THE AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE

BEING THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIRDS IN FREEDOM AND IN CAPTIVITY

EDITED BY

Miss E. F. CHAWNER

FIFTH SERIES. VOL. II. JANUARY, 1937, to DECEMBER, 1937

Hertford

STEPHEN AUSTIN & SONS, Ltd.

1937

STEPHEN AUSTIN AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, HERTFORD.

CONTENTS

PAGE

Title-page .......... i

Contents .......... iii

Alphabetical List of Contributors ..... v

List of Plates ......... xi

YU* I [wi/aL h*Ai~ JO

Officers for the Year 1937 ...... 1

List of Members ........ 3

Rules of the Avicultural Society . .... 22

The Society’s Medal ........ 25

yic i' ^

Magazine .......... 1

Index ........... 365

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS

Obituary

The Duchess of Bedford, 124.

Aldham, Major M. S.

Breeding of Cinnamon-breasted Rock Buntings, 311.

Amsler, Dr. M., F.Z.S.

Breeding Failures, 77.

Recently Imported Bluebirds, 139.

Breeding of the Three-coloured Parrot Finch, 364.

Appleby, J.

Notes from a Lancashire Aviary, 207.

Cassidy, James.

A Chat about the Extinct Moa and the Living Kiwi, 281.

Chawner, Miss, F.Z.S.

New Zealand Successes, 51.

Formosan Blue Magpie, 61.

Review Aviculture , Vol. i, 153.

Metal Nesting-boxes, 179.

Nesting of the Sandhill Crane, 180, 210.

O.P.S., 183.

Review Adventures in Bird Protection, 185.

Review Monografia dei Fagiani, 240.

Delacour, J., F.Z.S.

Ijima’s Pheasant, 95.

American Aviculture, 109, 125.

Delacour, J., and the Marquess Hachisuka. Green-faced Parrot Finch or Luzon Finch, 301.

Drake, Mrs. K.

A Few More Records !, 57.

Breeding of Violet Tanagers, 231.

Breeding of Violet-eared Waxbills, 331.

Edwards, Geo. Hampden.

Pheasants, 99, 188.

E. H.

R. L. S.’s Silverbills, 32.

Ground Dove Hybrids, 256.

E. W. E.

Philatelic Ornithology, 314.

VI

Alphabetical List op Contributors

Ezra, Alfred, O.B.E., E.Z.S., M.B.O.TJ.

Successful Rearing of the Papuan Golden-heart Pigeon, 56. Successful Rearing of the Western Blue Bird, 243.

Breeding the Black-throated Cardinal, 251.

Breeding Particulars of the Yellow-billed Magpie, 257.

Young Sarus Crane with its Foster Mother, 306.

Breeding Record of the Abyssinian Cliff Chat, 306.

Breeding Results at Foxwarren Park in 1937, 307.

Furner, A. C.

Successes and Failures in the Aviaries of a Derby member, 10, 355. Ornamental Pheasant Society, 122.

Gladstone, Hugh P., F.Z.S.

Breeding Black Game in Captivity, 59.

More Eighteenth-century Cage Birds, 146.

Goodfellow, Walter.

Familiar Birds of Singapore, 194.

Grant-Ives, Miss J. M.

Ornamental Pheasant Society, 29, 57, 93, 120, 149.

Hampe, Alex.

Singing Birds of the Far East, 303.

Interesting Breeding, 363.

Hampe, Helmut.

My Tame Barn Owl, 54.

Nesting Habits of Agajpornis Pullaria, 148.

Nightingales, 163.

A Cross-bred Stanley X Rosella Parrakeet, 251.

Hopkinson, Dr. E., C.M.G., F.Z.S.

Eighteenth-century Cage-bird Books, 16.

Housden, J. B.

Where the Bahamas Ride,55 118.

Hudson, Colonel N.

Jealous Cockatoos, 28.

Hutchinson, G. Rowland.

Obituary Mr. A. E. Henley, 330.

