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HARLEQUIN DUCK. Histrionicus torquatus Bonap.–Straumčnd. Brimdusa. A common resident in Iceland, according to Faber, but changing its quarters from north to south in winter. Frequents the most rapid rivers, on the margins of which it generally breeds. This bird seems to inhabit Greenland, the whole breadth of Arctic America, and Eastern Siberia; but with the exception of Iceland, only occurs as a rare straggler in Europe. LoNG-TAILED DUCK. Harelda glacialis (Linn.)—Hávella. Fóvella. As abundant in Iceland, where it appears to remain all the year, as in other northern countries. EIDER. Somateria mollissima (Linn.)—AEöurfugl. ABöurbliki (mas). AE8urkolla (femina). Very numerous on the coasts and some of the lakes. Appears not to migrate. KING DUCK. Somateria spectabilis (Linn.)—AE8urkóngur. By all accounts a rare bird in Iceland, and generally only a straggler from Greenland or elsewhere. Yet Faber says that a pair bred on Wisey, in 1819 and 1820, among the multitudes of the common Eider. He only mentions, besides, the occurrence of one at Hossaas a few years before his visit, and one washed up dead at Eyrarbakki, December 25, 1820. Mr. Baring-Gould was shown a skin of this bird at Akureyri.
Scoter. Oedemia nigra (Linn.)—Hrafnsönd. Faber thought this bird was only to be found at Myvatn, where it breeds. Herr Preyer mentions one shot, out of a flock of eight, at Arnarvatn.
GoosanDER. Mergus castor Linn.—Stóra-toppónd. Gülönd (regione australi). Less common in the south than in the north, where it stays even the whole winter, according to Faber. Breeds.
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. Mergus serrator Linn-Lilla-toppónd. Far commoner than the preceding, and has much the same habits. CoRMORANT. Phalacrocoraz carbo (Linn.)—Skarfur. Dílaskarfur. According to Faber, breeds only in the north, and is but a winter visitant in the south. But Herr Preyer says it breeds on the Westmannaeyjar. Certainly not so numerous a species as the next. SHAG. Phalacrocoraz graculus (Linn.)—Topp-skarfur. Pretty common; and a resident, according to Faber. GANNET. Sula bassana (Linn.)—Sāla. Håfstila. Very abundant in many localities, and has several breeding places on islands, among which Grimsey, the Reykjanes Fuglasker, and some of the Westmannaeyjar are chief. Remains all the winter, according to Faber. ARCTIC TERN. Sterna macrura Naum.—Krja. Has many breeding places in various parts of the country. According to Faber, arrives about the middle of May, and generally departs about the end of August, though a few, chiefly young ones, remain a month longer on the southern coast. Mr. Baring-Gould informs me that the Common Tern (Sterna Joviatilis, Naum.) has been once found in Thingvalla-lake. I think there may be some mistake here ; for I am of opinion that further investigation will show that species to have but a limited northern range. So far as I can judge from the safest evidence within my reach, it is not found in either the Shetlands or Faeroes.
KITTIwake. Rissa tridactyla (Linn.)—Ritur. Ritsa. Skegla. Exceedingly common all round the coast. Arrives in the beginning of March, and goes away the middle of August.
CoMMON GULL. Larus canus Linn. Brünnich (p. 43) records this Gull from Iceland; but I should, with Herr Preyer (p. 433), have considered that the statement was an error, had I not, in 1858, procured the skin of an immature bird, which had been shot near Reykjavík the preceding winter. Mr. Baring-Gould says that he saw this species near the Iceland coast on his voyage thither from the Faeroes. It is certainly not a usual inhabitant of the last-named islands.
ICELAND GULL. Larus leucopterus Faber.—Hvít-máfur. Hvít-fugl, Grá-máfur (junior). A winter visitant only, arriving, according to Faber, towards the end of September, and mostly leaving by the end of April, though some, chiefly birds in immature plumage, remain later into the summer. Mr. Wolley had one for some weeks alive at Kyrkjuvogr. It had been caught on a fishhook, and in a day or two grew so tame as to take food in one's presence.
GLAUcous GULL. Larus glaucus Fabricius.-Hvít-máfur. Hvit-fugl, Grá-máfur (junior). Common, and resident, according to Faber, who says that it breeds on the rocky coasts of the promontory which divides the Faxafjörðr from the Breisisjörðr. Mr. Milner took its nest on an island in the first-named bay; and any number of its reputed eggs may be bought at Reykjavík, but they are in all probability those of the following species. GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. Larus marinus Linn. — Svartbakur. Weisibjalla. Káslabringur (junior). According to Faber, a resident, and not so common as the foregoing; but, from my own observation, I should say it was more abundant than that, at least, in the south-west, and in the breeding season. It breeds on the inland waters, which the other is not known to do.
