صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[graphic]

tion from Northern India, from one from Southern India; or a collection from the Malayan Peninsula from one from any other part of Asia. The same holds true in regard to collections from different parts of the American Continents. Moreover, in the Continent of Australasia we have an ornithology in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson quite different from that we find at Moreton Bay. Thus the Alectura lathami, Gray," found at the latter, is not found in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson, its place being there supplied by the Menura lyra Sh. or M. Novce Hollandice Lath. It has also been shewn by Professor Jameson, that even in some of the larger islands we have a zoology quite different from that we meet with in the adjoining Continents. Thus he states- In the island of Sumatra, which is only a secondaryone in point of magnitude in the Archipelago of Notasia, we meet with the Elephant, Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, &c.; but the species of animals are often different from those in the neighbouring Continents — . Thus the Rhinoceros of Sumatra is different from that of Asia Madagascar produces many species of snakes, which are found no where else. The inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land are very different from those of New Holland, and the greater number of mammiferous animals and reptiles are specifically different from those met with in the neighbouring Continents. That many of the islands of the Indian Archipelago have a zoology peculiar to themselves, has been proved by the researches of Raffles, Horsfield, Sonnerat, Leschenault, Reinwardt, Dussumier, Duvaucel, Diard, Belanger, Kuhl, &c., all of whom have increased our knowledge more or less in regard to them. Nor are the islands farther in the south without their own peculiar Fauna. Thus we find in New Zealand not only a great many species, but even many genera which are found to exist no where else. It is here that we meet with that most extraordinary bird the Apteryx Australis, first described by Shaw, but whose existence has more than once been called in question, although erroneously, as has been pointed out by Yarrel.

In New Guinea we also meet with a particular Fauna. It is here that we find the splendid group of Paradise Birds. We have

21

19 Proc. Zool. Soc.
20 Lesson Tracte d'Ornith. p. 12. et Man, d’Ornith. vol. ii. p. 210.

21 Tran. Zool. Soc. vol. i. and Zool. Proceed. pt. i. pp. 24, 80. Of this bird there are now several specimens in Europe. In the collection of the Zoological Society of London we saw one specimen, in the Liverpool collection there is an innperfect specimen, and we believe that there is a very fine specimen in the collection of the Earl of Derby, from which Yarrel drew up his description and made his drawing. See Trans. Zool. Soc. vol. i.

therefore in our tables more for convenience, or rather till we get more information on the subject, arranged the birds under the heads of the different Continents, and including all the islands south of Java and Sumatra in the Continent of New Holland, adopting the term of Australasia.

Let us now enter more in detail, and trace out some of Mr. Swainson's so-called zoological provinces. We shall first notice his European or Caucasian Province.

In tracing out the geographic distribution of this province, Mr. Swainson has divided the birds into a series of groups, or orders, thus Rapaces, Grallatores, Natatores, Gallinaceæ, Scansores, &c., which we shall now notice individually. In regard to the first of these groups, he makes the following statement-“ The rapacious order, next to the aquatic tribe, is of all others inhabiting the land the most widely spread. This is particularly the case among the nocturnal species. It is remarkable that of thirteen different Owls inhabiting Europe, six only are peculiar; and two of these more particularly inhabit the arctic regions. Of the rest, four occur in America, two in South. ern Africa, and one both in Asia and America. The Falconido, or diurnal birds of prey, in regard to their species, have a more restricted distribution than the nocturnal; yet of these, the Eagles enjoy no inconsiderable range ; of four discovered in Europe (I here use his own words22) one is more properly arctic, three have been found in several parts of Africa, and one occurs in America-leaving three only to Europe. It is singular, he continues, that those rapacious birds which, from the peculiar structure of their wings, have been supposed to enjoy the greatest powers of flight among their con. geners, should nevertheless have a much more limited range. This is proved by the fact, that of eight genuine Falcons inhabiting Europe and Northern Africa, two only have been discovered in America. It has, however, recently been stated that the Peregrine Falcon of Australia is absolutely the same as that of Europe." Upon the whole, the distribution of the forty-four European birds of prey appears to be thus regulated-three are more properly arctic; eleven are found also in America, two in Asia and Africa, and one in Asia and America; leaving trenty-seven, or more than one half, as

22 Geography and Classification of Animals, p. 22. See also Murray's Encyclop. of Geography, vol. i.

23 In regard to the identity of the Peregrine Falcon of Europe and Australia there can be no dispute. We examined minutely the specimen described by Horsfield and Vigors in the Linnæan Trans. now deposited in the Museum of that Society, but could not discover one trivial character of difference. For permission to examine it, and the collection generally, we were indebted to Prof. Don.

