RECORD: Sclater, P.L. 1860. Note on the birds of prey of New Guinea. Ibis 2 (8, October): 302-303, pl. X.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by AEL Data 7.2012. RN1

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XL.—Note on the Birds of Prey of New Guinea.


(Plate X.)

IN my Catalogue of the Mammals and Birds of New Guinea, published in the 'Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society' (Zool. vol. ii. p. 154), I was able to enumerate only four Diurnal and two Nocturnal Accipitres as known to occur in that country. Mr. Wallace's researches at Havre Dorey have since added two more to the list, so that we now know of the following eight species of Raptorial birds inhabiting New Guinea:—

1. Ichthyaëtus leucogaster. 5. Astur nova hollandiœ.
2. Haliastur leucosternus. 6. Accipiter poliocephalus.
3. Henicopernis longicauda. 7. Spiloglaux humeralis.
4. Baza stenozona. 8. Spiloglaux theomacha.

Of these eight birds, Ichthyaëtus leucogaster, Haliastur leucosternus, and Astur novœ hollandiœ are well known as Australian species, and have a somewhat extended geographical distribution; the remaining five, as far as has been hitherto recorded, have only been met with in New Guinea and the Aru Islands, which belong essentially to the same fauna,—a further testimony, if any additional witness were necessary, to the peculiarities of this zoology.

The Accipiter poliocephalus, of which Mr. G. H. Gurney's libe-

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rality has supplied the accompanying figures (Plate X.), representing the adult and immature plumage, was described by Mr. G. R. Gray* from a female specimen obtained by Mr. Wallace in the Aru Islands. In Mr. Wallace's series from Havre Dorey in New Guinea was a single young male example of the same bird, as recorded in Mr. G. R. Gray's list given in the Zoological Society's 'Proceedings' for 1859†. These are the only specimens of this rare Accipiter ever yet procured. They have been kindly lent to me by Mr. S. Stevens, for the use of this work, from Mr. Wallace's private collection, in which they are retained. The species being well-marked, and easily recognizable by the figures, which have been drawn by Mr. Wolf, it is not necessary to repeat the descriptions of them, which have already been given by Mr. Gray. It may, however, be worth while to notice, that the adult female example (according to Mr. Wallace's determination of the sexes) is slightly smaller than the young male‡.

Mr. Gurney's views as to the correct position of Accipiter poliocephalus and its allies have been already noticed in my article on Accipiter haplochrous (Ibis, vol. i. p. 276).

XLI.—On Edible Birds' Nests. BY EDWARD BLYTH, Curator of the Royal Asiatic Society's Museum, Calcutta.

WE read, in the London 'Literary Gazette' for January 14, 1860, p. 54, as quite a new discovery, that "M. Payen ascribes the gelatinous properties of the birds' nests so famous in Chinese cookery, and which sell for enormous prices in Paris [qu.Pekin?], to a viscid fluid produced by the salivary glands of the Salangane Swallow [Swift]. The epicure may not thank chemistry for resolving a choice delicacy into the spittle of birds. As this secretion has peculiar properties, M. Payen calls it cubilose."

That the famous edible nests of the Collocaliœ were "secreted by the very large salivary glands of the bird," I distinctly stated

* Proc. Zool. Soc. 1858, p. 170.

† Proc. Zool. Soc. 1859, p. 153.

Long. tota. alæ. Caudæ. tarsi.
‡ Spec. 1. (♀ adult. Aru) 14· 8·2 2·3
Spec. 2. (♂ juv. N. G.) 15·5 8·5 6·4 2·35

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