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Nos. 1 & 2. August.


Eemaeks on the Genus Suya ... ... ... 1

The genus Pobphybio and its species, by D. G. Elliot,

E.E.S.E., &c. ... ... ... ... 6

Afteb the Adjutants, by C. T. Bingham ... ... 25


Notes on the Nidipication op some Bubmese Bibds, II.... 40 The Bibds of a Deought ... ... ... 52


Messrs. Davidson, C.S., and Wenden, C.E. ... ... 68

A Lake in Oodeypobe ... ... ... 95

Wild Swans in Sind, by If. T. Blanford ... ... 99

Eubthee Notes on the Swans op India ... ... 101

Furtheb Additions to the Sindh Avipauna, by J. A.

Murray, with note by The Editor ... ... 108

Notes on Nomenclatuee, III. ... ... ... 124

On an oveelooked species op Eeguloides, by W. Edwin

Brooks, C.E., with note by The Editob ... ... 12S

Obseevations on Motacilla alba, Linn., and otheb Wag- tails, by W. Edwin Brooks, C.E. ... ... 136

Novelties ?

Grarrulax subcserulatus, 8p. Nov. ... ... 140

Iole terricolor, Sp. Nov. ... ... ... 141

Eallina telmatophila, Sp. Nov. ... ... 142

Becently-descbibed Species, Ee-publications—

Turdinus nagaensis, Q.-Aust. ... ... 143

Staphidea plumbeiceps, G.^Aust. ... ... ib.

Scops ininutus, W. V. Legge. ... ... 145

Abrornis flavogularis, Q.-Aust. ... ... 147

Batrachostomus javensis, Horsfield apud Q.-Aust. ib. Notes

The correct name of the Chough is Graculus ere-

mita, Lin ... ... ... ... 149

A Merganser shot near Ajmere ... ... ib.

Lobipes byperboreus, from the Sooltanpur Salt

Works ... ... ... ... 150

Myiophoneus horsfieldi, breeding at Poorbunder* in

Kattiawar ... ... ... ... ib.

* But see also p. 467.


Page. Emberiza huttoni must stand as E. bucbanani,

Blyth. ... ... ... ... 150

Baza ceylonensis, Legge, from the Wynaad ... 151

Actinodura khasiana, Qod.-Aust., not specifically

distinct from A. egertoni, Qould. ... ... 153

Layardia rubiginosa, Qod.-Aust., identical with

Pyctorbis longirostris, Hodgs. ... ... ib.

Trochalopteron rufogulare, Gould, extremely variable

in plumage... ... ... »•• 155

Indian Jungle and Eoek Busb Quails ; their differ- ences and correct scientific names ... -.. 156 Diagnosis of the Indian Pteroclidse ... ... 159

Jerdon in error in quoting Philipps as an authority for the occurrence of Scelostrix Candida near

Hodal ... ... ... ... 162

The Indian Blossom-breasted Paroquet to stand as

P. fasciatus, P. L. 8. Mull. ... ... 163

David and Oustalet's Birds of Cbina ... ... 164

Differences between Gyps indicus, Scop., and G.

pallescens, Hume ... ... ... 165

Aquila nsevioides, and A. vindbiana ... ••• 166

Anorbinus austeni, Jerd., probably a good and dis- tinct species .. ... ... 167

Halcyon cbloris, from the Hutnagherry district

about 75 miles of 8 of Bombay ... ... 168

Caprimulgus tamaricis, Tristram, identical with

C. asiaticus, Lath. ... ... ... 169

Additional specimens of Aracbnotbera simillima,

Hume. ... ... ... ... 170

Lettees to the Editob

On the colour of the irides in the two sexes of

Otogyps calvus J. H. Gubney ... ... ib.

On the occurrence of Ardetta cinnamomea, near

Ajmere O. St. John ... ... ... 171

Albino's of Turtur risorius E. A. Butlee ... ib.

Nidification o/"Harpactes fasciatus E. Boubdillon 172 Cypselus batassiensis, breeding on the fronds of

the Areca Palm J. Davidson ... ... ib.

Nos. 3, 4 & 5. December.

My last Notes on the Avifauna of Sind, by Captain E. A. Butler, H. M.'s 83rd Regt. ... ... 173

Eeom the Ganges to the Godaveei, by V. Ball, M.A., F.G.S., &c, &c. ... ... ... .. 191


by W. E. Brooks, O.E. ... ... ... 236


Page. First List of the Bibds of Fuebeedpoee, Eastebn Ben- gal, by J. R. Cripps... ... ... ... 238


Asio butleri, Sp. Nov. ... ... ... 316

Recently-descbibed Species, Ke-publications.

Trichastoma leucoproctum, Tweed ... ... 318

Chrysococcyx limborgi, Tweed ... ... 319

Prinia poliocephala, A. Anderson ... ... ib.