Nesting Habits of the Red-faced Lovebird, 330.

Lambert, J.

Ornamental Pheasant Society Notes, 212, 241, 267, 295, 326, 361. Primley Zoo, 296.

Lambert, P. J.

Bird Shops of Singapore, 59.

The Palace Show, 89.

Dr. E. Sprawson and his experiences with Amherst Cocks, 328.

Alphabetical List op Contributors

vii

Mackie, P. C.

Visit to Professor Ghigi, Bologna, 351.

Macklin, C. H., F.Z.S.

My Aviaries, 232.

Breeding the White-headed Woodpecker, 244.

Malisoux, Y.

Questions Answered, 13.

The O.P.S. Must Save Many Rare Pheasants, 105.

Martin, A.

The Nesting of the Kagu, 30.

Masure, R. H.

Birds of a Caribbean Cruise, 156.

Matthews, F. E.

Hand Rearing Long-tailed Grass Finches, 229.

Maxwell, P. H.

Collared Puff-bird, 33.

Princess Stephanie Bird of Paradise, 105.

American Bell-Birds, 213.

King of Saxony Bird of Paradise, 239.

Red-breasted Goose, 325.

Maxwell-Jackson, Miss M.

Eastern Bird Shops, 121.

Minchin, R. R.

The South Australian Zoological and Acclimatization Society, 308.

Moody, A. F.

Cereopsis Goose, 166.

Mallards, 167.

Murphy, J. H. B.

The Breeding of Hoopoes, 32.

Naether, Professor Carl.

Further Observations on Keeping Foreign Doves, 45.

A Homeless Young Mocking-bird, 254.

Breeding the Western Mourning Dove, 266.

Partridge, W. R.

Breeding of the Jackson’s Thrush, 279.

Phipps, Mrs. L. N.

Nesting of Lazuli Buntings, 269.

Plath, Karl

The Birds at the New Chicago Zoological Park, 173, 285.

Alphabetical List of Contributors

Porter, Sydney, F.Z.S.

Reply to Mr. Frost, 30.

Wanderings in the Far East, 34, 64, 215, 316.

Seth-Smith, D., F.Z.S. , M.B.O.U.

Ruffed or Solitary Lory, 123.

Meyer’s Sickle-bill, 155.

The Ocellated Turkey, 271.

Shedden, Douglas.

A New Idea in Bird Books, 52.

Sherriff, A., F.Z.S.

The Grey Sibia, 333.

Sibley, C. L.

American Cranes, 329.

Sprawson, Evelyn, M.C., D.Sc., M.R.C.S., F.Z.S.

1936 and 1937, 273.

Steinbacher, Dr. G.

On the Keeping of Capercaillie, Black Cocks and Grouse, 27.

Events in the Berlin Zoo, 363.

Stokes, Captain H. S.

The Breeding of the Cayenne Crake, 277.

The Primley Zoo, 258.

SWEETNAM, PREB. J. E., F.B.S.A.

Breeding the Painted Finch, 225.

Bib Finches, or Dwarf Mannakins, 297.

Tavistock, Marquess of, F.Z.S.

Musky Lorikeet, 184.

Parrots as Foster-Parents, 210.

Wilberforce,” 238.

Swift Parrakeets, 263.

Breeding Results for 1937, 334.

Teague, P. W.

Iodized Mineral Salts, 185.

Tong, B. F.

. Some Notes on Bird Collecting in Southern China, 247.

Valentine, E.

Successful Rearing of Goodfellow’s Blue-headed Parrot-finch, 260, 326.

Venner, Bev. P. K.

My Birds, 169.

Warre, Eva.

Outdoor Aviary, 362.

Alphabetical List op Contributors

ix

Webb, C. S.

Collector in French. Cameroon, 2. Mr. Webb’s Collection, 153.

Webber, Leonard C.

Nesting Notes on the Baya Weaver in an Australian Aviary, 165.

Wharton-Tigar, Mrs. N., F.Z.S.

