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FAMILY 58.CUCULIDÆ. (35 Genera, 180 Species.)
The Cuculidae, of which our well-known Cuckoo is one of the most widely distributed types, are essentially a tropical group of weak insectivorous birds, abounding in varied forms in all the warmer parts of the globe, but very scarce or only appearing as migrants in the temperate and colder zones. Many of the smaller Eastern species are adorned with the most intense golden or violet metallic lustre, while some of the larger forms have gaily-coloured bills or bare patches of bright red on the cheeks. Many of the cuckoos of the Eastern Hemisphere are parasitic, laying their eggs in other birds' nests; and they are also remarkable for the manner in which they resemble other birds, as hawks, pheasants, or drongo-shrikes. The distribution of the Cuckoo family is rather remarkable. They abound most in the Oriental region, which produces no less than 18 genera, of which 11 are peculiar; the Australian has 8, most of which are also Oriental, but 3 are peculiar, one of these being confined to Celebes and closely allied to an Oriental group; the Ethiopian region has only 7 genera, all of which are Oriental but three, 2 of these being peculiar to Madagascar, and the other common to Madagascar and Africa. America has 11 genera, all quite distinct from those of the Eastern Hemisphere, and only three enter the Nearctic region, one species extending to Canada.
Remembering our conclusions as to the early history of the several regions, these facts enable us to indicate, with considerable probability, the origin and mode of dispersal of the cuckoos. They were almost certainly developed in the Oriental and Palæarctic regions, but reached the Neotropical at a very early date, where they have since been completely isolated. Africa must have long remained without cuckoos, the earliest immigration
being to Madagascar at the time of the approximation of that sub-region to Ceylon and Malaya. A later infusion of Oriental forms took place probably by way of Arabia and Persia, when those countries were more fertile and perhaps more extensive. Australia has also received its cuckoos at a somewhat late date, a few having reached the Austro-Malay Islands somewhat earlier.
The classification of the family is somewhat unsettled. For the American genera I follow Messrs. Sclater and Salvin ; and, for those of the Old World, Mr. Sharpe's suggestive paper in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, 1873, p. 600. The following is the distribution of the various genera :
(2195) Phænicophäes (1 sp.), Ceylon ; (2196) Rhamphococcyx (1 sp.), Celebes ; (219) Rhinococcyx (1 sp.), Java; (2196 pe aud 2203) Rhopodytes (6 sp.), Himalayas to Ceylon, Hainan, and Malaya; (2203 P) Poliococcyx (1 sp.), Malacca, Sumatra, and Borneo; (2197) Dasylophus (1 sp.), Philippine Islands ; (2198) Lepidogrammus (1 sp.), Philippine Islands ; (2200) Zanclostomus (1 sp.), Malaya; (2201) Ceuthmochares (2 sp.), Tropical and South Africa and Madagascar; (2202) Taccocua (4 sp.), Himalayas to Ceylon and Malacca; (2204) Rhinortha (1 sp.), Malacca, Sumatra, Borneo ; (2190) Carpococcyx (1 sp.), Borneo and Sumatra ; (2220) Neomorphus (4 sp.), Brazil to Mexico; (2205 2206) Coua (10 sp.), Madagascar; (2207) Cochlothraustes (1 sp.), Madagascar; (2221) Centropus (35 sp.), Tropical and South Africa, the whole Oriental region, Austro-Malaya and Australia ; (2213) Crotophaga (3 sp.), Brazil to Antilles and Pennsylvania ; (2212) Guira (1 sp.), Brazil and Paraguay; (2209) Geococcyx (2 sp.), Guatemala to Texas and California; (2211) Dromococcyx (2 sp.), Brazil to Mexico; (2210) Diplopterus (1 sp.), Mexico to Ecuador and Brazil ; (2208) Saurothera (4 sp.), Greater Antilles ; (2219) Hyetornis (2 sp.), Jamaica and Hayti; (2215) Piaya (3 sp.), Mexico to West Ecuador and Brazil; (2218) Morococcyx (1 sp.), Costa Rica to Mexico; (2214) Coccygus (10 sp.), La Plata to Antilles, Mexico and Pennsylvania, Cocos Island ; (2227) Cuculus (22 sp.), Palæarctic, Ethiopian, and Oriental regions, to Moluccas and Australia ; (2229) Caliecthrus (1 sp.), Papuan Islands; (*230-2282) Cacomantis (15 sp.), Oriental and Australian
regions to Fiji Islands and Tasmania ; (2233—2237) Chrysococcyx (16 sp.), Tropical and South Africa, the Oriental and Australian regions to New Zealand and Fiji Islands ; (2238) Surniculus (2 sp.), India, Ceylon, and Malaya ; (2239) Hierococcyx (7 sp.), the Oriental region to Amoorland and Celebes; (2240 2241) Coccystes (6 sp.), Tropical and South Africa, the Oriental region, excluding Philippines; (2242) Eudynamis (8 sp.), the Oriental and Australian regions, excluding Sandwich Islands; (2243) Scythrops (1 sp.), East Australia to Moluccas and North Celebes.