Descriptions op bibds occubbing in India, but not descbibed in Jebdon oe hithebto in " Stbat Feathers" 320


Eallina telmatopbila is probably identical with

Eytorfs R. superciliaris ... ... 451

Iole terricolor may possibly, though not probably,

==I. cinerea ... ... ... ib.

Orthotomus maculicollis, shot at Singapore ... 452

Zosterops auriventer to stand as Z. lateralis, Tern.,

and be included in the Indian List ... ... ib.

Ceylon Spur Fowl to stand as Galloperdix bicalcaratus 453 Abnormal specimen of Demiegretta gularis ... ib.

Seebohm asserts identity of Phylloscopus presbytis

and P. viridipennis ; latter name stands ... ib,

Seebohm suggests identity of Phylloscopus plumbei-

tarsus and P. viridanus... ... ... 454

Bucanetes githagineus shot in the Gourgaon Dis- trict ... ... ... ... ib.

All the Iora's obtained in Gourgaon are nigrolutea ib.

Female Pratincola insignisj^owi Busti described ... ib. Pavo muticus, correction ... ... ... 455

Occurrence ©/"Antbus pratensis in India doubtful ib.

Specific name swinhoei,yor the Indian representative

of Merops quinticolor, must stand ... ... ib.

Cyornis mandellii, shot at Muddapore ... ... 456

Allotrius senobarbus of Dr. Jerdon's work not this

species at all, and includes two other distinct

species ... ... ... ... ib.

Porpbyrula chloronotus, Blyth, is the young of

P. alleni, Thompson ... ... ... ib.

Henicurus nigrifrons, Hodgs., is the young of H.

scouleri, Vigors ... ... *.. 457

The title Trocbalopteron simile must stand for the

grey N.- Western race of T. variegatum ... ib.

Melaniparus similarvatus, Salvad., probably a lad

species ... ... ... ... 458

Modgson's name Palseornis nipalensis, equals and

suspersedes P. sivalensis, Sutton; the eastern

form to stand as P. indoburmanicus ... ib.

Yunx indica, Gould., not Indian ; founded almost

certainly on an African specimen ... ... 459


"Page. Dendrophila frontalis and corallina, identical ... 459 Propasser frontalis, Blyth, equals P. thura, Bp. ... 459 Acanthoptila nipalensis, quite distinct from Timalia

(Malacocercus) pellotis... ... ... ih.

%yVe o/"Dumeticola cyanocarpa, missing ... 461

Anthus' montanus, of Blyth and Jerdon, a very

distinct form, hut according to one school needs a

new name ... ... ••• ... ib,

The Hawfinch at Attock ... ... ... 462

Supposed difference between Turdinus brevicauda-

tus of Tenasserim, and T. striatus of Assam ... ih. Cape Pigeon, Daption capensis, from the Gulf of

Manaar ... ... ... ... 463

Identity of the Indian Turtur cambayensis and the

African T. senegalensis... ... ... ih.

According to Mr. Saunders our Pale Herring Gull

to stand as L. cachinnans ; and the Darker Gull

that I have called occidentalis, as L. affinis .. ih. Dendrocygna major to stand as D. fulva ... ib.

Hodgson's Swan really C. bewickii, not C. ferus ... 464 Clangula glaucion from the Indus ... ... ih.

Does Crex pratensis really occur in India ? ... ih.

Very doubtful that Eringilla montifringilla occurs

in India ••• ... ..". 465

Porzana zeylonica, apud Blyth, Jerdon, Sfc, to

stand as euryzonoides ... ... ... ih.

Lettebs to the Editob

Nidification of aquatic birds— S. DoiG ... 466

Nest and Eggs of Myiophoneus horsfieldi, from

Purandhur not Poorbander E. A. Butlee ... 467 A correction J. A. Mueeat ... ... ih.

Bufous young of Drymoipus inornatus W. E.

Brooks ... •• ••• ... 468

The Chestnut Bittern on the Eastern Narra, &c—

S. Doig ... ... ••• ••• ih.

Nidification of Phalacrocorax carbo S. DoiG ... ib. "Woodcocks in Belgaum and N. Kanara ; Southern

Rufous Woodpecker feeding on larvae of ants

J. S. Laied ». ... ... 470

This issue to stand as Nos. 3, 4 and 5 ... ib.

No. 6.— March 1879.

