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The Nandu, or American Ostrich, is / one-twentieth part of its varieties that are found in great numbers in the pampas of to be found in Paraguay. In this class South America. It is the largest bird in naturalists have placed a much greater the world, with the single exception of its variety of birds than any other family conprototype of the African continent. It tains, and though they have some few closely resembles the Ostrich, but its qualities in common, in many others they plumage is less exuberant and valuable, are more or less widely dissimilar. It is and it has one toe less, leaving but two on a well-established opinion, for instance, each foot.
that strict connubial fidelity is one of their The RAPACIOUS Kind is well repre- | virtues, and that, though living in harmony sented in this region of country by the with each other, every species is true to CONDOR VULTURE, (rare ;) the BEARDED- | its kind, and transmits an unpolluted race VULTURE; the BRAZILIAN VULTURE; and to its posterity. To this rule, however, the King VULTURE ; the Bald Eagle; we think there are many exceptions CARACARA Eagle; VULTURINE CARACARA among the extensive tribe of Parrots, and Eagle; TURKEY BUZZARD ; Common or perhaps one or two others. We placed WANDERING FALCON; KITE, Falco Missis- | the Crow of Paraguay and its affinities sippiensis of Wilson ; WHITE-TAILED Hawk, among the rapacious birds, because there F. dispar. Temm.; SWALLOW-TAILED Hawk, it decidedly prefers all kinds of carrion, F. furcatus, Audubon ; HEN-HARRIER, F. and is not omnivorous. Having had for uliyinosus, Wilson; and the BURROW- so many centuries a sufficiency of that ING, GREAT-HORNED, LONG-EARED, SHORT kind of food, its nature has probably unEARED, and White or Barn Owls. These dergone a corresponding change. Among birds, with the exception of the Owls, are those birds most common to our own of the greatest use in these countries. country, and which are alike found in all Otherwise, from the immense number of parts of South America during our winter, oxen that are annually killed, the atmo- we may mention the ORIOLES, chief singers sphere would become tainted by the carrion of the forest; the BLACK-BIRDS, which are on the earth. From the luxurious repasts polygamous ; the KING-BIRDS; the Flyever ready for them, they are found in CATCHERS, with all their varieties ; together vast numbers, and are so easily approached, with the INDIGO-BIRD and the MOCKINGthat we have frequently shot specimens of BIRD, Surdus Polyglottus of Wilson. This them with our holster pistols. We may unrivalled singer makes the perennial foradd that great quantities of crows and ests vocal with his strains of powerful hawks of many varieties are found in melody, learned from other birds in other Paraguay, which we are unable to name climes. Nevertheless, the birds of Paraor classify. One variety of the former is guay are much more musical than is genapparently in close affinity to the vulture, erally allowed to be the case in tropical being quite black and having no feathers climes. By far the majority of our birds on the head or neck. When feeding upon spend nearly half the year either in Mexico a carcass they seize the intestines and carry or South America, compelled to this course them through the air like a long rope, for from the variability of our climate. But a considerable distance. Similar to the then these birds are silent, and seemingly yulture, too, they acknowledge a king, occupied with the duty of supporting life. who is clothed with extremely white | They resort to North America to breed feathers, and flies accompanied by other during our summer. It is then, during crows, as by satellites. He always takes the labors and the pleasures connected his quantum sufficit of food alone, the re- with their progeny, when singing their mainder of the flock standing around with songs of love to their mates, or trilling forth forbearance, and at a respectful distance. some long note of defiance to a rival male, His alar extent concurs with his color to that we hear their delicious strains. But make him quite conspicuous, being of we doubt not that many of these birds about thirty-five inches.
range not only from Hudson's Bay to In our consideration of the PIE KIND, it Mexico, but from Hudson's Bay to Cape is not to be expected that the limits of this Horn; and there are numerous tribes of sketch will permit us to touch upon the them which seek the high elevation and
VOL. I. NOI, NEW SERIES.
