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THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA.

THE

BIRDS

OF

AUSTRALIA

BY

GREGORY M, MATHEWS

F.R.S.E.

MEMBER OF THE AUSTRALIAN ORNITHOLOGISTS’ UNION AND THE BRITISH ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION CORRESPONDING FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS’ UNION

WITH HAND-COLOURED PLATES

\\

VOLUME VI.

WITHERBY & CO.

326 HIGH HOLBORN LONDON

1916—1917

£

a? l

643

M42.

I / (

CONTENTS

AND

LIST OF PLATES.

PAGE

Order PSITTACIFORMES 1

Genus TRICHOGLOSSUS 9

No. 324. Blue-bellied Lorikeet, Trichoglossus moluccanus . 14

Plate 275 lettered Trichoglossus novce-hollandice, to face . 14

No. 325. Red-collared Lorikeet, Trichoglossus rubritorquis . 27

Plate 276 lettered Trichoglossus rubritorquis, to face . . 27

Genus EUTELIPSITTA 31

No. 326. Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Eutelipsitta chlorolepidota . 33

Plate 277 lettered Eutelipsittu chlorolepidota, to face . . 33

Genus PSITTEUTELES 37

No. 327. Varied Lorikeet, Psitteuteles versicolor . . . 38

Plate 278 lettered Psitteuteles versicolor, to face ... 38

Genus GLOSSOPSITTA 43

No. 328. Musk Lorikeet, Glossopitta concinna ... 46

Plate 279 lettered Glossopsitta porphryocephala, Glossopsitta

pusilla, Glossopsitta concinna, to face ... . 46

No. 329. Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Glossopsitta porphyrocephala 53

No. 330. Little Lorikeet, Glossopsitta pusilla ... 58

v.

THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA.

Genus OPOPSITTA .........

No. 331. Red-faced Lorilet, Opopsitta coxeni

Plate 280 lettered Opopsitta leadbeateri and Opopsitta coxeni, to face ..........

No. 332. Blue-faced Lorilet, Opopsitta leadbeateri

Genus PROBOSCIGER .... .....

No. 333. Cape York Palm Cockatoo, Probosciger aterrimus . Plate 281 lettered Solenoglossus macgillivrayi, to face .

Genus CALYPTORHYNCHUS

No. 334. Banksian Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus banlcsii

Plate 282 lettered Calyptorhynchus macrorhynchus, to face .

Genus HARRISORNIS

No. 335. Glossy Cockatoo, Harrisornis lathami

Plate 283 lettered Calyptorhynchus viridis, to face

Genus ZANDA ..........

No. 336. White-tailed Black Cockatoo, Zanda baudinii Plate 284 lettered Zanda baudinii , to face

No. 337. Black Cockatoo, Zanda funerea .... Plate 285 lettered Calyptorhynchus funereus , to face .

Genus CALLOCORYDON

No. 338. Gang-gang Cockatoo, Callocorydon fimbriatus .

Plate 286 lettered Callocephalon galeatum, to face

Genus KAKA.TOE .........

No. 339. White Cockatoo, Kakatoe galerita. ....

Plate 287 lettered Cacatoes galerita, to face

Genus LOPHOCHROA .........

No. 340. Pink Cockatoo, Lophochroa leadbeateri Plate 288 lettered Lophochroa leadbeateri, to face

Genus DUCORPSIUS

No. 341. Bloodstained Cockatoo, Ducorpsius sanguineus

Plate 289 lettered Ducorpsius sanguineus and Ducorpsius gymnopis, to face ........

PAGE

61

67

67

69

73

77

77

95

100

100

124

125 125

133

134 134

138

138

150

153

153

160

170

170

189

190 190

197

198

198

Yl.

CONTENTS.

PAGE

Genus LICMETIS ........

No. 342. Longbilled Cockatoo, Licmetis tenuirostris Plate 290 lettered Licmetis tenuirostris, to face .

213

214 214 ,

Genus EOLOPHUS 223

No. 343. Posebreasted Cockatoo (Galah), Eolophus roseicapillus 225 Plate 291 lettered Eolophus roseicapillus, to face . . 225 '

Genus LEPTOLOPHUS 235

No. 344. Cockatoo-Parrot, Leptolophus hollandicus . . 239

Plate 292 lettered Leptolophus auricomis, to face . , . 239

Genus LORIUS .......... 246

No. 345. Red-sided Parrot, Lorius pectoralis .... 248

Plate 293 lettered Eclectus macgillivrayi , to face . . . 248

Genus GEOFFROYUS

No. 346. Red-cheeked Parrot, Geoffroyus geoffroyi Plate 294 lettered Geoffroyus maclennani, to face .

