swim  and  dive  as  expertly  as  if  it  were  their  native 
element. 

This  bird  flies  with  rapidity,  in  the  manner  of  a  duck,  its 
wings  whistling  as  it  speeds  along.  It  is  very  shy,  vigilant, 
and  active,  so  that  the  only  good  chance  one  has  of  shooting 
it  on  the  water,  is  either  when  it  is  floating  with  its  head 
below,  or  just  as  it  emerges  after  diving.  Its  flesh,  however, 
is  not  in  request,  being  tough,  oily,  and  with  what  is  called  a 
Ashy  flavour.  On  ordinary  occasions,  it  rises  from  the  water 
at  a  very  low  angle,  striking  the  surface  with  its  feet  and 
wings,  hut  it  is  able  also  to  spring  up  directly  either  from  the 
ground  or  from  the  water.  Its  food  consists  of  fishes  of 
various  kinds,  sand-eels,  podleys,  fresh- water  eels,  and 
trouts. 

The  moult  takes  place  from  the  middle  of  summer  to  the 
middle  of  autumn.  The  males  after  leaving  the  females 
undergo  a  change  of  plumage,  which  assimilates  them  in 
some  measure  to  them ;  but  in  this  state  I  have  not  observed 
them.  Nor  have  I  taken  note  of  the  young  birds  in  their 
down  covering,  in  which  condition  they  are,  however,  de¬ 
scribed  by  Mr.  Audubon : — “  When  about  a  fortnight  old, 
the  young,  such  as  I  found  them  in  Labrador,  are  entirely 
covered  with  soft  down,  which  is  dusky  reddish-brown  on  the 
head  and  hind  neck,  greyisli-brown  on  the  back,  with  three 
white  patches  on  each  side,  one  terminating  the  wing,  another 
a  little  behind  it,  the  third,  which  is  larger,  behind  the  leg; 
the  lower  parts  greyish-white ;  a  white  band  from  the  eve  to 
the  bill,  a  reddish-brown  band  under  the  eve  and  alone:  the 
side  of  the  neck.” 

In  Ireland  it  is  also  indigenous,  though  “  the  numbers 
are  greatly  increased  in  winter  by  migration  from  the 
north.” 

Young. — When  fledged,  the  young  are  similar  to  the 
adult  female ;  but  have  the  bill  and  feet  duller,  the  iris  yel¬ 
low,  the  throat  dotted  with  light  red,  the  brownish-red  of  the 
neck  less  extended,  and  most  of  the  feathers  tipped  with 


224 


MERGANSER  SERRATOR. 


whitish,  the  lower  fore  neck  of  a  lighter  tint,  and  the  upper 
parts  darker  with  less  grey. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — M.  Temminck  states, 
that  “  at  the  age  of  one  year,  the  young  males  have  the  upper 
parts  varied  with  blackish,  the  neck  and  head  still  retaining 
their  reddish  tints,”  and  several  authors  assert  that  when 
two  years  old  they  acquire  the  fully-coloured  plumage  of  the 
adult. 


225 


MERGANSER  CUCULLATUS.  THE  HOODED 

GOOSANDER. 

HOODED  MERGANSER. 

Mergus  cucullatus.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  207. 

Mergus  cucullatus.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  830. 

Hooded  Merganser.  Mergus  cucullatus.  Audubon  Orn.  Biog.  III.  246,  v. 

619. 

Harle  couronne.  Mergus  cucullatus.  Temm.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  IV.  557. 

Hooded  Merganser.  Mergus  cucullatus,  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  383. 

Mergus  cucullatus.  Hooded  Merganser.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  249. 

Mergus  cucullatus.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  59. 

Male  with  the  hill  nearly  as  long  as  the  head ,  an  inch  and 
three- fourths  in  length ,  three-twelfths  in  breadth  behind  the 
unguis  ;  a  large  longitudinal  compressed  scmicircxdar  black 
crest ,  with  an  angular  patch  of  ichite  behind ;  head,  upper 
neck,  hind  part  of  lower,  and  the  greater  part  of  the  back, 
black ;  lower  fore-neck  and  breast  white ;  two  transverse 
curved  lines  on  each  side  before  the  wing ;  sides  yellowish- 
brown,  finely  undulated  with  black  ;  primary  quills  and 
coverts  brownish-black  ;  outer  secondary  quills  and  coverts 
greenish-black,  white  toward  the  end ;  ijmer  white,  with  black 
margins.  Female  with  the  crest  smaller  and  decurved ;  the 
upper  part  of  the  head  reddish-brown  ;  cheeks  and  upper  neck 
greyish-broicn  ;  throat  greyish-white  ;  lower  part  of  neck  grey  ; 
back  blackish-brown  /  wings  without  white  on  the  inner  secon¬ 
daries  ;  lower  parts  greyish-white ;  the  sides  dusky  brown. 
Young  similar  to  the  female,  more  tinged  ivith  brown  above, 
and  faintly  barred  with  grey  beneath. 

Male  in  Winter. — Tlie  Hooded  Goosander,  scarcely 
inferior  in  beauty  to  the  Pied  Smew,  and  slightly  exceeding 
it  in  size,  is  precisely  similar  to  that  species  in  form,  hut  with 

VOL.  v.  Q 


226 


MERGANSER  CUCULLATUS. 


the  bill  longer  and  more  attenuated,  and  thus  agreeing  better 
with  that  of  the  Mergansers.  Its  body  is  oblong,  full,  much 
depressed  ;  the  neck  of  moderate  length  ;  the  head  rather 
large,  oblong,  and  compressed. 

The  hill  is  about  the  same  length  as  the  head,  straight, 
slender,  considerably  higher  than  broad  at  the  base,  tapering, 
and  becoming  nearly  cylindrical  beyond  the  nostrils  ;  the 
upper  mandible  with  its  dorsal  line  gently  decimate  for  half 
its  length,  then  direct,  on  the  unguis  suddenly  decurved,  the 
ridge  broad  and  flattened  at  the  base,  gradually  narrowed, 
toward  the  end  convex,  the  sides  with  a  faint  groove  near  the 
margin,  less  distinct  than  in  the  Mergansers,  hut  more  so 
than  in  Mergus  albellus,  the  edges  marginate,  straight,  with 
about  thirty  short,  oblique,  dentiform  lamellse,  of  which  the 
outer  ends  are  rather  broad  and  abrupt,  and  project  conside¬ 
rably,  the  unguis  elliptical,  convex,  much  decurved,  the 
nasal  sinus  oblong,  suh-hasal,  covered  by  the  soft  membrane 
of  the  hill ;  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural  space  very 
long,  extremely  narrow,  and  partially  hare,  the  crura  slender, 
with  their  outlines  straight,  the  sides  convex,  grooved  above, 
the  margins  with  about  twenty-five  distinct  dentiform  la¬ 
mella),  and  an  anterior  nearly  continuous  plate,  with  fifteen 
grooves,  the  unguis  ovato-triangular,  convex  in  both  direc¬ 
tions. 

The  mouth  is  narrow,  measuring  seven- twelfths  and  a 
half  across.  The  palate  is  flat,  as  is  the  anterior  part  of  the 
roof  of  the  mouth,  on  which,  besides  a  median  ridge,  are  two 
longitudinal  series  of  slender  oblique  lamellae,  independently 
of  the  dentiform  laminae  of  the  margin.  The  tongue  is  fleshy, 
slender,  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length,  with  two  rows  of 
reversed  horny  papillae  above,  and  on  each  side  two  series  of 
bristly  filaments.  The  oesophagus,  seven  inches  and  a  quarter 
in  length,  an  inch  in  width  along  the  neck,  but  considerably 
enlarged  within  the  thorax,  has  the  walls  thick,  with  distinct 
muscular  fibres  ;  the  proven tricular  belt  of  very  small  cylin¬ 
drical  glandules,  an  inch  and  a  quarter  in  breadth.  The 
stomach  is  muscular,  being  a  gizzard  of  moderate  strength, 
an  inch  and  a  half  in  length,  an  inch  and  a  third  in  breadth, 
with  the  lateral  muscles  seven-twelfths  thick ;  the  epithelium 


HOODED  GOOSANDER. 


227 


dense,  and  forming  two  flat  grinding  plates.  The  intestine  is 
four  feet  three  inches  long,  from  three-twelfths  and  a  half  to 
two-twelfths  and  three-fourths  in  width  ;  the  coeca  nine- 
twelfths  long,  and  two-twelfths  in  width.  The  rectum  is 
three  inches  long,  five-twelfths  wide  at  first,  but  dilating  into 
a  globular  sac,  an  inch  in  width. 

The  trachea,  six  inches  and  a  quarter  in  length,  is  much 
flattened,  at  first  three-twelfths  and  a  half  in  breadth,  then 
contracting  gradually  to  two-and-a-half-twelfths,  but  at  the 
lower  part  of  the  neck  enlarging  to  four- and- a-lialf  twelfths, 
then  assuming  a  trigonal  form,  with  an  anterior  acute  carina. 
The  rings,  an  hundred  and  two  in  number,  are  broad  and 
osseous,  in  the  lower  carinated  part  slender  and  widely  sepa¬ 
rated  ;  but  besides  these,  eight  are  united  to  form  part  of  the 
expansion  on  the  lower  larynx,  which  is  of  an  irregular  form, 
projecting  anteriorly  with  a  rounded  bulge,  and  dilated  on  the 
left  side,  its  greatest  breadth  nine-twelfths  of  an  inch.  The 
bronchi  are  of  moderate  length,  with  about  thirty  half¬ 
rings. 

The  nostrils  are  narrow,  oblong,  three-twelfths  long,  sub- 
medial  near  the  margin ;  the  eyes  small.  The  legs  are  very 
short,  and  placed  far  behind  ;  the  tibia  bare  for  a  quarter  of 
an  inch  ;  the  tarsus  extremely  short,  much  compressed,  with 
about  sixteen  medial  and  six  outer  small  scutella,  the  rest 
reticulated  with  small  angular  scales.  The  hind  toe  very 
small,  slender,  with  a  lobiform  membrane,  and  twelve  scu¬ 
tella  ;  the  second  with  twenty-five  scutella  extending  from 
the  base  to  the  end ;  the  third  with  thirty-two ;  the  fourth 
with  forty  scutella,  and  a  little  shorter  than  the  third,  which 
is  double  the  length  of  the  tarsus  ;  the  outer  interdigital 
membrane  emarginate.  The  claws  small,  arcuate,  com¬ 
pressed,  rather  acute,  the  inner  edge  of  the  third  a  little 
dilated. 

The  plumage  is  full,  soft,  firm,  and  blended.  The  feathers 
of  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  nape  are  elongated,  linear, 
and  erectile,  forming  a  narrow  crest ;  of  the  rest  of  the  head 
and  upper  neck  small ;  of  the  lower  parts  oblong,  firm,  and 
glossy ;  of  the  sides  elongated  and  curved ;  of  the  shoulders 
abrupt  ;  of  the  upper  parts  ovate  ;  the  scapulars  of  moderate 


228 


MERGANSER  CUCULLATUS. 


length.  The  wings  are  very  short,  narrow,  convex,  and 
pointed  ;  the  primaries  stout,  tapering,  pointed,  the  outer  two 
sinuate  on  the  inner  web  toward  the  end,  the  first  longest, 
the  second  scarcely  shorter,  the  rest  rapidly  decreasing ;  the 
secondaries  thirteen,  the  outer  short,  incurvate,  obliquely 
rounded,  the  inner  tapering  and  elongated.  The  tail  short, 
straight,  much  rounded,  of  eighteen  rather  narrow,  obtusely 
pointed  feathers,  of  which  the  outer  is  an  inch  and  a  half 
shorter  than  the  medial. 

The  hill  is  black,  with  the  unguis  whitish.  The  iris 
yellow.  The  feet  yellowish-brown,  the  claws  dusky.  The 
upper  part  of  the  head  is  brownish-black,  with  a  large  patch 
of  white  on  each  side  behind  the  eye,  conspicuous  in  the 
erected  crest ;  the  rest  of  the  head,  the  neck  half-way  down, 
two  semi-lunar  bands  before  the  wings,  and  the  hind  part  of 
the  neck  greenish-black ;  the  upper  parts  of  the  body  brown¬ 
ish-black,  the  tail  greyish-black  ;  the  smaller  wing-coverts 
partly  deep  grey  ;  the  primary  quills  and  their  coverts  brown¬ 
ish-black  ;  the  outer  secondary  quills  and  coverts  greenish- 
black,  toward  the  end  white,  the  inner  white,  with  black 
margins.  The  lower  parts  are  white,  hut  the  sides  finely 
undulated  with  yellowish-brown  and  brownish-black,  and  the 
lower  tail-coverts  are  similarly  marked ;  the  axillars  and 
some  of  the  lower  wing-coverts  white,  the  rest  grey. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  19  inches ;  extent  of  wings  28  ; 
wing  from  flexure  ;  tail  4 J- ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1^-f, 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  1-j-^,  its  height  at  the  base 
-f-z,  its  breadth  behind  the  unguis  ;  tarsus  ;  first 
toe  -j%,  its  claw  -fa ;  second  toe  1-^-,  its  claw  -j3^ ;  third  toe 
1^4,  its  claw  ;  fourth  toe  l^-4>  its  claw  -fe. 

Female. — The  female,  which  is  much  smaller,  has  the 
crest  less  elongated,  and  composed  of  more  slender  feathers 
of  looser  texture.  The  upper  mandible  is  dusky,  with  the 
margins  orange,  and  the  unguis  whitish  ;  the  lower  mandible 
dull  orange,  dusky  near  the  unguis,  which  is  whitish.  The 
feet  are  olivaceous.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  nape 
are  reddish-brown  ;  the  sides  of  the  head,  and  the  upper  half 
of  the  neck  greyish-brown,  but  the  throat  brownish-white. 


HOODED  GOOSANDER. 


220 


The  lower  neck  anteriorly  brownish-grey,  behind  hrown ;  the 
upper  parts  in  general  blackish-hrown,  the  feathers  edged 
with  paler  ;  the  tail  dark  greyish-brown  ;  the  primary  quills 
and  coverts  greyish-brown  ;  the  outer  secondary  quills  broadly 
edged  externally  with  white,  and  their  coverts  with  a  white 
mark  toward  the  end.  The  lower  parts  are  greyish -white, 
the  sides  greyish-brown,  and  the  lower  tail-coverts  marked 
with  the  same. 

The  trachea  of  the  female,  similar  to  that  of  Merganser 
Castor,  is  considerably  flattened,  and  of  nearly  equal  breadth 
throughout,  its  average  width  being  nearly  four-twelfths,  but 
toward  the  end  only  three-twelfths  ;  its  rings  uniform,  slen¬ 
der,  an  hundred  and  fifty  in  number.  At  the  lower  end 
several  rings  are  united,  and  the  large  ring  thus  formed 
dilates  and  bifurcates  below,  forming  two  limbs,  of  which  the 
right  is  longer.  The  bronchi,  which  come  off  at  the  distance 
of  four-twelfths  from  each  other,  are  of  moderate  size,  and 
composed  of  twenty  half-rings. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  17  ;  extent  of  wings  25  ;  bill  along 
the  ridge  1-^  ;  wing  from  flexure  7 5- ;  tail  3J  ;  tarsus  1-j2^ ; 
middle  toe  1^-,  its  claw 

Habits. — The  proper  country  of  this  beautiful  bird  is 
North  America,  where  its  habits  have  been  studied  by  Mr. 
Audubon,  whose  account  of  them  I  here  present  in  an 
abridged  form  : — The  Hooded  Mergansers  arrive  on  the  waters 
of  the  western  and  southern  states  early  in  October,  generally 
later  than  many  species  of  Duck,  hut  sooner  than  the  Goosan¬ 
der  and  Red-breasted  Merganser.  They  prefer  long,  narrow, 
and  moderately  deep  creeks  and  ponds,  and  are  seldom  seen 
on  the  sea-coast.  Their  food  consists  of  small  fishes,  in  pur¬ 
suit  of  which  they  are  extremely  active,  being  most  expert 
divers.  Their  flight  is  also  very  rapid,  and  it  is  difficult  to 
shoot  them  either  when  flying  or  when  on  the  water.  They 
range  throughout  the  whole  United  States  during  winter, 
feeding  in  the  bays  and  estuaries  of  the  eastern  coast,  as  well 
as  in  the  inland  streams,  pools,  and  lakes.  Those  which 
remain  in  summer  breed  in  holes  in  trees,  like  the  Wood 
Ducks,  forming  a  slight  nest  of  a  few  dry  weeds  and  feathers. 


230 


MERGANSER  CUCULLATUS. 


lined  with  a  small  quantity  of  down,  and  laying  from  five  to 
eight  eggs,  an  inch  and  three-fourths  in  length,  an  inch  and 
three-eighths  in  breadth,  and  of  a  reddish-white  colour.  The 
young,  at  first  covered  with  down  of  a  very  dark  brown  tint, 
are  conveyed  to  the  water  by  their  mother,  who  carries  them 
gently  in  her  bill,  without  the  aid  of  the  male,  who  deserts 
her  after  incubation  commences.  Those  which  leave  the 
United  States  set  out  from  the  middle  of  March  to  the  begin¬ 
ning  of  May.  When  migrating,  they  fly  at  a  great  height, 
in  small  loose  flocks,  without  any  regard  to  order.  Their 
notes  are  a  sort  of  rough  grunt,  resembling  the  syllables  croo, 
croo,  and  are  the  same  in  both  sexes.  The  males  at  first 
resemble  the  females,  and  do  not  acquire  the  full  beauty  of 
their  plumage  until  the  third  spring. 

In  only  a  few  instances  this  species  has  been  met  with  in 
Europe.  Mr.  Selby  first  added  it  to  the  British  Fauna, 
“  upon  the  authority  of  a  specimen  that  was  killed  at  Yar¬ 
mouth,  in  Norfolk,  in  the  winter  of  1829,  the  skin  of  which  ” 
he  obtained.  It  appeared  to  be  a  young  female,  and  it  is 
added — “  I  have  been  informed  that  more  instances  have 
occurred,  all  apparently  females,  or  young  males  in  the  garb 
of  that  sex.”  In  Ireland  it  has  once  been  obtained,  at  Dingle 
Bay,  on  the  coast  of  Kerry,  by  Dr.  Chute. 

Young. — When  fledged,  the  young  differ  little  from  the 
adult  female ;  their  colours  being  similar,  but  the  upper 
parts  more  brown,  the  white  on  the  throat  dotted  with 
pale  red,  the  white  of  the  breast  faintly  barred  with  grey, 
and  the  brown  of  the  sides  and  below  the  tail  more  ex¬ 
tended. 

Remarks. — Although  not  much  superior  in  size  to  the 
Smew,  this  species  differs  from  it  in  having  the  bill  longer, 
and  more  slender,  with  the  lamellae  less  numerous,  much 
more  compressed,  and  abruptly  terminated.  Although  these 
lamellae  differ  from  those  of  the  large  Mergansers,  the  Hooded 
may  be  placed  with  them  until  some  species  having  similar 
characters  be  discovered.  Mr.  Selby  states  that  the  number 
of  tail-feathers  in  the  present  species  is  fourteen,  and  others 


HOODED  GOOSANDER. 


231 


that  it  is  sixteen,,  hut  the  true  number  is  eighteen.  The 
account  of  the  digestive  and  respiratory  organs  I  have  derived 
from  the  examination  of  a  male  preserved  in  spirits,  and 
which  I  dissected  for  Mr.  Audubon,  the  notice  in  the  fifth 
volume  of  his  work  being,  like  all  the  anatomical  notices 
there,  exclusively  my  own,  as,  indeed,  is  acknowledged  by 
the  author. 


232 


MERGUS.  SMEW. 

Bill  shorter  than  the  head,  straight,  rather  stout  as  com¬ 
pared  with  that  of  a  Merganser,  rather  slender  compared  with 
that  of  a  Duck,  and  in  fact  combining  the  characters  of  both, 
higher  than  broad  at  the  base,  tapering  to  the  end,  where  it 
is  nearly  cylindrical ;  upper  mandible  with  its  dorsal  line 
decimate  nearly  to  the  unguis,  which  is  oblongo-elliptical 
and  abruptly  decurved,  the  lateral  sinuses  short  and  rounded, 
the  upper  broad  and  rather  angular,  the  ridge  broad  at  the 
base,  gradually  narrowed,  broadly  convex  toward  the  end, 
the  nasal  sinus  oblong,  sub-basal,  the  edges  marginate,  serrate 
with  the  dentiform,  tapering,  slightly  reversed  ends  of  the 
oblique  short  lamella? ;  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural 
space  long,  narrowly-pointed,  but  much  wider  than  in  the 
Mergansers,  the  crura  slender,  nearly  straight,  laterally 
grooved,  their  erect  edges  serrate  with  minute  erect  dentiform 
lamella?,  the  unguis  oblongo-trigonal  and  convex. 

The  mouth  rather  narrow,  hut  dilatable  ;  palate  flat,  roof 
of  upper  mandible  considerably  concave,  with  a  medial  rough- 
ish  ridge,  and  on  each  side  a  series  of  very  small  lamellce, 
separated  by  a  groove  from  the  marginal  series.  Tongue 
rather  slender,  fleshy,  grooved  above,  papillate  at  the  base, 
bristly  above  and  on  the  edges,  the  tip  narrow,  concave,  and 
rounded. 

The  other  characters  are  similar  to  those  of  the  Mer¬ 
gansers  ;  but  the  tail  has  only  sixteen  feathers. 

The  only  species  of  this  genus  known  to  me  is  in  external 
form  almost  as  much  a  Duck  as  a  Merganser,  and,  were  the 
latter  genus  unknown,  would  no  doubt  rank  as  an  “  aberrant” 
Fuligula.  As  its  history  will  be  found  in  the  following- 
pages,  it  is  needless  to  say  more  on  the  present  occasion. 


23.3 


MERGUS  ALBELLUS.  THE  PIED  SMEW. 

SMEW.  WHITE  NUN.  PIED  DIVER.  VARE  WIGEON. 

Mergus  Albellus.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  209. 

Mergus  Albellus.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  831. 

Mergus  minutus.  Linn,  and  Lath.  Young. 

Smew.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Harle  Piette.  Mergus  Albellus.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  887. 

Smew  or  White  Nun.  Mergus  Albellus.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  385. . 

Mergus  Albellus.  Smew.  Jenyns.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  250. 

Mergus  Albellus.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  59. 

Male  with  the  hill  shorter  than  the  head ,  an  inch  and  a 
quarter  in  length,  three-twelfths  and-a-half  in  breadth  behind 
the  unguis  ;  a  decurved  longitudinal  white  crest ;  a.  patch  of 
greenish-black  on  the  fore  part  of  the  cheek,  and  a  band  of  the 
same  along  the  side  of  the  occiput ;  the  neck,  s capillars, 
smaller  wing-coverts,  and  lower  qiarts,  white  ;  the  back  black, 
shaded  into  grey  behind  ;  a  transverse  black  line  on  each  side 
before  the  wing  ;  primary  quills  and  coverts  brownish-black  ; 
secondary  quills  and  coverts  black,  tipped  with  white  ;  scapu¬ 
lars  edged  with  black ;  sides  partly  grey.  Female  with  the 
upper  part  of  the  head,  hind  part  of  checks,  and  nape,  brown¬ 
ish-red  ;  a  blackish-brown  patch  on  the  fore  part  of  the  cheek  ; 
throat  white  ;  lower  part  of  neck  all  round  ash-grey,  darker 
above  ;  back  blackish-grey ,  its  hind  part  and  scapulars  ash- 
grey  ;  wings  as  in  the  male  ;  lotoer  parts  white,  with  the  sides 
partly  grey.  Young  with  the  upper  part  of  the  head,  cheeks, 
and  nape  yellowish-brown ;  the  upper  qrnrts  dark  brownish- 
grey  ;  the  lower  white,  but  with  the  sides,  fore  neck,  abdomen, 
and  lower  tail-coverts  grey,  patched  with  dusky  ;  in  other 
respects  nearly  like  the  female. 

Male  in  Winter. — This  beautiful  bird,  which  is  some- 


234 


MERGUS  ALBELLUS. 


what  larger  than  our  common  Teal,  seems  nearly  as  much 
allied  to  the  Ducks  as  to  the  Mergansers.  Its  body  is  oblong, 
full  and  much  depressed ;  the  neck  of  moderate  length  ;  the 
head  rather  large,  oblong,  and  compressed. 

The  hill  is  rather  shorter  than  the  head,  straight,  rather 
slender,  considerably  higher  than  broad  at  the  base,  tapering, 
and  becoming  nearly  cylindrical  toward  the  end ;  the  upper 
mandible  with  its  dorsal  line  gently  declinate  and  nearly 
straight  to  beyond  the  middle,  then  direct,  abruptly  decurved 
on  the  unguis,  which  is  oblongo-elliptical  and  transversely 
convex,  the  ridge  broad  and  flattened  at  the  base,  gradually 
narrowed,  toward  the  end  convex,  the  edges  marginate,  nearly 
straight,  with  about  forty  short,  oblique  lamellae,  of  which 
the  outer  ends  are  dentiform,  tapering,  and  project  consider¬ 
ably  ;  the  nasal  sinus  oblong,  suh-hasal,  covered  by  the  soft 
membrane  of  the  hill ;  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural 
space  long,  narrowly  pointed,  partially  hare  ;  the  crura  slen¬ 
der,  with  their  lower  outline  straight,  a  little  convex  at  the 
base,  the  sides  convex,  sloping  outwards,  grooved,  the  mar¬ 
gins  with  about  sixty  minute,  erect,  dentiform  lamellae,  the 
unguis  oblongo-triangular,  convex  in  both  directions. 

The  roof  of  the  mouth  is  nearly  flat,  with  a  median  ridge, 
and  on  each  side  a  series  of  very  slender  oblique  lamellae 
besides  the  marginal  plates.  Nostrils  oblongo-elliptical,  two- 
twclftlis  and  a  quarter  in  length,  sub-medial,  near  the  margin. 
Eyes  small.  Legs  very  short,  and  placed  far  behind  ;  tibia 
hare  for  only  a  quarter  of  an  inch ;  tarsus  very  short,  much 
compressed,  with  about  twenty  small  medial,  and  six  outer 
scutella,  the  rest  reticulated  with  small  angular  scales.  The 
hind  toe  very  small,  slender,  with  a  rather  large  lobifonn 
membrane,  and  ten  scutella ;  the  basal  part  of  the  second 
scaly,  its  terminal  part  with  eighteen  scutella  ;  the  third  toe 
a  little  longer  than  the  outer,  and  double  the  length  of  the 
tarsus,  with  forty  scutella ;  the  fourth  with  forty-six.  The 
claws  small,  arcuate,  compressed,  rather  sharp,  the  inner  edge 
of  the  third  a  little  dilated. 

The  tongue,  one  inch  five-twelfths  long,  is  broader  than 
in  the  Mergansers,  fleshy,  papillate  at  the  base,  deeply 
grooved  above,  covered  there  and  on  the  edges  with  reversed 


PIEI)  SMEW. 


235 


short  bristles ;  the  tip  thin,  horny,  and  channelled.  The 
oesophagus,  nine  inches  long,  is  of  moderate  width,  varying 
about  an  inch,  the  proventriculus  an  inch  and  two-twelfths. 
The  stomach  is  a  muscular  gizzard,  of  a  transversely  elliptical 
form,  an  inch  and  four-twelfths  long,  an  inch  and  three- 
fourths  in  breadth,  its  muscles  very  thick,  the  epithelium 
rugous,  with  two  grinding  plates.  The  intestine  very  long, 
of  moderate  width ;  the  coeca  three  inches  in  length,  and 
placed  at  the  distance  of  two  inches  and  a  quarter  from  the 
extremity.  The  contents  of  the  stomach,  in  this  individual, 
grains  of  quartz,  mud,  and  small  seeds.  It  has  been  asserted 
that  this  bird  has  no  coecal  appendages,  but  resembles  the 
herons  in  having  a  single  caput  ccecum  to  the  colon  or  rec¬ 
tum  ;  but  this,  like  many  other  assertions  of  the  “  ornitholo¬ 
gists,”  I  find  incorrect. 

The  trachea  of  a  male  of  this  species,  which  I  have  pre¬ 
pared  from  a  specimen  obtained  in  Edinburgh,  differs  greatly 
from  that  of  the  other  species,  as  well  as  from  those  of  the 
Goosanders.  It  is  nine  inches  in  length ;  for  two  inches  and 
a  half  considerably  flattened  and  very  narrow,  its  average 
breadth  being  only  two-twelfths.  It  then  gradually  enlarges 
to  five-twelfths,  becomes  round,  and  so  continues  to  the  end. 
The  rings,  an  hundred  and  twenty-three  in  number,  are 
rather  broad  and  firm,  gradually  more  so  toward  the  lower 
end.  There,  several  united  rings  form  the  lower  larynx,  of 
which  the  right  side  is  scarcely  enlarged,  being  similar  to 
that  of  the  female  Goosanders ;  but  the  left  expands  continu¬ 
ously  from  the  right  in  front,  into  an  obliquely  ascending 
rounded  bulge,  terminating  behind  in  a  very  thin  and  narrow, 
semi-circular  ridge,  with  two  lateral  membranes,  of  which  the 
posterior  is  largest.  This,  properly  the  tympanum,  commu¬ 
nicates  with  the  larynx  and  gives  off  the  left  bronchus,  at  the 
distance  of  two-thirds  of  an  inch  from  the  other.  The  greatest 
diameter  of  the  dilatation  is  an  inch  and  four- twelfths.  The 
bronchi  are  short,  with  twenty  half-rings.  It  is  pretty  wrell 
described  by  M.  Temminck,  who,  however,  errs  egrcgiously 
in  saying  that  the  tube  of  the  trachea  is  composed  of  “  demi- 
anneaux  qui  alternent,”  he  having  been  deceived  by  the 
manner  in  which  the  rings  lock  into  each  other.  This  I 


236 


MERGUS  ALBELLUS 


have  already  very  correctly  explained  ;  and  to  see  it  in  the 
present  or  in  any  other  instance,  one  has  only  to  hold  the 
extended  trachea  between  him  and  a  strong  light. 

The  plumage  is  full,  soft,  firm,  and  blended.  The  fea¬ 
thers  of  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  nape  are  elongated, 
linear-ohlong,  decurved,  with  disunited  filaments,  forming  a 
gradually  narrowed  crest ;  of  the  rest  of  the  head  and  upper 
neck  small  and  soft ;  of  the  lower  parts  oblong,  firm,  and 
glossy,  of  the  sides  elongated  and  curved ;  of  the  shoulders 
abrupt,  of  the  upper  parts  ovate  ;  the  scapulars  long.  The 
wings  are  short,  rather  narrow,  convex,  and  pointed,  of 
twenty-six  feathers;  the  primaries  stout,  tapering,  pointed, 
the  outer  two  sinuate  on  the  inner  web  toward  the  end,  the 
first  longest,  the  second  almost  equal,  the  rest  rapidly  decreas¬ 
ing  ;  the  secondaries  sixteen,  the  outer  short,  incurvate,  ob¬ 
liquely  abrupt,  the  inner  tapering  to  an  obtuse  point.  The 
tail  short,  straight,  graduated,  of  sixteen  rather  narrow,  ob¬ 
tusely  pointed  feathers,  of  which  the  outer  is  an  inch  and 
two-twelfths  shorter  than  the  medial.  The  wings  when 
closed  reach  to  an  inch  and  three-quarters  from  the  end  of 
the  tail. 

The  hill  is  greyish -blue,  with  the  unguis  greyish -white. 
The  iris  bright  red.  The  feet  light  greyish-blue,  the  webs 
dusky;  the  claws  brown,  lighter  on  the  ridge.  The  elon¬ 
gated  feathers  on  the  head  and  nape  are  white ;  a  broad 
patch  on  the  fore  part  of  the  cheek  and  lore,  continuous  by 
means  of  a  narrow  hand  with  a  patch  bordering  the  crest 
behind,  and  crossing  the  occiput,  greenish-black ;  the  rest  of 
the  head,  throat,  neck,  and  lower  parts  white ;  the  upper 
part  of  the  sides  minutely  undulated  with  ash-grey;  some  of 
the  smaller  wing-coverts  and  the  axillars  white,  the  rest 
grey.  A  narrow  crescentic  band  across  the  lower  hind-neck, 
a  short  transverse  bar  on  each  side  before  the  wing,  the 
middle  of  the  hack,  the  anterior  edge  of  the  wing,  and  the 
outer  edges  of  the  outer  and  inner  webs  of  the  inner  sca¬ 
pulars,  black  ;  the  rest  of  the  scapulars  and  the  smaller 
wing-coverts  white.  The  alula,  primary  coverts,  and  quills 
brownisli-black ;  the  secondary  quills  and  coverts  deep 
greenish-black,  tipped  with  white,  one  of  them  white  on 


PIED  SMEW. 


237 


the  outer  web,  except  the  margin ;  the  inner  four  greyish- 
black.  The  hind  part  of  the  hack  is  gradually  shaded  into 
deep  ash-grey,  of  which  colour  are  the  upper  tail-coverts  and 
the  tail-feathers. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  17J  inches ;  extent  of  wings  27  J ; 
wing  from  flexure  8y  ;  tail  3y ;  hill  along  the  ridge  1^,  along 
the  edge  of  lower  mandible  1^,  its  height  at  the  base  -fc,  its 
breadth  behind  the  unguis  yV ;  tarsus  1^ ;  hind  toe  its 
claw  ^ ;  second  toe  1-^,  its  claw  ;  third  toe  2-Jy,  its 
claw  -fz  l  fourth  toe  2,  its  claw  y\. 

Female. — The  female,  which  is  much  less,  has  the  crest 
considerably  shorter,  and  the  plumage  in  general  more 
blended.  The  bill  is  pale  blue,  with  the  unguis  whitish ; 
the  iris  red ;  the  feet  greyish-blue,  with  a  tinge  of  green, 
and  the  webs  dusky.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the 
hind-neck  nearly  half-way  down  are  brownish-red  ;  the  loral 
space  and  fore  part  of  the  cheek  reddish-black,  its  hind  part 
brown.  The  throat  is  pure  white  half-way  down  ;  the  lower 
neck  all  round  ash-grey,  darker  behind ;  the  rest  of  the 
lower  parts  pure  white,  except  the  upper  part  of  the  sides 
and  some  of  the  lower  wing-coverts,  which  are  ash-grey. 
The  middle  of  the  back  is  greyish-black  ;  the  hind  part, 
sides,  and  the  scapulars  grey,  as  is  the  tail.  The  wings  as 
in  the  male,  but  with  none  of  the  smaller  coverts  dark- 
coloured. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  15 J  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  24; 
bill  along  the  ridge  1-^,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible 
1-^  ;  wing  from  flexure  7-^ ;  tail  3-fe  ;  tarsus  1-^ ;  first  toe 

its  claw  ;  second  toe  1-^,  its  claw  T4y  ;  third  toe  1-f^-, 
its  claw  T4y ;  fourth  toe  ,  its  claw  1a5-. 

Habits. — This  Smew,  which  is  said  to  be  a  native  of  the 
arctic  regions  of  both  continents,  hut  of  much  rarer  occur¬ 
rence  in  America  than  in  Europe,  retires  southward  as  the 
winter  approaches,  appearing  in  great  numbers  in  Germany, 
Holland,  France,  and  Italy,  from  the  middle  of  October  to 
the  end  of  November,  and  returning  in  April.  Considerable 
numbers  also  betake  themselves  to  the  eastern  and  southern 


238 


MERGUS  ALBELLUS. 


parts  of  England ;  but  to  the  north  of  the  Humber  few  are 
met  with,  and  in  Scotland  it  is  everywhere  rare,  and  more 
so  in  the  more  northern  districts.  It  prefers  lakes  and  rivers 
to  the  estuaries  and  open  sea,  to  which  it  resorts  only  during 
severe  frost.  Its  food  is  said  to  consist  exclusively  of  fish, 
for  which  it  dives  with  the  same  dexterity  as  the  Mergansers  ; 
but  its  habits  have  not  been  well  studied  with  us,  on  account 
of  the  few  opportunities  of  seeing  it  alive  that  have  occurred 
to  persons  qualified  to  observe  its  movements  with  any  degree 
of  interest.  I  have  never  met  with  it  on  any  of  my  excur¬ 
sions,  and  have  not  examined  more  than  two  recent  entire 
specimens. 

Montagu  says  “  this  is  by  far  the  most  plentiful  species 
of  Merganser  that  frequents  our  (southern)  coasts  and  fresh 
waters  in  the  winters,  but,  we  believe,  lias  never  been  known 
to  breed  in  this  country.  It  is  naturally  shy,  and  readily 
takes  wing,  being  as  expert  in  air  as  it  is  in  water,  where 
indeed,  if  it  is  surprised,  it  is  with  difficulty  shot,  by  reason 
of  its  incessant  diving.  At  the  time  of  writing  this  account, 
there  are  two  White  Wigeons,  as  the  full-plumed  males  are 
sometimes  called  by  the  natives,  on  a  piece  of  fresh-water 
not  very  distant  from  us,  but  too  wary  to  be  shot.  The 
females  and  young  birds  are  called  in  the  northern  parts  of 
Devonshire  Vare-Wigeon,  from  a  supposed  similitude  to  the 
head  of  a  Weesel,  which  is  denominated  A  are.”  In  Ireland 
it  “  is  much  less  common  than  in  England,  but  more  so  than 
in  Scotland.” 

According  to  M.  Temminck,  it  te  nestles  on  the  borders  of 
lakes  and  rivers,  and  lays  from  eight  to  twelve  whitish  eggs. 

Young. — The  young,  when  they  appear  with  us  in  the 
beginning  of  winter,  are  not  entirely  similar  to  the  adult 
female,  as  has  been  alleged.  One  examined  by  me  in 
January,  1830,  was  as  follows: — 

Bill  bluish-grey ;  feet  pale  greenish-blue,  their  webs 
dusky.  The  upper  part  of  the  head,  including  the  loral 
space,  a  portion  of  the  cheeks,  and  the  occiput,  with  the 
hind  part  of  the  neck  half-way  down,  yellowish-brown.  The 
upper  parts  in  general  ash-grey,  tinged  with  dark  brown. 


PIED  SMEW. 


239 


The  throat,  sides  of  the  head,  and  upper  anterior  and  lateral 
parts  of  the  neck,  pure  white.  The  alula,  primary  coverts, 
and  primary  quills  are  dark  greyish-brown  ;  the  secondary 
quills  greyish-black,  as  are  their  coverts,  both  having  the 
tips  pure  white,  forming  two  hands  across  the  wing.  The 
lower  part  of  the  neck  is  ash-grey,  faintly  spotted  with 
dusky ;  the  sides,  abdomen,  and  lower  tail-coverts  similar ; 
the  breast  silvery-white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  15 J  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  23  f ; 
bill  along  the  ridge  1-^,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible 
It?  >  ''vino  from  flexure  7  ;  tail  2J ;  tarsus  ;  first  toe 
-j^-,  its  claw  ;  second  toe  1  its  claw  ;  third  toe  lii, 
its  claw  TV;  fourth  toe  1-/^,  its  claw 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — After  the  second  autumnal 
moult,  the  males,  according  to  M.  Temminck,  “  are  distin¬ 
guished  by  small  blackish  feathers,  which  form  the  large 
spot  at  the  lateral  part  of  the  bill ;  by  some  whitish  and 
white  feathers  dispersed  over  the  head  and  nape  ;  by  the 
part  of  the  anterior  back  which  is  variegated  with  black  and 
grey  feathers  ;  and  by  the  indications  of  the  two  black  cres¬ 
cents  on  the  sides  of  the  breast.  The  young  of  both  sexes 
have  the  large  wing-coverts  terminated  by  a  large  white 
space,  while  the  old  have  white  only  at  their  tips.”  I  have 
before  me  a  specimen  from  Holland  passing  from  this  to  the 
adult  state,  having  nothing  remaining  but  the  reddish-brown 
feathers  of  the  head  and  hind-neck,  which  are  variegated 
with  white  ;  but  the  smaller  wing-coverts  are  only  partially 
white,  most  of  them  being  ash-grey,  and  the  feathers  of  the 
black  spot  on  the  cheeks  are  very  slightly  edged  with 
whitish.  It  is  not  until  its  third  autumn,  therefore,  that 
the  male  acquires  its  full  plumage. 

Whether  the  male  changes  his  colours  in  summer  I  have 
not  learned. 

Remarks. — The  description  of  the  male  above  given  is 
from  a  specimen,  obtained  fresh  on  the  2nd  of  February, 
1841,  compared  with  others  ;  that  of  the  female  from  a  skin 
in  perfect  plumage.  The  young  birds  which  I  have  had 
opportunities  of  examining  were  in  the  proportion  of  five 
to  one  adult. 


240 


URINATORES.  DIVERS. 

Among  the  Palmipede,  or  truly  aquatic  birds,  are  some, 
■which  feeding  essentially  on  fishes  obtained  in  the  living 
state,  pursue  their  prey  in  its  native  element,  into  which  they 
dive  for  that  purpose,  not  from  on  wing,  but  when  scattered 
on  its  surface,  A  more  appropriate  name  than  that  of  Urina- 
torial  or  Diving  birds,  could  not,  I  think,  be  applied  to  them. 
Certain  other  birds,  as  the  Mergansers,  are  equally  divers, 
and  some  of  themselves  feed  occasionally  on  other  substances 
than  fish  :  hut  such  indications  of  affinity  between  contermi- 
nous  groups  present  themselves  in  every  department  of  organic 
nature,  and  furnish  no  argument  against  the  correctness  of 
the  nomenclature  proposed.  The  general  characters  of  this 
order  may  he  expressed  thus  : — 

Birds  especially  adapted  for  diving  and  swimming  both  in 
and  on  the  water,  and  having  the  body  of  an  elliptical,  more 
or  less  depressed  form  ;  the  neck  strong,  mostly  of  moderate 
length,  often  elongated ;  the  head  oblong,  anteriorly  com¬ 
pressed.  The  hill  is  strong,  tapering,  compressed,  pointed, 
opening  rather  widely,  and  more  or  less  dilatable  at  the  base, 
sharp-edged,  without  lamellae  or  denticulations.  The  tongue 
slender,  trigonal,  and  pointed ;  the  oesophagus  wide,  with 
moderately  thick  parietes,  and  a  large  proventriculus,  having 
a  broad  belt  of  gastric  glandules  ;  the  stomach  rather  large, 
roundish,  with  the  muscular  coat  of  moderate  thickness ;  the 
epithelium  rather  thick  and  rugous ;  the  intestine  long,  and 
rather  wide,  with  coeca  of  moderate  length ;  the  rectum  ending 
in  a  very  large,  globose,  eloacal  dilatation.  The  nostrils  are 
small,  oblong,  and  basal ;  the  eyes  rather  small ;  the  aper¬ 
ture  of  the  ears  very  small.  The  legs  generally  very  short, 
and  much  compressed,  are  placed  very  far  behind,  in  some 
of  them  at  the  extremity  of  the  body,  so  as  to  render  a  nearly 


URINATOllES.  DIVERS. 


241 


erect  attitude  necessary  in  standing,  and  to  make  it  impos¬ 
sible  for  them  to  walk  with  speed,  or  even  with  case.  The 
tibia  is  bare  for  a  very  short  space  only  ;  the  tarsus  in  most 
cases  extremely  compressed  ;  the  toes  four,  all  much  com¬ 
pressed  and  scutellate ;  the  anterior  long,  and  connected  by 
interdigital  membranes  ;  tlie  claws  small,  and  obtuse  or  Rat¬ 
tened.  The  plumage  is  close,  short,  on  the  head  and  neck 
blended ;  on  the  upper  parts  of  the  body  firm  and  compact, 
on  the  lower  short,  and  soft  or  even  silky.  The  wings  small, 
narrow,  and  pointed ;  the  tail  extremely  short. 

Although  some  of  the  species  feed  partly  on  insects,  rep¬ 
tiles,  Crustacea,  and  mollusca,  the  general  regimen  is  piscine. 
They  swim,  dive,  and  shoot  along  in  tbe  water,  using  their 
wings  as  well  as  feet  for  propelling  themselves,  with  wonderful 
address  and  effect.  Their  heavy  body  and  small  wings  render 
it  impracticable  for  them  to  float,  hover,  wind,  or  even  turn 
with  quickness,  in  the  air.  In  flying  to  and  from  their  places 
of  fishing,  repose,  or  breeding,  they  proceed  with  great  rapi¬ 
dity,  in  a  direct  course,  with  quick  and  regular  beats  of  their 
wings.  They  stand  in  an  inclined,  or  nearly  erect  posture, 
walk  very  little,  some  even  being  obliged  to  lie  flat  and  push 
themselves  onward  with  their  feet.  They  nestle  on  the 
ground,  or  on  rocks,  sometimes  deposit  their  eggs  on  the  bare 
surface,  or  lay  them  in  holes,  which  they  dig  for  themselves. 
The  young  of  those  that  nestle  on  the  ground  presently 
betake  themselves  to  the  water,  while  those  produced  in  ele¬ 
vated  places  continue  some  time  in  the  nest.  The  eggs  of 
most  of  them  may  be  eaten,  and  those  of  some  of  them  are 
excellent  as  food ;  but  the  flesh  of  these  fish-eating  divers  is 
dark-coloured,  rank  or  disagreeably  flavoured,  and  not  relished, 
unless  by  those  who  can  procure  nothing  better. 

Four  families  may  be  distinguished  in  this  order.  The 
Podicipince,  or  Grebes,  are  characterized  by  their  silky  plu¬ 
mage,  most  diminutive  tail,  and  the  peculiar  conformation  of 
their  feet,  of  which  the  tarsus  is  nearly  as  thin  as  the  blade  of 
a  knife,  and  the  toes  furnished  with  expanded  lobes  in  place 
of  membranes.  The  Colymbince ,  or  Loons,  have  the  body 
and  neck  elongated ;  the  bill  slender  and  pointed ;  the  tar¬ 
sus  extremely  compressed  ;  but  the  anterior  toes  regularly 

VOL.  v.  R 


242 


URINATORES.  DIVERS. 


webbed.  The  Alcince,  or  Auks,  are  of  a  shorter  form,  with  a 
thicker  neck,  the  bill  much  compressed,  being  expanded  in  a 
vertical  direction  ;  the  hind  toe  wanting ;  the  anterior  toes 
webbed.  The  last  group,  that  of  the  Pelecanince ,  although 
it  presents  a  most  uniform  organization  with  respect  to  the 
digestive  organs,  contains  species  very  different  in  form  and 
habits,  some  of  them  being  adapted  for  swimming  and  diving, 
while  others,  indicating  a  transition  to  the  next  order,  that  of 
the  Mcrsatores,  plunge  from  the  air  into  the  water,  and,  in 
correspondence  with  this  mode  of  procuring  their  food,  have 
larger  wings  and  more  pointed  bills.  These  four  groups, 
however,  are  perfectly  natural  and  intelligible. 

Only  nineteen  species  of  this  order  occur  in  Britain ;  but 
most  of  them  are  extremely  numerous  in  individuals. 

The  most  extraordinary  composition  of  an  order  of  birds 
known  to  me  is  that  of  M.  Temminck’s  Pinnatipedes,  in 
which  are  placed  the  genera  Fulica,  P/i  alar  opus,  and  Podiceps. 


243 


POPICTPINyE. 

GREBES  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


The  Podicipinse,  of  peculiar  aspect,  and  readily  distin¬ 
guishable  from  all  other  birds,  have  the  body  of  an  elliptical 
form,  varying,  however,  in  proportionate  length,  depressed, 
especially  behind,  where  it  forms,  when  the  legs  are  extended, 
a  broad,  thin  edge  ;  the  neck  long  and  slender  ;  the  head 
small,  oblong,  compressed,  gradually  tapering  anteriorly. 

The  bill  is  about  the  length  of  the  head,  slender,  tapering, 
compressed,  and  pointed  ;  the  mouth  dilatable  ;  the  tongue 
slender,  trigonal,  tapering,  with  the  tip  slit ;  the  oesophagus 
wide  ;  the  proventriculus  ovate  or  bulbiform  ;  the  stomach 
rather  large,  roundish,  with  the  muscular  coat  rather  thick  ; 
the  epithelium  longitudinally  rugous  ;  the  intestine  long ; 
the  coeca  rather  long  and  slender  ;  the  cloaca  very  large.  All 
this  indicates  a  piscatory  mode  of  life,  and  the  small  linear  or 
oblong  nostrils,  eyes  of  moderate  size,  and  extremely  narrow 
nasal  apertures,  accord  with  their  diving  habits.  Their  feet 
are  placed  at  the  extremity  of  the  body,  or  rather  the  tibia  is 
covered  by  the  skin  of  the  body,  the  extremely  compressed 
tarsus  only  coming  off  free  ;  the  toes,  webbed  at  the  base,  and 
lobed,  are  so  disposed  that  they  fold  together  into  a  thin 
blade,  which,  in  giving  the  propelling  stroke,  is  expanded 
into  a  broad  lobate  paddle. 

Their  plumage  is  remarkably  soft  and  blended,  on  the 
lower  parts  silky ;  their  wings  small  and  pointed,  with  eleven 
primaries  ;  their  tail  a  mere  tuftlet  of  downy  plumules.  The 
head  and  neck  are  frequently  ornamented  with  crests,  ruffs, 
or  tippets,  which  are  developed  in  spring,  and  disappear  in 
autumn. 


244 


PODICIPIN^E. 


The  other  characters  and  the  modes  of  life  of  these  birds, 
will  he  found  in  the  account  given,  in  the  next  pages,  of  the 
genus  Podiceps. 


SYNOPSIS  OF  THE  BRITISH  GENERA  AND  SPECIES. 

GENUS  I.  PODICErS.  GREBE. 

Bill  slender,  much  compressed,  tapering,  pointed ;  tarsus 
extremely  compressed ;  hind  toe  very  small,  with  tw'o  lateral 
lobes  ;  anterior  toes  long,  obliquely  flattened,  the  outer 
longest,  all  with  lateral  expansions,  and  connected  at  the  base 
by  wrebs ;  claws  small,  depressed  ;  wings  small,  with  eleven 
small  primaries  ;  tail  a  slight  tuft  of  minute  downy  feathers  ; 
head  and  neck  decorated  with  tufts  or  ruffs. 

1.  Podiceps  cristatus.  Crested  Grebe.  About  two  feet 
in  length  ;  the  hill  longer  than  the  head,  carmine-red,  with  the 
tips  yellowish-grey;  a  transverse  occipital  crest,  with  two  more 
elongated  tufts,  and  a  large  ruff  on  the  cheeks  and  fore-neck. 

2.  Podiceps  rubricollis.  liccl-necked  Grebe.  About 
eighteen  inches  long ;  the  hill  an  inch  and  two-tliirds,  black, 
with  the  base  yellow' ;  a  short  transverse  occipital  crest,  with 
twTo  more  elongated  tufts,  and  a  slight  ruff  on  the  cheeks  and 
fore-neck. 

3.  Podiceps  conuitns.  Horned  Grebe.  About  fourteen 
inches  long  ;  the  hill  nearly  an  inch  in  length,  much  shorter 
than  the  head,  black,  with  the  tips  yellow' ;  twro  large  occipital 
tufts  and  an  ample  ruff. 

4.  Podiceps  auritus.  Eared  Grebe.  About  thirteen 
inches  long  ;  the  bill  nearly  an  inch  in  length,  much  shorter 
than  the  head,  depressed  at  the  base,  black,  tinged  with  blue  ; 
two  slight  occipital  tufts,  a  short  ruff,  anti  a  tuft  of  elongated 
feathers  behind  each  eye. 

GENUS  II.  SYLBEOCYCLUS.  DABCIIICK. 

Bill  moderately  stout,  much  compressed,  tapering,  pointed ; 
tarsus  extremely  compressed;  hind  toe  small,  broadly  mar- 


GREBES  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


245 


gined  ;  anterior  toes  long,  obliquely  flattened,  the  outer 
longest,  all  with  lateral  expansions,  and  connected  at  the  base 
by  webs  ;  claws  small,  depressed ;  wings  small,  with  eleven 
small  primaries  ;  tail  a  slight  tuft  of  minute  downy  feathers  ; 
head  and  neck  tuftless. 

1.  Sylbeocyclus  Europceus.  European  Dabchick.  About 
ten  inches  in  length  ;  the  hill  ten- twelfths  long,  black,  with 
the  tips  pale ;  head  and  neck  without  tuft  or  ruff. 


PODICEPS.  GREBE. 


The  Grebes  have  the  body  of  an  elliptical  form,  much 
depressed,  especially  behind,  where  it  presents,  when  the  legs 
are  laterally  extended,  a  broad  thin  edge ;  the  neck  very  long 
and  slender ;  the  head  small,  oblong,  compressed,  gradually 
tapering  forward. 

Bill  rather  long,  slender,  straight,  much  compressed, 
tapering,  pointed ;  upper  mandible  mobile  at  the  base  as  if 
jointed,  with  the  dorsal  line  nearly  straight,  being  slightly 
decimate  and  convex  toward  the  end,  the  ridge  convex,  the 
nasal  groove  basal,  narrow,  and  of  considerable  length,  the 
sides  nearly  erect  and  convex,  the  edges  very  sharp  and  a 
little  inclinate,  the  tip  direct,  rather  acute  ;  lower  mandible 
with  the  intercrural  space  very  long  and  narrow,  partly  bare, 
the  dorsal  line  ascending  and  nearly  straight,  the  crura  with 
their  lower  outline  straight,  the  sides  nearly  erect  and  con¬ 
vex,  the  edges  very  sharp  and  a  little  inclinate,  the  tip  rather 
acute. 

T1  le  mouth,  which  does  not  extend  so  far  back  as  the 
eyes,  is  rather  narrow,  but  dilatable  bv  the  elasticity  of  the 
lower  mandible  ;  the  palate  longitudinally  ridged  ;  the  upper 
mandible  with  a  lateral  groove  in  its  whole  length  on  each 
side,  and  anteriorly  two  other  grooves  ;  the  lower  more  deeply 
concave,  also  with  two  lateral  grooves.  The  tongue  long, 
slender,  fleshy,  trigonal,  nearly  flat  above,  tapering  to  a  slit 
point.  The  oesophagus  is  wide,  with  moderately  thick 
parietes  ;  the  proventriculus  ovate,  with  a  broad  belt  of  large 
cylindrical  glandules.  The  stomach  is  rather  large,  roundish, 
compressed,  with  the  muscular  coat  rather  thick,  but  not 
divided  into  distinct  muscles,  the  tendons  roundish,  the  epi¬ 
thelium  longitudinally  rugous.  The  intestine  is  long  and 


GREBE. 


247 


rather  wide,  with  rather  long  and  slender  coeca,  and  a  very 
large  globular  cloaca. 

Nostrils  basal,  linear-oblong,  in  the  fore  and  lower  part 
of  the  narrow  membrane.  Eyes  rather  small ;  eyelids  fea¬ 
thered  ;  a  bare  space  from  the  eye  to  the  bill.  Aperture  of 
ear  extremely  small. 