Javan Black- throated Fruitsucker, 1.

Notes from the London Zoo, 49, 62, 96, 150, 181.

An Appreciation : the Hon. Mrs. Henry Broughton, 184. Chloropsis sonnerati zosterops, 187.

Chloropsis cochinchinensis icterocephala, 187.

Garden Party at Foxwarren Park, 236.

Some Songsters among Foreign Softbills, 261.

London Zoo Notes, 293, 358.

Witherby, H. F.

The Handbook of British Birds, 268.

LIST OF PLATES

* Javan Black-throated Fruitsucker . . . .to face p. 1

Mr. Furner’s Bird -room . . . . . ,, 10

Hazel Grouse perched on a Branch . . 27

Grouse (Cock), Moulting . . 27

Black Cock in the Pairing Time . . . . ,, 27

Cock Capercaillie in the Pairing Time . . ,, 27

Jealous Cockatoos . . . . . . ,, 28

The Collared Puff-bird . . . . ,, 33

Little Owl, Long-eared Owl, Wood Owl . . ,, 54

Long-eared Owl (2) . . . . . ,, 54

*Formosan Blue Magpie . . . . ,, 61

*Ijima’s Pheasant . . . . . ,, 95

When England Was One With the Continent . . 100

European Bee-eater . . . . . . ,, 103

Princess Stephanie’s Bird of Paradise . . . ,, 105

Aquatic Bird House, Brookfield, Chicago . . ,, 116

Aviary for Aquatic Birds . . . . . ,, 116

Parrot House, Chicago . . . . . ,, 116

Bird Houses : General View, showing Formal Pond . ,, 116

*Kuffed or Solitary Lory . . . . . ,, 123

A Corridor in Bird House, St. Louis Zoological Gardens ,, 130

Swamp Scene in Bird House, St. Louis Zoological Gardens ,, 130

*Meyer’s Sickle-bill Bird of Paradise . . . . 155

Nightingales (8) . . . . . . . ,, 164

* Denotes a coloured plate.

List of Plates

xii

Cereopsis Goose and Young .... to face p. 166

Main Entrance to Perching-bird House, Chicago Zoo¬ logical Park 173

Wren-tit in Chicago Zoological Park . . . ,, 174

Paradise Whydah in Chicago Zoological Park . . ,, 174

Part of the Humming-bird Collection at the Chicago

Zoological Park . . . . . . ,, 178

Swedish Nesting Box for Small Birds, made of

Galvanized Iron . . . . . . . 179

*Chloropsis sonnerati zosterops . . 187

*Chloropsis cochinchinensis icterocephala . . . . ,, 187

Naked-throated Bell-bird . . . . . 213

Variegated Bell-birds . . . . . . . ,, 213

*' Western Bluebird . . . . . ,, 243

The Ocellated Turkey (2) . . . ,, 271

^Manilla Parrot Pinch . . . . . 301

Young Sarus Cranes (2) . . . . ,, 306

* Denotes a coloured plate.

THE

AVICULTURAL MAGAZINE

CONTENTS

PAGE

Javan Black-throated Fruitsucker ( with coloured plate), by Mrs. Wharton-

Tigar . 1

A Collector in French Cameroon, by C. S. Webb ..... 2

Successes and Failures in the Aviaries of a Derby Member ( with plate), by

A. C. Furner . 10

Questions Answered, by Y. Malisoux . . . . . . .13

Eighteenth-century Cage-bird Books, by Dr. E. Hopkinson ... 16

The Peacock as a Pet, by Ian Harman ...... 21

Failures versus Successes, by K. Drake ...... 25

On the Keeping of Capercaillie, Black Cocks, and Grouse (with plates),

by Dr. G. Steinbacher . . . . . . . . .27

Jealous Cockatoos ( with plate), by Col. Hudson ..... 28

Ornamental Pheasant Society, by J. M. Grant-Ives .... 29

Correspondence, Notes, etc . 30

The Society’s Medal . 32

List of Members.

