Contributions to the Natural History of Labuan, and the Adjacent Coasts of Borneo

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J. Van Voorst, 1855 - Natural history - 62 pages
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Page 32 - ... concealment easy. The Malays snare them by forming long thick fences in unfrequented parts of the jungle; in these they leave openings at intervals in which they place traps ; the birds, running through the cover in search of food, meeting the obstruction caused by the fence, run along it till they come to one of the openings, through which they push their way and are trapped. Their food principally consists of seeds and insects.
Page 33 - The boatmen seemed to have no clue to what part of the hillock contained eggs, hut said that they were never without some, when frequented at all ; they sought for nearly half an hour in vain before they found one, and then they got about a dozen together ; they were buried at a depth of from one to three feet in an upright position, and the ground about them was astonishingly hard. The eggs thus deposited are left to be hatched by the heat of the sun, and this, the Malays assert, requires between...
Page 34 - ... off, leaving only a white chalky shell. On a former occasion some eggs were brought by the natives, and were buried in a box of sand and exposed to the weather : at the end of about three weeks one of the chicks was hatched ; a Malay who saw it emerge, said, that it just shook off the sand and ran away so fast that it was with difficulty caught ; it then appeared to be nearly half-grown, and from the first fed itself without hesitation, scratching and turning up the sand like an old bird. Two...
Page 32 - In walking they lift up their feet very high, and set up their backs something like Guinea fowls ; they frequently make a loud noise like the screech of a chicken when caught ; they are very pugnacious, and fight with great fury by jumping upon one another's backs, and scratching with their long strong claws.
Page 40 - ... destroy and carry them off without noise. They appear to be exclusively carnivorous, and we have seen one of them follow and hunt a rat with great eagerness : they usually inhabit hollow trees or holes in rocks ; we have occasionally seen them in holes in trees at a very great height from the ground. They are common among rocks near the beach, and in impenetrable thickets of Pandan in mangrove creeks, whence they come out to bask in the sand or mud. When wounded they display great tenacity of...
Page 33 - ... breeding, and their nests are merely large heaps of shells and rubbish, deposited over the sandy soil, in which the eggs are buried to the depth of about eighteen inches. Since receiving this account, however, we have had an opportunity of inspecting a very large and perfect nest, or breedinghill, and found it to be about twenty feet in diameter, and composed of sand, earth, and sticks ; it was close to the beach, just within the jungle, and scarcely above high-water mark, and appeared to have...
Page 27 - ... by one leg to watch it fall : when it reached the ground he testified his satisfaction by a low chirp, and giving himself a vigorous swing caught the perch with his other foot, and walked gravely along to another capsule, not hoppmg, but placing one foot before the other ma most old-fashioned way.
Page 18 - Motley, who succeeded, by great care, in bringing it up, feeding it at first upon rice and banana pulp ; as soon as it was strong enough it was placed in a small cage ; though very restless, never being for one moment still, it was perfectly tame and fearless, and would sit upon the finger without attempting to fly away, and though its whole body, feathers and all, might have been shut up in a walnut, it would peck at a finger held towards it with great fierceness : for a long time it would only...
Page 51 - ... laid across the tracks of ants, which stick to a glutinous secretion with which it is provided ; its favourite prey is said to be a black species of Termes, which is the chief agent in destroying dead-wood in Labuan, and whose colonies are extraordinarily numerous. The individual from which the above description is taken, is a half-grown one, and was obtained when alive, by Mr.
Page 27 - They are to be seen in the early morning flying about above the tops of the trees in small flocks of six or eight, uttering in their flight a loud quick scream, very much like the note of the common swift. They are particularly fond of the fruit of the Dryabalanops camphora, which they split open, and eat the curious crumpled cotyledons in spite of their pungent taste and smell of turpentine. The specimen from which the...

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