251

253

253

Genus POLYTELIS

No. 347. Greek Leek, Polytelis sivainsonii

Plate 295 lettered Polytelis swainsonii, to face .

No. 348. Black-tailed Parrot, or Rock Pebbler, Polytelis anthopeplus .......

Plate 296 lettered Polytelis anthopeplus, to face .

Genus NORTHIPSITTA

No. 349. Alexandra Parrot, Northipsitta alexandrce Plate 297 lettered Northipsitta alexandrce, to face .

258

261 261

266

266

270

271 271

Genus APROSMICTUS 277

No. 350. Red-winged Parrot, Aprosmictus erythropterus . 279

Plate 298 lettered Aprosmictus parry ensis, to face . . 279

Genus ALISTERUS 287

No. 351. King-Parrot, Alisterus scapularis .... 291

Plate 299 lettered Alisterus cyanopygius, to face . . 291 *

vn.

THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA.

PAGE

Genus PLATYCERCUS 298

No. 352. Crimson Parrot, Platycercus elegans . . . 304

Plate 300 lettered Platycercus nigrescens , to face . . 304

No. 353. Yellow Parrot, Platycercus ftaveolus . . . 317

Plate 301 lettered Platycercus innominatus , to face . . 317 '

No. 354. Green Parrot, Platycercus caledonicus . . . 322

Plate 302 lettered Platycercus caledonicus, to face . . 322

No. 355. Yellow-cheeked Parrot, Platycercus icterotis . . 329

Plate 303 lettered Platycercus icterotis and Platycercus salvadori , to face ........ 329

No. 356. Blue-cheeked Parrot, Platycercus adscitus . . 338

Plate 304 lettered Platycercus amathusice and Platycercus palliceps , to face ........ 338 *

No. 357. Smutty Parrot, Platycercus venustus . . . 345

Plate 305 lettered Platycercus hilli and Platycercus venustus, to face .......... 345 '

No. 358. Rosella, Platycercus eximius ..... 352

Plate 306 lettered Platycercus splendidus, to face . . 352

Genus BARNARDIUS

No. 359. Mallee Parrot, Barnardius barnardi

Plate 307 lettered Barnardius macgillivrayi and Barnardius whitei, to face ........

No. 360. Yellow-banded Parrot, Barnardius zonarius .

Plate 308 lettered Barnardius occidentalis and Barnardius dundasi, to face ........

363

365

365 *

373

373 .

Genus PURPUREICEPHALUS

No. 361. Red-capped Parrot, Purpureicephalus spurius . Plate 309 lettered Purpureicephalus spurius, to face

384

386 386 ,

Genus PSEPHOTUS

No. 362. Red-backed Parrot, Psephotus hcematonotus Plate 310 lettered Psephotus hcematonotus, to face

No. 363. Many-Coloured Parrot, Psephotus varius Plate 311 lettered Psephotus varius, to face

391

395

395

401 401 .

vm.

CONTENTS.

PAGE

Genus NORTHIELLA

No. 364. Crimson-bellied Parrot, Northiella hcematogaster

Plate 312 lettered Northiella zanda and Northiella hcematog aster, to face

409

410

410

Genus PSEPHOTELLUS ......

No. 365. Beautieitl Parrot, Psephotellus puleherrimus Plate 313 lettered Psephotellus puleherrimus , to face

No. 366. Golden-shouldered Parrot, Psephotellus pterygius ........

Plate 314 lettered Psephotellus dissimilis, to face

Genus NEOPSEPHOTUS ......

No. 367. Blue-vented Parrot, Neopsephotus hour Mi Plate 315 lettered Neopsephotus bourMi, to face .

chryso

419

421

421

425

425

431

432 432

Genus NEONANODES 436

No. 368. Orange-bellied Parrot, Neonanodes chrysogaster . 438

Plate 316 lettered Neonanodes chrysogaster and Neonanodes chrysostomus , to face ....... 438

No. 369. Blue-winged Parrot, Neonanodes chrysostomus . 442

No. 370. Grass-Parrot, Neonanodes elegans .... 447

Plate 317 lettered Neonanodes elegans and Neonanodes carteri,

to face .......... 447

No. 371. Rock Parrot, Neonanodes petrophilus . . . 451

Plate 318 lettered Neonanodes petrophilus , to face . . 451

Genus NEOPHEMA . . . . . . . . d

No. 372. Red-shouldered Grass Parrot, Neophema pulchella Plate 319 lettered Neophema pulchella, to face .

No. 373. Scarlet-chested Grass Parrot, Neophema splendida Plate 320 lettered Neophema splendida, to face .