FIFTH SERIES VOL. II. No. I.

PRICE 5/~.

JANUARY

1937.

THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY

FOUNDED 1894

NOTICE TO MEMBERS

The Subscription to the Avicultural Society is £1 per annum, due on the 1st of January in each year, and is payable in advance. The entrance fee is 10/-. The Avicultural Magazine is sent free to members monthly. Members joining at any time during the year are entitled to the back numbers for the current year, on the payment of entrance fee and subscription.

I ALL SUBSCRIPTIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO THE HONORARY SECRETARY AND TREASURER, Miss Knobel, 86 Regent’s Park Road, London, N.W. 1.

All Queries respecting Birds (except post-mortem cases) and all other correspondence should be sent to the Hon. Secretary at the above address. Any change of address shrniSd fee notified to tier.

POST-MORTEM EXAMINATIONS

Rule 1. A short account of the illness should accompany the specimen. All birds to be sent as fresh as possible to Mr. 0. H. Hicks, The Zoological Sooiety of London, Regent’s Park, London, N.W. 8.

Rule 2. A stamped addressed envelope must be enclosed with the bird.

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All communications intended for publication in the Magazine should be addressed to the Editor :

Miss E. F. Ciiawner,

The White House,

Leckford,

Stockbridge,

Hants.

Miss E. MAUD KNOBEL’S ACCOUNT as TREASURER of the AVICULTURAL SOCIETY.

From 1st January, 1937, to 31st December, 1937.

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Avicultural Magazine.

Javan Black -throated Fruitsucker Ch/oropsis cochinchinensis niqricollis (Vieill.)

THE

Avicultural Magazine

THE JOURNAL OF THE AVICULTURAL SOCIETY

Fifth Series . VoL II. No. 1. All rights reserved . JANUARY, 1937.

JAVAN BLACK-THROATED FRUITSUCKER

(Chloropsis cochinchinensis nigricollis)

By Mrs. Wharton-Tigar

This bird is found in the heavy forests of Java, in pairs or small parties. It is a restless bird, incessantly in motion, feeding upon insects, soft fruits, and berries.” I can find no further reference to this species in the textbooks.

In captivity they are delightful birds, very tame and confiding ; the cock of my pair when at liberty would alight on my hand, head, or shoulder out of sheer affection. Their song is not outstanding ; they require plenty of exercise, so are not suitable birds to keep in an ordinary sized cage. Nor are they when in really high condition safe with smaller birds, as I know to my cost. How few softbills are !

My pair are most devoted, and have played with the idea of nesting almost since I first had them, some eighteen months ago. The cock is a most unselfish mate, always willing to give up a titbit to his wife, which she greedily demands as a right. Whether they will ever seriously proceed to rear a family is a chance that I would not dare to hope for because I fear it is very unlikely.

In case it may be helpful I will now give details of feeding. Although

1

2

C. S. Webb A Collector in French Cameroon

I do not know if it is the best way, I keep several species of Fruit- suckers very fit on it. A little insectivorous food, cut-up grapes, soaked currants, a very little grated egg, a piece of sweet orange, pear, or apple hung up, a dessertspoonful of nectar daily made from condensed milk, Mellin’s food, and honey, and two mealworms per day each.

A COLLECTOR IN FRENCH CAMEROON

By C. S. Webb

In 1935 I visited French Cameroon in West Africa, with the idea of collecting some of the many varieties of beautiful birds which had never or rarely been seen by aviculturists in England. It was formerly a German possession, but is now a French Mandate, and is bordered by Gaboon in the south, Belgian Congo in the east, and British Cameroon in the north.

This is one of the most interesting parts of Africa to the ornithologist, especially to one unable to undertake a long expedition into the interior, for many varieties of Central African birds are here found comparatively near the coast, but do not occur further west in Nigeria or the Gold Coast.