GREAT SKUA. Stercorarius catarrhactes (Linn.)—Håkalla-skümur, Hafskumur. Pretty common along the coasts, and occasionally breeding some distance inland. According to Faber, is resident. He names four breeding-places in the south—an island in the CElfusá, a sandy plain opposite the Westmanneyjar, and the dunes of Skeiðarásanār and Breiðamerkr. Dr. Krüper saw it in the north, in summer-time, so that it probably breeds there also.
PoyoATORHINE SKUA. Stercorarius pomatorhinus (Temm). Not common, but has been observed occasionally by several travellers in Iceland. We are indebted to Herr Preyer for giving us the etymology of the name originally applied to this species by Temminck, but, as suggested by Dr. Sclater (Ibis, 1862, p. 297), orthography requires a still further emendation, and this I have here ventured to adopt. I saw this bird once in Iceland, the day of my arrival at Reykjavík, 27th April.
ARCTIC SKUA. Stercorarius parasiticus (Linn.)—Kjói. Common enough throughout the island, for it occasionally occurs, and even breeds, on the moors far inland. According to Faber, it arrives about the 25th April, and remains until the middle of September. The Lestris thuliaca of Herr Preyer (p. 418) I believe to be founded on an example of the darkcoloured race of this species, accidentally mottled with white. Mr. BaringGould obtained another specimen of this variety, which was shot by his guide on Arnarvatns-heibi, as before related in this work (p. 107). It is a well-known fact that both this and the Pomatorhine Skua are subject to great diversity in plumage; and I cannot look on the diagnosis given by Herr Preyer as characteristic of a new species.
BUFFON's SKUA. Stercorarius buffoni (Boie). Faber was probably not aware of the difference between the last species and this. In 1858, Mr. Wolley and I observed it several times at Kyrkjuvogr; and a very beautiful one, killed a day or two before at Keflavík, was brought to me on the 10th June. Herr Preyer, in 1860, saw a skin at Reykjavík.
FULMAR. Procellaria glacialis Linn.-Fylungur (reg. bor.) Fylingur
(reg. austr.) Fill.
Abundant in many parts of the Icelandic seas. Never enters the bays. Faber says that the chief breeding-places are Grimsey, Látrabjarg, Krisuvskrberg, but especially on the Westmanneyjar, where they are the commonest of all birds. He also mentions Hafnarberg as a nesting locality, but I think he must have been misinformed; at least, I saw or heard nothing of this species there in 1858, though it is very abundant round Eldey. On Grimsey, a grey variety, known as “Smiður," is said to occur. (Naumannia, VII. p. 437.)
GREATER SHEARwater. Puffinus major Faber.—Stóra-skrófa. Faber met with only one example of this bird, which probably rarely extends its wanderings so far to the north, though it is stated to breed in Greenland.
MANxSHEARwater. Puffinus anglorum (Temm.)—Skrósa. Remains on the Icelandic seas all the year, according to Faber. Commoner in the south, and especially on the Westmanneyjar, than in the north.
STORMY PETREL. Thalassidroma pelagica (Linn.)—Drudi. Mohr mentions that he found two persons who knew this bird in Iceland, but most could tell him nothing of it. Herr Preyer says he himself saw it near the Westmannaeyjar, otherwise I should have hesitated to include it here. It must be of unfrequent occurrence.
LITTLE AUK. Mergulus alle (Linn.)—Hastirdill. Halkiön. Occurs, according to Faber, all the year round. It only breeds on Grimsey, where Faber found it in 1820, and Mr. Proctor in 1837.
BLAck GUILLEMOT. Uria grylle (Linn.)—Tejsti. Resident in Iceland, according to Faber, and, I believe, is of pretty general distribution around the coast in breeding time.
CoMMON GUILLEMOT. Uria troile (Linn.)—Langnefia. Langvia.
Breeds in very many spots on the coast, and in some places in countless numbers. Faber says that a good many remain over the winter. The curious variety, which has been by some naturalists taken for a species, and called in Iceland “Hring-langnefia" or “Hringvia” (Uria leucophthalmus, Faber), occurs in about the same uncertain proportions as it does in other countries. But a more wonderful variety is one with a yellow bill and feet, which seems occasionally to occur on Grimsey, where it is spoken of as the “Langviu-köngur.” (Naumannia, VII. p. 437.)
