RECORD: S68. Wallace, A. R. 1862. On some new and rare birds from New Guinea. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1862 (10 June): 164-166, pls. 19-21.

REVISION HISTORY: Body text helpfully provided by Charles H. Smith from his Alfred Russel Wallace Page

pl. XIX Halcyon nigrocyanea
pl. XX Gracula pectoralis
pl. XXI Ptilonopus humeralis

[page] 164

On Some New and Rare Birds From New Guinea

(Plates XIX., XX., XXI.)

The birds now brought before the Society were collected by my assistant, Mr. Allen, on his last voyage. They comprise several

[page] 165

interesting species, hitherto only known by specimens in the French or Dutch collections, and now, I believe, for the first time exhibited in England, viz.:—
Nasiterna pygmæa, Q. & G. Remarkable as being the smallest of the Psittaci, and for its curious, rigid, spined tail.
Tanysiptera nympha, G. R. Gray. This specimen decides the locality of this interesting and beautiful bird to be the N.W. peninsula of New Guinea, in the interior.
Peltops blainvillii, Garn. This rare bird also inhabits the island of Mysol, where a single specimen was obtained by Herr Rosenberg. Mine came from the N.W. of New Guinea.
Eupetes cærulescens, Temm. This bird and the last seem quite out of place in New Guinea, as we must pass over all the Moluccas and Celebes to find their nearest allies in Borneo, Java, and Sumatra.
Ptilorhynchus buccoides, Müll.
Hierococcyx leucolophus, Müll.
Campephaga melas, Müll.
Besides these, adult specimens of the fine Talegalla cuvieri were also obtained, and Mr. Allen's collection also comprises five new species of great interest—a Pigeon, a Kingfisher, a Parrot, and two Passeres, of which the descriptions follow.

1. Coriphilus rubronotatus.
Above dark green; beneath yellow green; a large spot on the forehead, sides of the breast, and under wing-coverts bright red; a spot on the upper tail-coverts dull red; ear-coverts deep blue; wings and tail as in C. placentis. Bill and cere carmine-red; feet pale red.
Total length 9 ½ in.; wings 3 3/10 in.
Allied to C. placentis, but smaller, and wants the red face and blue rump which distinguish that species, as well as the yellow-tinged crown, which is replaced by a red spot.
Hab. Salwatty, and the N.W. extremity of New Guinea.

2. Halcyon nigrocyanea. (Pl. XIX.)
Back, and sides of the head and neck, deep black; throat, lower part of the breast, and belly white; forehead and crown deep blue, margined from the eyes round the nape with lighter blue; a band across the breast, the shoulders, and wing-coverts deep blue; quills dusky black, margined with blue to near the tips; middle of the back narrowly white, shading into blue, which becomes dark on the tail-coverts; tail deep blue, inner margins of the feathers and beneath black; under tail-coverts black, tipped with blue; sides of the breast and flanks black; under wing-coverts black, with a white central band. Bill black, pale in the centre beneath; feet black.
Total length 9 in.; wings 3 5/8 in.
The young bird has slightly rufous lores, and the pectoral band rufous mingled with black and blue.
Hab. N.W. peninsula of New Guinea.

[page] 166

3. Todopsis grayi.
Beneath bluish white, almost white on the throat; head light-greenish blue, the centre of the crown dusky; a black spot on the ear-coverts extending towards the nape; back dusky, the feathers margined with greenish blue; wings dusky, the quills margined with rufous olive, shoulder-coverts margined with greenish blue; tail dusky olive, with a minute whitish spot at the tips of the feathers; thighs rufous-tipped. Bill black; feet dusky.
Total length 5 5/8 in.; wings 2 ½ in.; bill from gape 8/10 in.
The bill in this species is nearly as broad as in Machærirhynchus. I have named this interesting bird after Mr. George Robert Gray, who has described the other species of this genus sent home by me.
Hab. N.W. peninsula of New Guinea: Mountains of Sorong.

4. Gracula pectoralis. (Pl. XX.)
Black, the feathers broadly margined with metallic green and purple; plumes of the neck and breast decomposed, and of a rich orange-buff colour, as are also the vent, rump, and upper tail-coverts; on the nape a collar of whitish buff reaching round to the orange of the throat; under tail-coverts cream-white, tinged with orange at the base; a white band across the wings towards the tips. Iris yellow; bill and feet pale yellow.
Total length 10 in.; wing 5 3/4 in.
The young bird has the breast and belly black, uniformly margined with light orange.
This species differs from the rest of the genus in having neither wattles nor naked skin on the face, but in general structure and coloration closely resembles the other species.
Hab. N.W. peninsula of New Guinea: Sorong.

5. Ptilonopus humeralis. (Pl. XXI.)
Very near P. iozonus, G. R. Gray, but a little larger, and at once distinguished by the violet-grey patch on the shoulder having its lower half deep purple; the tail also wants the grey apical band of that species, which is replaced by a subapical narrow one, only visible on the lateral feathers and beneath. The wing-coverts are all of a rich violet grey, margined with green. Chin ashy; the rest as in P. iozonus. Bill greenish, tipped with bright yellow, base above red and swollen; feet purple red.
Total length 8 3/4 in.; wing 4 7/8 in.
Hab. Salwatty, and the adjacent coast of New Guinea.

[plate XIX]

[plate XX]

[plate XXI]

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2012-. Wallace Online. (

File last updated 26 September, 2012