A Histoey op the Bieds of Ceylon, by Captain W. Vin- cent Legge ; Notice by the Editor ... ... 471

Cebiobnis blythi, Jerd. ... ... ... 472


humii, &c, by W. Edwin Brooks ... ... 475


Gleanings feom the Calcutta Mabket ... ... 479

Ocycebos tickelli, Blyth ... ... ... 499

Influence of Rainfall on Distbibution of Species,

(with Map, colored, to show Iso-ombric Regions) ... 501

Some Notes on Sindh Bieds, by S. Doig ... ... 503

Pennant's Indian Zoology ... ... ... 506

Notes on Phtlloscopus pltjmbeitabsus and P. vietdanus,

by "W. Edwin Brooks ... ... ... 508

Bieds occuebino in India, not desceibed in Jeedon oe

HITHEETO IN " SlEAT EeATHEES" ... 511, 528


Cyornis unicolor, distinct from C. cyanopolia ... 516

Corvus cornix, common in the extreme N.-W.,

Trans-Indus ... ... ... 517

Southern Yellow-naped Woodpecker, should stand

as Chrysophlegma chlorigaster, Jerd. ... ib.

The Indian Hoopoo, should stand as U. ceylonensis,

Peich ... ... ... ... ib.

Doubtful whether Gmelin's name melanicterus, should stand for our Crested, Black and Chest- nut Bunting ... ... ... ib.

JBlyth's name leucopygialis, to stand for the Malayan

Grey-rumped Spine Tail ... ... 518

Distinctions between Dendrocitta assimilis, sinensis

and himalayensis .... ... ... 519

Haunts of Pratincola insignia ... ... ib.

Hodgson's name Motacilla alboides, applies to M. hodgsoni, of Gray, and Gould's name leucopsis, must be applied to the species hitherto called luzonensis ... ... ... ... ib.

Blythipicus, the correct generic name of the

Brown and Buddy Woodpeckers ... ... 520

Anthus obscurus, not known to occur in India, though Swinhoe asserted that it did ... ... 521

The Editors of the Ibis on Mr. Dresser's and other ornithologists' sins in Nomenclature .. 521

A second specimen of Chaulelasmus angustirostris

in the Calcutta Bazaar ... ... ... 523


Goisakius melanolophus in S. Travancore Eeank

W. BoTJBDILLON ... ... ... 524

Woodcock at Tanna ; Pintail, Snipe and Bitterns J. D. Inveeaeity ... ... ... 525

The five Western species recorded by Mr. Murray from Sindh, not to be admitted in the Indian list without further confirmation W. T. Blanfoed... 526

Parity of the Pink-headed Duck Maurice Twee- die ... ... ... ... 527

Index ... ... ... ... ... i


Since our last number appeared, Indian, and indeed Asiatic, ornithology has sustained a severe loss in the death of the Marquess of Tweeddale, better known under his earlier titles of courtesy, Lord Walden and Lord A. Hay.

With considerable field experience acquired as a collecting naturalist in his earlier years, he combined, in his later ones, a really deep, and thorough acquaintance with ornithological literature, and he was certainly particularly happy in disentang- ling the most confused strings of synonymy. For years it has been expected that (possibly in conjunction with Major Godwin- Austen) he would bring out a revised edition of Dr. Jerdon's History of the Birds of India, and his lamented and compara- tively early death in depriving us of this hoped-for work has inflicted a most serious, indeed almost irreparable, loss on Indian ornithology.

Of the band of British pioneers in Indian ornithology, BIyth, Jerdon, Hodgson, Tickell, Hay, Sykes, Tytler, McClelland, Franklin, Hutton, he was the last in harness, and leaving us Las left, we believe, no single man competent to replace him fully in his own special branches of ornithology.

In India, again, during the past year we have had to deplore the loss of Mr. A. Anderson, an honest and zealous practical ornithologist. We are but a small body of workers out here, and every such loss makes a sad gap in our ranks.

In this 7th Volume we had hoped to include a tentative list of the birds of India, with references to the passages in Jerdon and Stray Feathers, where each is described or discussed ; but this, although in type, occupies so much space, and the present volume already so far exceeds its prescribed limits, that we have been compelled to reserve it for the first number of Volume VIII. This will issue immediately, and all our many correspondents, who have been so zealously urging on us this thankless and wearisome task, must kindly forgive the trifling further delay.

We started Stray Feathers under the vain delusion that we were going to write in it when we liked and what we pleased, but as time goes on, we find ourselves completely at the disposal of our kind, but at times somewhat, if we dare say so, exigeant supporters.

First, our index did not please, and we had no peace until that was altogether changed ; then there was this terrible list, which

has been for nearly a month the burden of our lives ; now the latest demand is for tC a simple, but accurate ; at once popular and scientific sketch of the Osteology of Birds/' This, too, will be furnished, fortunately by one far more competent than ourselves, in the next issue, and we hope that we shall hear no more of this.