456

458

458

462

462

Genus LATHAMUS

No. 374. Swiet-Parrot, Lathamus discolor

Plate 321 lettered Lathamus discolor, to face

465

468

468

Genus MELOPSXTTACXJS

No. 375. Betcherkygah, Melopsittacus undulatus . Plate 322 lettered Melopsittacus undulatus, to face

474

475 475

IX.

THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA.

PAGE

Genus PEZOPORUS

No. 376. Ground Parrot, Pezoporus wallicus Plate 323 lettered Pezoporus terrestris, to face

Genus GEOPSITTACUS

No. 377. Spinifex Parrot, or Night Parrot, Geopsittacus occidentalis .........

Plate 324, lettered Geopsittacus occidentalis, to face

484

486

486

494

495 495

APPENDIX .......... xv.

CORRECTION .......... xix.

INDEX 499

D

x.

PREFACE.

THE completion of the present volume sees the abnormal conditions still existent, so that little progress in our science can be reported. Nevertheless, some work is still being carried on and one notable event has to be chronicled. The re-discovery, by Mr. Tom Carter, of the two birds named Malurus textilis and Malurus leucopteru-s by Dumont, almost one hundred years ago, must rank as one of the most gratifying occurrences of recent years. These species had not been secured since their discovery, and as the type or types were lost in shipwreck no specimens existed in any collection. Moreover, as the names had been grossly misused, it was important that they should either be re-collected or their extinction proved. Mr. Tom Carter has succeeded in his search for these missing birds, and has thereby earned the thanks of ornithologists, not only Australian, but of all countries. Full details of his search will appear elsewhere, but I may note one other interesting item Mr. Carter records. On September 10th, 1916, he found nestlings of Leptolophus hollandicus, and these were covered with yellow down similar to that of the domestic duckling.

Another expedition of importance was that undertaken by Mr. W. R. McLennan, on account of Mr. H. L. White, when that energetic field worker ranged over the Northern Territory, collecting at much the same locality as Gilbert and thus procuring almost absolute topotypes of many of the species described by Gould. He is to be congratulated upon his safe return from what appears to have been anything but an easy trip.

Dr. W. Macgillivray and Mr. W. R. McLennan have recently called on me, and from them I learned that the latter had collected on the Watson River, North Queensland, a specimen of the true P. chrysopterygius Gould, a most important item, as I had suggested it was extinct.

Nomenclature now has but very little concern, as, since Australian ornithologists have generally accepted the usage of trinomials and base their conclusions upon absolute priority, there is no matter of dispute between any class. As a further prophetic item I will suggest that the next edition of the ‘6 List of British Birds sanctioned by the British Ornithologists’ Union will also adhere to the principles of absolute priority as well as trinomialism as utilised in the same way as in my List of the Birds of Australia.” This is

xi.

THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA.

the only List showing the nomenclature of Australian Birds in this scientific manner, and as I have corrected it in every possible way as I have monographed the groups, I propose at the end of the next volume, which will complete the non-Passerine birds, to give a List of the species with names and data as corrected up to that point.

Since the preceding was written, a peculiar confusion has arisen which I here discuss, so that my readers can get the position truly without recourse to newspapers. My erstwhile friend,” Mr. Archibald J. Campbell of Melbourne, the famous author of Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds , has written to the weekly press of Australia, viz. The Australasian of April 28th, 1917, a letter in which he has made statements which are contrary to the facts, and which disclose ignorance on his side of the subject he deals with. I had intended to ignore this absurd letter, but my Australian distributors have written to my publishers asking for a refutation, as this foolish letter has caused other subscribers to consider the matter without recourse to the facts.

Mr. Campbell has written : “We were promised that the work was to be completed in eight volumes at a prospective cost of £70.” This is untrue , and if Mr. Campbell did not know it to be so, then he is a very careless man. If he will look, and read, my prospectus again (if he ever read it in the first instance) he should write a public apology to The Australasian simply as an act of justice. The succeeding sentences in Mr. Campbell’s letter are as inaccurate as this one. Mr. Campbell continues by complaining that too much of the letterpress has been technical (even speculative at times), and concludes : Why have subscribers to pay for page upon page of extraneous matter concerning nomenclature ? I would point out that my subscribers do not pay for this extraneous matter. I do all that. Each page of extraneous matter is given to my subscribers. Mr. Campbell suggests that he would be content with four pages, whereas I gave him eighteen for the same money. It is difficult to suit all people, as when the parts were small, owing to our ignorance of the birds treated, complaints were made ; now when they are of larger size, still complaints are made. All my subscribers must have observed that, whatever I have done, I have stuck to my very bad bargain as regards myself to my subscribers in the matter of price, instead of the opposite. When I entered into my contract no world conflict was ever anticipated, and the present conditions are such that my outlay in the publication of my work has very considerably increased, and I have not complained. Had I cut down my work to the barest limits I venture to suggest some would have complained still more. However, I have dealt with this item in this place so that my subscribers may gauge for themselves, by facing the facts, who deserves the blame in this matter.

xu.

