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rather curious, it being the only bird which is so. Moreover the manner in which Mr. Swainson has traced the distribution of this tribe is much to be questioned, it appearing to us a more plausible than real one, many of his statements no doubt being founded on the peculiarity of the country; at least we are not at all aware of any thing being stated by any author which would authorize him to make such statements, and he makes no mention of being guided by personal examinations, which he no doubt would have done had he travelled in these regions, seeing that there is no individual more ready to inform us of the extent of his travels.
In regard to his next division, we have the following statement"The Swallow-like birds, Fissirostres," says he, " are well known by capturing their food on the wing, and by their migratory habits; only one, the common or European Kingfisher, being stationary. Hence it is, that most of the European species occur in other regions; the proportion of those which appear confined to Northern Africa is as I to 3." He does not give any more details in regard to the Fissirostres, leaving his readers to fill up the rest by their own imagination. In his proportional number of species he is not correct. Thus of the fourteen included in the genera Hirundo, Caprimulgus, Merops, Coracias, Alcedo, three are probably confined to Europe; and of the others, three are proper to Europe and Asia; to Europe and Africa, three; to Europe, Asia, and Africa, three; to Europe, Africa, and North America, one; and to Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America (?) one ; thus leaving a proportion of 1 to 3; but as many of the species, as stated by Mr. Swainson, of this order are migratory, it renders the proportional number very doubtful; at least it is very liable to vary.
In regard to the Scansores, Mr. Swainson states their number to be fifteen, including probably the genera Picus, Apternus, Yunx, Sitta, Certhia, Tichodroma, Upupa, and Cuculus, eight of which he states are confined to Europe; and as for the distribution of the other seven, as in the Fissirostres, he gives us no information. The number of species however is eighteen, and of these eleven are proper to Europe; two common to Europe and North America; three common to Europe and Asia; one common to Europe, Asia, and Africa; and one, the Wryneck (Yunx torquilla) common to Europe, Asia, and North Ame rica, which was many years ago pointed out." Whether all of the above ten species are proper to Europe, is at present a question, owing
29 Loc. Cit. P. 24.
30 Jam. Edin. New Phil. Jour. and James Wilson's Quart. Rev.
to the near approximation of several species from Northern India, which still require further examination; and before the point can be settled, a large series of specimens will require to be examined. In the Indian Creeper (Certhia vitticauda, Jam.) and Indian Nuthatch, (Sitta Himalehensis)" although we have many characters in common with the European, yet still there are many others entitling us to consider them as specifically distinct. The occurrence of the former species in Northern India was a most interesting discovery, pointing out that the genus Certhia is more widely distributed than was originally imagined. In several of the Woodpeckers of Northern and Southern India we have also a great similarity with the European species, and in fact so remarkable, as to cause several of the more recent writers to consider them as identical.
In noticing the Crow and Starling families (Corvidae and Sturnidae) Mr. Swainson has made some most extraordinary statements. Thus he states that not only several species, but even peculiar genera are left to characterise this portion of the world. To us this is quite unintelligible. Species we have, we will admit, but as for genera in this group peculiar to Europe, there are none; and even among the whole birds of this so called province, there is not one genus peculiar to it, if we except one or two among the Sylviade, whose generic characters however must be called in question; and even if they should latterly be found to be correct, it would give but little more weight to Mr. Swainson; for there is no group hitherto more neglected, and of which our knowledge is so imperfect, than the Sylviada.
For many years, no doubt, the genera Cinclus" and Nucifraga were supposed to be confined to Europe; but species belonging to the former have been found in North America and Northern India; and in regard to the latter, we have one species occurring in Northern India, considered erroneously by some authors as identical with the European-it is the Nucifraga hemispila of Vigors. We shall after
31 This bird has received other two names. It has been described by Vigors as the Certhia Himalayana, Proc. Zool. Soc. Pt. i. p. 174, and by Swainson as the Certhia Asiatica, Anim. Menag. p. 353.
32 Jard. and Selb. Zool. Illust.
33 The distribution of the Dippers stands thus-In Europe we have two species, one proper, the other being also found in Northern India. In America N. and S. (?) one species (Cinclus Americanus). The new species described by Bonaparte is the above. Audubon, since the above was written, informed us that he had received two new Cincli and a true Nucifraga from the Rocky mountains, the latter however had been long before described as a Corvus. Brehm has described a third species under the name of Cinclus melanogaster, it however appears to me to be a mere variety of the Cinclus aquaticus.