Another point, for since we are airing our grievances it is as well to do it once for all, during the past fourteen months we have received over 200 single specimens with requests to name and return the skins. And such wretched rags for the most part! Do the senders ever reflect on the trouble and expense involved, in making up again and despatching all these wretched little parcels ? We are willing to receive, examine and report names by letter, but we distinctly give notice that we will not return bad skins of common birds. Good or rare skins, or specimens of birds like Pliylhscopi that are requisite for comparisen, we are ready to take trouble about, but bad specimens of well-marked species, manifestly not worth the postage we intend, in future, to throw away.

We do not now refer to collections, but only to single speci- mens. We have named a vast number of specimens during the year in collections of from one to five hundred skins, and these we are always delighted to receive and deal with, since they afford, in the aggregate, most valuable information as to geo- graphical distribution. Moreover, a box containing a couple of hundred skins, and sent therefore by rail or bullock train, in- volves absolutely less trouble in packing, &c, than one small postal parcel, which must be sewn up in wax cloth, and must have a seal, at every two inches on every seam, &c, &c, and for which the lowest rate of postage is 8 annas. Certainly at least 100 of the single skins received during the past year would have been dear at 8 annas for the lot, though it has cost us just 100 times this to return them.

Many applications are sent us for Taxidermists ; one of the leadino- firms in Calcutta has just formally requested us to fur- nish one for a constituent in Assam. We are asked to value collections ; to undertake their transmission to and sale in Europe; to provide a good typical collection of the birds of India, as the writer is thinking of going in for ornithology ; to decide bets as to the name of a bird of which a few feathers, or a sketch, giving circumference round the chest(!; is sent, and so on.

From our correspondence one might fancy that the whole European population in India were deeply interested in orni- thology, whereas there are barely fifty who care enough about it to do any real work and write usefully about it.

Now all this correspondence is growing beyond our capacity to deal with, and strangers who henceforth address us on matters not coming within our province, as Editors, must forgive our apparent want of courtesy in not replying.

Enough of this grumbling. To each and all in life it falls to take the bitter with the sweet, and we too have our sweets in the constant assistance and generous sympathy and support that we receive from all really interested in ornithology here, and from a yearly growing number in Europe and America. To all these kind friends, we can but inadequately express our gratitude ; but if we say less, we feel all the more ; a want of gratitude for all this too-little-merited kindness is not amono-st our many shortcomings ; we do struggle hard in the midst of many difficulties, and quite overweighted at times with other and more important work, to make this journal useful to those who are its primary supporters, and in every way we endeavour to prove that whatever else we leave undone, we

"Still on these words of the Bard keep a fixed eye, lngratum si dixeris, omnia dixti."


Vol. VII.] AUGUST 1878. [N os. 1-2.

Semarfo on ifje feus §up.

Having recently had to re-examine the enormous series of Suyas in my museum, I think that a few notes recorded as the result of this investigation may prove useful.

In the first place, I notice that all the members of this species vary very much in size and linear dimensions, partly according to sex, (the males being very much larger than females) and age, (the young being also notably smaller than adults ) and partly according to season, the midwinter birds having most commonly, as in Brymoipus inornatiis (S. F., IV., 407, et seq.), longer tails than the midsummer ones.

In the second place, all the species have a very distinct breed- ing plumage, in the case of most of them far more distinct than that of the species already alluded to.

The Suijas readily divide themselves into two groups those with the head and back more or less (according to season) conspicuously striated, and those which have these parts unstriated at all seasons.

The seasonal variations in the plumage of these little birds has led to a considerable multiplication of species.

Turning first to the species with striated heads and backs, of which Suya ckinigera, Hodgs, is the type, (and as I now believe, the only Indian species), it may be useful to clear away a few spurious species.

Suya striata of Swinhoe, (Journ. N. Ch. As. Soc, May 1859,) is nothing else but & crinigera, pur et simple. I have two of the types, a male and female, killed at Formosa, in February 1862, and I can match them precisely with Himalayan speci- mens killed in the same month. The bird killed in March 1856, described by Mr. Swinhoe, Ibis, 1863, 301, is a somewhat more advanced bird than those I have.

Swinhoe concludes his remarks, loc cit} as follows :

" This species has its nearest ally in Suya lepida, Hodgson, of the Himalayas, but is at once distinguishable by its very much larger size/'


Now neither his specimens nor the dimensions he gives show his birds to be a bit larger than Suya crinigera, Hodgson, for which I had always thought S. lepida was a misprint. But thinking over the matter, I do not doubt that Swinhoe had received from Blyth a specimen of Burnesia lepida, which Blyth at one time called Drymoeca, and at a another Suya, and that taking this for Hodgson's Himalayan species, he naturally enough found his Formosan bird (l very much larger."

Anyhow the Formosan birds are absolutely identical with Himalayan ones. The species is one that varies incredibly in size, (wing from barely, 18 to 2'35, or even more), females being, as Swinhoe correctly remarks, much smaller than males, and in coloration; but both Chinese specimens are matchable to a feather by others in our very large Himalayan and Khasia Hill series.