The  femur  short,  obliquely  directed  ;  the  tibia  long,  but 
passing  directly  backward,  parallel  to  the  spine,  and  with  its 
muscles  enveloped  by  the  skin  to  near  the  end,  so  that  the 
legs  are  situated  at  the  posterior  extremity  of  the  body ;  tibia 
hare  for  a  very  short  space  ;  tarsus  short,  extremely  com¬ 
pressed,  its  narrow  anterior  ridge  with  small  scutella,  the 
posterior  with  two  series  of  small  prominent  scales  separated 
*>y  a  groove.  The  toes  disposed  so  that  with  their  webs  they 
may  fold  into  a  compressed  paddle,  which  in  swimming  is 
expanded  into  wide-spreading  lobes  ;  the  hind  toe  very  small 
with  two  lateral  lobes,  the  upper  narrow  ;  anterior  toes  long, 
obliquely  Rattened,  the  outer  longest,  all  with  stiffish  lateral 
expansions  marked  above  with  oblique  parallel  lines,  and 
connected  at  the  base  by  webs.  Claws  small,  depressed,  the 
inner  and  outer  narrow,  the  third  expanded,  and  serrulate  to 
the  end. 

Plumage  very  soft  and  blended,  on  the  lower  parts  silky ; 
on  the  neck  and  hind  part  of  the  back  almost  downy,  com¬ 
pact  on  the  fore  part  of  the  back  and  wings ;  the  scapulars 
very  long,  and  decurved  ;  the  feathers  of  the  lower  parts  much 
curved,  very  elastic,  with  the  filaments  separated  and  downy, 
hut  firm.  Wings  small,  appearing  when  folded  extremely 
short,  owing  to  the  comparative  shortness  of  the  hand  ;  pri¬ 
maries  eleven,  small,  the  outer  two  longest ;  secondaries 
twenty,  short,  rounded  ;  humerals  ten.  Tail  a  slight  tuft  of 
minute  downy  feathers  scarcely  distinguishable. 

The  Grebes  are  essentially  diving  piscivorous  birds,  ex¬ 
tensively  distributed,  hut  not  numerous  as  to  species,  inhabit¬ 
ing  chiefly  fresh  water,  but  also  occurring  on  the  sea,  and 
especially  in  estuaries.  They  float  lightly,  hut  can  sink  on 
occasion  so  as  to  present  to  view  only  the  neck  and  head. 
In  swimming  and  diving,  at  which  they  are  extremely  expert, 
their  feet,  being  placed  at  the  posterior  extremity  of  the  body. 


248 


PODICEPS. 


seem  to  render  a  tail  unnecessary,  that  organ  being  reduced 
to  a  diminutive  tuft  of  downy  feathers.  The  extreme  com¬ 
pression  of  the  tarsus,  and  the  arrangement  of  the  toes,  which 
folds  so  as  to  have  little  more  breadth  than  it,  enable  the  foot 
to  be  brought  forward  without  receiving  almost  any  opposi¬ 
tion  from  the  water.  The  tibio-tarsal  joint  is  so  constructed 
that  the  tarsus  when  extended  is  in  a  right  line  with  the 
tibia,  and  on  being  contracted  continues  in  the  same  plane 
until  it  comes  to  form  a  right  angle,  but  then  inclines  more 
and  more  outward,  so  that  it  can  not  only  be  bent  back  so  as 
to  be  parallel  with  the  tibia,  but  to  extend  far  beyond  it,  and 
thus  the  sweep  of  the  paddle  is  very  much  increased,  and  to 
facilitate  this  the  tibia  rotates  on  the  femur.  In  swimming, 
these  birds  propel  themselves  entirely  by  the  feet,  and  in 


Fig.  74. 


diving  never  use  the  wings.  When  molested  they  seldom  rise 
on  wing,  but  escape  by  passing  into  the  water.  They  rise 
heavily,  but  have  a  rather  rapid,  direct  flight,  performed  by 
regular  beats,  and  when  alighting  on  the  water,  come  down 
with  great  force,  gliding  along  its  surface  until  the  niomen- 


GREBE. 


249 


turn  is  overcome.  This  probably  arises  from  their  want  of 
tail,  the  great  size  of  which  in  birds  of  prey  and  others  en¬ 
ables  them  to  alight  without  receiving  any  shock.  It  would 
appear  that  a  Grebe  cannot  alight  on  land,  at  least  on  its 
feet,  and  that  it  even  stands  with  difficulty,  generally  apply¬ 
ing  the  tarsus  to  the  ground. 

They  feed  chiefly  on  fish,  but  also  on  insects,  reptiles, 
mollusca,  and  sometimes  seeds.  It  is  very  remarkable  that 
all  of  them  employ  feathers,  apparently  their  own,  for  the 
purpose  of  aiding  digestion.  They  nestle  among  reeds, 
sedges,  and  other  aquatic  plants,  forming  a  bulky  nest,  and 
laying  from  three  to  five  or  six  oval,  white  eggs.  The  young, 
covered  with  down,  immediately  betake  themselves  to  the 
water.  The  moult  takes  place  in  summer  and  autumn. 
Adults  have  the  head  and  neck  ornamented  with  elongated 
feathers,  which  are  produced  in  spring  and  fall  in  autumn. 
The  prevailing  colours  are  dusky  or  blackish-grey  on  the 
upper  parts,  silvery  white  beneath.  Their  flesh  is  remark¬ 
ably  dark-coloured,  disagreeably  flavoured,  and  unfit  for  food. 
The  silvery  white  plumage  of  their  lower  parts  is  used  for 
tippets. 


250 


PODICEPS  C  III  STATUS.  THE  CRESTED  GREBE. 

GREATER  CRESTED  GREBE.  TIPPET  GREBE.  CRESTED  DUCKER.  GAUNT. 

CARGOOSE. 

Colymbus  cristatus.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  222. 

Colymbus  Urinator.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  223.  Young. 

Podiceps  cristatus.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornitb.  II.  780. 

Crested  Grebe.  Mont.  Ornitb.  Diet. 

Grebe  huppe.  Podiceps  cristatus.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  717. 
Crested  Grebe.  Podiceps  cristatus.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  394. 

Podiceps  cristatus.  Great  Crested  Grebe.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  251. 
Podiceps  cristatus.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  Go. 


Male  about  twenty-four  inches  in  length,  with  the  bill  two 
i Inches  long,  slender,  compressed,  carmine,  the  ridge  dusky,  the 
tips  yellowish-grey ;  a  transverse  occipital  crest,  with  two  more 
elongated  tufts,  and  a  large  ruff  on  the  cheeks  and  fore  neck; 
the  upper  parts  greyish-black,  the  lower  silvery-white,  the  ruff 
light  red  anteriorly,  black  behind,  the  sides  of  the  body  reddish- 
brown,  most  of  the  secondary  quills,  the  humerals,  and  anterior 
edge  of  the  wing  white.  Female  smaller,  similar  to  the  male, 
but  with  the  tufts  and  ruff  shorter.  Young  without  crest  or 
ruff,  dusky-grey  above,  silvery-white  beneath,  with  the  sides 
dusky,  and  the  wings  as  in  the  adult.  In  the  second  year  with 
the  crest  and  ru  ff  distinct,  but  short. 

Male. — The  Crested  Grebe,  which  is  the  largest  species 
of  its  genus,  has  the  body  of  an  elongated  elliptical  form, 
much  depressed  ;  the  neck  long  and  slender  ;  the  head  rather 
small,  oblong,  and  compressed.  The  hill  is  about  the  length 
of  the  head,  straight,  slender,  compressed,  and  tapering.  The 
upper  mandible,  which  is  possessed  of  very  considerable 
mobility,  has  the  dorsal  line  almost  straight,  slightly  decli- 
nate  and  convex  toward  the  tip,  the  ridge  convex,  as  are  the 


CRESTED  GREBE. 


251 


sides  ;  the  edges  sharp  and  inflected,  the  tip  narrow  but  rather 
obtuse.  The  lower  mandible  has  the  intercrural  space  very 
long  and  narrow,  the  crural  outline  straight,  the  dorsal  line 
ascending  and  straight,  the  sides  convex,  the  edges  sharp  and 
inclinate,  the  tip  narrow  and  somewhat  obtuse, 

Internally  the  upper  mandible  presents  a  rather  deep  and 
narrow  channel,  with  a  lateral  groove  on  each  side  in  its 
whole  length,  and  anteriorly  two  other  grooves.  The  lower 
mandible  presents  a  still  deeper  and  narrower  channel.  The 
tongue,  an  inch  and  two-thirds  in  length,  is  very  slender 
slightly  emarginate,  and  papillate  at  the  base,  trigonal,  a 
little  concave  above,  tapering  to  a  slit  point.  The  oesophagus, 
which  is  twelve  inches  in  length,  is  ten-twelfths  in  width  at 
the  upper  part,  contracts  to  six -twelfths  as  it  enters  the  thorax, 
then  enlarges  to  nine-twelfths  ;  its  walls  rather  thick,  and  its 
inner  coat  longitudinally  plicate.  The  proventriculus  is  ovate, 
an  inch  and  two-thirds  in  breadth,  with  very  strong  muscular 
fibres  and  cylindrical  glandules,  three-twelfths  long,  and 
nearly  one-twelfth  in  breadth.  The  stomach  is  large,  of  a 
roundish  compressed  form,  two  inches  four- twelfths  in 
breadth  ;  its  muscular  coat  very  thick,  but  composed  of  single 
fasciculi,  not  separated  into  distinct  muscles,  the  tendons 
roundish,  and  half  an  inch  in  diameter  ;  the  cuticular  lining- 
very  thick,  moderately  dense,  and  rugous.  There  is  a  rather 
large  roundish  pyloric  lobe,  and  the  pylorus  has  a  thickened 
margin,  but  no  valves.  The  intestine,  which  is  forty-three 
inches  long,  is  half  an  inch  wide  in  its  duodenal  portion, 
then  gradually  contracts  to  four-twelfths,  but  enlarges  to  five- 
twelfths  near  the  coeca,  which  come  off*  at  the  distance  of 
three  inches  from  the  extremity,  and  are  an  inch  and  a  half 
in  length,  narrow  at  first,  enlarged  to  three-twelfths  near  the 
end,  with  their  extremity  rounded.  The  rectum  is  half  an 
inch  in  width,  and  enlarges  into  a  globular  cloaca,  nearly  two 
inches  in  diameter. 

The  eyes  are  small,  their  aperture  three-twelfths.  The 
nostrils  linear-oblong,  pervious,  three-twelfths-and-a-quarter 
in  length,  sub-basal.  The  aperture  of  the  ear,  which  is 
round,  measures  only  one-twelfth  across,  being  so  small  as  to 
be  with  difficulty  found.  The  feet  being  placed  at  the  poste- 


252 


PODICEPS  CRISTATUS. 


rior  extremity  of  the  body,  the  tibia,  which  is  long,  is  enve¬ 
loped  by  the  skin,  which  leaves  only  a  quarter  of  an  inch  of 
it  exposed  and  hare  ;  the  tarsus  short,  extremely  compressed, 
having  a  breadth  of  scarcely  two-twelfths  of  an  inch,  hut  a 
depth  of  eight-twelfths  at  its  lower  part ;  on  its  anterior  edge 
is  a  row  of  small  scutella,  twenty  in  number,  externally  three 
rows  of  plates,  and  behind  two  series  of  small  prominent 
scales,  separated  by  a  groove.  The  first  toe  is  very  small, 
elevated,  with  two  lateral  membranes,  of  which  the  outer  or 
upper  is  very  narrow  ;  the  anterior  toes  long,  connected  at 
the  base  by  a  membrane,  and  having  on  both  sides  an  ex¬ 
panded  margin,  marked  with  oblique  parallel  lines ;  the  first 
and  second  toes  destitute  of  scutella,  the  third  with  thirty, 
the  fourth,  which  is  longer,  also  with  thirty,  but  both  without 
any  toward  the  end.  The  claws  are  flattened,  that  of  the 
middle  toe  broader,  and,  with  the  fourth,  serrulate, 

The  plumage  is  very  soft  and  blended,  on  the  upper 
parts  slightly  glossed,  on  the  lower  silky.  There  is  on  the 
occiput  a  transverse  crest  of  linear-oblong  feathers,  of  which 
the  lateral  are  elongated  into  two  tufts  ;  and  on  the  sides  and 
upper  part  of  the  neck  is  a  large  ruff.  The  wings  are  small, 
narrow,  acute,  very  concave,  with  eleven  primaries,  twenty- 
four  secondaries,  and  ten  tertiaries  or  humerals.  The  second 
quill  is  longest,  the  first  scarcely  two-twelfths  shorter,  the 
other  primaries  rapidly  graduated ;  the  secondaries  abrupt, 
with  an  acumen.  The  scapulars  are  very  large  and  oblong. 
The  tail  is  a  slight  tuft  of  fourteen  feathers,  circularly 
arranged,  about  an  inch  and  a  half  long,  with  feeble  shafts 
and  loose  downy  filaments.  The  first  and  second  quills  are 
distinctly  cut  out  on  their  inner  web  toward  the  end,  the 
second  and  third  on  the  outer. 

The  upper  mandible  has  the  ridge  blackish-brown,  the 
sides  carmine  to  beyond  the  nostrils,  in  the  rest  of  their  extent 
and  along  the  edge  to  the  base  yellowish-grey ;  the  lower 
mandible  carmine,  with  the  edges  and  tip  yellowish-grey. 
The  iris  is  bright  carmine,  the  edges  of  the  eyelids  of  a  duller 
tint  of  the  same  ;  a  bare  space  from  the  eye  to  the  mouth 
dusky-green.  The  tarsi  are  dusky-green  externally,  greenish- 
yellow  internally  ;  the  toes  dusky  beneath,  greenish-yellow 


253 


CRESTED  GREBE. 

above,  dusky  toward  the  margins,  as  are  the  claws.  The 
upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  occipital  tufts  are  greyish- 
black  tinged  with  green  ;  the  ruff  light  brownish-red  anteri¬ 
orly,  greyish-black  behind  ;  from  the  upper  mandible  over 
the  eye  is  a  reddish-white  band,  and  part  of  the  throat  and 
cheeks  is  white.  Below  the  ruff  the  fore  part  of  the  neck  is 
white,  tinged  with  brown  on  the  sides,  the  hind  parts  black¬ 
ish  grey.  The  lower  parts  of  the  body,  and  the  under  surface 
of  the  wings,  are  silvery-white  ;  the  sides  under  the  wings 
reddish-brown,  streaked  with  dusky.  The  upper  parts  are 
greyish-black,  tinged  with  brown.  The  anterior  edge  of  the 
wing,  all  the  feathers  on  the  humerals,  with  a  few  of  the 
lower  scapulars,  and  all  the  secondary  quills,  except  part  of 
the  first  and  three  of  the  inner,  are  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  23  inches,  to  end  of  wings  204, 
to  end  of  toes  25^  ;  extent  of  wings  34 ;  bill  along  the  ridge 
2jL,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2J  ;  wing  from  flexure 
7-j§j  ;  tarsus  ;  hind  toe  TPY,  its  claw  ;  second  toe  2-^, 
its  claw  ;  third  toe  24,  its  claw  4^ ;  fourth  toe  2j-j, 
its  claw  yij. 

Female. — The  female,  which  is  considerably  smaller, 
differs  from  the  male  in  having  the  ruff  and  occipital  tufts 
shorter ;  but  in  other  respects  is  similar. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  19  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  32  ; 
bill  along  the  ridge  lTpy,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible 
2J  ;  wing  from  flexure  7-^  ;  tarsus  2^. 

Variations. — In  both  sexes  great  differences  are  observed 
as  to  size,  but  the  colours  undergo  little  change. 

Habits. — Few  birds  are  more  peculiarly  aquatic  than  the 
Grebes,  and  of  them  none  is  more  so  than  the  present  spe¬ 
cies,  which  swims  and  dives  with  surprising  dexterity,  prefers 
plunging  into  the  water  to  using  its  wings  when  in  any  way 
alarmed,  and  seldom  betakes  itself  to  land,  where  it  is  unable 
to  walk.  In  winter  it  occurs  along  our  sea-coasts,  and  espe¬ 
cially  in  estuaries,  but  seldom  in  large  numbers,  and  scarcely 
ever  associating  with  other  birds  ;  none  in  fact,  unless  per- 


254 


PODICEPS  CRISTATUS. 


haps  the  Red-throated  Diver,  agreeing  so  closely  in  habits 
as  to  render  companionship  with  them  advantageous.  It 
has  the  appearance  of  sitting  deep  in  the  water,  the  breadth 
of  its  body  being  greater  than  its  height ;  and,  when  appre¬ 
hensive  of  danger,  it  sinks  still  more,  in  the  manner  of  the 
Loons  and  Cormorants,  which  it  also  resembles  in  its  mode 
of  diving.  If  pursued  with  a  boat,  it  still  prefers  gliding 
beneath  the  waters,  and,  on  emerging  at  a  distance,  merely 
raises  its  head  and  neck  in  order  to  breathe,  when  it  again 
dives,  and,  unless  severely  wounded,  is  sure  to  make  its 
escape.  In  open  weather  in  winter  it  is  also  seen  on  lakes 
and  rivers,  and  in  summer  it  resides  exclusively  in  fresh 
water.  Its  food  consists  of  fishes  of  various  kinds,  aquatic 
insects,  reptiles,  and  Crustacea.  Along  with  remains  of  these 
are  usually  found  in  its  stomach  numerous  large  curved 
feathers,  which  it  probably  picks  up  as  they  float  on  the 
water,  and  which  are,  no  doubt,  intended  to  facilitate 
digestion. 

Although  indigenous,  it  is  much  more  uncommon  in 
s\immer  than  in  winter,  so  that  most  of  the  individuals  seen 
on  our  coasts  are  probably  migratory.  Montagu  states  that 
it  breeds  in  the  meres  of  Shropshire  and  Cheshire,  and  in 
the  fens  of  Lincolnshire.  The  nest,  he  says,  is  large,  com¬ 
posed  of  a  variety  of  aquatic  plants,  and  is  not  attached  to 
anything,  but  floats  among  the  reeds  and  flags,  penetrated 
by  the  water ;  the  eggs  four,  about  the  size  of  those  of  a 
pigeon.  They  are,  however,  much  larger.  Not  having  seen 
a  nest  of  this  species,  I  can  only  compare  the  accounts  of  it 
given  by  authors,  and  state  the  result,  which  is,  that  it  is 
bulky,  rudely  constructed,  composed  of  flags,  rushes,  leaves, 
and  stems  of  reeds,  as  well  as  other  plants,  and  placed  either 
on  the  ground  among  rushes  or  reeds,  or  over  the  water,  and 
supported  by  the  broken  stems,  or  secured  by  being  jammed 
in  amongst  them.  Dr.  Richardson,  who  states  that  this 
species  is  abundant  in  the  secluded  lakes  of  the  mountainous 
districts  of  the  fur  countries  of  North  America,  says  the  nests 
are  formed  of  a  large  quantity  of  grass,  placed  among  reeds 
and  carices,  and  rise  and  fall  with  the  water. 

Mr.  Audubon,  describing  its  habits  as  observed  in  the 


CRESTED  GREBE.  255 

United  States,  informs  us  that  it  returns  from  the  north 
about  the  beginning  of  September,  and  proceeds  as  far  as 
the  Mexican  territories,  a  few  only  remaining  on  the  lower 
parts  of  the  Ohio,  the  Mississippi,  and  the  neighbouring 
lakes.  “  They  pass  swiftly  through  the  air,  at  a  height  of 
about  a  hundred  yards,  in  flocks  of  from  seven  or  eight  to 
fifty  or  more,  proceeding  in  a  loose  body,  and  propelling 
themselves  by  continued  flappings,  their  necks  and  feet 
stretched  out  to  their  full  length.  I  have  observed  them 
thus  passing  in  autumn,  for  several  years  in  succession,  over 
different  parts  of  the  Ohio,  at  all  hours  of  the  day.  When 
about  to  alight  on  the  water,  these  birds  glide  swiftly  down¬ 
ward,  with  their  wings  half-closed,  and  produce  a  sound  not 
unlike  that  of  a  hawk  stooping  toward  its  prey.  Their 
velocity  is  so  great  at  this  moment,  that  on  alighting  they 
glide  on  the  surface  of  the  water  for  twenty  or  thirty  yards, 
leaving  a  furrow  in  their  wake.  In  a  few  moments  they  are 
all  engaged  in  washing  and  cleaning  themselves ;  after  which 
they  dive  in  pursuit  of  the  fishes  on  which  they  feed,  and 
which  they  secure  by  following  them  in  the  manner  of  Divers 
and  Cormorants.  They  are  exceedingly  quick-sighted,  and 
frequently  elude  by  diving  the  shot  intended  for  their  de¬ 
struction,  seldom,  after  being  chased,  raising  more  than  their 
bill  above  the  water,  and  but  rarely  making  for  the  shore, 
unless  when  nearly  exhausted.  When  in  ponds,  they  may 
easily  be  caught  with  fishing-hooks  placed  on  lines  near  the 
bottom.  They  very  rarely  fly  in  your  presence,  and  they 
leave  the  ponds  at  night.  If  forced  to  rise  on  wing,  they 
run  paddling  on  the  water  for  several  yards  before  they  rise, 
and  fly  several  times  round  a  pond  of  thirty  or  forty  yards 
before  they  attain  the  level  of  the  tree  tops,  for  they  never 
fly  through  the  woods.  When  once  high  in  the  air,  they 
move  in  a  direct  course  with  speed  towards  some  other 
pond  or  the  nearest  river.  The  food  of  this  species  consists 
of  fishes,  aquatic  insects,  and  small  reptiles,  together  with 
the  seeds  of  water  plants.” 

The  eggs,  three  or  four  in  number,  are  of  a  rather  elon¬ 
gated  form,  two  inches  and  a  quarter  in  length,  an  inch  and 
a  half  in  breadth,  smooth  unless  at  the  two  ends,  greenish- 


256 


PODICEPS  CRISTATUS. 


white,  but  generally  soiled  to  a  yellowish-white,  and  covered 
with  dirt  in  the  form  of  brown  streaks  and  spots. 

Young. — In  their  first  winter  the  young  have  no  appear¬ 
ance  of  a  ruff,  and  very  little  of  the  occipital  tufts.  The  bill 
is  yellowish -green,  with  the  ridge  dusky,  and  the  tips  paler. 
The  feet  are  dusky  greenish-brown,  the  inner  part  of  the  tar¬ 
sus,  and  the  upper  surface  of  the  toes  lighter.  The  upper 
part  of  the  head  is  greyish-black,  tinged  with  brown,  the 
hind  neck  more  grey.  From  the  hill  to  the  eye  is  a  hand  of 
yellowish-grey,  which  does  not  extend  over  the  eye ;  the 
cheeks  and  sides  of  the  neck  are  pale  brownish-grey ;  the 
lower  parts  silvery-white,  the  sides  dusky ;  the  upper  parts 
blackish-grey,  and  the  wings  marked  with  white,  as  in  the 
adult. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — M.  Temminck  informs 
us  that  “  the  young,  up  to  the  age  of  two  years,  have  no  in¬ 
dication  of  crest  or  ruff ;  the  forehead  and  face  are  white  ;  on 
these  parts,  as  well  as  on  the  upper  part  of  the  neck,  are 
hands  of  a  blackish-brown,  disposed  in  all  directions,  and 
forming  zig-zags  ;  the  iris  of  a  pale  yellow  ;  the  hill  of  a  livid 
reddish  tint.  At  the  age  of  two  vears  and  after  the  moult, 
both  sexes  have  a  very  short  occipital  crest,  bordered  with 
white  feathers  ;  the  face,  which  is  white,  is  not  shaded  into 
reddish ;  a  blackish  hand  of  irregular  form  extends  from  the 
hill  under  the  eyes,  and  ends  at  the  occiput.”  I  have  never 
seen  individuals  agreeing  with  these  descriptions,  and  am  in¬ 
clined  to  think  that  the  young  acquire  their  full  plumage 
when  two  years  old.  In  the  state  presently  to  be  described, 
and  in  which  I  have  frequently  found  them,  I  imagine  they 
must  he  in  their  second  winter,  when  the  crest  and  ruff  are 
formed,  though  short,  and  the  latter  already  tinged  with  red. 

A  male,  killed  near  Stirling,  in  the  middle  of  December, 
1838,  and  examined  when  fresh,  had  the  occipital  crest  and 
the  ruff  both  distinct,  the  longest  feathers  in  each  an  inch 
and  two-twelfths  long.  The  upper  mandible  with  the  ridge 
dusky,  the  point  and  edges  horn-colour,  and  a  carmine  streak 
from  the  base  to  beyond  the  nostrils  ;  the  lower  mandible 


CRESTED  GREBE. 


257 


carmine  with  the  edges  and  point  horn-colour.  The  iris 
bright  carmine,  the  edges  of  the  eyelids  paler  :  the  bare  space 
from  the  eye  to  the  bill  dusky.  The  feet  are  greenish-brown 
externally  and  beneath,  greenish-yellow  internally  and  above, 
dusky  toward  the  edges.  The  upper  parts  are  greyish-black, 
the  ruff  and  sides  of  the  neck  tinged  with  brown,  the  former 
with  several  dusky  longitudinal  streaks.  The  same  parts  of 
the  wing  white  as  in  the  adult.  A  band  from  the  nostril  to 
the  eye,  the  cheeks,  and  lower  parts  white,  but  the  sides 
dusky.  The  stomach  large,  moderately  muscular,  with  the 
inner  coat  rugous,  contained  remains  of  fishes,  numerous  ver¬ 
tebra?  and  other  bones,  with  some  green  conferva?,  and  a 
quantity  of  feathers. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  21^  inches,  to  end  of  wings  19J,  to 
end  of  claws  26J ;  hill  along  the  ridge  1-{A-,  from  nostril  to 
point  1-^2,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  24  ;  wing  from 
flexure  7T4¥ ;  tail  1-LJ ;  tarsus  2|- ;  hind  toe  its  claw  ; 
second  toe  2-,^,  its  claw  ;  third  toe  2J,  its  claw  fourth 
toe  2-j^-,  its  claw  yL. 

A  female,  also  killed  on  the  Forth,  and  examined  on  the 
9th  January,  1841,  had  the  occipital  crest  considerably  deve¬ 
loped,  the  longest  feathers  being  an  inch  in  length,  the 
longest  ruff-feathers  an  inch  and  two-twelfths.  The  upper 
mandible  dusky  grey,  passing  into  pale  bluish-grey  at  the 
end,  the  sides  to  beyond  the  nostrils  faint  carmine  ;  the  lower 
mandible  light  carmine,  with  the  margins  and  tips  pale 
bluish-grey.  The  iris  deep  carmine ;  the  margins  of  the  eye¬ 
lids  paler  ;  the  bare  loral  space  dusky.  The  feet  dusky- 
brown  with  a  tinge  of  grey,  the  upper  surface  of  the  toes  dull 
greenish-yellow,  with  irregular  dusky  marks  over  the  joints. 
The  upper  part  of  the  head  glossy  greyish-black  ;  an  oblong 
spot  before  the  eye  white ;  the  throat  and  cheeks  white,  the 
latter  becoming  tinged  with  brown  behind,  and  faintly  mot¬ 
tled  with  dusky  ;  many  of  the  ruff  feathers  black,  mixed  with 
brownish-white  toward  the  end,  so  as  to  seem  streaked ;  the 
hind  neck  dark  grey ;  the  upper  parts  of  the  body  blackish- 
grey  ;  the  wings  dusky-grey,  with  thirteen  secondaries  white, 
four  partly  so,  the  rest  dusky ;  the  fore  edge  of  the  wing,  and 
all  the  feathers  of  the  humerus,  with  a  few  of  the  lower  sca- 


VOL.  V. 


s 


258 


PODICEPS  CRISTATUS. 


pulars,  white ;  all  the  lower  parts  pure  silky  white,  including 
the  lower  wing-coverts,  hut  not  the  feathers  on  the  upper 
part  of  the  sides  under  the  wings,  which  are  greyish-black 
toward  the  end.  The  oesophagus  twelve  inches  long,  nine- 
twelfths  wide  at  the  top,  narrowed  to  five-twelfths,  and  in 
the  thorax  widened  to  one  inch  ;  the  stomach  an  inch  and 
five-twelfths  in  breadth. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  20J  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  32  ; 
wing  from  flexure  7J;  bill  along  the  ridge  1^-,  along  the 
edge  of  lower  mandible  2\  ;  tarsus  2 ;  first  toe  ^  ;  its  claw 

;  second  toe  2,  its  claw  ;  third  toe  2 J,  its  claw  ~  ; 
fourth  toe  2-fj,  its  claw  -fe. 


PODICEPS  RUBRICOLLIS.  THE  RED-NECKED 

GREBE. 


GREY-CIIEEKED  GREBE. 


Colymbus  rubricollis.  Gmcl.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  -592. 

Podicepa  rubricollis..  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  783. 

Red-necked  Grebe.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Grebe  jou-gris.  Podicepa  rubricollis.  Temin.  Man.  d’Orn.  II.  720. 

Red-neckcd  Grebe.  Podiceps  rubricollis.  Selby,  Illust.  II.  392. 

Podiceps  rubricollis.  Red-necked  Grebe.  Jcnyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  252 

Podiceps  rubricollis.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  65. 

Male  about  eighteen  inches  long ,  with  the  bill  an  inch  and 
two  thirds ,  rather  stout,  compressed,  black,  with  the  base  yel¬ 
low  ;  a  short  transverse  occipital  crest,  with  two  more  elongated 
tufts,  and  a  slight  ruff  on  the  cheeks  and  fore  neck ;  the  upper 
parts  greyish-black,  the  lower  silvery -white,  the  ruff  light  grey 
edged  with  white,  the  fore  part  and  sides  of  the  neck  rich 
brownish-red,  the  sides  of  the  body  streaked  with  dusky,  several 
of  the  outer  secondary  quills  white.  Female  smaller,  similar 
to  the  male,  but  with  the  tufts  and  ruff  shorter.  Young  with¬ 
out  crest  or  ruff ,  dusky -grey  above,  silvery -white  beneath,  the 
cheeks  greyish-white,  the  fore  neck  brownish-grey ;  the  lower 
part  of  the  neck  and  the  sides  of  the  body  spotted  or  streaked 
with  dusky. 

Male. — The  Red-necked  is  considerably  inferior  in  size 
to  the  Crested  Grebe,  from  which  it  differs  in  having  the  biil 
stouter  and  differently  coloured,  the  body  proportionally 
shorter  and  broader,  and  in  other  particulars  easily  discovered 
on  comparing  specimens  or  good  descriptions.  The  bill  is 
nearly  as  long  as  the  head,  straight,  rather  stout,  compressed, 
and  tapering.  The  upper  mandible,  which,  as  in  all  the 
other  species,  is  very  flexile,  has  the  dorsal  line  straight  for 


200 


PODICEPS  KUBllICOLLIS. 


half  its  length,  then  declinate  and  a  little  convex,  the  ridge 
convex,  as  are  the  sides,  the  edges  sharp  and  inflected,  the 
tip  narrow  hut  rather  blunt.  The  lower  mandible  has  the 
intercrural  space  very  long  and  narrow,  the  crural  outline 
straight,  the  dorsal  line  ascending  and  slightly  convex,  the 
sides  nearly  erect  and  flattened,  the  edges  sharp  and  inclinate, 
the  tip  narrow  and  somewhat  obtuse. 

Internally  the  upper  mandible  presents  a  very  narrow 
groove,  with  three  longitudinal  ridges.  The  lower  mandible 
forms  a  still  narrower  groove.  The  tongue,  an  inch  and  a 
half  in  length,  is  very  slender,  trigonal,  tapering,  with  a  thin 
horny  point.  The  oesophagus,  ten  inches  and  a  half  in  length, 
is  nine-twelfths  in  width  at  the  upper  part,  then  contracts  to 
half  an  inch  ;  but  the  proventriculus  forms  a  large  ovate  sac, 
an  inch  and  three  fourths  in  breadth.  The  stomach  is  very 
large,  of  a  roundish  compressed  form,  moderately  muscular, 
its  tendons  circular,  and  the  epithelium  thick,  soft,  and  with 
prominent  longitudinal  rugae.  The  proventricular  glandules 
are  very  large,  being  nearly  half  an  inch  in  length.  There 
is  a  small  pyloric  sac.  The  intestine,  which  is  thirty-five 
inches  long,  is  half  an  inch  wide  in  its  duodenal  part,  but 
diminishes  to  a  quarter  of  an  inch.  The  coeca  are  two  inches 
long,  two-twelftlis  in  width,  narrower  at  the  commencement, 
and  three  inches  distant  from  the  extremity  of  the  rectum, 
which  has  a  large  globular  cloaca  an  inch  and  a  half  in 
width. 

The  eyes  are  small,  their  aperture  three-twelfths.  The 
nostrils  linear,  two-and-a-half-twelfths  long.  The  tibia  bare 
for  a  quarter  of  an  inch  ;  the  tarsus  extremely  compressed, 
seven-twelfths  in  depth,  with  large  lateral  plates,  sixteen 
anterior  small  scutella,  and  behind  a  double  row  of  prominent, 
compressed,  rounded  scales ;  the  hind  toe  very  small,  with 
an  inferior  lobe ;  the  second  toe  with  twenty-five  scutella,  the 
third  with  thirty-five,  the  fourth  forty-five ;  the  anterior  toes 
connected  by  membranes  at  the  base,  and  in  the  rest  of  their 
extent  margined  with  broad  lobes  marked  with  parallel 
oblique  lines.  The  claws  are  flattened,  that  of  the  middle 
toe  largest  and  serrulate. 

The  plumage  is  soft,  blended,  glossy  above,  silky  beneath  ; 


RED-NECKED  GREBE. 


2G1 


on  the  head  and  neck  very  soft ;  the  occiput  with  a  flattened 
crest,  forming  two  tufts,  and  the  feathers  on  the  cheek  and 
throat  elongated  behind  into  a  slight  ruff.  The  wings  are 
small,  narrow,  acute,  concave,  with  eleven  primaries,  twenty- 
four  secondaries,  and  ten  humcrals ;  the  first  and  second  quills 
are  about  equal,  and  have  the  inner  web  cut  out  toward  the 
end,  the  second  and  third  on  the  outer.  The  tail  extremely 
diminutive,  rounded,  being  a  tuft  of  downy  feathers  an  inch 
and  a  quarter  in  length. 

The  bill  is  black,  paler  at  the  end,  and  light  yellow  at  the 
base,  the  ridge  excepted.  The  eyes  are  carmine.  The  feet 
greenish-black  externally,  yellow  internally,  with  the  margins 
of  the  lobes  dusky ;  the  claws  dusky,  edged  with  paler.  The 
upper  part  of  the  head  is  greyish-black ;  the  cheeks  and  throat 
ash-grey,  the  ruff  edged  above  with  white.  The  fore  part 
and  sides  of  the  neck  are  rich  brownish-red  ;  the  lower  parts 
silvery-white,  the  sides  streaked  with  dusky.  The  upper 
parts  are  greyish-black,  with  the  edges  of  the  feathers  lighter. 
The  outer  secondaries,  to  the  number  of  about  twelve,  are 
white,  the  rest  and  the  humerals  dusky.  The  anterior  edge 
of  the  wing  is  narrowly  marked  with  white  ;  hut  the  feathers 
on  the  humerals  are  not  of  that  colour,  as  in  the  Crested 
Grebe. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  18  inches ;  extent  of  wings  30 ; 
wing  from  flexure  7  ;  tail  lp ;  hill  along  the  ridge  ly^-,  along 
the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2-^ ;  tarsus  ;  hind  toe  T*V, 
its  claw  -j-1^ ;  second  toe  2,  its  claw  y^ ;  third  toe  2T4Y,  its 
claw  -£-$ ;  fourth  toe  2^-,  its  claw  pL. 

Female. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male,  hut  smaller. 

Habits. — This  species  is  said  by  various  authors  to  he 
common  in  the  eastern  provinces  of  Europe,  hut  of  compara¬ 
tively  rare  occurrence  in  the  western.  It  does  not  appear 
that  it  has  been  found  breeding  in  any  part  of  Britain, 
although  in  winter  it  is  not  more  rare  with  us  than  the 
Crested  Grebe,  being  occasionally  found  along  the  coasts,  and 
in  estuaries,  as  well  as  sometimes  in  fresh  water.  I  have 
procured  it,  as  well  as  all  our  other  species,  from  the  Firth  of 


2G2 


PODICEPS  RUBRICOLLIS. 


Forth,  and  it  lias  been  found  in  Northumberland  by  Mr. 
Selby,  in  Slapton  Ley  in  Devonshire,  and  in  various  other- 
parts,  but  only  in  winter  and  spring,  and  in  so  far  as  I  have 
seen,  only  in  the  immature  state.  Dr.  Richardson  found  it 
very  common  in  the  fur  countries  of  North  America,  and  Mr. 
Audubon  met  with  it  “  from  New  York  to  Maine,  in  the 
winter  season,  when  old  and  young  were  generally  in  about 
equal  numbers.”  I  am  not  aware  of  any  direct  observations 
that  have  been  made  respecting  its  habits,  which,  however, 
judging  from  its  size  and  form,  may  he  inferred  to  be  similar 
to  those  of  the  Crested  Grebe.  M.  Temminck  indeed  states 
that  it  “  inhabits  rivers,  lakes,  and  the  margins  of  tlie  sea, 
but  in  greater  number  on  fresh  water  ;  feeds  on  small  fishes, 
fry,  reptiles,  hard-winged  insects,  and  plants.”  The  sub¬ 
stances  which  I  have  found  in  its  stomach  were  remains  of 
fishes,  green  fibrous  matter,  apparently  confervae,  some  par¬ 
ticles  of  quartz,  and  a  great  quantity  of  feathers,  either  its 
own,  or  of  some  other  Grebe.  According  to  the  author  above 
mentioned,  its  nest  is  similar  to  that  of  the  Crested  Grebe, 
and  it  lays  three  or  four  eggs  of  a  whitish-green,  appearing 
as  if  soiled  with  yellowish  and  brown.  One  described  by  Mr. 
Audubon  was  two  inches  in  length,  an  inch  and  a  quarter  in 
breadth,  and  of  a  uniform  pale  greenish-white. 

Young. — The  young  when  newly  Hedged  I  have  not  seen. 
In  winter,  when  they  first  appear  on  our  coasts,  they  are  as 
follows  : — There  are  two  slight  tufts  on  the  occiput,  and  the 
cheeks  are  rather  full,  but  neither  the  crest  nor  the  ruff  are 
distinct.  The  upper  mandible  is  entirely  yellow,  with  the 
exception  of  a  dusky  streak  on  the  ridge  near  the  end ;  the 
lower  mandible  black,  with  the  sides  of  the  base  yellow,  and 
the  tip  dusky  horn-colour.  The  upper  part  of  the  head 
blackish-grey  ;  the  hind-neck  dusky-grey  ;  the  upper  parts  of 
the  body  greyish-black,  all  the  feathers  edged  with  dull  grey; 
some  of  the  humeral-coverts  are  white,  as  are  about  twelve  of 
the  secondary  quills  ;  the  throat  and  cheeks  are  white,  shaded 
into  grey  ;  the  fore  part  and  sides  of  the  neck  dull  grey  ;  its 
lower  part  beneath,  with  the  breast  silvery  white  ;  but  the 
sides  of  the  lower  neck  faintlv  streaked  with  dusky,  and  those 


RED-NECKED  GREBE. 


263 


of  the  body  more  distinctly  so.  The  feet  dark  greenish- 
brown  externally,  paler  internally. 

Progress  towards  Maturity. — A  male  individual  shot 
near  Stirling,  in  December  1838,  and  which  appears  to  be  in 
its  second  winter,  may  be  described  thus  : — The  occipital  tufts 
and  the  ruff  are  pretty  distinct.  The  bill  is  black,  irregularly 
streaked  with  yellow,  and  paler  toward  the  tip,  with  the  basal 
margins  of  the  upper  mandible  and  the  base  of  the  lower,  to 
the  extent  of  half  an  inch,  pale  yellow.  The  feet  greenish- 
black  externally,  dull  yellowish-green  internally.  The  upper 
part  of  the  head  is  dusky-grey,  its  sides  gradually  shaded  into 
greyish-white,  of  which  colour  is  the  throat ;  below  the  ruff, 
the  neck  for  two  inches  and  a  half,  is  pale  grey  in  front  and 
on  the  sides,  and  beyond  this  the  lower  parts  are  silvery- 
white  ;  but  the  lower  part  of  the  neck,  its  sides,  and  those  of 
the  body,  are  spotted  with  dusky,  and  the  shafts  of  the 
feathers  toward  the  end,  are  black.  The  hind-neck  is  dusky- 
grey,  tinged  with  brown.  The  upper  parts  of  the  body  are 
greyish-black,  with  the  feathers  margined  with  dull  grey. 
The  primary  quills  are  greyish-black  on  the  outer,  dusky- 
grey  on  the  inner  web  ;  the  two  first  secondaries  similar,  the 
next  with  a  patch  of  white,  the  next  ten  almost  entirely  white, 
three  with  white  toward  the  base,  the  rest  and  the  tertiaries 
black.;  the  lower  wing-coverts,  some  of  the  feathers  on  the 
fore  edge  of  the  wing,  and  a  patch  across  the  humerus,  white. 
The  contents  of  the  stomach  were  vertebrae  and  other  bones 
of  fishes,  green  confervae,  and  a  quantity  of  feathers. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  17^-  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  30  ; 
bill  along  the  ridge  1-i-J ;  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible 

f  wing  from  flexure  ;  tarsus  ;  outer  toe  2T7Y,  its 
claw  t4t. 


Remarks. — In  all  stages  this  species  may  easily  be  dis¬ 
tinguished  from  Podiceps  cristatus,  by  the  form  and  colour  of 
its  bill,  which  is  much  thicker,  and  has  the  base  coloured 
with  yellow  instead  of  carmine. 


PODICEPS  CORNTJTUS.  THE  HORNED  GREBE. 

SCLAVONIAN  GREBE.  HORNED  DOBCHICK. 


Fig.  75. 


Colymbus  cornutus.  Gmel.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  591. 

Podiceps  cornutus.  Lath.  Iud.  Ornith.  II.  782. 

Sclavonian  Grebe.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Grebe  cornu  ou  Esclavon.  Podiceps  cornutus.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II. 

721. 

Horned  Grebe.  Podiceps  cornutus.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  397. 

Podiceps  cornutus.  Sclavonian  Grebe.  Jennyns.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  252. 

Podiceps  cornutus.  Bonap.  Corap.  List.  65. 

Male  about  fourteen  inches  long ,  with  the  bill  m  uch  shorter 
than  the  head ,  nearly  an  inch  in  length,  rather  stout,  com¬ 
pressed,  black,  with  its  tips  yellow  ;  two  large  light-red  occi¬ 
pital  tufts,  and  an  ample  black  ruff ;  the  upper  parts  greyish- 


IIONERD  GREBE. 


26  o 


black  ;  the  lower  silvery-white  ;  with  the  fore  part  of  the  neck 
and  the  sides  of  the  body  red.  Female  similar,  but  somewhat 
smaller.  Young  with  the  bill  greyish-blue,  with  the  base  and 
tip  yellow  ;  slight  occipital  tufts,  but  no  ruff ;  the  upper  parts 
greyish-black;  the  lower  silvery -white,  with  the  sides  dusky ; 
the  cheeks  and  throat  white  ;  part  of  the  fore-neck  light  grey. 

Male. — This  species  is  very  much  inferior  in  size  to  the 
Red-necked  Grebe,  and  slightly  superior  to  Podiceps  auritus, 
from  which,  however,  it  is  easily  distinguished  by  its  diffe¬ 
rently-formed  bill.  The  body  is  elliptical  and  depressed ;  the 
neck  long  and  slender ,  the  head  small,  oblong,  and  com¬ 
pressed.  The  bill  is  shorter  than  the  head,  straight,  rather 
stout,  compressed,  acute,  being  of  the  same  form  as  that  of 
Podiceps  rubricollis,  though  proportionally  shorter.  The 
upper  mandible  has  the  dorsal  line  straight  for  half  its 
length,  then  declinate  and  convex,  the  nasal  sinus  oblong, 
more  than  a  third  of  its  length,  the  ridge  convex,  gradually 
narrowed.  The  lower  mandible  with  the  angle  long  and  very 
narrow,  the  dorsal  line  short,  ascending,  and  straight,  the 
sides  a  little  convex,  the  tip  acute,  the  gape-line  straight. 

The  oesophagus  is  eight  inches  and  a  half  in  length,  of  the 
uniform  width  of  three-twelfths.  The  pro  ventricular  part 
very  large,  being  an  inch  and  three-fourths  in  length,  and 
nine-twelfths  in  breadth ;  its  glandules  very  large  and  cylin¬ 
drical.  The  stomach  is  an  inch  and  three-fourths  in  length, 
an  inch  and  an  eighth  in  breadth  when  contracted,  but  when 
dilated  an  inch  and  a  half.  Its  walls  are  moderately  mus¬ 
cular,  nearly  in  the  same  degree  as  in  the  Rook,  and  showing- 
some  appearance  of  a  division  into  lateral  muscles  ;  the  ten¬ 
dons  roundish  and  defined,  or  elliptical  when  contracted. 
There  is  a  small  pyloric  lobe.  The  intestine  is  three  feet  five 
inches  in  length,  from  four  to  two-and-a-half-twelfths  in 
width ;  the  rectum  two  inches  and  a  half ;  the  coeca  two 
inches  and  a  quarter,  two-twelfths  wide  at  the  commence¬ 
ment,  enlarging  to  three-twelfths,  and  rounded  at  the  end. 

The  nostrils  oblong,  a  twelfth  and  a  half  in  length  ;  the 
aperture  of  the  eye  nearly  three -twelfths.  The  tibia  is 
feathered  to  within  a  quarter  of  an  inch  of  the  joint ;  the 


266 


PODICEPS  CORNUTUS. 


tarsus  short,  extremely  compressed,  five-twelfths  in  depth, 
with  a  double  row  of  prominent  scales  behind  ;  the  toes  as  in 
the  other  species,  as  are  the  claws. 

The  plumage  downy  on  the  hind-neck,  firm  and  glossy  on 
the  upper  parts  of  the  body,  silky  on  the  lower.  On  the 
head  is  a  tuft  of  elongated  soft  feathers  on  each  side  of  the 


occiput,  and  a  more  expanded  tuft  on  each  side  of  the  upper 
part  of  the  neck.  The  wings  are  small  and  convex  ;  the 
primaries  rounded  at  the  end,  the  first  abruptly  cut  out  on  the 
inner  web,  and  slightly  shorter  than  the  second.  The  tail  a 
slight  tuft  of  downy  feathers. 

The  bill  is  bluish-black,  with  the  tips  of  both  mandibles 
yellow.  The  iris  is  carmine,  with  an  inner  circle  of  white  ; 
the  basal  loral  space  carmine ;  the  edges  of  the  eyelids  paler. 
The  feet  are  dusky,  tinged  with  grey  externally,  dull  yellow 
internally  and  on  both  edges  of  the  tarsus ;  the  claws  brown. 
The  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  ruff’  are  glossy  black,  as 
are  the  cheeks  and  throat  :  a  hand  from  the  bill  over  the  eve, 
including  the  elongated  occipital  tuft,  yellowish-red.  The 
fore  part  of  the  neck,  to  the  extent  of  three  inches,  is  brown¬ 
ish-red,  as  are  the  sides  of  the  body  :  the  rest  of  the  lower 
parts  silvery-white.  The  upper  parts  are  greyish-black  ;  the 
feathers  edged  with  dull  grey.  About  ten  of  the  secondary 
quills,  with  some  of  the  feathers  on  the  humerus,  are  white  ; 
the  other  quills  and  the  tertials  greyish-black. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  14  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  24  ; 
wing  from  flexure  ;  tail  14  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  -fT  ;  along 
t  lie  edge  of  lower  mandible  ly ;  tarsus  ly ;  hind  toe  its 


claw  TV  ;  second  toe  l-£r,  its  claw  -y y  ; 
TV ;  fourth  toe  l-L-4,  its  claw  yV 


third  toe  lyy,  its  claw 


Female. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male,  but  some¬ 
what  smaller,  with  the  tufts  and  ruff  a  little  shorter  and  less 
deeply  coloured. 


H  a  bits. — This  species  is  not  extremely  uncommon  in 
Scotland  during  the  winter,  and  in  frosty  weather,  when  it 
betakes  itself  to  the  estuaries,  is  sometimes  shot  in  consider¬ 
able  numbers.  In  mild  weather  it  resorts  to  lakes  and  rivers. 


HORNED  GREBE. 


2G7 


As  it  does  not  breed  with  us,  its  habits  are  little  known ;  for 
in  winter,  it  is  impossible  at  any  distance  to  distinguish  it 
from  the  next  species  ;  and  all  that  can  be  said  of  either  is 
equally  applicable  to  the  other.  They  swim  and  dive  in  the 
most  expert  manner,  feed  on  fishes,  and  swallow  feathers, 
like  the  rest.  In  two  individuals,  from  the  river  Forth,  which 
I  examined  in  January,  1838,  the  stomach  was  filled  with 
green  conferva?,  feathers,  some  shells,  coleopterous  insects, 
and  particles  of  quartz.  It  occurs  equally  in  winter  on  the 
eastern  and  southern  coasts  of  England,  and  has  been  found 
breeding  in  the  fenny  districts,  though  in  very  small  num¬ 
bers.  According  to  M.  Temminck,  it  is  more  abundant  in 
the  eastern  and  northern  parts  of  Europe  than  elsewhere, 
occurring  only  accidentally  in  Holland,  France,  and  Switzer¬ 
land.  It  appears  to  be  at  least  as  common  in  North  America 
as  in  Europe. 

“  The  Horned  Grebe,”  says  Mr.  Audubon,  “  is  abundant 
during  autumn  and  winter  on  the  large  rivers  or  inlets  of  the 
Southern  States,  but  rare  along  the  coasts  of  the  middle  and 
Eastern  Districts.  It  is  particularly  fond  of  those  streams  of 
which  the  borders  are  overgrown  by  rank  sedges  and  other 
plants,  and  are  subject  to  the  influx  of  the  tide.  In  such 
places  they  enjoy  greater  security  while  searching  for  their 
food,  than  in  ponds,  to  which,  however,  they  for  the  most 
part  retire  at  the  approach  of  the  pairing  season,  which  com¬ 
mences  early  in  February.  At  that  time  one  might  be  apt  to 
think  that  these  birds  could  scarcely  fly,  as  they  are  then 
rarely  seen  on  wing ;  but  when  they  are  pursued,  and  there 
happens  to  be  a  breeze,  they  rise  from  the  water  with  consi¬ 
derable  ease,  and  fly  to  a  distance  of  several  hundred  yards. 
In  December  and  January  I  have  never  procured  any  having 
the  least  remains  of  their  summer  head-dress  ;  but  by  the 
10th  of  March,  when  they  are  on  their  journey  towards  the 
north,  the  long  feathers  of  the  head  were  apparent.  These 
tufts  seem  to  attain  their  full  development  in  the  course  of  a 
fortnight  or  three  weeks,  the  old  birds  becoming  plumed 
sooner  than  the  young,  some  of  which  leave  the  country  in 
their  winter  dress. 

“  Although  the  greater  number  of  these  birds  go  far  north- 


208 


PODICFJPS  CORNUTUS. 


ward  to  breed,  some  remain  within  the  limits  of  the  United 
States  during  the  whole  year,  rearing  their  young  on  the  bor¬ 
ders  of  ponds,  particularly  in  the  northern  parts  of  the  State 
of  Ohio,  in  the  vicinity  of  Lake  Erie.  Two  nests  which  I 
found  were  placed  at  a  distance  of  about  four  yards  from  the 
water’s  edge,  on  the  top  of  broken  down  tussocks  of  rank 
weeds.  The  materials  of  which  they  were  composed  were  of 
the  same  nature,  and  rudely  interwoven  to  a  height  of 
upwards  of  seven  inches.  They  were  rather  more  than  a  foot 
in  diameter  at  the  base,  the  cavity  only  four  inches  across, 
shallow,  but  more  neatly  finished  with  finer  plants,  of  which 
a  quantity  lay  on  the  borders,  and  was  probably  used  by  the 
bird  to  cover  the  eggs  when  about  to  leave  them.  There 
were  five  eggs  in  one  nest,  seven  in  the  other ;  they  measured 
one  inch  and  three-quarters  in  length,  by  one  inch  and  two- 
and-a-lialf  eighths  ;  their  shell  was  smooth,  and  of  a  uniform 
yellowish  cream  colour,  without  spots  or  marks  of  any  kind. 
I  could  not  ascertain  if  both  the  parent  birds  incubate ;  but 
as  I  saw  two  pairs  on  the  pond,  I  am  inclined  to  think  that 
they  do.  The  nests  were  not  fastened  to  the  weeds  around 
them,  nor  do  I  conceive  it  probable  that  they  could  be  floated, 
as  various  writers  assert  they  are  at  times.”  Thus  M.  Tem- 
minck  : — “  Nestles  among  the  reeds,  or  constructs  a  floating 
nest,  composed  of  plants,  and  attached  to  the  stems  of 
rushes  and  Mr.  Selby  : — “  It  breeds  among  the  reeds  and 
sedges,  constructing  a  large  nest  of  decayed  vegetables,  roots, 
&c.,  and  which  is  calculated  to  rise  and  fall  under  the  in¬ 
fluence  of  the  tide.” 

Young. — In  its  first  winter,  the  young  bird  has  the  bill 
dark  bluish-grey,  with  the  basal  half  of  the  lower  mandible, 
the  basal  margins  of  the  upper,  and  the  tips  of  both  yellow. 
The  iris  is  carmine ;  the  loral  space  dusky.  The  feet  bluish- 
grey  externally,  tinged  with  greenish-yellow  internally. 
There  are  slight  occipital  tufts,  but  no  ruff.  The  upper  part 
of  the  head  and  the  hind  neck  are  greyish-black,  as  are  the 
upper  parts  of  the  body,  with  the  feathers  edged  with  greyish. 
The  throat,  cheeks,  and  space  ultimately  occupied  by  the 
ruff,  are  white ;  below  this  the  fore  neck  for  nearly  two 


HORNED  GREBE. 


269 


inches,  is  pale  grey  ;  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  silvery  white, 
but  the  sides  marked  with  dusky.  The  same  parts  of  the 
wing  arc  white  as  in  the  adult.  In  a  male  in  this  state,  shot 
in  December,  1838,  the  oesophagus  was  eight  inches  long ; 
the  proventricular  part  an  inch  and  a  quarter  ;  the  stomach 
broadly  elliptical,  an  inch  and  three-fourths  in  length,  an 
inch  and  a-lialf  in  breadth ;  its  walls  moderately  muscular  ; 
the  intestine  three  feet  four  inches  long  ;  the  coeca  two  inches 
and  a  quarter. 