temperate climate of the southern part of rub the place from which they have been Paraguay, just without the tropic, and plucked, until it grows red and blood flows there select their mates, raise their off- from it; they then press into the sockets spring, and delight the inhabitants with of the old feathers, juice of any color they their songs. One great cause, perhaps, wish, and thus impart the desired hue to for their abundance in this region, may be the new growth. We consider the Parrot found in the fact that Paraguay affords tribe as decidedly polygamous, and consethe first forests which South America con- quently believe that their varieties are contains, north of Cape Horn and east of the stantly increasing, and probably at the Andes, and the pampas cannot serve as a present time number many hundreds. breeding-place for the Pie Kind, who all Amongst the feathered tribes, however, nestle in trees. The INDICATOR, or HONEY- the most interesting in its form, its color, Guide, is one of the most useful among and its habits, is the Dove or PIGEON. them, for these forests contain large quan- | Faithful to its mate, its affectionate cares tities of honey, which it would be difficult and devotion share the duties of incubato find without some conductor to its vari- tion, and render domestic ties a pleasure. ous receptacles. This is found in the Ten varieties are found in Paraguay, of Indicator, which, calling with a shrill note which we know little more than the plumorning and night, furnishes a certain clue | mage. To this class we must add the Touto the concealed treasure.
can, a bird whose bill is nearly as large as We come now to the PARROT and its VA- | its whole body. The Toucan is one of the RIETIES. With the exception of the Canary, most remarkable birds in creation, and very this bird is probably the best known beautiful. It lives upon the same food as among us of all foreign birds, and is valued the Parrot, and its flesh is very delicate not only for its beauty, but also its power and of superior flavor for the table. It of imitating to a great degree the human builds its nest like a Woodpecker, within voice. Fortunate it is for the ears of our the hollow of a tree, making only a hole countrymen, that our forests do not abound large enough for ingress and egress. Here with them, like those of Paraguay. They | it sits guarding the entrance with its great would soon find that there is one sort of beak, and it is a defence sufficiently formusic which has no charms. We have of- midable to keep off all the attacks of birds ten thought, when travelling there, that if and serpents, and monkeys, more mischiev. Milton had ever been surrounded by a cho- ous than all. There are many varieties, rus of Parrots, alternating with an anti- appearing at all seasons. The Red-billed phon of monkeys, he would have been and the Ariel are the largest, and are seen tempted to introduce their horrible noise in vast numbers throughout the forests. into the description of his Pandemonium. The beautiful family of CHATTERERS claims
Some two hundred varieties have been a place here, as one of those most sought classified, from the proud and stormy Ma- , after by naturalists. For aught we know, caw tribe, down through all gradations of all the varieties of the Brazilian forest, and size and color to the smallest Parakeet, some others besides, are met with in this scarce larger than a humming-bird. They country. Edwards mentions several speare all harmoniously beautiful, all discord- cies in the region of the Amazon river, the antly noisy, and more than half the most remarkable of which is the UMBRELLA known varieties make the forests of Para- | CHATTERER, Cephalopeterus ornatus. This guay resound with a concert which, to our species is one of the rarest and most curiears, was perfectly abominable. To those, ous of South American birds, and derives however, who are fonder of regaling their its name from a tall crest of slender fea. stomach than their ears, these birds offer a thers upon the head. Like all Chatterers, most delicate repast, particularly whilst they are fruit-eaters, and a delicacy for the feeding upon the ripe guava. According table. We must pass over many other to father Joseph Labrador, the Brazilians remarkable birds which belong to the Pie and Guaranis have a method of producing kind, as much from want of information whatever tints in the feathers of these birds concerning them, as to allow of a brief they desire. They pull them out by the consideration of the remaining orders in roots when near the moulting season, and Ornithology.