Although I have no specimens to compare, and cannot there- fore " make assurance doubly sure," I feel assured that Suya parumsiriata, Dav. and Oust., Ois. de la. Chine, 259, 1877, is merely one stage of this same species.

Suya fuliginosa, Hodgs. (Gr. Zool. Miscl., 1844, 82, sine descr. ; Moore, Cat. B. Mus. E. I. C, 326, 1854; descr. orig.) with the black bill is beyond all doubt merely the breeding plumage of crinigera.

Lastly, Suya obscura, Hume, (S. F., II., 507, 1874,) is, I now strongly suspect, only one stage of this same protean species. The type, however, (and I have met with no other specimen and cannot remember clearly what the type was like,) belonged to Captain Biddulph, and is now, I believe, in Mr. Sharpens custody in the Bi'itish Museum, and he can easily satisfy himself whether my surmise is correct.

It may now be well to explain briefly the more striking differ- ences between the breeding and midwinter plumage of crinigera.

Non-breeding Plumage. Breeding Plumage.

Bill. Brown above ; greater Bill. Entirely black.

part of lower mandible pale

yellowish or pinkish horny.

Head and upper back. Rich, Head and upper back. Duller

more or less rufescent and and duskier brown the pale

more or less deep brown, strias faded to greyish, very

conspicuously striated with much reduced in width, often

pale, more or less rufescent almost obsolete.

lawn or yellowish brown.

Quills. Margined with bright Quills. Margined with a pale

ferruginous (growing duller faintly rufescent olivaceous.

month by month).

Supercilmm. Small, and in- Superciliiim.—None.

conspicuous, creamy.


The autumn plumage of the young birds differs a good deal from both these. The striations of the head and back are less defined than in the midwinter plumage ; the pale portions being more rufescent and darker coloured, and the lower surface is much tinged, as a rule, with dull yellow, though sometimes, as in the specimen described as parumstriata, this is wanting.

No one could be blamed for making three species out of the autumn (September and October), midwinter and midsum- mer plumages of this species ; but the examination of a series, including from 10 to 30 killed in each month, proves beyond all doubt that all pertain to the same one species.

The plain-backed species are apparently more numerous, and include, so far as I can make out, two pairs of species, one, of which, S. khasiana (God.-Aust, A. and M. N. H., October 1876, S. F., V., 59,) is the type, of which the prevailing tint of the upper surface is rufescent, and the other, of which S. atrogu- laris (Moore, P. Z. S., 1854, 77) is the type, in which the prevailing tint of the upper surface is olivaceous, more or less dusky on the head in the breeding plumage.

It may be that the other two species, Smja eryiliropleura, (Wald., J. A. S. B., Ext. No. 1875, 120.— S. J?., V., 58) of the khasiana type, and Suya superciliaris , (Anders., P. Z. S., 1871, 212, S. F., VI., 350,) of the atrogularis type, are not really distinct. Too few specimens have been obtained of these to enable us to be certain, but for reasons to be explained further on I at present incline to believe that both are distinct repre- sentative species.

Both atrogularis and khasiana we know well, having huge series killed at all seasons, and at present it is not unreasonable to suppose that the changes of plumage in the other two species (if these are distinct) will be very similar to those which we can prove to exist in the two which we know fully.

In this group the most conspicuous differences between the winter and summer plumages seem to be that, in the winter plumage there is a long conspicuous supercilium, and the throat and breast are white or creamy or buffy, the breast being often feebly marked with very narrow irregular, continually almost obsolete, black strise, while in the breeding plumage there is no supercilium, and the throat and upper breast are pure black. There are many other co-ordinated differences, some of which I shall notice in dealing with the separate species.

Atrogularis in full breeding plumage has the upper mandible nearly black, the lower brownish pink ; no supercilium ; lores blackish dusky ; cbiu and throat and upper breast pure black ; a


conspicuous whitish mandibular stripe; somewhat olivaceous grey ear-coverts; forehead, crown, occiput, dusky; back less dusky, and with an olivaceous tinge ; tail feathers narrow and abraded.

In non-breeding plumage it has the upper mandible pinkish brown ; lower pink ; a conspicuous fulvous white supercilium from nostrils; lores olivaceous; chin, throat, and upper breast, pale, rather sordid fulvous, albescent ou chin and middle of throat; no mandibular stripe ; pure olive brown ear-coverts ; fore- head, crown, occiput and back, pure olive brown ; tail feathers much broader and not abraded.

In intermediate stages, sometimes the cap is shaded with dusky, and the breast feathers (and these only) very narrowly fringed laterally with black.

In this stage the bird is so extremely like S. supereiliaris, Anderson, that I have felt doubtful of their distinctness; clearly, if not identical, supereiliaris is the corresponding intermediate plumage of a closely-affined species; but there are points of dif- ference which seem to me to point to its being distinct.