PREFACE.

Mr. Campbell concluded : However, Australians have an authoritative, workable, and consistent 4 check-list of the birds of the Commonwealth.” The only one in existence, as noted above, was my own 44 List of the Birds of Australia,” published in 1913, but I don’t think this was the one Mr. Campbell intended.

It is a pleasing coincidence to receive, by the same mail that my attention was drawn to the preceding, a letter from one of my critical friends and a friendly critic, the item 44 Received with many thanks the Birds of Australia, Volume VI., Part II. Most interested both in matter and plates.”

I attach as an Appendix some interesting notes on the Platycercine forms, sent me by Mr. Edwin Ashby. Such investigations as these are very valuable and, to quote my friend’s words used in connection with another matter, 4 4 facilitate the gaining of knowledge, in a sense to make the pathway of future students more easy than it was before we did work therein.”

As usual, I have to tender thanks for kindly co-operation : Notes and specimens to Captain S. A. White, Tom Carter, Edwin Ashby, T. P. Austin, etc., whose names regularly appear as helpers, and without help my work could not be as complete as it is.

I might just remark that the technical matter is the most important to Australians, as it can only be prepared at this side, where complete collections of specimens and libraries are available. Parochial views are not accepted by Australian ornithologists as far as I am aware from my correspondence and perusal of the Emu, South Australian Ornithologist , etc.

GREGORY M. MATHEWS.

Fottlis Court,

Fair Oak, Hants.

23 rd November , 1917. r

Xlll.

APPENDIX.

Mr. Edwin Ashby has sent me the following notes in connection with a new form of Platycercus he has described. They have since appeared in the Emu.

At the present time I can make no comment, as I have given my views in the text, and with the birds I have here I must still maintain flaveolus as a distinct species. There is, however, no reason why the matter should not be followed up and Mr. Edwin Ashby’s suggestions confirmed or otherwise.

DESCRIPTION OF A NEW SUBSPECIES OF PLATYCERCUS ELEGANS

GMELIN.

By Edwin Ashby, M.B.O.U., R.A.O.U., Wittttnga,” Blackwood, S.A.

Colour. As compared with P. elegans, the adult birds of the form under review are scarlet rather than crimson. Head, nape, rump and lower back bright scarlet. Hind neck, mantle, scapulars and most of the greater wing-coverts black edged with bright orange-red. Shoulder : patch on shoulder black. Median and lesser wing-coverts light blue. Outer-webs of primaries, secondaries and some of the wing-coverts basal part of exposed portions of outer-web dark blue. Tail : central tail- feathers, dull green on the inner- web ; other portions of tail-feathers blue, the outer four feathers broadly tipped with pale blue. Chin or lower cheek blue. Under-side, including under tail-coverts, uniformly bright scarlet. Under-side of tail-feathers, with the exception of the broadly tipped portions of the four outer feathers, deep black. Under-side of wing black with the exception of the large shoulder patch, which is blue.

Comments.— hi less developed specimens in the mantles and scapulars the edgings show more or less green, also some of the feathers on the nape and rump have pale edges. This race is distinguished from all other forms of P. elegans, with the exception of P. adelaidce, by the scarlet colour replacing the crimson. And from the latter in the generally more brilliant scarlet plumage and in the case of old specimens the green feathers on rump and back are entirely replaced by scarlet.

xv.

/

THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA.

Habitat . The Fleurieu Peninsula, S.A., the extremity of which is familiar under the name of Cape Jervis. The peninsula was thus named at the time of Flinders’ and Baudin’s exploration of St. Vincent’s Gulf, but later the name was dropped until in 1911, at the request of Count Fleurieu, the grandson of the famous French Minister, the name was replaced on the South Australian maps. While we have recognised for a long time that a highly coloured strain of the Adelaide Rosella was frequently seen in the neighbourhood of Myponga and even extending as far as the Meadows along the same range, it has fallen to the lot of Mr. Frank E. Parsons, R.A.O.U., and myself, to locate the true home of these highly coloured birds on the occasion of a rather hurried motor-trip to Cape Jervis last Easter. I am indebted to Mr. Parsons both for specimens and help in attempting to elucidate the problem of this highly coloured form. We consider that their headquarters are between Normanville and Cape Jervis. Between Normanville and Second Valley every flock had its quota of highly coloured birds; they were met with in numbers in the Gums along the water-courses.