wards notice the European genera in regard to their distribution, but in the mean time shall confine our attention to the distribution
of the species. In regard to the species included in the genera Corvus, Sturnus, &c. Mr. Swainson states their number at twentyone found in Europe, thirteen of which, or more than one half, habitually reside; four occur in Northern and Central Africa; one common to Europe, Asia, and Africa; and three found in America. Nor are the above statements even in regard to the species correct. Thus of the seventeen species, for we cannot make out more, included in the genera Corvus fregilus, Pyrrhocorax garrulus, Nucifraga, Pastor, and Sturnus, six are proper to Europe; four common to Europe and Asia; one common to Europe and Africa ; three common to Europe, Asia, and Africa; two common to Europe, Asia, and North America; and one common to Europe, Asia, Australasia (?) and North America. We mark Australasia with an interrogation, for the occurrence of the Corvus corone in that Continent seems doubtful. It is upon the authority of M. Lesson," that we make the statement; who, however, we rather think has confounded with it a nearly allied, but quite distinct species. M. T'emminck" has also in his Catalogue of the Birds of Japan given the Garrulus glandarius, and marks it as the Japanese variety, which it undoubtedly ought only to be considered, for the characters which it presents vary so little from those of the European, and are of such a trivial nature. It is not to be confounded with the Garrulus bispecularis of Vigors," a wellmarked species, also presenting a close affinity to the European, it however is confined to Northern India. In the Garrulus melanocephalus, Bon." we have another species presented, bearing a close affinity to the European, but it not only differs in several characters, but also, like the two Indian species, has a quite different distribution, representing in its locality the common Garrulus glandarius."
34 Ann. de Sci. Nat.
35 Man. d' Ornith, vol. iii. Introd.
36 Proceed. Zool. Soc. Pt. i. p. 7. Gould's Cent.
37 Gen. Mem. of the Acad. of Turin, vol. xxxvii. p. 298.
38 Strickland on the Birds of Asia Minor. Proc. of Zool. Pt. iv. p. 97.
(To be Continued.)
ART. IV.-On a new Genus of the Fissirostral Tribe. By B. H. HODGSON, ESQ. Catamandu.
[Note by the Editors.-This and the following paper were transmitted to the late Editor more than two and a half years back, and were acknowledged at the time, though by some accident afterwards mislaid. The expert ornithologist will perceive that Mr. H's. genus Raya is equivalent to the Psarisoma of Swainson, and the Crossodera of Gould; but, by referring to dates, it will be seen that Mr. H. was the first person to characterise this new form, of which he has given two species.]
Dentirostres todide, Swainson.-Fissirostres todida, Vigors.-Syndactyles, Cuvier.
Genus-new, Ráya nobis. Species two, new, Sericeogula and Rubropygia. Rai and Rai Súga of the Nipalese. Habitat, Central and lower regions.
These singular birds might be considered with almost equal propriety as the Dentirostral type of the Fissirostres, or the Fissirostral type of the Dentirostres.
Swainson would regard them in the latter light; Vigors in the former; Cuvier would probably have placed them with hesitation among his Syndactyles. They seem to me to be compounded of Tityra and Eurylaimus-two parts of the latter, and one of the former.
The bill is shorter, broader, more arched along the culmen, less suddenly hooked, as well as more deeply cleft in the head than in Tityra; it is longer, and more covered by those frontal plumes which entirely conceal the nares, than in Eurylaimus. The nostrils have exactly the same character as in Tityra, but they are considerably more advanced, being nearer to the tip than to the gape. The wings agree in their gradation with those of Tityra, but they are shorter and feebler than in that genus, or in Eurylaimus; and in consonance probably with this feebler structure of the wing is the elongation and extreme gradation of the tail of our birds, a feature in which they differ alike from Tityra and from Eurylaimus.
The feet of the Raya, like their bills, more nearly resemble those of Eurylaimus than those of Tityra; and whilst they differ from both genera by the smoothness of the acrotarsia, they depart from their otherwise strict correspondences with the feet of the former genus by the essential circumstance of a more restricted junction between the toes. In Eurylaimus the exterior toe is united to the end of the second phalanx, the interior, to the end of the first. This, the typical syndactyle structure, is only half developed in Raya; the connexion between whose lateral fore toes reaches forward only to the middle of the respective joints.
With these preliminary remarks we shall proceed to characterise the genus or sub-genus Raya, thus
Bill shaped as in Eurylaimus, but equal to the head, or longer, and having the soft frontal zone more produced, and concealing the nares; orbits nude; head large and crested; gape very wide and smooth; wings scarcely exceeding the base of the tail, rather feeble; the third and fourth quills longest and equal; the first and second, very slightly gradated; the primaries plus the tertiaries by about half an inch.
Tarsi longer than central digit, slender, smooth, more or less plumose; toes and nails as in Eurylaimus exactly, but the connexion of the lateral fore toes reaching only to the centre of the second and first phalanges respectively; tail elongated, firm, conspicuously and equally gradated throughout; tongue short, flat, triangular, subfleshy; the tip pointed, cartilaginous, and sub-bifid or sub-jagged. In manners, and food assimilating with Trogon, and with Rucia (nobis). Parrot1st. Species. Sericeogula. Silken-throated Ray, nobis. green, changing into verditer blue below; head and neck, superiorly, black; inferiorly, silken yellow; a narrow band of the latter colour circling round the brows, and bottom of the neck, so as to enclose the black colour; a blue spot on the crown, and top of the back, and a yellow one behind each ear; tail, and external edge of the primaries blue; wings and tail, internally, jet black; orbitar skin yellow; iris hoary brown; bill lively green; legs dull greenish or yellowish; crest vague; tail considerably elongated, and wedged; the gradation equal, and complete; tarsi plumed at top only; 11 inches long by 13 wide, and 2 oz in weight; bill 1 inch; tail 5; tarsus Sexes
14; central toe and nail; hind toe,
Nepal, May, 1836.
central toe 11
hind toe 6.