In supereiliaris, the chin and throat are a much cleaner purer creamy than in any specimen of atrogularis that I have seei, (and 1 have between 50 and 60 before me now).

The si percilium is pure white, while in atrogularis it is ap- parently a^ways pale fulvous ; and the flanks and sides are clear buff, while in atrogularis they seem to be invariably tinged strongly with olivaceous ; and the lores and feathers behind the eye are much darker than in any specimen of atrogularis that has not got the chin and throat black.

Suya khasiana, a perfectly distinct species, but goes through precisely the same stages of plumage.

In the full breeding plumage its bill is darker ; it has no super- cilium ; its lores are dusky ; chin, throat, and upper breast pure black ; white mandibular stripes similar to those of atrogularis ; very similar ear-coverts, but forehead, crown, and occiput dull rufescent, and back strongly rufescent olive; narrow and abraded tail feathers.

In the non-breeding plumage its bill is paler ; it has a conspi- cuous white supercilium ; its lores are white ; chin, throat, and upper breast nearly pure white, a little creamy; no mandibular stripes; clear olivaceous brown ear-coverts; and forehead, crown, and occiput clear rufous, and back only slightly browner ; tail feathers much broader and unabraded.

This too has an intermediate stage, in which the breast feathers show very narrow black lateral margins, in which the red of the head is somewhat duller, and in which there is a dark spot in front of the eye.


Some specimens in these stages are almost undistinguishable on the lower surface from super ciliaris, but the sides and flanks are never quite the clear rufous buff of this latter, but have always a certain intermixture of an olive tinge, though less than in atro- gularis; and the lores and feathers immediately behind the eve are never so dark as in superciliaris. The upper surface of course differs toto ccelo, for whenever and so long as the white superci- lium continues in khasiana, the rich rufous of the cap is as dis- tinct as possible, from the olive shaded with dusky, (or washed with black as Anderson calls it) of superciliaris. It is to some stages of atrogularis that the upper surface of this latter approaches, and so closely, that with the birds held back upper- most by the heads with finger and thumb, so as to hide lores, ear-coverts and supercilia, they cannot possibly be distin- guished.

In a word, superciliaris in its upper surface is undistinguish- able from one stage of atrogularis ; in its lower surface, it is barely separable from one of khasiana.

No doubt, superciliaris will be found in breeding plumage, ■with black chin and throat, dusky head and no supercilium, and duskier back ; and again, in the non-breeding plumage, "with cap and back uniform pure olive brown, like atrogu- laris. In the non-breeding plumage its white supercilium will separate it from this, and in this and the breeding plumage also, I should expect, the clear pure buff of the flanks and sides would suffice to distinguish it.

Then we have Suya eryt/iropleura, which I have never seen. The dimensions and the description of the whole upper and the greater part of the lower surface applies admirably to some stages of khasiana ; but in erythropleura, (i flanks, thigh-coverts and under tail-coverts are bright ferruginous."" Now, if these words are correctly applied, this must be a distinct species.

In no single specimen (out of more than 50) of khasiana, killed from April to December, can the flanks, by any possibility, be correctly styled " bright ferruginous ;" at brightest they are rufous or fulvous huff, slightly intermingled with olive, (much more so of course in breeding plumage.) With this exception, the description tallies perfectly ; but, as we have already seen, this difference in the color of the flanks is in this little sub- group important.

Most probably if erythropleura is distinct, we shall here- after find it in breeding plumage, with no supercilium and with black chin and throat, and we shall meet with specimens of it exhibiting faint blackish stria? on the breast, as in corre- sponding stages of atrogularis, khasiana^ and (if, as I believe, distinct from the former) superciliaris.


It is possible that a third type of Saya may exist in 8. gange- tica (Jerd., Blyth, Ibis, 1867, 23), of which I quoted the original and only description, S. F., V., 138. This description, however, is so curt and insufficient that the bird referred to may be anything". I have never seen it, and I cannot find auy one who has. It is said to be common along the Upper Ganges, whereby one can only understand the Gauges some- where above Allahabad. Now, from Allahabad to where it becomes the Bhagiruttee {i.e., inside the Himalayas), I and many others have most thoroughly explored the banks of the Ganges, and none of us have met with any Suya. Moreover, throughout its course above Allahabad, the Ganges runs through alluvial plains, while Suya is essentially a genus belonging to the hilly country. I suspect Jerdon made a mistake, as he often did (and as any one else might) when writing letters carelessly, without any books to refer to. I find some faded specimens of Drymoica rufescens, nobis, which answer tolerably, so far as the brief description and dimensions go, to Suya gangetica, and he might have got hold of this, and there are several other birds more or less Snya-like in appearance, which he might have met with. Altogether I consider this species a very doubtful one, and the description, as already remarked, is so very brief and vague, that I hardly think the species deserving of retention on our list.