BRUENNICH's GUILLEMOT. Uria bruennichi Sabine.—Stutnefia. Faber seems to have been in doubt whether this was really distinct from the last, as he found so great a resemblance in their habits. Olafsen mentions it (pp. 355, 562) in reference to two localities, Snæfellsnes and Látrabjarg, but in one place he considers it to be the female of the last-mentioned species. He gives a figure of it (tab. xxii.), which shows what he is speaking about. Faber appears to consider that it bred in company with the other species all round the coast. Mr. Proctor found it at Grimsey. Herr Preyer shot one at Reykjavík. I was told it was occasionally met with at Hafnaberg in the breeding time, but I never saw it there, nor, indeed, elsewhere in
GARE-Fowl. Alca impennis Linn.—Geir-fugl.
I hope I may here be permitted to refer to an article on this bird which appeared in the Ibis for 1861, wherein I endeavoured to give an abstract of all the particulars respecting its history in Iceland that I was then aware of I have not since learned much that is of great importance on the subject, though Herr Preyer, in the Journal für Ornithologie for 1862, makes some assertions entirely novel to me. One of them, and the only one I shall here mention, is the statement that the bird formerly bred on the little rock at Cape Reykjanes, known by the name of “Karl.” I believe that Mr. Wolley and I examined nearly every fisherman who had been in the habit of pursuing his vocation at that spot, and not one of them ever mentioned such a circumstance. Had Herr Preyer himself visited the locality, instead of obtaining his intelligence from the Reykjavik merchants, I think he would at once have seen the improbability of the case being as he says it was. The person from whom he derived most of his intelligence, including this reputed fact, also furnished Mr. Wolley and myself with a paper, in his own handwriting, and now before me, respecting various Gare-Fowl expeditions, of which he stated he was the chief instigator. As I remarked in my former article, this account contained “details which are certainly inaccurate.” I am, therefore, not much surprised to find that it does not tally with the version he delivered to Herr Preyer, for I had before inferred that the writer, in drawing it up, had relied upon a very defective memory, in place of notes made at the time. The interest taken in the history of the Gare-Fowl is so deservedly great, that I feel it incumbent upon me to correct, as far as I am able, the misapprehension likely to arise from the erroneous statement which Herr Preyer (unwittingly, I am sure) has made.
Razor-bill. Alca torda Linn–Ålka. Klumba. Faber considers it not quite as common as the two larger Guillemots above mentioned, which, collectively with it, are generally called “Svart-fugl ;” but I do not think that Uria bruennichi can be so abundant in Iceland as he represents. The Razor-bill frequents the same stations as those birds, and breeds among them. In winter many leave the neighbourhood of the island, but some also remain.
PUFFIN. Fratercula arctica (Linn.)—Lunči. Very common, and breeds in numerous localities around the coast. At the beginning of October they betake themselves to the open sea, returning to their nesting quarters at the beginning of May.
NoRTHERN DIVER. Colymbus glacialis Linn.—Himbrimi. Brási (regione boreali). Not uncommon, a pair or so breeding on nearly every lake. They arrive in the north, according to Faber, the first week in May, and towards the end of August they begin to show themselves on the sea, where, it appears, they remain during the winter. RED-THROATED DIVER, Colymbus septentrionalis Linn.—Lómur. Therrikráka. More common, Faber says, than the last-mentioned species, especially in the south-west. They appear first in the fjords at the beginning of April or first week in May, according to the latitude of the district, and soon after repair to the lakes, where they breed. Towards the end of August they return to the sea with their young, and there they remain till the end of October, though a few winter in the south.
HoRNED GREBE. Podiceps cornutus (Gmel.)—Sefönd. Flórgosi. Flóaskitur. Flóra (reg. occident.) Very generally distributed on lakes throughout the western half, and probably the whole of the island. Arrives about the same time as the species last mentioned, and, after breeding, departs in the autumn. Faber, and many others, recognize the existence of a second Grebe, P. auritus (Linn.), and this supposed bird has been called by Boie P. arcticus, but I have never been able to satisfy myself that there is more than one to be found in Iceland. Mr. Baring-Gould thinks that he saw another species of Grebe on Myvatn, which he is inclined to identify with P. rubricollis (Gmel.). It is very Possible that such a bird may accidentally occur in Iceland, but as he did not procure a specimen, and the chances seem to me equal whether it may have been the European or American species of Red-necked Grebe, for the latter (Podiceps holballi, Reinh.) visits Greenland, I forbear including either in this list. Herr Preyer notices (p. 248) that the Fieldsare (Turdus pilaris, Linn.) and the Starling (Sturnus vulgaris, Linn.) have been said to occur in Iceland. In neither case do I think the evidence amounts to proof of the fact, and I have much pleasure in stating that I agree with the conclusion at which he has arrived on the subject.
ElvedEN, 23rd May, 1863.