If it be decided to distinguish these geographical races by trinomial designations, I suggest the name of Platycercus elecjans fleurieuensis or the Fleurieu Peninsula Rosella for this form. On the other hand, should it be decided to make P. adelaidce a dominant species, then this form under review and P. flaveolus would be subspecies of Adelaidce.

SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES ON THE FLEURIEU PENINSULAR ROSELLA AND COMMENTS ON THE AFFINITIES OF PLATYCERCUS ADELAIDE GOULD AND FLAVEOLUS GOULD.

I have collected specimens of Platycercus elegans from the Western portion of Kangaroo Island and the Mt. Gambier district of South Australia, Victoria, N.S.W., and Southern Queensland, and have specimens from Cape York, Northern Queensland. In Mr. Mathews’ 1915 List the western form is called melanopterus North and Northern nigrescens Ramsay, both subspecies of the intermediate or dominant form elegans .

A comparison of these skins shows that the rich crimson coloration, subject to some divergence of shade, is persistent throughout the whole series.

Now the Fleurieu bird, in the case of the adult specimen described, at first glance appears to have closer affinities with P. elegans than with P. adelaidce, in that the whole of the green coloration is replaced with red, but on closer study it is evident that the character of the red links it up with

xvi.

APPENDIX.

P. adelaidce and suggests the possibility that adelaidce is more nearly related to flaveolus than to elegans , of which it is made a subspecies in Mr. Mathews 1913 List.”

On comparing the Fleurieu skins with those in Capt. White s, the S.A. Museum, and Mr. Parsons’ collections, I find that while no skins of adelaidce show nearly as much red as the highly coloured skin described, several skins exhibit nearly as much as the less brightly coloured skins from Second Valley, two of these highly coloured skins in Capt. White s collection came from Mt. Compass, a place distinctly within the range assigned to the new bird. The examination of a large number of skins establishes the fact that exceptionally bright P. adelaidce , although rarely, do occur throughout the Adelaide Hills, that could not be specifically separated from the second- class skins of the Fleurieu birds, but in the best the latter stands out as very distinct in the brilliancy and extent of the scarlet coloration.

We therefore establish the fact that skins exist that, when carefully selected and placed together, will show a gradual transition from the brilliantly scarlet bird of Second Valley to the more sombre green-backed and more or less green-rumped form so common in the Adelaide Hills.

But on carrying this investigation further I find that intermediate forms between P. adelaidce and P. flaveolus are not only not rare but there is every reason to believe that the substitution of pale yellowish-green on the back and almost yellow on the under-side, as occurs in typical P. flaveolus , for the scarlet and more sombre green of P. adelaidce, largely corresponds with the decreasing rainfall.

My investigations lead me to the conclusion that fleurieuensis , adelaidce and flaveolus are all one species. The types of each race are certainly widely different, but undoubtedly intermediates exist, making one doubt the advisability of referring to any of them as other than varieties \of the one dominant form.

The following notes on some of the skins examined should be of interest : Platycercus flaveolus Gould. Of two adult birds shot out of the same flock at Wirrabara, September, 1916

(1) Shows red above beak, slight red wash over crown, upper-side pale

yellowish-green and a considerable amount of red distributed over the general yellowish ground colour of the under-side.

(2) Also red fore-head, but the reddish-orange extends over the crown.

Upper tail-coverts, outer ones broadly fringed with red and some of the scapulars showing red. Under-side, breast and tail-coverts bright red with some yellow distributed throughout. Both were adult males.

xvii.

THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA.

(3) Skin from Melrose, also in the Flinders Range, shows still more red

both in upper tail-coverts and scapulars.

(4) Skin obtained at Watervale, April, 1914, by Mr. Parsons, has on the

under-side the general yellowish ground colour of flaveolus, but the fore-head and crown are bright red. The upper tail-coverts have a considerable number of red feathers distributed throughout, and the general tone of the upper-side is deeper than is usual in this species, some of the scapulars are brightly tipped with red and the secondaries red fringed. The breast and under tail-coverts bright red and yellow. Bright red distributed throughout the under-side.

(5) Skin shot by myself on River Murray, twelve miles above Mannum,

is fully as red as any of the preceding, but has the mantle and shoulders almost black.

Platycercus adelaiclce Gould.

(6) Shot by myself at Kangarilla in the Adelaide Hills on 10th November,

1914, is almost identical with the foregoing, except the pale yellowish-green fringe to the feathers of the mantle and scapulars is more marked.

EDWIN ASHBY.

1 6th June, 1917.

