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Notes on various Indian and Malayan Birds, with Descriptions of some presumed new Species. By Edward Bltth, Curator to the Museum of the Asiatic Society.

A highly interesting collection of bird-skins, from Darjeeling, having been kindly entrusted to my charge by Dr. Pearson, for the purpose of describing, or otherwise noticing such among them as I may consider to be new, or worthy of some remark, I avail myself of the occasion not only to respond to the wishes of that gentleman, but to record a variety of observations upon other Indian and Malayan species of birds, which have recently fallen under my notice.

1. Falco Aldrovandi, Reinwardt, Tem. PL Col. 128; F. sevens, Horsfield, Lin. Trans. XIII. 135 ; F. subbuteo (?), Franklin, Proc. Zoo!. Soc. 1831, 114. (rkd-bellikd Falcon.) Nearly allied to the Hobby Falcon (F. subbuteo). Length of a male about 10J inches; of wing 8^ inches, and tail 4£ inches; bill to forehead, including cere, J inch over the curve, and rather more from point of upper mandible to gape; tarse posteriorly 1 inch, and middle toe and claw \\ inch. Colour above uniform dusky-black, with a very slight greyish cast, which is chiefly visible upon the back, and also on the tail, the medial feathers of which are obscurely barred with black, which colour extends down their middle; inner webs of the other tail-feathers having seven or eight well defined rufous bars, which also appear more or less on their exterior webs, excepting on the outermost; feathers at the sides of the back of the neck rufous, excepting at the tip, which coloui indeed extends on the inner web to the tip in a very few, so that this rufous is always more or less visible : throat and front of the neck eleai fulvous-white; the lores, cheeks, and ear-coverts, black like the crown: rest of the under-parts, sides, and inside of the wings to the greater quills, deep ferruginous, comparatively dilute on the breast, and each feather having a medial black stripe or spot: primaries barred for twothirds of their length on the inner web with a series of transverse rufous spots: bill dusky-bluish, the lower mandible yellow except at the tip: legs bright yellow: all the tail-feathers are narrowly tipped with rufous-white; and the scapularies, tertiarics, and larger wing-coverts are very slightly edged with the same. The female exceeds ll inches long, with wings 9£ inches, and tail 5£ inches; colour of the upperparts much less dark, or of a dusky brownish-slaty hue, slightly margined with greyish-brown especially on the scapularies, tertiaries, and larger wing-coverts, and more broadly on the upper tail-coverts: tail tipped with the same, having a slight tinge of rufous; its middle feathers greyish-dusky, with all but obsolete darker bars, and the rest marked as in the male, but with paler rufous: spot at each side of the lower part of the back of the neck whitish, and a blackish moustache separated from the black-brown of the cheeks, instead of the intervening space being filled up with black as in the male; there is also a narrow fulvous-white streak over the eye, and the frontal feathers immediately over the beak are whitish: the lower parts are but faintly tinged with ferruginous, which is deepest on the thighs, and marked with larger black spots and streaks than in the other sex: primaries barred on the inner web with very faint ferruginous. A young female has considerably more white on the forehead, and the feathers of the crown and occiput are dark brownish, marked with a dusky streak along the shaft: moustache much less developed, the black merely occupying the outer web, or only the shaft, of each feather: upper-parts dusky-brown, more broadly margined with rufous than in the preceding; the tips of the secondaries and of the inner webs of the primaries edged with white; middle tail-feathers greyish, distinctly banded with pale dusky; the exterior successively more fulvous, and with darker bars of a more mottled character than in the adult: upon the inner webs the fulvous is much fainter than in the mature female: the primaries have a series of large transverse oval white spots on the basal two-thirds of their inner webs; and the under-parts are still less tinged with ferruginous, which is all but confined to the belly, thighs, and under tail-coverts, these parts being nearly without markings, while the breast and sides are streaked longitudinally with blackish-brown, forming larger, but less defined, markings than in the adult; the wings of this specimen are 9} inches long.

The handsome male here described is from Darjeeling; and both females are old specimens in the Museum of the Asiatic Society, procured in the neighbourhood of Calcutta. I have seen no notice of this bird inhabiting India, but suspect that Major Franklin's F. subbuteo refers to no other.* In Java it is not uncommon.

2. Syrnium Sinense: Strix Sinensis, Latham, Ind. Orn., Supp., p. 61; Sir. orientalis, Shaw, Zool., VII, 257; and figured by Hardwicke and Gray, III. Ind. Zool. A young bird, in full-grown nestling plumage;

• Since the above was written, Mr. Jerdon has kindly favored me with a copy of the printed Supplement to his valuable Catalogue of the' Birds of Peninsular India, and with a collection of beautiful coloured drawings of many of the species. Among them is one of a bird referred by that gentleman to F. Subbuteo, and noticed as such in his Supplement; but it exactly agrees with my female above described, and is distinct from the European Hobby. "I obtained a single specimen of this Falcon," he informs us, "during the cold season, in a grove of trees North of Jaulnah. I found its stomach crammed with Libellula. It was called Doureylee by one native falconer, and Reygee by another, who said it was only a cold weather visitant in the Peninsula, coming in and disappearing along with the Bhyree (F. peregrinus.)"

The same naturalist has also furnished me with the following description of a small Falcon, recently procured by him upon the Neilghierries in January, and which I somewhat incline to think can be no other than the present in a different state of plumage, being probably the immature male. "Length 11} inches, of wing 9£ inches, and tail 5 inches; extent 27 inches. Bill deep fleshy-red, the tip dusky; cere and legs deep orange-red; claws fleshy; irides deep brown ; orbitar skin orange yellow. Above dark slaty-grey, some of the feathers centred and tipped darker; the dorsal edged with rusty: tail light grey obsoletely barred: ocular region and cheek-stripe nearly black: narrow frontal band, supercilium, chin, throat, ear-feathers and sides of the neck, white; breast and abdomen rusty-white with blackish-brown marks, longitudinal on breast, heart-shaped on the sides, and narrow and arrow-like on the centre of the abdomen: vent, under tail-coverts, and thigh-coverts, pale unspotted rusty. Habit, insectivorous."

The name Falco Aldrovandi, I perceive, is applied by this ornithologist in his Supplement to the Shaheen, (his previous F. Shaheen,) with the remark, that he " was misled by the description in Griffith's Cuvier (where it is stated to be only 10 inches long) to consider it undescribcd." In the Diet. Class, a"Hist. Nat., however, I also find F. Aldrovandi stated to be 10} inches in length, and Temminck's plate above cited is referred to: again, in Stephens's continuation to Shaw's Zoology (xiii, pt. ii. 40), F. Aldrovandi, Tem., is doubtfully identified with F. severus, Horsfield, the length of which, as copied from the latter naturalist, is given as the same. Finally, referring to Dr. Horsfield's amended list of Javanese birds prefixed to his Zoological Researches in Java, I again perceive that F. Aldrovandi is identified with F. severus. On the other hand, Mr. Walter Elliot remarks, that the Shaheen is correctly figured by Temminck as F. Aldrovandi; this Shaheen measuring from nearly 15 to 194 inches long, according to the sex, and bearing no particular resemblance to the present species in its colouring.

At all events, I suspect that F. Subbuteo may be safely expunged from the list of Indian birds hitherto ascertained, the more especially as Mr. Jerdon has certainly mistaken our present species for it, as I presumed Major Franklin had done. Another small Falcon, which I have lately obtained in the vicinity of Calcutta, is F. Tinnunculoides, Tem., which is figured, too, in one of the coloured drawings of the late Dr. Buchanan Hamilton.

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