RECORD: Sclater, P.L. 1860. On the species of the genus Prioniturus, and on the geographical distribution of the Psittacidae in the Eastern Archipelago. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London pp. 223-228

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by AEL Data 11.2012. RN1

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Having lately examined specimens of all the known species of the group of Parrots denominated Prioniturus by Wagler, I take the opportunity of endeavouring to rectify some errors which have been made with regard to their synonymy and geographical distribution.

Genus PRIONITURUS, Wagler.

α. Prioniturus.


Psittacus platurus, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. xxv. p. 314, et Enc. Méth. p. 1367 (?).

Prioniturus flavicans, Cassin, Proc. Ac. Phil. vi. p. 373; Journ. Ac. Phil. iii. p. 155 (♀).

"Psittacus discosurus, Vieill.", Temm. in Mus. Lugd.

Diagn.—♂. Viridis, collo undique cum pectore toto flavicantibus: macula verticali ruberrima undique cæruleo circumdata: alis extus viridibus fere concoloribus: rectricibus intermediis valde elongatis, denudatis, disco terminatis.

♀. Pileo cyanescente: macula verticali nulla: collo undique cum pectore flavicantibus: rectricibus intermediis paulo elongatis, apicibus angustatis, et subdisciformibus.

Hab. In ins. Celebes, regione Boreali circa lacum Tondano (Forsten et Wallace).

Mus. Lugdunensi (♂ et ♀).

Examples of both sexes of this Parrot are in the Leyden Museum, obtained by Forsten at Tondano in Northern Celebes, and marked 'Psittacus discosurus, Vieill.' The bird is not Psittacus discurus of Vieillot, but possibly, I think I may say probably, his Psittacus platurus. However, as this is by no means certain from Vieillot's insufficient description, and as the next species is generally considered to be the P. platurus, it is better to adopt for the present species the name flavicans, under which Mr. Cassin has accurately described the female. Mr. Wallace has lately met with this bird in the same locality as that in which Forsten found it. As he truly says*, it is "very distinct in both sexes" from the P. setarius.


Psittacus setarius, Temm. Pl. Col. 15.

Prioniturus platurus, Wagl. Mon. Psitt. p. 523 (nec Vieill.); Bp. Consp. Av. p. 6.

Psittacus spatuliger, mas, Bourj. Perr. t. 53.

Racket-tailed Parrot, Lath. Gen. Hist. ii. p. 167. pl. 24.

Prioniturus platurus et P. wallacii, G. R. Gray, List of Psitt. p. 17.

* See 'Ibis,' 1860, p. 141.

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Diagn.—♂. Viridis; torque angusto cervicali postico aurantiaco: macula verticali antice roseo-rubra, postice plaga cinerea terminata: alis fascia lata grisea, secundarias occupante, bipartitis, axillis cyanescentibus: rectricibus intermediis valde elongatis, denudatis, disco terminatis.

♀. Macula verticali nulla: rectricibus intermediis brevioribus.

Hab. In ins. Celebes, reg. Boreali et Merid. (Wallace).

Mus. Brit. ( ♂ et ♀ ); Lugd. ( ♂ ).

Mr. Wallace obtained specimens of both sexes of this Parrot near Macassar in Southern Celebes, and has also lately met with it again in Northern Celebes, near the Lake of Tondano, though more sparingly than P. flavicans. I have examined Temminck's type in the Leyden Museum, and I can see no difference between that and Mr. Wallace's birds.

This species may be distinguished from the former at the first glance (1) by its narrow and distinct hind neck-collar, that in P. flavicans being broad and extending all round the neck and over the body below; (2) by its rosy head-spot, bordered behind by a broad greyish blotch, the head-spot in P. flavicans being rosy, and situated in the middle of a bluish blotch; (3) by the blue shoulders and pale greyish band formed by the secondaries, the wings in P. flavicans being uniform green; (4) by the elongated under tail-coverts, those of P. flavicans being comparatively short.

β. Urodiscus.


Psittacus discurus, Vieill. Gal. des Ois. i. p. 7. pl. 36; Enc. Méth. p. 1369; Wagl. Mon. Psitt. p. 524.

Psittacus spatuliger, fœm., Bourj. St.-Hil. Perr. t. 53 a.

Prioniturus discurus, Bp. Consp. Av. p. 6.

Hab. In ins. Mindanao Philippinensium (Vieill.).

Mus. Parisiensi.

The British Museum contains specimens of two nearly allied, but probably distinct species of this section of the genus Prioniturus, both from the Philippines. They are distinguished in Mr. Gray's Catalogue as P. discurus and P. spatuliger. But as the latter specific appellation was used by Bourjot St.-Hilaire for a compound species formed by the union of P. setarius and P. discurus, it is a useless synonym. It follows, therefore, that whichever of the two Philippine species is different from that in the Paris Museum, which is the type of Vieillot's and B. St.-Hilaire's figures, will require a new name.