Paraguay presents the same marks of ties, eternally at rest, in the artificial disunsparing beneficence and bountiful pro- | play of our museums. Sir Wm. Jardine fusion in the PoulTRY KIND. This grani | mentions the historical fact, that the Mexivorous tribe makes no pretensions to any cans used their feathers for superb mantles connubial attachment or fidelity, and con- | in the time of Montezuma. The Indian tains a vast number of birds as yet undo- could appreciate their loveliness, delightmesticated. Whilst the true originals of ing to adorn his bride with gems and jewsome of its domestic species are, through elry plucked from the starry frontlets of the lapse of ages, entirely extinct, our epi- these beauteous forms. Every epithet which curean entertainments have a wide range the ingenuity of language could invent, has in the future, as yet almost unattempted. | been employed to depict the richness of In addition to the varieties of the their coloring : the lustre of the topaz, of common cock, peacock, turkey and guinea | the emerald and the ruby, has been comhen, very many species of the grouse, pared with them, and applied in their bustard, quail, pheasant, and some two names. “The hue of roses steeped in or three of the partridge, abound in all liquid fire,” and even the “Cheveux de parts of the Republic. The pheasant is l'astre du jour” of the imaginative Buffon, not only one of the most beautiful of birds, fall short of their versatile tints. These but one of the most easily tamed; and birds belong exclusively to the New World, it is strange that with the knowledge of and almost entirely to its tropical portion. this fact, our poultry yards are not stocked In the wild and uncultivated parts of the with them. Frank Forrester, (Mr. H. W. latter, they inhabit those forests of magHerbert,) in his able sporting papers, posi- nificent trees, overhung with Lianas and tively says, that there is not a single variety | the superb tribe of Bignonaceæ, the huge of the pheasant in America. Mr. Herbert | trunks clothed with a rich drapery of parais mistaken. He may answer for North sites, whose blossoms only yield in beauty America, and for aught we know, some to the sparkling tints of their airy tenants. parts of South America, but he has never The enthusiastic Audubon calls the only been in Paraguay. Natural History hith- species of the Humming-bird that is found erto has drawn far larger resources in spe- with us, “the glittering fragment of a cimens and various species of this bird rainbow.” From the Trochilus gigas, a from the Eastern world than from our bird about eight inches in length, to the hemisphere; and though Asia probably T. Gouldii or T. magnificus, an inch and contains a much greater variety, America a half long, all sizes, tints and colors are will yet add another store to the family. | found, far beyond the power of language The TRUMPETER is most abundant from the or the painter's pencil to depict. DescripAmazon to the La Plata, and is character- tion is baffled, and an idea can only be ized by the wonderful noise which it makes, conveyed by likening them to some familiar and from which it was named. It is easily object, such as the bright and changing familiarized, and its attachment is strong. hue of steel, and other metals, united to
Of birds of the SPARROW Kind we have the splendid tints of precious stones. M. but little to say. Chiefly distinguished Lesson's work contains two hundred and for their song, the large majority of them nineteen plates, and an account of nearly are occupants of the temperate zones. The as many varieties already discovered. Yet presumption is, also, that possessing but when we think of the vast tropical expanse little fidelity, promiscuous intercourse con- yet unknown to any save the LORD of the tinually increases the varieties. The latter trackless forest, we may safely say, that remark may, in a great measure, apply to the knowledge of the synonyms and econthe extended tribe of HUMMING-BIRDS, which omy of this wonderful tribe of birds is yet deserve a more extended notice, and to almost in its infancy. which man has been unable to place any Thus we leave the land birds of Parabounds. These lovely and delicate beings guay, happy if we shall succeed in drawing have ever excited the admiration of their the attention of naturalists to their beaudiscoverers, and, indeed, of every one who tiful selves, and still more beautiful counhas observed them, either revelling in their try. In get more astonishing profusion native glades, or, shorn of their chief beau- most kinds of WATER BIRDS find a rich
