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The discovery of this interesting bird in this part of India is noteworthy, as I do not believe it has hitherto been obtained any where in India, certainly never recorded. Up to the present it has been only known as a native of Japan, Sumatra, Philippines, Arrakan (Ramri Island), Ceylon and the Nicobars (Hume). The specimen, a male, agrees well with Mr. A. O. Hume's excellent description from the last-named locality in “Stray Feathers, Vol. II, p. 313.” Mr. Chennell's dimensions in the flesh are “wing 107, tail 5, tarsus 3-0, bill at front 19. Bill dark horny;” these I have checked and find correct, the wing I make exactly 11:0. The tarsus of the Nicobar bird appears to be very much shorter than in Schlegel’s description and in this specimen from Assam.
950. SARCIDIORNIS MELANONOTUS, Pennant. There is a head of this species in Mr. Chennell's collection from Upper
*987. STERNA MELANOGASTRA, Temminck.
Notes on Species recorded in former Lists.
79. ATIILNE CUCULOIDEs.
Mr. Chennell writes me an interesting account connected with the habits of this bird “One evening last January while in search of Polyplee. “tron, several of which were calling about my camp at Gorhanga, I came “upon two birds struggling desperately on the ground. I shot both, one “turned out to be an owl, Athene cuculoides 2 and the other a thrush “Myiophonus temminckii. 3. The little owl had so furiously attacked the “thrush that even in death its strong talons were firmly fixed in the “victim’s back.”
157. PICUS MACEI.
In the colour of the ear-coverts there is, I find, very great variance from pure white to pale earthy brown; they are white in a female from
Sadiya. 311. MUSCICAPULA TSTIGMA. The young bird is dull umber-brown above, the feathers tipped pale rufous and edged darkly, giving it a very speckly appearance. Upper tail coverts rufous umber. Secondary coverts forming a narrow wing bar, 3 last secondaries edged in the same way. Beneath white, some of the feathers tipped dark brown. Wings and tail ashy umber-brown, From Shillong Peak. July, (ea coll, Chennell.)
316. NILTAVA GRANDIS.
I have a specimen of this species in its young plumage which is worth description.
Above, brown with a rufous shade, the feathers of the head shafted ferruginous, those of the wing coverts, lower back and rump broadly tipped with the same colour and edged black. Tail dark chestnut brown, wings umber-brown. Beneath, breast ferruginous brown with some dusky edgings, giving a slightly barred appearance, paling to whitish on abdomen.
330. PNOEPYGA PUSILLA, war.
A specimen in Mr. Chennell's collection is in a very interesting stage of plumage. It is uniform brown, the feathers not so scale-like as usual, only a very few of the feathers on the lower back having terminal spots to them ; in size and form of bill it is the same as the type. I was at first inclined to consider it distinct, but it is better to wait until we see more similar specimens before naming it, for it appears immature. The wings are rusty umber-brown, chin pale, breast and belly ashy umber with no bars or markings.
W. 1:8, T. very short, t. O-7, Bf. 943.
Erom the N. Khási Hills.
346. PITTA. CUCULLATA, Hartlaub. I have seen a specimen in Mr. Chennell’s collection which he obtained in the N. Khási Hills, and he only saw one other. I have already alluded to the apparent rarity of the species in these Hills.
3864. PYCTORITIS ALTIROSTRIs, Jerdon.
I observe that Mr. Hume is still of opinion that his Bhūtán Duár bird is distinct from altirostris, and in Stray Feathers, Vol. V, No. 2, p. 116, he has named it griseigularis (relying on Dr. Jerdon's description being correct). Had Mr. Hume looked up the “Fifth List of Birds from the N. E. Frontier,” J. A. S. B.,Vol. XLV, Pt. II, p. 197, he would have seen that after the intimation of the re-discovery of the species (Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist, Jany. 1876) the type of altirostris turned up in the British Museum, and that my specimens had been compared with it, leaving no doubt in my mind that they are identical, both in plumage and bill. Mr. Hume's specimens and my own, moreover, come from the same line of country, the great plain north of the Brahmaputra, Dr. Jerdon's description is short, but applies very fairly in every way, save in respect to the bill, which is deeper than in Sinensis. Jerdon says “making an approach to Paradow.ornis,” by this he may have intended to convey only a very slight approach. The following appear to be the principal differences in the description of the plumage.
Above “slightly brownish ferruginous,” Hume, Vol. V, or “rather dark ferruginous brown,” Hume, Vol. IV. = “pale reddish brown,” Jerdon.
Beneath “dull rusty,” Hume, Vol. V, or “Brownish buff deeper coloured &c.,” Hume, Vol. IV, - “pale fulvescent,” Jerdon.
Under wing-coverts “pale yellowish fawn,” Hume, Vol. V, - “pale ferruginous,” Jerdon.