Cameroon is divided into three natural zones. From south to north they are (1) forest region, (2) savannah or park-like country, (3) semi-arid region. North of this is the Great Sahara Desert.

On my way to Cameroon I w^as greatly interested in the native medicine market in Lagos, Nigeria. Here was to be seen an amazing assortment of dried birds and reptiles, being sold as cures or charms for various complaints. There were large numbers of dried heads of monkeys, Hawks, and a Red-billed Hornbill (probably Lophopheros camerus). Apart from these there were also live giant land snails, tortoises, and chameleons, the latter being sold apparently to anyone bothered by the attentions of evil spirits. The most amusing exhibit was a large tin containing live electric cat-fish, the shock from which was supposed to cure rheumatism. Judging by the screams of some lady passengers who were brave enough to put their hands in the tin.

C. S. Webb A Collector in French Cameroon

3

I imagine the shock was considerable. Duala, the principal port of French Cameroon, is hot and humid, but it is quite a busy and prosperous place, being the exporting centre of the palm-nut and palm- oil industry. It was rather surprising to find an hotel with a swimming-bath attached an unexpected luxury in West Africa.

From Duala I proceeded by rail to Eseka, a small town about 100 miles inland, where there is a large trade in palm-oil and cocoa. The whole journey was through dense forest and not particularly enjoyable on account of the heat. Through the kindness of the United Africa Co. I was able to occupy a house on the edge of the forest, and this proved to be an excellent centre for collecting. I was especially keen to get a number of the two varieties of Black-capped Waxbills, Estrilda nonnula and E. atricapilla, neither of which had been imported before, except a pair of the East African form of E. atricapilla, which I brought from Kenya in 1933. Fortunately I found both species quite common at Eseka in fairly equal proportions, and as often as not they were seen in small mixed flocks. There is a marked resemblance in the upper parts of the two species, and the natives do not recognize any difference in them. Although their feeding habits appear to be identical they require different treatment when first captured. The Red-flanked variety (E. atricapilla) is less hardy than the White-breasted and requires its natural grass seeds for some time before getting used to millet, otherwise it wdll not survive, whereas the White-breasted will eat millet straight away and thrive on it. Both varieties look exceedingly pretty swinging on the long grass stems in the bright sunlight, while searching fcr seeds in the tips. They are found in the forest clearings and palm-nut groves, i.e. anywhere where there is sufficient light for grass to grow, but they are not found in open country, and I never saw them in the centre of large forest clearings, but always where cover and shade were close at hand.

The Green Spotted Waxbill (Mandingoa nitidula schlegeli) is much brighter than the typical form (M. n. nitidula), a pair of which I brought from Tanganyika two years ago. It is also much more plentiful, but can hardly be . called a common bird. I found them to be very local and to have an unaccountable affinity for one exceedingly small area which looked exactly the same as hundreds of others. The two dozen

4

C. S. Webb A Collector in French Cameroon

which I caught were all obtained in a palm-nut grove, which was thick with bushes and coarse grasses, and all within a radius of 100 yards. They are one of the most difficult birds to observe owing to their shy and retiring habits, and there must be few people who have approached these birds close enough to see their white spots with the naked eye. The slightest disturbance is sufficient to frighten them to another thick clump of vegetation, where they conceal themselves. In these situations they feed unseen on fallen seeds. They are usually solitary or in pairs, but by baiting places with millet in thickets for a period several would be found feeding together, although any disturbance would cause them to split up again. By crawling slowly on my hands and knees on a path which I had worn through the vegetation I approached several times within a few yards of these Waxbills feeding on a baited patch. They display great nervousness at all times and seem to be constantly in expectation of an attack by some natural enemy. They are very pugnacious little birds and cannot be caged together at random. After a lot of trials pairs may be found to suit each other and then there is no further trouble, but they seem to have individual ideas as to what is a suitable companion. It does not take many seconds when a pair is put together to prove whether it is love at first sight or war. They are caught by putting a wire netting cage shaped like a fish-trap over a patch which has been baited.