A. 0. H.

>e pirns Joqjljpto aitfr its J^mcs.

By D. G. Elliot, F.R.S.E., &c.

The splendid collection of specimens of this genus in the Paris Museum furnished my materials for the present paper, and I would express to Professor A. Milne Edwards my thanks for the facilities afforded me, and for placing at my entire disposal all the examples of Porphyrio under his charge. The collection is rich, not only in number of specimens, but also fortunately possesses them from the majority of places in which this genus has as yet been known to occur ; and I was therefore enabled, by comparing individuals from various and widely-separated locali- ties, to ascertain without difficulty the specific value of different ones from certain islands, which had been described as distinct, and relegate them to their proper position.

The species included in this Paper possess many and striking characters that separate them from those of all allied genera.


A prominent one of these is the bill, which is large, very strong, thick and compressed at the base ; the frontal plate or nead- shield covers the top of the head, and becomes almost a bony- casque. The nostril is placed high up, nearer the culmen than the commissure, at about one-fourth the length of the maxilla from the base, in shape almost round or very slightly oval, open and not surrounded by a membrane.

With the birds I have here considered as constituting the genus Porphyrio, some authors have placed the Fulica martinica, Lin, Fulica parva, Bodd., and Porphyria alleni, Thompson, while others have referred these to Gallinula.

It does not, however, seem to me that the species just named properly belong to either of these genera, but more naturally constitute a genus by themselves, as their characters are intermediate between Porphyrio and Gallinula. They differ from the first-named by having bills of moderate size,' curving but slightly at the tip, and expanding at the base into a thin flat rather small plate which covers the forehead chiefly, and is very different in character from the head-shield of the birds given in this memoir. The nostril is longitudinal, situated in the middle of the maxilla and surrounded by a membraue, markedly different from that observed in Porphyrio. The species also are much smaller in size.

For these birds the term Porphyrula (altered by Sunde- val* to Porphyriola) , proposed by Blythf for his% Porphyrio chloronotus, (nee Vieill.) may be employed. It does not seem to be exactly ascertained what this species is, and the locality whence it came is unknown ; but Blyth says it is " similar to P. alleni, but very much smaller, measuring, wing, 5*25 ; bill to gape, 1*37 ; tarsus, 2 inch; while the type of alleni measures, wing, 6*5 ; bill to gape, 1*25 ; tarsus, 2 inch a differ- ence apparently confined entirely to the wing, and certainly not sufficient to constitute a distinct species ; and as Blyth seemed to know alleni at that time only from the plate in Gray's genera of birds, it is not impossible but that he had a specimen of it before him. Bonaparte makes martinica the type of Blyth's genus, and an examination of the type, if still existing in the ' Calcutta Museum, will be necessary to decide if he is correct. But it is really of very little moment whether alleni or mar- tinica is proved to be the type, as from a comparison made with numerous specimens of botli species, I consider that they belong to a genus different from Porphyrio, and one well indicated by Porphyrula. If, however, this last term should

* Meth. Nat. At. Dispon. Tentam. (1872) p, 131,

f Cat, B. Mus. Asiat. Soc, p. 283.

% Journ Asiat Soc. Beng, (1849), p. 820.


eventually be ascertained to have been bestowed upon a bird generically distinct from those named above, then lonornis proposed by Reichenbach (Nat. Syst., p. XXL, 1853), will probably be the one necessary to adopt for them.

The genus Porphyria was instituted by Brisson in his Ornitholo- gie, with the P. cliloro7iotusi Vieill., as the type. It has received but one synonym, Ccesarornis, Reich. The terms lonornis and Glaucestes, Reich, Hydrionia, Hartl., and Porphyrula, Blyth, which have been given sometimes as synonyms, belong to species with quite different generic characters from those pos- sessed by the members of Porpliyrio.

I am able to recognise nine species, of which number, the P. coelestis, Swinhoe, from Amoy, China, is doubtful, as it is probably the same as P. calvus, Vieill., from one of the islands in the Eastern Archipelago. As the specimen described was living at the time' in captivity, and as it is not known, so far as I am aware, what became of it, the determination of the species from the type will be a rather difficult matter.

The birds included in this Paper are of large size, with an attractive plumage, composed mainly of blue and green colours, with bright red bills, legs and feet, and also a large shield covering nearly all the top of the head, of the same brilliant hue.

I commence with a brief review of the

Literature op the Genus.

1766. Linnoeus Systema Naturce.

In his genus Fulica, Linnseus includes one species of Porphyrio, F. porphyrio, (= P. chloronotus, Vieill.) Species, 1.