Family 59.-LEPTOSOMIDÆ. (1 Genus, 1 Species.)
The Leptosomus discolor, which constitutes this family, is a bird of very abnormal characters, having some affinities both with Cuckoos and Rollers. It is confined to Madagascar (Plate VI. Vol. I. p. 278).
FAMILY 60.-BUCCONIDÆ. (5 Genera, 43 Species.)
The Bucconidæ, or Puff-birds, are generally of small size and dull colours, with rather thick bodies and dense plumage. They form one of the characteristic Neotropical families, being most abundant in the great Equatorial forest plains, but extending as far north as Guatemala, though absent from the West Indian Islands.
The genera are:- Bucco (21 sp.), Guatemala to Paraguay, and West of the Andes in Ecuador; Malacoptila (10 sp.), Guatemala
to Bolivia and Brazil ; Nonnula (3 sp.), Amazon and Columbia ; Monasa (7 sp.), Costa Rica to Brazil; Chelidoptera (2 sp.), Columbia and Guiana to Brazil.
FAMILY 61.—GALBULIDÆ. (6 Genera, 19 Species.)
The Galbulidæ, or Jacamars, are small slender birds, of generally metallic plumage; somewhat resembling in form the Beepaters of the Old World but less active. They have the same general distribution as the last family, but they do not occur west of the Equatorial Andes. The genera are :
Galbula (9 sp.), Guatemala to Brazil and Bolivia; Urogalba (2 sp.), Guiana and the lower Ainazon; Brachygalba (4 sp.), Venezuela to Brazil and Bolivia ; Jacamaralcyon (1 sp.), Brazil ; Jacamerops (2 sp.), Panama to the Amazon; Galbalcyrhynchus (1 sp.), Upper Amazon.
FAMILY 62.—CORACIIDÆ. (3 Genera, 19 Species.)
The Rollers are a family of insectivorous birds allied to the Bee-eaters, and are very characteristic of the Ethiopian and Oriental regions; but one species (Coracias garrula) spreads over the Palæarctic region as far north as Sweden and the Altai mountains, while the genus Eurystomus reaches the Amoor valley, Australia, and the Solomon Islands. The distribution of the genera is as follows :
Coracias (8 sp.), the whole Ethiopian region, the Oriental VOL. II.-21
region except Indo-Malaya, the Palæarctic to the abovenamed limits, and the island of Celebes on the confines of the Australian region ; Eurystomus (8 sp.), West and East Africa and Madagascar, the whole Oriental region except the Peninsula of India, and the Australian as far as Australia and the Solomon Islands; Brachypteracias (possibly allied to Leptosomus ?) (4 sp.), Madagascar only, but these abnormal birds form a distinct sub-family, and according to Mr. Sharpe, three genera, Brachypteracias, Atelornis, and Geubiastes.
A most remarkable feature in the distribution of this family is the occurrence of a true roller (Coracias temminckii) in the island of Celebes, entirely cut off from the rest of the genus, which does not occur again till we reach Siam and Burmah.
The curious Pseudochelidon from West Africa may perhaps belong to this family or to the Cypselidæ. (Ibis. 1861, p. 321.)
FAMILY 63.—MEROPIDÆ. (5 Genera, 34 Species.)
The Meropidæ, or Bee-eaters, have nearly the same distribution as the Rollers, but they do not penetrate quite so far either into the Eastern Palæarctic or the Australian regions. The distribution of the genera is as follows :
Merops (21 sp.), has the range of the family extending on the north to South Scandinavia, and east to Australia and New Guinea; Nyctiornis (3 sp.), the Oriental region, except Ceylon and Java ; Meropogon (1 sp.), Celebes ; Meropiscus (3 sp.), West Africa; Melittophagus (6 sp.), Ethiopian region, except Madagascar.