I take this opportunity also of exhibiting a Table illustrative of the present condition of our knowledge of the distribution of the Psitta-cidœ in the Eastern Archipelago, which I have drawn up at the request of Mr. A. R. Wallace. In the Indian Region, which includes the great islands of Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, and extends over the Philippines, the generic types of this family are few. Palœornis and Loriculus are the most prominent. Psittinus consists of a single species found in Malacca, Sumatra, and Borneo: and Cyclopsitta,

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with one or perhaps two species, is peculiar to the Philippines, where also Urodiscus (a subgenus scarcely separable from Prioniturus) occurs*. But on crossing the Straits of Macassar and Lombock, which, as Mr. Wallace has well shown (Proc. Linn. Soc. iv. p. 172), form the boundary between the Indian and Australian regions, we meet at once with a strange contrast. In the islands scattered between this limit and the northern coast of Australia, not less than seventeen different genera of Psittacidœ occur; and among them are two very peculiar types, the Cacatuinœ and Trichoglossinœ, which, as Mr. Wallace has observed, "extend up to the extreme limits of the region without a solitary species passing over into the Indian islands of the Archipelago."

The distribution of the Psittacidœ in this region is further of great interest as exhibiting numerous instances of that well-known principle of geographical distribution according to which different horizontal areas are tenanted by closely allied and corresponding, though different species of the same generic type. The Psittacidœ, both in the Old and New World, appear to be especially subject to the influence of this law †. Scarcely an instance is known of a bird of this family having an extended geographical range, and experience teaches us to be very suspicious of any supposed instance of the occurrence of the same species of Parrot in two localities of any distance apart. Mr. Wallace tells us that even between the Lorius garrulus of Gilolo and that of Batchian "there is a constant difference in the size of the dorsal yellow patch ‡."

The accurate working-out of the range and localities of the whole family would form a valuable contribution to our knowledge of zoological geography. There are, however, many species of the true habitats of which we are still ignorant. It is with the hope of being of some use to Mr. Wallace in his endeavours to increase our knowledge of this subject, that I have drawn up the Table I now exhibit. It is an extension of a somewhat similar one given in the zoological volume of the 'Verhandelingen.' Many additional localities have been ascertained by examination of the marked specimens in the Collection of Leyden, to which, through the courtesy of Professor Schlegel, I have always had unrestricted access during my visits to that city.

In the following lists of the species inhabiting the different islands, I have given the Museums where the specimens are to be found, and the names of the collectors, when ascertainable:—

* With the exception of Loriculus, of which one species (L. stigmatus) has straggled over into Celebes, all these types are confined to the Indian as distinct from the Australian region. In the same way a single species of Cacatua—a characteristic group of the Australian region—(C. philippinarum), is found in the Philippines, and a Tanygnathus, or probably two of this group (T. lucionensis and T. sumatranus), the third species being peculiar to Celebes and Bouton.

† I have made some remarks on the exemplification of this law in the distribution of the Psittacidœ in the various West India Islands, in the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History' (1859), vol. iv. p. 224.

‡ 'Ibis,' 1860, p. 198.


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1. Cacatua œquatorialis. Mus. Brit. Wallace.


1. Trichoglossus forsteni. Mus. Lugd. Forsten.


1. Prioniturus setarius. Mus. Brit. Wallace.
2. P. flavicans. Mus. Lugd. Forsten.
3. Tanygnathus mülleri. Mus. Brit. Wallace.
4. Loriculus stigmatus. Mus. Lugd. Forsten.
5. Trichoglossus ornatus. Mus. Lugd. Forsten.


1. Tanygnathus mülleri. Mus. Lugd. Müller.
2. Trichoglossus ornatus. Mus. Lugd. Müller.


1. Geoffroius jukesii. Mus. Brit. Jukes.
2. Aprosmictus vulneratus. Mus. Lugd.
3. Trichoglossus cyanogrammus. Mus. Lugd. Müller.
4.—euteles. Mus. Lugd. Müller.
5. iris. Mus. Lugd. Müller.
6. Cacatua citrinocristata. Mus. Par. Hombr. & Jacq.


1. Eclectus grandis. Mus. Lugd.
2. Geoffroius personatus. Mus. Lugd. Forsten.
3. Lorius tricolor. Mus. Lugd, Müller.
4. Eos rubra. Mus. Lugd.
5.—reticulata. Mus. Lugd.
6. cyanostriata. Mus. Lugd.
7. Trichoglossus hœmatodus. Mus. Lugd. Müller.


1. Tanygnathus megalorhynchus. Mus. Lugd.
2. Eos squamata. Mus. Lugd.
3. Trichoglossus hœmatodus. Mus. Lugd. Forsten.
4. Cacatua moluccensis. Mus. Lugd. Forsten.


