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head and cheeks are whitish for the most part: the ceral and gular bristles, and those over the brows, pure black, as also a moustache or
stripe backwards from the gape : bill and talons seemingly horn-yellow ; and toes leaden-blue.
P. S.‘ Since writing the above description, it has been suggested to me by Dr. CAMPBELL, that I have overlooked an account of the Himalayan Vulture-Eagle, by Lieut. HUTTON, in the 34th No. of the Journal. Adverting to that account, I find no reason to alter my own, or to retract the opinion therein stated, that the Indian Gypaétos is merely a variety of the single known species, which is common to Europe, Africa, and Asia. Lieut. HUTTON gives his bird the same length as mine nearly, or 3 feet 11 inches; but he makes the expanse of its wings 9 feet 6 inches. Is there not here some undue allowance for shrinking in his ‘ old and mutilated’ specimen? The wings of his bird agree very closely with mine in respect to the relative size of the prime quills: but I still think that this point wants ascertainment, by reference to several mature specimens in
-known full plumage. Again, I would reiterate, that differences of
colour are of no importance: my bird has no dark mark across the -head.
V.—-—Red-billed Erolia. By the same. [Regarding the present paper, it is our duty to bring forward the following
. facts. In November, 1829, Mr. HODGSON sent to the Asiatic Society (presented
and acknowledged, in the Proceedings of January, 1830,) this description, and a coloured drawing of natural size of a. Wader, which he called “the red-billed Erolia." It accompanied several other similar notices, which are published in the second part of the 18th volume of the Asiatic Researches. But by some accident, the Erolia seems to have been omitted and mislaid, nor can it be found Qmong the papers handed over to ourselves, in 1831, by the late Mr. CALDER, who had previously conducted the publication of the Physical Researches. The bird is a great curiosity, and has been very recently made known to the public
at home by Mr. Gounn as his discovery, although it is evident, that Mr. Hone-. s0N's description and drawing were produced two years before. Mr. HODGSON has only now had an opportunity of seeing the last volume of the Researches, which has prevented his bringing the unfortunate omission to our notice at an earlier pet-iod.—ED.]
Ordo GRALLATORES——Fflm. CaARAna1A1m—Genus Erolia.—Species New red-billed Enoma.
As in the grallatorial order the Ibis links together the families of the Ardeidae and of the Scolopacidae, so that remarkable bird which I am now about to describe, admirably connects the latter family with that of the Charadriadae. It constitutes besides a sort of central step in the long gradation, from the most typical to the most aberrant genera of the order of Waders-—from those which have a great length of legs, as well as of bill, to those which are deficient in respect to the length of both. If to these interesting peculiarities belonging to our bird, we add that the genus has been but recently established, and that only one species is known, it will readily be allowed, our bird (which is moreover a new species) is entitled to a full and minute description.
Without objecting to the generic character, as established by Viatn. LOT, I shall take the liberty to dilate it as follows :
Bill, long, slender, weak, but not soft; well arched; upper mandihle, rounded at the base; grooved for %ths of its length; smooth and scarcely dilated or obtuse at its tip : lower mandible, rather shorter than the upper.
Nostrils, wide linear; placed in the membranous part of the groove of the bill, and near its base ; shaded above and behind by the membrane; open. Face entirely clothed with feathers. Legs rather short, and having but little of the thighs denuded. Feet cursorial. Toes three, short; the outer connected with the central by a crescented membrane as far as the first joint: inner scarcely connected at the base; margins of the toes with the skin subdilated ; nails short, obtuse, rounded.
Wings elongated, but not acuminated; longest flags nearly equal to greatest quills ; first quill longest*. Tail shortest; even; 12 feathers. In further illustration of the characters of this bird, I may add, that the bill bears the strictest essential resemblance to that of the Curlew, scarcely differing from it at all, being rather more pointed or less obtuse at the tip, and somewhat more decidedly arched throughout. I speak thus from a comparison of the bills of three species of Curlew (which are now before me), with that of the bird in question:
" Since found to be a mistake, by comparison of all the specimens : but the first quill is not a sixteenth of an inch less than the second and third.—-Note of 1835.
and had I not adverted to the generic character of the Curlew as stated in SnAw’s Zoology, I should have conceived that the bill of our bird could not be more accurately characterised than by simply likening it to the Curlew’s. SHAW, however, says, the Curlew’s bill is long in the superlative degree, has its tip dilated, and the nostrils placed in a short groove.
Now I have only to say that of my three species, that emphatically
called the long-billed is alone remarkable (considering what family these birds belong to) for length of bill ; that all three have bills, which, without being quite so thick at the base as the Ibis’ beak, have yet some thickness there, which grows gradually and uniformly less towards their tips; that their tips are scarce sensibly dilated; that their nostrils are placed in a groove which runs fully %ths of the length of the bill, although it is only towards the base or around the opening of the nostrils, that the sulcation is broad or membranous; and that lastly, all these peculiarities, which to my apprehension belong to the bill of the Curlew, belong likewise to that of the Erolia. ' But for the decidedly Charadriadic character of its feet, not only its long slender bill, but its general appearance, figure, and manners would dispose us to range the Erolia with the family comprising the Curlew, Godwit, and Avocet; and indeed, embracing almost all the long feeble-billed Waders.