A recent still more critical review tends to confirm some of Mr. Ashby’s views with a very peculiar complex present. Thus, while adelaidce is very similar to elegans and Ashby’s new form is still closer, it may be proved later that these are truly allies of flaveolus, which would be the species name. That flaveolus is a very distinct species from elegans is proven by the fact that both live together in the Murrumbidgee District, where flaveolus is typical and a much smaller bird than elegans. Consequently the complication is in the above-named two forms, which apparent^ are derivatives of elegans , instead of which it is suggested they are forms of flaveolus . It is hoped that field observation will be undertaken, as I cannot decide with the specimens here, and it would be unwise to make any more alterations without better knowledge. Nevertheless, I conclude that Ashby is on the right track and that his jleurieuensis should go with adelaidce, subadelaidce, flaveolus and innominatus as distinct from elegans.

xviii.

CORRECTION.

In this volume, Part I., p. 65, published November, 1916, I introduced the new generic name Nannopsittacus for Cyclopsitta suavissima Sclater. I find that Itidgway, in the Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, Vol. 25, p. 100, May 4, 1912, had proposed Nannopsittaca for a different group, thus preoccupying my name. I therefore remedy this item by the new name

Suavipsitta ,

with the same species as type.

\\

xix.

Order— PSITTACIFORMES.

The birds of this Order are well known from their universal acceptance as pets, with the faculty of uttering sounds resembling the human art of speech. Scientifically, the members are well differentiated by the combination of cere-bearing short-hooked falconine-like bill with zygodactyle feet, i.e., the four toes are paired, two in front and two behind.

The birds vary in size from large birds, comparatively speaking, for perching birds, to very small ones, and are generally brightly coloured, even too much so, but no especial colour-schemes are apparent, green being perhaps the most prevalent colour. They are restricted mainly to the southern parts of both new and old worlds, and particularly to South America and Australia. The latter country is especially favoured in forms, and Campbell has recorded that on the earliest Dutch charts it was designated as the Land of Parrots.” Yet it is certain that comparatively few species were seen by these early investigators, so that we must conclude that it received this name from the extraordinary numbers observed. Dampier also makes note of White Cockatoos as being abundant on the West Coast. Captain Cook makes few notes, as they seem to have been too common to excite that great sailor, but the scientific gentlemen did not fail to collect these new and wondrous birds, and many species were soon described from their collections, one of the most famous being called after Sir Joseph Banks, one of the scientific gentlemen.” Shaw described some in the Museum Leverianum and others in the Naturalists’ Miscellany, while\\ Latham introduced some half-dozen in the General Synopsis of Birds.

At the settling of New South Wales other forms were recognised, and these were described in Phillip’s Voyage and White’s Journal.” The writers were perplexed as to the plumage changes and the confusion has not yet all been dissipated.

Watling made coloured drawings of many of the species, and from these paintings Latham added other new forms. Robert Brown accompanied Flinders on his voyage, and though primarily a botanist, made a nice collection of birds, some of which were presented to the Linnean Society and others to the British Museum. These were neglected, though Brown drew up descriptions in manuscript of the new forms. When Temminck and Kuhl visited England they took advantage of these birds and named these species. A

VOL. VI.

1

THE BIRDS OE AUSTRALIA.

few years later, Vigors and Horsfield systematically accounted for the Linnean Society’s collection, and becoming interested, Vigors later named some new species.

Lear monographed the Parrots, and this almost completed the Australian Parrot fauna. Gould, however, covering new ground, was enabled to recog- nise some new things, mostly small, but one or two striking forms were included.

Nothing further was anticipated, though hoped for, but an extra- ordinary surprise was sprung upon Australian ornithologists by the enterprise of Dr. Macgillivray in 1913. McLennan, collecting for Macgillivray, suggested the investigation of a point some miles south of Cape York, and this request being acceded to, McLennan at once furnished two large new additions to the Australian List, which will inspire hope for the future.

The details of the above items will be given in connection with the species concerned.

The systematics of this Group have never been simple, owing to the generalisation of the structure, and this remark is applicable to internal as well as external features. It seems unnecessary to go into ancient history, yet I might remark that though Linne classed the few species known to him in the one genus Psittacus, this disposal was soon attacked. Cuvier seems to have been the earliest subdivider, as in 1798 he indicated four subdivisions, Les Kakatoes, Perroquets, Aras and Perruches. In 1799 Lacepede proposed two only, Am and Psittacus, but in 1800 Cuvier gave names to his own four divisions, KaJcatoe, Psittacus, Am and Psittacula. Previously, without giving any systematic account, Boddaert had proposed Lorius. Illiger in 1811 added Pezoporus for an Australian form.