Remarks. — A  curious  mistake  has  been  made  by  Mr. 
Jenyns  in  describing  the  young.  lie  says: — <f Throat  and 
cheeks  pure  white  ;  a  narrow  line  of  the  same  colour  extends 
from  behind  the  ears  on  each  side  to  the  back  of  the  head.” 
This  arises  from  M.  Temminck’s  having  said,  “  le  blanc  pur 
de  la  gorge  s’ctend  au-dessous  des  yeux  en  ligne  liorizontale, 
et  te  dirige  jusque  tres  en  arriere  sur  l’occiput which  is 
correct,  only  when  thus  translated :  the  pure  white  of  the 
throat  extends  over  the  cheeks  in  a  horizontal  direction,  and 
proceeds  very  far  back  on  the  nape,  leaving  but  a  narrow 
band  of  dusky  in  the  middle  of  that  part. 


270 


PODICEPS  AURITUS.  THE  EARED  GREBE. 

Colymbus  auritug.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  222. 

Podiceps  auritus.  Lath.  Jnd.  Ornith.  II.  781. 

Eared  Grebe.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Grebe  Oreillard.  Podiceps  auritus.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  725. 

Eared  Grebe.  Podiceps  auritus.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  157. 

Podiceps  auritus.  Eared  Grebe.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  253. 

Podiceps  auritus.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  64. 

Male  about  thirteen  inches  long,  with  the  bill  much  shorter 
than  the  head,  nearly  an  inch  in  length,  rather  slender,  de¬ 
pressed  at  the  base,  compressed  and  a  little  recurved  toward 
the  end,  black  tinged  with  blue;  two  slight  dusky  occipital 
tufts,  a  short  black  ruff,  and  a  tuft  of  elongated  orange-red 
feathers  from  behind  each  eye  ;  the  upper  parts  greyish-black, 
the  lower  silvery -white,  the  sides  light  red  streaked  with  black. 
Female  similar,  but  somewhat  smaller.  Young  without  tufts, 
the  upper  parts  blackish-brown,  the  lower  silvery  white  with  the 
sides  dusky,  the  throat  and  part  of  the  cheeks  greyisli-wliite , 
part  of  the  fore  neck  brownish-grey. 

Male. — Somewhat  inferior  in  size  to  the  Sclavonian 
Grebe,  this  species  is  distinguished  from  it  by  the  peculiar 
form  of  its  bill,  which  is  curved  a  little  upwards  at  the  end, 
and  depressed  at  the  base.  The  body  is  elliptical  and  de¬ 
pressed  ;  the  neck  long  and  slender  ;  the  head  small,  oblong 
and  compressed.  The  bill  is  shorter  than  the  head,  slender, 
as  broad  as  high  at  the  base,  compressed  and  slightly  re¬ 
curved  toward  the  end.  The  upper  mandible  has  the  dorsal 
line  slightly  decimate  and  straight  to  near  the  middle,  then 
direct  or  a  very  little  elevated,  and  at  the  tip  slightly  decli- 
nate,  the  ridge  convex,  as  are  the  sides,  the  edges  inclinate, 
and  the  tip  rather  acute.  The  lower  mandible  with  the 
angle  long  and  very  narrow,  the*outline  of  the  crura  slightly 


THE  EARED  GREBE. 


271 


convex,  the  dorsal  line  ascending  and  slightly  convex,  the 
sides  sloping  a  little  outwards,  the  edges  direct,  the  tip  nar¬ 
row  and  ascending ;  the  gape-line  slightly  rearcuate. 

The  oesophagus  is  seven  inches  and  a-lialf  in  length,  four- 
twelfths  in  width.  The  proventriculus  ovate,  ten-twelfths  in 
breadth.  The  stomach  is  very  large,  elliptical,  somewhat 
compressed,  two  inches  in  length,  an  inch  and  a-lialf  in 
breadth ;  its  muscular  coat  moderately  thick,  its  tendons 
roundish,  the  epithelium  thick  and  longitudinally  rugous. 
There  is  a  small  pyloric  lobe.  The  intestine  is  three  feet 
nine  inches  long,  from  four-twelfths  to  two-and-a-half- 
twelfths  in  width ;  the  cceca  two  inches  long,  two-twelfths- 
and-a-half  wide;  the  rectum  two  inches  in  length,  with  a 
globular  cloaca  eight-twelfths  in  diameter. 

The  nostrils  linear,  a  twelfth-and-a-half  in  length  ;  .aper¬ 
ture  of  the  eye  two-twelfths-and-a-half.  The  tarsi,  toes  and 
claws  as  in  the  last  species.  The  plumage  very  soft  and 
blended,  glossy  on  the  upper  parts,  silky  beneath.  The  fea¬ 
thers  of  the  occiput  are  a  little  elongated,  and  form  two  small 
tufts.  On  each  side  of  the  head  is  a  tuft  of  very  long,  linear, 
glossy  feathers,  rising  from  over  and  behind  the  eye ;  and 
there  is  a  slight  ruff  on  the  cheeks  and  neck.  The  wings  are 
small  and  convex  ;  the  outer  three  primaries  acute,  the  first 
longest,  and  with  the  inner  web  abruptly  cut  out ;  the  inner 
primaries  rounded ;  the  secondaries  obliquely  rounded,  with 
an  acumen.  The  tail  a  slight  tuft  of  downy  feathers,  an  inch 
and  a  half  in  length. 

The  bill  is  black,  tinged  with  blue.  The  iris  deep  car¬ 
mine.  The  feet  greyish-black  externally,  greyish-green  in¬ 
ternally.  The  head  and  upper  part  of  the  neck  all  round, 
the  hind-neck,  and  the  upper  parts  of  the  body,  and  wings, 
are  brownish-black.  The  lower  parts  silvery-white,  but  the 
sides  light  red,  streaked  with  black.  The  primary  quills  and 
coverts  are  greyish-brown,  with  a  large  portion  of  their  inner 
webs  white,  of  which  colour  also  are  most  of  the  secondary 
quills. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  lo  inches;  extent  of  wings  22; 
wing  from  flexure  5T9X  ;  tail  1^;  bill  along  the  ridge 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  1  ;  tarsus  1-^- ;  hind  toe 


272 


PODICEPS  AURITUS. 


its  claw  fij ;  second  toe  1 J,  its  claw  -fu ;  third  toe  1-^-, 
its  claw  ;  fourth  toe  2,  its  claw 

Female. — The  female  resembles  the  male,  but  is  some- 
Avdiat  less. 

Habits. — Little  can  he  said  of  the  habits  of  this  species 
as  distinguished  from  those  of  the  preceding.  It  is  said  to 
be  abundant  in  the  northern  parts  of  Europe,  to  occur  also 
in  America,  and  to  he  less  addicted  to  betake  itself  to  the  sea 
than  the  larger  species,  its  principal  food  being  aquatic 
insects,  small  fishes,  and  seeds.  During  snow,  however,  it  is 
occasionally  met  with  in  our  estuaries  and  along  the  coasts, 
and  in  winter  is  not  very  rare  in  many  parts  of  England, 
although  I  have  not  seen  many  that  were  obtained  in  Scot  ¬ 
land.  Montagu  states  that  it  inhabits  the  fens  of  Lincoln¬ 
shire,  where  it  breeds,  making  a  floating  nest,  and  laying 
four  or  five  white  e£g;s. 

Young. — In  their  first  winter  the  young  have  very  slight 
occipital  tufts,  but  no  elongated  feathers  behind  the  eyes. 
The  upper  part  of  the  head  is  blackish-brown,  darker  behind, 
shaded  laterally  into  greyish-brown,  which  extends  a  little 
below  the  eyes,  covering  part  of  the  cheeks  ;  the  rest  of 
which  and  the  throat  are  greyish -white.  The  hind  part  of 
the  neck  is  dusky  brown,  its  fore  part  for  about  two  inches 
brownish-grey  ;  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  silvery-white  ; 
but  the  sides  of  the  neck  and  body  clouded  with  blackisli- 
grey.  The  upper  parts  of  the  body  are  brownish-black ;  the 
wings  more  brown,  and  with  the  same  white  markings  as  in 
the  adult.  The  young  in  this  state  is  easily  distinguished 
from  that  of  Podiccps  cornutus  by  its  recurved  bill. 

Remarks. — If  slight  differences  in  the  form  and  com¬ 
parative  length  of  the  hill  were  sufficient  to  constitute  genera, 
as  they  are  assumed  to  he  in  very  many  cases,  the  four 
Grebes  here  described  ought  to  belong  to  as  many  distinct 
genera,  for  no  two  of  them  agree  precisely  in  the  form  of  the 
hill,  and  yet  all  are  most  intimately  allied  in  form,  colours, 


EARED  GREBE. 


273 


and  habits.  Perhaps  it  may  be  that  in  families  of  which 
the  species  are  few,  as  in  this,  these  species  vary  more  in  the 
form  of  the  bill,  so  that  each  in  reality  may  represent  a 
genus  in  those  families  of  which  the  species  are  very 
numerous.  On  account  of  a  slight  difference  of  this  kind, 
although,  perhaps,  more  obvious  than  in  the  other  species, 
our  common  Dabchick  has  been  promoted  to  generic  dis¬ 
tinction. 


A 


VOL.  V. 


T 


274 


SYLBEOCYCLTJS.  DABCHICK. 

The  Little  Grebe  of  authors,  Podiceps  minor,  and  the 
American  Dabchick,  Podiceps  Carolinensis,  have  been  sepa¬ 
rated  from  the  other  species  generally  referred  to  the  genus 
Podiceps,  by  the  Prince  of  Canino,  who  has  formed  them 
into  a  distinct  genus  bearing  the  name  of  Sylbeocyclus.  It 
differs  from  Podiceps  chiefly  in  having  the  body  short  and 
full,  and  the  bill  not  so  long  as  the  head ;  but,  to  preserve 
the  uniformity  of  the  generic  characters,  it  is  necessary  to 
present  them  in  full. 

Bill  rather  short,  moderately  stout,  much  compressed, 
tapering,  pointed  ;  upper  mandible  mobile  at  the  base,  with 
the  dorsal  line  straight  and  slightly  decimate  as  far  as  the 
middle,  convex  toward  the  end,  the  ridge  narrow,  the  nasal 
groove  basal,  half  the  length  of  the  bill,  and  of  considerable 
width  ;  the  sides  convex  toward  the  end,  the  edges  sharp 
and  a  little  inclinate,  the  tip  direct,  acute  ;  lower  mandible 
with  the  intercrural  space  long  and  very  narrow,  partly 
bare,  the  dorsal  line  ascending  and  straight,  the  crura  with 
their  lower  outline  straight,  the  sides  nearly  erect  and 
slightly  convex,  the  edges  very  sharp  and  direct,  the  tip 
acute. 

Nostrils  sub-medial,  linear-oblong,  in  the  fore  and  lower 
part  of  the  membrane.  Eyes  rather  small ;  eyelids  feathered  ; 
a  bare  space  from  the  eye  to  the  bill.  Aperture  of  ear  ex¬ 
tremely  small. 

Tibia  long,  but  passing  directly  backward,  and  with  its 
muscles  enveloped  by  the  skin  to  near  the  end,  so  that  the 
legs  come  off  from  the  posterior  extremity  of  the  body ;  tibia 
bare  for  a  very  short  space  ;  tarsus  short,  extremely  com¬ 
pressed,  its  narrow  anterior  ridge  with  small  scutella ;  the 
posterior  with  two  series  of  small,  prominent,  pointed  scales 


SYLBEOCYCLUS.  DABCHICK 


275 


directed  downwards,  and  separated  by  a  groove ;  the  sides 
with  broad  scutella.  The  hind  toe  small,  elevated,  broadly 
margined;  the  anterior  toes  long,  obliquely  flattened,  the 
outer  longest,  all  with  stiflish  lateral  expansions,  marked 
above  with  oblique  parallel  lines,  and  connected  at  the  base 
by  webs.  Claws  small,  depressed,  oblong,  the  third  ex¬ 
panded,  and  pectinato-serrate  at  the  end. 

Plumage  very  soft  and  blended,  on  the  lower  parts 
silky,  on  the  neck  and  hind  part  of  the  back  almost  downy ; 
the  scapulars  very  long  and  decurved ;  the  filaments  of  all 
the  feathers  free.  Wings  small,  narrow,  convex ;  primaries 
eleven,  small,  the  outer  two  longest ;  secondaries  short  and 
rounded.  Tail  a  slight  tuft  of  minute  downy  feathers. 


SYLBEOCYCLUS  EUROP^EUS.  THE  EUROPEAN 

DABCHICK. 


DIPPER.  DIDAPPER.  DOBCHICK.  DABCHICK.  LITTLE  DOUCKER. 


Fig.  76. 


Colymbus  minor.  Gmel.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  591. 

Podiceps  minor.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  784.  Young. 

Podiceps  hebridicus.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  785.  Adult. 

Black-chin  Grebe.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt.  Adult. 

Little  Grebe.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt.  Young. 

Grebe  Castagneux.  Podiceps  minor.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  727. 

Little  Grebe.  Podiceps  minor.  Selby,  Illustr.  Ii.  401. 

Sylbeocyclus  minor.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  64. 

Male  about  ten  inches  in  length,  with  the  bill  ten-twelfths 
long,  stout,  compressed,  black,  with  the  tips  pole;  head  and 
neck  tuftless  ;  tarsus  with  the  posterior  scales  very  prominent ; 
upper  part  of  the  head  and  throat  black;  sides  and  fore  part 
of  the  neck  chestnut;  breast  and  sides  of  the  body  dusky ; 
upper  parts  greenish-black ;  primary  quills  greyish-brown, 
most  of  the  secondaries  white,  unless  on  the  outer  web  toward 
the  end.  Female  similar  to  the  male,  but  smaller.  Young 
with  the  lower  mandible,  and  basal  sides  of  the  upper  pale- 
brown,  the  upper  part  dusky ;  the  head  and  hind  neck  brown¬ 
ish-grey,  the  cheeks  and  sides  of  the  neck  pale  reddish, 


EUROPEAN  DABCHICK. 


277 


mixed  with  bro  wn  ;  the  fore  part  of  the  breast  and  the  sides  of 
the  body  light  yellowish-brown ,  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  and 
the  throat  ivhite ;  the  upper  parts  dusky ,  the  fore  part  of  the 
back  and  the  scapulars  greyish-yellow . 

Male. — This  curious  little  bird  being  sufficiently  described, 
as  to  form  and  plumage,  in  the  generic  character  already 
given,  it  is  only  necessary  here  to  mention  some  additional 
particulars,  and  give  an  account  of  its  colours.  The  hill  is 
very  similar  in  form  to  that  of  the  Corncrake,  and  of  a  dusky 
colour,  the  basal  part  of  the  lower  mandible,  the  extreme 
tips  of  both,  and  the  bare  spaces  between  the  eyes  and  the 
bill,  brownish-white.  The  iris  is  brownish-red.  The  feet 
are  olivaceous  externally,  flesh-coloured  on  the  inner  side. 
On  the  tarsus  are  sixteen  anterior  scutella ;  on  the  toes  the 
scutclla  are  not  distinct  from  the  lateral  plates.  The  upper 
part  of  the  head,  occiput,  hind-neck,  and  throat  are  greenish- 
black  ;  the  cheeks,  sides,  and  fore  part  of  the  neck  chestnut ; 
the  lower  part  of  the  neck  in  front,  and  the  sides  blackish- 
grey,  the  latter  tinged  with  red ;  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts 
blackish-grey,  mixed  with  white.  The  upper  parts  greenish- 
black,  the  scapulars  tinged  with  yellowish-brown ;  the  quills 
brownish-grey  ;  most  of  the  secondary  quills  white,  unless  on 
part  of  the  outer  web  toward  the  end. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  10  inches  ;  wing  from  flexure  4 ; 
bill  along  the  ridge  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  1 ; 
bare  part  of  tibia  ;  tarsus  1-^  ;  hind  toe  its  claw  ; 
second  toe  1-^,  its  claw  -ft  j  third  toe  1^,  its  claw  -fj  ;  fourth 
toe  1^,  its  claw  -p^. 

Female. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male,  but  some¬ 
what  less. 

Variations. — Individuals  vary  considerably  in  colour, 
the  lower  parts,  in  particular,  being  more  or  less  dusky. 

Habits. — Common  as  this  little  bird  is,  its  habits  have 
not  often  been  well  described  by  scientific  writers. 

One  quiet  evening  in  the  beginning  of  March,  as  I  was 


278 


SYLBEOCYCLUS  EUIIOPAIUS. 


resting  on  an  eminence  overlooking  a  small  lake,  margined 
with  marshy  ground,  and  thinking  it  strange  that  nothing 
was  to  be  seen  upon  it  excepting  a  pair  of  tame  Swans,  I 
observed  a  small  bird  rise  from  near  the  edge,  and  fly  in  a 
fluttering  manner  to  a  short  distance,  when  it  alighted  on  the 
water,  and  instantly  dived.  In  a  very  short  time  it  rose,  at 
the  distance  of  about  twenty  paces,  floated  a  few  moments, 
turning  briskly  about,  dived,  emerged,  and  thus  continued  to 
exercise  itself.  At  this  place  the  bottom  of  the  lake  was  covered 
with  weeds  of  a  greyish-green  colour,  among  which  some 
straggling  reeds  shot  up.  I  saw  that  on  diving  it  shot  along 
at  the  depth  of  a  foot  or  two,  flying  with  surprising  speed. 
Another  individual  now  appeared,  and  both  continued  for  a 
long  time  to  dive  at  intervals,  passing  in  various  directions, 
and  apparently  pursuing  insects  or  small  Ashes.  Having- 
lost  sight  of  them,  I  directed  my  eyes  along  the  tufty  margin 
of  the  lake,  and  unexpectedly  came  upon  a  larger  bird,  which 
showed  much  less  activity,  and  which,  from  its  peculiar  move¬ 
ments,  1  at  once  knew  to  be  a  Water-Hen.  It  advanced 
slowly,  jerking  its  upraised  tail,  and  moving  its  head  and 
neck  at  each  step,  now  waded  among  the  sedges  and  reeds, 
looking  here  and  there,  then  floated  on  the  water,  seeming  at 
equal  ease  there,  and  thus  went  on  quietly  searching  for  food, 
and  picking  up  something  now  and  then.  The  little  Grebes, 
on  the  contrary,  kept  entirely  to  the  water,  showed  the  great¬ 
est  activity,  bobbed  up  like  corks,  sat  lightly  too,  but,  from 
their  peculiar  form,  rose  less  above  the  surface,  and  kept 
their  tails,  or  all  they  had  for  them,  on  the  level  of  the  water. 
In  swimming  they  did  not  advance  by  jerks,  but  stiffly,  with 
raised  necks  ;  in  diving  they  slipped  beneath  so  gently  that 
the  ripple  which  they  caused  was  little  apparent ;  and  in 
emerging  they  seemed  to  glide  up  without  the  slightest  effort. 
Now,  all  this  is  very  trite,  and  yet  who  among  our  ornitholo¬ 
gists  has  said  so  much  of  the  Dabchick,  common  as  the  little 
thing  is  in  many  parts  of  the  country  ? 

It  is  a  curious  and  interesting  little  creature.  When 
surprised  it  eludes  its  enemy  by  slipping  beneath  the  surface, 
and  not  appearing  until  a  good  way  off*.  It  is  seldom  seen 
to  fly,  and  when  it  does  get  on  wing  it  proceeds  in  a  direct 


EUROPEAN  DABCH1CK. 


279 


course,  with  a  fluttering  motion  of  its  wings,  and  its  large 
paddles  projecting  beyond  its  blunt  end.  Its  activity  is 
amusing,  and  contrasts  with  the  slowness  of  the  graceful 
Swan.  When  frightened  it  sinks,  so  as  to  leave  nothing 
exposed  but  the  head,  or  shoots  away  under  water,  and  after 
a  while  thrusts  up  its  bill  to  breathe.  Its  food  consists  of 
small  fishes,  aquatic  coleoptera,  mollusca,  and  sometimes  seeds. 
It  is  seldom  heard  to  emit  any  cries,  but  in  spring  makes  a 
low  clicking  and  chattering  sort  of  noise. 

The  nest,  which  I  have  never  seen,  is  variously  described 
by  authors.  Some  say  it  floats,  others  view  it  as  floating 
only  through  accident ;  some  even  allege,  that  when  drifting 
along,  the  sitting  bird  thrusts  its  feet  through  it,  and  paddles 
away  to  a  safe  place.  The  truth  appears  to  he,  simply,  that 
the  nest  is  very  large,  formed  of  a  mass  of  aquatic  plants,  and 
placed  among  the  reeds  or  sedges.  On  leaving  it,  the  bird  is 
said  to  cover  the  eggs  with  dry  grass,  probably  with  the  view 
of  concealing  them.  They  are  five  or  six  in  number,  dull 
white,  and  of  an  elliptical  form.  The  young  presently  betake 
themselves  to  the  water. 

This  bird  can  hardly  walk,  and  even  in  standing  rests  on 
the  hind  part  of  its  tarsi.  Although  it  can  easily  rise  from 
the  water  on  wing,  it  is  unable  to  spring  from  the  ground, 
and  may  thus  be  caught  with  the  hand.  Mr.  Selby  has  even 
found  that  when,  having  in  winter  betaken  themselves  to  the 
sea-coast,  “  they  happened  to  be  left  in  small  pools  after  the 
recess  of  the  tide,  they  first  dived,  and  afterwards  invariably 
attempted  to  conceal  themselves  among  the  fronds  of  the 
algae,  rarely  attempting  to  escape  by  flight.”  I  have  never 
observed  them  in  full  open  flight,  although  in  this  respect 
they  probably  resemble  the  other  species.  When  the  waters 
are  frozen  they  betake  themselves  to  estuaries,  and  even  the 
open  shores  of  the  sea,  where  they  are  said  to  feed  on  small 
fishes  and  shrimps. 

In  summer,  this  species  is  not  uncommon  even  in  the 
most  northern  parts  of  Scotland,  as  well  as  in  the  Outer 
Hebrides,  where,  however,  I  think,  it  is  not  found  in  winter. 
Although  generally  dispersed,  it  is  not  plentiful  in  the  middle 
and  southern  parts  of  Scotland,  nor  in  the  northern  districts 


280 


SYLBEOCYCLUS  EUROP^US. 


of  England,  in  the  southern  portions  of  which,  however,  it  is 
said  to  be  very  common.  On  the  Continent,  also,  it  is  gene¬ 
rally  distributed,  but  in  America  is  not  met  with,  the  species 
which  had  been  mistaken  for  it  there  being  probably  Podiceps 
Carolinensis,  which,  however,  is  much  larger, although  usually 
bearing  the  same  name  of  Dobchiek. 

Young. — When  fledged,  the  young  have  the  bill  flesh- 
coloured  below,  and  on  the  basal  sides  of  the  upper  mandible, 
the  rest  dusky-brown ;  the  iris  brown ;  the  feet  brownish- 
black  externally,  olivaceous  internally.  The  upper  parts  of 
the  head  and  hind  neck  are  greyish-brown  ;  the  throat  white  ; 
the  sides  of  the  head  and  neck,  with  part  of  the  latter  ante¬ 
riorly  light  dull  reddish,  mixed  with  brown  ;  the  lower  part 
of  the  neck,  and  the  sides  of  the  body  pale  yellowish-brown  ; 
the  breast  silvery-white.  The  upper  parts  are  dusky-brown, 
the  scapulars  and  fore  part  of  the  back  tinged  with  yellowish- 
brown,  as  are  the  sides  of  the  rump ;  the  wings  as  in  the 
adult,  but  lighter. 


281 


COLYMBINiE. 

LOONS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 

If  the  birds  commonly  known  by  the  name  of  Divers, 
or  Loons,  form  a  well-defined  and  easily  distinguishable 
genus,  they  are  also  all  that  we  have  to  make  a  family  of; 
for  they  certainly  differ,  in  that  extended  point  of  view,  from 
both  the  Grebes  and  the  Auks,  sufficiently  to  render  them 
members  of  a  separate  group  of  that  station,  although  the 
smallness  of  their  number  might  induce  a  belief  of  their 
being  with  more  advantage  referable  to  either  of  the  conter¬ 
minous  series.  As  the  genus  is  fully  characterized  in  the 
following  pages,  I  shall  here  present  only  a  few  distinctive 
marks. 

The  body  is  elongated,  narrow,  tapering  at  both  ends ; 
the  neck  long,  hut  stout ;  the  head  oblong,  compressed,  nar¬ 
rowed  anteriorly.  The  hill  is  about  the  length  of  the  head, 
much  compressed,  tapering,  and  pointed ;  the  mouth  of  mode¬ 
rate  width,  but  expansile ;  the  tongue  long,  trigonal,  and 


Fig.  77. 


282 


COLYMBINiE. 


pointed  ;  the  oesophagus  wide  ;  the  stomach  moderately  mus¬ 
cular  ;  the  coeca  rather  large.  It  is,  however,  in  their  feet 
that  they  differ  essentially  from  the  Grebes,  the  toes  being 
connected  by  regular  webs.  The  tail  also,  though  small,  is 
formed  of  feathers  of  the  ordinary  kind,  not  of  downy  plu¬ 
mules.  The  wings,  very  small,  narrow,  and  acute,  do  not 
differ  materially  from  those  of  the  Auk  family. 

In  the  celerity  with  which  they  dive  and  proceed  under 
water,  they  are  not  exceeded  by  the  Mergansers,  Cormorants, 
or  perhaps  any  other  birds. 


SYNOPSIS  OF  TIIE  BRITISH  GENERA  AND  SPECIES. 

GENUS  I.  COLYMBUS.  LOON. 

Bill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  rather  slender,  much 
compressed,  tapering,  pointed  ;  feet  short,  and  placed  at  the 
extremity  of  the  body ;  tarsus  extremely  compressed,  edged 
before  and  behind,  covered  all  over  with  sub-hexagonal 
scales ;  hind  toe  extremely  small,  connected  with  the  next 
by  a  membrane,  which  is  partly  free  and  lobiform  ;  anterior 
toes  long ;  interdigital  membranes  narrow ;  claws  small, 
convex  above,  rounded ;  wings  short,  narrow,  pointed  ;  tail 
extremely  short,  rounded,  of  about  twenty  feathers. 

1.  Cohj mhus  glacialis.  Northern  or  Ring -necked  Loon. 
About  three  feet  long;  head  and  neck  deep  bluish-green, 
glossed  with  purple ;  a  patch  on  the  throat  and  a  broad 
ring,  incomplete  in  front,  on  the  neck,  white,  longitudinally 
streaked  with  black. 

2.  Colymbus  arcticus.  Black-throated  Loon.  About  two 
feet  eight  inches  long ;  upper  part  of  head  and  hind-neck 
light  grey  ;  fore-neck  purplish-black. 

8.  Colymbus  septentrionalis.  Red-throated  Loon.  About 
two  feet  five  inches  long ;  sides  of  the  head  bluish-grey  ; 
upper  part  of  the  head  grey,  with  small  dark  spots  ;  nape, 
hind  and  lower  parts  of  neck,  streaked  with  black  and 
white ;  fore-neck  with  a  broad  longitudinal  band  of  deep 
orange-red. 


283 


COLYMBUS  GLACIALIS.  THE  RING-NECKED 

LOON. 

GREAT  NORTHERN  DIVER.  GREATEST  SPECKLED  DIVER.  IMMER,  EMMER, 
OR  EMBER  GOOSE.  GUNNER.  NAAIv.  MUR-BIIUACHAILL,  OR  SEA-IIERDS- 
MAN.  COBBLE. 


Fig.  78. 


Colymbus  glacialis.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  221.  Adult. 

Colyinbus  Immer.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  1.  222.  Young. 

Colymbus  glacialis.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  799.  Adult. 

Colymbus  Immer.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  800. 

Northern  Diver.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Flongeon  Imbrim.  Colymbus  glacialis.  Temm.  Man.  d'Ornith.  II.  910. 
Northern  Diver.  Colymbus  glacialis.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  406. 

Colymbus  glacialis.  Jenyns.  Frit.  Vert.  Anim.  255. 

Colymbus  glacialis.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  65. 


Adult  about  three  feet  long  ;  with  the  hill  black,  almost 
straight,  three  inches  in  length  along  the  ridge ,  an  inch  in 
height  at  the  base,  with  the  sides  flattened,  the  base  of  the 


284 


COLYMBUS  GLACIALIS. 


lower  mandible  with  a  ridge  and  several  strive ,  the  edges  little 
inflected,  and  the  commissure  grooved  beneath  ;  the  head  and 
neck  deep  bluish-green  glossed  with  purple  ;  a  patch  on  the 
throat,  and  a  broad  ring,  incomplete  in  front,  on  the  neck,  of 
white  longitudinally  streaked  ivith  black ;  the  upper  parts 
black,  the  middle  of  the  back  and  the  scapulars  with  quadran¬ 
gular,  its  fore  and  hind  parts,  and  the  icings  with  small  round 
white  spots,  of  which  there  are  two  on  each  feather  ;  the  sides 
of  the  lower  neck  streaked  with  white  and  black  ;  the  lower 
parts  white,  but  the  sides  black,  spotted  with  white,  and  a  nar¬ 
row  dusky  band  across  the  hind  part  of  the  abdomen. 

Male  in  Summer. — This  beautiful  bird,  the  largest  of 
its  genus,  has  the  body  of  great  bulk,  elliptical,  and  much 
depressed ;  the  neck  long  and  thick  ;  the  head  of  moderate 
size,  oblong,  anteriorly  narrowed.  The  bill,  as  long  as  the 
head,  is  almost  straight,  stout,  much  compressed,  tapering, 
and  pointed ;  the  upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  line  gently 
descending,  slightly  convex  beyond  the  middle,  the  ridge  con¬ 
vex,  the  sides  nearly  erect,  little  convex,  the  edges  sharp, 
little  inflected,  the  tip  narrow  and  rather  bluntly  pointed  ; 
the  lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural  space  very  long  and 
narrow,  with  a  groove  continued  beyond  the  junction  of  the 
crura,  which  have  their  lower  outline  nearly  straight,  their 
sides  nearly  erect,  with  numerous  fine  striae  at  the  base,  and 
a  prominent  ridge  near  the  edge,  the  dorsal  line  ascending 
and  straight,  the  edges  sharp  and  little  inclinate,  the  tip 
acuminate  ;  the  gape-line  slightly  arcuate. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width,  but  extensile,  the  gape¬ 
line  commencing  under  the  eyes ;  the  palate  flattened,  with 
six  series  of  reversed  papillae ;  the  tongue  two  inches  in  length, 
fleshy,  trigonal,  tapering,  longitudinally  grooved  above,  with 
the  point  slender  and  horny.  The  oesophagus,  seventeen 
inches  long,  is  two  inches  and  a-lialf  in  width  along  the  neck, 
but  contracts  considerably  in  entering  the  thorax,  and  again 
enlarges  ;  its  walls  thin,  witli  the  outer  layer  of  circular  and 
the  subjacent  layer  of  longitudinal  fibres  very  distinct,  the 
inner  or  mucous  coat  plicate.  The  proventricular  portion 
three  inches  long,  its  transverse  fibres  very  strong ;  the  glan- 


RING-NECKED  LOON. 


285 


dules  very  numerous,  large,  oblong  or  roundish,  and  arranged 
in  a  continuous  belt.  The  stomach  is  moderate,  elliptical, 
three  inches  in  length,  two  inches  and  eight-twelfths  in 
breadth  ;  muscular,  with  large  tendons,  and  moderately  thick 
lateral  muscles,  composed  of  strong  fasciculi ;  the  epithelium 
dense,  thick,  with  large  longitudinal  transversely  fissured 
ridges,  and  roundish,  concave,  irregularly  fissured  grinding 
surfaces.  The  pyloric  orifice  is  wide,  hut  has  a  strong  pro¬ 
minent  margin.  The  intestine,  six  feet  ten  inches  in  length, 
varies  in  width  from  nine-twelfths  to  half  an  inch.  The  coeca 
are  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths  in  length,  nine-twelfths  in 
breadth,  and  rounded  at  the  end.  The  rectum  is  three  and 
a  half  inches  long,  with  a  globular  dilatation,  three  inches  in 
diameter. 

The  nostrils  are  small,  linear,  direct,  sub-basal,  pervious, 
four-twelfths  long.  The  eyes  rather  small,  their  aperture 
four-twelfths.  That  of  the  ear  only  two-twelfths.  The  feet 
are  short,  and  placed  at  the  extremity  of  the  hody  ;  the  tibia 
long,  but  covered  with  the  skin  so  as  not  to  be  free,  and  fea¬ 
thered  almost  to  the  joint ;  the  tarsus  short,  extremely  com¬ 
pressed,  edged  before  and  behind,  covered  all  over  with  sub- 
hexagonal  scales.  The  hind  toe  extremely  small,  elevated, 
connected  with  the  second  by  a  membrane,  which  is  partly 
free  and  lobiform ;  the  anterior  toes  long,  the  outer  longest ; 
the  inner  with  a  two-lobed  membrane  ;  the  interdigital  mem¬ 
branes  narrow :  the  middle  toe  with  fiftv-six  scutella.  The 
7  * 

claws  are  small,  depressed,  convex  above,  rounded  at  the  end. 

The  plumage  is  short,  dense,  and  firm ;  on  the  head  and 
neck  very  short  and  blended  ;  the  feathers  oblong ;  those  on 
the  upper  parts  compact,  glossy,  oblong,  and  abruptly  ter¬ 
minated  ;  on  the  lower  oblong,  rounded,  and  rather  blended. 
The  wings  are  short,  narrow,  convex ;  the  primaries  strong, 
tapering,  the  first  longest,  the  second  two-twelfths  of  an  inch 
shorter,  the  rest  rapidly  decreasing ;  the  secondaries  rather 
broad,  and  rounded.  The  tail  extremely  short,  rounded,  of 
twenty  moderately  firm  feathers. 

The  bill  is  black,  with  the  tips  horn-coloured ;  the  iris 
bright-red  ;  the  tarsi  and  toes  purplish-blue  externally,  tinged 
with  pale  yellowish-red  internally ;  the  claws  bluish-grey ; 


286 


COLYMBUS  GLACIALIS. 


the  interdigital  membranes  brownish-black,  paler  in  the 
middle.  The  bead  and  neck  are  deep  bluish-green,  glossed 
with  purple.  On  the  throat  is  a  small  transverse  patch  of 
white  and  black  streaks,  and  farther  down  the  neck  on  each 
side  is  a  large  transverse  patch  of  the  same,  the  two  patches 
meeting  behind,  but  separated  before  by  a  space  an  inch  in 
breadth.  The  lower  parts  are  glossy  white,  with  the  excep¬ 
tion  of  the  sides  of  the  lower  part  of  the  fore-neck,  which  are 
striated  with  black,  the  sides  of  the  body,  which  are  greenish- 
black,  sprinkled  with  small  round,  white  dots,  the  axillar 
feathers,  and  large  wing-coverts,  which  have  a  medial  dusky 
band,  a  narrow  transverse  band  of  dusky  feathers,  each  having 
two  whitish  spots  across  the  hind  part  of  the  abdomen,  and  the 
lower  tail-coverts,  which  are  also  blackish-brown,  and  tipped 
or  spotted  with  white.  The  upper  parts  are  glossy  black, 
beautifully  variegated  with  white  spots,  arranged  in  trans¬ 
verse  bands,  small  and  roundish  toward  the  neck  and  on  the 
wings,  larger  and  somewhat  rectangular  on  the  middle  of  the 
hack,  on  the  scapulars  largest  and  square,  on  the  hind  part  of 
the  hack  very  small  and  round.  There  are  two  of  these  spots 
on  each  of  the  feathers  toward  the  end,  and  the  striated  parts 
of  the  neck  have  the  feathers  black,  with  two  lateral  white 
spaces,  on  which  the  filaments  are  bent  upwards,  so  that  these 
feathers  are  longitudinally  concave.  The  alular  feathers, 
primary  coverts,  primary  and  secondary  quills,  are  brownish  - 
black,  glossed  with  green,  some  of  the  inner  secondaries  with 
two  subterminal  white  spots.  The  tail  is  brownish-black. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  36  inches ;  extent  of  wings  55  ; 
wing  from  flexure  15J  ;  tail  3  ;  hill  along  the  ridge  3T3y ; 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  ;  its  height  at  the  base 
1  ;  tarsus  3^ ;  first  toe  -pj,  its  claw  -py ;  second  toe  3-^,  its 
claw  -fa ;  third  toe  4-^,  its  claw  py ;  fourth  toe  4y\,  its 
claw 


Female  in  Summer. — The  female  resembles  the  male, 
but  is  considerably  smaller.  The  oesophagus,  fifteen  inches 
long,  two  inches  wide,  contracted  within  the  thorax  to  an 
inch  and  three-fourths  ;  the  belt  of  proventricular  glandules 
two  inches  and  two-twelfths.  The  stomach  is  two  inches 


RING-NECKED  LOON. 


287 


and  eight-twelfths  in  length,  and  of  the  same  breadth  ;  with 
the  lateral  muscles  very  thick,  the  upper  and  lower  distinct ; 
the  epithelium  dense,  rugous,  and  of  a  yellowish  tint.  The 
intestine  is  five  feet  five  and  a  half  inches  in  length,  about 
half  an  inch  in  width ;  the  coeca  an  inch  and  a  quarter  long, 
and  of  considerable  width ;  the  rectum  five  inches  and  a  half 
long,  with  the  cloacal  dilatation  two  inches  in  diameter. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  32  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  52 ; 
wing  from  flexure  14J  ;  tail  2 J ;  hill  along  the  ridge  3; 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  ;  its  height  at  the  base 

;  tarsus  3^ ;  first  toe  -y^-,  its  claw  ;  second  toe  3-^-,  its 
claw  -j%  ;  third  toe  4-J^,  its  claw  -fe ;  fourth  toe  4-^,  its 
claw  -j^. 

Habits. — The  Great  Northern  Diver  is  among  the  most 
beautiful  of  those  birds  which  seek  their  food  in  the  waters  of 
the  great  deep.  It  is  not  with  us  a  very  numerous  species, 
and  can  scarcely  be  called  gregarious,  although  adults  some¬ 
times,  and  the  young  more  frequently,  form  small  parties  of 
from  two  to  five.  A  wanderer  on  the  ocean,  it  not  only  fre¬ 
quents  the  margins  of  the  sea,  fishing  in  the  hays  and  estu¬ 
aries,  hut  may  often  he  met  with  many  miles  from  land, 
although  seldom  at  such  distances  as  the  Gulls  and  other 
hovering  birds.  Narrow  channels,  firths,  voes,  sea-lochs,  and 
sandy  bays,  are  its  favourite  places  of  resort.  There  it  floats, 
lightly  it  may  he,  but  apparently  deep  in  the  water,  its  body 
being  so  much  depressed  that  little  of  it  seems  exposed,  com¬ 
pared  with  what  we  see  of  the  Black-hacked  Gull,  the  one 
like  a  deeply-laden  ship,  scudding  steadily  along,  the  other  in 
ballast,  with  scarce  a  hold  on  the  water,  as  it  mounts  the 
heavily-rolling  waves,  and  again  descends  into  the  trough. 
But  though  the  Gull  floats  thus  lightly,  the  Diver  soon  over¬ 
takes  and  shoots  far  a-head  of  it.  In  turning,  the  Gull  has 
the  advantage,  for  it  moves  round  with  ease  as  on  a  pivot, 
while  the  Diver  slowly  but  steadily  and  majestically.  This, 
one  may  say,  depends  on  their  comparative  length  of  keel,  or 
rather  of  hull. 

But,  to  observe  the  manner  of  life  of  this  celebrated 
fisher,  the  best  plan  is  for  one  to  conceal  himself  among  the 


288 


COLYMBUS  GLACIALIS. 


rocks  of  some  little  bay  or  creek  frequented  by  it,  and  there 
watch  its  movements.  It  is  now  the  end  of  spring,  when  the 
returning  warmth  gives  an  increase  of  animation  to  the  wan¬ 
dering  tribes  of  the  winged  inhabitants  of  the  ocean  air.  But 
the  Loon  makes  comparatively  little  use  of  his  wings,  and  his 
great  bulk  and  robust  frame  would  he  ill  adapted  for  the 
hovering  flight  of  the  Gulls  and  Petrels.  There  he  comes, 
followed  by  his  mate,  advancing  with  marvellous  speed. 
They  have  rounded  the  point,  and  now  stop  for  a  moment  to 
cast  a  searching  glance  along  the  shore,  lest  an  enemy  should 
he  lurking  there.  Forward  they  start,  the  smooth  water 
rippling  gently  against  their  sides.  Small  effort  they  seem 
to  make,  and  yet  powerful  must  he  the  stroke  of  the  oars  that 
impel  masses  so  large  at  so  rapid  a  rate.  Now  and  again  they 
dip  their  hills  into  the  water,  then  the  head  and  neck,  one 
glides  gently  into  the  water,  without  plunge  or  flutter,  and  in 
a  few  seconds  appears  with  a  fish  in  his  hill,  which  with 
upstretched  head  and  neck  he  swallows.  The  other,  having 
also  dived,  appears  with  a  fish  larger  and  less  easily  managed. 
She  heats  it  about  in  her  hill,  plashing  the  water,  and  seems 
unable  to  adapt  it  to  the  capacity  of  her  gullet  ;  hut,  at 
length,  after  much  striving,  masters  it,  and  continues  her 
search.  Backward  and  forward  over  the  clear  sand  of  the 
shallow  hay  they  glide  in  their  quiet  way,  and  now  they  have 
both  dived  with  their  heads  toward  us.  One  rises  close  to 
the  sea-weeds,  and  so  near  to  us  that  we  might  almost  count 
the  spots  on  his  hack.  The  other,  in  emerging,  has  perceived 
us,  and  somehow  communicates  the  discovery  to  her  mate. 
They  swim  about  for  a  short  while  with  erected  necks,  then 
sink  into  the  water,  their  heads  disappearing  last,  and  when 
when  we  see  them  again,  they  are  three  hundred  yards  dis¬ 
tant,  standing  out  to  sea,  with  half-emerged  bodies. 

I  have  several  times  seen  this  bird  shot  by  lving  in  wait 
for  it  in  a  place  thus  frequented,  hut  have  myself  only  on  a 
single  occasion  killed  one  from  the  shores.  The  best  time  to 
shoot  is  when  it  floats  with  its  head  under  the  water,  or  when 
it  raises  itself  up  and  shakes  its  wings.  In  the  former  case, 
it  seems  to  see  nothing  above  the  surface,  whether  owing  to 
the  great  refraction  of  the  light,  or  to  its  being  intent  on 


RING-NECKED  LOON. 


289 


what  is  passing  below.  It  is  very  seldom  that  in  a  boat  one 
has  a  chance  of  procuring  it,  for  it  is  generally  shy,  and 
always  extremely  vigilant.  If  shot  at,  and  not  wounded,  it 
never  flies  off,  but  dips  into  the  water,  and  rises  at  a  great 
distance ;  and  unless  shot  dead,  there  is  little  chance  of  pro¬ 
curing  it,  its  tenacity  of  life  being  great,  and  its  speed  exceed¬ 
ing  that  of  a  four-oared  boat. 

Sometimes  when  surprised,  or  apprehensive  of  danger,  I 
have  heard  it  emit  a  low  croaking  sound.  On  ordinary  occa¬ 
sions  it  is  quite  silent,  hut  often,  even  at  night,  its  loud, 
clear,  melancholy  cry,  may  be  heard  from  the  sea,  and  in 
calm  weather  at  the  distance  of  half  a  mile  or  more.  It  is 
very  seldom  seen  on  wing,  but  in  the  estuaries  and  channels, 
at  the  turn  of  the  tide,  or  early  in  the  morning,  and  again  in 
the  evening,  it  may  be  seen  Hying  at  a  great  height,  with  a 
direct  rapid  flight,  performed  by  quick  beats  of  its  expanded 
wings,  which  even  then  seem  too  small  for  its  body,  and  con¬ 
trast  strangely  with  those  of  the  Gulls,  lint  in  a  direct 
course  this  bird  rapidly  overtakes  and  passes  a  Gull  flying  at 
its  utmost  speed.  I  have  never  seen  it  on  shore,  but  have 
been  informed  that  there  it  is  unable  to  walk,  or  even  to 
stand,  and  is  obliged  to  push  itself  forward  on  its  belly.  An 
acquaintance  of  mine  caught  one  that  had  by  the  ebbing  of 
the  tide  inadvertently  allowed  itself  to  be  left  in  a  very  shallow 
pool.  Montagu  states  that  in  the  spring  of  1797,  one  was 
taken  near  Penzance  in  Cornwall,  at  some  distance  from  the 
water.  It  appeared  incapable  of  raising  itself  from  the 
ground,  though  it  did  not  seem  to  have  any  defect,  as  it  lived 
for  six  weeks  in  a  pond,”  and  died  for  want  of  a  sufficient 
quantity  of  food.  Another,  taken  alive,  and  kept  for  some 
months  in  a  pond,  was  also  incapable  of  walking. 

From  the  middle  of  spring  to  the  end  of  May  it  is  very 
common  along  the  shores  of  the  Outer  Hebrides,  where  I 
have  seen  several  hundreds,  all  of  which  were  in  mature 
speckled  plumage.  They  disappear  in  the  beginning  of  June, 
or  sometimes  earlier,  and  do  not  reappear  in  autumn,  at 
least  in  the  same  plumage ;  for  those  which  I  have  seen 
there  in  winter  had  no  spots  on  the  hack.  At  that  season  it 
is  met  with  from  the  most  northern  parts  to  the  south  of 

yol.  v.  u 


290 


COLYMBUS  GLACIALIS. 


England,  but  is  of  rare  occurrence  beyond  the  middle  parts 
of  the  latter  country.  The  young  birds  proceed  farther  south 
than  the  old,  of  which  very  few  at  any  season  are  met  with 
on  the  southern  coasts  of  England.  It  is  more  numerous  on 
the  western  than  on  the  eastern  coasts  of  Scotland,  where  it 
is  chiefly  seen  in  the  firths.  Mr.  Dunn  says  it  “  is  plentiful 
both  in  Orkney  and  Shetland  in  the  winter  and  spring.  It 
leaves  about  the  latter  end  of  May,  by  which  time  it  has 
acquired  its  perfect  summer  plumage.” 

It  appears  that  all,  or  nearly  all,  the  individuals  of  this 
species  that  frequent  our  coasts  in  autumn,  winter,  and 
spring,  retire  farther  northward  in  summer  to  breed.  At 
that  season  it  has  been  found  in  the  northern  parts  of  the 
continent  of  Europe,  in  Iceland,  Greenland,  and  the  northern 
regions  of  America,  from  the  shores  of  the  icy  sea  to  Mary¬ 
land.  Mr.  Audubon,  who  gives  by  far  the  best  account  of 
the  habits  of  this  bird  that  I  have  seen,  is  the  only  person 
who  has  minutely  described  its  nest,  and  the  circumstances 
relative  to  it.  In  presenting  the  following  extract  from  his 
Ornithological  Biography,  I  have  to  premise  that  it  breeds 
on  the  borders  of  rivers,  lakes,  and  marshes,  never  on  the 
sea-shore: — “The  situation  and  form  of  the  nest  differ 
according  to  circumstances.  Some  of  those  which  breed  in 
the  State  of  Maine  place  it  on  the  hillocks  of  weeds  and 
mud,  prepared  by  the  musk-rat,  on  the  edges  of  the  lakes, 
or  at  some  distance  from  them  among  the  rushes.  Other 
nests,  found  on  the  head-waters  of  the  Wabash  River,  were 
situated  on  the  mud,  amid  the  rank  weeds,  more  than  ten 
yards  from  the  water.  One  that  I  saw  after  the  young  had 
left  it,  on  Cayuga  Lake,  in  1824,  was  almost  afloat,  and 
rudely  attached  to  the  rushes,  more  than  forty  yards  from 
the  land,  though  its  base  was  laid  on  the  bottom,  the  water 
being  eight  or  nine  inches  deep.  Others  examined  in 
Labrador  were  placed  on  dry  land,  several  yards  from  the 
water,  and  raised  to  the  height  of  nearly  a  foot  above  the 
decayed  moss  on  which  they  were  laid.  But,  in  cases  where 
the  nest  was  found  at  any  distance  from  the  water,  we  dis¬ 
covered  a  well-beaten  path  leading  to  it,  and  very  much 
resembling  those  made  by  the  Beaver,  to  which  the  hunters 


RING-NECKED  LOON. 


291 


give  the  name  of  crawls.  The  nest,  however  placed,  is 
bulky,  and  formed  of  the  vegetable  substances  found  in  the 
immediate  vicinity,  such  as  fresh  or  withered  grasses,  and 
herbaceous  plants.  The  internal  part,  or  the  true  nest, 
which  is  rarely  less  than  a  foot,  and  is  sometimes  fifteen 
inches,  in  diameter,  is  raised  upon  the  external  or  inferior 
mass,  to  the  height  of  seven  or  eight  inches.  Of  the  many 
nests  which  I  have  examined,  I  have  found  more  containing 
three  than  two  eggs,  and  I  am  confident  that  the  former 
number  is  that  which  more  frequently  occurs.  The  eggs 
average  three  inches  and  three  quarters  in  length,  by  two 
inches  and  a  quarter  in  their  greatest  breadth,  and  thus  are 
considerably  elongated,  being  particularly  narrowed  from  the 
bulge  to  the  smaller  end,  which  is  rather  pointed.  They  are 
of  a  dull  greenish-ochrv  tint,  rather  indistinctly  marked  with 
spots  of  dark  umber,  which  are  more  numerous  toward  the 
larger  extremity.  On  approaching  the  female  while  sitting 
on  her  eggs,  I  assured  myself  that  she  incubates  with  her 
body  laid  flat  upon  them,  in  the  same  way  as  the  domestic 
Duck ;  and  that,  on  perceiving  the  intruder,  she  squats 
close,  and  so  remains  until  he  is  almost  over  her,  when  she 
springs  up  with  great  force,  and  makes  at  once  for  the 
water,  in  a  scrambling  and  sliding  manner,  pushing  herself 
along  the  ground.  On  gaining  the  water  she  dives  at  once, 
emerges  at  a  great  distance,  and  very  rarely  suffers  herself  to 
he  approached  within  gun-shot.  The  young  are  covered  at 
birth  with  a  kind  of  black  stiff  down,  and  in  a  day  or  two 
after  are  led  to  the  water  by  their  mother.  They  swim  and 
dive  extremely  well  even  at  this  early  stage  of  their  exist¬ 
ence,  and,  after  being  fed  by  regurgitation  for  about  a 
fortnight,  receive  portions  of  fish,  aquatic  insects,  and 
small  reptiles,  until  they  are  able  to  maintain  them¬ 
selves.” 

The  food  of  this  species,  while  it  remains  with  us,  con¬ 
sists  of  small  fishes,  herrings,  young  coalfisli,  sometimes  even 
young  flounders,  and  crabs.  In  its  stomach  are  generally 
found  small  pebbles  and  gravel.  Its  flesh  is  dark-coloured 
and  rank  ;  but  of  its  quality  as  food  I  am  unable  to  speak 
from  experience,  although  authors  condemn  it. 


* 


292 


COLYMBUS  GLACIALIS. 


Young. — As  the  bird  does  not  breed  with  us,  I  cannot 
describe  tlie  young  when  fledged.  In  October  and  No¬ 
vember,  however,  they  are  as  follows  : — The  bill  has  the 
ridge  of  the  upper  mandible  dusky,  its  edges  and  basal  part, 
with  the  whole  of  the  lower  mandible,  greenish-yellow.  The 
iris  brown.  The  feet  dusky  externally,  yellowish-flesh- 
coloured  internally ;  the  webs  flesh-coloured ;  the  claws 
brownish-yellow,  dusky  at  the  end.  The  upper  part  of  the 
head  and  the  nape  dark  greenish-  brown  ;  the  hind  part  and 
sides  of  the  neck  greyish-brown,  the  latter  mottled  with 
greyish-white.  The  feathers  of  the  head  and  neck  are  soft 
and  almost  downy  ;  those  of  the  back  rounded  at  the  end, 
and  not  truncate,  as  in  the  adult.  The  feathers  of  all  the 
upper  parts  are  brownish-black  toward  the  end,  broadly 
margined  with  ash-grey ;  the  margins  larger  and  paler  on 
the  feathers  of  the  middle  of  the  back,  and  especially  the 
scapulars ;  on  those  of  the  hind  part  of  the  back  narrow. 
The  quills  and  tail-feathers  are  blackish-brown,  with  a 
greenish  gloss.  The  fore  part  of  the  neck  is  greyish-white, 
minutely  and  faintly  mottled  with  grey  ;  the  cheeks  also 
variegated  ;  the  lower  sides  of  the  neck  streaked  with  grey ; 
all  the  lower  parts  pure  white,  excepting  under  the  wings, 
where  the  feathers  are  like  those  of  the  back,  the  axillars, 
which  are  streaked  with  grey,  and  a  band  of  brownish-grey 
across  the  hind  part  of  the  abdomen,  together  with  the 
feathers  under  the  tail,  which  are  grey  tipped  with  whitish. 
This,  I  think,  must  be  the  first  plumage,  as  some  individuals 
seen  in  it  were  very  small.  Some  of  the  dimensions  of  two 
are  as  follows  : — 

Male. — Length  to  end  of  tail  31  inches  ;  extent  of  wings 
49  ;  wing  from  flexure  13J  ;  tail  2^  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  2yV, 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  4^- ;  tarsus  3TL ;  outer 
toe  4-^,  its  claw  -fe. 

Female. — Length  to  end  of  tail  29  inches  ;  extent  of 
wings  46  ;  wing  from  flexure  1 3 J ;  tail  2f  ;  bill  along  the 
ridge  2-fV,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  4T’7;  tarsus 
3-pj ;  outer  toe  4^,  its  claw  yV. 


RING-NECKED  LOON. 


293 


Progress  toward  Maturity. — In  tins  state  they  con¬ 
tinue  until  the  next  autumnal  moult,  according  to  some  ; 
but  Mr.  Audubon  says  that  “  toward  spring  the  eye  assumes 
a  redder  tint,  and  the  plumage  of  the  upper  parts  gradually 
becomes  spotted  with  white ;  and  when  the  moult  is  com¬ 
pleted  about  the  end  of  summer,  the  plumage  is  as  in  the 
adult,  although  the  tints  are  improved  at  each  successive 
moult  for  several  years.”  M.  Temminck  gives  a  very  dif¬ 
ferent  statement : — “  At  the  age  of  a  year,  the  individuals  of 
both  sexes  assume  toward  the  middle  of  the  neck  a  trans¬ 
verse  band  of  a  blackish-brown,  about  an  inch  in  length,  and 
forming  a  kind  of  collar ;  the  feathers  of  the  hack  have  a 
blackish  tint,  and  the  small  white  spots  begin  to  appear. 
At  the  age  of  two  years  the  collar  is  more  marked ;  that 
part,  the  head,  and  the  neck  are  variegated  with  brown  and 
greenish-black  feathers ;  the  numerous  spots  of  the  back  and 
wings  prevail ;  and  the  band  under  the  throat,  as  well  as  the 
collar  of  the  nape,  are  marked  by  longitudinal  brown  and 
white  lines.  At  the  age  of  three  years  the  plumage  is 
perfect.”  Nothing  further  is  to  be  found  on  the  subject  in 
the  writings  of  any  subsequent  author.  It  is  by  no  means 
in  a  satisfactory  state. 