Few genera of the grallatorial order have legs so short or thighs so little naked as those of the Erolia : and in respect to the brevity of its toes and nails, still fewer even of the Charadriadic family of the order, and none I believe of, the Scolopaceous family, match it. Its wings and tail have no peculiarity, and both are proportioned pretty much as in the Curlews, Avocets, and Godwits. The new species now before me (and which I propose should be called the red-billed) measures nearly one foot five inches from tip of bill to tip of tail, being in fact about the size and weight of the common Avocet. The particulars of its size, proportions, and weight are given in the sequel; meanwhile, I proceed to the description of its plumage. The whole of the head above and below, as far as the eyes, hind part likewise of the crown of the head, the chin and the throat, black, mixed with grey about the base of the bill ; and the whole black space margined towards the body with white : rest of the body above, including the back parts of the head, the neck, wings, and tail, full ashy blue : great quills and false wing, dusky blue, and a large irregular bar of white across the wings: upper tail coverts, black, with an ashy powder: tail feathers, cross-barred with dusky, in the manner of the Curlews ; and all the feathers, save the two centrals, largely tipped with black ; the outermost tail feathers on either side having its outer Web of awhite ground colour, instead of a blue one, like the rest of the tail feathers and body above. Passing now down the bird's inferior surface, we have the chin black and the neck blue, as on the superior surface at bottom of the neck or top of the breast; a broad gorget of black, confined on the side towards the neck with a narrower band of white: rest of the body on this surface and wings and tail coverts, pure white : quills on this surface, white towards their bases : iris and bill, rich deep crimson: legs and toes, clear bluish grey, with a strong but irregular purplish tinge. Dimensions and weight as follows :
Weight, 95 oz. av.
The only specimen I have been able to procure was shot on the banks of a sandy stream in the valley, in October last ; and it was apparently a mere passenger here, like the vast majority of the grailatorial and ratatorial birds which visit us, and which make only a stage of our valley on their way from the plains of Tartary to those
of India, and back again.
[it is with much reluctance that we have been compelled to insert these two notices, without the beautiful drawings that accompanied them : but the number of plates inserted in the Journal hitherto, has been so great as to involve considerable expence, and to do justice to the present specimens, large and richly coloured, would have entailed a heavy additional charge. We have however the less regret in omitting them, now that we are informed of Mr. HODGSON'S intentions to publish the whole of his valuable illustrations of the Natural History of Nipal—a stupendous work, that will require to carry it through, as we feel sure its merits will command, the patronage of all cultivators and admirers of the Fauna of India, here and at home. Having had enquiries from several quarters as to the probable extent, and as to the contents, of Mr. Hones0N’s proposed work, we have obtained from that Gentleman a Catalogue of the Drawings already sent home, to he put into the Publisher’s hands, which shall be inserted, if possible, in the next No. of the Journal.—E1>.'|
VI.—-‘Hints for the Preservation of Objects of Natural History. By J. T. Pnmsou, Esq. Curator As. Soc. Museum.
Preparations of natural history have two great enemies : insects and damp. The latter requires great and constant attention to prevent : the former are combatted by what are called preservatives. The preservatives in common use are preparations of Corrosive Sublimate and Arsenic.
Of the former, a very good preparation is made by merely dissolving a certain proportion in spirits of wine. For common purposes, such as the preservation of the soles of the feet, or inside of the mouth of animals, a scruple of corrosive sublimate may be dissolved in one ounce of the spirit; but for the finer operations, where the colours of insects and feathers, &c. are concerned, two grains of corrosive sublimate to an ounce of spirit, will be strong enough : made of this strength, the solution dries without leaving a white crust of crystals on the specimen; while it will prevent the attacks of insects, and even mouldiness, if ordinary care be taken to keep the specimens dry.
Another preparation of corrosive sublimate and arsenic, together, is recommended for the preservation of insects. Its composition is as follows:
Take of arsenic in powder, one ounce.
Corrosive sublimate, one ounce.
Spirit of wine, three ounces.
Spirit Sal Ammoniac, or Spirit Ammonia, one ounce. Mix them well together, and keep them in a bottle, labelled “ Poison,” for use.
But of all the preparations used for the preservation of the skins of animals, the arsenical soap, invented by Beomcn of Mentz, is the most celebrated and most useful. It is made thus:
Take ofArsenic in powder, 2 lbs. White soap, 2 lbs. Salts of Tartar, 12 oz. Lime in powder, 4 oz. Camphor, 5 oz.
Cut the soap into thin slices, and melt it in a little water or spirit of wine over the fire; then add the salts of Tartar and the lime. Take the mixture of? the fire, and add the arsenic, taking care to mix it well by trituration in a mortar, or other convenient vessel ; and when nearly cold, mix in the camphor, previously reduced to powder by the help of spirit of wine. When thus made, keep the arsenical soap in a glazed earthen pot, or a wide-mouthed bottle, and when used, dilute it with water to the con sistence of cream.
The principal materials for both the above preparations may be procured in every bazar in India.
The parts of Mammalia, (or those animals which suckle their young,) which are at once the most interesting to the naturalist, and the most easily preserved by the unscientific contributor to a museum, are the skin, and the skeleton or bones. All parts, however, are very useful, though there is some difliculty, to a person not accustomed to dissection, in pre. paring them.
WVhen an animal of but a small size has been procured, such as a mouse, bat, rat, or even a squirrel, hare, or porcupine, the best mode of sending it to a museum is by placing it in a glazed jar, alarge, widemouthed bottle, or a small barrel, with a large bung, filled three parts full of spirit of wine, strong gin, very strong bazar arrack, or any other ardent spirit, though on account of their not coloring the specimen, these are the best. A small hole should be cut into the belly of the animal before it is put into the vessel, to allow of the spirit entering freely into the internal
parts, to preserve them. When a suflicient number of specimens have been,
placed, a wooden tally should be aflixed to it, with a number cut thus