« السابقةمتابعة »
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 fight among their congeners, 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 twenty-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.
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, Halictus, 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, Sylviadæ, Muscicapide, Columbide, 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 chrysaetos 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 Haliatus. 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.