The Gaboon Blue-billed Weavers ( Spermophaga hasmatina pustulata) , although also very shy, are nevertheless frequently seen flying from one thick patch of vegetation to another, usually near water. Their strong bills enable them to crack very hard seeds without difficulty, but they must devour quite a lot of seed which has become softened through lying on the wet earth. In a country with such a big rainfall and a humid atmosphere it could hardly be otherwise. My experience has been that hard millet alone causes enteritis in these birds and they soon develop a craving for mealworms, which they will not eat when first caught. I have no evidence that they eat anything but seed (and sand) in their wild state, so their taste for mealworms is probably brought about by the lack of soft milky seeds. If a regular supply of mealworms is given in conjunction with millet they keep perfectly healthy. I do not know if this applies to Blue-billed Weavers which

C. S. Webb A Collector in French Cameroon

5

have been in captivity for a long time, when they may gradually get accustomed to a dry diet.

Another beautiful bird of similar build with a very thick bill is the Crimson Seed-cracker [Pirenestes ostrinus). It was exceedingly rare at Eseka and I only managed to get one pair. This striking bird has the head and neck glossy crimson, shining like satin, the upper breast, flanks, and tail are also crimson, contrasting with the velvety black back and under parts. It is quite hardy in captivity, and thrives well on large millet and canary seed. I was disappointed at not being able to get more specimens, but in spite of setting nets in all the likely looking haunts, i.e. thick, rank vegetation in swampy places, I met with no more success. While on the subject of Estrildine birds, the well-known Orange-cheeked Waxbills ( Estrilda melpoda) were frequently met with, but were not so plentiful as the Black-capped Waxbills. All the Wax- bills look much more beautiful in their wild state when feeding in flocks, and this applies especially to Orange-cheeked Waxbills.

Bronze-wing Mannikins ( Spermestes cucullatus) were common in the more open situations. Weaver birds appear to be the commonest of all birds in the palm-nut growing districts of French Cameroon. The native villages are alive with them, especially Yieillot’s Black Weaver ( Ploceus nigerrimus ), which is very numerous and breeds in colonies in trees usually situated right among the native huts. They seem to spend all their lives building nests and there is a ceaseless procession of these birds to the palm-trees, where they strip ofl long thin pieces of fibrous leaves and fly with these trailing through the air. Their nesting sites are always scenes of great activity, with a tremendous noise going on all the time.

The Y-marked Weavers [Ploceus cucullatus ), the males of which are mainly yellow with black heads, have also a preference for nesting in native villages, and like the foregoing species seem to spend most of their time juggling with nesting material. There are many other Weavers in the French Cameroon belonging to the genus Ploceus , but most of them are more retiring than the two species mentioned and consequently far less conspicuous.

Of greater interest to me were the Weavers of the genus Malimbus. All these have black in their plumage, usually in conjunction with red,

C. S. Webb A Collector in French Cameroon

and the females of some species are entirely black. Even the young birds have the black markings, which makes them generically distinct from other Weavers. They are entirely insectivorous and spend their lives in the high tree-tops searching for food among the leaves. In consequence they are difficult to capture alive. The three species which I obtained were the Crested Malimbus [Malimbus malimbicus), Blue¬ billed Malimbus [M. nitens), and the Black-throated Malimbus [M. cassini).

The Negro Finches [Nigrita) are another interesting group. They all subsist on insects and the oily husk of palm-nuts. The Grey-headed Negro Finch ( Nigrita canicapilla) has the forehead and under parts black with grey upper parts and black wings with white spots. This bird is very handsome and is full of character. It also has very pleasant call-notes and once these are learnt it becomes apparent that these birds are not at all uncommon, though very inconspicuous in their natural surroundings. The first pair which I saw flew up from the ground and I found that they had been feeding on the fleshy husk of fallen palm-nuts. By setting nets in the surrounding vegetation I managed to catch them when they returned the following morning. For a while they have to be given this oily flesh which surrounds the palm-nut, until they take to insectivorous food, and even then it is better to mix a little crude palm-oil with it. There is something very charming about Grey-headed Negro Finches, and I regarded them as one of the nicest 44 seed-eaters I have ever collected.