1. Tanygnathus megalorhynchus. Mus. Brit. Wallace.
2. Polychlorus magnus.——
3. Geoffroius cyaneicollis.——
4. Lorius garrulus. — —
5. Eos riciniata.——
6. Trichoglossus placens?——
7. Cacatua cristata.——

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1. Polychlorus magnus. Mus. Lugd.
2. Eos riciniata.——
3. Trichoglossus placens ?——
4. Cacatua cristata.——


1. Tanygnathus megalorhynchus. Mus. Lugd.
2. Geoffroius cyaneicollis. ——
3. Aprosmictus hypophonius.——
4. Lorius garrulus. ——
5. Eos riciniata. ——
6. —— coccinea. ——


1. Psittacodis stavorinii. Mus. Par. Lesson.
2. Chalcopsitta rubiginosa. ——


1. Eclectus cardinalis. Mus. Brit. Wallace.
2. Geoffroius pucheranii. ——
3. Opopsitta diophthalma.——
4. —— desmaresti.——
5. Aprosmictus dorsalis. ——
6. Lorius tricolor.——
7. Eos fuscata.——
8. Chalcopsitta atra. Mus. Par. Lesson.
9. Trichoglossus nigrigularis. Mus. Brit. Wallace.
10. —— placens. Mus. Brit. Wallace.
11. Charmosyna papuana. Mus. Par. Lesson.
12. —— pulchella. Mus. Brit. Wallace.
13. Cacatua triton. Mus. Lugd. Müller.
14. Microglossum aterrimum. Mus. Lugd. Müller.
15. Dasyptilus pecquetii. Mus. Lugd.
16. Nasiterna pygmœa. Mus. Lugd. Müller.

XIII. MAFORS ISLANDS (in the Bay of Geelvink)

1. Lorius cyanauchen. Mus. Brit. Wallace.
2. Eos cyanogenia. Wallace.


1. Eclectus cardinalis ? Mus. Brit. Wallace.
2. Polychlorus magnus.——
3. Geoffroius aruensis.——
4. Opopsitta diophthalma.——
5. Chalcopsitta scintillans.——
6. Trichoglossus nigrigularis.——
7. —— coccineifrons.——
8.—— placens. ——
9. Cacatua triton. ——
10. Microglossum alecto. — —

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1. Geoffroius heteroclitus. Mus. Par. Hombr. & Jacq.
2. Lorius chlorocercus. Mus. Brit. Macgillivr.
3. Eos cardinalis. Mus. Par. H. & J.
4. Trichoglossus massena. Mus. Brit. Macgillivr.
5. Cacatua ducorpsii. Mus. Par. H. & J.


(Mammalia, Pl. LXXXI.)

Buffon, in his 'Histoire Naturelle,' gives three figures of the animals of this genus; they are not easily recognized; and, according to M. I. Geoffroy, he is said to have figured one species and to have taken his description from another (see Cat. Méthod, p. 55).

M. Geoffroy the elder, in his 'Tableau des Quadrumanes,' published in 1812, noticed four species, viz. P. leucocephala, P. miriquouina, P. rufiventer, and P. monachus. The specimens then in the collection on which they were established were imperfect or young, and it has been found very difficult to assign these names with certainty to the specimens which have been recently collected.

Dr. Kuhl, who took the trouble to examine the original specimens in the Paris Museum, and to study the species existing at that time, viz. 1820, after more carefully describing the specimens named by Geoffroy, and those received between 1812 and 1820 by the Paris Museum, and also those in the Prince Maximilian's and Temminckian Museum at Leyden, added two others to Geoffroy's list, viz. P. rufibarbata, and P. ochrocephala (from a specimen in the Temminckian collection). M. Temminck, however, has considered (and Fischer has followed his lead) that P. ochrocephala is the female or young of P. leucocephala, and P. rufibarbata the same as P. rufiventer of Geoffroy and Kuhl. I think, from Dr. Kuhl's description, that his account of the subannulated hair may probably be correct,—the peculiar pointed form of the tail, which Dr. Kuhl says distinguishes it from all other Pitheciœ, being dependent on its having been kept in a menagerie. But the description of P. ochrocephala does not agree with any specimens of the genus I have seen. In the division of the hair on the forehead it agrees with P. chrysocephala of Isidore Geoffroy; but then, that species, as far as I have seen, never has the upper side of the tail and the outside of the limbs chestnut-brown. Can it be a Callithrix?

I may here observe that the Pithecia miriquouina—which both Geoffroy and Kuhl describe from one specimen, if not more, in the Paris Museum, and which has been called Simia azara by Cuvier and Humboldt, and is referred by Dr. Kuhl to P. adusta of Illiger with doubt, and is evidently very distinct, according to these authors—has

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