The first systematic monograph was by Kuhl in 1820, and this fine foundation deserves all praise. Although the species were all retained in Psittacus, Kuhl skilfully divided this into six sections, viz., Am, Conurus, Psittacula, Psittacus, Kakadoe and Probosciger. These sections were subdivided into colour-sections and geographical groups, but only one other name was proposed, Sagittifer, although Lori was indirectly used. Kuhl’s specific treat- ment was good and accurate, and although only a young man, he had visited various museums, including the British, in quest of material for his work. As one consequence Australian ornithology is indebted to him for the description of several species.

Vigors shortly afterwards attacked bird-classification generally, and Parrots especially, and with Horsfield undertook the determination of the Australian collection in the possession of the Linnean Society. He proposed many new genera and some were for Australian groups. Unfortunately he

2

PSTTTACIFORMES.

published these names without definition in the first instance, and these became common property and were utilised by Desmarest, who mono- graphed the Parrots in the Diet. Sci. Nat. (Levrault) and by Stephens, who was just completing the Ornithological portion of Shaw’s General

Zoology.

The generic names Vigors invented for Australian Parrots were Tricho- glossus, Calyptorhynchus, Nanodes and Platycercus. These were elaborated in a paper in the Trans. Linn. Soc. (Lond.), Vol. XV.

Desmarest’s monograph above noted almost entirely dealt with species, the higher groupings being untouched and Vigors’s divisions derided.

In 1832 Wagler published a serious systematic monograph dealing very completely with the subject. It was certain that more genera would be necessary and these Wagler introduced. Previously, however, the brilliant Lesson had systematically dealt with the Parrots in his Manuel d'Ornith. and his Traite, as well as in the Illustr. Zool. It is necessary to note this, as one of Lesson’s names anticipates a Waglerian one, viz., Euphema Wagler gives place to Lathamus Lesson, both proposed for Nanodes Vigors preoccupied.

Wagler’s essay was remarkable for its extent, and its accuracy is unquestionable. No fewer than thirty genera were found necessary for the species known to Wagler, and he is the authority for the Australian genera Licmetis and Polytelis.

Still, no higher than family rank had been accorded the group and no divisions had been advocated. A step forward was taken by Gray in 1840, who proposed five subfamilies, Pezoporinse, Arinse, Lorinse, Psittacinse and Cacatuinse.

In 1850 Bonaparte advanced them to the rank of an Order, moreover giving them pride of place at the head of the bird-world in the Conspectus Generum Avium. '

He recognised two families, Psittacidse and Strigopidse. The former was divided into seven subfamilies, Maerocercinse, Pezoporinse, Platycercinse, Trichoglossinse, Loriinse, Psittacinse and Plyctolophinse : the latter into two, Nestorinse and Strigopinse.

In 1855 Gray accepted this last subfamily, thereby making six sub- families.

In 1867 Finsch began an erudite monograph in great detail, but as regards systematics he accepted one family with five subfamilies, Stringopinse, Plictolophinse, Sittacinse, Psittacinse and Trichoglossinse. Gray, our most pro- gressive ornithologist, never content, never showing any finality,” but always improving his own good work, in 1870 recognised three families: Psittacidse,

3

THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA.

Cacatuidse and Strigopidse. The former he divided into six subfamilies : Pezoporinse, Arainse, Lorinse, Trichoglossinse, Nestorinae and Psittacinse ; the second into three subfamilies : Cacatuinse, Calyptorhynchinae and Micro- glossinse, the last-named family containing only a single species.

Herein is seen the essence of progress lack of finality always attempting and endeavouring to improve upon what has been done.

Sundevall, a couple of years later, called the group a cohort, and recognised six families : Camptolophini, Androglossini, Conurini, Platycercini, Stringo- pini and Trichoglossini, the first five forming the Psittaci proprii, and the last Psittaci orthognathi.

Reichenow in 1881 provided a Conspectus, in which he admitted nine families: Stringopidse, Plissolophidse, Platycercidse, Micropsittacidae, Tricho- glossidae, Palseornithidse, Psittacidae, Conuridse and Pionidse. It will be noted that this was quite a novel rearrangement

Garrod had previously furnished the results of an investigation into particular points of the anatomy of Parrots and provided a scheme, which was obviously incompetent, to express the facts. The most careless student would protest against the association of some of the groups, brought together through the consideration of a single feature.

Salvadori wrote the Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum, Vol. XX., which dealt with this Group. It was published in 1891, twenty -five years ago. The accuracy and painstaking care manifested by Salvadori in all his works is seen here, and in the Preface he apologised as follows :

“It is well known to Ornithologists that the Classification of Parrots has been a very difficult problem, and I am sorry to say that I cannot offer results that will settle the question. Those at which Mr. Garrod arrived are far from being satisfactory.