294 


COLYMBUS  ARCTICUS.  THE  BLACK-THROATED 

LOON. 


BLACK-THROATED  DIVER. 


Colymbus  arcticus.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  221. 

Colymbus  arcticus.  Latb.  Ind.  Ornitb.  II.  800. 

Black-throated  Diver.  Mont.  Ornitb.  Diet. 

Plongeon  Lumme.  Colymbus  arcticus.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  913. 

Black-throated  Diver.  Colymbus  arcticus.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  411. 

Colymbus  arcticus.  Jenyns.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  256. 

Colymbus  arcticus.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  65. 

Adult  about  two  feet  eight  inches  long  ;  with  the  bill  black, 
straight,  two  inches  and  a  half  along  the  ridge,  two-thirds  of 
an  inch  in  height  at  the  base,  with  the  sides  'prominent,  the 
edges  in  part  involute,  but  direct  at  the  base  and  toward  the 
end ;  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  hind  neck  light-grey, 
the  fore  part  and  sides  of  the  head  darker  ;  the  fore  neck  pur¬ 
plish-black,  ending  angularly  below,  and  having  a  transverse 
interrupted  white  band  above  ;  sides  and  lower  part  of  the  neck 
in  front  dusky,  streaked  with  white  ;  the  upper  parts  black, 
glossed  with  green  anteriorly,  and  shaded  with  brown  behind ; 
two  dorsal  bands  of  ivliite  square  spots  in  transverse  rows  ;  sca¬ 
pulars  with  larger  white  spots  ;  the  lower  parts  of  the  body 
white,  icith  a  longitudinal  dusky  band  on  the  sides. 

Male  in  Summer. — This  species  lias  the  same  general 
form  as  the  last,  its  body  being  elongated,  rather  slender,  and 
much  depressed  ;  the  neck  long  and  rather  thick  ;  the  head  of 
moderate  size,  oblong,  and  anteriorly  narrowed.  The  hill  is 
about  as  long  as  the  head,  straight,  stout,  compressed,  taper¬ 
ing,  and  pointed ;  the  upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  line 
almost  straight  and  direct,  the  ridge  convex,  the  sides  convex 
beyond  the  nostrils,  the  edges  involute  for  half  their  length 


BLACK-THROATED  LOON. 


295 


in  the  middle,  direct  at  the  base  and  toward  the  end,  the  tip 
narrow  and  pointed ;  the  lower  mandible  with  the  intererural 
space  very  long  and  extremely  narrow,  the  lower  outline  of 
the  crura  straight,  the  dorsal  line  ascending  and  very  slightly 
convex,  the  edges  sharp  and  involute,  the  tip  attenuated. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width,  hut  extensile,  the  gape- 
line  commencing  under  the  eyes.  Nostrils  small,  sub-basal, 
linear,  direct ;  eyes  of  moderate  size  ;  apertures  of  ears  very 
small.  The  feet  are  short,  and  placed  at  the  extremity  of  the 
body ;  the  tibia  covered  by  the  skin  of  the  body  almost  to  the 
end,  the  tarsus  short,  extremely  compressed,  edged  before  and 
behind,  covered  all  over  with  angular  scales.  The  hind  toe 
extremely  small,  elevated,  connected  with  the  second  by  a 
membrane,  which  is  partly  free,  forming  a  lobe  narrowing  to 
the  end  ;  the  anterior  toes  long,  the  outer  longest ;  the  inner 
with  a  two-lobed  membrane  ;  the  interdigital  membranes  nar¬ 
row,  and  emarginate  ;  all  the  toes  with  numerous  scutella. 
The  claws  are  small,  depressed,  convex  above,  obtuse. 

The  plumage  is  short,  dense,  and  firm ;  on  the  head  and 
neck  very  short,  soft,  and  blended  ;  the  feathers  of  the  upper 
parts  oblong,  glossy,  those  of  the  fore  part  of  the  hack,  and 
the  scapulars,  truncate  ;  of  the  lower  parts  short,  blended,  but 
stiffisli,  and  considerably  glossed ;  those  on  the  lower  parts  of 
the  sides  of  the  neck  much  incurved,  with  the  terminal  fila¬ 
ments  stiff.  The  wings  are  of  moderate  length,  narrow,  and 
convex  ;  the  primaries  strong,  tapering,  the  first  longest,  the 
second  scarcely  shorter,  the  rest  rapidly  decreasing ;  the 
secondaries  very  short,  broadly  rounded.  The  tail  is  ex¬ 
tremely  short,  rounded,  of  eighteen  rather  firm,  rounded 
feathers. 

The  hill  is  black ;  the  feet  greyish-blue  externally,  pale 
flesh-coloured  internally  ;  the  webs  flesh-coloured  ;  the  claws 
dusky,  yellowish  at  the  base.  The  upper  part  of  the  head 
and  the  hind  neck  are  of  a  hoary  bluish-grey,  the  fore  part 
and  sides  of  the  head  darker ;  the  throat  and  fore  part  of  the 
neck  are  purplish-black,  that  colour  extending  about  six 
inches,  and  ending  in  an  angle.  On  the  upper  part  of  this 
dark  hand  is  a  transverse  narrow  interrupted  band  of  linear 
white  streaks.  The  sides  of  the  neck  are  blackish-brown. 


296 


COLYMBUS  APvCTICUS. 


with  several  longitudinal  white  streaks,  the  margins  of  the 
feathers  being  of  that  colour.  On  the  lower  part  of  the  neck 
anteriorly  is  a  broad  space  similarly  marked.  The  upper 
parts  of  the  body  are  glossy  black,  tinged  with  green.  On 
the  fore  part  of  the  back  are  two  longitudinal  bands  of  trans¬ 
verse  white  bars,  formed  by  the  tips  of  the  feathers.  The 
scapulars,  excepting  the  outer,  are  also  marked  with  trans¬ 
verse  rows  of  rather  large  square  spots.  Wing-coverts  black, 
most  of  them  with  two  roundish  white  spots  near  the  end. 
The  quills  are  blackish-brown,  tinged  with  grey  on  the  outer, 
and  paler  on  the  inner  webs.  The  lower  parts  of  the  body 
are  pure  white,  excepting  a  longitudinal  band  on  the  sides 
under  the  wing,  which  is  dusky. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  28  inches,  to  end  of  wings  26  ;  wing 
from  flexure  12^ ;  tail  2J ;  bill  along  the  ridge  2-j%,  along  the 
edge  of  lower  mandible  3-^  ;  its  height  at  the  base  y^ ;  tarsus 
3t2^-  ;  hind  toe  T8Y,  its  claw  -y?  5  second  toe  3-^,  its  claw  yV  ; 
third  toe  3^-,  its  claw  ;  fourth  toe  4-y-j,  its  claw 

Female. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male,  but  smaller. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  25  inches. 

Habits. — The  Black-throated  Diver  begins  to  appear 
along  our  northern  coasts  about  the  end  of  September,  fre¬ 
quenting  the  bays  and  estuaries,  but  in  small  numbers.  In 
winter  it  is  to  be  seen  here  and  there  along  all  the  coasts  of 
Britain,  the  number  of  young  birds  greatly  exceeding  that  of 
adult,  but  not  nearly  so  great  as  that  of  the  young  Red- 
throated  Loons.  Most  of  them  depart  by  the  end  of  April,  a 
few  only  remaining  to  breed  in  the  more  northern  parts  of 
Scotland,  and  some  of  its  islands.  It  sits  deep  in  the  water, 
when  alarmed  often  proceeds  with  little  more  than  its  neck 
and  head  apparent,  swims  with  surprising  speed,  flies  gene¬ 
rally  high,  with  rapidity,  in  a  direct  course,  with  outstretched 
neck,  and  quick  beats  of  the  wings.  Its  food  consists  of 
Ashes,  Crustacea,  and  sometimes  testaceous  mollusca.  In 
winter  it  is  seldom  seen  on  rivers  or  lakes ;  but  in  summer  it 
betakes  itself  to  inland  waters,  and  there  constructs  its  nest, 
which,  however,  I  have  not  met  with.  Mr.  Selby  gives  the 


BLACK-THROATED  LOON. 


297 


first  account  of  its  breeding  in  Scotland.  In  his  report  on 
the  quadrupeds  and  birds  observed  on  an  excursion  made  in 
the  summer  of  1834,  he  says  : — “  This  beautiful  species, 
whose  breeding  station  had  never  before  been  detected,  we 
found  upon  most  of  the  interior  Sutherland  lochs.  The  first 
we  noticed  was  at  the  foot  of  Loch  Shin,  where  we  were  so 
fortunate  as  to  find  the  nest,  or  rather  the  two  eggs,  upon  the 
bare  ground  of  a  small  islet,  removed  about  ten  or  twelve  feet 
from  the  water’s  edge.  The  female  was  seen  in  the  act  of 
incubation,  sitting  horizontally,  and  not  in  an  upright  posi¬ 
tion,  upon  the  eggs.  In  plumage  she  precisely  resembled  the 
male,  and  when  fired  at  immediately  swam,  or  rather  dived 
off  to  a  short  distance.  Our  pursuit  after  them  was,  however, 
ineffectual,  though  persevered  in  for  a  long  time,  as  it  was 
impossible  to  calculate  where  they  were  likely  to  rise  after 
diving.  Submersion  frequently  continued  for  nearly  two 
minutes  at  a  time,  and  they  generally  reappeared  at  nearly  a 
quarter  of  a  mile’s  distance  from  the  spot  where  they  had 
gone  down.  In  no  instance  have  I  ever  seen  them  attempt 
to  escape  by  taking  wing.  I  may  observe,  that  a  visible 
track  from  the  water  to  the  eggs  was  made  by  the  female, 
whose  progress  upon  land  is  effected  by  shuffling  along  upon 
her  belly,  propelled  by  her  legs  behind.  On  the  day  following 
(Saturday,  the  31st  of  May),  Mr.  J.  Wilson  was  fortunate 
enough  to  find  two  newly-liatched  young  ones  in  a  small 
creek  of  Loch  Craggie,  about  two  and  a  half  miles  from  Lairg. 
After  handling  and  examining  them,  during  which  the  old 
birds  approached  very  near  to  him,  he  left  them  in  the  same 
spot,  knowing  that  we  were  anxious  to  obtain  the  old  birds. 
Accordingly,  on  the  Monday  morning  we  had  the  boat  con¬ 
veyed  to  the  loch,  and,  on  our  arrival,  soon  descried  the  two 
old  birds,  attended  by  their  young,  and  apparently  moving  to 
a  different  part  of  the  loch.  Contrary  to  their  usual  habit  at 
other  times,  they  did  not  attempt  to  dive  upon  our  approach, 
but  kept  swimming  around  their  young,  which,  from  their 
tender  age,  were  unable  to  make  much  way  in  the  water,  and 
we  got  sufficiently  near  to  shoot  both  of  them  through  the 
neck  and  head,  the  only  parts  accessible  to  shot,  as  they  swim 
with  the  whole  body  nearly  submerged.  The  female  could 


298 


COLYMBUS  AIICTICUS. 


only  be  distinguished  from  the  male  by  a  slight  inferiority  of 
size,  and  both  were  in  the  finest  adult  or  summer  plumage. 
We  afterwards  saw  several  pairs,  upon  various  lochs,  and 
upon  Loch  Kay  a  pair  attended  by  two  young  ones,  nearly 
half-grown.  When  swimming,  they  are  in  the  constant  habit 
of  dipping  their  bill  in  the  water,  with  a  graceful  motion  of 
the  head  and  neck.” 

It  is  said  to  be  of  extremely  rare  occurrence  in  Shetland. 
Mr.  Dunn  says  he  never  saw  it  there,  although  there  is  no 
doubt  of  its  visiting  occasionally.  It  is,  he  says,  extremely 
rare  in  Orkney ;  but  Messrs.  Baikie  and  Heddle  give  a  dif¬ 
ferent  statement : — “  This  bird,  in  its  perfect,  and  in  its 
immature  state,  though  not  uncommon,  is  by  no  means  so 
abundant  as  the  Great  Northern  Diver.  By  some  it  is  stated 
to  be  exceedingly  rare,  but  within  the  last  few  years  it  has 
been  shot  at  South  Ronaldshay,  at  Scapa,  at  Kirkwall,  at 
Sunday,  &c.  It  is  very  shy.  A  few  remain  with  us  the 
whole  year.”  In  the  Hebrides  it  has  escaped  my  notice  ;  but 
Mr.  John  MacGillivray,  who  visited  some  of  them  in  1840, 
says  : — “  Colymbus  arcticus,  Black-throated  Diver,  was  ascer¬ 
tained  to  breed  in  North  List.  I  did  not,  however,  find  its 
nest,  but  mention  the  fact  upon  the  authority  of  several  of 
my  friends  who  did  so,  and  know  the  species  well — among 
others,  Lieutenant  Macdonald,  of  North  List.”  Mr.  Thomas 
Jamieson,  in  his  Notes  on  the  Birds  of  Skye,  writes : — “  I 
saw  an  individual  of  this  species,  in  the  adult  plumage,  on 
the  morning  of  the  24th  September,  when  down  by  the  sea¬ 
shore.  I  am  not  aware  of  their  occurrence  in  Skye  dining 
summer,  but  have  reason  to  think  that  they  breed  on  the 
opposite  shore  of  the  Long  Island.  Divers,  I  was  informed 
by  those  who  have  shot  them,  occur  in  greatest  numbers 
along  the  coast  of  Skye  in  the  beginning  of  spring.” 

In  the  Cromarty  Firth  it  is  not  very  uncommon  in  winter  ; 
in  the  estuaries  of  the  South  Esk  and  Tay  it  is  also  met  with, 
and  a  few  are  to  be  seen  in  the  Firth  of  Forth  ;  but  farther 
southward  it  becomes  very  rare,  although  individuals  have 
been  shot  on  many  parts  of  the  coasts  of  England. 

It  is  said  to  breed  in  Norway,  Sweden,  Lapland,  and  the 
extreme  north  of  Europe  generally,  and  in  winter  to  extend 


BLACK-THROATED  LOON. 


299 


to  the  south  of  Europe.  In  North  America  it  extends  as  far 
south  as  the  Gulf  of  Mexico.  cf  One  of  the  most  remarkable 
circumstances  relative  to  this  beautiful  bird,”  says  Mr.  Audu¬ 
bon,  “  is  the  extraordinary  extent  to  which  the  wanderings 
of  the  young  are  carried  in  autumn  and  winter.  It  breeds  in 
the  remote  regions  of  the  north,  from  which  many  of  the  old 
birds,  it  would  seem,  do  not  remove  far,  while  the  young,  as 
soon  as  they  are  able  to  travel,  take  to  wing  and  disperse, 
spreading  not  only  over  the  greater  part  of  the  United  States, 
but  beyond  their  south-western  limits.” 

The  eggs,  of  which  there  are  only  two,  sometimes  three, 
are  of  a  very  elongated  oval  form,  three  inches  in  length, 
two  inches  in  their  greatest  breadth,  brownish-olive,  sprinkled 
all  over  with  black  and  dark  brown,  with  larger  spots  of  the 
same  at  the  broader  end.  The  young  are  said  by  Mr.  Audu¬ 
bon  to  be  of  a  uniform  brownish-black  colour,  when  in  their 
first  downy  plumage  ;  by  Sir  W.  Jardinc  to  be  greyish-black, 
paler  beneath. 

Young. — In  October,  the  young  have  the  bill  light  grey¬ 
ish-blue,  dusky  along  the  ridge,  whitish  at  the  base  of  the 
lower  mandible  ;  the  iris  brown  ;  the  feet  dusky-grey,  paler 
on  the  inner  side.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  hind 
neck  are  dark  greyish-brown ;  the  cheeks  greyish-white,  mi¬ 
nutely  streaked  with  dusky  ;  the  fore  part  of  the  neck  also 
greyish-white,  faintly  dotted,  its  sides  below  streaked  with 
brown.  The  upper  parts  of  the  body  are  brownisli-black, 
the  feathers  all  broadly  margined  with  light  grey ;  the  hind 
part  of  the  back  dull  brownish -grey.  The  quills  are  brown¬ 
ish-black,  the  secondaries  of  a  lighter  tint,  and  margined  with 
grey  ;  the  tail-feathers  dusky,  similarly  margined.  The  lower 
parts  of  the  body  are  pure  white,  the  feathers  on  the  sides, 
and  some  of  the  lower  tail-coverts  dusky,  edged  with  bluish- 
grey. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — According  to  M.  Tem- 
minck,  “  the  young,  when  a  year  old,  have  the  head  and  hind 
neck  pale  grey ;  the  throat  and  fore  part  of  the  neck  white ; 
but  on  the  throat,  and  sometimes  on  the  fore  part  of  the 


300 


COLYMBUS  ARCTICUS. 


neck,  there  appear  some  violet-black  feathers  mixed  with 
white  feathers ;  the  longitudinal  streaked  band  of  the  sides 
of  the  neck  begins  to  form  ;  the  streaks  of  the  lower  part  of 
the  neck  equally  appear,  and  some  black  feathers,  without 
spots,  appear  on  the  back,  rump,  and  sides. 

“  At  the  age  of  two  years,  the  grey  of  the  head  and  nape 
become  deeper,  and  assume  a  blackish  tint,  but  only  on  the 
forehead ;  the  violet-black  of  the  throat  and  fore  part  of  the 
neck  appear,  but  are  variegated  with  some  white  feathers  ; 
the  longitudinal  bands  are  formed ;  the  feathers  of  the  sides 
and  of  the  upper  part  of  the  hack,  the  scapulars,  and  wing- 
coverts  assume  the  white  hands  and  spots  ;  the  upper  man¬ 
dible  becomes  blackish,  hut  its  base,  as  well  as  a  portion  of 
the  lower  mandible,  are  still  of  a  grey  colour. 

“  At  the  age  of  three  years  the  plumage  is  perfect,  although 
it  still  happens  that  some  individuals  have  the  violet-black 
of  the  neck  sprinkled  with  some  white  feathers.” 


301 


COLYMBUS  SEPTENTRIONALIS.  THE  RED- 

THROATED  LOON. 

RED-THROATED  DIVER.  SPECKLED  DIVER.  SPRAT  LOON. 

Colymbus  septentrionalis.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  220. 

Colymbus  septentrionalis.  Lath.  Ind.  Omitk.  II.  801. 

Colymbus  borealis,  striatus,  and  stellatus.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornitk.  II.  800,  801, 
802.  Young. 

Red-throated  Diver.  Mont.  Ornitk.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Speckled  Diver.  Mont.  Ornitk.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Plongeon  cat-marin  ou  a  gorge  rouge.  Colymbus  septentrionalis.  Temm. 
Man.  d’Ornitk.  II.  916. 

Red-tkroated  Diver.  Colymbus  septentrionalis.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  414. 
Colymbus  septentrionalis.  Red-throated  Diver.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim. 
Colymbus  septentrionalis.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  65. 


Adult  about  two  feet  fee  inches  long  ;  with  the  bill  bluish- 
black ,  slightly  curved  upwards ,  two  inches  and  a  third  along 
the  ridge,  two-thirds  of  an  inch  in  height  at  the  base,  with  the 
sides  prominent,  the  edges  much  inflected ;  the  sides  of  the 
head  and  neck,  with  the  throat  bluish-grey ,  the  upper  part  of 
the  head  marked  with  small  dark  spots,  the  nape,  hind  and 
lower  parts  of  the  neck  streaked  icith  black  and  white,  the  fore 
part  of  the  neck  with  a  broad  longitudinal  band  of  deep 
orange-red  ;  the  upper  parts  greenish-black,  without  spots  ;  the 
lower  white,  but  the  sides  greyish-black,  and  a  narrow  dark 
grey  band  across  the  hind  part  of  the  abdomen . 

Male  in  Summer. — The  Red-throated  Diver,  which  is 
considerably  less  than  the  Black-throated,  and  readily  distin¬ 
guished  from  it  by  the  difference  in  the  form  of  its  hill,  inde¬ 
pendently  of  its  colouring,  which  is  very  dissimilar,  has  the 
body  elongated,  rather  slender,  and  considerably  depressed  ; 
the  neck  long  and  rather  thick  ;  the  head  of  moderate  size. 


302 


COLYMBUS  SEPTENTRIONALIS. 


oblong,  and  anteriorly  narrowed.  The  bill  is  nearly  as  long 
as  the  head,  almost  straight,  being  but  slightly  recurved, 
rather  slender,  but  strong,  compressed,  tapering,  and  pointed  ; 
the  upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  line  almost  straight  and 
direct,  the  ridge  convex,  the  sides  prominently  convex,  the 
edges  sharp,  much  inflected,  the  tip  narrow  and  pointed ;  the 
lower  mandible  with  the  intercrural  space  very  long  and  ex¬ 
tremely  narrow,  the  lower  outline  of  the  crura  straight,  the 
sides  prominently  convex,  the  dorsal  line  much  ascending  and 
straight,  the  edges  sharp  and  much  inflected,  the  tip  acumi¬ 
nate  ;  the  gape-line  a  little  recurved. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width,  but  extensile,  the  gape¬ 
line  commencing  under  the  eyes  ;  the  palate  with  two  promi¬ 
nent  papillate  ridges,  and  six  medial  series  of  reversed 
papillae  merging  anteriorly  into  three  ;  the  tongue,  an  inch 
and  nine-twelfths  long,  fleshy,  trigonal,  tapering,  longitudi¬ 
nally  grooved  above,  with  the  point  extremely  slender  and 
horny.  The  oesophagus,  fourteen  inches  long,  is  two  inches 
in  width  along  the  neck,  but  contracts  considerably  in  enter¬ 
ing  the  thorax,  and  again  enlarges,  the  proventriculus  being 
two  inches  in  breadth.  The  stomach  is  rather  large,  muscu¬ 
lar,  roundish,  an  inch  and  ten-twelfths  in  breadth,  two  inches 
in  length,  its  lateral  muscles  of  moderate  thickness,  the  epi¬ 
thelium  dense,  thick,  and  rugous,  with  roundish,  concave 
grinding  surfaces.  The  intestine,  five  feet  two  inches  long, 
varies  in  width  from  eight-twelfths  to  five-twelfths.  The 
coeca  are  two  inches  and  nine-twelfths  in  length,  half  an  inch 
in  breadth  near  the  end,  which  is  rounded.  The  rectum, 
only  two  inches  in  length,  has  a  globular  dilatation,  an  inch 
and  a  half  in  diameter. 

The  nostrils,  small,  linear,  direct,  and  pervious,  are  four- 
twelfths  long,  and  have  a  curious  slender  lobe-like  flap  above  ; 
the  aperture  of  the  eye  four-and-a-half-twelfths  ;  that  of  the 
ear  nearly  a  twelfth-and-a-quarter.  The  feet  are  short,  and 
placed  at  the  extremity  of  the  body ;  the  tibia  covered  by  the 
skin  of  the  body  to  the  end  ;  the  tarsus  short,  extremely  com¬ 
pressed,  edged  before  and  behind,  covered  all  over  with  angu¬ 
lar  scales.  The  hind  toe  extremely  small,  elevated,  connected 
with  the  second  by  a  membrane,  which  is  partly  free  and 


RED-THR0ATE1)  LOON. 


303 


lobiform  ;  the  anterior  toes  long,  the  outer  longest ;  the  inner 
with  a  two-lohed  membrane  ;  the  interdigital  membranes  nar¬ 
row,  and  emarginate  ;  the  middle  toe  with  fifty-four  scutella. 
The  claws  are  small,  depressed,  oblong,  convex  above, 
rounded  at  the  end. 

The  plumage  is  short,  dense,  and  firm  ;  on  the  head  and 
neck  very  short  and  blended  ;  the  feathers  oblong,  all  rounded 
at  the  end ;  those  on  the  body  glossy.  The  wings  are  of 
moderate  length,  narrow,  and  convex,  of  thirty-two  quills ; 
the  primaries  strong,  tapering,  the  first  longest,  the  second 
scarcely  shorter,  the  rest  rapidly  decreasing ;  the  secondaries 
broadly  rounded.  The  tail  is  extremely  short,  rounded,  of 
twenty  rather  firm,  rounded  feathers,  of  which  the  medial  are 
eight-twelfths  longer  than  the  lateral. 

The  bill  is  bluish-black.  The  iris  bright  red.  The  feet 
brownish-black  externally,  pale  bluish  flesh-coloured  inter¬ 
nally  ;  the  webs  flesh-coloured  ;  the  claws  yellowish-brown  at 
the  base,  dusky  at  the  end.  The  fore  part  and  sides  of  the 
head,  with  the  throat  and  the  sides  of  the  neck  more  than 
halfway  down,  are  bluish-grey  ;  the  upper  part  of  the  head 
grey  with  small  dusky  spots ;  the  nape  and  hind  neck  longi¬ 
tudinally  streaked  with  greenish-black  and  white,  the  edges 
of  the  feathers  being  of  the  latter  colour  and  elevated.  On 
the  fore  part  of  the  neck  is  a  broad  band  of  deep  orange-red 
about  three  inches  in  length.  The  lower  part  of  the  neck  all 
round  is  longitudinally  streaked  or  spotted  with  brownish- 
black  and  white.  The  upper  parts  are  brownish-black, 
glossed  with  green,  and  without  any  white  spots  ;  the  lower 
parts  glossy  white,  excepting  the  sides,  which  are  greyish- 
black,  the  axillar  feathers,  which  have  a  narrow  medial  dark 
grey  streak,  a  narrow  band  of  dark  dusky  grey  across  the 
hind  part  of  the  abdomen,  and  most  of  the  feathers  under  the 
tail,  which  are  of  the  same  colour. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  26  inches,  to  end  of  wings  24 ;  ex¬ 
tent  of  wings  44  ;  wing  from  flexure  Ilf  ;  tail  2J  ;  bill  along 
the  ridge  2-^,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  3^,  its 
height  at  the  base  T8^ ;  tarsus  3  ;  hind  toe  f ,  its  claw  ; 
second  toe  2t7-j,  its  claw  ^  j  third  toe  3,  its  claw  fV ;  fourth 
toe  3J,  its  claw  -f^-. 


304 


COLYMBUS  SEPTENTRIONALIS. 


Female. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male,  but  smaller. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  23  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  41. 

Habits. — From  the  beginning  of  October  to  the  middle 
of  May,  numerous  individuals  of  this  species  are  met  with 
on  most  parts  of  our  coasts,  but  more  especially  in  bays 
and  estuaries,  the  youg  birds  being  proportionally  more 
numerous  in  the  southern  than  on  the  northern  shores, 
although  many  remain  all  winter  even  among  the  Shetland 
and  Orkney  islands.  At  that  season  they  are  very  abundant 
in  the  Firths  of  Forth  and  Clyde,  where  I  have  often  had 
occasion  to  observe  their  movements.  When  proceeding  to  a 
distance  they  advance  in  a  direct  course,  rapidly  moving  their 
outstretched  wings,  and  keeping  at  a  great  height.  Their 
flight  is  surprisingly  quick,  or  at  least  ought  to  seem  so  in  the 
eyes  of  one  who  has  been  taught  that  large  wings  and  promi¬ 
nent  sterna  indicate  the  greatest  vigour  in  this  respect.  They 
fly,  I  think,  with  even  more  speed  than  the  Great  Northern 
Divers,  and  even  outstrip  the  Auks  and  Guillemots,  not  to 
speak  of  Gulls  and  other  hoverers.  These  white-breasted 
birds,  with  their  long  outstretched  necks,  and  ever-moving 
wings,  present  a  curious  and  interesting  sight  to  him  who 
traverses  these  narrow  seas  in  an  open  boat  in  quest  of  game. 
But  small  indeed  is  his  chance  of  shooting  a  Bed-tliroated 
Diver,  that  bird,  when  on  the  water,  being  extremely  vigilant, 
and  seldom  permitting  a  boat  to  approach  within  shot, 
although  it  will  often  allow  a  large  vessel  to  pass  quite  near, 
and  I  have  seen  it  rise  from  almost  under  the  bows  of  a 
steamer,  along  with  the  Auks  and  Guillemots.  When  then, 
or  on  other  occasions,  taking  wing  from  the  water,  it  flies  for 
many  yards  along  its  surface,  its  feet  and  wings  plashing  in  a 
very  curious  manner.  In  alighting  it  comes  down  nearly 
erect,  ploughing  up  the  M  ater  for  a  short  way.  Its  activity 
in  its  proper  element  is  astonishing  ;  it  swrims  with  extreme 
speed,  keeping  deep  in  the  water,  and  sometimes  only  allow- 
ing  its  head  and  neck  to  emerge.  In  diving  it  slips  as  it 
Mere  out  of  sight  without  noise  or  flutter,  and  under  the 
water  it  pursues  its  way  Math  great  speed,  using  its  Mings  as 
Mell  as  its  feet.  Its  food  consists  of  small  fishes,  especially 


RED-THROATED  LOON. 


30  5 


sprats,  young  herrings,  and  codfish,  as  well  as  Crustacea,  and 
I  have  generally  found  numerous  pebbles  and  hits  of  gravel 
in  its  stomach.  It  is  neither  gregarious,  nor  yet  solitary, 
several  individuals  being  often  seen  together,  although  they 
seldom  keep  very  near  each  other,  and  in  most  cases  the  birds 
occurring  dispersed  at  great  distances. 

In  the  end  of  spring,  having  paired,  they  retire  north¬ 
ward,  the  greater  number  probably  betaking  themselves  to 
the  arctic  regions,  although  very  many  remain  to  breed  by 
the  inland  lakes  of  the  Highlands,  Hebrides,  Orkney,  and 
Shetland  Islands.  In  Lewis,  North  List,  and  Benbecula, 
which  are  singularly  intersected  by  arms  of  the  sea,  and 
covered  with  pools  and  lakes,  great  numbers  are  seen  during 
the  breeding  season.  The  sea  being  at  hand,  they  usually 
fish  there,  returning  at  intervals  to  the  lakes,  until  incubation 
has  commenced.  The  nest  is  placed  on  an  island,  or  tuft,  or 
among  the  herbage  near  the  margin,  or  even  on  the  stony 
beach,  of  a  lake  or  pool,  and  is  composed  of  grass,  sedge,  and 
heath,  or  other  easily-procured  plants,  generally  in  small 
quantity,  and  neatly  put  together.  'The  eggs,  in  so  far  as  I  am 
aware,  are  always  two;  but  it  is  stated  by  some  that  three  as 
frequently  occur.  They  are  of  an  elongated  oval  form,  the 
two  of  the  same  nest  very  unequal,  the  larger  three  inches  in 
length,  and  an  inch  and  eleven-twelfths  in  breadth.  They 
are  of  a  deep  or  pale  olive-browm,  or  dull  greenish-brown,  or 
pale  brownish-green  colour,  spotted  and  dotted  with  umber, 
more  densely  at  the  larger  end.  The  male  continues  with 
the  female,  and  is  said  to  take  his  place  on  the  eggs  occasion¬ 
ally.  The  female  continues  to  sit,  crouching  over  her  eggs, 
until  a  person  comes  very  near,  when  she  starts  forward, 
plunges  into  the  water,  and  on  emerging  usually  takes  to 
wing,  but  sometimes  swims  about  with  great  anxiety,  as  does 
the  male,  should  he  happen  to  be  present.  On  being  de¬ 
prived  of  their  eggs,  they  may  he  heard  for  several  evenings 
lamenting  their  loss  with  loud  melancholy  cries.  The  usual 
notes,  however,  are  harsh,  and  somewhat  resemble  those  of  the 
Gannet.  The  young,  at  first  covered  with  greyish-black 
down,  betake  themselves  to  the  water  soon  after  birth,  and 
continue  there  under  the  guidance  of  their  parents  until  able 
vol.  v.  x 


30G 


COLYMBUS  SEPTENTRIONALIS. 


to  By,  when  they  all  wing  their  way  to  the  sea.  The  eggs 
are  laid  in  the  beginning  of  June,  and  the  young  fledged  by 
the  middle  of  August. 

Like  the  Great  Northern  Diver,  this  species  is  more  easily 
procured  by  lying  in  wait  on  the  shore  in  places  frequented 
by  it ;  but  it  is  less  addicted  than  that  species  to  fishing  close 
to  the  margin  of  the  sea,  by  far  the  greater  number  keeping 
well  out  in  the  firths  and  lochs,  and  many  frequenting  the 
open  sea  at  a  great  distance  from  land.  In  the  breeding 
season,  when  on  fresh-water  lakes,  it  is  extremely  vigilant 
and  suspicious,  swims  off  to  the  opposite  side,  with  elevated 
head,  when  a  person  appears  even  at  a  distance,  and  cannot 
be  shot  without  much  trouble.  1  have  seen  it  caught  on  one 
of  the  hooks  of  a  fishing-line  baited  with  a  sand-eel,  and  it  is 
sometimes  entangled  in  the  herring  and  salmon  nets.  It  is 
very  tenacious  of  life,  and  although  severely  wounded  com¬ 
monly  escapes,  as  it  can  easily  outstrip  a  boat. 

Young. — When  fledged,  the  young  are  said  by  M.  Tem- 
minck  to  he  “  of  a  pretty  uniform  blackish-brown  on  the 
upper  part,  and  whitish  on  the  lower.”  I  have  not  examined 
them  in  that  state  ;  but  from  November  to  February  they  are 
as  follows  : — 

Young  in  Winter. — The  bill  is  flesh-coloured  at  the 
base,  pale  bluish-grey  toward  the  end,  the  ridge  dusky-brown, 
becoming  paler  beyond  the  middle.  The  iris  brown.  The 
feet  externally  dusky,  internally  and  with  the  ridge  of  the 
tarsus  light  bluish-grey  :  the  membranes  dusky  at  the  sides, 
dull  flesh-coloured  in  the  middle ;  the  claws  pale  flesh-colour, 
brown  at  the  end.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  hind- 
neck  are  greenish-grey,  finely  streaked  with  pale  grey,  the 
latter  predominating  on  the  neck ;  the  cheeks  and  sides  of 
the  neck  white,  with  faint  grey  markings  ;  the  fore  part  of 
the  neck  also  white,  and  still  more  faintly  marked  with  grey 
in  small  specks ;  the  tips  of  the  feathers  being  of  that  colour 
for  half  way  down  the  neck.  All  the  upper  parts  are  of  a 
deep  greenish-grey,  glossy,  and  finely  speckled  with  greyish- 
white,  of  which  there  are  two  oblong  divergent  spots  on  each 


RED-THROATED  LOON. 


307 


feather,  those  on  the  hind  part  of  the  back  smaller  and 
fainter.  The  primary  quills  are  blackish-grey,  tinged  with 
green,  the  secondaries  like  the  feathers  of  the  hack  ;  the  tail- 
feathers  tipped  with  greyisli-white.  From  the  middle  of  the 
neck  the  lower  parts  are  pure  white,  excepting  the  sides 
under  the  wings,  which  are  dark-grey,  speckled  with  white, 
the  axillar  feathers,  which  have  a  medial  streak  of  grey,  a 
faint  band  across  the  hind  part  of  the  abdomen,  formed  by 
the  grey  margins  of  the  feathers,  most  of  those  under  the  tail 
being  also  similarly  tipped.  There  is  no  obvious  difference 
between  the  male  and  the  female  at  this  age.  The  dimen¬ 
sions  of  two  are  as  follows  : — 

Male. — Length  2-1-  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  41  ;  wing 
from  flexure  10-^ ;  tail  2£ ;  hill  along  the  ridge  2TV  ;  along 
the  edge  of  lower  mandible  ;  tarsus  2-j-J  ;  outer  toe  3r4-, 
its  claw  jh-. 


Female. — Length  24^  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  40  ;  wing 
from  flexure  104  ;  tail  2^  ;  hill  along  the  ridge  l-[4  ;  along 
the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2-f-S- ;  tarsus  2-^;  outer  toe  3-^, 
its  claw  -j 4r- 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — In  the  first  spring  the 
feathers  of  the  throat  and  neck  are  partially  shed,  and  a  patch 
of  yellowish-red  appears  on  the  fore  part.  After  the  autumnal 
moult  the  bill  is  much  darker  ;  the  sides  and  hind  part  of  the 
neck  are  grey  ;  the  upper  parts  brownish-black,  tinged  with 
green,  and  still  speckled  with  white  spots,  which  however  are 
much  smaller ;  the  lower  parts  pure  white,  excepting  the 
sides,  which  are  as  dark  as  the  back,  the  streaks  on  the  axil- 
lars,  and  the  band  across  the  abdomen,  which  is  dusky  ;  most 
of  the  lower  tail-coverts  pure  white,  the  immediate  series  only 
bciim  dusky,  unless  at  the  end. 

In  spring  the  head  and  neck  become  coloured  as  in  the 
adult ;  the  hill  is  now  nearly  all  black,  and  much  stronger  ; 
but  the  feathers  of  the  body  remain  until  the  autumnal  moult. 
The  plumage  is  then  that  of  the  adult  in  winter,  with  the 
exception  of  some  white  spots  on  the  back  and  scapulars. 


308 


ALCINiE. 


A  UKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


Some  of  the  Alcinse  approximate  to  the  Colymbinae  in  the 
form  of  their  bill,  while  others  have  that  organ  of  a  peculiarly 
vertically-expanded  form ;  but  all  differ  from  the  family  just 
mentioned  in  having  the  body  very  compact,  the  neck  short 
and  thick,  the  head  large  and  broadly  ovate,  and  the  feet  not 
placed  so  far  behind. 

The  bill  is  short,  or  of  moderate  length,  much  compressed, 
pointed,  but  varies  from  slender  and  tapering  to  cultriform, 
or  even,  viewed  laterally,  sub-triangular.  The  mouth  of  mode¬ 
rate  width  ;  the  palate  flat,  with  longitudinal  ridges  ;  the 
tongue  slender,  trigonal,  thin-edged,  pointed  ;  the  oesophagus 
very  wide,  generally  much  dilated  at  its  lower  part  ;  the 
stomach  roundish,  with  a  moderately  thick  muscular  coat, 
and  dense,  plicate  epithelium  ;  the  intestine  rather  long,  with 
moderate  coeca. 

The  nostrils  small,  linear,  basal,  sub-marginal ;  the  eyes 
small ;  the  apertures  of  the  ears  very  small.  The  feet  short, 
placed  far  behind  ;  the  tibia  bare  for  a  short  space  ;  tarsus  very 
short,  compressed,  scutellate  ;  toes  three,  of  moderate  length, 
connected  by  membranes  ;  claws  rather  small,  arched,  com¬ 
pressed,  acute. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  short,  soft,  and  blended.  The 
wings  small,  narrow,  convex,  pointed  ;  the  tail  very  short 
and  rounded. 

These  birds  belong  entirely  to  the  northern  hemisphere, 
and  inhabit  the  seas  and  coasts  of  the  cold  and  temperate 
regions  of  both  continents.  Fitted  by  their  compact  form  and 
dense  short  plumage  to  bear  all  vicissitudes  of  weather,  they 


AUKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


309 


seek  their  food  as  well  on  the  open  sea  as  along  the  shores. 
Their  short  firm  wings,  while  they  enable  them  to  fly  to  great 
distances,  are  also  the  principal  instruments  by  which  they 
pursue  under  water  the  small  fishes  and  Crustacea  on  which 
they  feed.  In  summer,  vast  multitudes  betake  themselves  to 
the  most  northern  regions,  while  others  of  the  same  species 
occupy  suitable  places  in  the  northern  temperate  and  inter¬ 
mediate  zones.  Thus,  the  Razor-bill,  Guillemot,  and  Auk, 
are  to  he  found,  in  June  and  July,  equally  in  Scotland,  Feroe, 
Iceland,  and  Spitzbergen.  It  is  on  the  shelves  or  in  the 
crevices  of  precipitous  rocks  that  they  breed,  few  or  none  of 
them  forming  a  nest,  though  some  of  them  conceal  them¬ 
selves  in  burrows.  In  most  of  the  species  only  a  single  very 
large  egg  is  laid.  The  young  soon  betake  themselves  to  the 
sea,  and  toward  the  middle  of  autumn  they  and  the  old  birds 
remove  southward,  few  of  them,  however,  proceeding  so  far 
as  the  Mediterranean.  They  are  seldom  seen  on  shore,  unless 
at  their  breeding  places,  the  position  and  form  of  their  feet 
being  very  unfavourable  to  walking,  and  on  the  rocks  they 
stand  in  a  much  inclined  position.  Eight  species  rank  as 
British. 


SYNOPSIS  OF  THE  BRITISH  GENERA  AND  SPECIES. 

GENUS  I.  URIA.  GUILLEMOT. 

Bill  of  moderate  length,  nearly  straight,  stout,  compressed, 
tapering,  acute  ;  nostrils  sub-basal,  longitudinal,  linear  ; 
tarsus  short,  stout,  compressed ;  toes  of  moderate  length,  the 
middle  toe  longest ;  claws  rather  small,  arched,  compressed, 
acute  ;  wings  rather  small,  narrow,  acute,  the  primary  quills 
incurvate  ;  tail  very  short,  rounded,  of  twelve  or  fourteen 
feathers. 

1.  Uria  Brunnicliii.  Brunnich’s  Guillemot.  Bill  stout, 
considerably  decurved  at  the  end,  black,  with  the  basal  mar¬ 
gin  of  the  upper  mandible  whitish,  the  angle  of  the  lower 
prominent,  its  sides  concave  ;  tail  of  fourteen  feathers. 


310 


ALCINiE. 


2.  TJria  Troile.  Foolish  Guillemot.  Bill  rather  stout, 
slightly  decurved  toward  the  end,  black,  the  angle  of  the 
lower  mandible  slightly  prominent,  its  sides  convex  ;  tail  of 
twelve  feathers. 

3.  TJria  lacrymans.  Bridled  Guillemot.  Bill  rather 
slender,  straight,  black,  the  angle  of  the  lower  mandible 
slightly  prominent ;  tail  of  twelve  feathers  ;  eye  encircled  by 
a  white  line,  which  extends  backwards  and  downwards  to 
the  length  of  an  inch  and  a  half. 

4.  TJria  Grylle.  Black  Guillemot.  Bill  black ;  feet  coral- 
red.  In  summer  the  plumage  black,  excepting  a  patch  on 
the  wing  ;  the  lower  wing-coverts  and  axillars,  which  arc 
white.  In  winter  the  prevailing  colour  white,  variegated 
with  black. 


GENUS  II.  MERGULUS.  ROTCHE. 

Bill  very  short,  stout,  a  little  decurved,  as  broad  as  high 
at  the  base,  moderately  compressed  toward  the  end  ;  nostrils 
basal,  oblong,  with  a  horny  operculum  ;  tarsus  very  short, 
compressed,  with  anterior  oblique  scutella  ;  toes  of  moderate 
length,  the  inner  much  shorter  than  the  outer,  which  is  about 
equal  to  the  middle  toe ;  claws  moderate,  arcuate,  compressed, 
acute ;  wings  small,  narrow,  acute  ;  tail  very  short,  slightly 
rounded,  of  twelve  feathers. 

1.  Mergulus  Alle.  Little  llotche.  Black  above,  white 
beneath.  In  summer  the  throat  and  fore-neck  brownish- 
black. 


GENUS  III.  UTAMANIA.  RAZOR-BILL. 

Bill  shorter  than  the  head,  very  high,  much  compressed, 
with  the  outline  of  the  upper  mandible  arcuato-decurvate, 
the  sides  nearly  flat  and  erect,  with  several  transverse  curved 
grooves,  the  edges  inflected  and  sharp  ;  tarsus  short,  stout, 
compressed  ;  toes  of  moderate  length,  the  outer  slightly 
shorter  than  the  middle  toe  ;  claws  rather  small,  arched, 
compressed,  acute  ;  wings  rather  short,  very  narrow,  pointed  ; 
tail  short,  narrow,  cuncate,  of  tw  elve  feathers. 


AUKS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


311 


1.  Utamania  Torda.  Common  llazor-bill.  Dill  black, 
with  four  transverse  grooves,  011c  of  which  is  white. 

GENUS  IV.  ALCA.  AUK. 

Bill  longer  than  the  head,  very  high,  much  compressed, 
with  the  outline  of  the  upper  mandible  arcuato-decurvate,  the 
sides  nearly  flat  and  erect,  with  numerous  transverse  grooves, 
the  edges  inflected  and  sharp  ;  tarsus  very  short,  stout,  com¬ 
pressed  ;  toes  of  moderate  length,  the  outer  slightly  shorter 
than  the  middle  toe  ;  claws  rather  small,  arched,  compressed, 
rather  obtuse  ;  wings  extremely  small,  much  pointed ;  tail 
short,  pointed,  of  fourteen  feathers. 

1.  Alca  impennis.  Great  Awe.  Length  about  a  foot 
and  a  half. 


GENUS  V.  MORMON.  PUFFIN. 

Bill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  nearly  as  high  as  long, 
extremely  compressed,  obliquely  grooved  on  the  sides  ;  nos¬ 
trils  linear,  marginal ;  tarsus  very  short,  little  compressed, 
scutcllate  ;  outer  and  middle  toes  about  equal ;  claws  strong, 
arched,  acute,  that  of  the  inner  toe  hooked  ;  wings  short, 
narrow,  much  curved,  acute  ;  tail  very  short,  slightly  rounded, 
of  sixteen  feathers. 

1.  Mormon  arcticus.  Arctic  Puffin.  Bill  with  three 
curved  furrows  on  each  mandible  ;  the  basal  rim  and  first 
ridge  of  both  mandibles  dull  yellowy  the  intervening  broad 
space  greyisli-hlue,  the  rest  bright  red  ;  a  flattened  triangular 
horny  body  on  the  upper  eyelid,  and  an  elongated  adherent 
plate  on  the  lower. 


URIA.  GUILLEMOT. 


The  genera  of  this  family  are  so  closely  allied  to  each 
other,  that  descriptive  characters,  such  as  are  given  in  this 
work,  must  in  many  particulars  he  nearly  the  same  in  all. 
In  the  present  group,  the  body  is  full,  ovate,  and  rather 
depressed ;  the  neck  short  and  thick  ;  the  head  large,  ovate, 
anteriorly  narrowed. 

Bill  of  moderate  length,  stout,  nearly  straight,  compressed, 
tapering,  acute  ;  upper  mandible  with  the  nasal  sinus  broad 
and  feathered,  the  dorsal  line  straight,  becoming  arcuato- 
decurvate  toward  the  end,  the  ridge  narrow  but  obtuse,  the 
sides  rapidly  sloped,  the  edges  sharp  and  inflected,  with  slight 
notches  close  to  the  small,  bluntish  tip  ;  lower  mandible  with 
the  angle  rather  long  and  narrow,  the  dorsal  line  ascending, 
and  straight  or  slightly  concave,  the  back  very  narrow,  with 
a  groove  at  the  base,  the  edges  sharp  and  inflected,  the  tip 
very  acute. 

Mouth  rather  wide  ;  anterior  palate  flat,  with  five  promi¬ 
nent  lines.  Tongue  slender,  trigonal,  tapering,  pointed, 
thin -edged  at  the  end.  (Esophagus  wide,  much  dilated 
below  ;  stomach  moderately  muscular,  with  a  dense  plicate 
epithelium  ;  intestine  long  and  rather  wide,  with  moderate 
coeca. 

Nostrils  sub-basal,  longitudinal,  linear.  Eyes  rather 
small.  Aperture  of  ear  very  small.  Legs  short,  placed  far 
behind  ;  tibia  bare  for  a  short  space  ;  tarsus  stout,  compressed, 
scutellate  ;  no  hind  toe ;  anterior  toes  webbed,  the  inner 
much  shorter  than  the  outer,  which  is  nearly  as  long  as  the 
middle  toe ;  claws  rather  small,  or  moderate,  arched,  com¬ 
pressed,  rather  acute. 

Plumage  dense,  blended,  firm  hut  soft,  on  the  head  and 
throat  velvety.  Wings  rather  small,  narrow,  acute  ;  primary 


GUILLEMOT. 


31  .*3 


quills  tapering,  curved,  the  first  and  second  longest ;  second¬ 
aries  very  short,  rounded.  Tail  very  short,  rounded,  of  twelve 
or  fourteen  feathers. 

The  Guillemots  are  active  and  rather  lively  birds,  which 
inhabit  the  northern  seaS,  procuring  their  food,  which  consists 
of  small  fishes  and  Crustacea,  by  diving  from  the  surface  and 
pursuing  it  under  water,  in  which  they  glide  with  great 
rapidity  by  means  of  the  action  of  their  wings.  These  organs, 
though  small,  being  quickly  moved  by  strong  muscles,  enable 
them  to  fly  with  great  speed.  Their  feet,  however,  having  a 
position  and  form  unfavourable  to  locomotion  on  land,  are 
scarcely  used  for  that  purpose,  but  enable  them  to  paddle 
along  very  expertly  on  the  water.  They  form  no  nests,  but 
deposit  their  extremely  large  pyriform  eggs  on  the  bare  surface 
of  rocks  ;  and  there  also  their  young  ones  crouch  until  partially 
or  entirely  fledged.  The  eggs  afford  good  eating ;  but  the 
flesh  of  both  young  and  old  is  rank  and  unpleasant. 


Fig.  79. 


/ 


314 


UIvIA  BRUNNICHII.  BRUNNICH’S  GUILLEMOT. 

THICK-BILLED  GUILLEMOT.  LARGE-BILLED  GUILLEMOT. 

Uria  Brunnichii.  Sabine.  Trans.  Linn.  Soc.  XII. 

Ui’ia  Brunnichii.  Flem.  Brit.  Anim.  134. 

Guillemot  a  gros  bee.  Uria  Brunnichii.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  224. 

Uria  Brunnichii.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  65. 

Bill  stout ,  considerably  decurvecl  at  the  end ,  black,  with 
the  basal  mar  (jins  of  the  upper  mandible  whitish,  the  angle  of 
the  loicer  prominent,  and  its  sides  concave ;  plumage  deep 
black  above  ;  sides  of  the  head  and  fore  part  of  upper  neck 
tinged  with  brown ;  lower  parts  and  tips  of  secondaries 
white  ;  sides  streaked  with  black  ;  tail  of  fourteen  feathers  ; 
interdigital  membranes  full.  In  summer,  the  whole  head  and 
throat  blackish-brown.  In  winter,  the  sides  of  the  head, 
behind  the  eyes  and  the  throat  white. 

Male  in  Summer. — Brunnich’s  Guillemot,  which  may 
readily  be  distinguished  from  the  other  species  by  its  shorter, 
deeper,  and  thicker  bill,  has  the  body  stout  and  rather 
depressed  ;  the  neck  short  and  thick ;  the  head  large,  broadly 
oblong,  narrowed  before.  The  bill  is  much  shorter  than  the 
head,  stout,  compressed,  tapering,  pointed ;  upper  mandible 
with  the  dorsal  line  arcuato-decurvate,  the  ridge  rather  broad 
and  rounded  at  the  base,  gradually  narrowed,  the  sides 
sloping,  the  edges  indexed  for  half  their  length,  sharp  and 
direct  toward  the  end,  with  a  distinct  notch  close  to  the  tip  ; 
lower  mandible  with  a  prominent  angle,  beyond  which  to 
the  acute  tip  the  dorsal  line  is  very  considerably  incurvate, 
the  sides  somewhat  concave ;  gape-line  extending  to  beneath 
the  eyes. 

Nostrils  linear,  at  the  lower  anterior  edge  of  the  nasal 


BllUNNICH’S  GUILLEMOT. 


31.3 

sinus  ;  eyes  of  moderate  size  ;  apertures  of  ears  very  small. 
Feet  short,  placed  far  behind  ;  tibia  bare  and  roughly  scab 
at  its  lower  part ;  tarsus  stout,  compressed,  anteriorly  with  a 
single  row  of  small  scutella,  interiorly  with  large  scutelli- 
form  scales,  exteriorly  with  smaller,  the  hind  part  with  very 
small  tubercular  scales.  Outer  toes  nearly  equal,  and  longer 
than  the  tarsus ;  third  toe  with  thirty-five  scutella  ;  inter¬ 
digital  membranes  full ;  inner  toe  with  a  narrow  two-lobed 
membrane,  outer  toe  marginate ;  claws  strong,  gently  arched, 
rather  acute  ;  inner  side  of  the  third  toe  expanded. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  very  soft,  and  blended  ;  on  the 
head  very  short,  stiffish,  but  velvety.  Wings  of  moderate 
length,  narrow,  incurvate  toward  the  end,  pointed ;  the  first 
quill  longest ;  secondaries  short,  rather  broad,  rounded. 
Tail  very  short,  of  fourteen  soft,  broad,  narrowly  rounded 
feathers. 

Bill  black,  the  basal  half  of  the  margin  of  the  upper 
mandible  greyish-white.  Feet  dusky,  tinged  with  flesh - 
colour  ;  claws  black.  The  sides  of  the  head,  the  throat,  and 
the  sides  of  the  neck,  sooty-brown ;  the  upper  part  of  the 
head,  hind-neck,  back,  and  wings  glossy  black,  with  a  slight 
tinge  of  green  anteriorly,  and  of  brown  behind  ;  primary 
quills  and  tail-feathers  blackish-brown ;  secondaries,  the 
inner  four  excepted,  tipped  with  white  ;  all  the  lower  parts 
white,  except  some  dusky  streaks  under  the  wing,  the  ante¬ 
rior  edge  of  the  wing,  and  the  primary  coverts,  which  are 
brownish-grey,  as  are  the  quills  on  their  inner  webs. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  18  inches;  bill  along  the  ridge 
1^,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2-^,  its  height  at  the 
angle  T8^-,  its  breadth  at  the  nostrils  ;  wing  from  flexure 
8| ;  tarsus  ly^ ;  middle  toe  lyy,  its  claw  yy. 

Female  in  Summer. — Similar  to  the  male,  and  not 
much  smaller. 

Length  about  IT  inches. 

