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its extreme isolation, its great specialization of structure, its abundant generic forms, and its wide distribution. It originated, probably, in Central Asia, and passed through the Nearctic region to South America, in whose rich and varied forests it found the conditions for rapid development, and for the specialization of the many generic forms now found there.
A large number of genera have been established by various authors, but their limitations and affinities are not very well made out. Those which seem best established are the following:
(2107 — 2112) Picumnus (22 sp.), Tropical South America to Honduras; (2113) Vivia (1 sp.), Himalayas to East Thibet ; Sasia (2 sp.), Nepal to Java ; (2115) Verreauxia (1 sp.), West Africa; Picoides (5 sp.), northern parts of Nearctic and Palearctic regions, and Mountains of East Thibet; Picus (42 sp.), the whole Palæarctic, Oriental, Nearctic, and Neotropical regions; (2123) Hyopicus (2 sp.), Himalayas and North China; (2124) Yungipicus (16 sp.), Oriental region, and to Flores, Celebes, North China, and Japan ; (2127 — 2129) Sphyrapicus (7 sp.), Nearctic region, Mexico, and Bolivia ; (2130 — 2133 2139) Campephilus (14 sp.), Neotropical and Nearctic regions ; Hylatomus (1 sp.), Nearctic region; (2137 2140) Dryocopus (5 sp.), Mexico to South Brazil, Central and Northern Europe; (2134) Reinwardtipicus (1 sp.), Penang to Borneo; (2135 2136) Venilia (2 sp.), Nepal to Borneo ; Chrysocolaptes (8 sp.), India and Indo-Malaya; Dendropicus (16 sp.), Tropical and South Africa; Hemicercus (5 sp.), Malabar and Pegu to Malaya; Gecinus (18 sp.), Palæarctic and Oriental regions to Java; (2161 – 2156) Dendromus (15 sp.), West and South Africa, Zanzibar, and Abyssinia; (2157 — 2159) Mulleripicus (6 sp.), Malabar, Pegu, Indo-Malaya, and Celebes; Celeus (17 sp.), Paraguay to Mexico; Nesoceleus (sp. 8833) Cuba ; (2162) Chrysoptilus (9 sp.), Chili and South Brazil to Mexico; Brachypternus (5 sp.), India, Ceylon, and China ; (2165 2166) Tiga (5 sp.), all India to Malaya ; (2167) Gecinulus (2 sp.), South-east Himalayas to Burmah; Centurus (13 sp.), Nearctic Region to Antilles and Venezuela ; Chloronerpes (35 sp.), Tropical America, Hayti; (2171) Xiphidiopicus (1 sp.), Cuba; Melanerpes (11 sp.), Brazil to
Canada, Porto Rico ; Leuconerpes (1 sp.), Bolivia to North Brazil; Colaptes (9 sp.), La Plata and Bolivia to Arctic America, Greater Antilles; Hypoxanthus (1 sp.), Venezuela and Ecuador; (2187) Geocolaptes (1 sp.), South Africa; Miglyptes (3 sp.), Malaya ; Micropternus (8 sp.), India and Ceylon to South China, Sumatra and Borneo.
FAMILY 52.—YUNGIDÆ. (1 Genus, 5 Species.)
The Wrynecks (Yunx), which constitute this family, are small tree-creeping birds characteristic of the Palæarctic region, but extending into North and East Africa, over the greater part of the peninsula of India (but not to Ceylon), and just reaching the lower ranges of the Himalayas. There is also one species isolated in South Africa.
FAMILY 53.-INDICATORIDÆ. (1 Genus, 12 Species.)
The Honey-guides (Indicator) constitute a small family of doubtful affinities; perhaps most nearly allied to the woodpeckers and barbets. They catch bees and sometimes kill small birds; and some of the species are parasitical like the cuckoo. Their distribution is very interesting, as they are found in every part of the Ethiopian region, except Madagascar, and in the Oriental region only in Sikhim and Borneo, being absent from the peninsula of India which is nearest, both geographically and zoologically, to Africa.
FAMILY 54.-MEGALÆMIDÆ. (13 Genera, 81 Species.)
The Megalæmidæ, or Barbets, consist of rather small, fruiteating birds, of heavy ungraceful shape, but adorned with the most gaudy colours, especially about the head and neck. They form a very isolated family; their nearest allies being, perhaps, the still more isolated Toucans of South America. Barbets are found in all the tropics except Australia, but are especially characteristic of the great Equatorial forest-zone; all the most remarkable forms being confined to Equatorial America, West Africa, and the Indo-Malay Islands. They are most abundant in the Ethiopian and Oriental regions, and in the latter are universally distributed.
In the beautiful monograph of this family by the Messrs. Marshall, the barbets are divided into three sub-families, as follows:
Pogonorhynchinæ (3 genera, 15 sp.), which are Ethiopian except the 2 species of Tetragonops, which are Neotropical; Megalæminæ (6 genera, 45 sp.), which are Oriental and Ethiopian; and Capitoninæ (4 genera, 18 sp.), common to the three regions.
The genera are each confined to a single region. Africa possesses the largest number of peculiar forms, while the Oriental region is richest in species.
This is probably a very ancient group, and its existing distribution may be due to its former range over the Miocene South Palæarctic land, which we know possessed Trogons, Parrots. Apes, and Tapirs, groups which are now equally abundant in Equatorial countries.
The following is a tabular view of the genera with their distribution:
FAMILY 55.—RHAMPHASTIDÆ. (5 Genera, 51 Species.)
The Toucans form one of the most remarkable and characteristic families of the Neotropical region, to which they are strictly confined. They differ from all other birds by their long feathered tongues, their huge yet elegant bills, and the peculiar texture and coloration of their plumage. Being fruit-eaters, and strictly adapted for an arboreal life, they are not found beyond the forest regions; but they nevertheless range from Mexico to Paraguay, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. One genus,
Andigena, is confined to the forest slopes of the South American Andes. The genera are:
Rhamphastos (12 sp.), Mexico to South Brazil ; Pteroglossus (16 sp.), Nicaragua to South Brazil (Plate XV. Vol. II. p. 28); Selenidera (7 sp.), Veragua to Brazil, east of the Andes; Andigena (6 sp.), the Andes, from Columbia to Bolivia, and West Brazil ; Aulacorhamphus (10 sp.), Mexico to Peru and Bolivia.
FAMILY 56.—MUSOPHAGIDÆ. (2 Genera, 18 Species.)
The Musophagidæ, or Plantain-eaters and Turacos, are handsome birds, somewhat intermediate between Toucans and Cuckoos. They are confined to the Ethiopian region and are most abundant in West Africa. The Plantain eaters (Musophaga, 2 sp.), are confined to West Africa; the Turacos (Turacus, 16 sp., including the sub-genera Corythaix and Schizorhis) range over all Africa from Abyssinia to the Cape (Plate V. Vol. I.
FAMILY 57.-COLIIDÆ. (1 Genus, 7 Species.)
The Colies, consisting of the single genus Colius, are an anomalous group of small finch-like birds, occuping a position between the Picariæ and Passeres, but of very doubtful affinities. Their range is nearly identical with that of the Musophagidæ, but they are most abundant in South and East Africa.