There is one species of Negro Finch, the Chestnut-breasted [Nigrita bicolor), which might easily be taken for a Firefinch [Lagonosticta). It was rather uncommon at Eseka and I only saw a few single specimens. Negro Finches are not gregarious, and all those I saw were singly or in pairs.

The third species of Negro Finch which I collected the White¬ breasted (. Nigrita fusconata) is a small black and white bird with graduated tail feathers. Like the others it is very fond of palm-nut husk.

The Cameroon forest contains some fine Sunbirds, the most note¬ worthy being the Superb Sunbird [Cinnyris superbus). Its name is a very fitting one. This bird can occasionally be seen feeding on banana and paw-paw flowers in the native plantations in the forest, but it has

C. S. Webb A Collector in French Cameroon

7

no regular feeding places, and so it requires a good deal of patience and hard work before any success attends one’s efforts at trapping. I thought I was very fortunate to get three. It is well known to the natives on account of its striking beauty, and in the Eseka district is known as Njok Etong.

I have often thought what a wonderful display the larger African Sunbirds would make in an aviary. This species, together with the Malachite ( Nectarinia famosa), the Tacazze (IV. tacazze), the Golden¬ winged ( Drepanorhynchus reichenowi), and the Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird {Nectarinia johnstoni), would make a delightful collection which I think would surpass any collection of Humming-birds which we have so far seen, that is when displayed in a tropical house. In contrast to the Superb Sunbird the Olive-bellied {Cinnyris chloropygius) is very common, but only in the second-growth and native gardens. Although small, their beauty is very striking and in the brilliant tropical sunlight they shine like jewels. The native children snare them when they come to feed oh the lantana flowers. Dozens were brought to me, but I liberated nearly , all of them after examination. The idea of looking closely at them was to discover if any might belong to another very similar species which is very rare. This is the Tiny Sunbird ( Cinnyris minullus ), which is only slightly smaller than the Olive-bellied and the red on the breast is lightly infused with blue. Only one was obtained.

Another species which I found to be very scarce at Eseka was the Green- throated Sunbird [Chalcomitra angolensis). It is a very sleek bird with velvety-brown plumage, with the forehead and throat metallic green, bordered by violet and blue respectively. I was fortunate to get the only one that I saw of this very handsome species. Several other kinds of Sunbirds were obtained belonging to the genera Anthreptes and Cyanomitra, but were not so beautiful as those previously mentioned.

Of the larger forest-dwelling birds the most conspicuous were the Touracous and Hornbills. The Giant or Blue Touracou was often seen singly or in small parties feeding on berries. In the Cameroon forest the trees are so high that it is almost impossible to get near these arboreal birds by ordinary means. Hardly any trees have branches within

8

C. S. Webb A Collector in French Cameroon

fifty feet of the ground, and there are so many trees bearing fruits or berries that it is sheer luck if these birds visit any particular tree, which makes the trapping of them exceedingly difficult. Invariably any net or trap set for Touracous in the forest catches one or more of the host of small birds principally Bulbuls that congregate to feed on the berries. The Blue Touracou is much larger than the other members of the family and has a tail about 15 inches long and a large crest. It is widely distributed, being found from the Gold Coast across to Uganda. It must be more easy to procure in regions where the forest trees are comparatively small.

The most noticeable Hornbill near Eseka was the Black Hornbill (Ceratogymna atrata). It makes a loud noise with its wings when in flight, and has a very powerful voice. It has a large casque and blue wattles.

There are several species of dwarf Kingfishers in Cameroon, all of which are very beautiful. I was successful in hand-rearing three Pygmy Kingfishers (Ispidina picta ) taken from the nest. They are insectivorous and frequently inhabit thick forest away from water, although I have seen them in all sorts of country in different parts of Africa. Their diminutive size and exquisite beauty is a source of wonder to anyone seeing them for the first time.