Habits. — Brunnich’s  Guillemot  frequents  the  arctic  seas 
in  great  numbers  during  the  summer.  It  has  been  observed 
at  Spitsbergen,  Greenland,  Davis’  Straits,  Baffin’s  Bay,  Ice- 


316 


UIIIA  BRUNNICHII. 


land,  and  Feroe,  as  well  as  on  the  coasts  of  Norway.  But 
it  does  not  migrate  so  far  southward  as  the  Common  Guille¬ 
mot,  and  is  of  very  rare  occurrence  in  the  British  seas.  It 
was  seen  by  Colonel  Sabine,  in  July,  on  the  coast  of  Kerry. 
Captain  Sir  James  C.  Boss  met  with  it  at  Unst,  the  most 
northern  of  the  Shetland  Islands,  as  well  as  in  several  parts 
of  Scotland.  The  only  British  specimen  I  have  seen  I  found 
among  some  skins  from  Orkney,  belonging  to  the  late  Mr. 
Wilson,  Janitor  to  the  Edinburgh  University,  in  the  museum 
of  which  it  was  soon  after  deposited.  Mr.  Audubon  was 
informed  that  it  occurs  in  winter  as  far  south  as  the  Bay  of 
Boston,  hut  did  not  meet  with  any  there,  or  even  in  Labrador, 
although  lie  received  a  specimen  from  Eastport,  in  Maine. 
On  the  other  hand,  it  is  represented  as  very  plentiful  in  the 
arctic  seas  in  summer.  My  descriptions  are  taken  from 
specimens  obtained  there.  Appended  to  one  of  them  by  the 
donor,  the  surgeon  of  a  whaler,  is  the  following  note : — 
ct  Uria  Brunnichii  (Loom).  Coccygeal  glands  large ;  two 
large  apparently  sanguiferous  oblong  Hat  bodies,  lying 
obliquely  from  before  backwards  over  the  orbits.  Food  am- 
phihoda.  Stomach  lined  with  a  hard  horny  substance,  easily 
separated  from  the  fibrous  coat.  Egg  rather  pyramidal, 
inches  long  axis,  1 J  to  1 J  short  axis,  of  a  green  colour,  with 
black  spots.  Hatches  in  clefts  of  the  rocks,  from  the  20th  of 
June  to  the  15th  of  July.  Iris  of  a  dark  brown  colour;  eye 
not  at  all  prominent,  sunk  deep  into  the  orbit,  and  well 
covered  with  the  eyelids.  Rather  shy,  never  appearing  to 
come  near  the  ships  for  the  purpose  of  eating  any  offals  of 
the  whale,  &c.  Swim  in  numbers  from  two  to  three  up  to 
forty  or  fifty.  They  never  fly  high,  but  along  the  surface  of 
the  ice  or  water.” 

The  habits  of  this  species  are  represented  as  being  in  all 
respects  very  similar  to  those  of  the  Common  Guillemot. 

Young. — We  have  no  satisfactory  accounts  of  the  young, 
or  of  their  progress  toward  maturity. 

Adult  in  Winter. — An  individual  figured  by  Mr.  Au¬ 
dubon  is  thus  described  : — “  Bill  black.  Iris  dark  brown. 


BRUNNICH’S  GUILLEMOT. 


317 


Feet  dusky,  tinged  with  red,  The  general  colour  of  the 
plumage  is  greyish-black  on  the  upper  parts,  on  the  head 
tinged  with  brown.  The  sides  of  the  head  and  neck,  its 
fore  part,  the  breast,  abdomen,  edges  of  the  wings,  and  the 
tips  of  the  secondaries,  white  ;  the  sides  shaded  with  greyish- 
black  ;  a  line  of  the  same  behind  the  eye. 

“Length  18J  inches;  extent  of  wings  80;  wing  from 
flexure  8  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1-^y.” 

Remakks.  —  The  tail-feathers  have  been  said  to  be 
twelve  ;  but  in  an  arctic  specimen  before  me  I  find  thirteen, 
with  a  gap  left  by  the  wanting  one.  The  white  of  the  lower 
parts  terminates  on  the  throat  in  an  acute  angle,  whereas  in 
the  Common  Guillemot  it  is  broadly  rounded  there.  The 
interdigital  membranes  are  full,  the  margin  of  the  outer 
rounded ;  whereas  in  the  Common  Guillemot  they  are  cinar- 
ginate,  the  outer  deeply  cut  out. 


31 8 


URIA  TOOTLE.  FOOLISH  GUILLEMOT. 

COMMON  GUILLEMOT.  WILLOCK.  LUM.  LCNGY.  LAMIII,  or  LAYY.  MU  RUE. 

MUR.SE.  marrot.  tinkersheer.  scout,  skiddaw. 

SEA-HEN.  SCUTTOCK. 


Fig.  80. 


Colymbus  Troile.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  220. 

Uria  Troile.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  795. 

Guillemot  a  capuchon.  Uria  Troile.  Temm.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  II.  921. 

Foolish  Guillemot.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Lesser  Guillemot.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet. 

Foolish  Guillemot.  Uria  Troile.  Selby,  Illustr.  Brit.  Ornith.  420. 

Uria  Troile.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  258. 

Uria  Troile.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  05. 

Bill  rather  stout,  slightly  decurved  toward  the  end,  black, 
the  angle  of  the  lower  mandible  slightly  prominent ,  and  its 
sides  convex ;  plumage  greyish-black  above  ;  sides  of  the  head 
and  fore  part  of  upper  neck  tinged  with  brown;  lower  parts 
and  tips  of  secondaries  white  ;  sides  streaked  with  black;  tail 
of  twelve  feathers ;  interdigital  membranes  emarginate.  In 
summer,  the  ivholc  head  and  throat  brown.  In  winter,  the 
sides  of  the  head  behind  the  eyes  and  the  throat  white. 


FOOLISH  GUILLEMOT. 


319 


Male  in  Summer. — The  Common  Guillemot,  so  plentiful 
along  our  coasts,  and  so  familiarly  known  to  those  who 
reside  near  its  breeding  haunts,  is  yet  not  so  satisfactorily 
described  as  might  be  expected,  it  having  been  confounded 
with  another  species,  which  has  of  late  years  been  distin¬ 
guished  from  it,  although  some  doubts  yet  remain  as  to  the 
propriety  of  separating  them.  It  is  of  the  same  form,  and 
nearly  of  the  same  size  and  colouring,  as  Brunnich’s  Guille¬ 
mot.  The  hill  is  shorter  than  the  head,  rather  stout,  com¬ 
pressed,  tapering,  pointed,  very  slightly  decurvate  at  the 
end  ;  upper  mandible  with  its  dorsal  line  slightly  arcuato- 
decurvate,  the  ridge  not  broad  but  rounded  at  the  base, 
gradually  narrowed,  the  sides  sloping,  the  edges  inclinate 
for  half  their  length,  sharp  and  direct  toward  the  end,  with 
a  distinct  notch  close  to  the  tip ;  lower  mandible  with  a 
considerably  prominent  angle,  though  much  less  so  than  in 
the  last  species,  beyond  it  to  the  tip  the  dorsal  line  slightly 
concave,  the  sides  rather  convex  at  the  base,  Hat.  toward  the 
end,  the  tip  slender  and  pointed  ;  gape-line  extending  to 
beneath  the  eyes. 

Nostrils  linear,  at  the  lower  anterior  edge  of  the  nasal 
sinus  ;  eyes  rather  small ;  apertures  of  ear  very  small.  Feet 
short,  placed  far  behind  ;  tibia  bare  for  about  half  an  inch, 
tuberculately  scaly ;  tarsus  stout,  compressed,  anteriorly 
with  a  single  row  of  rather  small  scutella,  interiorly  with 
large  scutelliform  scales,  exteriorly  with  smaller,  the  hind 
part  with  minute  tubercles.  Outer  toes  nearly  equal,  and 
longer  than  the  tarsus  ;  third  toe  with  thirty  scutella  ;  inter- 
digital  membranes  emarginate,  the  outer  deeply  so  ;  inner 
toe  with  a  narrow  bilobate  membrane  ;  claws  strong,  gently 
arched,  rather  acute ;  inner  side  of  the  third  toe  expanded. 

The  plumage  dense,  very  soft,  and  blended  ;  on  the  head 
very  short,  firm,  but  velvety.  A  distinct  line,  or  groove,  sepa¬ 
rating  the  feathers,  extends  backwards,  about  an  inch,  from 
each  eye  ;  wings  rather  short,  narrow,  incurvate  toward  the 
end,  pointed,  the  first  quill  longest.  Secondaries  very  short, 
rather  broad,  rounded ;  tail  very  short,  of  twelve  broad,, 
rounded  feathers. 

Hill  black  ;  iris  brown  ;  feet  dusky,  tinged  with  reddish  ; 


320 


URTA  TROILE. 


claws  black.  The  head  and  upper  part  of  the  neck  all  round 
black,  tinged  with  brown,  disappearing  on  the  middle  of  the 
neck  behind  ;  the  lower  hind  neck  and  the  upper  parts  grey- 
isli-hlack,  except  the  tips  of  the  secondary  quills,  which  are 
white,  the  inner  four  excepted ;  from  the  middle  of  the  fore 
neck  to  the  tail  white,  the  sides  under  the  wings  streaked 
with  blackish-grey. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  17J  inches;  extent  of  wings  28; 
hill  along  the  ridge  ly^,  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible 
2|f,  its  height  at  the  angle  ;  wing  from  flexure  8-^- ;  tail 
nearly  2;  tarsus  1-^V  j  middle  toe  l-^V,  its  claw  -j^. 

Female  in  Winter. — There  is  no  apparent  external 
difference  between  the  male  and  the  female. 

Habits. — Individuals  of  this  species  are  to  he  seen  dis¬ 
persed  in  small  companies,  or  sometimes  singly,  over  all  our 
seas,  during  the  long  period  intervening  between  the  termi¬ 
nation  of  one  breeding  season  and  the  commencement  of  the 
next.  In  estuaries,  bays,  or  narrows,  where  herring  or  other 
fry  is  abundant,  they  congregate  in  vast  numbers,  along  with 
Auks,  Led-tliroated  Divers,  and  Gulls  of  various  species. 
They  swim  with  great  speed,  dive  with  celerity,  and  pursue 
under  water,  with  feet  and  wings  in  action,  their  prey,  which 
consists  of  small  fishes  and  Crustacea.  Generally,  they  with¬ 
draw  at  night  to  the  open  sea,  and  often,  when  not  attracted 
to  the  coasts  by  shoals  of  fry,  may  be  seen  dispersed  over  the 
waters  at  a  great  distance  from  land.  When  flying  to  a  dis¬ 
tance,  they  proceed  in  small  companies,  one  individual  follow¬ 
ing  another,  in  a  line,  close  over  the  waves,  with  rapid  beats 
of  their  wings,  and  with  great  speed.  When  alarmed,  they 
dive,  and  emerge  at  a  distance,  or  sometimes  take  to  wing, 
rising  with  ease  at  a  low  angle,  and  splashing  the  water. 
Although  many  are  shot  every  year,  their  flesh  is  not  esteemed, 
it  being  dark -coloured,  rank,  and  disagreeable.  Hut  it 
is  when  assembled  at  their  breeding-places  that  the  greatest 
havoc  is  made  amongst  them.  They  are  then  pitilessly  shot 
down  from  their  stations  on  the  rocks,  or  when  flying  to  or 
from  them,  or  when  swimming  about,  it  being  in  general  easy 


FOOLISH  GUILLEMOT. 


o21 

to  get  within  shot,  of  them,  as  they  are  little  alarmed  by  the 
near  approach  of  a  boat. 

In  the  end  of  April,  great  numbers  may  be  seen  flying  in 
strings  along  the  coasts  toward  their  breeding-places,  which 
are  abrupt  cliffs,  equally  resorted  to  by  llazorbills  and  other 
birds ;  such  as  Flamborough  Head,  the  Fern  Islands,  St. 
Abb’s  Head,  the  Bass  Bock,  Fowlsheugh,  near  Stonehaven, 
Troup  Head,  and  numberless  others  all  round  the  coast  of 
Scotland,  and  in  its  islands,  as  well  as  in  Wales  and  Ireland. 
No  preparation  is  made  for  the  reception  of  the  eggs,  which 
are  deposited  on  the  little  shelves  or  ledges,  or  in  hollows  of 
the  rock,  each  female  laying  a  single  egg,  though  often  a  great 
number  may  he  seen  together,  as  closely  placed  as  the  birds 
can  sit  upon  them.  It  appears  wonderful  how  each  can  dis¬ 
tinguish  its  own  in  such  cases.  A  very  little  inequality 
suffices  to  steady  an  egg,  and  it  is  further  prevented  from 
rolling  over  by  its  pyriform  shape,  which,  however,  has  not 
all  the  effect  generally  supposed.  Many  eggs  fall  in  stormy 
weather,  and  are  driven  over  by  the  birds  themselves  when 
flying  off  abruptly  on  being  fired  at.  When  the  cliffs  are 
high,  and  other  birds  breed  upon  them,  the  Guillemot  occu¬ 
pies  a  zone  above  the  Kittiwakes,  and  below  the  Razorbills  ; 
but  when  the  latter  are  not  present,  they  disperse  over  the 
face  of  the  rocks.  Coming  in  from  sea  at  great  speed,  they 
alight  quite  abruptly,  without  injury,  as  they  invariably  ascend 
in  a  curved  line,  which  breaks  the  force  of  their  flight.  When 
they  leave  their  stations  they  shoot  away  in  a  similar  curve. 
But  often,  when  annoyed  by  shots,  they  ascend  in  the  air, 
wheeling  in  circles,  and  emitting  shrill  cries.  The  eggs  vary 
little  in  form,  being  regularly  pear-shaped,  about  three  inches 
and  a  quarter  in  length,  and  two  inches  in  their  greatest 
breadth,  but  they  differ  greatly  in  colour,  being,  however, 
mostly  of  some  tint  of  green,  or  greenish -yellow,  sometimes 
white,  and  marked  with  angular  black  or  brown  lines  and 
spots.  They  afford  good  eating,  and  are  gathered  in  great 
quantities  for  that  purpose. 

Incubation  appears  to  last  about  a  month.  The  young, 
at  first  covered  with  stiffisli  down,  of  a  greyish-black  colour 
above,  and  white  beneath,  are  fed  for  some  weeks  with  small 

Y 


VOL.  V. 


o  o  O 


URIA  TliOILE. 


fishes,  and  other  marine  animals  brought  by  their  parents. 
Often  young  birds  of  very  small  size,  unfledged,  or  in  various 
stages,  may  be  seen  swimming  about  in  the  vicinity  of  the 
rocks,  and  it  has  been  alleged  that  they  are  usually  carried 
to  the  sea  by  their  parents  ;  but  I  think  these  are  rather 
accidental  cases,  for  by  far  the  greater  number  remain  in  their 
stations  until  they  can  fly.  Mr.  Waterton  says,  the  men 
about  Flamborough  Head  assured  him  that  “  when  the  young 
Guillemot  gets  to  a  certain  size,  it  manages  to  climb  upon  the 
back  of  the  old  bird,  which  conveys  it  down  to  the  ocean.” 
1  do  not  think  the  young  could  hold  on  in  such  a  situation. 
Others  say  the  old  Guillemot  takes  her  chick  by  the  neck  in 
her  bill,  and  thus  conveys  it  to  the  sea.  No  one  has  seen  a 
descent  in  either  way. 

Dr.  Edmondston,  lialta  Sound,  has,  among  notes  with 
which  he  has  favoured  me,  the  following  : — “  Colymbus  Troile. 
— This  species  is  very  numerous  on  some  of  the  cliffs.  It  lays 
one  very  large  egg  on  rocky  shelves,  without  forming  any 
nest.  The  shell  is  thick  and  rough,  and  thus  able  to  bear  a 
little  rolling,  which  it  doubtless  receives  now  and  then  on  its 
doiony  bed.  I  do  not  believe  what  some  fishermen  have 
asserted,  that  it  is  glued  to  the  spot  when  it  is  dropped.  The 
would-be  practical  and  the  ignorant  are  just  as  egg-full  of 
theory  as  those  whom  they  sarcastically  call  the  learned. 
The  young  is  taken  by  the  parent  to  sea  when  it  is  fledged  ; 
but,  like  that  of  the  Razorbill,  long  before  full  growth.  In 
general,  both  these  convey  their  young  to  the  water  by  seizing 
them  by  the  skin  of  the  back  of  the  neck,  as  a  cat  does  a 
kitten  ;  but  occasionally  the  young  manage  to  balance  them¬ 
selves  into  the  ocean.  The  eggs  are  excellent  eating,  not  in 
the  least  flshy-tastcd,  much  more  delicately-flavoured  than 
those  of  Ducks.”  They  must  be  boiled  hard,  however,  and 
then  the  white  is  firm,  semi-transparent,  of  a  bluish  tint, 
the  yolk  granular  and  oily. 

Mr.  Audubon  has  a  curious  theory  about  these  eggs.  He 
found  some  of  them  white,  as  they  may  he  seen  occasionally 
in  any  breeding-place.  “  My  opinion,”  he  says,  “  is,  that 
when  first  dropped  they  are  always  pure  white,  for  on  open¬ 
ing  a  good  number  of  these  birds,  1  found  several  containing 


FOOLISH  GUILLEMOT. 


323 


one  egg  ready  for  being  laid,  and  of  a  pure  white  colour.” 
I  have  a  pure  white  egg  taken  from  a  (1  olden  Eagle,  and  in  a 
Red  Grouse’s  nest  a  white  egg  also.  Any  dissecting  orni¬ 
thologist  knows  how  and  where  eggs  receive  their  colouring. 

It  is  interesting  to  visit  one  of  the  great  breeding-places, 
and  in  a  boat  proceed  along  the  cliffs,  whether  a  gun  be  used 
or  not ;  to  stand  on  a  near  promontory  and  see  the  multitudes 
perched  on  the  rocks,  or  flying  out  to  sea,  or  returning ;  or 
to  look  down  from  the  summit  upon  the  groups  in  sight,  or 
startle  from  their  stations  a  whole  troop  by  letting  down  a 
large  stone;  or  to  descend  by  some  crevice,  clinging  with 
fingers  and  unshod  feet  to  the  little  narrow  ledges,  and  creep 
among  the  eggs,  or  be  let  down  dangling  on  a  rope,  and  half- 
trembling  with  fear  and  excitement.  Very  pleasant  all  this, 
but  very  unscientific  and  unphilosophical,  as  think  the  very 
small  would-be-great  men,  who  concoct  prize-essays  in  col¬ 
leges,  and  write  popular  treatises  on  the  sciences,  and  have 
everything  reduced  to  principles,  and  want  only  a  Turkey- 
cock’s  wattles  and  tail  to  make  a  great  figure  in  the  world.  The 
vain-glory  of  these  persons,  some  of  whom  never  observed  a 
fact  correctly,  contrasts  characteristically  with  the  modesty 
of  the  Humboldts,  and  Cuviers,  and  Milne-Edwardses,  and 
Owens,  who  never  depreciate  any  truth,  or  despise  any  earnest 
endeavours. 

“  The  Black  Guillemot,  the  Common  Guillemot,  Razor¬ 
bill,  Puffin,  and  Cormorant,”  writes  my  Skye  correspondent, 
“  all  breed  in  great  numbers  on  the  groups  of  islands  called 
Fladda  and  Ascrib.  The  Puffins  are  very  numerous,  the 
Black  Guillemots  are  not  so  abundant.  On  a  clear  summer’s 
morning,  when  the  sea  lies  slumbering  calmly  under  the  all- 
diffused  glo*w  of  sunshine,  it  is  delightful  to  sit  on  the  top  of 
some  cliff  and  see  the  many  busy  troops  of  Guillemots  hurry¬ 
ing  over  the  sparkling  bosom  of  the  blue  waters,  the  sun 
lighting  up  the  clear  white  plumage  as  they  haste  along.  The 
view  of  the  Long  Island,  from  the  peaks  of  Harris  to  the  low* 
sandy  shores  of  Uist,  on  such  a  morning,  is  magnificent.” 

By  the  middle  of  August  the  young  are  all  fledged,  and 
then  old  and  young  disperse.  The  distribution  of  this  species 
extends  from  Nova  Zambia  and  Spitsbergen,  over  the  whole 


324 


UllIA  TKOILE. 


of  the  Celtic  Sea,  and  along  the  coasts  of  Ireland  and  the 
western  side  of  Britain.  It  appears  to  occur  hut  very  rarely 
in  the  Mediterranean.  Along  the  eastern  coasts  of  America, 
it  proceeds,  from  the  extreme  north,  as  far  as  the  Bay  of 
New  York. 

Young. — The  young,  while  still  covered  with  down,  have 
the  hill  comparatively  short,  much  compressed,  dull  flesh- 
coloured,  the  tip  dusky  ;  the  feet  dusky  flesh-coloured.  The 
head,  throat,  hind  neck,  and  the  upper  parts,  are  brownish- 
black,  the  throat  paler  ;  the  lower  parts  white.  There  is  no 
white  on  the  secondary  quills  of  the  first  plumage,  which  is 
very  lax. 

The  first  feathers  are  gradually  substituted  by  a  second 
set,  of  firmer  texture.  The  quills,  their  coverts,  and  the 
tail-feathers  appear  first,  the  secondaries  tipped  with  white. 
The  upper  plumage  is  greyish-black  ;  the  cheeks  and  throat 
white,  as  well  as  all  the  lower  parts.  The  hill  is  more  elon¬ 
gated,  and  of  darker  tints,  as  are  the  feet.  By  the  end  of 
September  the  full  plumage  is  obtained. 

Young  in  First  Winter. — The  bill  is  shorter,  and 
more  slender  than  in  the  adult,  of  a  yellowish-brown  colour, 
the  tips  of  both  mandibles  brownish-black.  The  feet  are  dull 
brownish  flesh-colour,  the  webs  dusky,  the  claws  blackish- 
brown.  The  upper  part  of  the  head,  the  whole  of  the  hind 
neck,  and  all  the  upper  parts,  of  a  dull  blackish-grey,  tinged 
with  brown  on  the  wings,  the  tips  of  the  secondary  quills, 
the  inner  four  excepted,  being,  however,  white.  Continuous 
with  the  dark  grey  of  the  fore  part  of  the  head  is  a  band 
passing  under  the  eye  to  about  an  inch  beyond  it.  The  lower 
parts  are  white ;  the  sides  under  the  wings  streaked  with 
blackish-grey,  the  long  feathers  there  having  broad  margins 
of  that  colour.  The  feathers  on  the  upper  hind  neck  are 
mottled  with  dull  white,  as  are  those  at  the  base  of  the  upper 
mandible. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — In  spring  a  change  com¬ 
mences,  which  is  completed  in  June,  when  the  bird  acquires 


FOOLISH  GUILLEMOT. 


320 

the  appearance  of  the  adult  in  summer,  but  may  still  he  dis¬ 
tinguished  by  its  comparatively  slender  and  light-coloured 

bill. 

Male  in  Winter. — When  the  autumnal  moult  is  com¬ 
pleted,  a  great  part  of  the  dark  brown  of  the  head  and  upper 
neck  has  been  substituted  by  white,  of  which  colour  arc  the 
throat,  the  lower  part  of  the  cheeks,  a  band  behind  the  eye, 
the  sides  of  the  neck,  all  the  lower  parts,  and  the  tips  of  the 
secondary  quills.  The  upper  part  of  the  head,  the  space 
from  the  bill  to  the  eye,  a  band  under  and  behind  the  eye, 
the  hind  neck,  and  all  the  upper  parts  of  the  body  blackish- 
grey  ;  the  primaries  and  tail-feathers  greyish-brown. 

Female  in  Winter. — There  is  no  external  difference  by 
which  the  female  may  he  distinguished. 

Remarks. — Guillemots  in  nearly  all  respects  similar  to  that 
above  described,  but  having  a  white  ring  about  the  eyes,  and 
a  narrow  band  or  line  of  the  same  behind  them,  were  generally 
understood  to  he  of  the  same  species  until  of  late,  when  they 
have  been  separated  under  the  name  of  Uria  lacrymans. 


.120 


UR  I A  LACRYMANS.  THE  RR  IDLED  GUILLEMOT. 

RINGED  OR  RING-EYED  GUILLEMOT. 


Fig.  81. 


Guillemot  bride.  Uria  lacrymans.  Tcmm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  IV.  574. 

Ringed,  or  Bridled  Guillemot.  Yarr.  Brit.  Birds,  II.  351. 

Bill  rather  slender ,  scarecly  decurved  toward  the  end, 
black ,  the  angle  of  the  lower  mandible  prominent,  and  its  sides 
convex  ;  plumage  blackish-grey  above  ;  sides  of  the  head  and 
fore  part  of  upper  neck  tinged  with  brown  ;  a  line  encircling 
the  eye  and  extending  backioards  from  it,  white  ;  lower  parts 
and  tips  of  secondaries  white  ;  sides  streaked  with  blackish 
grey  ;  tail  of  twelve  feathers  ;  interdigital  membranes  full . 
In  summer  the  whole  head  and  throat  brown .  In  winter  the 
sides  of  the  head  behind  the  eyes  and  the  throat  white. 

If  the  Common  Guillemot  assumes  a  white  ring  around 
the  eyes,  and  a  line  of  the  same  colour  directed  backwards 
and  downwards  from  them,  it  is  not  known  under  what  cir¬ 
cumstances  it  does  so  ;  and  if  individuals  so  marked  belong 


BRIDLED  GUILLEMOT. 


to  a  distinct  species,  it  is  not  known  at  what  age  they  assume 
these  markings,  or  whether  the  young  are  similar  to  the 
adult,  or  the  young  of  both  species  indistinguishable.  The 
descriptions  given  by  British  writers  are  so  loose  that  they 
convey  little  information,  and  certainly  afford  no  convic¬ 
tion.  Until  the  history  of  the  Ring-eyed  Guillemot  is  as 
correctly  detailed  as  that  of  the  common  species,  it  must 
remain  doubtful  whether  it  he  distinct  or  not.  I  have  seen 
many  Guillemots  with  ringed  eyes,  some  of  them  obtained  in 
the  Firth  of  Forth,  some  seen  dead  on  the  sandy  beaches 
between  Aberdeen  and  Ythan  Mouth  ;  but,  having  considered 
them  simply  as  Common  Guillemots,  1  paid  little  attention  to 
them,  and,  on  searching  in  my  collection,  find  only  one 
specimen,  which,  however,  is  very  interesting,  it  being  a 
young  bird  in  its  first  winter  plumage,  thus  proving  that  the 
ring  is  not  peculiar  to  old  birds,  as  had  been  supposed. 

Adult  in  Summer. — In  one  of  my  note-books  I  find  the 
following  statements  : — “  Uria  Troile.  April  28,  1824.  A 
specimen  shot  in  the  Firth  of  Forth  a  few  days  ago.  Exa 
mined  when  fresh.  Beak  deep  black,  tinged  with  bluish- 
green  ;  angle  (that  is,  the  skin  at  the  opening  of  the  mouth) 
yellowish.  Edge  of  orbit  (eyelids)  black,  very  small.  Eye 
hazel.  Feet  dusky,  fore  part  of  tarsus  and  toes  brownish- 
yellow  ;  claws  bluish-black,  pale  at  the  end.  Eye  encircled 
with  pure  white,  a  line  of  which  extends  downwards  along 
the  side  of  the  neck  for  an  inch  and  a  half,  where  there  is  a 
natural  division  of  the  feathers,  the  lower  edge  of  which  only 
is  white.  ITead  and  neck  to  half  way  down  anteriorly  deep 
brown,  tinged  with  grey ;  the  hind-neck  dark  grey  colour, 
being  continued  from  the  head  over  the  back,  including  the 
tail  and  wings.  Tips  of  secondaries,  excepting  two  first  and 
two  last,  white.  Upper  and  fore  edge  of  wings  pale  brown  ; 
primaries  of  the  same  dark-brown,  glossed  with  greenish. 
Tail  very  short.  Dimensions — beak  1^-  ;  length  IT  ;  tarse 
H ;  toe  2^ ;  extent  28. 

“  Uria  Troile.  Another  specimen  shot  at  the  same  time. 
The  colours  are  exactly  the  same,  but  there  is  no  white  round 
the  eve,  nor  along  the  line  which  extends  downwards  from  it/ 


URIA  LACRYMANS. 


o 

O 


28 


Mr.  Yarrell’s  description  : — “  An  adult  bird  in  its  breed¬ 
ing-plumage,  obtained  at  Grimsay  Island  (near  Iceland),  has 
the  beak  black,  rather  more  slender  in  form  than  that  of  the 
Common  Guillemot  obtained  at  the  same  locality  ;  the  irides 
dark  ;  all  round  the  eye  a  narrow  ring  of  pure  white,  and  a 
line  of  the  same  colour  about  an  inch  and  a  half  long,  passing 
from  the  eye  backwards  and  downwards  on  the  neck  ;  head, 
chin,  throat,  upper  part  of  neck  all  round,  lower  portion  of 
neck  behind,  back,  wings,  and  tail,  dull  greyish-black ;  tips 
of  secondaries,  and  all  the  under  surface  of  the  body,  white  ; 
legs,  toes,  and  membranes,  brownish-black.  The  whole 
length  about  eighteen  inches  ;  the  wing,  from  the  joint  to  the 
end,  eight  inches.” 

M.  Temminck  briefly  describes  this  species  in  its  summer 
plumage  thus  : — “  Head,  cheeks,  and  upper  part  of  the  fore- 
neck,  of  a  smoked  brown  tint ;  the  rest  of  the  upper  parts  of 
a  pure  black  ;  the  white  circle  around  the  eyes,  and  the 
lacrymal  line  at  the  hind  part  of  that  organ  very  strongly 
marked  on  the  dark  plumage  of  the  head.  The  meshes  of 
the  flanks  very  large  and  distinct.” 

Adult  in  Winter. — According  to  M.  Temminck,  “  the 
top  of  the  head,  the  space  between  the  eye  and  the  bill,  a 
longitudinal  band  behind  the  eyes,  and  all  the  upper  parts,  of 
a  very  decided  black  ;  all  the  lower  parts  and  the  tips  of  the 
secondary  quills,  pure  white ;  white  is  also  seen  between  the 
hand  behind  the  eyes  and  the  black  of  the  nape  ;  it  extends 
toward  the  occiput,  where  that  colour  forms  an  open  angle  ; 
small  white  feathers,  slender,  and  very  close  together,  form  a 
circle  around  the  eyes,  and  a  narrow  streak  directs  itself 
backwards,  passing  a  little  beyond  the  temples  ;  the  black 
colour  of  the  lateral  part  of  the  neck  forms  towards  the  breast, 
a  collar  faintly  indicated  by  blackish-grey ;  meshes  of  the 
flanks  very  distinct ;  bill  greyish-black  ;  inside  of  the  mouth 
yellow;  iris  brown ;  feet  yellowish-brown.  Length  from  15 
to  16  inches.” 

Habits. — Mr.  Gould  remarks  : — “  Although  we  have 
figured  this  bird  under  the  name  of  Lacrymans,  we  are  doubt- 


BRIDLED  GUILLEMOT. 


329 

ful  of  its  specific  value,  bearing  as  it  does  so  close  a  resem¬ 
blance  to  the  common  species,  Uria  Troile,  and  from  which  it 
differs  only  in  the  white  mark  which  encircles  the  eyes,  and 
passes  down  the  sides  of  the  head.  It  inhabits  the  same  loca¬ 
lities,  and  is  often  found  in  company  with  the  common 
species,  and  that  too  on  various  parts  of  our  coast,  particularly 
those  of  Wales,  where,  we  have  been  informed,  both  kinds 
are  equally  numerous.”  Mr.  Yarrell  states  that  lie  lias 
learned  “  that  this  Ringed  Guillemot  has  been  taken  on  the 
coast,  both  in  Yorkshire  and  Durham.”  Messrs.  Baikie  and 
Heddle  inform  us  that  “  several  specimens  of  this  rare  species 
have  been  shot  in  Orkney,  one  of  which  is  now  preserved  in 
the  Museum  at  Kirkwall.”  Mr.  Yarrell  intimates  that  Mr. 
Proctor  some  years  ago  found  it  abundant  in  the  Island  of 
Grimsay,  about  forty  miles  north  of  Iceland,  along  with 
Brunnich’s  and  the  Common  Guillemots,  and  that  the  inha¬ 
bitants  considered  them  all  specifically  distinct,  its  habits,  it 
is  said,  are  the  same  with  those  of  the  Common  Guillemots, 
only  that  it  assumes  a  breeding  station  lower  on  the  rocks 
than  it.  In  short,  some  observers  view  the  Ringed  Guille- 
mot  as  a  species,  others  as  a  variety  of  the  Common.  One  or 
two  of  the  many  idle  sportsmen  might  settle  the  question, 
and  probably  find  as  much  pleasure  in  exploring  the  breeding- 
places  of  the  Guillemot,  as  in  merely  walking  day  after  day 
among  heather,  and  shooting  grouse  after  grouse. 


Young  in  Winter. — A  prepared  specimen  in  my  collec¬ 
tion,  known  to  be  young  by  the  small  size  and  pale  colour  of 
its  bill,  was  shot  in  the  Firth  of  Forth  in  winter.  The  bill  is 
pale  umber-brown,  changing  to  dark-brown  in  the  terminal 
half.  The  tarsi  and  toes  also  pale  brown,  the  webs  dusky, 
the  claws  blackisli-brown.  The  upper  parts  arc  dark-grey, 
without  any  shade  of  brown.  A  band  of  the  same  passes 
under  the  eye,  enlarges  behind  it,  and  proceeds  backwards 
and  downwards,  for  an  inch  and  a  half,  along  the  line  of 
separation  of  the  feathers,  and  margined  above  with  a  line  of 
white  feathers,  continuous  with  a  narrow  ring  of  the  same 
colour  margining  the  eyelids.  Above  this  line  and  behind 
the  eye,  is  a  broad  band  of  white  ;  the  feathers  of  the  nape  all 


330 


URIA  LACRYMANS. 


across  and  for  the  space  of  an  inch,  arc  mottled  with  white. 
The  tips  of  the  secondary  quills  also  are  white,  and  that 
colour  occupies  the  throat,  the  fore  part  and  sides  of  the 
neck,  and  all  the  lower  parts,  the  feathers  on  the  sides  under 
the  wing,  however,  being  streaked  with  grey.  The  feathers 
on  the  lower  surface  of  the  wing  also  are  white,  the  primary 
coverts  only  being  very  pale-grey.  The  bill  is  rather  slender, 
much  compressed,  its  upper  outline  very  littled  decurved,  the 
angle  of  the  lower  much  farther  from  the  base  than  in  the 
Common  Guillemot,  its  dorsal  line  straight.  There  are 
thirty-five  scutella  on  the  middle  toe,  as  in  U.  Troile,  but 
the  webs  are  full,  their  margins  being  straight.  The  wings 
are  remarkably  short. 

Length  15  inches;  wing  from  flexure  7-p^ ;  tail  1^;  bill 
along  the  ridge  1T5^-;  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2-^  ; 
its  height  at  the  angle  -pj ;  tarsus  1^ ;  middle  toe  l^V,  its 
claw  -pA. 

Another  specimen,  having  the  bill  a  little  longer,  more 
attenuated  toward  the  tip  and  of  a  darker  colour,  wants  the 
white  ring  and  line  ;  hut  is  in  every  other  respect  exactly 
similar,  the  lint  of  the  grey  colour  on  the  upper  parts  being 
only  paler.  It  is  impossible  to  imagine  that  the  two  are  not 
of  one  and  the  same  species. 

Length  16  inches;  wing  from  flexure  7-^-;  tail  1^;  bill 
along  the  ridge  1 ;  along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  : 
its  height  at  the  angle  -pj  ;  tarsus  1T4  ;  middle  toe  1-^V,  its 
claw  -pj. 


331 


UR  I A  GRYLLE.  THE  BLACK  GUILLEMOT. 

GREENLAND  DOVE.  DOVER' Y.  SEA  TURTLE.  LITTLE  GUILLEMOT.  SPOTTED 
GUILLEMOT.  PUFFINET.  TYSTIE,  or  TYSTEY.  GEARA-BUEAC. 

Colymbus  Gryllc.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  200. 

Uria  Grylle.  Lath.  Ind.  Oniith.  II.  797. 

Black  Guillemot.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Guillemot  a  miroir  blanc.  Uria  Grylle.  Temm.  IMan.  d’Ornith.  II.  925. 
Black  Guillemot.  Uria  Grylle.  Selby,  Illustr.  IT.  426. 

Uria  Grylle.  Black  Guillemot.  Jenyns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  258. 

Uria  Grylle.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  65. 


Adult  in  whiter  with  the  bill  black,  the  feet  orange-red ; 
the  iwev ailing  colour  of  the  'plumage  white;  the  cheeks,  neck 
all  round,  lower  parts,  and  rump  being  of  that  hue ;  the  upper 
part  of  the  head  mottled  with  greyish -black ;  the  feathers  of 
the  back  and  the  scapulars  black,  tipped  with  greyish-white ; 
the  wings  and  tail  brownish -black,  the  former  with  a  large 
white  patch.  Adult  in  summer  with  the  bill  black,  the  feet 
coral-red;  the  plumage  entirely  black,  excepting  a  patch  on 
the  wing,  the  lower  wing-coverts,  and  axillars ,  which  are 
white.  Young  with  the  bill  dusky,  the  feet  brown  ;  the  plu¬ 
mage  as  in  the  adult  in  winter,  but  more  mottled  with 
blackish-  grey . 


The  Black  Guillemot,  which  is  much  inferior  in  size  to 
either  of  the  two  species  already  described,  differs  from  them 
in  having  the  body  proportionally  shorter  and  fuller,  and  is 
easily  known  by  its  red  feet  and  the  white  patch  on  its 
wings.  Its  winter  plumage  is  very  differently  coloured  from 
that  of  summer,  as  will  be  seen  from  the  following 
descriptions : — 

Male  in  Winter. — The  body  is  elliptical,  full,  de¬ 
pressed  ;  the  neck  rather  short  ;  the  head  oblong,  narrowed 


URIA  GRYLLE. 


before,  and  of  moderate  size.  The  bill  is  shorter  than  the 
head,  straight,  rather  slender,  tapering,  compressed,  acute ; 
the  upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  line  declinate  and 
straight,  at  the  end  slightly  decurvate ;  the  nasal  sinus 
moderate,  feathered,  the  sides  convex  beyond  it.  the  edges 
sharp  and  slightly  indexed,  with  a  sinus  near  the  tip,  which 
is  deflected,  narrow,  blunted,  with  a  semicircular  edge ;  the 
lower  mandible  with  the  angle  long  and  narrow,  the  dorsal 
line  ascending  and  straight,  the  sides  nearly  erect  and 
slightly  convex,  the  edges  sharp  and  indexed,  the  tip  acute  ; 
the  gape-line  straight. 

The  palate  is  dat,  with  two  papillate  ridges  and  two 
lateral  series  of  papilla? ;  its  anterior  part  concave,  with  dve 
prominent  lines.  The  tongue  is  an  inch  and  nine-twelfths 
long,  tapering,  slender,  trigonal,  channelled  toward  the  end, 
pointed  with  a  thin  edge.  The  oesophagus,  six  inches  and 
three-fourths  long,  is  three-fourths  of  an  inch  in  width,  and 
within  the  thorax  dilates  into  a  very  wide  sac,  two  inches 
long,  and  an  inch  and  four-twelfths  in  breadth  ;  its  walls 
thin ;  the  proventricular  glandules  forming  a  belt  an  inch 
and  a  quarter  in  breadth.  The  stomach  is  rather  large, 
roundish,  an  inch  and  a  half  in  len  gth  ,  an  inch  and  a  quarter 
in  breadth,  with  a  moderately  thick  muscular  coat,  and 
dense,  plicate  epithelium.  The  intestine  is  three  feet  long, 
from  four-twelfths  to  three-twelfths  in  width  ;  the  caeca  an 
inch  and  a  third  in  length,  three-twelfths  in  width  ;  the 
rectum  two  inches  and  a  quarter  long,  with  an  elliptical 
cloaca. 

The  nostrils  are  sub-basal,  linear,  three-twelfths  long,  in 
the  lower  part  of  the  membrane,  which  forms  a  thin  flap 
above,  and  partially  concealed  by  the  feathers ;  the  eyes 
small ;  the  aperture  of  the  ear  very  small,  The  feet,  placed 
far  behind,  are  very  small ;  the  tibia  feathered  almost  to  the 
joint ;  the  tarsus  short,  compressed,  reticulate,  but  with  an 
anterior  inner  series  of  larger  scales.  The  toes,  three  in 
number,  arc  rather  small,  scutellate,  the  lateral  marginate  ; 
the  inner  with  about  twenty  scutella,  the  next  with  twenty- 
eight,  the  outer  longest,  not  including  the  claws,  and  with 
about  thirty  scutella  ;  the  membranes  full.  The  claws  are 


BLACK  GUILLEMOT. 


333 


rather  small,  arched,  compressed,  rather  acute  ;  that  of  the 
middle  toe  with  the  inner  edge  dilated,  and  notched  near 
the  end. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  soft,  blended,  and  velvety ;  the 
feathers  oblong,  on  the  back  rather  abruptly  terminated. 
The  wings  are  small  and  narrow,  with  twenty-eight  quills ; 
the  primaries  curved  and  rather  acute,  the  first  longest ;  the 
secondaries  incurved,  broadly  rounded,  the  inner  rounded. 
The  tail  is  very  short,  narrow,  rounded,  of  twelve  soft,  rather 
pointed  feathers. 

The  bill  is  black ;  the  inside  of  the  mouth  vermilion ; 
the  iris  dusky ;  the  feet  vermilion  ;  the  claws  bluish-black. 
The  general  colour  of  the  plumage  is  white,  with  a  tinge  of 
grey.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  is  obscurely  mottled  with 
greyish-black  ;  the  feathers  of  the  back  and  the  scapulars 
black,  tipped  with  greyisli-white  ;  the  wings  and  tail 
brownisli-black,  the  former  with  a  large  patch  of  white, 
including  the  secondary  coverts  and  many  of  the  smaller 
coverts. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  13  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  22  ; 
wing  from  flexure  6T8^-;  tail  2;  bill  along  the  ridge  1T4Y, 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  l-j-§- ;  tarsus  1-p^ ;  inner 
toe  tj  ;  its  claw  Y2  >  middle  toe  1-^,  its  claw  ;  outer  toe 
1T5^,  its  claw 

Female  in  W  inter. — The  female  differs  from  the  male 
only  in  being  a  little  smaller. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  11 J  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  21. 

Changes  of  Plumage. — The  moult  takes  place  in 
autumn,  and  is  completed  by  the  beginning  of  November. 
Early  in  spring  another  moult  commences,  which  is  com¬ 
pleted  by  the  end  of  April,  and  changes  all  the  feathers, 
excepting  those  of  the  wings  and  tail.  In  summer  the  bird 
has  a  very  different  appearance,  being  chiefly  of  a  black 
colour,  glossed  with  green  above,  and  tinged  with  brown  or 
red  below. 


Male  in  Summer. — The  bill,  iris,  and  feet  as  in  winter; 


UKIA  GIIYLLE. 


334 

but  the  latter  are  of  a  richer  and  deeper  tint,  like  that  of  red 
coral,  or  carmine  and  vermilion.  The  general  colour  of  the 
plumage  is  black,  on  the  back  and  wings  tinged  with  green, 
on  the  breast  and  abdomen  with  brown.  On  the  wing  is  a 
conspieuous  patch  of  white,  including  the  secondary  coverts 
and  many  of  the  smaller  ;  and  the  axillar  feathers  and  lower 
wing-coverts  are  also  white. 

Female  in  Summer. — lake  the  male. 

Habits. — This,  I  think,  is  one  of  the  most  beautiful  of 
our  sea-birds.  The  lively  little  creature  I  have  always  found 
to  be  a  kind  of  favourite  in  the  places  frequented  by  it.  Many 
hundreds  of  the  young  have  their  lives  every  year  sacrificed 
to  the  mistaken  kindness  of  children  who  try  to  rear  them, 

V 

always  without  success.  1  have  kept  them  alive  for  several 
weeks,  but  somehow  they  never  thrived,  and  I  never  saw  one 
that  attained  the  age  of  three  months. 

Now,  suppose  yourself  floating  on  the  heavy  swell  of  the 
Atlantic  aloim  the  base  of  a  cliff  decorated  with  luxuriant 

o 

tufts  of  Rhodiola  rosea,  Silene  maritima,  and  Statice  armeria, 
and  inhabited  by  Guillemots,  Auks,  and  Starlings.  Here 
and  there  are  narrow  cracks,  perpendicular  and  inclined.  In 
most  of  them,  after  a  shot  has  been  fired,  you  will  see  one, 
two,  or  more,  of  the  Black  Guillemots  looking  down  upon 
you,  half  afraid  to  remain,  and  loth  to  leave  their  eggs  or 
young.  Another  shot  is  fired,  and  you  see  them  bounce  away 
on  rapidly-moving  wings.  There,  on  a  shelf,  a  dozen  of  them 
have  alighted  in  a  row.  Their  black  plumage,  enlivened  by 
t  lie  two  white  wing-spots,  and  their  singular-looking  red  feet, 
contrast  with  the  brown  rock.  You  may  approach  and  shoot 
the  half  of  them  if  you  will,  for  they  are  by  no  means  shy. 
Such  are  their  usual  breeding-places ;  for  they  never,  like  the 
Auks  and  other  Guillemots,  deposit  their  eggs  on  the  exposed 
ledges  of  the  cliffs.  They  differ  from  them  also  in  laying 
two  or  three  eggs.  I  have  never,  however,  obtained  them 
from  such  places,  although  1  know  those  who,  clinging  to  the 
face  of  the  rifted  crag,  have  done  so,  foolishly,  I  thought,  and 
it  the  peril  of  life  ;  but  1  have  many  times  taken  them  from 


BLACK  GUILLEMOT. 


.33,3 

under  the  large  blocks  of  stone  near  high-water  mark.  Nests 
they  have  none,  unless  a  little  gravel  or  some  pebbles  may  be 
so  called.  The  eggs,  frequently  three,  but  I  think  more 
commonly  two,  arc  about  the  same  size  and  shape  as  those  of 
a  domestic  fowl,  being  regularly  ovate,  from  two  inches  and 
a  half  to  two  inches  and  a  quarter  in  length,  from  an  inch 
and  seven-twelfths  to  a  twelfth  less  in  breadth,  sometimes 
smooth,  often  rough  with  little  flattened  prominences  ;  grey¬ 
ish-white,  yellowish-white,  bluish-white,  or  sometimes  pale 
greenish-blue,  and  marked  with  blotches,  spots,  and  dots  of 
dark  brown,  varying  in  tint  from  brownish-black  to  umber, 
together  with  faint  purplish-grey  spots,  the  markings  larger 
and  more  numerous  near  the  broader  end.  The  eggs  arc 
deposited  in  the  beginning  of  June,  and  early  in  August  the 
young  are  abroad. 

Their  food  consists  of  small  flslies  and  Crustacea,  in  search 
of  which  they  frequent  less  the  sounds  and  bays  than  the  open 
sea.  On  all  the  coasts  of  Scotland,  the  fry  of  the  Coal-fish  is 
a  very  common  article  of  food  with  them,  as  with  many  other 
sea-birds.  About  most  of  their  breeding-places,  1  have  not 
observed  them  to  proceed  daily  to  a  great  distance ;  but  on 
leaving  the  rocks  with  their  young  they  disperse  over  the 
ocean,  entirely  deserting  their  breeding-places  until  the  next 
spring.  Yet  they  do  not  migrate  far  southward  with  us, 
most  of  them  remaining  all  winter  in  the  north. 

This  species  sits  lightly  on  the  water,  on  which  it  paddles 
about  in  a  very  lively  manner.  It  dives  with  rapidity,  like  a 
shot  as  it  were,  opening  its  wings  a  little,  and  under  water 
actually  flies,  as  I  have  often  seen.  If  shot  at  on  the  water, 
it  will  often  dive,  but  also  frequently  rise  on  wing,  and  in  so 
doing  it  strikes  the  water  with  its  wings  anti  feet  for  some 
distance.  Its  flight  is  quick,  direct,  performed  by  a  perpetual 
rapid  beating  of  the  wings.  In  proceeding  to  a  distance, 
they  often  fly,  in  small  strings,  low  over  the  water,  now 
inclining  a  little  to  one  side  then  to  the  other.  When  their 
nests  or  roosting-places  are  high  on  the  rocks,  they  gradually 
curve  upward  as  they  approach  them,  and  alight  abruptly. 
On  the  ground  they  move  little  about,  although  on  occasion 
they  walk  moderately  well,  and  prettily,  with  short  steps. 


336 


UKIA  GHYLLE. 


and  nearly  erect.  They  repose  either  standing-  or  lying  flat 
on  the  rock. 

The  eggs,  when  hard  boiled,  are  remarkably  good  ;  but 
the  flesh  of  the  bird,  being  dark-coloured  and  rank,  is  not 
agreeable,  although  better  than  that  of  the  Auk  or  other 
Guillemots.  These  are  the  principal  facts  which  I  have 
observed  with  regard  to  this  bird,  and  with  all  of  them  I  was 
well  acquainted  more  than  thirty  years  ago,  when  nature, 
without  books,  was  my  teacher.  It  may  be  amusing  now  to 
see  what  other  av liters  liaAre  said  on  the  subject. 

Martin,  in  his  Voyage  to  St.  Kilda,  writes  thus  : — “  The 
Scrabcr,  so  called  in  St.  Kilda  ;  in  the  Farn  Islands,  Piffi- 
net ;  in  Holland ,  the  Greenland  Dove  ;  its  bill  small,  sharp- 
pointed,  a  little  crooked  at  the  end,  and  prominent ;  it  is  as 
large  as  a  Pigeon,  its  Avhole  body  being  black,  except  a  white 
spot  on  each  wing ;  his  egg  grey,  sharp  at  one  end,  blunt  at 
the  other.  It  comes  in  the  month  of  March ,  and  in  the  night- 
time,  without  regard  to  any  winds ;  it  is  always  invisible, 
except  in  the  night,  being  all  day  either  abroad  at  fishing  or 
all  the  day  under  ground  upon  its  nest,  which  it  digs  very 
far  under  ground,  from  Avhence  it  never  conies  in  daylight ; 
it  picks  its  food  out  of  the  live  whale,  with  Avliicli,  they  say, 
it  uses  sorrel,  and  both  arc  found  in  its  nest.  The  young 
Puffin  is  fat  as  the  young  Fulmar,  and  goes  away  in  August 
if  its  first  egg  be  spar’d."’ 

Now,  Mr.  Martin  has  committed  the  grievous  error  of 
confounding  two  very  different  birds.  That  called  Seraber  in 
St.  Kilda  is  Procellaria  Piffinus ,  not  Uria  Grylle,  which  is 
named  Geara  breac  all  over  the  Hebrides.  His  description, 
then,  applies  to  the  latter  bird,  but  all  the  habits  which  he 
has  attributed  to  it  belong  to  the  Petrel  or  Puffinet.  This  is 
all  very  obvious,  and  there  is  no  need  of  saving  a  Avoid  more 
on  the  subject ;  but  avc  may  anticipate  the  continuation  of 
these  errors  among  the  compilers. 

Montagu,  not  a  compiler,  gives  a  remarkably  poor  account 
of  this  bird,  and  repeats  the  errors  of  its  being  named  Seraber 
and  having  one  egg,  which  he,  however,  describes  as  “  dirty 
Avhite,  blotched  a\  ith  pale  rust  colour,”  and  in  this  conies 
near  the  truth. 


BLACK  GUILLEMOT. 


337 


Dr.  Fleming,  who,  following  Cuvier,  as  he  thinks,  but 
erroneously,  refers  it  to  a  separate  genus,  Cephus ,  because  its 
upper  mandible,  instead  of  a  notch,  has  only  a  sinus,  gives  to 
this  genus  the  English  name  Scraber,  thus  continuing  Martin’s 
blunder.  He  also  makes  the  egg  solitary,  hut  says  it  is 
“  white,  with  black  and  grey  spots.” 

Mr.  Selby,  following  M.  Temminck,  rectifies  Dr.  Fleming’s 
mistake  as  to  the  genus,  but  continues  Scraber  among  the 
provincial  names,  and  repeats  the  error  of  its  having  one  egg. 
Mr.  Jenyns  gives  an  accurate  description,  chiefly  translated 
from  Temminck,  hut  keeps  to  the  one  egg,  although  in  a  note 
he  states  that  a  writer  in  Loudon’s  Magazine  often  found  two. 
Mr.  Audubon  finds  two  or  three. 

My  reference  to  these  authors  does  not  suggest  anything 
to  add  to  what  I  have  already  stated,  unless  the  distribution 
of  this  species,  which  in  Britain  has  all  its  breeding-places  to 
the  north  of  the  Tweed  and  Solway.  The  most  southern 
localities  with  which  I  am  acquainted  are  the  Bass  Rock  and 
the  Isle  of  May,  at  the  mouth  of  the  Firth  of  Forth.  In  the 
north  of  Scotland,  it  is  extremely  abundant  in  favourable 
situations.  Mr.  Low  says  that  in  Orkney  it  continues  the 
whole  year  in  the  sounds,  fishing  in  all  kinds  of  weather. 
Dr.  Edmondston,  in  a  short  account  of  the  Birds  of  Shetland, 
with  which  he  has  favoured  me,  savs  it  “  lavs  two,  sometimes 
three  eggs,  in  rocky  crevices,  not  far  above  the  water,  and 
generally  has  two  young.  The  old  birds  change  in  winter  to 
grey  and  black  speckled.  The  young  arc  of  a  more  uniform 
and  paler  grey.  The  legs  of  the  former  are  red,  those  of  the 
latter  black.”  It  is  quite  unnecessary  to  consult  more  writers 
on  the  subject  of  its  distribution  in  Britain.  It  has  been 
stated  to  occur  in  all  the  northern  seas  of  Europe,  on  the 
coasts  of  the  Baltic,  Norway,  Feroe,  Iceland,  Greenland, 
Labrador,  and  in  winter  as  far  south  as  Maryland. 

Young. — The  young  at  first  have  the  bill  dusky,  the  feet 
brown,  the  skin  covered  with  soft  down  of  a  blackish-brown 
colour.  When  fledged,  they  have  the  bill  black,  the  feet  of  a 
dingy  or  blackish-red,  the  inside  of  the  mouth  dusky-red. 
The  cheeks,  throat,  and  all  the  lower  parts,  are  greyish-white, 

vol.  v.  z 


UIIIA  GRYLLE. 


338 

mottled  with  blackish-grey,  the  tip  of  each  feather  being  of 
the  latter  tint.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  is  dusky,  the 
hack  dull  black,  some  of  the  scapulars  white,  tipped  with 
blackish-grey.  The  wings  are  greyish-black,  with  a  white 
patch,  of  which  the  feathers  are  tipped  with  blackish-grey  ; 
the  tail-feathers  black. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — The  young  moult  in 
October,  and  when  the  winter  plumage  is  complete,  it  differs 
little  from  that  of  the  adult.  In  spring  the  young  assume 
the  summer  dress  of  their  parents,  and  can  hardly  be  distin¬ 
guished  from  them.  Individuals  obtained  at  different  periods 
of  the  year  present  great  diversity  of  markings,  according  to 
the  state  of  change. 


MERGULUS.  ROTCHE. 


The  only  species  yet  known  of  this  genus,  although  very 
intimately  allied  to  the  Auks  and  Guillemots,  cannot  with 
propriety  be  referred  to  either  of  these  genera,  on  account  of 
the  peculiar  form  of  its  bill,  which  is  shorter  and  thicker,  or 
more  convex,  than  that  of  either.  The  body  is  full  and  com¬ 
pact;  the  neck  short  and  thick  ;  the  head  oblong,  anteriorly 
compressed. 