support in the magnificent rivers and lakes it unfit to be drunk.” Probably some of interior South America, and, more local thirty varieties might reward the labors of in their habits in tropical climes, than the the ornithologist, including therein many generality of land birds, they are almost species of Teal, and SAAG, and DARTERS totally unknown a few hundred miles from in profusion. We conclude this enumerathe sea-board. Among birds of the CRANE | tion with the Pelican. A cosmopolite, it Kind, or WADERS, Grallatores, we can men- seems to be regardless of climate, latitude tion SANDERLINGS, PLOVER, ten varieties, or longitude. No bird wanders so widely, CRANES, Herons, and BITTERNS, in far or inhabits such a diversity of countries. greater number, but probably differing Whether in Red-Russia or the Siberian little, save in plumage, from the same lakes; along the Mediterranean, in Asia species with us. We rank among the lat- | Minor, Greece, or the Propontis; or ter, though rather a separate species, the whitening the lakes of Egypt in winter, SCOLOPACEOUS COURLAN, a solitary bird, and the banks of Strymon in summer; and almost restricted to Paraguay. The whether on the Senegal and the Gambia, banks of the Rio de la Plata and its con- or at Madagascar, Siam, or the Philippines; fluent streams, are copiously supplied whether on the coasts of Patagonia, Caliwith RED FLAMINGOES, SPOONBILLS, Avo- | fornia, Florida, or up to the 61° of northSETS, and four or five varieties of CURLEWS ern latitude, nothing deters the wandering and SANDPIPERS. Many more of the lively propensities of this, the largest of the SNIPE and delicious Rail, promiscuously webb-footed birds. It is, however, very cotillionize in millions all over the country. scarce in the interior of America, for its And the GALLINUTES, or WATER HEN, favorite resort is on the seashore. superior in its size and plentiful in its num-/ Of the IcutuYOLOGY of Paraguay, we bers, offers an opportunity of wholesale are unable to write much that would inexecution to the ardent sportsman.
terest the reader. We have never seen To these may be added a vast collection there any North American or European of the DUCK KIND, or WEBB-FOOTED BIRDS. fish of our acquaintance. We have, howAmongst the number, there are many va- ever, a list of fifteen names of fish indigerieties of TERN, some of which owe their nous to these lakes and rivers, but not one discovery to Prince Neuwied, in Brazil ; of which it is in our power to classify. also Gulls of several species, the princi- These are all of most excellent flavor for pal of which are the BLACKBACKED Gull, the table, and comprise all sizes as high or Cobb, Larus Marinus. Linn. This as a hundred pounds weight; their colbird, though ordinarily feeding upon fish, ors, likewise, being very various and beaumay frequently be found in company with tiful. Among some of the more peculiar, Vultures and Eagles, discussing the merits we may mention the ARMADO, a Spanish of a putrid carcass. To these least useful | term applied to it from the fact that the of the webb-footed birds, we must append fish is armed almost at all points with the most graceful, in the Swan. And, sharp fins, with which it endeavors to notwithstanding the assertion of the poet, wound the fisherman whilst securing it, BLACK Swans are found in all the rivers emitting at the same time a loud harsh of southern South America, and their skins, noise. Its head is round and incased in a with the feathers attached, are an article | very strong shell. Its eyes are small and of considerable commercial value in the surrounded by a circle of golden color, and regions of the La Plata.