The classification I have followed in this volume agrees to a certain extent with that of Sundevall, who divided the Parrots into Psittaci proprii and Psittaci orthognathi. As to the families, I have found that those admitted by Dr. Reichenow in his excellent Conspectus Psittacorum are the most natural and can be defined without much difficulty. In a few points I had to differ from him. I have withdrawn the genus Nestor from the Cacatuidce, and made it the type of a distinct family, as has already been proposed by others ; from the Cacatuidce I have separated also the genus Dasyptilus and united it with the Psittacince (restricted), although I am not quite sure about this being the right place. Moreover, the genera Polytelis, Ptistes, Apros- mictus and Pyrrhulopsis, having a well-formed furcula, have been separated by me from the Platycercince and arranged with the Palceornithince, and the genera Pezoporus and Geopsittacus have been again united with the Platycercini ,

4

PSITTACIFORMES.

leaving the genus Stringops alone in the Stringopidce. A peculiar feature in my classification is the establishment of the family Cyclopsittacidse, which is not equivalent with Dr. Reichenow’s Micropsittacinse. The under-surface of the hook of the bill, without file-like sculpture in the species of the genera Neopsittacus and Cyclopsittacus, separates them from all the other Psittaci proprii and approaches them to the Psittaci orthognathi ; when the structure of their tongue is known, we shall be able to understand better their true affinities.

Although I think that the families and subfamilies admitted by me are fairly definable, I must confess that my arrangement does not bring us nearer to an understanding of the mutual or phylogenetic relations of the different families. A complete study of the internal structure of the Parrots will, perhaps, throw the requisite light on the subject.”

As Salvadori’s arrangement has been generally accepted by systematic workers for the last twenty-five years, I here reproduce his scheme, naming the Australian genera adopted by him.

Order Psittaci.

Family Nestoridse.

Family Loriidse

Family Cyclopsittacidse

Family Cacatuidse.

Subfamily Cacatuinse

Subfamily Calopsittacinse . .

Family Psittacidse.

Subfamily Nasiterninse.

Conurinse.

Pioninse.

Psittacinse.

Palseornithinse . .

Subfamily Platycercinse

Family Stringopidse.

Trichogbssus, Psitteuteles, Ptilosclera , Glossopsittacus.

Cyclopsittacus.

Microgbssus, Calyptorhynckus, CaUo- cephalon , Cacatua, Licmetis. Calopsittacus.

Eclectus , Geoffroyus, Polytelis , Ptistes,

Aprosmictus.

Pbtycercus, Porphyrocephalus , Barnardius, Psephotus, Neophema, N anodes, Melop- sittacus, Pezoporus, Geopsittacus.

5

THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA.

I do not propose to criticise this classification as regards extra- Australian groups, but had intended to suggest some emendations in connection with Australian Parrots. After sketching out my own groupings, I referred to a paper entitled, On Characteristic Points in the Cranial Osteology of the Parrots,” by D’Arcy Thompson ( Proc . Zool. Soc. (Lond.) 1899, pp. 9-46). That investigator wrote : “To discover anatomical characters such as might yield or help to yield a natural classification of the Parrots has been the desire of many ornithologists, but the search has availed little. Garrod’s abundant work has told us many facts in regard to the presence or absence of an ambiens, of an oilgland, of one carotid or two, and other varying characters in a multitude of species ; but when we come to put these data together the result is unsatisfactory, and one is left with the impression that the several series of facts are incoordinate and cannot be linked together in a single system. When we find, for instance, that the collation of these facts places in a single group Ara, Psittacus, Poeocephalus , and Nestor, and in another Stringops, Melopsittacus, and Agapornis, one is tempted to think that the only thing proved is that the data are invalid or antagonistic in other words, that the several structures had really followed diverse or parallel or convergent lines of modification and evolution. While such internal structures seem to me to lead to confusion by indiscriminate variability, the characters of the skeleton are generally deemed too monotonously alike to present features of significance. Even in Stringops, the osteological peculiarites of which are greater than those of any other form (except perhaps Nestor), they are yet not conspicuous enough to have prevented certain recent writers from remarking that the divergence of Stringops from the other Parrots is not so great as it had been supposed to be.”

Thompson then gave the results of the critical examination of skulls, and the paper appears to furnish a concrete example of the value of specialisation. The close study given to these skulls has shown features overlooked by casual osteological examination, and by means of such characters Thompson has indicated errors in the grouping proposed by Salvadori.

Thompson wrote : The Cockatoos possess certain cranial characters

in common and their skulls are easily to be recognised, but there are many variations within the family and even within the