[graphic]

characteristic of European Ornithology." How Mr. Swainson could have come to such conclusions, seems to us very remarkable ; not one of the statements which he has made, being at all correct. Thus of the thirty-five species of diurnal rapacious birds found in Europe and comprehended in the genera Vultur, Neophron, Gypaetos, Falco, Aquila, Haliætus, Pandion, Circætus, Astur Accipiter, Milvus, Nauclerus, Elanus, Pernis, Buteo, Butaetes, and Circus, four are common to Europe and Asia ; three common to Europe and Africa; three common to Europe and North America ; ten common to Europe, Asia, and Africa ; four common to Europe, Asia, and North America ; one common to Europe, Africa (?) and North America ; one common to Europe, Asia, and Australasia ; one common to Europe, North and South America; one common to Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America; and three (?) cosmopolite, or found in all the different Continents of the world ; leaving only four species proper to Europe, or in the proportion of 1 to 8%, and it is even doubtful at present whether all the four species are confined to Europe. But Mr. Swainson has marked out in a particularly prominent manner the genera of Falcons and Eagles, properly so called, in order to shew that the distribution of birds is not in an equal ratio with their powers of flight-a statement no doubt quite correct; but he has been very unfortunate in his illustrations, for among all the tribes of European birds, the Falcons and Eagles possess a most extensive distribution. Thus of the nine species of Falcons (one or two of which seem to be only occasional European visitants), two alone are proper to Europe ; three common to Europe and Asia ; one common to Europe and Africa; one common to Europe and North America; one common to Europe, Asia, and North America ; and one common to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia, North and South America."

That the maxim, as the powers of flight so is the distribution, is not correct, many instances could be given; and in no tribe have we a stronger evidence to the contrary than in the Rallidæ, seeing that they exist in the western hemisphere, so far north as Hudson's Bay, and in the eastern, as far south as the Sandwich islands, having thus a range of about 105° of latitude, and nearly 280° of longitude; and it is well known that the powers of flight in this

24 Ch. Luc. Bonaparte, in his Catalogue of American and European Birds, gives a new name to the Osprey of America; upon what grounds we know not. Gould in his work on the Birds of New Holland, now publishing, has described the Osprey of that quarter as a new species, to do which he is not at all entitled, there being no characters whatever presented to mark them as specifically distinct. In the Ed. Museum there is one specimen from New Holland, agreeing in every character with specimens, killed in Europe. The same remarks apply to the American species.

[ocr errors][merged small]

tribe is not at all well developed, at least to such a degree as to account for its extensive distribution. Nor does this remark apply to this group alone, many other examples, if it were necessary, could be given. In regard to the Eagles, Mr. Swainson's statements are equally inaccurate. Thus of the nine Eagles included in the genera Aquila, Haliætus, Pandion, and Circaetus, two are common to Europe, Asia, and Africa ; one common to Europe and North America ; one common to Europe and Asia ; one common to Europe and Africa ; two common to Europe, Africa, and North America; one cosmopolite ; leaving only one proper to Europe; for it seems not at all improbable, that the Aquila imperialis will be found extending throughout the African Continent. Moreover it may be stated as a general rule, that in whatever families we observe a large series of modifications, there we have a wide distribution. This is strikingly the case in the Falconidæ, Anatide, Sylviade, Muscicapidæ, Columbidæ, Fringillide, Laridæ, Turdidæ, Laniadæ, &c. Nor is this rule confined to the ornithological kingdom ; we have a similar arrangement exhibited in the mammalogical, as well as in many of the other kingdoms of the organic world ; and when we direct our attention to the inorganic, we can trace out a similar arrangement. Thus in those families in the mineral kingdom in which the physical and external characters are very various, in them we find a most extensive distribution, as is well exemplified by the quartz, calcareous spar, and garnet families, modifications of which occur in every formation, from the oldest up to the newest ; in every climate, from the inhospitable regions of Melville island to the tropics, and in all the intermediate spaces ; and, on the other hand, from the tropics as far south as 70°, and also at all heights and depths yet attained by man, viz. from 20,000 feet above, to 1600 feet below, the level of the sea.*

In regard to the nocturnal birds of prey, comprehended in the genera Strix, Bubo, Otus, Scops, Surnia, Ulula, Syrnium, and Noctua, we have the following statement to make, which is quite at variance with that given by Swainson. Thus of the fifteen Owls found in Europe, three only are proper to it, one of these doubtful; common to

25 Mr. Gray, in General Hardwicke's Work on Indian Zoology has figured a bird under this name, which however is quite a different species. The specimens noticed in the Asiatic Society's Journal for November, 1838, as varieties of the Aquila chrys. aetos by Dr. Evans, are quite different birds ; in fact they do not belong to the genus Aquila at all, being characteristic specimens of the genus Haliætus. The bird is a new species, and the only other specimen we have seen is in the collection of the Zoological Society, London.

26 Jameson's manuscript Lectures on Miner. see also Man. and Syst. of Mineralogy.

[graphic]

3

« السابقةمتابعة »