Bill  very  short,  stout,  a  little  decurved,  as  broad  as  high 
at  the  base,  moderately  compressed  toward  the  end  ;  upper 
mandible  with  the  nasal  sinus  basal,  broad,  and  angular  ; 
the  dorsal  line  convex  and  declinate ;  the  ridge  convex  ;  the 
sides  convex  at  the  base,  sloping  toward  the  end ;  the  edges 
sharp  and  overlapping,  arcuate,  with  a  slight  sinus  close  to 
the  small,  narrow,  bluntish  tip ;  lower  mandible  with  the 
intercrural  space  long,  wide,  and  feathered  ;  the  dorsal  line 
short,  ascending,  nearly  straight ;  the  sides  sloping  a  little 
outwards,  the  edges  sharp,  the  tip  obtuse. 

Mouth  of  moderate  width ;  anterior  palate  flat,  and 
covered  with  numerous  horny  reversed  papillae.  Tongue 
large,  fleshy,  emarginate  at  the  base,  flat  above,  rather 
obtuse.  (Esophagus  of  moderate  width ;  proventriculus 
broader ;  stomach  oblong,  muscular,  with  large  tendons,  and 
dense,  rugous  epithelium ;  intestine  short  and  narrow ;  coeca 
small ;  cloaca  large  and  globular. 

Nostrils  basal,  oblong,  with  a  horny  operculum.  Eyes 
small.  Aperture  of  ear  very  small.  Legs  very  short,  rather 
slender,  placed  far  behind ;  tibia  bare  for  a  very  short  space  ; 
tarsus  compressed,  anteriorly  covered  with  oblique  scutella  ; 
no  hind  toe  ;  anterior  toes  webbed,  the  inner  much  shorter 


340 


MERGULUS.  ROTCHE. 


than  the  outer,  which  is  about  equal  to  the  third.  Claws 
moderate,  arcuate,  compressed,  acute. 

Plumage  dense,  blended ;  feathers  oblong.  Wings  small, 
narrow,  convex,  pointed ;  primary  quills  tapering,  the  first 
longest,  the  rest  rapidly  graduated ;  secondaries  very  short, 
rounded.  Tail  very  short,  slightly  rounded,  of  twelve 
feathers. 

The  habits  of  the  only  species  are  similar  to  those  of  the 
Auks  and  Guillemots. 


MERGULUS  ALLE.  THE  LITTLE  ROTCHE. 


LITTLE  AUK.  LITTLE  GUILLEMOT.  SEA-DOVE. 


Fig.  82. 


Alca  Alle.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  211. 

Alca  Allc.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  795. 

Little  Auk.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Guillemot  nain.  Uria  Alle.  Temm.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  II.  928. 

Common  Rotche.  Mergulus  melanoleucos.  Selby,  Illust.  II.  430. 

Mergulus  Alle.  Common  Rotche.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  259. 

Mergulus  Alle.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  65. 

Adult  in  winter  with  the  upper  part  of  the  head,  a  portion 
of  the  cheeks,  the  hind  part  and  sides  of  the  neck,  and  all  the 
upper  parts  of  the  body,  black;  the  tips  of  the  secondary 
quills,  and  the  margins  of  some  of  the  scapulars,  white ;  as 
are  the  throat,  fore-neck,  breast,  and  abdomen ;  the  uppermost 
feathers  of  the  sides  with  their  inner  webs,  black ;  the  lower 
wing-coverts  greyish-brown.  In  summer  the  colours  similar; 
but  the  throa  t  and  fore-neck  brownish-black,  like  the  head. 

Male  in  Winter. —  This  little  bird,  though  neither 
elegant  in  form  nor  remarkable  for  beauty  of  colouring, 
merits  at  least  the  epithet  pretty.  Were  it  not  necessary,  in 


342 


MERGULUS  ALLE. 

order  to  please  the  fastidious,  to  assume  an  air  of  solemnity 
in  describing  the  feathered  race,  I  would  call  it  quaint  or 
funny.  A  thing  so  diminutive,  so  active,  so  plump,  so  much 
at  its  ease,  and  so  at  home,  in  the  midst  of  the  wide  waters, 
cannot  hut  excite  a  pleasant  feeling  allied  to  mirth  in  him 
who  meets  with  it.  Not  much  larger  than  a  Quail,  it  is  yet 
of  a  robust  form,  having  the  body  full  and  compact,  the 
neck  short  and  stout,  the  hill  about  half  the  length  of  the 
head,  and  formed  somewhat  like  that  of  a  Grouse,  but  still 
manifestly  hearing  a  resemblance  to  that  of  the  Auks,  and 
even  having  faint  traces  of  grooves  and  ridges  on  both  man¬ 
dibles.  But  as  all  that  has  been  stated  in  the  generic 
character  applies  to  it,  a  specific  description  would  be  super¬ 
fluous.  There  are,  however,  eighteen  distinct,  very  broad, 
and  very  short  scutella  on  the  tarsus  ;  thirty-two  on  the 
middle  toe,  thirty- three  on  the  outer,  and  twenty -four  on 
the  inner.  Idle  digestive  organs,  also,  may  be  more  par¬ 
ticularly  described. 

T1  ic  palate  is  flat,  broad,  and  covered  with  numerous 
short,  horny,  reversed  papilla?.  The  tongue  large,  fleshy, 
ten-twelfths  of  an  inch  long,  emarginate  at  the  base,  flat 
above,  obtusely  pointed,  horny  beneath.  The  oesophagus  is 
three  inches  and  ten-twelfths  long,  of  moderate  width  ;  the 
proventricular  glandules  cylindrical,  very  numerous,  forming 
a  belt  half  an  inch  in  breadth.  The  stomach  is  oblong, 
eleven-twelfths  in  length,  eight-twelfths  in  breadth,  with  its 
muscular  coat  moderately  thick,  and  forming  two  pretty 
distinct  lateral  muscles,  with  large  tendons  ;  the  epithelium 
dense,  thick,  with  numerous  longitudinal  and  transverse 
ruga?.  The  intestine  is  sixteen  inches  and  a  half  in  length, 
two-twelfths  and  a  quarter  in  width  ;  the  coeca  four-twelfths 
and  a  quarter  long,  half  a  twelfth  in  diameter ;  the  rectum 
an  inch  and  a  quarter,  three-twelfths  in  width  at  the  com¬ 
mencement,  gradually  enlarging  into  a  globular  cloaca,  nine- 
twelfths  in  breadth. 

The  nostrils  arc  very  small,  oblong,  with  a  strong, 
angular,  horny  operculum.  The  eyes  small,  their  aperture 
measuring  a  twelfth  and  a  half.  That  of  the  ear  one- 
twelfth. 


LITTLE  ROTCHE. 


313 


The  plumage  is  dense,  blended,  soft,  on  the  upper  parts 
glossy.  The  wings  are  short,  narrow,  convex,  and  pointed, 
with  the  first  quill  longest,  the  second  scarcely  a  twelfth 
shorter,  the  other  primaries  rapidly  decreasing,  the  secon¬ 
daries  short  and  rounded.  The  tail  is  very  small,  nearly 
even,  the  lateral  feathers  being  only  a  twelfth  and  a  half 
shorter  than  the  medial. 

The  bill  is  black.  The  iris  deep  brown.  The  feet 
dusky.  The  throat,  lower  part  of  the  cheeks,  the  hreast, 
and  abdomen  are  white.  The  upper  part  of  the  head,  in¬ 
cluding  part  of  the  cheeks,  the  hind-neck,  and  all  the  upper 
parts,  are  black ;  the  back  glossed  with  greenish.  There  is 
a  white  spot  on  the  upper  eyelid.  The  scapulars  are 
streaked  with  white,  and  the  secondary  quills  are  tipped 
with  the  same.  The  uppermost  feathers  on  the  sides  under 
the  wings  have  their  inner  webs  black,  and  the  lower  wing- 
coverts  are  greyish-brown. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  inches ;  extent  of  wings  14J  ; 
wing  from  flexure  4-L| ;  tail  1^  ;  hill  along  the  ridge  T8¥, 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  1  ;  tarsus  j-j  ;  inner  toe 
its  claw  T% ;  middle  toe  1,  its  claw  ;  outer  toe 
its  claw  t2t. 


Female  in  Winter. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male, 
but  smaller. 

Male  in  Summer. — The  bill,  iris,  and  feet  as  in  winter. 
The  whole  head  and  the  neck  all  round  are  brownish-black ; 
the  upper  parts  glossy  greenish-black ;  the  lower  white. 
There  is  a  white  spot  on  the  upper  eyelid,  and  the  scapulars 
and  tips  of  the  secondary  quills  are  white.  In  short,  the 
colours  are  the  same  as  in  winter ;  but  the  head  is  tinged 
with  brown,  and  the  throat  and  fore-neck  are  black  in  place 
of  being  white. 

Habits. — The  habits  of  this  bird  have  not  been  minutely 
described.  In  summer  it  is  found  in  very  high  latitudes, 
and  in  winter  retires  southward,  along  the  coasts  of  both 
continents.  It  is  said  to  be  more  abundant  in  the  seas  of 


344 


MERGULUS  ALLE. 


America  than  in  those  of  Europe.  Its  food  consists  of  small 
Crustacea  and  fishes,  which  it  procures  by  diving,  its  habits 
being  similar  to  those  of  the  Auks  and  Guillemots.  Some 
writers  say  that  it  lays  two  eggs,  others  that  it  has  one  only. 
My  acquaintance  with  it  in  the  living  state  is  extremely 
slight,  as  I  have  had  only  a  single  opportunity  of  seeing  it, 
having  observed  two  individuals  perched  on  the  cliffs  of  the 
Bass  Rock,  one  day  in  the  month  of  May.  I  have  been 
credibly  informed  of  its  breeding  in  considerable  numbers  at 
St.  Abb’s  Head.  The  egg,  according  to  Mr.  Audubon, 
“  measures  one  inch  and  nearly  five-eighths  in  length,  one 
inch  and  an  eighth  in  its  greatest  breadth.  It  is  remarkably 
large  for  the  size  of  the  bird,  and  of  a  dull  uniform  pale 
greenish-blue.” 

On  their  arrival  from  the  far  north,  these  birds  are  seen 
occasionally  in  considerable  numbers  among  the  Shetland 
and  Orkney  Islands.  Dr.  Edmondston,  however,  in  his 
Notes,  calls  it  a  rare  winter  visitant  in  Shetland  ;  while,  in 
Orkney,  Messrs.  Baikie  and  Heddle  inform  us  that  they 
“  occasionally  appear  in  great  numbers  during  winter.  They 
were  very  abundant  in  1803,  in  January  1812,  and  again 
during  winter  1846-7.  They  usually  keep  to  deep  water, 
and  approach  the  shore  only  during  bad  weather.  One 
season  they  were  frequently  observed  swimming  on  fresh¬ 
water  lochs.”  They  are  seen  occasionally  along  the  east 
coast  of  the  middle  division  of  Scotland,  especially  in  the 
Bays  of  Banff,  Peterhead,  and  Aberdeen.  In  November 
1846,  an  individual,  caught  near  the  mouth  of  the  harbour 
at  Aberdeen,  was  brought  to  me  by  Mr.  Alexander  Chal¬ 
mers  ;  another  found  dead  near  Don  Mouth  I  saw  with  Mr. 
Thomas  M’Kenzie  ;  a  third  was  sent  to  me  from  Rosehearty, 
by  Dr.  Wisely,  who  stated  that  they  come  sometimes  to  the 
coast  there  in  very  severe  storms  in  winter.  Great  numbers 
were  seen  that  winter  along  the  eastern  coast  of  Aberdeen¬ 
shire.  Mr.  Yarrell  gives  an  account  of  the  occurrence  of 
these  birds  in  October  1841,  after  a  violent  storm  from  the 
N.N.E.,  on  the  eastern  coasts  of  England,  from  Yorkshire  to 
Kent  and  Sussex ;  and  mentions  various  instances  of  their 
having  been  driven  far  inland. 


345 


UTAMANIA.  RAZOR-BILL. 

The  Razor-bills  differ  from  the  Guillemots  chiefly  in  the 
dilated  form  of  their  hill,  and  in  having  the  tail  cuneate. 
Their  proportions  otherwise  are  the  same. 

Bill  rather  shorter  than  the  head,  stout,  very  high  or 
vertically  expanded,  hut  much  compressed  ;  upper  mandible 
with  the  nasal  sinus  broad  and  feathered,  the  dorsal  line 
arcuate  and  decurvate,  the  ridge  extremely  narrow,  the  sides 
erect  and  transversely  grooved,  the  edges  sharp  and  inflected, 
with  very  slight  notches  close  to  the  small  decurved  tip ; 
lower  mandible  with  the  angle  long,  and  a  small  horny  appen¬ 
dage  in  it,  the  dorsal  line  ascending  and  toward  the  end  con¬ 
cave,  the  edges  sharp  and  inflected,  decurved  and  direct  at 
the  end. 

Mouth  of  moderate  width ;  anterior  palate  flat,  with  five 
prominent  lines.  Tongue  slender,  trigonal,  tapering,  pointed; 
oesophagus  wide,  excessively  dilated  in  the  lower  part  ; 
stomach  small,  elliptical,  with  the  muscular  coat  rather 
thin,  with  round  tendinous  spaces  ;  the  epithelium  thin, 
dense,  longitudinally  plicate  ;  intestine  of  moderate  length 
and  width,  with  small  coeca. 

In  other  respects  they  resemble  the  Guillemots,  and  their 
habits  are  the  same  as  theirs. 


UTAMANIA  TORDA.  THE  COMMON  RAZOR-BILL. 


RAZOR-BILL.  COMMON  AUK.  GURFEL.  FA l.C.  MURRE.  MARROT. 


1'IG. 


S3. 


Alca  Torda.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  210.  Summer. 

Alca  Torda.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  793. 

Razor-bill.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet.  Adult  in  summer. 

Auk,  Black-billed.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt.  Young  in  winter. 

Alca  Tica.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  210.  Winter. 

Fingouin  macroptere.  Alca  Torda.  Temm.  Man.  d’ Ornith.  II.  93G. 

Razor-bill  Auk.  Alca  Torda.  Selby,  lllustr.  II.  435. 

Utamania  Torda.  Bonap.  Comp.  List.  66. 

Length  about  seventeen  inches  ;  wings  reaching  to  the 
middle  of  the  tail,  which  has  twelve  feathers  ;  bill  with  four 
transverse  grooves,  one  of  which  is  white .  Adult  in  summer 
with  the  head  and  upper  part  of  the  neck  all  round  brownish- 
black,  the  upper  parts  greenish-black,  the  lower  white  ;  a  nar¬ 
row  line  from  the  bill  to  the  eye,  and  the  terminal  margins  of 
the  secondary  quills  white.  Adult  in  winter  with  the  upper 
parts  of  the  head  and  nape  greyish-black  ;  the  throat  and 
sides  of  the  head  white,  with  a  dusky  band  behind  the  eye  ; 


COMMON  RAZOR-BILL. 


347 


the  other  parts  nearly  as  in  summer.  Young  at  first  coloured 
like  the  adidt  in  summer ,  afterwards  like  the  adult  in  winter , 
hut  always  distinguishable  by  having  the  hill  smaller ,  much 
less  elevated ,  without  grooves ,  and  black. 

Male  in  Winter. — The  Razor-billed  Auk,  which  closely 
resembles  the  Slender-billed  Guillemot  in  form  and  colour,  is 
somewhat  less  than  that  species,  and  distinguished  from  it  by 
its  much  deeper  compressed  bill,  somewhat  resembling  the 
blade  of  a  knife.  The  body  is  rather  elongated,  full,  and 
somewhat  depressed  ;  the  neck  short  and  thick  ;  the  head 
large,  ovato-oblong,  anteriorly  narrowed.  The  bill  is  shorter 
than  the  head,  very  high,  much  compressed  ;  the  upper  man¬ 
dible  with  its  lateral  or  nasal  sinuses  extremely  large,  extend 
ing  to  more  than  half  its  length,  leaving  only  a  narrow  mar¬ 
gin  below,  forming  an  angle  before,  and  covered  with  feathers, 
its  upper  margin  oblique,  forming  a  narrow  ridge,  the  outline 
of  the  horny  part  arcuato-decurvate  in  the  third  of  a  circle, 
the  ridge  very  narrow  but  convex,  the  sides  nearly  flat  and 
erect,  with  five  transverse  curved  grooves,  of  which  that  next 
the  basal  rim  is  deepest,  the  edges  inflected  and  sharp,  the 
tip  decurved  and  narrow,  but  blunt  ;  the  lower  mandible 
with  the  intercrural  space  long  and  very  narrow,  the  crura 
for  half  their  length  covered  with  feathers,  leaving  only  a 
very  narrow  horny  margin,  but  ultimately  enlarged,  the  dorsal 
line  ascending  and  slightly  concave,  the  sides  nearly  flat,  with 
four  transverse  shallow  grooves,  the  edges  sharp  and  inflected, 
the  tip  somewhat  decurved,  the  gape-line  straight,  at  the  end 
decurved. 

The  mouth  is  of  moderate  width,  opening  far  before  the 
eyes  ;  the  palate  with  two  papillate  ridges,  and  several  series 
of  reversed  papillae ;  its  anterior  part  with  five  prominent 
lines.  The  tongue,  an  inch  and  a  quarter  in  length,  is  slen¬ 
der,  fleshy,  flat  above,  with  a  medial  groove,  and  tapers  to  a 
thin  horny  point.  The  oesophagus,  eight  inches  long,  is 
about  an  inch  in  width,  but  on  entering  the  thorax  enlarges 
to  an  inch  and  three  fourths,  forming  an  enormous  proventri- 
cular  sac,  the  greater  part  of  which  is  occupied  by  the  very 
numerous  glandules.  The  stomach  is  small,  elliptical,  ten- 


348 


UTAMANIA  TORDA. 


twelfths  long,  eight-twelfths  in  breadth,  its  muscular  coat 
rather  thin,  the  tendons  round,  the  epithelium  thin,  dense, 
and  longitudinally  plicate.  The  pylorus  is  very  small ;  the 
intestine  four  feet  two  inches  long,  from  five-twelfths  to  two- 
twelfths  in  width  ;  the  coeca  eight- twelfths  long,  a  twelfth 
and  a  half  in  breadth  ;  the  rectum  two  inches,  with  a  globular 
cloaca,  an  inch  in  diameter. 

The  nostrils  linear-oblong,  marginal,  medial,  two-twelfths 
and  a  half  long.  The  eyes  small,  and  the  aperture  of  the 
ears  more  so.  The  feet,  which  are  placed  far  behind,  are 
short,  and  rather  strong ;  the  tibia  bare  for  a  short  space  ; 
the  tarsus  very  short,  compressed,  anteriorly  edged,  posteri¬ 
orly  rounded,  with  about  twenty  small  anterior  scutella,  on 
the  sides  and  behind  reticularly  scaly.  The  hind  toe  is 
wanting,  the  anterior  toes  of  moderate  length,  the  inner 
shortest,  the  middle  toe  slightly  longer  than  the  outer,  their 
scutella  thirty-two,  forty,  and  forty-two  ;  the  interdigital 
membranes  full.  The  claws  rather  small,  arcuate,  compressed, 
pointed,  that  of  the  middle  toe  with  the  inner  margin  enlarged. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  blended,  glossy,  very  soft ;  on  the 
head  very  short,  close,  and  velvety.  The  wings  are  rather 
short,  very  narrow,  concave,  pointed,  with  eighteen  quills  ; 
the  first  primary  longest,  the  second  scarcely  shorter,  the  rest 
rapidly  decreasing  ;  the  primaries  narrow,  acute  ;  the  second¬ 
aries  broader,  curved  downwards  and  inwards,  and  obliquely 
rounded  ;  the  tertiaries  short,  straight,  and  rounded.  The 
tail  short,  narrow,  cuneate,  of  twelve  tapering  feathers,  of 
which  the  medial  are  an  inch  longer  than  the  lateral. 

The  bill  is  bluish-black,  with  a  white  band  crossing  each 
mandible ;  the  basal  margins  and  the  inside  of  the  mouth 
yellow.  The  feet  black.  The  upper  part  of  the  head,  the 
hind  part  and  sides  of  the  neck,  and  all  the  upper  part  of  the 
body  and  wings,  black,  with  a  tinge  of  green.  From  the  base 
of  the  ridge  of  the  upper  mandible  to  the  eye  on  each  side  is 
a  narrow  line  of  minute  white  feathers,  tipped  with  dusky. 
The  secondary  quills  are  terminally  margined  with  white, 
and  the  primaries  have  their  inner  webs  shaded  into  light 
brownish-grey.  The  throat,  sides  of  the  head,  and  upper 
neck,  fore  part  of  the  neck,  and  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts, 


COMMON  RAZOR-BILL. 


349 


white.  Behind  the  eye  is  a  narrow  blackish-grey  band,  and 
the  sides  of  the  neck,  nearly  half  way  down,  are  mottled  with 
the  same. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  17J  inches;  extent  of  wings  28; 
wing  from  flexure  8-p j ;  tail  3-^;  bill  along  the  ridge  1^; 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  2^ ;  its  greatest  height 
fa  ;  tarsus  1  ^ ;  inner  toe  lfa,  its  claw  fa  middle  toe  1-^-, 
its  claw  -fa ;  outer  toe  l  fa,  its  claw  fa. 

Female. — The  female  differs  from  the  male  only  in  being 
somewhat  less. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  16 J  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  27. 

Change  of  Plumage. — In  adult  birds  the  quills,  tail- 
feathers,  and  apparently  those  of  the  body,  are  changed  in 
autumn,  from  August  to  the  middle  of  October,  there  being 
at  that  season  a  complete  moult,  during  part  of  which  the 
birds  are  often  found  unable  to  fly.  In  spring  the  plumage 
of  the  head  and  neck  is  changed,  the  new  feathers  being  dif¬ 
ferently  coloured.  As  the  summer  advances,  the  black  plum¬ 
age  gradually  fades  to  brown,  often  in  a  very  remarkable 
degree,  the  primary  quills  and  coverts  at  length  becoming 
brownish-grey.  By  this  time  the  quills  and  tail-feathers 
have  become  ragged. 

Male  in  Summer. — A  partial  change  of  the  plumage 
having  been  effected  in  spring,  the  bird  differs  considerably 
in  its  summer  dress.  The  colours  of  the  bill  and  feet  remain 
as  before,  but  the  inside  of  the  mouth  is  of  a  brighter  yellow, 
the  basal  margins  of  the  bill  orange.  The  head,  and  upper 
part  of  the  neck  all  round  are  black  ;  the  throat  and  cheeks 
tinged  with  purplish-red  ;  the  narrow  bands  from  the  bill  to 
the  eyes  pure  white  and  conspicuous.  The  rest  of  the  plumage 
coloured  as  in  winter,  but  the  wings  tinged  with  brown,  and 
gradually  becoming  more  so  as  the  season  advances. 

Female  in  Summer. — The  female  cannot  be  distinguished 
from  the  male. 


UTAMANIA  TORDA. 


3o  0 

Habits. — In  autumn  great  numbers  of  Razor-bills  make 
their  appearance  on  the  bays  and  estuaries  of  most  parts  of 
Scotland  and  England.  As  the  season  advances  they  become 
more  numerous  to  the  southward,  and  in  winter  the  northern 
coasts  arc  almost  entirely  deserted  by  them.  In  the  firths 
and  other  inlets,  when  frequented  by  shoals  of  young  herrings 
or  other  fishes,  they  are  often  seen  in  great  abundance,  and 
in  fine  weather  are  occasionally  met  with  in  the  open  seas. 
Toward  the  end  of  spring  they  collect  into  parties,  and  pro¬ 
ceed  toward  certain  breeding-places,  which  are  always  abrupt 
cliffs  along  the  shores,  or  precipitous  islands,  where  they 
nestle  along  with  the  Guillemots  and  Kittiwakes.  Of  this 
kind  are  St.  Abb’s  Head  in  Berwickshire,  the  Bass  Rock,  and 
Fowlsheugh  near  Stonehaven.  The  Hebrides  afford  many 
such  retreats,  one  of  the  most  interesting  of  which  is  the 
little  island  of  Berneray,  called  by  mariners  Barray  Head, 
about  ninety  miles  distant  from  the  coast  of  Ireland  on  the 
one  hand,  and  St.  Ivilda  on  the  other,  and  one  of  a  group  of 
islets  named  the  South  Isles  of  Barray.  In  the  summer  of 
1818, 1  accompanied  Mr.  Macneil  of  Vetersay,  and  Mr.  Nicol- 
son,  the  minister  of  Barray,  to  these  islands.  Soon  after 
landing,  we  betook  ourselves  to  a  hut,  which  had  been  cleared 
for  our  reception,  and  regaled  ourselves  with  roasted  mutton, 
wild  fowls’  eggs,  and  whisky.  As  our  boat  was  rather  large 
and  heavy,  it  was  substituted  by  a  smaller  one  belonging  to 
the  people  of  the  island.  Rowing  round  its  eastern  extremity, 
we  came  upon  some  high  cliffs,  covered  with  Guillemots,  of 
which  about  forty  were  killed,  together  with  a  few  Gulls. 
Passing  round  the  island,  we  returned  to  our  lodging,  and  in 
the  evening  I  accompanied  Mr.  Nicolson  to  the  summit  of  a 
ridge,  on  which  were  the  remains  of  a  rude  fort,  and  where  we 
had  a  fine  view  of  the  islands.  Patches  of  white  vapour 
floated  on  the  surface  of  the  ocean,  and  the  summit  of  the 
cliffs  were  enveloped  in  mist.  The  weather  had  been  so 
sultry  for  many  weeks,  that  where  the  soil  lay  thin  on  the 
rocks,  the  herbage  was  scorched,  the  brooks,  and  even  the 
fountains,  were  dried  up,  and  in  this  usually  cold  and  wet 
climate  we  experienced  many  of  the  disagreeable  effects  of  a 
warmer  region,  without  any  of  its  advantages.  But  the 


COMMON  RAZOR-BILL. 


351 


islanders  cheered  themselves  with  the  hope  of  a  speedy  fall  of 
rain,  the  sea  having  been  unusually  disturbed,  although  the 
weather  had  been  calm,  and  this  phenomenon,  they  said, 
invariably  indicated  a  change. 

The  Island  of  Berneray  is  of  an  elliptical  form,  about  a 
mile  in  length,  and  upwards  of  half  a  mile  in  breadth.  It 
presents  the  appearance  of  a  mass  of  rock,  considerably  in¬ 
clined,  the  northern  side  dipping  into  the  water,  and  the 
southern  exhibiting  an  abrupt  section  rising  to  the  height  of 
several  hundred  feet.  On  a  kind  of  peninsula,  jutting  out 
from  the  face  of  this  precipice,  is  the  rude  fort  mentioned 
above,  in  the  form  of  a  double  wall  laid  across  the  isthmus, 
and  roofed  with  long  slabs.  Viewed  from  the  sea,  the  rocks 
present  an  imposing  spectacle,  exhibiting  masses  of  inclined, 
perpendicular,  and  projecting  cliffs,  smooth,  largely  cleft,  or 
minutely  fissured.  The  whole  face  of  the  precipice,  to  the 
extent  of  half  a  mile,  was  covered  with  birds  which  had 
assembled  there  for  the  purpose  of  breeding.  Only  four 
species  were  seen  by  me :  the  Guillemot,  the  Auk,  the 
Puffin,  and  the  Kittiwakc.  These  birds  inhabit  the  cliffs, 
not  promiscuously,  but  with  a  degree  of  regularity  and  dis¬ 
tinction  which  seems  not  a  little  wonderful.  On  the  grassy 
summits  breed  the  Puffins,  burrowing  in  the  turf.  From 
thence  to  half  way  down  is  the  space  selected  by  the  Auks, 
while  in  the  remaining  division  are  stationed  the  Guillemots 
and  Kittiwakes,  the  latter  coming  almost  to  high-water  mark. 
The  Auks  and  Guillemots  lay  each  a  single  egg,  which  is 
placed  on  the  bare  rock.  On  a  shelf  about  three  yards  in 
length,  and  as  many  feet  in  breadth,  one  may  often  see  fifty 
or  sixty  crowded  into  a  solid  mass,  and  each  sitting  on  its  own 
egg.  Such  masses  are  of  frequent  occurrence,  the  shelves 
being  larger  or  smaller  ;  but  in  general  two,  or  three,  or  four 
are  seen  together,  and  sometimes  an  individual  is  seen  sitting 
solitarily,  if  one  may  say  so,  when  it  is  surrounded  by  others 
at  no  greater  distance  than  three  or  four  feet  at  farthest. 
The  Gull,  on  the  other  hand,  forms  a  nest  of  grass  and  sea¬ 
weeds,  and  lays  two  or  three  eggs.  This,  I  believe,  is  the 
most  numerous  species,  and  in  many  places  covered  the  face 
of  the  rocks  ;  but,  in  truth,  the  number  of  all  the  species 


352 


UTAMANIA  TORDA. 


excited  astonishment.  When  a  shot  was  fired,  most  of  the 
birds  in  the  neighbourhood  left  their  nests  and  flew  about, 
while  some,  in  their  hurry,  fell  into  the  sea,  and,  on  emerging, 
raised  with  their  wings  an  uninterrupted  splashing  of  the 
water  some  hundred  yards  from  the  base  of  the  rocks.  After 
a  succession  of  shots,  almost  the  whole  body  seemed  to  he  on 
wing,  presenting  the  appearance  of  a  kind  of  cloud,  which 
occupied  a  quarter  of  a  mile  square,  and  through  which  one 
could  scarcely  distinguish  the  blue  sky  from  the  flakes  of 
white  vapour.  In  their  flight  the  birds  did  not  cross  much, 
hut  generally  moved  in  the  same  direction,  wheeling  in  a 
circle.  This  disposition  probably  arose  from  their  number 
being  so  great  that  they  could  not  conveniently  fly  at  random. 
The  mingling  screams  produce  a  general  mass  of  harsh  sound, 
in  which  the  cries  of  individuals  cannot  he  distinguished. 
The  weather  being  very  hot,  and  the  light  reflected  from  the 
rocks  and  the  sea,  while  the  steam  from  the  rowers,  shooters, 
and  tar  of  the  boat  w'as  sickening,  I  at  length  became 
affected  with  severe  headache,  which  was  increased  by  gazing 
on  the  birds  as  they  sat  far  above  us,  and  the  frequent  fulmi- 
nations  intended  for  their  destruction. 

The  noise  and  hustle  of  these  wringed  inhabitants  of  the 
rocky  isle  reminded  me  of  the  stir  of  some  great  city,  and 
their  prodigious  numbers  I  could  compare  to  nothing  that  I 
had  seen  hut  the  shoals  of  some  species  of  fish.  Many  were 
fishing  on  the  smooth  sea  around  the  island,  many  flying  from 
the  rocks,  many  returning  to  their  eggs,  many  resting  on 
shelves  and  crags  along  the  edge  of  the  water  ;  hut  by  far  the 
greater  number  were  seated  on  their  eggs.  Such  was  the 
appearance  of  the  place  when  the  birds  were  not  disturbed ; 
and  they  were  not  very  excitable,  for,  unless  after  a  shot, 
none  stirred  on  our  account,  however  close  the  boat  came. 
It  was  not  uncommon  to  see  them  arranged  in  a  line  extend- 
ing  several  yards  along  a  fissure,  and  this  formed  a  very  pretty 
sight,  especially  when  their  white  breasts  appeared,  for, 
excepting  the  Gulls,  these  birds  stand  nearly  erect.  The 
rocks  seemed  wonderfully  adapted  for  the  purpose  of  breeding, 
being  very  closely  intersected  by  fissures  of  various  sizes,  and 
running  in  all  directions. 


COMMON  RAZORBILL. 


3o3 


Having  left  the  landing-place  about  ten  in  the  morning, 
we  passed  along  the  rocks  westward,  three  of  my  companions 
shooting  joyously  as  we  proceeded.  About  fifty  birds  were 
killed,  principally  Guillemots,  the  Auks  being  for  the  most 
part,  and  the  Puffins  entirely  out  of  reach,  while  the  Kitti- 
wakes,  although  nearest,  not  being  in  groups,  were  not 
molested.  Some  Puffins  were  procured  by  our  guide,  who 
went  on  shore  for  them.  About  twelve,  the  wind  began  to 
come  in  gusts,  and  the  agitation  of  the  sea  increased,  particu¬ 
larly  at  the  western  extremity  of  the  island,  where  a  strong 
current  ran,  producing  a  jumble  of  short  waves.  These  cir¬ 
cumstances  prevented  us  from  visiting  several  places  said  to 
be  equally  interesting,  particularly  an  islet  on  which  the 
Puffins  breed  in  vast  numbers,  and  induced  us  to  return  to 
our  anchorage  through  the  narrowr  channel  between  Berneray 
and  Minglay.  The  predicted  change  of  weather  had  com¬ 
menced  :  some  rain  fell,  and  the  wind  blew  freshly  from  the 
south.  About  twTo  o’clock  we  set  sail  with  a  favourable 
breeze,  and  in  an  hour  and  three  quarters  performed  the 
voyage,  which,  when  outward  hound,  had  taken  us  about  four 
hours,  the  distance  being  ten  miles. 

This  is  one  way  of  examining  such  places,  and  pleasant 
enough  it  is  ;  but  there  is  a  better.  Let  the  observer,  having 
discovered  a  crack  in  the  rock  affording  a  somewhat  perilous 
descent,  cautiously,  with  knees  and  elbows,  unshod  feet  and 
grasping  fingers,  make  his  way  into  the  midst  of  the  birds. 
There  they  are  around  you.  Collect  yourself,  breathe  freely, 
deeply,  hold  on  with  feet  and  hands,  take  one  comprehensive 
glance,  but  look  not  again  to  the  deep-green  sea  beneath, 
lest  you  become  giddy.  Most  of  the  birds  that  have  been 
here  have  fled,  leaving  their  large,  oblong,  blotched  eggs  on 
the  bare  rock.  You  wonder  at  their  security,  but  touch  one 
of  them,  and  you  w  ill  find  that  it  rolls  in  a  semicircle,  or,  if 
there  be  any  asperities  beneath,  scarcely  at  all.  The  Auks 
that  come  in  from  the  sea  ascend  curving  toward  you,  with  a 
quick  direct  flight,  far  from  buoyant,  however,  and  merely 
with  force  enough  to  clear  the  edge  of  the  shelf.  They  alight 
abruptly  and  heavily,  and  stand  nearly  erect,  with  their  whole 
tarsus  on  the  rock.  Those  on  their  eggs  are  in  a  horizontal 

VOL.  v.  2  A 


354 


UTAMANIA  TORDA. 


position,  and  one  must  think  it  an  uncomfortable  one,  from 
the  size  of  the  object  of  their  care.  If  you  shout,  some,  in 
their  haste,  may  drive  their  eggs  over  the  edge  ;  at  all  events, 
most  of  them  will  fly  off.  But  your  position  is  uneasy,  and 
it  is  safer  to  ascend,  taking  with  you  as  many  eggs  as  you 
can  carry,  leaving  the  hands  free. 

It  is  pleasant,  at  a  distance  from  their  breeding-places,  to 
see  these  birds  flying  over  the  sea  in  small  troops,  generally 
in  single  file,  with  a  direct  and  rapid  flight,  heating  their 
short  wings  without  intermission,  hut  frequently  turning  a 
little  to  either  side,  so  as  at  one  time  to  present  the  breast,  at 
another  the  hack  to  the  spectator.  In  flying,  the  head,  body, 
and  tail  are  direct,  the  wings  extended,  and  never  brought 
close  to  the  sides,  hut  acting  by  alternate  movements  in  a 
nearly  vertical  direction.  In  alighting  they  settle  abruptly, 
but  as  they  never  alight  from  above,  they  sustain  no  injury 
from  the  slight  shock.  On  the  rocks,  they  have  an  awkward 
and  hobbling  motion,  and  can  scarcely  be  said  to  be  capable 
of  walking.  I  have  never  seen  them  alight  on  a  sandy  beach, 
or  on  pasture-ground. 

It  is  usually  on  the  open  sea,  around  their  breeding-places, 
but  often  at  the  distance  of  many  miles  from  them,  that  they 
search  for  their  food,  which  consists  chiefly  of  small  fishes — 
young  herrings,  for  example — and  Crustacea,  which  they  pro¬ 
cure  by  diving.  In  swimming,  they  keep  the  body  nearly 
horizontal,  the  neck  retracted,  and,  as  they  proceed,  frequently 
immerse  their  head  as  if  exploring  the  deep.  In  diving,  they 
suddenly  elevate  the  hind  part  of  the  body,  spread  out  their 
wings  a  little,  plunge  with  great  force,  and  thus  fly  off,  using 
their  wings  under  water  much  in  the  same  manner  as  when 
flying  in  the  air.  They  can  remain  a  considerable  time 
under,  and  are  often  seen  to  rise  at  a  great  distance.  In 
general,  it  is  not  difficult  to  approach  them  on  the  water,  as 
they  allow  a  boat  to  come  within  shooting  distance  ;  but  as 
they  dive  very  suddenly,  it  is  not  always  easy  to  shoot  them. 
I  have  never  heard  them  emit  any  other  cry  than  a  low  croak¬ 
ing  sound.  If  a  wounded  bird  is  seized,  it  is  apt  to  bite 
severely,  and  to  be  with  difficulty  disengaged. 

The  flesh  of  this  bird  is  very  dark-coloured,  and  does  not 


COMMON  RAZORBILL. 


355 


afford  agreeable  eating ;  but  its  egg,  when  hard  boiled,  is 
excellent,  the  albuminous  part  being  tender,  and  of  a  bluish 
tint.  The  young  birds  are  eaten  in  some  places.  The  egg, 
I  think,  is  invariably  single,  although  sometimes  one  may  see 
two  or  three  that  have  accidentally  come  close  together  in  a 
confined  space.  It  is  excessively  large,  of  an  oblong  shape, 
somewhat  pyriform,  but  more  rounded  at  the  small  end  than 
that  of  the  Guillemot,  its  average  length  three  inches,  or 
rather  less,  its  greatest  breadth  two  inches.  The  ground 
colour  is  white,  greyish-white,  or  brownish-white,  largely 
blotched  or  clouded,  and  spotted  and  sprinkled  with  deep 
brown  or  black,  with  spots  of  paler  brown  and  light  purplish- 
blue  interspersed. 

The  eggs  are  laid  in  the  beginning  of  May,  and  the  young- 
come  out  in  about  four  weeks.  They  are  at  first  covered  with 
down,  and  they  remain  on  the  rocks  until  fully  fledged.  As 
the  changes  which  they  undergo  have  not  been,  in  so  far  as  1 
know,  hitherto  described,  I  shall  give  a  particular  account  of 
them. 

Young. — During  the  first  week  the  bill  is  black,  with  an 
oval  white  knob  on  the  upper  mandible,  and  the  tips  whitish  ; 
the  iris  black ;  the  feet  brownish-black  tinged  with  green, 
the  claws  brownish-black.  The  covering  is  a  short,  dense, 
soft  down.  The  head,  neck,  and  lower  parts,  are  pale  grey 
or  greyish-white ;  the  upper  and  lateral  parts  of  the  body 
dark  grey,  especially  the  hinder. 

When  about  a  fortnight  old,  the  young  bird  has  the  bill 
small,  extremely  compressed,  higher  in  proportion  to  its 
length  than  afterwards,  bluisli-black,  with  the  tips  horn- 
colour,  the  basal  margins  dull  yellow,  the  knob  gone ;  the 
feet  black,  slightly  tinged  with  green,  the  claws  brownish- 
black.  The  covering  is  not  down,  properly  so  called,  but  a 
downy  plumage,  composed  of  regularly-formed,  downy,  ob¬ 
long,  very  soft,  weak  feathers,  with  disunited  downy  filaments; 
those  on  the  head  and  neck  extremely  soft,  on  the  lower  parts 
a  little  firmer,  and  on  the  upper  somewhat  more  so.  There 
are  regular  primary  and  secondary  quills,  as  well  as  tail- 
feathers,  but  all  of  looser  texture  than  afterwards.  The  head. 


356 


UTAMANIA  TOKDA. 


throat,  hind  neck,  and  the  rest  of  the  upper  parts,  are 
brownish-black,  the  throat  paler,  with  many  whitish  fila¬ 
ments.  The  white  lines  from  the  hill  to  the  eye  are  distinct, 
hut  the  secondary  quills  have  no  white  at  the  end.  The 
feathers  at  the  lower  part  of  the  tibia  are  dusky. 

Gradually,  these  first  feathers  are  substituted  by  others  of 
a  firmer  texture.  Greenish-black  quills,  coverts,  and  tail- 
feathers  sprout  forth  ;  the  secondaries  terminally  margined 
with  pure  white.  The  other  parts  are  then  invested  with 
the  new  feathers.  The  cheeks  and  throat  now  become  white ; 
so  that  in  this  stage  the  colouring  resembles  that  of  the  adult 
in  winter,  whereas  formerly  it  resembled  that  of  the  bird  in 
summer.  The  hill  gradually  elongates,  assumes  a  darker 
tint,  and  assumes  some  slight  appearance  of  ruga? ;  and  the 
feet  also  become  darker. 

On  the  head,  neck,  and  lower  parts,  the  feathers  are  again 
changed,  and  at  length,  by  the  end  of  September,  the  bird 
has  acquired  its  full  winter  plumage.  It  is  then  as  fol¬ 
lows  : — 

Young  in  first  W  inter. — The  hill  is  much  smaller 
than  in  the  adult,  and  in  particular  of  much  less  height, 
and  still  without  any  decided  appearance  of  grooves.  It  is  of 
a  uniform  bluish -black  colour,  with  the  extreme  tips  horn- 
coloured,  and  the  upper  with  distinct  notches.  The  feet  and 
claws  are  brownish -black.  The  upper  part  of  the  head, 
including  the  space  from  the  eye  to  the  bill,  is  greyish-black, 
as  is  the  nape ;  all  the  upper  parts  black  tinged  with  green, 
excepting  the  tips  of  the  secondary  quills,  which  are  white. 
The  throat,  and  lower  parts  in  general,  are  white  ;  but  a 
dusky  hand  runs  along  the  crura  of  the  lower  mandible,  a 
greyish-black  streak  passes  from  the  cheek  over  the  ear,  the 
white  of  the  side  of  the  head  extending  beyond  it,  and  the 
black  of  the  hind  neck  on  each  side  conies  forward  on  the 
middle  of  the  throat,  becoming  pointed  and  mottled,  so  as 
almost  to  meet  that  of  the  other  side,  and  indicating  the  lower 
limit  of  the  black  in  the  summer  plumage.  The  white  lines 
from  the  bill  to  the  eye  are  faint,  the  feathers  being  tipped 
with  black. 


COMMON  RAZORBILL. 


857 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — Next  spring  the  bird 
assumes  the  appearance  of  the  adult  in  summer,  but  lias  the 
bill  still  smaller,  although  with  two  or  three  pretty  distinct 
grooves.  The  white  band  on  the  middle  groove  is  not  gene¬ 
rally  assumed  until  the  second  spring. 

IIemarks. — The  history  of  this  bird,  as  above  detailed,  is 
more  nearly  complete  than  that  of  many  others.  The  young 
birds  in  their  first  winter  were  long  taken  for  a  distinct 
species,  to  which  the  names  of  Alca  Pica  and  Black-billcd 
Auk  were  given.  But  the  reasonings  on  which  this  supposed 
species  were  based  being  incorrect,  it  is  unnecessary  to  adduce 
them  here. 

This  species,  besides  inhabiting  the  northern  parts  of 
Europe,  and  in  winter  appearing  on  the  coasts  of  Britain, 
Holland,  and  France,  occurs  equally  in  North  America, 
where  in  winter  it  extends  as  far  southward  as  New  York. 
Mr.  Audubon  found  it  breeding  on  the  islands  in  the  Gulf  of 
St.  Lawrence,  and  on  the  coast  of  Labrador.  Other  observers 
have  met  with  it  in  Greenland,  Iceland,  Spitsbergen,  and  in 
general  dispersed  over  the  arctic  seas. 


8.38 


ALCA.  AUK. 


The  genus  Alca  of  Linnaeus  included  the  Razorbill,  the 
Puffin,  the  Rotche,  and  the  Great  Auk,  each  of  which  has 
been  made  the  type  of  a  genus.  The  Great  Auk  and  the 
Razorbill,  however,  are  by  many  ornithologists  of  the  present 
day  considered  as  of  one  and  the  same  genus.  The  greater 
length  of  the  bill,  its  more  numerous  furrows,  and  the  ex¬ 
tremely  small  size  of  the  wings,  seem  to  distinguish  the  great 
Auk  generically,  and,  as  it  is  the  most  remarkable  bird  of  the 
family,  it  has  been  selected  as  the  type,  and  allowed  to  retain 
the  Linnoean  name.  No  other  species  of  this  genus  is  known. 

Bill  as  long  as  the  head,  vertically  expanded,  exceedingly 
compressed  ;  upper  mandible  with  its  outline  at  first  straight, 
then  decimate  and  decurvate  to  the  end,  the  ridge  very  nar¬ 
row,  the  sides  nearly  flat,  with  numerous  oblique  curved 
ridges  and  grooves,  the  edges  sharp  toward  the  end,  the  tip 
decurvate  and  obtuse  ;  lower  mandible  with  the  angle  long, 
the  dorsal  line  at  first  convex,  then  ascending  and  concave  to 
the  end,  the  sides  flat,  grooved,  the  edges  sharp,  the  tip 
deflected. 

Nostrils  linear,  marginal.  Eyes  rather  small.  Apertures 
of  ears  very  small.  Feet  short,  very  strong ;  tarsus  com¬ 
pressed,  anteriorly  scutellate ;  hind  toe  wanting ;  outer  toe 
slightly  shorter  than  the  middle ;  interdigital  membranes 
entire ;  claws  rather  small,  arched,  obtuse. 

Plumage  dense,  blended,  very  soft.  Wings  extremely 
small,  but  perfectly  formed ;  first  quill  longest.  Tail  short, 
pointed. 


ALCA  IMPENNIS.  TTIE  GREAT  AUK. 


GAREF0WL.  FENGUIN. 


Alca  impcnnis.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  210. 

Alca  impcnnis.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  791. 

Great  Auk  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Fingouin  brachipterc.  Alca  impcnnis.  Temm.  Man.  d’Omith.  II.  939. 

Alca  impcnnis.  Flem.  Brit.  Anim.  I.  127. 

Great  Auk.  Alca  impcnnis.  Selby,  Illustr.  Brit.  Ornith.  II.  433. 

Alca  impennis.  Jenyns.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  261. 

Alca  impcnnis.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  66. 

Bill  much  compressed,  side  ate  ;  an  oval  white  spot  before 
each  eye. 

This  bird  has  never  come  under  my  observation  in  the 
living  state  ;  nor  have  1  seen  more  than  two  prepared  speci¬ 
mens — one  in  the  British  Museum,  the  other  belonging  to 
Mr.  Audubon,  and  procured  by  him  in  London.  From  this 
latter  I  have  taken  the  following  description  : — 

Adult  in  Summer. — The  body  is  of  a  full  and  compact 
form  ;  the  neck  short  and  thick ;  the  head  large,  oblong, 
anteriorly  narrowed.  Bill  longer  than  the  head,  stout,  very 
high,  extremely  compressed.  Upper  mandible  with  the 
dorsal  line  straight  at  first,  then  declinato-decurvate  to  the 
end,  the  ridge  very  narrow,  broader  at  the  base ;  the  sides 
nearly  flat,  with  a  basal  marginal  ridge,  succeeded  by  a  deep 
narrow  groove,  then  a  large  flat  space,  followed  by  eight 
oblique  curved  ridges  and  grooves,  the  edges  sharp  and 
direct  toward  the  end,  the  tip  decurved,  and  rather  obtuse. 
Lower  mandible  with  the  angle  long,  the  sides  for  half  their 
length  extremely  narrow  and  linear,  beyond  the  angle  broad, 


360 


ALCA  IMPENNIS. 


that  part  being  high  and  compressed  ;  the  dorsal  line  at  first 
convex,  then  ascending  and  concave  to  the  end  ;  the  sides 
flat,  with  twelve  transverse  grooves,  fainter  than  those  of  the 
upper  mandible  ;  the  edges  sharp,  the  tip  deflected. 

Nostrils  basal,  linear.  Eyes  rather  small.  Apertures  of 
ears  very  small.  Eeet  placed  far  hack,  short ;  tarsus  short, 
compressed,  anteriorly  scutellate,  scaly  on  the  sides.  Hind 
toe  wanting ;  outer  toe  nearly  as  long  as  the  third  or  middle, 
inner  toe  much  shorter ;  all  with  numerous  scutella  and 
several  rows  of  angular  scales,  and  connected  by  narrow 
reticulated  membranes ;  the  inner  and  outer  toes  connected 
at  the  base,  the  middle  toe  only  for  a  quarter  of  an  inch. 
Claws  rather  small,  narrow,  arched,  convex  above,  obtuse. 

Plumage  dense,  blended,  very  short,  on  the  head  and 
neck  short  and  velvety.  Wings  extremely  small,  but  of  the 
same  form  and  structure  as  in  the  Razorbill  and  Guillemots ; 
the  primaries  narrow  and  tapering  to  an  acute  point,  the 
first  longest,  the  rest  rapidly  graduated,  their  coverts  long  ; 
secondaries  short  and  broad,  scarcely  longer  than  their 
coverts.  Tail  short,  pointed,  of  fourteen  feathers. 

Rill  black,  with  the  grooves  white.  Feet  and  claws 
black.  The  head,  throat,  sides,  and  hind  part  of  the  neck, 
and  all  the  upper  parts,  black  ;  the  throat  and  sides  of  the 
neck  tinged  with  chocolate-brown  ;  the  wings  with  greyish- 
brown  ;  the  head,  hind-neck,  and  hack  glossed  with  olive- 
green.  A  large  oblong  patch  before  each  eye,  the  tips  of 
the  secondary  quills,  and  all  the  lower  parts,  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  25  inches ;  wing  from  flexure  7  ; 
tail  3  ;  hill  along  the  ridge  3^-,  along  the  edge  of  lower 
mandible  41,  its  depth  at  the  angle  1^;  tarsus  2;  middle 
toe  2-^-,  its  claw  -p? ;  outer  toe  2T%,  its  claw  p? ;  inner  toe 
2tL,  its  claw  pj. 

Adult  in  Winter. — It  appears  to  undergo,  in  autumn, 
the  same  change  as  the  Guillemots  and  Razorbill,  as  Dr. 
Fleming  states  : — “  In  winter,  the  brownish-black  of  the 
throat  and  fore-neck  is  replaced  by  white,  as  1  had  an  oppor¬ 
tunity  of  observing  in  a  living  bird,  brought  from  St.  Kilda, 
in  1822.” 


GREAT  AUK. 


301 


Habits. — This  very  remarkable  bird  is  an  inhabitant  of 
the  arctic  seas,  and  in  its  habits  resembles  the  Razorbill  and 
Guillemots ;  but  its  history  has  not  been  satisfactorily  traced, 
and  of  its  distribution  we  know  only  that  it  extends  from  the 
extreme  north  to  the  Orkney  Islands  and  St.  Kilda,  a  few, 
however,  having  been  seen  as  far  south  as  Devonshire  and 
A\  hiterford.  It  appears  to  he  gradually  diminishing  in 
numbers,  and  is  generally  considered  as  a  very  scarce  bird. 
It  is  certainly  so  as  British,  for  not  more  than  ten  indi¬ 
viduals  are  alluded  to  as  having  occurred  in  our  seas.  ff  One 
was  seen  off  Fair  Isle  in  June  1798.  A  pair  bred  in  Papa 
Westra  for  several  years.”  “  The  natives  of  the  Orknies,” 
says  Montagu,  “  informed  Mr.  Bullock,  in  his  late  tour 
through  those  islands  (in  1813),  that  one  male  only  had 
made  his  appearance  for  a  long  time,  which  had  regularly 
visited  Papa  Westra  for  several  years.  The  female  (which 
the  natives  called  the  Queen  of  the  Auks)  was  killed  just 
before  Mr.  Bullock’s  arrival.  The  King,  or  male,  Mr. 
Bullock  had  the  pleasure  of  chasing,  for  several  hours,  in  a 
six-oared  boat,  but  without  being  able  to  kill  him ;  for, 
though  lie  frequently  got  near  him,  so  expert  was  the  bird 
in  its  natural  element,  that  it  appeared  impossible  to  shoot 
him.  The  rapidity  with  which  he  pursued  his  course  under 
water  was  almost  incredible  ”  Very  soon  after,  however, 
the  male  bird  wras  obtained  and  sent  to  Mr.  Bullock,  at  the 
sale  of  whose  collection  it  was  purchased  for  the  British 
Museum,  where  it  is  still  to  be  seen.  Dr.  Fleming  has 
given  an  account  of  one  taken  at  St.  Kilda,  in  1822,  but 
which  made  its  escape.  Another  was  obtained  there  in 
1829,  by  Mr.  Murdoch  M’Lellan,  and  presented  to  the  late 
Mr.  Stephenson,  who  intended  it  for  the  Edinburgh  Mu¬ 
seum  ;  hut  it  afterwards  made  its  escape.  One,  said  to  have 
been  taken  in  a  pond  of  fresh  water,  two  miles  from  the 
Thames,  on  the  estate  of  Sir  William  Clayton,  in  Bucking¬ 
hamshire,  is  also  mentioned  by  Dr.  Fleming,  on  the  authority 
of  Mr.  Bullock.  Another,  on  that  of  Sir  W.  J.  Hooker,  is 
noticed  in  the  Catalogue  of  Norfolk  and  Suffolk  Birds;  Dr. 
Edward  Moore  alludes  to  one  found  dead  near  Lundy 
Island,  in  1829  ;  and  Mr.  Thompson,  of  Belfast,  mentions 


362 


ALLA  IMPENNIS. 


an  individual  taken,  in  1834,  off  the  coast  of  Waterford,  and 
preserved  in  Dr.  Burkitt’s  collection. 

[t  does  not  appear  to  have  been  met  with  of  late  years 
hy  any  of  our  arctic  voyagers,  nor  do  any  of  the  American 
writers  profess  to  have  seen  it.  Mr.  Audubon  states  that 
Mr.  Henry  Ilavell,  when  on  his  passage  from  New  \rork  to 
England,  hooked  one  on  the  banks  of  Newfoundland,  and 
hauled  it  on  board,  but  after  several  days  restored  it  to 
freedom.  He  was  informed  that  it  breeds  on  a  low  rocky 
island  to  the  south-east  of  Newfoundland,  but  had  no  oppor¬ 
tunity  of  ascertaining  the  accuracy  of  the  report.  Various 
authors  state  that  the  egg  is  about  five  inches  long,  and 
nearly  three  in  breadth ;  pyriform,  like  that  of  the  Common 
Guillemot ;  yellowish-white,  with  numerous  irregular  lines 
and  blotches  of  brownish-black. 