When such distinctions as these are made the basis om which to found new species, it is I think advisable to wait, and if possible compare with the type. But in altirostris we have one very marked character which Dr. Jerdon did not overlook, viz., “forehead and streak over the eye hoary grey.” No two men agree in describing various shades of brown, olivegreen &c., an important element being the kind of light the skins are placed in, and individual sensitiveness to colour. It is satisfactory to know that the type of altirosłris has been found, otherwise we should have been left in a cloud of doubt regarding even its very existence, for in Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 116, an idea is thrown out that Dr. Jerdon had got hold of a variety of Pyotorhis sinensis when he was at Thyet-Myo. Even had the type of altirosłris been lost, I hold it would have been better to consider it as re-discovered in Assam, and then have waited for it to turn up again on the Irrawady (where I am sure it will be found”) before giving the Assam bird a new title.
427c. ACTINURA. EGERTONI, Gould. War. Khasiana, Godwin-Austen. This is referred to in my list of Dafla Hill Birds and is the species
noted as near Egertoni in my First List.
437a. MALACOCERCUs (LAYARDIA.) ROBIGINOSUs, Godwin-Austen, described in J. A. S. B., 1874, p. 164, is the Pyctorhis longirostris, Hodgson, of Moore's Catalogue of Birds in the Indian Museum. I have compared my specimens with the type and only observe that those from Eastern Assam are larger. I was misled into describing it under a new name by a specimen which is only a slight variety of Pye, sinensis, labelled wrongly P. longirosłris, in the British Museum. At the time I described M. robiginosus the Indian Museum birds were still packed away and not to be got at, and I trusted to the correctness of Mr. Gray's identification of the British Museum bird. I was further misled by longirostris being placed in the genus Pyotorhis, with which it has no affinity, but is a true
* It has been re-found by Mr. Oates, see Stray Feathers, V, p. 249.-ED.
531a. ORTHOTOMUs ATRIGULARIs, Temminck.
On comparing this with a specimen from Tenasserim eollected by Mr. O. Limborg, I notice that in the former the chestnut on the head does not extend so far back on the nape as in the latter, and in a specimen from the Gáro Hills it is confined to the frontal part of the head only. Assam birds have the darkish sub-terminal tip to the tail feathers as mentioned by Mr. Moore in his description. The abdominal portion is not so pure a white in the Assam bird. e
619.a. MINLA RUFIGULARIs, Mandelli. This is Alcippe collaris, Walden.
I have compared a specimen sent home lately by Mr. Hume and find it identical with the Assam form. Mandelli's title has priority.
619b. MINIA MANDELLII, Godwin-Austen.
Through the kindness of Mr. P. L. Sclater I have been able to com- pare M. Hume's Proparus dubius from South Burma with this bird ; it is clearly distinct, one of those interesting representative races we so often find at the extreme limit of range. Ils, dubius is much paler beneath and has not got the white markings on the nape. It would be conferring a great service to ornithology if Mr. Hume would always send home similar doubtful species, which can only be satisfactorily determined by comparison with types in public and private collections.
W.—An Account of the Tidal Observations in the Gulf of Cutch, conducted by the Great Trigonometrical Survey, under the Superintendence of CoLoREL J. T. WALKER, C. B., R. E., during the years 1873-74-75. Compiled from the G. T. Survey Reports by CAPTAIN J. WATERHousE, Assistant Surveyor General.
Origin and Object of the Observations.—In his Report on the Operations of the Great Trigonometrical Survey for 1866-67, Col. Walker writes: “Dr. Oldham, the Superintendent of the Geological Survey of India, has recently drawn the attention of the Government to certain questions which have been raised regarding secular changes in the relative level of the land and sea, which are believed to be going on in various parts of the Bombay Presidency, and more particularly at the head of the Gulf which separates the province of Cutch from that of Katty war. Dr. Oldham recommends that certain points should be selected on the south coast of Ratty war, and as far up the Gulf as possible, and that the existing relative levels of land and sea should be determined at those points by accurate tidal observations carried over as long a period as possible, the tidal stations being connected by lines of levels. Thus, by repeating the operations at a time sufficiently distant to allow the secular changes to reach an appreciable magnitude, this question, which is of much scientific importance, will be satisfactorily settled.” The Government of India sanctioned the observations being made, and Col. Walker was making arrangements for carrying them out, when a very considerable reduction in the expenditure of the Survey Department, in consequence of the financial difficulties in 1869-70, caused the indefinite postponement of the operations. It was not until August 1872 that steps could be taken for commencing them. The delay which thus took place is, however, not to be regretted, because it resulted in the investigations being carried on in a more complete and elaborate manner than had been originally contemplated, with a view to acquiring more comprehensive and accurate results than were at first desired. Happening to be present at the Meeting (in Edinburgh) of the British Association in 1871, Colonel Walker ascertained that a Committee of the Association, presided over by Sir William Thomson, had initiated a system of tidal investigations which was anticipated to secure scientific results of the highest value. On studying the details of these operations he found that his original programme, which contemplated tidal observations of only a few weeks’ duration, would be inadequate to detect the existence of minute