Just as small are the quaint little Tinker-birds ( Pogoniulus ), which are dwarf Barbets. There are several species, and the plumage is usually black and yellow with white or yellow stripes on the head. Some of them have a monotonous call, which is merely the repetition of the same note like someone tapping on a piece of iron. Like the larger Barbets, they nest in holes in decaying trees. The entrance holes are incredibly small and are only large enough to admit one finger. Some of the Tinker-birds become tame very quickly in captivity and make amusing pets. When they are newly caught it is better to provide a small box with a tiny hole in it, inside their cage, so that they can hide when anyone approaches and to sleep in, otherwise they are very difficult to keep alive.

Two of the most attractive birds that I brought from Cameroon were the Fiery-breasted Bush Shrike (Malaconotus cruentus ) and the Chestnut-crowned Bush Shrike ( Laniarius luhderi). The former was a very handsome bird, as can be seen by the coloured plate of it that

C. S. Webb A Collector in French Cameroon

9

appeared in the Avicultural Magazine. This was a female the male was slightly brighter, but in catching it in a net it bit its own foot so badly that I had to destroy the bird, which is evidence of the damage that can be done with their powerful hooked bills. Most of the Bush Shrikes have very pleasing call-notes, and become very tame, but they are not the sort of birds to put into an aviary with anything smaller than themselves.

In conclusion I will mention a few Robin Chats. The Forest Robin (Stiphrornis erythrothorax) is a sprightly little bird that inhabits the forest undergrowth. It is slaty brown above, with an orange crop and yellow under parts. The white spot before each eye reminds one of the White-starred Bush Robin (. Pogonocichla stellata) from South and East Africa. The Blue-shouldered Robin Chat ( Cossypha cyanocampter) and the White-headed Robin Chat ( C . niveicapilla) are much larger and are both handsome birds. They are found in the second-growth thickets, i.e. where the forest has been cleared and a different dense vegetation interlaced with creepers and weedy growths has sprung up. It is very difficult to discover the haunts of birds that live in this almost impenetrable mass, for they can hardly ever be seen.

In his excellent Handbook of the Birds of West Africa , Bates, who lived in Cameroon for many years, says of the second-growth : These plants may be called weeds, but they grow head-high and more and are dense, and bound together with tangled vines, so as to be impenetrable ; the weight and thick skin of an elephant or buffalo are needed to tear through them. A man working his way in this tangle where there is no path has to cut, tear, stoop, and crawl, and if he gets on a few yards in half an hour his clothes will be torn, his hands scratched, and his shirt wringing wet with sweat. ...” This gives a good idea cf what has to be encountered when trapping the two Robin Chats mentioned. After weeks of search I saw a Blue-shouldered Robin Chat in similar vegetation, about 12 feet high, consisting of bushes covered with vines and weeds. I crawled in through a tunnel an animal track and sat perfectly still inside. After a few minutes a Robin Chat perched almost beside me, much to my joy, as I now knew its home and would have no great difficulty in getting it alive.

These brief notes are of some of the birds I collected alive (excepting

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A. C. Furner Successes and Failures in the Aviaries

the Blue Touracou) during a six weeks’ stay. Scores of other interesting birds were seen, but for an account of these and the birds of the savannah and semi-arid region further north I commend Bates’ book already mentioned and Bannerman’s Birds of Tropical West Africa , with coloured plates.

SUCCESSES AND FAILURES IN THE AVIARIES OF A DERBY MEMBER

By A. C. Furner

Once again for the benefit of the members who are interested in the doings of people like myself, who only keep the more ordinary aviary birds, I am taking the liberty of retailing the season’s breeding and experiences, and although they savour a very little more of success than previous years, breeding in my aviaries is still nothing to write a story about.

After many years of trying we definitely seem to have laid the Cockatiel bogey by the heels. For about ten years I have kept