its mouth is covered with a shaggy beard. In reference to the WILD GEESE and The Vagre is a species of Trout, very Ducks, with their very abundant varieties, much resembling our brook Trout in its we must be content to quote Father Do habits, and affording equal pleasure to the brizhoffer when he says, “ Water-fowl are angler. LA VIEGA bears the similitude so numerous, and of such various kinds, both of a fish and a turtle; for possessing that it would fill a volume to describe the form of the one, it has the strong them properly.” “But of ducks there is horny shell of the other. The Raya is such a variety and number, not only in similar in form to an oval dish with a flat the lakes but in the rivers also, that the surface, and its mouth is placed in the water is oftentimes defiled so as to render middle of the body. Moreover, it is armed
with a formidable sting, said to be capable | Under this head, however, we must notice of inflicting death, unless prevented by im- two or three pests which do not add to mediate attention. But the PaloMETA is the otherwise exceeding comfort of a resireally a dangerous creature, and may, dence in this lovely region. The first is with propriety, be called the fresh-water | the ChigoE or JiggER. The male is not unshark. Its jaws are armed with fourteen like the common flea, and the abdomen of very sharp triangular teeth, with which it the female, like that of the queen of the is fully able to cut in two the human body. white ants, the Cocci, enlarges to an enor
One species of fish, like the Doras Cos- mous extent. These insects penetrate the talus of Demerara, has the singular prop- skin of the toes near the nail, and there erty of travelling over land in seasons of nestle and breed with wonderful rapidity ; severe drought, in search of water, and so that the sufferers soon behold their exfrom the superabundance of its secretory tremities in an awfully deformed and horducts it never becomes dry as long as life ribly disgusting condition, and a stranger continues. We must refer the reader to would suppose that they must die by the fourth volume of Humboldt's Personal inches. But these insects are easily reNarrative for an account of the GYMNOTUS moved at first, and cause no inconvenience. or ELECTRICAL Eel. It may be sufficient Moreover a sure preventive is the constant to observe here, that their electric power use of shoes and stockings. Again Humfar surpasses that of any known species of boldt, Bonpland, and Gmellin all mention a the Torpedo. A kind of CRAB, as well as species of gad-fly which attacks mankind. both land and water TURTLES, are most It deposits its egg under the skin of the abundant here, and excellent for the table. / abdomen, in which the grub remains six A good account of the latter may be found entire months. If molested it sinks deeper in Edwards's “Voyage.” SHRIMP, the deli- and deeper, and, creating ulcers or inflamcacy of which all travellers to tropical mation, often causes death. This is also America will readily recall, are very nu- simply provided against by clothing. . merous in the fresh-water rivers of Par- ! But there is a plague far worse than aguay. But they are extremely small, both of these, in what we commonly call and when taken by the net, they are first the seven years' locust. This pestiferous dried in the sun and then preserved as insect is only a visitor within a circle household provision. We recommend to around Asuncion of about fifteen leagues. M. Agassiz to take a trip to the interior of In this they literally cover the land as South America, before he returns to Europe, with a shroud, for they bring grief and again. There he may do more for Ich- mourning to all. The time of their apo thyology in a short time, than he has yet pearance is not regular, varying from tws. done during his whole life, though that is to five, or more generally eleven yeare, enough for a full measure of fame and None can vouch from whence they comed renown.
or whither they go. Two kinds, the rm. OF ENTOMOLOGY we are obliged to ac- and the black, are recognized among thehe knowledge our utter and entire ignorance, Their eggs are deposited just beneath tch and must be content with saying that surface of the ground, the average of ea er South America affords to the lovers of in- female being about sixty, adhering togeth e sects the most boundless and untrodden in an oval foam. Their disappearancfield in nature. The naturalist Ray asserts always takes place upon the first moonthat he discovered in England, within two light after their coming, and they leave no or three miles of his residence, upwards growing thing behind them, but all is a of three hundred different kinds of one tribe scene of" wide-spread desolation. of insects, (papiliones.) Therefore we Let us turn now to more agreeable and would say to the ambitious Entomologist, profitable topics, so far, at least, as comthat, should he be endued with the life and mercial interests are concerned. The veghealth of Methusaleh to follow this pur- etable kingdom, in Paraguay, presents the suit, we doubt whether, when he came to richest attractions, not merely to the prodie, he would have become acquainted fessional botanist, but to the important with a tithe of the insects contained within class who devote themselves to mercantile a thousand square miles of Paraguay. enterprise. We shall pass over the splen