1774. Gmelin Beiss-Russl.

Porphyrio veterum first described ... Species, 2.

1801. Latham Index Ornithologicus, Supplement. The Grey-headed Gallinule of the synopsis is here named Gallinula poliocephala, and another, most probably an imma- ture individual of the same species, Gallinula madagascariensis. This last is however a doubtful determination, as Latham's description really an- swers for no species at present known. Species, 3.

1810. Vieillot Nouveau Dictionnaire oV Ilistoire JSaturelle. In the 28th volume of this publication, the author gives a list of species, which he considers belong to the genus Por- phyrio. As; however, some belong to


other genera, I will merely notice those that are properly included in this paper. The Fulica porphyrio, Linn, is named. Porphyrio chlorynothos (lege chloronotus), P. cyanophalus (lege cyanocephalus) and P. calvus are named for the first time .. Species, 5.

1820. Temminck Manuel oV Ornithologie. In this work three species of this genus are named, none, however, for the first time, viz., P. hyacinthinus ( = P. veterum, GmeL), P. smaragnotus (—P. chloronotus, Vieill.), and P. melanotus ( = P- cyanocephalus, Vieill.) 1821. HorsHeld Transactions of the Li?incean Society. The P. calvus, Vieill., is here renamed P. indicus. 1823. Vieillot Encyclopcedie Mdthodique. A nearly duplicate list of that in the Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle with the P. cyanophalus changed to P. cyanocephalus. No new species added. 1826-27 . Temminch Planches Coloriees. In the 68th Livraison of this great work, a list of Porphyrio, as known to the author, is given, and in this and the 71st Livraison two species are figured. Six species are named in the list, viz., P. hyacinthinus ( = P. veterum, GmeL), P. smaragnotus (=P. chloronotus, Vieill. P. pulverulentus, named for the first time ; P. albus, possibly a Notornis (Albino), P. melanotus ( = P. cyanocephalus, Vieill^) and P. smaragdinus ( = P. calvus, Vieill.) ... .. ... Species, 6.

1840. Gould Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. Porphyrio bellies, from Australia, des- cribed ... ... ... Species, 7.

1845. Gray Genera of Birds.

A list of seventeen so-called species is given in this publication, (several of them marked with a doubt ?), the majority of which do not properly belong to the genus Porphyrio, but


are members of Gallinula, Porphyrula,

8fc. According to the present writers'

views, but five of the species given

can be included in the present genus,

viz., P. veterum, Grnel., P. calvus,

Vieill., P. poliocephalus, Lath., P.

melanotus, Temm. ( = P. cyanoce-

phalus, Vieill.), and P. bellus, Gould.

No new species are described. 1348. Peale United States Exploring Expedition, Zoology. The P. calvus, Vieill., from Upolu, of the

Samoan Islands, and from Viti of the

Feegee Islands is here named respec- tively P. samcensis and P. vitiensis. 1862. Schlegel -Museum des Pays-Bas. The P. poliocephalus, Lath., from India is

named P. neglectus, and Latham's

species referred to the P. pulveru-

lentils, Tem., to which, however, it has

hardly any resemblance. 1 868. Swiuhoe Ibis.

A bird observed in captivity at Amoy,

China, is described as having a

white rump ! and is called P. coslestis. Species, 8.

1875. Hartlaub fy Finsch. Ornith. Sudsee-Ins. Palau Gruppe. P. cyanocephalus, Vieill., from these islands

is named P. pelewensis. 1876. Tristram Ibis.

P. calvus, Vieill., from the New Hebrides,

called P. aneiteumensis. 1877. Elliot Annals and Magazine of Natural History.

P. edwardsi from Cochin-China, described Species, 9.


The species comprising the genus Porp/iyrio belong to the family Rallidce of the order Geranomorpho3, and are placed properly near Notomis with the members of which they are closely allied, differing chiefly in having the middle toe longer than the tarsus. They are also connected to the species con- tained in Gallinula by the birds for which the term Porphyrula has been proposed, and which are intermediate in their generic characters.

The members of Porphyria have a narrow sternum, with one lengthened emarginatiou, and a weak furcula. The stomach is muscular, the intestines long, and coeca large ; the tongue is thick and fleshy, with a horny tip ; toes long and slender,


enabling the bird to walk readily over the water plants, though the species can swim well and easily ; the large foot is frequently employed to hold the food, very much in the manner of a parrot, while the bird is eating. In the arrange- ment of the species, colour is our only guide, as no one possesses any characters to entitle it even to a sub-generic position, but certain species have a resemblance to each other in the hues of their plumage, as well as in their distribution, which enables them to be associated in apparently natural groups. Five of these are recognizable, the pecularities characterizing each of which will be found in the key. Geographical Distribution.

The members of the genus Porphyrio are met with only in five of the Zoogeographical