MORMON.  PUFFIN. 


The  Puffins,  of  which  several  species  are  known,  though 
only  one  of  them  belongs  to  our  seas,  arc  smaller  than  the 
Razorbills  or  Guillemots,  which  they  resemble  in  form  and 
structure,  as  well  as  in  habits.  They  have  the  body  ovate  ; 
the  neck  short  and  thick  ;  the  head  large,  roundish,  ante¬ 
riorly  compressed. 

Bill  as  long  as  the  head,  stout,  vertically  expanded,  so 
as  to  occupy  at  the  base  the  whole  height  of  the  face,  much 
compressed,  and  obliquely  furrowed  on  the  sides ;  upper 
mandible  with  the  dorsal  line  decurved,  the  ridge  extremely 
narrow,  the  sides  nearly  Hat  and  erect,  the  edges  sharp,  the 
tip  small  and  deflected,  the  basal  margin  with  a  prominent 
dotted  rim ;  lower  mandible  with  the  angle  very  narrow 
and  perpendicular,  the  dorsal  line  ascending,  more  or  less 
convex,  the  sides  erect,  the  edges  thin,  the  tip  narrow  and 
blunt. 

Mouth  of  moderate  width  ;  anterior  palate  flat,  with  five 
prominent  lines.  Tongue  slender,  trigonal,  pointed.  (Eso¬ 
phagus  wide,  much  enlarged  below ;  stomach  moderately 
muscular,  with  a  dense  plicate  epithelium ;  intestine  rather 
long  and  wide,  with  moderate  coeca. 

Nostrils  basal,  marginal,  linear.  Eyes  rather  small, 
generally  with  small  horny  plates  on  the  eyelids.  Aperture 
of  ear  very  small.  Legs  very  short,  placed  far  behind ;  tibia 
with  only  a  very  small  space  bare ;  tarsus  stout,  not  much 
compressed,  anteriorly  with  small  scutella  ;  no  hind  toe ; 
anterior  toes  webbed,  the  inner  much  shorter  than  the 
outer,  which  is  nearly  as  long  as  the  middle  toe ;  claws 
of  moderate  length,  arcuate,  compressed,  pointed,  the  inner 
uncinate. 


364 


MORMON.  PUFFIN. 


Plumage  dense,  blended,  firm,  but  soft.  Wings  short, 
narrow,  much  curved,  acute ;  tail  very  short,  slightly 
rounded,  of  sixteen  feathers. 

They  differ  from  the  other  birds  of  this  family  in  digging 
holes  in  the  turf,  in  rocky  places,  in  which  they  nestle  and 
rear  their  young.  Their  eggs  are  white,  one  only  in  each 
nest.  The  vertically  expanded  form  and  bright  colouring  of 
the  hill  render  them  easily  distinguishable,  and  have  pro¬ 
cured  for  them  the  popular  name  of  Sea-parrots. 


MORMON  ARCTICUS.  THE  ARCTIC  PUFFIN. 


PUFFIN.  POPE.  SEA  PARROT.  COULTERNEB.  GULDER-II EAD. 
TAMMY-NORRIE.  BUIKIR.  MULLET.  BOTTLE-NOSE. 


Fig.  84. 


Alca  arctica.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  211. 

Alca  arctica.  Lath.  Ind.  Oruith.  II.  792. 

Puffin.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Fratercula  arctica.  Flem.  Brit.  Anim.  130. 

Macaraux  moine.  Mormon  Fratercula.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  933. 

Common  Puffin.  Fratercula  arctica.  Selby,  Illustr.  Brit.  Ornith.  II.  439. 

Fratercula  arctica.  Jen.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  200. 

Mormon  arcticus.  Bonap.  Comp.  List,  66. 

Bill  with  three  curved  furrows  on  each  mandible  toward 
the  end  ;  the  basal  rim  and  first  ridge  on  both  dull  yellow,  the 
intervening  space  greyish-blue,  the  rest  bright-red  ;  an  oblique, 
pointed,  horny  appendage  above,  and  an  elongated  narrow 
plate  below  the  eye  ;  upper  parts  greyish-black  ;  lower  white  ; 
sides  of  the  head  greyish-white ;  throat  grey  ;  a  band  of 
brownish-grey  on  the  neck. 


366 


MORMON  ARCTICUS. 


Male  in  Summer. — Our  common  Puffin  is  of  a  very  com¬ 
pact  form,  the  body  being  ovate ;  the  neck  short  and  very 
thick  ;  the  head  large  and  roundish  ;  the  feet,  wings,  and 
tail,  short. 

The  bill  is  about  the  length  of  the  head,  vertically  ex¬ 
panded  and  compressed,  so  as  when  viewed  laterally  to  present 
a  nearly  triangular  form  ;  its  base  occupying  the  whole  height 
of  the  face.  Upper  mandible  having  a  prominent  minutely 
punctate  rim  along  its  basal  margin,  its  dorsal  outline  decur- 
vate  from  near  the  base,  the  ridge  very  narrow,  but  obtuse, 
the  sides  nearly  erect,  flattened,  and  having,  besides  the  basal 
rim,  three  curved,  oblique  ridges,  and  three  grooves,  together 
with  a  fiat  sub-basal  space,  the  edges  nearly  straight,  sharp, 
the  tip  small  and  decimate.  Lower  mandible  with  the  basal 
outline  on  each  side  indexed  beyond  the  perpendicular,  the 
dorsal  outline  slightly  convex  for  half  its  length,  then  straight, 
the  sides  erect,  flat,  with  a  large  triangular  space,  and  three 
narrow  ridges,  the  edges  direct  and  sharp,  a  little  decurved  at 
the  tip.  The  gape-line  straight,  extending  a  little  beyond 
the  base  of  the  mandibles,  where  its  margins  are  formed  by  a 
corrugated  extensile  membrane. 

Eye  rather  small,  with  a  narrow,  sub-triangular,  horny 
body,  directed  upwards  and  backwards,  on  the  upper,  and 
an  oblong,  horizontal  body  on  the  lower  eyelid.  Nostrils 
linear,  direct,  four  twelfths  of  an  inch  long,  basal,  marginal. 
Tibia  bare  for  a  small  extent ;  tarsus  very  short,  little  com¬ 
pressed,  anteriorly  with  short  scutella,  excepting  the  upper 
third,  the  sides  reticulated.  Toes  of  moderate  length,  scutel- 
late,  connected  by  entire  webs,  the  middle  toe  longest,  the 
outer  slightly,  the  inner  much  shorter.  Claws  of  moderate 
length,  strong,  the  inner  hooked,  the  rest  slightly  arched. 

Plumage  dense,  firm,  soft,  very  short  on  the  head.  Wings 
short,  narrow,  incurvate,  pointed  ;  the  first  quill  slightly 
shorter  than  the  second.  Tail  very  short,  slightly  rounded, 
of  sixteen  soft,  obtuse  feathers. 

The  basal  rim  and  first  ridge  of  the  upper  mandible  are 
dull  yellow,  the  intervening  triangular  space  greyish-blue ; 
the  basal  margin  of  the  lower  bright  red ;  the  first  ridge  and 
the  intervening  space  as  in  the  upper  ;  the  rest  bright  car- 


ARCTIC  PUFFIN. 


367 


mine-red  ;  the  membranes  at  the  base  of  the  hill  yellow.  The 
hare  margin  of  the  eyelids  vermilion,  their  horny  appendages 
greyish-blue.  Feet  vermilion  ;  claws  light-brown,  dusky  at 
the  end.  All  the  upper  parts  black,  tinged  with  grey,  glossed 
with  greenish-blue  on  the  back  ;  continuous  with  the  black 
of  the  hind-neck  a  broad  band  of  blackish-grey  across  the 
neck.  The  sides  of  the  head  from  over  the  eye  to  the  throat, 
white ;  the  cheeks  tinged  with  grey  ;  and  the  throat  with  a 
deeper  tint  of  the  same.  The  lower  parts  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  12  inches ;  extent  of  wings  23  ; 
wing  from  flexure  6|  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  1-j-J;  its  height  at 
the  base  1-,% ;  gape-line  l-j^ ;  tarsus  1  ;  middle  toe  1-^-,  its 
claw  T\. 


Female. — The  female  is  not  distinguishable  from  the 
male  unless  by  dissection.  The  size,  however,  is  somewhat 
less. 

H  abits. — The  Puffin  makes  its  appearance  on  our  coasts 
from  the  middle  of  April  to  the  beginning  of  May,  presently 
betaking  itself  to  various  breeding  stations,  scattered  here  and 
there  from  the  British  Channel  to  Shetland  and  the  remote 
Hebrides.  “  On  the  stupendous  cliffs  of  Dover,”  says  Mon¬ 
tagu,  (t  and  such  other  places,  they  burrow  like  rabbits,  if  the 
soil  is  light,  but  more  frequently  take  possession  of  rabbit-bur¬ 
rows,  and  lay  their  eggs  many  feet  under  ground.  This  is  the 
case  in  Priestholm  Isle,  off  the  coast  of  Anglesea,  and  other 
small  islands  off  St.  David’s,  where  the  soil  is  sandy.”  They 
also  frequent  the  Scilly  Islands,  Cornwall,  the  Isle  of  Wight, 
some  parts  of  Yorkshire,  the  Fern  Islands,  and  in  Scotland  so 
many  places  that  it  is  unnecessary  to  specify  them.  The 
Bass  Rock,  Dunbye,  near  Slains  Castle,  on  the  coast  of  Aber¬ 
deenshire,  and  Berneray  of  Barray,  the  southern  extremity 
of  the  Outer  Hebrides,  are  the  breeding-places  at  which  I 
have  particularly  attended  to  their  habits,  which  are  very 
similar  to  those  of  the  Razor-bill. 

They  sit  lightly  on  the  water,  swim  with  celerity,  turn 
and  move  about  with  smartness,  dive  headlong  and  fly  under 
the  water  in  pursuit  of  small  fishes  and  Crustacea,  or  betake 


3G8 


MORMON  ARCTICUS. 


themselves  to  the  bottom  to  search  for  mollusca.  When  pro¬ 
ceeding  to  a  distance  they  fly  in  small  bands,  in  file,  just 
above  the  waves,  and  on  approaching  their  nests,  which  are 
often  at  the  height  of  a  hundred  feet  or  more,  curve  upwards 
and  alight  abruptly.  On  the  water  they  usually  allow  a  near 
approach,  and  when  stationed  on  the  rocks  they  seem  almost 
quite  fearless,  and  may  be  shot  in  great  numbers,  or  even 
taken  with  a  noose.  In  the  places  where  I  have  seen  them, 
they  formed  the  holes  themselves,  by  digging  with  their  strong- 
bills,  to  a  depth  varying  from  one  to  two  feet  or  more.  There 
is  no  nest,  the  single  egg  being  laid  on  the  floor  at  the  further 
end.  The  bird  sits  assiduously,  and  may  be  taken  with  the 
hand,  which  it  is,  however,  apt  to  bite  very  severely.  The 
egg  varies  in  shape  and  size,  being  oval,  ovato-pyriform,  or 
somewhat  oblong,  and  from  two  inches  and  seven-twelfths  to 
two-twelfths  less  in  length,  and  from  an  inch  and  three- 
fourths  to  four- twelfths  less.  It  is  roughish,  with  minute 
granules,  and  at  first  pure  white,  but  soon  becomes  soiled. 
Some  of  the  eggs  are  very  faintly  freckled  with  grey  or  pale- 
brown.  The  young  continue  in  their  nest  or  near  it  until 
able  to  fly.  About  the  middle  of  August  they  all  leave  their 
breeding-places,  and  proceed  southward.  The  desertion  of 
the  cliffs  by  the  various  sea-birds  at  this  season  produces  a 
strange  and  disagreeable  contrast  to  their  crowded  state  during 
the  summer,  and  is  viewed  by  the  poor  islander  with  a  kind 
of  melancholy  regret,  less  intense,  however,  than  the  joy  he 
experiences  when  he  finds  them,  for  the  first  time  for  the 
season,  returned  to  their  favourite  haunts.  How  many  hearts 
have  thrilled  with  pleasure  when  the  early  notes  of  the  Corn 
Crake  or  Cuckoo  came  on  the  ear !  But  how  faint  is  the  sen¬ 
timental  feeling  of  happiness  so  caused  compared  with  the 
delight  which  pervades  the  whole  frame,  moral  and  physical, 
of  the  Esquimaux,  who  has  been  buried  all  winter  in  snow, 
when  lie  hears  the  trumpet-cries  of  the  Wild  Goose,  or  of  the 
native  of  St.  Ivilda,  whose  stock  of  salted  fowl  has  been 
exhausted,  when,  on  visiting  the  long  deserted  cliffs,  he  finds 
its  shelves  covered  with  Razor-bills,  and  its  grassy  summits 
peopled  with  Puffins.  Many  persons  have  written  of  St. 
Ivilda,  from  “  M.  Martin,  Gentleman,”  to  Dr.  M’Culloch 


ARCTIC  PUFFIN. 


369 


Geologist,  and  among  them  some  who  never  saw  it.  A  friend 
of  mine,  Mr.  John  MacGillivray,  made  a  hurried  visit  to  it  in 
1839,  and  having  scrambled  to  the  top  of  a  high  hill,  came 
suddenly  upon  the  edge  of  a  magnificent  precipice. 

“Far  below  me  could  be  seen  the  long  heavy  swell 
rolling  in  from  the  Atlantic,  and  climbing  up  the  dark  rock 
whose  base  it  clothed  with  sheets  of  snow-white  foam,  as  it 
broke  with  a  sound  at  times  scarcely  perceptible,  hut  at 
intervals  falling  upon  the  ear  like  distant  thunder.  In 
many  places  the  rock  was  scarcely  visible  on  account  of  the 
absolute  myriads  of  sea-birds  sitting  upon  their  nests ;  the 
air  was  literally  filled  with  them,  and  the  water  seemed 
profusely  dotted  with  the  larger  fowl,  the  smaller  ones  being 
nearly  invisible  on  account  of  the  distance.  The  sound  of 
their  wings  as  they  flew  past,  joined  to  their  harsh  screams 
as  they  wheeled  along  the  face  of  the  cliff,  startled  me  from 
the  reverie  into  which  I  was  thrown  by  the  strange  scene 
before  me.  Every  little  ledge  was  thickly  covered  with 
Kittiwakes,  Auks,  and  Guillemots  ;  all  the  grassy  spots  were 
tenanted  by  the  Fulmar,  and  honeycombed  by  myriads  of 
Puffins  ;  while  close  to  the  water,  on  the  wet  rocks  which 
were  hollowed  out  into  deep  caves,  sat  clusters  of  Cormo¬ 
rants,  erect  and  motionless,  like  so  many  unclean  spirits 
guarding  the  entrance  of  some  gloomy  cavern.  On  rolling 
down  a  large  stone  from  the  summit,  a  strange  scene  of 
confusion  ensued.  It  would,  perhaps,  fall  on  some  unhappy 
Fulmar  sitting  upon  the  nest,  crushing  her  in  an  instant; 
then  rolling  down  the  crags,  which  reverberated  its  echoes 
far  and  near,  tearing  long  furrows  in  the  grassy  slopes,  and 
being  shivered  into  fragments  upon  some  projecting  crag, 
scattering  in  dismay  the  dense  groups  of  Auks  and  Guille¬ 
mots.  Its  progress  is  all  along  marked  by  the  clouds  of 
birds  which  affrighted  shoot  out  from  the  precipice  to  avoid 
the  fate  which,  nevertheless,  would  hefal  many,  until  at 
length  it  reaches  the  bottom,  and  is  received  into  the  water 
along  with  its  many  victims.  The  startled  tenants  of  the 
rock  now  return  to  their  resting-places,  and  all  is  again 
comparatively  quiet. 

“  By  far  the  most  abundant  species  in  St.  Kilda  is  the 

VOL.  V.  2  B 


370 


MORMON  ARCTICUS. 


Puffin,  Mormon  arcticus  (Buikir  or  Boujer),  which  breeds  in 
the  crevices  of  the  rocks,  as  well  as  in  artificial  burrows  in 
almost  every  situation,  sometimes  at  a  considerable  distance 
from  the  water’s  ed^e.  This  bird  is  taken  by  the  fowlers  in 
two  ways :  when  on  its  nest,  by  introducing  the  hand  and 
dragging  out  the  bird,  at  the  risk  of  a  severe  bite ;  and  when 
sitting  on  the  rocks,  by  means  of  a  noose  of  horse-hair 
attached  to  a  slender  rod,  generally  formed  of  bamboo-cane 
(procured  probably  from  some  wreck).  The  latter  mode  of 
fowling  is  most  successful  in  wet  weather,  as  the  Puffins 
then  sit  best  upon  the  rocks,  allowing  a  person  to  approach 
within  a  few  yards ;  and  as  many  as  three  hundred  may  be 
taken  in  the  course  of  the  day  by  an  expert  bird-catcher. 

“  Of  all  the  St.  Kilda  birds,  the  Puffin  probably  affords 
the  greatest  amusement  to  the  sportsman,  as  well  from  the 
rapidity  of  its  flight  as  its  habit  of  congregating  in  dense 
masses  when  sitting  upon  the  rocks.  As  many  as  a  dozen 
may  often  be  secured  at  a  single  shot ;  and  I  have  more  than 
once  seen  a  small  shelf,  about  the  size  of  a  table,  which  was 
swept  bare  at  a  single  discharge,  the  birds  falling  into  the 
sea  below.  The  smoke  had  scarcely  cleared  away,  when  the 
scene  of  slaughter  was  as  thickly  crowded  as  ever,  and  many 
more  might  have  been  easily  procured.  The  food  of  the 
Puffin  during  my  visit  I  believe  to  have  been  chiefly  the  fry 
of  the  coal-fish,  Gadus  carbonarius,  from  having  repeatedly 
shot  the  birds  flying  to  their  nests  with  this  fish  in  their 
hills ;  and  I  thus  found  that  both  males  and  females  supply 
the  young  with  food.  The  Puffin  forms  the  chief  article  of 
food  with  the  St.  Kildians  during  the  summer  months,  and 
is  usually  cooked  by  roasting  among  the  ashes.” 

Dr.  Edmondston,  in  his  Notes,  savs  it  is  “  very  numerous 
in  Shetland,  breeds  in  holes  in  the  green  or  disintegrating 
precipices,  and  lays  one  egg.  The  young  are  full-grown 
before  they  quit  the  nest.”  Extending  in  summer  to  Feroe, 
Iceland,  various  parts  of  Scandinavia,  and  even  Nova 
Zembla,  it  is  found  in  winter  on  the  coasts  of  France  and 
Spain,  although  the  limit  of  its  southward  migration  is  not 
known.  On  the  eastern  side  of  America  it  extends  from 
Georgia  to  Labrador.  Mr.  Audubon  gives  an  excellent 


ARCTIC  PUFFIN. 


371 


account  of  its  habits,  part  of  which,  referring  more  especially 
to  its  breeding,  it  may  be  proper  to  present.  There  is  on 
the  coast  of  Labrador  a  small  island,  “  known  to  all  the 
cod-fishers,  and  celebrated  for  the  number  of  Puffins  that 
annually  breed  there.  As  we  rowed  towards  it,  although 
we  found  the  water  literally  covered  with  thousands  of  these 
birds,  the  number  that  flew  over  and  around  the  green 
island  seemed  much  greater,  insomuch  that  one  might  have 
imagined  half  the  Puffins  in  the  world  had  assembled  there. 
This  far-famed  isle  is  of  considerable  extent,  its  shores  are 
guarded  by  numberless  blocks  of  rocks,  and  within  a  few 
yards  of  it  the  water  is  several  fathoms  in  depth.  The 
ground  rises  in  the  form  of  an  amphitheatre  to  the  height  of 
about  seventy  feet,  the  greatest  length  being  from  north  to 
south,  and  its  southern  extremity  fronting  the  Streight  of 
Belleisle.  For  every  burrow  in  the  island  previously  visited 
by  us  there  seemed  to  he  a  hundred  here ;  on  every  crag  or 
stone  stood  a  Puffin  ;  at  the  entrance  of  each  hole  another ; 
and  yet  the  sea  was  covered  and  the  air  filled  by  them.  I 
had  two  double-barrelled  guns  and  two  sailors  to  assist  me, 
and  I  shot  for  one  hour  by  my  watch,  always  firing  at  a 
single  bird  on  wing.  How  many  Puffins  I  killed  in  that 
time  I  take  the  liberty  of  leaving  you  to  guess.  (Naughty 
John !  Have  I  not  heard  you  say,  “  I  hate  to  see  birds  shot 
when  breeding to  which  the  very  apt  reply  was  made, 
“  By  any  person  but  yourself.”  See  vol.  ii.  p.  466.  But, 
however — )  The  burrows  were  all  inhabited  by  young 
birds,  of  different  ages  and  sizes  ;  and  clouds  of  Puffins  flew 
over  our  heads,  each  individual  holding  a  tf  lint  ’  by  the  head. 
This  fish,  which  measures  four  or  five  inches  in  length,  and 
is  of  a  very  slender  form,  with  a  beautiful  silvery  hue, 
existed  in  vast  shoals  in  the  deep  water  around  the  island. 
The  speed  with  which  the  birds  flew  made  the  fish  incline 
by  the  side  of  their  neck.  While  flying  the  Puffins  emitted 
a  loud  croaking  noise,  but  they  never  dropped  the  fish ;  and 
many  of  them,  when  brought  down  by  a  shot,  still  held  their 
prey  fast.  I  observed  with  concern  the  extraordinary  affec¬ 
tion  manifested  by  these  birds  towards  each  other ;  for, 
whenever  one  fell  dead  or  wounded  on  the  water,  its  mate 


372 


MORMON  ARCTICUS. 


or  a  stranger  immediately  alighted  by  its  side,  swam  round 
it,  pushed  it  with  its  hill  as  if  to  urge  it  to  fly  or  dive,  and 
seldom  would  leave  it  until  an  oar  was  raised  to  knock  it  on 
the  head,  when  at  last,  aware  of  the  danger,  it  would  plunge 
below  in  an  instant.  Those  which  fell  wounded  imme¬ 
diately  ran  with  speed  to  some  hole,  and  dived  into  it,  on 
which  no  further  effort  was  made  to  secure  them.  Those 
which  happened  to  be  caught  alive  in  the  hand  bit  most 
severely,  and  scratched  with  their  claws  at  such  a  rate  that 
we  were  glad  to  let  them  escape.  The  burrowTs  here  com¬ 
municated  in  various  ways  with  each  other,  so  that  the 
whole  island  wras  perforated  as  if  by  a  multitude  of  subter¬ 
ranean  labyrinths,  over  which  one  could  not  run  without 
the  risk  of  falling  at  every  step.  The  voices  of  the  young 
sounded  beneath  our  feet  like  voices  from  the  grave,  and  the 
stench  was  extremely  disagreeable ;  so  that  as  soon  as  our 
boats  were  filled  with  birds  we  were  glad  to  get  away. 
During  the  whole  of  our  visit  the  birds  never  left  the  place, 
hut  constantly  attended  to  their  avocations.  Here  one  would 
rise  beneath  our  feet,  there,  within  a  few  yards  of  us,  another 
would  alight  with  a  fish,  and  dive  into  its  burrow,  or  feed  the 
young  that  stood  waiting  at  the  entrance.  The  young  birds 
were  far  from  being  friendly  towards  each  other,  and  those 
which  we  carried  with  us  kept  continually  fighting  so  long 
as  we  kept  them  alive.  They  used  their  yet  extremely  small 
hills  with  great  courage  and  pertinacity,  and  their  cries 
resembled  the  wailings  of  young  whelps.  The  smaller  indi¬ 
viduals  were  fed  by  the  parents  by  regurgitation,  or  received 
little  pieces  of  fish  which  were  placed  in  their  mouth ;  the 
larger  picked  up  the  pieces  of  fish  that  were  dropped  before 
them  ;  but  almost  all  of  them  seemed  to  crawl  to  the  entrance 
of  the  holes  for  the  purpose  of  being  fed.  In  all  the  burrows 
that  communicated  with  others,  a  round  place  was  scooped  out 
on  one  side  of  the  avenue,  in  the  form  of  an  oven,  while  in 
those  which  were  single,  this  oven-like  place  was  found  at 
the  end,  and  was  larger  than  the  corridor.  All  the  passages 
were  flattish  above,  and  rounded  beneath,  as  well  as  on  the 
sides.  In  many  instances  we  found  two  birds  sitting  each  on 
its  own  egg  in  the  same  hole.” 


ARCTIC  PUFFIN. 


373 


Young. — The  young  are  at  first  covered  with  very  stiffish 
down  of  a  brownish-black  colour,  part  of  the  abdomen  being 
white.  The  bill,  at  first  extremely  small,  oblong,  and  com¬ 
pressed,  attains  a  considerable  size,  but  still  has  not  the  fur¬ 
rows  distinctly  marked,  when  the  young  is  fledged,  which  is 
about  the  end  of  July.  I  have  not  taken  note  of  the  changes 
which  take  place  as  the  bird  advances  in  age.  M.  Temminck, 
however,  states  that  “  the  young  of  the  year  have  the  bill  much 
smaller,  smooth  on  the  sides,  destitute  of  furrows,  and  of  a 
yellowish-brown  ;  the  space  between  the  eye  and  the  bill  of 
a  blackish-grey  ;  the  cheeks  and  the  throat  of  a  deeper  grey 
than  in  the  old  birds  ;  the  broad  collar  shaded  anteriorly  with 
blackish-grey  ;  the  feet  dull  red.” 


374 


PELECANINiE. 

PELICANS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 

There  is  not  a  more  intelligibly  instructive  family  of  birds 
than  that  of  the  Pelecaninee.  Placed  on  the  confines  of  the 
two  conterminous  orders  of  the  Urinatores  and  Mersatores, 
they  exhibit  in  the  genus  Phalacrocorax,  and  especially  in 
Plotus,  a  perfect  conformity  with  the  former,  and  in  Sula  an 
alliance  to  the  latter,  so  perfected  in  Phaeton  that  it  would 
seem  doubtful  to  which  of  the  two  orders  that  genus  ought 
to  be  referred.  With  all  this,  there  pervades  the  whole 
group  a  uniformity  of  structure,  evident  in  the  skeleton,  and 
especially  in  the  digestive  organs,  which  no  unprejudiced 
examiner  could  mistake,  however  much  it  runs  into  modifi¬ 
cations  suitable  to  the  differences  of  habits  which  the  species 
present.  But  as  it  might  be  unsuitable  here  to  offer  a  view 
of  the  gradations  alluded  to,  we  having  too  few  species  to 
illustrate  them,  I  shall  briefly  give  tbe  more  obvious  cha¬ 
racters  of  the  Pelecaninse. 

They  are  birds  mostly  of  large  size,  having  the  body 
elongated  and  rather  slender ;  the  neck  long  ;  the  head  vari¬ 
ous  in  size  and  form,  generally  moderate.  The  bill  longer 
than  the  head,  rather  slender  or  stout,  straight ;  the  upper 
mandible  with  the  ridge  separated  from  the  sides  by  grooves, 
and  terminated  by  a  narrow,  generally  decurved,  pointed 
unguis ;  the  lower  mandible  with  the  crura  elastic,  extensile, 
and  not  united  until  near  the  tip.  There  is  generally  a  bare 
space  around  and  before  the  eye,  extending  to  the  bill,  and 
the  skin  of  the  throat  is  bare,  in  some  species  forming  a  large 
pouch. 

The  tongue  is  extremely  diminutive ;  the  oesophagus 
excessively  wide  ;  the  belt  of  proventricular  glandules  gene- 


PELICANS  AND  ALLIED  SPECIES. 


375 


rally  discontinuous  ;  the  stomach  very  small,  and  but  slightly 
muscular,  with  the  epithelium  smooth ;  there  is  always  a 
round  hollow  appendage  at  the  pylorus  ;  the  intestine  is  very 
long  and  slender,  with  small  cylindrical  cocca,  and  a  large 
globose  cloaca. 

The  nostrils  are  basal,  lateral,  linear,  small,  or  altogether 
obliterated.  The  eyes  of  moderate  size.  The  apertures  of 
the  ears  small.  The  feet  short  and  stout ;  the  tarsus  com¬ 
pressed  ;  the  toes  four,  all  connected  by  membranes,  the 
fourth  toe  longest ;  the  claws  short,  strong,  curved,  that  of 
the  third  toe  generally  pectinate  on  the  expanded  inner  edge. 

The  plumage  is  soft,  blended,  on  the  back  and  wings 
compact  and  imbricated.  The  wings  are  long ;  the  tail  of 
moderate  length,  and  narrow. 

The  habits  of  these  birds  are  very  different ;  for,  while  the 
Cormorants  pursue  their  prey  much  in  the  same  manner  as 
the  Mergansers  and  Loons,  and  the  Anhingas  are  still  more 
strictly  urinatorial,  the  Telmans  combine  the  characters  of 
urinatorial  and  mersatorial  birds  ;  the  Gannets  fly  about  in 
quest  of  food,  plunging  upon  it  from  on  high  ;  the  Frigate- 
Birds  range  over  the  seas  with  scarcely-rivalled  speed  of  wing, 
and  the  Tropic-birds  resemble  Terns  in  their  mode  of  flight. 
They  all  feed  on  fish,  however,  and  all  are  very  voracious. 
They  nestle  on  rocks,  bushes,  or  trees,  forming  a  clumsy  and 
ill-constructed  nest,  and  lay  a  small  number  of  bluish-wliite 
eggs,  crusted  over  with  an  irregular  layer  of  calcareous 
granules.  The  young,  at  first  almost  naked,  and  generally 
black,  continue  in  the  nest  until  able  to  fly.  Only  two 
genera  have  representatives  in  Britain. 


SYNOPSIS  OF  TEE  BRITISH  GENERA  AND  SPECIES. 

GENUS  I.  PHALACROCORAX.  CORMORANT. 

Bill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  rather  slender,  nearly 
straight,  compressed  toward  the  end  ;  upper  mandible  with 
the  dorsal  line  concave,  the  ridge  convex,  with  a  narrow 


376 


PELECANIN^E. 


groove  on  each  side,  the  sides  convex,  the  edges  sharp,  the 
unguis  decurved,  acute  ;  lower  mandible  with  the  angle  long, 
filled  by  a  bare  extensile  membrane,  the  sides  convex,  the 
edges  sharp  and  indexed,  the  tip  compressed,  with  its  upper 
outline  decurved.  Nostrils  obliterated.  Feet  stout ;  tarsus 
very  short,  strong,  covered  all  round  with  angular  scales  ; 
toes  all  in  the  same  plane,  and  connected  by  webs,  the  fourth 
longest ;  claws  strong,  arched,  compressed,  that  of  the  third 
pectinate.  Plumage  soft ;  wings  of  moderate  size,  broad,  the 
second  quill  longest ;  tail  of  moderate  length,  very  narrow, 
much  rounded. 

1.  Phalacrocorax  Carlo.  Great  Cormorant.  Tail  of 
fourteen  feathers ;  a  small  longitudinal  occipital  crest  in 
summer ;  throat,  and  a  patch  over  each  thigh  white. 

2.  Phalacrocorax  Graculns.  Green  Cormorant.  Tail  of 
twelve  feathers  ;  a  crest  of  oblong,  erect,  incurvate  feathers  ; 
plumage  blackish-green ;  feathers  of  the  hack  ovate,  with 
velvety  margins. 

GENUS  II.  SULA.  GANNET. 

Bill  longer  than  the  head,  stout,  conical,  straight,  mode¬ 
rately  compressed  toward  the  end ;  upper  mandible  with  the 
ridge  broadly  convex,  with  a  narrow  groove  on  each  side,  the 
sides  erect,  the  edges  sharp  and  serrate,  the  tip  a  little 
deflexed  ;  lower  mandible  with  the  angle  long,  filled  by  a 
bare  membrane,  the  edges  sharp  and  serrate,  the  tip  com¬ 
pressed.  Nostrils  obliterated.  Feet  stout ;  tarsus  very  short, 
strong,  sharp  behind,  reticulated,  but  having  narrow  lines  of 
scutella  continuous  with  the  toes  ;  which  are  all  in  the  same 
plane,  and  webbed,  the  third  longest ;  claws  arched,  com¬ 
pressed,  that  of  the  third  toe  pectinate.  Wings  long,  rather 
narrow,  pointed  ;  tail  rather  long,  graduated. 

1.  Sula  Bassana.  Common  Gannet.  Bill  bluish-grey; 
hare  parts  on  the  head  blackish-blue  ;  plumage  white ;  head 
and  neck  tinged  with  reddish-yellow ;  primary  quills  dusky. 


377 


PHALACROCORAX.  CORMORANT. 

The  Cormorants  are  birds  of  large  or  moderate  size,  hav¬ 
ing  the  body  elongated,  rather  full,  depressed  ;  the  neck  long 
and  stout ;  the  head  rather  large,  oblong,  anteriorly  narrowed. 
The  hill  about  the  length  of  the  head,  straight,  rather  slender, 
compressed,  opening  from  far  behind  the  eyes  ;  upper  man¬ 
dible  with  the  dorsal  line  slightly  decimate  and  somewhat 
concave,  then  nearly  direct,  at  the  tip  decurved,  the  ridge 
broad  and  rounded,  separated  by  a  very  narrow  groove  from 
the  sides,  which  are  convex,  erect,  and  irregularly  scaly,  with 
a  slender  separate  piece  at  the  base;  the  edges  sharp  and 
somewhat  inclinate,  the  unguis  narrow,  convex,  decurved, 
thin-edged,  but  obtuse  ;  lower  mandible  with  the  angle  very 
long  and  narrow,  the  intercrural  membrane  partly  bare,  the 
outline  of  the  crura  nearly  straight,  the  dorsal  line  declinate, 
the  sides  scaly,  erect,  and  somewhat  convex,  the  edges  sharp 
and  indexed,  the  tip  compressed,  obliquely  truncate,  formed 
of  an  involute  unguis,  with  a  slender  intercalated  piece  ;  the 
gape-line  ascending  at  the  base,  then  straight,  at  the  end 
decurved. 

Mouth  wide,  and  capable  of  being  much  dilated  by  the 
flexibility  of  both  mandibles  to-ward  the  base,  there  being  on 
both  a  kind  of  joint  on  each  side ;  the  palate  flattened,  with 
two  prominent  ridges  ;  the  posterior  aperture  of  the  nares 
linear.  Tongue  extremely  small,  ovate-lanceolate,  thin, 
carriate  above.  (Esophagus  extremely  wide,  contracting 
considerably  as  it  enters  the  thorax,  then  dilated  into  an 
enormous  sac  ;  its  transverse  muscular  fibres  very  distinct,  as 
are  the  internal  longitudinal,  the  inner  coat  when  contracted 
forming  prominent  longitudinal  plicse  ;  proventricular  glands 
arranged  in  two  opposite  round  disks,  sometimes,  however, 
forming  a  continuous  belt,  narrowed  at  two  places.  Stomach 


378 


PHALACROCORAX.  CORMORANT. 


roundish,  large,  with  the  muscular  coat  very  thin,  being 
reduced  to  a  single  series  of  slender  fibres,  the  inner  coat  soft 
and  smooth.  There  is  a  distinct  roundish  pyloric  lobe.  The 
duodenum  at  first  curves  upwards  or  forwards,  then  returns 
and  assumes  its  ordinary  course,  forming  a  loop  ;  the  intes¬ 
tine  of  moderate  length  and  width  ;  the  cceca  very  short  and 
obtuse  ;  the  rectum  with  a  large  globular  cloaca. 

Nostrils  obliterated  in  the  adult,  the  internal  passage 
remaining  open,  hut  the  outer  filled  up.  Eyes  rather  small, 
with  the  eyelids  hare,  as  is  a  large  space  at  the  base  of  both 
mandibles.  Aperture  of  ear  very  small.  Feet  short,  stout, 
placed  far  behind ;  tibia  feathered  in  its  whole  length ;  tarsus 
very  short,  much  compressed,  reticulated  with  scales,  of  which 
the  inner  are  transversely  elongated,  the  outer  suh-liexagonal, 
the  posterior  very  small.  Toes  four,  in  the  same  plane  ;  the 
first  directed  inwards  and  small,  the  fourth  longest,  all  with 
numerous  oblique  scutella,  and  connected  by  webs.  Claws 
strong,  curved,  compressed,  acute,  that  of  the  third  toe  with  a 
pectinate  inner  edge. 

Plumage  of  the  head,  neck,  lower  neck,  and  hind  part  of 
the  hack,  glossy,  blended,  and  silky  ;  of  the  wings  and  fore 
part  of  the  back  compact,  the  feathers  ovate,  imbricated,  with 
loose  silky  margins.  Wings  rather  large  and  broad,  convex  ; 
primaries  short,  strong,  tapering,  obtuse,  the  third  longest ; 
secondaries  broad,  rounded  ;  scapulars  large  and  strong. 
Tail  rather  small,  rounded,  of  from  twelve  to  sixteen,  narrow, 
straight  feathers,  having  very  strong  shafts  and  firm  webs. 

Species  of  this  genus  occur  on  almost  every  rocky  coast, 
and  often  on  low  coasts  having  trees  along  the  water  edge. 
In  searching  for  their  food,  which  consists  entirely  of  fish, 
they  seldom  go  to  a  great  distance  from  the  land.  They 
swim  and  dive  with  extreme  agility,  sink  in  the  water  when 
alarmed,  have  a  moderately  quick,  even  flight,  perch  on  rocks 
or  trees,  and  nestle  in  both  situations.  The  nest  is  bulky 
and  rudely  constructed ;  the  eggs  from  two  to  five,  oblong  or 
narrow-elliptical,  bluish-white,  crusted  with  white  calcareous 
matter,  as  in  the  Pelicans  and  Gannets.  The  young  at  first 
black,  blind,  and  naked,  are  soon  partially  covered  with 
down,  and  are  fed  with  half-digested  fish  from  the  gullet  of 


PIIALACROCORAX.  CORMORANT. 


379 


their  mother.  They  remain  in  the  nest  until  fledged,  when 
their  nostrils  become  obliterated.  The  Cormorants  never  fish 
by  plunging  from  on  wing.  They  generally  in  diving  leap 
out  of  the  water  in  a  curve,  and  descend  with  great  force. 
In  their  digestive  organs  they  resemble  the  Pelicans  and 
Gannets. 

Two  species  occur  in  Britain,  both  generally  distributed, 
and  permanently  resident. 


380 


PHALACROCORAX  CARBO.  THE  GREAT 

CORMORANT. 

GREAT  CORMORANT.  WHITE-HEADED  CORMORANT.  WHITE-SPOT  CORMO¬ 
RANT.  CRESTED  CORMORANT.  GREAT  SCART  OR  SCARVE.  COAL  GOOSE. 
BROUGIE.  SCARBII-BUILL. 


Fig.  85. 


Pelecanus  Carbo.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  216. 

Pelecanus  Carbo.  Lath.  Ind.  Omith.  II.  886. 

Cormorant.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Grand  Cormoran.  Carbo  Cormoranus.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornitb.  II.  894. 

Common  Cormorant.  Phalacrocorax  Carbo.  Selby,  Illustr.  II.  446. 

Phalacrocorax  Carbo.  Common  Cormorant.  Jenyns.  .Brit.  Yert.  An.  263. 

Length  about  three  feet ;  tail  of  fourteen  feathers  ;  imbri¬ 
cated  feathers  of  the  back  and  icings  ovate,  rounded,  with 
silky  margins.  Adult  in  winter  crestless ;  the  head,  neck, 
lower  'parts,  middle  and  hind  part  of  the  back,  greenish-black, 
tinged  with  blue ;  the  feathers  of  the  fore  part  and  sides  of 
the  back,  with  the  wing-coverts  and  secondary  quills,  greyish- 


GREAT  CORMORANT. 


381 


brown  or  bronzed,  with  greenish-black  margins ;  a  greyish- 
white  band  on  the  throat ,  ascending  to  the  eyes ;  some  scat¬ 
tered,  extremely  minute,  filiform,  pencil-tipped,  white  plumu- 
lets  on  the  head  and  neck,  and  a  few  white  streaks  over  the 
thigh.  Adult  in  spring  coloured  as  in  winter,  ivith  the 
addition  of  a  longitudinal  greenish-black  crest,  numerous 
linear  white  feathers  on  the  head  and  neck,  the  throat-band 
pure  white,  and  a  roundish  patch  of  that  colour  over  the 
thigh.  Young  with  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  neck 
dusky-brown,  finely  streaked  ivith  brownish- grey ;  cheeks  and 
f or  e-neck  greyish- white, mottled  ivithbr  ownish- gr  ey ;  abrownisli- 
white  band  on  the  throat;  lower  parts  greyish-white,  mottled 
with  dusky,  becoming  darker  behind ;  upper  parts  nearly  as 
in  the  adult. 

Male  in  Winter. — Although  not  of  an  elegant  form,  nor 
remarkable  for  beauty  of  colouring,  the  Great  Cormorant  has 
a  conspicuous  appearance  when,  perched  on  some  surf-beaten 
crag,  he  stands  nearly  erect,  writhing  his  long  neck,  as  he 
eyes  the  approaching  boat  with  suspicion.  Ilis  body  is  large, 
full,  depressed  and  elongated,  his  neck  about  a  fourth  shorter, 
and  very  thick  ;  his  head  oblong,  flattened  above,  anteriorly 
narrowed.  The  bill  is  shorter  than  the  head,  but  opens  to 
beyond  the  eyes,  stout,  firm,  hut  rather  slender,  compressed, 
nearly  straight,  at  the  tip  decurved,  and  having  the  sides 
irregularly  scaly.  The  upper  mandible  has  the  dorsal  line 
considerably  concave,  the  ridge  rounded,  with  a  narrow  groove 
on  each  side,  the  sides  convex,  the  unguis  narrow,  decurved, 
thin-edged,  but  rather  obtuse,  the  edges  sharp  and  a  little 
inflexed,  the  separate  basal  piece  on  each  side  elongated  and 
narrow  ;  the  lower  mandible  with  the  basal  portion  rather 
broad  and  laterally  somewhat  concave,  the  crura  rather  narrow, 
their  sides  erect  and  convex,  the  lower  outline  straight,  the 
intercrural  space  very  long,  narrow,  with  a  bare  extensile 
membrane,  the  intercalated  piece  slender,  the  dorsal  line 
slightly  descending,  the  tip  compressed,  and  obliquely  trun¬ 
cate,  the  edges  sharp  and  inflexed ;  the  gape-line  ascending 
at  the  base,  then  straight,  at  the  end  decurved. 

The  mouth  is  rather  wTide,  and  capable  of  being  much 


382 


PHALACROCORAX  CARBO. 


distended  ;  the  palate  fiat,  with  two  very  prominent  ridges  ; 
the  posterior  nasal  aperture  linear.  The  tongue  is  oblong, 
carinate  above,  extremely  small,  being  only  seven-twelfths 
long,  and  three-twelfths  in  breadth.  The  oesophagus, 
twenty-two  inches  long,  is  very  wide,  with  extremely  thin 
walls,  measuring  when  inflated  from  two  and  a  half  to  two 
inches  in  width,  and  within  the  thorax  dilated  to  three  inches. 
The  walls  of  the  proventriculus  are  very  thick,  and  its  glan¬ 
dules,  which  are  large,  disposed  in  two  circular  patches  about 
two  inches  and  a  half  in  diameter,  and  separated  by  two 
spaces  of  about  a  quarter  of  an  inch.  The  stomach  is  com¬ 
paratively  small,  of  a  semicircular  shape,  forming  the  bottom 
of  the  proventricular  sac,  somewhat  compressed,  with  its 
walls  very  thin,  the  muscular  coat  being  composed  of  a  single 
series  of  fibres,  with  rounded  thin  tendinous  spaces,  and  a 
rather  thick,  soft,  and  rugous  epithelium.  There  is  a  round¬ 
ish  pyloric  lobe.  The  intestine,  eight  and  a  half  feet  long, 
varies  in  width  from  four  to  three-twelftlis,  at  first  curves 
forwards,  then  describes  the  usual  duodenal  curve,  and  is 
convoluted  with  ten  folds.  The  eoeea  are  only  four-twelfths 
long,  and  three-twelftlis  in  breadth ;  the  rectum  seven  inches 
in  length,  with  a  very  large  cloacal  dilatation  of  a  globular 
form,  two  inches  and  a  quarter  in  diameter. 

The  nostrils  are  completely  obliterated  by  ossification, 
although  their  place  is  faintly  indicated  externally  ;  but  the 
nasal  cavity  is  open  and  continuous  with  the  posterior  nares. 
The  eyes  are  small ;  the  aperture  of  the  ear  only  a  twelfth  in 
width.  The  feet  are  short,  very  strong,  and  placed  far 
behind ;  the  tibia  feathered  to  the  joint ;  the  tarsus  com¬ 
pressed,  reticulated,  with  about  twenty  scutella ;  the  second 
toe  with  thirty -five,  the  third  with  fifty-two,  the  outer,  which 
is  longest,  with  seventy-five ;  the  interdigital  webs  full.  The 
claws  moderate,  compressed,  arched,  strong,  rather  acute, 
that  of  the  third  toe  pectinate. 

The  plumage  is  dense  and  rather  short;  on  the  head, 
neck,  lower  parts  in  general,  and  hind  part  of  the  back,  silky 
and  blended  ;  on  the  wings  and  fore  part  of  the  back  firm, 
imbricated  ;  the  feathers  ovate,  satiny,  with  silky  margins. 
On  the  occiput  and  nape  the  feathers  are  slightly  longer ;  and 


GREAT  CORMORANT. 


383 


on  the  head  and  upper  neck  are  interspersed  very  slender 
white  filaments  having  a  pencillate  tip.  The  space  round  the 
eyes,  and  along  the  base  of  the  bill,  together  with  the  gular 
membrane,  are  bare.  The  wings  are  rather  large  and  broad, 
convex,  and  somewhat  rounded,  hut  when  folded  seem  short, 
the  primary  quills  being  comparatively  small,  and  the  longest 
not  extending  beyond  the  base  of  the  tail ;  they  are  very 
strong,  tapering,  obtuse  ;  the  third  longest,  the  second  nearly 
two-twelfths  of  an  inch  shorter,  and  exceeding  the  first  by 
four-twelfths  ;  the  secondaries  eighteen,  of  moderate  breadth, 
and  broadly  rounded.  The  tail  is  of  moderate  length,  narrow, 
straight,  much  rounded,  of  fourteen  stiff,  strong-shafted, 
rounded  feathers,  of  which  the  outer  is  an  inch  and  a  half 
shorter  than  the  middle. 

The  bill  is  greyisli-hrown  on  the  sides,  dusky  on  the 
ridge,  with  the  tips  brown,  the  base  yellowish-white.  The 
iris  bright  green,  the  edges  of  the  eyelids  dusky.  The  bare 
space  around  the  eye  is  dull  greenish-brown,  below  it  bri  ght 
yellow,  as  is  the  gular  sac.  The  feet  and  claws  are  greyish- 
black.  The  silky  plumage  of  the  head,  neck,  lower  parts,  a 
medial  band  down  the  hack,  and  its  middle  and  hind  parts, 
are  black,  glossed  with  bluish-green.  A  broad  band  of  white 
crosses  the  throat  from  one  eye  to  the  other  ;  the  filamentous 
plumelets  on  the  head  and  neck  are  also  white,  as  is  a  broken 
patch  on  each  side  over  the  thigh,  composed  of  elongated 
linear  feathers.  The  feathers  on  the  fore  part  and  sides  of 
the  back,  the  scapulars,  the  wing-coverts,  and  secondary 
quills,  are  greyish-brown,  with  bronze  and  green  reflections, 
and  edged  with  greenish-black.  The  primary  quills  and  tail- 
feathers  are  greyish-black.  The  shafts  of  all  the  feathers  are 
greyish-blue  at  the  base,  becoming  black  toward  the  end. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  08  inches ;  extent  of  wings  60  ; 
wing  from  flexure  14 ;  tail  6 ;  hill  along  the  ridge  3^, 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  4^ ;  tarsus  2T2¥ ;  hind  toe 
1-j2^-,  its  claw  second  toe  l-Lf,  its  claw  T8^-;  third  toe  2-^, 
its  claw  -j~2  ;  fourth  toe  3^-|,  its  claw  T^-. 

Female  in  Winter. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male, 
but  smaller. 


384 


PHALACROCORAX  CARBO. 


Length  to  end  of  tail  35  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  58  ; 
wing  from  flexure  13  J  ;  tail  6 ;  bill  along  the  ridge  2 ;  tarsus 
2  ;  outer  toe  and  claw  4^. 

Variations. — Great  differences  are  observed  as  to  size  in 
adult  birds  of  the  same  sex,  some  individuals  being  so  much 
smaller  as  at  first  to  seem  of  another  species.  Unless  in  the 
tint  of  the  feathers  of  the  back  and  wings,  which  may  be 
lighter  or  darker,  sometimes  approaching  to  grey,  old  birds 
do  not  appear  to  vary  much. 

Changes  of  Plumage. — The  general  moult  takes  place 
from  the  middle  of  summer  to  September.  The  plumage 
continues  as  described  above  until  March  or  April,  when  a 
partial  change  takes  place,  consisting  chiefly  of  the  production 
of  numerous  slender  white  feathers  on  the  head  and  neck,  as 
well  as  on  the  thighs,  together  with  an  elongated  crest  of 
linear  feathers.  As  the  summer  advances,  the  bronzed  tints 
of  the  upper  parts  become  of  a  paler  brown. 

Male  in  Summer. — The  hare  parts  at  the  base  of  the 
bill  are  of  a  purer  yellow.  There  is  an  elongated  longitudinal 
crest  of  greenisli-blaek  feathers  on  the  head  and  nape ;  the 
band  on  the  throat  and  cheeks  is  pure  white ;  among  the 
feathers  of  the  head  and  upper  neck  are  numerous  linear 
loose-edged  white  feathers,  giving  those  parts  a  hoary  appear¬ 
ance  ;  and  over  each  thigh  is  a  large  patch  of  similar  more 
elongated  white  feathers. 

Female  in  Summer. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male. 

Habits. — The  Great  Cormorant  occurs  in  considerable 
numbers,  here  and  there,  on  all  our  rocky  coasts,  frequenting 
bold  headlands,  high  cliffs,  and  rugged  insular  crags.  It 
generally  keeps  apart  from  the  Crested  Cormorant,  and,  when 
the  two  species  occur  in  the  same  locality,  assumes  a  more 
elevated  station,  the  other  betaking  itself  to  the  caves,  or 
perching  on  the  lower  shelves.  At  certain  states  of  the  tide, 
chiefly,  I  think,  about  low'  water,  and  not  at  any  particular 


GREAT  CORMORANT. 


385 


time  of  the  day,  for  I  have  observed  them  early  in  the  morn¬ 
ing,  at  noon,  and  in  the  evening,  the  Cormorants  may  be  seen 
standing  lazily  on  the  rocks,  some  with  outspread  wings,  as 
if  sunning  themselves,  or  drying  their  plumage,  others  repos¬ 
ing,  with  the  head  under  one  of  their  wings,  or  directed 
forwards  on  their  retracted  neck.  Should  a  boat  approach 
them  they  soon  become  alarmed,  raise  one  foot  after  the  other, 
and  throw  their  long  necks  about  in  a  singular  manner, 
straining  themselves  to  perceive  the  intruders,  their  sight 
being  apparently  not  very  clear  in  the  open  air,  however 
penetrating  in  the  water.  I  have  thought  it  remarkable  that 
they  will  allow  a  vessel  propelled  by  steam  to  pass  much  nearer 
than  an  ordinary  boat,  without  removing  ;  hut  this  is  equally 
the  case  with  many  other  sea-birds.  When  fairly  alarmed, 
they  take  to  wing,  launching  in  a  curved  line,  and  then  flying 
low  over  the  water,  with  a  moderately  quick,  sedate,  and  even 
flight,  usually  in  silence.  Sometimes,  however,  they  plunge 
headlong  into  the  water,  and  emerge  at  a  great  distance.  I 
have  never  seen  them  alight  on  land  anywhere  but  on  rock,  and 
there,  besides  being  restrained  by  the  nature  of  the  place,  their 
motions  are  awkward,  they  not  being  at  all  fitted  for  walking. 
They  alight  heavily,  and  rather  abruptly,  keep  in  a  much 
inclined  position,  and  seldom  remove  to  any  distance.  On 
the  sea  also  they  alight  heavily,  and  sit  deep  in  the  water, 
having  the  faculty,  when  apprehensive  of  danger,  of  sinking 
still  deeper,  so  as  to  leave  little  exposed  to  view.  They  swim 
with  surprising  speed,  often  immerse  their  hill,  and  even  the 
whole  head,  as  they  proceed,  and  dive  with  extreme  agility, 
with  a  sudden  dart,  and  without  opening  their  wings  until 
they  are  under  the  surface,  hut  then  using  them,  as  well  as 
their  feet,  to  propel  themselves.  In  rising  from  the  water 
into  the  air,  they  advance  several  yards,  flapping  the  sea  with 
their  wings  and  feet,  before  they  obtain  a  free  course.  Their 
food  consists  of  small  fishes,  up  to  the  size  of  a  herring.  On 
seizing  their  prey  they  come  to  the  surface,  toss  their  head 
until  the  fish  assumes  a  proper  position,  and  swallow  it  head¬ 
foremost  ;  or  occasionally  toss  it  up  in  the  air,  and  seize  it 
again  with  open  throat.  Should  it  be  too  large  to  be  swal¬ 
lowed,  they  beat  and  tear  it  with  their  bill,  sometimes  retiring 
vol.  v.  2  c 


386 


PIIALACROCORAX  CARBO. 


on  shore  for  the  purpose.  I  have  usually  found  fragments  of 
quartz  and  bits  of  stone  in  the  stomach ;  but  these  may  have 
been  swallowed  by  the  fishes  on  which  they  had  fed ;  for  the 
membranous  structure  of  the  stomach  incapacitates  it  from 
pounding  or  grinding  the  food. 

These  birds  seldom  roost  all  the  year  round  in  the  places 
where  they  nestle,  hut  generally  after  the  breeding  season 
repose  at  night  on  some  rock  at  a  convenient  distance  from 
their  fishing-stations,  which,  during  winter,  are  chiefly  in 
estuaries,  bays,  and  creeks,  although  often  also  in  the  open 
sea.  In  one  of  the  islands  in  the  sound  of  Harris  is  a  rock 
on  which  these  birds  rest  at  night,  especially  in  winter.  A 
person  well  acquainted  with  the  place,  as  I  have  been 
informed,  has  ascended  the  cliff  in  the  dark,  and  moving 
cautiously,  has  secured  a  considerable  number  of  individuals 
before  the  rest  became  alarmed,  breaking  by  a  sudden  bend 
the  neck  of  each  as  he  caught  it.  The  natives  of  St.  Kilda 
use  the  same  method  in  catching  Gannets.  The  Cormorants 
fly  to  and  from  these  places  in  strings,  at  no  great  height 
over  the  water,  with  a  steady  and  moderately  quick  flight, 
strongly  contrasted  with  that  of  Gulls  and  Terns,  which  are 
ever  deviating  to  either  side,  and  resembling  that  of  the 
Gannets,  which,  however,  have  a  lighter  flight,  and  sail  at 
frequent  intervals.  Shy  and  suspicious,  they  seldom,  even  in 
the  most  unfrequented  places,  allow  a  near  approach,  and 
when  fishing  in  a  creek,  or  place  overlooked  by  high  banks, 
are  particularly  vigilant.  If  they  see  a  person  at  some  dis¬ 
tance,  they  sink  their  body  deeper  in  the  water  ;  and  should 
one  come  nearer,  they  keep  it  entirely  submersed,  the  head 
and  part  of  the  neck  only  being  visible.  As  they  dive  with 
extreme  rapidity,  it  is  very  difficult  to  shoot  them  while  they 
are  fishing.  They  are  not  much  in  request,  however,  among 
sportsmen  and  poachers,  for,  although  in  some  remote  parts 
their  flesh  is  esteemed  tolerable  eating,  it  is  of  a  dark-red 
colour,  disagreeable  to  the  eye  not  less  than  to  the  palate  ; 
but  its  being  strong-flavoured  or  fishy  renders  it  not  inapt  for 
soup,  in  the  state  of  which  the  juices  of  the  Cormorant  are 
not  unpleasant.  The  young  are  somewhat  better,  but  the 
eggs  are  never  eaten. 


GREAT  CORMORANT. 


387 


In  spring,  when  the  nuptial  dress  is  advanced,  they  pair, 
and  soon  after  hetake  themselves  to  their  breeding-places, 
usually  shelves  of  exposed  rock,  at  a  considerable  height,  and 
easily  discovered  by  the  quantity  of  white  dung  spread  around. 
The  nest  is  very  large,  and  rudely  formed,  being  composed  of 
sticks  and  sea-weeds,  heaped  up  sometimes  to  the  height  of 
a  foot  or  more,  with  a  shallow  cavity  at  the  top.  The  eggs, 
generally  three,  sometimes  four,  are  of  an  oblong  form,  two 
inches  and  eight-twelfths  in  length,  an  inch  and  three-fourths 
in  breadth,  and,  like  those  of  every  other  species  of  Cormo¬ 
rant,  may  be  described  as  having  a  thick  roughish  bluish- 
white  shell,  irregularly  crusted  over  with  a  layer  of  white 
calcareous  matter,  easily  removed  with  a  sponge  and  water. 

There  is  nothing  particularly  estimable  in  the  character  of 
the  Cormorant.  It  is  extremely  attentive  to  its  young,  quiet 
and  inoffensive  in  its  general  conduct,  of  a  sluggish  disposi¬ 
tion,  unless  when  in  the  water,  and  then  exhibiting  the 
greatest  activity.  Its  voice  is  a  low,  hoarse  croak,  seldom 
heard.  Extremely  voracious,  it  swallows  an  enormous  quan¬ 
tity  of  food  ;  hut  in  this  respect  is  rivalled  by  the  Gannet, 
the  Goosanders,  and  indeed  almost  all  sea-birds.  When  it 
betakes  itself,  as  it  sometimes  does  in  winter,  to  fish-ponds, 
it  commits  great  havoc.  At  that  season,  it  often  ascends 
rivers,  and  is  sometimes  seen  perched  on  the  trees,  which  is 
noways  remarkable,  as  the  Cormorants  of  warm  climates,  when 
the  shores  are  low,  not  only  perch, hut  nestle,  on  the  mangroves. 
It  is  easily  tamed,  and  is  then  familiar,  and  even  manifests  an 
affectionate  disposition.  An  interesting  account  is  given  by 
Montagu  of  one  which  he  kept  for  a  long  time ;  hut  as  his  nar¬ 
rative  is  too  lengthy  to  be  inserted  here,  I  shall  present  it  in 
an  abridged  form. 

The  bird  in  question  was  surprised  by  a  Newfoundland 
dog,  belonging  to  a  fisherman,  under  the  banks  of  a  rivulet 
that  ran  into  the  Bristol  Channel.  In  about  a  week  it  was 
perfectly  familiarized,  making  one  in  the  family  circle  round 
the  fire,  and  suffering  the  caresses  of  the  children,  who  were 
very  unwilling  to  part  with  it.  On  being  conveyed  to  the 
ornithologist’s,  and  liberated,  it  was  offered  every  sort  of  food 
at  hand,  there  being  no  fish,  but  refused  it,  and  therefore 


388 


PHALACROCORAX  CARBO. 


was  forcibly  crammed  with  flesh.  On  being  removed  to  an 
aquatic  menagerie,  and  let  loose,  it  instantly  plunged  into 
the  water,  and  dived  incessantly,  but  not  obtaining  a  single 
fish,  appeared  to  be  convinced  there  were  none,  and  made  no 
other  attempt  for  three  days,  during  which  it  was  crammed 
with  flesh.  Its  proper  food,  however,  was  at  length  pro¬ 
cured  for  it.  It  dived  and  seized  its  prey  with  surprising 
dexterity,  frequently  proceeding  under  the  surface  to  the 
place  where  a  fish  had  been  thrown,  and,  when  the  water 
was  clear,  taking  it  with  certainty,  often  before  it  fell  to  the 
bottom.  It  readily  devoured  three  or  four  pounds  of  fish 
twice  a-day,  so  rapid  was  its  digestion.  When  a  large  fish 
stuck  in  the  gullet,  it  inflated  that  part,  and  shook  the  head 
and  neck  violently  to  promote  its  passage.  In  fishing  it 
always  carried  the  head  under  water,  in  order,  apparently, 
to  discover  its  prey  at  a  greater  distance,  and  with  more 
certainty.  All  fish  were  invariably  turned  in  the  bill,  so 
as  to  present  the  head  foremost ;  and  when  an  eel,  the  most 
favourite  food,  was  not  seized  favourably,  it  was  thrown  up 
to  some  distance,  and  caught  in  such  a  manner  as  to  render 
deglutition  easy.  It  had  a  habit  of  beating  the  water  with 
its  wings  violently,  without  moving  from  the  spot,  each 
beating  being  succeeded  by  a  shake  of  the  whole  body  and  a 
ruffling  of  all  the  feathers,  at  the  same  time  covering  itself 
with  the  water.  This  action  it  repeated  ten  or  twenty  times 
with  small  intervals  of  rest,  and  then  repaired  to  a  tump,  or 
some  elevated  place  on  shore,  and  spread  or  flapped  its  wings 
until  they  were  dry.  It  lived  in  perfect  harmony  with  other 
birds,  and  never  attempted  to  ramble,  but  walked  to  the 
house,  entered  the  first  open  door  without  deference  to 
any  one,  and  in  fact  was  troublesomely  tame. 

Mr.  Audubon  accounts  for  the  flappings  above  mentioned 
in  this  manner : — “  Cormorants,  Pelicans,  Ducks,  and  other 
water-birds  of  various  kinds,  are,  like  land-birds,  at  times 
infested  with  insects,  which  lodge  near  the  roots  of  their 
feathers  ;  and  to  clear  themselves  of  this  vermin,  they  beat 
up  the  water  about  them  by  flapping  their  wings,  their 
feathers  being  all  the  Avliile  ruffled  up,  and  rub  or  scratch 
themselves  with  their  feet  and  claws,  much  in  the  same 


GREAT  CORMORANT. 


389 


manner  as  Turkeys  and  most  land-birds  act,  when  scattering 
up  the  dry  warm  earth  or  sand  over  them.  The  water- 
birds,  after  thus  cleaning  themselves,  remove,  if  perchers 
and  able  to  fly,  to  the  branches  of  trees,  spread  out  their 
wings  and  tail  in  the  sun,  and  after  a  while  dress  their 
plumage.  Those  which  are  not  perchers,  or  whose  wings 
are  too  wet,  swim  to  the  shores,  or  to  such  hanks  or  rocks 
as  are  above  water,  and  there  perform  the  same  process.” 

This  species  is  not  nearly  so  common  in  the  Hebrides,  or 
along  the  western  and  northern  coasts  of  Scotland,  as  the 
Crested  Cormorant.  In  Shetland,  as  Dr.  Edmondston  in¬ 
forms  me,  “it  is  pretty  numerous,  though  not  by  far  so 
much  so  as  the  Shag.  It  is,”  he  continues,  “  social  in  the 
breeding  season,  several  pairs  having  their  nests  near  each 
other  on  the  same  cliff,  and  at  a  greater  altitude  than  the 
other  species.  It  also  at  other  seasons  perches  and  roosts  in 
higher  situations,  and  has  a  more  lofty  and  easy  flight.  Its 
mode  of  diving  is  somewhat  like  that  of  the  Great  Northern 
Diver,  gliding  gently  under,  not  like  the  Shag,  per  saltum. 
It  is  very  easily  tamed,  and  displays  great  sagacity,  gentle¬ 
ness,  and  affection.  I  see  no  reason  why  it  might  not  he 
made  of  as  great  use  as  its  fishing  relative  in  China.  The 
young  often  frequent  fresh-water  lochs.  It  is  a  beautiful, 
intelligent,  and  interesting  bird,  and  does  not  deserve  the 
popular  odium  which  Milton — it  may  he  justly  as  a  poet, 
hut  most  unjustly  as  a  naturalist — has  affixed  to  it.  It  pro¬ 
duces  usually  three,  seldom  four  young.”  Mr.  Low  says  it 
“  is  very  frequent  ”  in  Orkney,  “  both  in  salt  and  fresh 
water ;  continues  all  the  year,  living  on  fish,  of  which  it 
destroys  great  numbers.  The  Corvorant  seems  to  have  hut 
little  other  concern  than  how  to  eat  enough ;  it  is,  indeed, 
surprising  what  quantities  of  fish  it  will  gorge  itself  with, 
and,  when  it  has  filled  itself  to  the  throat,  retires  to  some 
point,  where  it  sits  till  hunger  compels  it  to  the  water 
again.”  I  have  seen  Cormorants  at  the  entrance  of  the 
Cromarty  Firth,  and  on  various  parts  of  the  coast,  as  far 
south  as  the  Firth  of  Forth,  on  the  rocky  islands  of  which 
they  are  not  uncommon.  Some  rocks  off  Seafield  Tower, 
near  Kirkaldy,  are  a  favourite  resting-place  with  this  and 


390 


PHALACROCORAX  CARBO. 


our  other  species,  as  are  several  of  the  rocky  islets  farther 
up  the  firth.  Mr.  Selby  describes  its  nests  as  examined  by 
him  on  the  Fern  Islands.  Whether  there  he  any  breeding- 
places  farther  south  or  not,  individuals  are  seen  and  occa¬ 
sionally  procured  along  the  eastern  and  southern  coasts  ;  but 
it  does  not  appear  to  become  numerous  until  we  arrive  on 
the  coasts  of  Wales,  where  Montagu  says  he  has  seen  “  an 
insulated  rock  covered  with  their  nests,  which  are  composed 
of  sticks  and  sea-weed.”  From  thence  northward  they 
appear  to  be  more  numerous. 

It  occurs  equally  on  the  coasts  of  the  continent  of 
Europe,  extending  as  far  as  the  Mediterranean.  M.  Tem- 
minck  states  its  occurrence  even  in  the  Ganges.  In  North 
America,  according  to  Mr.  Audubon,  it  is  rarely  seen  farther 
south  than  the  extreme  limits  of  Maryland,  becomes  more 
plentiful  from  Chesapeake  Bay  eastward,  and  is  abundant 
on  the  coasts  of  the  northern  states,  Nova  Scotia,  and 
Labrador. 

Yoitng. — Like  those  of  other  Cormorants,  the  young  at 
first  have  a  very  singular  appearance,  owing  to  their  dusky 
colour,  and  the  disproportionately  large  size  of  their  feet. 
Their  skin  is  bare,  and  of  a  dull  livid  tint ;  the  bill  flesh- 
coloured  at  the  base,  dusky  toward  the  end  :  the  feet  bluish- 
black,  with  the  webs  light  brown.  In  a  few  days  they 
become  covered  with  brownish-black  down,  except  the  head, 
upper  part  of  the  neck,  lower  surface  of  the  wings,  and 
abdomen  ;  and  in  about  eight  weeks  are  able  to  fly,  until 
which  time  they  remain  in  the  nest.  When  fully  fledged, 
they  are  as  follows  : — 

The  bill  is  pale  brown,  dusky  on  the  ridge  ;  the  iris 
brown ;  the  bare  skin  at  the  base  of  the  bill  flesh-coloured ; 
the  feet  black.  The  upper  parts  are  greenish-brown,  the 
head  and  neck  streaked  with  paler ;  the  feathers  of  the  fore 
part  and  sides  of  the  back,  with  the  wing-coverts,  brownisli- 
grcy,  bordered  with  dark  brown ;  the  fore-neck  and  lower 
parts  of  the  body  greyish-brown,  shaded  into  brownish- 
white  on  the  middle  of  the  breast  and  abdomen  ;  the  quills 
and  tail-feathers  brownish-black.  The  throat-band  obscurely 
indicated,  being  greyish-white,  with  faint  brown  streaks. 


GREAT  CORMORANT. 


391 


Progress  toward  Maturity. — The  young  moult  in  the 
middle  of  autumn,  and  in  the  beginning  of  winter  are  as 
follows  : — The  hill  is  blackish-brown  on  the  ridge  and  dorsal 
part  of  the  unguis,  brownish-grey  on  the  sides,  approaching 
to  flesh-colour  at  the  base,  with  the  bare  skin  yellow.  The 
upper  part  of  the  head  and  the  hind-neck  are  brownish- 
black  ;  the  back  greenish-black  ;  but  the  feathers  of  its  fore 
part,  the  scapulars,  and  wing-coverts  brownish-grey,  edged 
with  greenish-black  ;  the  larger  wing-coverts  with  an  external 
narrow  edging  of  brownish-white ;  the  quills  brownish- 
black,  the  secondaries  shaded  with  greyish-brown ;  the  tail- 
feathers  greyish-black,  with  lead-coloured  shafts.  The 
throat-band  brownish-white ;  the  fore  part  of  the  neck 
greyish-white,  mottled  with  light  brown  ;  the  breast  and 
abdomen  greyish-white,  shaded  into  greenish-black  on  the 
sides ;  the  lower  wing-coverts  sooty-brown,  as  are  the 
feathers  under  the  tail.  The  feet  are  black ;  the  claws 
brown. 

The  nostrils,  which  are  at  first  basal,  being  placed  at  the 
commencement  of  the  longitudinal  groove  bordering  the 
ridge,  and  of  a  linear  form,  continue  open  for  some  weeks, 
but  before  the  bird  is  fledged  are  found  to  be  closed  exter¬ 
nally  by  horny  scales,  and  in  the  bone  by  ossification. 


o92 


PHALACROCORAX  GRACULUS.  THE  GREEN 

CORMORANT. 

GREEN  CORMORANT.  BLACK  CORMORANT.  CRESTED  CORMORANT. 

SHAG.  SCART.  SCARY.  SCARBH.  GREEN  SCOUT. 

Pelecanus  Graculus.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  217. 

Pelecanus  Graculus.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  887. 

Shag  and  Crested  Shag.  Mont.  Ornith  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Cormoran  largup.  Carbo  cristatus.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  900. 

Crested  Shag,  or  Green  Cormorant.  Phalacrocorax  cristatus.  Selb.  Illustr. 

II.  450. 

Phalacrocorax  cristatus.  Crested  Shag.  Jenyns.  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  262. 

Length  about  tivo  feet  and  a  quarter  ;  tail  of  twelve 
feathers  ;  imbricated  feathers  of  the  back  ovate ,  rather  acute, 
with  velvety  margins.  Adidt  in  winter  crcstlcss  ;  the  head, 
neck,  lower  parts,  middle  and  hind  part  of  the  back,  blackish- 
green  ;  the  feathers  of  the  fore  qiart  and  sides  of  the  back,  with 
the  wing-coverts  and  secondary  quills  of  a  lighter  green,  with 
deep  black  margins  ;  some  scattered,  extremely  minute , filiform , 
pencil-tipped  white  plumulets  on  the  neck.  Adult  in  spring 
coloured  as  in  winter,  with  the  addition  of  a  tuft  of  oblong, 
erect,  incurved  feathers,  about  two  inches  in  length,  on  the  top 
of  the  head.  Young  with  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  the 
neck  greenish-brown  ;  the  rest  of  the  upper  parts  darker,  the 
imbricated feathers  of  the  back  and  wings  with  glossy  margins  ; 
the  lower  parts  brownish-grey ;  the  throat  and  part  of  the 
breast  inclining  to  white. 

Male  in  Winter. — The  Green  or  Crested  Cormorant  is 
much  inferior  in  size  to  the  species  already  described,  which 
it  closely  resembles  in  form ;  having  the  body  elongated  and 
depressed ;  the  neck  long  and  rather  thick  ;  the  head  oblong, 
flattened  above,  and  narrowed  anteriorly.  The  bill  is  pro- 


GREEN  CORMORANT. 


.393 


portionally  longer  and  more  slender  than  that  of  the  Great 
Cormorant,  being  of  about  the  same  length  as  the  head  ;  but 
may  he  described  in  the  same  terms,  only  its  upper  outline  is 
straight,  not  concave,  or  very  slightly  so  ;  the  gape-line 
almost  quite  straight,  and  commencing  behind  the  eyes. 

The  nostrils  obliterated  ;  the  eyes  small,  their  aperture 
three-twelfths  and  a  half;  that  of  the  ear  scarcely  one-twelfth. 
The  feet  are  short  and  strong  ;  the  tibia  flattened  to  the  joint ; 
the  tarsus  very  short,  compressed,  externally  covered  with 
large  hexagonal  scales,  internally  with  transversely  elongated 
scales  or  plates,  those  behind  small.  The  toes  gradually 
increasing  in  length,  from  the  first,  which  has  about  twenty 
scutella,  to  the  outer,  on  which  are  fifty-five,  the  second  hav¬ 
ing  thirty-four,  the  third  forty-five.  The  webs  are  full ;  the 
claws  moderate,  compressed,  arched,  strong,  rather  acute,  that 
of  the  third  toe  pectinate. 

The  plumage  is  dense,  short,  and  highly  glossed.  The 
feathers  of  the  head,  neck,  lower  parts,  and  hack  soft,  blended, 
and  silky ;  those  of  the  fore  part  of  the  hack,  unless  in  the 
middle  line,  with  the  scapulars  and  wing-coverts,  shortish, 
ovate,  but  rather  acute,  compact,  imbricated,  smooth,  and 
satiny,  with  a  velvety  margin.  On  the  neck  are  some  fila¬ 
mentous  pencil-tipped  plumelets,  so  small  as  not  to  he  readily 
perceived.  The  wings  when  folded  reach  only  to  the  base  of 
the  tail,  and  are  rather  short,  hut  broad ;  with  the  primary 
quills  short,  tapering,  with  stiff  shafts,  the  third  longest, 
and  exceeding  the  first  by  half  an  inch ;  the  secondaries  nar¬ 
rowly  rounded.  The  tail  is  of  moderate  length,  being  to  the 
body  as  one  to  three,  hut  narrow,  straight,  much  rounded,  of 
twelve  strong-shafted  feathers,  of  which'  the  lateral  are  an 
inch  and  three-fourths  shorter  than  the  medial. 

The  hill  is  black,  with  the  unguis  brownish ;  the  base  of 
the  lower  mandible  and  the  basal  margins  of  the  upper, 
yellow,  streaked  with  black ;  the  membrane  at  the  angle  of 
the  mouth  orange ;  that  between  the  crura  of  the  lower  man¬ 
dible  black,  spotted  with  orange  ;  the  bare  space  round  the 
eye  and  from  thence  to  the  hill  black.  The  iris  sea-green. 
The  feet  black.  The  general  colour  of  the  plumage  is  black¬ 
ish-green,  with  silky  lustre  ;  the  imbricated  feathers  of  the 


394 


PHALACROCORAX  GRACULUS. 


back  and  wings  of  a  lighter  tint,  and  margined  with  velvet- 
black.  The  primary  quills  and  the  tail-feathers  greyish-black. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  29  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  42 ; 
wing  from  flexure  10}  ;  tail  5} ;  bill  along  the  ridge  2}-} ; 
along  the  edge  of  lower  mandible  3} ;  tarsus  2-^ ;  first  toe 
1,  its  claw  ;  second  toe  1-^,  its  claw  third  toe  2},  its 
claw  ;  fourth  toe  3y}>  its  claw 

Female  in  Winter. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  26  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  38 ; 
tarsus  2-jL- ;  outer  toe  and  claw  3|. 

Variations. — Individuals  vary  considerably  as  to  size, 
but  otherwise  very  slightly  ;  the  largest  measuring  thirty 
inches  in  length,  the  smallest  twenty-five.  The  following 
are  some  of  the  dimensions  of  seven  individuals. 


M. 

M. 

F. 

Y. 

Y. 

Y. 

Y. 

Length . 

29 

30 

25 

26} 

29 

28} 

26 

Extent . 

42 

42 

38 

36 

40 

38 

— 

Pill  . 

3 

Ol 

2 

03 

~4 

Ol 

02. 

4 

Ol 
^  2 

Ol  0 

Gape-line . 

— 

34 

— 

— 

Q  () 
°T2 

q  7 

J 1 2 

CO 

Wing . 

— 

10}} 

— 

— 

104-R 

l  2 

10} 

10} 

Tail . 

— 

6} 

— 

— 

54 

5 

Tarsus . 

O 1 
~4 

o  I 

~4 

O 

o 

O  4 
'VTT 

0  3 

0  1 
“MI 

Outer  toe  &  claw 

41 

41 

03 

°4 

3J_L 
u  1  2 

4_2_ 

^  1  2 

41 

In  adult  individuals  I  have  not  seen  much  difference  in 
colour.  One  now  beside  me  has  a  single  white  feather  in  the 
crest.  In  some  the  shafts  of  the  quills  and  tail-feathers,  as 
well  as  their  webs,  are  undulated,  or  marked  with  transverse 
lines,  as  in  Plotus  Anhinga,  although  much  less  distinctly. 

Changes  of  Plumage. — The  moult  takes  place  in  the 
end  of  summer,  and  is  completed  in  October.  In  spring,  as 
early  as  March,  a  partial  moult  takes  place,  when  there  is 
formed  on  the  head,  a  little  behind  the  level  of  the  eye,  a  tuft, 
broader  than  long,  of  elongated,  recurved,  oblong  feathers, 
nearly  two  inches  in  length.  No  other  change  is  apparent, 
the  colours  of  all  the  parts  remaining  as  before.  In  summer, 


GIIEEN  CORMORANT. 


395 


the  upper  parts  become  of  a  lighter  tint ;  and  the  tail-feathers 
are  usually  much  worn  at  the  end. 

Habits.  —  The  Crested  Cormorant,  which  is  generally 
distributed  along  our  coasts,  and  very  abundant  in  many 
parts  of  Scotland,  especially  the  western  and  northern  islands, 
is,  like  the  other  species,  a  constant  inhabitant,  frequenting 
the  caves  and  fissures  of  the  rocky  headlands  and  unfrequented 
islands.  It  reposes  at  night  in  these  caverns,  or  on  shelves 
of  the  rocks,  often  in  great  numbers,  being  of  a  social  dispo¬ 
sition,  but  keeping  apart  from  other  birds.  Its  roosting 
places  are  always  rendered  conspicuous  by  the  great  quantity 
of  white  dung  with  which  they  are  crusted.  It  is  pleasant  to 
see  them  emerge  from  their  abodes  on  some  wild  coast  before 
sunrise,  and  silently  wing  their  way  in  files  toward  their 
fishing-grounds.  They  fly  low,  with  uninterrupted  beats  of 
their  wings,  keeping  at  an  inconsiderable  height,  and  scarcely 
ever  crossing  an  isthmus,  however  narrow.  On  arriving  at 
some  sandy  hay,  or  shallow  straight,  they  alight  in  succession, 
coming  heavily  upon  the  water,  shake  themselves,  and  com¬ 
mence  their  search  by  immersing  their  heads.  On  perceiving 
an  object,  the  Scart  darts  forward  in  a  curve,  rising  out  of  the 
water,  and  then  plunging  headlong.  Its  agility  in  this 
element  is  astonishing,  and  it  often  remains  submersed  from 
oue  to  two  minutes.  Its  food  consists  of  small  fishes,  such  as 
the  young  of  Gadus  carbonarius,  which  are  extremely  abun¬ 
dant  on  all  our  northern  coasts.  It  is  not  nearly  so  shy  as 
the  Great  Cormorant,  and  I  have  seen  it  pursuing  its  prey 
almost  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  many  persons  who 
were  fishing  with  small  nets  for  the  frv  above  named  :  but 
yet  in  such  cases  it  keeps  deep  in  the  water,  and  is  easily 
frightened  away.  The  habits  of  this  bird  are  so  similar  to 
those  of  the  last,  that  I  cannot  avoid  repetition  in  describing 
them  ;  and  therefore,  to  give  some  variety,  I  shall  here  intro¬ 
duce  from  my  note-hook  of  1818,  the  short  notice  which  I 
then  thought  sufficient  for  the  purpose : — 

Pelecanus  Graculus,  Scart,  Scarbh.  Inhabit  the  mari¬ 
time  caves  of  the  Hebrides,  to  which  they  resort  in  vast 
numbers.  In  the  morning,  they  may  be  seen  at  South  Town, 


396 


PHALACROCORAX  GRACULUS, 


in  Harris,  covering  the  sea  to  a  considerable  extent,  on  then- 
passage  from  the  caves  of  Liuir  and  Toe-head  to  their  fishing- 
stations  in  the  sound.  I  have  counted  a  hundred  and  five  in 
one  flock,  and  the  number  exceeded  this  considerably,  as 
many  were  under  water  at  the  time.  The  nest  is  composed 
of  sea-weeds,  heather,  and  various  materials  picked  up  on  the 
water,  and  clumsily  put  together.  The  eggs  two  or  three, 
bluish-white,  sub-elliptical,  very  narrow  in  proportion  to  their 
length.  May  and  June:  The  young  are  for  some  weeks 
covered  with  black  down.  While  commencing  the  act  of 
diving,  they  rise  with  a  spring  entirely  out  of  the  water. 
Though  very  rank  and  dark-coloured,  the  flesh  is  eaten  by 
the  poor  people  here.  The  young  are  delicate,  and  previous 
to  being  fledged,  have  not  the  fishy  taste  of  the  full-grown 
birds. 

Brief  and  abrupt  as  this  must  appear,  it  will  afford  us  a 
text.  There  is  a  large  cave  on  the  west  coast  of  Harris  cele¬ 
brated  for  the  number  of  Scarts  which  reside  in  it,  and  so 
lofty  that  a  boat  can  enter  to  a  considerable  distance  without 
having  the  masts  taken  down.  1  have  several  times  visited 
it  for  the  purpose  of  shooting  the  birds  in  the  breeding  sea¬ 
son,  when  they  had  numerous  nests  on  its  sides.  When  we 
appear  off  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  we  see  a  considerable  num¬ 
ber  of  Scarts  conspicuously  perched  on  the  little  shelves  and 
projections,  their  dusky  figures  strongly  relieved  by  the 
whitened  surface  of  the  rock.  Some  of  them  fly  overhead  as 
we  approach,  but  more  drop  into  the  water  like  a  stone.  On 
looking  down,  we  sec  them  rapidly  wending  their  way  under 
the  boat,  flying  with  outspread  wings,  and  not  at  all  in  the 
manner  represented  by  some,  who  say  that  this  bird  propels 
itself  under  water  entirely  by  the  feet  and  tail.  Of  this  I  am 
certain,  having  been  an  eye-witness  of  the  fact.  Glancing 
aloft,  we  see  many  Black  Guillemots  in  the  clefts,  and  above 
them  the  eyrie  of  the  White-tailed  Sea-Eagle  ;  but  our  busi¬ 
ness  is  with  the  Scarts,  which,  now  alarmed,  are  seen  writh¬ 
ing  their  long  necks  as  they  gaze  upon  us.  Presently  a  shot 
is  fired — another ;  the  dead  birds  drop  on  the  water,  the 
living  plunge  headlong  into  it,  many  advance  on  wing,  but, 
being  frightened  by  the  upraised  oars,  dart  into  the  water 


GREEN  CORMORANT. 


397 


Advancing  a  little,  we  find  that  many  still  remain  on  the 
rocks,  and  of  these  we  shoot  some  more.  Presently  some  of 
those  which  had  escaped  return  and  perch ;  and  thus  we  con¬ 
tinue  shooting  until  we  have  obtained  as  many  as  we  desire. 
After  all  the  uproar,  several  still  remain  standing  near  their 
nests,  so  loth  are  they  to  quit  them.  Although  most  of  the 
nests  are  heyond  reach,  some  are  accessible.  We  find  them 
generally  bulky,  hut  sometimes  very  scanty,  formed  of  fuci, 
twigs,  heath,  and  grass,  rudely  put  together,  nearly  fiat,  or 
with  a  shallow  cavity,  containing  two,  frequently  three,  some¬ 
times  four  eggs,  never  more.  The  eggs  are  generally  soiled 
by  the  feet  of  the  birds,  like  those  of  the  Gannet  and  Grebes. 
In  some  of  the  nests  are  young  birds  in  various  stages.  At 
first  they  are  bare  all  over,  and  of  a  purplish-black  colour. 
Presently,  however,  they  are  covered  with  brownish-black 
down,  soft,  hut  not  close,  and  leaving  the  head,  part  of  the 
neck,  and  the  abdomen  hare.  Then  the  feathers  gradually 
sprout,  the  birds  rapidly  increase  in  size,  and  in  seven  or  eight 
weeks  are  fledged.  They  are  at  first  fed  with  half-digested 
fish  disgorged  by  their  mother,  and  at  length  becoming  very 
plump,  are  esteemed  delicate  food  by  the  Hebridians.  I  have 
eaten  a  portion  of  one,  hut  did  not  relish  it,  and  the  flesh  of 
the  adult  bird  is  much  worse. 

To  one  of  these  caves  is  a  narrow  passage  from  the  land. 
I  have  often  crept  into  it,  and  advancing  stealthily,  have  seen 
eight  or  ten  Scarts  below,  at  the  distance  of  a  few  yards, 
brooding  over  their  eggs  or  young,  or  standing  beside  them. 
On  the  arrival  of  their  mother,  the  young  open  their  hills 
wide,  stretching  up  their  necks  with  a  wriggling  kind  of 
motion,  and  receive  their  food  from  her  mouth.  The  nest,  as 
well  as  the  rocks  around,  is  covered  with  white  dung,  and  a 
disagreeable  stench,  as  of  putrid  fish,  emanates  from  them. 
The  Rock  Pigeons  frequently,  and  Starlings  sometimes,  roost 
and  nestle  in  these  caves.  On  my  shouting,  these  birds 
instantly  flew  off ;  but  the  Cormorants  remained  standing,  in 
a  state  of  great  anxiety,  until  I  showed  myself,  when  they 
would  take  wing,  leaving  their  young  at  my  mercy.  They 
soon  returned,  however,  and  on  my  again  hiding,  forgot  their 
alarm.  Many  little  things  are  neglected  on  such  occasions. 


398 


PHALACROCORAX  GRACULUS. 


however  keen  the  observer  may  he  ;  and  I  have  now  to  regret 
that  I  can  say  nothing  with  certainty  as  to  the  cries  of  either 
young  or  old. 

Although  most  of  them  repose  in  the  caves  and  fissures 
all  the  year,  many,  after  the  breeding  season,  roost  on  the 
shelves  of  rocks.  Sometimes,  during  very  severe  storms  in 
winter,  when  the  sea  is  so  agitated  as  to  prevent  a  bird  from 
seeing  into  it,  they  remain  at  home  all  day  ;  hut  this  seldom 
happens,  even  on  the  most  exposed  parts  of  the  coasts,  as  the 
creeks  and  little  bays  present  smoother  water.  It  does  not 
appear  that  this  species  often  visits  lakes  or  rivers.  Nor  is  it 
ever  met  with  far  out  at  sea,  its  favourite  fishing-stations 
being  the  eddies  of  channels,  hays,  and  estuaries.  Great 
numbers  frequent  particular  low  rocks  or  insular  crags,  for 
the  purpose  of  resting  at  some  period  of  the  day,  generally 
between  ebb  and  high  water.  There  they  preen  themselves, 
spread  out  their  wings  in  the  sun  or  wind,  and  repose  in  a 
standing  posture,  with  contracted  neck. 

In  dry  weather,  I  have  often  seen  individuals  of  this 
species,  while  swimming,  erect  themselves  in  the  water,  and 
spreading  out  their  wings,  remain  in  that  posture  for  a  long 
time.  On  the  rocks,  and  sometimes  on  low  islands  and  sand¬ 
banks,  it  is  common  enough  to  see  them  with  all  their  broad 
funereal  banners  spread  out.  Although  not  so  shy  as  the 
Great  Cormorants,  they  seldom  allow  a  boat  to  come  within 
shot  on  such  occasions ;  and  while  engaged  in  fishing,  they 
cannot  often  he  obtained,  on  account  of  their  vigilance,  and 
the  extreme  rapidity  of  their  movements.  On  being  fired  at, 
or  otherwise  alarmed,  they  always  dive,  and  reappear  at  a 
distance.  They  rise  heavily  from  the  water,  striking  it  with 
their  feet  and  wings  to  a  considerable  distance,  and  in  alight¬ 
ing  on  it,  or  on  the  rocks,  they  come  down  abruptly.  On 
land  they  move  clumsily,  being  incapable  of  walking  effec¬ 
tively.  Indeed,  the  roosting-places  of  many  of  them  do  not 
present  a  surface  of  a  foot  square,  and  they  never  alight  else¬ 
where  unless  for  the  purpose  of  resting.  Toward  evening, 
when  their  labours  are  finished,  they  may  be  seen  wending 
their  way  in  silence  over  the  sea,  generally  near  the  coast, 
and  in  strings,  to  their  roosting-places. 


GREEN  CORMORANT. 


399 


This  species  is  much  more  numerous  in  Scotland  than  in 
England,  and  in  the  northern  than  in  the  southern  parts  of 
the  former.  The  following  account  of  its  habits  in  the  Shet¬ 
land  Islands  has  been  sent  to  me  by  Dr.  Edmondston  : — 
“  Pelecanus  Graculus  is  remarkably  numerous  in  this 
country.  It  is  not  migratory  here  more  than  I  believe  it  is 
anywhere  else.  Although  of  great  power  on  wing,  and  one 
of  the  most  expert  divers,  it  is  never  seen  but  near  the  coast, 
so  much  so  that  seamen  acquainted  with  the  fact,  in  approach¬ 
ing  this  coast,  in  thick  weather,  regard  the  appearance  of 
Shags  as  an  infallible  indication  of  the  land  being  very  near. 
Their  food  consists  chiefly  of  young  coal-fish,  among  which 
they  commit  great  havoc.  Their  time  of  fishing  is  chiefly  at 
ebb.  Their  constant  mode  of  diving  is  by  a  spring  out  of  the 
water.  Neither  this  species  nor  the  Carbo  use  their  wings 
under  the  water  in  the  manner  of  the  Guillemots  and  Ducks 
for  instance,  but  throwing  their  powerful  webbed  feet  together 
as  a  seal  does  his  hind  paws,  they  use  them  as  a  fish  does  its 
tail,  and  dart  forward  with  great  velocity.  This  species  is 
subject  to  epidemics,  which  occasionally  greatly  reduce  its 
numbers.  It  is  neither  so  easily  tamed  nor  so  sagacious  as 
the  Cormorant.  Both  must  be  fed  on  fresh  fish  alone,  reject¬ 
ing  even  when  hungry  every  other  ;  and  under  any  circum¬ 
stances  they  will  not  thrive  without  it.  Their  tenacious¬ 
ness  of  life  is  not  so  great  as  that  of  most  other  diving  birds. 
The  male  is  the  largest,  and  his  plumage  is  of  a  more  glossy 
black.  In  summer  he  rests  on  a  ledge  of  rock  near  the  nest, 
but  does  not  seem  to  have  any  share  in  incubation  or  in  feed¬ 
ing  the  young.  The  female  is  a  perfect  pattern  of  maternal 
affection,  and  will  often  expose  herself  to  several  gun-shots 
rather  than  desert  her  charge.  The  eggs  and  young  are 
from  three  to  five,  generally  four.  The  young  birds  are  good 
eating .  The  eggs  deserve  all  the  execration  which  Pen¬ 
nant  says  even  the  Esquimaux  bestow  on  them.  I  hardly 
ever  have  seen  it  in  fresh  water.  This  bird  in  its  perfect  state 
of  plumage  is,  I  believe,  what  has  more  recently  been  termed 
Pelecanus  cristatus.  I  can  perceive  no  just  reason  for  making 
it  another  species.  The  Shag  is  more  gregarious  than  tie 
Cormorant.” 


400 


PHALACROCORAX  GRACULUS. 


It  is  equally  abundant  in  Orkney,  according  to  Mr.  Low, 
who  says  he  has  “  observed  sometimes  five  hundred  in  a 
flock,  especially  where  they  had  fallen  in  among  a  shoal  of 
small  fish.  Our  Hoy  men  and  other  rock-men  tell  us  they 
sit  in  very  large  flocks  on  the  rocks,  and  one  keeps  watch 
while  the  rest  are  asleep.  If  they  can  catch  the  watcher, 
they  are  sure  of  the  whole ;  but  if  he  gives  warning,  they 
all  throw  themselves  over  the  rock  into  the  sea.  The  rock- 
men  go  in  the  night-time  to  the  places  where  they  frequent, 
and  catch  many  of  them  as  above.”  On  all  the  rocky  shores 
of  Scotland,  its  breeding-places  are  to  be  seen  here  and 
there ;  yet  large  tracts  of  coast  occur  on  which  none  are  to 
be  seen.  Thus,  the  shores  of  the  Moray  Frith,  a  great  part 
of  the  coast  of  Morayshire,  the  coast  from  Peterhead  to 
Aberdeen,  from  Arbroath  to  Dundee,  and  thence  to  Stir¬ 
ling,  Leith,  and  Abcrlady,  produce  very  few.  On  the  Bass 
Bock  and  on  the  coast  to  the  southward  it  breeds  in  con¬ 
siderable  numbers,  as  well  as  ou  the  east  coast  of  the  north 
of  England.  Beyond  the  Humber  to  Devonshire  it  is 
scarcely  met  with  breeding ;  but  from  Cornwall  to  the 
Solway  is  plentiful  in  favourable  places,  and  from  thence  to 
Cape  Wrath  and  the  Butt  of  the  Lewis  there  is  no  lack  of 
Scarts. 

From  the  most  northern  parts  of  Europe,  including  Ice¬ 
land  and  Feroe,  it  is  said  to  extend  to  the  Mediterranean  ; 
but  it  has  not  been  met  with  on  the  coasts  of  America, 
where  its  place  is  occupied  by  a  very  similar  species,  Phala- 
crocorax  dilophus. 

I  have  only  to  add  that  the  eggs  vary  greatly  in  size  as 
well  as  in  form.  Some  are  extremely  narrow,  others  of  con¬ 
siderable  breadth ;  but  their  general  form  is  not  elliptical, 
but  oval,  one  end  being  always  decidedly  smaller,  and  some¬ 
times  even  pointed.  The  length  varies  from  two  inches  and 
seven-twelfths  to  two  inches  and  three-twelfths  ;  the  breadth 
from  an  inch  and  seven-twelfths  to  an  inch  and  live-twelfths. 

Young. — The  young,  at  first  of  a  purplish-black  or  livid 
tint  and  bare,  are  soon  covered  with  brownisli-black  down. 
When  fledged  they  have  the  upper  parts  greenish-brown. 


GREEN  CORMORANT. 


401 


the  lower  greyish-brown,  with  the  throat  and  part  of  the 
breast  inclining  to  white.  The  imbricated  feathers  of  the 
upper  parts  are  not  margined  with  a  villous  hand  as  in  the 
adult,  the  tips  of  the  filaments  being  glossy  and  of  a  brownish 
colour,  terminated  with  pale  brownish-grey.  The  lower 
mandible  and  the  sides  of  the  upper  are  brownish-flesh  - 
colour,  with  transverse  dusky  markings,  the  ridge  brown. 
The  feet  blackish  externally,  but  inclining  to  flesli-colour  on 
the  inner  side. 

Progress  toward  Maturity. — In  their  first  winter  the 
young  are  as  follows  : — The  bill  very  slender,  dusky  brown 
above,  brownish-flesh-colour  on  the  sides  and  beneath,  with 
faint  dusky  markings  on  the  lower  mandible.  The  feet 
black  externally,  dusky  brown  internally  ;  the  claws  black. 
The  membrane  of  the  lower  jaw  orange,  the  skin  at  its  base 
yellow,  around  the  eye  dusky.  The  upper  part  of  the  head 
greenish-brown ;  the  hind-neck  of  a  darker  green  ;  the 
middle  and  hind  parts  of  the  back  as  in  the  adult,  but  with 
a  tinge  of  blue ;  the  imbricated  feathers  dark  green,  with 
the  margins  still  glossy,  but  deep  black ;  the  primary  quills 
and  tail-feathers  brownish-black,  with  a  tinge  of  grey.  A 
small  part  of  the  throat  is  greyish-white ;  the  fore-neck  and 
breast  greenish-brown ;  the  hind  parts  and  sides  darker  and 
blackish-green.  At  this  period  the  bill  appears  to  have 
attained  its  full  length ;  but  being  very  slender,  contrasts  so 
with  that  of  the  old  birds,  that  it  seems  at  first  sight  to 
belong  to  a  different  species.  The  nostrils  are  closed  by  the 
time  when  the  young  is  fully  fledged. 

Remarks. — A  bird  very  nearly  allied  to  this,  named 
Phalacrocorax  Desmarestii,  has  been  described  by  M.  Tem- 
minck  and  figured  by  Mr.  Gould ;  but  the  former  naturalist 
finally  remarks  that,  having  compared  specimens  with  those 
of  Phalacrocorax  cristatus  from  Iceland  and  Feroe,  he  thinks 
the  southern  bird  the  same,  the  only  difference  being  that 
the  young  of  the  year  have  more  white  beneath.  If  Mr. 
Gould’s  figure  be  correct,  the  species,  however,  must  be  dis¬ 
tinct ;  for  among  the  great  numbers  of  Crested  Cormorants 
vol.  v.  2d 


402 


PHALACROCORAX  GRACULUS. 


which  I  have  examined,  none  had  the  hill  so  very  slender  ; 
and  those  in  which  it  was  remarkable  in  this  respect  were 
young  birds,  whereas  the  individual  figured  is  an  adult. 

It  is  quite  clear  that,  however  imperfectly  Linnaeus 
characterized  his  Pelecanus  Graculus,  he  could  have  meant 
no  other  species  than  this,  as  he  refers  to  'VVillughby  and 
Ray,  and  states  that  it  is  a  European  bird.  The  presence 
or  absence  of  the  crest,  and  the  difference  in  colour  between 
old  and  young  individuals,  rendered  the  knowledge  of  the 
Cormorants  extremely  imperfect  so  long  as  ornithology  re¬ 
mained  chiefly  in  the  hands  of  the  learned,  and  thus  the 
greatest  confusion  prevailed ;  but  since  the  species  have 
been  accurately  examined  and  described,  we  may  with  pro¬ 
priety  resume  the  Linnsean  name.  Cristatus,  the  term 
applied  to  the  present  species  by  M.  Temminck,  is  the  least 
eligible  of  all  names,  as  almost  every  species  of  the  genus  is 
crested  ;  and  minor,  employed  by  Brisson  and  others,  an¬ 
swered  only  so  long  as  two  species  were  all  that  were 
known.  M.  Temminck  has  given  the  name  of  Graculus  to 
another  species,  certainly  not  the  Linnaean,  and  which  he 
says  is  common  to  Europe  and  America,  although  none  of 
the  ornithologists  of  the  latter  continent  have  ever  met  with 
a  bird  corresponding  to  his  description.  Latterly  he  informs 
us  that  its  true  country  is  America.  It  appears  to  me  that 
this  bird  can  be  no  other  than  Phalacrocorax  dilophus. 


SULA.  GANNET. 


The  Gannets,  although  essentially  organised  like  the 
Cormorants,  are  in  many  respects  very  different  from  them  in 
external  appearance,  in  the  proportions  of  their  parts,  and  in 
their  habits.  Their  body  is  of  an  oval,  rather  elongated 
form  ;  the  neck  of  moderate  length,  and  very  thick  ;  the  head 
large. 

Bill  longer  than  the  head,  opening  beyond  the  eyes,  coni¬ 
cal,  moderately  compressed  ;  upper  mandible  with  the  ridge 
very  broad,  convex,  separated  by  grooves  from  the  sides, 
which  are  slightly  convex,  and  erect,  with  a  slender  addi¬ 
tional  piece  at  the  base,  the  edges  sharp,  direct,  irregularly 
jagged  with  numerous  small  incisions  directed  backwards,  the 
tip  a  little  dccurved,  compressed,  and  rather  acute ;  lower 
mandible  with  the  angle  extremely  long  and  narrow,  the 
sides  convex,  the  edges  direct,  sharp,  and  jagged,  the  tip  com¬ 
pressed  and  acute.  There  is  a  small  gular  sac,  of  which  a 
part  is  hare. 

The  mouth  wide  ;  the  palate  flat,  and  ridged.  Tongue 
extremely  small,  obtuse  •  oesophagus  extremely  wide,  much 
dilated  at  the  lower  part ;  the  proventricular  glands  form  a 
broad  belt,  partially  divided.  Stomach  extremely  small  and 
thin ;  intestine  of  moderate  length,  slender,  with  very  small 
coeca. 

Nostrils  obliterated.  Eyes  rather  small,  surrounded  and 
preceded  by  a  bare  space.  Aperture  of  ears  small.  Feet 
short,  placed  rather  far  behind  ;  tibia  concealed  ;  tarsus  very 
short,  sharp  behind,  scaly,  with  three  lines  of  small  scutella 
continued  on  the  toes.  First  toe  rather  small,  directed  in¬ 
wards  and  forwards,  third  toe  longest;  all  connected  by  mem¬ 
branes  ;  claws  slightly  arched,  that  of  the  third  pectinate  on 
the  expanded  inner  edge. 


404 


SULA.  GANNET. 


Plumage  dense,  on  the  head  and  neck  blended.  Wings 
very  long,  narrow,  acute.  Feet  rather  long,  graduated. 

Species  of  this  genus  occur  in  both  hemispheres.  They 
fly  at  a  moderate  height,  with  a  steady  motion,  and,  on  dis¬ 
covering  their  prey  in  the  water,  plunge  headlong  after  it ;  on 
emerging  rest  a  little,  and  then  fly  off  to  renew  their  search. 
They  never  swim  about  in  searching  for  food,  and  are  seldom 
to  be  seen  resting  on  the  water. 


405 


SULA  BASSANA.  THE  COMMON  GANNET. 

SOLAN  GOOSE. 


Fig.  86. 


Pelecanus  bassanus.  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.  I.  219. 

Pelecanus  bassanus.  Lath.  Ind.  Ornith.  II.  891. 

Fou  blanc.  Sula  alba.  Temm.  Man.  d’Ornith.  II.  905. 

Gannet.  Mont.  Ornith.  Diet,  and  Supplt. 

Solan  Gannet.  Sula  bassana.  Selby,  Illustr.  Brit.  Ornith.  420. 
Sula  Bassana.  deny  ns,  Brit.  Vert.  Anim.  263. 


Bill  bluish-grey  ;  bare  parts  about  the  eyes  and  bill  black- 
ish-blue ;  plumage  white ;  head  and  hind  neck  light  yellowish- 
red  ;  primary  quills  brownish-black.  Young  dusky ,  each 
feather  tipped  with  a  small  triangular  white  spot. 

Male  in  Summer. — The  Common  Gannet  is  a  large  and 
strongly-constructed  bird,  having  the  body  of  a  rather  elon¬ 
gated  compressed  oval  form  ;  the  neck  of  moderate  length  and 
great  thickness  ;  the  head  large  and  roundish.  Bill  longer 


406 


SULA  BASSANA. 


than  the  head,  opening  to  beyond  the  eyes,  straight,  of  an 
elongated,  conical  form,  moderately  compressed,  slightly 
deflected  at  the  tip.  Upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  outline 
straight  and  decimate,  at  the  end  a  little  decurved  ;  the  ridge 
very  broad,  convex,  separated  on  each  side  by  a  groove  from 
the  sides,  which  are  nearly  erect,  slightly  convex,  and  are 
jointed  at  the  base  to  a  narrow  supplemental  piece  placed 
below  the  eye ;  the  edges  sharp,  direct,  irregularly-jagged 
with  numerous  slender  fissures  directed  backwards  ;  the  tip 
a  little  decurved,  compressed,  and  sharp-edged,  but  rounded 
horizontally.  Lower  mandible  with  the  angle  very  long  and 
narrow,  the  dorsal  outline  straight  and  ascending,  the  sides 
erect  and  convex,  the  edges  sharp  and  direct,  the  tip  com¬ 
pressed  and  acute.  A  hare  membrane  extends  from  between 
the  crura  of  the  lower  mandible,  down  the  throat,  narrow, 
and  ending  acutely.  A  membrane  round  the  base  of  the  hill, 
occupying  also  the  loral  spaces,  and  surrounding  the  eyes. 

The  tongue  presents  the  appearance  of  a  small  oblong, 
posteriorly  emarginate  knob,  a  quarter  of  an  inch  only  in 
length.  There  are  five  sharp  ridges  on  the  roof  of  the  mouth. 
The  nasal  aperture  is  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length,  linear, 
with  a  soft  longitudinal  flap  on  each  side.  The  aperture  of 
the  glottis  seven-twelfths  long,  with  the  edges  smooth,  and 
having  behind  two  transverse  curved  smooth  edges.  The 
oesophagus  fifteen  inches  long,  to  the  proventriculus,  which 
is  three  inches  in  length.  It  is  extremely  wide,  nearly  uni¬ 
form  in  diameter,  dilatable  to  four  inches, hut  when  moderately 
inflated  about  two  inches  wide,  and  half  an  inch  less  at  its 
entrance  into  the  thorax.  Its  inner  coat  is  smooth  and  even, 
hut  when  contracted  forms  strong  longitudinal  plaits.  The 
proventriculus  two  and  a  half  inches  in  width,  hut  dilatable 
to  four  and  a  half ;  its  glandules  oblong-cylindrical,  three- 
twelfths  long,  disposed  in  two  roundish  masses,  separated  by 
one  interval  of  about  five-twelfths.  The  stomach  is,  compara¬ 
tively,  very  small,  being  only  an  inch  and  three-fourths  in 
length,  and  nearly  of  the  same  breadth  ;  its  muscular  coat 
very  thin,  with  two  small  roundish  tendons,  about  three- 
twelfths  in  diameter.  The  mucous  coat  is  very  soft  and 
smooth,  with  several  large  gastric  crypts.  The  pylorus  has  a 


COMMON  GANNET. 


407 


semicircular  thickened  rim  above,  and  a  two-lobed  valve 
below,  having  a  similar  thickened  margin.  The  intestine  is 
five  feet  five  inches  long,  its  width  in  the  duodenal  portion 
seven-twelfths,  diminishing  to  four-twelfths.  The  cocca, 
which  are  placed  at  the  distance  of  five  inches  and  a  half  from 
the  anus,  are  half  an  inch  in  length.  The  intestine  is 
arranged  in  seven  double  folds,  lying  obliquely,  and  gradually 
diminishing. 

The  nostrils  are  completely  closed,  their  places  being  only 
indicated  by  some  rugae.  The  eyes  of  moderate  size.  The 
apertures  of  the  ears  very  small,  being  only  two-twelfths  in 
diameter.  The  feet  short,  strong  ;  the  tibiae  concealed ;  tar¬ 
sus  very  short,  rounded  before,  sharp  behind,  covered  at  its 
upper  part  anteriorly  with  roundish  flat  scales,  elsewhere  with 
very  small  oblong  tubercles  ;  anteriorly,  three  lines  of  small 
transversely-oblong  scutella  run  down  to  he  continued  on  the 
toes.  The  first  toe  rather  small,  directed  inwards  and  for¬ 
wards  ;  the  third  toe  longest,  hut  the  fourth  almost  equal ; 
the  membranes  full,  minutely  tuberculate.  Claws  mode¬ 
rate,  slightly  arched,  the  third  with  its  inner  side  inciso- 
serrate. 

Plumage  close,  compact ;  on  the  head  and  neck  rather 
long  and  blended.  Wings  long,  very  narrow,  acute  ;  pri¬ 
maries  strong,  tapering  rapidly  to  a  rounded  point ;  the  first 
longest,  the  rest  rapidly  graduated ;  secondaries  very  short, 
rather  broad,  rounded  with  a  minute  tip.  Tail  rather  long, 
graduated,  of  twelve  straight,  stiff  feathers,  those  in  the 
middle  acute,  the  rest  moderatelv  rounded. 

Bill  pale  bluish  grey,  the  lines  on  the  upper  mandible 
blackish-blue,  as  are  the  bare  spaces  about  the  eyes,  and  that 
on  the  throat.  Iris  bluish-white.  Feet  deep  brown,  the  lines 
of  scutella  apple-green  ;  the  claws  bluish  horn-colour.  The 
general  colour  of  the  plumage  is  white  ;  the  head  and  hind 
neck  pale  reddish-yellow  ;  alula,  primaries,  and  first  second¬ 
ary  brownish-black,  their  shafts  white  toward  the  base. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  36  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  TO ; 
wing  from  flexure  20  ;  bill  along  the  ridge  4,  along  the  edge 
of  lower  mandible  6  ;  tarsus  ;  first  toe  and  claw  1J ; 
middle  toe  and  claw  4f. 


408 


SULA  BASSANA. 


Female. — The  female  is  similar  to  the  male. 

Length  33  inches  ;  extent  of  wings  67  ;  bill  along  the 
ridge  4TV ;  tarsus  2-f\ ;  middle  toe  and  claw  4T27. 

The  above  descriptions  are  from  a  very  fine  male  shot  on 
the  Bass,  by  Mr.  De  Jersey,  in  the  beginning  of  May  1824, 
and  a  female  from  the  same  place,  examined  in  July  of  the 
same  year.  The  digestive  organs,  however,  are  described 
from  a  male  shot  on  the  Bass  in  August,  1836. 

Habits. — Gannets  appear  to  be  constantly  resident  on 
the  coasts  of  Britain,  though  they  change  their  stations,  and 
may  disappear  entirely  at  one  season  from  a  place  which  they 
had  frequented  in  another.  In  winter  they  are  often  to  be 
seen  in  the  Channel,  and  even  among  the  Orkney  Islands, 
and  I  have  seen  some  in  the  Firth  of  Forth  in  the  beginning 
of  February.  It  is  not,  however,  until  they  resort  to  their 
breeding-places  that  they  attract  much  notice,  and  then  they 
are  all  day  long  to  be  seen,  often  in  great  nu